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Night Train to Munich

Modern spy movies have nothing on this Brit thriller produced just as war broke out -- Rex Harrison, Margaret Lockwood and Paul Henried clash with Nazi agents, and risk a daring escape to Switzerland. The witty screenplay is by the writers of Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes and the director is Carol Reed, in terrific form. Night Train to Munich Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 523 1940 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 95 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date September, 2016 / Starring Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul von Hernried, Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, James Harcourt, Felix Aylmer, Roland Culver, Raymond Huntley, Fritz (Frederick) Valk. Cinematography Otto Kanturek Film Editor R. E. Dearing Written by Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder story by Gordon Wellesley Produced by Edward Black Directed by Carol Reed

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Alfred Hitchcock's successful series of 1930s spy chase thrillers -- The Man Who Knew Too Much; The 39 Steps --
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

My favourite Hitchcock: The Lady Vanishes

On top of a mesmerising plot, perfect casting and the greatest comic duo in British cinema, this comedy thriller derives special urgency from the troubled times in which it was made

Hitchcock and railways go together like a locomotive and tender. He loved them, they figure significantly in his work and never more so than in The Lady Vanishes. Much of what happens could only take place on a railway line – passengers delayed together by an avalanche; classes compartmentalised; strangers trapped together as they're transported across a continent; an engine driver killed in crossfire; a carriage disconnected and shunted on to a branch line; an intrepid hero struggling from one carriage to another outside a fast-moving train as other locomotives rush by; clues in the form of a name traced in the steam on a window, and the label on a tea packet briefly adhering to another window; and above
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Lady Vanishes by Jonathan Coe

The novelist relishes Hitch's prewar comedy adapted by Gilliat and Launder because it both satirises and celebrates the English stiff upper lip

It might not be his best film, but Hitchcock never made anything warmer or more lovable than this. I must have seen it 20 or 30 times and can't imagine ever growing tired of it.

Kudos to his collaborators, first of all. Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat's screenplay is sharper than anything written for Hitchcock's other British films (or his American films, come to that – except possibly for North by Northwest) and you could make a strong case for regarding it as a Launder and Gilliat film rather than a Hitchcock one, if authorship has to be decided. That sometimes endearing indifference to nuances of dialogue and characterisation that marks even some of Hitchcock's best films is nowhere to be found here: the edgy banter between Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood really sparkles.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Blu-ray Review: Passport to Pimlico – Welcome Addition to Studio Canal’s Ealing Collection

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Although Ealing Studios did not exclusively make comedies – actually, less than ten percent of their output was comic – it is the run of comedies from the late ’40s into the ’50s that the studio is best remembered for, and it’s not difficult to see why. Under the leadership of Michael Balcon, the legendary British producer who also founded Gainsborough Pictures, they produced incredibly sharp, witty and likeable comedies ranging from the whimsy of a film like Passport to Pimlico to the razor-sharp black comedy of Kind Hearts and Coronets, also released in 1949.

The movies were quintessentially British, and often got funnier as they got darker precisely because the characters had to uphold good British virtues while getting away with political upheaval (Passport to Pimlico), theft (The Lavender Hill Mob, one of their best) or murder (Kind Hearts and Coronets). This paradox is prevalent in Passport to Pimlico,
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

DVD Review - Passport to Pimlico (1949)

Passport to Pimlico, 1949.

Directed by Henry Cornelius.

Starring Stanley Holloway, Betty Warren, Barbara Murray, Paul Dupuis, John Slater, Jane Hylton, Naunton Wayne and Hermione Baddeley.

Synopsis:

When an unexploded WWII bomb detonates in Pimlico, an ancient document is unearthed which states that the area is in fact part of Burgundy, France and thus foreign territory.

When you stop to think about it, film is a fascinating thing. Especially a film like this, some 63 years old this year. Passport to Pimlico is more than a classic comedy. It stands as a historical record, not necessarily of actual events, but of an attitude. This attitude is so purposely and so definitively of its time that you hardly even need an introduction to how something like it could come about.

Almost no introduction, anyway. The film deals with the broad strokes, but a little detail won’t hurt. Britain in World War II
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Film News: ‘Hitchcock For the Holidays’ to Screen Double Features at Music Box

Chicago – The unmistakable silhouette of the Master of Suspense will be cast over the Music Box Theatre during the final days of the holiday season. Ten of Alfred Hitchcock’s most beloved masterworks will be presented on the big screen in inspired double bills that illustrate the startling range and enduring brilliance of the legendary filmmaker.

