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Archive for December 18th, 2012

DS5

By Jon Warner

At my parent’s house in Chicago there is this photo album with a slightly yellowed and faded photo. In it, is an image of a small boy, about age 4, who is holding an RCA videodisc in his hand. It is a copy of Duck Soup. He has a beaming smile. Yes….that was me. It sometimes strikes me as I look back at that photo and realize how much that film and the Marx Brothers have meant to me throughout my life. Back then, we would go visit my grandparents in Davenport, IA and my uncle would come over to visit in the evenings. He had an RCA videodisc player which he would bring over. He had a remarkable collection of titles. We would watch Shane, The Great Escape, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, among many others. He also had The Marx Brothers, who were my favorite. He had  Animal Crackers, A Day at the Races, and what I consider their best film and a landmark of comedy…Duck Soup. My brother and I would sit down in my grandparent’s basement watching these movies and laughing our heads off. This routine went on for years. (more…)

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auschwitz-2

by Allan Fish

(UK 2005 285m) DVD1/2

Aka. Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution

Arbeit Macht Frei

p  Laurence Rees  d  Martina Balazova, Dominic Sutherland, Detief Siebert  w  Laurence Rees  ph  various  ed  Alan Lygo  m  “Sarabande” by Georg F.Handel, W.A.Mozart (excerpts from “Requiem”), Arvo Pärt (“Spiegel im Spiegel”), Franz Schubert (“Piano Trio in E Flat”), etc.  narrated by  Samuel West

In 1947, actual Auschwitz inmate Wanda Jakubowska returned to the actual camp of Auschwitz now so much a euphemism for the entire Holocaust, to film her masterpiece The Last Stage.  The dust had hardly settled when she produced her unsettling insight into life in the camp.  Yet perhaps it would be more accurate to say a camp, not the camp.  The camp, the one spoken of still in such hushed tones of shock and abhorrence, was barely featured.  Her film was more about the Polish political prisoners working as slave labour.  Chimneys and crematoriums were kept in the background, though the sight in the distance of the unforgettable image of the main tower under which the trains brought their cargo of death signposted you really were at the real location.  Documentaries came and went on the subject, from Nuit et Brouillard to Shoah, but many years passed before a detailed look at the atrocities in the camp and its place in infamy would come forth. (more…)

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