Visit Remembering the Movies to further peruse the past
Rudolph Valentino makes his breakthrough in a week mostly filled with interesting obscurities. An acclaimed Catherine Breillat film and a Swedish epic are the other relatively well-known films on display; otherwise we have a two-person political psychodrama, a feminist documentary, a Finnish policier, and an orangutan - which I only just learned how to spell correctly - dubbed the "Charlie Chaplin of the Jungle." Happy March...
Note: The Friday @ 8am schedule remains in force, despite this week's 12-hour delay, an inadvertent mishap. Apologies for the inconsistency; expect "Remembering the Movies" at the usual time next week and every week thereafter.
10 years ago (March 7, 2001 - French release)
"Sois belle et tais-toi (Be Pretty and Shut Up) is a documentary film by French actress and director Delphine Seyrig, shot in 1976 and released in 1981. It is available at the Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir in Paris. The film is a series of interviews with various well-known film actresses, including Jenny Agutter, Maria Schneider, and Jane Fonda. The title, which is borrowed from a 1958 film with the same name by Marc Allegret, refers to the sense the actresses have of what is expected of them by the film industry." - Wikipedia
40 years ago (March 8, 1971)
"A major focus of the film is that huge gulf between expectations and reality. Robert has a silly book that informs them how great America is: it's a place where even slaves are better off than European peasants, leading Arvid to exclaim that he'll sell himself as a slave as soon as they land. The book talks about the Carolinas and the rice barons' plantations, without explaining that most people don't get to be rice barons. Danjel, especially once the trip is underway, is a font of ridiculous pronouncements about what it's like in the United States. During many of these scenes, I couldn't help but chuckle and recall the animated film An American Tail, with its recurring lyrics "There are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese." While nobody in this film thinks the streets of America will be paved with gold, they believe a lot of things along those lines.
There are few real flaws. The music, which occurs only occasionally, is off-putting and ill-fitting, more music for a horror film than for a drama like this. Perhaps Troell and company wanted to emphasize the frankly terrifying idea of leaving your home and everything you know, getting on the first boat you've ever been on, seeing sickness and death and misery and terror, and coming to a land where nobody understands you, only to realize that your trip is only half over.
The Emigrants (1971)
50 years ago (March 10, 1961)
The Scarlet Dove (1961)
60 years ago (March 6, 1951)
"Paul Douglas is the traffic policeman who becomes a hero when his routine duties are interrupted one morning by the sight of Richard Basehart perched on a 14-storey high window ledge. Tension reaches the screaming point often as Douglas and the others try to talk Basehart back into the building, while the citizens of New York make a Roman holiday of the event. Douglas wallops his policeman role by sound underplaying. Basehart comes over solidly. Barbara Bel Geddes is his girlfriend, adding worth to the character. Agnes Moorehead scores as the selfish mother, and Robert Keith matches her excellence in his playing of the father. A romance with a nice fresh touch is born in the chance meeting of Debra Paget and Jeffrey Hunter in the crowd. Grace Kelly, drawing a divorce property settlement in a nearby building, decides to make another try at marriage." - Variety
Fourteen Hours (1951)
70 years ago (March 8, 1941)
"Although the screen has become alarmingly overcrowded with amateur detectives operating in series—fellows like Ellery Queens, the Lone Wolf, the Saint, et al.—we hardly expected to see the day when the situation would be so acute that the boys would have to turn to catching one another.
Yet that is substantially what happens in the Warners' Footsteps in the Dark, the first of a series, we are told, which introduces Errol Flynn as a sly sleuth, Yessir, Mr. Flynn actually puts the finger on Ellery Queen—or, that is to say, on Ralph Bellamy, who was Queen the last time we saw him. And if they think that's honor among sleuths (or honor among casting directors), then—But, wait a minute! Haven't we gone to work and given the whole thing away? Naughty, naughty—yes, we have!" - Bosley Crowther, New York Times
Footsteps in the Dark (1941)
80 years ago (March 7, 1931)
"Rango was one of several quasi-documentaries produced by future King Kong maven Ernest B. Schoedsack. ... Though Schoedsack dismissed Rango as 'just a little picture -- a trifle,' Paramount had other ideas, ballyhooing the film as "the greatest entertainment in the history of the screen." - Hal Erickson, Rovi
90 years ago (March 6, 1921)
"As far as the story goes, it’s a fairly standard overblown saga of forbidden romance, family feuds, and the inevitable tragedy of war — with Germans emerging as the definite baddies of the bunch (it was released, after all, just three years after the end of World War I, when sentiments were still raw). Meanwhile, the integration of a 'mystical' element into the story — embodied by a wacky neighbor (Nigel De Brulier) who foretells the coming of the 'four horsemen of the Apocalypse' (hence the film’s title) — is simply silly and heavy-handed. But Ingram has a fine directorial hand, framing his scenes carefully and adding unique visual touches — many of which are quite memorable (see stills below); and the 'DeMille'-ian amounts of money spent on the production seem to have been put to good use, given Ingram’s ability to effectively present the devastation of war (see also stills below)." - Film Fanatic
100 years ago (March 7, 1911)
"An electric current accidentally brings a female mummy back to life with decidedly romantic inclinations, much to the surprise of a young Egyptologist and his less than understanding fiancée." - IMDb
"In November 1909, [William] Garwood joined Thanhouser and was seen in his first Thanhouser film by 1910. He departed from Thanhouser in the autumn of 1911, by which time he was one of the studio's most popular actors." - Wikipedia
The Mummy (1911)