Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Year's end

And we look back at the last of 2013, a year when eras passed: not only Nelson Mandela but Mrs Thatcher, the resignation of Pope Benedict and that interesting new pope Francis .... that titan among TV people David Frost; people dear to us that we grew up watching like Peter O'Toole and Julie Harris; Joan Fontaine, Eleanor Parker and Esther Williams from the Golden Age, among many others.

Certainly a towering year for cinema, we are looking forward to the Award Season as its should be the best for some time, as Blanchett, Dench, Bullock, Thompson, Winslet, Hanks, Redford, Ejiofor,  Cauron, McQueen and others slog it out. Seeing the new Woody Allen on the cinema screen and back on form was good too...

Discoveries of the year for me were finally getting Blu-ray for the reissues of THE SERVANT and BILLY LIAR; seeing THE SERVANT on a movie screen again at that screening I attended back in March when James Fox, Sarah Miles and Wendy Craig were present to talk about it 50 years later - how often does that happen? As I had seen Dirk Bogarde and Joseph Losey in discussion back in 1970, I just had to be at this one too. Then there's the Blu-ray of Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE, we will be discussing that in the new year. We also dug the Blu-ray of Clement's PLEIN SOLEIL, and loved it all over again. 
It was great too to go back to the British cinema of the late '40s and early '50s with titles I had not seen before like THE BLUE LAMP and HUNTED, with early Bogarde making an impression, as per recent reviews, and more Italian cinema of the early 60s with those Bolognini titles like LA NOTTE BRAVA, SENILITA, CORRUPTION, as well as France's LES GODELURAUX, that 1962 Chabrol rarity, and his even rarer 1965 MARIE CHANTAL VERSUS DR KHA with the adorable due of Marie Laforet and Stephane Audran (French label).
1959 was the year that kept on giving with those Russian classics like BALLAD OF A SOLDIER and THE LETTER THAT WAS NOT SENT, it was a year of discovering Russian cinema as we also loved 1957's THE CRANES ARE FLYING. Other new 1959 classics to add to the growing list were Camus's BLACK ORPHEUS and Chabrol's LES COUSINS and A DOUBLE TOUR, plus Brigitte Bardot's zany COME DANCE WITH ME, which must make 1959 my favourite movie year ever (along with 1960, 1962, 1963, 1966 ...).  See 1959 label for more on these. Then there were those Chabrol, Deneuve, Bardot  and Romy Schneider treats (French label) plus finding out about those missing Lee Remick BBC films. Now for 2014 and THE GREAT BEAUTY ...

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