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post #1411 of 1438 Old 09-28-2014, 04:43 PM
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the 6th screen grab sold it to me
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post #1412 of 1438 Old 09-29-2014, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Brief Encounter (1945), directed by David Lean.

It begins at the end: a man and a woman in a railway diner, very sad. This is obviously good-bye, their last meeting. Whatever they might have said is ruined by the arrival of a noisy gossiping woman, so they don't have their final moments in private.

The rest of the movie is shown in flash-backs of the previous few weeks. They met in the same place. Both are married. We never meet his family but we do see hers and she obviously loves them: good kids, decent if dull husband.

The love affair is emotional; they never cross into physical infidelity, although we have close calls. But even that restrained, repressed degree requires lying and generates paranoia. Lying is too easy once you start. It can't go on.

In the end we have a few minor miracles: that they end it with some amount of dignity, that her sudden urge to suicide is prevented by she doesn't know what, and finally that her husband, although not aware of the details, understands and forgives.

This is a great classic "women's picture" and shows up on many "Best British Films" lists. Tremendously sensitive performances by Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. The soapy nature of the story is improved by a screenplay that moves along, lovely photography, and clever lighting and transitions.

In this case I think the massive locomotives roaring through the train-yard are less of a sexual metaphor and more about the impersonal, frantic energy of modern life, leaving no time to think or stop and enjoy the moment. Their greatest act of rebellion in to break the timetables, missing their trains.

From a Noel Coward play.

Criterion Blu-ray.



-Bill
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post #1413 of 1438 Old 09-30-2014, 09:45 AM
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I'm with you on that, Bill. I sat through M.A.S.H. once and that was enough. Thought it was just ok. I could have walked out of NASHVILLE midway through (but didn't) and not felt the least bit deprived or curious about what happened next. But I liked Altman's THREE WOMEN quite a bit. In fact, it is one of those rare movies where, on its initial release, I turned around the following weekend and paid to see it a second time. Couldn't stop thinking about it.
I agree that Altman's work is a mixed bag. Like you, I have never liked Nashville, which it seems to me is a talky, bloated mess. Don't remember enough about 3 Women to comment one way or the other. I confess that I fell in love with M.A.S.H. when I saw it first run in one of the old OKC movie palaces and have loved it ever since.

Believe it or not, my favorite Altman movie is his obscure TV movie, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (1988). Although Altman's casting choices struck me as odd, the cast performs well and the screenplay takes the time necessary to tell Herman Wouk's classic tale adequately. 8 Stars out of 10, highly recommended!
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post #1414 of 1438 Old 09-30-2014, 12:35 PM
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Coma (1978), written and directed by Michael Crichton.....
-Bill
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I liked Coma too. Michael Crichton certainly was not the greatest screenwriter or director who ever came along but he made a number of movies I really liked, among them Westworld (1973) and The Great Train Robbery (1978)....
I just watched WESTWORLD again (on the cruddy DVD) while convalescing last week (arthroscopic surgery; apologies for misspellings, limited use of right hand). Might look dated, but in fact the theme of an "amusement resort" where cosplay violence and sex (in that order) are the primary attractions is as relevant today as ever. Nicely executed (ignore all that early 70s "future tech" set dressing), and Yul Brynner's performance as a robot caricature of his role in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is inspired, arguably on of his best. The shot where smiles is Grade-A chilling.

Spoiler!


Crichton sure made some snoozers (LOOKER, anyone?), but this wasn't one of them. Forty dang years later and it's still entertaining and a bit thought-provoking.

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Four Sided Triangle (1953), directed by Terence Fisher.....
-Bill
There's a lot of gold in that era of British cinema. This reminds me of a film I've wanted to see again for years ... The Mind Benders (1963).[1] When ALTERED STATES came out I recalled seeing this as Saturday afternoon filler on a local TV station (KTVU, Oakland, CA) or maybe as a featured flick on Bob Wilkins' famed Creature Features weekly show. Really effective, artfully crafted suspense flick, a la DEAD OF NIGHT, THE THIRD MAN.

