W.S. Van Dyke – The Feminine Touch (1941)

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Disgusted by having to pass “pinhead” football heroes in order for his college to soar to football victory, Professor John Hathaway (Don Ameche) takes his leave of Digby College. With his wife Julie (Rosalind Russell) in tow, Hathaway sets out to conquer Manhattan’s literary circles, his scholarly manuscript on the subject of “jealousy” tucked under his arm in the romantic comedy The Feminine Touch (1941). Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – Penthouse (1933)

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Quote:
By now, Myrna Loy’s enduring portrayal of Nora Charles in the Thin Man series has pushed the fact that she was hardly an overnight success into the recesses of movie history. Loy served one of the lengthier movie star apprenticeships, appearing in over 70 films before she caught on with the public (for a more recent example of eventual-star stamina, check out Jack Nicholson’s pre-Easy Rider [1969] resume.) Given Loy’s immense gifts as a comic actress, and her obvious sex appeal, it’s surprising it took her so long. However, until she appeared in the mob comedy-melodrama, Penthouse (1933), she was typecast either as a “bad girl” or as a multi-cultural exotic with a non-specific accent. Some producers even tried to pass her off as Asian! Continue reading

Richard Brooks – The Brothers Karamazov (1958)

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Ryevsk, Russia, 1870. Tensions abound in the Karamazov family. Fyodor is a wealthy libertine who holds his purse strings tightly. His four grown sons include Dmitri, the eldest, an elegant officer, always broke and at odds with his father, betrothed to Katya, herself lovely and rich. The other brothers include a sterile aesthete, a factotum who is a bastard, and a monk. Family tensions erupt when Dmitri falls in love with one of his father’s mistresses, the coquette Grushenka. Two brothers see Dmitri’s jealousy of their father as an opportunity to inherit sooner. Acts of violence lead to the story’s conclusion: trials of honor, conscience, forgiveness, and redemption. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – À bout de souffle [+Extras] (1960)

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Synopsis
Allmovie
The first feature film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and one of the seminal films of the French New Wave, Breathless is story of the love between Michel Poiccard, a small-time hood wanted for killing a cop, and Patricia Franchini, an American who sells the International Herald Tribune along the boulevards of Paris. Their relationship develops as Michel hides out from a dragnet. Breathless uses the famous techniques of the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose narrative form. In addition Godard uses his characteristic jump cuts, deliberate “mismatches” between shots, and references to the history of cinema, art, and music. Much of the film’s vigor comes from collisions between popular and high culture: Godard shows us pinups and portraits of women by Picasso and Renoir, and the soundtrack includes both Mozart’s clarinet concerto and snippets of French pop radio. When Breathless was first released, audiences and critics responded to the burst of energy it gave the French cinema; it won numerous international awards and became an unexpected box-office sensation. – Louis Schwartz Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Opération béton (1954)

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Jean Luc Godard’s first short film. A documentary financed by his work as construction worker in Switzerland. Continue reading