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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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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Floyd Mutrux – Dusty and Sweets McGee (1971)

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From allmovie.com:

Maverick director Floyd Mutrux made his feature debut with this offbeat semi-documentary look at the realities of the Los Angeles drug scene. Mutrux and his camera crew follow a handful of real-life heroin addicts as they go through their daily routines of scoring dope and whiling away the hours until their next fix. (The dealers are played by actors, among them William Fraker, a noted cinematographer who helped shoot the film, and Billy Gray, a former child star from Father Knows Best.) Dusty and Sweets are a thirty-something couple whose often strained relationship is held together by their shared dependence on heroin. Kit is a blasé male hustler who turns tricks to support his habit. Tip is a self-described “everyday card-carrying dope fiend” who demonstrates his technique for ripping off supermarkets and explains how to keep up a habit behind bars. And a cheerfully blank teenage couple seem to spend their days either shooting up, nodding off, or wondering where to get more dope. Though featuring enough on-screen skin popping to make nearly any audience wince, Dusty and Sweets McGee’s beautiful photography and languid mood captures the blissfully narcotic allure of Los Angeles in a way that makes the film compelling, while allowing its subjects to seem both human and tragic. Dusty and Sweets McGee also includes a soundtrack of vintage rock and roll radio, and a brief appearance by the group Blues Image, playing their sole hit “Ride Captain Ride”. Read More »

Andy Warhol – Blow Job (1963)

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Review by Tom Vick (Allmovie.com)

Probably the most notorious of Andy Warhol’s films, Blow Job has been called, jokingly, the longest reaction shot in the history of cinema. In it, an anonymous young man’s face is seen in close-up while he receives fellatio from an unseen partner. The serene voyeurism that runs through Warhols ’60s films reaches a kind of apotheosis in Blow Job. Sexuality, which is a distinct subtext in a number of his films, becomes the subject of this one but, in a typically Warholian joke on pornography, all the “action” occurs off-screen. Read More »

Marilyn Fabe – Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique (2004)

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From the preface:

How do films work? How do they tell a story? How do they move us and make us think? This book argues that shot-by-shot analysis is the best way for film students to learn about and appreciate the filmmaker’s art. Having taught film studies for many years, Marilyn Fabe has learned that viewers trained in close analysis of single film sequences are better able to see and appreciate the rich visual and aural complexity of the film medium. Close analysis unlocks the secrets of how film images, combined with sound, can have such a profound effect on our minds and emotions. Read More »

Liv Ullmann – Changing (1977)

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By Liv Ullmann
(Translated by the author in colloboration with Gerry Bothmer and Erik Friis)

Published by Knopf, 1977
(Origianly published in Norwegian as Forandringen, 1976)

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She opens herself to us as she writes about working with Bergman (“No studio is as silent as his… To film with Ingmar is long stretches of happiness where everything seems real”): about living with Bergman (“His dream was the woman who had been created in one peice, but I crumbled into bits and pieces if he wasn’t careful”):about travelling with him: about his monumental genius and idiosyncrasies; She lets us feel the almost overwhelming flow of her own feelings for her young daughter; She tells us about her first love, about the husband she left, the family she came from, the people she relies on.. Read More »