Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Awakening (1995)
Romance movies are romance movies
It amazes me that people watch a movie titled "Harlequin's The Awakening" and then complain about it being a romance. It takes all kinds, I guess.
One thing that may be missed at first is that this movie is actually intended as a comedy as well as a romance with a few thriller elements at the very end. But basically, it's a romantic comedy. The first time watching it, the comic elements can be a little annoying because they are of the oops! variety.
The star and chief reason for seeing this movie is Cynthia Geary. Not just because she is beautiful--who isn't in a romance movie--but because of her enormous appeal. It's a shame that this appears to have been her only starring role. So, see it for her if for nothing else. (But not if you're expecting Citizen Kane or anything of that sort.)
The Mill on the Floss (1978)
1978 version vs 1997 version
The 1978 miniseries is over 3 hours long. The 1997 movie is 1 hour and 45 minutes long. Yet, every event in the 3 hour version is in the shorter version. The reverse, however, is not true. Five crucial events of the story are visible in the 1997 (shorter) version but are missing from the 3 hour version: (1) the first conflict between Mr. Tulliver and Mr. Wakem, in which Tulliver wins, then insults Wakem. This shows why Tulliver thinks he'll win again and is strung along by a lawyer until he has mortgaged everything. It also provides motivation for Wakem's vengeful act of buying the mill, which in the longer version is left unmotivated. We are merely told that he is fed up with Tulliver.
(2) The selling of the mill to Wakem. In the 1978 version, we are told that it happened. In the 1997 version, we see it happen.
(3) The selling of the furniture of the Tullivers. This makes their homelessness visible and visceral.
(4) The scene in which Tom pays his father's debts. In the 1978 three-hour version, we are told that it is going to happen; then we see Tulliver on the way back from the meeting. We need to see this climatic event. In the 1997 version, we do.
(5) The restoration of the deed to the mill to the Tullivers.
The picture quality is acceptable in both versions, as is the music, but are better in the 1997 version. The casting is acceptable in both versions. The acting is acceptable in both. So, why do I give 3 stars to the 1978 version and four and a half stars to the 1997 version? The screenplay. Since both screenplays tell the same story with almost the same events, this comparison provides an excellent study for those interested in screen writing.
The 1978 version appears to have been written by a stage playwright (and not a good one at that). Each scene is set. People chat for a few moments. A character enters. Whatever is going to happen in that scene happens. Characters exit. Next scene.
The 1997 version is written like a movie. We are thrust into a scene just as something is about to happen. It happens. We cut to the next scene, where we are again thrust into the moment when something is about to happen. This makes for far more effective storytelling.
Also, the nitty-gritty of the scenes is better done in the 1997 version. It isn't the acting. It is the fact that the actors have a script that will let them make the emotions effective, and they do.
If you compare either version (or any movie version) with the book, then of course you can call it Cliff Notes. That tells you nothing.
The ending is better in the 1978 version and is also faithful to the book. The beginning of the 1997 version, like the ending, is a mistake.
The other problem is that the 1997 version is only available on VHS and hard to get at that. So, get the 1978 version if you can't get the videotape or don't want to; otherwise, wait and hope that someone will have the sense to put the 1997 version on DVD.
Una breve vacanza (1973)
one of the best movies ever made
This is the story of a woman given a respite from her grim life as a devoted wife and mother. She takes her illness in stride and goes off to the mountains to a sanatorium for a cure. While there, she meets people she would never have met otherwise and has time to experience a life other than one of drudgery and selfless devotion. She is even given a chance of escape/salvation. Will she take it? Ah, but that would be a spoiler!
This superb movie shows that realism can be moving and gripping. This woman's plight, her decency and her quiet heroism make for one of the best motion pictures ever made. If it could be released on video or DVD, I'm sure it would do well. Let's hope the owner of the rights to this movie soon figures this out.
