Tomorrow At Seven / Ray Enright (1933). Jefferson Pictures/RKO Radio Pictures. The infamous serial killer The Black Ace likes to warn his victim ahead of time by sending them, well, a black ace – the ace of spades. Mystery novelist Neil Broderick (Chester Morris) is gathering evidence on the killer. He manages to get an audience with rich businessman Thornton Drake (Henry Stephenson), another expert on the Black Ace after meeting Martha Winters (Vivienne Osborne), daughter of Arthur Winters (Grant Mitchell), a close friend and associate of Drake. Shortly after arriving at Drake’s home, Drake himself receives an ace of spades. Winters phones the police and who should show up but the two dumbest cops in Chicago played by Frank McHugh and the ubiquitous Allen Jenkins, McHugh being the slightly more evolved of the duo. The whole group decides to fly to Drake’s Louisiana plantation but on the way in the airplane, the lights go out but someone other than Drake is killed. Inside the plantation house, everyone is a suspect including Broderick who seems to be in communication with someone outside in the dark. They all have to spend one dark night with the threat of the Black Ace hanging over their heads and with everyone in the cast, including the eccentric maid and a cadaverous looking coroner (Charles Middleton, Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon serials). It is all resolved in a slugfest and the two cops are of no use at all. Generally entertaining, if a routine effort.
Background To Danger / Raoul Walsh (1943). Warner Bros. Cinematography by Tony Gaudio (Adventures of Robin Hood, The Letter, Juaraz). This was George Raft’s last picture for Warner and in Jack Warner’s opinion it was Good Riddance. The movie is based on an Eric Ambler novel about a business man traveling in Turkey who falls into trouble with spies and espionage. Raft, as-per-usual, demanded changes in the script to turn him into an American intelligence agent working undercover. W.S. Burnett (Scarface) is credited with the screenplay but William Faulkner, Daniel Fuchs, and John Collier also worked on it. Raft plays Joe Barton, going through Turkey, a neutral country during WWII. A Nazi plotter, Col. Robertson (Sidney Greenstreet, as fascinating to watch as ever), wants to plant fake evidence in Turkish newspapers that Russia is planning an immediate invasion of Turkey in order to sway public sentiment into throwing in with Germany for protection. Barton runs into a woman who has stolen the fake plans. She gives them to Barton for safe keeping but she is later killed and Barton loses the plans to a mysterious brother/sister couple played by Peter Lorre and Brenda Marshall. The movie is quite watchable, a Raoul Walsh action adventure, with a lot of talent in front of and behind the screen. But Raft, more and more, seems to me a black hole in the middle of some otherwise good movies.
Seven Doors To Death / Elmer Clifton (1944). Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). The movie starts with a bang – and scream. Following the gunshot, a woman runs to the street and commandeers the car being driven by Jimmy McMillan (Chick Chandler). The car crashes and when Jimmy wakes up, the woman is gone. Rushing back to the scene, Jimmy spots a dead body through a window, but when he sends the police, the body of the body he saw - wearing a checked coat - is gone but another corpse in a tux is in the next room. Jimmy sets out to find the murderer and unravel the mystery. Running just about an hour even, the movie is still a little tiring to watch mainly because the DVD print from Westlake Entertainment (a now defunct indie distributor of public domain product) is incredibly dirty making nighttime and basement scenes very hard to make out. Gower Gulch studio PRC was unable to provide the production with much of a budget. Chick Chandler, usually a wisecracking sidekick (e.g. Mr. Moto Takes A Chance) plays a wisecracking leading man in his only top billed role in a feature film. A game cast along with Chandler, June Clyde, George Meeker (his portrait on his Wikipedia page is from Seven Doors To Death), and WWII pin-up girl Rebel Randall – are what will make this watchable, if anything will.
Chick Chandler as Jimmy McMillan
Favorite pinup of WWII GIs, Rebel Randall
Gaslight / George Cukor (1944). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg (The Women, Mrs. Miniver, Random Harvest). This is a truly classic film with a couple of truly great performances. Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman) as a young person suffered the trauma of finding her beloved aunt, a famous opera star, strangled to death in her London home. She is whisked away to the continent where she grows up and meets the charming pianist Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer). They marry and return to London to Paula’s former residence but move all the old furniture to the attic to avoid bad memories. Then strange things start to happen. Pictures disappear from the wall and are found hidden. Some of Paula’s jewelry is lost and she can’t remember having it. There are strange noises at night from the locked attic that no one but Paula can hear. Gregory begins to suggest that she is losing her mind. A ray of light is seen in the person of Scotland Yard detective Brian Cameron (Joseph Cotton) who suspects that something is going on in that house which is closed to visitors. And boy, is he right, even though giving us a rather weak character, at least compared to the powerhouse acting by Bergman and Boyer. And speaking of great acting, this is Angela Lansbury’s Oscar nominated screen debut as Nancy the new maid who walks the thin line between deference and impertinence. She is quite brilliant. At the very end, as Boyer and Cotton are leaving, the little sarcastic curtsy she gives has got to elicit a laugh. Well deserved Academy Awards went to Ingrid Bergman and to four men for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White.
