Bogie56

Your Favourite Foreign Language Films from 1959

695 posts in this topic

Here is what I had to say about two of my listed films that no one else mentioned:

David Golder (1931) - French drama from director Julien Duvivier. Harry Baur stars as the title man, a vastly wealthy and powerful financier and dealmaker. He's as ruthless as he is successful, and as the film begins, he refuses to help his former business partner get out of a jam that will leave him broke. The distraught man commits suicide, an act which causes Golder to slowly begin taking stock of his own life, particularly the spendthrift ways of his wife Gloria (Paule Andral) and his spoiled daughter Joyce (Jackie Monnier). As Golder's health begins to deteriorate and his fortunes fade, he learns how those around him truly feel. Also featuring Jean Bradin, Jean Coquelin, Camille Bert, and Charles Dorat.

 

This was the sound film debut for both director Duvivier and star Baur, and they craft a moving character study, an examination of what drives powerful men, and what the outcome of such a life can be. There are some rough patches, such as visible crew shadows and obvious miniature effects, but not enough to sink the film. This movie makes a nice addition to any list of films concerning the idle rich and the downfall of "big" men.   7/10

 

Source: FilmStruck.

 

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The Lady and the Beard (1931) - Amusing Japanese comedy from director Yasujiro Ozu. Okajima (Tokihiko Okada) is a bearded, old-fashioned champion at kendo (a Japanese form of fencing), and he's idolized by the many younger fans of the sport. But Okajima's conservative ways make him virtually unemployable and a social outcast when not in the arena. He chances upon Hiroko (Hiroko Kawasaki), a nice girl being threatened by female mugger Furyou (Satoko Date). After rescuing Hiroko, Okajima begins to realize that he must change his lifestyle if he is to ever find love and contentment. Also featuring Choko Iida, Ichiro Tsukida, Toshiko Iizuka, and Takeshi Sakamoto.

 

This has the gentle humanity of Ozu's best films, even if the script is too uneven to rank among those. Okada is terrific as the complicated Okajima, at once frightening and buffoonish, and also relatable. Kawasaki is sweetly endearing, and Iizuka is fine as the sister of a fan who helps Okajima fit into the modern world. Date seems to be playing the same character she did in Ozu's Walk Cheerfully.   7/10

 

Source: FilmStruck.

 

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My top FF films of 1932 of the 6 that I have seen are ….

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1.  Boudo Saved From Drowning (1932) Jean Renoir, France

2.  What Scoundrels Men Are! (1932) Mario Camerini, Italy

3.  The Blue Light (1932) Leni Riefenstahl, Germany

4.  Vampyr (1932) Carl Theodor Dreyer, Germany

5.  The Living Dead (1932) Richard Oswald, Germany

 

and I’ve also seen …

The Blood of a Poet (1932) Jean Cocteau, France

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1932

  1. Fanny, Marc Allegret, France
  2. Vampyr, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Germany
  3. Wooden Crosses, Raymond Bernard, France
  4. Poil de carrote/The Red Head, Julien Duvivier, France
  5. I Was Born, But..., Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
  6. Boudu Saved from Drowning, Jean Renoir, France
  7. No Blood Relation, Mikio Naruse, Japan
  8. The Blood of a Poet, Jean Cocteau, France
  9. Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
  10. The Mistress of Atlantis, G.W. Pabst, Germany
  11. Wild Rose, Yu Sun, China

 

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Weak year, but I managed to find three passable films from three different countries.

  1. I Was Born, But... - Yasujiro Ozu - Japan
  2. The Blood of a Poet - Jean Cocteau - France
  3. Vampyr - Carl Theodor Dreyer - Germany
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1. Vampyr Carl Theodor Dreyer Germany

2. I Was Born, But...  Yasujiro Ozu, Japan

3. Boudu Saved From Drowning Jean Renoir, France

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1.) The Bartered Bride, Max Ophuls, Germany

2.) Boudu Saved From Drowning, Jean Renoir, France

3.) Vampyr, Carl Theodor Dryer, Germany

4.) I Was Born But.... Yasujiro Ozu, Japan

5.) The Blood of a Poet, Jean Cocteau, France

6.) Fanny, Marc Allegret, France

 

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The 1933 National Board of Review foreign language film winners included …

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Ivan (1932) Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Russia

Poil de Carotte (1932) Julien Duvivier, France

The Blood of a Poet (1930) Jean Cocteau, France

The 1934 National Board of Review foreign language film winners included …

The Blue Light (1932) Leni Riefenstahl, Germany

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Michael Gebert’s Golden Armchair Award for the 1932 foreign film was …

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I Was Born, But … (1932) Yasujiro Ozu, Japan

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Here are my thoughts on a handful of titles that I've seen that others didn't list.

