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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Last Days of Pompeii (1913) & Cabiria (1914)



The Last Days of Pompeii (1913)

"The Last Days of Pompeii" ("Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei " ) is an Italian black and white silent film, released in 1913 by Mario Caserini. Based on Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's 1834 novel of the same name, the film is set during the final days leading up to the Mount Vesuvius eruption in Pompeii in 79 AD.

Mario Caserini (November 17, 1874 -- November 17, 1920) was an Italian film director, as well as an actor, screenwriter, and early pioneer of film making in the early portion of the 20th century. Caserini was born in Rome, Italy, and was married to early 20th century Italian actress Maria Caserini. His 1906 film Otello is believed to be the earliest film adaptation of the William Shakespeare play Othello. Pre-World War I Italian pioneer film director (at Cines) of costume dramas, biopics and comedies, often on a grand scale. He frequently featured his wife, Maria Caserini.

"An evil Egyptian priest menaces a young Roman maiden while a blind slave girl shows great courage in attempting to rescue her beloved master, during THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII.

Produced less than two decades after the birth of cinema, this silent film is considered to be the first important historical epic filmed on a truly grand scale. It also heralded the arrival of the Italian movie industry as a force to be reckoned with, however briefly, in the halcyon days before World War One. Produced by prolific director Mario Caserini (1874-1920), it features a completely static camera which has the effect of turning each shot into a living tableau. (The only exceptions are a few pan shots of flowing lava which were inserted in the film's final moments.)

Caserini manages his early crowd scenes very nicely, in which everyone looks like they're actually doing something and have a reason to be in the shot. The use of light & shadow on the large sets is also most commendable.

The final twenty minutes, when Vesuvius blows her top and destroys Pompeii, features special effects which are still quite impressive. After more than an hour of silver toned film, the abrupt switch to red tints at the instant of the eruption is a definite attention grabber.

Much of the acting is very theatrical & overripe, but that was the style back then and was probably much affected by grand opera. Two performers should be noted - Fernanda Negri Pouget is quite touching as the tragic blind girl, and Ubaldo Stefani, as the hero, is unintentionally hilarious in the scene in which he drinks a witch's poisoned brew.

The film's final moments embrace a mature sensitivity and highlight the latent power of the cinematic image."

Review by Ron Oliver

Directed by Mario Caserini, Eleuterio Rodolfi
Written by Mario Caserini , Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (novel)
Distributed by George Kleine Amusements (U.S.)

Release date: August 24, 1913
Running time: 56 min



Cabiria (1914)

Silent movie from the early years of Italy's movie industry, directed by Giovanni Pastrone. Apart from being a classic on its own the film is also notable for being the first film in which the long-running film character Maciste makes his debut.

The movie is based on Emilio Salgari's Cartagine in fiamme (Carthage in Flames) and Gustave Flaubert's novel Salammbo. Set in ancient Carthage during the period of the Second Punic War, it treats the conflict between Rome and Carthage through the eyes of the title character, who is kidnapped by pirates, sold as a slave in Carthage, and rescued from being sacrificed to the god Moloch by a Roman nobleman and his muscular slave Maciste (who would later become the protagonist in a whole successful series of films on his own). Hannibal and his war elephants fit into the plot of this epic film.

Directed by Giovanni Pastrone
Written by Gabriele d'Annunzio (portrayed as the "auteur" in this poster) and others
Starring Bartolomeo Pagano
Release date: April 18, 1914
Running time: 181 minutes
Country: Italy
Language: Silent film
Budget 1 million Lira

Italian author Gabriele d'Annunzio contributed to the screenplay writing all of the intertitles and naming all characters and the movie itself. The film was noted as being the first popular film to use the tracking shot - the camera is mounted on a dolly allowing it to both follow action and move within a film set or location. For years afterward a tracking shot was referred to by both cameramen and directors as a 'Cabiria' shot. However in many cases Pastrone used these shots with no real purpose other than the novelty of camera movement within a location. In some instances the camera rolls toward and then right past what should be the focus of the shot. However, the movement was such an innovation at the time that other film makers quickly incorporated it. The film was a major influence on D.W. Griffith's Intolerance. The famous crane shot moving down and into the festival in Babylon is in a sense a 'Cabiria' shot taken to the ultimate extent.

Film critic Roger Ebert has said that Griffith "moves the camera with greater freedom and has a headlong narrative and an exciting use of cross-cutting that Pastrone does not approach."[1] The film also marked the debut of the Maciste character, who went on to have a long career in Italian sword and sandal films. For many years, Cabiria and Griffith's Judith of Bethulia (1914) were considered the first feature films. However, several earlier examples have come to light in recent years, including the Australian film The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906).