Charles Boyer and Angela Lansbury
Fear In The Night / Maxwell Shane (1947). Pine-Thomas Productions/Paramount Pictures. Cinematography by Jack Greenhalgh. I really liked this cheaply made thriller based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich, a master of knotty mysteries. Wisely, the script hews closely to Woolrich’s story. The film opens in the midst of a dream of Vince Grayson (DeForrest Kelley, his screen debut). Vince dreams that he is in a room of mirrors. There is also a man and woman there. The man attacks him and they fight. Vince kills the man and woman flees. Then,,,he wakes up. He is in his own bed in his own room. But he sees finger marks on his throat and finds in his pocket a key and button that also were in his dream. Did it really happen? How could it? He goes to his brother-in-law Cliff, a homicide detective but Cliff (Paul Kelly) is of no help, citing Vince’s overwork. Later, on the road with Cliff, his sister, and girlfriend, Vince seems to be familiar with places he knows he has never been before. Is something supernatural at play here? Can there be a logical explanation for what is happening? This is a terrific little movie – shot in 10 days – and is endlessly entertaining. The Hotel Commodore at the intersection of 7th Street and Lucas St. in Los Angeles served as the exterior of the hotel where Vince had his apartment.
Paul Kelly’s ride. He says it’s his new second hand car that he traded his old second hand car for. It’s a 1941 Plymouth De Luxe Four-Door Sedan,
No Man’s Woman / Franklin Adreon (1955). Republic Pictures. Maneating cougar Carolyn Grant (Marie Windsor) likes to break up couples for fun. She has been separated from her husband Harlow Grant (John Archer) for two years but will not agree to a divorce unless gives her half his income and a $30,000 cash settlement even though he wants to marry Louise Nelson (Nancy Gates). When Carolyn’s employee at her art gallery, Beth Allen (Jil Jarmyn) announces she is engaged, Carolyn sets out to seduce Beth’s fiancé (Richard Crane) just for kicks. Given that Carolyn is such a deliciously Bad Girl, it is no spoiler that she is shot to death after a lengthy set-up of more than half the movie. There are five major suspects, the husband Harlow, his inamorata Louise, Beth and her fiancé, and Wayne Vincent (Patric Knowles), Carolyn’s lover who she dumps immediately after learning that he has become unemployed. The movie is basically a whodunit with a police investigation, alibis, questioning, etc. Maria Windsor can give a movie noir cred just by showing up but when she departs the picture and Harlow must do some detecting to clear himself, it becomes just another whodunit. Actually, from the summery I have given, if you know how movies of the period work, you can deduce the killer.
Killer’s Kiss / Stanley Kubrick (1955). Minotaur Productions/United Artists. Cinematography by Stanley Kubrick. This was Kubrick’s second directorial production (he also wrote, produced, and was his own cinematographer). Kubrick himself called it a “student” attempt but critical opinion has been mostly positive. It definitely falls into the film noir category and features some innovative camera work and decisions such as a zoom down a city street projected with negative film during a dream sequence. Country boy Davey Gordon (Jamie Smith) is trying his hand as a professional boxer. The only problem is: he has a glass jaw. In the early going we see him take a serious beating in a match, so much so that he decides to give up the game and go back the family ranch in Wyoming. But through his apartment window, he can see into the apartment of Gloria Price (Irene Kane). Gloria works in a dime-a-dance establishment. The owner, an older man named Vinnie Rapallo (Frank Silvera), decides he is in love with Gloria and can’t live without her. When she rebuffs him a work, he shows up at her apartment and tries to rape her. Jamie sees it and rushes through corridors to reach her room and save her. Vinnie is humiliated so vows a terrible revenge on both of them. “Killer’s Kiss” is now near the top of my favorite noirs of the 1950s. An essential.
I don't think you fully understand, Mr. Bigelow. You've been murdered.
I am only a modest fan of Kubrick, but the early talent he displays here is very impressive. At age 26 the tone and composition of his little shoestring film, only 67 minutes long, is heads and shoulders above many studio pictures of the period. The elegance of his designs is apparent here near the very beginning of his career, starting with the film titles.
It's a simple tale, like a short story from pulp fiction. A boxer and a dance hall girl get mixed up with gangsters. We still have time for stories within stories told with flashbacks. Who do you trust, and what would you do to survive?
It builds to a running and fighting segment culminating in a surreal battle among the naked mannikins in a warehouse. It's funny and brutal at the same time: the bad guy has an axe.
Lush classical score. Real NY street locations. The exciting boxing segment is finely photographed, much more realistic than many others. No natural sound at all.
The studio insisted on the improbably happy ending. The point of film noir is "we're screwed" but maybe that doesn't sell tickets.
Here is the movies of the latest Tele Week, some days with too much Champagne...
A local TV-channel has showed a lot of Harry Potter movies, and I thought I can just jump in anywhere, apparently one can't, and some where showned with Swedish dubbing, and I didn't want to see them that way...
I can't recommend my way of jumping in a little here and there! There is obviously another context to the story that I might have missed. They were a bit darker than I had imagine'd, and I can very well see the attraction! Great assembly of actors too!
Lynda Carter it aint! far from it. The prologue tells a long and boring saga of Greek Gods and such stuff, and the were go to WWI. It take's to long to get the story started, Star Wars 1977 and even Jezebel 1938 did it much better, throw the viewer right into a story, and one can catch up along the way. Storywise it's the same as always, surprise though that one of the leads die. Gal Gadot embodies a supernatural hero well! Just wish the story was better.
A rather lame rom-com made at beautiful locations, harmless thought, with the great Betty White in a fiesty part. Storywise it reminded me of movies with Jean Arthur and Melvyn Douglas that they did just to fill out contracts at Columbia or some other comapny.
