Archive for October 4th, 2011

by Judy Geater


Director: Charles Walters

Producers: Arthur Freed/Roger Edens

Music and lyrics: Irving Berlin

Screenwriters: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Sidney Sheldon, Guy Bolton (uncredited)

Choreographers: Fred Astaire/Charles Walters

Cinematographer: Harry Stradling Sr

Studio: MGM

Main actors: Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford, Ann Miller


It’s hard to imagine a sunnier musical than Easter Parade. Everything fits together perfectly, from the sublime song-and-dance pairing of Judy Garland and Fred Astaire to the score packed with great Irving Berlin standards. Yet this brightly-coloured holiday favourite was at first intended to be darker and sadder, and it almost came together in its final form by a series of accidents.

This backstage tale is set in the vaudeville days of 1912, centred around New York’s famous Easter Parade. It has a warm, nostalgic flavour to it, though the gorgeous costumes would have been fashionable in the 1940s as well as in the period being portrayed. There are plenty of lavishly produced musical numbers, including scenes from the Ziegfeld Follies, but there are also scenes of Garland singing in a dingy nightclub, and glimpses of quirky vaudeville attractions such as a number featuring performing dogs. There is very little dialogue between the songs by comparison with most musicals, but it doesn’t feel too sparse, because every line is made to count. (more…)

Read Full Post »

by Allan Fish

(Denmark 2011 139m) DVD1/2

Life is only on earth…and not for long

p  Meta Louise Foldager, Louise Vesth  d/w  Lars Von Trier  ph  Manuel Alberto Claro  ed  Molly Marlene Stensgaard, Morten Hojbjerg  m  Richard Wagner  art  Simone Grau  cos  Manon Rasmussen

Kirsten Dunst (Justine), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Claire), Kiefer Sutherland (John), Cameron Spurr (Leo), Charlotte Rampling (Gaby), John Hurt (Dexter), Alexander Skarsgard (Michael), Stellan Skarsgard (Jack), Udo Kier (wedding planner), Brady Corbet (Tim), Jesper Christensen (Little Father),

It all seems such a long time ago, that benevolent, lovely face staring back to us off a billboard at the beginning of Spider-Man 2.  Then Kirsten Dunst was one of the hottest properties in Hollywood, superb as Marion Davies in The Cat’s Meow, better than the mediocre likes of Crazy/Beautiful deserved, earning a place in the ensemble of Eternal Sunshine so she wasn’t out of her depth with Winslet, Carrey and Wilkinson.  But then she drifted, lost in the blancmange of her friend Sofia Coppola’s teen Marie Antoinette and half a dozen awful films.  All Good Things was a turning point; not an especially special film, but she was touching as the missing wife, yet still it seemed strange she would consider working with Lars Von Trier.  But Lars was a canny old sod; picking Emily Watson from nowhere, making Björk believable, getting career best turns from Nicole Kidman, Bryce Dallas Howard and Charlotte Gainsbourg. 

            Then there was the title.  For those eclectic few who had seen the film on the previous page, it conjured up comparisons between two masters – Von Trier and Diaz – at opposite ends of the cinematic spectrum but both testing boundaries.  Not to mention the personal link to Von Trier’s own life, a man haunted by ghosts but at the same time welcoming them as an old friend for a glass of sherry.  He knew all about melancholia, so it’s little surprise he’d eventually make a film devoted to it.  Or not… (more…)

Read Full Post »