Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes

 

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The Lady Vanishes, released in 1938, was Hitchcock’s last British film (until the 1970s), and is considered to be his finest. Hitchcock’s 3 previous films had not done well at the box office, but The Lady was extremely successful in both the U.K. and the U.S.A. and helped launch Hitchcock in Hollywood.

 

The plot of The Lady Vanishes has clear references to the political situation leading up to World War II.  It is hard to imagine yourself back in 1938, before the world would experience the atrocities of the 2nd World War.  Spies on trains and coded messages drive the plot.

I recently watched the film and was surprised by how slowly the plot moves in the first third of the film.  Even though this film is always rated in the top 40 best British films, for me it was surprising that Hitchcock directed it.  But, that is just my opinion and I am no expert! For a more positive assessment of the movie, see this source: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2012/jul/24/my-favourite-hitchcock-lady-vanishes

 

“Loving Vincent” van Gogh

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Watched this film on Amazon last night and it is quite something.  I enjoyed it as a novelty, and as a bonus, I feel like I am caught up to speed on the latest van Gogh scholarship.  I mean, I didn’t know that scholars are now thinking that his death was an accident, not a suicide.

The film is unique in that it was created by more than 100 artists who painted every frame.  It is very interesting to watch van Gogh’s brushstrokes and swirls seemingly come to life throughout the film.

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Loving Vincent has been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film in the 2018 Academy Awards.

 

 

If you want more info on how the film was created, here’s a great link.  The text below comes from the Chicago article.

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/loving-vincent-van-gogh-dorota-kobiela-hugh-welchman/Content?oid=32696545

Tampering with an artist’s memory can be dangerous business: In 2011, Gregory White Smith and Steven Naifeh published Van Gogh: The Life, an acclaimed biography arguing, among other things, that the Dutch painter’s gunshot death in July 1890, in the French town of Auvers-sur-Oise, was no suicide, as scholars had agreed for years, but homicide at the hands of a local bully.

The blowback from Van Gogh fans and art historians was severe. “Many [of these scholars] had done years of research and writing that was deeply embedded in the old narrative,” the authors explained in a Vanity Fair article three years after the book appeared.

“They didn’t just disagree with our new reading; they were enraged by it. . . . [One] specialist, with whom we shared a stage at the opening of a Van Gogh exhibition in Denver, was so choked with indignation that he refused even to discuss the subject when the audience raised it.”

Everyone knows that Van Gogh killed himself in despair, because—well, why? Because it was in that Irving Stone novel, Lust for Life, and the Hollywood movie that Vincente Minnelli made out of it? Loving Vincent, the first Van Gogh biopic since the homicide theory surfaced, dives into the mystery surrounding the painter’s death. This extraordinary animation, created by a team of 115 artists who hand-painted every one of its 65,000 frames, brings to life many of the people Van Gogh painted during his last years in France—foremost among them young Armand Roulin, whose family befriended Van Gogh during his year-long stay in Arles. One year after the artist’s death, Armand is recruited by his father, Joseph, to track down Van Gogh’s brother, Theo, and place in his hands an unsent letter from Vincent that has just turned up. Armand’s journey leads him to Paris, where he learns that Theo has died too, and then to nearby Auvers, where he questions the townspeople about Vincent and, from their variously colored memories, tries to reconstruct how and why the artist died.

 

I came for the actors, stayed for the costumes, and was appalled by the story.

 

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Somehow, when the film Dangerous Liaisons came out in 1988, I missed it.  That was a busy year for me, and so were the ones preceding and following, so I understand how it happened, but I’m glad to finally catch up today.  I didn’t even know I didn’t even know!

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I’d missed it all these years, not even knowing that 3 women powerhouses Uma Thurman, Glenn Close, and Michelle Pfeiffer, appeared together in this gorgeously produced movie. John Malkovich is in it too, of course, but it is the women who run this show.

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Watching the film is like entering a painting by François Boucher.  It is lavish and ravishing. As I watched the story unfold, I felt, like the aunt in the film says, “that it is remarkable how little things change.”

 

Frances McDormond

I couldn’t sleep last night and wanted something to lull me to lala land.  Boy, did I pick the wrong movie!

I was reading the NYTimes about the Oscar nominations for this year and one thing led to another and I started reading about one of my fav actors, Frances McDormand.  I’ve been a fan of hers since Fargo.

Reading about her career, I ran across her first film, Blood Simple.  I found it online and watched an hour before I had to shut off my computer.  The movie woke me up big time!

I finished watching it today and can’t recommend it highly enough!  McDormand is amazing in it, and the film is first-rate, all around.

I don’t, however, recommend watching it when you are planning to go to sleep soon.  It will keep you riveted!

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From Wiki:

Blood Simple is a 1984 American neo-noir crime film written, edited, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It was the directorial debut of the Coens and the first major film of cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who later became a noted director, as well as the feature film debut of Joel Coen’s wife Frances McDormand, who subsequently starred in many of his features.

The film’s title derives from the Dashiell Hammett novel Red Harvest (1929), in which the term “blood simple” describes the addled, fearful mindset of people after a prolonged immersion in violent situations.[3]

The Coen brothers strike again!

Suburbicon is an excellent 2017 American crime thriller black comedy film directed by George Clooney and co-written by Clooney, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, and Grant Heslov. The film stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, and Oscar Isaac, and follows a mild-mannered father who must face his demons after a so-called home invasion …

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Come for the funny/dark content, stay for a recreation of the 1950s!