5 items from 2013
Hattie McDaniel as Mammy in ‘Gone with the Wind’: TCM schedule on August 20, 2013 (photo: Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in ‘Gone with the Wind’) See previous post: “Hattie McDaniel: Oscar Winner Makes History.” 3:00 Am Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943). Director: David Butler. Cast: Joan Leslie, Dennis Morgan, Eddie Cantor, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn, John Garfield, Ida Lupino, Ann Sheridan, Dinah Shore, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale, George Tobias, Edward Everett Horton, S.Z. Sakall, Hattie McDaniel, Ruth Donnelly, Don Wilson, Spike Jones, Henry Armetta, Leah Baird, Willie Best, Monte Blue, James Burke, David Butler, Stanley Clements, William Desmond, Ralph Dunn, Frank Faylen, James Flavin, Creighton Hale, Sam Harris, Paul Harvey, Mark Hellinger, Brandon Hurst, Charles Irwin, Noble Johnson, Mike Mazurki, Fred Kelsey, Frank Mayo, Joyce Reynolds, Mary Treen, Doodles Weaver. Bw-127 mins. 5:15 Am Janie (1944). Director: Michael Curtiz. Cast: Joyce Reynolds, Robert Hutton, »
- Andre Soares
Ministry of Fear is a film that wouldn't work if not for insanity. The arc of the drama would be too haphazard, the explanations too unsatisfying, and the actions of its villains (to say nothing of its hero) too wildly irrational. But this is Europe in 1944, and irrationality is the order of the day. It's in the drone of planes overhead, the casual talk of blackout time, and the suspicious glances on the street. Because the world waiting for Stephen Neale (Ray Milland) when he gets out of the mental hospital has gone just as mad as him.
A wartime thriller from Fritz Lang (let's call it a noir), Ministry of Fear is generally regarded as one of the German director's more obscure American films, a status that will hopefully shift now that it has been released, and thus quasi-canonized, by the Criterion Collection. On the face of it, this »
- Duncan Gray
Chicago – Slight on special features and not as instantly recognizable as some recent inductions into the Criterion Collection like “On the Waterfront” or “Badlands,” Fritz Lang’s “Ministry of Fear” could easily slip under the radar even for people who know and love the thriller. Lang is one of the most interesting filmmakers of his era, as he found ways to inject his seemingly traditional work with much-more-complex themes. Working in Hollywood during World War II, Lang made thrillers that were more than just thrillers. “Ministry of Fear” is one of his best.
While it’s an entertaining thriller with top-notch production values and a surprisingly great performance from Ray Milland, part of the problem with the legacy of “Ministry of Fear” is the films with which it is easy to compare. Carol Reed’s “The Third Man” would touch on some of the same themes and is a vastly superior film, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
And Then There Was… Badlands
Terrence Malick fans will rejoice for the newly restored (and director approved, I might add—so apparently he’s not as reclusive as he’s been made out to be), marvelous release of the auteur’s first, and very low-budget, feature film. It was originally screened at festivals in 1973, and released to the public in early ’74. No punches pulled here—Badlands is a masterpiece, and its arrival immediately garnered a fan following for the enigmatic director who has made only five films in so many decades. But as producer Edward Pressman says in the exclusive video interview that The Criterion Collection included as one of several good extras, Badlands was not a success on its first release. Reviews were mixed—as would be the case for any Malick film—and the public didn’t go see it. Pressman also had to fight »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Fritz Lang aficionados can rejoice this month with Criterion’s release of his 1944 title, Ministry of Fear, the first time it sees a DVD transfer. Long regarded as a minor entry in Lang’s prestigious filmography, the last of a successive trio of anti-Nazi themed films from the German émigré is finally available for rediscovery. Though it may never escape its current status in the pantheon of its director’s legacy, it certainly stands out as an oddly constructed creature, a fussy war time noir whose sinister narrative is occluded by a stagnant paranoia that stirs the proceedings into a twisty nightmare.
Stephen Neale (Ray Milland) has just been released from Embridge Asylum in England while World War II rages on. He’s been put away for two years and insistently plans on traveling directly to London, even though it’s being bombed continuously. On the way there, he innocently stops at a village fair, »
- Nicholas Bell
5 items from 2013
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