Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"DEATH IN THE CLOUDS" (1992) Review

"DEATH IN THE CLOUDS" (1992) Review

There are two things one should know about Agatha Christie’s 1935 novel, "Death in the Clouds". One, it happened to be one of those "murder in a locked room" type of mysteries that she rarely wrote about. And two, I have not read the novel since high school.

I would not exactly rate "Death in the Clouds" as one of my favorite Christie novels. But I must admit that screenwriter William Humble wrote a solid adaptation for the "AGATHA CHRISTIE’S ‘POIROT’" television series. Starring David Suchet as Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, "DEATH IN THE CLOUDS" focused upon the murder of a French woman named Madame Gisele aboard a Paris-to-London flight across the English Channel. Madame Gisele’s profession as a moneylender (and occasional blackmailer) to the British and French members of high society has made her wealthy, feared and hated. Her murder occurred during a flight that included Poirot as one of the passengers. Other passengers and suspects included:

*Lady Horbury – the wife of a British aristocrat and former actress

*Jean Dupont – a French archeologist in need of funds for an African expedition

*Jane Grey – stewardess for Empire Airways (in the novel, she was a hairdresser’s assistant on holiday)

*Norman Gale – a British dentist on holiday, who falls in love with Miss Grey

*Venetia Kerr – British aristocrat and close friend of Lord Horbury

*Daniel Clancy – a British mystery author

*Anne Gisele – Madame Gisele’s illegitimate daughter, who was impersonating as Lady Horbury’s maid

Money, class and relationships figured prominently in ”DEATH IN THE CLOUDS”. With Arthur Hastings making a no-show in this tale, Poirot enlisted the help of fellow passenger Norman Gale and stewardess Jane Grey to assist him. And thanks to solid performances from Sarah Woodward and Shaun Scott, the pair proved to be mildly entertaining and made a romantic pair. Cathyrn Harrison gave a complex and interesting performance as Lady Horbury, a former actress who married into the British aristocracy and found herself in debt to Madame Gisele. Harrison’s performance conveyed a conflicted woman that hid her insecurities regarding her marriage behind a haughty and rude mask, and a gambling habit. Actor Roger Heathcott’s portrayal of mystery writer Daniel Clancy struck me as slightly bizarre and interesting. Philip Jackson’s Chief Inspector Japp was just as annoying and entertaining as ever. It was easy to for me to see why the Parisian police considered him an annoyance. However, I found his character’s control of the case on French soil very implausible. And David Suchet gave his usual, competent performance as Hercule Poirot. No . . . I take that back. In ”DEATH IN THE CLOUDS”, his Poirot seemed warmer than usual. Perhaps his friendship with the lovebirds – especially Jane Grey – brought out more of his warmth.

I would not view ”DEATH IN THE CLOUDS” as one of Agatha Christie’s more unusual novels. Well, she did use the ”murder in a locked room” plot device for this particular story. But I found nothing that remarkable about it. I could say the same about this production. However, Humble did a solid job in adapting Christie’s novel. I found his decision to convert the Anne Gisele character into a possible suspect as unnecessary. Her role as a suspect did not go anywhere, once the movie featured her brief wedding and revelation to the police as Madame Gisele’s daughter. The humor of Japp’s presence in Paris tired quickly, once I realized that his appropriation of the case on French soil was very implausible. But Humble, with Stephen Whittaker’s direction, did a solid job in maintaining the movie’s mystery and most of the main plot. And I have to give kudos to both men for using the novel’s original publication year as an excuse to add the Fred Perry/Gottfriend Von Cramm 1935 match at the French Open as a historical backdrop.

One only has to look at ”DEATH IN THE CLOUDS” for a few minutes and correctly assume that it had been filmed during the 1990s. The movie has that sleek, Art Deco style that dominated the production of ”AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT” during that period. But since a good deal of this particular story was set in Paris, production designer Mike Oxley’s intent upon maintaining the Art Deco style did not serve that particular setting very well. The Parisian atmosphere seemed to be dominated by stark images of tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur Basilica (which Poirot insultingly referred to as an enormous birthday cake). But I must admit that costume designer Barbara Kronig did an excellent job in recapturing the styles of the mid-1930s, especially for the Lady Horbury character. However, I cannot say the same about the women’s hairstyles. I understand that some women wore chignons during the 1930s. Unfortunately, most of the female characters in this movie wore one, which I found rather ridiculous. Only the Venetia Kerr character sported a 1930s soft bob.

