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When The Law and The Mafia Become One

by Tony Nash

(a Part of Poliziotto e Criminale: The Poliziotteschi of the 1970’s)

(all opinion are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the original Italian language version)

Confessions of a Police Captain (1971) - IMDb

Confessione di un Commissario di Polizia al Procuratore della Repubblica (Confessions of a Police Captain/Confessions of a Police Commissioner to the Assistant District Attorney) (1971) R *****

Franco Nero: Sostituto Procuratore Traini

Martin Balsam: Commissario Giacomo Bonavia

Marilu Tolo: Serena Li Puma

Luciano Catenacci: Ferdinando Lomunno (as Luciano Lorcas)

Claudio Gora: Procuratore Generale Malta

Arturo Dominici: Avvocato Canistraro

Gianfranco Prete: Giampaolo Rizzo

Michele Gammino: Gammino

Adolfo Lastretti: Michele Li Puma

Written by: Damiano Damiani and Salvatore Laurani, based on a story by Damiani & Fulvio Gicca Palli

Directed by: Damiano Damiani

Synopsis: Deputy D.A. Triani investigates what he first believes is a Police coverup when Commissioner Bonavia intentionally has a known psychotic criminal released to assassinate an untouchable mafioso with ties to the local government. Things change drastically however, when the Police Commissioner admits the Mafia and Government are working together, possibly even to the most important of officials.

Confessions.of.a.Police.Captain.1971.DUBBED.720p.BluRay.x264 ...

Filmmaker Damiano Damiani, well known for his social commentary and conspiracy films, presents one of his first Police and Political Thrillers that doubles as both entertaining and thought provoking. What at first appears to be a simple case of a high-ranking police official abusing his authority to finally get a dangerous criminal out of the way turns into a high-level investigation into the complicity of government officials helping the Mafia. At a time when people believed the Government of Italy was filled with Mafia plants, Damiani offers a disturbing idea that there is in fact no difference between politicians and gangsters, and that the supposed crime bosses are merely front men for the even more dastardly ambitious true powers. Police corruption is also highlighted within the film as the cop co-lead in the film has finally snapped from playing deaf and dumb to the illegal goings on around him and feels only by going rogue can any justice be done.

Confessions of a Police Captain (1971) Download YIFY Movie Torrent ...

Damiani, who was a member of Italy’s leftist movement to incite positive reform in his country, was no stranger to causing controversy and putting his life in danger. A year earlier he made a film about a teenage girl who single handedly defied social conventions and the Mafia by reporting a prominent Sicilian gangster had raped her. Damiani received threats on his life from the gangsters involved who were still alive after the fiasco had ended. This go around he was risking facing the wrath of both the Mafia and the Government itself over the innuendoes he was implying in regards to the Mafia and Government in a type of alliance.

Confessions of a Police Captain streaming online

Franco Nero, one of Italy’s finest actors, gives a subtle and nuanced performance as Traini. An idealistic Public Prosecutor fresh from internship, Traini is certain of corruption when a criminal with confirmed mental instability is all of sudden released under the orders of the Police Commissioner. When the man is gunned down in the building of a crooked construction developer believed to really be a mobster, Traini is certain the Police Commissioner has become a vigilante, looking to have the criminals eliminate each other through duplicity. Nero soon has Traini going into a form of paranoia and self-doubt as when he begins to dig deeper into the case, he finds many people he’s met in the justice system have connections to the Mafia. Nero has his character’s idealism breaking apart as he slowly comes to understand the disgraced Commissioner’s warnings that sometimes those meant to uphold the law in fact mock it for their own gains. Whether Traini will decide to fight back, or crumble under the weight of the devastating truth is left open to viewer opinion.

Confessions of a Police Captain / Confessione di un commissario di ...

Martin Balsam, a versatile American character actor, gives a rare layered and in depth performance as Commissario Bonavia Balsam plays Bonavia a cop that was once hopeful and idealistic, but quickly became hardened to the process of justice as he began to realize how adjustable the departments morals and conscious’ were. Initially willing to play ball because he thought the greater good would come from letting the bad guys think they were fooling the police, Balsam has Bonavia fatalistically realize that the corruption he first noticed went into the government houses as well, particularly after the shooting of a union leader whom his daughter loved, and the death of a shepherd boy who witnessed the death of a land owner who wouldn’t sell his property. Balsam shows a true inner conflict within the character Bonavia as it becomes clear he was once OK with looking the other way, but after a time realized he was only fooling himself and that he’s in fact a collaborator, albeit in a reluctant sense. Finding out the mafioso he tried to have killed was behind the incidents that hardened him years earlier, Bonavia comes to realize he can either still knuckle under the thumb of the powers at hand, or he can do something about it, even if it means the cost of his life at the hands of the men he helped put into prison in the past.

Confessions of a Police Captain - Internet Movie Firearms Database ...

A slew of Italian character performers including Marilu Tolo, Arturo Dominici, Claudio Gora, and Luciano Catenacci help make up an interesting gallery of characters who play varied crucial roles as either gangsters, those associated to gangsters, and politicians leading double lives and criminals. Every character is either helpful or hindering to Triani in his investigation.

(Author’s note: To not spoil the ending, not much will be said of these other characters)

Confessions of a Police Captain - Wikidata

Complex, intriguing, entertaining, and involved, the film offers a mix of thrilling storytelling and social commentary that only auteur Jean-Pierre Melville was previously capable of making work. Damiani is more of a heavy hitter than Melville in his subtlety in handling the material, but still makes enough of an impact that fans have plenty to find involving and engaging.

(I highly recommend giving this film a look at as its one of the cornerstones of the Euro Crime genre, and partly made up the template for what genre regular filmmakers like Umberto Lenzi and Fernando Di Leo would implement into their own work. The Blu Ray from the German distributor FilmArt was sadly limited to only 1000 copies and is now out of print, but can be found for 25 Euros on the secondary markets and can be viewed [possibly only as the English dub track] on the internet site Tubi. FilmArt’s audio and visual transfer of the film was stunning and looked very crisp and clear. The audio has some moments of popping, but given the age of the film and the copies of copies floating all over the grey market area companies over the years, the quality is still high end.)

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Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

The Wiley Gangster

by Tony Nash

(a Part of Poliziotto e Criminale: The Poliziotteschi of the 1970’s)

(all opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the original Italian language version)

Napoli spara! | Film, Fantascienza, Storia del cinema

Napoli Spara! (Weapons of Death/Shoot, Naples, Shoot!) (1977) **** R

Leonard Mann: Commissario Antonio Belli

Henry Silva: Salvatore Santoro

Jeff Blynn: Special Agent Salvatore Guidi

Massimo Deda: Gennarino

Ida Galli: Lucia Parisi (as Evelyne Stewart)

Massimo Vanni: The Undercover Cop

Tino Bianchi: Don Alfredo Criscuolo

Mario Pilari: Michele Rosati

Enrico Maisto: Ferdinando Licata

Tommaso Palladino: Vincenzo Calise

Adolfo Lastretti: The Pedophile

Written by: Gianfranco Clerici and Vincenzo Mannino

Directed by: Mario Caiano

Synopsis: Naples Police Commissioner Belli becomes determined to stop on the rise mobster Santoro, but can’t pin anything on him, while also trying to convince a youngster to stop hustling people. While finding evidence against the crafty criminal, Belli deals with everything from armed robbery to petty crime to sexual offenders.

Weapons of Death (Napoli spara!) - Internet Movie Firearms ...

By the late 1970’s, the Euro Crime films were beginning to dwindle in popularity, but some were still able to entertain and excite audiences all over Italy. Napoli Spara! is one of many examples of a late period of Euro Crime to maintain an exciting atmosphere and story. Mixing a central story with some side plot lines, audiences get to see the main police inspector character go from mission to mission, and meeting to meeting with either suspects or fellow police force members as he tries to end the reign of terror and violence being instigated by an ambitious mobster looking to become a major power player in the area. While a fun and entertaining ride, like any police film of the period it had its relations to real life events. The local governing body of Naples at this period had collapsed and the Mafia pretty much had total control of the city, but there was still an element of order still in play via the police department, albeit a somewhat overworked and over taxed department relying primarily on each unit’s own personal judgments.

