Maddalena (Anna Magnani) is a screenstruck mother convinced of her daughter Maria’s (Tina Apicella) star potential. Dreaming of a better life for her family – as a means of escape from the struggles of everyday existence in working-class Rome – she invests everything, including her last penny, into the dream that her daughter will be discovered at an open casting. Continue reading
“Sooner or later, everyone who loves movies comes to Ozu. He is the quietest and gentlest of directors, the most humanistic, the most serene.” — Roger Ebert
It took long enough, but I sampled my first Yasujiro Ozu film, Good Morning (Ohayo), and will soon indulge myself with as many of his works as I can locate. At one time, his films were thought to be “too Japanese” and weren’t available in the West, but if Good Morning is any indication of his craft and appeal, Ozu deserves a much wider audience. It’s a film that works at multiple levels, and only artistic geniuses like Shakespeare have been able to pull off such a universal work that works with both down to earth people and with the upper levels of critical audiences equally. Continue reading
M stands for murder and also for mindfuck in this, one of Hitchcock’s best films. Based on a stage play by Frederick Knott (whose credits also include another great thriller, Wait Until Dark), Dial M For Murder includes one of the most intricate plots of any murder mystery as well as maximum amounts of Hitchcock’s trademark suspense.
A quietly evil Ray Milland plays a cold fish who plots to kill his wife (Grace Kelly) for her insurance money. As he explains at the beginning of the movie, he also wants to commit the “perfect murder” – i.e. one that is complicated and dangerous, yet foolproof and never suspected. John Williams is the Scotland Yard inspector who may be onto him.
It doesn’t matter that the movie starts with a lengthy exposition… or even that the identity of the villain is revealed in the first twenty minutes. Dial M will pull you to the edge of whatever you’re sitting on and keep you there. (If you don’t pay attention, you won’t be able to follow all the twists and turns of the plot.) Hitchcock’s direction was never better. In fact, the film is a good model to follow for mystery directors; Hitchcock draws exactly the right amount of attention (but not too much) to the subtle actions and details that are crucial to the murder plot.
Dial M For Murder is not always regarded as one of Hitch’s best. Critics seem to prefer the more theatrical, psychological melodramas to the brainy whodunits. But pay no attention – this film is definitely a classic. Continue reading
Universally panned by Egypt’s cinema audiences when it was first released in 1958, Youssef Chahine’s “Cairo Station” disappeared from view for two decades until it was rediscovered and hailed as a masterpiece. Watching the film now, almost half a century after its first screening, it’s easy to see why it upset so many people “Cairo Station” is a pressure cooker of lust, jealousy, and psychosis.
Crippled Kenaoui (Chahine), nicknamed “Limpy” by his cruel co-workers, sells newspapers in Cairo’s central station. Living out on the tracks, earning barely enough to keep the makeshift roof over his head, he spends his days fantasising about the voluptuous Hanuma (Rostom), a lemonade seller engaged to macho porter Abou Serib (Chawqi). Kenaoui’s convinced she’ll eventually fall in love with him if he keeps pursuing her. But with a murderer on the loose in Cairo, things may yet take an unexpected turn. Continue reading
Having been caught stealing money from his employer to pay for a holiday with his girlfriend Juliette, Michel finds himself in a prison cell. He falls into a deep sleep and awakes to find the door of his cell open. Stepping through the doorway, he finds himself in the most beautiful sun-drenched countryside. A peaceful country road leads him to a remote village whose inhabitants have lost their memory. Husbands and wives no longer recognise one another but everyone seems to know Juliette when Michel enquires about her…
In this western, an adventurous gambler goes on the lam when he is falsely accused of a riverboat killing. He hides out for three years before returning to prove his innocence and find the girl he loves. Unfortunately, the girl is involved with the gang ringleader responsible for the killing. Continue reading
Plot Outline :
Bob, a middle-aged gambler and thief, plans a complicated heist. He deals with a number of underworld characters while planning the robbery of the Deauville Casino. Bob eventually hires a gang that includes an ace safecracker. Unfortunately for them, Bob’s nemesis, an old cop who Bob once saved from death, is tipped off after a money-hungry croupier’s wife betrays them. The police are waiting when the gang begins the seemingly impossible task of robbing the casino vault. Meanwhile in the casino, Bob starts to gamble. Continue reading