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The Razor's Edge (1946)

20th Century Fox's prestige production of 1946, a three million dollar screen adaption of the Somerset Maugham novel with every penny showing on the screen. The film's screenplay bristles with a sense of something profound attempting to be said and, while the attempts at philosophical ruminations ring hollow, the film is a constant treat for the eye with its stunning set design and the sumptuous black and white photography of Arthur C. Miller.

Tyrone Power, in his first film after a return from war service, plays Larry Darrell, a young man recently returned from the WWI battlefields, who frustrates those around him by a failure to seek serious work as he decides, instead, to travel the world in a search for a meaning for existence. His search will begin in Paris, before eventually taking him to the Far East.

Gene Tierney, at the peak of her beauty, plays Isabel, his high society fiancee who decides to wait for Power to get his search for something out of his system before he will, she hopes, be ready to settle down.

The Razor's Edge is rich in character support, with Clifton Webb outstanding as Elliott Templeman, an effete (what else?) society snob and uncle/patron of Tierney who is openly disdainful of the wanderlusting Power. A suave Herbert Marshall also scores well in a droll, bemused performance as Somerset Maugham, interacting with the various story characters but also acting as observer of their behaviour, as well.

Anne Baxter won an Academy Award as best supporting actress for her effective portrayal of the tragic Sophie, a happily married young woman who will turn to drugs and the life of a demimondaine after her husband and child are killed in an automobile accident. Power will later be determined to rescue her from her lifestyle.

Tierney's character becomes increasingly more interesting as the film progresses as she plots and connives. The actress had demonstrated her ability at playing a manipulator the year before in Leave Her to Heaven and in this film, too, she is highly effective in her selfish role. The Razor's Edge has one of Tierney's most effective  performances.

The film works well if viewed as a series of impressive set piece sequences. There is that memorable shot of Tierney in a stunning black evening gown as she sweeps down a circular staircase to meet Power waiting for her below; Power, working as a coal miner, and his encounter in a small cafe with a bitter, haunted unfrocked priest (Fritz Kortner in a small but powerful performance), also now a miner, as thunder and lightning pound the streets outside; a drug haven, mysterious and eerie, where Baxter lies prone on a couch, her head resting in the lap of an Arab dealer and lover (?).

In addition to these sequences there is the death scene of Elliott Templeman, with various principles gathered around him in his bed, as Clifton Webb breathes his last, his final words a caustic putdown on a society matron. And then there are the film's magnificent depictions of various Parisian clubs and night spots, graphically capturing their atmosphere and excitement. What a casting call for film extras it must have been on the Fox lot for these crowded scenes.

Power is sincere and tries hard in the challenging role of Darrell but in his depiction of a man who, in essence at the end, is representative of pure goodness, he is in a struggle to seem real. Power's likeability is a major selling point here as opposed to any dramatic acting triumph achieved by him.

Low point of the film is when Power meets an Indian Holy Man, played by Cecil Humphreys in a flowing long white beard. Aside from the artificiality (unlike the rest of the film) of the set design of this Himalayan sequence, Humphreys' English accent and stereotypical physical presentation of an Indian wise man is difficult to take seriously.

Director Edmund Goulding must be congratulated, though, for keeping this sprawling, lengthy (almost 2 1/2 hours) production as dramatically involving as he does. Goulding also wrote the song "Mam'selle" (which would soon become a popular hit) as a bittersweet leitmotif for Anne Baxter's doomed Sophie.

Alfred Newman's impressive, highly dramatic musical score for this film was originally created a decade before for Samuel Goldwyn's These Three. It works extremely well for The Razor's Edge, as well.

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3 out of 4

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8 hours ago, Hoganman1 said:

I caught the last hour of PATTERNS last night. They were featuring Ed Begly Sr. I had not heard of this film but enjoyed what I saw. Anyone who has ever worked for a large corporation should be able to relate. I learned at the end that Rod Serling wrote the screen play and the movie was adapted from a TV movie. Hopefully, I can find it again so I can watch it in it's entirety. 

