À Nous la Liberté (1931) - News Poster


Starmaker Allégret: From Gay Romance with 'Uncle' (and Nobel Winner) Gide to Simon's Movie Mentor

Marc Allégret: From André Gide lover to Simone Simon mentor (photo: Marc Allégret) (See previous post: "Simone Simon Remembered: Sex Kitten and Femme Fatale.") Simone Simon became a film star following the international critical and financial success of the 1934 romantic drama Lac aux Dames, directed by her self-appointed mentor – and alleged lover – Marc Allégret.[1] The son of an evangelical missionary, Marc Allégret (born on December 22, 1900, in Basel, Switzerland) was to have become a lawyer. At age 16, his life took a different path as a result of his romantic involvement – and elopement to London – with his mentor and later "adoptive uncle" André Gide (1947 Nobel Prize winner in Literature), more than 30 years his senior and married to Madeleine Rondeaux for more than two decades. In various forms – including a threesome with painter Théo Van Rysselberghe's daughter Elisabeth – the Allégret-Gide relationship remained steady until the late '20s and their trip to
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Sfsff Starts on Thursday with Movie Icon Brooks' Final Starring Role

Louise Brooks in Prix de Beauté: 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival Louise Brooks will kick off the 2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 17, the Sfsff will screen Augusto Genina’s Prix de Beauté aka Beauty Prize at the Castro Theater. Released in 1930 — when talkies had already become established in much of the moviemaking world — the French-made Prix de Beauté came out in both sound and silent versions, a widely common practice in those days as many theaters had yet to get wired for sound. Needless to say, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s Prix de Beauté print is the silent version, recently restored by the Cineteca di Bologna. (Photo: Louise Brooks in Prix de Beauté.) Prix de Beauté, which marked the last time Louise Brooks starred in a feature film, tells the story of a typist who enters a beauty contest — much to her
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Best Actress: Can Both French Actresses Get In?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loves the French. The nation has racked up 36 nominations for Best Foreign Language Film over the years, which is more than half the number of times the Academy has given the award. French-language films regularly appear outside of that category as well – the very first nomination for a foreign film was a nod for Best Art Direction to À Nous la Liberté in 1932. Oscar has been a Francophile since the very beginning, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to get sick of them any time soon. As far as I’m concerned, this leaves a single burning question about this year’s race. Yes, I suppose one could wonder in great detail about Amour’s Best Picture and Best Director chances, but at this point I think it definitely gets both. The real fun is in the Best Actress category. (Isn
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Notebook Reviews: Martin Scorsese’s "Hugo"

  • MUBI
Reporting on the original 3-D outbreak in 1953, Manny Farber wrote of the technique’s visual potential: “Along with the sharpening of the outline of bodies, there is an effort to clarify the feeling of negative spaces—the spaces in a composition that are more or less unfilled.” Nearly five decades later, Martin Scorsese employs the technique to leave no space unfilled. In Hugo, he introduces the setting—Paris’ Montparnasse train station circa 1931—with an impossibly vertiginous, digitally-lubricated zoom that races past costumed passengers and smoky locomotives until it comes to rest on the retina of the eponymous orphan (Asa Butterfield). As sparrowish Hugo hides between the station’s meshing gears and tends to its many clocks, no chance is missed to endow images with a sense of depth: Diagonals and curves are the preferred forms, snow falls and pages flutter as if inches away from the 3-D glasses, a Doberman
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10 Classic Films You Must Watch Before Seeing Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’

  • The Film Stage
Before we get further, this article was made for both diehard film fanatics and those just discovering the wonder of early cinema. If you fall into the former category, I suggest bookmarking this and returning after you see Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo. The director has included endless nods to the films that made him who he is and it is a joy to see their inclusion in his adventure film.

If you fall into the latter category, get caught up with my rundown of the classic films most prominently featured in his magical ode to the beginnings of the medium. Check them all out below where they are also free to stream in their entirety, unless otherwise noted.

