12 items from 2011
Bride of Frankenstein, 1935.
Directed by James Whale.
“Karloff In… ”
Bride of Frankenstein doesn’t open well. There’s an awful segment between Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelly. This prologue is tacked onto the beginning of the film as crudely as Frankenstein’s head is onto his own neck.
They all sit around a fireplace in period dress. Mary narrates a brief montage explaining the story of the previous film, Frankenstein. “Oh, but the story doesn’t end there,” she explains conveniently to the other two, as the image dissolves into the burning windmill from the preceding film’s conclusion.
The townsfolk believe »
Has there ever been a more charming psychopath than Louis Mazzini? He is intelligent, diplomatic and witty, and able to ingratiate himself into almost any of Edwardian London’s social circles. He also, to his shame, is poor. His mother was cast out by her wealthy family – the D’Ascoynes, dukedom and all – when she married an Italian opera singer; he dies upon first seeing the infant Louis. That could be just a coincidence, or just a gag. Or it could be something to do with the fact that Louis is – if anyone were to describe him in such vulgar terms – evil.
One of the remarkable things about Kind Hearts and Coronets, the classic 1949 black comedy from Ealing Studios, is how easily the audience finds itself on Louis’s side; despite being made in post-war Britain and set in the early 20th century, its own lack of sentiment has preserved »
- Adam Whyte
Jane Powell, Howard Keel, and fellow Seven Brides for Seven Brothers cast members Howard Keel, best remembered for MGM musicals such as Show Boat, Kiss Me Kate, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, is Turner Classic Movies' next-to-last "Summer Under the Stars" star. On Tuesday, August 30, TCM will be presenting 14 Howard Keel movies, including one TCM premiere — Charles Crichton's British crime drama Floods of Fear. (TCM had initially announced another premiere, the 1948 British drama The Small Voice, starring Valerie Hobson and James Donald; instead, as per its website TCM will be showing — once again — the 1951 comedy Three Guys Named Mike, starring Jane Wyman.) [Howard Keel Movie Schedule.] Tall, baritone-voiced, and handsome, Howard Keel could at times be a quite effective actor, whether in comedies (Callaway Went Thataway, when not singing in Annie Get Your Gun, Calamity Jane and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) or in dramas (the Western Ride, Vaquero!, when not singing »
- Andre Soares
Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Conrad Veidt on TCM: The Hands Of Orlac, Casablanca, Nazi Agent Schedule (Et) and synopses from the TCM website: 6:00 Am Above Suspicion (1943) A honeymooning couple are asked to spy on the Nazis in pre-war Europe. Dir: Richard Thorpe. Cast: Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray, Conrad Veidt. Bw-91 mins. 7:45 Am Contraband (1940) While held up in a British port, a Danish sea captain tussles with German spies. Dir: Michael Powell. Cast: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Hay Petrie. Bw-87 mins. 9:30 Am All Through The Night (1942) A criminal gang turns patriotic to track down a Nazi spy ring. Dir: Vincent Sherman. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Kaaren Verne. Bw-107 mins. 11:30 Am Jew Suss (1934) A Jewish businessman using his wealth to benefit his people discovers he's not Jewish. Dir: Lothar Mendes. Cast: Conrad Veidt, Frank Vosper, Cedric Hardwicke. Bw-104 mins. 1: »
- Andre Soares
Arguably the two most perfect British movies were made in the same year, 1949 – Carol Reed's The Third Man and Robert Hamer's Kind Hearts and Coronets. In Hamer's movie, Dennis Price, the gay, Oxford-educated son of a brigadier-general, gives his greatest performance as the aggrieved Edwardian shop assistant revenging himself on the establishment for his mother's humiliation, and he's certainly not overshadowed by Alec Guinness's protean virtuosity.
His sequence with Guinness as his senile, snobbish clerical victim is exquisitely funny and most beautifully lit by Douglas Slocombe. Equally good are Valerie Hobson and Joan Greenwood as the two women waiting for Price when he's released from the condemned cell.
Hamer had a particular liking for the late-Victorian/Edwardian world and was a great Francophile. Both passions are reflected by two classic black comedies that influenced the film: Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, which Oscar Wilde wrote just after reading Crime and Punishment, »
- Philip French
The Guard (15)
An eccentric crime comedy like only the Irish can make, but not quite the mismatched buddy cop movie it looks. Gleeson is certainly your provincial Garda and Cheadle the uptight FBI import; the actual crime they're investigating – something to do with drug trafficking – is difficult to take seriously, but casual racism and Americanisation are cleverly worked into a self-aware subversion of the Lethal Weapon premise, shot through with warmth and wit.
