2.23.2010

Libel (1959)


I'm a pretty smart person, but when it comes to movies I hardly ever figure out the twists before they occur. I know if I put my mind to it, I could.. but I'm usually so caught up in the story that I don't try to figure out what's going to happen while the movie is playing. Such was the case with Libel. I'd imagine some people out there might guess the ending before it happens or figure out all the twists before the movie is halfway finished... but I was surprised every step of the way, as confused and shocked as the screenwriters hoped their audience would be.

The film is about a wealthy British aristocrat, Sir Mark Sebastian Loddon, who sues a newspaper for libel after they print an accusation that he is an imposter. What seems like a simple case of slander actually turns into a case of stolen identity when it's revealed that there were two men -- almost identitcal -- who escaped from a POW camp together, Sir Mark Loddon and the scoundrel Frank Welney. Only one of them returned, and said he was Sir Mark.

As soon as they introduce the character of Frank Welney into the proceedings, you the viewer and all of the characters in the film are suddenly thrown into a sea of doubt. Is Sir Mark actually Frank Welney? If so, whatever happened to the real Sir Mark?

Dirk Bogarde plays Sir Mark Loddon in the present setting, Sir Mark in the prison camp flashbacks, and Frank Welney. Dirk Bogarde is one of those people who sometimes looks completely different from one photo to the next, so while his Sir Mark does look remarkably like Frank Welney, you don't for a minute doubt that these are two different people- not twins or one person playing dual roles. And his present-day Sir Mark looks even different still! It's really impossible to tell just from appearances which man is calling himself Sir Mark Loddon.

Libel has an outstanding supporting cast, including one of my favorite character actors, Robert Morley and Wilfrid Hyde-White (who is always, in my mind, Col. Pickering) and features a pretty impressive performance by Olivia de Havilland as Dirk Bogarde's wife. In a way, her role is connected to the audience in that what she feels, we feel. Close-ups of her reactions to developments in the case are used as hints as to what she is thinking, and what we should think. When she has complete faith in her husband, so do we. And when she doubts her husband, so do we.

If you're looking for an edge-of-your-seat courtroom thriller, I highly suggest Libel! And if you're just looking for another Dirk Bogarde film to enjoy, look no further than Libel, where you get two Dirk's for the price of one!

2.21.2010

Five Dirk Bogarde films on the big screen!


The Berkeley Art Museum at the University of California is having a Joseph Losey retrospective from March 5th through April 16th! Over the course of the program they'll be showing all five films that Losey made with Dirk Bogarde -- The Sleeping Tiger, King and Country, The Servant, Modesty Blaise and Accident. I'd give my right arm to see this (including the non-Dirk films... especially Time Without Pity featuring a genius performance by Michael Redgrave) so if you live in the area don't let this pass without going to see at least one of the films!

For more information regarding the film lineup and showing times, you can visit the program page here.

Dirk Bogarde has a new fan!


I was so excited this evening to see Monty's post at All Good Things! After reading about Dirk Bogarde on my Silents and Talkies blog, Monty realized that he had Cast a Dark Shadow saved on his DVR and decided to see what all the fuss was about.... and not only did he love the film, he loved Dirk Bogarde as well! It's so thrilling to know that Dirk has a new fan, eager to see more of his filmography. Please take a moment to read Monty's fantastic review of Cast a Dark Shadow.

2.13.2010

Happy Valentines Day!


I have a Valentines Day/Dirk Bogarde giveaway over at my Silents and Talkies blog -- hope you'll go have a peek! :-)

2.11.2010

Creative Blogger Award

Thank you to Caitlin at Fire and Music for giving me the Creative blogger award! I am so beyond excited that this particular blog got an award! Compared to Silents and Talkies, this is like my second child that nobody knows exists ;-D Having a blog devoted to only one, or a few, performers is often a thankless job but if you enjoy discovering more about the person you blog about it is incredibly fun and rewarding nonetheless.

