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1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Jue Oct 15, 2009 11:48 am

113
Jezebel (William Wyler, 1938)




Bette Davis didn't get to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, but she did get to play a troublesome Southern belle in William Wyler's 1938 Jezebel. Davis's character, a coquette fond of stirring up rivalries among the men, goes too far and loses her fiancé (Henry Fonda), but she finds atonement when she cares for him during illness. This handsome melodrama by Wyler (who later directed Davis in The Little Foxes) is fully absorbing (John Huston contributed to the script), and Davis's carefully constructed performance does make one draw instant comparisons with Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Jue Oct 15, 2009 11:55 am

114
The adventures of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz & William Keighley, 1938)




Dashing Errol Flynn is the definitive Robin Hood in the most gloriously swashbuckling version of the legendary story. Warner Brothers reunited Michael Curtiz, their top-action director, with the winning team of Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian) and perennial villain Basil Rathbone as the aristocratic Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and pulled out all stops for the production. It became their costliest film to date, a grandly handsome, glowing Technicolor adventure set to a stirring, Oscar-winning score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The decadent Prince John (a smoothly conniving Claude Rains) takes advantage of King Richard's absence to tax the country into poverty but meets his match in the medieval guerrilla rebel Robin Hood and his Merry Men of Sherwood Forest, who rise up and, to quote a cliché coined by the film, "steal from the rich and give to the poor." Stocky Alan Hale Sr. plays Robin's loyal friend Little John (a part he played in Douglas Fairbanks's silent version), Eugene Palette the portly Friar Tuck, and Melville Cooper the bumbling Sheriff of Nottingham. Flynn's confidence and cocky charm makes for a perfect Robin Hood, and his easygoing manner is a marvelous counterpoint to Rathbone's regal bearing and courtly diction. The film climaxes in their rousing battle-to-the-finish sword fight, a magnificently choreographed scene highlighted by Curtiz's inventive use of shadows cast upon the castle walls.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Jue Oct 15, 2009 12:03 pm

115
Angels with dirty faces (Michael Curtiz, 1938)




Michael Curtiz' "Angels with Dirty Faces" is one of those movies (like his "Casablanca" and "Mildred Pierce") in which the planets and stars were perfectly aligned. James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Pat O'Brien, Ann Sheridan, and the Dead End Kids are completely believeable. In fact, even the actors who played the young Cagney and O'Brien were right on.
But it is Curtiz' direction that runs the show. Curtiz moves seamlessly from the crowded streets, to the claustrophobic tenements, to the glitzy gambling joints. And his mastery of shadow and light cannot be overstated, as historian Dana Polan points out in his insightful commentary.
All these elements combine to create a great movie, and not just a great gangster movie. The complex relationships between Rocky Sullivan, the kids, and Fadda Jerry (O'Brien)--and the astounding ending to the film--make it as poignant and widely-appealing as any other movie of its time or any other time.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Jue Oct 15, 2009 12:08 pm

116
Olympia (Leni Riefenstahl, 1938)




Olympia is a 1938 film by Leni Riefenstahl documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The movie was produced in two parts: Olympia 1. Teil — Fest der Völker (Festival of Peoples) and Olympia 2. Teil — Fest der Schönheit (Festival of Beauty). It was the first documentary film on the Olympic Games ever made. Many advanced motion picture techniques, which later became industry standards but which were groundbreaking at the time, were employed, including unusual camera angles, smash cuts, extreme close-ups, setting the railway tracks on the stadium to shoot the crowd and the like. The techniques employed are almost universally admired, but the film is controversial due to its political content. Nevertheless, the film appears on many lists of the greatest films of all-time, including Time Magazine's "All-Time 100 Movies."
There has been much discussion of whether this film should be classified as a Nazi propaganda film like her earlier Triumph of the Will. While the entire 1936 Olympics has been derided as the "Hitler Olympics" and was unquestionably designed primarily to showcase the alleged accomplishments of the Third Reich, and to this extent any film accurately documenting the proceedings would come off as something of a propaganda film, Riefenstahl's defenders have pointed to her close-up shot of the expression on Hitler's face when Jesse Owens, an African-American, won a gold medal, as showing a tacit dissent from Nazi racial supremacy doctrines. Other non-Aryan winners are featured as well. Noted American film critic Richard Corliss observed in Time Magazine that "The matter of Riefenstahl 'the Nazi director' is worth raising so it can be dismissed. [I]n the hallucinatory documentary Triumph of the Will... [she] painted Adolf Hitler as a Wagnerian deity... But that was in 1934-35. In [Olympia] Riefenstahl gave the same heroic treatment to Jesse Owens..."
Olympia set the precedent for future films documenting and glorifying the Olympic Games, particularly the Summer Games. The "Olympic Torch Run", now revered as a seemingly-ancient tradition, was devised by Riefenstahl for these games and this film in conjunction with the German sports official Dr. Carl Diem.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Jue Oct 15, 2009 12:12 pm

