A well-crafted film, 24 February 2001
Author: jeffreynothing from Toronto, Canada
I saw this film at a screening several years ago at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The picture was actually introduced by Mr.Ulmer’s daughter. It’s a typical 1940’s melodrama that is well directed. It is apparent in viewing the film that Ulmer knew exactly what he was doing when he made a movie. It was only the second Ulmer film I had seen, the first being the superior Detour. I can’t remember the plot in too much detail because it was a while ago, but it involves an illegitimate child. It has a good social message in that it sheds light on how so-called “bastard” children are sometimes the subjects of social discrimination. I’m surprised it hasn’t received more votes. I guess I was lucky to catch that screening. Continue reading
First short film by Wajda, based on the story “A Naughty Boy” by A. Chekhov. Continue reading
With Thirst (1949), Ingmar Bergman began to display an astonishing technical virtuosity and control over the medium of film. A crosshatched, multilayered narrative, sewn together with fascinating side trips and flashbacks, Thirst was adapted by theater critic (and Bergman mentor) Herbert Grevenius from four controversial short stories written by famed Swedish stage actress Birgit Tengroth, and moved Bergman even further away from his theatrical origins. Simultaneously a portrait of a decaying marriage and a dreamlike journey through various characters’ tragic pasts and presents, the film evinces a newfound assurance, both in storytelling complexity and visual invention. Notoriously hard on his own work, Bergman himself was even able to later grant, “The film does show a respectable cinematographic vitality. I was developing my own way of making movies.” Continue reading
Based in part on a true story, Kiss of Death is given a veneer of reality by being filmed on location in New York, with a bare minimum of studio work. In one of his best performances, Victor Mature plays a cheap crook who is sent up the river for 20 years for robbery. District attorney Brian Donlevy, out of sympathy for Mature’s two young daughters, gives him a chance to go free—if Mature will blow the whistle on his accomplices. Stubbornly adhering to the “code” of thieves, Mature refuses to do so, until his wife kills herself and his kids are placed in an orphanage. Once paroled, Mature is prevailed upon to extract additional information from sadistic mob torpedo Richard Widmark (in his chilling screen debut). Continue reading
Luis Bunuel classic from 1950. It is a tale of savage acts committed by impoverished youths in Mexico City. It is a film that has been kept fresh by its spirit and its style. Far from being puppets in a sermon on poverty, the characters are vivid creatures whose fierce desires are the focus of Bunuel’s attention.
In his unique storytelling, he not only finds forceful images in the dramas reality, but adds a masterful dream sequence.
Genius. Continue reading
Eric Stanton, a penniless drifter, falls in love with Stella, who works in a small-town coffee shop. She refuses to marry him because of his poor financial condition. Desperate for money, Eric marries a wealthy local spinster to bilk her inheritance, and then run off with Stella. Continue reading
This adventure is the first live-action Superman serial and was one of the most successful multi-chapter films ever made. Superman is played by B-movie hero Kirk Alyn. The story centers upon the hero and the nefarious Spider Lady, who is trying to rule the Earth. If she cannot have complete control, she plans on shrinking it with her powerful reducer ray. Much of the episodes center upon Superman’s relationship with Lois Lane and upon his ability to fly.