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Great Flamarion [DVD] [1945] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Erich von Stroheim , Mary Beth Hughes , Anthony Mann    DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 18.95
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.



Product details

  • Actors: Erich von Stroheim, Mary Beth Hughes, Dan Duryea, Steve Barclay, Lester Allen
  • Directors: Anthony Mann
  • Writers: Anne Wigton, Heinz Herald, Richard Weil, Vicki Baum
  • Producers: W. Lee Wilder
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Alpha Video
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Jan 2006
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CEXGDC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,593 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Directed by the great Anthony Mann, starring the even greater Erich von Stroheim, and including a strong supporting role for a memorable Dan Duryea, The Great Flamarion is a cult film waiting to happen. The fact that it hasn't yet can be put down to the rarity of its appearances on TV (not least in the UK - where there is no DVD available, either) or the poor versions in which it only exists on region one, stateside. Only in France apparently can there be found a decent edition, as over there they presumably know a good thing when they see it.

Anthony Mann's career started in B-movies, where he quickly made a mark for himself with some superlative film noirs such as T-Men (1947), and Border Incident (1949), films frequently characterised by striking monochrome cinematography as well as taut and assured direction. Appearing a couple of years before this first great period in his output, The Great Flamarion anticipates some of the highlights of the films to follow, as it includes some especially noteworthy scenes with chiaroscuro and expressionistic lighting effects, as well as exhibiting what once critic has identified as a consistent theme of this director: that of a hero haunted by past trauma. In the case of The Great Flamarion it's the turn of the eponymous, dying, theatrical sharpshooter initially played as a martinet by Erich von Stroheim: a man driven by his most recent betrayal as well as haunted by a doomed romance of some years before.

Von Stroheim's career as a great silent director arguably reached a pinnacle with Greed (1924) before crash-diving through allegations of budgetary extravagance, orgies on set, as well as his own professional disdain for the front office.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In reality it was the beginning of the end. 26 April 2013
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
The Great Flamarion is directed by Anthony Mann and collectively written by Anne Wigton, Heinz Herald, Richard Weil and Vicki Baum. It stars Erich von Stroheim, Mary Beth Hughes, Dan Duryea, Stephen Barclay, Lester Allen and Esther Howard. Music is by Alexander Laszlo and cinematography by James S. Brown Jr.

Back stage of a vaudeville show and a woman is killed, the perpetrator of the crime escapes up into the rafters. Soon he falls to the ground, and cradled by one of the stage employees, he tells a story of lust, deceit, murder and broken hearts...

Though it falls into a familiar subset of film noir that encompasses the obsessive dupe, reference Criss Cross, The Killers, Scarlet Street et al, Anthony Mann's film has a most interesting structure. Story is essentially told from the mouth of a dying man, his guilt set in stone, we spin to flashbacks and narration as The Great Flamarion (Stroheim) himself clues us in to the dangers of not following your brain, but what's in your underwear.

Flamarion, wonderfully essayed by the acid faced Stroheim, is a sharp- shooter on the vaudeville circuit. Once burned in love years previously, he now lives only for his work and he's friendless, miserable and intolerable to work for. His two assistants are husband and wife team Connie (Hughes) and Al (Duryea) Wallace, he's a drunk and she's out for what she can get, and what she wants at this moment in time spells trouble for Flamarion and Al. So begins a treacherous tale as a once wise and closed off man falls hook, line and sinker for a pair of shapely legs young enough to be propping up his daughter.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
The Great Flamarion might be a poverty row knock-off of Scarlet Street, but it has much to offer to those fond of noirs and who like effective performances from unexpected sources. In Mexico City in 1936 at a second-string variety act theater, shots ring out in the middle of a clown act. The performers congregate back stage, the audience starts to panic and a clown tries to convince everyone to take their seats...that nothing has happened and everything is under control. We learn that a woman who was part of a bicycle act has been strangled and her husband is the chief suspect. But what were the gunshots for? Why did we see in the shadows a figure in a greatcoat and hat struggle to climb the stairs to the catwalk? Why has he hidden himself? We find out when everyone but the clown has left the theater. We learn that the man was The Great Flamarion (Erich Von Stroheim), an expert marksman, and this is his story...of a man brought low by his love of a heartless woman. Please note that elements of the plot are discussed.

Flamarion had a top-drawer variety act using two stooges and starring himself and his pistols. The audience would see a man and woman canoodling at a table when Flamarion would enter in formal dress. The man would hide, the woman would lift a glass of wine, and Flamarion would use his pistols to shatter the glass, light her match, shoot off a garter, and use bullets to take off the tiny ornaments on her hair comb. Then the man would come out of hiding and quickly weave back and forth among the light bulbs of a dressing table while Flamarion with split second timing would shoot out the bulbs, barely missing him. The audience would go wild.

Flamarion himself is a stern, no-nonsense older man with a bull neck and a shaved head.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The film's a poverty row knock-off of Scarlet Street, but it's not bad and has an interesting performance by Erich Von Stroheim 9 Feb 2007
By C. O. DeRiemer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The Great Flamarion might be a poverty row knock-off of Scarlet Street, but it has much to offer to those fond of noirs and who like effective performances from unexpected sources. In Mexico City in 1936 at a second-string variety act theater, shots ring out in the middle of a clown act. The performers congregate back stage, the audience starts to panic and a clown tries to convince everyone to take their seats...that nothing has happened and everything is under control. We learn that a woman who was part of a bicycle act has been strangled and her husband is the chief suspect. But what were the gunshots for? Why did we see in the shadows a figure in a greatcoat and hat struggle to climb the stairs to the catwalk? Why has he hidden himself? We find out when everyone but the clown has left the theater. We learn that the man was The Great Flamarion (Erich Von Stroheim), an expert marksman, and this is his story...of a man brought low by his love of a heartless woman. Please note that elements of the plot are discussed.

