The Charge at Beersheba

October 28, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, Classic Film, FILM, HISTORY |
Painting by George Lambert (c/-Australian War Memorial)

Painting by George Lambert (c/-Australian War Memorial)

31 October, 1917: That late afternoon saw the last great cavalry charge in history. The Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade staged a ridiculously audacious and brilliant wheeze that routed the opposing forces of the (once truly great) Ottoman Empire. This bit of derring-do cleared the way for the taking of Gaza, and allowed British forces under General Allenby to enter Jerusalem, the first Christian occupier since the Crusades. Allenby had worked out that Beersheba (in Ottoman Palestine) was critical to overcome, in order to advance on, inter alia, Damascus.  But there were fortifications and well-manned, 9 feet-deep trenches, held by Turkish soldiers who were…

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La La Land / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

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(La La Land directed by Damien Chazelle) (2016) (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg directed by Jacques Demy) (1964) I’ve not been to Los Angeles for years but the town stays in the memory. It’s full of brand identification – Sunset Blvd., the Chinese Theatre, the film studios, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Beverly Wiltshire, The Viper Room…the beaches! The hills! The outlets! The orange smog! Emma Stone (the fresh-faced, bug-eyed lass from Birdman) is Mia, a waitress with dreams of stardom. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz bore par excellence, struggling away in obscurity. She has dud auditions; he has to play 80s horror-tunes at parties. Girl…

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Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Novel)

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By Henry Farrell. The critic Judith Crist said, “the guignol is about as grand as it gets”. Film buffs, was Crist talking about Henry Farrell’s short novel, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” or the 1962 film which it inspired?  Neither.  She meant the film “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte’ which Farrell co-wrote with Lukas Heller, the screenwriter for “Baby Jane”.  But Baby Jane Hudson is more gothicly horrifying on a good day than Charlotte and her lot on a Halloween killing spree. Blanche Hudson, a beautiful and feted film star of the 30s and 40s, has spent twenty dreary years in a wheelchair after suffering a spinal injury.  Her sister Jane shares Blanche’s gloomy Beverley…

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Zulu

August 17, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, HISTORY, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
"The Defence of Rorke's Drift" by Alphonse de Neuville (1879-90)

"The Defence of Rorke's Drift" by Alphonse de Neuville (1879-90)

(Dir. Cy Endfield) (1963) This episode in the Anglo-Zulu War pitted some 4,500 against about 150, which shows how important fortifications (strategically useless) can be tactically decisive. The film is a pretty good treatment of the heroic skirmish, in which 11 Victorian Crosses were garnered, and great and good actors display stiff upper lips on both sides: we single out for praise Stanley Baker as the leader of the British defence (a much nicer role than his slimy turn in Accident), Michael Caine as the second in command, the wonderfully named Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead… …Nigel Green as the stern, stout Colour-Sergeant,…

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Martin Landau: Mission Complete

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