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corncrake (England)

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Frank Borzage, Vol. 1 (7th Heaven / Street Angel) [DVD]
Frank Borzage, Vol. 1 (7th Heaven / Street Angel) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Janet Gaynor
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £10.99

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for Borzage, Gaynor, Farrell AND the British Film Institute, 19 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Wonderful to have these two great classics of the late silent era (1927-28) on Region 2 DVD at last. Director Frank Borzage was known for his emotional melodramas in which romantic love surmounted all obstacles. Janet Gaynor - small and delicate in appearance, wonderfully expressive in performance - was paired with tall, handsome, wavy-haired Charles Farrell twelve times between 1927 and 1934; they were the most famous romantic couple of the period, and these films are the first and second they made together.

In Seventh Heaven, Gaynor plays a Parisian waif, beaten by her sister and taking refuge with street cleaner Chico (Farrell). They live together in his top floor apartment (the `Seventh Heaven' of the title), and gradually he falls in love with her as she has been with him all along. Separated by the First World War, they promise to think of one another at eleven o'clock every day; but can their love survive?

Street Angel, the 1928 follow up, is set in Naples. Angela's (Gaynor's) mother is very ill; without money for medicine, she tries to become a streetwalker. Arrested for stealing money whilst soliciting, she escapes the police and runs home. The scene in which she finds her mother dead and lies down beside her and puts her arms around her is heartbreaking! Running away with a circus, Gaynor meets itinerant artist Gino (Farrell) - they fall in love, she at first reluctantly, but the police are closing in. Will Gino continue to love her once he knows of her past?

These two films are thoroughly recommended - they truly are beautiful works of art, heartfelt and sincere, gorgeously designed and photographed, and wonderfully acted. Many thanks to the British Film Institute for making them available!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2010 11:57 PM BST

Cluny Brown [1946] [DVD]
Cluny Brown [1946] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Charles Boyer

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bang, bang, bang!, 24 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Cluny Brown [1946] [DVD] (DVD)
A beguiling comedy, the last completed by Ernst Lubitsch as director, Cluny Brown is set in a never-never land England in 1938. Jennifer Jones plays the niece of a plumber, unsure of her place in the world, who takes a job as a maid at a country house, where she re-encounters intellectual Czech refuge and freeloader/free spirit Charles Boyer. This being a romantic comedy, the ending is not hard to guess; however, along the way there are a lot of good jokes, some startling double entendres, and some deft comic acting (Peter Lawford aside, who is a very dull stick).

Jennifer Jones has a deep note to her voice which has reminded me in previous films of Marilyn Monroe; here, she is very Monroe-ish, and her character is quite similar to Marilyn's in The Seven Year Itch - though perhaps not so daffy, or overtly sexy. There is a scene in which she and Boyer are reminiscing about their first meeting, where she turned up in lieu of her uncle to mend a sink - the other servants are eavesdropping and plainly think the two of them are talking about sex. `I rolled up me sleeves,' says Jones, `and rolled down me stockings - and bang, bang! bang!' The way she says it is hilariously suggestive - how they got it past the censors beats me.

Anyway, a charming film - not very well known, I think - and definitely to be recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 20, 2010 7:50 PM BST

Hide and Seek: Or, the Mystery of Mary Grice (Oxford World's Classics)
Hide and Seek: Or, the Mystery of Mary Grice (Oxford World's Classics)
by Wilkie Collins
Edition: Paperback

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still finding his feet, 20 April 2008
This novel from 1854, published six years before The Woman in White shows Wilkie Collins still finding his feet. He claims it was written in reaction to reviewers who said he couldn't `do' character; and unfortunately, the book, at this stage in his career at least, proves the critics had a point. Madonna Blyth, the orphaned deaf and dumb girl, whose origins are revealed in the climax to the plot, is boringly virtuous - actually, she's beyond boring: she's excruciating! - and many of the other characters are either implausible or dislikeable.

Originally, the novel was longer than the version available here; Collins cut it considerably for its republication, which is actually an advantage since the first half is really rather dull, not at all a page turner. Of course, there are some promising signs of things to come: for example, an effectively suspenseful scene where Madonna, who is afraid of the dark, is alone at dead of night when an intruder blows out her candle flame. I liked the descriptions of the artistic household of Valentine Blyth; and there are some good comic set-pieces. But also, rather tediously, there is quite a lot of female and familial piety, which Collins assumes will interest and absorb the reader much more than it does.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2009 2:13 PM GMT

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