[1] The Mind Benders (film) - Wikipedia

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Brief Encounter (1945), directed by David Lean.
...
-Bill
Another b/w Brit classic. The subtle metaphors go so deep ... their deviation from societal mores and regimented "acceptable behavior" is mirrored in the distraction from the train schedules, and the sub-drama beneath all the humdrum conversation and interactions in the public train station is almost unbearable. I get depressed about the state of modern commercial filmmaking when I think of how great a film could be made from such a small, simple idea as this.

Anyone who only knows Trevor Howard from THE THIRD MAN and SUPERMAN THE MOVIE and his other well-known roles will be surprised here.

Don't think it's on BD yet, but the Criterion DVD of Pygmalion is really great, another treat. I'm sorry that I missed out on Criterion's big DVD sell-off a couple of years ago, their DVDs are/were better than some outfits' BDs. (Been revisiting a few while recuperating at home. Next stop: Kurosawa!)
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post #1415 of 1438 Old 10-05-2014, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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House of Usher (1960), produced and directed by Roger Corman.

A young man tries to retrieve his fiance from the ultimate decaying old mansion, but her brother isn't having it. Doomed, doomed, doomed, all are doomed in this life and the next.

The first of the long-running Corman Poe series was a huge success and put American International on the map. The action picks up in the second half, but the first is mostly gothic dialogue and situations.

Price's sensitive and blonde Roderick Usher is a worthy invention: morose to the point of mental illness, probably hereditary, but not a villain in his own eyes, or even in ours. He does what he must: extinguish the Usher blood line.

Corman's commentaries are always worth a listen, although I've heard some of this before from the other discs in the set:

  • These films do not take place in any sort of real world, but rather in a Freudian landscape of the unconscious mind.
  • He's always generous in his praise of the actors and crew. He enjoys recounting their later successes.
  • The crew he assembled stayed together as a unit and was often hired as such by other filmmakers.
  • His first Cinemascope film. It didn't need scope ratio but American International wanted it for marketing purposes and he used it as well as he could.
  • It was his idea to make one 15-day color film instead of two 10-day b&w films.
  • One day of rehearsal.
  • Instead of traditional story boards he would draw overhead diagrams on the blank facing pages of the script.

Richard Matheson screenplay, adapted from Poe.

Available on Blu-ray. Director's commentary track, plus a short second one giving a fluffy Price biography.



-Bill
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post #1416 of 1438 Old 10-08-2014, 12:49 AM
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House of Usher (1960), produced and directed by Roger Corman.


-Bill
Easily the scariest of Corman's Poe series, IMO. I suspect the last 20 minutes or so would still scare the hell out of a post-The Exorcist, post-CGI Spectacular Effects audience supposedly so inured to horror they no longer squirm in their seats and fight the urge to cover their eyes at key moments. I think they still would if they sat for this one, especially, as I mentioned, during those last 20 minutes. Corman's smash-cut to that last pic you posted alone, along with the sound effects and music, would be enough to raise the short hairs on the back of one's neck unlike just about anything produced in, oh, I'd say the last couple of decades or more.
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post #1417 of 1438 Old 10-08-2014, 05:15 AM
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Exorcist and cgi used in the same sentence...

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post #1418 of 1438 Old 10-09-2014, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Roman Holiday (1953), produced and directed by William Wyler.

A young princess, tightly scheduled and over-managed on a European PR tour, longs to break free and experience life with the common people. Maybe sleep in pajamas, just the tops. Or nothing at all. Under the influence of a sedative she does escape and encounters American reporter Gregory Peck, who helps her with grudging gallantry until he learns her identity and senses a Big Story.

This is gold, head and shoulders above even good romantic comedies in its depth and warmth and beautiful settings, filmed entirely in Rome. It says "Introducing" Audrey Hepburn; she has earlier IMDB listings but it is an auspicious early starring role. Incandescent beauty and comic charm.

In panic, waking up after a night of amnesia, her hand darts under the blanket to check for undergarments. He: "Lose something?" She (with relief): "No."

We see how even a rough gentleman handled a drunken woman in film in those days: put her in a cab. Driver doesn't want her? Ok, take her home, here are those pajamas, but you sleep on the sofa, not in my bed.

Peck's is a well-known character -- the cynical reporter with his gambling buddies and ranting hard-bitten editor -- but he makes him likeable with a light comic touch, vulnerable to romantic allure.

In a lovely scene toward the end she's out of her clothes again and in a bathrobe and they share a little wine. Both thinking: this is when we could have sex. And they don't.

