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19 reviews in total 
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Clochemerle (2004) (TV)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A welcome new version of a classic from France., 19 July 2006

I read "Clochmerle", Gabriel Chevalier's classic novel, more than forty years ago & loved it. It was achingly funny in a very French way - irreverent; very political - and I wondered how it might translate to the screen. Apart from Macha Meril, the cast is wholly unknown to me, but the acting is universally of a high standard & the absurdity of a Government almost crashing - because of the building of a Vespasienne in the Beaujolais & siting it beside the local church - is well paced, never descending into "Carry On" farce. It keeps to the original in a scrupulous fashion & retains the wonderful sense of period - 1923. I would award it a 9.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
I can only reiterate the plea for the reissue - on DVD - of this programme., 7 June 2006

Artur Rubinstein has that knack of connecting immediately with his audience. The twinkling eyes & the mischievous comments, not always what one expects. When he went to Moscow, in 1964, there was an expectancy, which permeated the hall. When he finished the first of many Chopin pieces, the hall erupted & it was difficult to hold back the emotional reaction one felt, as a mere TV spectator. I am unsure how the grapevine works if one wants to set up a plea for the reissue of this classic film. It was made in France, so perhaps that should be the starting point? RCA produced an LP of the music. Whatever, one might ask IMDb to lend a bit of weight to those of us who would pay serious money to obtain a copy? Is there a Post Box somewhere - or an amateur who has a copy & might weigh in? I tried eBay, but, so far, no response. I would like to open a dialogue here.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
This is a film to which I keep returning; one of Tracy's best, with great support from Robert Ryan., 24 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this film, nothing is quite what it seems. The story unfolds in layers. There is nothing complicated about Tracy's motives for visiting Black Rock, yet his presence unnerves the townspeople; they become shifty; their curiosity is not the normal variety that accompanies a stranger in a small hick town, in the outback. As it becomes clear that they are hiding a secret & fearful that Tracy may uncover it, the tension rises. I would have given 10+ marks, but I found the music intrusive, a fault common to American films. The car chase required no augmentation; the scene has sufficient tension & uncertainty to use the sound of the cars to heighten the drama. I might add that this is also a fault in too many British films. So I will award it 9, which is 10 for everything else in this taut, exciting and understated film. Spenser Tracy had that special star quality in that you can't take your eyes off him. In every scene, he exudes this. Robert Ryan, probably the greatest screen villain of all time, is, as always, outstanding. Again, the menace is understated, although you are in no doubt that this is an evil, ruthless man, totally without any redeeming feature. He is a bigot & a bully & you, as an audience want to see him brought down. And John Sturges does not disappoint. The climax is also understated, but wholly satisfying. And there is even humour, when the conductor on the train says "This is the first time this train has stopped at Black Rock". And Tracy corrects him with a great one-liner "The second time".

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
This is one of the finest ensemble works that Allen has directed., 10 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Woody Allen has this rare ability to get the people he wants to star in his films. One constantly hears this " I want, more than anything else , to work with Woody Allen". Hannah is one of his best, seamless continuity; clever flashbacks & great performances. As always, the music separates and binds. It was a device I particularly noticed in "Casablanca"- that clever use of music to separate the scenes. The casting is flawless, even Michael Caine, the personification of one dimensionality, here, cleverly (and one wonders whether Caine realised this)used by Allen to portray a crashing bore. Caine is at his best as an East End London thug (brilliant & menacing in Mona Lisa). But Allen uses that dead pan voice, like Harold Steptoe from Steptoe & Son, the British comedy serial,to great effect. The problem, of course, is that his scenes slow down a film that thrives on its clever editing. But there is always the fast-forward button! Max von Sydow, as always turns in a riveting cameo performance. Here is the antithesis of Caine - a multi-faceted actor, who can act. (See him as the menacing, efficient contract hit man in Three days of the Condor & flash back to the idealist knight in The Seventh Seal). The casting of the women is uniformly brilliant, conveying the whole range of anxieties; love; pain; loss etc. There is no one who can portray a hypochondriac like Allen and here is the core of the film; the centre around which the lives of the sisters revolve. And the music. the collaboration between Dick Hyman & Woody Allen is one of the most felicitous on screen. Too often, especially in American films, music is overused, often drowning the dialogue & distorting the story - invariably far too loud. This is wonderful cinema.

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
There is not much I can add to what most commentators regard as an outstanding film. I wonder why it is not available in DVD format., 26 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film hits a raw chord - in the context of present day worldwide increases in suicides. Louis Malle could have tried a Hollywood makeover, but there is a total lack of sentimentality in his observation of the last two days in the life of the central character, Alain. One might think that the concern of his friends could persuade him to pull back from the brink, but Malle presses on, relentlessly, to the unsensational final pages. Although this is based on a famous novel, it is not unknown for directors to pander to popular sensibilities and cop out. I was particularly taken by Ronet's disciplined attention to his toilet; packing the mementos & leaving his affairs in order.

The supporting players are brilliantly characterized, particularly Jeanne Moreau & Alexandra Stewart. Interesting, also, to see the young Henri Serre (Jules et Jim) in a minor role.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Perhaps it is time to re-visit Becket, long missing from the catalogs., 4 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I cannot but agree with the complimentary remarks of all the contributors. in almost every scene there are felicities of language, beautifully delivered by Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn.

This is why I would enter an earnest plea for the re-issue of Becket - a piece that has much in common with "The Lion In Winter" - medieval period lending itself to brilliant interpretations - or as we like them to be. Becket has the added lustre of Richard Burton in one of his finest roles.

