Posted in The Fish Obscuro on September 30, 2011 |
3 Comments »
by Allan Fish
(UK 1943 35m) not on DVD
p/d/w Humphrey Jennings ph H.E.Fowle ed Stewart McAllister
What does one think of when one thinks of the Welsh in the movies? I hear the answers – Stanley Baker, Richard Burton, Sian Phillips, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Sheen, even Ray Milland technically. Let’s rephrase the question; what does one think of when one thinks of Wales on screen? The obvious answer, especially across the pond, would be Ford’s How Green Was My Valley. Ford’s fans would see it as poetic, when it is actually merely fanciful claptrap. For a really poetic study of Welsh mining, one needs to look elsewhere. Lindsay Anderson once said that Humphrey Jennings was Britain’s one true poet. He was understating some.
If one looks for mentions of Jennings’ work in film books, one would most likely find reference to Listen to Britain, Fires Were Started and A Diary for Timothy. A film that often gets overlooked – not helped by the fact that it was for long periods impossible to see – is The Silent Village. It tells the story of the Czechoslovakian village of Lidice, whose small population hid the perpetrators of the assassination of the Deputy Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich. In response to their conspiracy, the Nazi occupiers shot all the men in the village, marched the women off in wagons to concentration camps, took the children to the appropriate authorities and razed the village to the ground, literally obliterating it. This is all re-enacted by the villagers of the Welsh mining community of Cwmgiedd who provide the epitaph; Lidice was not obliterated so much as immortalised. (more…)
Read Full Post »
Posted in The Fish Obscuro on September 27, 2011 |
13 Comments »
by Allan Fish
(USA 1939 102m) DVD1/2
Waiting for act Two
p Jack Cummings d Norman Taurog w Leon Gordon, George Oppenheimer story Jack MacGowran, Dore Schary ph Oliver T.Marsh, Joseph Ruttenberg ed Blanche Sewell md Alfred Newman m/ly Cole Porter art Cedric Gibbons
Fred Astaire (Johnny Brett), Eleanor Powell (Clare Bennett), George Murphy (King Shaw), Frank Morgan (Bob Casey), Ian Hunter (Bert C.Matthews), Florence Rice (Amy Blake), Ann Morriss (Pearl Delonge), Lynne Carver, Douglas McPhail,
Think if you will of Shakespeare in Love and the scene where Gwyneth Paltrow’s Viola de Lesseps, in the guise of Thomas Kent, is playing Romeo in the first production of ‘Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter’. He’s aching for the love of his life, Rosalind, and Will steps in and reprimands her/him. “You’re speaking about a baggage we never even meet…what will he do in Act Two, when he meets the love of his life?” Stunned, Viola sheepishly says “I’m sorry, sir; I have not seen Act Two.” “Of course you have not”, Will fires back, “I have not written it.” There but for the Grace of Gods…
Several hundred years later, or around sixty years earlier, depending on your point of view, George Murphy as King Shaw is auditioning to be the leading man of Broadway supernova Clare Bennett and is singing and dancing to ‘Between You and Me.” It’s a lovely number, a thoroughly expert duet that would be enough to make one think we’d witnessed something very special. And yet this is just Rosalind, and though we may see her, she’s keeping the polished floor warm for the real magic to arrive. (more…)
Read Full Post »
by Hilary Hulsey
Acknowledging history and its mistakes is important, but reaching beyond the stereotypes of racism, sexism, and religion can easily be achieved when good outweighs evil in the majestic onscreen musical of the Broadway hit, Cabin in the Sky (1943).
In late 1940, Russian-American composer, Vernon Duke, introduced his greatest Broadway achievement to date at the Martin Beck theatre. Cabin in the Sky featured an all-black cast (including Ethel Waters and Rex Ingram, who would later appear in the onscreen version) and the production ran 156 shows, ending in early 1941. Duke supplied new standards to the songbook and its success onstage made the production a prime choice for screen adaptation.
Who better to direct a broadway show than someone who pulls from background and experience? Vincente Minnelli’s directing debut embodies his ability to use the camera as a tool to create a masterpiece rather than a device to record a specific instance to appropriate a paycheck. Most films in Minnelli’s career requiring transition and adaption sustain the original production and add Hollywood flare without disappointing. (more…)
Read Full Post »
Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2011 |
101 Comments »
Cap from stunning "The Mill and the Cross" which probes art masterpiece
by Sam Juliano
It’s official. The fall season is now upon us, Halloween decorations are displaying, and the baseball playoffs are looming. It’s a time for football fans to fully immerse themselves, and for the Big Apple’s film buffs to avail themselves of one of the most celebrated of all annual film festivals. For opera and classical music fans it’s a time to again be ravishing by some of the world’s most distinguished orchestras and ensembles. And for movie fans across the globe it’s prestige time, when the year’s potential treasures are trotted put for award consideration. In short it’s the time of the year that we all live for.
That extraordinary, incomparable blogger from the midwest continues to weave her magic here on the site’s sideboards. “Dee Dee” as she is affectionately known in these parts has fueled the everyday musical countdown posts with spectacular embellishment, displaying foreign posters, delightful background information, and indellible film clips each and every night as the this remarkable venture incles nearer to the half way point. Sure, she’s a vital part of Wonders in the Dark’s fraternity for pratically the full three-year run of the site’s existence, but her singular contributions continue to raise the bar, and move anyone with a sense of appreciation and dedication. The comment and page view totals for the countdown have not only exceeded expectations, but have broken site records. Just this past week, John Greco’s sensational review of A Hard Day’s Night has attracted about 140 comments as of this writing, and several others have brought in amazing totals. Many thanks to all the readers who have checked out the quality postings, and to those who have taken the time to enter comments. A special thank you to the Three Amigos, Judy Geater, Pat Perry and Jonathan Warner, who have been there each and every day with their special blend of knowledge, excitement and passion. For Judy and Pat, it’s an extension of their ballot involvement and own post writings, not to mention some loving anecdotes from this past experiences in the form from both a vocational and cultural perspective. For Jon, it’s a labor of love, and futher expression of his peerless insights and effervescent personality. A comment from any and all of these three for any writer is really an incomparable treat. (more…)
Read Full Post »