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Ryan's Daughter (1970)
beautiful .. tragic ... dark...
I have trouble with Ryan's Daughter . It is astoundingly beautiful (esp. in 70mm in the cinema).
At its heart it is a story of a woman trapped in a violent time and suffocating society symbolised by her marriage.
I don't really quite know how to express this: I have never liked films where there is mob violence. But is it a sign that Lean succeeded when I say I find these elements of this film disturbing? The sequence when the mob attacks Rosy are truly horrible.
As for those who accuse Lean of racism I ask how would Rosy have fared in Derry in 1971?
This is a dark story really,despite the beauty of the scenery, a story of deep seated hatred, of sexual repression and of treason. With those themes in play how is this a small story as some critics state.
Whether Lean and his cast bring it all off I do not know.
Sarah Miles has never been a favourite actress of mine but in this she glows on screen. Mills is really fine as is Howard and McKern but Mitchum never quite convinced me.
Christopher Jones seems to have had problems with the part and Lean was unhappy but in many ways he is perfect. He is a cypher. A symbol of an outside world. Little more.
It is ironic that he and Sarah Miles reportedly did not get along at all.
But in the end this is an exquisitely made film. Lean was always a great craftsman.
So in the end I still do not know what I think about Ryan's Daughter. I do know it makes me think about the themes at its heart. Is that a sign of the success of Lean? Perhaps.
I am sure critics will keep arguing about it for another 40 years.
just fun fluff
Just fun and you cannot take one moment seriously. It is just light fluff, a soufflé but one that rises enough to be enjoyable.
A fine Austrian and German cast make this fun.
Filmed in golden AgfaFarb and on location the film looks lovely still.
As is usual in this type of film the hero and heroine tend towards prettiness whilst the supporting characters are given the best lines.
A pleasant example of mid 1950s Austro-kitsch but you could do a lot worse than spend 90 minutes with this excellent cast doing what they do best.
Better still as of writing both of the heroines, Sonja Ziemann and Hannelore Bollmann, are still alive. I do wonder what they remember of this film!
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
I am not going to discuss the plot... look elsewhere here for information on that .. and on information about the production... but it a film that is graced by fabulous performances.
Laughton blusters and puffs but his character has a mind like a razor. Dietrich is just extraordinary.. I defy you not to watch her every move. Elsa Lanchester is marvelous as the not quite so foolish nurse. Tyrone Power is all easy smoothness... he may be innocent but is he? (There is a lot of unfair criticism of Power's performance here... I think people miss the point and Power is actually precisely what he needs to be as Leonard Vole)
The film is a masterpiece of direction, of writing and acting.
Perhaps a little dated in style but breathtaking in its mix of drama, comedy and thriller.
BUT for me above all else it is the acting not only of the principals but the whole cast (even the lovely Norma Varden as the victim is a delight) that brings me back to watch this film again and again.
A Queen Is Crowned (1953)
A spectacular and moving event..
With Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee almost upon us the film of her coronation in 1953 has been restored and given a limited cinema release.
I had the opportunity to see "A Queen is Crowned" in a cinema.
It jaw dropping. The brilliance of the ceremony at Westminster Abbey is shown in its full glory.
Never have I seen such extraordinary images on screen.
The sheer power of Great Britain's history is on show. But the star must be Technicolor at the very end of the Technicolor era.
The beauty of the young Queen, the deep reds, gold, blues and greens that only Technicolor can offer are contrasted with grey exterior shots of a cold and wet London warmed by huge crowds and a massive military parade, perhaps the last flickering of an imperial Britian.
This not a film for everyone and as others have noted the slightly over the top commentary is jarring to modern ears but nothing can take away from the immense power of the event.
This is a film to be seen on a huge screen. The colour and detail is simply not visible on DVD even on a large television.
Das Wunder von Berlin (2008)
almost perfect and brilliantly acted....
Whilst some of the story seems artificial .... this film shows a family coping with life in the DDR in the year leading up to "the fall of the wall" and it does it amazingly well.
The cast is uniformly excellent... the scenes between Heino Ferch and Veronica Ferres in particular are electric as Ferch realises the end is coming for the DDR.
Kostja Ullman and Karoline Herfuth are fine as the young lovers. Kostja has the more complicated character that evolves from punk to soldier and back again.
But the whole cast is excellent.
This is fine adaption of a true story.... well worth watching.
The film has been released on DVD in Germany and is now available in Australia with English subtitles.
Having never seen them I stumbled across the first series on DVD ... they are typical British television in the best sense... literate, beautifully acted (with an amazing cast list) and with a marvellous sense of period.
They are based on early crime novels and most of the writers are unknown to me especially those based on novels that are clearly not of English origin.
Whilst the production standards of 1970 may not match today and some of the individual plots are sometimes a bit ordinary the two series make great viewing for any fan of crime novels and will especially appeal to any fan of the Sherlock Holmes.
a great series ....it should be seen!
This series about an authoritarian Britain very much in the model of 1984 was timely in 1978 but even more so today.
With the overwhelming presence of CCTV, attempts to control the internet and the reluctance of the UK government to abide rulings that it destroy DNA samples of innocent persons picked up by the police but never charged or found not guilty in court cases and numerous reductions in civil rights because of "terrorism" etc. the scenario at the heart of "1990" is well and truly with us.
No wonder this series is not available on DVD ...the powers that be would be terrified of it!
I have not read the book on which this Poirot is based but this episode suffers from all those thing that make the ghastly "Marple" series unwatchable.
I recognise that it is a matter of taste but why, oh why, is everything bathed in either smoke or a yellow haze in modern British television adaptions of anything set in the 30s! The original Poirots were eminently enjoyable but the new 2 hour adaptions including this one seem to be an entirely unrelated program without the charm or humour of the original which have been replaced with an arch and cloying style that is truly annoying.
It is as if the producers are really trying to parody Agatha Christie's work.
One, Two, Three (1961)
a truly great comedy...
I remember this film from television many years ago and when a friend showed me it on tape in German I finally grabbed a copy on DVD.
WOW what a film... few films and even fewer comedies can sustain multiple showings.
BUT One Two Three is astounding.
Funny, satirical and even romantic with some of the fastest and sharpest dialogue ever to come out of an essentially Hollywood film.
Widler was a master and it shows.
With a top line cast headed by an extraordinary performance from James Cagney and a group of marvelous German actors and actresses ..and Lilo Pulver deserves special mention as the gum chewing secretary along with Hans Lothar as Schlemmer, Widler and I.A.L. Diamond create a wacky look at East West relations at the height of the Cold War.
I must also mention Arlen Francis who is just wonderful to watch as Cagney's long suffering wife.
It is interesting that Cagney and Buchholz (apparently) did not get on and this does add zing to their verbal duels!
But the whole cast is up to the funny antics that fill this film.
The use of music and Daniel Fapp's great wide screen cinematography (this is a film to really watch!!) are excellent.
So sit back, relax and just enjoy a great film, great cast and a genius director in action and I do mean ACTION!!!
you mean others remember it???
This series was a cut above the rest of the TV detective series of the day but somehow didn't find an audience.
The idea of a blind detective may not be totally new but added so much to the story. And who could forget Pax, the beautiful guide dog in the series!
Whilst the stories themselves may have been no better than the average series, the settings , in New Orleans, the acting and the music (I note the comment about the music score in other comments ...I remember that clearly) all work to make a good television series even better!
Well you never know ...one day Paramount might just dig into its archives and release it on DVD!