Doctor Zhivago (1965)

. Director: David Lean Screenwriter: Robert Bolt By Roderick Heath David Lean had been a respected and heralded director since his debut helping Noel Coward realise his vision on 1943’s World War II classic In Which We Serve. His reputation was burnished with a succession of intimate, shaded, romantically charged dramas including Brief Encounter (1945), …

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Touki-Bouki (1973)

Director/Screenwriter: Djibril Diop Mambéty By Roderick Heath Following its 2007 restoration by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki-Bouki has emerged in recent years to be celebrated as one of the finest products of African cinema. Touki-Bouki made a Sight & Sound Film Poll as one of the hundred greatest films of all …

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The Sheik (1921) / The Son of the Sheik (1926)

Directors: George Melford, George Fitzmaurice By Roderick Heath This essay is offered as part of the Allan Fish Online Film Festival, a festival founded by Jamie Uhler and hosted by Wonders in the Dark, held to honor the memory of the late cineaste extraordinaire Allan Fish. Rudolph Valentino. Over ninety years since he died aged …

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I Walked With a Zombie (1943)

Director: Jacques Tourneur By Roderick Heath The success of Cat People (1942) took many by surprise. The film’s producer was Val Lewton, a sometime journalist and novelist, and nephew to the once-exalted screen idol Alla Nazimova. Lewton had gained a reputation in Hollywood working as assistant to David Selznick. When the time came for Lewton …

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Pool of London (1951)

Director: Basil Dearden By Roderick Heath Basil Dearden remains an underappreciated figure of British cinema, although he made some of the most fondly-remembered hits it saw from the mid-1940s to the 1960s. Perhaps he’s neglected precisely because of that, as he was one of those establishment figures loathed by the young guns of the various …

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Night at the Crossroads (La Nuit de Carrefour, 1932) / A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne, 1936)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Jean Renoir By Roderick Heath Sometimes a famous name can be a boost or a burden. Or just a name. As the son of one of the most lauded Impressionist painters, Jean Renoir’s attraction to cinema gave the young art form an aura of matured sophistication, but might well have also lifted a few …

Continue reading Night at the Crossroads (La Nuit de Carrefour, 1932) / A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne, 1936)

The Tiger of Eschnapur (Der Tiger von Eschnapur, 1959) / The Indian Tomb (Das Indische Grabmal, 1959)

Director: Fritz Lang By Roderick Heath Fritz Lang returned to make films in Germany after a quarter-century’s absence, after the box office failure of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) finally brought down the curtain on his Hollywood career. Lang had arrived in America as a feted figure wielding great prestige, but he subsisted in marginally …

Continue reading The Tiger of Eschnapur (Der Tiger von Eschnapur, 1959) / The Indian Tomb (Das Indische Grabmal, 1959)

Me, You, Him, Her (Je, Tu, Il, Elle, 1974) / All Night Long (Toute Une Nuit, 1982)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Chantal Akerman By Roderick Heath Chantal Akerman’s death in 2015 at the age of 65 was a wrenching moment for many movie lovers, and closed curtains on a career beloved in the most studious corners of the world cinema scene. Akerman staked her claim to such loyalty with her most famous work, Jeanne Dielman, …

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The Immortal Story (Histoire Immortelle; TV, 1968)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Orson Welles By Roderick Heath An adaptation of a story by Karen Blixen published under her pseudonym Isak Dinesen, The Immortal Story is also a story of two immortals, Orson Welles and Jeanne Moreau. Welles’ career as a director had long since become a victim of his own clarion work Citizen Kane (1941) and …

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Song To Song (2017)

Director/Screenwriter: Terrence Malick By Roderick Heath Terrence Malick’s unexpectedly prolific burst of work in the second decade of the twenty-first century, The Tree of Life (2011), To The Wonder (2013), and Knight of Cups (2016), forms a loosely autobiographical, delicately interwoven trilogy exploring the sum and meaning of Malick’s life experience. His latest feature film, …

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