The Recipe for a Perfect Film: Ernst Lubitsch’s <em>To Be or Not to Be</em>
DVD/Blu-ray / The Classics

The Recipe for a Perfect Film: Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be

Throughout the studio era of Hollywood, classic films were generally limited by the tight constraints of the Production Code. Married couples couldn’t share a bed, kisses were light pecks interspersed with completely unrelated, unsexy conversation, and politically subversive material was absolutely not tolerated. While numerous directors were forced to make artistic concessions (either by the … Continue reading

Roman Polanski’s <em>Knife in the Water</em>: Triangles to the Nth Degree
Film / Film Reviews / The Classics

Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water: Triangles to the Nth Degree

The motif of triangles in Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water… Gah! Who am I kidding? If anyone tried to write on the literal and figurative triangles in this film, they’d wind up in the madhouse with printed-out screenshots plastered all over their cell walls and tiny red threads lacing even madder triangles together. Suffice it … Continue reading

DVD Review: <em>Kitty Foyle</em>(1940) from Warner Archive
DVD/Blu-ray / Film / The Classics

DVD Review: Kitty Foyle(1940) from Warner Archive

Kitty Foyle (Ginger Rogers)–a working-class girl born and raised in Philadelphia, where the lines between the classes are distinctly drawn and adhered to rigidly–does the unthinkable: she falls in love with a “Main Line” boy, Wyn Strafford (Dennis Morgan), for whom she works as a typist. Though Wyn loves her in return, he faces immense pressure from … Continue reading

Anthony Mann’s <em>The Tin Star</em> (1957)
DVD/Blu-ray / Film Reviews / The Classics

Anthony Mann’s The Tin Star (1957)

Deep vistas. Narrow minds. That’s the visual and thematic takeaway from The Tin Star (1957), one of director Anthony Mann’s finest achievements. Bounty Hunter Morg Hickman (Henry Fonda) rides into town with a dead outlaw slung over his horse’s back. From the very first dolly move, as the camera swings around to capture his horse’s slow … Continue reading

Technicolor Dream: John Ford’s <em>Drums Along The Mohawk</em>
DVD/Blu-ray / The Classics

Technicolor Dream: John Ford’s Drums Along The Mohawk

As remarkable as 1939 is in the history of film, there is only one director who accomplished a hat trick that year. Iconic Western director John Ford crafted three films in that 12 month period which accomplished  feats that any other director would take a lifetime to achieve. He re-invented–and defined– a genre with Stagecoach, … Continue reading

DVD Review: Boris Karloff in Peter Bogdanovich’s TARGETS (1968)
DVD/Blu-ray / The Classics

DVD Review: Boris Karloff in Peter Bogdanovich’s TARGETS (1968)

Peter Bogdanovich is the closest the American cinema has gotten to having a Jean-Luc Godard or François Truffaut figure:  a hybrid of film critic and filmmaker.  After writing books on directors such as John Ford, Orson Welles, and Alfred Hitchcock, Bogdanovich moved to Los Angeles and began working for Roger Corman.  The bargain basement producer … Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: 3:10 to Yuma
DVD/Blu-ray / Film / Film Reviews / The Classics

Blu-Ray Review: 3:10 to Yuma

In March of 1953, the late Elmore Leonard published his story Three Ten to Yuma in the pulp publication Dime Western Magazine. He eventually sold his story to Columbia Pictures. With an adapted screenplay by Halsted Welles and directed by the great Delmer Daves (Destination Tokyo, Dark Passage, Jubal), Leonard’s pulp fiction western has become … Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: THE DRIVER
DVD/Blu-ray / The Classics

Blu-Ray Review: THE DRIVER

Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978) is the spiritual predecessor to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011).  Both are minimalist neo-noir thrillers about unnamed anti-heroes who are solely defined by their professions as getaway drivers.  Both use their stripped down plots and vaguely defined characters to house formalist engines that are fueled by the films of the great Jean-Pierre Melville.  Yet, … Continue reading