No Blood Relation (1932) - Silent Japanese melodrama from director Mikio Naruse. An actress who found fame and fortune in Hollywood travels back to Tokyo to reclaim the daughter that she abandoned years before. However, the child has been raised by her father's second wife, and considers her her real mother. The actress and her petty criminal brother resort to kidnapping to get the child back. This was decent, and prefigures Naruse's later work as the premiere Japanese director of "women's pictures".    (7/10)
 

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Poil de carotte (1932) - aka Carrot Top aka The Red Head, French drama from director Julien Duvivier about a dysfunctional family. Mother Catherine Fonteney dotes on her eldest son, tolerates her daughter, but treats her youngest son (Robert Lynen) with contempt, only referring to him as "poil de carotte". His father (Harry Baur) barely speaks to anyone, so the boy gets into mischief to alleviate his boredom and misery.

This is a good examination of a family dynamic in ruin, with the young (unwanted) boy trying to make it through the 2 months of summer break until he can return to the relative sanity of boarding school. Baur is very good, as always.   (8/10)

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Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth? (1932) - Silent Japanese comedy-drama with an unwieldy title, from Shochiku and director Yasujiro Ozu. A group of four male buddies are barely making it through college when one of their number (Ureo Egawa) has to drop out and take over his father's large company. His three underachieving friends all come to him seeking jobs, a proposition that he is more than happy to facilitate. However, their relationships may suffer irreparably from the change in status. Also featuring Kinuyo Tanaka as the bakery girl Egawa loves, Tatsuo Saito, Haruro Takeda, Ryotaro Mizushima, Chishu Ryu, Takeshi Sakamoto, and Satoko Date in a funny scene as a prospective wife.

Although still working in the silent film medium, Ozu is close to cementing his particular film style with this enjoyable outing. The cast are all good, with special notices for Egawa, Tanaka, and Saito as Egawa's quietest friend. The theme of after-graduation reality hitting hard is a universal one. Ozu continues his early penchant for placing American film posters in his sets, with one for Million Dollar Legs featured here.  (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck.

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Wild Rose (1932) - Silent Chinese drama from director Sun Yu. Little Phoenix (Wang Renmei) is the feisty young daughter of a poor fisherman. She dreams of moving to the big city, but when circumstances force her to do so, she doesn't find the paradise she was expecting, instead struggling to survive amidst crushing poverty. Also featuring Jin Yan, Han Langen, Ye Juanjuan, Zhang Zhizhi, and Zheng Junli.

I'm unfamiliar with old Chinese cinema; I think I've only seen 3 films from that country made before 1960. The techniques are somewhat primitive, but director Sun Yu had studied filmmaking in America before returning to China and helping to kickstart their short-lived Golden Age. I thought the performances were fine, and I liked seeing the pre-war Chinese settings, but the story seemed to drag. There were also rough patches visually, but any pre-war Chinese films have survived by a miracle, so I shouldn't complain.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

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My review of Die Verkaufte Braut/ the Bartered Bride-

Very good Weimar era opera film by Max Ophuls (who later went on to direct Earrings of Madame De... and other famous classics). The plot is from the Smetana opera set in 1855 about two couples who secretly love are in love with the other couples pairing while their parents disapprove. Of course, being a comedy, everything will work out for everyone and we get a spectacular scene where animals are let loose in the town circus. The singing from lead Jarmila Novotna was very good but the picture quality of the version I saw uploaded on YouTube was pretty lacking. The costumes and recreated sets of a 19th century Bohemian village were very astounding as well. Overall it was a good film. (8.5/10) Source: full film available on YouTube

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What Scoundrels Men Are! (1932) Mario Camerini, Italy.  I saw this film at the Toronto Cinematheque as part of a Vittorio De Sica retrospective.  He stars with Lia Franca.  Chauffeur, De Sica is smitten by shopgirl, Franca.  To impress her he pretends that his boss' car is his own and convinces Franca to go with him on a drive in the country.  They go to a country tavern and look to be falling in true love when De Sica is called away.  He says he will be right back but ends up in a road accident thereby stranding Franca in the middle of nowhere.  He then spends the rest of the film trying to convince her that he is not the scoundrel she thinks he is.  It reminded me of a Joel McCrea/Miriam Hopkins type of film from the same period.  De Sica shows real talent in an early role.  After making four films in two years, Lia Franca retired after Scoundrels.  She did so to marry film director, Mario Sequi.  According to Wikipedia, Franca was the first actress to speak in an Italian sound film.