Big corporations look nothing like this today.  The bad - Back then the most a woman could aspire to was to be the secretary of a successful white male executive. And all of the executives were white males. The good - When Ed Begley's character is being pushed out, they want to give him full retirement and benefits for life. Try that today! A cool trick some companies are doing to get themselves off the hook - selling their pensions to insurance companies. Then if the insurance company goes under for some reason, you don't even get a fraction of your pension from the Federal Pension Guarantee Fund. The company is off the hook. The government is off the hook. You are scr**ed.  Verizon pulled this trick. Evil Verizon.

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Tom, thank you for your excellent and thoughtful extended review of The Razor's Edge. Like you, I was struck by the sheer number of restaurant and nightclub scenes with all those extras. It would be easy to cut back on these scenes, film with perhaps one establishing shot and then use close-ups of the main characters, but Twentieth-Century Fox seems to have spared no expense. We get a clear sense of the world these people move in.

If I were naming the greatest actresses of the classic era, Gene Tierney wouldn't be one of the first names that came to mind, but in three great films (Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir) and one very good one (The Razor's Edge) her performances are so right that it's hard to imagine anyone else playing them as well. Three of these films depend on having a woman so beautiful that a guy immediately falls in love with her on a train (Leave Her to Heaven) or even with her portrait (Laura). In The Razor's Edge Isabel is the kind of woman who takes it for granted that every man will fall in love with her, and she goes after the one man who doesn't. Tierney is perfectly cast in this role. In the remake, Catherine Hicks looks like the kind of girl you'd feel comfortable asking out on a date--which is nice, but just the opposite of Isabel, the kind of goddess (in her opinion and yours) you could only dream about.

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On a different note, I saw the last half hour of Carry On Screaming and laughed myself silly. A guy can't always be in the mood for Eric Rohmer movies, you know? I hope TCM will be able to show more of the Carry On movies. And more Rohmer, too.

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9 hours ago, Hoganman1 said:

I caught the last hour of PATTERNS last night. They were featuring Ed Begly Sr. I had not heard of this film but enjoyed what I saw. Anyone who has ever worked for a large corporation should be able to relate. I learned at the end that Rod Serling wrote the screen play and the movie was adapted from a TV movie. Hopefully, I can find it again so I can watch it in it's entirety. 

If you can check up Criterion DVD at the library (it won't be on Blu-ray, for obvious reasons), you can find "The Golden Age of Television" which collects rebroadcast kinescopes of the major pre-"Twilight Zone" Playhouse 90 live-TV dramas that built Serling's reputation--

Patterns, Requiem for a Heavyweight, and an as-you've-never-seen-him Mickey Rooney in "The Comedian" is enough background to understand the big three Serling topics.

18 minutes ago, kingrat said:

On a different note, I saw the last half hour of Carry On Screaming and laughed myself silly. A guy can't always be in the mood for Eric Rohmer movies, you know? I hope TCM will be able to show more of the Carry On movies. And more Rohmer, too.

Screaming's one of the funnier classics (and they still managed to do a title song!), but Amazon Prime VOD has a few of the other 60's-color Carry On's for rental, if you're curious:  https://www.amazon.com/Carry-Up-Khyber-Gerald-Thomas/dp/B0029ZR4OO/

Just helping out more board members, for us clueless Yanks who thought "Are You Being Served?" invented the style.  ;)

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14 minutes ago, kingrat said:

Tom, thank you for your excellent and thoughtful extended review of The Razor's Edge. Like you, I was struck by the sheer number of restaurant and nightclub scenes with all those extras. It would be easy to cut back on these scenes, film with perhaps one establishing shot and then use close-ups of the main characters, but Twentieth-Century Fox seems to have spared no expense. We get a clear sense of the world these people move in.

If I were naming the greatest actresses of the classic era, Gene Tierney wouldn't be one of the first names that came to mind, but in three great films (Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir) and one very good one (The Razor's Edge) her performances are so right that it's hard to imagine anyone else playing them as well. Three of these films depend on having a woman so beautiful that a guy immediately falls in love with her on a train (Leave Her to Heaven) or even with her portrait (Laura). In The Razor's Edge Isabel is the kind of woman who takes it for granted that every man will fall in love with her, and she goes after the one man who doesn't. Tierney is perfectly cast in this role. In the remake, Catherine Hicks looks like the kind of girl you'd feel comfortable asking out on a date--which is nice, but just the opposite of Isabel, the kind of goddess (in her opinion and yours) you could only dream about.

