WOMAN OF STRAW (1964)

Sean Connery is celebrating his 81st birthday today so I thought it would be a great time to share my appreciation for his terrific performance in Basil Dearden’s entertaining thriller, WOMAN OF STRAW (1964). The handsome Scottish actor with a deep gravelly voice and piercing dark eyes has appeared in more than 65 films during … Continue reading WOMAN OF STRAW (1964)

Bigotry & Bloodshed: SAPPHIRE (1959)

A beautiful young woman named Sapphire (Yvonne Buckingham) has been murdered. Her bloodied corpse was found in London’s Hampstead Heath park. A seasoned detective (Nigel Patrick) and his young partner (Michael Craig) are called on to investigate the case but as they try to piece together the puzzle of this post-war whodunit the mystery only … Continue reading Bigotry & Bloodshed: SAPPHIRE (1959)

THE BRUTAL TRUTH: Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (2013)

On Sunday many will be glued to their television sets watching the annual Oscar ceremony unfold. At this time of year I tend to contemplate all the new releases I’ve seen in the past 12 months and linger over the films that have captured my imagination, awed me, inspired me, or just made me think … Continue reading THE BRUTAL TRUTH: Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (2013)

EQUAL SHARES FOR ALL: THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (1960)

The League of Gentlemen (1960) contains one of my favorite moments from postwar British cinema; a group of ex-soldiers carrying submachine guns plow through London’s narrow streets with their faces concealed behind gas masks. Instead of dodging an attack they are preparing to rob a bank and their military uniforms have been replaced by civilian … Continue reading EQUAL SHARES FOR ALL: THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (1960)

ELISABETH LUTYENS: THE HORROR QUEEN OF FILM COMPOSERS

Female film composers are a rarity but there are some wonderful examples of talented women working behind the scenes who managed to flourish under the tight deadlines imposed by film studios while creating memorable music for the movies. One of my favorite female composers is the late Elisabeth Lutyens who was born on July 9th … Continue reading ELISABETH LUTYENS: THE HORROR QUEEN OF FILM COMPOSERS

EMBRACING AMBIGUITY: FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970)

[Warning! There are spoilers on the road ahead.] The first thing that you see in Joseph Losey’s FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970) is the big black helicopter. It lingers in the sky like a giant buzzing insect or an angry bird of prey. For the next two hours, it will pursue the film’s two protagonists (Robert … Continue reading EMBRACING AMBIGUITY: FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970)

LOSEY LET LOOSE: THE CRIMINAL (1960)

While looking through the collection of Joseph Losey films currently available to stream on FilmStruck I was inspired to revisit The Criminal a.k.a. Concrete Jungle (1960), a low-budget British crime thriller about an underworld kingpin named Johnny Bannion (Stanley Baker) who organizes a high-stakes robbery that goes terribly wrong. When he finds himself behind bars … Continue reading LOSEY LET LOOSE: THE CRIMINAL (1960)

Discussing THE DEVILS (1971) with Kevin Flanagan

Kevin M. Flanagan received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 in English/Film studies (his dissertation: The British War Film, 1939-1980: Culture, History, and, Genre). A book based on this project is under contract with Palgrave (part of the Britain and the World series). Flanagan is also the editor of 2009’s Ken Russell: Re-Viewing England’s Last … Continue reading Discussing THE DEVILS (1971) with Kevin Flanagan

Introducing Laurence Harvey: House of Darkness (1948)

A few weeks ago I wrote about Anthony Mann’s last film (A Dandy in Aspic) featuring Laurence Harvey in one of his best roles. At the time I expressed how much I liked Harvey even though many critics are quick to dismiss him. His reputation has been badly tarnished over the years thanks to shoddy … Continue reading Introducing Laurence Harvey: House of Darkness (1948)

LOOKING INTO THE EYE OF THE DEVIL

EYE OF THE DEVIL (1966 aka 13) opens with an imaginative minute-long montage that reduces the entire film down to a series of disorientating images. It’s an impressive and beautifully edited beginning that you might expect to see at the start of an Ingmar Bergman film or in the middle of an Eisenstein picture and it … Continue reading LOOKING INTO THE EYE OF THE DEVIL

IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

For decades screaming was often the weapon of choice for women in action, science fiction, and horror films. We were expected to shriek, shout, yelp, whimper, squeal and squawk in the face of serious danger and (hopefully) a man would eventually come to our aide. So you can imagine how frightened I was when I … Continue reading IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

Folk Horror & Filmmaking: An Interview with Sean Garland

I recently got the opportunity to ask director Sean Garland (BANSHEE BLACKTOP, AN IRISH GHOST STORY [2016] and NOKOTAHEART [2011]) a few questions about his filmmaking career. He also generously shares some Halloween streaming recommendations for FilmStruck subscribers that should appeal to discerning horror enthusiasts. FILMSTRUCK (KIMBERLY LINDBERGS): Could you tell readers a little bit about … Continue reading Folk Horror & Filmmaking: An Interview with Sean Garland

Six Irish Tales of Terror & Imagination

Many of my favorite horror and fantasy books are short story collections or compact novelettes. Some excellent examples of this include Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darkly, which contains his chilling vampire tale Carmilla among other fright-filled stories or Oscar Wilde’s classic The Picture of Dorian Gray that runs a mere 175 pages (give or … Continue reading Six Irish Tales of Terror & Imagination

Orson Welles’s Irish Ghost Story

I love a good ghost story and some of the best ones ever written have come from the hearts and minds of Irish authors but very few of them have been adapted for the screen. Horror movies set in Ireland that feature an Irish cast are a rare commodity, which makes RETURN TO GLENNASCAUL (1953) all the … Continue reading Orson Welles’s Irish Ghost Story