Flamarion had a top-drawer variety act using two stooges and starring himself and his pistols. The audience would see a man and woman canoodling at a table when Flamarion would enter in formal dress. The man would hide, the woman would lift a glass of wine, and Flamarion would use his pistols to shatter the glass, light her match, shoot off a garter, and use bullets to take off the tiny ornaments on her hair comb. Then the man would come out of hiding and quickly weave back and forth among the light bulbs of a dressing table while Flamarion with split second timing would shoot out the bulbs, barely missing him. The audience would go wild.

Flamarion himself is a stern, no-nonsense older man with a bull neck and a shaved head. He has no friends and practices ceaselessly with his pistols. The two stooges are man and wife, a former second-rate dance act. Connie Wallace (Mary Beth Hughes) is a conniving temptress who collects men like other women collect bracelet charms. She has a baby face with lips as plump and lush as the red wax lips you buy for Halloween. Her husband, Al Wallace (Dan Duryea), is chump change. He's a drunk, a jealous man whose many weaknesses include loving his wife. He won't divorce her and she has other plans. "Connie," he tells her, "no matter what you do you're the only dame for me. You're a bad habit I can't cure...even if I wanted to. Any guy who wouldn't fall for you is either a sucker or he's dead." It's not long before Connie breaks through Flamarion's reserve and finds a lonely man ripe for the picking. He believes Connie loves him...and he believes Connie when she says Al will never let her go. It's not long before Flamarion makes an error in his stage act and Al has a bullet in his heart. Then he learns that Connie has other ideas than marrying him.

From then on we witness the downward trajectory of Flamarion as he realizes how he was used. He spends his money searching for Connie, who has disappeared. He even sells his pistols. By the time he learns that she might be in Mexico City and goes there, The Great Flamarion is just an unshaven, aging man in a rumpled, dirty suit. The only things he has in his pocket are a few dollars...and a pistol. The whole movie has a sad, hopeless, inevitable air about it, and so does the conclusion. As a noir, it's not bad.

The story line is simple and is told in flashback. It goes from A to B to C. What makes it interesting are the performances. Mary Beth Hughes as Connie turns in a performance which is both sexy and heartless. Dan Duryea is excellent as a drunk mug way out of his depth with Connie. Duryea plays the drunk convincingly, but he also layers in the pity and the weakness. We don't like Al very much but we genuinely feel sorry for him. Erich Von Stroheim is the heart of the movie and he pulls it off. I suppose nowadays most people think of him only as one of Norma Desmond's former husbands who is now her butler. Von Stroheim always played the impassive Teuton. Even with the reserve he would bring to a part, he could hint at all kinds of submerged feelings. In The Great Flamarion, Von Stroheim has to show us a man who has improbably fallen in love and feels the joy of something he never expected. He's the grim, impassive Flamarion most of the time, but we also see his heart being torn apart by Connie, we see his smile of sheer happiness when he thinks she loves him. We even see Von Stroheim do a little dance of anticipation when he thinks she's going to meet him at a hotel in Chicago. The Great Flamarion is no Scarlet Street, but the theme is the same. It's well handled in this Republic Pictures programmer.

The Alpha Video DVD transfer is awful. It's watchable, but that's about it. The picture is fuzzy, gray and with little contrast. Specks and lines show up frequently. It's hard to make out what's happening in the dark scenes. There is often a low hiss. There are only six chapter stops placed arbitrarily in the film. Unfortunately, this will probably be as good as it gets. If you like simple, interesting noirs and if you're intrigued by Erich Von Stroheim, I'd pick it up if the price is low enough.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All right 31 May 2004
By Beth - Published on Amazon.com
Erich von Stroheim plays a vaudeville artist Flamarion who works with a gunshot act. Mary Beth Hughes and Dan Duryea are his married assistants. But Mary Beth doesn't want to be with his drunken husband anymore so she seduces Erich into his murder. The two have no chemistry together which makes the Flamarion character look all the more sadder.
This film isn't great but it paved the way for Anthony Mann. This was one of his first films and he would explore noir films further.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Great Flamarion 26 July 2013
By James - Published on Amazon.com
I liked this film more than many do, apparently. Stroheim, Duryea, and Hughes all give good performances, which rise above parts of the script. Recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Movie. 24 Mar 2014
By CV - Published on Amazon.com
It's an old movie, but in plot you see a lot of what goes on today regarding men and women. I was surprise to see this type of plot in an era that was somewhat taboo.
4.0 out of 5 stars Sleeper, thy name is Flamarion! 18 Oct 2013
By Andrea - Published on Amazon.com
William Wilder (Billy Wilder's brother) produced this highly suspenseful retrospective of a murder. How Anthony Mann manages to catch and hold one's imagination even though the murderer is known within the first five minutes of the film is a sign of his skill. If you enjoy suspense such as more modern films like The Usual Suspects, you'll enjoy this little diamond in the rough (it was done by Republic Pictures, so low low low budget).
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