Friday, December 22, 2017

They Shoot Horses Don't They? - Sydney Pollack - 1969

Here's an interesting film based on, of all things, a dance marathon during the Great Depression. On a 'social realism' level, it's a film about how easily the most financially vulnerable can be exploited to make money for callous, heartless others. The dance marathon can stand in for any number of social phenomena involving the exploitation of the weaker by the stronger.

The film asks the question: To what extent are the exploited complicit in their exploitation? Are they completely innocent victims or are the exploiters merely utilizing some disgenuine motivation in the exploited? Is there always a possibility to say "No!" and, somehow, survive and fight back? Can some folks who are being used even say "No!" or are they driven by demons as strong as those of their exploiters? 

Please view the movie via this link:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Midsummer Night's Dream - 1968 - Peter Hall

Yes, the guy from Sam Peckinpah's 'Straw Dogs' plays Lysander in this version. And he's not the only surprise - Mrs. Peel from the Avengers - Diana Rigg - plays Helena. You also have a nearly naked Judi Dench (covered only in body paint) and a very young Helen Mirren playing Hermia.

The film was directed by Peter Hall - founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

This film version got mixed reviews, but I like it because of the director's quirkiness. The acting is also quite good and I think kudos should be given to Paul Rogers for his portrayal of Bottom. I think Bottom has been a sorely neglected character in this play - Shakespeare put him in this play for a reason, however.

He is the guy everybody mocks, but when you really look at him, his character, his integrity and conscientiousness, he's probably the best person in the play. We are encouraged to laugh at him because of his 'lowly' social and economic stature, but I think Shakespeare wanted us to become aware of how easy it is to mock the innocent and sincere.

Let's be honest - movies from the late 60s were amazing. Please sit back and take in some Shakespeare. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What's Up Tiger Lily? 1966 Woody Allen

Early in his career, Woody Allen bought a cheesy Japanese detective film and re-dubbed it in English so that the detectives are searching for a really good egg salad sandwich.

The first three minutes are scenes from the original, undubbed film, then you see a short interview with Woody Allen, and then his dubbed comedy. When I was a kid and I saw this on TV, I thought it was hilarious. If you watch it, I hope you like it.

Special cameo appearance by The Lovin' Spoonful.

Please watch the film here:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Snows of Kilimanjaro - Henry King - 1952

Another Henry King and Gregory Peck collaboration - based on a short story by Hemingway of a dying writer who reflects on whether he was true to humanity and his art.

Twelve O'Clock High - 1949 - Henry KIng

This is considered one of the better Hollywood war movies and represents another collaboration between Henry King and Gregory Peck.

It's a fictionalized account of the struggles of American pilots in their daytime bombing campaigns against German industrial centers during World War II. When a very kind and understanding commanding officer cannot seem to handle the demanding responsibilities of leading his men in regard to missions that entail immense emotional stress, pain and hardship, a new commanding officer is brought in to take exactly the opposite approach - he becomes a severe disciplinarian who sets high standards and requires a 'maximum effort' from everyone.