Classic cinema - thoughts and questions


Ancient Mariner
The Soviets participation in Poland, Finland, among other places were certainly white washed .. it was really the major black spot on the Nuremberg Trials as well ... especially the farce about Katyn.


Ancient Mariner
Yep. And you are right Perun. But propaganda in which an ally was portrayed in such an unfair way, that's still quite rare.
All for the greater good of victory they must have thought. Just like the actual treatment of the Poles.

It's good to be warned in advance, but I'm still very interested to see these films. I think most of them are on YouTube.


Ancient Mariner
I think the difference was the Soviets were, sadly, the critical ally.

In any case, it has been a while since I have seen these, but the Soviet parts were pretty minor overall. The first one (Prelude to War) I think is the key one to watch as that had the biggest public distribution by far


Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Poland was in a really bad spot politically following the Nazi-Soviet invasion. And like @bearfan says, the US was more concerned with keeping the Soviet Union happy, as the Soviet Union was both the major combatant against the Nazis, as well as the US wanting Soviet intervention against Japan as soon as humanly practical.


And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
Cool stuff!

The last paragraph describes one of my favorite aspects of Psycho. It’s really impressive how he established characters with their own back stories and personality traits who were ultimately only there to set the story in motion. The world in Psycho is much richer than many franchise films yet it was all set up and abandoned in the first act.


Ancient Mariner
Lewis Gilbert (97) died. He directed three James Bond films:
- You Only Live Twice (1967)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Moonraker (1979)

And several others of which I recommend:
- Sink the Bismarck! (1960)


"... It was while he was appearing with Laurence Olivier in The Divorce of Lady X (1938) that Alexander Korda, the producer, offered to send him to Rada. Gilbert replied that he would rather direct and so was sent to Korda’s Denham studios in Buckinghamshire as a third assistant director. He graduated up the scale, working with Alfred Hitchcock on Jamaica Inn (1939) – “He was the man I learned the most from” – and with a variety of studios, eventually becoming a first assistant.

At the beginning of the second world war, Gilbert volunteered for the RAF and from there he went to the US Army Air Forces film unit, where he worked on documentaries with Hollywood veterans such as William Wyler, Frank Capra and William Keighley. ..."

All* pre-"Brosnan Bond films"-directors are dead now, apart from one:
John Glenn, who did all the eighties Bond films:
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Octopussy (1983)
- A View to a Kill (1985)
- The Living Daylights (1987)
- Licence to Kill (1989)

*Alright, if we want to count Casino Royale (1967) -the Bond spoof- as well: Joseph McGrath, one of its 6 directors is also still alive.
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Ancient Mariner
Another British director died. Michael Anderson, 98 years.

Known from films such as
Next month The Dambusters will be shown in hundreds of British theaters because it will be 75 ago since the operation the film's based on.
At the time he died, Anderson was the oldest living nominee for an Academy Award for Best Director, and the only surviving director whose film won a Best Picture award in the 1950s.

From The Guardian:

Michael Anderson obituary
Film director best known for The Dam Busters, Around the World in 80 Days and Logan’s Run

It was The Dam Busters (1955), a comparatively modest black-and-white British war film, that led to Michael Anderson becoming a bankable director of large, commercial pictures. And although he went on to direct such multimillion-dollar productions as Around the World in 80 Days (1956), The Dam Busters remained the film of which Anderson, who has died aged 98, was most proud.

This gripping docudrama described the development of the “bouncing bomb” by the aviation engineer Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave) and its implementation by a special squadron led by Wg Cmdr Guy Gibson (Richard Todd), smashing the German dams in the Ruhr industrial region during the second world war. Although the film’s special effects climax is rather disappointing, it gave the first indication of Anderson’s leanings towards the spectacular, and it was a clear influence on Star Wars 20 years later.

He resists any flag-waving or noble speeches at the end. Instead, there is a slow pan around the mess hall, showing the places set for the men who would never return, and shots of their deserted rooms. Barnes Wallis is in tears (“All those boys! All those boys!”), while Gibson goes to his quarters to “write some letters”.