Yeh, kingrat, those Parisian nightclub scenes in The Razor's Edge are remarkable for their crammed, no expense spared detail, and they remain breath taking sequences to view. You really feel like you are there.

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Of course, equally breath taking in this film was Gene Tierney, one of the most beautiful actresses of the '40s

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She appeared in a remarkable succession of outstanding films during that decade, as well:

Heaven Can Wait ('43), Laura ('44), Leave Her to Heaven ('45), Razor's Edge ('46) and Ghost and Mrs. Muir ('47).

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The last 40 minutes of "10 Cloverfield Lane" (2016)  Thank you Wikipedia for not letting me waste my time with people in a bunker with Cabin Fever.  OMG, what a lame ending, all of man's advance weapons, it only took a Molotov cocktail to take the alien along with it's ship out?

latest?cb=20171129010253

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Heh....

While channel surfing last night( nothing on TCM I cared to watch), I hit upon FOOTLOOSE('84) and my wife made a noise that indicated she wanted me to leave it there.  It was on CTM, and it has been one of her favorites for a long time.  So, I decided to give it another look as I haven't seen it for almost 30 years or so.....

I always thought the premise for it was kinda dumb.  Hmmmm... that any city or town, regardless of how big or small it was, would, in the 20th century,  pass obviously unconstitutional laws "outlawing" certain kinds of music and social activity, and have near ALL the towns folk over 21 go along with it was a stretch even STRETCH ARMSTRONG couldn't long endure.  But I'll admit, it did make for a kinda fun movie to spend a couple of hours with.  And I spent those hours trying to wrap my head around how YOUNG everybody looked in that movie!  :D  KEVIN BACON, 26 years old when he made this movie, really didn't look more that maybe 17 or 18.  And CHRIS PENN although a big guy in it, wasn't yet as bloated as he became over the years. And SARAH JESSICA PARKER, just two years out of her SQUARE PEGS sitcom was just beginning to show signs of possibly becoming sexy(well anyway, I always thought she was kinda cute  ;)  ) .  But too, I did find it kind of funny that in a town in which dancing was banned for many of the kid's formative years, those kids DID manage to dance pretty damned good.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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I watched a fair enough chunk of the HAMMER version of THE MUMMY from (I'm too lazy to imdb it) 1960ish?

This ran on the TBS SUPERSTATION ca. 1988 when I was a kid and I taped it and rewatched it often, something about the GARISH, LURID COLORS really appealed to me- and if you are a fan of whorehouse red velvet upholstery and electric blue eye shadow- HERE is the film for you.

it's sort of dull, but a more rewarding movie than the 1933 MUMMY (which I do like in spite of some failings of its own.) there are a couple of genuine jump scares in this one, congratulations to whoever decided to one-up the previous concept of the slow moving Mummy with this fast, forceful BRUTE- a veritable Jet-Li compared to most of the other film monsters in the years before and after it.

PETER CUSHING turns in a nice, morally ambivalent performance, but the Mummy make-up is not good and not scary and CHRISTOPHER LEE- while an imposing presence- looks kinda silly when the camera lingers on him.

there is also a weird little diaper-underpants thingy going on with the mummy suit that undercuts all the effort put into choreographing the movie's action scenes.

but still, not bad.

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Coonskin (1975) Neo Noirtoon
 

coonskin%2Bposter.jpg

Written and directed by Ralph Bakshi. Cinematography was by William A. Fraker, Film Editing by Donald W. Ernst and music by Chico Hamilton.

The film stars Philip Michael Thomas (Mr. Ricco (1975), Miami Vice TV Series (1984–1990), ) as Randy, Barry White (an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer and composer), as Sampson, Charles Gordone (Angel Heart (1987)), as Preacherman, and Scatman Crothers (Lady in a Cage (1964), Slaughter's Big Rip-Off (1973), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), The Shining (1980)) as Pappy.

