Nathan Kroll – Martha Graham: Dance On Film [+Extras] (1959)

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Synopsis
One of the great artistic forces of the twentieth century, performer, choreographer, and teacher Martha Graham influenced dance worldwide. Criterion presents a sampling of her stunning craft, all collaborations with television arts-programming pioneer Nathan Kroll. A Dancer’s World (1957), narrated by Graham herself, is a glimpse into her class work and methodology. Appalachian Spring (1958) and Night Journey (1961) are two complete Graham ballets, the first a celebration of the American pioneer spirit, scored by Aaron Copland, the second a powerfully physical rendering of the Oedipus myth. These are signature Graham works and tributes to the art of the human body. Read More »

Geoff King – American Independent Cinema (2005)

Review
“Geoff King’s important book stands with the best scholarship I have seen on this vital, constantly evolving subject.” — —David Sterritt, author of The Films of Alfred Hitchcock

Review

“In its dialectical relationship with the commercial mainstream, the independent film is distinguished by its more complex or decentered narrative structure. This hardheaded study, full of stats and stories, starts with the industrial context in which the US’s independent cinema has operated, especially since the mid, 1980s — an institutionalization that, according to King, makes it ‘easy to over — romanticize an earlier and supposedly purer notion of independence.’ The study springs to life in its close analyses of individual films and directors. It is even more valuable for its treatment of minor works than for its insights into the work of John Cassavetes and David Lynch, especially on the distinguishing formal devices. One chapter applies genre theory to this diversity. Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – The Skin Game (1931)

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This uncharacteristic Alfred Hitchcock endeavor was adapted by Hitch and his wife Alma Reville from a play by John Galsworthy. The British countryside turns into an ideological battlefield when Hornblower, a wealthy, self-man tradesman, stakes his claim to a piece of valuable forest property controlled for literally centuries by the “landed gentry.” The local squire and his wife dig in their heels and refuse to acknowledge Hornblower’s presence: How dare he use mere money to challenge the Rights of Blood? Their genteel snobbery is every bit as obnoxious as Hornblower’s brash effrontery, and the result is a film with virtually no heroes or villains whatever. Never in any future film did Hitchcock ever lobby so strong an attack on the smug implacability of the aristocracy.
-All Movie Guide Read More »

Norman Lear – Cold Turkey (1971)

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Plot Synopsis:
A tobacco company cynically offers a 25 million dollar prize to an entire town that can quit smoking for thirty days. One small Iowa town is determined to make it; but will their community lose its soul in the process? Read More »

Sam Wood – Stamboul Quest (1934)


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The real-life career of the notorious female spy known as “Fraulein Doktor” inspired several films of the 1930s. Stamboul Quest stars Myrna Loy as a seductive espionage agent, working on behalf of the Kaiser in 1915 Istanbul. American medical student George Brent crosses Loy’s path, and the two fall in love. Divided between romance and duty, Loy opts for the latter, and apparently causes Brent’s death. She goes mad with grief, and is packed away to a mental institution, where her fevered reminiscences provide the lengthy flashback sequences in this film. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Read More »

Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi – Estambul 65 AKA That Man in Istanbul (1965)

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Quote:
A handsome hero with a shady past and a knack for adventure (Horst Buchholz), a beautiful heroine assisting him (Sylva Koscina), evil masterminds and agents, kidnapped scientists, an exotic setting (Istanbul), fights & chases, etc: the stage is set for a 60’s Bond-inspired spy adventure. This one begins pretty well, but loses its spark when Koscina (one of the most underrated spy girls of the decade – see also “Deadlier Than The Male”) disappears for long sections. Klaus Kinski also elevates the few scenes he is in (and has the best line in the film: “I am considered a good shot by those I have killed”!), but, like Koscina, he is underused. Buchholz is pretty good, both in the tongue-in-cheek and in the more violent moments, but the film is too long at 119 minutes, and about halfway through I began to lose the plot. At least it’s better produced than many of these Bondian imitations, though the current VHS prints, fullscreen and worn-out, don’t exactly do the production justice. Read More »

Atif Yilmaz – Kadinin Adi Yok Aka The Woman Has No Name (1988)


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A woman’s fight for her identity and freedom as a woman.
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