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About MikeBSG

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  1. I just watched "The Harmonists" from 1997. This is about a six man vocal group that was very successful in the late Weimar era but had to break up after the Nazis came to power because three of the six were Jewish. A splendid movie, mixing music, humor and history. The performances were quite good, and the movie kept you guessing as to how things would turn out. It should be far better known.
  2. I just watched "The Ninth Day," a 2004 film by Volker Schlondorff. I was very impressed with it. It deals with a priest who is released from Dachau in order to apply pressure on a Catholic bishop. This was a real thought-provoking film, with terrific performances. (The guy who played the priest here played Goebbels in "Downfall.") Schlondorff did something here I've never seen before. The Dachau scenes seemed "speeded up" somehow, which gave the viewer the impression they were seen by someone in an extreme emotional state. I have never exactly seen something like that (perhaps the cl
  3. I just remembered a noir classic that I think is overrated. "Leave Her to Heaven." I've read so many good things about it, how it is noir in color, and how the drowning scene is so chilling, and when I saw it in a theater it all seemed incredibly phony and the audience laughed in all the wrong spots. Zero chemistry between Cornell Wilde and Gene Tierney. A complete dud.
  4. I saw "The Lives of Others" last night at a theater. Unfortunately, they switched two of the reels, which made things a little annoying and wrecked some of the suspense. Still, this was a very good film. What struck me was that it wasn't afraid to have a complicated plot, with several characters pulling in different directions, and there were things planted at the start of the film that paid off down the line, such as the "Sonata." It is rare to see detail like that in an American film these days. There was a discussion after the movie (which was shown in connection with a college's hu
  5. I've read a lot of passionate commentary about "Laura." Was it really directed by Otto Preminger, or was it really directed by Rouben Mamoulian? Wouldn't Laura be better off with Shelby than with Mark? etc. etc. And I've seen "Laura" and have thought, it's okay. I just can't get into that movie with the passion it seems a lot of other people have. As I mentioned on another thread, "Out of the Past" doesn't live up to its hype with me, but I admit the dialogue is good. "I don't want to die either, but when it comes down to it, I'm dying last." "Murder My Sweet" is another one that
  6. "Mephisto" is wonderful. It held me spellbound when I saw it back in 1984 or so. Istvan Szabo is a fine director. I also liked "Colonel Redl" very much, and I liked "Hanussen," although that hardly got any release in the US. "Taking Sides" was a film he did in English a few years ago that hardly got released yet was extremely well done. I also liked his "Meeting Venus," which is also in English. What has Klaus-Maria Brandauer been doing lately? I haven't seen him in anything since "White Fang." I assume he returned to Germany and Austria, but I've not seen any films with him lately.
  7. I've never seen "Punishment Park," but I think it is by the British director Peter Watkins and is about a future repressive society. Watkins directed "The War Game," a film about nuclear war in the Sixties, and he has usually made historical films like "Culloden" and "The Commune." I think most of his films were originally made for British television? I think "Punishment park" may be on DVD in Britain with a set of Watkins' works.
  8. I liked "Downfall" a lot, although I know there are people who hate the movie. I was fortunate enough to see it on the big screen. The place was packed, about 130 people, mostly college students, and you could hear a pin drop. (And this was a theater, not a classroom situation.) People even left the theater in silence and didn't really start to talk until they reached the parking lot. It is an engrossing and punishing experience. Bruno Ganz is terrific as Hitler. He captures the consuming hatred and charm of the character. If it weren't for Ganz, the film wouldn't work as well as
  9. I've remembered two other French films I like. "La Marsailles" directed by Jean Renoir. Terrific, perhaps the best film ever about the French Revolution (the big events of the Revolution. "Nuit de Varennes" is fine, but it avoids the big events.) "La Ronde" directed by Max Ophuls. I'd like to see this one again. It is elegant and charming (and I know they cleaned it up from the original play.)
  10. The French films I like are "Bizarre, Bizarre," "Children of the Paradise," "Wages of Fear," "Rififfi," "Eyes Without a Face," "Alphaville," "Weekend," "Going Places," "La balance," "La Nuit de Varennes," "La Femme Nikita." I saw "Germinal" recently and liked it very much as well.
  11. The original "Rollerball" is very good. It really arouses the visceral feelings in the audience. I remember a friend and I saw it in the 80s, and we really got caught up in the games/battles. Again, it is an example of the dystopian SF film of the Seventies that "Star Wars" did away with. When darker SF films returned in the 80s, they were "tech noir" and seemed more action oriented than their Seventies predecessors.
  12. "A Clockwork Orange" is simply a masterpiece. "Westworld" is also very good, and can be seen as a predecessor to "The Terminator" in some ways. (Gee, nobody sued about it, however.) "Time After Time" was a charming film. Ironically, you didn't mention "Star Wars" or "Close Encounters of theThird Kind," which changed the direction of movie SF from mostly dystopian visions to more cheerful and special effects driven. I've never seen "Silent Running," which a lot of people praise a lot.
  13. I always thought that the Knights in "The Natural" were an Arthurian reference, with Roy Hobbs' bat as something like Excalibur.
  14. It is a very good movie. Caine and Connery are terrific, and the cutting of the bridge scene has always stayed with me. The film doesn't seem to fit into the cinema of the late Seventies, which is when it came out, but it still managed to make a mark, which shows how good it is.
  15. I watched "Carlton-Brown of the F. O." and had a blast. It is a Boulting Brothers satire on British diplomacy, aparently akin to "I'm All Right, Jack" and "Heavens Above." It was very clever, and the crisis seemed a bit like a mix of Cyprus and Cuba. The cast was very capable, and Raymond Huntley gave an awful cliche ridden speech as if it were pearls of wisdom from on high. (The film had a scathing view of the U. N. by the way.) A must for all Terry-Thomas fans.
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