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safety-last-1

Note:  This twentieth entry in the superlative Allan Fish Bonanza Encore series was chosen by Marilyn Ferdinand, who was fully cognizant of Allan’s particular affinity for silent cinema.  This is again a case of a great review for a great and iconic film.

by Allan Fish

(USA 1923 70m) DVD1/2

I’ll be back as soon as I ditch the cop

p  Harold Lloyd  d  Sam Taylor, Fred Newmeyer  w  Harold Lloyd, Tim Whelan, Sam Taylor, Hal Roach  ph  Walter Lundin  ed  Thomas J.Crizer  m  Carl Davis  art  Fred Guiol

Harold Lloyd (Harold), Mildred Davis (Mildred), Noah Young (the cop), Bill Strothers (Limpy Bill), Westcott B.Clarke (Stubbs, the floorwalker),

Safety Last is one of those movies cherished in the memory long before you actually see the full film.  My first glimpses of it were probably exactly the same as many other people’s in the UK, courtesy of a half hour teatime show on BBC2 showcasing Lloyd’s comedy, with an inimitable nine note theme tune unforgettable to those who heard it.  Of course that glimpse was only an edited version of Last and, indeed, of its most famous sequence, but it was enough for me.  I would only have been about ten years old, but to a childhood friend and I, it was pure bliss.  Even now, over twenty years later, though I reaffirm that fact that The Kid Brother is Lloyd’s best feature, there is nothing on his CV to match Last.  It’s one to cherish.

Harold is a country boy from Great Bend who goes to the city to make his fortune so he can send for his beloved Mildred.  “She’s just got to believe I’m successful until I am” he tells new found friend Bill, and he spends every cent he has on buying her pretty trinkets and doing without such comparative expendables as food.  His life made into a living hell by a supercilious floorwalker at the store where he works (a man “muscle-bound from patting himself on the back” the caption reads), he cooks up a publicity stunt (in more ways than one) to have his expert climber friend Bill climb the building where his place of work, the De Vore department store, is situated.  Unfortunately a hostile cop has his eye on Bill after an earlier encounter and Harold has to undertake the climb himself. Continue Reading »

18 YEAR-OLD MELANIE JULIANO’S SHORT FILM “100 LIKES” (3 minutes, 11 seconds) has been chosen as one of the finalists in the ‘Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Film Festival’ to be held at Fort Lee High School on November 8th. We are all so proud of her!!!!
Available in HD! My submission to the Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Film Festival.
YOUTUBE.COM

marketa

Note:  This review of the Czech masterpiece ‘Marketa Lazarova” is the nineteenth in the ongoing Allan Fish Bonanza Encore series.  I considers a film Allan has championed for a number of years dating back to the time when he led a petition drive well before it was eventually released by Second Run and then on blu-ray by Criterion.  It is my own choice among Allan’s reviews for this series, and like its subject is spectacular  -S.J.

by Allan Fish

(Czechoslovakia 1967 162m) DVD2

Do not be an animal

p  Josek Ouky  d  Frantisek Vlácil  w  Frantisek Vlácil, Frantisek Pavlicek  novel  Vladislav Vancura  ph  Bedrich Batka  ed  Miroslav Hajek  m  Zdenek Liska  art  Oldrich Okác  cos  Theodor Pistek  sound  Frantisek Fabian

Josek Kemr (Kozlik), Magda Vásáryová (Marketa Lazarova), Nada Hejna (Katerina), Jaroslav Moucka (Jan), Frantisek Velecký (Mikolas), Karel Vasikek (Jiri), Pavla Polaskova (Alexandra), Ivan Palúch, Václáv Sloup, Martin Mrasek,

In the 1964 epic The Fall of the Roman Empire there is a wonderful funeral scene in the snow on the German frontier where you really could “hear the Gods laughing.”  If the Gods of Rome were still around in the 13th century, they would doubtless weep at the goings on here.  Yet as one old crone, as she is called, says, “weeping is the gift of relief.  Men do not know it.”  Here men are animals, no different to any other creature that hunts in packs, but his prey are stray travellers, to satisfy his lust for money and women.  This is a medieval world like no other.  If you thoughtThe Lion in Winter or The War Lord were stark, you’re about to get a rude awakening.  The film may have been influenced by Bergman, Dreyer and Jancsó, but it’s bleaker than any of them.  As the opening narration tells us, “our tale takes place during a savage winter with frosts as passionate as Christianity at the time.”  So frozen are the wastelands depicted that one half expects the screen to freeze over completely.  The huge snow-covered trees may look Christmassy, but these are not mere tannenbaums, but living wooden statues marking time, crying like weeping willows.  Even the wolves stand back here and let the humans get on with it, knowing there will be enough corpse meat to last them through the winter.  Death really is a steady diet here. Continue Reading »

life-and-death-of-colonel-blimp-1-copy

Note: To celebrate Allan’s departure from the ICU -glowingly reported today by his dear maternal Aunt Anne Cafferkey- I offer you one of Allan’s own favorite reviews of all time of a film he holds closest to his heart of them all.  This is the eighteenth entry in the series.  Enjoy!

by Allan Fish

(UK 1943 163m) DVD1/2

War starts at midnight!

