Monday, 16 November 2009

(500) Films of Empire - Day 62

346 - Leave Her To Heaven - 3 stars
It's a Technicolour Film Noir! This is a film that bursts with the colour pallette of a Powell & Pressburger or Douglas Sirk movie, but at its heart it is a noir as dark as Double Indemnity.
A naive writer impulsively marries the beautiful Ellen Berent (played by Gene Tierney, who was Oscar nominated for this role), but fails to see how insanely jealous she is.
Desperate to have him all to herself, she goes to increasingly devious methods to do so, all the while knowing that their union will end in tragedy.
Ellen is probably the original 'bunny boiler' but as she doesn't kill any wildlife, I will give her a new moniker based on her most heinous crime... "cripple drowner". When you watch the film, you'll understand what I mean!

42 - Kind Hearts And Coronets - 4 stars
An absolute delight of a film. Ealing comedy at its very blackest.
David Price is the antihero with one of the longest names in cinema history (Lord Louis Mazzini D'Ascoyne, the tenth Duke of Chalmont), who recounts his memoirs as he awaits his death sentence.
It follows his quest to kill all the members of the D'Ascoyne family in order to claim his place as Duke and avenge the banishment of his mother from the family.
Most of the reviews of the film focus on Alec Guinness as he plays eight different membersb of the family (young,old, male, female)
But for me the star of the show is Price, who is wonderful as Mazzini. He really should be the villain of the piece, as he is a sociopathic murderer, yet since the whole film is told from his point of view, it becomes nearly impossible not to associate and sympathise with him as he murders and manipulates his way to fame and fortune, all the while knowing that he will meet his commupence. Back then due to Hays code, the bad guy can't get away with murder but the film does have some degree of ambiguity. Possibly one of the films that led Hollywood to reason that if you want to have a really great bad guy, get someone British.
Thank goodness the much-mooted remake has never happened. Don't mess with the classics, isn't that right Gus Van Sant

Days remaining - 303 Films remaining - 408

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