Ingrid is cheating with Kurt Kreuger (The Dark Corner, Unfaithfully Yours) then returning to her ideal life doing science with her husband Mathias Wieman (Leni Riefenstahl’s Blue Light co-star) and living in their big country house with two kids and two disgruntled servants. Then Kurt’s jealous ex Renate Mannhardt (Peter Lorre’s The Lost One) arrives and blackmails Ingrid in exchange for her silence about the affair. Turns out the husband is behind the blackmail, telling the girl how much to demand each time, and after Ingrid finds out, the movie slows down and focuses hard on her reaction. She wanders into the lab and plays around with the poison until hubby intervenes.
Based on a Stefan Zweig book, and filmed at least a couple times before and after this (no relation to Kargl’s Angst). Just two movies after Rossellini had learned through test screenings that Americans respond badly to indifferently dubbed films, the men especially still feel off-kilter, but mostly the sound mixing is weird. Whole movie is clunksville, feels awkward and contrived at every step, though Ingrid’s big psychological crisis at the end is well played.
Per the Tag Gallagher book this was a busy time for Rossellini – Voyage in Italy was getting released to awful reviews, RR and Bergman were touring a play (and completing a film version) of Joan of Arc, and he was palling around with Truffaut and his boys. Just a few days after I was unimpressed by this, Pedro Costa named it one of his favorite movies.
A total acting study, enamored with its actors, and about acting. These are really fun to watch – I preferred Drive over Wheel, even though the former is too long.
My book report to Richard on the Murakami story: Published in 2014, I still don’t know if the lead character’s name Kafuku is a reference to Kafka (or Murakami’s 2002 novel Kafka on the Shore). The Chekhov play is in the original (but much LESS Chekhov). Driver Misaki’s mom died while driving drunk, not in a landslide, and Misaki’s character/personality isn’t really explored beyond her driving ability. Kafuku is telling the driver stories about the young actor Takatsuki who slept with his wife – this happened years earlier, so the driver never sees the actor in person – but some of the dialogue is the same. The biggest change: the Saab 900 is yellow in the book.
Our man Kafuku is Hidetoshi Nishijima, lead cop in Creepy… driver Toko Miura a minor player in Lesson of Evil… deadwife Oto is Reika Kirishima of Godzilla Final Wars, and both she and her husband have been in Murakami adaptations before. Actor Takatsuki is Masaki Okada – looked familiar but nope, in a recent Miike sequel and a Japanese remake of Cube. One guy in the play’s cast must be Filipino – a Lav Diaz regular, I’ve seen him in Norte.
My third in a trilogy of White Nights adaptations. I belatedly discovered that James Gray’s Two Lovers is also a loose/partial adaptation, too late, will save it for my next Dostoevsky binge. All three are set in their own present-day, displaying current technology – Bresson’s tape recorder, Visconti’s jukebox, now Vecchiali’s cellphone.
He’s nasty in this one, but after a prologue where he insults an older man, he meets the girl and the dialogue veers close to the original. Video-looking long takes here, the actors standing still, one of them usually hidden in shadow. Besides the phone, her backstory monologue is interrupted by a couple things. Her voice fades out into the waves, then back in, repeating from earlier than where we left off but with the camera on him instead, reminding me of the Francisca repetitions. Also, he starts correctly guessing details of her story, as if he’s read this book before.
The long dance scene seems to reference the Visconti more than the novel. A b/w sidetrack conversation between him and his stepmom feels like filler, even if it does reference the cobwebs from the story and prove he wasn’t lying about being named Fyodor.
This played Locarno with La Sapienza and Horse Money. Vecchiali is a lesser-known Cahiers critic-turned-director, and I’ve heard his 1970’s work is good. Our lead actress is a Vecchiali regular, and our guy played the two Remis in Two Remis.
After watching the Bresson with no context, I read the Dostoevsky story it adapted, then sought out more films of the same story. Marcello is introduced socializing in this one – that doesn’t seem right. Of course, being Marcello, he can’t help but be more suave than the repressed protagonist of the story, but he’s been thoroughly movie-starred here, dancing and fighting. At least the sudden mood swings from laughter to tears are accurate to the novel. It’d make an interesting screenwriting workshop – sometimes it uses the same language as the novel to describe the same events and sometimes it does the opposite.
Great atmosphere, unbelievable set of a wintry outdoor canal city. The central bridge is only 15′ long, far from the Pont-Neuf, but the Criterion essay points out how it functions symbolically. I understand lighting is important, but shouldn’t the Italians have invented location shooting instead of making hugely complex soundstage sets if they weren’t even gonna record sound? The city of Venice didn’t hold it against him – the movie won a silver lion, second place to Aparajito (no love for Throne of Blood). Marcello is second billed, the year before Big Deal on Madonna Street, to Maria Schell, who’d just won best actress at Venice for a René Clément picture. Judging from Senso and The Leopard, I prefer modern Visconti over his period pieces.
