william hill singapore_Welfare offer green book trailer_Welfare offer free online betting https://www.google.com//fbe/ Celebrating Films of the 1960s & 1970s en Serendipity 1.5.2 - http://www.s9y.org/ Thu, 18 Jan 2018 02:15:25 GMT /fbe/templates/default/img/s9y_banner_small.png RSS: Cinema Retro - Dean Brierly - Celebrating Films of the 1960s & 1970s https://www.google.com//fbe/ 100 21 REVIEW: ANTHONY MANN'S "T-MEN" (1947) ; BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FROM CLASSIFLIX https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/9933-REVIEW-ANTHONY-MANNS-T-MEN-1947-;-BLU-RAY-SPECIAL-EDITION-FROM-CLASSIFLIX.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/9933-REVIEW-ANTHONY-MANNS-T-MEN-1947-;-BLU-RAY-SPECIAL-EDITION-FROM-CLASSIFLIX.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=9933 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=9933 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p><!-- s9ymdb:9475 --><img class="serendipity_image_center" width="450" height="567" src="/fbe/uploads/tmen.jpg" /> </p> <p><strong>BY DEAN BRIERLY</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">There are countless film noirs meriting Blu-ray treatment, but perhaps none so deserving as <em>T-Men</em> (1947), arguably the best of the documentary-style noirs of the late 1940s, distinguished by its uncompromising tone, stylish direction and brilliant cinematography. While many individuals contributed to its success, the film was above all a triumph of creative collaboration between two of Hollywood¡¯s greatest visual artists: director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton. The two capitalized on the film¡¯s narrative¡ªgovernment agents infiltrating a counterfeiting ring in an underworld of sudden cruelty and shifting allegiances¡ªto push the noir/crime film to new extremes of stylized violence and subjective intensity. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Although better known for his dark psychological westerns of the 1950s, Mann honed his craft in the even darker waters of forties film noir. Like many directors of his generation, Mann cut his teeth in the demanding arena of B movies, churning out a dozen bottom-of-the-bill programmers for Republic, RKO and PRC between 1942-1947. Although he made several musicals during this period, Mann was much more at home directing noirish films like <em>The Great Flamarion</em> (1945) and <em>Strange Impersonation</em> (1946), which gave scope to his thematic obsession with conflicted, desperate characters navigating through a world of moral ambivalence and extreme violence.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Mann was the thinking man¡¯s director par excellence, equally adept at staging dynamic set pieces as probing his protagonists¡¯ inner responses to narrative stimuli, usually in the same scene. His sensitivity to characters better able to cope with physical rather than psychological roadblocks made him right at home in the existential uncertainties of noir. Relentless pacing, kinetic visuals and an intense focus on the emotional and psychological dissonance of his characters were among his hallmarks. <em>T-Men</em>, made for Eagle Lion Films, was the fullest realization of his aesthetic to date.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Helping Mann transfer his dark vision to the screen was legendary cinematographer John Alton, whose chiaroscuro photography recalled the glory days of German film expressionism. The Hungarian-born Alton was among the most daring and experimental of Hollywood cameramen. His work sometimes bordered on the abstract, but only when it served the needs of the story. Often stuck with directors unreceptive to his ideas, his pairing with the open-minded Mann was a match made in noir heaven. </span><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; color: #111111; background: white;">Alton¡¯s</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> shadowy, half-lit urban environments provide the perfect visual correlative to Mann¡¯s thematic emphasis on paranoia and emotional crisis. Known for his minimal use of lights¡ªhe got better effects with a handful of lights than cameramen who used dozens¡ªAlton succinctly summed up his photographic philosophy: ¡°It¡¯s not what you light, it¡¯s what you don¡¯t light.¡±<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; color: #111111; background: white;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><em><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">T-Men</span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> also marked the appearance of another significant creative partner for Mann in the person of John C. Higgins, who had penned the director¡¯s previous film, <em>Railroaded</em> (1947). Higgins was one of noir¡¯s more prolific and dependable screenwriters. In addition to the five films he did with Mann, he also scripted the iconic noirs <em>Shield for Murder</em> (1954) and <em>Big House, U.S.A.</em> (1955). While <em>T-Men</em>¡¯s accolades are typically reserved for Alton¡¯s chiaroscuro and Mann¡¯s nerve-shredding mise en sc¨¨ne, Higgins¡¯ tough, pungent dialog shouldn¡¯t be overlooked. He was arguably the first quality screenwriter Mann worked with.</span></p> <p> </p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RVcgvVYI6W0" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media"></iframe> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Higgins¡¯ tight scenario centers on treasury agents Dennis O¡¯Brien (Dennis O¡¯Keefe) and Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder), who go undercover to break up a counterfeiting operation working out of Detroit and Los Angeles. Posing as members of a once-prominent Detroit gang (O¡¯Brien adopting the moniker Vannie Harrigan, Genaro becoming Tony Galvani), the pair gain conditional access to the organization through a low-level middleman called The Schemer (Wallace Ford), offering as bait an engraving plate of exceptional quality. Having fallen from favor with his employers, the Schemer hopes to redeem himself by brokering a deal between his felonious new pals and the organization¡¯s top brass. The latter are interested but wary, and as negotiations proceed keep O¡¯Brien and Genaro under close surveillance by the gang¡¯s enforcer Moxie (Charles McGraw). <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><br /></p> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/9933-REVIEW-ANTHONY-MANNS-T-MEN-1947-;-BLU-RAY-SPECIAL-EDITION-FROM-CLASSIFLIX.html#extended">Continue reading "REVIEW: ANTHONY MANN'S &quot;T-MEN&quot; (1947) ; BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FROM CLASSIFLIX"</a> Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:06:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/9933-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ BOOK REVIEW: "ROBERT WISE: THE MOTION PICTURES" BY JOE JORDAN https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/9686-BOOK-REVIEW-ROBERT-WISE-THE-MOTION-PICTURES-BY-JOE-JORDAN.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/9686-BOOK-REVIEW-ROBERT-WISE-THE-MOTION-PICTURES-BY-JOE-JORDAN.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=9686 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=9686 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p> </p> <p><!-- s9ymdb:9113 --><img class="serendipity_image_center" width="450" height="675" src="/fbe/uploads/ROBERTWISEBOOK.jpg" /> </p> <p><strong>BY DEAN BRIERLY&#160;</strong> </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">For a film director with such an iconic resume, there¡¯s a surprising scarcity of scholarly books devoted to Robert Wise, the man who directed such classics as &#160;&quot;West Side Story&quot; (1961), &quot;The Haunting&quot; (1963), ¡°The Sound of Music¡± (1965), ¡°The Curse of the Cat People¡± (1944), ¡°The Day the Earth Stood Still¡± (1951), ¡°The Sand Pebbles¡± (1966) and many other critical and commercial successes. To say nothing of his stature as the man who edited ¡°Citizen Kane¡± (1941) and ¡°The Magnificent Ambersons¡± (1942) before taking up decades-long residence in the director¡¯s chair. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Wise brought a self-effacing approach to directing, one that never drew attention to itself. He may have had the most ¡°invisible¡± style of all the major directors from Hollywood¡¯s Golden Era, which no doubt helps explain why he never had the auteur imprimatur conferred upon him by French critics who swooned over Welles¡¯ baroque visuals, Douglas Sirk¡¯s melodramatic excess, and Howard Hawks¡¯ male-bonding thematic. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">The identifiable characteristics of a Wise film were subtler, if no less crucial: the ability to advance the narrative through visuals, seamless editing, an unfailing command of pace, the ability to draw consistent performances from his casts. His adaptability and mastery of all aspects of filmmaking helped him excel across every genre. Noir, sci-fi, horror, westerns, musicals, romances¡ªWise made outstanding films in each of these categories. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">In what is surely good news for fans of Robert Wise and classic films in general, Joe Jordan, film historian and author of ¡°Showmanship: The Cinema of William Castle,¡± has filled an important gap in film scholarship with his new book, ¡°Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures.¡± As the title implies, this is not a biography, but an in-depth study of Wise¡¯s films. The book¡¯s length, 500 pages, testifies to the prodigious research Jordan conducted on his subject. