The Cinema Cafe

Serving Cinema's Tastiest Treasures

Hidden Gems #8

 

 

Hidden Gem #80: Rogue Cop (1954, U.S.A.)

Director: Roy Rowland

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From the same writers who brought us 1953's The Big Heat (Sidney Boehm adapting William P. McGivern's source material) comes this far lesser known but just as potent film noir that replaces Glenn Ford's vengeful but clean cop Dave Bannion with Robert Taylor's conflicted but dirty cop Christopher Kelvaney.   

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #79: Hunger a.k.a. Sult (1966, Denmark/Norway/Sweden)

Director: Henning Carlsen

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The director, highly impressed with Nobel Prize winner Knut Hamsun's novel 'Sult', has provided this penetrating and emotionally consuming adaptation that delivers an equally unwavering performance from lead actor Per Oscarsson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #78: Between Time and Timbuktu (1972, U.S.A.)

Director: Fred Barzyk

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This TV movie is a wildly creative sampling of writer Kurt Vonnegut's various literary works and deserves far more exposer and recognition than it has so far received.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #77: Série noire (1979, France)

Director: Alain Corneau

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An eccentric door-to-door salesman (a stunning performance from Patrick Dewaere) becomes progressively unhinged after encountering a teenager turned prostitute (pimped out by her money grubbing aunt) in Georges Perec and Alain Corneau’s bizarre but energised adaptation of noir writer Jim Thompson's novel.

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #76: He Was Her Man (1934, U.S.A.)

Director: Lloyd Bacon

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A little gem that once again pairs stars James Cagney and Joan Blondell, may have less of the snappy banter between them we've come to expect, but their romantic feelings for one another run deeper, and really hit home after witnessing the shocking finale, a conclusion only made possible during the film's pre-code time period. 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #75: Adam at Six A.M. (1970, U.S.A.)

Director: Robert Scheerer

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Adam at Six A.M. is a finely etched and subtle "coming of age" film with Michael Douglas in the starring role that was overshadowed by the same year's similarly themed and more dramatic Five Easy Pieces; still, this hidden gem deserves more attention especially for the remarkable character portrayal provided by Joe Don Baker.

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #74: If I Had a Million (1932, U.S.A.)

Directors: James Cruze ("Death Cell")
                 H. Bruce Humberstone ("The Forger")
                 Ernst Lubitsch ("The Clerk")
                 Norman Z. McLeod ("China Shop", "Road Hogs")
                 Lothar Mendes (unknown contribution)
                 Stephen Roberts ("Violet", "Grandma")
                 William A. Seiter ("The Three Marines")
                 Norman Taurog ("Prologue", "Epilogue") 

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Eight different episodes concerning the surprised recipients of one million dollars comprise this delightful and enchanting pre-code gem with a stellar cast of rising stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #73: Apartment Zero (1988, U.K.)

Director: Martin Donovan

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This unique and compelling relationship/mystery-thriller has the admirable distinction of investing, rather than ignoring as many similarly themed films do, a well substantiated emotional centre in its main characters which not only heightens our engagement when the conflicts get out of hand, but provides impetus for pondering the events long after they occur.    

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #72: The Lost One a.k.a. Der Verlorene (1951, Germany)

Director: Peter Lorre

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The celebrated actor returned to his native Germany to make his one directorial effort: a shockingly bold, deeply analytical and expressionistic character study about a research scientist living under the Nazi regime compelled to commit murder and its devastating aftereffects on his tortured soul.  

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem #71: The Sea a.k.a. Il Mare (1963, Italy)

Director: Giuseppe Patroni Griffi

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The director here, better known for his work in opera, emulates Antonioni in the way he captures, develops and exposes the nature of his three principal subjects' emotional dependencies in this little known Italian masterwork. 

 

 

 

A.G.

Treasured Images Part 24 (#231 - 240)

 

I'll continue with some of cinema's most treasured images. For those familiar with the scenes represented they're bound to invoke a strong emotional response. The narratives' indelible moments are the primary reason these captures were selected. 

 240. Strangers on a Train (1951)

240. Strangers on a Train (1951)

 239. Dark Passage (1947)

239. Dark Passage (1947)

 238. The Grand Illusion (1937)

238. The Grand Illusion (1937)

 237. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

237. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

 236. Repulsion (1965)

236. Repulsion (1965)

 235. Rebecca (1940)

235. Rebecca (1940)

 234. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

234. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

 233. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

233. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

 232. The Shining (1980)

232. The Shining (1980)

 231. The Music Box (1932)

231. The Music Box (1932)

 

More will come. Any suggestions are welcome in the comments section.