”DEATH IN THE CLOUDS” had a few problems that included Japp’s implausible presence of Chief Inspector Japp investigating the case in Paris. But it still turned out to be a believable and intelligent movie. For me, it was one of the better feature-length movies that aired on ”AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT”.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"FAST FIVE" (2011) Photo Gallery

Below are images from "FAST FIVE", the fifth entry in the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. Directed by Justin Lin, the movie stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Dwayne Johnson:

"FAST FIVE" (2011) Photo Gallery

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"CHARMED" RETROSPECT: (3.22) "All Hell Breaks Loose"

Last month marked the 10th anniversary of when the "CHARMED" Season Three finale episode called (3.22) "All Hell Breaks Loose" first aired. Not only did Shannen Doherty direct the episode, it also marked her last appearance as Prue Halliwell. Below is an article I had written about the events that in the episode:

"CHARMED" RETROSPECT: (3.22) "All Hell Breaks Loose"

Many fans seemed to be of the opinion that the youngest Halliwell sister, Phoebe, was to blame for the death of the oldest sister Prue, in the Season Three episode, (3.22) "All Hell Breaks Loose". It almost seems as if many wanted to use her as some kind of scapegoat. I am sorry, but I find this idea extremely hard to accept. I wonder if any fan of "CHARMED" has ever stopped to consider that Prue bore most of the responsibility for her own death? I wonder if many fans had forgotten how the whole mess in "All Hell Breaks Loose" had started in the first place?

It had all started because Prue forgot the very lesson that the sisters had learned in the Season One episode, (1.16) "Which Prue Is it, Anyway?" - the best offense is defense. The episode "All Hell Breaks Loose" started with the sisters being attacked by a demonic assassin, Shax, while they were protecting a Dr. Griffiths from him. Although Shax managed to seriously wounded both Prue and Piper, Phoebe used a spell that vanquished Shax . . . temporarily. And Leo healed Prue and Piper in time.

Unfortunately, the sisters were uncertain that Phoebe had vanquished Shax. Even worse, Prue forgot the lesson of "Which Prue Is It, Anyway?" and insisted that she and Piper leave the manor to track down Shax. The sisters could have remained at the manor and prepared themselves for another attack by Shax. Instead, Prue dragged Piper out of the manor and when they encountered Shax again and vanquished him – well, Piper vanquished him with her second power, their actions were videotaped by the media. This turned out to be the very incident that set in motion the events that led to Prue's death - not Phoebe's decision to find and save her half-demonic love, Cole Turner aka Belthazor:

Prue: Maybe the spell needs more than one witch to have it's full impact. Okay, come on.

(Prue gets up and then helps Piper up.)

Piper: Come on? Where?

Prue: To find him so we can finish him off while he's still hurt. (to Phoebe) Look, you just stay here with Griffiths, alright. If Shax comes back, say the spell to fend him off, okay? Ow. Come on.

(Prue and Piper go outside. Leo looks at the Doctor, who's in shock.)


[Cut outside. Prue and Piper are running down the street.]

Piper: Maybe Phoebe hurt him worse than we thought.

Prue: No, he's gotta be around here somewhere, he wouldn't leave without getting what he came for.

Piper: Do you really think he'd attack us in broad day light? Evil is usually more insidious than that.

(They stop.)

Prue: Ah, okay, shh.

Piper: What? (The tornado comes up behind them. They turn around and gasp. The tornado dies down and Shax appears. He throws an energy ball at them, and Prue deflects it back with her power. It hits him but doesn't harm him.) Blow this! (Piper holds out her hands and blows up Shax. He disappears.) Okay, is he dead?

Prue: Well, we didn't really say the spell.

Piper: Well, maybe we won't have to. We don't always. We're lucky nobody saw us.

Prue: Alright, let's just get back to Phoebe. Come on.

(They walk back towards the manor.)


[Cut to down the street. A female reporter and a camera man are watching Prue and Piper. She turns back to the camera.]

Reporter: Back to me, back to me, back to me. (The camera man points his camera at her.) Okay, um, I'm not exactly sure what just happened, but whatever it was, you saw it here... live.

In the following scene, Phoebe announced her intentions to help Cole. Prue and Piper's protests against the idea seemed to be more about her getting emotionally involved with Cole, rather any demands that she hang around in case Shax was not dead. In fact, Piper seemed to believe that she had killed Shax:

Leo: How'd it go?

