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Archive for October 15th, 2008

by Tony D’Ambra

When Pfc. Albert Nelson died in Iraq in 2006, the Army first told Feggins that
he might have been killed by friendly fire, and then that it was enemy mortars.
She says she never believed the Army’s explanation. “I always felt like they
were lying to me,” she said. “I could never prove it.”

Jean Feggins, is the mother of  Albert Nelson and retired from the Philadelphia Police Department, and the quote is from a Salon.com article of  October 14 by Mark Benjamin, Friendly fire in Iraq – and a coverup.  Salon.com has obtained evidence – including a graphic 52 min video and an eyewitness account – suggesting that in 2006  friendly fire from an American tank killed two US soldiers in Iraq, and that the US Army ignored the video and other evidence, ruling that the deaths resulted from enemy action.   For those who have seen Paul Haggis’ powerful film In the Valley of  Elah (2007), this scenario has disturbing parallels.   In the movie, aging Vietnam vet, retired military investigator, and reticent patriot, Hank Deerfield, played with understated grit by a craggy by  Tommy Lee Jones, sets outs to find the killer of his son, whose charred remains are found in brush on the outskirts of Fort Rudd, New Mexico, a few days after the boy’s return from a posting in Iraq.  (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1993 134m) DVD1/2

A dustpan on the staircase

p  Ismail Merchant, Mike Nichols, John Calley  d  James Ivory  w  Ruth Prawer Jhabvala  novel  Kazuo Ishiguro  ph  Tony Pierce-Roberts  ed  Andrew Marcus  m  Richard Robbins  art  Luciana Arrighi  cos  Jenny Beavan, John Bright

Anthony Hopkins (James Stevens), Emma Thompson (Sally Kenton), James Fox (Lord Darlington), Christopher Reeve (Congressman Jack Lewis), Hugh Grant (Reginald Cardinal), Peter Vaughan (William Stevens), Michel Lonsdale (Dupont d’Ivry), Tim Pigott-Smith (Thomas Benn), Ben Chaplin (Charlie), Peter Eyre (Lord Halifax),

I remember Jonathan Ross saying, after Tony Hopkins had received a well-deserved Fellowship from BAFTA, that if there was a better screen performance than Hopkins gave in The Remains of the Day, then he hadn’t seen it.  Though that may be overstating it a bit, one can see exactly where Ross was coming from.  It’s one of those performances to make one appreciate the art of screen acting when it reaches such Himalayan heights.

            James Stevens has been head butler at Darlington Hall for over twenty years.  Formerly the home of a disgraced Nazi sympathiser aristocrat, it has come into the possession of an amiable retired American congressman, and as he prepares to welcome his new master’s family, he looks back on the days before the war when Darlington Hall was the venue for various high-stakes conferences in which the old Lord acted on behalf of his Nazi friends not realising their real intentions.  We are also shown the arrival, in the mid 1930s, of a new housekeeper to the house, Miss Kenton, who falls in love with Stevens and he likewise with her, but his absolute obedience to his position and his employer restrains him from acting on his feelings. (more…)

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Barbed Wire ****½

by Allan Fish

(USA 1927 73m) not on DVD

Les prisonnier de guerre

p  Rowland V.Lee, Erich Pommer  d  Rowland V.Lee  w  Rowland V.Lee, Jules Furthman  novel  “The Woman of Knockaloe” by Halls Caine  ph  Bert Glennon  ed  E.Lloyd Sheldon

Pola Negri (Mona Moreau), Clive Brook (Oskar Mueller), Einar Hanson (André Moreau), Claude Gillingwater (Jean Moreau, the father), Gustav Von Seyffertitz (Pierre Corlet), Clyde Cook (Hans), Charles Lane (Col.Duval), Ben Hendricks Jnr (Sgt Caron),

Here we have one of the great forgotten silent dramas.  Of the myriad of film guides, only the Halliwell lists it, and though it gives it a typically dismissive one-star rating, its entry is more intriguing, calling it “worthy of comparison to All Quiet on the Western Front.”  Seeing it in the UK is impossible, unless you have a friend Stateside who tapes it on the rare blue moon occasions when it shows on ACM.    It may not be as big a film as The Big Parade, or as prestigious as All Quiet – or indeed its German and French equivalents, Westfront 1918 and Les Croix de Bois – but it’s a film that deserves to be better known. (more…)

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