Sapphire (1959) - News Poster

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Win Pool of London on Blu-ray

  • HeyUGuys
To celebrate a brand new restoration of the 1951 Ealing classic Pool Of London on Blu-Ray, DVD & Est, Studiocanal are supplying 3 copies of the Blu-Ray to give away to some lucky winners. Directed by Basil Dearden (The Blue Lamp; Dead of Night) and starring Bonar Colleano (Dance Hall; The Man Inside) and legendary Earl Cameron Cbe (Sapphire; Thunderball), […]

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A Destitute Waif

  • MUBI
Visage...

Voice...

Vitaphone...

In Dimitri Kirsanoff's Menilmontant a destitute waif, betrayed and abandoned by the man who seduced her, sits on a park bench with her newborn infant. Beside her is an old man eating a sandwich. This wordless exchange is one of the greatest moments ever committed to film. Nadia Sibirskaia’s face reveals all of life’s cruel mysteries as she gazes upon a crust of bread.

The persistence of hope is the dark angel that underlies despair, and here it taunts her mercilessly. A whole series of fluctuations of expression and movement in reaction to anguish, physical pain involving hesitation, dignity, ravenous hunger, survival, self-contempt, modesty, boundless gratitude. All articulated with absolute clarity without hitting notes (without touching the keys). Chaplin could have played either the old man on the bench (his mustache is a sensory device!) or Nadia. And it would have been masterful and deeply affecting,
See full article at MUBI »

Greatest Slasher Films (1970 – 1990)

The definition of a slasher film varies depending on who you ask, but in general, it contains several specific traits that feed into the genre’s formula. Author Vera Dika rather strictly defines the sub-genre in her book Games of Terror by only including films made between 1978 and 1984. In other words, she saw it as a movement. When someone describes Brick, they don’t define it as a noir, but instead neo-noir . In other words, it’s a modern motion picture that prominently utilizes elements of film noir, but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in those from the 1940s and 1950s. So does one consider Scream a slasher film or a neo-slasher, or simply put, a modern slasher?

Some consider Thirteen Women to be the earliest slasher – released all the way back in 1932. Personally I think that is rubbish. Thirteen Women is more like Desperate Housewives on sedatives.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Stop or we'll shoot: British cinema's portrayal of the police

UK films in the 1950s and 60s led the way in suggesting the boys in blue are less than trustworthy

In these troubled times, when the phone-hacking scandal has heaped ignominy on the police, it is worth pointing out that British cinema has led the way in suggesting the boys in blue are less than trustworthy. In fact, so complete was the turnaround in the two decades between The Blue Lamp, in 1950, and The Offence, from 1972, it almost constitutes a social history in its own right.

Made partly to alleviate a recruitment crisis, and partly to acknowledge a wave of teen delinquency just after the war, The Blue Lamp was the first British film made with the full co-operation of the Metropolitan police. The Met lent the makers their stations, their patrol cars and even their own officers to play small roles. The plot – a neurotic young spiv, played by Dirk Bogarde,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Paul Massie obituary

Actor turned teacher, he quit the screen at the height of his fame

There are some actors who, having disappeared from the public gaze early in their careers, always prompt the question, "Whatever happened to ... ?" The answer, in the case of Paul Massie, who has died of lung cancer aged 78, is that, at the height of his fame on films and television, he gave it up at the age of 40 to teach drama at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

The son of a Baptist minister, Massie was born Arthur Massé in the city of St Catharines, in the Niagara region of Ontario. Although he was brought up in Canada, almost his entire 16-year acting career was in Britain. In fact, the only film he made in Canada was his first, Philip Leacock's High Tide at Noon (1957), a Rank Organisation melodrama shot in Nova Scotia. Although it was a bit part,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Cineaste, DVDs, More

Tuesday, DVD roundup day, is a fine day for taking a look at the new Summer 2011 issue of Cineaste, particularly since, among the online samplings this time around, DVD reviews outnumber all other types of articles combined.

To begin, Darragh O'Donoghue on Harun Farocki's Still Life (1997): "Five aphoristic essays on 17th-century Dutch still-life painting, of about three minutes each, bracket four documentary sequences of photographers creating modern still lifes for magazine advertisements. These two levels, though defined by opposites — stasis/motion, tell/show — are linked by visual motifs and rhymes, just as the modern products echo the subjects of the paintings. The documentary sequences have no commentary, mostly last ten to fifteen minutes, and take their cue from Farocki's earlier An Image (Ein bild, 1983). In that short, he recorded the shooting of a German Playboy centerfold spread, from the building of sets and the arrangement of props (including
See full article at MUBI »

DVD Giveaway - The Halfway House

June 20th sees the release of the Ealing Studios ghost story The Halfway House on DVD, and to celebrate Flickering Myth have three copies to give away to our readers courtesy of Optimum Releasing.

