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Un de la légion (1936)
Graham Greene gave it a pretty good review in the Spectator 11 August 1939. See pages 318-21 of The Graham Greene Film Reader. . . edited by David Parkinson. He compared this to the famous 1939 Beau Geste, which he considered vile sentimental rubbish. This Film Reader contained priceless comments for anyone who is serious about literature, history or cinema. Graham Greene feels that pandering has been beaten to death long before 1939 and that romantic schmaltz and sentimental rubbish is still trash even if beautifully accomplished. Unlike some organizations, his publishers let him write very brief reviews like Pauline Kael's capsules for her Cinema Guild. Some people have never heard "Many words are weariness."
Les amitiés particulières (1964)
This movie makes an superb contrast to the Dutch movie "For a Lost Soldier" (1992).
This Dutch movie is from a book by a choreographer. The novel, which is openly autobiographical, is much more inflammatory than the movie.
Among other things, the movie shows that a superb director and cast can retain good taste as they depict things that some might find offensive.
Other than to say that the theme of the novel and movie is that there is no life without Eros, Passion, I say nothing for or against either.
The opening of the movie shows how the Dutch middle class saved their children from starvation during the final days of World War II.
Red Garters (1954)
You might like to see "Destry Rides Again" first to see a similar satire of a western in black-and-white with a more realistic feel. This movie is a scathing and witty attack on the macho western and on the Cold War.
But if you are not interested in seeing what can be done with color, sets and costumes if one ignores realism, don't bother. The movie is an experiment in kinetic art and is fascinating for those who want to see what can be done with color, costumes and sets.
Again, the production numbers are fascinating if one wants to see how one can fill the screen with moving colors.
Part of the comedy comes from the fact that the movie is the reverse of The Taming of the Shrew. It is the Taming of the Macho Fool.
Perhaps the worst screenplay ever written. A stew of noise, disconnected visual garbage, sentimental rubbish, political correctness and boring characters.
The production is a total disaster. The casting is way off! Watching Cher play a part not even connected to the movie was weird! It was painful to watch her do her best at her advanced age.
The rest of the cast were treated as redundant bodies thrown on the screen at random.
Anyone who has seen Strictly Ballroom, Cabaret or the Blue Angel would wonder how they could make a cabaret flick so boring, so silly and so sexless with so much nudity!
The Big Broadcast of 1937 (1936)
The New Republic's critic, Fergeson, who died as a Merchant Marine in World War II, gave this movie a rave review.
This movie is another example of a superb movie that either vanished or is very hard to find.
Ian Hamilton made this comment regarding films made from screenplays by Nathaniel West. Nathaniel West is considered by many to be the greatest writer of his generation (he was married to the real My Sister Eileen).
Not having seen a movie made from a screenplay he wrote, I have no way of knowing whether his fan club is right.
The same is true of Carl Dreyer's films, Sternbergs and other early movie directors. The French have ranted and raves on this topic for more than half a century.
Little Ashes (2008)
Worst Screenplay Ever
The New York Times Review said it all.
Casting may have been part of the disaster, but the screenplay was so silly, insipid and dull that the cast was stuck with a turkey.
It is amusing to think that the Dada movement, anarchists and surrealists may have been that third rate, but I doubt it.
But some lines do stick out. Dali being evicted from the Surrealist movement.
The accents were a total disaster. Subtitles should have been used when Lorca read his poems in Spanish.
An astonishing waste of money and talent!
All the actors would have been superb with a decent screenplay.
Dali's costumes became an irritation.
Wives and Daughters (1999)
A weak Victorian Comedy
This video is an interesting mistake. They seemed to have missed the comedy despite a superb cast of women who could handle comedy.
Is it an early sudser? or a sitcom? The literary pretenses are a little silly. The plot and character manipulations are so mechanical that the fact that this is a piece of commercial fiction is obvious.
This video proved that mediocre fiction should be edited down to a film no more than two hours long.
The extra materials were dull. Was the Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone the story of Mrs. Gaskell's endless trips to Italy? Did she have only genteel boyfriends from Boston, or did she sample the local color? Did proper English ladies go to Rome for gigolos in those days? or were there enough in London? Why can't the BBC stop being so respectable and give us some good gossip?
Die große Stille (2005)
A brilliant exposition of law, truth (realism) and grace.
If you want to see the contemplative, Roman Catholic view of Christ's teachings, this is for your. If you want to see a truly natural and realistic movie without artificial lighting (except the electric lights already at the monastery) this is for you. This movie is an absolute must for people who want to see what can been done just by taking a camera into the field and shooting. The message is simple and repeated over and over again because the contemplative life is simple and they spend their days trying to "grasp that which cannot be grasped": "Grace" and God. This movie is a must for those who think that Catholicism is too mystical. It clearly describes the simple beliefs of the contemplative life: that as one abandons one's attachments to things and the material world, one is seduced into the nirvana of religious enlightenment. During the final scene with the blind monk, an interesting comment is made on body sculpting, plastic surgery and other techniques that make one appear younger than one is. Incidentally, a Hindu or Buddhist would find the Christian view of nirvana described in this movie very interesting and the contemplative Christian path astonishingly similar to the contemplative Hindu and Buddhist paths.
The Journey of Jared Price (2000)
An impressive, but explicit movie made on a shoestring......
In the commentary, the director says that the movie is a traditional tragi-comedy with a moral appropriate for young students. Considering the tendency of independent movies to plumb mysterious spiritual depths, it is refreshing to see a movie that takes a dim view of materialism and selfishness. (The mysterious depths of contemporary movies are usually the astonishing ability of Hollywood to peddle psychobabble and drivel as intelligent.) The explicit scenes introduce a dark theme: is passion a bottomless pit? Are physical pleasures ever enough?
The movie is an interesting and amusing contrast to Sunset Strip. Here the old woman is a saintly grandmother and her son is horny ho.
The movie was made by a young director in one week. His budget was probably a lot less than 1% of the budget for a typical Hollywood movie made for a general release.