Film Four & Film Four +1 26-06-08.
Astra 2D at 28.2E 10729 V SYM:22000 FEC 5/6
Film Four SID8335 VPID2312 APID2313 Eng
Film Four +1 SID8330 VPID2332 APID2333 Eng
(1949) Otto Preminger directs late 1940s glamour queen Gene Tierney in an unusual tale of mental illness and murder.Otto Preminger directs late 1940s glamour queen Gene Tierney in an unusual tale of mental illness and murder penned by the prolific talent Ben Hecht
Alfred Hitchcock said that Ben Hecht was "in constant touch with prominent psychoanalysts during the 1940s". This obsession bore fruit in the surreal mind-games in Hitchcock's own thriller Spellbound, and in this later collaboration with film noir director Otto Preminger. Ann Sutton (Tierney) is a woman tormented by kleptomania - a problem she keeps secret from her successful psychoanalyst husband Dr William Sutton (Conte) because she thinks he has enough trouble with his own patients: "struggling all day with those poor people and their wretched consciences". She is caught stealing a jewel from a local department store, even though she is "wealthy enough to buy a dozen such pins", but is saved from any public embarrassment by the smooth-talking David Korvo (Ferrer), who persuades the store manager to drop the matter.
(1957) Offbeat melodrama starring Richard Burton, Joan Collins, Basil Sydney and Cy Grant drifting on a life raft in the Indian Ocean.Four very different folk find themselves on a lifeboat following the sinking of a British cargo ship. Flashback-heavy war-time drama starring Richard Burton and Joan Collins
From starring in 'Dynasty' to cameoing in 'Footballers Wives' and banging the drum for the UK Independence Party - the embarrassments of Joan Collins's later career have masked the fact that, back in the day, she was one of Britain's biggest actresses. Just two years before headlining Sea Wife, Jackie's elder sister was summoned to Hollywood by the illustrious Howard Hawks to star in Biblical epic Land Of The Pharaohs. Sure, The Bitch and Empire Of The Ants might have dulled her luster but there's a good reason why some people still talk about Collins with something approaching reverence. Sea Wife sees RADA's most glamorous graduate appear opposite Richard Burton as the survivors of a Japanese submarine attack. Using a lifeboat to escape the shark-infested waters of Singapore, Collins' 'Sea Wife' and Burton's army officer find themselves bobbing about with Basil Sydney's bigoted naval administrator and Cy Grant's Number Four, a black seaman who is the sole male survivor to know that La Collins's character is actually a nun. With little to do except tell tales and backbite, the quartet reflect on their lives, their reminiscences brought to life by the miracle of flashback.
Feeling like an adaptation of a stage play but actually based on a novel by JM Scott, Sea Wife is a waterlogged affair that relies rather too much on the anticipated sexual tension between Collins and Burton. That the leads look lovely and luscious isn't open to question but the future star of The Stud simply doesn't have the chops to compete with Port Talbot's favourite son. As embarrassing as the mismatch might be, Burton would still be compelling if he was cast as the corpse in Weekend At Bernie's. Any aspiring actor should watch his work here and realise that the poor quality of a picture is no reason to lower the quality of your performance.
I Was a Male War Bride
(1949) Cary Grant is a French officer who marries an American WAC in post-war Germany and then must become a 'war bride'.Howard Hawks comedy starring Cary Grant as a Frenchman who falls for Ann Sheridan's American officer while they're working together in post-war Germany but then faces a farcical conflict with US Army bureaucracy
The "I Was A..." movie title formula frequently indicates a B-movie, or indeed a B horror movie (I Was a Teenage Werewolf, for example), but in this case it's deployed for something that's very much an A-movie, starring the immortal Cary Grant and directed by top rank director Howard Hawks. It's the fourth of their five collaborations, which began with 1938's screwball classic Bringing Up Baby. Although this isn't in quite the same league, it isn't far off. One slight issue with the film is the fact that Grant is stepping outside his usual comfort zone of well-dressed American(ish) charmers to play Henri Rochard, a French army captain. Though rest assured that for the former Archie Leach, one accent was basically good enough for his Cary Grant persona, so there's no weird triangulated mid-Atlantic accent. The premise of the film is basically a comic extrapolation of the notion that American combatants who fell in love, married and brought their new wives back to the States under the conditions of the 1945 War Brides were invariably male, but in this case it's a female American officer who falls in love and marries. This results in a situation that ultimately involves Rochard having to resort to drag (not a first in Grant's Hawks collaborations, and only one of his many humiliations here) in a gesture that pokes fun at the rigid attitudes male-centric military that cannot legally or administratively accommodate a new male spouse of one of its female officers. ("According to the War Department, I [em]am[/em] my wife." "You can't be your wife!" " If the American Army says I can be my wife, who am I to dispute them?")
When the film starts, Henri and American Women's Army Corps Lieutenant Catherine Gates (Sheridan) already know each other - in fact they have a bit of a history, something that brings about a certain bickering and friction when they're assigned to work together in the German town of Bad Neuheim. Their mission is a secret one involving recruiting a German lens-maker, but this story thread is really just an armature upon which to build the developing relationship between Henri and Catherine. Their mission sees them travelling through war-torn Germany with Henri suffering a series of mishaps. Indeed, most of the film's humour is based on Henri's misfortunes, all accompanied by flirtatious arguments between the pair. Gradually they realise their love-hate relationship is actually more about the former emotion, and the pair marry. Which is where their problems really start.
(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'. Eckhart is the square-jawed hero, geophysicist Dr Josh Keyes. It's Josh who puts two and two together after a series of bizarre incidents round the world (the death of 32 people with pacemakers in Boston, pigeons freaking out in London). Something is very wrong with the Earth's electromagnetic field. "It's the end of the world," he says.
