Frigyes Bán & Vladislav Pavlovic – Szent Péter esernyöje AKA St. Peter’s Umbrella (1958)

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Plot / Synopsis

The movie St. Peter’s Umbrella, is an adaptation of one of the best-known works of Kálmán Mikszáth, and based on a real-life story. In the plot, a new priest is appointed in Glogova, a town in the Hungarian highlands. The priest has to take care of his two-year-old orphaned sister, Veronka. On a summer day, she is sheltered from a shower by an umbrella put above her. As people begin to gossip that the mysterious helper was Saint Peter himself, the umbrella becomes a holy relic bringing a lot of money. Yet one day the truth is revealed: the benefactor was not Saint Peter and the umbrella is indeed worth a fortune. A bitter chase begins, at the end of which something far more precious than money is found. The enchanting story is in fact a fully elaborated anecdote about finding happiness in discovering sincere love rather than in the pursuit of wealth. Continue reading

Fritz Lang – Der Tiger von Eschnapur AKA The Tiger of Eschnapur (1959)

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Quote:
“Der Tiger von Eschnapur” is a visual splendor, with an unusually inventive use of color, which is not unlike his British peer Michael Powell (Black orchid,thief of Bagdad).Lang was an architect ,and it’s impossible not to feel it,here more than in his entire American period. It’s no coincidence if his hero (Henri Mercier/Harald Berger) is an architect too;they are always holding and studying plans .Lang’s camera perfectly captures the space it describes .Mercier (Paul Hubschmid)is often filmed in high angle shot,in the huge palace of the Maharajah,in the tiger pit ,or later,in the second part ,in the dungeon where he’s imprisoned.Actually,and it’s obvious,it takes us back to Lang’s German silent era ,particularly “der müde Tod” “die Niebelungen” and “Metropolis”. Continue reading

Roberto Rossellini – La macchina ammazzacattivi (1952) (DVD)

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Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader wrote:
This rarely shown early film by Roberto Rossellini (1948), one of his few comedies, anticipates with remarkable prescience the conceits of Godard and others about photography in the 60s. A professional small-town photographer finds that he has the power to kill his subjects by taking their picture, turning them into statues of themselves. Rossellini left this project before it was finished, and it was edited and released a few years later without his approval–but it still comes across as a remarkably suggestive fable. Continue reading

Irwin Allen – The Sea Around Us (1953)

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Plot:

“What is the fate of the world?” With breathtaking Technicolor® photography and thrilling up-close encounters with the undersea world, The Sea Around Us gave audiences early warning about the environmental dangers threatening our planet. Based on Rachel Carson’s acclaimed book and written, directed and produced by Irwin Allen (The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno) with the visual power of a master storyteller, this dazzling odyssey takes us from the Great Barrier Reef to Arctic waters, from shark walking to crab herding, from titanic seismic sea waves to rainbow-hued Edens alive with flashing tropical fish. It’s an incredible, imperiled realm – and its future depends upon us. From Warner Brothers! Continue reading

Stanley Kubrick – Fear and Desire (1953) (DVD)

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New York Times review:

Quote:
The need for encouragement of fresh talent and its fairly common concommitant, the audacity of youth, was never made more pointed than in “Fear and Desire,” the drama fashioned by a tiny group of young, independent film makers, which arrived at the Guild Theatre yesterday. For, in essaying a dissection of the minds of men under the stress of war, Stanley Kubrick, 24-year-old, producer-director-photographer, and his equally young and unheralded scenarist and cast, have succeeded in turning out a moody, often visually powerful study of subdued excitements. Continue reading

Kazimierz Kutz – Nikt nie wola aka Nobody’s calling. (1960)

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In 1960 Kazimierz Kutz’ second film NIKT NIE WOLA / NOBODY’S CALLING, based on a Jozef Hen novel that was never published in Poland, described the fate of Poles on the Eastern Front. Kutz used the film to explore new formal solutions, collaborating closely with cinematographer Jerzy Wojcik to reveal the psychological landscape of a pair of lovers who are strongly affected by wartime events. The camera recorded the couple’s inner experiences, contrasting their muted intimacy against the surrounding scenery of a ruined town. The film did not win over critics at the time of its release. It was not until later that critics recognized Kutz’s effort to experiment with aesthetics in a manner akin to that pursued by filmmakers of the new wave. NOBODY’S CALLING came to be compared with Michelangelo Antonioni’s THE ADVENTURE, which was produced around the same time. Continue reading