Joseph Pevney – It Happens Every Thursday (1953)

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from TCM:
One morning in New York City, newspaper reporter Bob MacAvoy finishes his nighttime shift and stumbles into bed just as his very pregnant wife Jane rises. Jane cares for their young son Steve and then, while riding the subway to work, notices an advertisement for a small newspaper in Eden, California. Tired of never seeing her husband and living in their cramped apartment, Jane rushes home and convinces Bob that the paper represents the perfect escape from their city life. Within days, they buy the paper sight unseen and travel to their new home. Although Eden is charming, they are dismayed to find the Archive office a disheveled wreck. Inside, elderly employees Jake Armstrong and Matthew explain that the paper has only a tiny circulation and a broken printing press and so barely makes it out each Thursday. Dejected, the MacAvoys prepare to leave until real estate agent Fred Hawley arrives and informs them that he lied to them about the state of the paper in order to attract a great newspaperman who might bring Eden back to life. Seeing the five advertisements Fred has already procured, Bob happily settles down to work. Continue reading

Ferdinand Khittl – Das magische Band AKA The Magic Tape (1959)

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Das magische Band – West Germany 1959, 21 min.
Directed by: Ferdinand Khittl
Written by: Bodo Blüthner, Ferdinand Khittl, Ernst von Khuon
Cinematography by: Ronald Martini
Music by: Oskar Sala
Edited by: Irmgard Henrici
Cast: Margot Trooger, Ferdinand Khittl
Produced by: Gesellschaft für bildende Filme, München

One of the 3 short films that came as an extra on Edition Filmmuseum 47: Die Parallelstrasse AKA The Parallel Street (Ferdinand Khittl, 1962).

An innovative documentary on magnetic tape & sound recording, sort of in the style of Charles and Ray Eames. Continue reading

Jean Renoir – French Cancan (1954)

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Synopsis
Henri Danglard, proprietor of the fashionable (but bankrupt) cafe ‘Le Paravent Chinois’ featuring his mistress, belly dancer Lola, goes slumming in Montmarte (circa 1890) where the then-old-fashioned cancan is still danced. There, he conceives the idea of reviving the cancan as the feature of a new, more popular establishment…and meets Nini, a laundress and natural dancer, whom he hopes to star in his new show. But a tangled maze of jealousies intervenes… Continue reading

François Truffaut – Tirez sur le pianiste aka Shoot the Piano Player [+commentary] (1960)

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A hapless pianist at a jazz club gets caught up with the mob, when his older brother who owes money to them comes to him for help. Eventually, the piano player and his girlfriend become pawns in middle of a dangerous game.

Truffaut first read David Goodis’s novel in the mid-1950s while shooting Les Mistons when his wife Madeleine Morgenstern read it and recommended it to him. He immediately loved the book’s dialogue and poetic tone and showed it to producer Pierre Braunberger, who bought the rights. Truffaut later met Goodis in New York City, where the novelist gave Truffaut a vintage viewfinder from his brief experience as a 2nd Unit Director on a U.S. film. Continue reading

Marcel Camus – Orfeu Negro AKA Black Orpheus [+Extras] (1959)

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Quote:
Screen: Legend Retold; ‘Black Orpheus’ Bows at the Plaza
By BOSLEY CROWTHER
Published: December 22, 1959

ALL tangled up in the madness of a Rio de Janeiro carnival, full of intoxicating samba music, frenzied dancing and violent costumes, the Frenchman Marcel Camus presents us a melancholy tale in his color film, “Black Orpheus” (“Orfeu Negro”), which came to the Plaza yesterday.

It is a tragic story of a Negro chap and a Negro girl who meet at the time of the annual blowout, fall suddenly and rapturously in love, whirl through the night in a furious revel and fall off a cliff in the dawn. At least, the fellow falls off the cliff, holding the dead body of the girl in his arms. She has been killed the previous evening while trying to escape a scoundrel in a skeleton costume. Continue reading

Eric Rohmer – Le signe du lion AKA The Sign of Leo (1959)

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Le Signe du lion (The Sign of Leo) is a 1959 French film directed by Éric Rohmer, his feature debut. Along with Le Beau Serge, directed by Claude Chabrol (who produced The Sign of Leo), it was one of the first films of the French New Wave. The title refers to the Zodiac sign Leo, under which the protagonist says he was born. Much of the film’s plot is concerned with notions of luck and fate. The film was not a commercial success and Rohmer didn’t make another feature for 8 years, instead concentrating on short films and his position at the influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma. Continue reading