Category: Max von Meyerling

Entertainment

TOP OF THE WORLD

A fascinating picture strictly for those interested in seeing the United States Air Force in a strange interim period when they still operated specialized aircraft left over from WW2 into the 1950s.

CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE

Unintentionally one of the weirdest mainstream movies ever made. Let me put it this way: if you can’t get your hands on a copy, try recording it when it’s on TCM, invite the kids over, and pass a cold 40 around with the holder having to take a slug every time the word “meat” is mentioned. My guess is that you will all wind up in the emergency room with alcohol poisoning. Maybe you’ll meet some baby boomer there whose parents were influenced by this film and now suffering chest pains. This film is so meat mad that one suspects that times were so lean at MGM that CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE was an early example of product placement, cooked up by the meat industry. It’s a shame that none of the filmmakers are still around to be grilled.

COQUETTE

Many, many years ago, in a universe far, far away, film criticism was bound on one side by studio style, and on the other by cycle, or what we would call today, ‘genre’. History was rendered chronologically, year by year. Early talkies like COQUETTE (1929) were dismissed as stagy because of the primitive sound equipment available during the transition to sound. The dynamic photography and fluid narrative of late silent cinema was sacrificed. SINGING IN THE RAIN satirizes this period, which was also known for the fall of gigantic movie stars who couldn’t, for one reason or another, make the transition to sound.

ALIBI

For me the most interesting aspect of ALIBI is the fact that at this point (1929) the film industries of the US, Britain, Germany and France were equally capable of producing this type of film. The urban crime drama may have been pioneered by the French feuillade whose roots go back to written literature but it was perfected by Lang and the German School. Film Expressionism cried out for the geometrical shapes and dark shadows of the urban setting and the speed of what was just becoming known as ‘modern life’. After all it was only in 1920 that 50% of the American population lived in cities even though the Jeffersonian ideal of the rural ideal was to linger in both film and literature until WW2.

THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND

Forget whatever else you might have heard about THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND. When it came out no one really had it figured out. It did not fit neatly into the Peckinpah canon and it took a while after his death for a broadly philosophical-aesthetic of Peckinpah to be established to shoehorn various elements to make a coherent (but incorrect) analysis possible.

BLIZNA aka THE SCAR

BLIZNA (THE SCAR) Stephen Bednarz is a successful manager who is handed a plum assignment: to construct a huge synthetic fertilizer factory and a new town to go along with it. The magnitude of the project is stunning. It involves not only the preparation, design and construction of the plant but the social services of the town built for the plant’s workers.

BROKEN FLOWERS

If you have something to do you might not appreciate a friend’s suggestion that you accompany them on a road trip with no set destination just for the hell of a ride. Then again, if you have nothing better to do it might be just the thing. Likewise, if you don’t mind visiting planet non sequitur taking the BROKEN FLOWERS ride will be somewhat rewarding. If on the other hand you’ve got plenty on your plate and you demand a certain modicum of logic you might find BROKEN FLOWERS terminally aggravating.

BLACKOUT aka CONTRABAND

What a delightful film this is. It’s true that this film is concocted out of the same ingredients of contemporary Hitchcock film – spy suspense and romance between standoffish lovers wrapped up in a crust of a comedy of manners but it’s interesting to see the results from a different chef.

THE DREAMERS

Make no mistake, THE DREAMERS is better than a not bad film. Its pretty OK but still something of a disappointment. The film is supposedly set in Paris in the Spring of 1968 and begins with footage of the battle for the Cinematheque Francaise both original and recreated. Instead of staying in the streets the film retreats to the interior of a grand apartment where the three principals spend most of the following film. It reminds me of the film 1969 (1988) in which while the world around is exploding in crazy ways the principals can only watch from afar as they work out their own personal what used to be called hang-ups.