Archive for May 25th, 2009


by Sam Juliano

The major contention of the superb new documentary on the Brothers Sherman is that their discordant relationship fueled the creative process.  Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman wrote more musical song scores than any other songwriting team in history, in a collaboration that began at the 1950’s at the urging of their father, “Tin Pan Alley” songwriter Al, who was brought to America in the early 1900’s by a Russian-Jewish family that had settled in Prague.

     The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story was directed by Gregory V. and Jeffrey C. Sherman, two cousins and sons of the songwriting duo, who did not socialize for 40 years, despite growing up within blocks in Beverly Hills.  The film is far more than a loving tribute crafted by offspring, who admit they hoped the venture would help spark a relationship that had cooled in recent years.  The elder of the two brothers, Robert, has moved to London in 2000, while Richard, the more effervescent of the two, remained in California. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Czechoslovakia 1967 162m) DVD2 

Do not be an animal

p  Josek Ouky  d  Frantisek Vlácil  w  Frantisek Vlácil, Frantisek Pavlicek  novel  Vladislav Vancura  ph  Bedrich Batka  ed  Miroslav Hajek  m  Zdenek Liska  art  Oldrich Okác  cos  Theodor Pistek  sound  Frantisek Fabian

Josek Kemr (Kozlik), Magda Vásáryová (Marketa Lazarova), Nada Hejna (Katerina), Jaroslav Moucka (Jan), Frantisek Velecký (Mikolas), Karel Vasikek (Jiri), Pavla Polaskova (Alexandra), Ivan Palúch, Václáv Sloup, Martin Mrasek,

In the 1964 epic The Fall of the Roman Empire there is a wonderful funeral scene in the snow on the German frontier where you really could “hear the Gods laughing.”  If the Gods of Rome were still around in the 13th century, they would doubtless weep at the goings on here.  Yet as one old crone, as she is called, says, “weeping is the gift of relief.  Men do not know it.”  Here men are animals, no different to any other creature that hunts in packs, but his prey are stray travellers, to satisfy his lust for money and women.  This is a medieval world like no other.  If you thought The Lion in Winter or The War Lord were stark, you’re about to get a rude awakening.  The film may have been influenced by Bergman, Dreyer and Jancsó, but it’s bleaker than any of them.  As the opening narration tells us, “our tale takes place during a savage winter with frosts as passionate as Christianity at the time.”  So frozen are the wastelands depicted that one half expects the screen to freeze over completely.  The huge snow-covered trees may look Christmassy, but these are not mere tannenbaums, but living wooden statues marking time, crying like weeping willows.  Even the wolves stand back here and let the humans get on with it, knowing there will be enough corpse meat to last them through the winter.  Death really is a steady diet here. (more…)

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