Read on for the full synopsis and details of how to enter...

"The Halfway House is an enjoyable mystery tale of a group of strangers driven to take shelter at a remote Welsh Inn during a storm. Each has a personal problem to hide, but they are soon brought together by unsettling events perhaps precipitated by their hosts, the enigmatic innkeepers. Starring Mervyn Johns and real-life daughter Glynis, The Halfway House was written by Anghus McPhail (Whisky Galore!, It Always Rains on Sunday), Diana Morgan (Went the Day Well?, Pink String and Sealing Wax) and T.E.B. Clarke (Passport to Pimlico, The Titfield Thunderbolt) from the stage play by Denis Ogden."

To be in with a chance
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Flashback To 1962 – Basil Dearden’s “All Night Long” (“Othello” With A Jazz Twist)

I just finished watching this jazz-infused 1962 psychodrama from British filmmaker Basil Dearden, titled All Night Long; it’s basically a retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello, set in a 1960s London jazz club, taking place over the course of one eventful evening.

As interracial couple, and band mates, Aurelius Rex (played by Paul Harris) and Delia Lane (played by Marti Stevens), celebrate their first wedding anniversary, jealous, ambitious drummer, Johnny Cousin (Patrick McGoohan), who wants Delia for himself to headline his own burgeoning band, works feverishly to tear the couple apart, with lies and deception. A familiar story of jealousy and treachery.

And by the time the night draws to a close, the previously-happily married Aurelius has been deceived into trying to murder his beloved wife, and her believed to be lover.

It’s provoking, especially for a film of its time. Not a film that I’d expect to be
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

A Journey Through the Eclipse Series: Basil Dearden’s Sapphire

Last week this column featured a review from the most recent Eclipse Series release, Silent Naruse. Sharp-eyed, or perhaps somewhat obsessive-compulsive, readers may have taken note that I had not yet made any mention in this space of the Eclipse set that preceded Silent Naruse. There’s a simple reason for that: I was waiting for the late 50s/early 60s films included in Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s London Underground to come up in the meticulous chronological sequence I use in my main blog, Criterion Reflections, where I’ve just recently advanced to the movies of 1959. (And with that disclosure, those same sharp-eyed readers are now wondering just who I am to call anyone else “somewhat obsessive-compulsive.”) Well, since I’ve moved past the double feature of First Man Into Space and Corridors of Blood, that point in the timeline has been reached. This week, I’m buffing up and polishing Sapphire.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Dearden, Brooks, Gance, Harrington, Sabu, More

  • MUBI
"The title of Basil Dearden's London Underground, a four-dvd Eclipse Series box set from Criterion Collection covering the late 50s and early 60s work of the British director, is a bit deceptive," finds Steve Erickson in Gay City News. "To be fair, Dearden's work was often prescient about the coming rebellions of the 1960s, depicting the beginnings of the black and gay civil rights movements. However, he did so from a well-intentioned but square outsider's perspective. There's a world of difference between Dearden's visions of interracial couples in Sapphire and All Night Long and the excoriations of Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, recently honored with his own Eclipse box set, aimed at his country's discrimination against Koreans. Dearden's noble politics are often expressed through plodding filmmaking. Still, he beat a seemingly more progressive director like Oshima to the punch in one respect. Dearden took on the subject of homosexuality when
See full article at MUBI »

This Week On DVD and Blu-ray: January 25, 2011

DVD Links: DVD News | Release Dates | New Dvds | Reviews | RSS Feed

Broadcast News (Criterion Collection) This arrived on Monday afternoon so I've only had the chance to remove the cellophane. However, this was my most anticipated title from Criterion this January as I've heard so much about this film from James Brooks but have never seen it. The disc comes with a brand new audio commentary with Brooks and film editor Richard Marks as well as deleted scenes and an alternate ending with commentary from Brooks. I should have a full review within the next week. Dogtooth I didn't know this one was coming out today until I was putting together this article and I'm sure Kino is half-excited and half-upset at the prospect it's landing the same day as the Oscar nominations are announced. On one hand it's nice to hit shelves the same day you could possibly be
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

"Dogtooth," "Enter the Void" and a Week of DVDs on the Edge

  • IFC
"Dogtooth" (2009)

Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos

Released by Kino

"Enter the Void" (2010)

