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Classics

Mike Nichols – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

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George and Martha are a middle aged married couple, whose charged relationship is defined by vitriolic verbal battles, which underlies what seems like an emotional dependence upon each other. This verbal abuse is fueled by an excessive consumption of alcohol. George being an associate History professor in a New Carthage university where Martha’s father is the President adds an extra dimension to their relationship. Late one Saturday evening after a faculty mixer, Martha invites Nick and Honey, an ambitious young Biology professor new to the university and his mousy wife, over for a nightcap. As the evening progresses, Nick and Honey, plied with more alcohol, get caught up in George and Martha’s games of needing to hurt each other and everyone around them. The ultimate abuse comes in the form of talk of George and Martha’s unseen sixteen year old son, whose birthday is the following day. Read More »

John Ford – Cameo Kirby (1923)

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The director formerly known as Sean O’Feeney is billed as John Ford for the first time here, and he helps make this one of John Gilbert’s best pre-MGM features. Cameo Kirby (John Gilbert), once a man of high social standing, has become a professional gambler and works the Mississippi riverboats of the 1800’s. An old man (William E. Lawrence) is being cheated in a crooked card game, and Kirby gets involved in the play, with the intention of giving the man his money back. Unaware of Kirby’s plans, the old man commits suicide. It turns out that Kirby’s sweetheart (Gertrude Olmstead) is the man’s daughter. But in spite of the tragedy, she comes to understand Kirby’s altruistic motives. Based on a story by Booth Tarkington, the melodrama is offset by solid performances and an exciting paddle-wheeler river race (a bit of action that one would expect from John Ford). An 18-year-old Jean Arthur made her movie debut in this film as a bit player. ~ Janiss Garza, All Movie Guide
Jean Arthur – Ann Playdell; Engenie Ford – Mme. Dauezac; Alan Hale – Colonel Moreau; William E. Lawrence – Colonel Randall; Jack McDonald – Larkin Bruce; Gertrude Olmstead – Adele Randall; Phillips Smalley – Judge Playdell; Richard Tucker – Cousin Aaron Read More »

Larry Cohen – A Return to Salem’s Lot (1987)

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Plot:
Joe Weber is an anthropologist who takes his son on a trip to the New England town of Salem’s Lot unaware that it is populated by vampires. When the inhabitants reveal their secret, they ask Joe to write a bible for them. Read More »

Renato Castellani – Due soldi di speranza AKA Two Cents Worth of Hope (1952)

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Synopsis:
The story concerns the romance between Carmela and Antonio. Faced with the hostility of their parents, they symbolically shed themselves of all responsibilities to others in a climactic act of stark-naked bravado.
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Victor Fleming – Gone with the Wind (1939)

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Gone With the Wind boils down to a story about a spoiled Southern girl’s hopeless love for a married man. Producer David O. Selznick managed to expand this concept, and Margaret Mitchell’s best-selling novel, into nearly four hours’ worth of screen time, on a then-astronomical 3.7-million-dollar budget, creating what would become one of the most beloved movies of all time. Gone With the Wind opens in April of 1861, at the palatial Southern estate of Tara, where Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) hears that her casual beau Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) plans to marry “mealy mouthed” Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland). Despite warnings from her father (Thomas Mitchell) and her faithful servant Mammy (Hattie McDaniel), Scarlett intends to throw herself at Ashley at an upcoming barbecue at Twelve Oaks. Alone with Ashley, she goes into a fit of histrionics, all of which is witnessed by roguish Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), the black sheep of a wealthy Charleston family, who is instantly fascinated by the feisty, thoroughly self-centered Scarlett: “We’re bad lots, both of us.” The movie’s famous action continues from the burning of Atlanta (actually the destruction of a huge wall left over from King Kong) through the now-classic closing line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Holding its own against stiff competition (many consider 1939 to be the greatest year of the classical Hollywood studios), Gone With the Wind won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar). The film grossed nearly 192 million dollars, assuring that, just as he predicted, Selznick’s epitaph would be “The Man Who Made Gone With the Wind.” (AMG) Read More »

Heinosuke Gosho – Entotsu no mieru basho AKA Where Chimneys Are Seen (1953)

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Quote:
Winner of the International Peace Prize at the 1953 Berlin Film Festival and considered “one of the really important postwar Japanese films, Where Chimneys Are Seen focuses primarily on the interconnected lives of two couples in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in Senju, a poor industrial section of Tokyo. The narrative is structured as a series of juxtaposed scenes that dramatize this connection and show the cause and effect of events on the couples’ lives. As part of this structure, there is the central motif of the chimneys and the kinds of “lyrical” interludes for which Gosho is famous. Read More »

Jean Grémillon – Gueule d’amour AKA Lady Killer (1937)

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Gueule d’Amour
Made partly while Grémillon was working at the Ufa Studios in Berlin, this film features the young Jean Gabin as a foreign-legion Casanova – the “lady killer” Lucien Bourrache – who meets his match in the mysterious seductress Madeleine (Mireille Balin). The sizzling electricity between Gabin and Balin made Gueule d’amour a rare popular success for the director. Read More »