Recent releases from the past few weeks:
The good news is that this classic silent film is finally available on DVD. The bad news is that it’s buried in among the “extras” on the 1959 version, just out in a four-disc Collector’s Edition. I far and away prefer the silent verison over the bloated Charlton Heston (Ehhhhh, shivers up and down the spine) spectacle. Also boasts a cast of thousands and an exciting chariot race.
Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)
It’s been many years since I’ve seen this film, but I recall liking it very much. Betty Hutton parties with a group of soldiers before they ship off. She thinks she was married to one of them and she knows she’s pregnant–a unique dilemma for a WWII-era comedy. Draft reject Eddie Bracken has a thing for Betty, and he tries to help her out. Written and directed by Preston Sturges.
The Girl in the Cafe (2005)
I caught this when it originally aired on HBO and was pleasantly surprised. Two charming performances by Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald anchor a sweet, unconventional romance set against the G8 Summit, of all things. He’s an advisor to the Exchequer, with little more in his life than work. She’s a lonely Scottish woman he happens to meet in a cafe (in a great “meet cute” scene.) In very little time both of these withdrawn characters have formed a tenuous relationship when Nighy’s character un-characteristsically invites her along with him to Reykjavik. This is a muted, adult romance that’s rooted in character study. While the ending doesn’t live up to the promising first half, it’s still worth while for Nighy’s subtle, wonderful performance.
Bleak House (1985)
Again, I saw this many years ago (on Masterpiece Theatre perhaps?) and look forward to seeing it again, now that I’ve finished the book. I do remember that Diana Rigg gave a commanding performance as Lady Dedlock.
The Innocents (1961)
A creepy classic. Deborah Kerr stars as a governess to a couple of strange, troubled children in this adaptation of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw. Alone in a shadowy old mansion, Kerr begins to suspect that the children are possessed by the ominous spirits of two lovers who once lived in the house. Beautifully suited to black and white cinematography, truly frightening images make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Save this one for Halloween.