16 items from 2013
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Murderer Lives at 21 (UK release) A murderer is stalking the streets of Paris, and his only calling card is a literal calling card bearing the name “Monsieur Durand.” The police are getting nowhere fast, but when a petty criminal offers evidence that the killer resides in a local boarding house a top detective goes in undercover to ferret the murderer out for arrest. Hilarity ensues. I’m not kidding about it being hilarious either. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot would go on to make Wages of Fear, Diabolique and others, but his debut film shows an assured hand with both the visual style and a fantastic tonal balance between the mystery and the laughs. The dialogue moves at a ’40s screwball comedy pace, and it’s loaded with wit, smarts »
- Rob Hunter
★★★☆☆ At initial glance Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Murderer Lives at 21 (L'Assassin habite au 21, 1942) would appear to be mere comic folly from a director highly respected for serious thrillers. Arriving on Blu-ray in Eureka's Masters of Cinema series, its television-style whodunnit set up, cast of oddball suspects and humorous tone all point towards a light and less abiding affair. This markedly assured debut may be those things, but it is equally shot through with a delightfully noirish streak and an abundance of misanthropic undertones, not least in the banal shadows within which evil is lurking.
The opening scene provides us with a fiendish moment of complicity in which the film's antagonist, Monsieur Durand, stalks an inebriated lottery winner. The audience isn't privy to the villain's identity through this sequence but instead finds itself observing from Durand's point of view as he slays the man, takes his money and leaves a calling card. »
- CineVue UK
While Henri-Georges Clouzot is best remembered for many of his later films, including The Wages of Fear and Diabolique, the French filmmaker's 1942 debut has gone largely unseen by Western audiences until now. The Murderer Lives at 21 (L'Assassin Habite au 21), based on the novel by Belgian author Stanislas-Andre Steeman, is in fact a sequel to Georges Lacombe's The Last of Six, released a year earlier. That film also starred Pierre Fresnay and Suzy Delair, and was adapted by Clouzot for the screen. In fact, it was his dissatisfaction with the way his script was directed that inspired Clouzot to become a director himself. At the time of the film's production, World War II was in full swing and France was under the occupation of...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
★★★★☆ Mario Bava's playful portmanteau piece Black Sabbath (1963) is reissued by Arrow Video this week in a comprehensive two-disc set. Featuring three horrific tales of varying effectiveness, each introduced by the legendary Boris Karloff in tongue-in-cheek vignettes, the film owes a great deal to Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It also serves a great showcase for Bava's talents, all shorts being of a different tone and tackling different genre with assurance. Up first is The Drop of Water, a creepy piece focusing on Nurse Helen (Jacqueline Pierreux), called to tend the body of a recently deceased medium by her distraught maid.
While dressing the corpse for burial, Helen can't resist pilfering the old dear's ring, only to be haunted by the eerie sound of dripping and some unexpected visions upon returning home. Comprised of gorgeous sound and lighting design (deep reds, greens and purples glaze the screen throughout), this is atmospheric, unsettling »
- CineVue UK
Masters of Cinema have kindly released L'assassin habite... au 21 (The Murderer Lives at... 21) on DVD. This, the directorial debut of Henri-Georges Clouzot, has never been an easy film to see in English-speaking territories. It's often dismissed a a minor effort, perhaps because of it's light-hearted tone, and because it's a more conventional whodunnit investigation than the more twisty and twisted later thrillers.
The stars are Pierre Fresnay (later hero of Le corbeau) and Suzy Delair (later heroine of Quai des Orfèvres, and Clouzot's mistress), playing a brilliant police inspector and his actress girlfriend. Suave Fresnay and blousy Delair would also play these roles in a sequel, Le dernier des six, scripted by Clouzot but not directed by him. It's not as good as this one but as a greedy swine I can't help wish that it could have been included as an extra on the disc.
There's been a series of robbery-murders, »
- David Cairns
The French film industry has always been among the worlds most important……at least to film studies professors. Most French movies are either funded by the French government or made with the support of government-linked media companies. Filmmakers face little market pressure in the creative process. That helps explain why they’re so boring!
Starbuck opens this weekend so we here at We Are Movie Geeks have decided to post this article about our favorite French films. Okay, so Starbuck is technically a Canadian film shot in Quebec, but its French language so, in our eyes that makes it French! The Hollywood remake is already in the can. It stars Vince Vaughn. The remake was originally tilted Dickie Donor but they’ve changed it to Delivery Man, so you just know they’ve screwed it up bad. This list may not line up with that of your typical French Cinema scholar. »
- Movie Geeks
Sometimes it's all about the lighting.
In a teaser for French electronic group Opale's upcoming "Sparkles and Wine" release, London-based filmmaker Nacho Guzmán created a mesmerizing video that shows just how much the appearance of one face can change under various lighting conditions.
Posted on Vimeo last week, the music video teaser features a beautiful female center-screen, seen from the shoulders up. Using colored Led and string lights (most often used on Christmas trees), Guzmán was able to make the woman's face appear as if her features are somehow transforming.
A Reddit user captured stills of the top, right, left and bottom lighting used in the video. (Photo via Imgur)
Speaking to The Huffington Post, Guzmán explained the video is actually an homage to deceased French director Henri-Georges Clouzot. In his final unfinished film, "L'enfer," Clouzot employed a similar lighting technique.
