Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

. Director/Screenwriter: Carl Franklin By Roderick Heath Although crime films and thrillers never went away, the late 1980s and ‘90s saw a busy revival of noir film, a new mode conscious of the genre’s past but invested with a hard edge of contemporary awareness. A battery of filmmakers including Michael Mann, John Dahl, Howard Franklin, …

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Planet of the Apes (1968)

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner Screenwriters: Rod Serling, Michael Wilson By Roderick Heath Although overshadowed in appreciation amongst high cinephiles by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2018 brings the fiftieth anniversary of another hugely popular and influential science fiction film: Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes. 1968 was a pivotal year for sci-fi cinema, …

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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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Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Director: Ron Howard By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers... From the moment it was announced, Solo: A Star Wars Story was dogged by ill omens, and the feeling it would prove the runt of the revived Star Wars litter. The troubled production, which saw initially commissioned directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller sacked and …

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Dragon Inn (Lóng Mén Kè Zhàn, 1967)

Director/Screenwriter: King Hu By Roderick Heath King Hu was born Hu Jinquan in Beijing in 1932. Scion of a prominent and prosperous family, Hu nonetheless was borne along with a generation displaced by war and political upheaval, and washed up in Hong Kong when still a teenager in 1949. After working for a decade in …

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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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