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I saw Leni Reifenstahl's The Blue Light back in the day of video rental shops, which I miss by the way.  Reifenstahl had become a star of Arnold Franck's genre of mountaineering films.  Here she stars and directs.  It is a rather silly fairy tale with Leni playing a feral woman whom the locals think is a witch.  She impulsively climbs the nearby mountain when the moon is full.  I won't give away too much else but will say that it was a fun watch.

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Yes, that was an odd, distinctly German subgenre, that of the mountaineering film. 

I can't get over how young De Sica looks up there in that Scoundrel pic.

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10 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Yes, that was an odd, distinctly German subgenre, that of the mountaineering film. 

I can't get over how young De Sica looks up there in that Scoundrel pic.

i know.  I'm watching General della Rovere again right now which is the mature De Sica that we all know.

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On January 13, 2018 at 6:22 AM, Bogie56 said:

5.  The Living Dead (1932) Richard Oswald, Germany

220px-Unheimliche-geschichten-1932.jpg

My memory of the Gothic German horror film, The Living Dead is a bit hazy.  I gave it two out of four stars so I guess I was not that impressed by it.  It is basically a series of Edgar Allan Poe short stories stitched together.  But it does feature the rather bizarre star of The Golem (1920), Paul Wegener.

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My top FF films of 1933 of the 6 that I have seen are ….

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1.  The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) Fritz Lang, Germany

2.  Quatorze Juliet (1933) Rene Clair, France

3.  Don Quixote - the French version (1933) G.W. Pabst, France

4.  Viktor and Viktoria (1933) Reinhold Schunzel

5.  Laughing Heirs (1933) Max Ophuls, Germany

and I’ve also seen …

Zero For Conduct (1933) Jean Vigo, France

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My list -

1.) Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Fritz Lang, Germany

2.) Little Toys, Sun Yu, China

3.) Zero for Conduct, Jean Vigo, France

4.) S.O.S Eiseberg, Leni Reifenstahl, Germany

Short films I've seen

Las Hurdes, Luis Bunuel, Spain

Films I'm not going to rate

Victory of Faith, Leni Reifenstahl, Germany 

 

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  1. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse - Fritz Lang - Germany
  2. Zero for Conduct - Jean Vigo - France
  3. Liebelei - Max Ophüls - Germany
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In French the Fritz Lang title sounds like "Docteur m'abuse" or "Doctor abuses me". I wonder whether that was done on purpose.

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1933

  1. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Fritz Lang, Germany
  2. Dragnet Girl, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
  3. La tete d'un homme aka A Man's Neck, Julien Duvivier, France
  4. Zero for Conduct, Jean Vigo, France
  5. Passing Fancy, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
  6. Every-Night Dreams, Mikio Naruse, Japan
  7. Apart from You, Mikio Naruse, Japan
  8. Woman of Tokyo, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
  9. Japanese Girls at the Harbor, Hiroshi Shimizu, Japan
  10. Ecstasy, Gustav Machaty, Czechoslovakia

At 44 minutes, I'm not sure if Zero for Conduct counts as a feature or a short.

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6 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

At 44 minutes, I'm not sure if Zero for Conduct counts as a feature or a short.

Anything 40 minutes or longer counts as mentioned in the OP.

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17 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

My list -

4.) S.O.S Eiseberg, Leni Reifenstahl, Germany

 

Films I'm not going to rate

Victory of Faith, Leni Reifenstahl, Germany 

Whenever you have the time, or the inclination, would you care to say a little something about these two? I know Riefenstahl, but I'm unfamiliar with both titles, and I'm curious about why the one is ranked but not the other, although I would guess the latter film is one of her more, ummm...patriotic films? 

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7 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Whenever you have the time, or the inclination, would you care to say a little something about these two? I know Riefenstahl, but I'm unfamiliar with both titles, and I'm curious about why the one is ranked but not the other, although I would guess the latter film is one of her more, ummm...patriotic films? 

I'll go into more detail when I write my reviews for what I watched but S.O.S. Eisberg is a "With Byrd at the South Pole" type adventure film about explorers in the Arctic. Victory of Faith is one of her early documentaries I looked up because her others are listed on the 1001 Movies and TSPDT lists as worth viewing. The cinematography was good but I am of part ashkenazi descent and would not feel comfortable rating it.

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2 minutes ago, Gershwin fan said:

I'll go into more detail when I write my reviews for what I watched but S.O.S. Eisberg is a "With Byrd at the South Pole" type adventure film about explorers in the Arctic. Victory of Faith is one of her early documentaries I looked up because her others are listed on the 1001 Movies and TSPDT lists as worth viewing. The cinematography was good but I am of part ashkenazi descent and would not feel comfortable rating it.

I understand. I feel the same way about Triumph of the Will and even Olympia, both of which I watched for the 1001 Movies to See list.

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