Far-fetched but entertaining adventure in the old 12-chapter universe. More pleasant than the second Indy movie. With a great later performane of the now retired Sir Sean Connery and kudos too to Denholm Elliott, since those two makes this far more entertaining that it should have been. An entertaining way to spend an evening!
As if the 1960's and the 1970's never happened, my wonderful neighbour country Denmark, kept making this kind of light operetta movies way into the early 1980's. Usually made at beautiful locations. Based on a light operetta by Florimond Hervé. Is it worth searching out? No! Though nice to see somethething different. Dirch Passer was a very beloved comedian and entertainer, who just like British Tommy Cooper more or less died on stage.
Bold outlaws and George Sanders as a crook, great day to spend a lazy New Years Day with.
This is a gem! It's a very serious dark and horrible story, managed by the great director George Stevens, who keeps the story light when it needs to be and very dark when it needs to be, mixing comedy and drama. Cary Grant is on the run for a crime he didn't commit, who hides out in a house owned by an old school friend (Jean Arthur), that is soon hired by a very celebrated law professor (Ronald Colman) who might soon be appointed to USA supreme court, and must stay out of "local" troubles. Highly recommended!
excepts my damned cold, 2020 can't be worse than 2019, LOL
Also known as The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King.
Askeladden - I Dovregubbens Hall.
Though, personally, I would've gone with Cinderfella. It's a Norwegian fantasy film. After having finish watching it, I quickly checked online to see if there was a sequel, and indeed there is...though I have no clue when (if ever) it'll be on TV here. I'm super eager to see it, as I quite enjoyed this first one.
Something, something, something, Dark Side. Something, something, something, complete...
It's as if millions of Star Wars fans suddenly cried out in criticism and were suddenly silenced. That's the effect this movie should have on most (other than those who’d already decided they were going to be disappointed/hate it no matter what). For all the SANE Star Wars fans out there, I'm happy to report that the Force is strong with this series once again (after taking a walk on the Dark Side with the prequels). All other shoddy imitations take note: THIS is how you do a space opera. The Force Awakens possesses everything that was missing from the soulless prequels: we have a non-snooze-worthy storyline, likable new characters, great acting, non-cringe-worthy dialogue and not such a reliance on only CGI effects/green-screen. The pluses of this movie are in abundance, starting with what's new. All those with reservations about the fresh young actors cast to play new characters Rey and Finn should sit back, relax and watch the beautiful chemistry between the two as their characters form a believable friendship/dynamic on screen like that of the Original Trilogy’s trio.
Daisy Ridley more than proves she's up to the challenge of having a large portion of the new trilogy rest on her shoulders. Rey is a scavenger with a good heart (as evidenced by her rescuing BB-8, a droid carrying something important). Whilst certain people (who for some unfathomable reason don't like seeing a woman who can handle herself) may take this new female lead (who is smart, brave, kind and just all around awesome) as a personal affront to them, for the rest of us who don't hate seeing a woman take centre stage, this is what we've been looking for in a female character for so long. She's everything you could hope for, but not without her faults, as she does make some mistakes (but not enough to hate her for it). She's flawed, but much more interesting because of this. Ridley imbues her character with so much heart/soul, she conveys a lot with just looks and even proves adept at humour as well. Most importantly, she's likable, forming instant friendships with other characters who we already like (so we know she's awesome). Any gripes about her would be nitpicky/for petty reasons.
Sharing Ridley’s responsibility as one of the new faces of this trilogy is John Boyega as Finn, a former Stormtrooper who refuses to go along with the rest in doing something terrible. It's after this that he meets Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron, who he forms an almost-immediate friendship with. Out of the three new leads, Isaac's Poe is probably given the least development, but he manages to make it believable that he and Finn become close friends in such a short time. The best dynamic, though, is without a doubt the one formed between Rey and Finn. The way they play off each other with such ease is, in large part, thanks to the actors, but also the dialogue being snappy/quick-witted. They share a fun friendship, becoming quite close, and the actors’ enthusiasm/energy helps a lot, as they’re truly inhabiting their roles/believing in who they're playing as well as the universe they're a part of (where characters talk/act in a unique way). One of many things the prequels sadly lacked was heart, but this movie/these characters have it in spades.
Adam Driver's Kylo Ren picks up where Darth Vader left off as our main villain and is clearly devoted to his memory (since he talks to his burned mask). Driver is quite good at playing the bad guy, though he is prone to the occasional 'hissy fit' with his crossguard lightsaber which verges into slightly over-the-top/petulant teenager behavior. Thankfully, when the big moments occur, Driver shows real emotion/conflict within his character. His lightsaber duel, first with Finn and then Rey, is everything the over-choreographed prequel duels were lacking. They may've had the needless fancy twirling and whatnot, but here we have rough and tumble, gritty fights between someone skilled and two people who are only just learning what they're capable of. Plus there's real emotional investment, which helps. It's an epic tension-filled battle, which is a BIG plus with this movie, as we don't know what's going to happen.
Naturally, it's good to see our old favourites back (Han, Chewie, Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO, even the Millennium Falcon, all of which received applause at my screening). Those claiming this film relies on nostalgia/good will towards the original films alone are mistaken. Whilst the prequels included familiar characters/moments just for the sake of callbacks, what they do here is much more satisfying. Han is his usual charming, funny, "scruffy-looking nerf-herder" self, but he forms attachments to our new characters, and his dynamics with them allows for some of the film's best moments. The movie certainly has humour, but thankfully it's not the "cutsie" nauseating variety found in the prequels. There are genuinely funny moments for young and old alike.
