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Abel in the City

Abel in the City

Still on a high after this weekend’s screening of Abel Gance’s silent masterpiece, Napoléon (1927), with composer/arranger Carl Davis conducting the Philharmonia orchestra.  Volumes have been written elsewhere about the film’s revolutionary fervour in terms of technique and innovations (multiple overlays and the triptych finale being the most obvious): surely the ultimate movie as trainset, pace […]

Clooney's gravitas

Clooney’s gravitas

Are you, like this writer, a George Clooney fan, I wonder?  During the last month I happen to have seen a number of films in which he had a hand: Gravity, a stunning exercise in effects work at the service of a tense scenario and expertly calibrated star performance (Bullock’s); Argo, last year’s Oscar winner, […]

Whatever happened to Rita Gam…?

…the actress who came from TV and returned to TV, made a sizzling debut in The Thief (1952, pictured) opposite Ray Milland, appeared in costume epics such as Hannibal and Sign of the Pagan, and then disappeared from sight.  She had an earthy sexual magnetism on screen that was perhaps ahead of its time, like […]

Ten Greatest

Ten Greatest

Following on from Sight & Sound’s Critics’ Top Ten in September of this year, I thought I would have a go at one myself.  Like so many of the contributors to that poll, I found the exercise trite or arbitrary, depending on whether I went for ‘greatest’ or ‘favourite’.  Brad Stevens discusses this dilemma in […]

Sight and Sound Critics' Poll

Sight and Sound Critics’ Poll

And so the expected dethronement has happened: after years at the top of Sight and Sound’s revered World Critics’ Poll, Citizen Kane has been displaced by Hitchcock’s Vertigo, long the pretender in waiting. After two decades spent skulking in obscurity because of lapsed exhibition rights, the film re-emerged in about 1983, having been talked up into some […]

Tony Scott dies

Tony Scott dies

The news came yesterday that Tony Scott had taken his own life by jumping off a bridge over water in L.A.  A little later it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. This was clearly a huge shock for the film community stateside, and for the many who have worked with […]

Jean Dujardin collecting his award

Award Blues

Here’s to Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin for trouncing the opposition at several awards ceremonies!  Those of us who know better, of course, appreciate that Monsieur Dujardin has done little more than capitalize on his self-adoring persona from the OSS films, and his director buddy has permitted himself to go a bit more ‘high art’ […]