Unusually for Hollywood, the story ends on a moment of honesty, and the couple part with no hope of meeting again, both of them understanding this is best. It's intriguing that director Wyler would be so good at this. Most of his titles were more dramatic films:


...although he did other comedies, such as How to Steal a Million (1966), also with Hepburn.

Edith Head costumes. I noticed Georges Auric's fine score more this time.

Where's the Blu-ray?



-Bill
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post #1419 of 1438 Old 10-09-2014, 11:42 AM
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have you done frankenhiemers "The Train"?

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post #1420 of 1438 Old 10-09-2014, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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have you done frankenhiemers "The Train"?
No, but I have the Twilight Time Blu-ray on hand. Someday soon.

-Bill
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Coma (1978), written and directed by Michael Crichton.

-Bill
I saw this a long time ago and I remember that it creeped me out to see authorities portrayed with such machiavellianism. I enjoyed this movie.


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3 Women (1977), written, produced and directed by Robert Altman.

-Bill
I really enjoyed this one
Great review as always!
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post #1422 of 1438 Old 10-13-2014, 04:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Joe Kidd (1972), directed by John Sturges.

Joe can reduce his jail time by guiding a hunt for a pesky Mexican land reformer. First he refuses, then agrees, then wishes he hadn't, then has to kill all of the killers. Which we don't mind: they are unlovely goons, although sometimes showing wit and tough-guy character.

Now that I've read more Elmore Leonard I see his touch in this story and like it better than before. The community of lawmen and bad-men, the gun-thugs and their ways, and his sympathy for the poor and the underdog.

That works best in the first half; in the second it turns into a more improbable action picture, as when he runs the train through the saloon. I'm also not sure why hunted man Luis Chama agrees to come back for trial. It seems brave but naive; does he have any reason to trust the system?

Lalo Schifrin score.

Available on Blu-ray.



-Bill
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post #1423 of 1438 Old 10-17-2014, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Marnie (1964), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Has the beautiful and slightly psychotic embezzler finally met her match in a studly businessman who forces her to marry him? Does he know what does and does not come with that arrangement?

In some ways this is a return to Hitchcock's women's thrillers of the 1940s, updated to allow the heroine to be a thief like Cary Grant and somewhat deranged like Gregory Peck.

Like all romances it is about the woman finding her way and getting her man (whether she originally wanted him or not). The genre requires an estimable heroine -- no pushover or whiner -- and a masterful hero worthy of her.

Sean Connery delivers on the second aspect and makes the film better than it otherwise might have been. Calm, masculine, forceful and yet large-hearted. Like Marnie he can't really control himself: his obsession with her is his one weakness. For women this sort of fascination is appealing in an attractive man, but much less so in a creepy stalker. But Connery can force sex on the honeymoon, driving her to a suicide attempt, and be forgiven.

As in The Birds, Tippi Hedron is less satisfactory as a beginning actress, but this also helps project her cool, dissociated persona.

Problems: it doesn't have enough tension to be a good thriller, and not enough puzzle to be a mystery. The second half is all about uncovering Marnie's childhood trauma. Psychological detection is not always riveting.

There is one clever bit of camera work: a natural split-screen where a cleaning woman mops the floor while Marnie cleans out the safe. Otherwise it is visually uninteresting; Hitchcock's steep angles had become a bit too characteristic by then.

Edith Head costumes. Bernard Herrmann's score is lushly romantic with some psycho segments.

Available on Blu-ray. Good color and a good-looking image, although with huge grain.



-Bill
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post #1424 of 1438 Old 10-17-2014, 08:12 PM
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Marnie (1964), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.


-Bill
This one is shown theatrically far less than most other Hitchcock masterpieces of the era. Which is too bad because I believe watching it in a theater with an audience offers as much more cinematically magical experience than watching it the way we usually watch movies on DVD/Blu-ray today. I never liked this movie much on tv or even in my home theater in my living room. But it has a much stronger gravitational pull to its story and themes in a theatrical setting with an audience. You are so right about Sean Connery. I actually think this is one of his best, most authentic and fully rounded performances. He would not often be called upon to portray the nervous or rejected lover in his movies.
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post #1425 of 1438 Old 10-17-2014, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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You are so right about Sean Connery. I actually think this is one of his best, most authentic and fully rounded performances. He would not often be called upon to portray the nervous or rejected lover in his movies.
He certainly had something, so often obscured by 007 in those days. He said he really didn't mind playing Bond, but the movies took too much time.

