Posts Tagged ‘CULT’

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock | Cast: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Nova Pilbeam, US Thriller 75’

The jury is still out on which was the better version of the only one of his films Alfred Hitchcock ever remade, but having just seen them in close proximity I can confirm that there’s very little in it.

The extra hour in the later version was due to a much greater length of time devoted to the foreign preliminaries, the bulk of the original taking place in a rather Germanic-looking London.

Anybody who saw the remake will be startled to find that the very same cantata is also used in the earlier version, and whereas the scene that follow is in the embassy in the remake comes as something of an anticlimax the original ends with a rip-roaring finale – originally based on the Siege of Sydney Street and probably also drawn from a recent viewing of The Testament of Dr. Mabuse quite unlike anything Hitchcock would ever attempt again.

The film also contains what later became Hitchcock’s trademark point-of-view shots, Nova Pilbeam makes a much more appealing hostage than the annoying Christopher Olsen in the remake; while it boasts a memorably ghoulish collection of conspirators, including Peter Lorre in his only film for Hitchcock and the late Cicely Oates as Nurse Agnes. @RichardChatten

High Wind in Jamaica (1965)

Dir: Alexander MacKendrick | UK Drama

The last film of true substance in the ill-fated directorial career of Alexander MacKendrick rather tones down the bleakness and ferocity of Richard Hughes’ 1929 novel, but is still faithful to MacKendrick’s perennial them of the dire results when amoral youthful innocence crosses the path of adult venality.

The Thorntons are a British family living in Jamaica in 1870. When they decide to send their children back to England for a proper education, the long journey home quickly turns into pandemonium when a pirate ship, led by Capt. Chavez (Anthony Quinn), attacks their vesselThe kids in this film follow in the tracks of Sydney Stratton in ‘The Man in the White Suit’, Mandy, Sammy in ‘Sammy Going South’ and even Mrs Wilberforce in ‘The Ladykillers’.

The film offers the novelty of a miniature version of Martin Amis as one of the children and a surprisingly traditional score by Larry Adler with not a harmonica in sight. @RichardChatten

Oldboy (2003) **** re-release

Dir: Park Chan-Wook | South Korea 120′

Many found Korean cult horror outing ‘Sympathy for Mr Vengeance’ too violent, but Oldboy takes the Asian Extreme genre even further.

Don’t be misled into thinking this is about public school boys or even dapper English gents of a certain age. Although on the surface of it, businessman Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik), appears just to be a drunken old bore. We first meet him being mysteriously abducted and imprisoned by nameless villains until he’s released from captivity after nearly 15 years, only to be contacted by his captors and offered a deal: if he can fathom why he was held prisoner in the first place he will get a chance to avenge his captors – if not, the cocktail waitress he has recently starting dating will lose her life. Some price freedom, but Oh Dat-Su is not going to put up with any more threats. Hammer in hand, he embarks on a brutal killing spree fuelled by vehement anger and searing emotional pain. Choi Min-Sik is retribution personified in an extraordinary performance that ranges from abject fury punctuated by bouts of seething humiliation – and we feel for him – aided and abetted by Park’s masterful direction. In the Asian Extreme firmament this is a coruscating Hitchockian-style Neo-Noir. MT


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