Hitler's Madman (1943) - News Poster


The Chase (1946)

An exercise in dizzy disorientation, this Cornell Woolrich crazy-house noir pulls the rug out from under us at least three times. You want delirium, you got it -- the secret words for today are "Obsessive" and "Perverse." Innocent Robert Cummings is no match for sicko psychos Peter Lorre and Steve Cochran. The Chase Blu-ray Kino Classics 1946 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 86 min. / Street Date May 24, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Robert Cummings, Michèle Morgan, Steve Cochran, Peter Lorre, Lloyd Corrigan, Jack Holt, Don Wilson, Alexis Minotis, Nina Koschetz, Yolanda Lacca, James Westerfield, Shirley O'Hara. Cinematography Frank F. Planer Film Editor Edward Mann Original Music Michel Michelet Written by Philip Yordan from the book The Black Path of Fear by Cornell Woolrich Produced by Seymour Nebenzal Directed by Arthur D. Ripley

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

As Guy Maddin says on his (recommended) commentary, the public domain copies of this show were
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The Forgotten: Douglas Sirk's "Hitler's Madman" (1943)

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Hitler's Madman, a WWII propaganda film, had a complex origin story: filmed shortly after the real events it depicts (the assassination of senior Nazi Reinhard Heydrich and the subsequent massacre of the Czech town of Lidice in reprisal), the appearance of Fritz Lang's similarly-themed Hangmen Also Die! caused its release to be delayed and it also suffered a title change from the catchier Hitler's Hangman. On the plus side, the tiny independent production, shot in just a week, was acquired by MGM and given a bigger budget for re-shoots to enhance its production values. But Sirk ruefully admitted the new scenes actually weakened the film's Poverty Row sensibility, which gave it a slight documentary flavor which was useful.The Lang film is, I think, superior all round, but the two make interesting companions and Sirk's is tougher, in a way. Lang's movie, originally written by Brecht, attempts to build in a small victory,
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Hitler’s Madman

Douglas Sirk's first American movie came out so well that Prc sold it to MGM, earning Sirk a promotion out of the Poverty Row studios. John Carradine is excellent - and underplays! -- as the Hangman of Prague who moonlights as a depraved sex criminal. But the context in this wartime propaganda movie is serious -- it commemorates the Nazi murder of an entire Czech town. Hitler's Madman DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1943 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 84 min. / Street Date December 1, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 18.95 Starring Patricia Morrison, John Carradine, Alan Curtis, Howard Freeman, Ralph Morgan, Ludwig Stössel, Edgar Kennedy, Al Shean, Elizabeth Russell, Jimmy Conlin, Ava Gardner, Natalie Draper, Victor Kilian, Otto Reichow, Peter van Eyck, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Blanch Yurka. Cinematography (Eugen Schüfftan, credited as Technical Advisor), Jack Greenhalgh Film Editor Dan Milner Second unit and uncredited production designer Edgar G. Ulmer Original Music
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The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues

Minimalist 'Z' monster movies really took off in the 1950s, earning good money on tiny outlays of time, money, and sometimes talent. Dan Milner's directing is competent, to be kind, but the 'nothing happens' script is a sure-fire soporific -- Roger Corman surely didn't worry about the competition. The good news is Richard Harland Smith's commentary, which delivers more illuminating info on this show than we thought existed. The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1956 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 80 min. / Street Date January 5, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Kent Taylor, Cathy Downs, Michael Whalen, Helene Stanton, Phillip Pine, Rodney Bell, Vivi Janiss, Michael Garth, Pierce Lyden . Cinematography Brydon Baker Film Editor Dan Milner Original Music Ronald Stein Written by Lou Rusoff, Dorys Lukather Produced by Jack Milner Directed by Dan Milner

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

In his trailer commentary for The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues, Joe Dante remarks that
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The Essentials: Douglas Sirk

German filmmaker Douglas Sirk (né Hans Detlef Sierck) directed almost 40 films in a career that spanned three decades. A late bloomer known for grand, gorgeously expressive and emotional melodramas in the 1950s, he took a third of his career to hit full stride. The early movies were comedies, glossy adventure stories and war dramas. During his days working in Germany the director was heavily censored and when he escaped to the United States in 1937 he found himself stifled once again, “A director in Hollywood in my time couldn't do what he wanted to do,” he once said. 1942’s vengeful, vehemently anti-Nazi “Hitler's Madman” only really existed because it was seen as patriotic, and films Sirk made as late as 1952, like “Has Anyone Seen My Gal?” featuring his broad-shouldered go-to male muse Rock Hudson, were insubstantial trifles compared to his mature work. That film, lightweight comedy though it is, does still
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Berlinale 2013 Mubi Coverage Roundup

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Below you will find our total coverage of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival by Adam Cook.

Above: Denis Côté's Vic+Flo Saw a Bear



On Wong Kar-Wai's The Grandmaster and Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Hope


On Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha, Sebastián Leilo's Gloria and Denis Côté's Vic+Flo Saw a Bear


On James Benning's Stemple Pass, J.P. Sniadecki/Huang Xiang/Xu Ruotao's Yumen and Bruno Dumont's Camille Claudel, 1915


On Jafar Panahi/Kamboziya Partovi's Closed Curtain, Hong Sangsoo's Nobody's Daughter Haewon and Richard Linklater's Before Midnight


On Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess and Jacques Doillon's Love Battles


On The Weimar Touch retrospective, the Waves vs. Particles art installations by Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel, and mini-capsules on Hala Lofty's Coming Forth by Day, Thomas Arslan's Gold, Pia Marais' Layla Fourie, Nicolàs Pereda & Jacob Schulsinger's Killing Strangers and Shane Carruth
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Berlinale 2013. Impressions: B-Sides

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The Weimar Touch

One of the most conflicting parts of attending a film festival like the Berlinale, especially if you are a professional, is trying to balance seeing the new films and the retrospective screenings—the latter often acting as an unreachable mirage in the distance. The cinephile inside oneself yearns to take in these 35mm blessings but ultimately has to take risks on new work either for the sake of coverage, or, really, to "keep up." I was able to attend a small handful of screenings from the festival's retrospective The Weimar Touch, particularly focusing on the "Know Your Enemy" subsection of films that took a stand against Nazism during the war, including André de Toth's remarkable None Shall Escape, Douglas Sirk's Hitler's Madman, Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die! and Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be. Watching these films in Berlin with German audiences helped intensify their significance,
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5 Things You May Not Know About Douglas Sirk's 'Imitation Of Life,' 53 Years Since Since It Was First Released

The Oscar-winning success of last year's "The Help" was a throwback in many ways, principally to the socially-conscious melodramas of Stanley Kramer, like "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner." Another comparison point that came up frequently in reviews of Tate Taylor's film was "Imitation Of Life," the 1959 film by director Douglas Sirk, but it's scarcely fair: over fifty years on, Sirk's picture stands head and shoulders above virtually every other melodrama.

The story follows widow and aspiring actress Lora (Lana Turner), whose daughter Susie goes missing at the beach, and is found by an African-American divorcee, Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore), there with her own light-skinned daughter, Sarah Jane. The two become friends, Lora taking Annie in as a housekeeper, and Annie's care helping Lora achieve her dream of becoming a Broadway star. Eleven years later, however, their children have grown up, and Susie (Sandra Dee) develops a crush on her mother's boyfriend Steve,
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