-Bill
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post #1426 of 1438 Old 10-21-2014, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Dementia 13 (1963), written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

The family gathers at a gloomy Irish castle for "let's make Mother write us into the Will" shenanigans The brothers have American wives for some reason, one of whom will go to great lengths to get what she wants. But who is that guy with an axe who pops up when least wanted, and how high can the body count go?

On the one hand this is a minor thriller with a plot that's hard to follow at times, but on the other:

  • Coppola's first film (age 24) has that Roger Corman fast and cheap look which really adds to the entertainment value of this sort of picture. Nightmares are sometimes barebones and minimalistic in production value.
  • Despite that you can still see the film student's eye and recognize his interest in making something a bit better than average.
  • The frantic harpsichord score is just what you want in a cheap midnight movie.
  • Patrick Magee fanclub!

Produced by Roger Corman, who brought in Jack Hill -- another beginning director -- to shoot additional scenes. I don't know to what extent, but would imagine they involved women doing more midnight swimming in their underwear and exploring the spooky castle in a transparent nightgown.

Available on Blu-ray from HD Cinema Classics.

The good:

  • They include a DVD made from the same remastering effort and you can see the Blu-ray is better.
  • Blacks are often inky.

The bad:

  • The cleanup has involved heavy denoising which smears out the fine detail and introduces larger artifacts in some scenes. It may be the worst case I have seen on Blu-ray.
  • Blacks are persistently crushed and whites blown out.
  • No English subtitles.



-Bill
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post #1427 of 1438 Old 10-27-2014, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Blithe Spirit (1945), directed by David Lean.

It's unwise to hold a seance even for laughs: what if your first wife returns from beyond and moves in? This seriously complicates relations with the second missus.

Coolly witty with much sexual innuendo flying by but leaving no mark at all. The zany medium is supposed to be a figure of fun, but is more likeable than the bloodless hero or either of his wives. Still, all the actors are fine and it's a gorgeous drawing-room comedy.

From a Noel Coward play. He produced the film but was unhappy with the result, saying that Lean had drained the comedy from the story.

Criterion Blu-ray with lovely detail and Technicolor image. Are British and US Technicolor different? Each has a distinct look.



-Bill
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post #1428 of 1438 Old 10-30-2014, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974), written, produced and directed by Brian Clemens.

When vampires drain youth and life from local maidens, Captain Kronos arrives to clean up the village. His companion is a wry hunchbacked doctor of vampyric studies, and a lusty wench they free from the stocks becomes their sidekick for a while.

A cult Hammer film I'd never heard of, it was intended to be the start of a series but the studio was struggling and it didn't do well, sitting on the shelf for two years before finally being released. The director's conception was that Kronos -- as hinted by his name -- was a time traveler who would appear in different times and places, wherever evil needed to be fought. That might explain his Japanese katana sword.

An action hero was a new direction for Hammer: the vampires are not the central characters and their identity is a mystery to be solved. It has a milder rating than other films: gore is minimized and we have just flashes of passion and nudity, nothing like the stimulating boobage of The Vampire Lovers (1970).

The budget seems even more constrained than usual: they had costumes and some real mansion locations, but that's about it. The swordfighting looks rudimentary to me. On the other hand it moves along faster than other Hammer films, and the romantic chemistry between Horst Janson and beautiful Caroline Munro is nicely done: both erotic and companionable.

Kronos might have supernatural powers; that's left for another day. He also delivers more devout lines than usual; on a mission from God?

Laurie Johnson score.

Imported region B Blu-ray with a rather good image. Two commentary tracks but no subtitles. The commentaries are chatty reminiscences by the cast, crew and a Hammer scholar.



-Bill

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post #1429 of 1438 Old 11-01-2014, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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The Old Dark House (1932), directed by James Whale.

On a dark and stormy night in the mountains of Wales, five benighted travelers find refuge in a spooky mansion. The residents are all eccentric -- or just nuts -- and a couple of them are murderous.

Much goosebump comedy, with an actual scary climax in a burning house with a tittering lunatic who throws knives and bites at the throat.