The problem lies at the Earth's molten metal outer core, which generates the electromagnetic shield that prevents us from being cooked by solar winds. A team is hurriedly assembled: Dr Conrad Zimsky (Tucci), an arrogant geophysicist (who's already involved with something hush-hush with the US government); Dr Sergei Leveque (Karyo), a French atomic weapons expert; Dr 'Brazz' Brazleton (Lindo), who has developed a means of boring using ultra-sound; and a hacker, Rat (Qualls), "to control the flow of information on the internet". There's also NASA mission controller Stick (Woodard), Shuttle commander Iverson (Greenwood) and Major Beck Childs (Swank) - a hotshot who'd saved a Shuttle mission by finding a way of landing it in the LA River! (It's a dramatic, hilarious sequence but an odd homage to the troubled Shuttle programme.) We see them all in the pre-requisite The Right Stuff shot, striding toward the gantry.
With the threat of earthquakes, electromagnetic storms and even blasts of cosmic microwaves, the heat is on. Brazz uses his sonic boring device and a remarkable material ("Unobtainium"!?) to construct a craft, Virgil, for taking the team into the core - in the hope that a few judicious nukes will set it spinning again.
(2005) Matthew McConaughey stars as intrepid treasure seeker Dirk Pitt, whose obsession takes him into a plot involving warlords and water pollution.Matthew McConaughey stars as intrepid treasure seeker Dirk Pitt, whose obsession with a long-lost Civil War battleship takes him across west Africa and into a plot involving warlords and water pollution. Action adventure based on the books of Clive Cussler
Sahara Despite a variety of attempts, from Richard Linklater's The Newton Boys (1998) to submarine adventure U-571 (2000), the mantle of action hero has always eluded Matthew McConaughey. Playing Dirk Pitt, a daredevil Indiana Jones-alike hero, Sahara is his most concerted effort yet to stake this claim. Given that there are 14 books in the series by Clive Cussler, this is a potential franchise if ever there was one. To be fair, McConaughey is good value as the character. Pitt is a good old-fashioned swashbuckler who doesn't feel the need to end every scene with a cheeky pay-off line and McConaughey manages to keep his performance the right side of smug. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the film as a whole.
Big Trouble in Little China
(1986) John Carpenter takes a rest from the horror genre to direct this enjoyable martial arts romp that's played firmly with its tongue in cheek.Kurt Russell's all-American truck-driver teams up with an old buddy and heads down into the freaky underworld of San Francisco's Chinatown in John Carpenter's subversive take on the action-hero genre
Big Trouble In Little China At the time of its release, John Carpenter's Big Trouble In Little China shortsightedly mistaken for for an Indiana Jones knock-off. How wrong can people be? The film's script started life as a sequel for WD Richter's insane cult movie The Adventures Of Buckeroo Banzai Across The Eigth Dimension, and, while it was transformed into this Kurt Russell vehicle, it retains a madcap, ironic sensibility that is thoroughly at odds with your standard action-hero fare. Indeed, the film explicitly subverts the notion of the all-American action hero, with its ostensible lead Jack Burton (Russell) actually being a naive, self-deluded blockhead of startlingly low intellect and heroic ability that falls a long way short of his big talk.
Burton is a trucker, delivering pigs in the charmingly named 'Pork Chop Express' to San Francisco's Chinatown. Jack spends the night card-playing, boozing and bullshitting with old friend Wang Chi (Dun), before accompanying him to the airport to collect his girlfriend Miao Yin (Pai). However, before Wang and Miao can be reunited, she's abducted by the 'Lords of Death', thugs from Chinatown. Teaming up with lawyer Gracie (Cattrall) and local tour guide Egg Shen (Wong), who's actually a magician, Jack and Wang head into the weird world beneath Chinatown, a place of magic, monsters and mystic martial artists. Short on planning but big on recklessness, the group intend to save Miao - who is threatened by Lo Pan (Hong), an ostensible businessman who is actually an ancient and very powerful sorcerer who needs a green-eyed girl to restore him to full power (Miao fits the bill, but so does Gracie).
The End of the Affair
(1999) Stephen Rea confides his suspicions in his friend, Ralph Fiennes, little realising he is talking to his wife's ex-lover.Neil Jordan's Oscar-nominated adaptation of Graham Greene's cerebral romantic drama, replete with furtive fumblings and Catholic guilt. Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore are the wartime lovers whose illicit affair threatens mutual destruction
The End Of The Affair With its complex theological issues and carefully described interior states, Greene's reputedly autobiographical 1951 novel wasn't an obvious candidate for adaptation. Here director and cast adopt an approach that's refined and restrained and the result, to borrow the title from another of Greene's novels, goes straight to the heart of the matter.
Making liberal use of flashback, the story's built around a carefully delineated love rectangle. As bitter novelist Maurice Bendrix (Fiennes) sits down to write "a diary of hate", he recalls his adulterous affair with Sarah Miles (Moore). In the present Sarah's decent but distant husband Henry (Rea) confesses to Bendrix that he thinks his wife may no longer be faithful. Occupying the fourth corner is an unforgiving Catholic God, and Sarah's devastating decision to withdraw from Bendrix is revealed to be the result of a sort of spiritual pact.
These aren't easy issues to convey, but Jordan's direction is absolutely assured. Performances are highly polished and the film's alternately sodden and washed-out appearance evokes all the emotional impoverishment of life in wartime London.
The End Of The Affair is a powerful story powerfully told. Beneath their mannered exteriors these characters are a convincing mass of passion, repression, sexuality and shame.