Tag: Blogathons

Bluebeard in Black and White: Fritz Lang’s “Secret Beyond the Door”

Lang is a master of mood and lighting (assisted by some fantastic cinematographers), and this carries "Secret." It doesn’t hurt that it stars Joan Bennett (a sometime Lang favorite) and Michael Redgrave, but the plot is so goofily Freudian that if Bennett and Redgrave weren’t adrift in Lang’s parallel universe, it probably wouldn’t work.

King and Country (1964): World War I Blogathon

One of the great—and somewhat overlooked—films about World War I was originally made for television in Britain, filmed entirely on a claustrophobic set with a small budget and a tight schedule (just under a month). Directed in 1964 by Joseph Losey, an American ex-pat across the pond, "King and Country" is based on a fictionalized memoir.

Wheels on Meals (1984): What’s Kung Fu without Leg Warmers?

The story is predictably and blissfully ludicrous. Thomas (Jackie Chan) and David (Yuen Biao) are cousins running a food truck in Barcelona. Perhaps this is because David's father (Paul Chang) is in a Barcelona loony bin. Perhaps not. Don't ask questions—according to the film, there was a large HK ex-pat community in 1980s Barcelona.

Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960): Take Me to Your Cinema!

The main character, the Peeping Tom of the title, is Mark Lewis (Karlheinz Böhm), a focus-puller (assistant cameraman) at a British film studio. But this is merely cover for Mark’s real calling—documentarian. The artistic child of a scientist, he documents the murders of women he commits using a dagger hidden in his camera’s tripod.

Jacques Tati’s Playtime (1967): The Social Art of Tativille

Tativille looks suspiciously similar to our world but is plainly not. Each object, each line and curve has the potential to come to life at any moment. By the end of the film, no matter how much accidental destruction has taken place (a lot), you are likely wishing his world were the real world.

Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938): A Brackett-Wilder Collaboration

The Brackett-Wilder team have all the parts of a perfect screwball comedy in "Bluebeard"—formal wear, cocktails, witty wordplay, and a married couple slapping, spanking, and biting each other. Nicole De Loisel (Colbert), daughter of Edward Everett Horton’s penniless Marquis, and Michael Brandon (Cooper), capitalist extraordinaire, are meant to be together, like all screwball couples.

Army of Shadows (L’armée des ombres, 1969), Part 2: Snoopathon

As much as Lino Ventura’s Gerbier grounds “Army of Shadows,” Simone Signoret is its heart, insofar as anyone is allowed a heart in the underground world of the French Resistance. She is, as her colleagues remark, a magnificent woman—among other things, she engineers two extraordinary escapes for her comrades.