Friday, December 31, 2010

Remembering the Movies, Dec. 31 - Jan. 6

Every Friday, we look back at films released 10-100 years ago this week.
Visit Remembering the Movies to further peruse the past

With the aftermath of Christmas, New Year's Day, vacations, and the slow return to the yearly grind, this week tends to be one of the weakest/slowest in any film year. So this Friday we've got an (almost) straight-to-video, several shorts, and (luckily) some interesting obscurities in the lineup (as well as a few more well-known but still relatively unheralded films, like a Walter Huston crime pic and an award-winning Hindi musical drama). Looking over the options, I almost wound up with a porno and a Christian inspirational flick - which would have been an interesting double feature to kick off the new year! At any rate, we've got a Three Stooges program, which is apropos on this day: but it's not even a Curly, sadly. Ah well, see you next week...


10 years ago (January 5, 2001; Spanish theatrical release)
"The [U.S.] direct-to-video debut of the increasingly questionable Antonio Banderas casts the aging Spanish hunk as a studly soldier-turned-priest sent by the Vatican to Jerusalem to investigate a cadaver that may be Jesus Christ. Assisted by sassy Jewish archeologist Olivia Williams, Banderas attempts to ascertain the truth about the body's origins and keep his enigmatic superiors at bay while dodging a swarm of warring factions, each with an opposing agenda and an unsavory plan for the remains. Although it's more solidly constructed and less didactic than the recent swarm of overtly Christian action movies (The Omega Code, Tribulation, Left Behind: The Movie), The Body attempts a similarly jarring mixture of action-movie mayhem and religious drama. With its high production values, duplicitous characters, and barely comprehensible intrigue, The Body resembles a flaky international thriller in which clergymen and major religions have replaced nefarious double agents and rogue nations. At least McCord is an equal-opportunity offender: Nearly every religion and faction is presented as duplicitous at best, and evil at worst." - The A.V. Club
The Body (2001)

20 years ago (December 31, 1990)
Shejari Shejari (1990)

30 years ago (January 1, 1981)

"This one and one-half hour long story takes us to the Krkonose in the middle of the tough winter. People who live there have their habits which are linked with a story about Krakonos - a good spirit of the hills, who protects innocent and punishes the evil ones. The life here is tough and people survives here only with the help of smugglers, who brings them food and proprieties vital for survival. Here, in the distant cottage, there live two boys with their numerous family, who believe in Krakonos so much, that they worship him at every their step. One day they see a Ski - new invention in the transport way and they immediately love it. They must have it at all costs." - Martin Macák, IMDb


40 years ago (December 31, 1970)

"Sanjeev Kumar is perhaps one of the most prolific artistes in Indian cinema. His ability to assimilate the character in him is immense. As Hamid, the hapless husband trying hard to fight back, Sanjeev has fitted like T. Rehana is an actress of her kind who even with her limited work scope has given mature and restrained performance. At the time when actresses played safe, Rehana went ahead to stun the nation with her bold and serious roles in B R Ishara’s Chetna and Dastak. The film’s ambience and depth was set right with the poignant music of Madan Mohan. Whether it’s the helpless cry of Maae Ri, or the divine rhythm of Baiyaan na dharo, subtly romantic Tumse kahoon or the ironic Bazaar, the music fitted every mood. The film fetched Sajeev, Rehana and Madan Mohan the coveted National Awards and finds mention in the top literature of Hindi cinema." - Passion for Cinema

Dastak (1970)

50 years ago (January 6, 1961)

"Something appears to have gone wrong somewhere between Broadway, where The Marriage-Go-Round sustained itself as a hit play from October 1958 to February 1960, and Hollywood, where it is just a rather tame and tedious film. There isn't a great deal of novelty or merriment in the Leslie production, which Stevens adapted from his own play." - Variety

"Who would have dreamed that anybody could make a whole play (and now a film) out of what the dancer Isadora Duncan is supposed to have said to Bernard Shaw? You know, she is supposed to have suggested that they have a child, because 'with your mind and my body, think what a person it would be!' Well, it is emeralds to rhinestones that this legend inspired Leslie Stevens to use such a suggestion from a ravishingly beautiful Swedish girl to an American college professor as the axle upon which he spun the arch and airy audacities of his popular stage play, The Marriage-Go-Round." - Bosley Crowther, New York Times

60 years ago (January 4, 1951)

"With a rating of 8.5 on IMDB at the time of this writing, I can only assume that this is a favorite of Stooges fans. Myself, I found it a fairly ordinary entry in the series; there's a few good laughs (including one involving a kettle full of hot tea and the final moment), but all in all, I thought it was business as usual. Moe does have a fun little opening gag reading a label on a crate, though." - Dave Sindelar, Movie-of-the-Day Archives


