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nicholas.rhodes

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390 reviews in total 
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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
How did I miss this ?, 13 April 2007
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An avid collector of this type of film - there are only a couple of score of this type in the history of cinema ( Waterloo Bridge, Random Harvest, Portrait of Jennie, The clock et alia ), I recently felt very frustrated having missed out on this one for so many years. I saw it by chance on a DVD during a shopping trip here in Paris, read the plot, and promptly ordered it from the USA ( unavailable anywhere else in the world ). I was not disappointed by its initial viewing - indeed I seem to remember seeing in my childhood a terribly sad film along these lines, God knows what it was called, where there was a story of a broken love through the death of one of the partners but some solid object, a key, I thought was found in the hand of one of the lovers when the other had died. As my memories of the film are so sketchy, I wonder indeed whether it was in fact, Miracle in the Rain, the "key" having being replaced by a Roman coin. However, I do seem to remember a clock or clock tower playing having some importance ( nothing to do with "The Clock" - Robert Walker / Judy Garland ) but this doesn't seem to have any importance in this film. The music of Miracle in the Rain is wonderful, but I have been unable to locate any of the songs or themes on a CD, even those featuring themes from movies by Franz Waxman. I wonder whether any vocalist actually recorded the song 'I'll always believe in You" ? I have always been very fond of Jane Wyman as an actress notably through the films of Douglas Sirk, such as Magnificent obsession ( her best ) or All that heaven allows. I had not heard of Van Johnson before but thoroughly enjoyed his performance - indeed one of the interesting points of the film is the character difference between the two and how it enables them to be mutually attracted to each other. I was also very fond of the character of Wyman's friend Gracie - an honest, sincere, thoughtful and loving person. Basically the films seems to contain "real" human beings, so far removed from the majority of the pretentious characters in many of today's films. The church atmosphere is used to good effect, like in Random Harvest or Le Diable au Corps or Hitchcock's I confess. I hasten to add that I was in continuous tears from the middle of the film right up till the end and experienced the same kind of grief as watching the final scenes from "Love is a Many Splendoured thing" when Jennifer Jones wanders up the hill behind the Hong Kong hospital and "sees" her late love under that solitary tree. So I would advise all would-be spectators to ensure a plentiful supply of Kleenex before sitting down to watch this one. Thank God it has been issued on DVD - my only qualm is that the DVD only has English language and subtitles - OK for me but what about all those non English speakers who would love to (re)discover this film !

Highly Enjoyable, 11 April 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although the subject matter and scenario are totally banal, all the actors make this a highly enjoyable romantic film with beautiful sets and a certain amount of suspense. Marital problems, old flames rekindled, Babies,broken love, re-found love, the film maintains a certain suspense and tension until the very end. The actors are also all very handsome which does help things. Definitely a TV film for the sentimental-minded and why not ! The ending may be a little contrived and hard to believe but the human race definitely more and more of this sort of stuff. Unfortunately, the film does not appear to be available on VHS or DVD but perhaps it may happen at a future date.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Beware - Very violent in thought, word & Deed, 10 April 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A very violent film in thought word and deed - indeed it starts with a brawl between the O'Brien brothers - and set in extremely austere and miserable surroundings. Add a continuously grey sky, damp wet streets and generally sordid surroundings and you are fast on the way to a recipe for instant suicide ! In spite of all this violence, poverty and austerity, there remains one glimmer of hope - the nascent love between one of the O'Brien brothers and the schoolmistress daughter of a local wealthy shipbuilder who is married to Billie Whitelaw - whose face has always scared the pants off me since I saw her in "Omen I". The misery is further compounded by a boating accident in which the cute little sister loses her life together with the grand-daughter of a new preacher neighbour and the person responsible for the accident is deemed to be the other O'Brien brother portrayed by the actor Sean Bean ( who also sports a mean countenance at the best of times ). So basically, in this whole awful quagmire, the only slender straw that the desperate spectator can clutch on is that which relays the love between our two turtle doves ! The film is extremely well acted but I was obliged to turn my head the other way during some of the violent scenes - it's as bad as that. If you enjoy this sort of stuff, you will have a field day, if not you watch this film at your own risk and peril !

