Martin Landau: Mission Complete

July 17, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Martin Landau (20 June, 1928 – 15 July, 2017) The Varnished Culture will tonight enjoy a libation or two and watch one or more of his three greatest films: North by Northwest (1959) as the creepy (and deadly) apparatchik Leonard…         Or Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) a morality tale, as the tortured soul who learns to live with guilt…           …or perhaps best of all, his sublime portrayal of a moribund Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood. Vale, Martin.        

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Yul Brynner

July 11, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, MUSIC |
Yul as the Pharaoh

Yul as the Pharaoh

Yul Brynner (11 July 1920 to 10 October 1985) was a dramatic presence in a number of watchable films, including The King and I (1956), The Ten Commandments (1956), Anastasia (1956), The Brothers Karamazov (1958), The Magnificent Seven (1960), and Westworld (1973). Happy Birthday Yul. Wherever you are, we choose to believe that you are not smoking. But we choose to remember him today for his particular love of gypsy songs, in which he did not sing so much as ‘complain melodiously,’ in the Romani style: x

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The Fourth Man

July 8, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, Modern Music |

Anton Karas, born 7 July 1906 (died 10 January 1985) The famous zither man, a reluctant star whose original score and composition fitted Carol Reed’s film, The Third Man, to a tee. x There’s a lot of zither here, but it works a treat, even during the great moment where Holly Martins realises who the Third Man was… x

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Lady Macbeth

June 26, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. William Oldroyd) (2017) Leskov’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1865) is the template here, a pastoral of straitened femininity, boredom and murder that owes a bit more to Flaubert than Shakespeare or Turgenev. But not a lot – animal lust is the key here and this painterly, pretty, frankly quick little psychodrama is not a lot more than the slightly-higher trash, albeit well executed, beautifully photographed and guiltily pleasurable. We’re somewhere near the moors, in an England (Mtsensk is nowhere to be seen) wedged between Jane Austen and George Eliot, with the lovely, creaking, chilly old manor house as a major character,…

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June 13, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Sidney Lumet) (1976) It has been suggested that TV doesn’t create the rage that Network evokes. With profound respect, bull-crap!  Network is a perfect film for the mid 70s and beyond, a great tribute to anyone who has found himself shouting at Mr. Television (at the odd pundit, politician, referee, insurance salesman) from time to time. Lumet had a wonderful directorial career, but he suffered (if lack of gongs counts) from being first and foremost a director for actors and writers. Network is a grand homage to both: Paddy Chayefsky mines a bit from his script for The Hospital but here, it…

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