Friday, December 11, 2009

My Week of Movie Watching

Victim – Basil Dearden’s 1961 tale of a closeted homosexual lawyer (Dirk Bogarde) and his fight to uncover blackmailers targeting London gays. This film was sensational in its day – Homosexuality was illegal in England until the mid sixties, and Victim has a lot to say about this archaic law, and the social climate of the time. A hugely important film, propelled by a truly brave performance by Bogarde, who was himself gay. Consider this to be essential viewing.

The Lady Vanishes – Hitchcocks’1938 story of a train ride, an old lady who…vanishes, and why nobody seems to remember her ever being there in the first place. This one spent a wee bit too long establishing the characters in a snowbound hotel, but when they get on the train and get the real story going, it’s a lot better. There are a few classic Hitch touches, especially a bit with two glasses of poisoned brandy. I myself don’t consider this a must-see, but it does have a lot of admirers, so you might want to check it out anyway.


Ed Howard said...

I like The Lady Vanishes more for its light comic touches and delightful atmosphere rather than its more typical Hitchcockian suspense/mystery flourishes, though they're certainly there as well. The primary appeal of most of Hitch's British films, for me, is how breezy they are, how seemingly lazy and easygoing, the characters just traipsing through a deadly-serious mystery as though it's a farce. My favorites in that respect are The 39 Steps and the utterly goofy Young and Innocent, but this one is lots of fun as well.

Jeff Duncanson said...

That's a good observation where it comes to TLV, Ed. Michael Redgrave's character almost seems dropped in from another movie, and I enjoyed the two Brits who are oblivious to everything but getting back for their cricket game.