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The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
I did not really like the movie, at first. Nice, okay, but that was all, I thought.. Meanwhile I read the novel, watched the film again and again... And I love it more and more! Okay, NOTHING compares to "The Piano", but it's simply stunning.
Jane Campion (what a director!) tells the fascinating story of Isabel in unforgettable pictures and very true to the original novel of Henry James. Nicole Kidman is just made to play the main-character and the whole cast is without exception astonishing and powerful.
Kilar's musical score... A dream! Ardent, subtle themes, flowing and catchy. But not only that: The film succeeded in picking out the two most beautiful Piano-Pieces Franz Schubert ever composed; and melts story, pictures and music perfectly together.
To all the people who don't like or even hate "The Portrait of a Lady": I'd like to point out, it is a masterpiece! Point.
Watch it in a rainy afternoon, listen closely to the music and check out the - without a doubt - most beautiful ending of film-history!
The Last Days of Pompeii (1984)
Not just a masterpiece.. A miracle, a wonder!
This is definitely more than an antique soap opera. It's without a doubt the most beautiful interpretation of the novel. May be that the story is geared to the 80's generation, but the pictures it shows are unforgettable!
A magnificent set-decoration and the most authentic art-direction I've ever seen (look at the temple of Isis: even the number of stairs tallies with the original!), tasteful, opulent costumes and finally a few amazing visual-effects, phenomenal for a TV-mini.
Trevor Jones' music is another wonder. As a great fan of soundtracks I always listen more to the scores than to the dialogues, when I watch a film. Mr. Jones is a man of genius; able to give the worst movies ("G.I. Jane", "The mighty"..) grace and poesy through his music.
I never heard a more haunting, majestic music than his score for "The last days of Pompeii" and I get a goose-flesh whenever I hear the main-theme - still after twelve years.
The cast is marvelous, as well. Sir Laurence Olivier, Franco Nero, Olivia Hussey and two outstanding No-names: Lesley-Anne Down and Linda Purl. Both of them are beautiful AND talented, although they rarely were able to show what they are made of.
I traveled to Pompeii a few times, considering the magic of this forgotten masterpiece. What can I say... the most beautiful town of the earth! And this motion picture is its impressive monument. Thanks.
Les yeux sans visage (1960)
Very dark eyes and a strong, own face
Ok, you could call this movie "Heads without a brain", when you look at the operation-scene for example (the skin is taken off the face in one part!). But this is not the point.
"Les yeux sans visage" is a bizarre dream, a funny finger of the horror-genre, an absolute classic, as disturbing as unique! You smell the odour of the mask in every scene.
One of the reasons for this mighty effect is the musical score: All of the themes are composed in flowing three-four times; varied orchestrated: flutes, bassoons, vibraphones... Powerful and sensitive. Just everything you need for a lovely, little film-music. But this is one of the most stunning and implicative soundtracks ever composed for a horror-movie!
It was not very intelligent to show Edith Scobs real face in the two scenes after the operation. It would have been so much more mystical, when she had used her mask while the whole film.
Yes: the film airs slowly, very slowly, but not slothful! And when suggestive pictures and a haunting cast relate such a brilliant story, it is clear: an unforgettable, obsessive movie-experience.
And Alida Valli is outstanding!
Dead Poets Society (1989)
Flowers of sulphur
I really hate to moan about movies and if you like this one, sorry; but that film is the purest rubbish!
Robin Williams is a terrible actor, so unbelievable terrible! The rest of the cast - awful, too! Horrible young-artists: unsympathetic faces, no expression, no (sorry) talent. They spell the stupidity and pointlessness of the whole film.
Oh, I forgot, this is probably the point: To have dreams is good; to have a lot of dreams is better; to have too much dreams will finish your sleep... and your life. If that is the point, it is a terrible one!
However, almost all of the poems in this movie are shapeless. Walt Whittman was a great poet - I love him! But Shakespeare, the Charlatan? I knew, in a film with this title MUST be the old Blah-blah about him and his brilliance. But this you'll still hear thousands of times in your life - without the film, as well.
The movies' love-passage is superfluous!
And the End (SPOILER:) - Baaaad!
What a wonderful class. How they honour their old teacher! They stand up, wow, and climb their tables. Such a great event. But when he needed their help, nobody was on his side. Nobody has the courage to go with him, when he must go.
Now, after the decision stands, the boys are plucky. Congratulations! And the most awful fact: this end wants to be touching!
The Innocents (1961)
Is the world blind!? Ms. Giddens is the bad ghost!
I know that nobody wants to read such tall comments. But I can't say it in a short way. If you like "The innocents", it could be interesting for you. If you don't like it, this comment will probably change your opinion!
Yes, this film is not scary! It is absolutely possible that Ms. Giddens is the mad one in this story and the children are in fact "The innocents".
Just look at the amazing emotion-symbols: When Ms. Giddens arrives in Bly, the camera shows Flora's reflect in the water. The following perspective proves Giddens' and Flora's reflects over the water. A sign that both of them do have a close second personality.
The butterfly on Ms. Giddens' dress... One day later, when she carries out that Miles will come home, Flora comments that a spider eats a butterfly and that she LIKES spiders.