The Savage Innocents (1960)
one of the best
I saw and heard Anthony Quinn in a television interview about his autobiography which had just been published. He said that there were only three films out of the many that he had made in his life that he was truly proud of. The Savage Innocents was one of the three. (Guess what the other two were. Right! Zorba and La Strada.) This estimation puts this movie in with some very select company. And this film deserves it.
It is NOT a documentary. There is a story here, an exciting story, at times edge of your seat--or maybe I should say, a number of stories, all interesting, all moving. The photography, sound, scenery, acting, all were excellent.
What struck me most, out of a long list, was the way the point of view of these Inuit people was gotten across. For instance, the missionary butts his head into the igloo and says, "God be with you." Quinn looks puzzled, glances at his wife and says, "No, there's nobody here but us." When the missionary goes on preaching at them, trying to convert them to the "true" faith, Quinn whispers to his wife, "I think he needs to laugh with a woman. Make yourself beautiful." In other words, the guy needs to get laid. The Freudian insight implied by these simple remarks is staggering. And this is only a small sample.
Perhaps the fate of this movie had a lot to do with the advertising. The picture at the top of this page suggests that this is a "savage" movie. It isn't. The title itself is unfortunate.
Yes, when oh when will we get to see this movie again? When will the savage and not-so-innocent moguls deign to put this beautiful film onto DVD?
definitive biopic of Beethoven
This Austrian movie is the biography that Beethoven deserves to have. The recent "Immortal Beloved" was a travesty both of Beethoven himself and of the facts of his life, and a travesty of film-making. Being Austrian and the leading role being performed by one of the most distinguished actors of his day, this movie is also probably closer to what the man Beethoven himself was like. The story is good. The selection of the music was apt, and the performances of the music were stirring.
This movie was shown so many times in this country that the pictures became ratty and the sound track scratchy and irritating. I suppose it is too much to hope that the Austrians who made this film will restore the pictures and have the music re-recorded in 5.1; but that is what this movie merits. And it is what the world deserves to see.
The Blue Angel (1959)
better than the original
This is one remake that is better than the original, even though that original is one of the classics of world cinema. This remake is also fundamentally different. In the original, Lola Lola was the main character. Not only that, but the professor was just a buffoon. Neither character was particularly appealing. Lola was cruel. The professor was a fool.
In the remake, the professor is the main character and he is treated realistically. (I suspect that this is truer to the Heinrich Mann novel also.) The professor teaches biology, and for years has taught his boys about the birds and the bees--literally, without having a clue of the feelings associated with those birds and bees. Then, he sees Lola and is bowled over. It is easy for her to seduce him. The next morning, he, being a German gentleman, proposes marriage to her. She is touched and flattered and accepts. The school where he teaches is outraged and orders him to give up this plan, but the professor remains true to his intended. He is fired. He tries to get a position elsewhere, but all schools are closed to him. Soon, he has spent all his savings and he and Lola are reduced to poverty. Lola goes back to the cabaret job and supports him. Soon, the management demands that the professor stop being a sponge and earn his keep. ...
I won't tell you the rest of the story. It is dramatic and moving. This is the definitive version of this story. Lola and the professor are sympathetic, and the movie is far more moving. The production values are high and the movie is in color. When will the owners of this movie see fit to put it on DVD?
You Can't Run Away from It (1956)
better than It Happened One Night
I don't agree that this movie follows the script of It Happened One Night. As I recall, there were numerous changes. This movie was livelier, more fast-paced and more enjoyable. The fact that it has a musical number and is in color is just icing on the cake. It's also a little less straight-laced than the original.
It baffles me that movies like this are not available on VHS and DVD. Especially with ultra-popular stars like Jack Lemmon and June Allyson. Are they afraid that the original movie will be eclipsed? It won't happened. Look at "Little Women". Katherine Hepburn's version is out there and is still selling, even though it is worse than all the versions except for the performance by Hepburn.
