Archive for April 22nd, 2011

Director: Orson Welles

Producer: Albert Zugsmith

Screenwriters: Orson Welles, Paul Monash, and Franklin Coen

Cinematographer: Russell Metty

Music: Henry Mancini

Studio: Universal 1958

Main Acting: Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Orson Welles

Long after the unmitigated tragedy of having The Magnificent Ambersons taken away and butchered by his studio, Orson Welles was back in the system making another film. He had previously been given a few other rare chances at directing in Hollywood proper (one of which made this countdown), but he basically was a nomad walking the earth like Caine from Kung Fu trying to scrounge up some money to pay for projects. With the generosity of Charlton Heston, Welles was hired to direct Touch Of Evil during the last days of classic film noir. Like the true artist that he is, Welles relished the chance to work with any kind of budget and set out to create a baroque visual masterpiece with an intriguing—if inscrutable plot—filled with all sorts of quirks and mishaps. The innovative aspects start right at the beginning with a wallop of an introduction featuring a three-minute-plus tracking shot that encompasses a glorious exposition of the whole border town. Slowly, the roving camera fixes upon newlywed couple Miguel and Susie (Heston and Leigh) as they unknowingly encounter a mysterious vehicle with an odd-looking couple trying to cross the border. From these early moments, we can speculate accurately that we will be watching something special. The camera does not stop moving and neither does the excitement from witnessing such a spectacle. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1933 84m) not on DVD

Unlucky for two

p  Michael Balcon  d  Victor Saville  w  G.H.Moresby-White, Sidney Gilliat, Emlyn Williams  ph  Charles Van Enger  ed  R.E.Dearing  m/md  uncredited (probably Louis Levy)  art  Alfred Junge, Alex Vetchinsky

Sonnie Hale (Alf), Cyril Smith (Fred), Frank Lawton (Frank Parsons), Belle Chrystal (Mary Summers), Emlyn Williams (William Blake), Edmund Gwenn (Wakefield), Mary Jerrold (Mrs Wakefield), Gordon Harker (Hamilton Briggs), Eliot Makeham (Henry Jackson), Ursula Jeans (Eileen Jackson), Jessie Matthews (Millie), Ralph Richardson (Horace Dawes), Donald Calthrop (Hugh Nicholls), Robertson Hare (Ralph Lightfoot), Martita Hunt (Agnes Lightfoot), Leonora Corbett (Dolly), Max Miller (Joe), Alfred Drayton (detective), Hartley Power (American), Gibb McLaughlin (florist), Muriel Aked (Miss Twigg), O.B.Clarence (clerk),

One of the forgotten little jewels of early thirties British cinema, Friday the Thirteenth is the granddaddy of all “what if?” films, telling much of the story in flashback and bringing together several separate plot strands to one common event.  In this case, to show us how an accident came about. 

Supposing we could put back the clock…”, the opening caption tells us, and see how chance made those strangers share this appalling moment.”  They’re a disparate group; a old married woman hurrying to deliver a letter she forgot to post for her broker husband, a variety dancer off to visit a promoter after a tiff with her schoolteacher boyfriend, a blackmailer revelling in his ill-gotten gains, a henpecked husband who has left his wife’s beloved dog in the park, a cuckold who has saved up for a holiday for some time for his wife, who has unbeknownst to him left home with her lover, a cockney wide-boy market trader about to fall into a Scotland Yard net, and, of course, the driver and conductor, racing fanatics who can only think about their next trip to the track.  (more…)

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