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Till the Clouds Roll By

Robert Walker makes a nervous Jerome Kern in this mediocre MGM musical biography, which has a large cameo cast and some uncredited direction by Vincente Minnelli (on wife Judy Garland’s numbers) in its favor. I wouldn’t want to be the MGM lawyer who let the copyright slip on this expensive Technicolor production—it’s now in the […]

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Marriage in the Shadows

Kurt Maetzig, an assistant in the German film industry, joined the communist underground to fight the Nazis, and after the war became one of the leading filmmakers in the newly created German Democratic Republic. His 1947 debut, a study of a “mixed marriage” under Hitler that becomes an indictment of the German intelligentsia’s refusal to […]

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Munna

An early Indian neorealist film, about a boy abandoned to an orphanage by his impoverished mother. He escapes, falls in with a band of boy thieves, and is eventually rescued by the wife of a wealthy industrialist. K.A. Abbas directed (1954).

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The Animal Kingdom

This 1932 RKO feature was thought lost until a print turned up unexpectedly in the Universal vaults. It’s an adaptation of a stage play by Philip Barry (Holiday, The Philadelphia Story), starring Leslie Howard as a playboy determined to settle down and Myrna Loy (in her first drawing room part) as the straitlaced girl he […]

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Father Sergius

Yakov Protazanov was one of the few prerevolutionary Russian filmmakers who continued to make movies under the new regime (the pioneering science fiction film Aelita is his best-known effort). This feature, a peasant melodrama, dates from 1918.

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Ghost Dance

A school-of-Rivette fantasy by British experimentalist Ken McMullen. Taking off from Leon Trotsky’s notion that ghosts operate in the modern world through radio waves and electricity, McMullen spins a tale of contemporary spiritualism centered on two women, an anthropologist and a political activist, who seem to have shared a past life. With Leonie Mellinger, Pascale […]

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American Hot Wax

Alan Freed’s 1959 rock ‘n’ roll show, viewed as a turning point in teenage consciousness. Floyd Mutrux’s 1978 feature exemplifies many of the worst tendencies of the American film in that era: its sentimentality is clumsy and insincere, it has no plot or structure to speak of, and people run around and scream a lot […]