Archive for November 18th, 2009

by Sam Juliano

      Last fall I penned a formal review of Boris Karloff’s Thriller, an early 60’s anthology series, that achieved it’s greatest exposure and success in syndication.  The show ran for two seasons (1960-61) and 67 hour-long episodes were produced, airing on NBC at the same time the popular Alfred Hitchcock Presents was being seen on the same station on a different day and time slot.  Purportedly, Hitchcock exerted his enormous clout at the station and demanded Thriller’s cancellation, as he secretly saw it as competition for his own show, and was rather envious of the horror show’s increasing popularity.  While producer William Frye, who was responsible for the upsurge in the ratings after a very slow beginning, where mystery rather than horror was stressed, was respected by network executives, he couldn’t compete with Hitchcock.  Hence, the show’s legacy are two seasons of black and white shows that are marked by gothic atmospherics, German expressionism, and in some instances some of the most horrifying set pieces ever seen on network television.  Two of the shows, “Pigeons From Hell” and “The Incredible Doktor Markeson” are horrific masterpieces that far eclipse anything shown before or since. Several others, like The Cheaters, The Weird Tailor, The Grim Reaper, Well of Doom, The Devil’s Ticket, Waxworks, The Premature Burial, La Strega and The Hungry Glass are superlative shows that stand up to the best of both The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, as well as Hitchcock’s show.  “Lighter” episodes like Masquerade and A Good Imagination were also quality presentations marked by fine acting and engaging screenplays.  Some of the earliest episodes (before the show found it’s footing) were awkward and rather poorly executed, but once the reigns were turned over to Frye, the show took flight.  No less a horror authority than Stephen King himself has called Thriller  “the best show of its kind ever to run on network television.” (more…)

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thin red line 1

(USA 1998 170m) DVD1/2

Isaste san palikarta mu

p  Robert Michael Giesler, John Roberdeau, Grant Hill  d  Terrence Malick  w  Terrence Malick  novel  James Jones  ph  John Toll  ed  Billy Weber, Leslie Jones  m  Hans Zimmer (including “In paradisum” by Fauré)  art  Jack Fisk  cos  Margot Wilson

Sean Penn (Sgt.Welsh), Adrien Brody (Cpl.Fife), Jim Caviezel (Pvt.Witt), Nick Nolte (Lt.Col.Tall), Ben Chaplin (Pvt.Bell), Elias Koteas (Sgt.Staros), Woody Harrelson (Sgt.Keck), John Cusack (Capt.Gaff), George Clooney (Capt.Bosche), John C.Reilly (Sgt.Storm), John Travolta (Brig.Gen.Quintard), John Savage (Sgt.McCron), Jared Leto (2nd Lt.Whyte), Dash Mihok (Pvt.Doll), Tim Blake Nelson (Pvt.Tills), Miranda Otto (Marty Bell), Kirk Acevedo (Pvt.Tella), Arie Verveen (Pvt.Dale),

At the end of the seventies, the future for Terrence Malick, esq. looked rosy.  Critical acclaim and cult status had been bestowed on his debut feature Badlands, while his follow up, Days of Heaven, though finding no real audience, did contain some of the most gorgeous imagery of its decade and some sublime reworkings of Saint Saëns by Ennio Morricone.  And yet it was twenty years before his third film was announced, and it was not without some anticipation that it was greeted.  Malick’s film is an adaptation of that most popular of authors, James Jones, who had also provided the source material for From Here to Eternity and Some Came Running, as well as an earlier, uninspiring version of Line by Andrew Marton in 1964.  It might at first have seemed a strange choice, and it’s one that can take some time to adjust to, but, once that adjustment is made, it’s hypnotic.    Line is set in the middle of World War II and tells the story of a group of servicemen, from the brass hats through the brave lesser officers to the plain privates, who fought in the South Pacific at Guadalcanal.  And that’s it really, but it’s what the film says that really hits home.  This is not the propaganda of the Preston Foster and Richard Conte flick, but a stately, contemplative, ruminative and well nigh magnificent treatise on the futility of war and its after effects.  Of course many films have had the same mission statement, and Malick even pays homage to some of them (most memorably All Quiet on the Western Front with its diverse shots of gorgeous butterflies), but what Malick is showing is not so much that ‘war is hell’, as ‘hell is a place in paradise’.  Never was a war film shot in such an ethereal location as these islands; as the opening line in the film states, “why this war in the heart of nature?  Why does nature vie with itself?”  (more…)

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