William Wyler – The Little Foxes (1941)

 William Wyler   The Little Foxes (1941)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 William Wyler   The Little Foxes (1941)

Lillian Hellman’s play, a prime example of the “well-made” variety, is precisely the kind of successful middle-brow property that appealed to Samuel Goldwyn. He had already produced Hellman’s controversial The Children’s Hour (also directed by William Wyler, with cinematographer Gregg Toland), a play that handsomely survived a title change to These Three and the transformation of the issue of lesbianism into an illicit heterosexual affair. No major alterations were required for The Little Foxes. The film even resists the conventional “opening up” so often applied to theatrical texts, in the mistaken notion that fundamental cinematic values are expansively pictorial ones. Continue reading

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Julien Duvivier – Black Jack (1950)

 Julien Duvivier   Black Jack (1950)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Julien Duvivier   Black Jack (1950)

IMDb comment by niathan:

I saw this film when it was released to the minor cinemas in the UK some 50 years ago; and the memory remains of a great musical score, and the tragedy of the storyline. I saw it again on video recently. The sound track was poor and the picture grainy; but it is one of two films that I saw again the next day, the other being Gladiator. The music theme is intensely tragic, and from the outset one knows that it heralds failure or death. Certainly one of George Sanders best performances; as a man working the black market to get pay back for what he lost in the war, but nemesis waits; Patricia Roc plays a refugee from Eastern Europe eaten with despair. He is attracted to her, selflessly wants to help her, and then falls in love with her, but she is too proud and hurt to accept help. Their love destroys him, and inevetably the girl and the doctor (Herbert Marshall), who brought the nemesis. The storyline is of complex intertwining destinies, where subsidiary characters are not who they appear to be. This is as a film, which diappointed the critics and struggled at the box office; but for the adolescent who saw it, and the retired gentleman who saw it again it is one of the greatest films (taking into account its age)whose story is more akin to an opera. Continue reading

David Butler – My Wild Irish Rose (1947)

 David Butler   My Wild Irish Rose (1947)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 David Butler   My Wild Irish Rose (1947)

The life of Irish tenor Chauncey Olcott is chronicled from his childhood to his days as the toast of New York. In between, his rise to the top is complicated by romances with two women: his true love Rose Donovan and stage star Lillian Russell, who wants to make him a star. Continue reading

Budd Boetticher – Escape in the Fog (1945)

 Budd Boetticher   Escape in the Fog (1945)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Budd Boetticher   Escape in the Fog (1945)

In 1945, Dutch-born actress Nina Foch had the good fortune to star in a pair of economical, satisfying thrillers. She was a damsel in distress in Joseph H. Lewis’ My Name Is Julia Ross, an updated Gothic set in England. In Budd (then ‘Oscar’) Boettischer’s wartime espionage drama Escape In The Fog, she’s a dame in distress in the city by the bay.

It opens in a nightmare she’s having. Walking one fog-bound night on the Golden Gate Bridge, she sees three men piling out of a taxi trying to kill a fourth. She screams – and the screams bring to her room in Ye Rustic Dell Inn other guests running to her aid. One of them is the intended victim in her dream (William Wright), whom she’s never before laid eyes on. They hit it off, though, and he persuades her to join him for a few days in San Francisco. Continue reading

Robert J. Flaherty & Richard Lyford & Curt Oertel – The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)

yEeF3HK Robert J. Flaherty & Richard Lyford & Curt Oertel   The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Robert J. Flaherty & Richard Lyford & Curt Oertel   The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)

The life and works of the great artist Michelangelo Buonarroti are shown against the historical background of his time. It begins with his earliest artworks, and follows his life and career as he achieves lasting fame. The documentary includes detailed looks at some of the artist’s most renowned creations. Continue reading

Roberto Rossellini – Stromboli [Italian version + Extras] (1950)

 Roberto Rossellini   Stromboli [Italian version + Extras] (1950)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Roberto Rossellini   Stromboli [Italian version + Extras] (1950)

Quote:
The first collaboration between Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman is a devastating portrait of a woman’s existential crisis, set against the beautiful and forbidding backdrop of a volcanic island. After World War II, a Lithuanian refugee (Bergman) marries a simple Italian fisherman (Mario Vitale) she meets in a prisoner of war camp and accompanies him back to his isolated village on an island off the coast of Sicily. Cut off from the world, she finds herself crumbling emotionally, but she is destined for a dramatic epiphany. Balancing the director’s trademark neorealism—exemplified here in a remarkable depiction of the fishermen’s lives and work—with deeply felt melodrama, Stromboli is a revelation. Continue reading

H. Bruce Humberstone – Tall, Dark and Handsome (1941)

 H. Bruce Humberstone   Tall, Dark and Handsome (1941)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 H. Bruce Humberstone   Tall, Dark and Handsome (1941)

Plot

Cesar Romero plays an outwardly tough prohibition-era gangster who in reality wouldn’t hurt a fly. He maintains his “killer” reputation by planting evidence of his involvement at the scenes of other crooks’ crimes. Romero begins aspiring for respectability when he falls in love with Virginia Gilmore and adopts the orphaned Stanley Clements. Through his own non-homicidal means, Romero redeems himself by wiping out a genuinely nasty gangster boss (Sheldon Leonard). Tall, Dark and Handsome was remade in 1950 as Love That Brute, with Paul Douglas in the Cesar Romero role–and with Romero playing the villain! Continue reading

pixel H. Bruce Humberstone   Tall, Dark and Handsome (1941)