310 to Yuma (1957)

These Are the Brown Ones I am particularly fond of movies that I can see through other facets: remakes, derivatives, spoofs and so on. This one is particularly rich. The remake is quite modern, a story about making a story. The Crowe character (the bad guy) imparts a story on the good guy, that only… Continue reading 310 to Yuma (1957)

The African Queen (1951)

Leeches Tom Cruise played an exaggerated version of himself in “Magnolia,” following a tradition set long ago. We liked to believe that the sex sirens we saw in movies the 30’s were really that way in life and probably they were. John Wayne followed, never playing anything but himself. And so is the case with… Continue reading The African Queen (1951)

400 Blows (1959)

Real Fiction With this film began an experiment that was to ultimately fail after dozens of notable films. It was much like the experiment in art nouveau in architecture seventy years earlier. I suppose that every art has cycles which begin with a collapse of the passion in artifice and a resulting call to the… Continue reading 400 Blows (1959)

Innocents in Paris (1953)

deGaulled After the war, France was a mess — an agricultural economy with a bad reputation world-wide because of near universal collaboration with the Nazis. America resolved to rebuild Europe and part of the plan was to cast Paris as a romantic place. The instruction went out to US and UK studios. The US studios… Continue reading Innocents in Paris (1953)

I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955)

Drunk on Acting I love movies. I love getting caught up in the all the cinematic flows that filmmakers know how to weave. But the things I value and study in film are the things that are cinematic. Some movies aren’t movies. They’re distributed and displayed as movies but they are simply exercises in another… Continue reading I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Pods, Plots and Plodders Once in a while Hollywood produces a movie that decades later gets adopted by American industrialised secondary education. That’s because teachers confuse various notions of ideas and think that movies are a great teaching tool. So to teach the evils of communism, show “1984.” War? “Private Ryan.” And on and on… Continue reading Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Hiroshima Mon Amor (1959)

The Pull of Connection I saw this thirty or so years ago. I don’t remember it moving me profoundly, but then so many things at that age routinely inject you with massive change without you knowing. Seeing it now gives me great, great appreciation for what it is. And though I have been previously exposed,… Continue reading Hiroshima Mon Amor (1959)

An Inspector Calls (1954)

Inspecting the Story If you want to understand film, the first thing on the list is narrative structure, specifically cinematically structured narrative. If I were teaching in film school, I would introduce this subject in a semester’s worth of detective narrative. Nowhere are more tricks pulled, more folding made than in this general notion of… Continue reading An Inspector Calls (1954)