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The Song Remains the Same (1976)
Self appraising muck, but you can't go wrong with the music
I was absolutely in full frontal excitement when I bought this, I really couldn't wait to watch my heroes live for the first time. I was way too young to have seen Led Zeppelin in person(at least in their heyday) so I couldn't wait. And I'm not gonna' lie I was extremely disappointed by it. But after settling down I realised it's not that bad. It would be ridiculous to assume that Led Zeppelin would be able to replicate the structural perfection of the studio on a stage, and why would they want to. The spontaneity of the performance is captured, not amazingly but at least to the point that one song will suddenly drift into another or a guitar solo will be a completely 'on the spot' concoction. Sure the fantasy sections are pieces of pure over-the-top self appraisals. Robert Plants section is especially vain. Overall though there is enough quality musicianship to buy this. Great song performances include a touching 'Rain Song', an absolutely astounding 'Since I've Been Loving You'(in which Plants voice resembles a Luciferian angel's), and a powerful heart grabbing 'Black Dog'. Worth a watch.
Inherit the Wind (1960)
Ahead of its time
(This will be just a short overview of the film.) Inherit the wind, directed by Stanley Kramer is a film that seems to me way ahead of its time. It deals with the subject of evolution being taught in schools. The plot centers on the trial of a man who has broken the law by teaching his students about Darwin's theory of evolution, which it is illegal to do in the town where the story is set(Hillsboro). Spencer Tracy and Frederic March play the main attorneys involved in the trial, with Gene Kelly as a cynical newspaperman. It seems that the films main purpose was to denounce the ideas of the then rampant McCarthyism the U.S. found itself being run by. The film gives the impression that everybody should be allowed to have their own beliefs and be able to express themselves freely. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film, maybe not up there with 12 Angry Men or To Kill A Mockingbird as far as courtroom dramas go but certainly a powerful tale.
Lust for Life (1956)
excellent and i'm told accurate film
When I first heard Hollywood had made a film about a great artist and Kirk Douglas(although a fine actor) was the lead I thought automatically of how poor it would be. But i was very wrong, I really consider this, if not a great film then certainly a very very good one. It pleasantly surprised me with its use of Van Gogh's artistry as somewhat the main character. Its a solid cast also, James Donald is quite interesting in the part of Theo(Vincents brother), Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin is very good(he won the Oscar for supporting actor)although his part is very small, and Kirk Douglas gives probably the best performance I've seen him give in a film. The soundtrack is also very powerful and Vicente Minnelli certainly puts in a good shift in this thoroughly enjoyable film.
Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933)
1930's crime mystery drama with a dash of horror
The Testament of Dr Mabuse is an astonishing film, its unlike any other you will see, within reason. Directed by Fritz Lang in 1933 and first banned by the Nazi party then released but with a lot of cuts. The original film was much longer. A strange fact about this film is that it was also made in a french-language version with completely different actors and a different screenplay, but also directed by Lang. The theme of the film is 'Anarchy', Dr Mabuse(first introduced as a character to cinema-goers in the 1922 in another Lang film called Dr Mabuse;the Gambler)is essentially a mad scientist who has been put in a lunatic asylum at the end of the previous film. In 'the testament...' an organisation has sprung up who perpetrate his evil plans to bring 'the reign of crime' down upon society. The film begins with a brilliant scene in which the stage is set, a rhythm of machines in the background sets the tone. Without giving anything away the film is less entertaining in the middle but certainly finishes strongly. There is a spine-chilling car chase sequence near the end which is really filmed brilliantly, in fact the whole cinematography is excellent(it was done by Fritz Arno Wagner who also sat behind the camera on Langs previous film 'M'. Overall definitely worth the watch, a solid mystery movie which is still very fresh today.