J.J. Abrams has been unfairly criticised, when he should be receiving thanks. He had the unenviable task of reinvigorating/re-energising the franchise after the prequels nearly killed it and has managed to do so successfully. So what if there's some familiarity? My only quibbles were Domhnall Gleeson's shouty performance and Andy Serkis' CGI Supreme Leader Snoke. In most other instances, Abrams ensured that, along with story/character development, locations/miniatures/practical effects/make-up took precedence over a reliance on CGI/things that simply 'looked cool'. Some familiar musical themes appear on the score, but there are also some new ones which I appreciated were more restrained and not so ‘in-your-face’ as certain popular themes introduced in the prequels. There is also an abundance of excellent shots throughout the movie; quite a few are instantly iconic. It would be quite the feat for the following films to match this thrilling/exciting and enjoyable/satisfying first chapter of a new era in the saga. If nothing else, at least Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens easily beats Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace in being a great start to a new trilogy of films.
Post by morrisondylanfan on Jan 5, 2020 0:55:21 GMT
Hi all,I hope everyone is having a good weekend and a happy New Year,I had the chance to see two unique Musicals in the run-up to the end of the 2010's:
On Dec 27th,I went with a pal to Birmingham to check the sales,and also attend a revivial screening at The Electric, on what turned out to be the day the cinema turned 110 years old.
Having only seen The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) once in 2012, I was taken by how Demy kept what could have been a heavy Melodrama,playful, along with the melancholy touch in the snow-covered final. My rating has gone from 8,to 9.
In the run-up to X-Mas,I read reports that in a weeks time Universal were going to remove the original print to a Musical, due to how badly it was bombing. Suspecting this could be a "special" movie-but finding no one else crazy enough to see it,I went on Boxing Day night to town,and saw:
Cats-The original CGI glitches Midnight Movie cut (2019.)
A truly,"So Bad,It's Good"-8/10!
Stating in interviews at the premiere that he was still working on CGI sequences just hours before the screening, director Tom Hooper & cinematographer Christopher Ross cough up a $100 million (plus another $100 million for marketing) "So Bad,It's Good" grand furball folly. From the opening shot descending into the world of Cats, a utterly strange atmosphere wiggles on screen, shaking in the CGI proportions of the cats changing between shots,and even the CGI fur on the hands/faces of the cast re-appearing/disappearing from shot to shot (and they spent millions on this!)
Having made Les Misérables (2012-also ) reviewed, Hooper gives the impression of unintentionally making a anti-Musical, where would-be decadent vast settings for the cats dancing on the streets of London, is melted by Hooper into appearing it's been dipped in tie-dye acid dripping colours down Hooper's distorted, weaving camera moves on dance movers,originally performed with a skillfulness by dancers, that is hilariously dented by Hooper placing ill-fitting CGI cats skeletons to copy the dance moves.
Closing in with hand-held shots towards the I Dream A Dream-style set-piece with Memories, Hooper makes it come off as a unintended spoof,due to his regular composition of placing the performer into the far side of the screen, causing the fever dream vision of the half human/half animal CGI animals, (complete with human faced bugs,who get eaten!) to be sneezed into the melting backdrop.
Clawing into Andrew Lloyd Webber's Musical adaptation of T.S. Eliot's poems already giving them the challenge that the stage version spends 90% on set-up/intros to the Cats, the screenplay by Hooper and lee Hall try in desperation to place new, additional tension over who will go to the Heaviside Layer, that gets in the way of the tail-shacking, joyfully nonsensical, disconnected to cat buglers (get it?!) old cat dames, and the railway cat who got the cream.
Dr Goldfoot trio:
Goldfoot 1 (1965) 6
Cackling as each new bikini-clad robot comes off the conveyor belt, Vincent Price succeeds in stealing the film with a wonderfully hammy turn, thickly sliced by Price snarling like a 007 baddie at Gamble and Armstrong's attempts to stop him. Whilst Gamble is slick as the fish out of water Gamble,Susan Hart zaps the big slap-stick Comedy punch-lines as Diane, thanks to a mix of sass in a gold bikini, and playing all the gags in a deadpan manner.
Stacking the screen with bikini robots, director Norman Taurog & cinematographer Sam Leavitt spin a groovy atmosphere which blends the Teen Beach Party flicks eye candy with the Euro Spy coolness,as the brightly coloured lair of Goodfoot allows the makers to use sets/ wide-shots of the Price film Pit and the Pendulum. The most expensive AIP production at the time, Taurog puts the $1 million budget on screen in a mad dash zany whip-pans final chase to Armstrong and Gamble unzipping Goodfoot's bikini machine.
Goldfoot 2. (1965)3
Commenting later on the films, Vincent Price said "It could have been fun, but they cut all the music out". For this TV special, director Mel Ferber put the music back in, for dance numbers, which could have been swinging, but missteps with flat dancing shot with stilted cameras, and plodding, dry lyrics. Designed as a way to hype up the first film, Vincent Price is the lone bright spark in this special, thanks to Price gleefully laughing at creating the bikini machine of Dr. Goldfoot.
Goldfoot 3 (1966)3
Finding the mix of Beach Party movie hip teens and Euro Spy coolness to make the first Goldfoot a hit in Italy, studio AIP decided to make a Goldfoot just for the Italian market, where they got rid of the teens and Euro Spy quirks, in exchange for a dire "Slap-Stick" Comedy. Stupidly shoving Vincent Price's Goldfoot and sexy Laura Antonelli's sultry Rosanna to the sidelines, (the only two good actors in the film)the 4 writers (!) instead float in a showcase for comedic duo Franchi & Ingrassia's plodding, gurning act.
