Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Oct 24th   
The Navigator**      

(US 1924)                                                

An inept millionaire and his girl are unwittingly stranded together on a cruiseliner which drifts near an island of cannibals.
Haphazard but nonetheless typically entertaining Keaton early feature (with plenty of portholes in the plot), given a slightly larger budget with the major new MGM studio, in a film that became a useful try-out for the even grander The General.

Written by: Clyde Bruckman, Jean C. Havez, Joseph A. Mitchell, Buster Keaton.
Producer: Buster Keaton.
Director: Buster Keaton, Donald Crisp.
Starring: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom, Noble Johnson.
Photography: Elgin Lessley, Byron Houck.

+ Donald Crisp was replaced from the production (although he amusingly appears as a menacing face on a picture) after directing the drama sequences when he tried to also work on the comedy sequences, most of which Buster re-shot.

Preceded by:
(Fra/US 2002. 7m.; Notable if perhaps obscurely known collaboration between Disney and Dali, completed by the studio in tribute 56 years later.; w: Salvador Dali, John Hench, Donald W. Ernst; d: Dominique Monfery (and John Hench); m: Armando Dominguez.)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Oct 21st   
Goodbye Lenin** (15)
(Manifest Theatre, Manningtree)                    

(Ger 2003)

In East Berlin a Communist mother falls into a coma during the fall of the Iron Curtain, and her dutiful son tries to keep her alive by pretending that things are still as they were before.
Poignant drama with comedic elements, slightly dragging in length to extend the comedy scenario when it could logically have been brought to its conclusion sooner, but full of moving and enjoyable moments, and also insightful about the political and cultural landscape of the time.

Written by: Bernd Lichtenberg, Wolfgang Becker.
Producer: Stefan Arndt.
Director: Wolfgang Becker.
Starring: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Florian Lukas, Alexander Beyer, Burghart Klaussner, Stefan Walz.
Photography: Martin Kukula.
Music: Yann Tiersen, Claire Pichet, Antonella Marafioti.
Editing: Peter R. Adam.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oct 19th    
Out of the Past**   
(aka. Build My Gallows High)                      

(US 1947)

A detective in hiding is tracked down to continue his pursuit of a woman he has fallen in love with, but who also leaves a murderous trail behind her.
Too baffling as a story to fret about really, but a fine example of noir mood and atmosphere with its femme fatale a unique blend of sincerity of murderousness.

Written by: Geoffrey Holmes (Daniel Mainwaring), from his novel.
Producer: Warren Dugff.
Director: Jacques Tourneur.
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Virginia Huston, Richard Webb, Steve Brodie, Paul Valentine, Dickie Moore.
Photography: Nicholas Musuraca.
Music: Roy Webb.

Preceded by:
Ballet Mecanique**
(Fra 1923 (premiered 1924). 19m. bw. silent; Innovative experimental montage film, of meaning best known to itself.; p: Andre Charlot; d: Fernand Leger; ph: Dudley Murphy, Man Ray.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Oct 12th  
Nanook of the North**    

(US 1922)                      

An eskimo hunts through the harsh Arctic climate to feed his family.
Vivid depiction of the Northern icelands with a keen explorer's eye; in effect the cinema's first genuine "drama documentary", way ahead of its time and still as breathtaking and engaging to watch to audiences now as it would have been then.

Written, Directed and Photographed by: Robert J. Flaherty.
Editing: Robert Flaherty, Charles Gelb.

Music: Stanley Silverman (1975).

Preceded by:
The Tantalizing Fly**
(US 1919. 4m. bw. silent; Part of the Out of the Inkwell series: the animator and his clown deal with an irritating insect.; d, s: Max Fleischer.)

Friday, October 07, 2016

Oct 6th   
The Sheik**                   

(US 1921)                                  

A feisty aristocrat falls for and is abducted by an exotic Arab chieftain who also turns out to be European.
Archetypal desert potboiler romance, paperback thin in terms of plot, but as a vehicle for its star becoming the one role he was most identified with for millions.

Written by: Monte M. Katterjohn, from the novel by Edith Maude Hull.
Producer/Director: George Melford.
Starring: Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres, Adolphe Menjou, Walter Long, Lucien Littlefield, Frank Butler, George Waggner.
Photography: William Marshall.

THE SHEIKH. Agnes Ayres is putty in the arms of Rudolph Valentino. Despite the histrionics, she was by no means the only one..

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Oct 4th
Seven Days in May***         
(National Film Theatre)        

(US 1963)

In 1970 an aide to a senior USAF general discovers that he is secretly leading a plot to overthrow the pacifist President.
Gripping political thriller in the wake of the Manchurian Candidate and the then still recent Cuban Missile Crisis. Despite the futuristic setting it could not be more relevant (then or now), and although made on a restrained but well used budget consisting more of words than deeds, it has a first class collection of participants.

Written by: Rod Serling, from the novel by Fletcher Knebel, Charles W. Bailey II.
Producer: Edward Lewis.
Director: John Frankenheimer.
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Fredric March, Edmond O'Brien, Martin Balsam, Hugh Marlowe, Whit Bissel, Richard Anderson, John Houseman.
Photography: Ellsworth Fredericks.
Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

+ preceded by and introduction for the Blue Plaque Association and the Ava Gardner Trust by Cathy Power, Ty Jeffries, including Our Film Diary (GB 1955. 2m. bw. silent; ph: Lionel Jeffries; s: Ava Gardner, Ty Jeffries, Francis Matthews, Lionel Jeffries, others in home movie footage.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Oct 3rd  
The Thomas Crown Affair**

(US 1968)  

A Massachusetts millionaire masterminds a daring bank robbery. A sexy insurance investigator tries to outfox him, but also falls in love.
Stylish 60s multi-image heist romance fashionable for the time. The star is, on the surface, miscast, but still has plenty of opportunity to display his familiar chutzpah, with other notable sequences including the opening robbery and a sexy chess match, that help to make it a triumph of style over slender content.

Written by: Alan R. Trustman.
Producer/Director: Norman Jewison.
Starring: Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Jack Weston, Paul Burke, Biff McGuire, Yaphet Kotto, Astrid Heeren.
Photography: Haskell Wexler.
Music: Michel Legrand.

Preceded by:
Haunted Spooks**
(US 1920. 23m. bw. silent. A girl marries a failed suicide in order to inherit a house that rivals try to scare them out of. Typically free-flowing and inventine Roach two-reeler; w: H.M. Walker; d: Hal Roach; s: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis.)