Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Jun 28th
The Abominable Dr. Phibes**

(GB 1971)

A disfigured magician executes a macabre revenge on the surgeons who failed to save his wife.
Slow and nasty in places but with a commendable abundance of art deco style, in this above average black comedy horror, sparse on dialogue almost to the extent of being a pastiche silent film.

Written by: William Goldstein, James Whitton.
Producers: Ronald S. Dunas, Louis M. Heyward.
Director: Robert Fuest.
Starring: Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, Virginia North, Peter Jeffrey, Terry-Thomas, Hugh Griffith, Norman Jones, Derek Godfrey, Peter Gilmore, John Laurie, Caroline Munro.
Photography: Norman Warwick.
Music: Basil Kirchin.
Art Direction: Bernard Reeves.

+ sequel: Dr. Phibes Rises Again

THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES. Everything about this film summed up in a single still - beautiful art deco design and macabre horror, with Vincent Price in his element (note the detail of a telephone dial to the right of the Wurlitzer organ).

Preceded by:
(US 1910. Edison. 16m. bw. silent; Fading original trick film version of Shelley's novel, not without poignancy and points of interest.; d: J. Searle Dawley; s: Augustus Phillips, Charles Ogle, Mary Fuller.)

FRANKENSTEIN (1910). Charles Ogle as the creature, in a make-up designed by himself.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Jun 26th
Deadlier Than the Male

(GB 1966)                        

Insurance investigator Hugh Drummond hunts down a criminal mastermind who is using beautiful female assassins to kill rivals.
Absurdly oversexed Bulldog Drummond for the James Bond era, where the central character fights to get himself noticed amid all the high camp. Enjoyable enough as a trashy Swinging Sixties kaleidoscope.

Written by: Jimmy Sangster, David Osborn, Liz Charles Williams.
Producer: Betty E. Box.
Director: Ralph Thomas.
Starring: Richard Johnson, Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, Nigel Green, Laurence Naismith, Suzanna Keigh, Zia Mohyeddin, Steve Carlson, Leonard Rossiter, Milton Reid.
Photography: Ernest Steward.
Music: Malcolm Lockyer (title song sung by the Walker Brothers).
Production Design: Alex Vetchinsky.

Preceded by:
Rescued from an Eagle's Nest*
(US 1908. 6m. bw. silent; d: J. Searle Dawley; s: D.W. Griffith, Henry B. Walthall; ph: Edwin S. Porter.)

Midsummer Night's Dream*
(US 1909. 11m. bw. silent; Sparse but charmingly inventine incidental version of some scenes from Shakespeare's play.; d: Charles Kent, J. Stewart Blackton.)

RESCUED FROM AN EAGLE'S NEST (1908). A rare on-screen role for David Wark Griffith, before he soon became much more famous behind the camera.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Jun 21st
Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach** (15)
(Ipswich Film Theatre)

(GB 2016)

Illuminating insight not only into some of Loach's powerful documentary style of filmmaking and his typically political approach to most subjects, but also some interesting revelations, including even a spell on the stage and an unexpectedly right wing working class upbringing.

Producer: Rebecca O'Brien.
Director: Louise Osmond.
With contribtutions by Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Gabriel Byrne, David Bradley, Tony Casement, Sheila Hancock, Ricky Tomlinson, Derek Malcolm, and others.
Photography: Roger Chapman.
Music: Roger Goula Sarda.
Editing: Joby Gee.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jun 14th 
The Philadelphia Experiment**

(US 1984)        

In 1943 a US Navy experiment in radar invisibility leads to sailors disappearing into a vortex than transports them into the future.
Enjoyably sustained sci-fi based on only a fragment of a true story, not subtle and with some clunky dialogue, but enjoyably Spielbergian in a government conspiracy, Close Encounters sort of way.