Like Birth of a Nation, Cabiria has aroused its share of controversy because of the political nature of its subject matter. It was produced by Italian ultra-nationalist Gabriele d'Annunzio and was released soon after the Italo-Turkish War, in which Italy conquered the North African Ottoman provinces of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. The film highlights Italy's Roman past and the "monstrous" nature of Carthaginian society (with especial focus on the temple of Moloch), which is contrasted with the "nobility" of Roman society.[2] Cabiria was therefore one of several films of the period that "helped resuscitate a distant history that legitimized Italy's past and inspired its dreams" and which "delivered the spirit for conquest that seemed to arrive from the distant past", thereby presaging the "political rituals of fascism" (wars of conquest, the Roman salute, parades and the fasces itself).

Original Score by Brian Pinette

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Film Noir Coleen Gray & Silent star Patsy Ruth Miller in their last film Mother (1978)


Lon Chaney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) with Patsy Ruth Miller as Esmeralda
& Coleen Gray and Patsy Ruth Miller as Mother (1978) - 1 DVD

Mother was filmed in Houston and West University Texas in 1978 with a world premiere at NYC’s MOMA. Written, produced & directed for both Miss Gray and Miss Miller by Brian Pinette.

Mother (1978) was the last film appearance by Miss Miller.

For other sound and silent Patsy Ruth Miller films available from this site, use upper-left corner “Search” and enter Patsy Ruth Miller.

Coleen Gray: “Film Noir" Kansas City Confidential & Kiss of Death (1947) 1 DVD

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Miss Lillian Gish in A Romance of Happy Valley, Broken Blossoms, True Heart Susie, The Greatest Question






Miss Lillian Gish




 in 4 D.W. Griffith classics, 4 DVDs



The First Lady of the Silent Film ...

A Romance of Happy Valley (1918)*
True Heart Susie (1919)*
Broken Blossoms (1919) Introduced by Miss Gish
The Greatest Question (1920)*

* Original Scores by Brian Pinette

4 screen classics on 4 no-region (play-worldiwde) DVDs

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Carl Th. Dreyer - The Parson's Widow (The Witch Woman) COMEDY- Drama


The Parson's Widow (Swedish: Prästänkan), aka The Witch Woman, is a 1920 comedy drama film directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer.

The film is based on a story Prestekonen by Kristofer Janson.

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Dimitri Kirsanoff - 4 classic films - 1 DVD


Dimitri Kirsanoff (Russian: Дими́трий Кирса́нов) (6 March 1899 – 11 February 1957) was an early filmmaker, considered part of the French Impressionist movement in film. He is known for his inexpensively made experimental films.

Kirsanoff was born Markus David Sussmanovitch Kaplan (Маркус Давид Зусманович Каплан) in Tartu (then Juryev), Estonia, then Russian Empire in 1899. In the early 1920s he moved to Paris and became involved in cinema through playing cello in the orchestra at showings.

He began making films on his own, and never worked with a production company.

4 gems on 1 DVD

Ménilmontant (1926)
Brumes d'automne (1929)
La fontaine d'Aréthuse (1936)
La jeune fille au jardin (1936)

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Legendary Lillian Gish



Legendary Lillian Gish - 2 DVDs for $9.99 FREE ship

A Romance of Happy Valley (1918)
The Greatest Question (1920)
Hearts of the World (1918) w/Dorothy Gish
Intolerance (1916)
Romola (1924 ) w/Dorothy Gish, William Powell
True Heart Susie (1919) w/Robert Harron (Original score by Brian Pinette)
Birth of A Nation (1915)
Broken Blossoms (1919) Introduced by Miss Gish
The White Sister (1923) w/Ronald Colman

3 - D.W. Griffith shorts on 1 DVD ~
An Unseen Enemy (1912),
Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912),
The Mothering Heart (1913)

Huckleberry Finn (1985) with Butterfly McQueen
Body in the Barn; Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1964) Lillian Gish
Home Sweet Home (1914) & Sold for Marriage (1916) ~ 1 DVD
Battle at Elderbush Gulch (1912) & Judith of Bethulia (1914) ~ 1 DVD
His Double Life (1934) / The Swan (1930) - 1 DVD
Way Down East (1920) – 1 DVD
Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942)
Orphans of the Storm (1921)

