ANTHONY MANN directed some intelligent minor Thrillers and Film Noir before hitting his stride with some of the greatest Westerns of the 1950s (many starring James Stewart-Winchester 73, Bend of the River, The Far Country, The Naked Spur). An Earlier film Devil’s Doorway (1950), also … Continue reading Anthony Mann – pure classicist
Artists and Models is a very funny, wacky Frank Tashlin film which owes much to his earlier career as a cartoonist. Among other things, he contributed his skills to quite a range of 1940s Looney Tunes including some memorable Porky Pig and Daffy Duck items (Plane Daffy, Porky’s Railroad, Puss N’ Booty, …I got Plenty of Mutton and The Stupid Cupid, all late 30s-early 40s classics). During the 1950s, Tashlin was central to the evolution of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis during the latter stages of their comic partnership. The best of the Tashlin/Martin/Lewis films was Artists and Models (1955), a sometimes hilarious, wacky comedy and one of the definitive colour films of its era. This was clearly a strong influence on Jerry Lewis’ imaginative and expressive colour schemes in his own films, most notably in The Ladies’ Man (1961) and ultimately in his masterpiece The Nutty Professor (1963).
SAM WOOD was a versatile American director/craftsman whose best work drew some fine performances from Hollywood’s golden age stars. His earliest silent film dates back to 1919. He made star vehicles for both Gloria Swanson and the ill-fated Wallace Reid during the 1920s. In the 1930s … Continue reading King’s Row
GEORGE SIDNEY was one of MGM’s best directors of Musicals and Swashbucklers throughout the 1940s and 1950s. He later moved to Columbia and directed Kim Novak in three of her best roles (opposite Tyrone Power in a fine biopic The Eddy Duchin Story), then playing … Continue reading Scaramouche!
The Big Trail 1930 (the first really important “A” Western from the sound period and John Wayne’s first significant role. Ford only realized his potential after Stagecoach in 1939); Walsh continued to make pleasant entertainments throughout the 1930s, like Baby Face Harrington 1935 and Big … Continue reading Ten Walsh titles that I cannot live without
I’ve always loved seamless and elegant mise-en-scene and I’ve always loved romantic and family melodrama. Therefore, among my favourite film makers are The Archers (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger), Jacques Tourneur, Nicholas Ray, Vincente Minnelli and Max Ophuls . And of course, Douglas Sirk, whose … Continue reading ‘All that Heaven allows’ and Sirkian melodrama
The American actor Richard Davalos, who played James Dean’s brother (Aron) in East of Eden (1955), has died. No-one would ever forget his performance as the half-crazed fiance (of Julie Harris) watching his love slipping away in the direction of Dean. Although his role in the Kazan … Continue reading Richard Davalos, East of Eden actor, dies at 85
Her most engaging performance ever was for Jacques Demy in his intoxicating musical The Young Girls of Rochefort. But her sister Francoise Dorleac got the best lines and some of the most engaging scenes with Gene Kelly who was still able to hoof it gloriously … Continue reading Catherine Deneuve
My favourite Martin and Lewis film is Artists and Models. This very funny, wacky Tashlin film is one of the definitive colour films of the 50s-and clearly a strong influence on Jerry Lewis’s imaginative and expressive colour schemes in his own films, most notably in The … Continue reading Artists and Models-Martin, Lewis and Tashlin at their peak
BURT LANCASTER– He was a street kid who became a circus acrobat and after military service in N Africa and I think Italy, he was discovered along with Kirk Douglas (later a frequent co-star) by Hal Wallis and started his long and impressive career in … Continue reading Burt Lancaster: from swash and buckle to arthouse