Archive for April 8th, 2011

The Almosts…

Tentative rankings that are not perfect. These 50 are my definite “Almost” picks, but the order is less concrete. (more…)

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Director: Billy Wilder

Producers: Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Sistrom

Screenwriters: Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder

Cinematographer: John F. Seitz

Music: Miklos Rozsa

Studio: Paramount 1944

Main Acting: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, and Edward G. Robinson

During my college years, I decided to minor in film history. I had always been fascinated by the process of making movies and the effort that went along with it. In those days, I was not very serious about cinema and considered it less of an art form and more as simple entertainment. I knew nothing about directors, silent film, or pictures made in foreign countries. I was blissfully ignorant of anything that had to do with celluloid. Back then, if you asked me to name my five favorite films (leaving out stuff like The Godfather or Raging Bull) I would of probably rattled off titles like Seven, Heat, The Usual Suspects, Fargo, and LA Confidential. While I didn’t know it yet, I had already started to develop an affinity for film noir-like pictures that would manifest itself further down the road. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 1936 94m) not on DVD

Welcome to Our Home

p  Arys Nissotti  d  Julien Duvivier  w  Charles Spaak, Julien Duvivier  ph  Jules Kruger, Marc Fessard  ed  Marthe Poncin  m  Maurice Yvain  art  Jacques Krauss

Jean Gabin (Jean), Charles Vanel (Charles), Raymond Aimos (Raymond, aka. ‘Tintin), Viviane Romance (Gina), Rafael Medina (Mario), Micheline Cheirel (Huguette), Charles Granval, Fernard Charpin (gendarme), Robert Lynen (René), Jacques Baumer (Monsieur Jubette), Raymond Cordy (l’ivrogne), Marcelle Géniat (grandmother),

One of the flagship films of the Popular Front of the mid thirties, like Renoir’s Le Crime de Monsieur Lange it captured the utopian mood of that movement in a nutshell.  It’s not now as well regarded as the Renoir, and certainly not seen remotely as often.  Like many Duvivier films of the period, it’s become unfashionable, marginalised in histories of the French cinema.  Of course it’s political stuff, and it has been accused, not without some cause, of drifting a little too cosily into melodrama in its last half, and yet it’s a film that thoroughly satisfies in the watching and its faults are to be dwelt on retrospectively. 

            We begin at the Hotel King of England, little more than a glorified tenement building for the unemployed, where five men are drawn together through friendship and fate, as they held a tenth stake in a lottery ticket which pays up its million franc dividend.  The five men thus have a 20,000FF prize each coming their way and they make individual plans.  Jacques wants to go to Canada and travel, Raymond wants to go to the country, Charles to get a small wood workshop, Mario to marry his beloved Huguette.  Then there’s Jean, who suggests a communal trust between the five where they pool resources to buy a plot of land on the Seine and build/renovate a dance hall.  Things begin quite promisingly, but Jacques is soon gone, saying he still wants to travel, but really he loves Huguette and can’t bear to watch her with Mario.  As if that’s not enough, Raymond falls fatally from the roof in an accident and, as piece de resistance, another wrecking ball appears on the horizon in the shape of Charles’ poisonous ex- Gina, a nude model with no desire for anything but herself and her needs.  (more…)

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