8 items from 2014
I did a little better this past week in the movie department, watching five films including a couple of film noir classics last Sunday evening when I finished Kiss of Death and then watched Jules Dassin's The Naked City. Kiss of Death is decent enough, but The Naked City is pretty great, even though it is driven by a voice over narration, something that typically turns me right off, but the narration here isn't necessarily filling in blanks in the story as much as it is accompanying it. There's a tongue-in-cheek, matter of fact nature to the voice over dialogue that elevates the story. The film could still exist without it and, in my opinion, would probably be better without it, but it also doesn't entirely take away from what you're watching as the story of just another day in New York City unfolds, which is what I most certainly liked most. »
- Brad Brevet
To mark the release of Brute Force on 15th September, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on Blu-ray.
Before making the French crime classic Rififi, Jules Dassin was arguably the greatest of film noir directors, responsible for a string of gems including The Naked City, Thieves’ Highway and Night and the City. Brute Force kickstarted that run of pictures and never did a film live up to its name more. Burt Lancaster is Joe Collins, one of a number of convicts squeezed into cell R17 intent on staging a prison break. Not only does he need to return to the side of his cancer-ridden wife (Ann Blyth), he also wants to escape the clutches of sadistic warden Captain Munsey (an unforgettable performance from Hume Cronyn) who enjoys a reign of terror over the inmates.
Diana reporting from TCM Film Festival's Opening Night Red Carpet. The classic stars came out and Anne Marie and I talked to them.
Oscar winner Shirley Jones with her husband and the Oklahoma! premiere. [Photo: David Buchan/Getty Images]
4 P.M. Hollywood Blvd.
The red carpet is rolled out in front of Grauman’s, but crewmembers are still finagling with the Oklahoma! stop-and-turns as the press begins to descend on the barricades. Within a few moments, we chosen not-so-few (journalists, cameramen, bloggers) swarm to our allocated spaces along the carpet, with The Film Experience smack dab in front of the Grauman’s entrance. Tip sheet in hand and audio recorder on standby, we stand and wait.
5 P.M. The Red Carpet Opens
- Diana D Drumm
(Ed. note - Cc writer Ian Alterman writes about two of his favorite film classics.)
Two years after making The Naked City, director Jules Dassin would find himself on the Hollywood Blacklist, and move to Europe, never to return to the U.S. His first film made in Europe, Rififi (1955), would become his most influential, beloved and, arguably, greatest film. And there are already signs of the naturalist style used in Rififi in The Naked City, though the former is a classic (maybe the classic) heist film, while the latter is a film noir police procedural, complete with narration (which ends the movie with the famous line: “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This is one of them.”)
Centered around the murder of a young model, and the police investigation that ensues, the film’s visual style was famously influenced by the work of the photographer, »
- Ian Alterman
“All composed things are like a dream
A phantom, a drop of dew, or a flash of lightning…”
All composed things are a dream, even those composed to mimic the real, to give the impression of nullified artifice, with contents concealed behind handle-less cabinets, smoothed-over cuts, and vanished work. And if all composed things are but an illusion, then what brings certain composed films to gravely insist, through arguments of form, upon their veracity ? This is the unreal real, a form inspired from amateurishness, from the documentary, from the nouvelle vague, a dogma with its muted colors, shaky camerawork, and pretense of observational neutrality which clamors like a commandment, “I am the real, thy Lord, Thou shalt have no other reals before Me.”
This unreal real originated from a cinematic form of revolt against the polished professional artifices of industrial giants, but its rebellious forms have been assimilated and dissolved, »
- Yaron Dahan
‘Rome, Open City’ movie returns: 4K digital restoration of Roberto Rossellini masterpiece at London’s BFI Southbank (photo: Anna Magnani in ‘Rome, Open City’) A restored digital print of Roberto Rossellini’s best-known film, Rome, Open City / Roma, città aperta is currently enjoying an extended run — until April 5, 2014 — at London’s BFI Southbank. Inspired by real-life events and made right after the liberation of Rome, Rome, Open City stars Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani, Marcello Pagliero, and Maria Michi. Though not a local box office hit at the time of its release, Rome, Open City, shot with a minuscule budget in the ravaged streets of Rome, became one of the most influential movies ever made. Its raw look, "documentary" feel, and scenes shot on location (though studio sets were used as well) inspired not only other Italian directors of the post-war years, but filmmakers everywhere, including those in Hollywood (e.g. »
- Andre Soares
A lot of what I have to say about Rififi would probably read as hyperbole as it stands as not only an important film given its director's political status, but the way in which it can double as not only an art film, but also a striking piece of cinema that can be enjoyed by any measure of movie lover. It's a film noir captured in shadows and silence as a jewel heist takes place over the course of more than 30 dialogue-free minutes after we've watched four men meticulously plan every detail. The tension mounts with every pound of the hammer, screech of the hand-powered crank cutting into the safe and the crumble of asphalt, gently landing in an open umbrella with nary a sound. Is there more that needs be saidc Criterion's new Blu-ray transfer adds much more detail to every inky black scene, elevating the overall effect of »
- Brad Brevet
Directed by Jules Dassin
Having recently concluded a prison sentence, Tony ‘le Stéphanois’ (Jean Servais), former thief, is now a poor man, reduced to late night gambling to earn paltry pocket change. His two closest friends and former colleagues, Jo ‘le Suédois’ (Carl Mohner) and Mario Ferrati (Robert Manuel) have something else in mind when they present him the idea of stealing jewels from a high society jeweler shop in downtown Paris. Tony is reluctant at first, having lived enough failures as a crook and desiring to reunite with his former flame Mado (Marie Sabouret). Upon learning however that Pierre Grutter (Marcel Lupovic), eternal rival and nightclub owner, has claimed Mado as his main squeeze, Tony finally gives in to temptation and joins the newly formed quartet of criminal minds, the late addition being safe cracker César, played »
- Edgar Chaput
8 items from 2014
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