Sunday, August 02, 2015

Aug 1st  
Swiss Family Robinson**     

(GB 1960)                    

A family runs aground off an exotic island heading towards New Guinea, and soon adapt to their surroundings despite the unwanted attentions of pirates.
Sentimental family fantasy, with Disney piling on the animal interest aplenty. Rather long, and only occasionally covers trickier subjects such as sex (a Disney taboo of course), but wins over ultimately through craftsmanship and general amiability.

Written by: Lowell S. Hawley, based on the novel by Johann Wyss.
Producers: Bill Anderson, Basil Keys.
Director: Ken Annakin.
Starring: John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James McArthur, Tommy Kirk, Janet Munro, Kevin Corcoran, Sessue Hayakawa, Cecil Parker.
Photography: Harry Waxman.
Music: William Alwyn.
Production Design: John Howell.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Jul 26th  
To Kill a Mockingbird*** (PG)  
(Ipswich Film Theatre)                    

(US 1962)

In the deep South of the 1930s, an upstanding lawyer defends his honour and that of his young children to represent a black man falsely accused of rape.
Despite some jarring Southern drawls on the younger child actors, and grainy black-and-white photography which drains some of the humanity but points up the drama, this is a beautifully sympathetic adaptation of an acclaimed novel (for which a high profile follow-up has recently been published), with quintessential performances and the maximum amount of understanding for its material by the filmmakers, creating quite a unique atmosphere of poignant power.

Written by: Horton Foote, from the novel by Harper Lee.
Producer: Alan J. Pakula.
Director: Robert Mulligan.
Starring: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford, Brock Peters, Frank Overton, Ruth White, Estelle Evans, Paul Fix, Collin Wilcox, James Anderson, William Windom, Robert Duvall, Kim Stanley (narrator).
Photography: Russell Harlan.
Music: Elmer Bernstein.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Jul 24th
Summer in February*

(GB 2013)            

In 1913 Captain Gilbert Evans mixes with the Lamorna artists' set, intending to court his friend Florence Carter-Wood, but she falls unwisely for the rakish artist and poet A.J. Munnings instead.
Elements of Edge of Love and The Manxman abound in this poignant, slightly over-sumptuous period drama based on a real-life love triangle, made as many British period films are nowadays in an assumed state of classical reverence, with occasional moments of cinematic flair or modern touches which don't always convince.

Written by: Jonathan Smith, from his novel.
Producers: Jeremy Cowdrey, Janette Day, Pippa Cross, Dan Stevens.
Director: Christopher Menaul.
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning, Dan Stevens, Hattie Morahan, Shaun Dingwall, Nicholas Farrell, Michael Maloney.
Photography: Andrew Dunn.
Music: Benjamin Wallfisch.



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Jul 22nd  
The Big Sleep***     

(US 1946)              

Private eye Philip Marlowe is hired to stop a blackmail racket involving a aged businessman's nymphomaniac daughter, but also becomes involved with the eldest daughter in murkier waters.
Classic noir drama where the intricacies of the plot are too complex to follow, and irrelevant anyway, next to the mood, atmosphere and the new star pairing of Bogart and Bacall, who crackle on screen, and from whom the rest of the cast take their cue, in typical Hawksian fashion.

Written by: William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman (and Julius Epstein), based on the novel by Raymond Chandler.
Producer/Director: Howard Hawks.
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Martha Vickers, John Ridgely, Louis Van Heydt, Charles Waldron, Dorothy Malone, Sonia Darrin, Regis Toomey, Elisha Cook Jnr, Bob Steele.
Photography: Sid Hickox.
Music: Max Steiner.
Editing: Christian Nyby.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Jul 17th 
D.O.A.**               

(US 1950)                                    

An accountant is lethally poisoned in San Francisco, and spends his remaining hours trying to unmask the murderer.
Offbeat pulp thriller with some slightly melodramatic acting, but enjoyably put together with good and revealing use of day-to-day street locations in California at the time.

Written by: Russell Rouse, Clarence Greene.
Producer: Leo C. Popkin.
Director: Rudolph Mate.
Starring: Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler, William Ching, Lynn Baggett, Neville Brand, Beverley Garland, Laurette Luez, Carol Hughes.
Photography: Ernest Laszlo.
Music: Dmitri Tiomkin.

+ the finale takes place inside the Bradbury Building is Los Angeles, also later used for the finale of Blade Runner


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jul 11th  
Mr. Holmes** (PG)
(Ipswich Film Theatre)                                

(GB 2015)

93-year old Sherlock Holmes battles senility and his image created by the late Dr. Watson to tell his own story of his last unresolved case.
Quite convincing in its creation of a world that Holmes has outgrown, with a movingly haggard performance (one of McKellen's best for a long while), this absorbing post-war drama has its flaws in the script, including an underused Japanese sub-plot, but sincerity and conviction see it through.

d: Bill Condon
s: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy, Hiroyuki Sanada, Roger Allam, Frances de la Tour, John Sessions (as Mycroft), Nicholas Rowe, Frances Barber, Phil Davis



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Jul 9th
The 400 Blows**               
(Les Quatre Cents Coups)

(Fra 1959)

A boy plays truant from school and then also his dysfunctional parents, and is eventually sent to a correctional facility from where he also escapes.
One of the first signs of the French New Wave in the 1950s, an unsentimentally nostalgic drama by Truffaut, clearly based in part on his own childhood, capturing dingy Paris from a youngster's perspective without any romanticism but plenty of affection.

Written and Directed by: Francois Truffaut.
Producers: Francois Truffaut, Georges Charlot.
Starring: Jean-Pierre Leaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Remy, Patrick Auffay, Guy Decomble.
Photography: Henri Decae.
Music: Jean Constantin.

+ the title, in its French form, refers not to corporal punishment but to the raising of hell (by mischievous teenagers)