Piper: We dodged another bullet.

Prue: Yeah, with him maybe.

Leo: What do you mean?

Prue: I don't know, I mean, something still bothers me about the way that we vanquished Shax. Like, I'm not so sure we really did.

Piper: What do you mean? He screamed, he went poof, just like they all do. Third demon in a row, by the way, that I vanquished with my new power, but who's counting?

(Phoebe walks back in.)

Prue: Right, but if that's all that we needed, then why was there a vanquishing spell in the book? I mean, hasn't that always meant that our individual powers weren't enough?

Leo: Except the book was written by witches with less powers than you guys have. They needed the spells.

Phoebe: Plus, I think if he was still alive, he probably would've attacked us again by now.

Prue: Ah, you know, Leo, can you just check to make sure, please? With the Elders?
Leo: No problem.

(Leo orbs out.)

Piper: If you ask me, I think you're being paranoid. We kicked Shax's behind. We bad.

Prue: Yes, you're probably right.

Phoebe: Then I'm hoping you won't need me around here for a while. I wanna try a new potion on Cole. One that'll reverse the spell that turned him bad in the first place.

Piper: Phoebe...

Phoebe: I'm not looking for your approval, Piper, just your support.

Prue: Well, Phoebe, it's sort of hard to give you support when you're just setting yourself up to get hurt again.

Phoebe: Cole is good inside, I know it. And if dark magic did this to him, then how come white magic can't save him? I can't just turn my back, I have to try.

Piper: What do you want us to do?

Phoebe: I want you to use the magic-to-magic spell to send me down there. I reworded it to make it work.

(Phoebe hands Piper a piece of paper.)

Piper: Uh, Phoebe, that's awfully dangerous. If something goes wrong we won't be able to contact each other.

Phoebe: I'll be safe, I'll be with Cole. And he'll bring me back, so don't worry about that.

Prue: You're banking a lot on that little potion of yours, you know.

Phoebe: No, I'm not. I'm banking on Cole.

Yes, it seemed quite obvious that Phoebe was determined to go to the Source’s Realm and find Cole. But regardless of her determination, there was no way she could have went after him, without her sisters’ help in using a "magic-to-magic spell" to teleport her to the Source’s Realm.

In the following scene, Prue still wanted verification that they or Piper had vanquished Shax. The subject of Phoebe was brought up. Piper expressed concerned that Cole might hurt Phoebe. Prue did not share her concerns:

[Scene: Outside the manor. Prue and Piper are on the sidewalk. Prue is crouching down looking at the ground.]

Piper: What did you expect to find?

(Prue stands up.)

Prue: I don't know, something though.

Piper: Well, demons don't usually leave footprints, remember?

Prue: No, but sometimes they leave a residue when they've been vanquished. Something otherwise innocuous. Look, I just don't understand how we could vanquish such a powerful demon without a spell.

Piper: But frankly I'm more worried about Phoebe than Shax. We shouldn't have let her go.

Prue: Phoebe can take care of herself, Dr. Griffiths can't.
(They start walking up the street.) Look, Piper, I've had a bad feeling about this. I've had one all day. If there's one thing I've learned since becoming a witch, is to trust those feelings.

By this time, Piper and Prue had been exposed on television. And their friend in the San Francisco Police Department, Inspector Darryl Morris, had been ordered by his captain to question the sisters about "killing" Shax. Although Prue believed that they had done the right thing by leaving the house to go after Shax, Piper did not:

Piper: Isn't that illegal? Can't you do something about that?

Darryl: Hey, killing somebody on live TV is pretty illegal too, you know.

Prue: Okay, it wasn't somebody, Darryl, it was a demon. And we're pretty sure we didn't kill him anyway.

Darryl: Do you wanna try telling them that?

Prue: Ugh...

Darryl: Look, I've called for backup, but that's not gonna help for long. This thing's gonna get ugly fast.

Piper: We shouldn't have followed Shax into the street.

Prue: We didn't have a choice, Piper.

Piper: Didn't we?

Prue: Sure, we could've let him kill our innocent. That would've been better, you think? Alright, you know what? Let's not let this thing get between us, okay? We have enough problems as it is, please.