117
La femme du boulanger (The baker's wife)
(Marcel Pagnol, 1938)




La Femme du boulanger is widely considered to be Marcel Pagnol’s best film, not least because of the unforgettable acting performances from Raimu and Ginette Leclerc. Based on a novel by Jean Giono, the film is ideal material for Pagnol’s romantic vision of Provence, with its tightly-knit little communities living in the remote unspoiled countryside.
Although resorting to caricature in a few places (indeed most of the film's characters are obvious caricatures), this does not undermine the film's dramatic thrust. Only a writer of Pagnol's undoubted talents could manage this without ending up with a weak farce.
Raimu, one of the finest French actors of the 1930s, gives one of his most moving performances in this film. Alternately the comic buffoon and the tragic victim, he gives the film its emotional imperative.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Oct 16, 2009 11:17 am

118
Bringing up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)




"The love impulse in man," says a psychiatrist in Bringing Up Baby, "frequently reveals itself in terms of conflict." That's for sure. For a primer on the rules and regulations of the classic screwball comedy, which throws love and conflict into close proximity, look no further. A straight-laced paleontologist (Cary Grant) loses a dinosaur bone to a dog belonging to free-spirited heiress Katharine Hepburn. In trying to retrieve said bone, Grant is drawn into the vortex surrounding the delicious Hepburn, which becomes a flirtatious pas de deux that will transform both of them. Director Howard Hawks plays the complications as a breathless escalation of their "love impulse," yet the movie is nonetheless romantic for all its speed. (Hawks's His Girl Friday, also with Grant, goes even faster.) Grant and Hepburn are a match made in movie heaven, in sync with each other throughout. Not a great box-office success when first released, Bringing Up Baby has since taken its place as a high-water mark of the screwball form, and it was used as a model for Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up, Doc?


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Oct 16, 2009 12:23 pm

119
Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939)




This landmark 1939 Western began the legendary relationship between John Ford and John Wayne, and became the standard for all subsequent Westerns. It solidified Ford as a major director and established Wayne as a charismatic screen presence. Seen today, Stagecoach still impresses as the first mature instance of a Western that is both mythic and poetic. The story about a cross-section of troubled passengers unraveling under the strain of Indian attack contains all of Ford's incomparable storytelling trademarks--particularly swift action and social introspection--underscored by the painterly landscape of Monument Valley. And what an ensemble of actors: Thomas Mitchell (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as the drunken doctor), Claire Trevor, Donald Meek, Andy Devine, and the magical John Carradine. Due to the film's striking use of chiaroscuro lighting and low ceilings, Orson Welles watched Stagecoach over and over while preparing for Citizen Kane.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Oct 16, 2009 12:49 pm

120
Zangiku monogatari (The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums)
(Kenji Mizoguchi, 1939)




The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (残菊物語, Zangiku monogatari, 1939) is a Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
The film is regarded as one of Mizoguchi's greatest pre-war achievements. Especially notable is Mizoguchi's now mature mis-en-scene compositions and extreme long takes.
The film is set in Japan in 1885. Kikunosuke Onoue, played in his movie debut by the stage actor Shotaro Hanayagi, is the adoptive son of a famous Kabuki actor, who is training to succeed his father in an illustrious career. While hypocritically praising Onoue's acting to his face, the rest of his father's troupe deride him behind his back. Otoku (Kakuko Mori), the young wet-nurse of Onoue's adoptive father's infant son, is the only one frank enough to disclose his artistic shortcomings and urge him to improve himself. When Otoku is dismissed by Onoue's family for her closeness to the young master, with its potential for scandal, Onoue is outraged and leaves Tokyo to hone his art away from his father, much to the latter's wrath.




JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Vie Oct 16, 2009 12:52 pm

121
Babes in arms (Busby Berkeley, 1939)




Babes in Arms is the 1939 film version of the 1937 Broadway musical of the same name. The film version stars Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Charles Winninger, Guy Kibbee, June Preisser, Grace Hayes and Betty Jaynes.
The movie was written by Jack McGowan, Kay Van Riper and Annalee Whitmore (uncredited). It was directed by Busby Berkeley.
The original Broadway script was revamped to accommodate Hollywood standards. It concerns a group of youngsters trying to put on a show to prove their vaudevillian parents wrong and make it to Broadway.
Most of the Rodgers and Hart songs were cut, except for the title tune, "The Lady Is a Tramp" (used as background music during a dinner scene), and "Where or When". Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown wrote a new song for the film, "Good Morning" (later made famous in Singin' in the Rain). Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg (composer and lyricist for The Wizard of Oz) wrote a new finale, called "God's Country".
Garland and Rooney later sang "I Wish I Were in Love Again" from the Broadway version of the show in the 1948 Rodgers and Hart biopic Words and Music. Garland also sang "Johnny One Note" in the same picture.
The original release of the film included a segment during the finale in which Rooney and Garland lampoon Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt; this was edited from the film during a later reissue and not restored until the 1990s. In 1940, slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges would lampoon the title of the film with Boobs in Arms.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 11:04 am

122
Mr. Smith goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939)




Political heavyweights decide that Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), an obscure scoutmaster in a small town, would be the perfect dupe to fill a vacant U.S. Senate chair. Surely this naive bumpkin can be easily controlled by the senior senator (Claude Rains) from his state, a respectable and corrupted career politician. Director Frank Capra fills the movie with Smith's wide-eyed wonder at the glories of Washington, all of which ring false for his cynical secretary (Jean Arthur), who doesn't believe for a minute this rube could be for real. But he is. Capra was repeating the formula of a previous film, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, but this one is even sharper; Stewart and Arthur are brilliant, and the former cowboy star Harry Carey lends a warm presence to the role of the vice president. Bright, funny, and beautifully paced, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is Capra's ode to the power of innocence--an idea so potent that present-day audiences may find themselves wishing for a new Mr. Smith in Congress. The 1939 Congress was none too thrilled about the film's depiction of their august body, denouncing it as a caricature; but even today, Capra's jibes about vested interests and political machines look as accurate as ever.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 11:06 am

123
The wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)




When it was released during Hollywood's golden year of 1939, The Wizard of Oz didn't start out as the perennial classic it has since become. The film did respectable business, but it wasn't until its debut on television that this family favorite saw its popularity soar. And while Oz's TV broadcasts are now controlled by media mogul Ted Turner (who owns the rights), the advent of home video has made this lively musical a mainstay in the staple diet of great American films. Young Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), her dog, Toto, and her three companions on the yellow brick road to Oz--the Tin Man (Jack Haley), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger)--have become pop-culture icons and central figures in the legacy of fantasy for children. As the Wicked Witch who covets Dorothy's enchanted ruby slippers, Margaret Hamilton has had the singular honor of scaring the wits out of children for more than six decades. The film's still as fresh, frightening, and funny as it was when first released. It may take some liberal detours from the original story by L. Frank Baum, but it's loyal to the Baum legacy while charting its own course as a spectacular film. Shot in glorious Technicolor, befitting its dynamic production design (Munchkinland alone is a psychedelic explosion of color and decor), The Wizard of Oz may not appeal to every taste as the years go by, but it's required viewing for kids of all ages.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 11:08 am

124
Destry rides again (George Marshall, 1939)




Marlene Dietrich purrs through sexy songs, and Jimmy Stewart succumbs to her sultry, androgynous ways in this seminal Western with more than a touch of comedy. He plays your average nice guy who turns out to have something special up his sleeve when confronted by a gang of bad guys. He tames the banditos and wins dance-hall girl Dietrich's heart with his nonviolent ways. You may think you have seen this before, and most likely you have. Based on the 1930 novel by Max Brand, the plot has been copied repeatedly. However, this atmospheric 1939 delight stands far above its imitators. This is the movie in which Dietrich, wearing full saloon-gal regalia, sings, "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have." It was remade with Audie Murphy in 1954 as Destry, but that version lacks the charisma provided by Stewart and Dietrich.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 11:09 am