Anderson, who was born in London, came from a theatrical family – his parents, Lawrence and Beatrice, were both actors – and he worked his way up in the film business in the classic manner. After appearing in a few films as an actor, he joined Elstree Studios as a production runner, graduating to assistant director to Anthony Asquith on Pygmalion (1938) and French Without Tears (1940) and unit production manager on Noël Coward and David Lean’s In Which We Serve (1942).

During the war, while serving with the Royal Signals Corps, he met Peter Ustinov, whom he later assisted on School for Secrets (1946) and Vice Versa (1947), before they co-wrote and co-directed Private Angelo (1949).

Anderson’s first solo effort, after joining Associated British Pictures, was Waterfront (1950), a sober portrait of Liverpool during the Depression. Obviously influenced by Italian neo-realism and the British documentary tradition, it told of a heavy-drinking merchant seaman (Robert Newton) who brings grief to his wife (Kathleen Harrison) and daughter (Susan Shaw). The promise of this film was not fulfilled with Anderson’s following four films, though this was mainly due to the poor material he was given to direct. This all changed with The Dam Busters, which was followed by the bleakness of George Orwell’s 1984 (1956), which miscast two American stars, Edmond O’Brien and Jan Sterling, as the lovers defying Big Brother. Although they died at the end of Anderson’s film, in the US release they reformed and became loyal to Big Brother.

Anderson was then given the huge task of directing Around the World in 80 Days, an extravagant version of Jules Verne’s novel. Unfortunately for Anderson, the film is always remembered as the flamboyant showman-producer Mike Todd’s movie. It won five Oscars, including best film, and Anderson was nominated for best director. With more than 40 cameos by famous stars, it might easily have won for best supporting cast.

Next, Anderson directed Yangtse Incident (1957) and Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958), set in China and on a Greek island respectively, although both, starring Richard Todd, were shot in England. The former dealt in an efficient stiff-upper-lip manner with the true story of the capture of the British frigate HMS Amethyst by Chinese communists in 1949. The real Amethyst, which was used in the film, sustained more damage from a special effects bombardment during filming than it had in the actual battle. Playing against type, Todd was a rather louche character in Chase a Crooked Shadow, a film that holds the attention despite a preposterous plot.

Shake Hands with the Devil (1959), about the Troubles, was shot in Ireland, with a mainly English and Irish cast led by James Cagney as a college professor in the Dublin of the 1920s, who is also a secret IRA leader. The playing and the Irish landscape made up for some of the shortcomings in the screenplay, which ends with Cagney’s character being shot and killed.

When Alfred Hitchcock pulled out of The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959) to make North By Northwest, Anderson took over. A competently handled suspense thriller/courtroom drama, it starred Gary Cooper as a sea captain attempting to hide an abandoned cargo ship.

The star and director went on to make The Naked Edge (1961) together, which turned out to be the ailing Cooper’s last film. For this sub-Hitchcockian melodrama, Anderson pulled out a collection of tricks such as close-ups of eyes and sweat, tilted camerawork, eerie music and a hysterical heroine (Deborah Kerr) trapped alone in a palatial London home, convinced her husband (Cooper) is trying to kill her.

Anderson and Todd were reunited on Operation Crossbow (1965), another wartime story ending with a spectacular bombing raid. The film re-enacted the planning and execution of a raid into Germany to prevent the launching of the V2 rocket.

A clever script by Harold Pinter enlivened The Quiller Memorandum (1966), a thriller in which an American secret agent (George Segal) investigates a neo-Nazi movement in Berlin. The casting of Anthony Quinn as a Russian who becomes pope in The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), prompted some critics to dub the film Zorba the Pope. Despite some excellent actors, including Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, the plodding film, which cost $9m, failed at the box-office.

