Archive for Mario Soldati

10) Torino – Soldati

Posted in FILM with tags , on April 14, 2022 by dcairns

Mario Soldati tackles Torino, and just when it was seeming like there were a limited number of ways of profiling a city cinematically, he opens things out with a narration that’s suddenly attached to an onscreen narrator — himself. This personal approach immediately adds warmth and personality. I note also that Soldati’s subject is the modern city. He’s almost as old as the century, but he’s not living in the past, though he’s certainly in a position to compare different eras.

Soldati, it’s fair to say, was more of a writer than a director — he did helm quite a lot of movies, but at this point hadn’t done so since 1959.

Soldati’s presence is the film’s greatest advantage — his filming and cutting are fairly conventional — and it’s a letdown when a younger VO artist takes over duties halfway through, for unknown reasons. Fatigue?

But then he’s back! Talking about breadsticks. He has the same impossible “old man voice” we’ve all heard dubbed onto elderly characters in Italian movies. A quavering croak, extremely adorable. He lived another twelve years! I wonder what he sounded like in 1999.

A decent entry, but since the beauties of Turin are so inaccessible, maybe it needed a younger man? Still, Soldati’s genial patrician presence is what makes it.

Penultimate Tango in Bologna

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2016 by dcairns

bigarmofpola

Big arm of Pola

Pola Negri hits small-town America as a tattooed countess in A WOMAN OF THE WORLD and hits a local dignitary in the face with a bullwhip. Always good.

LA MANO DELLO STRANIERO — THE STRANGER’S HAND — is Mario Soldati’s Graham Greene movie, with THIRD MAN stars Trevor Howard and Valli, plus Eduardo Cellini and a dash of THE FALLEN IDOL. A small boy hunts for his kidnapped father in Venice. The sprog is played by as juvenile Richard O’Sullivan, his seventies sitcom days still a ways off. An unusually weak plot for Greene, but a great IDEA…

I was so soaked with sweat by the end of this one that I crapped out and missed MONTPARNASSE 19, a film I love, but at least I managed to recommend it to a few people, who ended up admiring it as much as I did.

quai-des-orfevres

Somewhat recovered, I hit the Piazza Maggiore and drank in QUAI DES ORFEVRES in a 4K restoration from the camera negative. Clouzot’s sweetest film, though what constitutes sweetness in Clouzot’s world is a little acidic if what you’re used to is, say, Capra…

Louis Jouvet’s Inspector Antoine is my favourite police detective in all cinema. Though I also give points to Bernard Blier in BUFFET FROID, Stanley Baker in HELL IS A CITY and Stephen Fry in GOSFORD PARK.

 

Alternative Universe Viewing Schedule

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2016 by dcairns

jazzkonig-big

Instead of writing about what I saw on Monday at Il Cinema Ritrovato, I *could* write about what I failed to see — Edward L. Cahn’s searing pre-code LAUGHTER IN HELL has been wowing them in the aisles, and I hope to catch it later in the fest — missed Arthur Penn’s THE CHASE, just as I have missed all the Brando so far — a program of Italian shorts from 1896 — a clip-show of classic Technicolor material including scenes from ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, RIO BRAVO and Cukor’s A STAR IS BORN — Mario Soldati’s MALOMBRA — Pierre Chenal’s film of Native Son, SANGRE NEGRA (American book filmed in Argentina by a Frenchman) — LA MORTE DE CYGNE, a film about ballet school by the great Marie Epstein and Jean Benoit-Levy — Jacques Becker’s RENDEZ-VOUS DE JUILLET and TOUCHEZ-PAS AU GRISBI (the latter is on again later, so maybe…) — Pola Negri in A WOMAN OF THE WORLD, which also screens a second time soon — the restored MCCABE AND MRS MILLER, apparently looking quite different — VALMONT, Milos Forman’s film of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, made shortly after the Stephen Frears version. Someone asked the producer if the film’s commercial failure imparted a lesson,. and he said, “Yes. Never make a film someone else has just made.” It’s a good movie though, now restored by Pathe.

Still, what I did see is a nice list, even if shorter — another episode of THE CLUTCHING FOOT and the last episode of Abel Gance’s daffy serial LES GAZ MORTELS (hero rides on horseback to save town from poison gas. He wears a gas mask and his horse wears what seems to be some kind of hygienic nosebag. Saving the town, he kisses his horse with passion) — KING OF JAZZ, the grotesque, bloated musical revue in two-strip Technicolor produced at Laemmle’s Universal in 1930, appalling yet wonderful — A JAZZ GIRL IS BORN, a 1957 teen musical from Japan, shot in a three-strip process called Konicolor, blindingly vivid (includes renditions of Blue Moon, Jambalaya and Come-On-a My House — really — I’m not making this up!) — and Carné and Prevert’s LES PORTES DE LA NUIT, which is a comparatively obscure masterpiece, another film I discovered via the Lindsay Anderson Archive.