4 items from 2014
Coming to Blu-ray for the first time from the Cohen Media Group, Claude Chabrol’s late career thriller, Nightcap (better known by its French title, Merci Pour Le Chocolat) is often lumped into conversation as merely one of the seven films the director made with actress Isabelle Huppert. While it is certainly outshined by some of their finer achievements together (particularly The Story of Women and La Ceremonie), it stands firmly on its own as an odd exercise that’s more character study than murder mystery. Chabrol seems amused at the convention and convenience of the narrative, supplied by Charlotte Armstrong’s nonsensically titled 1948 novel The Chocolate Cobweb. Armstrong was in high regard in the 1950’s (her novel Don’t Bother to Knock was turned into a very strange Marilyn Monroe vehicle in 1952), and Chabrol seems keen on retaining the rather deliberate ambience from a tradition of genre gone by. »
- Nicholas Bell
During the editing (which is when I really start to see the film), I saw that it was Hitchcock who had guided us through the writing and Lang who guided us through the shooting: especially his last films, the ones where he leads the spectator in one direction before he pushes them in another completely different direction, in a very brutal, abrupt way.
Long before the much-vaunted, high-concept ‘mind-game movies’ like Memento (2000), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) or Inception (2010), there was Fritz Lang’s Secret Beyond the Door… (1947). The film is like a broken puzzle at every level, virtually begging us to rearrange its pieces and find its key. Indeed, one almost needs to formulate a ‘hypothesis of the stolen film,’ Ruiz-style, since the movie we have before us is not quite the one Lang and his talented writer Silvia Richards (Possessed, »
- Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014
Price: DVD $11.98
Studio: Film Chest
The under-appreciated 1948 film noir crime drama Hollow Triumph arrives from Film Chest with a full high-definition restoration taken from the original 35mm film elements.
When med school dropout-turned-master criminal John Muller (Paul Henreid, Casablanca) puts together a major casino heist, not everything goes as planned. The cops don’t know he was behind it, but, unfortunately, Rocky Stansyck (Thomas Browne Henry, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers), a vindictive gangland casino owner, figures it out. In order to “disappear,” Muller assumes the identity of a psychiatrist, Dr. Bartok (Henreid again, in a dual role), requiring him to scar his face to match Bartok’s … resulting in unforeseen consequences.
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2013—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2013 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2013 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch in that perfect world we know doesn't exist but can keep dreaming of every time we go to the movies.
4 items from 2014
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