Archive for January 27th, 2009

by Sam Juliano

     The 1940’s balloting has concluded after a nearly two-month window for posting “Top 25” lists.  Voting tabulator Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. will be adding the numbers over the next few days and will subsequently be announcing the group’s top choices, much in the same way the 30’s poll was managed.  A total of 27 ballots have been cast, most by serious film buffs who possess a wide knowledge and appreciation of world cinema, and who have painstakingly spent their time reviewing and surveying this seminal decade in film.  To those who for one reason or another were unable to cast ballots, but still offered advice, encouragement and expertise, you are all equally acknowledged and thanked.

     As was the case with the 30’s polling, D’Arminio will release the top 25 finishers in numerical order, and anything placing beyond that constrictive number will not be referenced.  It is hoped that the results will be ready before the upcoming weekend.

      The 1950’s poll is due to begin next Tuesday, February 3rd, and will run for eight weeks.  Allan Fish will again provide readers with his own Top 50 countdown in reverse order with already penned essays.

     I want to take this opportunity to thank all who spent time in submitting a list.  Your sense of commitment has been quite a marvel.  To those whom I pestered and cajoled, well, you now know why my inner circle has tabbed me as the “Pollmeister.”  I must say the submissions are incredibly quality-conscious, and I’m sure the results will bare this out gloriously.

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Gaslight ****½


by Allan Fish

(UK 1940 88m) DVD1

Aka. Angel Street

Ze rooooobies!

p  John Corfield  d  Thorold Dickinson  w  A.R.Rawlinson, Bridget Boland  play  Patrick Hamilton  ph  Bernard Knowles  ed  Sidney Cole  m  Richard Addinsell  art  Duncan Sutherland

Diana Wynyard (Bella Mallen), Anton Walbrook (Paul Mallen/Louis Bauer), Frank Pettingell (Rough), Robert Newton (Vincent Ullswater), Cathleen Cordell (Nancy), Jimmy Hanley (Cobb), Minnie Rayner (Elizabeth), Marie Wright (Alice Barlow), Cathleen Nesbitt,

Looking for this classic British chiller on DVD, one has to go to the US Region 1 where it is included as an extra on that for the 1944 Hollywood version.  Just as with the DVD of House of Wax – on which the better original The Mystery of the Wax Museum is found – one is essentially buying for the extras.  MGM bought the rights to this film in the early forties, with Louis B.Mayer wishing to burn all copies so only his intended version with Ingrid Bergman could be seen.  A typical act of that studio, they had tried something very similar with their Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – whose remake again featured Bergman – and thankfully in both cases the vastly superior original versions survive.  Which is not to make the remake sound a bad film, because it isn’t; Charles Boyer and Bergman are very fine replacements for Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard, but that’s just what they remain – replacements, talented understudies.  Also, the décor is far more artificial and removes the essential character of Rough to be replaced by a more romantic character, played by Joe Cotten.   Of all big screen adaptations of the work of Patrick Hamilton, this original is the greatest by some considerable distance. (more…)

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