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Es werden Posts vom Juni, 2013 angezeigt.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (Curtiz, Keighley, 1938) - TSPDT #464

Robin shoots arrows, wears tights, defies the evil Prince John and has horrible table manners. And he has a fling with Maid Marian, who likes to dress up in some sort of medieval burkas.

The colors are stunning. Never have I seen a meadow so green (they painted it), costumes so lush, cheeks so glowingly red, and teeth so refreshingly unbleached. It's quite amazing how this film is visually gripping just by this explosion of chroma. It would be nice to see a film like this again these days - although animation seems to have taken on the adventure of exploring color space.

The script seems quite disjoint - but when I was a kid, it impressed me for weeks. There seems to be a different mechanic at work underneath, which my gut feeling tells me has a bit to do with Vogler's heroes, but there's also something else. Maybe it's the way that Flynn gets represented as a hero who never loses faith in himself. The "all is lost" point where he is captured feels artificia…

The Hustler (Rossen, 1961) - TSPDT #336

The pocket pool hustler Fast Eddie tries to win against the king of billards: Minnesota Fats, but his blind ambition and hubris makes him lose. He manages to overcome his faults but pays a high price.

Newman was impressive in the film, but the performances of Piper and Scott took the cake. Her vulnerable, strangely undetermined Sarah, confronted by the unscrupulous and straight-talking Bird was fascinating to watch. The way Piper delivered her lines was amazing, especially the love scene. I felt I could almost touch her constant wavering of opinions. Newman left me strangely cold, it's hard to pinpoint why - maybe he should have been established more ruthless in the beginning of the picture.

There was a highly surrealist element in the script: the incessant drinking. The characters easily downed a load of bottles of Bourbon and who knows what during the first big match at Ames. Everybody seems to be drinking gallons of booze throughout the picture, yet they seem only modestly dru…

Saboteur (Hitchcock, 1942)

The aircraft factory worker Kane gets falsely accused of having set fire to the plant. He elopes, trying to find the real culprit and uncovers a vast network of fascists that are planning more terrorist attacks.

I found this a rather strange Hitchcock film. The way it handles the political messages, mixed with more than just a bit of do-gooders morality seems a bit blunt, even if this is as good a propaganda film can probably get. But the script has so many holes and weird turns that my suspense of disbelief literally jumped out the window and is still running in around in circles on the lawn. Naked.

On the other hand, there were some wonderful scenes. The encounter of Kane with the blind man in the hut is touching and the villain Fry has a wonderful subdued manner - he doesn't feel too much like a bad guy at all. The final scene on the Statue of Liberty is gripping. Most of the bad guys were strangely subdued and had a very sophisticated air about them - quite over the top for …

Un condamné à mort s'est échappé (Bresson, 1956) - TSPDT #130

Captured by the Nazis, the resistance fighter Fontaine meticulously plans his escape - can he overcome the prison's walls before he gets executed?

An amazing film - not just in terms of the incredibly simple setup. Bresson managed to keep everything lean and still the suspense towards the end is amazing. The camera work reflects that simplicity. Mostly closeups, most of them with the lead actor in it, very little dialogue and the voice-over is mostly describing what Fontaine is doing in the frame. Music (Mozart) is used very sparsely.

I think the story is not so simple as it appears, especially after the second viewing. The other stories that sprang into the foreground were:
Blanchett, his cell neighbor. Fontaine cannot see his first cell neighbor, but he can communicate with him via knocking on the wall. Blanchett is very visible, but he refuses to speak to Fontaine. Only after a very small act of humanity by Fontaine, Blanchett opens up and the two have long talks, with Blanche…

The desperate hours (Wyler, 1956)

Three prison escapees invade a family's home where they wait for the getaway cash to arrive. But the money courier is arrested and the family members try to the thwart the plans of the fugitives where ever they can.

Apart from being another very nice script taken on by Wyler, this is not a typical film-noir. It has a very straight ending, and it was not nail-biting suspense that sat me through the last third. Although Bogart was quite a surprise playing a heavy, devoid of moral whatsoever and the cast was  impressive, there was something artificial about the story.

Most interesting aspect of the film is the caricature it draws of a "perfect family" in the 50s. This family, especially the father, Mr. Hilliard, has everything that Bogart's character wants and despises at the same time. A nice, boring job, nice, boring home, with a nice and boring wife, a clueless kid and and an adolescent teenager dating a even more boring guy in a sports car. It is hard to tell if Wy…