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Original Black Comedy probably destined for French Market, 9 April 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film was hugely successful in France when it came out. It is an adaptation of a play and deals with the trials and tribulations of the French equivalent of the "Samaritans" one Christmas evening in Paris. The actors are all well known and the plot, although inexistent, is rendered unnecessary by the magnificent performances of the actors. However it should be stated that the humor in the film is specifically destined to the French market. It is not universal humor, like for example, Mr Bean, Charlie Chaplin or Louis de Funès. The humor is often black and crude, there are some lighter moments but I honestly cannot see this appealing to many people living outside France. Knowledge of the French language, culture, and some understanding of what makes people laugh here, is necessary. There obviously will be exceptions to this statement, but of course I am talking in general terms. The film contains many famous lines and statements - notably Thierry L'hermit's famous "C'est cela !!) used every time has to listen to someone complaining and where he couldn't care a toss about the object of the complaint. There is also a neighbour in the building who brings along to the Samaritans one of his culinary specialities from an Eastern European country. These are called "Dou-bit-choux" and are apparently prepared by rolling them under one's armpits !!! In one instance a sex maniac calls the switchboard and vents all his desires on the lady (Anémone) who is unlucky enough to take the call. The film ends with one person who has died being cut up into pieces, parceled up and taken to the Zoo de Vincennes to be disposed of as food for the animals. All this is, objectively, quite sick, humor-wise but it is easy to become inveigled into it while watching it. I think that non French speakers may have some difficulty as the tone of the film is rather particular.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Weak Comedy, 9 April 2007
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Found this in a local supermarket for just a few Euros and thought "what the heck". Discovered why it was so cheap - in spite of the fact it contains well known actors - Lhermitte, Balasko et alia - the comedy just doesn't work. It's mildly entertaining ( with Balasko, there are always SOME laughs ) but Lhermitte is below par ( as he was in "Le Placard" ) and Karin Viard is not really funny in the true sense of the word - you feel sorry for what has happened to her but you end up getting frustrated as she's more a pain in the neck than anything else. I don't want to be overly negative about the work as there is some mild entertainment there but in view of the past experiences of the two main actors, I was expecting something a little more developed and a little more inspired. Indeed, the fact of casting Balasko as a psychiatrist could have opened the door to a myriad of comic situations but I really found her rather too tame in this particular performance. Surprising, because she directed the film herself !! Which may go to show that she is a better actor than director !

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Visually Pleasant - Weak Story, 9 April 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film passes from time to time on French TV. Its weak point is the plot which is fairly uninvolved and uninspiring - basically about gangsters and a romance between Serge Reggiani and Simone Signoret. Outside of this, just about everything else concerning the film is not devoid of interest. Location-wise, much of the film was shot in my favourite sector of Paris, Belleville - the Belleville which has long disappeared under the bulldozer and which will profoundly disappoint you if you visit the area today in the hope of recapturing some of its former atmosphere. As in a number of other films the rue Piat and the rue des Envierges are the main streets of interest where most of the action takes place and there is a glimpse of the famous "Maison du Meunier" beside the staircase and panoramic viewpoint at the bend in the rue Piat. The black and white photography in the film is excellent and sharp, visually very stimulating. Signoret was at her most beautiful in this film, fairly plump, with a head full of blond hair ( hence the film's title ) and beautiful expressive eyes, especially when she gets the hots on Reggiani. Claude Dauphin, with his instantly recognizeable face puts in an excellent performance. Part of the film is supposed to take place at Joinville but I have doubts that it was actually filmed there as the sets are too countrified, and Joinville, even at that time was fairly built-up with guinguettes and dance-halls. The audio quality of the film is fairly clear though in mono and a little tinny at times. I would recommend the film for its visual and artistic beauty and for a myriad of famous tunes, including "loveliest night of the year" and "le temps des cerises" and not forgetting the memorable title theme. If you're looking for an interesting plot though, you may be rather disappointed. Available on DVD in France with English subtitles and French audio in the Studio Canal series.

No Way Out (1950)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Excellent film - Intense Performances, 7 April 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've had this for years on VHS and recently purchased the DVD over here in France which was issued in March 2007. I am both simultaneously amused and despair on reading the other comments about the film to realize how stupid and politically correct Western Society and in particular the USA has become in regards to many issues, and notably smoking and racism. Although smoking is a social habit, you hardly see any smokers in films now, and when you do, they always have to be the bad guys. For once and for all, smoking is NOT a crime. People have always complained of censorship in the past but in 2007, it continues just as much as before, only the objects of the censorship have changed ............With regards to racism, a large number of people seem offended by racist words in the film. These do not offend me at all - we have far worse words in films nowadays - and their continual use is not offensive to me, only tiring and monotonous when over employed. Also, there is a tendency to show racism as a one-way thing about whites hating blacks. This is over simplistic and in Europe at least, there are all sorts of communities, black, white, yellow, brown or whatever all disliking each other - indeed since humans have existed on the earth these phenomena have existed without all the hoo-ha being kicked up about it. That said, the different members of a society obviously have a mutual interest to be able to co-exist without necessarily beating each other up or bumping themselves off. I say all this because in the case of "No Way Out", the subject is treated in a no-holds-barred and totally politically "incorrect" fashion. If racist words are to be used at certain moments, then they have not been censored and that is good. There is also some showing of black racism towards white although admittedly, the central core of the film is Richard Widmark's attitude towards Sidney Poitier. Both actors give splendid and very convincing performances and the spectator has no other solution than that of experiencing extreme disdain for Richard Widmark ! Indeed his character is absolutely vile, and we must suppose that if he was able to put in such a convincing performance, it is probably because in real life he probably liked Poitier a lot ( I suppose !! ). It's nice to see such intense performances from actors in a raw gutsy film of this kind. I think that this is something that has been lost from the cinema of today where, because of political correctness, films and their outcomes are all too predictable.