Free - Collector to Collector ...
La Boheme (1926)
The Scarlet Letter (1926)
The Wind (1927) Introduced by Miss Gish
The Enemy (surviving footage, 3/4 film) / Annie Laurie (1927) – 1 DVD
Arsenic & Old Lace (1969) with Helen Hayes
The Whales of August (1987)
Night of the Hunter (1955)

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Lillian Gish - 30 DVDs 36 films $40 USA only
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Doris Day is Julie (1956) & Morgan Fairchild in “The Seduction” (1982)








The harrowed heroine has always been tops at the box-office. Reviews and critical acclaim may beg to differ, but box office receipts prove that a pretty lady in distress brings the audience to their feet when she finally survives her ordeal and is somewhat better for the ride.

From Pearl White “Perils of Pauline” in the silent era to Sigourney Weaver in the Alien franchise -- perceived vulnerability turned to strength are crowd pleasers.

And, almost always, without exception -- “memorable" box office successes!


Doris Day is Julie (1956)

Julie is a 1956 film noir written and directed by Andrew L. Stone and starring Doris Day. With Louis Jordan and Barry Sullivan.

Film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a mixed review, writing, "Improbable crime thriller about a woman-in-peril, that is too uneven to be effective; the banal dialogue is the final killer. ... Doris Day, to her credit, gives it her best shot and tries to take it seriously even when the melodrama moves way past the point of just being ridiculous. Later disaster movies stole some of those airplane landing scenes."

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.

TCM airing

and

The Seduction (1982) Morgan Fairchild, Michael Sarrazin, Andrew Stevens

The Seduction is a 1982 thriller film starring Morgan Fairchild and Andrew Stevens with Michael Sarrazin & Vince Edwards.

It was written and directed by David Schmoeller. The original music score was composed by Lalo Schifrin. The film was marketed with the tagline "Alone... frightened... trapped like an animal."

... An attractive, well-known TV newscaster is stalked by an obsessed admirer, a TV station scriptwriter, whose obsession turns to hate when she rejects his advances and his moves become more harassing and ultimately murderous.

Although reviews for the film have mainly been negative which resulted in three Razzie nominations (including two for Fairchild), Oscar-winner Bette Davis was a fan of this film and after watching it on cable television she allegedly sent actress Morgan Fairchild a letter praising her work.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Mocny Czlowiek; A Stong Man (1929) Henryk Szaro


"Mocny Czlowiek" was one of those adaptations that Herr Szaro liked so much; this time the film was based in a controversial novel by the Polish author Herr Stanislaw Przybyszewsky, known as "the discoverer of the human naked soul", a literary reflection that it is not exclusive of that time or country.

This can be seen in the plot of the film that depicts the story of Herr Henryk Bieleck ( performed by the Russian actor Herr Gregori Chmara ) who is a mediocre journalist that, dreaming of fame and glory, doesn't hesitate to lead his ill friend Jerzy Gorski, a writer, to death in order to appropriate his unknown manuscript. It's the perfect way to achieve success without effort for Bielecki.

The film is very interesting for many reasons. The first one it is the present importance of the story, that is to say, the pursuit of fame and glory without, if possible, by the sweat of the brow (about this, the aristocracy are experts in the subject). It is a common subject in those silent times and even more in this longhaired times.

Hypocrisy and immorality is present to such an extent that the main character doesn't care if he finally achieves what he wants. That's not to mention that his wife, Lucja, shares more or less the same opinion, in spite of the fact that she discovers the fraud. She only wants that her lover will love her until the end of times.

Problems appear precisely when Bielecki falls in love with Nina, a beautiful and idle woman, and that will ignite the wrath of Lucja. It is an interesting reflection, certainly, on the humanity and the sense of justice that only appears when one's is cuckolded...

In its technical aspects, "Mocny Czlowiek" its a remarkable film, using a vigorous film narrative (camera movements or dissolves and over impression shots) for the developing of the story.

English sub-titles.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Seduction (1982) Morgan Fairchild, Michael Sarrazin, Andrew Stevens



The Seduction is a 1982 thriller film starring Morgan Fairchild and Andrew Stevens with Michael Sarrazin & Vince Edwards.

It was written and directed by David Schmoeller. The original music score was composed by Lalo Schifrin. The film was marketed with the tagline "Alone... frightened... trapped like an animal."

... An attractive, well-known TV newscaster is stalked by an obsessed admirer, a TV station scriptwriter, whose obsession turns to hate when she rejects his advances and his moves become more harassing and ultimately murderous.