Cowboys & Aliens (12A)
A genre mash-up no greater than the sum of its expensive, largely second-hand, parts, this summer spectacle corrals its cast and cliches into a plot loopier than an 11-dimensional lasso – though the title gives you a fair idea. If only it didn't try to keep such a straight face. »
- Steve Rose
The Ealing genre reached utter perfection with this superb black comedy of manners about the most elegant serial killer in history
The Ealing genre reached utter perfection with this superb black comedy of manners, made in 1949, directed by Robert Hamer and adapted by Hamer with accomplished farceur John Dighton from the 1907 novel Israel Rank, by Roy Horniman. Dennis Price gave a performance which he was, sadly, never again to equal as Louis Mazzini, the suburban draper's assistant who becomes the most elegant serial killer in history. Finding himself by a quirk of fate distantly in line to a dukedom, and infuriated by this aristocratic family's cruel treatment of his mother, he sets out to murder everyone ahead of him in line to the ermine. Alec Guinness gives a miraculously subtle and differentiated multi-performance as all eight members of the noble clan. Joan Greenwood is in her element as the honey-voiced siren Sibella, »
- Peter Bradshaw
Kind Hearts and Coronets will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 5th September 2011 and we have 3 copies of the Blu-ray to give away!
Perhaps the most perfect of all the Golden-Age Ealing comedies, Kind Hearts and Coronets famously featured Alec Guinness in eight different roles as the unsuspecting members of the aristocratic D’Ascoyne family – bumped off one by one by the scheming, outcast cousin of the family: Louis Mazzini. Mazzini’s mother was a D’Ascoyne by birth, but she ran away with an opera singer and was ostracized by her family as a result. When her dying wish to be buried in the family crypt is refused, Louis vows to get his revenge. As he ascends the social ranks, he is torn between his love for now-married childhood sweetheart, and equally devilish Sibella (Joan Greenwood), and the saintly wife of one of his victims, Edith D’Ascoyne »
- Matt Holmes
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Directed by Robert Hamer
Written by Robert Hamer
UK – 1949
If you’ve never seen Kind Hearts and Coronets, I feel a little envious. I’m not so resentful that, like the film’s antihero Louis Mazzini, I’d actually go out and commit multiple murders. But first-time viewers are definitely in for a treat this year, with the UK cinematic re-release on 19 August and a new DVD and Blu-ray edition from Optimum to follow on 5 September.
The phrase “blackly comic” has been done to death by unimaginative critics. Too often these days it seems to be synonymous with bad taste, a fistful of “F” words and a total lack of restraint. But Robert Hamer’s film, originally released by Ealing Studios in 1949, is a reminder that dastardly behaviour can take place in the most genteel of surroundings, without so much as a hint of blood.
Set in Edwardian London, »
Kind Hearts And Coronets gets a very welcome re-release into UK cinemas on the 22nd of August and will then be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 5th September 2011 and we have three shiny Blu-rays to give away.
Perhaps the most perfect of all the Golden-Age Ealing comedies, Kind Hearts and Coronets famously featured Alec Guinness in eight different roles as the unsuspecting members of the aristocratic D’Ascoyne family – bumped off one by one by the scheming, outcast cousin of the family: Louis Mazzini. Mazzini’s mother was a D’Ascoyne by birth, but she ran away with an opera singer and was ostracized by her family as a result. When her dying wish to be buried in the family crypt is refused, Louis vows to get his revenge. As he ascends the social ranks, he is torn between his love for now-married childhood sweetheart, and equally devilish Sibella »
This past week Criterion put up a ton of new content on their Hulu Plus page, a number totaling 37. What’s even more interesting is that they put 10 films that aren’t in the collection or any of their Eclipse sets either, which is always an exciting time for film fans everywhere. As per usual, I’ll be listing the films with the links to their respective pages. This entry will just focus on the non-Criterion collection films for the moment. Also, to keep this article going, please sign up using this link. I’ve already had one person do so, and every time one of you does so, it gives another 2 weeks. So a huge thank you to anyone who signs up.
- James McCormick
Over my time authoring Top 10 Tuesdays (or Thursdays if your editor is slow!) for Owf, I’ve submitted a couple of articles chronicling the best full-length films available to watch online (Part I and Part II). My attention focused on YouTube’s offerings in these previous lists, but today I turn to the Internet Archive. This site is dedicated to offering the general public as much content as possible – whether it’s live concerts, television shows or indeed feature films – for free viewing/listening or download. As I’ve previously mentioned, this content is in the Public Domain, which means the reproduction and offers of free viewings or downloads is entirely legal.
As a relentless fan and tireless advocate for classical Hollywood fare, The Internet Archive is one of my favourite sites out in the stratosphere of the interweb! Read on to find 10 classic films that you really have no excuse not to watch… »
- Stuart Cummins
12 items from 2011
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