This is for fans of James Whale, the 1930s Universal horror series, and the spooky house genre. We have a good concentration of talent:

  • Raymond Massey
  • Melvyn Douglas
  • Charles Laughton
  • Boris Karloff (a bit limited as a hulking brute, but said to be the inspiration for "Lurch" in the Addams Family)
  • Gloria Stuart (busy career in the 1930s, later well known as "Old Rose" in Titanic (1997))

Unusually for this type of film we get to know and care about our travelers. The humor and light romance help make it a better picture.

Gloria Stuart asked the director why she was to do a costume change into a slinky evening gown: "Because when you are chased up and down the stairs I want you to look like a white flame".

This was a lost film for many years. I think one rediscovered negative (or print?) is all we have. Director Curtis Harrington (Night Tide (1961)), who knew Whale, was the driving force behind the search and restoration.

Kino DVD. The video and audio are in rough shape. Two commentaries: (1) Gloria Stuart's thoughts on this film and her career, and (2) detailed notes by a film historian. I read that James Cameron heard Stuart's commentary on the laserdisc and that's what got her the job on Titanic.



-Bill

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post #1430 of 1438 Old 11-02-2014, 01:39 PM
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I am old enough to remember seeing "Wait Until Dark" starring Audrey Hepburn back in 1967 in a movie theatre. The gimmick: All the theatre lights were turned off/dimmed during the final 20 minutes to increase the tension of the conclusion of the film. Does anyone remember that? It premiered in NYC at the Radio City Music Hall but I saw it when it came to Brooklyn near my home. And if you didn't jump out of your seat at the finale (I won't give it away what happens to those who never saw this film) ---everyone gasped,jumped up,women in the audience screamed..it is regarded as one of the great finales of all thrillers in movie history. I remember dropping my entire box of popcorn ! Audrey was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance but did not win. I think the winner that year was the "other Hepburn"-Katherine Hepburn for "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner". After this film Audrey Hepburn retired from films for many years and came back in the 70's for "Robin and Marion" starring with Sean Connery.
I watched Wait Until Dark this afternoon and thought it was a very good '60s thriller. After I watched the film and particularly Audrey Hepburn's performance in it, I recalled you had pointed out that after losing out on the Best Actress Oscar, Hepburn retired from films for many years.

I assume Hepburn's long hiatus between performances was the result of of her disappointment, and perhaps bitterness, over not having won the Oscar. If so, I think her anguish was misplaced. Her overwrought hysterics as a blind woman being manipulated by criminals struck me as so over the top, I found myself squirming in my seat during her frequent veddy, veddy, dramatic scenes. The capper though was that in that year's very competitive Oscar race were Katharine Hepburn, who won, for Guess who's Coming to Dinner, Anne Bancroft, for her iconic performance as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, and Faye Dunaway for her equally memorable performance as Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde.. I rest my case.
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Witchfinder General (1968), directed by Michael Reeves.

Aka Conqueror Worm.

Life is pretty good for a self-appointed witchfinder during the English Civil War. He finds witches wherever he needs them and gets paid per head and can extort sex from comely maidens. What could go wrong? Maybe messing with the bride-to-be of a stalwart soldier who isn't putting up with this nonsense.

Controversial at the time for sadism and exploitative violence, it was censored in the UK but ran uncut in the US. We see much worse today, but this violence is meant to be realistic, repellent and genuinely disturbing. Our heroes are driven mad both by what they experience, and their frenzy for revenge.

I remember being a bit nauseated by some of this when I was young, but older and more calloused now, it does not seem so unsettling.

Ian Ogilvy and Hilary Heath are fine as our lovers, young but with a maturity hard to find these days. Unusual for 1968, we have a lyrical erotic love scene. Heath became a producer after she stopped acting.

Vincent Price is hard to read, which makes him even scarier than usual.

It's better looking than its tiny budget would suggest. Good bits: they enact the Monty Python "if she floats she's a witch" test, and we see people baking potatoes in the embers after a witch burning.

