Nobuo Nakagawa – Onna shikeishû no datsugoku AKA Death Row Woman (1960)

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Synopsis:

A Hitchcockian narrative and noirish atmosphere characterise this effective, taut thriller, made the same year as the director’s magnum opus, JIGOKU (Hell). Set in the present day, DEATH ROW WOMAN is at once a prison film, an innocent-man/woman-on-the-run story, a police procedural, and a family melodrama, that is equal parts Hitchcock, Samuel Fuller and Douglas Sirk. Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock – Under Capricorn (1949)

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Quote:
Although John Colton’s and Margaret Linden’s onscreen credit reads “by”, they had actually written an unproduced and unpublished play based on Helen Simpson’s novel. The novel was adapted for the screen by Hume Cronyn and was the basis for the screenplay. In this film, Alfred Hitchcock continued to experiment with long takes, a technique that he began in Rope, which was also adapted by Cronyn. Ingrid Bergman’s monologue, during which she relates the story of her marriage to “Flusky,” the subsequent shooting of her brother and their experiences in Australia, lasts nine and one-half minutes and was shot in one take. A dinner table sequence runs more than seven minutes without a cut. Most of the picture was filmed in London and the English countryside, according to an October 11, 1948 news item in Hollywood Reporter, but some scenes were shot on the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA. On August 26, 1948, Hollywood Reporter reported that Hugh Reticker would be the art director on the film when the production returned to the United States, but the extent of his contribution is undetermined. Continue reading

Manuel Pradal – A Crime (2006)

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Quote:
The devastated life of a man haunted by the unsolved murder of his beloved wife is strangely complicated by the mysterious neighbor who loves him from afar in a dark noir thriller directed by Manuel Pradal and starring Norman Reedus, Emmanuelle Béart and Harvey Keitel. Vincent (Reedus)’ wife has suffered a most brutal fate, and these days the once happy New Yorker is but a frozen shell of his former self. Vincent is not a man unloved, however, because although he may currently be unaware of her feelings for him, his neighbor Alice (Béart) knows in her heart that she and Vincent were meant to be together. All that needs to happen to make Vincent recognize her love is for the grieving widower to finally be liberated from his tragic past; and Alice is willing to go to any lengths necessary in order to make this happen. If Vincent was finally to find the man responsible for his wife’s death, he could finally be free to open his heart to Alice. When Alice hails a cab driven by lonely New York soul Roger (Keitel), the gears of the scheming woman’s elaborate plan are slowly set into motion despite the ignorance of both the naïve cabbie, and the somber object of her delusional affections. Continue reading

Terence Young – Wait Until Dark (1967)

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Wait Until Dark (1967) is a suspense-thriller film directed by Terence Young and produced by Mel Ferrer. It stars Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman, Alan Arkin as a violent criminal searching for some drugs, and Richard Crenna as another criminal, supported by Jack Weston, Julie Herrod, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.. The screenplay by Robert Carrington and Jane-Howard Carrington is based on the stage play of the same name by Frederick Knott.

Hepburn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (losing to Katharine Hepburn), and Zimbalist was nominated for a Golden Globe in the supporting category. The film is ranked #55 on AFI’s 2001 100 Years…100 Thrills list, and its climax is ranked tenth on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Continue reading

Piero Vivarelli – Satanik (1968)

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Synopsis
A withered old hag turns into a beautiful young woman after drinking a youth formula.

Review (thanks to k_t_t2001@ imdb)
A faithful adaptation of the fumetti neri
The level of success of SATANIK as a film is entirely dependant upon the audience viewing it. An audience expecting something along the lines of OPERAZIONE PAURA or CASTLE OF BLOOD will be disappointed. This isn’t a horror film. Even an audience expecting a giallo in the Argento / Fulci tradition is bound to be dissatisfied by the lack of creative violence and relatively mild gore. In 1968 the target audience for this film were the readers of the hugely successful fumetti neri that had already led to popular cinematic spin-offs of DIABOLIK and KRIMINAL. When viewed in this light, SATANIK becomes a much more successful, though no better, film. Continue reading

Michel Spinosa – Anna M. (2007)

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Synopsis:
A gentle, shy woman who is industrious at work and pleasant with her colleagues, Anna M. convinces herself that a happily married doctor is in love with her.
From then on, every move this man makes, the slightest word, even his most virulent denials, will be interpreted by Anna as evidence of his love.
Possessed by this imaginary love, Anna starts to glow… and respond to the doctor’s “advances.” Continue reading