Flashback of Schell with lodger/lover Jean Marais:
The Bresson movie with the most fashion and music and humor, even an action scene. Bresson cuts absolutely loose – it’s practically a musical by his standards. I loved it very much.
On night one, dreamer Jacques convinces Marthe not to jump off a bridge. Day 2, Jacques paints, records a primitive podcast on a tape deck, then entertains an unexpected visitor who spouts art philosophy. Marthe Backstory: she fell for her mom’s boarder shortly before he went to America, promising to meet up in a year – a year and three days ago. No major progress day three (he records some pigeons in the park). Night four she gives into Jacques love for her, says they will live together, then drops him in an instant when the old boarder walks by.
Shot by Pierre “The Man” Lhomme (Army of Shadows), played Berlin along with The Decameron. Isabelle Weingarten was in The Mother and the Whore after this, and The State of Things/The Territory, and married two major filmmakers. Why does everyone on my letterboxd hate this? At least I got Rizov and Rosenbaum on my side (J.Ro was an extra!). Adaptation of Dostoevsky’s White Nights, and now I’m contemplating watching the Visconti and the Vecchiali for a White Nights Trilogy.
Mostly I experienced flashbacks of reading this for the first time in one high school’s English class, or performing it in another high school’s drama class. This preceded Lean’s Oliver Twist, which also opens with strikingly-shot whipping-wind outdoor scenes.
Beat out The Ghost and Mrs. Muir for a cinematography oscar, pretty impressive. Standout acting by Bernard Miles (who’d do a Nicholas Nickleby film the next year) as Pip’s decent brother in law, and Finlay Currie (just off I Know Where I’m Going!) as the convict/benefactor… I liked Young Pip better than Adult Pip, surprisingly.
Opens with a series of insanely awesome process shots as Oliver’s doomed mother trudges through a rainstorm. Oliver grows up in the orphanarium, asks if he can please sir have some more, plays a “mute” following funeral processions, while behind the scenes there’s a scandal-drama involving an amulet that proves he’s from a wealthy family. I took notes on character names and plot details, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find an Oliver Twist synopsis whenever I need. Besides the nice cinematography, it’s just a parade of good performances, actors well-suited to their roles – until Alec Guinness appears as the giant-honkered Jew-monster Fagin. Villain Bill Sykes steals the kid, and after a rooftop chase scene, justice is served.
Something like the eighth filmed adaptation of Oliver Twist, and the last until the 60’s musical version. The kid grew up to direct/produce Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers episodes. Robert Newton, who played Sykes, went on to create the most influential pirate characters in the movies. Oliver’s kindly rich grandpa Henry Stephenson was the kindly neighbor in Cukor’s Little Women. I’m glad to see that even at the time Guinness’s portrayal was considered unacceptable by some – it sure didn’t hurt his career. Kay Walsh maybe overdoes her part, but that didn’t stop her from getting a Hitchcock picture next. Dodger Anthony Newley became a singer/songwriter who’d influence Bowie.
A really compelling and beautiful movie. I love the cuts to period (and treated/original) clips, not trying to fool anyone by matching footage, just a good mood-setting effect. Martin is a sailor living on a boat. After he stops a security guard from beating on a boy, the boy’s family thanks him with dinner, lends him French books, and in no time he’s hyped over Baudelaire and sweet on their daughter. They’re happy to contribute to this poor soul’s education but the thought that he could become one of them is too much. A few scenes later he’s a pale staggering wreck and successful anti-socialist author heading out on a US tour.
Made more sense than Lost and Beautiful, though it started to feel caught in a historical-literature doomed-love trap. The Jack London book has been filmed about ten times, including once with Glenn Ford, twice in Czech, and a previous six-hour Italian version. Lead actor Luca Marinelli is gonna play the title role in a Diabolik remake. Martin’s sister was in season 4 (!) of the Gomorrah series, and his writer friend Brissenden starred in Stealing Beauty and The Red Violin.
Jordan Cronk in Cinema Scope:
… in freely adapting London’s novel, Marcello and Braucci have fashioned the title character into an emblem of the modern culture industry, whose neoliberal particulars London predicted with startling clarity.
Hey, I remember this one, it had some bright colors in it. Not like Bridgerton-bright, but pretty nice. According to the ol’ blog, I watched another adaptation of this with Katy 13 years earlier, which neither of us remembers.
Cowritten with Simon Blackwell (Veep, Breeders) and Charles Dickens (Scrooged, Oliver & Company). Dev Patel starred, Ben Whishaw the villain, Hugh Laurie and Benedict Wong were in there somewhere.