Misc notes:

  • The director wanted Donald Pleasance for the villain, and would have made him more "twitchy" and perverse.
  • He thought of the film as an "English western".
  • He was very rude to Vincent Price, but others say this brought out a harder, more opaque character than he usually portrayed.
  • The director died the next year at age 25.
  • Ian Ogilvy has several thundering gallops with impressive tracking shots. The huge, powerful horse was called "Captain". He loved to run and it took a mile to slow him down and turn him around.
  • Don Siegel showed this to Sam Peckinpah, who then hired the cinematographer for several of his own films.
  • Filmed in the parts of England where the events actually occurred.
  • Many of the named characters and events are historical, if freely adapted. Witchfinder Matthew Hopkins was not savagely chopped to death with an axe; he died in his bed.

Available on Blu-ray with a happy, uncensored commentary track by a film historian, leading man Ogilvy and one of the producers. They praise the restoration and point out that the fine original score is back. Apparently the original American distribution had substitute electronic music.

* * *

This completes the Shout Factory Vincent Price Collection volume 1. The earlier titles:


On to volume 2!



-Bill

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post #1432 of 1438 Old 11-12-2014, 05:08 AM - Thread Starter
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The Big Gundown (1966), directed by Sergio Sollima.

A sometime-lawman tracks down a wily child-rapist and murderer. But do we know who the real villains are? You're not supposed to bring a knife to a gunfight, but sometimes it works.

Once we get away from Sergio Leone all spaghetti westerns tend to look alike to me. Thin on plot, trying to make it up with style.

Though well-liked, I had never heard of this one before it appeared on Blu-ray. I review it only because:

  • Lee Van Cleef fan club. Good guy this time. Still smoking that pipe with the long stem. Google "Lee Van Cleef pipe" for a rich variety of hits.
  • Excellent Blu-ray image.

Ennio Morricone score.

Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray, with commentary track but no subtitles on the 95 minute extended US version. The retail package includes the 110 minute director's cut in Italian, but my disc from "3D Bluray Rental" was the shorter edition.

The two enthusiastic film scholars on the commentary know a lot more about Italian cinema than I do. They present this film as more important and ambitious than I would have imagined.



-Bill
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suggestions...
My Name is Nobody... elongated story and overly lengthy at times, but ultimately satisfying.
Trinity... Terence hills right hand of god, Bud spencer left hand of god... what else do you need.

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post #1434 of 1438 Old 11-18-2014, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Bunny Lake is Missing (1965), produced and directed by Otto Preminger.

An effective combination of two well-known themes: (1) the "vanishing", where someone disappears without trace and no one admits to having seem them, and (2) child abduction, always stomach-churning in its implications.

A 4-year-old girl has disappeared from her first day at school and no one remembers seeing her. Negligent mother? But then we find that all of her things have vanished from home. A deeper conspiracy? Realizing we've never actually seen the girl, we wonder if she really exists, or are we moving into a different sort of thriller, about madness?

It takes another weird twist when the young couple turn out not to be married, but rather brother and sister, unusually intimate. I know some families are more casual about nudity than I was ever used to, but really: she visits with him while he's in the tub...

Gorgeous B&W scope ratio composition, making great use of mid-60s London: the iron gates and fences, courtyards and twisty passages, complicated building interiors. Preminger uses many long shots without quick cutting, and relatively few closeups, portraying a realism of everyday life.

Laurence Olivier (top billing!) gives a fine performance, much more reserved than we often see in his theater-based acting, which sometimes tended toward hamminess. He plays a decent, intelligent police superintendent, formal when he must be, warm when he can be.

I love the bits of business he does with his sergeant, communicating with looks and secret hand gestures.

The commentary track points out something I hadn't noticed before: in swinging London of the rebellious 1960s, the police are cool and competent, doing everything they should.

Possible problems:

  • Our young American couple don't "fit in". That's part of the story: they are new to London and the locals are shown as eccentric and unhelpful in the face of crisis. It might be a limitation of the actors, but that might be why Preminger chose them.
  • Olivier is such a strong center to the film that we miss him when he's gone for a long interval, as in the last act, which I've always thought went on just a bit too long.
  • Plausibility: we're not really worrying about that, are we?
  • The studio-recorded dialogue sometimes clashes with the realism of the image.
  • Featuring "The Zombies" as a pop-culture tie-in seems like a gimmick now. There actually isn't any other swinging-60s content in the film.