Following this scene, Prue and Piper went to Dr. Griffiths at the hospital to make certain that Shax was not after the man, in case they had not vanquished him. Sure enough, Shax appeared outside of the hospital. And Prue and Piper "vanquished" him . . . in front of television cameras again. They were informed by Leo that the Elders wanted them to contact the demon Tempus to set back time. Prue ordered Leo to contact Cole, so that he could make a deal with the Source and Tempus. And then the following happened:

Piper: I don't know why we're bothering to do this.

Prue: In case time doesn't reset itself.

(Prue puts a chair against the door.)

Piper: If time doesn't reset itself, this table against that door is not gonna help much.

Prue: Yeah, well, then we better start thinking about what would, okay? Because if Leo doesn't succeed, we're gonna have to figure out what we're gonna do.

(They walk into the living room.)

Piper: We're gonna do talk shows and book signings and movie deals, (Prue picks up the Book of Shadows) and then taken by the CIA and dissected.

Prue: Yeah, how can you be joking about this, Piper?

Piper: Who's joking?

Prue: Well, I'm not. Alright, I'm scared. And you should be too. Okay, our lives, Piper, everything that we've worked for could be completely destroyed with-with one stupid mistake. Our entire future, our entire destiny could be wiped out just like that. (Prue clicks her fingers and a gunshot goes off. Piper gasps.) What was that? (Piper looks down and sees blood on her shirt. Her hands are shaking.) Piper? Piper. (Prue drops the Book of Shadows and grabs Piper before she falls. Prue looks at her hand and it has Piper's blood on it.) Oh!

One stupid mistake.
And that one mistake? I believe that Prue's decision to leave the manor and track down Shax was that mistake. Piper certainly thought so.

Prue's decision to leave the house and go after Shax led to the following:

• An erroneous belief that they had succeeded
• Exposure by the media
• Phoebe's decision to go after Cole after Piper had mistakenly expressed the belief that they had succeeded
• Being exposed for the second time by the media
• Piper getting shot
• The deal with the Source and Tempus, which led to Phoebe being trapped in the Source's Realm
• Time being reset, which led to a second attack by Shax
• Dr. Griffith and Prue's deaths

I will not claim that Prue was solely responsible for her death. The other major characters also managed to add their two cents to the situation. The Source's determination to destroy the Charmed Ones led him to assign Shax to commit the deed. Shax eventually did kill Prue. The media provided nothing but trouble for the Charmed Ones, after they had exposed the two older sisters. Phoebe's determination to find Cole at all costs, led her to be missing at a time when her presence could have saved Prue’s life. Their whitelighter and Piper's husband, Leo Wyatt, did not help with his insistence that Piper had succeeded in killing Shax, when the media first caught her and Prue on tape. Cole's decision to cover his tracks with the Source and the Brotherhood of the Thorn at the end of (3.19) "The Demon Who Came in From the Cold" led to his eventual capture by his fellow demons and a brief estrangement from Phoebe. Piper certainly did not help matters. Granted, she did oppose both Phoebe's trip to the Source’s Realm, but also Prue’s decision to leave the manor to track down Shax. But instead of maintaining her opposition, she allowed herself to become a pushover by caving in to her sisters' wishes and opinions.

However, in my opinion, Prue Halliwell bored most of the blame for her death. The episode, (3.18) "Sin Francisco" made it clear that one of her biggest flaws happened to be her pride. Her inability to overcome that pride forced Leo to rescue her from the demon featured in that episode. And in "All Hell Breaks Loose”,it was Prue’s pride that led her to believe that no problem would arise in her and Piper leaving the manor – the one place that the Charmed Ones were at their strongest – to hunt down Shax. Unfortunately for Prue, the end of the episode would prove her wrong.

In addition, here are some images from "All Hell Breaks Loose":

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"MILDRED PIERCE" (1945) Review

"MILDRED PIERCE" (1945) Review

I have been a fan of the 1945 movie, "MILDRED PIERCE" for years. Ever since the age of twelve. But many years have passed since I felt the urge to watch it. When I learned about the recent HBO version of the story, I decided to re-visit the past and watch the movie again.

Based upon James M. Cain’s 1941 novel, "MILDRED PIERCE" is about a middle-class woman who struggle to make a new life for herself and her daughters and maintain their social position, following the break-up of her marriage during the last years of the Great Depression. After a difficult search Mildred finds a job as a waitress, but she worries that it is beneath her middle-class station. More than that, she worries that her ambitious and increasingly pretentious elder daughter, Veda, will view her new job as demeaning. Mildred encounters both success and failure as she opens a chain of successful restaurants, operates a pie-selling business and copes with the death of her younger daughter, Kay. Veda enjoys her mother's newfound financial success but turns increasingly ungrateful and demanding, while openly condemning Mildred for becoming a working woman.

