Laurel and Hardy aficionados won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to see ‘the Boys’ in their final feature. This odd atomic-age comedy sees Stan and Ollie inherit a uranium-rich island that becomes a haven for lawless ruffians from every corner of the globe. Much maligned over the years, this troubled international co-production was plagued by disputes with the crew and ill-health for its stars; but it was a spirited attempt by the team to move in a new direction, and it remains fascinating viewing for fans. It screens here in a BFI archive print made from nitrate master materials. Plus Grand Hotel (aka Laurel and Hardy Visit Tynemouth, UK 1932, Dir JG Ratcliffe, 10min, silent): The team are rapturously received when they visit Tynemouth in 1932, and Stan clowns for the camera with his dad.
We are delighted to announce that this programme will now include previously unseen silent amateur footage of Stan and Ollie opening a Gymkhana at Eastwood Park, Giffnock, during their visit to Scotland in June 1947. We can also confirm that we’re going to screen the full length English version of the film which runs 98min, not 95min as listed in the BFI Southbank Guide.
Introduced by Glenn Mitchell, author of The Laurel and Hardy Encyclopedia, and Archive curators Vic Pratt and William Fowler.
This 35mm presentation will also be shown on December 4th and 13th. Details here.
Chicago Reader review: Todd Haynes's Far From Heaven (2002) slayed critics with its provocative presentation of modern racial and sexual issues through the lens of a high-Hollywood 50s melodrama. Haynes returns to that formula with this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, which deals with a lesbian affair. Cate Blanchett is the title character, a New York wife and mother struggling to escape from her straight marriage, and her mix of bravado and vulnerability has seldom been used to greater effect; Kyle Chandler is moving as her anguished husband, who refuses to accept the truth about her sexuality and leverages custody of her daughter against her. Unfortunately their fine work is weighed down by Rooney Mara's inert performance as Carol's young lover, a countergirl at Bloomingdale's who suggests a doll with the battery removed. As a love story this left me unsatisfied, though I enjoyed the lush period trappings (from costumer Sandy Powell and production designer Judy Becker) and the flattering sense of how enlightened I am compared to people in the 1950s. JR Jones Here (and above) is the trailer.
This film is part of the ‘Terror Vision’ strand at BFI Southbank.
BFI Southbank introduction: Despite being one of this century’s most critically acclaimed horror films, Joel Anderson’s multi-layered faux-documentary remains criminally underseen. Following the sudden death of their 16-year-old daughter, the distraught Palmer family invite a psychic and a parapsychologist into their home to uncover the truth behind the tragedy. A beautifully constructed meditation on grief, Lake Mungo is as tender as it is terrifying. Here (and above) is the trailer.
Chicago Reader review: Laurence Olivier gives one of his most affecting screen performances in Tony Richardson's 1960 film about a seedy song-and-dance man on the seaside-resort circuit whose selfishness and nastiness ruin the lives of everyone around him. Excellent support from Alan Bates, Albert Finney, and Joan Plowright, but Richardson's direction drags more than a bit; adapted by John Osborne and Nigel Kneale from Osborne's play. Don Druker
This is the first in a new series at BFI Southbank offering filmmakers, film professionals and thinkers an opportunity to reflect on European cinema.
BFI Southbank introduction: This month the European Union turns 25 – just as Britain’s relationship to the Union hangs in the balance. 12 Stars is a new series offering filmmakers, film professionals and thinkers an opportunity to reflect on European cinema and identity at a time of profound cultural and geo-political transition. In this first event Sebastián Lelio will introduce Wings of Desire with his thoughts on why the film particularly resonates. It’s the perfect moment to return to this romantic fantasy where angels keep watch over Berlin’s citizens shortly before the fall of the Wall. Two years after the film was released, Germany was re-unified and a new Europe was born.
Chicago Reader review: Wim Wenders's ambitious and audacious feature (1987) focuses mainly on what's seen and heard by two angels (Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander) as they fly over and walk through contemporary Berlin. These are the angels of the poet Rilke rather than the usual blessed or fallen angels of Christianity, and Wenders and coscreenwriter Peter Handke use them partially to present an astonishing poetic documentary about the life of this city, concentrating on an American movie star on location (Peter Falk playing himself), a French trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin), and a retired German professor who remembers what Berlin used to be like (Curt Bois). The conceit gets a little out of hand after one of the angels falls in love with the trapeze artist and decides to become human; but prior to this, Wings of Desire is one of Wenders's most stunning achievements, certainly in no way replaceable by City of Angels, the ludicrous 1998 Hollywood remake. Jonathan Rosenbaum
This 35mm screening is part of the Comedy Genius season (full details here) but there’s something more than comedy going on here. Something much darker ...
Chicago Reader review: This curious piece of work (1996) starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick has been passed off as a comedy, and I suppose I laughed a few times during the first third or so; but it coheres only as a vaguely homoerotic nightmare patterned loosely after Fatal Attraction, with suggestive notations on TV pathology. As such it's a fairly interesting effort—much more ambitious than most Carrey vehicles. Broderick plays an architect recently evicted by his girlfriend and getting settled in a new flat; the technician (Carrey) who sets him up with free cable turns out to be a lonely, psychopathic control freak who makes his life miserable. Ben Stiller directs Lou Holtz Jr.'s script with plenty of unsettling edge, and Carrey throws himself into his part as if it meant something. Jonathan Rosenbaum Here (and above) is the trailer.
The General (Keaton, 1926): Electric Cinema, Portobello, 2pm
This is part of the season which marks the 50th anniversary of the Electric
Cinema Club, when the Electric Portobello's programming inspired the likes of
Stephen Frears and Nic Roeg, and spawned any number of cineastes.
Chicago Reader review: Buster Keaton may have made more significant films, but The General (1927) stands as an almost perfect entertainment. Keaton is a locomotive engineer in the Civil War south whose train is hijacked by Union spies; his attempts to bring it back become a strangely moving and very funny account of man's love for machine. Marion Mack is the girl, who can't quite compete. Dave Kehr