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Archive for December 12th, 2008

 leve2

by Allan Fish

(USA 1941 93m) DVD1/2

Positively the same dame

p  Paul Jones  d/w  Preston Sturges  play  Monckton Hoffe  ph  Victor Milner  ed  Stuart Gilmore  m  Leo Shuken, Charles Bradshaw  art  Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte  cos  Edith Head

Barbara Stanwyck (Jean Harrington/Eve Sidwich), Henry Fonda (Charles Pike), Eugène Pallette (Mr Pike), Charles Coburn (“Col.” Harry Harrington), Eric Blore (Sir Alfred McGlennan Keith), Melville Cooper (Gerald), William Demarest (Ambrose “Muggsy” Mergatroyd), Martha O’Driscoll (Martha), Janet Beecher (Mrs Pike), Robert Greig (Burrows), Luis Alberni, Jimmy Conlin, Al Bridge, Robert Dudley, Arthur Hoyt,

Of all the great Preston Sturges comedies of the early forties, there can surely be none more sophisticated in its insanity than this, or one so romantic.  It’s no coincidence that during the first love scene Rodgers & Hart’s ‘Isn’t it Romantic?’ is heard, because that’s just what The Lady Eve is all about.  It’s Sturges’ paean to the fairer sex, and despite the snake analogy (which in this film is quite apt), it’s also just what Peter Bogdanovich says it is on the DVD intro, “modern and witty.”  Yet though it may be modern, there is no modern talent who could dream of writing something as scintillating as this. (more…)

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 open1

by Allan Fish

(Italy 1945 105m) DVD1/2

Aka. Rome, Open City/Roma, Citta’ Aperta

Broken city

p/d  Roberto Rossellini  w  Sergio Amedei, Federico Fellini  story  Sergio Amedei, Alberto Consiglio  ph  Ubaldo Arata  ed  Eraldo da Roma  m  Renzo Rossellini  art  R.Megna

Aldo Fabrizi (Don Pietro Pellegrini), Anna Magnani (Pina), Marcello Pagliero (Manfredi), Maria Michi (Marina), Harry Feist (Maj.Bergmann), Francesco Grandjacquet (Francesco), Carla Revere (Lauretta), Vito Annichiarico (Marcello)

Amongst the pantheon of the great Italian directors, alongside Visconti, Fellini, Antonioni, de Sica, Pasolini, Leone and Bertolucci, lies Roberto Rossellini.  And, to these eyes, he’s the most problematic member of that canonical list.  It’s not that he’s not a great director, because he undoubtedly was, but it’s rather due to a feeling of what could have been for him, more than what was.  Are his great movies quite as great as once they were?  Certainly the later portions of his post-war trilogy (Paisà and Germany, Year Zero) have dated, Francis, God’s Jester is a classic, but a minority picture and Voyage to Italy always split people down the middle.  This leaves us with Open City, the film that effectively made him and brought Italian cinema back to the fore, and the film that laid the foundations for the later neo-realist works of de Sica and de Santis. (more…)

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