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Archive for July 2nd, 2013

1776 2

by Sam Juliano

Note:  This review, first published at WitD on July 5, 2009 is re-printed today to honor and acknowledge tomorrow’s 4th of July holiday stateside.

Back in 1972, upon the release of the film version of 1776 Vincent Canby put things in their proper perspective when he opined: “The music is resolutely unmemorable.  The lyrics sound as if they’d been written by someone high on root beer, and the book is familiar history, compressed here, stretched there – that has been gagged up and paced to Broadway’s not inspiring standards.  Yet Peter H. Hunt’s screen version of 1776, a musical play I somehow didn’t see during its three-year Broadway run, insists on being so entertaining and, at times, even moving, that you might as well stop resisting it.  This reaction, I suspect, represents a clear triumph of emotional associations over material.”  Others, like Rex Reed were not so hospitable, likening the film and the show it was based on as “a history lesson for the mentally retarded.”  The roll-out for the movie was most extravagant as it premiered at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall near the very end of that cultural landmark’s status as a movie house, before its advent as an exclusive concert venue.  (As a 17 year-old I saw the film during its run here, and vividly remember being assaulted by a Bob Dylan-The Kinks-John Lennon loving friend who accompanied me to the screening with a few others, and who vociferously objected to some of the film’s cornball song lyrics, telling me at the end of the film: “You’re dead Juliano!). (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(USA/France 1965 104m) DVD1 (Blu Ray only)

I, scarecrow

p  Christian Ferry  d  John Guillermin  w  Stanley Mann  novel  Phyllis Hastings  ph  Marcel Grignon  ed  Max Benedict  m  Georges Delerue  art  Jean André

Melvyn Douglas (Frederick Larbaud), Dean Stockwell (Joseph), Patricia Gozzi (Agnes Larbaud), Gunnel Lindblom (Karen), Sylvia Kay (Genevieve), Leslie Sands (gendarme #1), Murray Evans (gendarme #2), Peter Sallis (Armand),

A John Guillermin film, I hear some of you say?  The John Guillermin: the man who made The Towering Inferno and that God-awful King Kong remake?  Not much else to show either, perhaps Guns at Batasi for one of Richard Attenborough’s best performances.  Essentially he’s the dictionary definition of a journeyman, but one who once made an art film and one of the great neglected works of its time, one based on an English novel set in England, but here transposed to Brittany.  The reason for crossing la Manche was singular; Patricia Gozzi.  Darryl F.Zanuck remembered her in Sundays at Cybèle, and wanted her for his heroine at all costs.  He realised the setting would be wrong, and so Stanley Mann was tasked with taking the story and giving it a little Gallic twist.  (more…)

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