Jack Clayton – The Innocents (1961)

 Jack Clayton   The Innocents (1961)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Jack Clayton   The Innocents (1961)

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Jack Clayton’s celebrated screen adaptation of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw (1898) is a brilliant exercise in psychological horror. Impressionable and repressed governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) agrees to tutor two orphaned children, Miles and Flora. On arrival at Bly House, she becomes convinced that the children are possessed by the perverse spirits of former governess Miss Jessel and her Heathcliffe-like lover Quint (Peter Wyngarde), who both met with mysterious deaths.

The film’s sinister atmosphere is carefully created – not through shock tactics, but through its cinematography, soundtrack, and decor: Freddie Francis’ beautiful CinemaScope photography, with its eerily indistinct long shots and mysterious manifestations at the edges of the frame; an evocative and spooky soundtrack; and the grand yet decaying Bly House.

Deborah Kerr gives the performance of her career and makes The Innocents an intensely unsettling experience. Are the ghosts the products of Miss Giddens’s fevered imagination and emotional immaturity, or a displacement of her shock at the sexually precocious behaviour of ten-year-old Miles? Is she the protector or the corrupter? Continue reading

Ferdinando Merighi – Casa d’appuntamento aka French Sex Murders (1972)

 Ferdinando Merighi   Casa dappuntamento aka French Sex Murders (1972)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Ferdinando Merighi   Casa dappuntamento aka French Sex Murders (1972)
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The French Sex Murders

Representing the trashier side of European exploitation, this Dick Randall produced Italian/German giallo is the kind of film that, lacking style, substance or budget, instead throws in everything bar the kitchen sink in a bid to attract audiences.

The big gimmick is the presence of Humphrey Bogart-a like Robert Sacchi as the detective in charge of investigating the a series of call-girl murders. He can’t really act – or doesn’t get the chance to – but does make for a passable Bogart, with the look and mannerisms down pat. Continue reading

Lars von Trier – Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013)

SHbJ9a Lars von Trier   Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Lars von Trier   Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013)

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A man named Seligman finds a fainted wounded woman in an alley and he brings her home. She tells him that her name is Joe and that she is nymphomaniac. Joe tells her life and sexual experiences with hundreds of men since she was a young teenager while Seligman tells about his hobbies, such as fly fishing, reading about Fibonacci numbers or listening to organ music. Continue reading

Lars von Trier – Nymphomaniac : Vol. I (2013)

 Lars von Trier   Nymphomaniac : Vol. I (2013)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Lars von Trier   Nymphomaniac : Vol. I (2013)

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Quote:
A man named Seligman finds a fainted wounded woman in an alley and he brings her home. She tells him that her name is Joe and that she is nymphomaniac. Joe tells her life and sexual experiences with hundreds of men since she was a young teenager while Seligman tells about his hobbies, such as fly fishing, reading about Fibonacci numbers or listening to organ music. Continue reading

Jacques Deray – Un homme est mort aka The Outside Man [English version] (1972)

iHTST4 Jacques Deray   Un homme est mort aka The Outside Man [English version] (1972)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Jacques Deray   Un homme est mort aka The Outside Man [English version] (1972)

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Jean-Louis Tritignant stars as Lucien, a hit man who goes to Los Angeles to end the life of an important local mobster. The mobster’s heirs, who hired Lucien, had already hired yet another hit man (Roy Scheider) to kill him. He speaks very little English, and the lifestyles and customs of Los Angelenos puzzle him completely. One of the films highlights is its use of many unusual decayed and shabby sites in the Los Angeles area, such as Venice Beach. Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock – Dial M for Murder (1954)

dialmformuwsfg Alfred Hitchcock   Dial M for Murder (1954)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Alfred Hitchcock   Dial M for Murder (1954)

M stands for murder and also for mindfuck in this, one of Hitchcock’s best films. Based on a stage play by Frederick Knott (whose credits also include another great thriller, Wait Until Dark), Dial M For Murder includes one of the most intricate plots of any murder mystery as well as maximum amounts of Hitchcock’s trademark suspense.

A quietly evil Ray Milland plays a cold fish who plots to kill his wife (Grace Kelly) for her insurance money. As he explains at the beginning of the movie, he also wants to commit the “perfect murder” – i.e. one that is complicated and dangerous, yet foolproof and never suspected. John Williams is the Scotland Yard inspector who may be onto him.

It doesn’t matter that the movie starts with a lengthy exposition… or even that the identity of the villain is revealed in the first twenty minutes. Dial M will pull you to the edge of whatever you’re sitting on and keep you there. (If you don’t pay attention, you won’t be able to follow all the twists and turns of the plot.) Hitchcock’s direction was never better. In fact, the film is a good model to follow for mystery directors; Hitchcock draws exactly the right amount of attention (but not too much) to the subtle actions and details that are crucial to the murder plot.

Dial M For Murder is not always regarded as one of Hitch’s best. Critics seem to prefer the more theatrical, psychological melodramas to the brainy whodunits. But pay no attention – this film is definitely a classic. Continue reading

pixel Alfred Hitchcock   Dial M for Murder (1954)