Archive for December 19th, 2008


by Allan Fish

Imagine you’re in a mighty hall and the great analysts of world film are there, waxing lyrical about their favourite auteurs, moods, movements and directors of world film.  You can imagine it, a place not dissimilar to the Library in those great recent Doctor Who episodes about the Library and the Vashta Nerada.  Eventually, and with some inevitability, the topic of conversation gets round to film noir.  Each is asked to describe what the very term film noir conjures up to them.  The first critic takes a sip on his beverage of choice and leans forward in his easy chair and begins to address the assembly…

The very term film noir conjures up a world where nothing would be the same again.  Indeed, there’s a case for adjusting cinematic chronology to not the simple chronology of BC and AD, but PN and AN, for pre- and après noir (for French seems the appropriate language).  There was a world before noir, a time of clear cut black and white, of heroes and villains.  A time where the villain could do whatever he liked so long as he got shot in the final act and pulled down the curtain over himself…” (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1944 137m) DVD1/2

Cry God for Larry!

p  Laurence Olivier, Filippo del Guidice  d  Laurence Olivier  w  Alan Dent, Laurence Olivier  play  William Shakespeare  ph  Robert Krasker  ed/2nd unit  Reginald Beck  m  William Walton  art  Paul Sheriff, Carmen Dillon  cos  Roger Furse

Laurence Olivier (Henry V), Leslie Banks (Chorus), Robert Newton (Pistol), Roy Emerton (Lt.Bardolph), Frederick Cooper (Cpl.Nym), George Robey (Sir John Falstaff), George Cole (Boy), Freda Jackson (Mistress Nell Quickly), Leo Genn (Charles d’Albret, Constable of France), Max Adrian (Louis, Dauphin of France), Harcourt Williams (Charles VI of France), Renée Asherson (Catherine of Valois), Ivy St Helier (Alice), Janet Burnett (Queen Isabella of France), Ralph Truman (Montjoy), Felix Aylmer (Archbishop of Canterbury), Robert Helpmann (Bishop of Ely), Ernest Thesiger (Duc de Berri), Esmond Knight (Fluellen), John Laurie (Jamy), Niall McGinnis (MacMorris), Michael Stepney (Gower), Russell Thorndyke (Duc de Bourbon), Francis Lister (Duc d’Orleans), Nicholas Hannen (Duke of Exeter), Morland Graham (Sir Thomas Erpingham), Valentine Dyall (Duc de Burgundy), Griffith Jones (Earl of Salisbury), Vernon Greeves (English Herald), Gerald Case (Earl of Westmorland), Michael Warre (Duke of Gloucester), Jonathan Field (French Messenger), Frank Tickle (Governor of Harfleur), Brian Nisson (Court), Jimmy Hanley (Williams), Arthur Hambling (Bates),

Laurence Olivier’s Henry V is a film that continues to enthral me to this day, over fifteen years after I first saw it, the very night after Olivier died in 1989.  The BBC showed it in tribute, a program on his life preceding it, introduced by his friend Anthony Hopkins.  So it was that I settled down to watch a 2¼ hour Shakespeare film (my first), not knowing what to expect.  Suffice it to say that it held me enraptured into the early hours and, for the first time, in spite of all the accolades I had heard that day, came to understand the man’s genius.  Since then, of course, I have seen various earlier Shakespeare films, but there has never been one to match Olivier’s film, all the more remarkable as it was his debut as a director.  However, it might never have been filmed at all.           (more…)

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