Her Perfect Spouse (2004) (TV)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Don't Watch this unless you have solid nerves, 5 April 2007
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Be warned, this film starts out "light" and fairly inoffensive but builds in the second half to a horrifying climax. I can identify to a certain extent with the male character but even for me he was a bit too extreme, cutting phone wires, hiding portable phones, disposing of visitors in the garden etc. I have seen Tracey Nelson in a number of psychopathic rôles, she seems to have the right face for the job ( poor devil ! ) but I was surprised to see her here in the role of the innocent. Mind you, when she finally shoots the husband at the end, you can still see that evil psychopathic glint in her face. The character of the husband is extremely worring indeed, from being someone a little jealous and over possessive, which is commonplace, we gradually come to see that he has psychopathic tendencies. Indeed the film could even have been a little longer to draw out the suspense and there was the basis here for something a little more substantial. I thoroughly enjoy this type of film though it IS taxing on the nervous system so not to be recommended for the faint hearted !

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Slightly Implausible though fairly original, 3 April 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A young 15 year old girl seeks to find out why her mother is so sullen and eventually discovers via an old photo and ciné film that since a failed love of her youth, she has never been the same. The young lady manages to find the mother's ex boyfriend, who is a vet in a zoo, and subtly arranges for the two to meet. Of course the ex boyfriend has aged somewhat and lost the central part of his hair, nevertheless she recognizes him though he does not recognize her. Parallel to this, they mother discovers that she is seriously ill. The story is quite original, though implausible. The lady's relationship with her husband ( who is the father of her child ) is not clear and not studied in enough depth. We don't learn why she is not happy with him, indeed whether she is really unhappy with him or just indifferent. The young lady also has a peculiar relationship with the actress Jane Birkin who serves as a model and spiritual guide for her and does actually appear in the film but there is some conjecture as to whether she is really there or a mere figment of the young lady's imagination. The relationship between the mother and her husband, when the latter discovers that she has met up again with her first love is unclear and ill defined. He does not seem to react at all and this is not plausible. The mother's illness intervenes and becomes important towards the end of the film. The ex boyfriend decides it is time for him to leave her and pursue his life. What becomes of the mother we don't know. Basically, the ending is left hanging in the air and is a disappointment and there is a distinct impression that the director was at loss how to terminate her film, even though the whole affair had started out on a good and original idea. Worth watching then for the performances, some of the humour is distinctly dubious and scatological, something probably designed for the French market, but don't expect a coherent and nicely sealed ending.

14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Slow but Watcheable - Interesting Character Study, 3 April 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is set in 1934 in rural France. The bus we see at the beginning indicates Dijon as its destination, and indeed the credits show that the film was actually made in a place called Cheuge which is about thirty kilometres north east of the city and on a canal. The church of this village is instantly recognizeable and is seen quite often throughout the film. Dijon is in the "Côte d'Or" department (21) and forms the north part of the region of Burgundy. La Veuve Couderc lives alone in a farmhouse and is at loggerheads with her inlaws who live on the other side of the Canal. One of the inlaws spends some time with her and some time with the other side. Enter an escaped prisoner ( Delon ) under the name of Jean Lavigne who helps Couderc carry an egg hatcher to her farm. She then invites him to stay for a few days there and gives him work to do in the fields and on the farm. She also feels a certain attraction towards him. This suits him as it is a good hiding place. He also has a brief affair with a young lady from the family of the inlaws who has an illegitimate child. This annoys Veuve Couderc who is jealous. But the inlaws don't like Lavigne's presence at the farm, build up a case against him, denounce him to the local police who enter the farm at daybreak to "take him out". The film is an excellent portrait of French country life and also denounces the most abject side of the French character - that people are dishonest, hypocritical and ready to denounce you to the authorities - something we saw a lot of in Word War II when numerous French people denounced Jews and other undesirables to the authorities who treated them worse than the occupying Germans and deported them to Labour camps. Some people may well find the film slow and boring and quite honestly, if I did not live in France and know something about the country, I probably would. But I ended up liking it surprising enough. You really feel, hear and almost smell the Burgundy countryside. The theme music by Philippe Sarde is magnificent and I especially liked the music from Le Bal and the way the village dancers were filmed. As there are no comments on the film in IMDb, I assume it is totally unknown outside France or at least has not made an impression on anyone. The principal actors, Alain Delon and Simone Signoret, are nevertheless two of France's greatest actors. The final "shoot-out" also generates a certain amount of suspense. The fact that the film is slow-moving, the paucity of the dialogues etc etc probably help to explain why abroad the film is not too well-known. By today's standards, it certainly seems slow !


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