War Starts at Midnight!

É, nem lacrimejei. Art Goes On Forever – A Tribute to The Archers Nota: Faltaram Elusive Pimpernel, The Battle of the River Plate, Oh… Rosalinda!!, Ill Met by Moonlight, One of Our Aircraft Is Missing e Spy in Black, alguns destes compreensivelmente porque não foram devidamente restaurados e seria covardia colocar perto de Narcissus eContinuar lendo “War Starts at Midnight!”

Black Narcissus – Bastidores

Wohlbrück não pode mesmo ficar longe dessas desgraças?

Is it too late to go back to Technicolor?

Advancements in digital filmmaking are very exciting but having just seen ‘Black Narcissus’ again, is it too late to go back to Technicolor? Edgar Wright, ontem, via twitter Outro pensamento inevitável ao ver o dito cujo: por que raios os “efeitos especiais” de um filme dos anos 40 (basicamente luz, filtro e tinta) são melhoresContinuar lendo “Is it too late to go back to Technicolor?”

Michael Gough (1917 – 2011)

Top-dúzia de cortar os pulsos por ter que deixar certos filmes de fora: Nota: E o cara está no elenco de um dos filmes que mais gostaria de ver, mas o dito ainda não me chegou às mãos e nem sequer sei se ainda existe cópia em algum lugar, o único verdadeiramente dirigido pelo Pressburger,Continuar lendo “Michael Gough (1917 – 2011)”

Cem anos de Basil Dearden

Basil Dearden was born on 1 January 1911 in Westcliffe-on-Sea as Basil Dear. His youthful interest in amateur dramatics led to him entering the theatre as an actor, but he quickly moved behind the curtain to become a stage manager. In 1931 he went to work for theatre producer Basil DEAN as his general stage manager, subsequently making the same shift into films that DEAN had, joining him at Associated Talking Pictures (ATP) whereDean was studio head. He changed his name to Dearden to avoid any confusion with his boss. When Michael Balcon took over the ATP studios at Ealing, Dearden remained. During the late 1930s he worked on a number of Ealing films, including five George Formby vehicles, usually as writer or associate producer. His directing career began on three comedies featuring another of Ealing’s music hall stars, Will Hay, with Dearden co-directing with Hay.
His first solo effort was The Bells Go Down (1943), which paid tribute to the wartime heroism of the Auxiliary Fire Service. The film’s art director was Michael Relph and his meeting with Dearden marked the beginning of a remarkable collaboration which was to last nearly thirty years. As a director-producer-writer team they became the most prolific film-makers working at Ealing. It was, perhaps, their role as studio workhorses that led to a rather poor critical reputation, with commentators dismissing their work as routine, well-meaning but dull. In retrospect, this assessment of their Ealing output seems inadequate. There are films which certainly fit the 1940s Ealing ethos in terms of adopting a realist style and dealing with contemporary issues, but Dearden and Relph frequently showed a preference for subjects which raised wider moral issues. The Captive Heart (1946) is a moving POW film, whilst Frieda (1947) deals sympathetically with the prejudice facing a German woman who, through marriage, finds herself living in postwar England. The Blue Lamp (1949) tackles juvenile crime within an exciting thriller format (a technique that was to become a trademark), but is best remembered for Dirk Bogarde’s intense performance as a young tearaway. A number of their films deal with the difficulties of postwar readjustment, from the melodramatic The Ship that Died of Shame (1955), through the documentary approach of Out of the Clouds (1955), to the crime caper The League of Gentlemen (1960). The latter was made after the demise of Ealing, but within its genre narrative offers a remarkably cynical depiction of a group of ex-soldiers who find themselves discarded in postwar Britain.
However, the sober realism that predominates in these films doesn’t tell the full story of Dearden’s output in this period. Notable among his other films are the gloriously melancholy costume piece Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948), with its sumptuous colour cinematography and rich production design, and the whimsical comedy The Smallest Show on Earth (1957), which pays nostalgic tribute to the magic of film-going in a style close to the tradition of the Ealing comedies. Dearden also provided a section for Ealing’s macabre portmanteau film Dead of Night (1945). Another reason for Dearden and Relph’s poor standing may have been this eclecticism, which didn’t sit comfortably with the strictures of the auteur theory.
In the late 1950s Dearden and Relph embarked on a series of ‘social problem’ films which explicitly tackled topical themes within a deliberately audience-pleasing entertainment format, often using the crime genre. Sapphire (1959) was among the first British films to deal with racial tensions, while Victim (1961) was groundbreaking in depicting the way that homosexuals were subject to blackmail under contemporary laws. The film was credited with being central to the subsequent decriminalisation, and eventual legalisation, of homosexuality. Violent Playground (1958) again dealt with juvenile delinquency and Life for Ruth (1962) focused on an ethical clash between religious fundamentalism and modern medicine. These films, which have become intrinsically associated with Dearden and Relph, drew a good deal of criticism on the grounds that their timid liberalism failed to fully address the complexity of the issues involved, and that the attempt to frame the topics within fairly conventional storylines drained them of any sense of conflict. The recent, and more sympathetic, reassessment of their work has tended to place the films in context, showing the risks they took in making a film like Victim, as evidenced by the fact that it effectively ended Dirk Bogarde’s Rank contract.
Their later films shifted on to safer ground, but still threwup a number of interesting items including the spectacular epic Khartoum (1965) and the modest, but neatly executed, supernatural thriller The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), with Roger Moore as a dull man whose exciting alter ego is released in a car crash. In a ghastly irony,Dearden’s career was brought to a premature end when he died as the result of a car accident on 23 March 1971. Dearden’s considerable output is certainly uneven, particularly in the early 1950s, so it’s unsurprising that some critics dismissed him as all too typical of the restraint and mediocrity which has sometimes beset British cinema. However, his work has gradually been given more of the due it deserves. The sheer variety of his output shouldn’t obscure the consistency of his concern withmoral issues tackled within clear social settings.