Weapons of Death (Napoli spara!) - Internet Movie Firearms ...

Leonard Mann, an Italian American actor who returned to his family’s roots to act in films, does the standard, but still effective performance as the lead detective Belli. A cop frustrated by the machinations of both the professional underworld and the petty amateur criminals, Mann has Belli constantly on edge and giving both his superiors, and the men under his command constant speeches in how they should be more effective curtailing the constantly rising crime rates of the area. While unapologetically rough, gruff, and no-nonsense, Belli also has a sensitive side in his fatherly affection of the juvenile delinquent Gennarino, a hustler and con artist Belli constantly tries to reform, with seemingly no results. Mann shows off his capabilities as a stuntman in the film when Belli must climb atop a stolen tanker truck to subdue the driver who has just caused the death of a family on an afternoon drive.

Weapons of Death (Napoli spara!) - Internet Movie Firearms ...

Henry Silva, one of the many 50’s and 60’s eras American actors who had a successful second career in Italy, is his usual smiling menace and steely eyed stone face as Santoro. One of the deadlier baddies of the Euro Crime genre, Santoro leads daring robberies in broad daylight with little worry of who gets in his way. His aim is to take over one of the bigger syndicates from one of the ailing dons of the crime families. While he has little concern for the majority of civilians who often become casualties of his crimes, he has a surprising respect for Commissioner Belli who’s constantly on his tail and dogging him. This is partly because Belli has saved his life via competitors and because Santoro respects a man who doesn’t let the confines of procedure stop him from getting the job done.

(Sadly, Silva didn’t provide his voice for the English dubbing)

Napoli spara: Guida TV, Trama e Cast - TV Sorrisi e Canzoni

Ida Galli, was more known in the seventies by her Anglo pseudonym Evelyn Stewart (and its occasional variant spellings), makes a very brief, but necessary cameo appearance as Lucia Parisi. Lucia provides the key to helping take down Santoro, but is probably unaware of what importance she holds. Jeff Blynn, an American model in Europe turned actor, plays a supporting role of agent Guidi. Guidi is a special operative that primarily works undercover as a cab driver who deals mainly in thefts via automobiles, and also follows around people of interest for arrest and questioning by the police.

Weapons of Death (Napoli spara!) - Internet Movie Firearms ...

An interesting cast note, the character of Guidi was originally meant to feature more prominently in the film, and was to be played by Maurizio Merli. Leonard Mann wasn’t keen on working with Merli after having heard stories about Merli’s on set behavior, and having met the actor at one point and taking an immediate dislike to him.

Inseguimento car chase - Napoli spara! 1977 - YouTube

By the numbers in terms of plot and action, Napoli Spara! still offers the high octane entertainment that fans of the time and even the fans of today expect from the genre. Even on the smaller scale than its predecessors, there’s still plenty to love about the film.

(I do highly recommend this film for fans of action crime films and the Euro Crime genre as a whole. The ending is something of a let down and not the usual fare that fans would expect, and while certainly different and daring, unfortunately hurts the film more than helps. It would’ve been interesting to see Leonard Mann and Maurizio Merli working together in the same film, but no one can really blame Mann for being wary of Merli’s reputation as something of a prima donna. Merli’s name on the film certainly would’ve raised in the ante in anticipation, profit, and even budget for the film’s overall success, but the cast at hand still does a fine job. The film is on a Blu Ray double bill with Italia Amano e Armata (A Special Cop in Action) from Dorado Films. Their transfer of the film via audio and visual is really good considering they’re a relatively small company. )

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Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Indiana Jones…As Envisioned By Just Jaeckin

by Tony Nash

(Artistic Erotica 3)

(Mild Spoilers)

(All Opinions are of the author alone)

(This review is of the longer original French language version)

(Author’s Note: While not abundant in nudity, certain stills may be repeated)

Gwendoline (1984) - IMDb

Gwendoline (1984) NC-17 ****1/2

Tawny Kitaen: Gwendoline

Brent Huff: Willard

Zabou Breitman: Beth (as Zabou)

Bernadette Lafont: The Queen

Jean Rougerie: D’Arcy

Written & Directed by: Just Jaeckin, inspired by the comic strip The Adventures of Sweet Gwendolyn by John Willie

Synopsis: With the aid of a friend, a woman escapes from a nunnery to locate her father, an eccentric butterfly collector. When she learns he’s died, she pleads with a mercenary seaman to help her locate an elusive butterfly to cement her father’s legacy. Along the way they deal with pirates, white slavers, savage cannibal natives, and a previously thought mythical tribe of genetically altered Amazon women.

The Perils of Gwendoline (1984) - Just Jaeckin | Review | AllMovie

After his international successes with the artistic erotica Emmanuelle and Histoire d’O (The Story of O), filmmaker Just Jaeckin decided to tackle an entirely new adventure with a fantastical erotic adventure film inspired by an adult comic strip series about an adventurous young woman named Gwendolyn and her wayward sidekick. Not wanting to repeat the earlier successes of his softcore erotic masterpieces, but at the same time realizing it was this light erotica that catapulted him into the limelight and interest of producers, Jaeckin wanted something that spoke to his already existing motifs and style, but was also something new and creative. While inspired by the comic, Jaeckin in his usual auteur fashion wasn’t going to be necessarily be faithful to the source material, though he did in some fashion maintain the whimsical and humorous nature of it. What evolved was a fun mixture of humor, adventure, romance, Science Fiction, erotica, and a little bit of thrills all wrapped up in a quirky adventure about the search for an ultra-rare and elusive butterfly that takes the three people pursuing it into a realm of the fantastic and mysterious that they will never forget.

The Perils of Gwendoline | Flixster

Tawny Kitaen, an American model and actress, known most notably as Kevin Sorbo’s wife in the TV series and Made for TV movies The Adventures of Hercules, got her first taste of international fame as the title character Gwendoline. Sheltered by convent nuns her whole life, Gwendoline is at first very naïve, totally unfamiliar with how the world works and the lust and passion men feel when they look upon her beauty. As the film progresses, Gwendoline sheds her naivety and innocence, becoming courageous, strong minded, and very self-assertive. What starts off as a journey to save her father’s name, reputation, and legacy merges into a dual journey that finds Gwendoline on a self-discovery sojourn that teaches her much about herself, others, and life itself. She also has something of a sexual awakening that plays an equally large role in her maturing as the film progresses on. Kitaen’s looks and her innocent face make her portrayal of the Gwendoline character all the more perfect as she embodies the character almost like a second skin.

Gwendoline (1984) Free Download | Rare Movies | Cinema of the World

Brent Huff, an American actor turned TV director, is a surprising hit in the role of Willard. An Indiana Jones type of adventurer with far less selfless heroics and moral scruples, Willard is mercenary for hire who initially doesn’t care about how or where he gets money, just so long as he gets. When he first meets Gwendoline and her companion, he’s very crass, vulgar, to the point, and violent. Constantly at odds with the two women over what he sees as a trifle and fruitless expedition, he unexpectedly finds himself becoming more and more fascinated and admiring of Gwendoline and her inner strength and resolve. While at first perplexed and flustered by it, he soon becomes very welcoming and glad of Gwendoline’s love and affection, going to the point of telling her he shares her feelings and that he too loves her. This doesn’t lessen his mercenary and greedy impulses, but it does lead him to think carefully about what prizes are worth going after.

Quad Cinema on Twitter: "We've just added 35mm screenings of Just ...

Zabou Breitman, credited in the film as just Zabou, an underrated French character actress and ingénue type, nearly steals the whole show as Beth. As Gwendoline’s closest friend and lady-in-waiting, Beth feels the constant pressure to make sure her friend and charge is safe. At times completely exasperated by her bad luck and the seemingly unending obstacles in the way, Beth goes on short sprints of tirades that are both humorous and exhilarating as she vents her frustrations to Gwendoline, Willard, and to the various peoples they encounter, that not only allows them to get away from dangers, but gives their enemies a total surprise. She too takes a trip of self-discovery, and like Gwendoline, learns quite a bit about herself and what she is capable of.