The Coonskin was very controversial. The Congress of Racial Equality criticized the films content as being racist. When the film was released it got mixed reviews. But a New York Times review said that it could be called a masterpiece.... "Coonskin which opened yesterday at the Trans-Lux East and the Bryan is a shatteringly successful effort to use an uncommon form - cartoons and live action combined - to convey  the hallucinatory violence and frustration of American city life, specifically black city life."

It has since been re-evaluated.

Coonskin has two tales. A live action piece about two buddies Samson and Preacher Man out to rescue the third member of their trio Randy who is doing time in the "big house". They cooked up a prison break scheme. They are going to smuggle Randy a pistol. With it he's to overpower some guards at nightfall and let himself out a side door along the prison wall.

Samson and Preacher Man's part of the plan is to drive 100 mph towards the prison wall through a cow pasture. When Randy hears that car coming he is going to run out from the shelter of the wall to meet it.

The second tale is told by an old convict named Pappy (who decided to break out with Randy), while they wait and sweat it out beneath the prison wall and guard towers. The tale is an update of Uncle Remus' Tar-Baby fable. The fable is the story told in cartoon and live action of how Rabbit and his two hoodies Bear and Preacher Fox head up to Harlem after their whorehouse operation is busted, to make their bones. Rabbit is cool, Bear is good but slow, and Preacher Fox is sneaky.


The voice animators are Philip Michael Thomas as Brother Rabbit, Barry White as Brother Bear, Charles Gordone as Preacher Fox, Scatman Crothers as  Old Man Bone.

Additional Voices were Danny Rees as Clown, Buddy Douglas as Referee, Jim Moore as Mime, Al Lewis as The Godfather, Richard Paul as Sonny, Frank de Kova as Managan, and Ralph Bakshi as Cop With Megaphone.

Definitely not PC. 8/10. Full review with some screen caps in Film Noir/Gangster and more at Noirsville.

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On 10/21/2018 at 9:13 AM, Hoganman1 said:

I caught the last hour of PATTERNS last night. They were featuring Ed Begly Sr. I had not heard of this film but enjoyed what I saw. Anyone who has ever worked for a large corporation should be able to relate. I learned at the end that Rod Serling wrote the screen play and the movie was adapted from a TV movie. Hopefully, I can find it again so I can watch it in it's entirety. 

I hadnt seen it before and liked it a lot. Lots of talk, but unlike The Hunted later on in the evening. NOT BORING!

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On 10/19/2018 at 7:10 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

i tried to watch THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932) on Wednesday, but my sound went out of sync as it so often does.

it was the only KARLOFF film of the night to be offered on TCM ON DEMAND, I am kind of bummed about how few horror titles have been placed ON DEMAND this October, BUT I WATCHED IT LAST NIGHT.

The POSTAGE STAMP FORMAT that seems to plague the ON DEMAND titles annoyed me, but i rolled with it.

such an odd damn movie- a bit of a challenge to get through the first 20-30 minutes, which are salvaged by the cast- EVA "WHERE'S THE PEPPER AND SALT?" MOORE wins MVP for me, which isn't easy when you're opposite ERNEST THESIGER, but I could watch the scene where she CONSUMES her dinner with a knife and fork with pure mechanical precision on a ten hour loop- had it been her character trapped in the feeding machine-gone-haywire scene from MODERN TIMES, she'd've reduced that sucker to the scrap heap in an hour. Her character is SUCH  a wizened, spiteful, hate-filled old crone and I adore her.

the-old-dark-house-1932-3.jpg

Most Everyone else is EXCELLENT- LAUGHTON is a bit heavy at first (it was his first film) but he soon reveals the talent that would make him an enduring star, LILLIAN BOND is a charmer, MELVYN DOUGLAS is MELVYN DOUGLAS and it works, and KARLOFF THE UNCANNY stood out to me last night in his brief but memorable screen time. I really enjoy the dubbed-in sound his character makes, sounds a little like 'ablugahblahablugah.'

the only one in the cast I don't like is RAYMOND MASSEY. Sue me, but I've never liked Raymond Massey.

as a film and a story, it's constructed a bit like the haphazard series of staircases that feature in the set- zigzagging  ever upwards and seemingly none-too-sturdily at that - but the last 10 minutes are good enough to remind me of why I always sit and give this one a looksie.

