The Train (1964 France/USA)

The concept of an ‘action’ film is the most curious, as many examples of the genre seem very static – even today where it seems that anything can be shown. A fight, car crash, explosion, etc is rehearsed, staged, simultaneously photographed and edited in a certain way that brings out and sometimes enhances the action. But, as the event is meticulously planned, rigorously controlled, sometimes or always re-shot, spontaneity cannot be part of the action, or plays a small part. The action may be impressive, but still seems unreal, too chaotic, the sense that the action is not integrated into the story and maybe even more importantly, the attitude and motivation of the characters. Most action films are far from achieving all this. [Read more…]

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The Immortal Story (1968 France)

The-Immortal-Story-images-5b006a21-2bf1-4c4e-92c2-a3801ed656aBecause Orson Welles directed this, of course it is going to be obscure and pretentious and his ego insisted the man himself star in it too. This is an arty piece about a bankrupt merchant (Orson Welles) who for some unknown reason wants to turn a myth into reality by hiring two people to play out the theme of a story the townspeople have turned into a myth. [Read more…]

La Notte (1961 Italy/ France)

notte2This film was a product of a time and a place and a sensibility that is now long gone. But be that as it may, this is an excellent film about a married couple who have fallen out of love. OK, no one will be viewing this looking for escapist entertainment. Can anyone imagine someone making a picture like this these days? Michelangelo Antonioni was definitely firing on all cylinders of cinematic refinement in the early 60s. [Read more…]

ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (1957/8 France)

5110f1ab49e57_267051bAs I type these words I feel like Prince Charles’ fingertips. Or where ever his brain is located. Is this story an answer to his question “whatever love means?” If this is love, then it makes everyone thoroughly miserable. They are fighting back the tears, digging their nails into the palm of their hand or turning their face toward a rain-soaked wall. But as an Anglo-Saxon what do I know? Maybe this is normal. [Read more…]

THE BRIDE WORE BLACK (1968, France)

bride-wore-black-2Time for me to get nostalgic about my first few posts and this was the very first, so if you missed it back in March (I started off writing reviews that were too short and cold–then realized they needed more length & warmth). So here it is again. How can you resist? I didn’t think so either. Seriously though, this is one of my more sexy reviews. It has to be. Jeanne Moreau is the star and her middle name is Sexy. You’re eyes and brain will thank you for it …. [Read more…]

VIVA MARIA! (France/Italy 1965)

2965697145_1_13_xJr3oxcGIn her native France, Brigitte Bardot enjoyed a similar reputation to that enjoyed by, say, Elizabeth Taylor in the Anglo-Saxon world; a great screen actress who also happened to be a great beauty. In the English-speaking world Bardot’s reputation was rather different, more that of a great beauty, idolized by millions of men who had never seen any of her films. [Read more…]

THE TRIAL (France 1962)

l_57427_0bda35dcA harmless, inconsequential clerk wakes up one morning to find himself accused of something (he never discovers what). Secret policemen enter his bedroom and subject him to a frightening interrogation in which every answer provokes a new line of questioning. [Read more…]

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