A.G.

(Links to Parts 1 - 24 are here.)

"Now Listen to Me..."

 

Just some thoughts on current happenings: 

 

There are 11 recommended films to watch on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. this month:

 

From the same director who brought us Citizen Kane comes another kind of cinematic hero (of sorts). Michael O'Hara, like the deeply flawed Kane, is flawlessly played by his creator Orson Welles. Unlike Citizen Kane however, this film fell under its producer Harry Cohn's butchery with considerable footage lost and destroyed forever. Nevertheless, what survives is vastly entertaining and not to be missed. The Lady from Shanghai was previously recommended here  and will arrive at TCM Sunday, June 3 at 5:15am PST.   

 

 

 

 

TCM is presenting two of Busby Berkeley's most lavish musicals this month. First is Footlight Parade a previous TCM recommendation here. The show will go on Tuesday, June 5 at 4:30am PST.

 

 

 

 

Later on Tuesday is Gold Diggers of 1933, a brilliant extravaganza of romance, comedy, catchy tunes and outrageous pre-code show numbers especially 'Pettin' in the Park' with its saucy sexual undertones that even Freud would have struggled to explain. This is another previous recommendation here. The fun will begin Tuesday, June 5 at 8:45pm PST.

 

 

 

 

1967's Hotel was taken, like 1970's Airport, from a novel by Arthur Hailey and is the far better crafted of the two films. This proficient and underrated motion picture was previously reviewed here. Hotel will open its doors Friday, June 8 at 2:45pm PST.

 (From left) Rod Taylor, Richard Conte

(From left) Rod Taylor, Richard Conte

 

 

 

 

When affairs of the heart are so well integrated with thoughts of murder as they are in the Humphrey Bogart starrer Conflict, we have the makings of an exceptional film noir. This is because the emotional cause behind the former infuses motive into the latter and thus absorbs the viewer on a deeper level. Besides, adding a greater sense of "why" people are driven to extreme acts of criminal activity is what the best of film noir is all about. Conflict, previously reviewed here, is the next film in Eddie Muller's Noir Alley and will reveal itself Saturday, June 9 at 9pm PST and again on Sunday, June 10 at 7am PST.    

 Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey Bogart

 

 

 

 

 

"Complaining about the far-fetched circumstances in films noir is like objecting to the lack of realism in a Picasso painting. What I mean is that lovers of these criminally rich cinematic delights oughtn’t to bother picking out the implausibilities, since it is practically a hallmark of noir's style."

I've written this before when introducing Split Second, a film noir that presented some rather unlikely occurring situations and it certainly applies to my next recommendation as well, another starring Humphrey Bogart: Dark Passage. This wildly engrossing yarn combines the best of romance with the best of noir in the best location for both: San Francisco. Previously endorsed as a Blu-Ray release here, Bogart will make his dark passage on TCM Friday, June 15 at 3pm PST.  

 That's Coit Tower on top of the hill behind Bogart 

That's Coit Tower on top of the hill behind Bogart 

 

 

 

 

MGM's 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain was not adapted from a stage production, though the film was later turned into one, being first presented on stage in 1983. Its abundant creativity, innovation and driving energy place this film at the top of all cinematic musicals ever produced. Singin' in the Rain has been reviewed as a past Blu-ray selection here and will joyously dance its way onto TCM Tuesday, June 19 at 5pm PST.

 (From left) Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly

(From left) Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly

 

 

 

 

Another of MGM's musicals worth checking out is Guys and Dolls, previously reviewed here. They will all arrive at TCM Thursday, June 21 at 2:30pm PST.

 Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons

Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons

 

 

 

 

Also worth seeing is Alfred Hitchcock's dazzling thriller, Foreign Correspondent, previously reviewed here, whose precarious globe trotting assignment will begin Saturday, June 23 at 9am PST.

 Joel McCrea

Joel McCrea

 

 

 

 

Many of the films first listed as "Hidden Gems" are not so hidden anymore thanks to those companies releasing them on DVD and Blu-ray in addition to their regular showings on TCM. One of these is Hidden Gem #59, The Hill, one of cinema's most intense dramatic achievements. I've previously reviewed this film here. The Hill can be marvelled at on TCM Monday, June 25 at 1:15pm PST.

 Facing us (from left to right): Jack Watson, Ossie Davis, Sean Connery, Alfred Lynch, Roy Kinnear. Facing them is Ian Hendry.

