- Black Girl (Sembene Ousmane)
- Far From The Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger)
- All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk)
- Till The Clouds Roll By (Richard Whorf)
- The Mummy’s Ghost (Reginald Le Borg)
- Persona (Ingmar Bergman)
- Peterloo (Mike Leigh)
- Rasputin, The Mad Monk (Don Sharp)
- The Mysterious Doctor (Benjamin Stoloff)
- Le Rayon Vert (Summer) (Eric Rohmer)
1- I had seen clips from Black Girl on TCM when they did that terrific series on World Cinema. They were so haunting. I was glad to get the chance to see the whole film. Powerful, poetic, tragic and very beautiful. That mask, wow!
2- In my last post, I decried turning great novels into film. Well I was a little wrong. Far From The Madding Crowd is a very commendable attempt to turn Thomas Hardy’s novel into a film. The book, of course, is way better, but the movie hits on all of the book’s main points and really gets to the emotion behind it all. Pretty arty camera work by Nicholas Roeg considering that this was a typical big-budget prestige project. I want to read more Hardy.
3- I am currently teaching a course on the Great American Songbook and this weekend I will be speaking about Jerome Kern. I figured that it would be a good time to watch Till The Clouds Roll By, even though I knew that its ties with reality were very tenuous. It turns out that they were ridiculously tenuous. This had hardly anything to do with Kern’s life, the way that Night and Day has nothing to do with Cole Porter’s life and Rhapsody in Blue has nothing to do with George Gershwin’s life. What this film really is, is an excuse to have MGM’s musical stars do star turns singing or dancing to Kern songs, which is fun enough. But what a stinker of a movie.
4- The Mummy’s Ghost – it is Hallowe’en season and I must watch as many classic horror movies as I can, many of them bad. Like this one. How can a 61 minute movie feel like it is three hours long? At least it had that classic Universal horror-romance atmosphere.
5- Thanks to Kathleen Rooney and Martin Seay, true friends who helped be to wrestle with just what the hell Persona is. I have seen and loved this movie many times but could never articulate what I felt it was. Thanks to K & M I’m a little closer to that goal. All three of us are pretty convinced that it is a masterpiece sui generis.
6- Mike Leigh is a giant who walks among us. I may through the word ‘masterpiece’ around too much, but his films really deserve the name. Peterloo is an epic yet intimate depiction of one of the first labor rebellions in English history, and its terrifying suppression. I hope it gets wide release. I saw it at the Chicago Film Festival and I hope it doesn’t disappear.
7- I get such perverse pleasure from All That Heaven Allows. I love showing it to new people, because by the end it is not what they expected.
8- Please see Le Rayon Vert and read my post about it.