hendersonville film society
Director: Herb Gardner (A Thousand Clowns)
Starring: Walter Matthau, Ossie Davis, Amy Irving, Martha Plimpton, Craig T. NelsonIn Brief: Playwright and sometimes filmmaker Herb Gardner brings his play I'm Not Rappaport to the screen with Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis in the leads. The first hour of its rather too expansive running time is very good indeed, if not especially great filmmaking. Matthau and Davis make an appealing pair of old men — not exactly friends, but who else is around? — whiling away their time in Central Park, each with his own problems. The dialogue — while sounding like dialogue — is good and penetrating. Then we get to what amounts to the second act and the film's desire to evolve into a more elaborate drama bogs things down pretty fast. It remains easily watchable, but it turns into less by trying to be more.
Genre: Drama with Music
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Starring: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti, Hans AlbersIn Brief: The Blue Angel (1930) marked not only the first German sound film, but, more importantly, the meeting of filmmaker Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich. It remains the most well-known of the seven films they made together, but it's hardly the best of the lot — which doesn't keep it from being iconic. (Is there anyone who doesn't know the image of Dietrich straddling the chair singing "Falling in Love Again?" It's one of cinema's indelible moments.) Its story of a stuffy school teacher becoming obsessed with Lola Lola, a crudely sexy cabaret performer, is more of a downer than the subsequent Sternberg-Dietrich pairings, making it less viewer-friendly. However, it's an important film — and without it, we would have never had those subsequent movies.
Genre: Action Thriller
Director: John Hough (The Incubus)
Starring: Sophia Loren, John Cassavetes, George Kennedy, Robert Vaughn, Patrick McGoohan, Max Von SydowIn Brief: The cast and the premise of John Hough's Brass Target (1978) is considerably more interesting than the film itself. The idea that General Patton was deliberately killed in that 1945 "accident" to prevent him from uncovering what happened to a hijacked trainload of Nazi gold is intriguing enough. And the prospect of Robert Vaughn as a colonel with a penchant for younger men, with Edward Herrmann as the object of his obsession, sounds more promising than it actually is. (So is the idea of seeing 1960s TV spy icons Vaughn and Patrick McGoohan in the same movie.) It's just not much fun, but it does keep moving and is worth a look.
Director: Robert Mulligan (Summer of '42)
Starring: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, John Megna, Frank Overton, Ruth White, Brock PetersIn Brief: Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, has become a classic of modern American literature, and Robert Mulligan's film has become something of a classic itself — though perhaps one more of association than on its own merits, notable as they are in capturing the book. Gregory Peck has rarely been as good as he is here and the rest of the cast is of equally high caliber. It is, in fact, hard to fault on any level (and in my opinion, that may not entirely be a good thing).
Genre: Romantic Drama Comedy
Director: Leo McCarey
Starring: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Richard Denning, Neva Patterson, Cathleen NesbittIn Brief: In 1957, Leo McCarey was a director out of vogue and out of favor, so he tried to restart his career by remaking his 1939 film Love Affair — rechristened An Affair to Remember. While it was a hit, it really didn't revive his career, but this story of a shipboard romance that turns into much more (with a large injection of tragedy) has certainly claimed a notch in American cinema.
Director: D.W. Griffith
Starring: Jean Hersholt, Phyllis Haver, Belle Bennett, Sally O'Neil, Don Alvarado, William BakewellIn Brief: A middle-aged businessman falls prey to the wiles of a gold-digging flapper and throws everything away in his pursuit of this transparently duplicitous woman. Something of a surprise from the last days of D.W. Griffith's career, The Battle of the Sexes manages to be sophisticated while still adhering to the director's own sensibilities. Though marketed as a comedy, this is really a domestic drama with comedic touches. Approached that way, it's actually one of Griffith's more accomplished films.
Genre: Action Crime Thriller
Director: Michael Winner (The Sentinel)
Starring: Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent, Keenan Wynn, Jill Ireland, Linda RidgewayIn Brief: A mechanic — or hitman — ill-advisedly takes the son of one of his victims under his wing as an assistant in training. Pure 1960s-'70s action thriller of the Charles Bronson kind, The Mechanic benefits from ultra-stylish direction by Michael Winner. It may not make it exactly good, but it makes for a fascinating artifact, as well as a nigh perfect encapsulation of Winner's style.
Genre: Historical Drama with Horror Trappings
Director: Rowland V. Lee
Starring: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil, Ian Hunter, Vincent Price, Nan GreyIn Brief: Somewhere in between history and Shakespeare with a dollop of house-brand horror (this did come from Universal Pictures, after all) is Rowland V. Lee's Tower of London. Despite the presence of Boris Karloff and the score from Son of Frankenstein (also directed by Lee), this a reasonably non-horrific offering — but certainly not shy of mayhem — that purports to show the grisly (this was pre-revisionist) rise and fall of Richard III (Basil Rathbone). It's not particularly deep or subtle, but it's a lot of fun and a solid production.
Director: Glenn Jordan
Starring: Richard Jordan, Anthony Perkins, Cyril Cusack, Claude Dauphin, John GielgudIn Brief: Lew Grade's 1978 TV version of Les Miserables with Richard Jordan as Jean Valjean and Anthony Perkins as Javert is a reasonably solid version of the book that hits the main plot elements and adds more backstory. Apart from Tony Perkins as a twitchy Javert, it's pretty much a kind of "Classics Illustrated" take on the material. But it's a good half hour shorter than the musical.
Director: Terrence Malick
Starring: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard, Linda Manz, Robert J. WilkeIn Brief: Terrence Malick's second film, Days of Heaven, is almost impossible to critique in normal terms. As drama, it's not entirely satisfactory in the usual sense. Its story is at once simple and rambling. It feels a lot more like a late period silent movie than something from 1978, but even that doesn't describe it adequately. It's less something to watch than something to experience for both visual beauty and Malick's unique sense of film as a living embodiment of capturing the smallest details of place and making them indelible. It is not going to be to everyone's taste.
- View All Articles
Click an article from the list, and it will appear here!
Needed Direct Support Professional
Employee needed to work on the floor in group home for adults with developmental challenges. Contact us at 299-3636. Thanks
PT Regional Director-Junior Achievement
Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas is hiring a PT-Regional Director for their Asheville location. This position is responsible for the…
Peaceful Way Massage & Reiki
Gary & Deb Lloyd - New Convenient Location! Customized therapeutic massage. Reiki sessions and trainings. Limited time special - 20%…
Licensed Acupuncturists and Others
I am opening the Asheville Veteran’s Acupuncture Community Clinic – AWB Supporting Clinic. The clinic will offer FREE acupuncture to…
Multiple Management Openings French Broad Food Co-op
We are currently seeking applicants for 2 positions: Grocery Manager and Wellness Manager. Qualifications: 2 years experience in retail grocery…