British Film Directors: A Critical Guide – Robert Shail

Top-dúzia: Emeric Pressburger

Olha que engraçado, quando comecei a estudar os caras pensei logo: aposto que um dos dois é sagitariano. Fui ver a data do Powell e não, fui ver a do Pressburger e… é lógico. Ah, hoje também é aniversário do Fritz Lang, Walt Disney, Otto Preminger, Nunnaly Johnson e Fritz Arno Wagner. Aparentemente é umContinuar lendo “Top-dúzia: Emeric Pressburger”

24 Frames: Putting Out Fire with Gasoline

Um dos porquês do Cat People do Paul Schrader ter influência mais explícita de Powell & Pressburger do que propriamente de Jacques Tourneur. Embora exista muito em comum entre o cinema de Tourneur e de Powell (ambos aprenderam a fazer cinema na França, mas têm o expressionismo alemão como influência maior, tanto que certa vezContinuar lendo “24 Frames: Putting Out Fire with Gasoline”

Let’s have the ‘Black Narcissus’ effect here!

There were scenes in Shutter Island that made me think of Powell’s Black Narcissus and I Know Where I’m Going. ‘Exactly. The coastal elements. And the cliff scene in “Black Narcissus”. Literally, there were some shots in the film when we said, “Right, let’s have the ‘Black Narcissus’ effect here!” Martin Scorsese talks ‘Shutter Island’Continuar lendo “Let’s have the ‘Black Narcissus’ effect here!”

24 frames: Coração Indômito (Gone to Earth, 1950)

Ignoro o motivo pelo qual Gone to Earth foi um dos maiores fracassos na bilheteria de P & P, o filme é excelente – é o máximo que qualquer cineasta chegou da obra de D.H. Lawrence (embora este subtraia a condição do feminino em danação e aquele a esclareça), em especial porque nem sequer foiContinuar lendo “24 frames: Coração Indômito (Gone to Earth, 1950)”

O Seu Pior Inimigo (The Small Back Room, 1949)

The Small Back Room é brilhante em sua simplicidade – ao menos no sentido de simplicidade segundo os critérios de Powell & Pressburger, sem os habituais cenários grandiloquentes, technicolor efusivo ou grandes jornadas pessoais com toque no fantástico. É um filme pequeno, com clima e aparência de noir travestido em filme de guerra, mas queContinuar lendo “O Seu Pior Inimigo (The Small Back Room, 1949)”