Bicycle Thieves

December 23, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Vittorio De Sica) (1948) To glue posters to walls around ration-bound post-war Rome, a man needs a bike.  When that bike, obtained with pawnbroker money, is stolen, the man is driven to desperate measures.  A simple lesson in how adverse circumstances can break anyone, filmed and played naturally and without sentimentality.  A classic.

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Love Serenade

December 22, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Comedy Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Shirley Barrett) (1996) There is simply something fundamentally wrong with Dimity and Vicki-Ann, lonely-heart sisters in Sunray, Queensland, back of nowhere.  Why the wheelchair?  Why the obsession with lounge lizard Ken Sherry?  Why are they so obviously mad as hatters?  Why does Sherry eat no fish yet has a giant marlin mounted on the wall?  Why all the casseroles left on his doorstep? Why did he leave big time radio and TV in Brisbane?  Why does he quote “Desiderata” (with due respect to Max Ehrmann, the most pretentious farrago ever twaddled)? Are there killer fish or black holes in…

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December 22, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Peter Glenville) (1964) Henry II raises his Saxon friend to Archbishop against his friend’s very advice and then asks: who will rid me of him?  Adapted from the Anouilh play, this is terrific, brilliantly shot and souped-up by Richard Burton as Becket and Peter O’Toole as the King.  Burton captures the saint’s worldliness and stoic integrity that seduced and then baffled his monarch; O’Toole makes Henry authentic, likeable yet murderous.  

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The Apartment

December 22, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Billy Wilder) (1960) David Shipman (“The Great Movie Stars” 1982) wrote the best thumbnail review for this: “bitter-sweet, tragical-comical, sordid and sad”.  Jack Lemmon gives an immortal performance as the heel who finds his spine in the last reel, an insurance schmuck who lets superiors use his handily located apartment for sexual rendezvous, till he falls in love with Big Boss Fred MacMurray’s latest conquest. Only when midnight chimes on New Year’s Eve does she realize she loves him back.  Features great, authentic playing by MacMurray as the ogre (Mr Sheldrake), a lovely turn by Shirley MacLaine as the…

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 (dir. Richard Attenborough) (1993) “We read to know we are not alone”…so we appreciate the intellectual tug of love between lonely but accomplished Clive Staples (Jack) Lewis of Magdalen College, Oxford and lonely precocious poet Joy Gresham (“the Jewish Christian Communist American”) in this simple, sad and beautiful film, easily Attenborough’s best (and a lot shorter than his Oscar acceptance speech for Gandhi, or so it seems). William Nicholson adapted his earlier TV and film scripts with additions based in part on the lovely book by Joy’s son, Douglas (“Lenten Lands”) and the script is wondrous – tasteful, literate and…

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