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Jordan¡¯s approach is rather unique. He provides an extended synopsis and assessment of each film, bookended by contextual information relating to pre- and post-production issues and interspersed with relevant dialog exchanges and copious film stills. These analytical synopses, for want of a better term, are so lengthy and detailed that readers are likely to find themselves running the films through their heads as Jordan provides his own running commentary on how Wise achieved certain effects through camera setups, staging of action, direction of actors, attention to sound, and so on. Even if one has an intimate familiarity with Wise¡¯s films, Jordan continually surprises with his insight and observations, and makes one want to watch them all over again. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Another highlight of the book are the personal recollections from many of the actors and actresses who performed in Wise¡¯s films. These oral histories, some of which run to several pages, are also deftly woven into the overall narrative. The contributors are an interesting bunch. None of them are superstars per se (not all are actors, either), and while some names are more familiar than others, all are extremely talented professionals who made significant contributions to Wise¡¯s films. It¡¯s refreshing to read fresh perspectives from personalities not often heard from. There¡¯s an unassuming tone to each of their recollections, which is fitting, given the modest, self-effacing nature of the man they¡¯re discussing. Their memories are informative and entertaining, all of them linked by the greatest respect for their subject.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Stunt man Jack Young recalls doubling for James Cagney on ¡°Tribute to a Bad Man¡± (1956), and being impressed by the relaxed yet professional atmosphere on Wise¡¯s set¡ªa recurring claim made by everyone who worked on his films. Young offers a superbly concise description of Wise as ¡°a good director who cracked a soft whip.¡± He also reveals some interesting facts about the nature of his profession in the 1940s and ¡¯50s, when stunt men also served as stand-ins and lighting doubles for actors, a practice no longer allowed.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><br /></p> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/9686-BOOK-REVIEW-ROBERT-WISE-THE-MOTION-PICTURES-BY-JOE-JORDAN.html#extended">Continue reading "BOOK REVIEW: &quot;ROBERT WISE: THE MOTION PICTURES&quot; BY JOE JORDAN"</a> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:31:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/9686-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ "IT TAKES A THIEF" COMPLETE SERIES RELEASED IN GERMANY https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/9586-IT-TAKES-A-THIEF-COMPLETE-SERIES-RELEASED-IN-GERMANY.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/9586-IT-TAKES-A-THIEF-COMPLETE-SERIES-RELEASED-IN-GERMANY.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=9586 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=9586 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p><!-- s9ymdb:8976 --><img class="serendipity_image_center" width="450" height="652" src="/fbe/uploads/ittakesathiefd.jpg" /> </p> <p><strong>BY DEAN BRIERLY</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">¡°It Takes a Thief,¡± the iconic adventure/espionage series that many consider Robert Wagner¡¯s defining role, has had an interesting if somewhat checkered DVD release history. As reported in Cinema Retro back in 2010, the first digital presentation of Alexander Mundy¡¯s nefarious exploits appeared in July of that year courtesy of the German company Polyband, which released all 16 season one episodes in a pair of three-disc sets, followed up with a four-disc set featuring 12 of the 26 season two episodes, but then inexplicably ended its release program. These Region 2 sets, which have English as well as German audio options, are still available at Amazon Germany.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">In October 2010, Australia¡¯s Madman Entertainment jumped into the fray, putting out the complete first season in a five-disc set, and subsequently issuing seasons two and three as seven-disc sets. These Region 4 sets are now out of print. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Meanwhile, American fans clamoring for a long-overdue Region 1 release finally had their wishes granted courtesy of the Canadian media distribution company Entertainment One, which packaged all 66 episodes, the full-length pilot film, plus video interviews with Wagner and writer-producer Glen A. Larson into an 18-disc box set that went on sale in November 2011. That set, unfortunately, is also no longer available.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Somehow, a world in which Al Mundy¡ªstill the epitome of glamor, sophistication and excitement¡ªis no longer readily accessible to his countless fans just doesn¡¯t seem right. However, ¡°It Takes a Thief¡± fans who failed to nab one of the aforementioned DVD options have now been granted a reprieve, albeit from an unexpected quarter.<em> </em>Yep, the Germans have once again come to the rescue of this irreplaceable cultural touchstone. To which we can only say a heartfelt <em>danke sch?n</em>!<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Fernsehjuwelen, a DVD label that specializes in ¡°jewels of film &amp; TV history,¡± has just released the complete series in a deluxe 21-disc Region 2 set that can be purchased through Amazon Germany. Comparable in most respects to the out-of-print Entertainment One box, this new set does raise the bar significantly in terms of image quality, at least for the season three episodes. The eOne set did right by the season one and two episodes, which were generally sharp and clear; but season three was problematic, with some episodes exhibiting a marked drop-off in sharpness and, worse, considerable color bleeding and ghosting. Important visual detail was sometimes lost, especially during nighttime or low-light scenes. This was frustrating, as many of the third season ¡°It Takes a Thief¡± episodes were filmed in Italy, and the variable resolution detracted from the beautiful location photography. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">No such issues arise with the Fernsehjuwelen discs. Each season three episode boasts excellent color balance and image clarity. This is the main improvement offered by ¡°Ihr Auftritt, Al Mundy!¡±¡ªthe German title for the series that translates to: ¡°Your Performance, Al Mundy!¡± This set includes the same video interviews of Wagner and Larson from the eOne set; an interview with Rainer Brandt, the German actor who dubbed Wagner in many of the episodes; and an extensive German-language booklet written by Oliver Bayan that features interviews he conducted with Wagner and co-star Malachi Throne in 2010. Unless you <em>sprechen Deutsch</em>, you¡¯ll have to avail yourself of Google translation to read these brief but fascinating Q&amp;As.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p> </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">The Fernsehjuwelen box set, which houses all 21 discs in a sturdy multi-DVD case, is available through <a href="http://www.amazon.de/">www.amazon.de</a> for EUR 58.99, which works out to approximately US $63.43. Need I say that it¡¯s a veritable steal?</span></p> <p>(Note: to view this set, you will need a Region 2 or all-region DVD player.) &#160;</p> Fri, 31 Mar 2017 13:13:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/9586-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ IN MEMORIAM: KEN TAKAKURA (1931-2014) https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/8466-IN-MEMORIAM-KEN-TAKAKURA-1931-2014.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/8466-IN-MEMORIAM-KEN-TAKAKURA-1931-2014.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=8466 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=8466 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p><!-- s9ymdb:7544 --><img class="serendipity_image_center" width="450" height="615" src="/fbe/uploads/KenTakakura.jpg" /> </p> <p><strong>BY DEAN BRIERLY</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Japanese actor Ken Takakura, iconic leading man in countless yakuza and action films, died at 83 of lymphoma on November 10 in Tokyo. He had long since achieved legendary status in Japan with his portrayals of brooding samurai, gangsters and hit men. The characters he portrayed were usually on the wrong side of the law but adhered to a chivalric code of honor that, while not reflective of reality, nevertheless struck a deep chord among Japanese filmgoers of the 1960s. Takakura was most familiar to American audiences for his roles in <em>The Yakuza</em> (1975), directed by Sydney Pollack and co-starring Robert Mitchum; <em>Black Rain</em> (1989), with Michael Douglas; and <em>Mr. Baseball</em> (1992), with Tom Selleck. In each of these he more than held his own against his high-powered American co-stars. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Born Goichi Oda in Nakama, Fukuoka, Takakura was witness to real-life yakuza street clashes during his formative years, which may have informed his acting choices when he began to incarnate yakuza in his movies. Ironically, he originally aspired to a managerial position at Toei studios, but a spur-of-the-moment decision to attend an audition led to his becoming an actor, with his first performance coming in 1956 in <em>Lightning Karate Blow</em>. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Takakura was a competent if middling headliner in dozens of films over the next few years until his performance in <em>The Walls of Abashiri Prison</em> (1965) suddenly thrust him into the front ranks of Japanese leading men. As one of two escaped prisoners handcuffed together and on the run in desolate, snow-filled Hokkaido (an obvious homage to 1958¡¯s <em>The Defiant Ones</em>), Takakura¡¯s anti-hero persona finally resonated with the public. The film was so successful that Toei eventually churned out 18 <em>Abashiri</em> pictures, all starring Takakura. He simultaneously appeared in several other long-running series, including nine <em>Brutal Tales of Chivalry</em> films and 11 installments of <em>Tales of Japanese Chivalry</em>. