Category Cinematic Greens

Tears and Laughter: Movie Reviews


Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama runs until Wednesday 29th November at the BFI Southbank. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

To read an interview with season curator and Sight and Sound features editor James Bell, click here.


OSAKA ELEGY

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Tadashi Fujiwara (dialogue)

Cast: Isuzu Yamada, Yôko Umemura, Benkei Shiganoya

Cert: PG

Running time: 71mins

Year: 1936



What’s the story: To pay off her father’s debts and her brother’s university fees, young switchboard operator Ayako (Yamada) becomes her boss’ mistress. But, when he rejects her she is forced into prostitution.

What’s the verdict: A pre-war film from director Kenji Mizoguchi, the 1936 Osaka Elegy anticipates Japan’s rejection ...

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Blu-ray Review: The Life of Oharu

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Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Kenji Mizoguchi, Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Saikaku Ihara (novel)

Cast: Kinuyo Tanaka, Toshiro Mifune

Cert: PG

Running time: 137 mins

Year: 1952


Accolades:
1952 Venice Film Festival
International Award

Electric Shadows rating: medium_5
Criterion Extras: medium_3


What’s the story: In 17th century Japan, noblewoman Oharu is exiled from Kyoto for the crime of loving someone belonging to a lower caste, beginning a lifelong struggle against misfortune.

What’s the verdict: Winner of the International Award at 1952’s Venice Film Festival, The Life of Oharu proved Japanese cinema did not start and stop with Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, grand prize winner at Venice a year before.

Where Rashomon was kinetic and visceral, The Life of Oharu was c...

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Blu-Ray Review: Multiple Maniacs

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#6 – Multiple Maniacs (1970)

Director: John Waters

Writer: John Waters

Cast: Divine, Mink Stole, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Cookie Mueller

Cert: 18

Running time: 96 minutes

Year: 1970


Contemporary review:
“Even the garbage is too good a place for it.”
Mary Avara, Maryland Board of Censors

“(Print) Destroyed” – Canadian Censor report

Film: 

Extras: 


What’s the story: A couple who front a bizarre traveling circus become murderous when their relationship collapses.

What’s the verdict: “A CELLULOID ATROCITY!” pants the original, hand drawn promotional material for John Waters’ sophomore feature. And it ain’t lying.

47 years may have tempered Multiple Maniacs’ shock value, but trace echoes remain of just how bizarre and vile it must have...

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Blu-Ray Review: Cul-de-Sac

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#5 – Cul-de-Sac (1966)

Director: Roman Polanski

Writer: Roman Polanski, Gérard Brach

Cast: Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran

Cert: 15

Running time: 112mins

Year: 1966


Accolades:
1966 Berlin International Film Festival
Golden Bear

Contemporary review:
“Pleasence, in a role that requires him to run sideways most of the time with his head at a crooked angle, is hilarious and frightening as a man going mad, and the film has an eerie appeal.” –
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, 1967

Electric Shadows rating:
Criterion Extras:


What’s the story: Two gangsters, one badly wounded, arrive at remote castle on Holy Island in Northumberland, England...

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The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

The Most Dangerous Game - poster, Fay WrayWelcome to Cinematic Greens

#4 – The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Director: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack

Writers: James Ashmore Creelman, Richard Connell (short story)

Cast: Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks, Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Noble Johnson

Cert: 12

Running time: 63mins

Year: 1932

Contemporary review:
“Banks grabs everything worth grabbing among performance honors. Fay Wray has no opportunity to be anything but decorative. With McCrea and Robert Armstrong (as a booze-guzzling simpleton) miscasting is evident.” – Variety, Dec 31st 1931

Electric Shadows rating:

The lowdown: Roaring RKO ripping yarn based on perhaps cinema’s most oft-filmed story...

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M (1931)

M - poster

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#3 – M (1931)

Director: Fritz Lang

Cast: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos, Ellen Widmann

Cert: PG

Running time: 110mins

Year: 1931

Accolades:
National Board of Review (1933)

Top Foreign Film

Contemporary review:
“(like) looking through the eye-piece of a microscope, through which the tangled mind is exposed…” – Graham Greene

Electric Shadows rating: medium_5

M - reflection MM - mirror

The lowdown: A still relevant, still troubling, still influential masterpiece, Fritz Lang’s M only improves with age. Peter Lorre was forever typecast as the sensitively portrayed child murderer who becomes the target of Berlin’s police force, criminal underworld and the increasingly vengeful mob...

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All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

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#1 – All Quiet on the Western Front

Accolades:
1929-30 Academy Awards

Best Picture
Best Director

AFI 100 Years… 100 Movies (1998)
Ranked #54

Contemporary review:
(it should) be shown every year until the word War shall have been taken out of the dictionaries. – Variety, 1930


Electric Shadows rating:
medium_5

The lowdown: One of the most recognisable movie titles in history is also one of the best war films ever made. An impassioned plea for tolerance and an unflinching view of conflict at its most terrifying, its DNA is present in every war movie since, including Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July and Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan...

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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

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#2 – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Director: John Huston

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tom Holt, Alfonso Bedoya, Bruce Bennett

Cert: PG

Running time: 118mins

Year: 1948


Accolades:
1949 Academy Awards

Best Director
Best Screenplay (Adapted)
Best Supporting Actor

AFI 100 Years… 100 Movies (2007)
Ranked #38

AFI 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes (2005)
No. 36 – “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”

Contemporary review:
Treasure of Sierra Madre (Warner) is one of the best things Hollywood has done since it learned to talk – Time, 1948

Electric Shadows rating: medium_5

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - BogieThe Treasure of the Sierra Madre - Huston

The lowdown: John Huston’s 1948 masterpiece of avarice and moral corruption is a riveting psychological thriller wrapped in...

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What are Cinematic Greens?

936full-metropolis-posterCinematic Greens… they are those films you know you should have watched, but have not yet found the time/summoned the willpower to do so.

They are all those films you’ve spent years bluffing your way through in conversations, typically using time as the ultimate get-out, e.g. “Sure, I’ve seen Metropolis, but years ago, so all I really remember are the bits in that Queen video”.

Cinematic greens are the reason IMdb and Wikipedia exist.  With their extensive plot synopses and trivia pages they provide more than enough ammunition to repel a barrage of questions on how you could possibly think that.

And, as the name suggests, they are the films you know you must consume rather than the films you’d like to.  You know they are good for you...

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