Even if moviegoers have seen these titles eight dozen times on DVD, they will be amazed at how fresh the films play when screened in a packed theater. No filmmaker knew how to delight and frighten an audience better than Hitchcock. When Robert Osborne held a free screening of “North by Northwest” at the Music Box last year, it felt as if the picture had been made yesterday.

Every punchline scored a belly laugh, every moment of delicious tension caused viewers to lean forward in anticipation, and when the film ended, the packed house broke out into extended,
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Blu-ray Review: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Lady Vanishes’ Gets Criterion Upgrade

Chicago – Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Lady Vanishes” isn’t one of his most heralded films. You don’t hear it mentioned on most lists of the best works of arguably the most influential director who ever lived. And yet it was the third film chosen for The Criterion Collection and has now been given the upgrade and joined the esteemed Blu-ray ranks of the most important collection in the history of home entertainment. If you’re unfamiliar with this witty, delightful gem of a thriller, there’s no other way to experience it for the first time. And if you’re a fan of Hitchcock’s more famous films, do yourself a favor by checking out one of his earliest.

Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

The Lady Vanishes” had actually been in production with a different director when Alfred Hitchcock came on board mostly to satisfy his British contract before heading to the States.
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

DVD Playhouse December 2011

DVD Playhouse—December 2011

By Allen Gardner

The Rules Of The Game (Criterion) Jean Renoir’s classic from 1939 was met with a riot at its premiere and was severely cut by its distributor, available only in truncated form for two decades until it was restored to the grandeur for which it is celebrated today. A biting comedy of manners set in the upstairs and downstairs of a French country estate, the film bitterly vivisects the bourgeoisie with a gentle ferocity that will tickle the laughter in your throat. Renoir co-stars as Octave. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Introduction to the film by Renoir; Commentary written by scholar Alexander Sesonske and read by Peter Bogdanovich; Comparison of the film’s two endings; Selected scene analysis by Renoir scholar Chris Faulkner; Featurettes and vintage film clips; Part one of David Thomson’s “Jean Renoir” BBC documentary; Video essay; Interviews with Renoir, crew members,
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

This Week On DVD and Blu-ray: December 6, 2011

DVD Links: DVD News | Release Dates | New Dvds | Reviews | RSS Feed

This week I thought I would add a few holiday deals from Amazon for you to check out before getting into the week's new releases. Maybe you'll find something you like.

Blu-ray Deals Toy Story Ultimate Toy Box Collection ($49.99) The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Editions) ($49.99) Inception ($7.99) The Ultimate Matrix Collection ($32.99) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 ($9.99) The Dark Knight ($7.99) Batman Begins ($7.99) DVD Deals It's a Wonderful Life (60th Anniversary Edition) ($10.99) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 ($4.99) The Wizard of Oz (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Edition) ($7.99) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($5.00) The Hangover ($6.99) The Blind Side ($5.49) Gone with the Wind (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Edition) ($8.49) And now for today's new releases...

The Lady Vanishes (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] A great film and a solid presentation, and a disc owners of even the four-year-old DVD remaster
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

New Release: The Lady Vanishes Blu-ray

Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011

Price: Blu-ray $39.95

Studio: Criterion

Michael Redgrave (l.) and Margaret Lockwood do some investigating in The Lady Vanishes.

It’s great to see Alfred Hitchcock’s (Psycho) quick-witted and devilish 1938 comedy-thriller The Lady Vanishes get the Criterion treatment.

In the movie, beautiful Margaret Lockwood (Night Train to Munich) is traveling across Europe by train when she meets a charming spinster (Dame May Whitty, Suspicion), who then seems to disappear into thin air. The younger woman turns investigator and finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery, adventure and even some romance.

Co-starring Michael Redgrave (The Browning Version) and Paul Lukas (The Ghost Breakers), The Lady Vanishes remains an audience favorite and one of the great filmmaker’s purest delights.

Criterion’s Blu-ray edition offers a high-definition digital restoration of the classic film with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack.

There are a number of bonus features on the Blu-ray
See full article at Disc Dish »

The Criterion Collection Announce December Blu-ray Slate Including Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes

The Criterion Collection has just announced its Blu-ray release slate for December and, while it's a bit lighter than usual (only four releases instead of the now almost customary six or seven), it's remains another strong month and an excellent way to end a fantastic year of releases.