Attempting to get out of the contract to make this version (a different English version was shot at the same time,on which he was given no say over the production) director Mario Bava & his regular cinematographer Antonio Rinaldi display some of Bava's unique colourful flourishes in Goldfoot's lair, but otherwise are clearly bored in waiting for this girl bomb to go off.
Gialli Queens duo:
The Sweet Body of Deborah (1968) 8
Falling the honeymoon bliss of Deborah and Marcel off a knife edge into a pit of murder and betrayal, director Romolo Guerrieri & cinematographer Marcello Masciocchi wed the couple to the first psychological-driven wave of Gialli with a pristine, corrupt bourgeoisie atmosphere of the couple being wrapped in glistening white surroundings, which Guerrieri merrily spoils with dollops of candle wax blood.
One of only two Gialli he made, Guerrieri displays a sharp eye in moving towards the ultra-stylisation which would grip the genre, offering a artful eyeful of topless Deborah, and a groovy nightclub dance with Batman on the wall. Playing on the notes of paranoia with Nora Orlandi's dreamy score bringing up Marcel's suppressed memories, Guerrieri brilliantly uses obscured angles to heighten ambiguity in the Giallo set-pieces over who is getting stabbed in the back. Setting the stage for what Sergio Martino (who worked as a general manager here) would do in the Giallo, Sergio's brother Luciano joins Ernesto Gastaldi for a female-led, doubtful couple Giallo terror screenplay, as the writers tighten the screws on fears that Deborah and Marcel might both be losing their minds.
Dipping into the death of Marcel's past partner with fractured flashbacks, the writers raise doubts between the couple by each of them hearing music and phones ringing that appear to be coming from a unseen place. Working on both Gialli made by Guerrieri, Jean Sorel gives a terrific turn as Marcel, whose sorrow Sorel carries with a heaviness which remains even as the Giallo twist ending wraps around him, whilst George Hilton tugs at flamboyant ambiguity as Robert Simack (get the ref?) Initially holding hands with Marcel in a cheerful state, alluring Carroll Baker gives a excellent performance as Deborah, thanks to Baker taking the loved-up state of Deborah and peeling it away to raw, calculating mistrusts which covers the sweet body of Deborah.
Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975) 8
Backed by a uber funky score from Berto Pisano, co-writer/(with Massimo Felisatti and Gene Luotto) director Andrea Bianchi & cinematographer Franco Delli Colli blissfully place one layer of Giallo sleaze on top of each other,via Bianchi ogling the naked fitties in slick panning shots round their lavishly spread out apartments. Whilst offering viewers a eyeful of Edwige Fenech's giallos,Bianchi balances the glamour shots with a proto-Slasher grittiness into the ultra-stylisation of the Giallo, via striking extended first-person tracking shots reflecting on the visor of the biker-helmet wearing killer, opening to icy long creeping silent shots towards the short,sharp, shock murder set-pieces pulling a red gash across the screen.
Turning the taps onto what led to this wave of killings in flashback droplets, the screenplay by Bianchi/Felisatti and Luotto take a richly cynical stab at all in this tale, where the bourgeoisie victims reek with corruption, and a deep desire to keep misdeeds under water (a major theme of the Giallo genre.) Rolling out a ripe twist ending, the writers make this Giallo mystery a winning strip, thanks to each additional victim bringing into focus for the investigating Carlo (a jet-set,spinning on curiosity Nino Castelnuovo) and Magda (a sexy,lusting Edwige Fenech) uncover the event which led to the victims stripping for the killer.
"People talk without understanding each other."
"Girlfriend now,I have a have a girlfriend now ,No way, no how I get a girlfriend now."
Featuring a detailed booklet, Masters of Cinema present a superb transfer, with the picture being crystal clear whilst retaining a film grain,and the soundtrack being smooth. Stating in a interview that filming had to be stopped for 2 and a half months due to the original studio going bust, co-writer/(with Suso Cecchi D'Amico and Alba De Cespedes) directing auteur Michelangelo Antonioni & his regular cinematographer from this era Gianni Di Venanzo layer foundation over the behind the scenes troubles, to magnificently gaze at the progression of Antonioni's recurring motifs.
Inviting the audience in with a opening shot of Clelia looking in a bathroom mirror of her hotel room, as a glamorous dressed Rosetta lays dying from a overdose in the adjoining room,Antonioni perfectly captures his distinctive stylisation, reflecting in the recurring use of mirrors and glass surfaces the detachment the girlfriends have from the image/person looking back at them,which shines onto elegant, long, stilted wide-shots subtly building a separation between the girlfriends and the viewer.
Entering each of their households, Antonioni highlights the beauty of each girlfriend in close-ups set against a earthy, (separated by their high-class living) ravaged landscape. Getting the role just two days before filming began after turning heads with a photo shoot,Madeleine Fischer gives a terrific turn as Rosetta, with Fischer using the limited number of credits she had gathered to give Rosetta a dying wallflower innocence, looking outwards as all around her become more insular. Later called the "Diva" of the set who "felt that she had to act as such,without success." by Antonionoi, the beautiful Eleonora Rossi Drago gives a magnetic performance as Clelia, with her state of being a outsider entering Rosetta's friendships, leading Drago to emphasize a separation between Clelia and the girlfriends.
