Yves Robert – Ni Vu, Ni Connu AKA Neither Seen Nor Recognized (1958)

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Synopsis
Ni Vu, Ni Connu (Neither Seen Nor Recognized) is built around the talents of rubber-faced Gallic comedian Louis De Funes. Our hero is a poacher in a small provincial village, who always manages to stay one step ahead of the Law. Through a fluke, De Funes finds himself the town’s Leading Citizen when he is falsely arrested on another charge, forcing the village elders to bend over backwards making amends.

Blaireau, un braconnier très adroit, ravitaille tout le pays en gibier. Un soir, son ennemi de toujours, le garde champêtre Parju, se fait rosser. Ce dernier, persuadé, à tort, d’être la victime de Blaireau, le fait arrêter. Néanmoins, grâce à un directeur de prison compréhensif et aux attentions de la belle Arabella, son séjour en cellule ne sera pas trop rude. D’autant plus que « l’erreur judiciaire » sera découverte, Parju ridiculisé et le retour de Blaireau au village sera triomphal. Continue reading

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