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Archive for July 21st, 2009

i never sang 1

by Sam Juliano

     New York playwright Robert Anderson, who died in February of this year at the age of 91, may not have been on the same level of greatness as Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller, but his small body of work achieved a significant measure of success on stage and screen in its intimate and painful examination of relationships.  His 1953 play, Tea and Sympathy enjoyed a hugely successful  run of 712 performances on Broadway, where it was directed by Elia Kazan, and at one point starred Joan Fontaine and Anthony Perkins.  The original leads, Deborah Kerr and John Kerr reprised their roles in the 1956 film version, directed by Vincente Minelli.  In the late 60’s the author revealed his own familial demons with the largely autobiographical I Never Sang For My Father, which sustained a brief run before being preped for it’s eventual 1970 film release, a project that featured actors Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman as father and son, and Dorothy Stickney and Estelle Parsons in the supporting roles of mother and daughter.  Both Douglas and Hackman scored Oscar nominations for their superlative performances, but the film, an intimate domestic drama, did unimpressively at the box office and faded away.  To this day, Columbia has balked at releasing a proper DVD of the film despite the substantial cult following it has acrued over the past decades. (more…)

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valerie 1

by Allan Fish

(Czechoslovakia 1970 74m) DVD1/2

Aka. Valerie A Tyden Divu

Valerie the Vampire Slayer

p  Jaromil Jires  d  Jaromil Jires  w  Jaromil Jires, Ester Krumachova  story  Viteslav Nezval  ph  Jan Curik  ed  Josef Vausiak  m  Lubos Fiser  art  Jan Oliva

Jaroslava Schallerova (Valerie), Jan Klusak (Gracian), Helena Anyzova, Petr Kopriva, Juiri Prymek,

Well, it’s certainly more of a mouthful than Buffy.  And slayer probably isn’t quite the word either, but the idea of a young girl coming face to face with vampires was not just created by Joss Whedon; Jaromil Jires beat him to it by over twenty years.  However, though vampires appear it isn’t a vampire movie at all, but rather a study in adolescence and female sexual discovery.  It’s also the sort of film that could never, and indeed will never, be made in the US or even the UK, where it would outrage the moral majority. 

            Valerie is a thirteen year old redhead who has fantastic dreams and a rich imagination.  She lives with her grandmother, a pale but youthful looking woman who has never been near a man since her seduction and impregnation with Valerie’s mother at seventeen.  Valerie is warned by her grandmother not to wear her mother’s earrings, which seem to possess some sort of magical significance and, not doing so, finds herself in increasingly fantastic scenarios, involving witchcraft, vampirism and ghosts (even involving her dead parents) and at the same time, is beginning to explore her sexuality.  (more…)

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