Reviews written by registered user
|5 reviews in total|
I stayed up all night Sunday to watch the Oscar ceremony (living in the UK it didn't finish here till gone 5am) not because I wanted to see who would win (I haven't seen ANY of the films nominated) but because I knew that Olivia de Havilland was going to be there. I wasn't dissappointed - when the president of the academy (I forget his name) said "53 years ago a young actress..." I knew exactly who he meant. He introduced her and a rather imposing, white haired grande dame strode onstage to a wonderful standing ovation and when the applause died down she made a very heartfelt speech before introducing 59 past Oscar winning actors. Out of all the great stars and filmmakers from Hollywood's golden era I have taken to my heart over the years, Miss de Havilland is the only one still living and seeing her again was marvellous and for me was the high point of the evening.
Being a huge film buff and not knowing a great deal about the life and career of Rudolph Valentino, I decided to buy a copy of this documentary on video (Valentino is described on the cover as 'Hollywood's First screen Legend'?). After having seen it I am quite disappointed. It was made in 1982 but has the look and feel of something produced in the 1960s. It does not have the things you would expect from a documentary - there are no interviews (friends, colleagues, biographer etc) and the whole 75 minutes are made up of archive footage (films, newsreel etc) focusing on the 13 years between his arrival in America in 1913 to his death in 1926. All of the information seemed pretty basic (nothing about his childhood in Italy) and the filmmakers didn't delve too deeply into his work. The documentary does offer a chance to see some sizeable clips from Valentino's films (including a VERY long sequence from 'Son of the Sheikh') which I normally would not get to see. I should read a biography if I want to know more about the life and work of Rudolph Valentino but I guess this is a good starter.
Forget the likes of "The Godfather II" and "The Empire Strikes Back" - "Bride of Frankenstein" is THE greatest example of a sequel completely surpassing the original in terms of sheer brilliance. Coming four years after the original 'Frankenstein' in 1931, director James Whale was originally reluctant to make a sequel but changed his mind after being allowed to make the film more on his own terms. No other director has ever managed to blend horror, comedy and pathos as successfully Whale. The film features some of the most memorable scenes in cinema history, notably the monster's encounter with a lonely hermit and the introduction of 'The Bride'. The film has it all: superb casting, tremendous sets and make up, memorable dialogue ("To a new world of Gods and monsters") and a brilliant score by Franz Waxman. Boris Karloff must surely be one of the greatest actors to ever appear on film. He manages to improve on his initial characterisation of the Monster, due mainly to the addition of dialogue ("Friends, good!"), and, unlike in the first movie, actually makes us feel total empathy for the Monster. Colin Clive returns as the reluctant Doctor F, Una O'Connor makes a wonderful addition as the twittering and hysterical Minnie, but it is Ernest Thesiger who steals the film with his hilarious performance ("Have a cigar. They are my only weakness") as the sinister Dr. Pretorious. Although Elsa Lanchester appears as the Bride for only about 2 minutes at the film's finale, it will be the role for which she is forever associated. The film is regarded as the high point of the Universal horror series and stands as a testament to the genius of James Whale.
1991 was Seal's year, with a string of worldwide #1 hits (though none in his homeland of the UK) and the triple platinum success of his debut album. He ended the year with this concert, recorded at the Point Depot in Dublin on December 16th, part of his thirty date tour of the UK and Europe. Seal gives a magnetic performance (12 songs in all) from start to finish, performing the songs which made him famous like 'Killer' and 'Crazy' (which he performs whilst holding a lighted cigarette) and album tracks like 'Wild', 'Whirlpool' and the magnificent 'Deep Water'.
This excellent 3 part series chronicles the life and work of Charles Dickens and mixes documentary with interviews featuring actors paying Dickens and his family/friends (I am not usually a fan of the docu/drama format but this is an exception). This whole project is a labour of love of the writer Peter Ackroyd and it based on his Dickens biography published in 1991. Ackroyd himself presents the documentary parts talking with great authority about his subject while the mock interviews are a delight. Anton Lesser is brilliant as Dickens (the staging of Dickens reading excerpts from his books are a highlight) and is matched by Miriam Margoyles as Dickens' wife. But best of all was Geoffrey Palmer, who is faultless as Thackeray. Not knowing a great deal about Dickens' life before I watched this, I now feel I know quite a bit and am looking forward to reading Ackroyd's book.