Archive for October 8th, 2008

Who's Joe?

Who's Joe?

by Allan Fish 

(USA 1939 121m) DVD1/2

Calling Barranca

p/d  Howard Hawks  w  Jules Furthman (and William Rankin, Eleanor Griffith)  story  Howard Hawks  ph  Joseph Walker, Elmer Dyer  ed  Viola Lawrence  md  Morris Stoloff  m  Dimitri Tiomkin, Manuel Maciste  art  Lionel Banks  cos  Robert Kalloch

Cary Grant (Geoff Carter), Jean Arthur (Bonnie Lee), Rita Hayworth (Judith McPherson), Richard Barthelmess (Bat McPherson), Thomas Mitchell (Kid Dabb), Sig Ruman (John ‘Dutchy’ Van Reiter), Victor Kilian (Sparks), John Carroll (Gent Shelton), Allyn Joslyn (Les Peters), Noah Beery Jnr (Joe Souther), Donald Barry (Tex Gordon),

Howard Hawks directed many masterpieces, but I’ll be darned if this isn’t my favourite of them.  It may not be the best of his films, but it’s the most typical, a truly uplifting (in more ways than one) tale of camaraderie in the toughest of environments, a tale of men loving, losing and drinking their way through life taking each minute as it comes.  Quite simply it’s the sort of film that Alexandre Dumas might have made, had he been a film director in the 1930s.  

            Geoff Carter runs a business for a Dutch bar owner in Ecuador running mail over the Andes in planes that can, at best, be described as rust-buckets.  Under him is his best friend, a flyer of more than twenty years, Kid, who is coming to the end of his flying days because of failing eyesight.  Into their mix comes a showgirl just off the banana boat who gets caught up in their mentality and lifestyle and falls in love with Carter.  However, things start to go awry when Carter’s old flame turns up as wife to the new flyer, who also happens to be the guy responsible for Kid’s brother’s death. (more…)

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Heimat 3 ****½

by Allan Fish

(Germany 2004 679m) DVD2

Aka. Die Dreite Heimat

The cosmos is mercilessly punctual

p  Robert Busch  d  Edgar Reitz  w  Edgar Reitz, Thomas Brussig  ph  Thomas Mauch, Christian Reitz  ed  Susanne Hartmann  m  various  art  Michael Fechner

Henry Arnold (Hermann Simon), Salome Kammer (Clarissa Lichtblau), Michael Kausch (Ernst Simon), Mathias Kniesbeck (Anton Simon), Christian Leonard (Hartmut Simon), Larissa Iwlewa (Galina), Nicola Schössler (Lulu Simon), Uwe Steimle (Gunnar Brehme), Tom Q uaas (Udo Trötzsch), Peter Schneider (Tillman Becker), Julia Prochnow (Moni Becker), Heiko Senst (Tobi Neubauer), Karen Hempel (Petra Brehme),

The first thing that must be said is that Heimat 3 is not quite up to the standard of its two predecessors.  I think there are very few of its adherents who would claim as much.  To which the resulting inquiry must be as to why it is included?  The fact is that it is still a masterpiece, a film we would be trumpeting as a gargantuan achievement if the earlier epic instalments didn’t exist.  Yet it is only through having watched the entire saga, since Paul Simon returned home to the family smithy in 1918, that one can appreciate its infinite depth, subtlety and power.  (more…)

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by Sam Juliano


     The most astounding achievement connected with The Pool, a naturalistic independent film shot in India in the Hindi language, is that it was directed by an American.  It has always been suggested in cultural circles that it takes a foreigner to really get into the skin of a certain milieu, the reason being that only an outsider can capture the nuances that perhaps a native takes for granted.  Of course there are those who don’t prescribe to that theory, and it is rare that outsiders have to this point given the world a better intimate look at Indian life than a number of ethnic directors including the great Satyajit Ray, who was the Asian answer to the Italian neo-realists.  Ray, who was recipient to what may have been the most extraordinary testimonial that any director has paid another, when the great Akira Kurosawa opined: “not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon,” was the force in Indian cinema for three decades, beginning with the first installment of his “Apu Trilogy,” Pather Panchali. That film, about a poor Brahman family in a Bengali hamlet, is as penetrating and observant a study of village life as has ever been presented on the screen.  A few others like Ritwak Ghatek intermittently captured the essence of Indian life, collaring the spirit imprisoned in deprivation and impoverishment.  And of the present-day directors, the accomplished Adoor Gopalakrishnan, whose Rat-Trap (1981) deals with a male heir of a decaying heir of a decaying feudal family who is unable to deal with the socio-economic changes of a new society, is arguably the figure closest in style and humanism to his iconic predecessor. (more…)

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