Il successo (1963)
a rare and significant film
I saw this film in a theatre when it came out and have never forgotten it. It is simple and realistic and presents a situation everyone will identify with. The main character, played by Gassman, lives a contented life with a beautiful wife, friends and a comfortable if boring job as a civil engineer. Then, he happens upon a chance to make a fortune. He has inside information, so it's a sure thing. All he needs to do is raise a good deal of money. First, he borrows from his friends, but doesn't get enough. Then, he borrows from others, getting more and more desperate.
This progression is realistic and believable, so much so that one can feel his panic as this golden opportunity seems to be slipping away. He sinks to lower and lower depths in his borrowing.
I won't tell you how this comes out, but I will tell you it's a powerful film that you will remember as long as you live, as I have.
It's a pity that such a fine film shouldn't be available on VHS or DVD. If you have a chance to see this film, don't miss it. If you know someone in the videotape industry, write to them and urge them to put this film on video. It's a rare film to treasure.
exciting, touching, and satisfying
People who say that this movie is a ripoff of Blue Lagoon either haven't seen Blue Lagoon or haven't seen this movie. I suspect that they are merely quoting Leonard Maltin or some other uninformed source who doesn't bother to watch movies before reviewing them.
The only thing this movie and Blue Lagoon have in common is atrocious dialog. But whereas Blue Lagoon is atrocious dialog all the way, in this movie the idiot-level talk occurs only in certain scenes. If you copy the scenes that are NOT idiotic onto a blank videotape, you'll have a ten-star movie that is one hour and twenty-three minutes long with no story elements left out, no love scenes left out and no nudity left out. The stupid scenes are brief but numerous, so fast-forwarding over them is tedious.
The story of this movie is actually pretty good. It contains action scenes, love scenes, playing scenes, scenes of people being human. And all of it is quite credible, given the time and society. The nude scenes are also done quite naturally. There is no teasing, no three-second breast shots, and no shoving in the nudity for its own sake. Also, there is a fair amount of nudity, not the usual throwing in a single shot to get the R rating. And it is not drenched in hostility like the so-called "art" movies or other pretentious fare. The crisis and resolution are believable and satisfying. The music is far above average.
As to versions, if you have the videotape, there is little to be gained from buying the DVD. It's semi-widescreen, but that adds little. Both are mono, even though the DVD claims to be stereo. The sound and picture quality are quite decent on both media.
Bottom line: with the idiot-talk scenes cut, this is a rare movie, exciting, touching, and satisfying.
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Hasn't anyone seen the 1984 version?
All of the reviewers here rave about the 1995 version (which was made by A&E). The BBC version was made in 1984 and starred Elizabeth Garvie (Elizabeth, not Susan). The BBC version of 1984 was by far the best of the four movie versions of the book. The script was written by Fay Weldon and followed the book. The cast was superb. This version has recently been released on DVD. If you want to see Pride and Prejudice as it should be, get this version. You'll never think of Colin Firth again. The 1940 script was written by Aldous Huxley. Yes, Aldous Huxley. And it was a lively abridgment of the story. The costumes, acting, etc. left a lot to be desired. This 2005 Hollywood chic remake will sell a lot of copies, thanks to the reputation of Jane Austen. But word will get around, and then this atrocity will be history.
Tears in the Rain (1988)
story of lasting love
Those with a cynical view or experience of love need not bother with this movie. Those who have dreamed that love could be deep and lasting will enjoy this movie but find it unrealistic. Those who have experienced this type of love will be gratified watching this movie and will find such a love very well and accurately depicted.
It is sad that the Shakespearean actor Paul Daneman, who gave such a nuanced and convincing portrayal of the middle age man whose love never ends, has recently died. His performance gave this movie its seriousness and credibility. Sharon Stone gave the performance of her life in this early film. This role provided a range of emotions and situations and she portrayed every one of them movingly and accurately. Her vivacious and multifaceted character is one every man will fall in love with.
It is unfortunate for move lovers that this film was so poorly and so briefly promoted that millions who would have loved it will never see it. (A newly produced DVD will be available on Feb. 28, 2006.)