p  Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger  d  Michael Powell  w  Emeric Pressburger ph  Georges Périnal, Jack Cardiff (and Henry Haysom, Geoffrey Unsworth)  ed  John Seabourne  m  Allan Gray  art  Alfred Junge

Roger Livesey (Maj.Gen.Clive Candy), Deborah Kerr (Edith Hunter/Barbara Wynne/Johnny Cannon), Anton Walbrook (Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff), John Laurie (Lce.Cpl.Murdoch), Roland Culver (Col.Betteridge), James McKechnie (Spud Wilson), Albert Lieven (Von Ritter), Arthur Wontner (Embassy Counsellor), Ursula Jeans (Frau Von Kalteneck), Muriel Aked (Aunt Margaret), A.E.Matthews, Valentine Dyall,

There is something about the most ambitious of Powell and Pressburger’s wartime masterpieces that is rather nostalgic, even after all these years.  Sixty years on, it seems to belong to another age, an age and way of life also encompassed in a more insular way by TV’s later Upstairs, Downstairs.  Just as that series presented all that was most peculiarly English about us in the first third of the twentieth century, so does this 1943 masterpiece.  Yet it does so much more that that, for it encapsulates the very soul of not only England but what it is like to recognise your own nationality.  I am certainly no patriot, but even I feel my heart warmed by the timelessness of this film, a feeling increased by the fact that, in one of its numerous subtexts, it is not a patriotic film at all, but rather a study in the triumph of the human spirit, overcoming tragedy, heartache and more besides through inherent decency and affection for one’s friends, whatever their nationality. Continue Reading »

Allan left ICU last night and is now on ward 11 which I believe is surgical ward, he has had a very good night’s sleep and is settled nicely.Things are really looking up for him, full report when we have visited today. LOL xx  - Anne Cafferkey

promise-1

Note: This seventeenth entry in the towering Allan Fish Bonanza Encore series was recommended by Allan’s great friend ‘James’, who has long appreciated Allan’s tireless attention to great cinema that never received the proper exposure.  ‘A Promise’ was directed by one of Allan’s favorite directors, Yoshishige Yoshida.

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1986 123m) DVD2 (France only, no English subs)

Aka. Ningen no Yakusoku; A Human Promise

Let me die

p  Yusuyo Saito, Matsuo Takahashi  d  Yoshishige Yoshida  w  Yoshishige Yoshida, Fukiko Kiyauchi  ph  Yoshihiro Yamazaki  ed  Akira Suzuki  m  Haruomi Hosano  art  Yoshie Kikukawa

Rentaro Mikuni (Ryosaku Morimoto), Sachiko Murase (Tatsu Morimoto), Choichiro Kawarazaki (Yoshio), Orie Sato (Ritsuko), Tetta Sugimoto (Takao), Kumikmo Takeda (Naoko), Koichi Sato (Detective Yoshikawa), Choei Takahashi (Takeya Nakamura),

It was one of those returns from the wilderness, like Moses leading the faithful through 40 years in the desert.  Like Lean before him and Kubrick and Malick to come, Yoshida’s return was something to rejoice about, or at least would have been if anyone in the west (France aside) had cared or known who he was.  His previous film, Coup d’Etat, had been 13 years previously, and he had entered middle-age, 52 when the film was shot.

An old woman, Tatsu, has died.  The police arrive and ask questions of her old widow, Ryosaku, who openly confesses to killing her.  He’s suffering from dementia so the authorities take his confession if not lightly then with due caution.  The film then goes back to the events leading up to the death, with Yoshio shown to be unfaithful to his wife, Ritsuko, whose bitterness about having to take care of her in-laws and Tatsu’s hysterical accusations towards her, are turning her inside out.  Meanwhile, Yoshio’s children have differing feelings about the subject, from daughter Naoko’s concern for her elderly grandparents to Takao’s callous references to them as no longer their family, merely animals to be put in a home like animals in a zoo.   Continue Reading »

bird man

by Sam Juliano

The extraordinary Allan Fish Bonanza Encore Series will continue unabated till Tuesday, October 28th, but in reality it will not end there by a long shot.  The site will continue to exhibit Allan’s priceless work every Saturday and every Sunday until the middle of May, at which point it is anticipated Allan’s new reviews will be ready to post.  I also reserve the option to post one of Allan’s reviews during the week should the new material lag off.  In any case no matter how you read it, Allan will be here with us, even as he continues to make great progress from his recent operation in a British hospital.  Thanks again to all who have stepped up to the plate with their selections, as well as with insightful comments and page views to keep the celebration going full throttle.  Anyone wishing to make further suggestions, by all means add them to any current site thread, and they will be honored.

The supremely talented young lady Melanie (Jane) Juliano has again completed a stupendous short video, this time on the recent trip to Baltimore.  Though it is up on FB getting some much appreciated raves this eight-minute summation of the trip will also be posted as the very first comment under this thread.  As always’s Melanie’s editing and musical selections are fantastic.

With a school presentation (for Melanie) occupying a good part of the weekend, Lucille and I visited some older family members and the young son of a very close friend who went through an operation to solve a collapsed lung.  We were running around all week, and only got to see a single film on Saturday night.  But what a film it was.  I’ll play conservative right now and go with a 4.5 of 5.0 rating, but this could still go to 5.0 after I take in a second viewing. Continue Reading »

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