Wednesday, August 11, 2010

James Mason

Over the last year or so I have become a big fan of James Mason. What a deadly combination of a beautiful face and a magnificent voice!

My favourite James Mason films (in order of preference) :

Odd Man Out (Carol Reed, 1947)
Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956)
Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962)
North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959) : I wish he had more lines in this one. "That wasn't very sporting, using real bullets!"
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophuls, 1949)
Caught (Max Ophuls, 1949)

Plays to Movies

Saw three movies adapted from plays in the last couple of days. Unfortunately all three were extremely disappointing. I haven't read any of the plays though.

The Night of the Iguana (John Huston, 1964) : Generally a good hand when it comes to literary adaptations this one by Huston was baffling and, well, boring and pretentiously so. The opening scene in which Richard Burton has a nervous breakdown (or whatever that is) in the church was pretty good though.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mike Nichols, 1966) : This was actually good enough but may be I was expecting much more given its reputation as a classic. The B/W cinematography (by Haskell Wexler) was quite good though, specially given that most of the action happens indoors.

Tea and Sympathy (Vincente Minnelli, 1956) :  Supposed to be a critique of socially constructed masculinity, this is awfully dated. Almost embarrassingly ridiculous.

Hangover Square

Pretty terrific stuff. Bleak, claustrophobic (like being trapped inside one's mind) but also compelling and compulsively readable. Now I need to find out the dvd or the torrent.

Wonderful trailer of the great 60's film Point Blank. Lee Marvin's finest hour!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Film Log

Films watched last week:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher, 2008): 2/5. Not distasteful like Forrest Gump but boring nevertheless.

9 Songs (Michael Winterbottom, 2004): 1/5. Boring pornography with insipid rock music. Only good thing is that it lasts only slightly more than an hour.

To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, 1944): 5/5 (Rewatch). Typically Hawksian. A Masterpiece.

The Earrings of Madame De... (Max Ophuls, 1953): 5/5 (Rewatch). A perfect film. Note to self: don't be hasty in judging someone as shallow.

The Treasure of Sierra Madre (John Huston, 1948): 4.5/5 Saw it again after a long time. Was surprised how much of it had stayed with me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Favourite Court Room/Trial Films

Anatomy of a Murder (Otto Preminger, 1959)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Dreyer, 1928)
Witness for the Prosecution (Billy Wilder, 1957)
The Ox-Bow Incident (William Wellman, 1943)
Twelve Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957)
Inherit the Wind (Stanley Kramer, 1960)
Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1958)
The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock, 1957)
Young Mr Lincoln (John Ford, 1939)
Fury (Fritz Lang, 1936)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no questions and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected. As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given, Philosophy, though ubable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect."

- Bertrand Russell

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just finished reading the book. The film is much better in my opinion. For one thing, the character of Keyes and his relationship with Walter is much more developed and complex in the film version. The scene where Keyes rambles on about suicide statistics is lifted as it is from the book though.
Quietly scribbling away in some dark corner of internet : recording the banal and boring and meaningless act of resistance, that is, living this life.