Our Best (& Worst) Australian Films

October 29, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Classic Film, FILM |

"The Devil's Playground"

THE BEST DOZEN: OUR LIST Bliss (1985) (Directed by Ray Lawrence) [“After Harry Joy dropped dead… his life was never the same again.” Hell is real! Ray Lawrence creates a totally original rendering of the Peter Carey novel, as good as his next film (see below) is not, with evocative and surreal touches and a great turn by Barry Otto as fallen adman Harry Joy.] The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) (Directed by Peter Weir) [It gives “Mo-Town” a whole new meaning. No-one got this when it came out, a jet-black comedy of mythic, small-town, country-dark Australia.] The Castle (1997) (Directed by…

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21 August – Birthday Cake for Filmfolk

August 21, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Image by Kgayhart

We don’t suggest film-makers are horses, but several interesting players celebrate birthdays today… 1892: Charles Vanel Charles was the whispery menace of films of the 1940s and 1950s, most memorably in The Wages of Fear (above) and To Catch a Thief (below). 1924: Jack Weston His career didn’t have many highlights, but as Elaine May’s corrupt and needy attorney in A New Leaf, he was sensational. 1930: Frank Perry He had more misses than hits, but The Swimmer, based on a story by John Cheever, was out of the top drawer: 1944: Peter Weir Probably the greatest Australian director, whose films…

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18 AUGUST – COLLECTIVE BIRTHDAY CAKE

August 19, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Classical Music, FILM, MUSIC |

18 August 1750 – Antonio Salieri His work has faded, leaving behind a (probably unfair) reputation of the poisoner of Mozart… 18 August 1920 – Shirley Schrift (Shelley Winters) The needy, blowsy slattern with a heart of gold and born to lose – Shelley’s specialty. Her great film moments: The Great Gatsby (1949), A Place in the Sun (1951), The Night of the Hunter (1955), The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), and especially Lolita (1962). 18 August 1933 – Roman Polanski His reputation has taken a battering of late, but he gets a plea in mitigation for films such as…

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“The Party of the First Part” – Jean Hagen

August 3, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Jean Hagen (born 3 August 1923) gave the performance of a lifetime as Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Lina might look dumb but she’s formidable, in fact, and a scrapper!  Witness her resistance to replacement by actresses without her fog-horn / breaking-glass voice, when she reminds the studio head of Monumental Pictures about relevant clauses in her contract:

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Our 20 Finest Films

July 13, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Classic Film, FILM |

The Varnished Culture has not been hibernating these few weeks in late June and early July. We have convened, and over many screeching, shrill, shrieking debates, several pots of coffee and several bottles of fine Jeanneret riesling from the Clare Valley, we have, with some dissents, compiled our list of the Greatest. We hope for, but do not expect, tolerance from film buffs out there. But if you can bottle the acid and lower the static, please let us have your thoughts (but be prepared to defend them!) There’s no mileage in exhaustively setting-out our Committee’s criteria, or allowing too…

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