(Author’s Note: While she was initially proud of the film, Zabou in the last several years distanced herself from it in the wake of revelations about the producer’s intent of the project. Just Jaeckin himself has expressed hope her opinion will one day change, and see it for the positives again.)

The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak Trailer ...

What separates this film from Jaeckin’s usual fare is the unusual amount of violence in it. While not overly gory in any way, the types of violence shown is quite unexpected for a man normally known for erotica with cleverly done innuendos. Sudden bursts in hostage situations and other moments, and occasional acts of cannibalism make for quite the juxtaposition with moments of tenderness and sensuality.

Gwendoline [Limited Edition Blu-ray] – Severin Films

Outrageous, funny, thrilling, exciting, and entertaining, Gwendoline is many a growing boy’s dream of fast paced adventure and plentiful feminine nudity. Pure fun from start to finish, Just Jaeckin successfully proves artistry and entertainment mix well together with this oddity that works on many levels.

(While abundant in nudity and violence, this is one of the few NC-17 films I can recommend to audiences, though it will appeal more to those who don’t see themselves as prudish. The official rating is R according to the IMDB, and while the violence and nudity isn’t excessive, is enough that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There is a cut version called The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak which I believe eliminates some of the back story and extended scenes, though does give the film the 1930’s adventure serial vibe Jaeckin did try to preserve from the original comic strip. The Blu Ray from Severin Films is beautiful looking and offers both the original uncut version in both the original French language and English dub, as well as the dubbed cut version, and a slew of extras including a new commentary featuring stars Tawny Kitean and Brent Huff who also reminisce about the experience.  Just Jaeckin and his main creative team also give interviews about the filming process and their experiences too.)

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Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Before Anastasia & Christian…. There was Sarah & Michael

by Tony Nash

(Artistic Erotic Drama 2)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the original Italian language version)

(Author’s Note: Because of the amount of nudity sexually charged scenes, some stills may be repeated) Eleven Days, Eleven Nights: jessica moore, mary ...


11 Giorni, 11 Notti (Eleven Days, Eleven Nights/11 Days, 11 Nights/Fantasy Becomes Reality) (1987) NC-17 ****

Jessica Moore: Sarah Asproon

Joshua McDonald: Michael Terenzi

Mary Sellars: Helen Porter

Laura Gemser: Dorothy Tipton

Tom Mojack: Dan, Construction Manager

David Brandon: Peter

Written by: Rosella Drudi (as Sarah Asproon) and Claudio Fragasso (as Clyde Anderson)

Directed by: Joe D’Amato

Synopsis: Construction executive Michael is all set to marry his sweetheart until he encounters the enticing Sarah while on a ferry. In spite of telling Sarah he’s getting married in 11 days, she convinces Michael they can be together until his wedding day. Unbeknownst to Michael, Sarah’s chosen him as the 100th man of her book, detailing 99 other experiences from manipulated affairs.

Eleven Days Eleven Nights (1987) – Least Worst Option

Aristide Massaccesi, better known by his pseudonym Joe D’Amato, the master of exploitation and erotic cinema, tried something a little different as he was nearing the end of the glory years of Italian genre filmmaking. While still using his favorite subjects of sensational sex and very basic plotlines, what D’Amato does with this particular film goes into a new direction in that the characters, while partially one dimensional, have a little depth to them and in many ways the audience can relate and sympathize with them as they feel like regular people who can be encountered in real life. The erotica is still very high in the film, but in this case isn’t done simply for the sensationalism that many of D’Amato’s (with some exceptions, including this one) and other directors films of the 70’s and 80’s tended to lean toward, there is in fact a point to every scene of sexual escapade and flirtation, showing audiences how the affair begins, and what is slowly begins to turn into in spite of the instigating party. While the plot of the film is basic, D’Amato takes his audience through a unique adventure in which his characters discover things about themselves, go through trials & tribulations, and ultimately will come full circle in the realization of what they want, and have needed all along.

Eleven Days, Eleven Nights / Eleven Days, Eleven Nights: 11 giorni ...

An interesting note to the film is the screenwriting duo who handled the script. Rosella Drudi and Claudio Fragasso were usually the script helmers of schlock maestro Bruno Mattei’s crazy films, but here they fashion a screenplay that mixes Romantic Drama with steamy erotica in just the right amount that makes for a fine adult film without the feeling that the viewer is watching thinly disguised pornography. Drudi, one of the few lady screenwriters of the fun hokey cinema genre, decided to capitalize a little on the success of Just Jaeckin’s international hit Emmanuelle by using the pseudonym Sarah Asproon for her screen credit. There really had been a woman named Emmanuelle whose memoirs became the basis for Jaeckin’s successful film, and Drudi attempted to make it look like there really was a Sarah Asproon and that she too gave her life story for the screen.

Taylor on Twitter: "Released in Italy 33 years ago today, Joe D ...

Download Eleven Days, Eleven Nights (1987) YIFY HD Torrent ...`

Jessica Moore and Joshua McDonald do fine jobs as the co-leads of the film. Moore, whose real name was Luciana Ottaviani, plays Sarah Asproon as an ambitious writer looking to do anything for success. She seems to care little for the many men she’s hurt in order to collect the necessary information and data needed to fuel her exaggerated depictions of a woman’s various affairs. This also extends to the unsuspecting Michael Terenzi, but in a very short time, it begins to look as though Sarah is having second thoughts on what she’s doing to him due to growing feelings for him, or if she realizes he’s not the type of person to do this sort of thing with, and to. This was to be Moore’s only big-time success in her brief career as a major star. Little to nothing is known of Joshua McDonald as to whether he was an American who did a couple of Italian films or if he was a native Italian using an American stage name, but what is known is his surprising subtlety fine performance as Michael Terenzi. Michael is an average, everyday type of guy who works hard and is in a loving, if slightly boring relationship. When he meets Sarah on board a ferry and has a brief, steamy tryst with her, his entire world changes over night. What at first feels like a last bout of adventure so he can be fully faithful to his fiancé soon turns into a frustrating addictive obsession Michael slowly loses control over. McDonald reveals Michael as a man stuck in a loop who has to go through a form of Baptism of Fire to find out what people and things are the most important to him.

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In a short, but necessary role in the film is the 70’s Italian sex symbol Laura Gemser. In a rare non nude performance, she plays Sarah’s friend and publisher Dorothy who encourages her to continue her affair with the unsuspecting Michael. More interested in money than her client’s personal integrity and wants, Dorothy has near constant arguments with Sarah over how the 100th man of her book should be presented. Germser was mainly known as a counterpart to Silvia Kristel in the erotic drama department, going so far as to play a character called Black Emmanuelle.

(Author’s Note: Today Gemser lives in quiet retirement in Italy)

Download Eleven Days, Eleven Nights (1987) YIFY HD Torrent ...

While not what sexploitation aficionados might expect, and what those first timers will be surprised by when seeing it, the film is still quite good. That D’Amato doesn’t linger the same amount of time on each sex scene, and that the these scenes do have a point to them make 11 Days, 11 Nights an exception within the sexploitation genre. That it tries to rise above what it looks like on paper makes it a worthwhile film to check out as it doesn’t play what goes on between the two characters as just shock value material, that something far deeper is slowly revealing itself.

(This is the 2nd time in writing that I’m going to say I can’t recommend a film. Just like with Jess Franco’s La Comtesse Noir it isn’t because the film is that bad or so poorly made it can’t be appreciated for the positive quality lying beneath it, but simply because it’s not to everyone’s taste. The sex scenes aren’t uncomfortable to look at, but there will be people who’ll suspect that D’Amato spends a little more time than he should on them. As long as the viewer takes into consideration that sex is what is driving force in the relationship between the two leads, the sex can be treated as a necessary part of the plot. The film is in no way vulgar by any means, but again because sex and some sex laden dialogue is treated fairly frank and to the point, some viewers might find this a turn off. The Blu Ray release of the film by 88 Films through their Italian Collection line is fantastic. The visual and audio transfer of the film is near pristine, with only hints of age here and there. Extras include two interviews and an audio commentary from Italian genre and exploitation cinema expert Troy Howarth.)

