Jean Renoir’s masterpiece invented most of the tropes of the prisoner of war film. Eighty years later its themes still speak to our contemporary politics.
Unfaithfully Yours is not one of Preston Sturges’ great movies. But it uses music in a clever and formally interesting way. And, being a Sturges’ script, there is some fine writing.
Bill Forsyth’s 1980 film Gregory’s Girl has stood the test of time. One reason: it breaks most of the”rules” we get told about film writing.
The plots of musical are preposterous. That’s the point of them. They’re about bringing the impossible to life.
Alone in Berlin is based on a real life wartime campaign by one couple of writing and distributing postcards criticising the regime. It was an act of freedom from totalitarianism.
When the fish out of water meets the stranger comes to town, you get the odd couple. The pleasures of The Guard come from the knowing way the writer-director plays with genre.
Some quotes on films and the film business.
In another universe Skyfall would have been the final Bond film. The villain is the security services, seen in the shadows in a darkened mirror.
‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is thought of as a Christmas film about virtue being recognised. But Capra’s movie is also about the ties that bind communities together.
‘Silk Stockings’ is one of the last musicals from MGM producer Arthur Freed. It can be read as a commentary on the whole genre, as it’s made obsolete by rock ‘n’ roll.