Directed by Gaspar Noé

Released by Mpi Home Video

Somehow it's fitting that two of last year's most dangerous films will be hitting DVD shelves the same week, both being favorites of the IFC.com staff. "Dogtooth," Lanthimos' much-debated Un Certain Regard winner from Cannes, concerns the lives of three culturally isolated children -- two daughters and a son, who range from mid-teens to early 20s -- fenced in by their parents' country home, who receive a reeducation when their lone connection to the outside world, a female security guard for their parents' business, introduces them to the joys of sex and Sylvester Stallone films. Meanwhile, "Irreversible" provocateur Noé's latest is a wildly ambitious 155-minute extravaganza set inside the mind of a drug dealer told from the first-person perspective. Nathaniel Brown and "Boardwalk Empire" star Paz de la Huerta
See full article at IFC »

DVD Playhouse--January 2011

DVD Playhouse: January 2011

By

Allen Gardner

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (20th Century Fox) Sequel to the seminal 1980s film catches up with a weathered, but still determined Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas, who seems to savor every syllable of Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff’s screenplay) just out of jail and back on the comeback trail. In attempting to repair his relationship with his estranged daughter (Carey Mulligan), Gekko forges a reluctant alliance with her fiancé (Shia Labeouf), himself an ambitious young turk who finds himself seduced by Gekko’s silver tongue and promise of riches. Lifeless film is further evidence of director Oliver Stone’s decline. Once America’s most exciting filmmaker, Stone hasn’t delivered a film with any teeth since 1995’s Nixon. Labeouf and Mulligan generate no sparks on-screen, and the story feels forced from the protracted opening to the final, Disney-esque denouement. Only a brief cameo by Charlie Sheen,
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

Sapphire finally available on DVD Jan. 25

I wrote about this British 1959 “doozy” of a film directed by Basil Dearden on S & A back in June Here and which deals with the murder investigation of a light skinned woman passing for white. I suggest anyone to go back and read that extensive piece about Sapphire which is truly a fascinating film with a truly skewed view of black life and people, though it was then, and still is by some, considered to be an important and (dare I say it) realistic and honest film.

I lamented that the film had never been available here on DVD (or even VHS for that matter) in the U.S., but I’ve just discovered that it will finally be available on DVD on Criterion’s lower priced Eclipse label on Jan 25. The catch however is that the DVD will is not available separately, but as part of Eclipse’s Basil Dearden
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

The Criterion Column: Blu-Ray Upgrades for the New Year, Basil Dearden

Criterion has burned through all of its 2010 release announcements. What will the new year bring? If January is an accurate indicator, 2011 might be the year of the Blu-Ray upgrade. 

Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and Naked Kiss are getting the high-def treatment with cover art and illustrations from Daniel Clowes. Jean Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows and Bryan Haskin's classic science-fiction tale Robinson Crusoe on Mars are also receiving Blu-Ray upgrades. 

Finally, there are two new entries. Criterion is making a rare nod to 80s Hollywood with a Blu-Ray and DVD release of James L. Brook's Broadcast News. A 4 DVD box set from Eclipse entitled Basil Dearden's London Underground will explore the work of (can you guess?) English director Basil Dearden.

The Criterion Collection 2011 Release Calendar (updated 10/17/2010)

January 2011

Jean Pierre Melville, Army Of Shadows, Bd, 1/11/2011, Us & English speaking Canada only

Bryan Haskin, Robinson Crusoe Of Mars, Bd, 1/11/2011, Us &Canada

Sam Fuller,
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Considering Flame in the Streets

Last month when I wrote a piece about the wacky and one of a kind 1960 British racial murder mystery Sapphire, I’ve been meaning to follow up with a piece about the other, and far better, British racial drama made around the same time, in 1961, and also obviously inspired by the 1958 Notting Hill race riots in London, Flame in the Streets.

Directed by Roy Ward Baker, the film is basically what Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier (released six years later in 1967) might have been if it had the guts.

The film centers around a union steward in a furniture company (John Mills) who prides himself on being liberal and open minded and who oversees an integrated workforce at the factory. Though he seems to be somewhat oblivious to the racial tensions among his workers just bubbling beneath the surface. When he
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

The Other Sapphire

Of course we all know by now the author Sapphire who wrote the book Push, which in turn became the movie Precious. But only today it occurred to me about that other Sapphire, which also deals with racial issues. (It would have occurred to me a lot sooner if my wits were about me like they used to) The other Sapphire I’m referring is the 1959 British mystery detective film directed by Basil Dearden who specialized, during the late 50’s and 60’s, in films with controversial subjects.

It’s very hard to see now. It’s never been available on DVD (or VHS for that matter) here in the U.S., though I suppose it’s much easier to see it in the U.K. I only know it because my local PBS station many years ago would show it occasionally on late night weekends, but it’s been ages
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

See also

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