Freely adapting Cesare Pavese's novel, the writers welcome the girlfriends with outstanding dialogue pulling on how even when they appear deep in conversation,everyone is reflecting complete isolation and a inability to process difference of opinion. Stated later by Antonionoi that he directed each actress in different ways, the writers dress each of the girlfriends in wonderfully at odds styles, from the outward looking Rosetta and the glamour of Momina, (played by Hammer Girl Yvonne Furneaux) to Clelia standing as a square peg in the middle of the girlfriends.
In order of preference The City that Never Sleeps - police noir with a possible supernatural "twist" … Good performances by all including Gig Young and Mala Powers. During the commercials thoughts of "well, this is pretty GOOD" ! Whit Bissell as the mechanical man one of the best characters and William Talman as a baddie ! Film debut of Thomas Poston. Born to Kill Lawrence Tierney, Claire Trevor, Isabel Jewell and Elisha Cook, Jr., Walter Slezak Jealous sociopathic badguy and she's not too much better ! Semi crooked detective hired to solve the crime.
Backfire. Edmond O'Brien and Gordon MacCrea (no singing)as vets returning from the war and finding adjustment difficult. Nice supporting cast with gorgeous Vivica Lindford as Ingrid Bergman light ! Don't read the IMDb cast list as it gives away an essential twist ! Plot gets a bit soppy and they needed to turn done the 'dramatic/romantic" music. Not bad but not as good as the first two.
PETER PAN (1924) 95TH ANNIVERSARY. The first film version of James M. Barrie’s Play, with Betty Bronson (chosen by Barrie himself) and Ernest Torrance as the traditional dual role of Captain Hook and Mr. Darling. Also the first humanized depiction of Tinker Bell. I first learned of this on a trivia book on Tiger Lily being played by Anna May Wong (in a rather nothing role, her kidnapping scene is omitted from this version). I saw clips of the film from a Disney documentary on its own production. I didn’t see the full film until I got the Kino VHS for Christmas 1999. Kino DVD.
SCOOBY DOO AND SCRAPPY DOO (1979) “Lock the Door, It’s the Minotaur!” 40TH ANNIVERSARY. And we come to the end of an era of sorts. This is the last episode to deal with the ‘Monster Mystery’ formula that had been the franchise’s staple from the beginning, as well as the last one where Fred, Daphne, and Velma play any significant role in the story (and Velma's last speaking role. She won't speak again- with a new voice until 1984). It won’t be until the 1983 season of the SCOOBY AND SCRAPPY series that the formula (and Daphne) will be restored. Warner DVD.
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FLASH GORDON (1979) “Revolt of the Power Men” 40TH ANNIVERSARY. BCI Eclipse DVD.
THE TRANSFORMERS (1984) “A Plague of Insecticons” 35TH ANNIVERSARY. The Insecticons make their debut, and this is the last episode broadcast in its first season, ending my anniversary viewing. Shout DVD.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939) 80TH ANNIVERSARY. The first sound version of Victor Hugo’s Tragedy, starring Charles Laughton, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Harry Davenport, and Maureen O’Hara in her American debut. Like the 1923 version it downplays the religious hypocrisy with Claude Frollo the good guy with his wastrel brother Jehan being the Hunchback caretaker/seducer/villain, although this film does promote him to a judge and gives him Claude’s religious fanaticism and obsession (this aspect, as well as Esmeralda’s selfless prayer in the cathedral, will be adapted to the Disney version). Shot in 1939, there is also some modern overtones: Jehan has some Nazi overtones with his desire to smash the presses and annihilate the Gypsy race, and Clopin’s unemployed soldier resembles a Great Depression-frustrated WW1 soldier. I first saw this back on American Movie Classics in 1990. Interestingly, the release date of December 29 is one day later from the actual day the Day of Fools is celebrated. Warner DVD.
SALLY (1929) 90TH ANNIVERSARY this month. Film adaptation of the Broadway Musical, keeping star Marilyn Miller and including Joe E. Brown. I first learned of Marilyn Miller from my THE PETER PAN CHRONICLES in 1993. My first view of the film was during American Movie Classics’ FILM PRESERVATION FESTIVAL, with vignettes about film deterioration/preservation/restoration, in this case a scene of an archivist restoring the film’s “Wild Rose” Number to its original 2-strip Technicolor glory. I then saw the complete film itself on Turner Classic Movies during the first months of its programming on my family’s cable in 1997 (it was part of a marathon of early Musicals, coming after a broadcast of 95% of GOOD NEWS (1930) missing the ending). Warner Archive DVD.
BABAR (1989) “Babar’s First Steps” & “City Ways” 30TH ANNIVERSARY this year. The first two episodes of the Nelvana Animated Series adaptation of the series with Gordon Pinset as the voice of Babar. The first episode sets up the plot narrative of the first season, when Babar tells about his past to the children (the latter seasons will be strictly the present). Sunday Morning in 1989 to 1991 were a highlight in my childhood, as I would tune in on HBO to watch this series as well as Anime THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ.
KARLOFF AND LUGOSI: A GOOD GAME (2019) “The Black Cat” “The Raven” “The Invisible Ray” “Black Friday” Gary Rhodes and Gregory Mank discuss the relationship between the two horror actors in four films in this 4-part featurette. Shout/Scream Factory BluRay.
THE SECRET OF NIMH (1982) UNITED ARTISTS 100TH ANNIVERSARY. Yes, Don Bluth’s Animated feature was made after the merging of United Artists with MGM, so I really shouldn’t count it as part of my UA Centennial viewing. But this film introduced me to UA. The opening scene, with the line in a black background changing into a UA with piano notes turning to a orchestra score, has never left me. And in my childhood, I would see that beginning and think “Is THE SECRET OF NIMH coming on?” just as I would recognize the 20th Century Fox in Cinemascope Fanfare as STAR WARS. MGM/UA Bluray.
THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE AND FRIENDS (1959) 60TH ANNIVERSARY. “Jet Rocket Formula 13 & 14” Sony Wonder DVD.
THE APARTMENT (1960) 60TH ANNIVERSARY this year. Billy Wilder’s Best Picture winner has been a New Years perennial for me. MGM/UA DVD.
THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII (1970) “Catherine of Aragon” 50TH ANNIVERSARY. This 6-part BBC-TV Serial, with each episode written by a different author (in this case Rosemary Anne Sisson) has been a very influential production. It was among the first attempt to portray Henry away from the Charles Laughton slob stereotype. It is the grandfather of Tudor TV dramas (like the next year sequel ELIZABETH R). It was one of the first British TV shows to appear on Network television (CBS broadcast it a year later, with narration by Anthony Quayle). I first learned of this production via catalog. In my freshman year at college, I read the script from my campus library (both this and ELIZABETH R’s script were published in book form). In my final months at college I rented the series on VHS from the public library. BBC DVD.
IT’S FLASHBEAGLE, CHARLIE BROWN (1984) Oh, the 80’s…Evidently, Charles M. Schultz liked FLASHDANCE and decided to make this musical. Yes, it was a short in my childhood (We had a bunch of recorded Peanuts specials: A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING, IT’S AMERICA, CHARLIE BROWN and the infamous IT’S YOUR FIRST KISS CHARLIE BROWN, etc.) recorded on New Years Day 1985. This recording also includes the intro of the CBS MOVIE SPECIAL of VICTOR/VICTORIA (1982). THE WINDSORS (1994) “Brothers at War” VHS recording.
STAR WARS EPISODE IX: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019) The final chapter of the Nine part series. Tinseltown.
DAVID COPPERFIELD (1970) 50TH ANNIVERSARY & DC 170TH ANNIVERSARY. The first color adaptation of Dicken’s novel is set up as sad sack David thinks about his past while in mourning self-exile. Whereas the 1935 Selznick production boasted a cast of Hollywood regulars like WC Fields, Basil Rathbone, Edna Mae Oliver, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, and Roland Young, this production has a cast of the Theatre: Laurence Olivier, Richard Attenborough, Michael Redgrave (his son Corin plays Steerforth), Edith Evans, Ralph Richardson, Ron Moody, Wendy Hiller, and Emlyn Williams. I’ve seen parts of this one here and there, probably seeing it whole in the summer of 2009. AFA Entertainment DVD.
IVANHOE (1970) “Clash of Arms” 50TH ANNIVERSARY & IVANHOE 200TH ANNIVERSARY 2020 marks the 200th Anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s novel about ‘the Russian Farmer and his tool’ (qtd. Bart Simpson). Actually, it’s about the Norman-Saxon conflict in England in the late 12th century. First in my Anniversary viewing is this 1970 BBC Serial. Simply Media PAL DVD.
GANKUTUOSU: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (2005) “Encore” 15TH ANNIVERSARY & CMC 175th ANNIVERSARY. The adaptation sets up a romance between Albert and Eugenie, while giving Franz a homosexual interest in Albert. Not that Dumas was a prude. In the novel, there seems to be a rapport between Eugenie and her piano tutor (It appears Gonzo had an early interest in this as well, as an early trailer for this series has a scene of said character making a pass at with Eugenie). Geneon DVD.
MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS (1970) “The Naked Ant” 50TH ANNIVERSARY Today’s episode introduces the Upper Class Twit of the Year Sketch. Paramount VHS.
Earliest film this month: FROM HAND TO MOUTH (1919) In Between: MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS, THE FIRST CHURCHILLS, SCOOBY DOO, WHERE ARE YOU?, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS (all 1969) Latest film this month: KARLOFF & LUGOSI: A GOOD GAME Pts 1-3 (2019)
Adrien Brody, John Malkovich and Rory Culkin are thieves who hide out in an abandoned warehouse in which Antonio Banderas keeps his very angry pit bull. Sounds more like an action thriller, but it plays more like a drama, with intermittent moments where the characters tell dog stories from their lives. The cast are doing their best, especially Adrien Brody, and it has some gripping moments, but the whole dog fighting thing made me uncomfortable.
An okay thriller that will keep you watching, but I guessed the outcome long before it unfolded. Francesca Eastwood is the female lead, daughter of Clint Eastwood and Frances Fisher.
Black Christmas (1974)
Stalkin' around the Christmas tree!
What makes this movie work so well is that it's just out to make your skin crawl and nothing else. It digs down to that level where you should feel safe but something trespasses there and you'll never feel safe again. Someone hidden in your house is out to kill you? Yeah, that's just a great concept, and it unfolds masterfully.
Not to be lumped in with all the other quickie slashers that followed, this is a legit movie with atmosphere and pure suspense. Very little gore, it relies on creeping terror that builds and builds. It explains almost nothing, which is far more horrifying than having it all explained. You're left to imagine what and why, not having all the answers increases the creepy factor.
It's pretty basic filmmaking, and yet, it rarely has been duplicated properly. Obviously there was a lot of imagination, skill and talent involved all at once, people who wanted to make something great, and succeeded. Bob Clark and Roy Moore fought the studio to make this movie the movie it is, and not the movie the studio wanted. True artists. The ending is one of the most terrifying things ever put on film. I can't imagine this movie without it.
