Sunday, January 7, 2007

January 7th Log

1995, Roger Michell, United Kingdom / France / United States
1st Viewing, DVD

“But as long as we could be together, nothing ever ailed me. Not a thing.” This month I plan of celebrating the cinematic adaptations of English Jane Austen. What a treat to start off with! Roger Michell's first feature is a masterful adaptation of Jane Austen’s last completed novel, Persuasion. Michell keeps this film vivid through his complexity with characters. To me, the world of Austen is a warm and comforting one, even in the sadness of moments. Persuasion is no exception. Here is a story of such human beauty and romance and these characters (especially Anne) are drawn out with such lovely and engrossing detail. The story centers around the reuniting of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth who were engaged 8 years earlier. As always with Austen complications arise through unexpressive feelings, which are hidden (or even “persuaded”). Persuasion is a film of longing and finding the will and the courage against all adversity to follow your deepest feelings and to cherish life and love. Friends, family, and society standards easily persuade Anne, who suffers the consequences, but she is able to discover true happiness when she follows her own heart and feelings. This is what lies at the core of Austen’s wonderful story Persuasion is a film so heartbreaking at times (notably that scene at the concert) but ultimately so deeply romantic and lovely and inspiring. The cast is absolutely outstanding in every way. Be it the leads or the supporting roles, each give this film it’s heart-warming compassion and depth. A glorious adaptation of a wonderful story!

1952, Richard Fleischer, United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

The Narrow Margin is an incredibly engaging crime noir thriller. There's nothing innovative here, yet this remains one of the forgotten films of it's era. The low budget and B-quality production certainly doesn't effect the overall excitement of the film. The pace is absolutely flawless and the cinematography beautifully captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of the film, which is set almost entirely on a train. Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor are two highly underrated actors and they embodied the roles of the noir. Windsor is particularly good here as the seductive prosecution witness whom McGraw must protect. Richard Fleischer handles Earl Fenton's script with style and skill. The Narrow Margin is a truly exciting film on all levels and is highly recommended to fans of noir and the pure joy old-fashioned filmmaking.


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