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Duel at Diablo (1966)
Yesterday they fought each other – today they fight together in a dead end canyon called Diablo!
Filmmaker(s): Ralph Nelson

While crossing the desert, a frontier scout, Jess Remsberg, rescues Ellen Grange from a pursuing band of Apaches, and returns her to her husband, Willard Grange. He is contracted to act as a scout for an Army cavalry unit. Willard, Ellen, and her infant son are along for the ride, as is horse trader Toller, a veteran of the 10th Cavalry. The party is trapped in a canyon by Chata, an Apache chief and grandfather of Ellen's baby. Willard is captured and tortured. Jess sneaks away and brings reinforcements just in time to save the day. Jess learns that the man he has been hunting is none other than Willard Grange.

Old Paint It is absolutely amazing to me how badly a movie can age. I saw this one in the theatres when new. I remember thinking it was acceptable at the time. There was an actress that I knew from Bergman. There was the surprise of...

Published November 22, 2022
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Girl With a Suitcase (1961)
Filmmaker(s): Valerio Zurlini

Lorenzo, who's 16 and born to a wealthy family in Parma, tries to make things right toward a showgirl, Aida, whom his older brother has mistreated. In extending kindness and standing up for her, he comes of age. But, is there anything he can do that will alter Aida's situation or her prospects?

Million Dollar Baby I watched this together with Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby.” I knew I would be challenged by that film (you can read my comment), and I wanted something that I knew would be a safe island after the offences therein. I chose this. Its between...

Published November 20, 2022
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A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
In his own way he is, perhaps, the most dangerous man who ever lived!
Filmmaker(s): Sergio Leone

The Man With No Name enters the Mexican village of San Miguel in the midst of a power struggle among the three Rojo brothers and sheriff John Baxter. When a regiment of Mexican soldiers bearing gold intended to pay for new weapons is waylaid by the Rojo brothers, the stranger inserts himself into the middle of the long-simmering battle, selling false information to both sides for his own benefit.

Joe Meets Akira This is an ineptly made film, but which lives because of its sheer importance. It is the reconstruction of the western, the birth of the hardboiled, loveable thug and the reinvention of Kurosawa for the masses. Kurosawa had already been appropriated by the Hollywood...

Published November 20, 2022
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First Spaceship on Venus (1960)
You are there … on man’s most incredible journey!
Filmmaker(s): Kurt Maetzig

A mysterious magnetic spool found during a construction project is discovered to have originated from Venus. A rocket expedition to Venus is launched to discover the origin of the spool and the race that created it.

The Beginning In 1958 Russia changed the world by launching Sputnik. This really was a shock; modern readers may not appreciate it as of the magnitude (in the US) of 9-11. In terms of national will, there was a more universal mobilisation and commitment of resources...

Published November 14, 2022
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Elvira Madigan (1967)
Filmmaker(s): Bo Widerberg

Hedvig Jensen is a famous ropewalker and is known to her public as Elvira Madigan. She meets Lieutenant Sixten Sparre, a Swedish officer who is married and has two children. They both decide to run away, but since Sixten deserted the army, he cannot find any job and the couple encounters many hardships. Moreover, while on the run, Sixten meets a friend who tries to convince him to come back to his country and family.

Love is When You Borrow Someone Else's Eyes One of the simple pleasures of life is to sit in a darkened theatre and have a film capture your soul, not as a single person, but as the whole sigh of the room. I saw this in...

Published October 31, 2022
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Gumnaam (1965)
And then there were none...
Filmmaker(s): Raja Nawathe

Eight people are trapped on an island when their plane abandons them. They find a large mansion whose butler is expecting them. Then one by one, they die...

Indians This is a famously popular film in India. The composition is simple: a story that gives the film an existence, and a series of Bollywood musical numbers. I cannot recall ever experiencing such dissonance, because I am coming at the from a background in Christie....

Published October 9, 2022
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The Man Without a Map (1968)
Filmmaker(s): Hiroshi Teshigahara

A private detective is hired to find a missing man by his wife. While his search is unsuccessful, the detective's own life begins to resemble the man for whom he is searching.

Life as Navigation Everyone has an anchor when they enter a film. With a little exposure to world cinema, that anchor for each film is rooted in the tradition you select from that culture. This is a personal choice, made long before you encounter the film....

Published September 30, 2022
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I Am Cuba (1964)
Filmmaker(s): Mikhail Kalatozov

Four vignettes about the lives of the Cuban people set during the pre-revolutionary era.

Sculpted Spatial Force Is this the best film ever made? For me today in its afterglow it is. I'm so fickle. I think if all else were equal, I'll always take embodied, real cinema that is coherently integrated. The way of telling the story is ideally complex...

Published September 21, 2022
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Nanami: The Inferno of First Love (1968)
What happens to innocence in the inferno of first love?
Filmmaker(s): Susumu Hani

A teenage goldsmith with a dark past tragically falls in love with a young nude model.

Fluid Abstraction You may find this hard to see. It is a Japanese “new wave”, film. It has a story of course, but such things are largely irrelevant. I’ll give it because you may not see it. (In my comments, I assume most folks have seen...

Published July 3, 2022
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The Sinister Monk (1965)
Filmmaker(s): Harald Reinl

A hooded serial killer finds a novel way to murder his victims--he lashes them to death with a whip. The police try to track him down before any more murders occur.

4 Conspiracies In the heyday of mystery writing, we had Sayers, Christie, Chesterton and a dozen others who were artists of narrative curves. The game was to create a world, but us in it and only later let us know how wrong we were. And then we...

Published May 13, 2022
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