Of the four upcoming titles, only one is a new addition to the collection; Ernst Lubitsch's Design for Living. Released in 1933, Design for Living stars Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins and Fredric March and is in part a risque romantic comedy while also taking a witty approach towards the individuals' creative pursuits. Lubitsch is a Criterion favorite, and this release should further prove just why that is.

The three remaining releases are all High Definition upgrades of previous Criterion DVDs, and they are quite the lineup. First and foremost we see the incomparable Alfred Hitchcock receive another well deserved high definition release with his 1938 comic thriller,
See full article at TheHDRoom »

‘Night Train to Munich’ – run all the way to hell with a penny, and a broken cigarette

Night Train to Munich

Directed by Carol Reed

United Kingdom, 1940

The title of Carol Reed’s 1940 wartime comedic thriller hardly tells the whole story. Perhaps hoping to capitalize off of the success of the two-years prior The Lady Vanishes, Night Train to Munich would have you believe that it’s an equally contained picture. That famous writers Frank Laudner and Sidney Gilliat wrote both is perhaps then, of no coincidence.

While there is an immensely successful third act that does take place primarily aboard a train, the film is far more sprawling and unfairly overlooked at the expense of its supposed successor.

Scientist Dr. Bomasch (James Harcourt) is forced to free Prague at the invasion of the Nazis. His daughter Anna (Margaret Lockwood) escapes from a concentration camp with the help of fellow internee Karl Marsen (Paul von Hernried) and meets her father in England, where father and daughter take
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Blu-ray Review: Whisky Galore – Ealing Studios Classic Still Holds Up Today!

Throughout the classic comedies produced by Ealing Studios in the ’40s and ’50s run both a lightness of touch and a subtly unsentimental look at human character. Their classics all involve crime and greed: for money and the freedom that comes with it in The Ladykillers and The Lavender Hill Mob, for money and social standing in Kinds Hearts and Coronets. But the (amateur) criminals in the latter two are gentlemen; very English and very charming. In The Ladykillers, the gentility is merely a disguise for professional criminals. Often, the apparent civility of polite society helps their characters veil their repressed, anarchic sides.

The first of Ealing’s run of classic comedies – which also includes The Man in the White Suit and Passport to Pimlico – was Whisky Galore!, the first movie directed by Boston-born Scotsman Alexander Mackendrick. It was produced by Ealing’s legendary Michael Balcon and co-edited by Charles Crichton,
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

DVD Review - Whisky Galore! (1949)

Whisky Galore!, 1949.

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick.

Starring Basil Radford, Bruce Seton, Joan Greenwood and Gordon Jackson.

Synopsis:

Scottish islanders attempt to plunder a ship's cargo of whisky when it becomes stranded on the shore.

Some films need a run-up. They need their entrance onto the DVD market trumpeted by fanfare, or at least a couple of bars of Zadok the Priest tooted on on a ceremonial kazoo. Whisky Galore doesn’t need that confidence boost. Sixty years of high praise from the cinema-going public and the BFI have taken care of that. So let’s crack on with the what, the who and the why of Whisky Galore.

1943. The Isle of Todday, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, has run out of whisky. The locals, scotch drinkers to a man, are mortified. One man is struck down dead with the shock of it. Just as all seems lost, and it
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

This week's new films

Captain America: The First Avenger (12)

(Joe Johnston, 2011, Us) Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan. 124 mins

Unsurprisingly, this is the most patriotic of the summer's superhero movies, but there are few surprises all round. The story is largely what you'd imagine from the trailer: wimpy 1940s do-gooder undergoes a fast-track Charles Atlas course, then socks it to the evil über-Nazis. It's like Inglourious Basterds meets Indiana Jones, although the wholesome tone and white-bread heroism diminish the effects-driven spectacle, and the real second world war is reduced to mere set dressing.

Our Day Will Come (18)

(Romain Gavras, 2010, Fra) Vincent Cassel, Olivier Barthelemy, Justine Lerooy. 83 mins

Edgy provocateur alert! Expanding on the redhead persecution theme he developed in his Mia video, Gavras's debut follows ginger alienation to its conclusion, as Cassel and Barthelemy head out on the highway to oblivion, without a map or a ferry timetable.

