by John Greco
Who ever said Alfred Hitchcock was not a romantic? After all, what could be more romantic than the final scenes in “Notorious” where we see Cary Grant coming to Ingrid Bergman’s rescue just in time to take her away from the murdering Nazi Claude Rains. True for the past two hours Grant forced Ingrid to whore herself by playing a 20th Century Mata Hari, seducing and sleeping with Rains in order to obtain secret information. He then resents her for agreeing to do this and hates himself for forcing her do it. Yep, no one knew how to treat a woman like Mr. Hitchcock, just ask Janet Leigh in “Psycho” or Grace Kelly in “Dial M for Murder.” Continue Reading »
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Lucille and Melanie at John Waters Festival at Lincoln center on Sunday (photos by Broadway Bob and Sam)
Cult icon Edith Massey as the evil Queen Carlotta in John Waters’ 1977 “Desperate Living”
by Sam Juliano
Summer made a late appearance, but apparently is not so willing to yield anytime soon for the onset of the cool autumn air and beautiful colors associated with this time of the year. Football lovers are in their glory and schools are in full swing. This is a lovely time of the year, but it always moves forward in speed mode it seems. We must enjoy it while we can.
The site’s long running Romantic Countdown has reached the final leg of the journey with the Top 20 set to roll starting on Tuesday. At his own site our great friend and renowned writer John Grant has called on the powers that be to consider a publishing venture that would include all the reviews written for this remarkable venture. Certainly the quality of writing for this countdown, as well as the three others that preceded it (musicals, comedies and westerns) were of a similarly high level of excellence. The countdown will conclude on Monday October 6th, with the unveiling of the Number 1 film.
Lucille and I (and Sammy, Melanie and Broadway Bob for some) saw four films in theaters over the past week, all in fact over the weekend. Two were part of the complete John Waters retrospective “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?” at Lincoln Center, one was an oft-seen classic in a recently opened “theater” and one a new release, that has actually been around in theaters for over two months. Continue Reading »
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By Dean Treadway
Out of the seventeen movies Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger made together, A Matter of Life and Death was their sixth, sandwiched in between two other humanistic yet fantastical tales, “1945’s “I Know Where I’m Going!” and 1947’s Black Narcissus. This team was, at the time, used to dazzling audiences with their idea-dense, often passionate and visually rich (thanks to their collaboration with legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff) flights of imagination. Yet A Matter of Life and Death feels somehow different, maybe because it’s such a glorious mashup of so many genres. It first feels almost like science-fiction, with that quick, witty tour of the galaxy at the film’s outset (this is the first glimpse of the subtle but often brilliant special effects featured throughout the movie). Then it most certainly feels like a war picture in the spectacular opening scene between David Niven’s presumably doomed RAF pilot Peter Greene and Kim Hunter’s June, the “Yank girl” he radios as his plane is going down (few movies, if any have had the temerity to begin with such florid and unbound emotions—I mean, what gorgeous close-ups we have here–and yet with the two main characters at the edge of being separated not only by space but by life itself).
For a while, the film becomes a fantasy, as we are taken into another world…a world that may be Heaven (though Powell and Pressberger purportedly wanted to avoid inferring anything such; they balked at the American retitling Stairway to Heaven) or it may be simply another dimension that exists only in a dusty corner of Peter Greene’s brain. It does feel like if the directors truly wished to erase the concept of Heaven from the film, they wouldn’t have had new arrivals in the black-and-white world picking up their made-to-measure wings at the sign-in desk, nor would they have given the young Richard Attenborough—as a breathless newbie–his only line in“It is Heaven, isn’t it?” Either way, the film works in the possibility that all Peter Greene is experiencing—including a ghostly visitation by an erring French “conductor” (Marius Goring)–is a hallucination suffered as a result of something nasty pressing down on his brain. In this way, with the introduction of Roger Lievsay’s Dr. Frank Reeves (he’s magnificent here), the film also becomes a tense medical drama. Continue Reading »
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By Stephen Mullen
Love Me Tonight starts with the ringing of bells, then fades in to shots of Paris – rooftops, streets, the Seine. We see a lone bicyclist, hear the swish of his tires on the street, then see an overhead shot of one street, with a man pushing a wheelbarrow. We hear its wheels; he stops, tosses his tools into the street (clank, clank), and he starts working, pounding a steady rhythm. We cut to an overhead shot of a bum, asleep, snoring. Then to a woman sweeping; to steam whistling from a chimney; to windows opening, a baby crying, to a man with a sawhorse, kids in the street, another man opening a store; women hanging out clothes, flapping them off their balconies; two cobblers sit down to their work, pounding nails (bang: tap/tap – bang: tap/tap); a knife grinder grinds, there’s traffic in the streets, there’s a woman pounding a rug, a car horn sounds – all of it mixes together, layered on everything else, a symphony of sounds, finished, so to speak, by a woman opening her window and turning on her gramophone, the whole street come together in music. And the camera goes into one room and finds Maurice Chevalier, dressing for the day, trying to shut out the noise, but not able to resist it – give him a second, and he’ll be singing along. Continue Reading »
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