Friday, November 5, 2021

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Cinema '62: In Color!

Almost done. Here are five films in glorious color:

Damn the Defiant!
dir: Lewis Gilbert
pr: John Brabourne
scr: Nigel Kneale and Edmund H. North
cin: Christopher Challis

AKA H.M.S. Defiant. Based on the novel Mutiny, it's 1962's third entry in Seafaring Cinema. Alec Guinness is captain of the Defiant, concerned about his first officer Dirk Bogarde's odious sadism, something other captains have noted but, because of the man's personal societal connections, their warnings have led to their own punishments instead of his. Adds the wrinkle that the captain's son has joined the crew, and he's asked for no special treatment, and so Bogarde targets the boy, reasoning that if the captain intervenes, nepotism can be claimed. Missing the deeper psychology of Billy Budd or even Mutiny on the Bounty, the villain's actions do, I think, require another scene, further discussion, more thoughts on his sense of superiority and possible S&M kinks (à la Jolie's Unbroken).

The End of the Summer
dir: Yasujirô Ozu
pr: Sanezumi Fukimoto / Masakatsu Kaneko / Tadahiro Teramoto
scr: Kôgo Noda & Yasujirô Ozu
cin: Asakazu Nakai

A family. That's the plot, with concerns over business, marriage, death, and dad romancing his old mistress all coming into play. Boy, I gotta tell you, I've been spending a lot of time with family since April 2020 - thrice for funerals - so this movie really struck home for me. I don't know what to say about it, I think most people who know Ozu are already into it, I think those who are unfamiliar should watch and see the appeal, I personally love it. Been creeping up on me since I saw it.

Flame in the Streets
dir/pr: Roy Ward Baker
scr: Ted Willis
cin: Christopher Challis

A union man stumping for the promotion of a Black co-worker is shocked when his daughter announces her intention to marry a Black man. Five years before Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? and set across the pond (the titular flame comes from the Guy Fawkes Day bonfires). Not just a story of racial acceptance, but of valuing your own family, even with the uncomfortable revelation that one of them can use the n-word so deliberately. Reminds me of a Basil Dearden, so attentive is it to the complexities of relationships while so clearly miffed at society. 

Jack the Giant Killer
dir: Nathan Juran
pr: Edward Small
scr: Orville H. Hampton and Nathan Juran
cin: David S. Horsley

A farmboy must save a princess from a wicked sorceror. The witch sequence is genuinely nightmarish, with makeup, sound, and visual effects coming together to create a menagerie of horrifying creatures. Great work with the leprechaun, too. I don't know that's a groundbreaking landmark of great cinema, but if it thrills and horrifies and is never dull, well, that's the whole game, isn't it?

Satan Never Sleeps
dir/pr: Leo McCarey
scr: Claude Binyon and Leo McCarey
cin: Oswald Morris

Two Catholic missionaries in China butt heads with the new Communist leaders. It's not incompetently made, I just didn't care for it.

One final movie to discuss: The Interns. Find out why we've saved that one for last...tomorrow.

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