125
Only angels have wings (Howard Hawks, 1939)




Hands down, Only Angels Have Wings is one of the most buoyantly entertaining movies in the American cinema. It is also a razor-sharp example of the action-oriented films of Howard Hawks, the wide-ranging auteur who would go on to make To Have and Have Not and Red River. This one is set in Barranca, a South American port city swathed in perpetual night fog, where a band of mail pilots struggle daily to get their planes through a treacherous mountain pass. They don't care about the mail so much as they live by the rules of adventure, professionalism, and friendly rivalry. Cary Grant is the leader of this daredevil group, a man who won't be pinned down to anything except his own code of stoicism. ("I don't believe in laying in a supply of anything," he says, which may be why he's always asking people for matches to light his cigarettes.) His cool style is tested by the arrival of a wisecracking blonde (Jean Arthur) and an ex-mistress (Rita Hayworth); Rita's now married to a pilot (Richard Barthelmess), disgraced by a single act of cowardice. Hawks always got great mileage from throwing a bunch of colorful characters together in an enclosed space, where death could strike in a moment. The great secret about Hawks is that although his feel for action was crackling, he was really more interested in the way people exchanged sidelong glances or lit each other's cigarettes--there's a lot of both in Only Angels Have Wings.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 11:14 am

126
Gone with the wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)




David O. Selznick wanted Gone with the Wind to be somehow more than a movie, a film that would broaden the very idea of what a film could be and do and look like. In many respects he got what he worked so hard to achieve in this 1939 epic (and all-time box-office champ in terms of tickets sold), and in some respects he fell far short of the goal. While the first half of this Civil War drama is taut and suspenseful and nostalgic, the second is ramshackle and arbitrary. But there's no question that the film is an enormous achievement in terms of its every resource--art direction, color, sound, cinematography--being pushed to new limits for the greater glory of telling an American story as fully as possible. Vivien Leigh is still magnificently narcissistic, Olivia de Havilland angelic and lovely, Leslie Howard reckless and aristocratic. As for Clark Gable: we're talking one of the most vital, masculine performances ever committed to film.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 1:07 pm

127
Le jour se lève (Daybreak) (Marcel Carné, 1939)




Le Jour se lève (or Daybreak) is a 1939 French film directed by Marcel Carné and written by Jacques Prévert, based on a story by Jacques Viot. It is considered one of the principal examples of the French film movement known as poetic realism.
The film was remade as The Long Night (1947), with Henry Fonda in the Gabin role. In 1952, it was included in the first Sight and Sound top ten greatest films list.
The film begins near the climax of the action. Factory worker François (Jean Gabin) kills Valentin (Jules Berry), locking himself in his self contained room in a guest house at the top of a winding staircase. He is soon besieged by the police, who fail in an attempt to shoot themselves into the room, as François barricades himself in.
In a series of flashbacks punctuated by glimpses of the present, it is revealed that François was involved with the young florist Françoise (Jacqueline Laurent), and with Clara (Arletty), who was formerly the assistant in Valentin's show. Valentin becomes jealous, and as the older man wrongly claims to be Françoise father, though both she and François were placed in an orphanage by their parents. He eventually confronts François twice in his romm, bringing the gun with which François shot him on the second occasion


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 1:38 pm

128
Gunga Din (George Stevens, 1939)




This big, boisterous adventure is more inspired by than based on Rudyard Kipling's famous poem. Legendary screenwriters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur have fashioned a rousing Hollywood movie full of high adventure, knockabout comedy, and old-fashioned male bonding. And old-fashioned it is: the trio of British officers and best friends who form the core of the film are a 19th-century three musketeers in India, threatened by the interventions of a woman who means to marry the dashing Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.). Blustery commander MacChesney (Victor McLaglen) schemes to keep Ballantine in the army while his second in command, the treasure-hunting Cutter (Cary Grant in a hopelessly mugging comic performance), continues searching for his elusive mother lode, but all their plans are thrown into chaos when the rise of the bloodthirsty Thugs threaten Britannia's soldiers. Sam Jaffe takes up the rear guard in turban, loin, and full-body make-up as the titular Gunga Din, the loyal water carrier who dreams of becoming a soldier. Bombastically chauvinist and naively imperialist, the film is bound to rub some people wrong, but Stevens creates a thrilling spectacle in the grand Hollywood mold, a handsome, exciting classic comic adventure that helped make 1939 Hollywood's grandest year.


