“Spring in a Small Town” is a remarkable fusion of classic form and the convincingly real. It moves from its central character, Yuwen, who is isolated in a small town, and in an arranged marriage with an ill neurasthenic husband, Lyan; and moves too from a truly enduring acting job by Wei Wei as Yuwen.
The story revolves around memory: memory of love, and memory of a pre-war period of youthful promise. These moments of being are stirred to life by the visit of the husband’s long estranged friend Zhang, who is now a city doctor. Zhang means renewed life and vigor at the desolate, war ruined estate of the noble Lyan, and love and passion to Yuwen, who happens to have been someone she once loved as a teen. Continue reading
Marguerite is a courtesan in Paris. She falls deeply in love with a young man of promise, Armand Duval. When Armand’s father begs her not to ruin his hope of a career and position by marrying Armand, she acquiesces and leaves her lover. However, when poverty and terminal illness overwhelm her, Marguerite discovers that Armand has not lost his love for her. Continue reading
It’s wartime, and young people are rushing into hasty –sometimes unwise – marriages. But not pretty, level-headed Alice. Then she meets Joe, a G.I. on a two-day pass, and falls heart-over-level-head in love. Judy Garland and Robert Walker are sweethearts for the ages in this glowing valentine of a movie directed by Vincente Minnelli (who, to add another layer of radiant romance, was about to marry his leading lady). Continue reading
According to back cover: “A 1 hour re-mix useing [sic] the original and the remake.”
The wonderful Warner Bros. stock company goes through its customarily breezy paces in Havana Widows. Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell star as Mae and Sadie, a couple of hard-boiled dames who support themselves by shaking down wealthy and susceptible older men in Havana. Their current target is Deacon Jones (Guy Kibbee), a self-appointed moralist whose rock-ribbed values disappear after the third drink. But Blondell spoils the scam when she falls in love with the Deacon’s son Bob (Lyle Talbot). Less than a month after the release of Havana Widows, many of the same cast members were back to their old tricks in Convention City. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
One of the greatest movies about immigrant experience of coming to America is Elia Kazan’s epic journey America, America based on the stories of his uncle coming from Turkey to the United States in the early 1900′s. The title has been available previously in France and in 2010 it was released as part of Fox’s mega-set Elia Kazan Collection, but this film marks its debut on stand-alone region 1 disc. The dual-layered disc features a progressive black-and-white transfer with very good contrast and no damages on the print. There are a few problematic shots, but those were mostly from the stock footage.
The decent mono soundtrack is in English only and the disc features English and French subtitles. The lone extra is an informative commentary by Foster Hirsch. This is a highly recommended release of an underrated film that needs to be rediscovered by a wider audience.
– Gregory Meshman @ DVD Beaver Continue reading
From his early silent works, the great Russian film director, Herr Yakov Protazanov, made literary adaptations from equally great Russian writers, as is the case with “Chiny I Lyudi” ( Ranks And People ) (1929) in which three short stories by Chekhov, “Anna On The Neck”, “Death Of A Petty Official” and “Chameleon” were assembled for the silent screen.
“Anna On The Neck” tells the story the young and beautiful Anna (Mariya Strelkova ) who has just married an old but rich civil servant. Anna thinks her marriage will rescue her father and her two brothers from a miserable life of poverty. Anna becomes disenchanted fast when her rich husband turns out to be an avaricious and severe man. Anna’s sad life changes when she attends a posh ball and every man there, including the mayor, is charmed by her. Anna’s husband hopes to get business advantages through this but Anna is thinking of revenge. Continue reading