70 years ago (January 4, 1941)

"I am really shocked that a great director like Chuck Jones started out making some of the most incredibly boring cartoons I've ever seen. I did not laugh once throughout this short, and it's a Bugs Bunny cartoon, for Christ's sake! Bugs Bunny cartoons are always funny, not boring! Alas, this short turns out to be Good Night Elmer (another incredibly boring Jones short) with the addition of Bugs Bunny."
- braderunner, IMDb

80 years ago (January 3, 1931)



"Huston of course is always great — especially when he stoically faces down a whole yard full of restless prisoners — but Boris Karloff threatens to steal the whole film away from everyone in his relatively few brief scenes. This was Karloff's first major picture, and his role as the hulking murderer Galloway led directly to his famous part in Frankenstein. It's easy to see why: he brings a sinister intensity to Galloway, with his tightly cropped bowl haircut, outsized body, and an overhanging brow that casts heavy shadows over his glinting, shard-like eyes. In his early scenes as Graham's cellmate, he stays mostly in the background, an unobtrusive minor character until Hawks abruptly highlights Karloff's frightening visage in a blurry, massive closeup as Galloway fantasizes about finally getting his hands on a 'squealer.'" - Ed Howard, Only the Cinema






90 years ago (January 2 1921)

"Bunty Pulls the Strings was adapted from the immensely popular stage farce by Graham Moffat. Leatrice Joy stars as a Scottish lassie who has her hands full solving various domestic problems. Her brother Raymond Hatton faces a prison term, and she herself is in danger of losing boyfriend Cullen Landis. All ends happily with a double wedding ceremony, with Leatrice's father (Russell Simpson) not only giving the bride away but taking a bride himself. Surprisingly, comic actor James Finlayson, who co-starred in both the British and American stage versions of Bunty Pulls the Strings, does not participate in the film version." - Hal Erickson, Rovi

"Bunty Pulls the Strings stars Leatrice Joy, a silent-film actress who did her best and most popular work in comedy roles. Although Joy was a major box-office name in her own right, she is now remembered mostly for marrying John Gilbert, the leading man whose career -- more conspicuously than that of any other silent-film actor of either sex -- was ruined by the arrival of talking pictures. I've had the great delight of meeting Leatrice Gilbert Fountain -- daughter of Leatrice Joy and John Gilbert -- and listening to her reminisce about her parents and the people she's known from Hollywood's earliest days." - F Gwynplaine MacIntyre, IMDb



100 years ago (January 6, 1911)

"Chained to a cliff by his tribe after being unjustly condemned for treachery, Black Eagle dies of starvation, while Silver Moon, for love of whom he owes his predicament, listens to the pleading of Brown Fow and becomes his bride." - Richard J. Gardner, IMDb

"Red Wing was born Lillian St. Cyr on February 13th, 1883 on Nebraska's Ho-Chunk Reservation to a white father and a Ho-Chunk mother. When Lillian was four years old, her mother died. Red Wing and two of her siblings were sent off to pro-assimilation schools. Red Wing went to Carlisle Indian Industrial School; her siblings Julia and David attended Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. On April 9th, 1906 she married James Young Deer. Working together behind and in front of the camera, the couple began working on films that addressed racism, assimilation, miscegenation and cultural clashes between whites and reds." - Eric Brightwell, Ameoblog


5 comments:

Just Another Film Buff said...

MovieMan.

Apologies for not being able to catch up with the terrific work year. Bust rest assured that I'll be returning to them to kick up the dust this year. I still want to re-read your UP IN THE AIR and THE HURT LOCKER review, even though I still remember them clearly.


Here's wishing you and your family a joyful and prosperous year ahead.

Cheers my friend!

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks JAFB, to you as well!

Joe Thompson said...

I think the only items I have seen from this week's list are the Three Stooges and the Bugs Bunny. Wesley Bly, who played the genii in the Three Stooges short was very good. The title, "Three Arabian Nuts," was making fun of the 1927 "Two Arabian Nights," a buddy film starring William Boyd, who later played Hopalong Cassidy.

MovieMan0283 said...

Oddly enough, I don't think I've seen either of those shorts though I've obviously seen plenty of Stooges & Bugs programs over the years...

Sam juliano said...

My favorite Stooges shorts of all-time are: "Violet is the Word For Curly," "Micro-Phonies" and "A-Plumbing We Will Go," and any other with Curly. Few Shemps make me laugh but this one is fine enough.

Great to see that this popular series will continue, even in the wake of some necessary cut backs.

Best Wishes for the best year ever in 2011, my excellent friend!

And thank you for everything!