Facing us (from left to right): Jack Watson, Ossie Davis, Sean Connery, Alfred Lynch, Roy Kinnear. Facing them is Ian Hendry.

 

 

 

 

Many experts have claimed that this last TCM recommendation is the first identifiable film noir: Boris Ingster's 1940 Stranger on the Third Floor. One can glean just how many of noir's stylish traits are inherent in this film by reading my previous TCM recommendation here. If you're a noir fan and have never seen this little RKO gem, be a stranger no more Friday, June 29 at 10:45am PST. 

 Noir photographic artistry care of Nicholas Musuraca 

Noir photographic artistry care of Nicholas Musuraca 

TCM's current monthly schedule can be confirmed by clicking on any of the above images. For those who live in parts of the U.S. other than the western region, the time zone can be adjusted in the upper right-hand corner of TCM's programme.

 

 

 

 

 

This month's Happy Birthday shout-out goes to the talented composer James Newton Howard, who turns 67 on June 9th.

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He's invigorated some notable films with his skilful compositions including The Package, Flatliners (1990), The Man in the Moon, Alive, Dave, The Fugitive, Wyatt Earp, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Devil's Advocate, The Sixth Sense, Vertical Limit, Signs, Hidalgo, The Dark Knight, The Hunger Games and The Bourne Legacy and given us soundtrack enthusiasts endless hours of pleasurable "stand alone" listening experience. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(To Be Continued...)       A.G.

Capturing a Golden Moment #21: The Swimmer

 

The Swimmer (1968)

 

Director: Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack (uncredited)

 

Scene: "Empty Pool"

 

I've chosen the following scene for several reasons. This film, although a cult favourite, still remains unknown to many and celebrates its 50 year theatrical release anniversary this month. The central character effectively communicates a sincere paternal concern for the young boy whose pool he wishes to swim on his journey home. These moments also perfectly summarise how Ned Merrill, played with deep conviction by Burt Lancaster, typically deals with adverse situations by reimagining them differently. I've recently written about The Swimmer here.   

 

 

 

The Swimmer is available on Blu-ray and DVD here:

The Swimmer (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Starring Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard, Janice Rule, Joan Rivers

Time Out

 George Bruns (1914 - 1983)

George Bruns (1914 - 1983)

Not having given much attention to early Disney songs, suddenly changed when I heard TV's American Idol contestant Catie Turner sing with heartfelt conviction and impeccable precision a song adapted from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty ballet by George Bruns and used in the 1959 animated film by the same name (his first of many for Walt Disney Studios) entitled "Once Upon a Dream." Bruns' score for this film received an Academy Award nomination. Turner brings out all of this song's emotional sincerity in a most impassioned and personal fashion: one of the most stunning vocal performances I've heard by anyone... ever.  

21st Century Treasure Quest #18

Our contributor Renard N. Bansale has completed 10 more contemporary film reviews for your consideration. The rating system he'll use is devised primarily to give those who are trying to decide which films to see, a fun and easy way of (hopefully) choosing a more pleasurable movie-going experience. For a further introduction to this series please see 21st Century Treasure Quest #1. (A.G.)

Read More

"Now Listen to Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings: 

Read More

"Now Listen to Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings: 

Read More

21st Century Treasure Quest #17

Our contributor Renard N. Bansale has completed 10 more contemporary film reviews for your consideration. The rating system he'll use is devised primarily to give those who are trying to decide which films to see, a fun and easy way of (hopefully) choosing a more pleasurable movie-going experience. For a further introduction to this series please see 21st Century Treasure Quest #1. (A.G.)

Read More

Treasured Images Special Edition: Enduring Stars Part 2 (of 2)

With the recent passing of actors from Hollywood's Golden Age and the various Award Shows now honouring them, my thoughts turned to those, as of this writing, still with us. I thought we might showcase some of those actors 90 and above and spotlight one of their past memorable characters. This is Part 2. Part 1 can be seen here

Treasured Images Special Edition: Enduring Stars Part 2

Read More

"Now Listen to Me..."

Just some thoughts on current happenings: 

Read More

Treasured Images Special Edition: Enduring Stars Part 1

With the recent passing of actors from Hollywood's Golden Age and the various Award Shows now honouring them, my thoughts turned to those, as of this writing, still with us. I thought we might showcase some of those actors 90 and above and spotlight one of their past memorable characters. 

Treasured Images Special Edition: Enduring Stars Part 1

Read More