Victor Fleming – Gone with the Wind (1939)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Gone With the Wind boils down to a story about a spoiled Southern girl’s hopeless love for a married man. Producer David O. Selznick managed to expand this concept, and Margaret Mitchell’s best-selling novel, into nearly four hours’ worth of screen time, on a then-astronomical 3.7-million-dollar budget, creating what would become one of the most beloved movies of all time. Gone With the Wind opens in April of 1861, at the palatial Southern estate of Tara, where Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) hears that her casual beau Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) plans to marry “mealy mouthed” Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland). Despite warnings from her father (Thomas Mitchell) and her faithful servant Mammy (Hattie McDaniel), Scarlett intends to throw herself at Ashley at an upcoming barbecue at Twelve Oaks. Alone with Ashley, she goes into a fit of histrionics, all of which is witnessed by roguish Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), the black sheep of a wealthy Charleston family, who is instantly fascinated by the feisty, thoroughly self-centered Scarlett: “We’re bad lots, both of us.” The movie’s famous action continues from the burning of Atlanta (actually the destruction of a huge wall left over from King Kong) through the now-classic closing line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Holding its own against stiff competition (many consider 1939 to be the greatest year of the classical Hollywood studios), Gone With the Wind won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar). The film grossed nearly 192 million dollars, assuring that, just as he predicted, Selznick’s epitaph would be “The Man Who Made Gone With the Wind.” (AMG) Continue reading

Géza von Radványi – Mädchen in Uniform (1958)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Plot:
After the death of her parents young girl Manuela von Meinhardis is sent to a boarding school where Prussian drill rules the education. Desperately seeking love and warmth in Manuela’s heart special emotions for the only human lady teacher, Fraeulein von Bernburg, start growing. Manuela falls in love with her. It’s just a matter of time until that forbidden love becomes known what immediatly leads to desaster. Though Elisabeth von Bernburg has never returned the love she is forced to leave the school; Manuela gets a severe punishment, like someone who has committed a crime. Continue reading

Yannis Economides – Macherovgaltis aka Knifer (2010)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Following his father’s death, Nikos leaves the provinces to work in Athens guarding his brutish uncle’s dogs. Nikos finds the dynamic of his relationship with his uncle changing when his uncle’s wife draws closer to him. This relentlessly gritty film noir won seven Hellenic Film Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture. Continue reading

Mario Soldati – Malombra (1942)

http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/7094/4df7e2b92070f174902n.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

IMDb:

This utterly gorgeous Gothic melodrama would be widely hailed as a masterpiece, had it not been made in Italy during the Mussolini regime. A gross injustice, as Malombra – unlike Piccolo Mondo Antico, Mario Soldati’s earlier film of an Antonio Fogazzaro novel – contains not one moment of triumphalist flag-waving or Fascist family values. Oddly akin to Rebecca in its atmosphere of death-haunted romance and voluptuous doom, it reaches a peak of visual refinement of which Hitchcock could only dream.

Its star is Isa Miranda (famous, and not without reason, as Italy’s answer to Garbo and Dietrich) playing a headstrong but unstable young noblewoman, confined by her uncle to a gloomy villa on the shores of Lake Como. A yellowed and crumbling letter, found in an old spinet, convinces her that she is the reincarnation of her uncle’s first wife – another troubled beauty who died a virtual prisoner after being caught in a forbidden love affair. When a handsome young writer (Andrea Checchi) comes to stay, Miranda decides that HE is the reincarnation of the dead woman’s lover. Gradually, she lures him into her web of sex and revenge… Continue reading

Sam Peckinpah – Junior Bonner (1972)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot Synopsis from Allmovie:

Sam Peckinpah eschews his slow-motion bullet ballets for this quiet character study of ex-rodeo cowboy turned drifter Junior Bonner (Steve McQueen), who returns home to Arizona to reconcile with the family he hasn’t seen in years. Bonner is shocked to see that the solid family he was hoping to come back to is breaking apart. His parents, Ace (Robert Preston) and Elvira (Ida Lupino), have separated, and his brother Curley (Joe Don Baker) has turned into a heartless real estate tycoon, parceling off sections of his parent’s land for quick money. With nowhere to turn and nowhere to run, Bonner has to face himself and try to find a way to regain his self-respect. He is given that opportunity at the town’s Fourth of July Rodeo, where he is determined to mount and ride and unrideable bull. Continue reading

Ernst Lubitsch – Madame DuBarry aka Passion (1919)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
In 1919, before Ernst Lubitsch was known for his famous “touch,” the master director made something like nine films–a perfect opportunity for an artist to really practice his craft. Even he had to start somewhere.

Madame du Barry was retitled Passion to avoid the anti-German sentiment after World War I. Even though it was a French title and a French story, in Europe the movie was connected to the German director Ernst Lubitsch. Lubitsch’s name appeared nowhere in the American posters or movie titles so the movie wouldn’t bomb in America.

The great German actress Pola Negri plays the title character, a poor seamstress who becomes the courtesan of King Louis XV (Emil Jannings), and forces him to promote her secret lover to lieutenant in the royal guard so that he will be close to her. The story ends in tragedy for the lovers, but also a Bastille Day triumph. Continue reading