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Archive for June 23rd, 2009

Bless the Beasts Movie Poster

by Sam Juliano

Today’s review of  Stanley Kramer’s “Bless the Beasts and Children” is the first of a planned series that will examine films from the 1970’s that were either forgotten, undervalued or misunderstood at the time of their release

     Producer/director Stanley Kramer has been the recipient of both glowing praise and outright condemnation from the film community, yet there’s little denying that his fame rests mostly on the former of his two vocations.  Kramer, who passed away at age 87 in 2001, produced a half-dozen Hollywood classics and semi-classics: Champion, Cyrano de Bergerac, High Noon, A Member of the Wedding and The Caine Mutiny.  His direction, which in large measure has centered around the genre of socially-conscious cinema has yielded some well-respected even venerated films like The Defiant Ones, Inherit the Wind, Judgement at Nuremberg, On the Beach, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Ship of Fools.  His most popular film of all of course is the comedy It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World,(1963) whose title was used for his published autobiography.  The confusion or overlap of Kramer’s dual artistic roles drew wide criticism from the intelligentsia, including David Thomson who declared “Commercialism, of the most crass and confusing kind has devitalised all of his projects.”  Pauline Kael, no less kind, claimed deception when she wrote: “Kramer’s reputation as a great director (was) based on a series of errors.”  Of his late work as helmer, one film, reviled by many upon its release in 1972 stands today as both an moving treatment of its subject and an epitagh to the kind of films Kramer gravitated to through his career. (more…)

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out 1 1

by Allan Fish

(France 1971 776m) not on DVD

Aka. Out 1: Noli Ma Tangere

L’Histoire des Treize

p  Stéphane Tchalgadjief  d  Jacques Rivette  w  Jacques Rivette, Suzanne Schiffman  ph  Pierre William Glenn  ed  Nicole Lubtchansky  m  Jean-Pierre Drouet

Jean-Pierre Léaud (Colin), Juliet Berto (Frédérique), Bulle Ogier (Pauline/Emilie), Michèle Moretti (Lili), Michel Lonsdale (Thomas), Françoise Fabian (Lucie), Bernadette Lafont (Sarah), Eric Rohmer (Balzac specialist), Barbet Schroeder (Gian-Reto), Jean Bouise (Warok), Brigitte Roüan (Miss Blandish), Pierre Baillot (Quentin), Hermine Karagheuz (Marie), Karen Puig (Elaine),

It’s the great elusive sangraal to intellectual film buffs, one to give them heebie-jeebies of anticipation even to whisper of it.  Rivette’s ultimate folly, his near thirteen hour opus, has a length that most critics called self-indulgent, but they were perhaps unaware of its history, unaware that it had been intended to be an eight part TV drama (if that’s the right word), but that, due to its very eclectic, undisciplined nature, none of the French TV networks wanted to show it.  He was forced to release it almost in secret, and in the end only released a much shortened, barely four hour version, Out 1: Spectre, a year later.  The title of that shortened version tells you exactly what Rivette though the shorter version was; a ghost of the original, a highlights package of a dream you can’t quite recall.  Even the subtitle to this original version – the French for “hands off!” – tells you everything about Rivette’s plea for his baby.  Please, please, show it uncut. (more…)

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