Vera Stroyeva – Boris Godunov (1954)

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quote from Amazon user: A complement I say, as this not being complete (well, I’d better say severely truncated) it cannot be your sole Boris in a collection; necessary I add, because it preserved a sizable portion of the title part, as portrayed by one of its foremost exponents ever, the great russian bass Alexander Pirogov. This incompleteness is only implied but not clearly stated in the disc’s box, which should advise would-be purchasers. So what you get is some kind of “extended highlights” of this, arguably the greatest of russian operas and certainly the most popular. It is a film by Vera Stroieva, made in 1954 as part of a project dear to soviet authorities of putting into film both the lives of Russia’s greatest artists and adaptations of their works, to “educate the masses” and of course not being entirely without some ideological hints (or rather more than mere hints). Continue reading

Frank Tashlin – Artists and Models (1955)

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Rick Todd uses the dreams of his roommate Eugene as the basis for a successful comic book.

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky wrote:
There’s a meaty essay to be written about the lengths to which modern-day Americans will go to distance themselves from Jerry Lewis. Lewis represents the unrefined tastes of some earlier era of moviegoing, explained away through pejorative references to “slapstick” and “the French.” (Never mind that Lewis was never as popular abroad as he was in the U.S.) The truth, of course, is that though Lewis produced his share of dross, the gold remains pretty damn funny, and the stuff that isn’t funny tends to be strange and formally audacious in a way Hollywood comedies rarely are. It’s possible to be turned off by Lewis’ mugging (which is fairly relentless) and still appreciate the command of style displayed by his best films, whether it’s the ones he directed himself, or his collaborations with cartoonist-turned-director Frank Tashlin. Continue reading

Charles Walters – Lili (1953)

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Plot:
Members of a circus troupe “adopt” Lili Daurier when she finds herself stranded in a strange town. The magician who first comes to her rescue already has romantic entanglements and thinks of her as a little girl. Who can she turn to but the puppets, singing to them her troubles, forgetting that there are puppeteers. A crowd gathers around Lili as she sings. The circus has a new act. She now has a job. Will she get her heart’s desire? Continue reading

Paul Sloane – Down to Their Last Yacht aka Hawaiian Nights (1934)

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Review by mark.waltz at IMDb:

Quote:
A campy shipboard musical

A family of bluebloods made destitute by the depression are scammed into leasing out their yacht and posing as crew to tacky “new money”, one of whom is their former cook. The scam turns out to be a plot by the gruff captain (Ned Sparks, the Walter Matthau of his day) to shipwreck them on a desert island run by a madcap queen (Mary Boland) and escape with their money. Of course, things go afoul as the queen has plans of her own. Continue reading

Agnieszka Smoczynska – Córki dancingu AKA The Lure (2015)

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Quote:
One dark night, at water’s edge, a family of musicians encounter aquatic sirens Silver and Golden. After assuring the family that they won’t eat them up, the winsome sirens are recruited to join the Figs and Dates band at a neon-lit Warsaw dance club. When Silver becomes romantically entangled with beautiful blonde bassist Mietek, the more cunning Golden, who cannot escape her bloodthirsty nature, worries that her sister’s relationship will doom their shared dream of swimming to a new life in America. Continue reading

Hans-Jürgen Syberberg – Parsifal (1982)

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Synopsis:
Richard Wagner’s last opera has remained controversial since its first performance for its unique, and, for some, unsavory blending of religious and erotic themes and imagery. Based on one of the medieval epic romances of King Arthur and the search for the holy grail (the chalice touched by the lips of Christ at the last supper), it recounts over three long acts how a “wild child” unwittingly invades the sacred precincts of the grail, fulfilling a prophecy that only such a one can save the grail’s protectors from a curse fallen upon them. Interpreters of the work have found everything from mystical revelation to proto-fascist propaganda in it. Continue reading

Julian Benedikt & Andreas Morell – Blue Note – A Story of Modern Jazz (1997)

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The artists list on this DVD reads like a Who’s Who of the best international jazz musicians of all times. It features Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins — musicians whose names have become synonymous with the great Jazz Age in the 1950s and 60s. With Carlos Santana, Cassandra Wilson and André Previn and jazz experts like Joachim Ernst Berendt and Bertrand Tavernier, the list of interviewees and artists on this DVD becomes encyclopaedic. But how many people have heard of Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff, to whom we owe the recorded memory of our Jazz legends? These two Jewish Germans emigrated from Nazi Germany to New York in 1939 and promoted Jazz Music, which at the time had received little serious attention from mainstream America. Without money or connections and speaking little English, the two men began to record practically unknown musicians, following their own taste and judgement, and thus establishing the legendary Blue Note label. Continue reading