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Archive for the ‘1950’s’ Category

The Killing

Posted by Web Manager on January 19, 2013

Stanly Kubrick 1956

the-killingGood story about the robbery of a racetrack.  Kubrick was not quite Kubrick yet – this was his first real narrative movie – but it’s very watchable and features a slew of great character actors from the era. My favorite is Timothy Carey.


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Paths of Glory

Posted by Web Manager on June 6, 2011

Stanley Kubrick 1957

Kirk Douglas as a French Lieutenant in WWI on trial for retreating against orders from his callous hypocritical superiors.

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Posted by Web Manager on May 23, 2010

David Lean 1950

A would-be typical story about a young Scottish woman who falls in love with a French dandy beneath her social status is made much more interesting (finally, after a very long setup) by a deceptive plot twist and quite a few unanswered questions. The trial at the end of the film is especially powerful for the way in which it presents the prosecution and defense in nearly equally convincing lights. I also really liked the scene in the country where the villagers dance with joy and abandon unknown to the heroine or presumably those in her class.

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Magnificent Obsession

Posted by Web Manager on March 22, 2010

Douglas Sirk 1954

I kept hearing about Douglas Sirk, but never directly. No one was willing to come out and say anything specific about the man or his movies. And yet I was sure I knew what it would all be about. So I checked my precognitions against MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, apparently Sirk’s breakout mainstream film. First of all, I was totally right. The movie is an absurd love story with a creepy Christian undercurrent – something you think you’d never want to watch if it weren’t for the fact that from the first frame you get the feeling that the director sees things the same way you do.  It isn’t satire, exactly – mainly because the movie never makes fun of itself or its main characters.  The more preposterous the scene, the more serious the film becomes.  How you’ll feel about this – or whether  you’ll care at all – is an open question, but he’s worth checking out if you want to see how an artist can turn earnestness on its head.

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12 Angry Men

Posted by Web Manager on October 4, 2009

Sidney Lumet 1957

Sidney Lumet is to directing what Gregg Maddux was to pitching.  The whole movie takes place in the jury room, yet it feels like a movie, rather than a filmed play, because Sidney Lumet does the little things very very well – especially lighting, the subtle use of camera movement and directing actors for film. He’s a smart filmmaker who (with a few exceptions) doesn’t take big risks, but doesn’t make many mistakes either.

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Hiroshima Mon Amour

Posted by Web Manager on August 3, 2009

Alain Resnais 1959

This is a kickass movie.  I had never seen it before.  I’d heard its name tossed around, but I never knew where I stood with it.  Is it recent or old?  How old? Is it Japanese or French?  A web of conundrums.  But then the other day I was watching L’ECLISSE by Antonioni.  (I didn’t Fucky Film Review it because I own the title and I rarely Fucky Film Review films that I own, mostly because I watch them over and over again.  But in honor of what an awesome movie HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR is (which I don’t own) I have published a list of the 40 or so films that do I own, which can only be accessed by clicking here.) Anyhow I really enjoyed L’ECLISSE this time around, and then I found this short commentary on the film by Martin Scorsese, which was pretty awesome, and he mentioned a few movies that I’ve been wanting to check out, HIROSHIMA among them.  It’s one for all the hall of fame lovers out there, poet-warriors, athletes each and every one of you.

Posted in 1950's, French Films, Movies | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Il Grido (The Cry)

Posted by Web Manager on July 21, 2009

Michelangelo Antonioni 1957

I don’t know neoclassicism from narcolepsy, but I like this Antonioni fellow. Who knew he was such a democrat? He treats the working man no differently than the disenchanted bourgeois that populate his later films. If we like the later films better, it’s probably because they hit closer to home, at least for those of us who read and write internet blogs. That’s right: we are bourgeois. Own it, bitches – no one wants to see a Wes Anderson movie about people who work for a living.

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The Seventh Seal

Posted by Web Manager on July 6, 2009

Ingmar Bergman 1957

Bellissimo. A day in the life of a medieval Swedish hamlet decimated by the black plague.  Great character roll including the knight, the squire, the actor and his wife, the troupe director, the smith, and funniest of all, Death. Apparently Woody Allen’s all time favorite movie (though I haven’t checked in with him lately and I heard he really liked HANNAH MONTANA). Loved the squire, especially in his scene with the blubbering cuckolded smith.

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Touch of Evil

Posted by Web Manager on March 15, 2009

Orson Welles 1958

I’m reading a book called THE CONVERSATIONS (between the novelist Michael Ondjaate and the film editor Walter Murch). It’s great. Murch went to film school with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, and worked on sound and edited in some of Coppola’s most important films. In 1998 Murch re-edited Welles’ TOUCH OF EVIL in keeping with a famous 58-page memo that Welles wrote to Universal after seeing what they had done to his picture before its release in 1958. I considered watching both versions, but time constraints imposed by my commitments to various charitable organizations and other tax-exempt entities deny me such luxuries. I chose to watch the restored 1998 version. It’s pretty awesome but that’s neither here nor there. Heston’s acting style doesn’t stand the test of time, but that’s true of a lot of acting from that era, and anyhow I wonder if Welles might have cast him for this part to mock him just a little bit, sort of like Stanley Kubrick did with Tom Cruise in EYES WIDE SHUT. Maybe? From My Cold Dead Hands indeed.

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The Fugitive Kind

Posted by Web Manager on September 28, 2008

Sidney Lumet 1959

Adapted by  Tennessee Williams from one of his own plays.  Brando stars as a snakeskin clad troubadour determined to leave the Big Easy nightlife behind.  But his journey only takes him as far as a town a short drive from New Orleans, to a general store owned by a dying man and run by his sad and passionate wife, played by the great Anna Magnani.

Brando is cool as ever.  The tragic storyline recalls the Italian film “Ossessione,”  by Luchino Visconte, who worked with Magnani all the time. (He actually wanted her to play the lead in Ossessione, but she was unable to shoot it so he used Clara Calamai instead.)

Joanne Woodward co-stars as a woman of a different ilk.

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