Showing posts with label 1963. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1963. Show all posts

Friday, 12 July 2013

Black Sabbath

Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath (titled I tre volti della paura in his native Italian) is a trilogy of short horror films, presented as a single feature. There is nothing to tie the three films together aside from being bookended by a rather funny and tongue in cheek Boris Karloff who also appears in the middle film. Like much of Bava’s work the film’s original Italian version differs greatly from the more widely seen American release and there’s a fantastic comparison feature on DVD releases which highlights the differences in score, props, dialogue and even ordering of the film. Personally I chose the Italian version to watch.

The Italian version is a little gorier and features a lesbian subplot which is absent from the American release. Bava’s choice to package the films in one feature at first feels strange but to be honest, I don’t think any of the stories could have been successfully stretched to make a feature in their own right and it gives a chance for some terrific tales to get a release.  

Friday, 26 April 2013

In my quest for cineliteracy, there are a number of films I’ve had earmarked for viewing for many years. To my great shame as a self confessed cinephile, I’m still yet to see Citizen Cane, Rashamon, Tokyo Story and The Bicycle Thieves amongst many others. Until today, Federico Fellini’s was also on that list. I bought the film several years ago and have had the DVD on my shelf, staring at me, longing to be watched ever since. With a few hours free this afternoon I ignored the shouts from the various light hearted comedies and action packed Westerns who also begged for a stint in the DVD player, switched on my brain and sat down for what I’d long read was a true visionary masterpiece.

Named purely based on the number of films the director had previously made (six features and three collaborations which each counted as half), Fellini’s is a sometimes impregnable film which I found difficult to stay with. The plot, which is more than a little autobiographical, concerns a famous film director, Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), who is stalled on his latest project due to director’s block. Infatuation and love cause marital problems and producers, agents and stars add to his headache with varying demands. Flashbacks and dream sequences blend seamlessly with the narrative to create an avant-garde but ultimately confusing film which also happens to be one of the most beautiful looking movies I’m yet to see.

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Birds

The Birds arrived towards the end of one of the most fruitful periods of Alfred Hitchcock’s career, at a time when he was still riding the waves of Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho. The movie, like Psycho is a horror film and to me is a clear influence on much that followed it. Young socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) meets the suave lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a pet shop in San Francisco. She becomes a little infatuated with him after a brief game of cat and mouse and decides to track him down. She finds him in the small hamlet of Bodega Bay and leaves a present of two love birds on his door step. Melanie and Mitch strike up a coy friendship much to the disliking of Mitch’s protective mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy). While Melanie is in Bodega Bay birds begin to attack people, occasionally at first but soon they have the town under siege and there is no explanation as to why.

The Birds was probably the first Hitchcock film I ever saw but I remembered little of it besides the stand out set piece scenes. It is also one of Hitch’s most parodied films (this is brilliant) and I recently saw TV movie The Girl which was based on the relationship between the film’s Director and lead actress. Now I’ve seen it again I can see that the movie has a lot going for it but I preferred Hitchcock’s earlier, tenser thrillers.