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Eleven Days, Eleven Nights – The Italian Collection 54


Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Linda: A Girl Who Wanted to Love, but Couldn’t

by Tony Nash

(The Artistic Erotic Drama 1)

(Spoilers Ahead)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(This review is of the French language original)

(Author’s Note: Due to the fair bit of nudity in the film, stills may sometimes be repeated)

Le journal intime d'une nymphomane Blu-ray Release Date July 31 ...

Le Journal Intime d’une Nymphomane (The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac/Sinner: The Diary of a Nymphomaniac) (1973) **** NC-17

Montserrat Prous: Linda Vargas (as Mona Proust)

Jacqueline Laurent: Rosa Ortiz

Anne Libert: Countess Anna de Monterey

Kali Hansa: Maria Toledano (as Gaby Herman)

Howard Vernon: The Doctor

Doris Thomas: Mrs. Schatz, the Photographer

Manuel Pereiro: Mr. Ortiz

Francisco Acosta: Alberto, the Married Playboy (as Gene Harris)

Jesus Franco: Commissaire Hernandez

Written by: Jesus Franco (as Jesus Franco Manera) & Elisabeth Ledu de Nesle

Directed by: Jesus Franco (as Clifford Brown)

Synopsis: A woman doing a lesbian act for a risqué night club meets a man she recognizes, but he doesn’t know her. She gets him drunk and while he’s passed out, phone’s the police and kills herself. When the man is wrongfully charged in her murder, his wife investigates the dead woman’s past, and soon learns a tragic story of lost innocence, humiliation, sexual awakening, and, shattered redemption.

Le Journal Intime d'une Nymphomane | Offscreen

In 1973 Jess Franco was at the end of his seclusion after the death of his Muse Soledad Miranda, and before journeying into his new chaotic, less narrative driven films, made a dark exploitation film that actually rises above its poster and stills images with an in depth story and complex, even though some are one -dimensional, characters. What begins as a murder-mystery style investigation by a wife when a seemingly typical prostitute kills herself and frames a man who turns out to be her husband, turns into an odyssey that reveals stolen innocence, a sexual rebirth, attempts at normalcy, and a failed salvation. Questions soon begin to arise if the woman was truly a lost soul or simply resisted in one way or another the help of others.  Somber in that it doesn’t treat naked women and sex scenes as the wacky and racy romps that other exploitation films of the times did, Franco doesn’t make these scenes out to be dirty or only for derelicts, but can be positive or negative based on the individual and circumstances. He also goes into the territory of even though people and experiences can help shape the victims of such moments, what those individuals do in the wake of those moments and the choices they make inevitably are of their own making.

JOURNAL INTIME D'UNE NYMPHOMANE, LE - Chronique/Critique/Review ...

Franco’s usual display of locations is not on display here as it would be in many of his other films, but he is able to get in some fantastic brief shots of old public avenues, chateau’s and beautiful public buildings. These don’t necessarily add anything t the plot at hand, but they do offer a nice change of pace to some otherwise dreary indoor scenes.

Le Journal Intime d'une Nymphomane | Offscreen

Test Blu-ray / Le Journal intime d'une nymphomane, réalisé par ...

Montserrat Prous, a little-known Spanish actress credited here under the name Mona Proust, gives a dynamic and compelling performance as Linda Vargas. Initially a wide-eyed, dreaming big teenager who comes to city to seek a better life, her world drastically changes for the worst when she’s molested while at the local fair by an older man. Her life looks to take a turn for the better when she meets a bisexual countess whom she engages in a romance with. After a spat that has Linda leaving the countess for good, she begins a torrid life of drugs and porno pics with a stripper lover. A drug raid by the police leads her into the care of a holistic doctor with bizarre methods who tries to help her, but her continuous need for physical pleasure constantly threatens her success. Prous plays Linda as a woman who just wanted to love and be loved, but her first experience being unwanted and traumatic, has her making bad choice after bad choice. In the Countess and the doctor, she is shown to have positive chances to have a good life, but either a self-destructive inner nature, or an inability to control herself always ruins those opportunities. While at times Prous shows Linda as wanting to change, she somehow always feels she’s a hopeless case doomed to a horrid existence.

Le journal intime d'une nymphomane (1973) -

Interestingly, both Franco and Prous leave the audience wondering about Linda’s sexual awakening and true sexuality. She certainly isn’t heterosexual or lesbian as she clearly doesn’t seem interested in just one gender, and while she can be easily be called bisexual with a preference for women, her openness to making love to anyone as stated in her highly explicit diary, this somehow doesn’t fit either. Linda can most likely be counted as one of the first pansexual characters in that she doesn’t really discriminate in who wants to have sex with her, as long as they are good people.

le-journal-intime-d-une-nymphomane-004 | Critique Film

Journal intime d'une nymphomane, Le - Le Chat qui Fume

The other two important characters in the story are Countess de Monterey and The Doctor, played by Anne Libert and Howard Vernon respectively. The Countess is a free loving woman of royal decent who forms a brief, but forever strong bond with Linda. The first true loves of each other’s lives, jealousy quickly tears them apart when not only the love of the same man interferes, but also Linda’s somewhat selfish nature of self-pity. Sadly, Linda’s death and abandonment leaves the Countess longing for her, even upon the realization the poor girl was on the road to self-destruction. The Doctor is a mysterious figure who may or not be what he seems, but clearly has good intentions. His attitude in regards to personal connection with the people he wants to help has questions rising about him, and whether this puritanical and asexual/platonic approach to therapeutic recovery is all what it is promoted as.

DVDFr - Journal intime d'une nymphomane : le test complet du Blu-ray

While Jacqueline Laurent’s character of Rosa is a key figure into finding out why Linda killed herself and framed Rosa’s husband, there’s really not much to her. Franco seemed to have included her as a means of other characters to relate Linda’s story to a witness who would then have to decide what to do with the knowledge they have received. Rosa’s one point of interest in that she’s an all right woman who somehow ended up in a bad marriage who ends up learning many a sad truth not only about her husband and Linda, but something about herself.

Le journal intime d'une nymphomane (1973) смотреть онлайн

The film doesn’t present exploitation sex and sensuality in any kind of fun light here, and the characters are often very broken and misleading people who may be genuine, but can change in a heartbeat. Franco’s attempt at a cautionary tale against perverts and how to redeem oneself in the wake of bad experiences is very effective and shows what Franco was capable of doing when he had the freedom to be creative and do what he wanted to do.

(This is a film I would only recommend to serious film buffs who wanted to expand their horizons, or to people who aren’t offended by nudity and can see past the exploitative nature of the work. Jess Franco was certainly a maverick in his own way, and shows here he was not afraid to tackle the darker issues of what normal exploitation features tended to glamorize and play for laughs. Montserrat Prous plays a very broken woman here, and takes that broken nature to the point of where the viewer can’t tell is she wants to be redeemed and is always foiled somehow, or if she’s simply self-destructive and wanting to engage in a self-fulling prophesy in bad things always happening to her family. While the IMDB lists the film as R rated, I personally give it an NC-17 due to the abundant nudity, the frank depiction of aimless sexual escapades, and the very sexually explicit dialogue from the Linda character. The French company Le Chat Qui Fume (The Cat Who Smokes) did a very fine job in resurrecting one of Franco’s more obscure efforts with a fine restoration and audio clean-up. The disc is region free and is English friendly in both an dub track and translated subtitles for the original French audio. While having a couple special features, Only the interview with actress Jacqueline Laurent is English subtitle friendly, but that’s OK, as she gives an abundant amount of info on the film, and her relationship with Franco.)

