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Archive for March 5th, 2009


Last week T.S. of Screen Savour, Anders at Cut Print Review and R.D. Finch at The Movie Projector kindly passed their Dardos Award to Wonders in the Dark.   Thank you, one and all! It’s always gratifying to be recognized for one’s efforts. (in this case for Allan, Tony, Kaleem, Jenny, Dennis and myself)

The Dardos Award is given for cultural, literary, and personal values in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

In accepting the award, which I gratefully do, I must do two things:

  1. Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.
  2. Pass the award to another five blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.  I have opted to name 8 blogs, rather than five for a host of reasons.

       WitD would like to pass their own Dardos annointments to the three blogs that sent their own to us, as well as five others.  (Yeah, that’s eight, and we’re bending the rules a bit by doing it)

         T. S. at Screen Savour  The writer is top-rank (he teaches at the highest level) and he specializes in great directors.  His Chaplin and Hitchcock series are the best on the net, and he’s a real gentleman.

         R. D. Finch at The Movie Projector  This veteran film buff is a fabulous writer, and he is constantly improving his cognizance of movies in every genre.  His reviews are exhaustive, authoritative and passionate.

         Anders at Cut Print Review  The anchor of an energetic and vibrant Australian film blog, manned by young writers who are committed to coverage of all new releases in the theatre.  A fun place to be.

         Alexander Coleman at Coleman’s Corner in Cinema  Young Alexander, at 23 years old, is one of the great writers on the net, and his superlative thesis-styled reviews are beyond top-rank, and are marveled at by all who visit his hallowed halls.  He has  abright future ahead of him.

        Craig Kennedy at Living in Cinema  Craig’s site is widely-known as a place of hands on discourse between passionate film lovers.  Craig and Sam K. write socko reviews, and the site gets more traffic than just about any other around.  It’s a place where people converge to talk, and Craig is often the “toast of the town.”

       Dorothy Porker and “K” at Inside the Gold  This site is incomparable for Oscar coverage and awards, and it’s new stramlined look showcases the reviews and posts of two passionate movie lovers.  Dorothy is a huge Ingmar Bergman fan, and silent film afficionado, and she is attuned to the Manhattan cultural scene.  This is a great blog in every way.

        David S. Schleicher  This New Jersey-based blog is the home of a professional writer, who also happens to be a very fine film critic, and an effervescent personality.  David is broadening his horizons by the day, and his engaging prose is a film lover’s dream.  His blog, featured on our blogroll, contains his name.

       Jon “Joseph” Lanthier  “Jon” is a critic for Slant magazine, and his work for two blogs, including his recently-launched “The Power Strip” contains amazingly fecund and erudite musings, with a full command of literature, music and film.  He is engaging and ultra-challenging.

       Needless to say, my own top choices Dee Dee (The Noirista) of Noirish City and our own staff writer Tony D’Ambra, who moderates two blogs of his own, felt for various reasons they would rather pass on this accolade, but both of them are sitting at the top of the heap for a number of reasons, as they well know.  I’ll give them something better than a Dardo–and that’s my undying friendship!

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 ballad-of-a-soldier-7-copy

by Allan Fish

(USSR 1959 89m) DVD1/2

Aka. Ballada o Soldate

Fixing mother’s roof

uncredited  d  Grigori Chukrai  w  Valentin Yoshov, Grigori Chukrai  ph  Vladimir Nikolaiev, Era Saveleva  ed  M.Tomofeyeva  m  Mikhail Ziv  art  B.Nemechek

Vladimir Ivashev (Alyosha), Zhanna Prokhorenko (Shura), Antonina Maximova (Alyosha’s mother), Nikolai Kryuchkov (General), Yevgeni Urbanski (invalid),

I remember very vividly my first viewing of Ballad of a Soldier back in 1994.  BBC2 were showing a series of films with various Hollywood dignitaries where they talked about their favourite films, with one shown afterwards in accompaniment.  I remember Anjelica Huston picked The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Marty Scorsese Duel in the Sun and Clint Eastwood Yojimbo.  Anyone whose cinematic knowledge is worth anything will see the connection with them, but when it came to Michael Douglas, he picked Ballad of a Soldier.  It was a film that affected him deeply and only a week or so later I remember someone writing into the Radio Times after likewise viewing the film that night and saying how it recalled their first seeing the film over 30 years previously.  The point is that, once seen, Ballad of a Soldier is hard to forget.  Other Russian films may be more lyrical (Earth), influential (The Battleship Potemkin) or more ambitious (War and Peace), but none was more universal.  Its tale of doomed love, familial devotion and the waste of war is relative to any time and any place.

            For his bravery in the face of tank fire, a Russian soldier during World War II is granted a week’s leave to return home to fix his mother’s roof, before returning to the front.  Realising most of his leave will be spent travelling to and from home, so he sets off immediately, but he becomes sidetracked by a young girl, the two falling in love but not declaring their feelings, let alone consummating them. Though he gets home, he hasn’t the time to mend the roof, only to kiss his mother and return to the front. (more…)

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