Classy and lifeless—a prettily photographed, heavily directed antiwar film (1981) that elicits only pity for its two young Australian protagonists, caught up in a suicide battle in World War I. The film spends most of its 100-minute running time developing the friendship between the two boys, while tipping the audience off to their ultimate fate—it’s […]
Lawrence Kasdan’s 1981 noir fable is highly derivative in its overall conception, but it finds some freshness in its details—which is what you might expect from the screenwriter of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back. Surprisingly, Kasdan shows more flair as a director than a writer: his images have a dark, […]
The Conquering Power
Rudolph Valentino stars in a 1921 melodrama directed by Rex Ingram and based on Balzac’s Eugenie Grandet. He’s a French peasant who wants to marry his beautiful cousin, but her miserly father wants to hold out for a better offer.
The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe
Pierre Richard, a talented physical comic, stars in this spy farce directed by Yves Robert, which amounts to a 90-minute testimony to the French love for Jerry Lewis. Pleasant, with a moment or two of genuine grace (1974).
The Postman Always Rings Twice
A literal-minded, stylistically conservative version of the James M. Cain pulp classic, which is to say a complete betrayal of it. Bob Rafelson’s direction has none of Cain’s lean hysteria; his Frank and Cora drift through their sex-drugged, sadomasochistic affair in a tone of depressed naturalism, without any invigorating sense of sin or transgression. When […]
PG • 1 hour 34 min • 1977
Through a Glass Darkly
1 hour 29 min • 1961
Flesh and the Devil
1 hour 52 min
R • 1 hour 35 min • 1983
Louis Malle’s first film (1957), made when he was 24, is a surprisingly suspenseful reworking of the perfect crime/sexual tension formula. Also known as Ascenseur pour l’echafaud (Elevator to the Gallows); with Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, and an improvised score by Miles Davis, playing with European musicians.
The Bounty Hunter
Part two of Sergio Giral’s “Slavery Trilogy” is a portrait of Francisco Estevez, a bounty hunter who tracked down runaway slaves for the plantation owners of Cuba. He hatches an obsession for Melchora, the runaways’ legendary female leader, and the violent acts he commits in her pursuit appall even his white employers (1977).
The Sea Hawk
2 hours 7 min • 1940
A very funny pairing of Cary Grant and his ace protege Tony Curtis as two submarine officers (Grant older and wiser, Curtis young and ripe for deflating) with a cargo of women on their hands. Blake Edwards directs with his customary wit, breeziness, and acute sense of pacing (1959).
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Light-years better than the television series it inspired, this charming, frothy comedy-romance (1947) involves a widow (Gene Tierney) who rents an old house and finds she’s gotten the ghost of its former owner (a salty sea captain marvelously embodied by Rex Harrison). Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz before his humor turned cold-blooded; adapted by Philip […]