Jack Clayton – The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

mZufkN Jack Clayton   The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Jack Clayton   The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

“Her name is Jo Armitage, and at the beginning of the movie she’s wandering aimlessly around her comfortable London house, dressed to go shopping but too moody and distracted to make it out the door. Flashbacks reveal some of her history. Years earlier she lived in a ramshackle barn with her second husband, a violinist named Giles, and their five rambunctious children. One day Giles invited his friend Jake to visit, and amid all the tumult in the crowded, noisy home, Jo and Jake fell instantly in love. Typically for the film, which moves at a leisurely pace but doesn’t waste a moment on unnecessary material, we skip over the dissolution of Jo’s marriage to Giles and pick up her story as she and Jake get ready to tie the knot. Jake is a screenwriter trying to establish his career, and while he’s obviously crazy about Jo, it’s not clear he’s equipped to handle the five energetic kids who come along with her. Sure enough, he starts finding reasons for working away from home, and when a friend-of-a-friend named Philpot needs a place to stay, Jake not only lets her move in but has an affair with her. Jo grows so depressed that when she finally does go shopping on that gloomy day, she breaks down in the middle of a posh department store and winds up in a mental hospital. Continue reading

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John M. Stahl – Leave Her to Heaven [+Commentary] (1945)

ch0s John M. Stahl   Leave Her to Heaven [+Commentary] (1945)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 John M. Stahl   Leave Her to Heaven [+Commentary] (1945)

A fevered yet clinical study of jealousy, Leave Her to Heaven is probably John M. Stahl’s best-known film. In many ways, it is far removed from the sober, intense concentration of Stahl’s major and underseen ’30s soap operas; his early movies were deliberately plain and spare, while Leave Her to Heaven is overpoweringly artificial and rococo, with intimations of neurotic fantasies churning away underneath its lacquered, rotogravure images. Immediately pulsing with the thumping drums of Alfred Newman’s stormy score, the film proceeds very slowly at first, as Stahl builds a dreamlike Technicolor atmosphere around his three leads, Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, and Jeanne Crain. These actors are eerily one-dimensional, and Stahl uses their limitations as performers to his advantage, making them look like sleepwalkers in a sort of Life magazine nightmare. Continue reading

Ivan Pyryev – The Idiot (1958)

 Ivan Pyryev   The Idiot (1958)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Ivan Pyryev   The Idiot (1958)

SYNOPSIS: Upon Prince Myshkin’s return to St. Petersburg from an asylum in Switzerland, he becomes beguiled by the lovely young Aglaya, daughter of a wealthy father. But his deepest emotion is for the wanton, Nastasia. The choices all are forced to make lead to great tragedy.

IMDB wrote:
In the period 1955-60 some absolutely incredible movies were made in the Soviet Union. This is no exception. Based on the classic novel, the script of course holds masterpiece quality. Visually, it’s also a masterpiece. The music is one of the most dramatic soundtracks I’ve heard. And not least, Yuliya Borisova in the role of Nastasia Philippovna gives the most charismatic acting performance I’ve ever seen. Throughout the movie I simply couldn’t wait for her to get into the frame again whenever absent. I’ve never ever been this hypnotised by an actor or an actress before (and I’ve actually given that careful thought). The other actors also give stellar performances. As the events unfolded, I felt this movie pushed the script to its ultimate limits. At the end, you will find yourself filled up with uncontrolled emotions that you don’t even know the name of. The movie is so dramatic that some people may find it unrealistic, but I assure you: these characters are out there in the real world, and this play may have relevance to anyone’s life. At some point, most people with brains will seek out this story. My tip is, don’t read the book. Don’t see any theatre play or movie based on it but this one. Though the movie may take a lifetime to find – *it’s worth it*! Continue reading

Akira Kurosawa – Shichinin no samurai AKA Seven Samurai [+Extras] (1954)

7Samurai Akira Kurosawa   Shichinin no samurai AKA Seven Samurai [+Extras] (1954)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Akira Kurosawa   Shichinin no samurai AKA Seven Samurai [+Extras] (1954)

SYNOPSIS
One of the most beloved movie epics of all time, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.
(Criterion Collection) Continue reading

Edgar G. Ulmer – Her Sister’s Secret (1946)

kLnsHZO Edgar G. Ulmer   Her Sisters Secret (1946)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Edgar G. Ulmer   Her Sisters Secret (1946)

REVIEWS:
A well-crafted film, 24 February 2001
Author: jeffreynothing from Toronto, Canada

I saw this film at a screening several years ago at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The picture was actually introduced by Mr.Ulmer’s daughter. It’s a typical 1940’s melodrama that is well directed. It is apparent in viewing the film that Ulmer knew exactly what he was doing when he made a movie. It was only the second Ulmer film I had seen, the first being the superior Detour. I can’t remember the plot in too much detail because it was a while ago, but it involves an illegitimate child. It has a good social message in that it sheds light on how so-called “bastard” children are sometimes the subjects of social discrimination. I’m surprised it hasn’t received more votes. I guess I was lucky to catch that screening. Continue reading

Georgi Kropachyov & Konstantin Yershov – Viy AKA Viy or Spirit of Evil (1967)

posterqzoi Georgi Kropachyov & Konstantin Yershov   Viy AKA Viy or Spirit of Evil (1967)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Georgi Kropachyov & Konstantin Yershov   Viy AKA Viy or Spirit of Evil (1967)

This Russian film adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s story was for a long time the only horror film made in the Soviet Union. Khoma (Leonid Kuravlev), a young novice, travels across the countryside and stays for a night in a barn that belongs to an ugly old woman. When she attacks him at night and takes him for a broom ride, the scared novice fatally wounds her, and before she dies, she turns into a beautiful young noblewoman (Natalya Varley). The latter leaves a will, according to which Khoma should pray for her for three nights in the chapel until her body is buried. At night, the witch rises from the coffin and tries to catch Khoma. She flies around but she can’t reach him or see him because he stays inside the circle that he has drawn around himself. During the third and last night, the witch makes the last attempt to scare him out of the circle, and she calls all sorts of ugly creatures to help her… Gogol wrote several stories based on Ukrainian folklore, many of them dealing with the Devil and the supernatural. ~ Yuri German, All Movie Guide Continue reading

pixel Georgi Kropachyov & Konstantin Yershov   Viy AKA Viy or Spirit of Evil (1967)