I can't recommend this movie enough. I saw it only once before, many years ago, so long ago I nearly forgot just how effective it was. I had to increase my rating because it is simply miles ahead of most thrillers made since and impressed me all over again.
Black Christmas (2006)
Back when I first saw this, I was just taken aback by how insulting it seemed to even attempt to remake a classic that didn't need remaking...and then to go off and make it crazy gory and in the absolute opposite direction of the original. I hated it.
Now, after rewatching the original and before seeing the newer 2019 remake (oh, Hollywood ), I find myself being able to separate this from the 1974 movie and just sit back and enjoy this somewhat sillier update for what it is.
This movie takes the bare bones of the original and builds on it, like Wile E. Coyote builds his latest Acme contraption. And much like those beloved Warner Bros. cartoons, it moves at a breakneck pace, very unlike the original movie. There's blood flying in the egg nog almost immediately and icicles impaling people left and right. Some of this was intended by the filmmakers, some of it was forced upon the movie by those wascally Weinstein brothers. It served as a nice dessert after an exquisite meal that the first movie was. Nowhere as great a cinematic achievement as the original Black Christmas, but as a fun-loving gorefest for the holidays, it was okay and I now no longer want to return it on Boxing Day.
Black Christmas (2019)
THE GOOD: * That bloody candy cane poster * Maybe because it's so different from the other versions, I found myself never bored and a little intrigued for awhile * The cat was cute and survives the movie * Imogene Poots. I like saying her name out loud and she delivers a fine performance * The lack of death-by-plastic-bag-suffocation scenes that the 2006 movie did over and over and over (and over!) in homage to the 1974 original * That pro-woman attitude. Who doesn't love a strong woman?
THE BAD: * Forgot I was watching a horror movie for the longest while, too long actually. A Christmas horror movie, in fact, which seemed not like a Christmas movie in any way either. It's sinful to set your movie at Christmas and proceed to not make it seem Christmasy in any way * Cary Elwes. Fire your agent, you were in The Princess Bride for crying out loud! * A remake in name only. There's no plot similarities other than young women being murdered. After that, it goes off in some completely rando direction. It made me think of the Paul Walker movie The Skulls more than the original Black Christmas. * A weak slasher movie, being PG-13 sure doesn't help. I only hope people don't see this and hate it and decide never to check out the brilliant original based on not liking this. * It makes the 2006 Black Christmas seem like the 1974 Black Christmas in comparison. Well, not really, but you know...
The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday (2013)
The Best Man was an okay dramedy, more drama than comedy though. It didn't impress me too much, but the sequel, The Best Man Holiday did what most sequels rarely do, surpass the original. It is an emotional ode to friendship and family. You're gonna need a bigger box of Kleenex!
Free State of Jones (2016)
The people of Mississippi have had enough of the Confederacy and the North won't help them so they fend for themselves. This movie flew under the radar it seems. It's truly great but doesn't seem to have much of a following. McConaughey is intense and Mahershala Ali is too. I would recommend checking it out.
Calista Flockhart in a haunted hospital for children in England. An okay time killer.
An engaging mystery thriller that really kept me swinging back and forth on where it was going until the end. It's nothing we haven't seen before but it's well told and Worthington seems on top of his game. Needed more Lily Rabe, but I'm just glad to see her at all.
6 Underground (2019)
Michael Bay needs to lay off the caffeine! This movie makes Fast & Furious look like Driving Miss Daisy!! This movie reminded me of a squirrel trying to cross a busy intersection!!! It's crazy but I had a great time, the premise is fun and millions of dollars were spent to make it so you better enjoy it.
Booksmartis relatable, raunchy and a real riot! It's fun and sweet, you really relate to these girls. I was also the kid that showed up to parties and people were shocked to see me there, so I related to that.
Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (Jonah Hill's little sister) are the modern day Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald. They are going to be huge. Billie Lourd is a maniac in this and nearly steals the entire movie. She deserves to star in a movie soon, and not just standing in the background of Star Wars movies. Olivia Wilde, was not expecting this from you, you have the directing chops, bravo!
Red Sparrow (2018)
Not the action thriller I was expecting, more of a spy drama, with several scenes of extreme violence here and there. It's long, and I guessed the ending correctly early on, but I would recommend this, it's entertaining.
J-Law's bangs were even more distracting than her Russkie accent, but she does carry the movie quite well. Matthias Schoenaerts looked like a mini-Pootin' which surely must have been intentional. Charlotte Rampling as head mistress of the "whore school" was not the kind of teacher who you bring an apple...at all! The dude with the skin shredding device was a great scary baddie straight out of 007!
The Fanatic (2019)
I really liked The Education of Charlie Banks, Fred Durst's movie directing debut, but this one seems universally loathed. I didn't mind it, except that it painted autistic people so negatively in some ways. It's entertaining and Travolta in character-actor-mode is something to see, he is really good. It all gets a little crazy at the end but the final twist was satisfying. It's not the worst movie of the year, it does crossover into that territory a little though. See it for yourself and make up your own minds.
The poster makes it seem like a suspense thriller but it's really more of a character study. Travolta makes the movie watchable.
I'm watching The Big Sleep right now and it's fast becoming my favorite Bogart movie right up there with The Maltese Falcon and Dark Passage. I love Bogart's little bits of business with Dorothy Malone, Sonia Darin and Joy Barlow. They were only on screen for a few minutes but they made the most of them.