Josef von Sternberg – Der blaue Engel aka The Blue Angel (1930)

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Article: from ~ by James Steffen
Immanuel Rath is a stuffy, disciplinarian professor who is shocked to discover his students passing around a postcard of Lola-Lola, a singer at The Blue Angel cabaret. Hoping to catch his students there, Professor Rath visits the nightclub and witnesses Lola-Lola’s performance. Entranced by her dissolute charms, he gets drunk on champagne and spends the night with her. The ensuing scandal causes him to lose control of his students and he is terminated from his position. Returning to Lola, he agrees to marry her and joins the troupe. His humiliation at having to play a clown onstage is compounded by Lola’s attraction to the strongman Mazeppa. To make matters worse, the troupe returns to the professor’s hometown, forcing him to acknowledge how far he has fallen. Continue reading

Mario Mattoli – Un turco napoletano AKA Neapolitan Turk [+Extra] (1953)

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Based on a stage play by Eduardo Scarpetta, Il Turco Napoletano is retooled into a vehicle for Italian comedian Toto. The star plays a girl-happy dolt who assumes the identity of a missing Turkish gentleman. With stolen identification papers, the oafish impostor enters the home of a wealthy man who’d hired the Turk to protect his wife and daughter. What our hero doesn’t know–but everybody else does–is that the real Turk is a eunuch. To avoid the scissors of the censors, Il Turco Napoletano is presented as a play-within-a-play, so it isn’t really happening after all. The film was lensed by Oscar-winning Hollywood cinematographer Karl Struss. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Robert Bresson – Au hasard Balthazar (1966)

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Jim Ridley wrote:
With exquisite, heartrending calm, Bresson’s 1966 masterpiece Au Hasard Balthazar lays out the life of a donkey, from first brays to final rest. Baptized Balthazar, the donkey goes through passages of life parallel to his early owner, a farmer’s daughter named Marie (played as an adult by Anne Wiazemsky).
Together and separately, they experience the full spectrum of man’s failings: Balthazar is kicked by passing thugs, beaten by an owner, and eventually used for theft, while Marie is seduced, abandoned and ultimately assaulted. Yet while Bresson’s vision is harsh, it’s also redemptive, even merciful. It ends on a note of quiet transcendence, as if to say all suffering, no matter how grave, cannot last. Continue reading

Claude de Givray – Cinéastes de notre temps : Sacha Guitry (1965)

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This episode of the French program ‘Cinéastes de notre temps” takes a closer look at the image and legacy of Sacha Guitry. Included in it are archival interviews with producer and director André Labarthe (Hitchcock & Ford), actors Michel Simon and Jeanne Fusier-Gir, director Christian Jaque (Fanfan La Tulipe), and producer Gilbert Bokanowski (If Paris Were Told to Us), among others. Continue reading

Teuvo Tulio – Rikollinen nainen AKA A Woman of Crime [+Extras] (1952)

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Synopsis:
Pathological, triggered by the unbridled desire to take the story of jealousy towards the film noirs, the film shades of black crime, when Riitta decide to carve adulterous sister, imagining in their path. Again, Tulio used effectively ellipse: a meeting room floor of the Chamber of flashing clothes play almost frame by frame Riitta viettelysessiota own – except that it is now a narrow perspective to give a distorted picture of the situation. Similarly, recalling the horrors huteralla hanging: a child fell into the water past his own clumsiness, Riitta now use the tools to ensure that the structure to give up and his rival for its own sister ends up in the rapids. Continue reading