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners

for more information

buying option



Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

The Joys & Benefits of a Region Free Blu-Ray Player (And Why Film Fans Should Have One)

by Tony Nash

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Author’s Note: I’m taking a little break from doing film reviews, I haven’t stopped watching films, but for some reason or the next has made being able to sit down for at least 2 hours to enjoy a film a little flip-floppy for the moment, but I want to keep the content going on the blog, so here’s something I’ve wanted to write about for a while in a little more depth, and I hope you enjoy it)

Sony BDP-S3700 Region Free Blu-Ray Player - front view

Hello to my followers, those I’m following, all curious visitors,

What happens when there’s a film or TV Series you’ve read about for a while via the IMDb or a film forum that has peaked your curiosity, but you learn it isn’t on DVD or Blu Ray in the US or Canada, but is available from the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, etc. Pretty good right? Well, then you discover in your research there’s a pesky thing called Region Encoding, which prevents discs from playing on certain players. All is lost right because there’s no way you can find some means of playing a non Region A disc? It’s not over yet, because certain companies specialize in Region Free, or All Region, players that allow discs from all over the world to played on the same player.

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I have to admit that while I’m fairly knowledgeable when it comes to films, I’m a complete novice when it comes to the technology in putting them into disc form and creating the machines they play in. For a long time I held a certain envy for film collectors over in Europe as they had access to these great editions of films that either weren’t available at here in the US or where available in less than mild quality. Finally having enough of spending money on no product or spotty product, I started doing the research into Region Free Players to see if they were in fact real, or if it was something out of my reach. Seeing it was possible to get one was a thrill, but the price at first seemed a little steep, a $150 plus steep depending on how simple or how fancy you wanted your player. Talking it over with my folks, so long as I wouldn’t be double dipping too much on certain films, I got the green light to purchase my first All Region Player.

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Now for those of you who are wondering if working this type of machine is complex, it’s actually fairly simple. The company you purchase the player from, provides you with specialty instructions in how to work with Region A, B, and C, discs.  The only part that can be tricky is making sure which button to push when shutting off or starting up the player, as certain machine actions can affect the All Region Encoding, but luckily the manufacturers have a step in the All Region instructions to fix the issue.

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Now I imagine you viewers are asking why a Region Free Player is something to have. Well, to begin with, having this player will fully open your opportunities to films you might not normally have access to. For Fans of Italian Westerns, Giallos, and Euro Crime for example, many companies the UK and Germany, Germany having the market for variety and output of these particular genres, will include both the English dub and the original Italian language track. Unfortunately, the German releases often lack English translated subtitles, unless of course no English dub exists, so that may damper some peoples interest in giving those films a try, but if you’re interested in learning another language, or simply daring enough to take a chance in watching a film sans subtitles, I guarantee you’d be in for a treat.

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For Fans of British films and certain types of US Genre films, the UK offers some the best editions in transfers, extras (interviews and the such), and availability. The films of Roger Corman for example, which are only available in boxsets from companies like Shout Factory! for instance, the UK company Arrow Video gives its customers the option of individual releases of those films, often with more in the way of extras and information. In other cases, films that fans want to see on Blu Ray or DVD, but that mainstream companies insist won’t give them a profit to put money into a release, the UK, German, and Japanese companies will put the time and effort in to making a fine release. Now of course Boutique labels like The Criterion Collection, Arrow’s US Division, etc, will always put 100% into releases other places won’t, but there’s just so many films a year they can do and it does take time, so the more mainstream labels do need to pick up the pace.

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Another benefit, and one that works very well for collectors, is price for overseas releases. Sometimes the UK, German, and even Japanese editions of certain harder to find films elsewhere are actually cheaper and more affordable than the US editions. So while the player itself will certainly cost triple figures, it’s all worth it when you find you can pay less for certain editions of DVDs or Blu Rays overall. A concern here might be the fear of ordering from overseas, whether it be from websites of the companies themselves or Amazon’s UK and Euro sister sites, which is natural and not unexpected, but I think I can ease these fears. Amazon is one of those companies you either love or hate, but their partners in Europe are actually quite good in customer service, making sure lost items are replaced should they get lost in transit, and include the tax cost on the item page so you don’t feel like you’re getting blindsided by unseen costs. With the websites and shops of the many companies out in Europe, I found it best to use PayPal for all purchases. One of the nicest things about PayPal is that you don’t need to have an account to use to it, though I’ll admit having an account is beneficial as it does help to keep track of purchases. The only website I purchase from that doesn’t use PayPal is Eureka! Masters of Cinema, but they have an equally good service from World Pay that also doesn’t require an account to use.

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Another concern is typically the conversion of either Dollar to Pound or Dollar to Euro. This process is also not as difficult as people might believe it to be or have heard it to be. Currency Conversion is on the list of simple mathematics and becomes almost secondary nature like any other type of equation once learned. All you need to do to find out the cost in dollars from either pounds or euros is to look up the current currency exchange charge and multiply it by the cost of the item you want to purchase. Now most websites, including Amazon, will tell you the final cost in dollars when you list the US as the place your ordering from, which is a big help. Taxes and shipping also should be factored in, but generally it works out in the end. Another way of finding the cost of currency exchange is to Google Pound to Dollar or Euro to Dollar ratio and type in the cost of the item in the assigned converter. This I find works well too, as the currency conversion is constantly changing, sometimes day to day.

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Now I fully understand that the Region Free Player isn’t for everybody either because their genre interests don’t require getting a region free player or because they feel the price of $150 or more of a player is too much for a player. The serious film fan should consider the Region Free Player as an honest option because of the option it holds for expanding your interests and ability to see films you wouldn’t normally have access to. In terms of price, the more flash you want for your player like apps for things like Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix, and 3D, 4K UHD, and Streaming, any combinations of which would come out to $250 or $300 and more in price. Companies like 220 Electronics, MultiSystem Electronics, and Bombay Electronics offer pretty decent sales prices of sometime $120 and lower depending on the type of sale they’re doing, and Amazon offers $150 and under for the simpler, easy to use models. Whether your interests justify getting a Region Free Player is completely up to you and the choice is fully yours, I merely hope I have given any of you out there a pretty good idea of the positives, and lessened your fears of others.

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners

(I also highly recommend reading their sales pitch on players)

Sony, IMHO, offers some of the best Region Free Players around

Filed under: Annoucements, Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Special Topics, TV: Special Topics

My Sunshine Blogger Nomination Try-Out

by Tony Nash

(All opinions are of the author alone.)

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Hello to all my followers, those I’m following, and all curious visitors

About 48 hours ago I saw one of my followers, The Wee Writing Lassie, had been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award, and as I reciprocated her following and decided to follow her channel and adventures, offered her my congratulations. My first look at her nomination was a quick one as I was getting ready for my daily walk, and when I was checking my blog today, was in for a surprise of my own when the sweet Lassie informed me she had put up my name for nomination as well.

I want to start off by giving an ultra BIG THANK YOU! to the Wee Writing Lassie for thinking of me and offering my name up for nomination. My goal has always been to have fun with this blog and share my love of films with others, and hoping others will give the lesser known films I write about a viewing. Being nominated for something like an award is extra icing on the cake for me.

Now to tackle the questions the sweet Lassie set down for her nominees

1. Who is your favorite author?

I’m gonna admit right now that I’ve never been able to limit myself to picking just one answer, so some of these questions may have multiple answers. My top five favorite authors are: Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Samuel Beckett, and Robert Bloch.

Poe was the first author to ever get me interested in reading, and while my favorites have always been The Raven, Annabel Lee, and The Black Cats, his style and themes have always fascinated me more.

Shakespeare was the first playwright I ever read in school, and was also the first writer to get me interested in seriously writing plays. What I especially love about him is that the majority of his plays are timeless and will always have a place in every generation.

Christie reignited my interest in Murder Mystery stories and I’ve always loved her ability to keep the viewer guessing as to who committed the crime.

Samuel Beckett introduced me to the Intellectual side of literature and play-writing my senior year of High School and I’ve always been grateful for that. He also helped me in starting off with smaller plays and working my way up to longer stuff.

Robert Bloch is primarily on the list for his short story The Opener of the Way, one of the finest constructed stories ever on Ancient Egyptian Curses. He also showed me that story writers can be script writers from his brief period on the original Star Trek series.

2. If you could rule one of these five fictional/mythical lands: the Galaxy of Star Wars, King Arthur’s Britain, Westeros, Middle-Earth or Discworld – which one would it be and why?

I want to thank Lassie again for inspiring a carefully thought out choice here. For me, I would choose King Arthur’s Britain to rule.