Although reviews for the film have mainly been negative which resulted in three Razzie nominations (including two for Fairchild), Oscar-winner Bette Davis was a fan of this film and after watching it on cable television she allegedly sent actress Morgan Fairchild a letter praising her work.

Complete and un-cut.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Jean Cocteau - Beauty and the Beast (1946) & Orpheus (1950) with Jean Marais



Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a 1946 French romantic fantasy film adaptation of the traditional fairy tale of the same name, written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont and published in 1757 as part of a fairy tale anthology (Le Magasin des Enfants, ou Dialogues entre une sage gouvernante et ses élèves, London 1757). Directed by French poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau, the film stars Josette Day as Belle and Jean Marais.

The plot of Cocteau's film revolves around Belle's father who is sentenced to death for picking a rose from Beast's garden. Belle offers to go back to the Beast in her father's place. Beast falls in love with her and proposes marriage on a nightly basis which she refuses. Belle eventually becomes more drawn to Beast, who tests her by letting her return home to her family and telling her that if she doesn't return to him within a week, he will die of grief.


Orpheus (French: Orphée; also the title used in the UK) is a 1950 French film directed by Jean Cocteau and starring Jean Marais. This film is the central part of Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy, which consists of The Blood of a Poet (1930), Orpheus (1950) and Testament of Orpheus (1960).

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Monday, August 5, 2013

The Cheaters (1945) Billie Burke, Ona Munson & Joseph Schildkraut + Billie Burke Radio Show










The Cheaters (1945)

 Joseph Kane, Director

Cast:
Joseph Schildkraut as Anthony Marchaund also known as Mr. M. .... (legendary silent film star)
Ona Munson as Florie Watson (oOa played Belle Watling in Gone With the Wind)
Billie Burke as Clara Pidgeon ... (Billie was Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in The Wizard of Oz)
Eugene Pallette as James C. Pidgeon
Raymond Walburn as Willie Crawford ...
Anne Gillis as Angela Pidgeon
Ruth Terry as Therese Pidgeon ...
Robert Livingston as Stephen Bates
David Holt as Reggie Pidgeon ...
Robert Greig as MacFarland ...
St. Luke's Choristers as Carolers

Release Date: 15 Jul 1945 ... Black and White / Sound: Mono
Production Dates: 1 Feb--mid-Mar 1945
Alternate Title(s): Mr. M. and the Pidgeons, The Amazing Mr. M., The Magnificent Mr. M., The Magnificent Rogue, The Castaways
Duration (in mins): 83 / Country: United States ...
Mastered from Ona Munson's 16mm print

and

Billie Burke on Radio

The Billie Burke Show
with Earle Ross, Marvin Miller & Lillian Randolph

The Tramp (3-27-1946)
The Playground (8-3-1946)

1 DVD

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It’s A Wonderful Life (1939; colorized) James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore + Fannie Brice




It’s A Wonderful Life (1939)
+
Fannie Brice wins a sweepstakes ticket
from MGM’s Ziegfeld Follies (1946)

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

“The Blue Bird” of happiness ~ silent & talkies 1918, 1940, 1976 Shirley Temple, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Jane Fonda, Cicely Tyson


The Blue Bird of Happiness ...

1 DVD

The Blue Bird (1918)

The Blue Bird is a 1918 silent film directed by Maurice Tourneur in the United States, under the auspices of producer Adolph Zukor.

In 2004, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in its National Film Registry. It is the first family film ever.

The Blue Bird (1940)

The Blue Bird is a 1940 American fantasy film directed by Walter Lang. The screenplay by Walter Bullock was adapted from the 1908 play of the same name by Maurice Maeterlinck.

Intended as 20th Century Fox's answer to MGM's The Wizard of Oz, which had been released the previous year, it was filmed in Technicolor and tells the story of a disagreeable little girl (played by Shirley Temple) and her search for happiness.

Despite being a box office flop and losing money, the film was later nominated for two Academy Awards.

1 DVD

The Blue Bird (1976)

The Blue Bird is a 1976 American/Soviet fantasy film directed by George Cukor. The screenplay by Hugh Whitemore, Alfred Hayes, and Aleksei Kapler is based on L'Oiseau bleu by Maurice Maeterlinck.

It was the fifth screen adaptation of the play, following two silent films, the studio's 1940 version starring Shirley Temple, and a 1970 animated feature. Unlike prior adaptations, the film received little-to-no critical praise and was a flop at the box office.

Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Ava Gardner, Cicely Tyson, Robert Morley

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