Safety Last! (Fred C. Newmeyer & Sam Taylor; 1923)

Not only is the homage directly on the theatrical poster and in the actual film, but our lead characters go see this silent classic featuring
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Paulette Goddard on TCM: Modern Times, Reap The Wild Wind

Paulette Goddard wouldn't have a special place in the Pantheon of movie stars if it hadn't been for her close personal and professional association with Charles Chaplin, with whom she co-starred in Modern Times and The Great Dictator. That's not only unfortunate, but downright unfair. After all, besides being beautiful, charming, lively, a former Ziegfeld girl, an Academy Award nominee (in the Best Supporting Actress category) for So Proudly We Hail, and a top contender for the role of Gone with the Wind's Scarlett O'Hara, Paulette Goddard was a major box-office attraction in the 1940s and, in the right role and under the right guidance, could be a remarkably effective actress. And let's not forget her eclectic taste in husbands — Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, Erich Maria Remarque, and millionaire businessman Edgar James; her leaving $20 million to New York University at the time of her death in 1990; and her firm — and
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

What’s All The Hulu-baloo About? This Week In Criterion’s Hulu Channel

It’s another week which means another round up of all the titles Criterion has put up on their Hulu Plus page. And it’s a great smorgasbord of releases that will keep your eyes full until the next installment. Also, thanks again to everyone who has signed up for Hulu Plus via our referral page. Please sign up and let us know what you think of the service. Enough of this small talk, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Last week’s article spoke about Louis Malle’s films being put up and sure enough, only a few days later they finally released Black Moon to their page, showing a film that will be coming out on June 28th. I love that they’re doing that with releases that are coming out, just to give their audience the film itself and if you like it, you’ll want to grab the whole package.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Images of the day. From Sketch to the Screen: "Hôtel du Nord" (1938)

  • MUBI
Above: Alexandre Trauner's sketch for Canal Saint-Martin and Hotel (second building from right).

Besides classical Hollywood, one of the other periods of film history in which studio production design has been so highly noted is the French poetic realist cinema of the 1930s. That period was the peak of creativity and influence of set designers in French film industry since the magical two-dimensional background paintings of Georges Méliès. The achievements of the era saw the making and consolidation of the reputations of designers in France, and growing critical and public interest in the nature of film design. Collaborations between director René Clair and art director Lazare Meerson had been widely seen in Europe and in even North America, where factory’s sets from À nous la liberté (1931) became a source of inspiration for Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936).

Among the architects of poetic realist cinema, one of the most skillful,
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"The Italian Straw Hat" and "La France" on DVD

  • IFC
There was a day when to love movies meant a thirst for the full century's worth of the form and loving all of its timeline's eruptions equally. That a film was old and in black and white were never reasons to exclude it from the discourse. This was when silent films were still shown on public television, when film criticism freely compared Renoir and Ford to new directors, when grubby urban retro theaters could trot out a double bill of "Sherlock Jr." and "The Cameraman" on badly beaten TV prints and there were still enough interested college students to half-pack the house.

Has this day finally passed, in spirit as well as lifestyle? I can't decide -- on one hand, the typhoon of new, fast, loud, sparkly distractions has never been more overwhelming, and often the very idea of paying attention to anything more than a few decades old seems openly scorned.
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Birthday Suit: You've Seen Demi's

The Birthday Boys and Girls of 11/11

1821 Fyodor Dostoevsky, legendary Russian author of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov fame. So many movies inspired by his work. But he's not the legendary Russian author that'll be getting all the press this next couple of months. That'd be Leo Tolstoy, soon to be chattered about when The Last Station emerges as an Oscar contender.

1887 Roland Young, popular 30s and 40s character actor (Topper, The Philadelphia Story, Ruggles of Red Gap)

1898 René Clair, (pictured left), wonderful French writer/director. If you've never seen Le Million I urge you to rent it maintenant. His Oscar nominated films include The Gates of Paris (1957) and À nous la liberté (1931)

1899 Pat O'Brien --Ewwww, not that one people -- the actor! whose film career stretches alllllll the way from the 1931 classic The Front Page to 1981's Ragtime.

1901 Sam Spiegel, powerful producer. Boy was he on fire in
See full article at FilmExperience »

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