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The Bounty

Roger Donaldson’s film of the classic tale of discipline and revolt in the British navy (1984) is far better than its predecessors, despite the dim wattage of Anthony Hopkins (as Captain Bligh) and Mel Gibson (as Mister Christian). Robert Bolt’s screenplay was originally prepared for David Lean, and it contains a lot of Bolt-ish/Lean-ish disquisition […]

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Passion

Jean-Luc Godard’s 1982 film is centered on a Godard-like director (played by Jerzy Radziwilowicz, the Polish star of Man of Iron) who divides his time between re-creating classical painting for a movie he is making and contradictory love affairs with Hanna Schygulla (the wife of a factory owner) and Isabelle Huppert (a virginal proletarian). The […]

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In Harm’s Way

Otto Preminger’s epic rendition of the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. It’s a huge film, intertwining the Navy’s preparation for war with a dozen personal stories, yet all the elements are kept in perfect balance. No one was better at these big-scale melodramas than Preminger; the cross-references here are Jack Smight’s Midway and Rene Clement’s Is […]

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After the Rehearsal

Ingmar Bergman’s 70-minute TV film (1984) is an afterword to Fanny and Alexander, an examination of the impressions and emotions that linger after the story is over, taking the form of three monologues (an elderly director, a young actress, the director’s alcoholic ex-star and ex-lover) and a concluding duet. The film is awful where Bergman […]

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Coney Island

A turn-of-the-century musical with Betty Grable as a sideshow thrush. Walter Lang, the forgotten stalwart of 20th Century-Fox, directs in his patient, anonymous style. It’s a typical Grable vehicle, and mainly for her fans, but the allure of 40s Technicolor is always irresistible. With George Montgomery, Cesar Romero, and Phil Silvers (1943). (DK).