John Huston, one of the key directors of the early and mid- 20th century, was born on the 5th of August 1906 in Missouri, USA. Not only did he direct some of the world's most well-known classic cinematic experiences (I call them experiences and not just films, because let us face the fact that John Huston never really just made a 'film'. Those things could change your life. So 'experience' is a fitting word) but he also acted, wrote screenplays and was pretty much known as one of the most intelligence men in cinema history. Many people refer to him as cinema's 'renaissance man', 'titan' and as cinema's answer to Ernest Hemingway.
Who can doubt that "Maltese Falcon" (1941) is one of the great masterpieces of early 20th century cinema? It is an experience to watch Humphrey Bogart in one of his greatest roles ever. He is a phenomenal actor and has an incredible amount of talent. His role in this film is complex and at any one time, he is in many different situations. Let us not forget the great cunning work of Mary Astor and the amazing talents of the great Peter Lorre (who is one of my favourite early 20th century actors). A brilliantly clever film, it contains some of the most righteous language ever written for screen. It is a feature length experience of film noir like you've never seen before and you'll probably never see again.
This is a brilliant film. There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that this film is one of the few films you can call an 'experience'. It has a brilliant set, a brilliant cast and a brilliant sound. There's something incredibly visual about it which means that the audience can get right in there and practically feel the wind from the propellers of the helicopter as "Ride of the Valkyries" plays - and pretty loudly at that. Let's take a look at my history with this film and be prepared, there's a lot to take in!
“Gaslight” (1944) is a tremendous achievement of 1940s cinema and a brilliant masterpiece of psychological thriller. It is about a man who constantly drives his wife to madness whilst attempting to get the jewels he wanted when he killed his wife’s aunt. A raging murderer, he needs to convince his wife that she’s crazy possibly in order to make her believe the jewels were never there. But with a man who knew her aunt watching the whole thing very carefully, it may seem impossible.
Hammer Horror's Dracula (1958) has been respected as one of the greatest attempts at Bram Stoker's 19th Century novel ever. And yes, I can definitely agree that this is in fact the case. Now, it may not stay very true to the book, but the general concepts are kept the same. There's nothing really to critique negatively because Hammer Horror rarely stays completely true to its source material. Now, let's have a look at how me and this film have played out ever since I first watched it some ten years' ago...
I adore this film. I've seen it once or twice before some maybe ten years' ago but now, I re-watched it for the first time in ages and really - I forgot how enjoyable it was. I've seen the Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day 1956 version a few times but I can honestly say that for me, I do prefer this version. It just feels darker and more raw. It feels like a noir and a thriller. It's a brilliant effort at the film in the early days of Alfred Hitchcock's directing career.