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Archive for December 10th, 2008

 nalley2

by Allan Fish

(USA 1947 112m) DVD1/2

The Hanged Man

p  George Jessel  d  Edmund Goulding  w  Jules Furthman  novel  William Lindsay Gresham  ph  Lee Garmes  ed  Barbara McLean  m  Cyril Mockridge  art  Lyle Wheeler, J.Russell Spencer  cos  Bonnie Cashin

Tyrone Power (Stanton Carlisle), Coleen Gray (Molly), Joan Blondell (Zeena), Helen Walker (Lilith Ritter), Taylor Holmes (Ezra Grindle), Mike Mazurki (Bruno), Ian Keith (Pete), Julia Dean (Mrs Peabody), James Flavin (Clem Hoatley), Roy Roberts (McGraw),

Nightmare Alley is one of the weirdest and most wonderful films made in Hollywood in the forties; a fascinating Model T-Ford black curio which TCF didn’t at first want to bankroll.  Tyrone Power had been one of their biggest matinee idols since the mid thirties and, upon his return from the war, with now hardened features, he wanted to play darker roles.  His first venture was as the enigmatic protagonist of Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, but TCF only agreed to make Alley if he did one for them, too.  So he made Captain from Castile, they let him do Alley and gave him Razor’s director Edmund Goulding.  But when it was complete they didn’t properly back the film, released it on a double bill and Power was devastated.  Certainly their lack of support cost him what would have been his only Oscar nomination and the film survives now as a forgotten classic.  Like another unappreciated masterpiece, Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, it shows the underbelly of the American dream, which didn’t go down well in the forties. (more…)

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 cross2

by Allan Fish

(Finland 1946 99m) DVD2 (Finland only)

Aka. Rakkauden Risti

Omen of storm and death

p  Teuvo Tulio  d  Teuvo Tulio  w  Nisse Him  story  Alexander Pushkin  ph  Pentti Lintonen, Uno Pihlström  ed  Teuvo Tulio  m  Tauno Marttinen (including J.S.Bach)  art  Kosti Aaltonen

Regina Linnanheimo (Riitta), Oscar Tengström (Lighthouse Kalle), Ville Salminen (Consul Mauri Holmberg), Rauli Tuomi (Henrik Hormi), Pentti Viljanen (Pekka), Senja Soitso (Maija), Hilly Lindqvist (Saara), Lauri Korpela (pilot),

The history of Finnish cinema remains shrouded in mystery to the English-speaking world, whose view dates back only as far as the early works of Aki Kaurismäki or, at the very earliest, Jorn Dönner.  There are various films in the murky past that are whispered in the realms of the mighty, especially the thirties dramas of Nyrki Taviopaara, Juha and, especially, Stolen Death.  The most famous Finnish film-maker of the period, however, was former matinee idol actor Teuvo Tulio, whose series of melodramas from the late thirties to the early fifties not only encapsulated the very nature of his homeland, but managed to transcend local stereotypes to become memorable exercises in tragic melodrama in their own right.  His adherents will perhaps choose the 1938 The Song of the Blood Red Flower as his pivotal work, but I pick Cross of Love for several reasons. (more…)

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