Lisa And The Devil (Lisa e il diavolo) (1973)

MARIO BAVA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  Italy/West Germany/Spain/USA, 1973.  Leone International.  Screenplay by Mario Bava, Alfredo Leone.  Cinematography by Cecilio Paniagua.  Produced by Alfredo Leone.  Music by Carlo Savina.  Production Design by Nedo Azzini.  Film Editing by Carlo Reali.   Elke Sommer is terrific as a tourist visiting Spain who is distracted from her walking tour after seeing a fresco depicting the…

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Senso (1954)

LUCHINO VISCONTI Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  Italy, 1954.  Lux Film.  Story and Screenplay by Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Luchino Visconti, with the collaboration of Carlo Alianello, Giorgio Bassani, Giorgio Prosperi, and dialogue collaboration by Tennessee Williams, Paul Bowles, based on the novel by Camillo Boito.  Cinematography by G.R. Aldo, Robert Krasker.  Produced by Domenico Forges Davanzati.  Production Design by Ottavio…

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1900 (Novecento)

BBBB (out of 5) Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu are born on the same day at the very beginning of the twentieth century, one the grandson of the padrone (Burt Lancaster) who has ownership of the peasants who work his land, and the other Lancaster’s own illegitimate son with one of the farm labourers.  They are…

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Old-Fashioned World (Piccolo Mondo Antico)

BBB (out of 5) The beginnings of Italy’s risorgimento is the setting of this plush period piece, an early starring vehicle for Alida Valli.  She, a humbly-born young woman, wins the heart of a dreamy, revolution-bent aristocrat (Massimo Serato) who defies his marchesa grandmother and marries beneath his class. The two become subversives whose lives…

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The Third Man

BBBBB (out of 5) Joseph Cotten arrives in Vienna to attend the funeral of a childhood friend who has recently passed away. Investigation into his friend’s life and business reveal that he was mixed up in a black-market scheme gone awry, and that there is a missing suspect out there who might have information as to…

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A Month By The Lake

BBBB (out of 5) Sweet romantic film, beautifully photographed and excellently adapted from the novella by H.E. Bates.  Vanessa Redgrave plays a single tourist revisiting her favourite resort in Lake Como, one she often frequented as a young woman while her father was still alive. She meets a handsome ex-Major (Edward Fox), but finds his attention…

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Oedipus Rex (Edipo Re)

BBB (out of 5) Extremely strange and shallow but also visually impressive adaptation of Sophocles’ drama. Beginning in a pre-World War I setting, a happy couple give birth to their son Oedipus and everything is perfect until the father’s jealousy turns on his son. Oedipus is taken into the middle of the wilderness of a…

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The Eyes Without A Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Georges Franju’s horror classic is an influential precursor to Face/Off. After a young woman damages her face in an auto accident (with no harm done to her eyes), her mad scientist father (good coincidence!) fashions her a mask until he can find another way to help her. He and his faithful…

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The Paradine Case

BB (out of 5) The worst film that Alfred Hitchcock made in Hollywood was this stinky drama that was part of his contract with producer David O. Selznick. Gregory Peck badly plays an English barrister who is defending a beautiful woman (Alida Valli) accused of murdering her husband. Peck takes one look at her and…

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The Spider’s Stratagem (La Strategia Del Ragno)

BBB (out of 5) Another beautifully photographed political film by Bernardo Bertolucci, this time centring around the story of a man who returns to his father’s village for the first time since his mysterious murder. His arrival is at the request of his father’s former mistress (the still enchanting Alida Valli) who wants him to…

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Suspiria

BBBB (out of 5) On her first night at a European boarding school where she is to study ballet, Jessica Harper is disturbed to discover that a girl she saw fleeing the night she arrived has been brutally murdered in her dorm room. Trying to settle into her new home afterwards, Harper is bothered more and…

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Il Grido

BB.5 (out of 5) Early film by Michelangelo Antonioni that has impressive moments but is overall sluggish and uninteresting.  Alida Valli comes home to tell Steve Cochran, her lover of seven years, that her husband has died while working in Australia. He, thinking this means they can finally get married and legitimize their daughter’s name, is…

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