Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
What's the most hopeless, depressing, feel-bad film noir on the charts? How about Detour,
Chaplain Pens Movie
Ministers Accept Roles In ‘Underground’ Film
By Hedda Hopper
Hollywood – Twelve ministers will play themselves in Eagle-Lion’s “Twelve Against the Underworld,” which is based on a story by Dr. Norman Nygaard, a World War I veteran and civilian chaplain in the last war. When he returned to his home in Steubenville, O., in 1945, Nygaard found it overridden with the underworld, so he and 11 other ministers organized to rid the town of gangsters and grafting politicians. Aubrey Schenck will produce and Director Anthony Mann and Cameraman John Alton, who worked together on “T-Man” will be reteamed. The picture will be made entirely on location. It might set an example for other towns throughout America.
Underground Film Journal notes: The film critic Manny Farber is typically credited with inventing the term “underground film” in 1957 for an article in the
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It doesn't take long for a novelty to be hailed as a trend. Internet film rental service Lovefilm reports that the buzz around The Artist has sparked a boom in curiosity about early cinema, with a 40% rise in the number of people streaming silent films on its site in the week leading up to the Oscars.
The top 10 most-streamed silents include a clutch of Buster Keaton's ingenious comedies, some heady Hollywood melodrama (A Fool There Was, starring Theda Bara, and The Son of the Sheikh, with Rudolph Valentino) and creepy Swedish horror The Phantom Carriage. There are only two films on the list that seem to bear any relation to Michel Hazanavicius's surprise hit: Frank Borzage's mournful romance Seventh Heaven (which inspired the
TCM’s list of 10 Most Influential Silent Films spans from the years 1915 to 1928 and features such remarkable films as D.W. Griffith’s groundbreaking (and controversial) The Birth of a Nation (1915), which revolutionized filmmaking techniques; Nanook of the North (1922), a film frequently cited as the first feature-length documentary; Cecil B. DeMille’s epic silent version of The Ten Commandments (1923); Sergei Eisenstein’s oft-imitated Battleship Potemkin (1925), which took montage techniques to an entirely new level; and Fritz Lang’s
Directed by Josef von Sternberg
United States, 1927
Josef von Sternberg’s pre-code gangster picture – the one that started it all – plays akin to the director’s vision throughout his career: hazy deep focus shots, sensuality that anticipates his collaborations with Marlene Dietrich, tough guy theatrics, and an eye for poetic framing. Though its more name-famous companion piece, Howard Hawks’ Scarface, was produced five years later and during the Production Code, von Sternberg’s film is surprisingly less violent than Hawks’.
Underworld finds von Sternberg staple George Bancroft in the role of “Bull” Weed – gangster extraordinaire. When Bull happens upon a learned alcoholic itinerant after one of his infamous heists he takes the man under his wing, cleans him up, and nicknames him Rolls Royce (Clive Brook). Rolls Royce’s suave, quiet manner immediately endears him to “Feathers” McCoy (Evelyn Brent), Bull’s girlfriend. While a precarious love triangle develops,
The real Brook was different, as his sole film as director attests. On Approval (1944) climaxed Brook's acting career (he returned to the screen in 1963 for John Huston, in The List of Adrian Messenger: the rest is silence) and serves as a definitive rebuttal to Sternberg's put-down, as it's a gay, wildly creative, consistently funny comedy. Being based on a play that was then fifty years
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The Videodrome Blu-Ray seems to be sourced from same master as the 2004 Criterion DVD. Extras are largely same. Cronos is newly restored and packed with extras, including a previously unreleased short film called Geometria. Check the links in the calendar for full specifications.
Finally, as mentioned in the last Criterion Column, the DVD release of the America Lost and Found: The Bbs Story comes out on December 14th. The Blu-Ray will be released on November 23rd.
The Criterion Collection 2010 Release Calendar (January through December 2010, up-to-date as of September 16, 2010)
David Cronenberg, Videodrome, Bd, 12/7/2010, Us & Canada
Guillermo del Toro, Cronos, 2-disc DVD & Bd, 12/7/2010, Us & Canada
Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times, 2-dsc DVD & Bd, 11/16/10, Us & Canada
Charles Laughton, Night Of The Hunter, 2-disc DVD & 2-disc Bd,
Although produced over the course of only two years, the three movies in the set—Underworld
The Criterion Collection lives up to its name, having in the past twelve years released over five hundred DVDs and box sets, generally with the best available image and sound quality, lovingly lavish packaging and supplemental features, a body of product containing a large proportion of the most noteworthy films in world cinema history. However, for every Jean-Luc Godard or Akira Kurosawa whose filmography has been well-served by Criterion's curatorial mission, there's a whole cinematic realm in which the company falls short. Films directed by women are few and far between, as are films from Asian nations other than Japan. Nothing at all has been released from South America or Africa, unless one counts Europeans' excursions there, such as Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus and Gillo Pontocorvo's The Battle of Algiers.
Surprisingly, the entire silent era, representing over three decades of moviemaking history, has yielded only a
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