April was pretty busy for me as I watched 35 titles. Among these, one was a new theater release, one was a new Netflix release, one was a documentary. I saw six silent films, twenty two new to me classic titles including one foreign classic, re-watched six films for at least the second time and viewed three television series.
TCM chose to honor Greta Garbo this month, so I was able to catch seven of her films (including the documentary). My favorite of those was Love, a remake of Anna Karenina with John Gilbert. But I also discovered that I enjoy watching her opposite Nils Asther as well.
Kay Frances was also honored for a day this month and I saw six more of her movies. She was definitely at her best in the pre-code era.
Some of my favorite discoveries this month include Garbo and Asther in The Single Standard, the silent film Souls for Sale, the BBC’s mini-series Mrs. Wilson, The Teahouse of the August Moon and Kay Francis in The House on 56th Street. Continue reading “April 2019 Quickie Reviews”
It is a time of great internal and political conflict in Korea. The nation is slowly losing it’s autonomy to it’s more power neighbor, Japan. The disintegration of Korea’s freedom and identity is hastened by the modernization forced upon it by American and Japanese influence. Compounding the problem is that many of Korea’s nobles are actively working against their homeland for their own personal benefit.
After fifteen years of marriage and two children, Sergey and Olga have grown apart emotionally. Their life has become a matter of routine and duty. When Olga finds her husband’s profile on a dating website, she decides to connect with her husband using a false identity. Sergey quickly becomes enamored with the mysterious woman named Emma.
Meanwhile, in their real life Olga is torn over her husband’s “infidelity” but believes their marriage is worth saving. The more she reaches out to her husband, the more distant he becomes. However, her virtual identity as Emma gives her new insight and understanding into her husband while also exposing the failures in their marriage. The more Olga pretends to be Emma, the more “Emma” impacts Olga’s life. But when Olga finally regains her sense of identity, will she still feel her marriage worth saving? Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday – I Love My Husband (2018) Russian Series”
So, this year was an extremely productive year for me when it came to watching films. I watched over 180 new to me classic films. Wait, what? That’s right almost 200 films. I honestly don’t even know how that is possible, especially considering I also read over 120 books while working as well. That number of course doesn’t include the new releases, documentaries, television series, Hallmark movies etc. which I didn’t bother to keep track of.
This year’s classic film binge included me filling in my filmography gaps for stars like Rita Hayworth, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, Elizabeth Taylor, George Brent, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando and others. I watched my first Esther Williams films and finally found one I liked. And I finally discovered why Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are considered a great pairing. Continue reading “2018 Film Year in Review”
In the last several decades of the fifteenth century, a Byzantine princess is sent to Moscow to marry its’ Grand Prince Ivan III. Rome hopes that with her influence, the people of Russia will turn from their Orthodox faith to Catholicism. Instead the Princess Zoe changes her name to Sophia, and adopts the Russian language, faith and culture as her own.
As the wife of the man who history will name Ivan the Great, she is not entirely trusted by her adopted homeland. Those in power fear her foreign origins and influence over her husband. She becomes a point of conflict in the Russian court and the focus of court distrust and intrigues.
While Ivan and Sophia deal with these internal conflicts, there are also external ones which demand Ivan’s attention. Among these are issues of diplomacy and war among rival nations. The most dangerous of these is war against the Golden Horde led by the Grand Khan. Closer to home is the conflict with the Russian Republic of Novrogod who resist Ivan’s attempts to unify the various Russian principalities under the throne of Moscow. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Sophia (2016) Russian Television Series”
Juliete Hardy is a sensually precocious young woman without anyone to love her. She has been raised in an orphanage and taken in by the Vigier-Lefrancs. Her reputation in St. Tropez is well-known. Madame Vigier-Lefrancs finally threatens to return Juliete to the orphanage after she catches her chatting in the nude with the wealthy but older Eric Carradine.
But Juliete only has eyes for Christian Tardieu, the eldest son and breadwinner of the Tardieu family. Because of this she refuses to commit to Carradine and also spurns the advances of Christian’s quiet but steady younger brother Michel. Christian promises to take her with him when he goes back to Marseilles if she will spend the night with him. But when he breaks his promise he sets into motion Juliete’s revenge. It is a revenge that will entangle Juliete with all three men and almost cost her a chance at the love she yearns for. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -And God Created Woman (1956)”
Maria Laura, aka Mala, is an aspiring actress whose outspoken views make it difficult for her to win roles. Fortunately, her roommate Kika is understanding as to why she is behind on her rent. Kika is also convinced her boyfriend is cheating on her. She coerces Mala into flirting with him to determine if he will be faithful. Though reluctant Mala is also successful and eventually word gets around about her unusual talent. Before she knows it, she is earning good money testing the loyalty of other women’s boyfriends.
However, when she finally lands a major role in a television series she is ready to leave her odd career behind. But the producer only agrees to guarantee the part if Mala will seduce her ex as a means of revenge. There is just one problem. Mala has already had an unfortunate encounter with wealthy businessmen Santiago and they can’t stand each other. Still, Mala’s big break depends on making Santiago fall in love with her so that she can break his heart. Further complications arise when she develops conflicted feelings towards him and her unpleasant task. Will Mala be convincing enough to snag the heart of this wealthy bachelor? Even more importantly, will she be able to protect her own heart while doing so?
She was referred to as “Soviet Sophia Loren” and “the most beautiful Kremlin weapon.” But who was the Red Queen? Was she the queen of the catwalk or a KGB agent seducing foreign diplomats? How did she manage to succeed and what was the price she had to pay? The life of Regina Zbarskaya, the most famous USSR, is full of mystery and drama.
In 1950’s Communist Russia, a family tragedy leaves Zoya Kolesnikova a stigmatized orphan. Leaving her home town, she heads to Moscow to escape her past. While there she adopts the name Regina. With the help of a benefactress,she reinvents herself through education and determination.
Initially she pursues her mother’s dream of becoming an accountant, but a chance encounter leads her into the world of fashion. Regina works hard not only to become a clothes model but also to overcome past mistakes. Eventually, she realizes success not only in Russia but also world wide. But past traumas still haunt her and a life of fame has its’ price. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -The Red Queen (2015)”
François and Thérèse are happily married with two young children. During the week Francois works as a carpenter for his uncle and on the weekends the young family enjoys exploring the nearby countryside. Their life is full of bonheur (happiness) , perhaps even idyllic.
But then François meets Émilie to whom he is instantly attracted. It’s not long before they being an affair, even though she knows that he is married. François seems to believe that his affair with Émilie is not subtracting from what he has with his wife. He doesn’t love Thérèse any less. Instead, his love with Émilie only adds to his overall happiness. But when, he finally confesses to his wife about the relationship and his viewpoint, tragedy ensues. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Le Bonheur (1965)”