John Ford – The Searchers [+Extras] (1956)

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SYNOPSIS:
Ethan Edwards, returned from the Civil War to the Texas ranch of his brother, hopes to find a home with his family and to be near the woman he obviously but secretly loves. But a Comanche raid destroys these plans, and Ethan sets out, along with his 1/8 Indian nephew Martin, on a years-long journey to find the niece kidnapped by the Indians under Chief Scar. But as the quest goes on, Martin begins to realize that his uncle’s hatred for the Indians is beginning to spill over onto his now-assimilated niece. Martin becomes uncertain whether Ethan plans to rescue Debbie… or kill her. Continue reading

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Stanley Kubrick – Paths of Glory (1957)

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Quote:
In Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” war is viewed in terms of power. This mesmerizing, urgent film about a true episode in World War I combines the idea that class differences are more important than national differences with the cannon-fodder theory of war, the theory that soldiers are merely pawns in the hands of generals who play at war is if it were a game of chess. The result of this amazing film has been the emergence of one of the great talents in contemporary cinema, the master whose greatest work was yet to come. Continue reading

John Ford – The Sun Shines Bright (1953)

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Plot:

John Ford’s remake of his 1934 Will Rogers vehicle, Judge Priest, combines three Irvin S. Cobb stories about the kindly Kentucky magistrate William Priest (Charles Winninger).

Set in 1905 Kentucky, it focuses on the judge’s battle for reelection against Yankee prosecutor Horace K. Maydew (Milburn Stone). Despite the judge’s popularity, it’s possible that his generosity and sense of justice may cost him the election. First he tries to persuade the eminent General Fairfield (James Kirkwood) to admit that he’s kin to Lucy Lee (Arleen Whelan), whose questionable background makes her a subject for ridicule. Next he faces down an angry lynch mob accusing a black man of a heinous crime – the frustrated vigilantes, dispersed by the gun-wielding judge, vow vengeance at the polls. Continue reading

Ivan Pyryev – Belye nochi AKA White Nights (1960)

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Story “White Nights” by Fyodor Dostoevsky shot by Ivan Pyryev. Petersburg 1840s. A Dreamer, living in a big city for a few years and all the time he is alone. But one summer in St. Petersburg’s White Nights on the Neva, he meets Nastya. Five nights walking around the city, young people talk about themselves. With all the passion and tenderness of its nature the dreamer falls in love with Nastya. The girl, has feelings of despair of former lover, Dreamer promises to marry her. Unfortunately, the happiness is short-lived … Nastya is regaining his old love, and Dreamer is alone again.

1960 – Certificate IV IFF Film Festival in London-60
1960 – Best Film of 1960 (with the films “The Ballad of a Soldier” and “Revenge”) by a decision of the British Film Institute Continue reading

Charles Lamont – Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953)

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They don`t really go to Mars, they go to Venus, but first they go to New Orleans. While working at a missile base, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello inadvertently launch a rocket ship with themselves aboard. After a wild ride around New York City (the Statue of Liberty ducks when the rocket heads her way), Bud and Lou land in the outskirts of New Orleans. The boys are convinced that they`ve reached Mars, and their faith in this supposition is affirmed when they come across several strangely costumed `creatures` (actually revellers at the Mardi Gras). Meanwhile, bank robbers Jack Kruschen and Horace McMahon stow away on A&C`s rocketship. When Bud and Lou return, the crooks force them to make a quick getaway into outer space. After several days of weightlessness, the four space travellers land on Venus, a planet populated by the gorgeous winners of the Miss Universe contest (including Anita Ekberg). Venusian queen Mari Blanchard falls in love with Costello, only to order him and his companions to return to earth when Lou proves to be unfaithful. Reportedly, this bizarre melange of sci-fi and slapstick was based on a story by Charles Beaumont, who received no screen credit (it`s worth noting that Beaumont`s later Queen of Outer Space boasts a remarkably similar plotline). Long considered the team`s worst film, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (`and about time!` quipped the New York Times` TV-movie reviewer) is rather likeable in its own incoherent way. – All Movie Guide Continue reading

Orson Welles – Touch of Evil [Restored Version] (1958)

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Roger Ebert / September 13, 1998

Come on, read my future for me. You haven’t got any. What do you mean? Your future is all used up. So speaks a fortune-telling madam, played by Marlene Dietrich, to the drunken sheriff of a border town, played by Orson Welles, in “Touch of Evil.”

Her words have a sad resonance, because Welles was never again to direct in Hollywood after making this dark, atmospheric story of crime and corruption.

It was named best film at the 1958 Brussels World Fair (Godard and Truffaut were on the jury), but in America it opened on the bottom half of a double bill, failed, and put an end to Welles’ prospects of working within the studio system. Yet the film has always been a favorite of those who enjoy visual and dramatic flamboyance. “I’d seen the film four or five times before I noticed the story,” the director Peter Bogdanovich once told his friend Orson. “That speaks well for the story,” Welles rumbled sarcastically, but Bogdanovich replied, “No, no–I mean I was looking at the direction.” Continue reading

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