Archives for the month of: August, 2013

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The Concorde: Airport ’79 (1979); directed by David Lowell Rich, in a tragic free-fall from his 1966 remake of Madame X; story by Jennings Lang, proving beyond question that producing stupendous disaster movies (Airport ’75,  Airport ’77, and Earthquake!) does not qualify one for inventing them; and screenplay by Eric Read the rest of this entry »

Flor de mayo poster

Beyond All Limits / Flor de mayo (1959); directed by Roberto Gavaldón; written by a raft of writers (two screenplays for two languages?); from the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez

A nice piece of Mexican melodrama with genuine movie star performances from María Félix, Pedro Armendáriz, and crazy-eyed Jack Palance. (Be prepared for his Speedo scene!)

Yet the top draw is really Gabriel Figueroa’s cinematography, which must have been something else on the big screen. The Sinaloa locations, on both land and water, are stunning throughout.

Meanwhile, María Félix manages some pretty fantastic dresses, despite playing the humble wife of a local Read the rest of this entry »

The Soong Sisters poster

The Soong Sisters (1997); directed by Mabel Cheung; screenplay by Alex Law

This story is just too sprawling to fit into one film, but with its built-in historical scope, international intrigue, astonishing wealth, clamor for power, sacrifice, selfishness, and schisms, it would make a fantastic, big-budget mini-series. The sisters’ story is largely the story of China in the first half of the last century, and it didn’t end in the 40s, as does this movie.

The sisters and their families led fascinating lives that traced the political dreams and ruptures of their country; however, the story here rides roughshod over long stretches of history, and without dates, it’s hard to follow exactly what is happening and when. (Years ago I had Read the rest of this entry »

Pickup on South Street card

Pickup on South Street (1953); directed by Sam Fuller; screenplay by Sam Fuller; story by Dwight Taylor

Sam Fuller’s Pickup on South Street is classic noir: lowlifes as protagnonists, motivations always questionable. However, these lowlifes live by their own code, built on its own variation on morality, spelled out early on by Thelma Ritter as a police informant. Ritter plays a key character here, and my favorite of her performances: she’s wry, sly, desperate, and doomed in every scene. Richard Widmark is as always fantastic Read the rest of this entry »