As to the why, there are several reasons I’ll try to be brief and to the point with each. First off, the Medieval Period of Europe has always had a big fascination with me, especially the inspiration I received on it from my Sophomore English teacher in High School; he made the whole era sound magical and exciting. The Knights in armor, Kings, Queens, Dragons, and Wizards are cool to think about having existed at one time too.

Since the Medieval Age promoted the idea of chivalry and honor, I would really try to have the period live up to those ideals and also promote brotherhood and diversity. As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome I would try to have awareness made to be kind and not harsh to people who were different than the norm. To be able to mold the world the way you’d like it to be is very inviting.

And to be able to interact with such figures as Arthur himself, Merlin, Lancelot, Guinevere, Uther Pendragon, etc, would be the ultimate dream come true.

3. If you had the powers of a god, what would you do with them?

Whew, to be able to be like Zeus or Odin. If I had the powers of a god, I would use them to make positive changes to the world and in people’s lives. As the gods as we know them from folklore and literature tended to have selfish reasons in using their powers, I would try not to follow that pattern and try to do good whenever I could, though I admit the idea of making bad people pay for their crimes is tempting, I would stick to doing the right things.

4. Which famous historical figure would you have round to dinner?

Like with first question, I can’t pick just one person.

I would have Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc )as a dinner guest as I was always impressed with her stoic nature, her resolve, her honesty, and down to earth quality. She’s a religious figure that’s true, but I’m certain we’d find much to talk about.

I would have Abraham Lincoln as a dinner guest just because of all the accomplishments he made and the good man he always tried to be. He’s always been my favorite president and as someone who came from humble beginnings, he’d be someone I’d feel totally comfortable talking with.

I would have Cleopatra as a dinner guest cause you have to have at least one bad girl at the dinner table. As she was an intelligent person and could speak a dozen or more languages, I think I’d have no trouble finding something very engaging to discuss.

I would have the Pharaoh Akhenaten as a dinner guest to find out what inspired him to become the first monotheistic ruler in Egypt. He seemed like a really fascinating man and it would be interesting to engage in a discussion with him.

I have to include at least one figure from my interest in film and theater and I choose to have Shakespeare as a dinner guest. I think we’d mainly discuss his plays and themes, but I feel I could learn a lot from him.

5. You’ve been abducted by aliens, and they demand you take them to your leader- who do you take them to? 

To be honest, I doubt aliens would find me a worthy abductee as I’m a Liberal Arts Associate, but hey, anything’s possible.

I would take them to see the Dalai Lama in Tibet, as he has both wisdom and common sense. I’ve never had the chance to meet him myself, but I believe he’s the only one who could transcend the barrier between us and the aliens, and get positive communications and brotherhood going on.

6. If there was a film made about your life story, which famous actor would you want to play you? 

Hmm, that’s a tough one, and like question 1 and 4, I can’t pick just one.

I’m not the handsomest guy around, but I’d really like it if the following guys could play me: Peter Sellers, Jonah Hill, Will Sasso, Billy Gardell, and Kevin Smith. I think any of these actors could pull me off as I’m a slightly big guy, but not overweight.

7. If you were trapped in a historical time (presumably your time machine has malfunctioned) what period would you be most likely to survive in?

America and Europe of the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a lover of films, the International scene of the 60’s was the place to be for American actors/actresses, writers, and such to get their foot in the door to their career of choice when the chances of getting noticed ion Hollywood would take years. With my having Asperger’s Syndrome, I think being seen as an eccentric in 1960’s America and Europe would be the best for me.

8. What is your favorite kind of weather and why?

I would have to say a cloudy day, between 38-48 degree in temperature, it’s the perfect weather for taking walks to stay healthy.

9. Chocolate or Caramel?

I like both. Plain and simple.

10. If you could turn into any mythical creature, which one would it be?

Whew, that too is a tough one. I’ve always been a little on the uncoordinated side for a lot of  tasks and dancing, so I would say I’d like to be Pegasus, simply for his gracefulness and demeanor. And who wouldn’t enjoy the ability to fly. 😉

11. Who are you most grateful to in your life?

My Parents, my immediate Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and my two best friends Christine and Ashley, all of whom do their best in their own way to encourage me and help me reach my life goals.

Now for the people I wish to nominate for the Sunshine Blogger Award

Spinenumbered aka Make Mine Criterion!


Mikes Take on the Movies

Debbi aka I Found it at the Movies

Kevin Lyons aka The EOFFTV Reviews

Progcroc aka House of Freudstein

Zaijovan aka CatMarie at the Movies

Through the Shattered Lens

Eric Binford aka Diary of a Movie Maniac

Hilly Elkins aka 24 Femmes Per Second

B and S About Movies

Here are the 11 Questions I’ll put to them

  1. Who or what inspired you to take up your passion in life?
  2. What is your favorite language other than English or Spanish?
  3. Which of 6 lost Wonders of the Ancient World do wish was still in existence?
  4. The Blu Ray release of Abel Gance’s Napoleon was one of the Holy Grail’s of Cinema. What film that you’ve seen that has had little exposure on home media would you like to see restored to its original glory?
  5. Which European country would you most love to visit?
  6. If you could rediscover one of the famous Lost Civilizations and/or Cities, which one would it be and why?
  7. Name 5 actors and/or actresses (living or dead) that you would love to meet in person.
  8. Which pantheon of gods do you prefer: the Greek/Roman ones, The Nordic ones, or the Celtic ones?
  9. What short story or book would love to see made into a film or which deserves a better film adaptation?
  10. Which film genre that you normally don’t watch would you be willing to give a try of if a friend recommended a film from said genre?
  11. Give a shout out on your blog to someone you really admire.

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to post this before or after I find out I win, but I’ll take a chance and send the post to my nominee’s not long after.

Again I want to give a BIG THANKS to The Wee Writing Lassie and hope the people of the Sunshine Blogger Awards find this as well written as so many others hopefully do.












Filed under: Annoucements, Film: Special Topics, TV: Special Topics

The Complete Tolstoy

by Tony Nash

(A Part of the Epics)

(Mild Spoilers)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Author’s Note: Mild discussion will be on the Soviet Government’s treatment of Director Sergey Bondarchuk upon the film’s release in this review. It would be difficult not to discuss the Propaganda surrounding the film’s approval as film-making in Russia at the time was more about spreading their “superiority” to everywhere else. Let me say in no uncertain terms this is NOT about politics, ONLY the Historic elements, so please enjoy the review for its merit on recounting the beauty and history of the film, and not other reasons please.)

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Война и мир (Voyna i Mir/War and Peace/War & Peace) (1966) PG-13 *****

Sergey Bondarchuk: Count Pierre Bezukhov

Lyudmila Saleva: Countess Natasha Rostova

Vyacheslav Tikhonov: Prince Andrei Bolkonsky

Boris Zakhava: Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov

Anatoly Klorov: Prince Nikolai Andreevich Bolkonsky

Antonina Shuranova: Princess Maria Bolkonskya

Oleg Tobakov: Nikolai Rostov

Viktor Stanitsyn: Ilya Andreyevich Rostov

Irina Skobtseva: Helene Bezukhova

Kira Golovko: Natalya Rostov

Vasily Lanovoy: Anatol Kuragin

Anastasiya Vertinskaya: Princess Lisa Bolkonskya

Vladislav Strzhelchik: Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte

Written by: Sergey Bondarchuk & Vasiliy Solovyov, based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy (as Lev Tolstoy)

Directed by: Sergey Bondarchuk

Synopsis: An Epic account of the Napoleonic Wars and the lives of two families, one of an illegitimate Count and the other a soldier Prince.

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In 1966, while Russia was still in the heavy grip of Fascism/Socialism, filmmaker Sergey Bondarchuk was able to successfully adapt Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel of the Napoleonic Wars to the big screen. While filmed as one whole piece the film, due to its near eight-hour length, was split into four parts and released in the course of a year and a half. Bondarchuk’s visionary imagination told the tale in intertwined and connected parts, going from love story to the story of war seamlessly. Two friends, Pierre and Andrei, experiences the highs and lows of life, the impact the wars started by Napoleon and others have on them, and how the constantly changing social and political climates mold and unmold not only them, but everyone around them. While at times hard to understand, Bondarchuk How the war affects the two friends and their respective families is what ties the unique imagery and stories together, making it a cohesive whole.

