Classics

John Frankenheimer – Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)

AMG:
Burt Lancaster sits comfortably in his manly yet sensitive mode as Robert Stroud, and director John Frankenheimer gives him an easy road to absolution. The film manages to stay interesting despite being locked for the most part inside a jail cell. In what has to be his best movie role (outside of perhaps The Dirty Dozen), Telly Savalas brings a lot to the proceedings as a jail mate of Stroud’s. Thelma Ritter, a consistently underrated character actress, is also notable as Stroud’s mother. As Hollywood went through a significant transition in the mid-Sixties, Frankenheimer helped to reshape the action-thriller genre with a string of exciting, intelligent, and successful movies with a distinct political awareness: The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, The Train, Seconds, and The Fixer were all made in a six-year period after The Birdman from Alcatraz. Read More »

Govindan Aravindan – Chidambaram (1985)

Chidambaram (Malayalam) is a 1985 Malayalam film written, directed and produced by G. Aravindan. It is the film adaptation of a short story by C. V. Sreeraman.The film explores various aspects of relations between men and women through the lives of three people living in a cattle farm. Themes of guilt and redemption are also dealt with. Bharath Gopi, Smita Patil, Sreenivasan and Mohan Das play the lead roles. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film and five Kerala State Film Awards including Best Film and Best Direction. Read More »

Satyajit Ray – Aparajito (1956)

Quote:
“Aparajito” is the second film of Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apu Trilogy’ (Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar) continues to document the life and maturation of one young Indian boy. The film opens with Apu, son of Harihar and Sarbajaya, wandering and exploring the Temple City of Bananas on the banks of the Ganga (Ganges river) where they reside. The story focuses on Apu leaving the embrace of his family nest to work and become educated in a more modern world than what he has become accustomed in his youth. The struggle to remain separate is exemplified by the dire need of his Mother, Sarbajaya who is deathly ill and depressed. She remains desperately lonely in her small village after the death of her husband and departure of her son. Continuing the cycle of life Satyajit Ray continues to explore the inner conflicts of conforming to a more contemporary world than our parents. The strength to overcome our bonding of birth is another universal theme of traditional respect and independent personal advancement. Read More »

Hasse Ekman – Flicka och hyacinter AKA Girl with Hyacinths (1950)

Quote:
Ekman’s favorite of his own films, and an enduring classic in Scandinavia, “Girl with Hyacinths” examines the mysterious suicide of a young woman (Eva Henning, Ekman’s wife at the time) through a Wellesian multiplicity of points of view. Visually striking, with extreme long takes and images that drift into a dreamlike surrealism, the film reveals its secrets with grace and sympathy, moving toward a final revelation that seems at least a generation ahead of its time. Read More »

Bo Widerberg – Kvarteret Korpen aka Raven’s End (1963)

By Roger Ebert / March 20, 1972
The young man looks at the empty lives of the people living on his block, and writes an angry book about the way they’ve been treated. A publisher invites him to Stockholm to discuss the manuscript, but finally patronizes him: “There is a cry of rage here, but it is still inarticulate.” Sobbing with frustration, the young man tells a sympathetic neighbor girl: “Sometimes a cry is so loud it cannot be heard.” They make love that night, the girl becomes pregnant, and before long the young man believes that he has been trapped just as his parents were. Read More »

Lloyd Bacon – Sit Tight (1931)

Plot: A movie musical about…wrestling? Turns out the public grew weary of musicals while Sit Tight was made, so most of the tunes were jettisoned prior to release. What remains is a wrestling comedy filled with plenty of pre-Code friskiness. Athletic funnyman Joe E. Brown plays Jojo Mullins, who has an eye for the ladies although his heart belongs to the manager (Winnie Lightner) of the health club where he works. Eager to show the ring prowess he learned by correspondence, Jojo gets his chance in a big-time match. Paul Gregory and Claudia Dell (rumored to be the model for Columbia Pictures logo) play the subplot’s young lovebirds in this energetic comedy that’s one of nearly 50 films directed by Lloyd Bacon in the 1930s. From Warner Brothers Studio! Read More »

Tadashi Imai – Bushidô zankoku monogatari AKA Cruel Tales Of Bushido [+Extras] (1963)

Quote:
Kinnosuke Nakamura plays seven roles in consecutive generations of Iikukuras: (Jirozaemon, Sajiemon, Kyutaro, Shuzo, Shingo, Osamu, Susumu), from medieval warrior Jirozaemon to modern day salary-man Susumu.

He is essentially playing his own descendants, each generation bound by a glorious ancestor’s oath of vassalage for himself & his family to a castle lord. Read More »