Monday, August 10, 2009

Old Movies on a Sunday





Hectic work, frustrations at work and a strange feeling of emptiness within were all forgotten on Sunday as yours truly went on a cinematic voyage through some classics.
I saw the following movies yesterday:
Wages of Fear-French
Branded to Kill-Japanese
Rebel without a Cause-English
Singin' the Rain-English.

Each movie in the list deserves a separate blog post as a review. Currently I am limiting myself to brief summaries.
Wages of Fear-Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter Van Eyck, William Tubbs, VĂ©ra Clouzot.
Directed by-Henry James Clouzot.
The movie directed by Henry James Clouzot is a slow haunting psychological case-study of the fears and unfulfilled desires of mankind, coupled with lust for money and women. An unnamed Lain American country, an oil-field operated by an American conglomerate, a rag-tag bunch of vagabond-like characters, two truckloads of nitroglycerine. How is that for a plot? The movie is shot in monochrome and the first hour progresses in introducing us to the characters. Then the challenge of transporting two truckloads of nitroglycerine across 300 miles of rugged terrain. Two drivers for each truck. You have got to see the movie to experience the fears, tensions, courage that the actors portray. A scene where a truck almost falls into a ravine as a wooden bridge breaks is brilliantly shot. Do both trucks reach their destination? Do all the four drivers survive? Watch the movie for answers. The movie deserves five stars!
Branded to Kill-Jo Shishido, Mariko Ogawa, Koji Nanbara, Mari Annu
Directed by-Seijun Suzuki
This was indeed a special movie. I had purchased this dvd almost a year ago, inexplicably I never viewed it. The movie is a real treat for its visual appeal, symbolism-imagery and slick editing. The striking aspect is that the visual appeal holds greater value as the movie was shot in monochrome. You have obsessed women, disturbed-assassins, thrilling chases and shootouts, strange imagery of dead butterflies and birds, a couple of explicit sexual encounters with abundant nudity. An anti-hero who sniffs boiled rice for sexual arousal. The movie is a bit difficult to understand but never loses its tempo. Condemned in Japan on release the movie has since built a cult-following and served as inspiration to many directors like John Woo. Deserves 5 stars but I was put off by the nudity and I guess language is a barrier. So I give it 4 stars.
Rebel without a Cause-James Dean, Natalie Wood, Corey Allen, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper
Directed by-Nicholas Ray
James Dean why did you die so young? The movie showcases the acting skills of James as a teenager who tries hard to fit in the scheme of normal American life. Shot in colour the movie serves as a mirror of American society in the fifties. Life was about status in society, how to present and conduct oneself so that society would look up to you. The movie is set in a time-frame of 24 hours. from getting arrested for drunkenness, to joining a new high-school, a fight, a racing challenge, an inadvertent death, fleeing from home and once again another inadvertent death.
Frustrations in society that are universal. A must-watch for all teenagers and their parents. Sometimes parents never understand kids and many a time kids end up living a life that their parents envisage for them! Five stars for James and the gang!
Singin' in the Rain-Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell
Directed by-Stanley Donnen and Gene Kelly
The all-time favourite seen long back on TNT. The movie describes the transition of Hollywood from the silent era to the musical talkie. A sweet little movie with elaborate sets, songs and dance. A romance woven into it. A star who falls for small-time artiste. Great lines, beautiful songs, awesome tap-dancing, some really funny lines. Watch this on a rainy day with your beloved beside you. Five stars again!

1 comment:

Shadow in the Moonlight said...

Haven't seen any of these movies... I want to see singin in the rain though.

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