I'd like to pass on the award to five other bloggers who have also devoted their time and effort to providing more information on and insight into specific performers.

1. Cliff at Warren-William.com
2. Matthew at The Marx Brothers Council of Britian
3. VKMFan at Gingerology
4. Kendra at VivandLarry.com
5. Alexis at Ingrid Bergman Life and Films

***

Here are the rules and regulations:

1. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. Okay, I skipped this part, mainly because I refuse to call it the Kreativ Blogger Award. I hope whoever created (sorry, I mean kreatid) the award doesn't hunt me down and make me give it back.

2. Link to the person who nominated you for this award. Check!

3. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. I already did this on Silents and Talkies -- click here if you're interested in reading them :)

4. Nominate 7 other bloggers, and post links to the 7 blogs you nominate. Sort of check, I nominated five.

5. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated. Check!

6. Make Kate happy by calling this the Creative Blogger Award as you pass it along!! ;-D

Some photos from my latest scans


in Cast a Dark Shadow


with Brigette Bardot in Doctor at Sea


with Hermione Baddeley in the play Jezabel


with Leslie Caron in The Doctor's Dilemma


I added 33 new scans to my flickr set today -
to see them all click here.

The Wind Cannot Read (1958) Part II


I should begin by saying that I am a real girly girl -- I like movies that are corny, sentimental and dramatic, and I'm not ashamed to say so! And this movie is very corny, sentimental and dramatic.

I should also point out that when it comes to movies, I have a knack for suspension of disbelief, and I think that's a necessary quality when it comes to enjoying films like The Wind Cannot Read. Sure, there are a bunch of plot twists that would be close to impossible in reality, but that's why this is a movie and not a documentary. Some movies require you to forget reality -- and in my opinion that often makes them more enjoyable.

Now, with those two disclaimers out of the way I'll tell you a little about the film. It takes place in India during World War II. The British are teaching some of their soldiers Japanese so that they can interrogate Japanese POWs in India, and Dirk Bogarde is selected as one of the students. Complications ensue when Dirk falls head over heels for his language teacher, Yoko Tani. Their courtship at first is almost embarrassingly awkward, yet awfully adorable. It blossoms into an epic love, one that reminded me of Doctor Zhivago, Cold Mountain and Now Voyager; that unearthly attachment between two people that makes war and torture seem like a walk in the park compared to the agony of separation.

The movie starts out relatively slow, but the last half of the movie is an emotional roller coaster. I actually cried more than once (real tears streaming down my face, not just watery eyes, mind you!) and felt my stomach doing somersaults during the war scenes. I actually felt exhausted when the movie was over. But a good exhausted-- this was a fantastic movie, and watching it was a very enjoyable experience.

I really believe, though, that it would only be enjoyable if you were able to suspend all disbelief and just let yourself get whisked away into the fantasy of the movie. I think an imagination is one of the best things a person can have -- without it life would be so dull. I'd hate to watch this movie and only see the unrealistic flaws. I only bring this up because after being overwhelmed by the movie I whipped out my Dirk Bogarde book by Robert Tanitch. The book has a little synopsis of each movie, photos and original reviews from the time the movies were released. I usually like to read the original reviews because Tanitch doesn't seem to be much of a fan of Dirk Bogarde (why he wrote a whole book one someone he obviously doesn't like escapes me) but this time I peeked at what he wrote anyway. When describing a particular scene (which I won't mention because it gives away the plot; Another stupid thing about this book.) Tanitch writes, "[it] was so improbable as to be silly." He also wrote, "The wind cannot read, and on the evidence of this script, she cannot write either."

I'll be the first to admit that there are cliches in the film, and some of the plot twists you can see coming from a mile away. But Tanitch doesn't seem to grasp that this is an unrealistic epic love story, not a documentary about World War II. You expect different things from different movies, and you need to appreciate this film for what it is: a lovely, hopelessly romantic chick flick that requires suspension of disbelief.

