Cabaret

June 25, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, HISTORY, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Bob Fosse) (1972) Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 24 June 2021 Inspired by the Weimar work of Christopher Isherwood, Cabaret is perhaps the last great movie musical. A brilliant rendering of the last days of chaotic democracy in Germany, the long shadows of Nazism entering stage left, the Kit Kat Klub becomes a trope for the death of heady, insouciant decadence, about to be replaced by something far more depraved. Fosse’s direction is faultless, as are the period feel and production values. The cast is superb, led by Liza Minnelli, perfect as the brash and wide-eyed Sally Bowles, an American…

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

May 27, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by John Ford) (1962) We accept violence in the defense of life, liberty or country, on the sports field, or in delivering the brutal, hurtful truth. We get all of this, in various forms, in John Ford’s most intriguing film.  When it first came out, the critics hated it – ‘dull’ and ‘predictable’ was the general consensus. But after one gets over the shock of James Stewart playing a young law student, or John Wayne wooing young-enough-to-be-his-daughter Vera Miles, we can see that this film is really a classic, the Monolith of all westerns*, focused on the genre’s key…

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À bout de souffle (Breathless)

March 26, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jean-Luc Godard) (1960) (Adelaide French Film Festival, 25 March 2021) “Roughly speaking, the subject will be the story of a boy who thinks of death and of a girl who doesn’t.” So said the Director, and that is not a bad summary of a shallow but hip tale of ne’er-do-well Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a Humphrey Bogart wannabe who is more like James Dean, acting like the poor kid In the Ghetto (of Marseilles): he borrows a gun, and steals a car, [and shoots a cop], and he tries to run but he don’t get far…Needing cash to fund…

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Out of the Past

February 22, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jacques Tourneur) (1947) (Script by Daniel Mainwaring (“Geoffrey Homes”) from his 1946 novel Build My Gallows High, with uncredited revisions by Frank Fenton and James M. Cain.) Before we review this complicated, compelling film, first allow us to modestly refer you to our discussion: what is Film Noir? Furthermore, in the spirit of commercial DVDs, can we clear away some preliminaries?  Don’t you hate it when, having purchased a film with your hard-earned, you then have to suffer some minutes of being lectured against pirating and illegal downloads? Or trying to disable the o-so-welcome options of surtitles (in…

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What IS film noir?

January 28, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Black Film: It’s perhaps more of a style than a genre, the descendant of German expressionist films of the 1920s such as Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922) and Pandora’s Box (1929), along with American gangster films of the 1930s , and crime and detective stories (published in France as série noire; then roman noir, and, on film in the 1940s and 1950s, film noir). There are homages or ‘neo-noirs’ (Chinatown, Marlowe (1969), Night Moves (1975)) and parodies (The Long Goodbye (1973), and The Big Sleep – the 1978 version, of which Lauren Bacall, asked if she had seen it, said…

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