Ever since screenwriter David Newman wrote it up for a Film Comment article on his “Guilty Pleasures,” this grungy exploitation film from 1953 has been a staple of the underground screening circuits. The director, Edward D. Wood, was himself a transvestite (he boasted of wearing women’s underwear throughout his hitch in World War II), and […]
Bertrand Tavernier’s 1977 film plays off the traditions of the French Popular Front cinema of the 30s; it’s a simply told, optimistic story of a group of high-rise tenants who come together to fight an exploitative landlord. Michel Piccoli plays Bernard, a film director who seems to have made many of Tavernier’s own films; he […]
A variant on the Lolita myth by Bertrand Blier (Get Out Your Handkerchiefs), with Patrick Dewaere as a philosophical nightclub pianist who finds himself with an amorous 14-year-old (Ariel Besse) on his hands. Though the film has a disturbing tendency to lay all the sexual aggression off on the girl (thus taking the male off […]
Luchino Visconti stifles his operatic voice and prostrates himself before the altar of Camus. The result is a totally schematic vulgarization of Camus’ philosophical treatise in novel form. It’s not Visconti’s “fault” exactly, nor is it the fault of Marcello Mastroianni as Meursault. But Camus’ desperate either/or existentialism is perhaps better left not visualized.
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 […]
Stay As You Are
Marcello Mastroianni plays a married man who falls in love with a woman who may be his daughter. Nastassia Kinski (Klaus’s daughter) is the woman, Alberto Lattuada directed.
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 […]
A strangely warm-hearted Ken Russell movie, portraying the silent star (played by Rudolf Nureyev) as a man of dignity and charm—if not a whole lot of smarts—beset by baroque horrors of the sort that could only arise in a Ken Russell vision of Hollywood. Russell’s supercamp sensibility is not for all tastes, but this is […]
When You’re In Love
Robert Riskin, Frank Capra’s favorite screenwriter (It Happened One Night), took his only shot at directing with this 1937 vehicle for soprano Grace Moore. She plays an opera star who hires Cary Grant to pose as her husband, in order to protect her from her legions of fans. She also gets to sing “Minnie the […]
Westward the Women
1 hour 58 min • 1951
A King in New York
R • 1 hour 50 min • 1990
An ethnological parable by Susumu Hani, in which a Japanese builder, sent to Africa to construct a settlement for a university group, discovers a new way of life among the natives. With Kiyoshi Atsumi (1965).
Privates on Parade
John Cleese stars as a stiff-backed major in charge of “SADUSEA”—“Song and Dance Unit, Southeast Asia”—sent to entertain the British troops fighting in Singapore in 1948. Michael Blakemore (Noises Off) directed this farce, which was adapted from a 1977 Royal Shakespeare Company production. With Denis Quilley, Michael Elphick, and Nicola Pagett.
NR • 2 hours 4 min • 1947