Pope Joan (1972) had Liv Ullmann as a woman disguised as a monk, who, through a series of bizarre incidents, ends up as pope. However, when she gives birth to a child, she is torn to pieces by the crowd. The film suffered a similar fate at the hands of the critics.

Anderson went back to the future with the campy big budget Logan’s Run (1976), set in the year 2274, the badness of which gained it a cult following and a TV spin-off. Roger Ebert echoed the consensus by calling the movie, set in a dystopia in which nobody is allowed to live beyond the age of 30, a “vast, silly extravaganza … that delivers a certain amount of fun”.

The following year, Anderson formed Michael Anderson Productions with his third wife, the Canadian actor Adrienne Ellis. Having emigrated to Canada, he started directing a number of television dramas including a sci-fi miniseries The Martian Chronicles (1980), based on Ray Bradbury, a return to Jules Verne with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997) and features for children.

Anderson, a genial cosmopolitan, fluent in French, Italian and German, enjoyed good working relationships with his casts and crews, using many of the same people time and again. Among his most regular collaborators was the cinematographer Erwin Hillier, who shot 10 of his films, and the actors Todd and Redgrave, who each appeared in four of his films.

His first two marriages ended in divorce. He is survived by Adrienne and her children, Laurie and Christopher, and by five children, Michael, David, Peter, Jan and Sally, from his first marriage, to Betty Jordan, and a stepdaughter, Emilie, from his second, to Vera Carlisle.

• Michael Anderson, film and television director, born 30 January 1920; died 25 April 2018


Ancient Mariner
Logan's Run is an all time favorite of mine .... luckily fantasy as my chip would have been blinking for many years by now :)


Ancient Mariner
Hearing Jimmy Stewart and Hitchcock talk would be interesting, they both have such distinctive and odd cadences in their manner of speech.


Ancient Mariner
My son has seen almost 60 films (not counting child films) and these are his current favourite 25:

01. The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring.
02. The Lord of the Rings : The return of the King.
03. It's a Wonderful life.
04. The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers.
05. The fall of the Roman Empire.
06. The Planet of the Apes.
07. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Jeremy Brett.
08. Ben Hur.
09. Waterloo.
10. The Longest Day.
11. High Noon.
12. The Mummy.
13. Terror by Night.
14. Murder she said.
15. Winchester 73.
16. The Hobbit : The Battle of the Five Armies.
17. Rear Window.
18. The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey.
19. The Woman in green.
20. A Brigde too Far.
21. Sahara.
22. Dressed to Kill.
23. The Far Country
24. Bend of the River.
25. Night Passage.


Ancient Mariner
I just saw an entertaining movie called The 300 Spartans from 1962. @Perun and others who read this: do you know this one? Per, I remember us talking about sandal films, and you could compare this one with that "genre" but the budget was about twice as big as for such films and I was impressed by the way this was done and how it looked. Shot in Greece, naturally a big dramatic, epic (heroic) story. Recommended!

Director of Photography, Geoffrey Unsworth, made good use of the tree groves, which lined the coastal plain aside the Limni Vouliagmeni lagoon, to cover for the obvious deficiency in the number of troops that would have been amassed on the Persian-side of the battle line.


Ancient Mariner
One of the most famous actors of the Netherlands, and surely the most known internationally, Rutger Hauer, has died. He died last Friday but it came into the media this evening.

I guess most of you know him from Blade Runner.

Reaction by Guillermo del Toro:
RIP the great Rutger Hauer: an intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor that brought truth, power and beauty to his films. My personal favorites: Flesh + Blood, Eureka, The Hitcher, Blade Runner, Ladyhawke and Blind Fury.
Hauer interview about some of his roles:


Ancient Mariner
I really liked him as well, a good actor. A while back I went though a streak of watching Paul Verhoeven films, I particularly liked Hauer in Soldier of Orange, an excellent movie. I have not seen it in many years (I think I rented the Laser Disc) ... I should watch it again. Same with Turkish Delight and Keetje Tippel both of which I enjoyed, but not quite as much.