Archives for March 2010

“Rain is Lucky for Us ….”

Here on the East Coast, it is raining cats and dogs. This morning as I lay in bed amidst the torrential downpour, I am reminded of one of my all time favorite rainy-day movies, From this Day Forward (AKA All Brides are Beautiful). I previously mentioned it in my 24 Hour Birthday marathon and in my belated b-day wishes to Joan Fontaine, the star of the film.

For a synopsis of the film, I gladly defer to the TCM Movie Database, powered by the American Film Institute (AFI).

The reasons it makes such a great film for weather like this are as follows:

  1. It stars Joan Fontaine!
  2. The narrative structure is somewhat centered on the theme of a NYC downpour (hence the title of this entry)
  3. For a slightly younger person such as myself, it is cool seeing a pre-M.A.S.H. Henry Morgan

The one problem that I see is … where to find a copy of the movie. I have it on an old VHS tape but have been searching for it on DVD; this is all I have been able to come up with so far on Amazon.com:

From This Day Forward [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import – France ]; in other words, if you have a multi-region DVD player – have a blast!

So on a day when I lost ANOTHER earring and I arrived at work soaked and would LOVE to be cuddled up in my bed with hot cocoa, thinking about this film brightens up my day just enough.

P.S. Your feedback is welcomed – What is YOUR favorite “rainy day” film?

Movie Selection: The Snake Pit (1948) Starring Olivia de Havilland

Olivia deHavilland is one of my favorite actresses. While I was in high school I made it a personal goal to watch every film in her filmography. So far I am steady at 22 feature films. For me, of that set, one of her finest (if not the finest) performances is that of Virginia Cunnigham in Anatole Litvak’s The Snake Pit.

The audience is first introduced to Virginia when she has been recently hospitalized by her husband after suffering a nervous breakdown. We soon discover that the source of her breakdown is rooted in a series of events from the distant and recent past culminating in her recent episode.

The layers of her psyche are peeled away with the aid Doctor “Kik” (portrayed by Leo Genn) and his us he of psychotherapy.

There are many reasons to like this film in addition to merely being a fan of the lead actress. After doing a little research I discovered that this film shed light on the conditions of mental hospitals and consequently helped usher in reforms in many state mental health institutions. So it worked on a level beyond that of mere entertainment

With all the praise and the pleasure I have in watching the film, I must provide this caveat: by today’s standards some of the ideas about what may aid in “curing” Virginia may come across as partially laughable.

My favorite scenes: Ward 33 the shot showing Virginia in the “pit” and also nearer to the end the scene at the dance and the patient singing “I’m Going Home.”

Blondes in Film (w/ Focus on Hitchcock)

The slideshow featured in the Guardian(UK) is an extension of  the film festival titled “Birds Eye View” and in particular the BFI’s Blonde Crazy season which is a complementary piece to the festival. One theme that was highlighted during this season at the BFI involved taking a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s Blonde. A featured presenter during this festival/season was Laura Mulvey, who composed the seminal essay, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema in 1975 and is a leading authority in feminist film theory.

Here is a video from the BFI which offers a little more insight in to the Blonde Crazy season:

As I previously stated I am very interested in the aspect of this piece that primarily deals with Alfred Hitchcock. For those interested in academically studying this topic I promise that it is very fascinating.

My Film Reviews

About a year ago I wrote a series of film reviews for a website, Wildsound; I thought it would be nice to share them on this blog:

The Stranger

A Night to Remember

The Most Dangerous Game

Where the Sidewalk Ends

The Hitch-Hiker

Changes are Coming …

I am currently in the process of migrating and updating my blog. Please be patient as I go through this process. When I can I will continue to post my observations on my LUV for cinema!

Totalfilm.com presents the Best and Worst of Oscar 2010

An excellent distilling of last week’s festivities. I could not (and did not) have said it better myself:

http://www.totalfilm.com/features/best-worst-oscars-2010.

Franco-cinephiles Rejoice!

Photo Credit: Film Society of Lincoln Center (Click on Image)

If you are in the NYC area you have until March 21st to view some great contemporary French imports.

Event Alert: The "Virtual" Tribeca Film Festival!

Film ReelFor those who do not live in the NYC area and still want to experience the exciting films of the Tribeca Film Festival, here is your chance.

With a $45 premium pass to the Tribeca Film Festival Virtual, you can watch 8 or more feature films that will be shown simultaneously at TFF in NYC from April 23-30. TFF Virtual Premium will also offer short films, filmmaker Q&As, live red carpet coverage, and more. Tribeca can only sell a limited number premium passes, so get yours today!

For a sneak peek: check out some exclusive videos on TFF Virtual right now for free: http://www.tribecafilm.com/virtual

Starting April 21, movies curated by Tribeca Film will come to your living room via your cable provider’s On Demand service. With 15 titles to choose from, there will be something for everyone. In April, visit http://www.tribecafilm.com/tribecafilm to search for your cable provider by your ZIP code.

As a reminder if you DO live in the NYC area, the Festival is from April 21 to May 2! Check out the online Film Guide at http://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide and see which films look good to you. Ticket packages are now on sale: http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets/packages.html, and individual tickets go on sale April 13.

Finally, if you want to keep up TFF goings on, follow Tribeca on Facebook: facebook.com/tribecafilm and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tribecafilmfest, and sign up for the Tribeca Newsletter at www.tribecafilm.com/register .

Before She was an Oscar Nominated Actress…

Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow in "Blink" (Doctor Who Series 3 Ep. 10). Photo Credit: BBC

Turn your dials to BBC America next Saturday (3/20) at 7:00pm. One of the best episodes of television will be repeated. I mention the episode of Doctor Who titled “Blink” on this blog because it features a fantastic performance by the then-little known Carey Mulligan. This episode also has the distinction of being one of the rare Who outings in which “The Doctor” (in this case the 10th Doctor as portrayed by David Tennant) is not prominently featured. All the emotion and drama to be experienced rests on the shoulders of Ms. Mulligan. And she proves to be more than up to the task. As a result of her performance she became one of my favorite up and coming actresses.

My French "New Wave"

Flag of France

I always felt that it was a rather cliche part of a film lover’s toolkit to have an appreciation of Franco-cinema. However over the past several years I have overcome my bias and learned to embrace French cinema with a high degree of enthusiasm and pleasure. In recent years among my favorite films are:

  • Coco Avant Chanel (2009)
  • 8 Femmes (2002)
  • Swimming Pool (2003)
  • Cache (2005)
  • Entre les murs (2008)
  • Ne le dis à personne (2006)
  • Lady Chatterley(2006), a proper version and winner of the 2006 Cesar for Best Film

In listing these films I realize that they are relatively conventional especially from the perspective of true cineastes. But this is the beauty of being part of the community of film lovers … it is a constant process of discovery, exploration and learning how people from all walks of life from all over the world decide to use the medium of film making to express their artistic vision.

One recommendation: when watching these films watch them with subtitles and not the dubbed versions.