I am unsure where one goes to find support for the re-release of such gems into DVD format, but, if there is anyone out there reading this, who has such influence, please use your influence to get it restored to its rightful place in the Pantheon of great films - available to a larger audience.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A boy faces a death sentence without knowing where he is or how got there. This is a very well acted film & worth a look., 17 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An uncouth youth is arrested in Singapore on drugs charges. He has no idea where he is, how he got there and why he is in jail. It would appear that he went on a package holiday,on a whim, uncaring of his destination. There is a likelihood that another English youth may have given him drugs. No matter; both have been sentenced to death.

Meanwhile, in England, his parents, a not overly intelligent pair, are trying to come to terms with the news they receive from the Foreign Office.

The parents together with their uncouth daughter travel to Malaya. When they arrive they find that their son is being represented by an Indain barrister. The father, David Jason, playing against type, is outraged and his latent racism sets up a barrier immediately. Meanwhile his sluttish wife starts a liaison with an Indian waiter and the daughter seems totally unmoved by the dilemma, constantly complaining about the climate and the awful food. What is particularly arresting about this film, is its normality. An ignorant family confronted by a situation over which they have neither control nor resources to influence the situation. Their son keeps screaming for them to "do something". He is scared and one can only watch, in horror as his fate is sealed. David Jason plays the stupid, pathetic, weak father to perfection. There is a futility about every action of this dysfunctional family and it reflects situations which one can realise will happen again. This is a brilliant piece of docudrama & worth releasing in DVD format.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The theme of Three Days of the Condor is as relevant today as it was in 1975. As a conspiracy film, it is almost flawless and the acting is uniformly convincing., 11 April 2005

Some of the most entertaining films are directed around a conspiracy. Three Days of the Condor is one of the best, for several reasons. The opening is so ordinary, so well paced; normal people going about their business. Into this scene assassins descend to murder the entire staff. It is quick & efficient. Robert Redford, breaks protocol & uses a rear exit to fetch lunch and survives the slaughter. The film follows his horror, his girl friend is one of the victims; his confusion; why has this happened? We discover he works for an obscure section of the CIA and the film moves into a new gear as Condor (Redford) tries to survive in a world where life is cheap & a contract assassin (Max von Sydow - at his grim best) is hired to eliminate him. Redford's evasive action - he kidnaps Faye Dunaway - is clever & believable. She is brilliant - conveying the fear & vulnerability of a woman confronted by a gun & brutally tied up in her own apartment. The use of her bleak photography is a brilliant counterpoint in the development of her character and Redford's reaction to them is telling. I have never seen Redford act as well. It is not a glamorous part. He is cruel in his treatment of Dunaway and her fear and sense of being abused is conveyed in a simple understated way. This is acting of a very high quality and the use of the various technical skills in tracing the telephone connections - properly signalled by an earlier overview by his superiors - is gripping in its authenticity. John Houseman provides a stunning cameo role as Mr. Wabash, the CIA professional. When he says of The Great War, that there was a clarity then, we can understand that open warfare was a different scenario to the games being played between the CIA and their perceived enemies. This is, in many ways, the raison d'etre of this story. The Games played to gain advantage. In this film, the game is Oil. We are made aware that some time, in the future, it could be water.

Some of the other commentators found this a dated story, lacking weight & credibility. I found it scary. In the very ordinariness of the people, the conflicts, just getting on with their lives - and the spooks - also ordinary, in their suits, creating artificial mayhem.

Three Days of the Condor ranks with North By Northwest; The Spy Who Came in from The Cold; All the President's Men.

it is one of the best and I rate it 10 out of ten.

11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
I'm sorry gridoon didn't get the plot. I thought it was hilarious., 28 March 2005

Stockhard Channing must be one of the most underrated comediennes about. This is an hilarious film. gridoon, who found it disappointing, seems to base his critique on the quality of the cast; Nicholson; Beatty & Channing. His expectations were probably pitched too high - and, sure, Five Easy Pieces is amazing, and Bonnie & Clyde is a classic. But The Fortune can stand on its own. It is very funny. The pace is hectic and the storyline has resonances of "It Happened One Night". The difference being that in the "The Fortune", the heroine is kidnapped - a botched attempt by two incompetents (Nicholson & Beatty). The so-called Swedish Syndrome seems to have rooted here, in that the captive falls for her captors & doesn't want to be saved.

This film is well worth putting into DVD format - all Regions, please.

3 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Maybe I'M missing something, but when I read jhclues comments form Salem, I wondered whether we had been watching the same film., 28 March 2005

Steve Martin is a good comedian, often funny and, when he is not overacting, as he does in this film, he can be entertaining. Michael Caine is the quintessential gangster; East End Alfie; the pimp in Mona Lisa: the crook in Shiner; all tailor made for his rough, one dimensional talent.He plays crude to perfection. Four-letter words trip from his mouth with ease.

But an English Prince in Beaumont-sur-Mer!!!

An aristocrat Caine could never be.

One has only to watch the original "Bedtime Story" (A confusing title), with David Niven playing Jamieson to perfection and the great Marlon Brando his rival.

Niven; Elegant; suave; funny; the epitome of civilised good manners. Brando, brash; coarse; very funny.

If "Bedtime Story" ever makes it to the Roxy in Salem, jhclues should treat himself to a night out & compare it with the rubbish called "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"

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