The Lost Weekend

February 21, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Billy Wilder) (1945) An early Wilder classic; one of the first great Drunk Films, and one that has hardly dated in its universal relevance. A middle-aged drunk can recover an awful lot of esteem by calling himself “a writer” (as this reviewer knows). In The Lost Weekend, Don Birman (Ray Milland) is a ‘drunk-called-writer’, who gives his brother Wick (Philip Terry) and his girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman) the slip, so he can carve-out a few days to write that novel about his battle with the bottle.  But since Don always struggles with paperwork, he decides to just hit…

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The Miracle of Beethoven

February 16, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC |

Painting by Josef Danhauser (1840) of Liszt playing to an audience of Dumas, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Paganini, Rossini and Marie d'Agoult. They are almost all regarding the bust of Beethoven beyond the piano

(December 1770 to 26 March 1827) There are 4 true giants of the classical canon, in whose shadow all remain. Bach, the master of complex form, is miraculous (though sometimes mercilessly boring). Mozart followed the rules (except, according to some, when he put in “too many notes”) but his dazzling musical talent, emotional intensity, daring and deep humanity brought classical music to the wider world.  Wagner conceived of a new world of musical drama, and so created a new book of rules. But before the new rules, the old ones had to be broken. And work done that gloried in…

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Slaughterhouse 58

February 14, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY |

We recall the bombing of Dresden on 13-15 February 1945 By then, the War had reached a point where cruelty and violence was indiscriminate, a mad point born of seemingly ceaseless battle. And Auschwitz had been ‘discovered’ shortly before. And Dresden did have some sorts of military value as a target.  And the German army were fighting a spirited rear-guard action. “And so it goes.” “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall…

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Kirk Douglas

February 6, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, Ulalume |

(1916 – 2020) Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, his new name suited him down to the ground: he was one of the post-war film types who looked like businessmen (like Burt Lancaster). He formed his own production company in the 1950s and was instrumental in bringing works and talents to the fore (he gambled in giving script work to blacklisted Dalton Trumbo; he saw the potential in Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and took it to Broadway in 1963). As an actor, he was a strong presence; at times, he was almost too intense.  That drive worked very well…

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The Irishman

February 3, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Martin Scorsese) (2019) We watched Marty’s film, “The Irishman,” We watched it long into the Morn, And all we can say, regrettably, Is that it was One Big Yawn. He takes lots of bits from other films, Some of which were made by him, Wedding, baptism from “The Godfather“, He much from “Goodfellas” doth limn. There’s some nonsense baked-in from “JFK“, (Dave Ferrie’s eyebrows are absurd), There’s a heap of expository dialogue But we now can’t remember a word. Production values are uneven, The aging just doesn’t ring true, It all seems to play by the numbers, The ladies…

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