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À double tour (1959)
A Hitchcockian Classic!
What a great discovery this movie is which has finally been released on DVD. It is a beautiful and haunting film that demands to be seen multiple times. It features a standout performance from Jean-Paul Belmondo at his Breathless best, playing the character of Laszlo Kovacs. At times brutally honest about relationships, this film works as both a murder mystery and social comment -- much like Renoir's "Rules of the Game." It also feature several suspenseful scenes that are so intricately composed and beautifully shot, Alfred Hitchcock would undoubtedly be jealous. I highly recommend this film for anyone interested in New Wave cinema and classics from the world.
Written on the Wind (1956)
An early influence on "The Godfather"
Douglas Sirk's `Written on the Wind' is a great movie because of it's fine acting, beautiful cinematography, and compelling story. What makes it even more interesting when viewed today are the clear parallels between `The Godfather' as a story of the rise and fall of the American Dream.
As the head of a rich and powerful family, Jasper Hadley can be viewed as the Mafia don, trying to maintain an empire while protecting his family. His two children, however, are not cooperating and their personal issues continue to threaten the stability and future of the family/business. Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson) is an outsider, yet he has earned the trust of the family and is considered to be as loyal as any family member-a true consiglieri. When young Marylee Hadley (Dorothy Malone) is in trouble with a man, her brother Kyle (Robert Stack) along with his best friend Mitch come to rescue her. The scene of Kyle brawling with Marylee's male friend is an early precursor to a scene in `The Godfather' where Sonny Corleone fights with his sister's husband.
This is just one specifically comparable scene between the two films. `Written on the Wind' is filled with such similarities like the feuding siblings, the `times are changing' theme, the tragic pregnancy, even the music signifying the death of the family patriarch. While watching the final image of Marylee Hadley alone in her dad's study, clutching the mini oil tower, one cannot help but think of Michael Corleone at the end of `The Godfather Part II'-alone, abandoned, and afraid, and with all the money and power they could ever want.
Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)
Great cinematography; Great acting
This is a beautiful film that unfolds like a great novel. It has some of the best photography you will ever see in any movie, showcasing the beautiful English countrysides brilliantly. It deserves to be seen on the big screen, or at least in letterboxed format on TV. The actors are all top notch as well. With Julie Chirstie leading the way at her most radiant, she is supported by the very talented Alan Bates, Peter Finch, and the always great Terrence Stamp.