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Sex & Melodrama 

The Story of Film examines cinema in the period of 1953-1957. It looks at the growth of movie-making around the world and examines how sex and melodrama dominated the period. It looks at ... See full summary »


Mark Cousins


Mark Cousins


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Episode credited cast:
Mark Cousins ... Himself - Presenter
Youssef Chahine ... Himself - Interviewee
Soumendu Roy Soumendu Roy ... Himself - Interviewee
Sharmila Tagore ... Herself - Interviewee
Jin Xie Jin Xie ... Himself - Interviewee
Kyôko Kagawa ... Herself - Interviewee
Donald Richie Donald Richie ... Himself - Interviewee
François Truffaut ... Himself (archive footage)
Judy Balaban Judy Balaban ... Herself - Interviewee
David Lean ... Himself (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Juan Diego Botto ... Narrator (voice)


The Story of Film examines cinema in the period of 1953-1957. It looks at the growth of movie-making around the world and examines how sex and melodrama dominated the period. It looks at the work of directors in Egypt (Youssef Chahine), India (Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray), China (Xie Jin), Japan (Akira Kurosawa), Brazil (Nelson Pereira dos Santos), and Mexico (Fernando de Fuentes, Emilio Fernández, Luis Buñuel). In the United States, films like All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Johnny Guitar (1954) examine repressed sexuality. It also looks at the work of Kenneth Anger, Delbert Mann, Elia Kazan, and Nicholas Ray. It then turns to four classic films by four masters of American cinema Orson Welles's Touch of Evil (1958), John Ford's The Searchers (1956), Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo (1959). Finally, it goes to Britain to look at the work of directors David Leen and Lindsay Anderson. Written by Shatterdaymorn

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Release Date:

8 October 2011 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hopscotch Films See more »
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Did You Know?


Mark Cousins - Presenter: [about All that Heaven Allows, 1955] The film used the gloss of Hollywood to attack gloss.
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Features All That Heaven Allows (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Will the Real James Dean Please Stand Up
8 February 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Story of Film: An Odyssey 'Sex and Melodrama' (2011)

*** (out of 4)

The six episode in Mark Cousins' series takes a look at the melodrama's of the 1950s but much like earlier episodes, the film jumps around to cover a wide range of topics. We start off seeing a clip of James Dean but then we hear Cousins' say that the real Dean was Youssef Chahina who made CAIRO STATION. From here we take a look at some films from India (PANTHER PANCHALI, MOTHER India) and then the works of Kurosawa, Mexican cinema and Bunuel, Nicholas Ray and even Ken Anger. As I go through this series it's becoming very clear that Cousins isn't trying to tell a general history of film but instead he's staying true to his vision and his opinion by telling you what his idea of the story of film should be. I think this approach might turn many off but if you stick with it there are some very good moments throughout. I think some of the highlights here include a look at ON THE WATERFRONT and we even get to see a location and how it looks today compared to in the film. Cousins has an interesting take on the taxi scene and compares it to a scene in RED RIVER. Overall this is another fine episode but the remark on Dean was... a little off I guess you could say.

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