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Archive for October 12th, 2008

by Allan Fish

(USA 1960/1990 196m) DVD1/2

Snails and oysters

p  Edward Lewis, Kirk Douglas  d  Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Mann (uncredited)  w  Dalton Trumbo, Peter Ustinov (uncredited)  novel  Howard Fast  ph  Russell Metty, Clifford Stine (2nd unit)  ed  Robert Lawrence, Robert Schulte, Fred Chulack  m  Alex North  art  Alexander Golitzen, Eric Orbom  cos  Bill Thomas, Valles  titles  Saul Bass

Kirk Douglas (Spartacus), Laurence Olivier (Marcus Crassus), Charles Laughton (Gracchus), Jean Simmons (Virinia), Tony Curtis (Antoninus), Peter Ustinov (Lentulus Batiatus), John Gavin (Julius Caesar), John Ireland (Crixus), Herbert Lom (Tigranes), Nina Foch (Helena Glabrus), John Dall (Marcus Glabrus), Joanna Barnes, Charles McGraw, Woody Strode, Harold J.Stone, John Hoyt, Richard Farnsworth,

Stanley Kubrick’s epic has been on quite a ride over the years.  At the time of its release it fared reasonably well with critics of the day, but it was still seen as a pretentious epic for trying to be literate and intelligent in its script.  Epics then had to either begin with Ben and end in Hur or feature Chuck Heston descending from Mount Sinai with his hands full of stone tablets. (more…)

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Eyes Wide Shut ****½

by Allan Fish

(USA 1999 159m) DVD1/2

Fidelio

p/d  Stanley Kubrick  w  Frederic Raphael, Stanley Kubrick  novel  “Traumnovelle” by Arthur Schnitzler  ph  Larry Smith  ed  Nigel Galt  m  Jocelyn Pokk (including “Jazz Suite” by Dimitri Shostakovich)  art  Les Tomkins, Roy Walker  cos  Marit Allen

Tom Cruise (Dr Bill Harford), Nicole Kidman (Alice Harford), Marie Richardson (Marion), Sydney Pollack (Victor Ziegler), Rade Scherbedgia (Milich), Leelee Sobieski (Milich’s daughter), Todd Field (Nick Nightingale), Alan Cumming (desk clerk), Vinessa Shaw (Domino, the hooker), Faye Masterson (Sally), Sky Dumont (Sandor Szavost),

Stanley Kubrick’s final film must surely qualify as one of the most misunderstood of recent times.  Much of the blame for that, of course, must be laid at the late master’s own laborious shoot, beginning in late 1996, going through cast replacements and all sorts of delays before the final release, and then Kubrick’s untimely death in post-production.  This in addition to a frankly awful marketing campaign helped the film to its modest critical reception and decidedly cold box-office performance. 

            Bill Harford and his gorgeous wife are about to leave for a Manhattan Christmas party at their friends, the Zieglers.  There he runs into an old friend from medical school and helps Ziegler deal with a woman ODing in his upstairs room.  Soon after, while sharing a marijuana joint, Bill and Alice share a long, painful discussion about their sexual desires, and Alice reveals a dream in which she had an affair with a sailor.  The illusion of the perfect marriage shattered, Bill goes off into the night to see to an emergency call from another of their friends, and his evening has only just begun. (more…)

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