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">The thematic template in these movies invariably skewed to a standard formula and audience expectations, with Takakura playing an honorable yakuza, often just released from prison, who found himself protecting weaker, innocent characters from the depredations of dishonorable gangsters. If these films held few surprises on the narrative level, they usually delivered potent depictions of violence, ill-fated love, stoic machismo and a satisfyingly unhappy end for the hero. Such cinematic fare was Takakura¡¯s meal ticket throughout the decade. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">However, as the 1960s made way for the 1970s, a meaner, more cynical and considerably more violent style of yakuza film took hold, spearheaded by director Kinji Fukasaku and budding action superstar Bunta Sugawara. There was no longer room for the kind of honorable gangsters Takakura portrayed in his trademark <em>ninkyo</em>, or chivalrous, yakuza pictures. But if he was no longer top dog, the actor was still a big draw, his charisma supremely intact. While Takakura still made action films¡ªlike the stunning <em>Golgo 13</em> (1973), in which he played a badass hit man plying his trade in Iran¡ªhe also starred in other types of roles, including an-convict gone straight in the romantic drama <em>The Yellow Handkerchief</em> (1977) and, in the latter part of his career, an aging station manager in <em>Railroad Man</em> (1999).</span></p> <p> <div class="serendipity_imageComment_center" style="width: 450px;"> <div class="serendipity_imageComment_img"><!-- s9ymdb:7545 --><img class="serendipity_image_center" width="450" height="1184" src="/fbe/uploads/NewPrisonWallsofAbashiri11.jpg" /></div> <div class="serendipity_imageComment_txt">&quot;New Prison Walls of Abashiri&quot;.</div> </div> </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Takakura made more than 200 films during his life. Among his essential titles are <em>Wolves, Pigs and Men</em> (1964), directed by the great Kinji Fukasaku; <em>An Outlaw</em> (1964); <em>The Walls of Abashiri Prison</em> (1965-1972); <em>Brutal Tales of Chivalry</em> (1965-1972); <em>Tales of Japanese Chivalry</em> (1964-1971); <em>Theater of Life 1 and 2</em> (1968); <em>Yakuza¡¯s Tale</em> (1969); <em>Golgo 13</em> (1973); several of the <em>Red Peony Gambler series</em> (1968-1972), starring genre icon Junko Fuji; and many more. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">On and off screen, Takakura upheld traditional Japanese values and masculinity in the face of Japan¡¯s increasing materialism and westernization. For that he was revered by his countrymen across political, class and age spectrums. Humble and self-effacing, Takakura possessed a shrewd insight into his box office popularity. In a 2013 interview he stated, </span><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; background: white;">¡°I think that the reason the general public identified with the roles I played was that they were struck by my stance as a man who unrelentingly stands up to absurd injustices. It wasn¡¯t just that I was just going off to a sword fight, but that my character was willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect the people important to him.¡±</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"><o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p><em style="line-height: 150%; font-size: 9.5pt;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">(For those interested in exploring Takakura¡¯s filmography, the best place to start is </span></em><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"><a href="http://www.japanesesamuraidvd.com/"><em><span style="color: windowtext; text-decoration: none;">www.japanesesamuraidvd.com</span></em></a><em>, which has more than 40 of his films for sale, all of them subtitled and most of them remastered.)</em></span> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 18 Jan 2015 21:35:58 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/8466-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ DVD REVIEW: DIRECTOR MIKE MALLOY'S "EUROCRIME! THE ITALIAN COP AND GANGSTER FILMS THAT RULED THE ¡¯70s" https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/8402-DVD-REVIEW-DIRECTOR-MIKE-MALLOYS-EUROCRIME!-THE-ITALIAN-COP-AND-GANGSTER-FILMS-THAT-RULED-THE-70s.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/8402-DVD-REVIEW-DIRECTOR-MIKE-MALLOYS-EUROCRIME!-THE-ITALIAN-COP-AND-GANGSTER-FILMS-THAT-RULED-THE-70s.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=8402 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=8402 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p><!-- s9ymdb:7463 --><img class="serendipity_image_center" width="450" height="641" src="/fbe/uploads/EUROCRIME.jpg" /> </p> <p><strong>BY DEAN BRIERLY&#160;</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Although the term ¡°Eurocrime¡± can be applied to films from any European country, it¡¯s most closely associated with 1970s Italian crime films, aka <em>poliziotteschi</em>, <em>poliziottesco</em> or <em>poliziesco</em>. The last term is (in Italian) the grammatically correct moniker for a politically incorrect genre that was hugely popular in its day, thanks to a sensory overload of stylish ultra-violence, insane car chases, buckets of sleaze, almost-human bad guys and renegade cops with big guns, bad attitudes and badder mustaches.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Controversial during its heyday and critically marginalized in ensuing decades, the Eurocrime flame has been kept alive by a sizeable and devoted fan base, periodic DVD releases, various websites and online forums. Another shot in the arm was provided by Roberto Curti¡¯s invaluable book, <em>Italian Crime Filmography 1968-1980</em> (McFarland &amp; Co Inc), an in-depth listing and analysis of more than 200 films. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Now, <em>poliziesco</em> junkies have even more reason to celebrate with the recent DVD release of <em>Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films that Ruled the ¡¯70s</em>, writer/director Mike Malloy¡¯s documentary homage to the genre that illustrates why these testosterone-fueled thrillers deserve their place in the cinematic pantheon. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">To that end, he rounded up the appropriate subjects to tell the Eurocrime story¡ªthe surviving actors, writers and directors who created these gonzo films from the ground up. It¡¯s a cast list that would do any current action film proud: Franco Nero, John Saxon, Henry Silva, Antonio Sabata, Richard Harrison, Fred Williamson, Luc Merenda, Tomas Milian, Leonard Mann, Michael Forest, John Steiner, Joe Dallesandro and Chris Mitchum. Not to mention directors Enzo G. Castellari, Claudio Fragasso and Mario Caiano.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">All of these iconic figures obviously retain deep-seated affection respect for the Eurocrime genre. There¡¯s zero condescension and little posturing, and all seem grateful for the exposure these films brought them. In separate interviews, each relates his particular history with Eurocrime films; Malloy edits their individual stories into a collective portrait of the genre that¡¯s as enlightening as it is fascinating.<o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Malloy gets them to talk about Eurocrime¡¯s antecedent genres (peplums, giallos, spaghetti westerns); the influence of Hollywood¡¯s <em>Dirty Harry</em> and <em>The French Connection </em>(both from 1971), which introduced a grittier ethos and more conflicted protagonists to crime cinema; and the social and political turmoil in Italy during the 1970s, which helped the <em>poliziesco</em> chart its thematic identity through a critical focus on the country¡¯s political corruption, pervasive crime (organized and otherwise) and terrorist activity. While Eurocrime films were initially derivative of the American version, Italian filmmakers quickly stamped them with a unique identity, one that in turn influenced crime and action films the world over. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">In addition to such broad-outline topics, the Eurocrime veterans expound on what it was like to work in a new genre that was literally being invented on the fly. Low budgets and short shooting schedules necessitated a guerilla approach to filmmaking. Directors often shot without permission on the streets, especially when staging chase scenes, which sometimes led to policemen pursuing stuntmen on motorcycles in the belief they were actual criminals. The emphasis on speed and economy led to an insane number of daily setups. Richard Harrison still laughs at the memory of doing 120 setups in a day. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Like virtually all Italian films of that era, the films were shot without direct sound. This allowed for smaller crews, less equipment and less need for retakes, but initially proved disconcerting for American actors used to quieter, more-ordered sets. Henry Silva and John Saxon recall their bemused reactions to the on-set noise and tumult during takes, countered by the Italian film crews¡¯ bewilderment at their pleas for quiet. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Live ammunition was sometimes used during filming (Saxon still seems a little freaked out recalling it decades later), and most of the leading actors did their own stunts. Leonard Mann recalls: ¡°We¡¯d do them so fast, you know. We¡¯d be out there just running around and doing our own stunts. I did almost all of them¡­The things we did, I¡¯m surprised we didn¡¯t get killed.¡± <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;">Speaking of stuntmen, one of that noble breed is represented in this documentary. Ottaviano Dell¡¯Acqua, who worked on Enzo G. Castellari¡¯s <em>The Big Racket</em> (1976) and <em>Heroin Busters</em> (1977), wryly contrasts the approach of Italian and Hollywood stuntmen: ¡°We were a little more adventurous. We made things a little more ¡®homemade.¡¯¡± That DIY ethos contributed to the rough-edged spontaneity that gave the films a sense of gritty realism, no matter how outlandish the scenarios, action or performance. <o:p /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><br /></p> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/8402-DVD-REVIEW-DIRECTOR-MIKE-MALLOYS-EUROCRIME!-THE-ITALIAN-COP-AND-GANGSTER-FILMS-THAT-RULED-THE-70s.html#extended">Continue reading "DVD REVIEW: DIRECTOR MIKE MALLOY'S &quot;EUROCRIME! THE ITALIAN COP AND GANGSTER FILMS THAT RULED THE ¡¯70s&quot;"</a> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:22:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/8402-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ "TOO LATE BLUES": DEAN BRIERLY REVISITS A LOST GEM https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/196-TOO-LATE-BLUES-DEAN-BRIERLY-REVISITS-A-LOST-GEM.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/196-TOO-LATE-BLUES-DEAN-BRIERLY-REVISITS-A-LOST-GEM.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=196 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=196 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;"><font size="3" face="times new roman,times,serif"></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;"><font size="3" face="times new roman,times,serif"></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><strong></strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><strong>&quot;A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT: A LOST CASSAVETES CLASSIC&quot;</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><strong>Cinema Retro columnist Dean Brierly examines a buried treasure from the early career of John Cassavetes</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;"><font size="3" face="times new roman,times,serif"></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><font size="3" face="times new roman,times,serif"><strong></strong></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><img width="275" height="416" style="border: 0px none; padding-left: 5px; padding-right: 5px;" src="/fbe/uploads/toolateblues6.jpg" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"> </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><strong>Too Late Blues (1962)<br />Directed by: John Cassavetes<br />Written by: Richard Carr, John Cassavetes<br />Starring: Bobby Darin, Stella Stevens, Everett Chambers</strong><br /><br /><strong>Fade In </strong><br />There are lost films and then there are films so far gone it¡¯s as if they never existed. At best, they make stealth appearances on late-night TV about as often as sightings of Halley¡¯s Comet. <em>Too Late Blues </em>is such a film. This celluloid bastard child was born from the unlikely coupling of Paramount Pictures (i.e., the Hollywood establishment) and the anti-Hollywood actor/writer/director John Cassavetes. Yet while both parents swiftly disowned their jointly produced offspring, the film has tenaciously clung to a marginal life in the shadows of film history. <br /><br />Nearly without exception, critics savaged <em>Too Late Blues</em> upon its release, labeling it mawkish, overwrought and ridiculous. At times, it is all of these things, yet its stylistic daring and the emotional depth charges set off by its lead actors transcend the film¡¯s limitations. Indeed, its very awkwardness serves to underscore the instability of its ambitious yet emotionally stunted characters. The few souls lucky enough to have witnessed the minor miracle that is Too Late Blues find that it lodges in the memory with the persistence of a jilted lover. <br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;"><o:p><font size="3" face="times new roman,times,serif"></font> <o:p /></o:p></span></p> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/196-TOO-LATE-BLUES-DEAN-BRIERLY-REVISITS-A-LOST-GEM.html#extended">Continue reading "&quot;TOO LATE BLUES&quot;: DEAN BRIERLY REVISITS A LOST GEM"</a> Tue, 08 Oct 2013 10:53:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/196-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ FULL THROTTLE: 1960S JAPANESE ACTION CINEMA https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/3941-FULL-THROTTLE-1960S-JAPANESE-ACTION-CINEMA.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/3941-FULL-THROTTLE-1960S-JAPANESE-ACTION-CINEMA.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=3941 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=3941 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p> </p> <p><img 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font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> <p style="line-height: 150%; " class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>By Dean Brierly<o:p /></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 150%; " class="MsoNormal"><span><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%; " class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>DETECTIVE BUREAU 2-3: GO TO HELL BASTARDS! (1963)<o:p /></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 150%; " class="MsoNormal"><span>The early 1960s proved to be a transitional period for Japanese director Seijun Suzuki. After churning out numerous yakuza films for Nikkatsu throughout the 1950s, the director began to rebel against the creative limitations imposed by the studio. Fed up with clich¨¦d scenarios and adherence to stylistic conventions, Suzuki began infiltrating subversive visual flourishes to make things more interesting for himself and his audiences. Nineteen-sixty-three is widely regarded as the year Suzuki fully became Suzuki, starting with <em>Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards!</em> Although it doesn¡¯t scale the delirious heights of the more famous <em>Tokyo Drifter</em> (1966) and <em>Branded to Kill</em> (1967)¡ªwhose visual and narrative anarchy got him fired from Nikkatsu¡ªthe film still turns the yakuza genre on its head through Suzuki¡¯s hyperbolic approach. <o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%; " class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>Story<o:p /></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 150%; " class="MsoNormal"><span>Jo Shisido stars as Tajima, a resourceful private eye who owns the Detective Bureau 2-3 of the title. For reasons never clearly explained, he manifests a deep-seated and simmering hate for the yakuza, an emotion that primes his motivational pump throughout the film. Following a munitions theft from an American military base, Tajima convinces the police to let him infiltrate one of two yakuza gangs battling for control of the local gun-running trade. Posing as an ex-con, he befriends a mid-level criminal named Manabe and gets close enough to the underworld hierarchy to identify the major players and the location of the guns. Even when his cover is blown, the quick-thinking detective improvises schemes to remain useful to the competing gangs¡ªthat is, until the bad guys lock him in an underground garage, pump gallons of motor oil into it and set it on fire. Tajima escapes the inferno with the aid of what has to be the world¡¯s most powerful machinegun, then lights the fuse that ignites a battle royal between the rival gangs¡ªa ferocious encounter fought with guns and samurai swords¡ªthat brings the film to a spectacularly convulsive conclusion. <o:p /></span></p><span></span><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; "><o:p /></span> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/3941-FULL-THROTTLE-1960S-JAPANESE-ACTION-CINEMA.html#extended">Continue reading "FULL THROTTLE: 1960S JAPANESE ACTION CINEMA"</a> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 22:21:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/3941-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ DEAN BRIERLY CELEBRATES CLASSIC QUOTES FROM GREAT ACTORS https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/6854-DEAN-BRIERLY-CELEBRATES-CLASSIC-QUOTES-FROM-GREAT-ACTORS.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/6854-DEAN-BRIERLY-CELEBRATES-CLASSIC-QUOTES-FROM-GREAT-ACTORS.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=6854 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=6854 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p> </p> <p><!-- s9ymdb:5821 --><img class="serendipity_image_center" width="312" height="400" src="/fbe/uploads/BELALUGOSIQUOTE.jpg" /> </p> <p>Cinema Retro columnist Dean Brierly has a great article on his blog: classic quotes from legendary actors and supporting actors. Here's a good example from Bela Lugosi:</p> <p><font face="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif">(<font size="2"><span style="color: #222222; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff; ">On&#160;<em>Dracula)</em> </span><span style="color: #222222; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff; ">¡°In playing the picture I found that there was a great deal that I had to unlearn. In the theater I was playing not only to those spectators in the front row but also to those in the last row of the gallery, and there was some exaggeration in everything I did, not only in the tonal pitch of my voice but in the changes of facial expression which accompanied various lines or situations, as was necessary. But for the screen, in which the actor</span><span style="color: #222222; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff; ">¡¯s distance from every member of the audience is equal only to his distance from the lens of the camera, I have found that a great deal of repression was absolutely necessary.