Have a potato.

 

Eva Moore is hilarious in This Old Dark House.  I just watched this movie for the first time a couple weeks ago and loved it.  I'm not normally a horror movie person, but I've found that I do really like James Whale's Universal horror films.  I love the style.  I even thought Melvyn Douglas was kind of cute in this movie.  I agree with you about Raymond Massey.  

I loved the dinner scene.  Watching Moore consume her dinner was mesmerizing.  

No beds!

 

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Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). As soon as Spencer Tracy’s John Macreedy steps off the train, having arrived at Black Rock, a town the inhabitants of which you could literally count on two hands, it’s like he’s traveled back in time, from 1945, the film’s setting, to the untamed Wild West, with frontier justice, where laws don’t matter, just men, in this case one man, Reno Smith, played with controlled menace by Robert Ryan.  Macreedy is greeted with immediate hostility. He’s unable to book a room in a hotel with 100% vacancy.  When he finally secures lodging, he finds a lanky, handsome Hector David (Lee Marvin), one of Smith’s acolytes, lying in bed.  Hector interrogates Macreedy, ending every sentence with the dehumanizing “boy”, as in “This is my room, boy.” “What are you doing here, boy?” Macreedy has one arm, and as he’s going up the steps, carrying his suitcase, Hector says “You look like you could use a hand.”  These are the people who live in Black Rock.

With a tantalizing slowness, we learn why Macreedy is there.  And it doesn’t surprise. Instead, it’s a well-earned payoff.  This is a well-acted drama. It may remind some of The Petrified Forest (1936). It reminded me of High Noon (1952): individuals with other responsibilities making the hard choices to fight back against evil rather than leaving or being complicit through standing by and doing nothing.

Spencer Tracy characteristically underplays; he represents a quiet, humble decency; traits that are effective contrasts to the testosterone-soaked portrayals of Lee Marvin’s smooth upstart, and Ernest Borgnine’s wild-eyed, fanatic thug.  The topic of anti-Japanese racism must not have been easy only 10 years removed from WWII.  Also starring Walter Brennan, Dean Jagger, John Ericson, and Ann Francis as an auto mechanic (yes, and she’s very good in the few scenes she has).

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7 hours ago, Hibi said:

I hadnt seen it before and liked it a lot. Lots of talk, but unlike The Hunted later on in the evening. NOT BORING!

Yes. I recorded THE HUNTED and I didn't watch but about a half hour before I lost interest. Eddie did his best to build it up, but I found it boring too. I guess they cannot please everyone on Noir Alley. I'm sure there are some viewers that like it.

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8 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I watched a fair enough chunk of the HAMMER version of THE MUMMY from (I'm too lazy to imdb it) 1960ish?

This ran on the TBS SUPERSTATION ca. 1988 when I was a kid and I taped it and rewatched it often, something about the GARISH, LURID COLORS really appealed to me- and if you are a fan of whorehouse red velvet upholstery and electric blue eye shadow- HERE is the film for you.

it's sort of dull, but a more rewarding movie than the 1933 MUMMY (which I do like in spite of some failings of its own.) there are a couple of genuine jump scares in this one, congratulations to whoever decided to one-up the previous concept of the slow moving Mummy with this fast, forceful BRUTE- a veritable Jet-Li compared to most of the other film monsters in the years before and after it.

PETER CUSHING turns in a nice, morally ambivalent performance, but the Mummy make-up is not good and not scary and CHRISTOPHER LEE- while an imposing presence- looks kinda silly when the camera lingers on him.

there is also a weird little diaper-underpants thingy going on with the mummy suit that undercuts all the effort put into choreographing the movie's action scenes.

but still, not bad.

I like all of the Hammer films, but you're right about the costume in The Mummy. It does look like he's wearing "whitey tighties" under the wraps. 

