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Retro Cinema

Retro Cinema – The Three Musketeers

If any actor was perfectly cast for the role of the swashbuckling D’Artagnan in a big screen adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas adventure, it was silent screen icon Douglas Fairbanks. With his kinetic athleticism and vibrant charisma, Fairbanks created the concept of the movie action hero in this opulent 1921 production, which is being offered […]

Retro Cinema – The Shining

I have always believed that horror should not be set aside as a separate film genre. Instead, it should be seen as a subsection of comedy – albeit a sadistic subsection, where cruel laughs are generated at the expense of the dimwitted characters that find themselves victimized by circumstances that could have easily been avoided […]

Retro Cinema – Criss Cross

This 1949 feature has all of the ingredients for a classic film noir: an appropriately pulpy story involving double-crossing, crime and obsessive passions, brilliantly moody black-and-white cinematography, an unsettling music score by Miklós Rózsa and a cast of worthy actors that can take the worst in human behavior to remarkable depths. But it seemed that […]

Retro Cinema – When Comedy Was King

During the late 1950s and 1960s, Robert Youngson’s compilation features of silent comedy shorts helped to introduce many movie lovers to that long-gone style of mirth making. This 1960 production, which is now being offered on DVD by The Sprocket Vault in a visually pristine restoration, provides a line-up of silent comedy royalty at their […]

Retro Cinema – Cinerama’s Russian Adventure

The last of the travelogue features created for the widescreen three-panel Cinerama process was this compilation of footage culled from six Russian productions shot in the copycat Kinopanorama process. This offering avoids any mention of Soviet-era politics – and, for that matter, most of Russian history – in favor of benign views of the Russian […]

Retro Cinema – Accidentally Preserved: Volume 4

The latest offering in film historian/archivist Ben Model’s DVD series brings together eight productions that are believed to be lost in their original 35mm format but managed to survive in the 9.5mm format that was used for home movie viewing during the mid-20th century. (More popular in Europe than in the U.S., the 9.5mm technology […]

Retro Cinema – Gun Crazy

One of the most artistically ambitious productions from the golden age of B-movies was Joseph H. Lewis’ pulpy thriller, which borrowed heavily from the Bonnie and Clyde story while offering a production style that transcended its budgetary limitations. When newly discharged soldier Bart Tarre (John Dall) catches the attention of carnival sharp shooter Annie Laurie […]
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Retro Cinema – The Bowery Boys Meet The Monsters

Comedy and horror inevitably overlap in films where funnymen find themselves in haunted houses occupied with a surplus number of ghouls, mad scientists and ectoplasmic mayhem. The Bowery Boys had already run amok in such creepy settings during the 1940s with Spooks Run Wild and Ghosts on the Loose, back when they were under the […]

Retro Cinema – City of God: 10 Years Later

In 2002, Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles’ City of God created a sensation that resulted in a triumphant screening at Cannes, the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign-Language Film and four Academy Award nominations. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the film’s original Brazilian release, filmmakers Cavi Borges and Luciano Vidigal tracked down […]

Retro Cinema – The Lower Depths (1936)

Maxim “Gorky” is the famous nom de plume, meaning “the bitter one” in accord with the writer’s Socialist Realism criticism of Mother Russian political and social structures, particularly those prior to the Communist Revolution of 1917. The novelist, short story writer and dramatist’s most popular work for the “gutter” stage, THE LOWER DEPTHS/NA DNIE (1902) […]

Retro Cinema – Late Ray (DVD)

This collection presents the DVD debuts of three features that were created during the later years of Satyajit Ray’s brilliant career. Most notable in this trio is the 1984 The Home and the World, a profoundly moving adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novel on a sheltered woman’s intellectual liberation. While the film covers themes similar to […]

Retro Cinema – Mike Watt’s Fervid Filmmaking

Mike Watt’s new book Fervid Filmmaking: 66 Cult Pictures of Vision, Verve and No Self-Restraint is something of a breath of fresh air within cinema scholarship. This entertaining celebration of highly idiosyncratic movies rescues a number of bizarre and remarkable films from obscurity while offering a visceral new appreciation of films that were scornfully treated […]