The Full Brazilian

vlcsnap-908716A decaying image from FOR THEM THAT TRESPASS.

An article on a couple of British rarities by Brazilian-born filmmaker Alberto Cavalcanti is now online at BritMovie. And it’s by me.

Go here. One day there will be an opportunity to gather together Cavalcanti’s work, from all the many nations where he lived and filmed, and stretch it end to end, and make sense of this fascinating guy.

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6 Responses to “The Full Brazilian”

  1. Back when I’d first seen Lean’s two Dickens adaptations I purchased a copy of Cavalcanti’s NICHOLAS NICKLEBY not long afterward, and just last week TCM showed it for what may have been the first time for them. Made around the same time as Lean’s, it no doubt suffered by proximity. I like it, it’s very well-done even if it isn’t Lean. TCM had a print to show that was far superior to what I’ve owned for some time now, so it was a treat seeing something so velvety clean. There are those who quibble about how far “superior” America’s noirs are as compared to say Cavalcanti’s THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE, but I beg to differ. The same applies no matter where the origin, some are always bound to be better than others. Which is to say that I’ve seen UK noirs that I enjoyed more so than more than of few made stateside, and vice-versa. I say it again, by and large it’s all good.

  2. Agree, noir can come from anywhere — as long as it’s between 1940 and 1958.

    Apparently Cav wasn’t a Dickens fan and didn’t really want to do Nicholas Nickleby, so he doesn’t quite catch fire with that one, but it’s perfectly decent. The Lean versions are something else, suggesting that a Lean noir would be quite something. In fact, Lean’s Scottish movie, Madeleine, comes pretty close to noir.

  3. Towards the end of his career he filmed an adaptation of Durrenmatt’s The Visit for TV. Interesting.

  4. Wow, I love Durrenmatt. “A story is not over until it has reached its worst possible conclusion.”

    The TV work is another reason it’s going to be impossible to see all his stuff in one place until somebody mounts a substantial retrospective.

  5. John Smith Says:

    Cav’s Nickleby is a wonderful and compelling film. It has the look and feel of something produced by Val Lewton. Lean’s Oliver Twist, however, is a watershed affair. British cinema was suddenly real cinema. The Americans loved the film, or at least those who weren’t picketing the performances. Two great films, one wonderful, one in the highest league of classic film.

  6. It IS kind of extraordinary, in the aftermath of WWII, that Lean and Guinness went with that perf, strong caricature though it is. Shows a certain political insensitivity — but Britain in that period was a hotbed of casual prejudice, to a degree that many just didn’t notice it. Dickens, to his credit rewrote somewhat after serialization, reducing the anti-semitic flavour to some degree.

    Time I watched NN with more attention, I think. A British movie with a Lewtonesque flavour — and at Ealing!

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