Intrigued by the visual style, Guzmán sought to determine »
- The Huffington Post
So, this project has nothing to do with that largely unsuccessful John Cusack thriller of last year, nor anything to do with Edgar Allen Poe at all, to the best of our knowledge. It’s nothing to do with the Roger Corman movie or the Henri-Georges Clouzot one, nor is it based on the popular Disney Channel show “That’s So Raven,” and it’s got nothing to do with any Baltimore-based football player. So just what is “The Raven”? Because it’s about to sign up the second most in-demand Hemsworth as its lead. It turns out that "The Raven" (which we can only assume will soon undergo a name change to differentiate itself from that 2012 movie) is a project that’s set up over at Universal, and is based on a short film from Peruvian director Ricardo De Montreuil. That short followed a super-powered character called Chris ‘The Raven »
- Joe Cunningham
Continued from here...The Wages of Fear (dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953 France)Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival, Golen Bear at Berlin International Film Festival, BAFTA for Best Film from any Source, Blue Ribbon Award for Best Foreign Language FilmBen Umstead, East Coast Editor:i'm going to be brutally honest here. It ain't gonna be pretty and will probably put any serious film writing I do to question, but here goes... I found Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages Of Fear utterly boring. Yep. I'm certain one Jason Gorber is spinning in his easy chair right about now, so I'll imagine him asking this: "But how, Ben? How? It's one of the greatest suspense movies of all time! The slow build up of tension, the absolute moment-to-moment...
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Steven Soderbergh’s recently released Side Effects brought this article to fruition. Although the film will probably be wiped out of everyone’s minds in a few months, you cannot help but feel the essence of one of the greatest directors of all time channeled through Soderbergh’s cinematic eye. The very first shot in Soderbergh’s film is a clearcut and obvious homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, and countless other nods to the master of suspense can be spotted elsewhere by eagle-eyed fans.
One cannot deny that no matter the filmmaker, Hitchcock’s influence lives on and is as pivotal to film directors today as it was back in the day – even for those who do not specialize with thrillers. As you can probably notice by now, Alfred Hitchcock is one of those names that any film enthusiast should get tattooed across their chest someday. Okay, not really, »
- Alex Aagaard
A remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic "The Wages of Fear," the film tells the story of four criminals hiding out in Nicaragua who are given the task of transporting unstable "sweating" dynamite two hundred miles through the South American jungle to help extinguish an oil fire.
Last year, Friedkin sued Universal and Paramount to determine who owns the rights. Though the lawsuit was dropped, that action seems to have had an effect with a re-colored digital print put into production.
"We’re working off the original negative, which is in pretty good shape, but without changing the original concept we have to bring it back in terms of color saturation, sharpness and all the stuff" Friedkin tells the trade paper.
The aim is for this clean new »
- Garth Franklin
Exclusive William Friedkin's "Sorcerer" -- a film that fell victim to shifting tastes when it opened more than three decades ago -- will be remastered and released in theaters and for the first time on Blu-ray, the director told TheWrap. The film, a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's "The Wages of Fear," nearly sank Friedkin's career when it hit theaters in 1977. He was riding high on the success of "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection," but as he recounts in his upcoming memoir "The Friedkin Connection," the release of "Star Wars" that same »
- Brent Lang
Of all the cinemas of the world, French cinema has to rank as not only one of the most important and iconic, but simply, one of the most enjoyable and intellectually engaging out there. Though frequently parodied for being pretentious and self-indulgent, French cinema has delivered some of cinema’s most provocative works, challenging our home-grown assumptions about what cinema should be, and expanding our horizons to consider some very different types of films.
But that’s not to say the French can’t do good old fashioned genre films either; as this list will attest, whether it’s a quirky comedy, an intellectual meditation on lost childhood or a taut suspense thriller, French cinema is some of the most exciting and invigorating out there.
To celebrate the release of Rust and Bone on Blu-ray (available on February 25th, click here to win the movie on Blu-Ray). Here are 5 must-see French films… »
- Shaun Munro
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
France, 92 min – 1943.
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Corbeau is a witch hunt. The site of this “hunt” is a small French town. A mysterious person has begun airing out the town’s immoral actions and secrets, in the form of letters, signed as “Le Corbeau” (the raven). The victim of these letters is Dr. Remy Germain (Pierre Fresnay), who is accused of performing abortions and having affairs with fallen women and married women alike. The townspeople ostracize Dr. Germain and others named by the raven. However, when a single letter causes the death of a hospital patient, townspeople mob against the likeliest culprits, all to save their community from slinking into the gray areas of morality.
One of the historically discussed themes of Le Corbeau deals with morality. It shows »
- Karen Bacellar
2012 proved by turns an odd and triumphant year for director William Friedkin, who fashioned Matthew McConaughey's performance in the shockingly good “Killer Joe,” but also was forced into dealing with his troubled past, namely the 1977 suspense drama “Sorcerer.” Legal difficulties and lawsuits surrounding the film have plagued the past 12 months for the filmmaker, but now it appears Friedkin may finally gain some peace with his underseen gem. A remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's impeccable “The Wages of Fear,” “Sorcerer” has heretofore remained in the fabled margins of Friedkin's career, mostly due to its tumultuous production and squabbles with leads Roy Scheider and Bruno Cremer. It also flopped at the box office, taking in just $12 million on a $22 million budget. However, as Friedkin recently tried to revive the film for a new audience, he found that domestic and international partners Paramount and Universal »
- Charlie Schmidlin
I’ve always loved this Polish poster for Billy Wilder’s Love in the Afternoon, with its ethereal collage of photography and daubs of paint (not to mention perfectly tasteful type), and I knew that its designer, Wojciech Fangor, had designed a number of other posters in a similar style. But until I started looking into him for Movie Poster of the Week, I had no idea that he is one of Poland’s pre-eminent artists and is still alive and well at the age of 90. Not only that, but he is currently being fêted with a major exhibition, titled Space as a Game, at the National Museum in Krakow (it closes tomorrow if you’re lucky enough to be in the vicinity).
Born in 1922, Fangor was reared on the paintings of Picasso, Matisse and Léger that he would see »
- Adrian Curry
16 items from 2013
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