Arrietty (U)

(Hiromasa Yonebayashi,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Whisky Galore! – review

The Ealing classic about Scottish islanders attempting to liberate a boatload of alcohol comes up sparkling in this wonderful reissue

This summer has seen a string of classic Ealing reissues, and continues with this: beguiling, subversive and a complete joy. Basil Radford plays a flustered Englishman sent to command a Home Guard force on a remote Scottish island during the second world war. He is pop-eyed with indignation to find that his men, along with the entire civilian population – maddened by a wartime alcohol shortage – are secretly intent on plundering 50,000 cases of whisky from a shipwreck. This tale of an outsider failing to come to grips with a tight-knit community could be screened as a triple bill with Local Hero ("Oil-money galore") and The Wicker Man ("Occult conspiracy galore"). Insouciantly, the film finally reveals that the mass pilfering drove whisky prices up, and eventually caused another booze famine. So victimless crime doesn't pay?
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Sheila Burrell obituary

A striking stage presence for more than 60 years and a familiar face on TV

Sheila Burrell, who has died aged 89 after a long illness, was a cousin of Laurence Olivier, and a similarly distinctive and fiery actor with a broad, open face, high cheekbones and expressive eyes. She stood at only 5ft 5ins but could fill the widest stage and hold the largest audience. Her voice was a mezzo marvel, kittenish or growling and, in later life, acquired the viscosity and vintage of an old ruby port, matured after years of experience.

In a career spanning more than 60 years, she made her name as a wild, red-headed Barbara Allen (subject of the famous ballad) in Peter Brook's 1949 production of Dark of the Moon (Ambassadors theatre), an American pot-boiler about the seduction of a lusty girl by a witch boy and the hysterical reaction of her local community.

The role remained one of her favourites,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Sheila Burrell obituary

A striking stage presence for more than 60 years and a familiar face on TV

Sheila Burrell, who has died aged 89 after a long illness, was a cousin of Laurence Olivier, and a similarly distinctive and fiery actor with a broad, open face, high cheekbones and expressive eyes. She stood at only 5ft 5ins but could fill the widest stage and hold the largest audience. Her voice was a mezzo marvel, kittenish or growling and, in later life, acquired the viscosity and vintage of an old ruby port, matured after years of experience.

In a career spanning more than 60 years, she made her name as a wild, red-headed Barbara Allen (subject of the famous ballad) in Peter Brook's 1949 production of Dark of the Moon (Ambassadors theatre), an American pot-boiler about the seduction of a lusty girl by a witch boy and the hysterical reaction of her local community.

The role remained one of her favourites,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Edinburgh 2011. The Water of Life: Alexander Mackendrick's "Whisky Galore" (1949)

"To the west, there is nothing, except America."

Revived at Edinburgh Internbational Film Festival, Alexander Mackendrick's first film, Whisky Galore! (released in the USA as Tight Little Island) is regarded as a perennial classic in Britain but not so well-known elsewhere. Inspired by a real-life incident, the wrecking of a ship carrying a cargo of whisky off the coast of a Scottish island where that vital social lubricant had been cut off by wartime shortages, it's an easy-going comedy and in some ways the ur-text behind Bill Forsyth's Local Hero (1983). 

Even in his modest first film, Mackendrick's indebtedness to German expressionism leads to some rousing sequences, kinetic montages of conspiratorial islanders, who have to circumvent the English home guard official who is determined that the shipwrecked cases of scotch should sink to the sea bed rather than be illicitly salvaged. As with all the great Ealing comedies, the
See full article at MUBI »

Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, Gene Tierney's Dragonwyck, Horror Omnibus Dead Of Night on TCM

Michael Redgrave in the "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" segment in Dead of Night (top); Gene Tierney in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Dragonwyck (middle); Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (bottom) Turner Classic Movies' horror/mystery/suspense Halloween marathon kicks off this evening with a showing of the 1945 British classic Dead of Night, which, 65 years later, remains one of the best efforts in the psychological-horror genre. Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti ("Christmas Party" and "The Ventriloquist's Dummy"), Charles Crichton ("Golfing Story"), Basil Dearden ("Hearse Driver" and "Linking Narrative"), and Robert Hamer ("The Haunted Mirror"), Dead of Night stars a number of top players of British film and stage, among them Mervyn Johns, Roland Culver, Basil Radford, Sally Ann Howes, and, best of all, Michael Redgrave as an unbalanced ventriloquist. Also this evening, Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, a sumptuous David O. Selznick production starring a flawless Joan Fontaine as "I" de
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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