</span><span style="color: #222222; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff; "></span><span style="color: #222222; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff; ">¡±</span><span style="color: #222222; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff; ">(1930&#160;<em>Hollywood Filmograph</em>&#160;interview)</span></font></font></p> <p><a href="http://classichollywoodquotes.blogspot.com/">Click here </a>to indulge in many more&#160;</p> Thu, 28 Jun 2012 22:22:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/6854-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ "IT TAKES A THIEF": THE DVD DEBRIEF https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/6418-IT-TAKES-A-THIEF-THE-DVD-DEBRIEF.html Dean Brierly 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Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /<strong> Style Definitions </strong>/ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">The wait is over. The cult series <em>It Takes a Thief</em> (1968-1970), which starred Robert Wagner as Alexander Mundy, a world-class thief given a pardon by SIA director Noah Bain in return for plying his felonious trade on behalf of Uncle Sam, has finally arrived in a Region 1 DVD package. After years of DVD limbo marked by gray market bootlegs and an incomplete Region 2 release, multimedia company Entertainment One recently put out a deluxe, 18-disc box set featuring all 66 episodes from the entire three seasons. <br /></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">The episodes have been digitally re-mastered, and while I haven¡¯t looked at them all yet, the dozen or so I¡¯ve watched are clear and sharp, with vibrant color and little video noise. Certain shots show their age more than others (these are typically stock shots), some nighttime scenes are a bit murky, and the amount of film grain is variable, especially in the season 3 episodes (which also exhibit some minor ghosting), but that¡¯s understandable given the show¡¯s age and the condition of the source material. I watched episodes from all three seasons on my 55-inch flat screen, albeit in the 4:3 ratio (which is how television series from the 1960s and ¡¯70s <em>should</em> be watched), and was generally quite impressed with the picture quality. The audio is fine too, especially when I crank up the volume during the glorious title sequence. <br /></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">Overall, the sound and video quality is a big upgrade from the 2010 Region 2 release from German company Polyband. (And Polyband only put out season 1 and half of season 2.) Even if Entertainment One had limited this to a bare-bones set, it would still be manna from TV heaven, but they¡¯ve also stocked it with some terrific extras. Fans will be thrilled to learn that the set includes both the pilot episode, ¡°A Thief is a Thief,¡± plus the long-unavailable, extended-length version of the pilot, which was released theatrically under the title ¡°Magnificent Thief.¡± <br /></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">In addition to that magnificent bonus, there is a 30-minute video interview with Wagner that touches on various aspects of the show¡¯s production history, the creative team, the brilliant roster of guest stars, and his feelings about the character of Alexander Mundy. Wagner¡¯s charisma remains as potent today as when he made the series, and he obviously retains a strong emotional connection to what was arguably his most famous role. The show¡¯s abrupt and mystifying cancellation after season 3, despite solid ratings, took Wagner completely by surprise, and though he¡¯s gracious about it, it¡¯s clear he regrets the network¡¯s decision. Listening to him wax reminiscent is pure gold. <br /></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">As if that weren¡¯t enough, there¡¯s also a video interview with series writer and producer Glen A. Larson, who shares fascinating behind-the-scenes insights on the show¡¯s inception, the differing styles of its producers, and the commitment to maintaining the scripts¡¯ unique blend of narrative invention, suspense and sophisticated humor. Rounding out the extras are a collectible booklet with retrospective essay (full disclosure: penned by this Cinema Retro contributor), a limited-edition senitype (reproduced 35mm film frame) and 4-piece coaster set (for imbibing sophisticated cocktails while watching Mundy purloin secret documents and seduce beautiful girls). <br /></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">The packaging is simple, functional and striking. The discs come packed in three sturdy foldout booklets (one for each season) that are liberally illustrated with rare publicity stills and cool screen grabs. The booklets themselves, plus the essay booklet, the senitype (which is set into a protective cardboard square) and the coasters, are kept in place in a cube-like box with an interior placeholder. It¡¯s a bit unconventional, but works well enough. <br /></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">Having already written extensively about the show on this site, I won¡¯t dwell here on its creative DNA of action, espionage, humor and hedonism. Fans of <em>It Takes of Thief </em>are well aware of its ingenious premise, its jet set ambience, its swinging music, its urbane villains, and its smart and sexy women. They don¡¯t need to be sold on its merits; they just want the opportunity to add it to their DVD collections. Suffice it to say that Entertainment One¡¯s class treatment does justice to the legacy of this one-of-a-kind series and iconic star.</span></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B005DKS1Z8/cinemaretroco-20">Click here</a> to order discounted from Amazon</strong> </p> <p>(<a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/4817-IT-TAKES-A-THIEF-COMES-TO-DVD-IN-GERMANY.html">Click here</a> to read Dean Brierly's 2010 review of the German DVD edition and overview of the series) <br /></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"> </span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"> </span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"> </span></p> <p> </p> Sat, 17 Dec 2011 21:28:53 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/6418-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Spy Guys & Gals: The Online Shrine for Espionage Fiction https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/6221-Spy-Guys-Gals-The-Online-Shrine-for-Espionage-Fiction.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/6221-Spy-Guys-Gals-The-Online-Shrine-for-Espionage-Fiction.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=6221 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=6221 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Author>BFI</o:Author> <o:Version>12.00</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:DoNotShowComments/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> 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mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <p><!-- s9ymdb:5302 --><img width="450" height="744" src="/fbe/uploads/missfromsis.JPG" class="serendipity_image_center" /> </p> <p><strong>By Dean Brierly&#160;</strong> <br /></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">There are all manner of spy cinema websites scattered about the Internet, but only one that is devoted exclusively to the source material for the many espionage films that have taken up permanent residence in our collective consciousness. Most filmgoers rarely give thought to the literary antecedents of their favorite silver screen spy, yet there would be no James Bond, Harry Palmer or George Smiley if Ian Fleming, Len Deighton and John Le Carre hadn¡¯t created them. Fortunately, one man had the perception to recognize this oversight, plus the expertise and dedication to create ¡°Spy Guys &amp; Gals,¡± a cyber shrine to the numerous fictional agents ¡ª male and female ¡ª that have populated espionage fiction for the past five-plus decades. His name? Masteller. Randall Masteller. <br /></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 16pt; line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">A lifelong devotee of spy novels, Masteller began researching the topic for a possible book in 2001, but eventually decided that a website was a more realistic option, and launched the site in early 2006, dedicating it to ¡°¡­</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"> the many, many men and women who, at least in fiction, have defended our freedoms against all forms of enemies, foreign and domestic. Well, granted, a few of them were just in it for the money and many were only after the excitement, and sex played a huge role in the motivation of more than a few. But still, their actions helped not only preserve our way of life (on paper), but also brought us, the readers, many hours of escapism and vicarious pleasure.¡±</span></p><br /> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/6221-Spy-Guys-Gals-The-Online-Shrine-for-Espionage-Fiction.html#extended">Continue reading "Spy Guys &amp; Gals: The Online Shrine for Espionage Fiction"</a> Thu, 29 Sep 2011 22:36:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/6221-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ "SCENT OF A MAN": THE CHARLES BRONSON TV AD YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO SEE! https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/1347-SCENT-OF-A-MAN-THE-CHARLES-BRONSON-TV-AD-YOU-WERENT-SUPPOSED-TO-SEE!.