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While Russia’s Socialist Soviet ideals of the times had to be adhered to in regards to film, literature, and art, director Bondarchuk was able to appease the Propaganda people and to make the film so countries outside the Soviet Bloc could appreciate and understand the film. Tolstoy’s novel was more about the ever changing ideals and beliefs of the aristocracy and nobility as Russia goes through the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, sometimes becoming more humane and losing the arrogance of their class, other times losing their humanity completely to the point  where they just go through the motions of life, losing everything. When Bondachuk and his cowriter decided to stick strictly to Tolstoy’s text and the historical sources the famed author researched when writing the book there was fear the Soviet government would turn the project down as anything regarding the Czarist age of the country was banned and criminalized. Bondarchuk may have been totally aware of this hypocrisy regarding Government activities, but his knowledge of the Russian youths praising of Tolstoy and his writings, would prevent the authorities from saying no to the film. Publicily the film was green-lit because of Bondarchuk’s assurance the film would depict a unified Russia, all classes working together in spite of corcumstaces, defending the motherland  against the forces of Napoleon.

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Director Sergey Bondarchuk plays the lead of Pierre Bezukhov, a noble of illegitimate birth who only gains acceptance by his family when his dying father wishes so. His journey is the most difficult of the novel/film as he tries to maintain the status quo and dignity a man of his birth should have, but at the same time can’t help but feel the weight of change as the Russian Empire is besieged by invaders and the culture radically changing to conform to the new way of life across the ocean. Having led something of a decadent life across the ocean while in a self-imposed exile, Pierre is fully knowledgeable of the ways of Western Europe and is uncertain of how the commoners and peasants will react to the new way of life sweeping throughout the lands surrounding Russia and erasing the culture laid out by the nobles. He is joined by equally talented performers like Lyudmila Saleva, Vyacheslav Tikhonov, and Boris Zakhava who all must go through similar journeys, experiencing the highs and lows, loves and hates, and the certainty and uncertainty of the times shall bring them. Some will be able to survive and find new meaning in the new world while others will either be crushed completely by the changing tides, or survive only to live the remainder of their days as an outsider looking in, not fully separated from the world they once knew, but have nothing binding them to it. Actor Tikhonov embodies the latter of this perfectly as he knows the world he and his father knew is now in the past, but the will to live is too strong for him to deliberately try to end his own life, instead hoping joining the army will take care of such a dilemma for him.

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Like with any great film, War and Peace had its share of problems. Bondarchuk himself suffered two heart attacks midway through production, forcing halts to filming and editing as he recovered, the stress of keeping the film on time, on budget, and meeting the criteria he himself expected of it finally becoming too much. Inclement weather was a constant issue during location shooting, sometimes lasting days, but had the benefit of adding to the beauty of the lush forests and fields chosen to host the battle scenes. When the film won an Oscar at the Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, A National Board of Review and New York Critics’ Awards, and getting a British Academy nomination, what should’ve been a crowning achievement for Bondarchuk turned into a nightmare when the Soviets began intimidating him, angered the film had impressed America and Western Europe. Fearing for his life and career, Bondarchuk caved in and joined the Communist Party in 1970, which he later regretted as it harmed his international reputation and inspired false beliefs that he was the poster child for Soviet filmmaking. Like with anything else, time healed these wounds and now Bondarchuk is recognized as the artist he truly was.

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Grand scale in every sense of the term, War & Peace combined beautiful artistic imagery and storytelling to make the most faithful adaptation of any work of literature in the history of cinema. While plagued with the hazards any film shoot and under the constant surveillance of untrustworthy government people, Bondarshuk, his actors, and his crew created a masterpiece that has stood the test of time and is seen as one of the greatest films ever made.

(A highly recommend giving this all time classic a viewing, even if only once due to its massive running time of just a little over 7 hours. While its creation and release caused issues for the careers and lives of most of the people involved, the problems of the period the film was made in faded into the past and Bondarchuk’s impressive vision of what he wanted the film to be is now able to be seen in that intended life. I really can’t add too much to I’m sure others have already said about it. The Criterion Collection Blu Ray of the film is magnificent, the picture and audio quality amazing, crisp, and clear, and always including a good amount of extras including interviews with some of the surviving cast and crew.)

All images courtesy of Images and their respective images

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Something Fun & Different

by Tony Nash

Hello to my followers, those I’m following, and all curious visitors,

I was planning on originally doing Part 2 of my Epics series on the Russian version of War & Peace, but activities with the family, and an annoying cold set that back a little, which I’ll hopefully finish up come next week, so I thought something different would be cool to do.

Inspired by Mike’s Take on the Movies write up on a good cast for a remake of the classic war film The Dirty Dozen, I figured I would do my ideal cast for a take on a Classic film/story. Now I’ll be doing my cast from old school actors/actresses from the 60’s and 70’s and instead of a remake, I’ll be discussing who’d be perfect for a general adaption for a Classic novel.

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is a classic in both literature and the film world with at least five adaptions done for the big screen and TV. My take on the story would be an adaptation of her stage play version like the others, but I would retain the character names from the novel, and I would do it in a homage to the Italian Giallo, with actors and actresses associated in some way or another with the genre. Never being one to settle on just one person, I’ll list two to three actors a role and let you decide who’d be better suited.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to list them in the comments below, remember this is all in fun, and a nice idea for budding filmmakers who love the classics

Since the film will be done Giallo mystery style the Italian title of the film is

E Poi non C’era Nessuno (And Then There Were None)

Gianni Garko,

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George Hilton,

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and Jean Sorel

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as Philip Lombard/Charles Morley

With Christie describing Lombard as suave and mysterious, either of these two guys would fit the bill very well. Garko has the suaveness and sophistication, while Hilton has the mysteriousness and charm.

Margaret Lee,

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Nieves Navarro

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and Erika Blanc

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as Vera Elizabeth Claythorne

Either the British bombshell, the Spanish beauty, or the Italian goddess would be wonderful as the beautiful and equally mysterious Vera Claythorne. As the character reveals little about herself until mid point, these beauties each embody the characteristics.

Charles Vanel,

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Alain Cuny,

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and Anthony Dawson

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as Justice Lawrence John Wargrave

With the character usually being depicted as an older sophisticated fellow, any of these classic era actors would work in the part. And that some of them have played homicidal types in the past, is a plus.

Ugo Tognazzi,

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Lee J. Cobb,

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and Richard Johnson

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as Doctor Edward George Armstrong

With the character being something of a cynic, a drunkard, and a fatalist, either of these crusty types would be be suited to the role of the doctor.

Anthony Dawson

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Leo Genn,

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and Stanley Baker

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as Detective William Henry Blore

Anthony Dawson comes up again here, as he’s work well with either role. Leo Genn also appeared in the 1965 version titled Ten Little Indians as the General, but as he also played smug slimeballs, he’d work well in the Blore role. The same can be said for Stanley Baker.

Suzy Delair,

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Giulietta Masina,

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and Alida Valli

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as Emily Caroline Brent

This role is probably the toughest to cast as you need the right mixture of older sophistication and coldness. So for this I decided to go with three actresses I believe could pull off the role.

Howard Vernon,

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Salvo Randone,

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and Fernando Sancho

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as General John Gordon MacArthur

Another part that’s a little difficult to cast as an older performer with a certain sense of world-weariness or life fatigue is needed. Another three actors I believe could tackle the role

Ivan Rassimov,

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John Steiner,

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and Claudio Camaso

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as Anthony James Marstson

Either of these three men can play the slimy, arrogant, and amoral first victim

Ciccio Ingrassia,

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Federico Boido,

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and Luciano Rossi

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as Thomas Rodgers the Butler

Ingrassia, normally known for being one half of Franco e Ciccio with Franco Franchi would look good in a change of pace role. Boido and Rossi rarely got substantial roles, so they’d be great in the part.

I can’t really think of anybody to play the part of Ethel Rodgers, so if anyone has any suggestions there, please let me know.

and finally

Corrado Gaipa

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as the voice of Mr. U.N. Owen.

