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Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983)
They don't come any better than this - factual, suspenseful
As historical as you can get with a minimum of overdramatization. Superb acting--you forget it's a movie. Fascinating, better than any fiction in this genre.
Stays very close to the book. Not a boring moment. In my estimation, Sam Neill at his best.
Supporting cast are great also. The series has the mark of authenticity in most every respect. Too bad it's not available in US format - PAL players are not abundant this side of the big pond.
Alastair Cook provided great introductions and continuity when the series aired on PBS in the U.S. This also was lost unless someone taped the series intact.
The Student Prince (1954)
Karl and Kathy take us on a romantic dream for a short while
It probably was fortunate that Mario Lanza was overweight and Purdom played the prince. I can't think of anyone who would have done a better job. Great soundtrack, great atmosphere. Makes you feel right there sharing the lovers' dreams. I visited Heidelberg with the express intent of living a bit of the story. I find myself there each time I watch the film again.
Definitely for the romantic at heart, for those capable of enjoying an adult fairy tale without losing touch with reality. I wonder how few of the current generation would appreciate such a charming production.
My favorite 'Pagliacci' - Great Gobi, glorious Gina!
From the simpler days when cinematography focused on story and acting rather than gadgets and special effects. I paid to see this movie over a dozen times, in the days when home movies were not even a dream, except for the very rich. And even then, cellulloid would deteriorate in time.
This was my first exposure to Gina Lollobrigida, in my teens. What a discovery! And since then, this has remained one of my favorite opera performances, bar none. Simple, to the heart, well sung. And black and white definitely projected the story focusing on emotion, rather than landscape. Too bad the VHS version is missing the revealing spoken introduction we saw in the movie house. If anyone knows if it is available, I'd like to know.
Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
Underrated, simple love story - glorious Ulla Jacobsson!
This charming film should be restored and reissued. Its story line is simple, perhaps a bit trite. However, the central character Kerstin presents us with a rare glimpse of the blossoming of youth, emerging from innocence to passion to tragedy in a short season. No spectacular acting here, but one senses a freshness and spontaneity rarely grasped in low budget productions. No specific message here, other than raw warmth followed by pain and despair. Too bad Ulla was not discovered and well directed later on! We missed a great actress. (We named our first daughter after her character long before she was born!)