Misc notes:

  • I never noticed before: it has a "surprise beginning", with the moving swing and a doll on the ground.
  • When you have a bunch of kids, some are going to look into the camera. This is kind of endearing: children can see into other dimensions (where we are), just as they see the angels in Wings of Desire.
  • I'm always startled by a creepy scene toward the end: the little girl pulling her burned toys out of her own grave.
  • Noel Coward is the tipsy, pervy landlord.
  • Dramatic Paul Glass score.
  • Written by John and Penelope Mortimer. He had two wives named Penelope.

Twilight Time Blu-ray with lovely image and sound. Isolated score and the usual busy, happy commentary track by the regular crew. Intriguing conversation and they tabulate a few dozen British film faces flashing by.



-Bill
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post #1435 of 1438 Old 11-21-2014, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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The Time Machine (1960), produced and directed by George Pal.

When imagining the very far future, just about anything goes. With the rise and fall of civilizations you can have any arrangement of culture and scene. See Doctor Who. Since reading Wells in my youth I have always imagined a pastoral future of scattered people living in the ruins. But: don't go out at night.

The Time Machine itself is a fine bit of Victorian SF paraphernalia. Its operation with the days blurring by is nicely shown. I'm less happy with the shop window fashion conceit, but I'm guessing it works well enough to elicit audience appreciation.

Surely the premise could have been developed a bit faster, leaving us more time for actual SF adventure. It's 26m until time travel begins, and 45m until we reach the far future (800,000 something AD, where the Eloi still speak halting English -- a movie convention Wells did not use in his book).

In this version the two races split because of a terrible war. That's contrary to the author's vision: it is a natural development of class distinctions, between those who labor and those who enjoy the resulting benefits.

Available on Blu-ray. Some good images, but many soft ones too.



-Bill
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Bwahaha... I just watched that on the tube last night. the broadcast version in HD was terrible.

I love Wells!

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Out of the Past (1947), directed by Jacques Tourneur.

Quote:
Small town girl: "You've been to a lot of places, haven't you?"

He: "One too many".
He's not exactly running, not exactly hiding, just trying to start over in a modest life with a new girl, away from former associates and the dangerous life and passion he once knew. It is not to be: they find him and pull him back into the life. We're rooting for him, but the odds are not good.

If you were teaching film noir, this would be a textbook example with a bit of everything:

  • The gorgeous visuals, the way the cinematographer sculpts with shadows and cigarette smoke.
  • The snappy patter: "You can never help anything, can you? You're like a leaf that the wind blows from one gutter to another" and She: "Oh, Jeff, I don't want to die!", He: "Neither do I, baby, but if I have to I'm gonna die last".
  • The femme fatale: Jane Greer had a short career in film, but is famous for this role.
  • The competing tough guys. Kirk Douglas: flashy, patient but vicious. Robert Mitchum: introverted, smart but susceptible: "How big a chump can you get to be? I was finding out".
  • The overly complex plot, particularly in the second half. Mitchum knows he's being put into a frame-up, which is good because I lost track of the twists and turns.
  • The tragic ending outdoors in nature, like The Asphalt Jungle or On Dangerous Ground.

Thoughts on the femme fatale motif in film noir: it's often said that men are simple and women complex, and that men struggle with "What do women want?" But men can be puzzling, too: why the fascination with sexy but duplicitous women? Do men want to be chumps, used and stabbed in the back? These women don't wear dominatrix outfits, but it's as if the men display a need to be abused. Of course, the formula requires them to wise up and get tough in the end -- when it is too late.

Finally, I was shocked by the sadistic menace Kirk Douglas put into his threats to Jane Greer:

Quote:
You're gonna take the rap and play along. You're gonna make every exact move I tell you. If you don't, I'll kill you. And I'll promise you one thing: it won't be quick. I'll break you first. You won't be able to answer a telephone or open a door without thinking, 'This is it.' And it when it comes, it still won't be quick. And it won't be pretty. You can take your choice.
Roy Webb score.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray has both subtitles and a commentary track, unheard of in their MOD DVD line.

The commentary is good, although perhaps oriented to those not too familiar with the genre.



-Bill

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Bill -- I agree that Out of the Past is a fine film. I think that Robert Mitchum's talent was woefully underrated and there was never any doubt that Kirk Douglas was a great actor. By the way, TCM will be showing the film at 7:00PM CST on 12/2.
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