Collective Birthday Cake

January 22, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM, Poetry |

22 January finds a number of salient birthdays: Lord Byron, 22 January 1788 The Great Romantic Poet, the great romantic, beloved of Goethe. “I may not overlap the eternal bar Built up between us, and will die alone, Beholding with the dark eye of a seer The evil days to gifted souls foreshown, Foretelling them to those who will not hear. As in the old time, till the hour be come When Truth shall strike their eyes through many a tear, And make them own the Prophet in his tomb.”  (The Prophecy of Dante) Conrad Veidt, 22 January 1893 A…

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

January 21, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Luis Buñuel) (1972) As a card-carrying petit bourgeois, wishing in vain to join the haute bourgeoisie, I write in fearful admiration of this film and of the sublime, formless way in which it communicates its comedy of terrors.  For whom amongst our class does not relish that arcane and secret ceremony known as the luncheon or dinner party?  What a delight – to dress, eat, drink, prattle before friends and show-off…so many comforting displays of mouths and hands…there is no more delightfully bourgeois ritual than that! Now to apply the black smudges to our painted drawing-room comedy: the six fashionable friends…

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“No overheads” – Joseph Losey

January 14, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Joseph Losey (January 14, 1909 – June 22, 1984) directed some absorbing films (The Boy With Green Hair, The Go-Between, A Doll’s House, Galileo) and two masterpieces, The Servant and Accident. After The Servant was rescued from a dusty shelf and became celebrated (at least, critically) around the world, Dirk Bogarde threw a party at the Connaught.  In his book, Snakes and Ladders, he recalls the director Basil Dearden kneeling at Losey’s feet and asking him “…how could I make a film like this?…How should I even start?”  Losey replied “Sure I know. Shall I tell you? Well; first of all…

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“This time I know our side will win”

January 10, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Paul Henreid (10 January 1908 to 29 March 1992) Henreid crept through Hollywood in a long career, but he stands tall in two divine Hollywood soapies made during World War II. After declining to sign the Nazi loyalty oath and skipping his native Austria, he became becalmed (like Victor Lazlo) till he obtained papers as an émigré to America. He repaid them with interest in two films: Casablanca, where his rousing of the orchestra in Rick’s Café to play the Marseillaise in defiance of gathered Nazi and Vichy officers was one of the greatest propaganda tools in film history, and Now, Voyager, where he…

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Remembering Peter

August 2, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, LIFE |

Peter O’Toole (2 August 1932 to 14 December 2013) Peter was one of the great British drunks of stage and screen (he was born to play Jeffrey Bernard), with enough star power to bedazzle even the full moon in Connemara.  We remember him on his birthday with affection (but not complete admiration – see below). He is terrific in Becket (1964) as Henry II, with fellow legendary drunk Richard Burton; and his off-the-wall, ecstatic approach ignites The Ruling Class (1972), (where he plays a man playing, in turn, Jesus and Jack the Ripper).  He is superb as megalomaniac film director Eli Cross in The Stunt…

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