Written by: William Gray, Dan Jakoby, Michael Janover, based on the novel by Charles Bertlitz, William L. Moore.
Producers: Douglas Curtis, Joel B. Michaels.
Director: Stewart Ralfill.
Starring: Michael Pare, Nancy Allen, Bobby di Cicco, Eric Christmas, Stephen Tobolowsky, Louise Latham, Ralph Manza, Debra Troyer.
Photography: Dick Bush.
Music: Kenneth Wannberg.

Preceded by:
A Trip Down Market Street*
(US 1906. 12m. bw. silent; ph: Harry Miles.)
A TRIP DOWN MARKET STREET (1906). An invaluable historical and technical accomplishment filming on the front of the San Francisco tram, poignantly, just days before the 1906 earthquake.

That Fatal Sneeze*
(US 1907. 6m. bw. silent; A vengefeul boy feeds pepper everywhere to his grandfather who wrecks everywhere he sneezes. d: Lewis Fitzhamon; s: Thurston Harris.)

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Jun 8th
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy**  

(US/GB 2005)

Arthur Dent is saved from Earth's demolition by his alien friend, and introduced to the multi-purpose guide to the galaxy to help him patch up his love life, and rebuild Earth, Mark II.
Sometimes unnecessary but pleasantly entertaining big-budget "opening out" of a surreal radio sci-fi comedy (which worked quite imaginatively enough within its own medium), trying to adapt the original into an uneven romantic comedy narrative, with the visual wit occasionally matching that of its verbal counterpart.

Written by: Karey Kirkpatrick, Douglas Adams, from his book and radio series.
Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Nick Goldsmith, Jay Roach, Jonathan Glickman.
Director: Garth Jennings.
Starring: Martin Freeman, Zooey Deschanel, Mos Def, Sam Rockwell, John Malkovich, Bill Nighy, Warwick Davis (as Marvin, with the voice of Alan Rickman), Anna Chancellor, Simon Jones; voices of Helen Mirren, Richard Griffiths, Bill Bailey, and others.
Narrator: Stephen Fry.
Photography: Igor Jadve-Lillo.
Music: Joby Talbot.
Production Design: Joel Collins.

Preceded by:
An Interesting Story*
(GB 1905. 4m. bw. silent; A reader is dangerously oblivious to people around him as he reads his book.; d: James Williamson.)

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Jun 4th  
Race* (PG)
(Barbican Cinema)  

(US/Can/Ger 2016)

Ohio University student Jesse Owens runs for his country at the Nazi Olympics of 1936 in spite of his colour.
Watered down Chariots of Fire-style sporting drama with slightly comic book Germans, and dramatically rather lightweight in spite of the historical subject matter - maybe because the central character seems to lack the inner drive to win four Olympic Gold medals.

Written by: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse.
Producers: Karsten Brunig, Luc Dayan, Kate Garwood, Stephen Hopkins, Jean-Charles Levy, Nicolas Manuel, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Dominique Seguin.
Director: Stephen Hopkins.
Starring: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, William Hurt, Shanice Banton, Carice van Houtsen (as Leni Riefenstahl), Barnaby Mershurat (as Goebbels), Andrew Moodie, Nicholas Woodesdon, Tim McInerney.
Photography: Peter Levy.
Music: Rachel Portman.

+ see also Olympischelespiele (100 Favourite Films)

RACE. On the day Muhammad Ali died, another athlete who could also claim to have been the greatest

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Jun 2nd
Sub-Title: A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution

(Fra/Ita 1965)

In the semi-computerised future, a  secret agent rescues the daughter of a scientist in a society where people have lost their individuality.
Platitudinous cult sci-fi shot in semi-futuristic gritty Paris, boldly made but also weighed down by its director's indulgences.

Written and Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard.
Producer: Andre Michelin.
Starring: Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Howard Vernon, Christa Lang, Jean-Louis Comolli.
Photography: Raoul Coutard.
Music: Paul Misraki.

Preceded by:
Buy Your Own Cherries
(GB 1904.4m. bw. silent; d: Robert W.Paul.)