Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
How Castro Gained and Kept Power
Georgie Anne Geyer's book on Castro was one of the sources for this "Fidel," which I saw just last night on cable. I know a lot about this really good reporter on Latin American affairs, who was at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, a few years before I majored in journalism at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
And also I was in college from 1957-1961, a college with students from all over the world, and I was hearing a lot about Battista in 1958 and 1959 and why he should be ousted.
In three hours anyone who sees this version of "Fidel" can gain insight into why and how Castro gained power in Cuba. His excesses have come from not wanting to lose that power.
The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)
Travel To Mountaintop Village
The scene that has me ready to travel to Santa Vittoria shows hundreds of villagers in four lines snaking down from the mountaintop village through the vinyards to the Roman cave where a million bottles of wine can be hidden from the Nazis. The camera pauses on the faces of the villagers -- extras who must actually be from that area of Italy. The faces look real and so does the village. Could the story be based on a real incident? I've been searching for that answer since seeing the film at Turner Classic Movies the first weekend of February 2000.
Dokument Fanny och Alexander (1986)
How To Make Magic Happen
Aspiring directors -- even if it's only family movies with a camcorder they plan to make -- should see this documentary on how the master film maker created magic. Bergman knew what he wanted before he planned each scene. So have many other directors. And some of the actors who worked with some of these other directors never made another film again. Bergman got his favorite actors to come back film after film, because he knew how to get them to do takes over and over again without destroying their egos. His work with the two children is especially touching. "My sister and I giggled like that," he told the youngsters playing Fanny and Alexander.
The Swan (1956)
Love Letters To A Princess
The summer of 1955 Grace Kelly read love letters from her real-life prince while sitting on the terrace of the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, N.C., waiting for the cameras to be set up for exterior shots of "The Swan." I saw the film for the first time in 1958 at the 25-cent movies for University of Illinois students in Champaign-Urbana. I thought my date that night looked like Louis Jourdan, the tutor who dared to love a princess. I watched the videotape of "The Swan" just before visiting the Biltmore Estate the summer of 1998. I looked for the rooms in "The Swan." They are studio sets.
Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
Test of Time
Half a century ago, when I was 10, I wanted to dance my way home after seeing this film at the old Princess Theater in Urbana, Illinois, the theater where Roger Ebert said he fell in love with movies. In August, 1999, I rediscovered the film on a rented video cassette. Two days ago I bought the video. Irving Berlin wrote so many great songs that they carry the narrative of star-crossed lovers in the years before and after World War I as well.
New Orleans 1890s
This film is based on a real story of a century ago that probably is not in any of the New Orleans tourist brochures. Thirty thousand Italians were brought into New Orleans between the end of the Civil War and 1890 as a source of cheap labor to work on the docks and in the farm produce market. There is real money to be made and some of the most powerful men in the city resent the wealth of two Italians who have given their countrymen an incentive to be very productive. The police chief who won't go along with a takeover plot hatched by the mayor and the men who have put the mayor in power is assassinated. A group of Italians who are in the wrong place at the wrong time and the two wealthy Italian businessmen are framed. After the courtroom drama, there is an even more dramatic finale.
Cousin cousine (1975)
I seem to recall seeing an American version of this French film about about a woman in her early 30s meeting the nephew of her mother's new husband at her mother's wedding. The French version is able in just 96 minutes to capture the quirky personalities in all three generations as the extended family gathers again at another wedding, a funeral and a children's party. In the moments in between the gatherings, the two cousins get to know each other very well.
Wrong Is Right (1982)
Seventeen Years Later Satire Is Current Events.
Just a few hours ago I caught this film on a cable TV channel and hurried to the IMDB to find out the year of release -- 1982. The concept of presidential "plausible deniability" was before the Iran Contra hearings. What came even more to mind as I watched Sean Connery, a favorite actor of mine since the mid-1960s, was the Gulf War of the early 1990s and what is happening in the Balkans right now.