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 deepens. Behind her tweed skirts and pale complexion, Sapphire was … Continue reading Bigotry & Bloodshed: SAPPHIRE (1959)

Three Reasons to Spend Time with Cleopatra Jones

Decades before Wonder Woman made her feature film debut and the all-female Dora Milaje fighting force was introduced to movie audiences in BLACK PANTHER (2018), Tamara Dobson was winning hearts and kicking-ass with her powerful portrayal of Cleopatra Jones. Released by Warner Bros. in 1973, CLEOPATRA JONES was the studio’s big-budget response to a slew of popular black-led films dominating the box office (helmed by … Continue reading Three Reasons to Spend Time with Cleopatra Jones

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 Instead of dodging an attack they are preparing to rob a bank and their military uniforms have been replaced by civilian clothing. These masked figures are the stuff of nightmares and … Continue reading EQUAL SHARES FOR ALL: THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (1960)

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 a second time, Bannion has to rely on his brawn, … Continue reading LOSEY LET LOOSE: THE CRIMINAL (1960)

MY MELANCHOLY VALENTINE: DANS PARIS (2006)

Love is complicated. Some see it as a priceless gift or blessing while others describe it as an unshakeable disease. It can be comforting, enriching, elevating, thrilling and divine. It can also be messy, unruly, feral, ferocious and cruel, particularly if you are suffering from acute depression. In Dans Paris aka In Paris (2006), French filmmaker Christophe Honoré (Ma mère aka My Mother [2004], Les chansons d’amour aka Love Songs [2006], Les Bien-Aimés aka Beloved [2011]) introduces us to … Continue reading MY MELANCHOLY VALENTINE: DANS PARIS (2006)

10 Fun Facts About THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1952)

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (’52) is available to stream on FilmStruck until October and if you haven’t seen this science fiction classic it’s a terrific opportunity to get caught up with one of the most acclaimed genre films released during the 1950s. If you have already seen it, you’ll find that it’s a great movie to revisit thanks to the snappy dialogue, solid cast … Continue reading 10 Fun Facts About THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1952)

CREATIVE COLLABORATION: JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. (1988)

When Jane Birkin (Blow-Up [1966], Wonderwall [1968], La Piscine [1968], Don Juan (or If Don Juan Were a Woman) [1973], Je t’aime moi non plus [1976], Death on the Nile [1978], La Belle Noiseuse [1991])) was getting ready to celebrate her 40th birthday in 1986 she confessed to filmmaker Agnès Varda, that she had reservations about growing older. Varda, who was almost 60-years-old at the time, told Birkin that she was about to enter a wonderful phase in … Continue reading CREATIVE COLLABORATION: JANE B. PAR AGNÈS V. (1988)

Fear of Flowers: Under the Blossoming Cherry Tree (1975)

“Without people, a forest of cherries in full bloom is not pretty, just something to be afraid of.” – Ango Sakaguchi Although typically described as a horror film, Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (1975) defies simple categorization. This grisly adult fairy tale, currently streaming on FilmStruck, is a strange amalgam of traditional Japanese theater, folktales, ghost stories, social commentary, anti-war sentiment, dark humor and existential philosophy based on … Continue reading Fear of Flowers: Under the Blossoming Cherry Tree (1975)

JOAN BENNETT: FRITZ LANG’S MUSE

Joan Bennett got her start in Hollywood as a lovely, demure, fair-haired ingénue but made her mark as a sexy, feisty, dark-haired femme fatale. Her transformation was atypical in Tinseltown where many natural brunettes such as Carole Lombard, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Jayne Mansfield, found success after becoming bottle blonds. Bennett’s makeover happened during the production of Trade Winds (1938), an amusing crime-drama where she plays … Continue reading JOAN BENNETT: FRITZ LANG’S MUSE

UNDER THE VOLCANO (1984) WITH ALBERT FINNEY

One of my favorite actors is presently getting the red-carpet treatment at FilmStruck; “Starring Albert Finney” is a new theme that presents a batch of Finney’s films for your enjoyment including Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), Tom Jones (1963) and A Man of No Importance (1994). If you’re new to Finney it is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with one of Britain’s finest exports and if you’re a longtime fan like myself, it’s a … Continue reading UNDER THE VOLCANO (1984) WITH ALBERT FINNEY