Archive for December 31st, 2010


by Allan Fish

(USA 1940 113m) DVD2 (Spain only)

In Paris with Gusto

p  Arthur Hornblow Jnr  d  Mitchell Leisen  w  Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett  ph  Charles B.Lang  ed  Doane Harrison  m  Victor Young  art  Hans Dreier, Robert Usher

Claudette Colbert (Augusta Nash), Ray Milland (Tom Martin), Walter Abel (Mr Phillips), Dennis O’Keefe (Joe Shepard), Dick Purcell (Pinky O’Connor), George Zucco (Prison governor), Frank Puglia (Father Jacinto), Esther Dale (secretary), Paul Leyssac (Bresson), Aubrey Mather (Achille), Ann Codee (Mme.Bresson), Lionel Pape (Lord Kettlebrook),

A caption tells us of the International Brigade who came to Spain to fight the fight against the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War.  It further tells us that, “of the soldiers of fortune who came from all over the world, only a few remain, waiting to be written off in a military prison near Burgos.”  A slow pan down across a cobbled courtyard in the said prison reveals a man being marched to his death by firing squad.  The camera rests not on the execution but on the grille to the ground level cell of an American man, Tom Martin, who is, in a few hours, to follow the other gentleman to his death.  We find him playing cards with a monk, Father Jacinto, who is there not because of his delicacy and expertise in handling dealings with the soon to be terminated, but because he could speak English.  His young charge, however, seems remarkably nonplussed by his upcoming removal from this mortal coil.  “This is my first execution” remarks the padre; “don’t worry, father, it’s mine, too” retorts Milland’s Martin.  The padre wants to provide comfort; Martin just wants him to keep playing cards and, eventually, the padre gives in and grants his wish.  (more…)

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