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Showing posts from June, 2020

The Seventh Seal (1957)

The Seventh Seal , known in Swedish as Det Sjunde inseglet , is probably the most famous of Ingmar Bergman's films, and therefore probably the most famous film in Swedish cinema history. It's the film that made Bergman a star of the European art house and began his most   celebrated period as a film director. The film is set in Sweden in the Medieval era. Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) is a knight, returning from the Crusades with his squire Jöns (Gunnar Björnstrand). But the land they are returning to is one ravaged by a plague, the Black Death. Death, decay, fear, suspicion and despair haunt the landscape. Death in fact is literally present, in human form. Resting on a beach, Block sees a tall mysterious, pale skinned figure (played by Bengt Ekerot), clad in a black cloak. The figure reveals himself to be Death, come to claim him at last. Bengt Ekerot as Death

Book Review: Robert Wise - The Motion Pictures by Joe Jordan

Film buffs may not know the name Robert Wise, but they are very likely to know at least some of his movies. Because in a career spanning five decades Wise directed many memorable films, including the seminal sci-fi drama The Day the Earth Stood Still , classic ghost story The Haunting , the Steve McQueen epic The Sand Pebbles and two 1960s Best Picture Oscar winners, West Side Story and The Sound of Music . To those films can be added a handful of notable film noirs, cult sci-fi The Andromeda Strain , the war film  Run Silent Run Deep and even Star Trek: The Motion Picture . And if that isn't enough, Robert Wise originally got his start in the editing room, where he worked on Orson Welles' masterpiece Citizen Kane , often claimed to be the greatest film ever made. Perhaps surprisingly then, Robert Wise is not that celebrated a director now, and has been oddly neglected, despite his impressive list of credits. Joe Jordan, the author of  Showmanship: The C

The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971)

The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins is a comedy film comprised of seven separate stories, each illustrating one of the Seven Deadly Sins - avarice, envy, gluttony, lust, pride, sloth and wrath. The film was directed and produced by the comic actor Graham Stark, and pressed into service a variety of British comedy writers, actors and comedians of the early 1970s. In the first story, Avarice , Bruce Forsyth (an actor and comedian at one time, but now much better known as a TV game show host) plays Clayton, the chauffeur for greedy business tycoon Mr Elsinore (Paul Whitsun-Jones). When Clayton sees a fifty pence piece lying in the street, he and Elsinore both try to pick it up, accidentally knocking it into a drain in the process. Elsinore orders Clayton to retrieve the coin, leading to an increasingly absurd set of circumstances involving Clayton, a passing fisherman (Roy Hudd), a policewoman (Joan Sims) and a sewer worker (Bernard Bresslaw). Avarice was written by popular sitco