Raspy and crisp, this solid character performer and voice dubber has the perfect vocalization for sending the guests on their way to doom.

Hope you all enjoyed this little idea of mine, and let me know in the comments any ideas you have for this or suggestions.

All images courtesy of images and their respective owners







Filed under: Film: Special Topics

The (Genuine) First Masterpiece

by Tony Nash

(The Long Epic Mini-Series Part 1)

(Mild Spoilers)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

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Napoleon (Napoleon vu par Abel Gance/Abel Gance’s Napoleon) (1927) ***** PG

Albert Dieudonne: Lt./Capt./Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte

Gina Manes: Josephine de Beauharnis/Josephine Bonaparte

Edmond Van Daele: Maximilien Robespierre

Alexandre Koubitzky: Georges-Jacques Danton

Abel Gance: Louis Saint-Just

Antonin Artaud: Jean-Paul Marat

Nicolas Koline: Tristan Fleuri

Annabella: Violine Fleuri/Desiree Clary

Pierre Batcheff: Gen. Lazare Hoche

Acho Chakatouny: Pozzo di Borgo

Max Maxudian: Barras (as Maxudian)

Philippe Heriat: Antonio Salicetti

Marguerite Gance: Charlotte Corday

Vladimir Roudenko: Young Napoleon Bonaparte

Written & Directed by: Abel Gance

Synopsis: The life of Napoleon Bonaparte chronicled from his education at Bienne College to his major role in the French Revolution to his romance with Josephine de Beauharnis to his conquest of Italy.

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A little over a decade after D.W. Griffith shocked and disgusted the world with his Birth of a Nation, Abel Gance gave dignity back to the Epic and the War Epic with a grand scale take on the early days of Napoleon Bonaparte. Set before his time as Emperor and Tyrant, Gance’s biopic looks at Napoleon as he fights for respect in both boyhood and manhood, his ups and downs as he rises through both the Corsican and French Armies, how he met and fell in love with Josephine, and how he became a hero to the people of France. How Gance imitated Griffith in camera technique and editing was the use of experimental angles, hand-held shooting, pre to early Eisenstein Montage, and allegory via the use of tinting and images, but how he differed was his respect he showed to the various people involved. While the masses were shown living in squalor, Gance never showed them in derogatory lights, the same with the upper crust slowly being replaced, again never showing them in an offensive light.  Mixing both Historical sources and conjecture from various biographies and textbooks, Gance paints a very intriguing and exciting tale of a man before absolute power corrupted him and how it landed him an infamous place in history.

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Image result for abel gance napoleon

Albert Dieudonne, a French actor turned Historian, gives a powerhouse performance as Napoleon himself. Interestingly enough, Dieudonne would briefly be hospitalized in a Mental Institution when he became so absorbed in playing the part of the infamous Military Emperor that he came to believe he was Napoleon. Dieudonne really is the perfect embodiment of Napoleon, almost perfectly capturing his charisma, personality, his genius as a military tactician, and his occasional romantic and loving side. Dieudonne does go a little into the melodramatic side in trying to convey Napoleon’s attitude regarding the Revolution as his Destiny, but he sticks to the historic texts and research into who Napoleon really was and brings the man to life in an extraordinary way. His most tender moments are with his family, and his early courting of his wife Josephine, showing Napoleon had a humane side, and even was once like many other people. Vladimir Roudenko, a one-time young actor of Russian and French origins, does an equally good job in showing off Napoleon as a child. Tormented because of his Corsican heritage and seen as half-savage, the young Napoleon is forced to work extra had to prove himself as a capable student, military man, showing even at a young age, the ambition and determination he set for himself.

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Gina Manes, a somewhat forgotten French actress, does an excellent job as Napoleon’s girlfriend and wife Josephine. Manes is very faithful to the real-life Josephine, portraying her as a genuinely decent, but very worldly woman. Having had several lovers before, and after her first marriage, Josephine was a woman who enjoyed the good life, but also dearly loved the children from her first marriage, and is shown as heartbroken being separated from them when she’s jailed with the other royals. Josephine’s first husband, who was the one that abandoned the family, offered his life in exchange for hers, though more as an act gallantry in the face of the revolting people, though she was a fine mother to their children. She too sees her life with Napoleon as Destiny as she was told by a Gypsy fortuneteller that her future included becoming the Queen. While wanting to have the best for herself and her children, she does have a genuine affection for Napoleon, though probably not to the same degree as he for her, though it is this romance that helps Napoleon with his success.

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French character actors Edmond Van Daele, Alexandre Koubitzky, and Antonin Artaud portray the three heralders of the French Revolution as Robespierre, Danton, and Marat respectively. Robespierre is the practical, straight to the point type, Danton loves giving speeches and inspiring hope in the people to support the Revolution, and Marat is the philosopher bringing sanity and reasoning to the cause. While all three men are for the Revolution, their ideologies regarding it will soon have them quarreling and at each other’s throats regarding who has the right way of doing things. Marat becomes the Revolution’s martyr when he’s murdered by a Royalist sympathizer, but Danton and Robespierre turn on each other, Robespierre having Danton executed as a failure and traitor to the cause. Robespierre gets his comeuppance when he begins turning into a tyrant, executing people at will because they don’t agree with his ideas.

(Author’s Note: Actor Artaud beautifully recreates the famous painting depicting how Marat was found after being killed.)

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Image result for abel gance napoleon marat

Director Gance and his wife Marguerite also play small, but pivotal roles in the film, as Louis Saint-Just and Charlotte Corday respectively. Saint-Just is the fourth head man of the Revolution and, like Robespierre, loses sight of what the Revolution is about, and turns into a tyrant along with Robespierre, and is also denounced and executed with his comrade. Charlotte Corday got into the history books as being the murderess of Marat, feeling she was helping the Royalists in her actions, but was caught and executed for her crime Ironically the revolutionaries would have Corday to thank as she, like Marat being a martyr, helped bring the Revolution to its earliest fruition.

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Like many great films, Gance’s Napoleon also had its problem. The original producer, Giuseppe Barattolo, was forced to exit production when the Italian film industry was hit with its first financial crisis, leaving the production without money or a way to continue. Star Dieudonne had to enter a mental hospital when, midway through filming, Napoleon’s larger than life personality and ego overwhelmed him and led the actor to believe he was the man himself (as stated in Dieudonne’s section), again production having to halt so he could get well. Many of the technical aspects, while completed and successful, had Gance in argument with some of his crew and the new producers due to budget constraints and time. Money was the key issue, as producers were coming and going, always worrying Gance’s vision wouldn’t give them a profit or be fully realized. The financial strain eventually became too much, and even when the film proved to be a success, Gance made the decision to burn more than a dozen canisters of unedited footage, depriving both viewers and historians of what else he had accomplished with the film.

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While plagued with behind the scenes problems, and the loss of much footage, Gance’s take on the life of Napoleon is still spectacular to behold. Gance’s meticulousness in shooting and how his actors were in front of the camera was a testament to how historically accurate he tried to be in telling the true story of a man. His inventive use of camera movements and angles, the first experiment with the widescreen process would become early staples of what the film industry would expand upon and use to this day, proving that film could be both a form of entertainment, and a form of art.

(Not only is this a film that I highly recommend to film fans to check out, this is a must film for any fan of cinema to see at least once in his or her life. Everything about this film is so amazing, from the performances, especially that of Albert Dieudonne, to the amazing experimental cinematography and camera angles, to the amazing use of locations. That Gance also tried to be as faithful to history as he could is also amazing, as both lovers of cinema and lovers of history will find things to love about the film. The British Film Institute, in collaboration with the film’s restorer Kevin Brownlow, did a fantastic job in the reconstruction and restoration of this almost lost classic piece of Silent Cinema.  The image and sound are so crisp, it feels like the film could’ve been made in the last ten years. There are signs of age in some scenes as Brownlow spent thirty plus years looking all over the place for footage, some of which were in bad shape when he located and preserved them. This doesn’t take away from the film however, as the majority of it is pristine.  It’s well worth any film lovers time.)

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners, including the BFI

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Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics