Gene Saks – The Odd Couple [+Extras] (1968)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

by Bill Gibron:
There was a time, a little less than four decades ago, when Neil Simon was the literary benchmark of both Broadway and the Silver Screen. After a successful stint as a TV scribe on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, the soon to be phenomenon went on to create such Great White Way staples as Barefoot in the Park, Sweet Charity, Plaza Suite, and The Prisoner of Second Avenue. In 1966, he had four shows running at once and it wasn’t long before Hollywood came calling.

After adapting his Come Blow Your Horn and Park for the big screen, Simon was given the complicated task of translating his mega-hit The Odd Couple as a movie. While the studios would accept Oscar- and Tony-winner Walter Matthau as Oscar, Art Carney’s cinematic clout as Felix was questioned. Luckily, director Gene Saks hired friend and Fortune Cookie co-star Jack Lemmon as the notorious neat freak. The rest, as they say, is motion picture history. Continue reading

Boris Sagal – The Omega Man (1971)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Sure, this sci-fi action drama has its cheesy moments but it remains one of the most beloved genre flicks of the 1970s. Your humble editor (at the tender age of 9) saw this on the big screen when it was first released. It’s been a personal fave — a cherished guilty pleasure, if you will — ever since.

This is the second film based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, the first being the 1964 Italian production The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price. That film, actually adhering more closely to the novel, had Price’s sole survivor besieged by blood-drinking vampires spawned by a deadly plague; they’re repelled by garlic and Price drives stakes through their hearts to kill them. The Charlton Heston vehicle eschews such horror elements in favor of action, more befitting the actor’s swaggering, tough guy screen image. There aren’t any vampires in The Omega Man. Instead our hero is pitted against a fanatical cult of bio-mutants — light-sensitive albinos — with a religious zeal to destroy the last “normal” human left alive. Continue reading

William Dieterle – The Devil And Daniel Webster aka All That Money Can Buy [+Extras] (1941)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Jabez Stone is a hard-working farmer trying to make an honest living, but a streak of bad luck tempts him to do the unthinkable: bargain with the Devil himself. For seven years of good fortune, Stone promises “Mr. Scratch” his soul when the contract ends. When the troubled farmer begins to realize the error of his choice, he enlists the aid of the one man who might save him: the legendary orator and politician Daniel Webster. Directed with stylish flair by William Dieterle, The Devil and Daniel Webster brings the classic short story by Stephen Vincent Benét to life with inspired visuals, an unforgettable Oscar-winning score by Bernard Herrmann, and a truly diabolical performance from Walter Huston. Continue reading

Billy Wilder – The Apartment (1960)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Immediately following the success of Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond wished to make another film with Jack Lemmon. Wilder had originally planned to cast Paul Douglas as Jeff Sheldrake; however, after he died unexpectedly, Fred MacMurray was cast.

The initial concept for the film came from Brief Encounter by Noël Coward, in which Celia Johnson has an affair with Trevor Howard in his friend’s apartment. However, due to the Hays Production Code, Wilder was unable to make a film about adultery in the 1940s. Wilder and Diamond also based the film partially on a Hollywood scandal in which high-powered agent Jennings Lang was shot by producer Walter Wanger for having an affair with Wanger’s wife, actress Joan Bennett. During the affair, Lang used a low-level employee’s apartment. Another element of the plot was based on the experience of one of Diamond’s friends, who returned home after breaking up with his girlfriend to find that she had committed suicide in his bed. Continue reading

José Luis Borau – Furtivos aka Poachers (1975)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
Furtivos (Poachers) is a 1975 Spanish film directed by José Luis Borau. It stars Lola Gaos, Ovidi Montllor and Alicia Sánchez. The script was written by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón and José Luis Borau. The film is a stark drama that portraits an oedipal relationship and its dire consequences. A great critical and commercial success, it won best picture at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 1975. Furtivos is considered a classic of Spanish cinema.
@wiki Continue reading

François Truffaut – Jules et Jim (1962)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Hailed as one of the finest films ever made, Jules and Jim charts, over twenty-five years, the relationship between two friends and the object of their mutual obsession. The legendary François Truffaut directs, and Jeanne Moreau stars as the alluring and willful Catherine, whose enigmatic smile and passionate nature lure Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) into one of cinema’s most captivating romantic triangles. An exuberant and poignant meditation on freedom, loyalty, and the fortitude of love, Jules and Jim was a worldwide smash in 1962 and remains every bit as audacious and entrancing today. Continue reading

King Vidor – Our Daily Bread [+Extras] (1934)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

synopsis – AMG:
Unable to secure Hollywood-studio backing for his Depression-era agrarian drama Our Daily Bread, director King Vidor financed the picture himself, with the eleventh-hour assistance of Charles Chaplin. Intended as a sequel to Vidor’s silent classic The Crowd (1928) the film casts Tom Keene and Karen Morley as John and Mary, the roles originated in the earlier film by James Murray and Eleanor Boardman. Unable to make ends meet in the Big City, John and Mary assume control of an abandoned farm, even though they know nothing about tilling the soil. Generous to a fault, the couple opens their property to other disenfranchised Depression victims, and before long they’ve formed a utopian communal cooperative, with everyone pitching together for the common good. Beyond such traditional obstacles as inadequate funding, failed crops and drought, John is deflected from his purpose by sluttish blonde vamp Sally (Barbara Pepper), but he pulls himself together in time to supervise construction of a huge irrigation ditch — a project which consumes the film’s final two reels, and which turns out to be one of the finest and most thrilling sequences that Vidor (or anyone) ever put on film. Continue reading