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/1347-SCENT-OF-A-MAN-THE-CHARLES-BRONSON-TV-AD-YOU-WERENT-SUPPOSED-TO-SEE!.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=1347 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=1347 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p> <strong>RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST ARTICLES FROM CINEMA RETRO'S ARCHIVES<br /></strong></p> <p><strong>It's no secret that American actors have been making TV commercials for the Japanese market for decades. In years past, there was little chance these would be seen in English-speaking countries where it would have been considered tacky for stars of great magnitude to appear as pitchmen for various products. However, the age of the Internet has opened up a King Tut's tomb of buried video treasures including a real gem featuring Charles Bronson in a bizarre TV spot that looks like it was funded by the old gay erotic magazine Blueboy. That's right - the most macho of leading men appeared in an ad that looks like an outtake from William Friedkin's <em>Cruising. </em></strong></p> <p><strong>Cinema Retro's Dean Brierly plays Jimmy Olsen to investigate this rarity: but first check out the video by <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV3gA7hNItY">clicking here</a> </strong></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <div style="width: 450px;" class="serendipity_imageComment_center"> <div class="serendipity_imageComment_img"><img height="571" width="450" src="/fbe/uploads/ONCEUPON.jpg" /></div> <div class="serendipity_imageComment_txt">Once Upon a Time in the East, Charles Bronson was the pitchman on a Japanese TV commercial that we suspect he felt would never be seen by western audiences...</div> </div> <p>&#160;</p> <p> The year 1970 was a hot one for Charles Bronson. After grinding away for decades as Hollywood¡¯s toughest character actor, he was on the cusp of international superstardom thanks to a breakout performance in Sergio Leone¡¯s Once Upon a Time in the West and several gritty Eurocrime films. 1970 was also the year that a Japanese corporation sought a Hollywood star to headline an ad campaign for its new line of ¡°Mandom¡± men¡¯s-care products. Whether through fate, serendipity or cocaine-fueled inspiration, Mandom and Bronson were brought together in a brilliant conflation of the actor¡¯s self-aware hyper-masculinity and over-the-top Japanese film aesthetics. The result was the most mind-blowing television commercial to ever scorch the airwaves.</p><br /> <br />The spot begins with a close-up of a pianist feeling his way through a bluesy, cocktail lounge number oozing with after-hours ambience. The camera slowly pulls back to reveal a nattily attired Bronson sitting alone in a swank nightclub elegantly defined by heavy curtains, soft lighting and tables discreetly spaced for romantic t¨ºte-¨¤-t¨ºte. Bronson isn¡¯t seated at one of the tables, however, but at the piano, where he directs a disturbingly intimate smile at the piano player as his gravelly voiceover intones: ¡°All the world loves a lover. All the world loves¡­Mandom!¡± The homoerotic emanations are already starting to thrum. <br /> <br />There¡¯s a quick dissolve as Bronson strolls out of the club, where he¡¯s greeted by bit-part actor Percy Helton playing Sam the doorman. (Helton was the obsequious pipsqueak in countless films, most famously Kiss Me Deadly, in which Ralph Meeker slams Helton¡¯s hand in a drawer until he screams like a little girl.) Helton is at his slobbery, sycophantic best as he escorts the icon to his car, whereupon Bronson claps the little guy on the back in a gesture of masculine bonhomie and wishes him good night. ¡°Thank you, Mr. Bronson,¡± Helton fawningly responds, his tongue practically up Bronson¡¯s arse. ¡°Goodnight, Mr. Bronson. Sleep tight!¡± Helton then cackles insanely as Chuck zooms off into the night to the swelling strains of a Love Boat-style chorus. Bu?uel couldn¡¯t have staged this scene any better.<br /> <br />Another dissolve shows Bronson dramatically entering his penthouse and immediately begin undoing his tie as a Jack Jones-type croons the Mandom theme song. After selecting his favorite pipe from his pipe rack, Bronson strips off his shirt and with a quick pirouette flings it into the air as if he¡¯s auditioning for a road show of The Sound of Music. His pecs proudly displayed, Bronson struts over to his Mandom shrine, grabs a phallic-shaped can of aftershave and spins the top off to the sound of spaghetti western-style gunshots. If the ad had ended at this point, it would still be the defining moment of Bronson¡¯s career. But there¡¯s more. Oh, so much more.<br /> <br />As Bronson starts slathering on the Mandom like he¡¯s taking a shower in it, there are several quick cutaways to shots of his inner cowboy¡ªtricked out in fancy fringed buckskin¡ªfanning the hammer of a Colt pistol in a flurry of manly action poses. As if that weren¡¯t enough surrealism for thunderstruck television viewers, an off-screen stallion starts whinnying like he¡¯s about to mount a filly. (Or maybe that¡¯s just the sound Bronson makes during the physical act of love.) Having fully marinated himself in Mandom, Bronson leans back in his leather easy chair, pornstache impeccably groomed, and narcissistically caresses his face as he pours every ounce of his artistry into the ad¡¯s tag line: ¡°Ummm. Mandom!¡± <br /> <br />Even repeated viewings of this two-minute slice of television nirvana can¡¯t diffuse the Mandom magic, something that can¡¯t be said about all of Bronson¡¯s subsequent cinematic endeavors. It¡¯s sheer class on every level: from the A-game performances of Bronson and Helton to the overwhelming homoeroticism to the impeccable evocation of a superficial, sybaritic lifestyle. It¡¯s impossible to single out a defining money shot, as every frame dazzles with a brilliance that Orson Welles could only dream of. Perhaps the best part is the ending, with Bronson sitting alone in his tastefully decorated apartment and nary a female in sight. The narrative implications are left intriguingly open-ended, but as far as I¡¯m concerned, he¡¯s saving his money shot for Sam and the piano player. 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</style> <![endif]--> <p><!-- s9ymdb:4250 --><img height="537" width="400" class="serendipity_image_center" src="/fbe/uploads/thief1.jpg" /> </p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">By Dean Brierly<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">The Briefing<o:p /></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">¡°Let me get this straight, Noah. <em>It Takes a Thief</em> is finally out on DVD?¡±<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">¡°That¡¯s right, Al. There¡¯s just one catch ¡ª it¡¯s available only in Germany. A company called Polyband just listed Season One on Amazon¡¯s German affiliate.¡±<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">¡°Terrific.¡±<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">¡°Granted, you¡¯ll need a region-free DVD player to watch the discs. But the good news is that the language options include English.¡±<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">¡°You sold me, Noah. Where¡¯s my laptop?¡±<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">The Backstory<o:p /></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">Yep, it¡¯s finally happened. The coolest TV show never to be released on DVD has at long last entered the digital domain. Not in this country, of course. License holder Universal is still hedging its bets regarding the American market, for reasons known only to fools and madmen. It took the Germans, for crying out loud, to recognize the commercial DVD potential of <em>It Takes a Thief</em>, the action-adventure series that ran from 1968 to 1970 and starred Robert Wagner in his career-defining role as Alexander Mundy, master thief, international playboy and smooth cat extraordinaire.<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">Besides being must-see TV in the States, the series also proved a hit in Germany, where it debuted on November 18, 1969 under the title <em>Ihr Auftritt, Al Mundy! </em>(Rough translation: <em>Your Appearance, Al Mundy!</em>) One of the reasons for its popularity there was due to the dubbing, which made the lines funnier than they were actually written. This lighter approach was also reflected in some of the episode titles. ¡°A Thief is a Thief¡± was Germanized to ¡°A Chance for the Playboy,¡± and ¡°A Spot of Trouble¡± became ¡°More Champagne for the Ladies.¡±<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">The show¡¯s premise was ingenious and irresistible: Mundy was cooling his heels in San Jobel Prison when Noah Bain, head of the secretive SIA spy agency, offered Al a get-out-of-jail card on the condition that he thieve for the government. Bain, played with gruff authority by Malachi Throne, regularly dispatched Al to glamorous European locales to steal secret formulas, defense papers, kidnapped scientists, and whatever else the SIA needed to appropriate in the interest of national security. Naturally, Mundy found time to purloin more than a few feminine hearts along the way. The result was a unique blend of crime and espionage that set the show apart from anything else on the television landscape.