Thursday, August 27, 2015

Aug 26th  
Flame in the Streets*  

(GB 1961)                  

A factory union boss finds his liberal values tested when his daughter falls in love with a Jamaican schoolteacher.
Rather obvious interracial drama, not always ideally filmed in Cinemascope (and converted to black and white for its American release), but with some powerful moments of performance.

Written by: Ted Willis, based on his play "Hot Summer Night").
Producer/Director: Roy Baker.
Starring: John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Brenda de Banzie, Earl Cameron, Johnny Sekka, Ann Lynn, Wilfrid Brambell, Meredith Edwards, Gretchen Franklin, Barbara Windsor.
Photography: Christopher Challis.
Music: Philip Green.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Aug 23rd 
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea*
(Firstsite, Colchester)  

(US 1916)

Explorers are abducted by Captain Nemo in his submarine Nautilus in his desire for revenge.
Primitive early Hollywood version of Verne's story (also incorporating the plot of Mysterious Island), with much of the budget taken up with landmark underwater photography (using the same lagoon as the 1954 Disney remake).

Written and Directed by: Stuart Paton, based on the novel by Jules Verne.
Producer: Carl Laemmle.
Starring: Allen Holubar (as Nemo), Dan Hanlon, June Gail, Edna Pendleton, Curtis Benton.
Photography: Eugene Gaudio, George Williamson, J. Ernest Williamson.

Musical Accompaniment: Fishclaw.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Aug 19th 
The Leopard**    

(Ita/Fra 1963)                    

In late 19th century Sicily, the aristocratic head of a family compromises in order to support the coming revolution to preserve the family's name, but finds his ways gradually outmoded.
Lavishly beautiful Italian soap opera, long but pleasurable for its opulence, even if the story doesn't seem to go anywhere, with lots of ballgowns in the closing reels and not much else.

Written by: Pasquale Festa Campanile, Enrico Medioli, Massimo Franciosa, Luchino Visconti, Suso Cecchi d'Amico, based on the novel by: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
Producers: Goffredo Lombardo, Pietro Notarianni.
Director: Luchino Visconti.
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, Paolo Stoppa, Romolo Valli, Rina Morelli.
Photography: Giuseppe Rotunno.
Music: Nino Rota.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Aug 17th  
Absolutely Anything* (12A)  
(Odeon Colchester)                          

(GB 2015)

Aliens give a meek Earthling the ability to do anything he wishes, in order to decide whether or not to destroy the planet.
Pythonesque re-working of The Man Who Could Work Miracles, the humour being fairly broad and discarding its ideas as quickly as it throws them up, but has its moments of charm among the star cast shoehorned in, including the poignantly amusing Robin Williams as the voice of a dog.

Written by: Terry Jones, Gavin Scott.
Producers: Bill Jones, Ben Timlett.
Director: Terry Jones.
Starring: Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Rob Riggle, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley, Robert Bathurst, Meera Syal; voices of Robin Williams, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin.
Photography: Peter Hannan.
Music: George Fenton.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Aug 16th   
Desperately Seeking Susan*       

(US 1985)        

A frustrated young New York housewife follows the exploit of a ne'er-do-well in the personal ads, and is briefly mistaken for her after suffering from amnesia.
Fashionable 80s comedy which is actually a rather old fashioned mistaken identity thriller, and fairly likeable if undemanding for all that. The emergence of its singing star in her first major film made it a very representative of its time.

Written by: Leora Barish.
Producers: Sarah Pillsbury, Midge Sanford.
Director: Susan Seidelman.
Starring: Rosanna Arquette, Madonna, Aidan Quinn, Mark Blum, Robert Joy, Laurie Metcalf, Will Patton, Anna Levine, Steven Wright, John Turturro.
Photography: Edward Lachman.
Music: Thomas Newman.

DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN. Rosanna Arquette made for an engaging heroine pursuing (and later mistaken for) Madonna's sluttish Susan. Despite this famous publicity photo, the two stars didn't actually share the screen until the very end.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Aug 7th   
A Taste of Honey***   

(GB 1961)                        

An illegitimate teenage girl struggles to cope with her tarty mother, then becomes pregnant from a love affair with a black sailor, and later finds support from a lonely homosexual student.
A taste of the emerging 60s permissiveness in all its glory, beautifully set in grimy Manchester, despite only occasionally hitting some false notes in its plot. One of the New Wave of English working class dramas influenced by the earlier French New Wave (such as The 400 Blows), but more entertaining than that, thanks to generally strong and believable performances, or perhaps the English emotions just translate better.

Written by: Tony Richardson, Shelagh Delaney, based on her play.
Producer/Director: Tony Richardson.
Starring: Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan, Murray Melvin, Robert Stephens, Paul Danquah, Margo Cunningham.
Photography: Walter Lassally.
Music: John Addison.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Aug 4th    
The Master of Ballantrae**     

(GB 1952)

A supporter of Bonnie Prince Charlie joins the attempted revolution, but after its defeat flees to the high seas before returning to try and claim back his title.
Lively Technicolor historical adventure, a sort of watered down Adventures of Robin Hood with a strong supporting cast, despite weak romantic interest and a variable production, with a star advancing in years and declining in health (his last adventure for Warner Brothers), but he can still cut a fine dash.

Written by: Herb Meadow, Harold Medford, based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Producer: no credit.
Director: William Keighley.
Starring: Errol Flynn, Anthony Steel, Roger Livesey, Beatrice Campbell, Yvonne Furneaux, Felix Aylmer, Mervyn Johns, Jacques Berthier, Francis de Wolff, Ralph Truman.
Photography: Jack Cardiff.
Music: William Alwyn.