Drama

Richard Brooks – The Happy Ending (1969)

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From IMDB’s user comments:

THE HAPPY ENDING might not seem special today, and may well seem very dated in some ways, but we must remember this is the pre-DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE era. I’m sure the film seemed pioneering in its day, questioning the role of the traditional housewife and demanding that women are entitled to the same satisfaction and autonomy that men expected. Writer-director Richard Brooks often dealt with social issues and political themes–that he took on women’s issues is no surprise. The film is especially an acting tour-de-force: Jean Simmons as the unsatisfied woman; John Forsythe as the non-understanding but well-meaning husband; Teresa Wright as Simmons’ mother; Dick Shawn and Tina Louise as a miserable couple; Shirley Jones as the woman who survived by having affairs with married men; Lloyd Bridges as a married man with Jones as his mistress; Bobby Darin as a lost and lonely gigolo looking for that one big score. I was also impressed by the film’s structure–with two parallel stories a year apart and various flashbacks all presented in such a way that the details of the relationship’s coming apart are given to us a little at a time, and we are gradually brought to the point where we understand WHY the present state has become what it is. Read More »

Vincente Minnelli – A Matter of Time (1976)

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The final film of Vincente Minnelli

Quote:
Vincente Minnelli’s final film, A Matter of Time (1976), is both a love letter to the prodigious talents of his daughter Liza, and a fond farewell to the Golden Age of Hollywood–the era during which he did his best work, long gone by 1976. The film is based on the Maurice Druon novel, La volupté d’être (Film of Memory, 1954), which in turn was loosely based on the life of early 20th century art patroness and muse Marchesa Luisa Casati. The Contessa Sanziani (Ingrid Bergman) is a Belle Epoque courtesan who, like the real-life Casati, has fallen on hard times and is living in a shabby Roman hotel. Half-mad and enveloped in memories, the Contessa recounts her past triumphs to an impressionable hotel maid, Nina (Liza Minnelli), who imagines herself playing out the Contessa’s fabled life. As the Contessa fades, Nina blossoms…. Read More »

Lindsay Anderson – In Celebration (1975)

from allmovie:
One of the more cinematic entries in the mid-1970s American Film Theatre series, In Celebration is adapted from the play by David Storey. Lindsay Anderson, who directed the original stage version, reassembles his cast for this filmization. Alan Bates, James Bolam and Brian Cox play Andrew, Colin and Steven, the well-educated sons of roughhewn coal miner “Mr. Shaw” (Bill Owen) and his wife (Constance Chapman). On the occasion of their parents’ wedding anniversary, the three sons return to their dank little home village. All three boys have become successful, but only Bolam is comfortable with his success. To his parents’ dismay, Andrew announces that he has given up his law practice to become an artist; he also confesses to harboring homosexual inclinations. Prompted by the embittered Andrew, the other sons churn up memories of their childhood that they–and their parents–had hoped to keep buried. — Hal Erickson Read More »

William Markus – Verta käsissämme AKA Blood on Our Hands (1958)

Quote:
After returning home from being a prisoner of war, Captain Viktor Aaltona (Jussi Jurkka) get a job from his friend, Rolf Bergas (Tauno Palo) with whom he had served. The men trust each other until Viktor meets Rolf’s wife Astrid (Elina Pohjanpää).

William Markus’s adaptation of a short novel by Mika Waltari, generally considered one of the weakest of the many films based on literary works and original screenplays by Waltari. Like Markus’s previous film, Mirjam (1957), Blood on Their Hands suffers from the near-constant use of overemphatic background, usually without much relation to what’s happening in the scene. Read More »

Clarence Brown – Song of Love (1947)

Quote:

Undeniably one of Hollywood’s greatest actresses, Katharine Hepburn nonetheless only had one voice. She used it to massive effect but anything that really warranted an utterly different accent tended to make her look horribly miscast. Of all the great actors she was the one who seemed to be horribly miscast most often, whether it be as a Chinese peasant girl, a queen of Scotland or a backwoods hillbilly. Here, playing the nineteenth century pianist and composer Clara Schumann, I expected another horrible miscasting, but found that the film’s very human story utterly engaging regardless what accents are brought to bear. Read More »

Kurt Maetzig – Der Rat der Götter AKA Council of the Gods (1950)

1933, the bosses of a large German chemical concern pave the way for Hitler’s rise to power: Thus begins the story line of the feature film Der Rat der Götter (The Council of the Gods), which deals with the history of I.G. Farben. The film adheres throughout to the Communist theory of fascism. Hitler is largely unidimensional: a creature of capital. Thus the story continues: While the directors assist Germany’s military buildup, they continue to cultivate their business dealings with the U.S. company Standard Oil in order to have joint control of the world market. Some directors now carve out careers with the Nazis, while the engineer Dr. Scholz, who comes from a working-class family, has nothing but scientific progress in mind. Read More »

Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda – Juju Factory (2007)

Kongo is writing a book on the subject of immigrants but while his editor wants a kind of traveler’s book in which ethnic exotic ingredients are offered to a European audience, Kongo has more ambitious ideas – he conceives of the idea of writing a book that follows the paths of Congolese history and its many ghosts. A brave and powerful film, made with single-mind integrity. Filmed mainly in the Congo, the film also provides a slice of life of the contemporary Congolese community in Brussels. Read More »