<span> </span><o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">Wagner¡¯s charisma was, of course, integral to the show¡¯s appeal. He was 38 when the series debuted (though he looked a decade younger), and had matured from the callow actor of the early 1950s into a versatile and sophisticated performer. Wagner¡¯s physical grace allowed him to convincingly handle the show¡¯s action imperatives ¡ª scrambling cat burglar fashion up and down buildings, throwing down with international spies and criminals, and sweeping an endless succession of nubile females off their lovely feet. Wagner maintained an unimpeachable cool in and out of trouble, and had few equals in the art of repartee. The show¡¯s writers gave him plenty of opportunities to showcase the latter ability. Here¡¯s a typical example from the Season One episode ¡°When Thieves Fall In¡±: <o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">Alexander Mundy: ¡°</span></em><em><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%;">What happened?¡±</span></em><em><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p /></span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%;">Charlene Brown: ¡°Chloroform with a vodka chaser.¡±<o:p /></span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%;">Mundy: ¡°You¡¯re not supposed to spray that stuff on yourself!¡±<o:p /></span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">Malachi Throne provided brilliant support as Noah Bain, a gruff, tough badass with no compunctions about sending Mundy into the most desperate and dangerous circumstances; yet who invariably had Al¡¯s back when the chips were down. The series¡¯ guest stars were the cream of the Hollywood crop, from seasoned veterans like Ida Lupino (¡°Turnabout¡±) to promising newcomers like Susan St. James (¡°It Takes One to Know One¡±) and Bill Bixby (¡°To Steal a Battleship¡±). The series¡¯ creative DNA also boasted clever, literate scripts; inventive direction; quality production values; and Dave Grusin¡¯s hipper-than-hip theme tune. Throughout its three-year run, <em>It Takes a Thief</em> effortlessly blended action, suspense, humor and style into a potent televisual cocktail that retains its intoxicating appeal four decades after its debut.<o:p /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p /></span> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <p style="line-height: 150%;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><o:p> </o:p></span></p> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/4817-IT-TAKES-A-THIEF-COMES-TO-DVD-IN-GERMANY.html#extended">Continue reading "&quot;IT TAKES A THIEF&quot; COMES TO DVD IN GERMANY "</a> Tue, 03 Aug 2010 10:18:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/4817-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ DEAN BRIERLY REVIEWS TWO FILMS BY ANTHONY MANN https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/150-DEAN-BRIERLY-REVIEWS-TWO-FILMS-BY-ANTHONY-MANN.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/150-DEAN-BRIERLY-REVIEWS-TWO-FILMS-BY-ANTHONY-MANN.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=150 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=150 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <p> </p> <p><strong><img height="110" width="110" style="border: 0px none; float: left; padding-left: 5px; padding-right: 5px;" src="/fbe/uploads/brierlyportrait.serendipityThumb.JPG" /></strong></p> <p> <strong>RETR0-ACTIVE: THE BEST FROM THE CINEMA RETRO ARCHIVES<br /></strong></p> <p><strong>Our Man Brierly turns his sights on a couple of key films in the career of director Anthony Mann</strong></p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>Anthony Mann¡¯s filmmaking career lasted nearly three decades, during each of which he mastered a different genre. He came to prominence in the forties with a string of film noirs (1948¡¯s Raw Deal and 1949¡¯s Border Incident but two among many) that rivaled Hitchcock¡¯s for style, suspense and hard-boiled atmosphere. In the fifties, Mann applied his noir sensibility to a series of lean, hard-bitten Westerns starring James Stewart, Winchester ¡¯73 (1950) foremost among them. As the sixties dawned, Mann proved himself one of Hollywood¡¯s most adept directors of big screen blockbusters with the likes of El Cid (1961) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). Linking such disparate films and genres was Mann¡¯s trademark blend of narrative-driven visuals and keen psychological insight. <br /><br /><img height="110" width="78" src="/fbe/uploads/anthonymann.serendipityThumb.jpg" style="border: 0px none; float: left; padding-left: 5px; padding-right: 5px;" />Although never regarded as an auteur during his lifetime, his films were popular at the box office and generally well received by critics, his last two features being notable exceptions. Both The Heroes of Telemark (1965) and A Dandy in Aspic (1968) have long been considered failures. The former is a war film about Norwegian resistance fighters; the latter one of the bleak spy thrillers common during the sixties. Intriguingly, Mann invests both films with a paranoid tone reminiscent of the nail-biting noirs he cut his teeth on during his first Hollywood decade. A close reading of the films also reveals their stylistic and thematic consistency with his previous, more celebrated work. Now that both are available as Region 2 DVDs, it¡¯s time for a long-overdue reappraisal.<strong> </strong></p> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/150-DEAN-BRIERLY-REVIEWS-TWO-FILMS-BY-ANTHONY-MANN.html#extended">Continue reading "DEAN BRIERLY REVIEWS TWO FILMS BY ANTHONY MANN"</a> Sun, 09 May 2010 17:57:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/150-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ STING LIKE A BUTTERFLY: MEIKO KAJI¡¯S WANDERING GINZA BUTTERFLY FILMS https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/3467-STING-LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY-MEIKO-KAJIS-WANDERING-GINZA-BUTTERFLY-FILMS.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/3467-STING-LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY-MEIKO-KAJIS-WANDERING-GINZA-BUTTERFLY-FILMS.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=3467 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=3467 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <div style="width: 450px;" class="serendipity_imageComment_center"><div class="serendipity_imageComment_img"><img width="450" height="646" 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span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-unhide:no; color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:purple; mso-themecolor:followedhyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /<strong> Style Definitions </strong>/ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif"><span>Actors in Western cinema may, if they¡¯re lucky, achieve fame for a recurring role in a particular series of films. Basil Rathbone remains for many the definitive Sherlock Holmes. Sean Connery will always be Bond, James Bond. And Dirty Harry is still Clint Eastwood¡¯s most indelible screen incarnation. But such career-defining roles generally come around only once in a Hollywood film actor¡¯s career.<o:p> </o:p></span></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif"><span>Not so in Japanese cinema, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, when it was common for an actor to be associated with multiple iconic screen characters. Indeed, for some performers, it was almost the norm. The amazingly prolific Shintaro Katsu not only played the blind swordsman-samaritan Zatoichi in 27 films and a long-running TV series, he also starred in the 16-film <i>Akumyo </i>(or Bad Reputation) series, as well as the <i>Hanzo the Razor</i> trilogy. Action stars Ken Takakura and Sonny Chiba were similarly renowned for playing more than one recurring character.<o:p> </o:p></span></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif"><span>But this phenomena wasn¡¯t limited to men. Matching her contemporary male peers in serial stardom was Japan¡¯s greatest female action icon, Meiko Kaji, who starred in four <i>Female Convict Scorpion</i> films, two <i>Lady Snowblood</i> films, five <i>Stray Cat Rock</i> films, and two <i>Wandering Ginza Butterfly</i> films. Kaji¡¯s screen persona was perfectly suited to such movies. Although not physically imposing, she projected a tensile inner strength that lent credibility to the strong, independent heroines she portrayed. She could dole out violent retribution with style and fury, but her characters were never overtly cruel¡ªand they always adhered to a rigid moral code that included compassion for the weak and disadvantaged. Despite her astonishing beauty, Kaji (much like the French actor Alain Delon) never traded on her looks, exuding an emotional aloofness that seemed to preclude any interest in conventional notions of screen romance. This enigmatic reserve hinted at a dark sensibility, which, coupled with her unique combination of femininity and fearlessness, proved beguiling to film audiences during her heyday, and helps account for the widespread cult admiration she enjoys to this day.<span>?</span><o:p> </o:p></span></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif"><b><span>Wandering Ginza Butterfly (1971)<o:p /></span></b></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif"><span>Kaji had already made a name for herself with several <i>Stray Cat Rock</i> movies for Nikkatsu, but when that studio shifted to soft-core production in 1971, she immediately switched to Toei. Her first film for her new studio was <i>Wandering Ginza Butterfly</i> (1971), in which she plays Nami, a beautiful gambler and ex-girl gang leader just out of prison after serving time for the murder of a yakuza kingpin. Back on the streets, she returns to her old haunts in Tokyo¡¯s Ginza section, where she forms a fast friendship with a charismatic pimp named Ryuji, gets her a job as a hostess at a posh nightclub, and has a family reunion of sorts with her uncle, who agrees to let her live in his billiard hall. Nami is determined to go straight, but eventually finds her good intentions unraveling in Ginza¡¯s decadent, crime-ridden milieu. <o:p /></span></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif"><span><o:p>?