This month boasts a fine selection of covetable film classics re-released on DVD, including Fellini’s La Strada and Marlon Brando’s The Wild One. Feast your eyes…
Romantic masterpiece directed by the legendary French director, Max Ophüls. Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux star as a general and his wife in fin-de-siècle Paris. He’s a witty and urbane man of the world, she a flirtatious society butterfly who falls passionately in love with an Italian diplomat played by Vittorio De Sica. She sells a pair of earrings, a wedding present from her husband, in order to pay off debts, and sets off a chain reaction of financial and carnal consequences that can end only in despair.
“Erotic, gripping, elegant and mysterious” – Guardian
Marlon Brando became an icon as the leader of the Black Rebels, a motorcycle gang who gatecrashes a bike race and consequently runs amok in a small California town. After stealing the second prize trophy the gang then ride into Wrightsville, where Johnny falls for the Sheriffs daughter, and tries to impress her with the trophy. When a rival gang rides into town, trouble is just around the corner. Based on real-life events, the film was considered so shocking and inciteful of delinquent behaviour at the time, it was banned in the UK until 1968.
A stirring British war film about the boat crews whose job it was to rescue downed RAF pilots. Michael Redgrave and Dirk Bogarde star in the John Harris adaptation. After the Normandy D-Day landings, a dangerous attempt is made to rescue the survivors of a WWII British Hudson bomber, crashed at sea. On board is an Air Commodore who has secret plans that could stop enemy air raids on London.
A tough, womanizing gambler known only as Tennessee narrowly avoids being murdered due to the intervention of Cowpoke, a lonesome traveller in town to meet his fiancée Goldie as she arrives on a steamboat. The two men strike up a friendship, but their newfound cameraderie is severely tested when Cowpoke’s sweetheart arrives in town, and immediately attracts Tennessee’s attention. Western, starring John Payne, Rhona Fleming, Coleen Gray and future US President Ronald Reagan.
La Strada means ‘the road’ and it’s an established film classic. Anthony Quinn stars in Fellini’s Fellini’s Italian neo-realist Oscar-winning drama about a simple-minded peasant who is sold by her impoverished mother to a brutish travelling circus strongman. Quinn is a boorish man who buys (literally) a joyful, mentally deficient lass from her impoverished mother to serve as his companion, cook and concubine. They bounce along together on their journey but her happiness fades when they join a small circus on the outskirts of Rome.
Before you go…
A modern classic that isn’t a re-release per se, The Beguiled, starring Clint Eastwood is getting a lot of coverage in the film news. Sophia Coppola has remade the film, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, which will be in cinemas in mid-July. In the meantime, enjoy the critically acclaimed and unforgettable original, which was made in 1970!
Eastwood stars as a wounded Unionist soldier, during the American Civil War, who’s given refuge in the Confederate south. He's nursed and protected by the young ladies in a southern boarding school run by Geraldine Page. His presence provokes jealousy and deceit and the girls' frustrated sexuality proves to be as much of a threat as the Confederate forces.