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Le mort en fuite (1936)
Yes, the French were capable of making comedies in the thirties. Look at this one: Le mort en fuite, with its ridiculous title which means that the two main actors will be in great danger at one moment. I liked the scene at the court with Achille Baluchet (the ever-ugly Michel Simon) crying out: "Je suis innocent" and the scene at the military court of Poland (?) where Hector Trignol (a subtle Jules Berry) shouts: "Je n'y comprends rien". His mistress knows him but very well and can even prove who he really is... How he manages to escape I cannot tell you but it has something to do with love and customs examination. The end of the movie delivers us a typical French and thus charming surprise. Life is not always what it could be even when one becomes a celebrity. André Berthomieu gives us here a comedy which could have been written for theatre, it is all amusement without too much mind troubling. The best proof is that the writer Carlo Rim worked along for many years more in French cinema.
El crimen del Padre Amaro (2002)
Weak interpretation of the novel
The problem of this movie is that the novel by Eça de Queiroz is stronger and put in another country and another time than the movie. Carlos Carrera is going good until the second part of the movie where it all becomes too mixed up. I am not living in Mexico but I think that this movie could not have been made in the Portugal of our time. The question is: does the interpretation of the novel work in the Mexico of the 21th century with its drugs dealers and left-wing priests?
The plot is good and the actors Bronson, General Strelsky (Patrick Mcgee) are good but the movie has gone out of time. One of the weaknesses is that we now know that it is impossible to hypnotise people for an extent of more than 10 years. People just tend to forget and to cure from psychical injuries of the time.
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
The special operations by convicts are described in the books in the series 0011 by the Germans on the East-front. There were never American convicts doing an action in war. The attack by the SS-parachutists and convicts on the headquarters of Tito were well conducted and at the last moment Tito could escape but there were heavy losses specially on the side of the partisans. Oberstürmbannführer (he never became general but he laughed at the action by the parachutists on the raid on Tito) Otto Skorzeny did a lot of operations in the uniform of the enemy and he even got into the headquarters of the Hungarian army. In the battle of the Bulge he just had not enough American material (jeeps, weapons etc...) to conduct a similar operation. I think Robert Aldrich made the movie at a moment Americans needed support for their war against Vietnam. However, in reality German sharpshooters shot and did not miss their target, something the Americans seem to have forgotten since then. I found this movie a pleasure to watch at but at the same moment I had to imagine that it was only cinema and had nothing to do with reality. So I imagined that the killed human beings in the movie were only puppets and that it was only a game. The actors are good and the action is good. Telly Salavas, Don Suterhland, Bronson, Lee Marvin they are OK. Just one question: in our time of computer-games, did this movie get old?
Matchstick Men (2003)
Silly comedy without surprises
The man who has a little neurosis (Nicolas Cage)is a character without depth and without past. He is a crook and normally should remain a crook. But the movie shows how life can turn... I think the character-depicting in the movie is a little bit annoying. The daughter of Nicolas Cage comes in in the movie at a moment that she can save his future but she will bring him in another life. One feels pity with Nicolas Cage's character but one should not forget that he took a lot of money from people which is not decent and not morally acceptable.
Martin Roumagnac (1946)
Marlene dietrich and Jean Gabin
Georges Lacombe makes a somewhat light interpretation of this social and psychological drama by Pierre-rené Wolf. The court at the end with its "avocat" and "ministère public" deliver us quite sensational dialogues and this second part of the movie is the most interesting; the end of the movie is anti-climax but is in the line of the Martin roumagnac and his adversary. Jean Gabin and Marlene Dietrich save the film for our memory but Marlene dietrich should have been more developed.
The Italian Job (2003)
not a good script
This movie falls apart after the dead of Donald Sutherland. The irony of the Ukranian mafia at the end is not in the mainstream of the movie, what is going to happen with him? Do not disturb mother-in law, mother nature or the Ukranian mafia is funny but is not in well put in the movie. This movie is hollow because the actors how good they might be to save the movie cannot give the impression that this is a serious thing. Even when somebody is killed it all looks too funny. Thorize might be beautiful but her one-liners are not convincing. Nobody in this movie seems to know what real sorrow might be when you loose a person to which you were attached.
Berlin Express (1948)
This movie is interesting because it shows the effect of the terrible bombings by the allies on cities crowded with civilians: especially Frankfurt and Berlin. It was made on location in 1947 and therefore a testimony of the ruins. It was only released in Germay 8 years later. Professor Bernhardt is handled with a surprising respect by the American officers during the investigations. Robert Ryan as Robert Lindley seems to be more accurate. Jacques Tourneur develops the thriller with skill.
Plot cannot be understood
This movie is not comprehensible. Distortion of the personality is too difficult to implement in a movie and to construct a script because the different imagined personalities cannot be identified in the action. Especially the child at the end cannot be well placed into the action. Some things have no importance: the birth-date of the persons involved are not relevant. The woman in the beginning saying when the police-car is passing by:"there is a cold passing here" does give you a wrong direction of the story. The same with the story about the cemetery of the Indians, the names of the states. The only good thing in the movie are the confrontation of the lawyers, the doctor of psychiatry and the judge.
The Proposition (1998)
Difficult movie to comment on
The script of Rick Ramage has so many turns and twists that the story looks like a mixture of real life and a religious novel. This gives the movie a certain quality. At the other hand one is surprised by some human reactions f.i. the reaction of William Hurt (Arthur Barett) at the end. The end is so strange. The actor Kenneth Branagh (father Michael McKinnon) gives a more value to the movie. I think that one must be a catholic to really understand the complexities of the movie involving the problem of couples not having children and the significance of marriage and above all the importance of purity for priests.