Anyone familiar with Cain’s novel would immediately realize that screenwriters Ranald MacDougall, William Faulkner and Catherine Turney took a great deal of liberties with the plot. One, the movie only spanned at least four to five years, in compare to the nine years featured in the novel. Any references to the Great Depression were eliminated altogether. However, the movie did feature one scene in which Mildred wrote the year 1939 on some document. In the novel, Mildred’s younger daughter was named Ray, not Kay. Nor did she die in the bedroom of the house owned by her father’s mistress, Mrs. Biederhof, as shown in the film. And Mildred’s friend, Lucy Gessler and co-worker Ida Corwin were combined into the wise-cracking Ida, who started out as Mildred’s boss and ended up as her partner (or manager – I am still not certain). References to Veda’s training as a pianist and later success as an opera singer, were tossed. The movie only made brief mention of her training as a singer. More importantly, Mildred’s second husband, Monty Beragon, was never killed. In fact, there was no murder mystery at all in Cain’s novel. Monty’s murder was invented by the filmmakers, because the old Production Code required that evildoers – namely the selfish and pretentious Veda and Monty, who were caught necking by Mildred - be punished for their misdeeds.

Even after so many years, "MILDRED PIERCE" remained a very entertaining and energetic film. Somewhat. The movie had one or two problems. One, why on earth did the screenwriters allow Ray (pardon me) Kay to die at the home of Bert Pierce’s mistress? How tacky is that? Why did he not have the good sense to take his younger daughter to the hospital? When I first saw the movie years ago, I had no problems with the murder mystery that had been included in the plot. But when I watched the movie recently, it finally occurred to me that the focus upon Monty’s murder in the first fifteen or twenty minutes nearly bogged down the movie’s pacing. I found myself longing to reach for my DVD remote and push the Fast Forward button. But a part of me argued that I had to watch every moment of the film to fully appreciate it. Fortunately, the movie eventually delved into Mildred’s back story, which included the breakup of her marriage, the job hunt, Ray’s (pardon me) Kay’s death, her first meeting with Monty, the launch of her first restaurant and most importantly, her relationship with Veda. As the unfolding of Mildred’s life weaved its magic spell, the script occasionally broke away from this very entertaining melodrama and forced us to contemplate the identity of Monty’s murderer. And every time this happened, the movie nearly grounded to a halt. I used to derive a great deal of pleasure when the very evil Veda was revealed as Monty’s murderer. Unfortunately, the pleasure of that moment failed to grasp me, the last time I saw "MILDRED PIERCE". I finally remembered that when I first saw the movie, I knew that Veda was the killer. And her reason for killing Monty? After Mildred had interrupted Veda and Monty’s passionate embrace, the latter made it clear to his spoiled stepdaughter that he would always love Mildred. Go figure. When I first saw the movie, I cheered when Veda was being led away by the police. But after my last viewing, I realized that transforming Veda into a murderer did not solve the main problem – namely Mildred’s unhealthy love for her daughter. As Veda was being led away by the police, the look on Mildred’s face expressed her continuing obsession over the former. Nothing had really changed - at least not the relationship between Mildred and Veda. In the end, attaching the murder mystery did not solve a damn thing.

But despite these flaws, "MILDRED PIERCE" is still a first-rate movie after sixty-six years. The screenwriters and director Michael Curtiz handled the meat of the story – Mildred’s tormented relationship with Veda – with great skill and drama. I was happy to notice that the best aspects of Cain’s plot remained intact. My favorite sequences include Mildred’s lessons on the restaurant business as a waitress, the introduction of Monty’s character, the showdown between Mildred and Veda over the former’s waitress uniform, and Veda’s attempt to blackmail the wealthy Forresters with a fake pregnancy. I also have to commend Curtiz for providing the movie with his usual brisk pacing. I realize that I had earlier complained of the pacing featured in the movie’s first 15 to 20 minutes. And although the movie threatened to bog down in the scenes that featured the murder mystery, I thought that Curtiz handled the other aspects of Mildred’s life with his usual competent and artistic manner.

