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We Were Quiet Once (2013)
Focusing on three key figures in the community, this powerful documentary explores how the crash of United Flight 93 on 9/11 effected the small Pennsylvania town of Somerset.
I was very moved by this documentary. I was especially impressed by the excellence of its editing and directing, and even more so when I realized that this film was the first long documentary of a recent film-school graduate. Every frame counted and carried its weight. The principal figure here was the local priest, who died shortly after the film was completed. His vision created a memorial chapel to the fallen of United 93, even though he had to fight the Roman Catholic bureaucracy to do it. And even though he was clearly in the last stages of fighting cancer as the film was made, it is the voice-over of his moving eulogy to the fallen that opens and closes the film.
Secret People (1952)
Worth seeing as a nearly successful attempt
The Secret People is worth seeing as much for what it did not accomplish as for what it did. It seems to me that only Hitchcock's Sabotage deals with the same sort of moral dilemmas that this film attempts to portray. Both Sabotage and Secret People were filmed in dark London streets and ominous back streets. In fact, the cinematography is literally so dark that it is often difficult to make out the action. In both films, an atmosphere of dread and secrecy hangs over the characters. However, despite the strong bond between the sisters, you never feel the same anguish shown in Sabotage by the wife of the saboteur. The film could have been a lot more forceful in setting up its moral conflicts. Of course, it is worth while just to see the young Audrey Hepburn dance classical ballet, something we were never to see again on film. And to see her before she became a major star. No Givenchy fashions in this one!
The Angel with the Trumpet (1950)
Emotionally involving family saga
As an adolescent,I first saw this film on our black-and-white TV. I was deeply moved by it then, so much so that over fifty years later I still remember some scenes vividly. First there is the luminous Maria Schell, who dominates the post WWII story. She is a gifted, but impoverished, pianist who marries the scion of the great piano-manufacturing family that is the heart of the story. If I remember correctly, the family is part Jewish and had paid dearly under Nazi persecution. One son in the preceding generation even falls under the spell of the Nazis in the thirties and forties.
The saga begins with the Jewish founder of the firm and his aristocratic. non-Jewish wife. This marriage has its own problems. I will not spoil it by recounting several touching scenes, for the wife is close to the Hapsburg court and gets intimately involved with the decline of that unhappy family. The drama begins slowly, but builds momentum as the family saga continues.
A film worth seeing. It is riveting and encapsulates Austrian history from pre WWI to post WWII. Unfortunately it is not available in any format, anywhere in the English-speaking market. The Ernst Lothar novel is available from used book dealers and (perhaps) in some libraries. Pity!
Someone in pity should remove all copies from circulation
I agree that it is one of the worst versions of Macbeth ever made. Perhaps the worst. Brett overacts and Laurie is just ludicrous. The one good feature is the choreography for the three Witches. I had to preview this for inclusion in a college curriculum. All of us in the small audience (admittedly of English teachers) were laughing hysterically by the middle of the film. I am a strong admirer of Jeremy Brett, though even as Sherlock Holmes, he sometimes was over the top. His performance here is embarrassing. The Trevor Nunn video with Dench and McKellan is by far the best Macbeth ever put on film. I first saw it in the 1980's and have never forgotten it. Now if only some producer would pay to have Patrick Stewart's recent Chichester Macbeth on DVD, we would have two great productions to enjoy.
Moving portrayal of a marriage
Claudia is a child bride whose insecurity and inexperience nearly destroy her idyllic marriage to an older man. During the course of the film, Claudia is forced to mature and to learn what makes a marriage between two adults. What makes this film special is the luminous portrayal of Dorothy McGuire in her film debut. Her beauty and sweetness have remained in my mind for over forty years, when I first saw this movie on TV. For students of social history, the 1940's setting also gives us a glimpse of marriage and social customs sixty years ago. But the real reason to see this film and its sequel, Claudia and David, is McGuire. I can compare her beauty only with that of the young Maria Schell.