Thursday, 24 May 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 149: Thu Jun 7

The Passionate Friends (Lean, 1949): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


This 35mm presentation is also being screened at the Prince Charles Cinema on June 5th. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
This unheralded ’40s melodrama is the lead title in the Lean centenary season at BFI Southbank, which adds to the argument that the emotional precision and sharp technical dexterity of Lean’s earlier, more modest offerings represent a more lasting legacy than his later spectaculars. An enterprising criss-cross time structure shapes Ann Todd and Trevor Howard’s turbulent relationship, as their romance comes back to haunt them after World War II since she’s settled for a staid but secure marriage to banker Claude Rains. It’s adapted from a 1913 HG Wells novel, but the storytelling looks decidedly modern, and Lean’s direction works the material for all its expressive worth, even if Todd’s glacial screen persona and an opaquely written central role hardly bring out the best in each other. Rains steals the show, his clipped exterior masking unexpectedly touching feelings for his errant spouse. An illuminating reissue.

Trevor Johnston


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 148: Wed Jun 6

They Drive By Night (Walsh, 1940): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


This 35mm screening, which is part of the Ida Lupino season (full details here), is also being shown on Saturday June 2nd in NFT1. You can find the full details by clicking on this link.

Chicago Reader review:
This 1940 feature begins as a fast, growly proletarian drama of an independent trucker (George Raft) fighting to build his business, but breaks midway and becomes a high bourgeois melodrama about an ambitious woman (Ida Lupino) on trial for killing her husband. The switch may not make sense on first viewing, but director Raoul Walsh brings a thematic (and rhythmic) continuity to it: the same obsessional intensity that makes Raft an admirable figure in the first half is seen in the second, applied to Lupino, as something psychotic. Walsh may not have been directly responsible for the structure (the second half is a remake of an earlier Warners melodrama, Bordertown), but his personal response to the material puts it across. With Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart, and Alan Hale.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 147: Tue Jun 5

Never Fear (Lupino, 1949): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.50pm


This 35mm screening, which is part of the Ida Lupino season (full details here), is also being shown on Sunday June 3rd. You can find the full details by clicking on this link.

Chicago Reader review:
Ida Lupino's first official directing credit (her previous year's work on 
Not Wanted had been credited to Elmer Clifton) attaches to this story of a dancer who refuses to be defeated in her battle with a crippling disease. Lupino's perennial regard for female resourcefulness and strength is embodied in the stricken dancer's insistence on pursuing her career and romantic goals, despite the deflationary expectations of the men in her life. With Sally Forrest, Keefe Brasselle, and Hugh O'Brien.
Pat Graham

Here (and above) is an extract.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 146: Mon Jun 4

Xtro (Davenport, 1982): Institute of Light, 7.30pm


This cult British sci-fi film screening is a Cigarette Burns film club production. Which means you're guaranteed a killer evening. The film's prioducer, Mark Forstater, is the special guest.

Time Out review:
A British horror picture incompetent enough to be prime drive-in fodder, if only we had such a thing, this throws together in random fashion a mish-mash of all the half-remembered elements from recent hungry alien films. Telekinesis, melting telephones, randy au pair girls getting sliced in the shower, pumas in the living-room, and - nastiest scene of the month - a woman giving birth to a fully-grown man, who then bites off his own placenta. The Xtro creature is a warty lizard which snatches family men off to its space craft for three years at a stretch; but its greatest service to mankind seems to be a taste for eating the drivers of Volvo estate cars, which is very heartening.
Chris Peachment


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 145: Sun Jun 3

Le Bonheur (Varda, 1965): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 4.10pm


This screening, which is also being shown on June 6th and 21st (details here), is part of the Agnes Varda season at BFI Southbank. Full details of the season can be found here.

Chicago Reader review:
A beautiful and disturbing 1965 feature by Agnes Varda about family happiness, full of lingering and creepy ambiguities. A happily married carpenter (Jean-Claude Drouot) with a beautiful wife (Claire Drouot) and two small children (Sandrine and Oliver Drouot) falls in love with a beautiful postal clerk (Marie-France Boyer), who becomes his mistress. After the wife dies for mysterious reasons (whether by accident or suicide isn't clear), his idyllic family life continues with the postal clerk. Provocative and lovely to look at, this is one of Varda's best and most interesting features (along with Cleo From 5 to 7 and Vagabond).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 144: Sat Jun 2

Outrage (Lupino, 1950): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


This 35mm screening, which is part of the Ida Lupino season (full details here), is also being shown on Tuesday June 5th, when it will be accompanied by an introduction to the season by Geoff Andrew. You can find the details of that evening's presentation here.

New York Times review:
“Outrage,” a Hollywood movie from 1950, looks intimately, painfully, and analytically at what we now know to call rape culture. Lupino approaches the subject of rape with a wide view of the societal tributaries that it involves. She integrates an inward, deeply compassionate depiction of a woman who is the victim of rape with an incisive view of the many societal failures that contribute to the crime, including legal failure to face the prevalence of rape, and the over-all prudishness and sexual censoriousness that make the crime unspeakable in the literal sense and end up shaming the victim. Above all, she reveals a profound understanding of the widespread and unquestioned male aggression that women face in ordinary and ostensibly non-violent and consensual courtship. Her movie is about the experiences of one young woman and, yes, about the experience of all women. The emotional power and political vision of “Outrage” arise as much from Lupino’s inspired images as from the wise and insightful script and the delicately controlled yet freely expressive performances—not the work of great actors but of attentive and sensitive ones who have the benefit of Lupino’s discerning direction. It’s a haunting, infuriating movie—and it’s not available on DVD or, to the best of my knowledge, on streaming services. Lupino is among the greats, and her directorial career is sadly under the radar.
Richard Brody

You can read a fuller review of the film by Brody here and his video essay on the movie via the link here.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 143: Fri Jun 1

The Bad and the Beautiful (Minnelli, 1952): Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image, 6pm


This 35mm screening is part of the excellent 'Cinephiles' strand at the Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image (in the Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H OPD). You can see the full Birkbeck programme here.

Chicago Reader review:
Vincente Minnelli will always be known and loved for his musicals (
Meet Me in St. LouisThe Band Wagon), but the melodramas he made in the 50s are no less accomplished and often more personal. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) is superficially a typical Hollywood “inside story” chronicling the ruthless rise of an aggressive producer (Kirk Douglas), loosely based on Val Lewton. But under Minnelli's direction it becomes a fascinating study of a man destroyed by the 50s success ethic, left broke, alone, and slightly insane in the end. Douglas is surprisingly good as Minnelli's manic everyman and is well supported by (believe it or not) Lana Turner and Dick Powell. Scripted by Charles Schnee; with Walter Pidgeon, Barry Sullivan, Gloria Grahame, Gilbert Roland, and Leo G. Carroll.

Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.