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Archive for November 14th, 2008

 slumdog-1

by Sam Juliano

Filled with visceral audacity, narrative daring and operatic intensity, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire takes its rightful bows as the most deliriously entertaining film of the year.  It’s a saga of adversity and danger and soaring passions, all transcribed in a steaming tapestry of a culture affected by the excitement and competition of Westernized mores turned upside-down and inside-out.  Indeed, some of the most abhorrent criminal traditions in the West are given a  distinctly Indian slant, but the motivations are distinctly the same.  But Slumdog Millionaire’s nonpareil appeal lies with it’s overriding feel-good story that would move people in any culture, in any context, at any time.  It’s the story of the little guy making good, and of the forces of adversity losing a battle of a single shining moment that makes everyone want to get out of their seats and cheer.      (more…)

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prisoner-of-zenda-1

by Allan Fish

(USA 1937 101m) DVD1

The finest Elphberg of them all

p  David O.Selznick  d  John Cromwell, George Cukor, W.S.Van Dyke II  w  Donald Ogden Stewart, Wills Root, John L.Balderston  novel  Anthony Hope  ph  James Wong Howe  ed  Hal C.Kern, James E.Newcom  m  Alfred Newman  art  Lyle Wheeler  cos  Ernest Dryden  spc  Jack Cosgrove  ch  Fred Cavens

Ronald Colman (Rudolf Rassendyll/Rudolf V), Madeleine Carroll (Princess Flavia), Douglas Fairbanks Jnr (Rupert of Hentzau), Raymond Massey (Black Michael of Strelsau), C.Aubrey Smith (Col.Sapt), David Niven (Capt.Fritz von Tarlenheim), Mary Astor (Antoinette de Mauban), Alexander d’Arcy (Cardinal), Montagu Love (Detchard), Byron Foulger (Johann),

If ever there was a film that summed up the old phrase “they don’t make ’em like that anymore“, this is it.  Anthony Hope’s ‘Boys Own’ tale had been filmed before memorably by Rex Ingram in 1922 (only spoiled by Ramon Novarro’s fey Rupert) and was remade little more than passably in 1952.  Selznick’s original remains the greatest adaptation, in spite of MGM’s buying up the rights and trying to make people forget it in favour of their own remake (a favourite pastime of theirs, as witness their suppression of earlier better versions of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Gaslight).  Zenda is the most enjoyable of Selznick’s films and one of the greatest swashbucklers ever made.  As for those fools who complain at it being made in monochrome or demand colourisation, I believe a good healthy flogging is in order.  It doesn’t get much better than this. (more…)

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