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Strangers on a Train (1951)

Strangers on a Train (1951)
Three years after filming ‘Rope’ Farley Granger and Alfred Hitchcock teamed up again in the film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s suspenseful first novel, ‘Strangers on a Train’. Hitchcock had apparently first approached Dashiell Hammett to adapt the screenplay but instead it was Raymond Chandler who ended up with the task; although not for long as the latter and the director did not get along. The film opens with a taxi cab pulling up to a train station and a pair of flashy two-toned shoes emerging from the passengers’ side. Another taxi pulls up to the same station and a pair of conservative, dark...
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Rope (1948)

Rope (1948)
Rope was Alfred Hitchcock’s first film after his contract with tyrannical producer David Selznick was up after nearly a decade. It was also his first Technicolor movie and was based on Patrick Hamilton’s play “Rope’s End” which in turn was inspired by the real life infamous Leopold-Loeb murder case. The film opens with David Kentley, a Harvard undergraduate, being strangled by his “friends” from his prep school days Brandon Shaw (John Dall) and Philip Morgan (Farley Granger). Heavily influenced by their former house master’s Nietzschean belief in the right of “superior” beings to eliminate those whom...
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Hasta el Viento Tiene Miedo/Even the Wind is Afraid (1968)

Hasta el Viento Tiene Miedo/Even the Wind is Afraid (1968)
Shown on Mexican television every Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) , Hasta el Viento Tiene Miedo (Even the Wind is Afraid) has long been a cult classic among Mexican horror cinephiles. Released in 1968 and written and directed by Carlos Enrique Taboada, it is also widely considered the best Mexican film of the horror genre. Mexican movie studios did produce a number of horror movies during the 1950’s- 1960’s (Mexican Cinema’s Golden Age), but they were largely mediocre movies featuring masked wrestlers. What sets Hasta el Viento Tiene Miedo apart from the latter is Taboada’s...
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Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
This past May British screenwriter and director Bryan Forbes passed away at age 86. Best known for directing the 1975 cult classic The Stepford Wives, Forbes career spanned over 30 years and included actor and novelist, in addition to director, producer, screenwriter. Today, I wish to discuss one of his lesser known films; the darkly brilliant Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Shot in the gritty black and white, kitchen sink style of early 1960’s British cinema. Adapted from the novel by Mark McShane, Séance on a Wet Afternoon tells the story of middle-aged, childless married couple Billy and Myra Savage’s...
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Richard III (1995)

Richard III (1995)
This week forensic scientists in the UK determined that the skeletal remains found buried beneath a parking lot are those of Richard III, the last Plantagenet ruler. The notorious Richard III is remembered as a royal bully and murderous usurper in large part thanks to Shakespeare’s play by the same name. While there have been many adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, to my mind, the 1995 version of Richard III is undoubtedly one of the best. Directed by Richard Loncraine with a screenplay by both Loncraine and actor Sir Ian McKellen, the story is transplanted from pre-Elizabethan England to an...
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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination”, as the lyrics of the theme song state “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is a place of pure imagination which continues to dazzle and charm 40 plus years after its initial release. Interestingly enough when it was first released in movie theatres in 1971 it was only a success with the critics, but not with movie goers. It would be later network airings, home video and DVD sales that would create its cult status among many generations of fans. Based on Roald Dahl’s much loved childrens  book  “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, the film...
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