Fans of Cain’s novel have complained that this adaptation have skimmed one or two strong aspects of Mildred’s personality – namely her narcissist obsession toward Veda. I cannot say that I fully agree with this criticism. Mind you, I do believe that the movie failed to delve deeply into the aspect of Mildred’s personality that led her to indulge in Veda’s desires at nearly every opportunity. But MacDougall, Faulkner and Turney’s screenplay did not ignore it altogether. In the argument scene that featured the Pierces’ breakup, Bert pointed out Mildred’s penchant for indulging Veda’s whims . . . almost to the point of ignoring younger daughter Kay. Mind you, Bert is not completely blameless, considering his lack of interest in Veda and his failure to provide for his family. And in another scene, Mildred’s snobbery and class aspirations – something in which she had passed on to Veda – is apparent in her insistence that Kay continue with her dance lessons, despite the latter’s tomboyish nature and disinterest in any kind of social aspirations.

What can I say about the cast of "MILDRED PIERCE"? To be honest, I cannot find fault in the performances featured in the movie. Many have criticized Bruce Bennett for giving a dull performance as Bert Pierce, Mildred’s first husband, who leaves the family in a financial lurch. Mind you, his portrayal of Bert did not exactly rock my boat. But I did not find it dull – especially in two scenes that featured a heated argument between his character and Mildred. Butterfly McQueen gave an entertaining performance as Mildred’s maid, Lottie. Even more importantly, her character was not the wince inducing cliché that she portrayed in 1939’s "GONE WITH THE WIND". Jo Ann Marlowe was charming as Mildred’s earthy and tomboyish younger daughter, Kay. I especially enjoyed her little spoof of Carmen Miranda. Both Jack Carson and Eve Arden gave deliciously sarcastic performances as Bert’s ex-partner Wally Fay (Burgan in the novel) and Mildred’s boss-turned-partner Ida Corwin. In fact, both were given some of the best lines in the movie. I cannot help but wonder if this line - "Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young." - had led to Arden’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

Zachary Scott has portrayed a good number of heels throughout his movie career. But none of them had been as interesting as his performance as Monty Beragon, the Pasadena socialite who becomes Mildred’s second husband. Instead of portraying Monty as a one-note villain or sleaze, Scott portrayed the character as a complex personality that seems to convey both some of the good and a good deal of the bad in humanity, and who became a tool in Mildred’s campaign to win back her daughter . . . and grew to resent her for it and his willingness to become her gigolo. Ann Blyth earned a well deserved Best Supporting Actress nomination for her portrayal of Veda Pierce, Mildred’s snobbish, selfish and ungrateful older daughter. And I must say that she did a superb job. What impressed me about Blyth’s performance was that not only did she convey all of the venality of Veda’s personality without going over the top, she also managed to hold her own against the powerhouse of Joan Crawford. Speaking of the latter actress, the role of Mildred Pierce must have seemed like a godsend to her career. After eighteen years with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Crawford found herself shoved aside for new starlets to fill the studio’s roster. Warner Brothers saved her career with a new contract and the Mildred Pierce role. And Crawford gave it everything she got. Some have accused the Hollywood icon of being obvious in a pursuit for Oscar gold. Personally, I simply saw a first-rate performance. She did an excellent job of conveying Mildred’s determination to become a successful businesswoman and obsession toward winning Veda’s love. Most importantly, I do not believe that she was "over melodramatic" as some critics have claimed. If I have to be honest, I consider Mildred Pierce to be one of her best roles.

After reading this review, one would suspect that my opinion of "MILDRED PIERCE" is not be as positive as it used to be. And that person would be right. My latest viewing of the film detected some flaws that I had failed to notice in the past. The biggest flaw seemed to be the screenwriters' attempt to combine aspects of film noir and melodrama. It simply did not work for me, because the movie's noir aspects dragged the pacing. But despite any flaws, I feel that the movie still manages to hold up very well after sixty-six years. And this is all due to Michael Curtiz’s excellent direction, Ernest Haller’s photography, some very sharp dialogue and characterization, and a first-rate cast. Even after all of these years, "MILDRED PIERCE" is still entertaining to watch.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"MANSFIELD PARK" (1983) Screencaps Gallery


Below are images from "MANSFIELD PARK", the 1983 television adaptation of Jane Austen's 1814 novel. Directed by David Giles, the six-part miniseries starred Sylvestra Le Touzel, Nicholas Farrell and Jackie Smith-Wood: 

"MANSFIELD PARK" (1983) Photo Gallery



































mansfieldpark 83 ball 1

mansfieldpark 83 ball