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Archive for December 8th, 2008

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by Sam Juliano

Spring Awakenings, which in 2006 won the Tony-Award for Best Musical, and received a plethora of outstanding notices, is in effect an insipid, convoluted and musically turgid work that makes one frightened at the state of Broadway these days.  Steven Sater’s book and lyrics were comprised mainly of the full spectrum of issues one associates with teenage angst, many of which were the subject of Jonathan Larsen’s Rent, which was light years ahead of Spring Awakenings both in lyricism of the music and in emotional resonance.  The musical attempts to deal with the full gamut of prevalent issues like: abortion, the loss of virginity, death, suicide, homosexuality, incest, bullying, mean teachers and mean parents.  As a result, nothing here comes off as anything more meaningful than self-parody, and the in-your-face lyrics are as wooden and as insipid as have ever been transcribed to these vital subjects in any form.  (more…)

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 red-11

by Allan Fish

(USA 1948 133m) DVD1/2

Take ’em to Missouri, Matt

p  Howard Hawks  d  Howard Hawks  w  Borden Chase, Charles Schnee  novel  “The Chisholm Trail” by Borden Chase  ph  Russell Harlan  ed  Christian Nyby  m  Dimitri Tiomkin  art  John Datu Arensma

John Wayne (Tom Dunson), Montgomery Clift (Matthew Garth), Joanne Dru (Tess Millay), Coleen Gray (Fen), Walter Brennan (Groot Nadine), John Ireland (Cherry Valance), Harry Carey Jnr (Dan Latimer), Harry Carey (Mr Millville), Noah Beery Jnr (Buster McGee), Paul Fix (Teeler Yacy), Micky Kuhn (Young Matthew), Hank Worden, Richard Farnsworth, Shelley Winters,

Let us make one thing clear before we start; Red River is a Hollywood monument, a perfect time capsule of post war tinseltown output, a superb representation of Hawks’ own wonderful view of the world and one of the greatest westerns of its decade.  Not for nothing was it the last film shown at the cinema in The Last Picture Show.  Yet all of the above still cannot convey the magnitude, the scope and the subtexts of this great work of the seventh art.  It’s a film cineastes dream of, a film to enshrine a vision of the west that may be phoney but still rings true today.  When Wayne tells Clift to begin the trek to Missouri with the aforementioned quote and the yeehas ring out, even now one has to suppress an urge to join in.  (more…)

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Mirror mirror on the wall...which is the strangest tale of all

Mirror mirror on the wall...which is the strangest tale of all

by Allan Fish

(UK 1945 105m) DVD1/2

Just room for one more inside, sir…

p  Sidney Cole, John Croydon  d  Alberto Cavalcanti, Robert Hamer, Basil Dearden, Charles Crichton w  John Baines, Angus MacPhail  stories  Angus MacPhail, John Baines, H.G.Wells, E.F.Benson  ph  Douglas Slocombe, Stan Pavey  ed  Charles Hasse  m  Georges Auric  art  Michael Relph

Mervyn Johns (Walter Craig), Roland Culver (Eliot Foley), Judy Kelly (Joyce Grainger), Mary Merrall (Mrs Foley), Anthony Baird (Hugh Grainger), Sally Ann Howes (Sally O’Hara), Frederick Valk (Dr Van Straaten), Ralph Michael (Mr Courtland), Googie Withers (Joan Courtland), Esmé Percy (antique dealer), Renee Gadd (Mrs Craig), Basil Radford (George Parratt), Naunton Wayne (Larry Potter), Michael Redgrave (Maxwell Frere), Miles Malleson (hearse/bus driver), Elisabeth Welch (Beulah), Hartley Power (Sylvester Kee), Peggy Bryan (Mary Lee), Michael Allan (Jimmy Watson),

Considering their incredible reputation as a producer of classic British comedies, it would be easy to forget that Ealing also produced various classic dramas, among them Went the Day Well?, The Next of Kin, The Captive Heart, It Always Rains on Sunday, Mandy and The Cruel SeaBut it is this truly disquieting ghost story compendium that remains their non-comic masterpiece.  Considering that it has been parodied and pilfered in numerous other films and TV plays, it’s quite surprising how fresh it still remains after sixty years.  Even the use of several directors doesn’t harm it, adding a different style to each of the individual stories that adds to the dreamlike texture. (more…)

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