A voice screams "Flora!" - the ghost of Ms. Jessel? There is no resolving while the whole film.. It could have been the cook, too, like Mrs. Grose says.
It's absolutely clear: Ms. Giddens identifies herself with the dead Ms. Jessel. She looks in a mirror at the wall while she asks Mrs. Grose, what a kind of woman Ms. Jessel was. At the end, she wears Ms. Jessel's dress.
Flowers loose their blossoms when she touches them (symbol for falling innocence through Ms. Giddens - in one scene a blossom falls on her holy bible!) The wobbling roller-blind-pendulum is the perfect mark of Ms. Giddens' sexual fantasy. She discerns Quint's ghost AFTER she has seen his photography.
AND: The film begins with its end. Ms. Giddens remembers what is happened in the last months. So we see the whole movie in her recall. Who says that it is the right version? Miles dies at the end: Was it the bad ghost of Quint, Jessel or was it he bad ghost of Ms. Giddens?? ..
A wonderful shy musical score emphasizes this stroke of genius. The lullaby "O willow waly", almost constantly in sad minor-accords, is another sign for the children's innocence. Flora hums it a lot of times (one of the rare differences to Henry James' novel), but she never sings the grave lyrics.
Some people said that Deborah Kerr overacts here. In my opinion it is her best performance. Excellent performances by the two children, too (although they couldn't know the sense of the story), fantastic cinematography, great atmosphere. And the screenplay seems almost to be written by Henry James, himself.
Wow! Believe me, this is a masterpiece!
Les soeurs Brontë (1979)
Friendship like the Holly-tree
This is the one single wonderful biography about the Brontës!
You feel, it's French: cold, realistic and authentic... Ok, and it seems to be a little boring at the beginning; and there is no one single highlight turing the whole film. But isn't it a magnum opus? I think, exactly this kind of silence gives the film its power. Listen to the words! There is almost no dialogue without a hidden allusion to poems by the Brontë-sisters.
And Isabelle Hupperts' sensitive performance is definitely outstanding.
3 Women (1977)
Too intelligent for this world
Every scene, every picture, every dialogue has its symbols.
Shelley Duvall is perfect as Millie. In my opinion it is her supreme-performance. Sissy Spacek... I think she was much better in her other roles. It is the third woman Willie, who says almost nothing while the film flows in its brilliant way; she has the last word at the end. Their souls can be identified with the musical score. ...one of the most eccentric, yet (or because of this) most wonderful scores ever composed for a movie! I can't imagine a superior music for this film. In some scenes you hear only three instruments; they "try" to play in a harmony, but they are caught in mistunes.
"Three women" could hold you forever, if you are ready to. Watch it late at night and after watching try to turn in! The "most wonderful dream" will follow you!
Circulatory disturbance!What's new?
Firstly: You feel Mary Shelley and her novel when you watch this movie. But this is not as favorable as it seem.
The set-decoration and the costumes are too sterile and face.
Helena Bonham Carter's hair style...should she be the monster?
Sometimes the dialogues are schmaltzy and exaggerated: Frankenstein's "Bring her back!" at the beginning; Henry's "No!" after Elizabeth's rebirth; Captain Walton's "Home" at the end;... How obtrusive and sentimental.
But there are a few masterful scenes, for example the moments when Justine hangs or Frankenstein gives birth to his dead Elisabeth. The power of this scenes succeed through the excellent string-addicted musical score. It gives "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" its face. Patrick Doyle's soundtrack is beautiful, haunting and thrilling. Almost too good for this film.
The end? It is worn, but -fortunately- there is one. This film gets the same standpoint like all the other Frankenstein-movies and the novel: A human being should not play God. Wow!
But if Mary Shelley or Kenneth Branagh make such commandments, don't they play God?
The Piano (1993)
Such beautiful black keys
I'm a 17 years old German guy and sorry for my English, but I have to say what I have to say: Ok,when I saw the film at first, I hated him! Incredible, too old-fashioned and boring, I said. Then, a few days after, I watched "The piano" again: Love!
Such a masterful sensitive story! I saw that Ada was a mirror for me. Could be that this is the reason for my first dislike.(And please DON'T think: "He's a boy, he can't be like her"!!! I am just Ada(m)!!!)
Holly Hunter gives THE performance of all time. No other actress serves the Oscar so much like she does for "The Piano" (Yes, not even Kathy Bates).
Michael Nymans Pianopieces are not similar the music from 1850, but they are so suggestive. Why wasn't he nominated for the Oscar? Why?????
I needed two years to find out all of the notes and am so glad that I can play all of them on my beloved piano, now.
The costume-designing is pretty (not the Gone-with-the-wind-touch but very "true" styled: black, my colour).
If you like kitschy lovestorys like "Titanic" or "Shakespeare in Love", don't watch "The piano"! You'll not understand it. But if you have a taste and don't like the film at first, watch it again! It's a good piece of advice!
Do you want to send an E-mail to me with your opinion about my comment? Do it!
At last: Jane Campion needed 10 years to write the screenplay for "The piano". 10 memorable years! This film mad another boy out of me, although I never was as "me" as after watching "The piano".
If you don't think so, you never had a soul!
Thank you for reading.