Gunga Din - Trailer

JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 1:48 pm

129
Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939)




Ah, those fun-loving Communists! In Ninotchka three Soviets make their way to Paris to sell off imperial jewels to raise money to buy tractors for the USSR. When Grand Duchess Swana (Ina Claire), former owner of the jewels, discovers what's happening, she deploys her lover Leon (Melvyn Douglas) to recover her gems. He starts a court proceeding while seducing the three bumbling Soviets with the luxuries of capitalistic life. The delay of the sale is noticed in Moscow, and Comrade Ninotchka (Greta Garbo) is dispatched to Paris to settle the matter. Soon after arrival, she meets Leon, who is charmed by her severe, uptight manner and her stunning beauty ("I love Russians! Comrade, I've been fascinated by your five-year plan for the last 15 years"), and he sets about wooing her, despite her disbelief in love (it's merely a "chemical reaction," she dourly informs him). Romance, jealousy, and capitalistic frivolity ensue.
When this film was released in 1939, it was advertised as "Garbo laughs," as it was her first and only comedy. The film, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, is amusing not only for its story line, but also for its dated look at early Communism (Ninotchka keeps a photo of a stern-looking Lenin by her bedside, although she feels uncomfortable doing so in a room that costs 2,000 francs a night, the price of a cow back home). The satirical image of the young Communist fighting against corrupt Western ways seems somewhat idealistic today but nonetheless provided levity during the shaky political times of the film's release. Viewers may be jarred by the casual "Heil Hitler" greeting of a couple at the train station, but overall this film holds up as one of Lubitsch's masterpieces and a lighter glimpse of the mysterious Garbo.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 1:50 pm

130
La regle du jeu (The rules of the game) (Jean Renoir, 1939)




The Rules of the Game (original French title: La Règle du jeu, "the rule of the game") is a 1939 film directed by Jean Renoir about upper-class French society just before the start of World War II. Renoir's film is in part an adaptation of Alfred de Musset's Les Caprices de Marianne, a popular 19th-century comedy of manners, and is now widely regarded to be Renoir's greatest film, and among the greatest works of cinema ever.
The film begins with the aviator André Jurieux landing at Le Bourget Airfield just outside Paris, France. He is greeted by his friend, Octave, who reveals that Christine, the woman André loves, has not come to the airfield to greet him. André is heartbroken. When a radio reporter comes to broadcast his first words upon landing, he explains his sorrow and denounces the woman who has spurned him. Christine, an Austrian, is listening to the broadcast from her apartment in Paris as she is attended by her maid, Lisette. Christine has been married to Robert de la Chesnaye for three years. Lisette has been married to Schumacher, the gamekeeper at the country estate, for two years, but she is more devoted to Madame Christine. Christine's past relationship with André is openly known by her husband, her maid, and their friend Octave. After Christine and Robert playfully discuss André's emotional display and pledge devotion to one another, Robert excuses himself to make a phone call. He arranges to meet Geneviève, his mistress, the next morning.


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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die- Part III: 1935-1939

Mensaje  JM el Lun Oct 19, 2009 1:55 pm

131
Wuthering Heights (William Wyler, 1939)




One of the most compelling tragic romances ever captured on film, Wuthering Heights is an exquisite tale of doomed love and miscalculated intentions. Though only half of Emily Bronte's classic tale of Heathcliff and Catherine was filmed by director William Wyler, it lacks for nothing.
The story begins when a Yorkshire gentleman farmer brings home a raggedy gypsy boy, Heathcliff, and raises him as his son. The boy grows to love his stepsister Catherine, with catastrophic results. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon were perfectly cast as the mismatched lovers, with Olivier brooding and despairing, Oberon ethereal and enchanting. This won cinematographer Gregg Toland a much-deserved Oscar for his haunting and evocative depiction of mid-19th century English moors. (Quite a trick, as this was shot in California!) Though nominated for seven other Oscars, it won none of them, as it was released in 1939, one of the best years in Hollywood history and the same year as Gone with the Wind. Interestingly, the script was written by Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht, best known for their witty 1931 flick, The Front Page.


JM

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