As for the reviews from the film's release, there was one that really nailed Dirk Bogarde's matinee-idol style of the 50's, though I personally disagree with his use of the words "too much". In it, the author (from the Sunday Express) states that Dirk Bogarde "still offers too much of the wry smile, the imperceptibly quivering stiff upper lip, the spaniel pathos in the eyes." This is actually a perfect description of his characteristics during this time period, but they were fitting, not excessive, considering his popularity with the female fans, and the fact that roles like this one are supposed to be sort of fantasy figure for the bobby-soxers. And despite his swoon-worthy facial mannerisms that seem to have irked the male film critics of the time, Dirk Bogarde was definitely already showing signs of the awesome talent he'd become in the early 1960's.



"Be there a heaven on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this."




I took 30 screen shots in all, to see them click here.

The Wind Cannot Read (1958)


Tonight I watched The Wind Cannot Read, a wartime love story set during World War II. It was an amazing film, but I'm saving the review for tomorrow when I have a clearer head. It's quite an emotional movie and having just finished watching it, I think if I tried to write a post right now it would seem too dopey and mushy. It was definitely made during Dirk Bogarde's matinee-idol period -- something I kind of forgot about since I've been watching so many of his new-wave 60's movies lately. Being a bit of a fangirl myself, (oh, who am I kidding, I'm a really big fangirl!) it was neat to see him in such a romantic role.

So, anyway, in lieu of a post tonight, here are some pictures from The Wind Cannot Read that I scanned from my Dirk Bogarde Fan Star Library biography. My favorite is the one at the top of the post!




2.10.2010

Case Closed : The elusive Blithe Spirit (1966)


I've been doing quite a bit of detective work recently, trying desperately to track down a copy of the 1966 TV Broadcast of Blithe Spirit. I e-mailed F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, who wrote a review of the broadcast on imdb. He graciously e-mailed me back right away, letting me know that he had seen it at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles.

If you aren't familiar with the name, The Paley Center is a media museum where you can view and listen to thousands of tv and radio broadcasts that aren't available anywhere else. For the cost of a ticket you are alotted one hour of viewing time -- it's up to you if you want to watch a one hour program or multiple short features. Members get longer viewing times and usually have a shorter waiting time before getting to see or hear their programs.

I've been to their New York City location about four or five times so far (I usually choose to view my favorite episode of Jack Benny with Barbara Stanwyck guest starring as part of my alottment, since it's not available anywhere else) and you better believe I'm planning another trip. Mr. MacIntyre saw the program 10 years ago, so just to be on the safe side I searched the Paley Center collection database to make sure Blithe Spirit was there. And it is! Here's the link to their listing.

I'm planning to go see it in March (I need to save up some money for train fare & tickets, not much since I only live about 1 hour away from the city, but still..) and I'll definitely post a review when I'm finished! Unfortunately, the Paley Center is a little like Las Vegas... what happens there, stays there. None of the programs are available for purchase, and you obviously can't take pictures either. It's a shame, since after hours of exhaustive research I couldn't even find one single screen shot of a scene from Blithe Spirit on the internet.

My hope is that with sites like Hulu becoming more popular, the Paley Center will someday decide to put their database online. Even if they offer their library like Netflix Instant Watch, where you need to pay a subscription fee to see or hear their programs, it would be so wonderful for people who don't live near LA or NYC.

So, the search is over... for now. Once I see it, I'm sure I'll be even more desperate for my own personal copy :)

2.07.2010

Sebastian (1968)


I finally (finally!) watched Sebastian last night -- I've been meaning to for well over a month and just never seemed to find the time. But it was definitely worth the wait. I don't want to give away much of the plot, since it's nice to discover what's going on yourself, but I will say that it's a suspenseful, intriguing, very entertaining film with fantastic 1960's fashions and camerawork and, as usual, an outstanding performance by Dirk Bogarde.

I've been drawing a huge blank when trying to write reviews lately, so please pardon me if that last paragraph is the extent of my review. I hope these FIFTY screenshots will make up for that ;-D