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Ask Any Girl (1959)--The same year Doris and Rock started pairing up for romcoms, this MGM offering seems to have been lost in the shuffle.  The story is much the same as others, girl (Shirley MacLaine) heads to the big city, where she encounters not one, but three different men in her pursuit for ultimate happiness.  Here's the thing..they took the old formula and actually made it entertaining, with a few plot twists, and great cast including David Niven, Gig Young, Rod Taylor, and Jim Backus.  We follow naive' MacLaine's journey from receptionist fighting for her honor to a job with a market research company run by two brothers (yes, there's a little 'Sabrina' going on too).  Young is the charmer she wants, and Niven agrees to help her land him using basic market research..turning MacLaine into a composite of all the women Young has an interest in.  Is it sexist in it's 'gotta catch a man' plot? Sure..but, surprisingly, it avoids going overboard because MacLaine is ultimately in control, and her character does grow (we see it in her demeanor, choices, even fashions). There are funny bits surrounding MacLaine's friends and roomate, as well as her losing her clothes..I mean all of them, not what she's wearing..more than once.  Well paced, well acted--I'm surprised I've never seen this before, but it was just added to rarefilmm.com today.  A fun watch, regardless of familiar territory, I give it an 7+  Here's the link to judge for yourself:  http://rarefilmm.com/2018/10/ask-any-girl-1959/

Related image

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Thunder Island (1963).

Gene Nelson play a hired assassin who's brought to a Caribbean island country (the movie was filmed in Puerto Rico) to kill an exiled Latin American dictator.  His plan is going to be to use a chartered boat owned by an American expat who has an estranged marriage with his wife.

It's passable entertainment of the sort that in the 70s or 80s would have been a TV movie of the week.  What popped out at me, however, was the screenplay credit for a young guy named Jack Nicholson.  Said screenwriter would later act in such movies as Back Door to Hell, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Wolf.

6/10

For those of you with FXM, it's going to be on again on Wednesday (October 24) and Thursday.

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Nowhere in Africa (2001)

Splendid German film (Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film) about a Jewish family who flees to Kenya in 1938, to escape the Nazis. Based on a true story, the plot involves the marginal nature of the Jewish characters in a radically different foreign land, and how they come to terms with the change and even come to love aspects of it. The most heartbreaking aspects of the film involve the arrival of letters from Germany, announcing the imprisonment or death of loved ones who chose to stay. The little girl says, "When a letter comes with that stamp on it, it brings tears."

There is excellent acting from the European and African cast. Source: Kanopy.

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merabe-ninidze-juliane-kohler-nowhere-in

 

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12 minutes ago, Swithin said:

Nowhere in Africa (2001)

Splendid German film (Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film) about a Jewish family who flees to Kenya in 1938, to escape the Nazis. Based on a true story, the plot involves the marginal nature of the Jewish characters in a radically different foreign land, and how they come to terms with the change and even come to love aspects of it. The most heartbreaking aspects of the film involve the arrival of letters from Germany, announcing the imprisonment or death of loved ones who chose to stay. The little girl says, "When a letter comes with that stamp on it, it brings tears."

There is excellent acting from the European and African cast. Source: Kanopy.

1.jpg

merabe-ninidze-juliane-kohler-nowhere-in

 

 

Is the movie English subtitled yet?  Learned about it a couple of years ago while researching the music composer Niki Reiser who did the score for "Heidi" (2015)

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6 minutes ago, hamradio said:

Is the movie English subtitled yet?  Learned about it a couple of years ago while researching the music composer Niki Reiser who did the score for "Heidi" (2015)

Yes -- at least the print on Kanopy was subtitled. 

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I'm still trying to fathom any sensible reason why Joe feels the need to, when mentioning who's in the cast of a movie he "just watched", also post a great deal of their entire filmography...?  ;)

And LORNA?-----

If you were a kid in 1988, then you're STILL a kid to me!  That was the year my wife and I got married.  MY 2nd, and her THIRD!  :D   I saw a lot of those Hammer thrillers at the SHOW on Saturday matinees when they CAME OUT.  ;)   Took until I was damned near in my 20's before I saw CHRISTOPHER LEE without being made up like DRACULA! :D  (not really, but you get my drift).

So, I do have a sentimental affinity for those flicks.

Sepiatone

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