</o:p></span></font></p><br /><p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><span><font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif"></font><o:p /></span></p> <br /><a href="/fbe/index.php?/archives/3467-STING-LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY-MEIKO-KAJIS-WANDERING-GINZA-BUTTERFLY-FILMS.html#extended">Continue reading "STING LIKE A BUTTERFLY: MEIKO KAJI¡¯S WANDERING GINZA BUTTERFLY FILMS"</a> Wed, 15 Jul 2009 17:34:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/3467-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ PHOTOGRAPHING MARILYN MONROE IN "THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH" https://www.google.com//fbe/index.php?/archives/2484-PHOTOGRAPHING-MARILYN-MONROE-IN-THE-SEVEN-YEAR-ITCH.html Dean Brierly /fbe/index.php?/archives/2484-PHOTOGRAPHING-MARILYN-MONROE-IN-THE-SEVEN-YEAR-ITCH.html#comments /fbe/wfwcomment.php?cid=2484 0 /fbe/rss.php?version=2.0&type=comments&cid=2484 nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro) <div class="MsoNormal"><span><b></b><b><i></i></b></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span><b><i></i></b><o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span><b>Documentary photographer George Zimbel was in the right place at the right time the night a subway vent and a white dress conspired to immortalize Marilyn Monroe¡¯s considerable physical charms.<o:p /></b></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span><b>?<o:p /></b></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span><b>By Dean Brierly</b></span></div><div class="MsoNormal">.</div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span><b></b></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span><b></b></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span><b><o:p /></b></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span><b></b></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><div style="width: 450px;" class="serendipity_imageComment_center"><div class="serendipity_imageComment_img"><img width="450" height="711" src="/fbe/uploads/cinemaretrosevenyearitch.jpg" /></div><div class="serendipity_imageComment_txt">Marilyn in classic mode in Zimbel's photo titled &quot;The Flower&quot; (Photo copyright George Zimbel. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission) </div></div><span><b>?<o:p /></b></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span><b>?<o:p /></b></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>When Marilyn Monroe stood atop a New York City subway grating¡ªher white dress billowing above her waist as co-star Tom Ewell looked on with lecherous intent in director Billy Wilder¡¯s <i>The Seven Year Itch¡ª</i></span><span>she was already established as the era¡¯s most potent sex symbol. But the film, and the subway imagery in particular, forever enshrined her as the screen¡¯s quintessential love goddess.</span>The scene was originally filmed during the early morning hours of September 15, 1954, at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street. Heavily publicized beforehand, it attracted a thousand or more spectators like iron filings to a magnet. Also on hand were Monroe¡¯s husband, Joe Dimaggio, scores of photographers, and a sizeable contingent of New York¡¯s finest called in to maintain order. Under Wilder¡¯s relaxed but firm direction, the lead actors undertook repeated takes exiting the famous Trans-Lux Theater and exchanging flirtatious banter until the magic moment when Monroe¡¯s dress is blown heavenward, revealing her million dollar legs and¡ªscandalously for the era¡ªwhite underpants.The scene¡¯s repercussions were immediate and enduring. The combination of Monroe¡¯s exhibitionism and the crowd¡¯s loudly libidinous response resulted in reams of publicity for the film, helping to make it the biggest box office hit of 1955. But it also spelled the end of Monroe¡¯s brief marriage to Dimaggio, who was more than unhappy at what he perceived as a public transgression of the bounds of decency and decorum. The scene was eventually re-shot under controlled studio conditions (ostensibly because crowd noise rendered the location footage unusable) and toned down, with Monroe¡¯s dress never rising much above her knees. However, the overtly sexual nature of the original shoot lived on in the film¡¯s promotional ads and in photos reproduced around the world.</div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>?<o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>Among the photographers gathered to record the history-making scene was a 25-year-old stringer for the PIX photo agency named George Zimbel. Although not a particular fan of Monroe, Wilder or the ensuing film, he jumped at the chance to cover the event. His memories of that night remain undimmed by the intervening decades. Zimbel was especially struck by the charged atmosphere generated by the crowd¡¯s anticipation, even though he was under no illusions about the underlying reason for the shoot. ¡°I hate the term ¡®photo-op,¡¯ but this was certainly the most important photo-op ever staged, notwithstanding George W. Bush landing on a battleship,¡± he says.</span><span> <o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>?<o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>But such considerations vanished when Monroe arrived round about midnight in that famous white dress. (A dress that Zimbel says did ¡°wondrous things as she moved.¡±) Initially, Wilder ran Monroe through a number of warm-up poses over the grating until he was satisfied she had the physical aspects of the scene nailed. It was during these warm-ups that the 20 or so photographers (among them Garry Winogrand and Elliott Erwitt) were allowed to take pictures. Monroe played to the onlookers as much as the cameras, and Zimbel recalls their shocked delight each time her dress flew up and revealed more of her than the public was used to seeing.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal">.<span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span></span><span> <o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span><span></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="serendipity_imageComment_center" style="width: 450px;"><div class="serendipity_imageComment_img"><img width="450" height="703" src="/fbe/uploads/marilynandbilly.jpg" /></div><div class="serendipity_imageComment_txt">Marilyn and Billy Wilder (Photo copyright George Zimbel. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission) </div></div><span><span>?</span><o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span>Though they came early in his career, Zimbel¡¯s images of the event already demonstrated his hallmark combination of cinematic flair and emotional depth. Referring to these dual (but not incompatible) impulses, Zimbel says, ¡°It is the way I see. I have the greatest respect for filmmakers. They are magical image-makers. I am not magic. I try to be real.¡±</span><span> <o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"></div> <div class="MsoNormal">Zimbel¡¯s photographs (particularly the sequence on page 85) graphically celebrate Monroe¡¯s indelible physical charms while also revealing additional contextual layers¡ªher joy in performance, her awareness of being sexually commodified, and her complicity in and control of that process. Even after getting kicked off the set for photographing during a take, Zimbel continued to make evocative images from behind the police line. His astute use of a silhouetted foreground figure in ¡°Serious Marilyn¡± subverts the actress¡¯ public image by suggesting the vulnerability and isolation that often dominated her off-screen life.</div> <div class="MsoNormal"></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>Born in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1929, Zimbel began his photographic career at 14, was published in <i>Life</i></span><span> magazine at 19, and joined PIX at 20. He also studied that year at the New York Photo League with John Ebstel, who proved to be a pivotal early influence. ¡°Ebstel let the honest man out of me photographically, and that man is compassionate and respectful of his subjects, a hallmark of the Photo League philosophy,¡± Zimbel says. ¡°Respect is not a valuable commodity these days, exploitation is more popular, but that is who I am.¡±</span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>?<o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>The Monroe series represents but one chapter in a career inclusive of numerous photo essays for major publications and corporations; solo exhibitions in the United States, Canada and Spain; life membership in ASMP; and induction into the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. Now 79, Zimbel and his wife Elaine live in Montreal, Quebec. He still feels a connection to the images he made on Lexington Avenue back in 1954, and has no regrets about not trying to capitalize on them at the time. ¡°They are now in nine major museum collections and have been in many exhibitions as well as private collections,¡± he says. ¡°That makes me happy.¡±</span><span><o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span>?<o:p /></span></div> <p class="MsoNormal"><span><i>Note: This article previously appeared in the September 2008 issue of </i></span><span>Black and White<i> magazine. For purchase information on Zimbel¡¯s Monroe pictures, contact John Cleary Gallery, Houston, TX. Phone: 713-524-5070; email: info@johnclearygallery.com<o:p /></i></span></p> <div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">?<o:p /></span></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">?<o:p /></span></div> Wed, 12 Nov 2008 12:41:00 +0000 /fbe/index.php?/archives/2484-guid.html http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/