Film Four & Film Four +1 01-05-08.

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The Kidnappers
(1953) When their grandfather refuses to buy them a pet dog, two orphaned brothers decide to 'adopt' an abandoned baby that they find in the woods.An exceptional children's movie from the 1950s about two orphaned brothers who, starved of affection, adopt an abandoned baby as their pet
The Kidnappers Two children find a baby girl abandoned in the woods and keep her as a pet. It's hard to imagine a more provocative premise for a film in this day and age. But The Kidnappers was made back in 1953 when a finger of fudge was full of Cadbury goodness, and juvenile delinquents were kids who played a bit too hard at conkers. Set in 1904, Philip Leacock's lauded family drama is precisely about youthful innocence in a bygone age.

Lady From Louisiana
(1941) John Wayne stars in Bernard Vorhaus' film as attorney John Reynolds whose sent to investigate the Louisiana lottery.Big budget action drama sends lawyer John Wayne to clear up corruption in New Orleans before the levee breaks. Also starring Ona Munson and Ray Middleton
John Wayne swaps his trademark chaps and Stetson for a cream suit and jauntily angled chapeau in this lusty legal drama set in 1880s New Orleans. Made by Republic Pictures in 1941, it was the studio's most expensive film to date and it needed to be. Since his breakthrough performance as The Ringo Kid in John Ford's Stagecoach (1939), The Duke's presence - both in Hollywood and on screen - had been building exponentially. In Lady From Louisiana, he's as big and charismatic as director Bernard Vorhaus's lavish vision of the 'Big Easy' itself.

Operation Amsterdam
(1959) A British army officer leads a dangerous mission to Amsterdam in 1940 to prevent valuable industrial diamonds falling to the Germans.Stark WWII adventure dramatising a real Whitehall-backed operation to smuggle industrial diamonds out of Amsterdam before the advancing Nazis overrun the city. Starring Peter Finch and Eva Bartok
In May 1940 the Nazis were closing in on Amsterdam. Some of the Dutch troops had already given up the ghost and sided with the Germans. Refugees scrambled towards the docks. For the Jewish population of the city's diamond quarter, the fearful anticipation must have been horrific. A matter of hours before Amsterdam was expected to fall, an Anglo-Dutch mission was smuggled into the quarter on orders to return to Blighty with as many industrial diamonds as possible. Invaluable in the manufacture of arms, it was vital that they were not left for the Germans. First, however, the dealers had to be persuaded to open their vaults.

The Core
(2003) Humanity faces certain doom unless Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank and co can get into the Earth's outer core and set off some nukes.Humanity faces certain doom unless Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank and various character actors can get into the Earth's outer core and set off some nukes. An enjoyably silly blend of Hollywood bombast and old-school sci-fi pomposity
The Core Although The Core works along the same lines as that hyperbolic Hollywood essay in global doom Armageddon, it also draws on older genre material. It's not merely a disaster movie (though it does include such classic motifs as a suspension bridge getting it, here the Golden Gate), it riffs on the sci-fi greats: notably Jules Verne's 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth' and Edgar Rice Burroughs' 'At The Earth's Core'.

Alien vs Predator
(2004) When Charles Bishop Weyland's satellites detect a pyramid buried under the Antarctic ice, he assembles a team of scientists to investigate.An archaeological expedition to the Antarctic is reduced to chaos when the scientists become embroiled in a conflict between two savage extraterrestrial species. Science-fiction franchise clash directed by Paul WS Anderson
Alien Vs. Predator When an Alien skull cropped up in the Predator's trophy cabinet in Predator 2, it was a welcome moment of light relief. Aside from this fleeting gag, the two science fiction franchises have also clashed in numerous computer games, a comic-books and all manner of toys. With 2004's Alien Vs. Predator, the two behemoths go head-to-head on the big screen in a controversial saga-uniting exercise.

Predator 2
(1990) Danny Glover goes head to chest with the rampaging space invader in this sequel to the Arnie hit.Danny Glover goes head to chest with the rampaging space invader in this sequel to the Arnie hit. A slick sci-fi thriller boasting wall-to-wall action, plus support from Bill Paxton and Gary Busey
Predator 2 The first Predator film, released in 1987 and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a frenetic sci-fi action movie that effectively gave the big guy (that's Arnie, not the alien) a leg-up into the big league. This time round the seven foot Predator (again played by Kevin Peter Hall) is stalked through LA by Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Glover) and the result, contrary to the most basic laws of sequels, frequently threatens to exceed the original.

The Death of Mr Lazarescu
(2005) Cristi Puiu's tragi-comedy set in contemporary Bucharest, which charts the final hours of the dying pensioner Lazarescu.Romanian writer-director Cristi Puiu's magnificent second feature is a tragi-comedy set in contemporary Bucharest, which charts the final hours of the dying pensioner Lazarescu
A 150 minute eastern European drama with echoes of Dante, Beckett and Kafka might sound like a gruelling prospect, yet The Death Of Mr Lazarescu turns out to be a work of compelling humanist cinema. The title character's full name - Dante Remus Lazarescu - quickly alerts us to the film's allegorical resonances and he even has an (unseen) brother-in-law called Virgil, the latter being the Roman poet who leads Dante through the circles of Hell in 'Divine Comedy'.