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To see a simple English version of reviews about some of the movies, click on the  ESL section of Midnight Oil.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)


"Fahrenheit 451" (1966) , inspired by Ray Bradbury's science fiction novel of the same name, delivers a disturbing vision of a futuristic world where books are contraband to be burned by the state. For those of us who love books, this is a truly scary and undesirable future reality.

Werner Oskar stars as the fireman who begins to question the purpose behind burning books in the oppressive police state. Julie Christie plays the double role of the witless wife of the fireman, Linda, and the open minded free spirit, Clarisse.The fireman eventually must choose between the two women and the two ways of looking at his profession

Check out Thom Ernst's blog for the scoop on his interview with the original author, Ray Bradbury, for the TVO Saturday Night at the Movies Interviews.

View the TVO video web preview for "Fahrenheit 451" (includes snippets of the Bradbury interview)

>>More to see: Looking for  more out of life?

>>Real Life Story: Priscilla escaped oppression while living in an Eastern block country under Communist rule.

See the video trailer for "Fahrenheit 451" (1966)

The Man Who Never Was (1956)



"The Who Never Was” (1956) IMDb with Clifton Webb spins an intriguing yarn about British military intelligence during WWII. Apparently based on actual events, Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu (Clifton Webb) finds himself with the challenging and somewhat gruesome task of diverting the attention of the German High Command away from a planned invasion of the continent through planting misinformation on a dead body. Montagu and his team are indefatigable in their efforts to serve the national interest. In contrast, the cost of the war in terms of personal loss is depicted through the part of the grieving father of the dead man and the distraught girlfriend (Gloria Greene) who is told that her beloved is dead. Though perhaps not the greatest spy thriller every made, I find this film to be interesting enough to be watchable. The fictionalized account of actual spy stuff certainly makes this movie of historical interest for WWII film buffs.

>>Real Life Story: When his dad suddenly disappeared from his life as a result of a senseless murder, Jack found himself marked for life. Hear Jack's story of coming to terms with grief and his identity after a traumatic event.

>>On to "Who's Directing Your Life?"

See the TVO SNAM preview for “The Man Who Never Was” (1956)

Catch the video trailer for the opening credits of “The Man Who Never Was” 1956. I believe that the dramatic reading in the opening is from a poem by H.G. Wells.



Posted on Monday, July 26, 2010 at 11:57AM by Registered CommenterCatherine Savard | CommentsPost a Comment

Days of Wine and Roses (1962)


“Days of Wine and Roses” (1962) IMDb looks inside the private world of an alcoholic as Jack Lemmon plays Joe Clay. Lemmon convincingly portrays the struggles of the charming and talented addict who quickly draws his young wife (played by Lee Remick) into the predictable downward spiral with him. Although some might be tempted to write the film off as a mere modern-day morality tale, I tend to see it as a laudable attempt to deal honestly  with the subject of alcoholism. The flavour is definitely bittersweet. It’s a film that points toward the intensely human capacity for courage, hope and redemption as well as for degradation.

This film was paired with “Clean and Sober” (1988) IMDb with Michael Keaton, another very powerful film about addiction. See the Saturday Night at the Movies preview for both films in the “Hooked” episode here.

View this retrospective on the acting career of the late Jack Lemmon set to Henry Mancini's Oscar winning song for the movie, "Days of Wine and Roses".

>>Real Life Story : Josh Hamilton, a professional baseball player, tells about his battle to get clean and sober in his struggle with drugs and alcohol after a tragic accident and an unearthly encounter.

>>More to see: Looking for more out of life?

Catch the video trailer for “Days of Wine and Roses” here.

Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 03:57PM by Registered CommenterCatherine Savard | CommentsPost a Comment

Georgy Girl (1966)


Before there was an Ugly Betty, there was Georgy Girl” (1966). The film lights down in London town during those mad 1960s with the crazy new sounds coming out of bands like The Seekers and the even crazier new hairdos and mini skirts. We see Georgy girl (Lynn Redgrave) awkwardly sporting one of the new “dos” as the opening credits roll over top of the chart topping number by the Australian band. (I was surprised to learn that they weren’t a part of the British invasion.) The film is a lot like the title song in that it is a lighthearted romp with surprisingly serious undertones for those who are really listening.

The story line is a bit mixed up, much like Georgy herself.  Georgy’s beautiful and free-spirited roommate, Meredith, leaves behind a boyfried and a baby as she gets on with her life after an ever so brief encounter with her own non-maternal nature. Georgy tries to pick up the pieces. After all, there is an adorable, helpless child involved. The make-shift domestic arrangements with Jos, the baby’s father, soon fall apart. A cast-off boyfriend doesn’t really fit any better than the ridiculous coiffure that Georgy tries on in the film’s introduction. In true improvisational style that fits the times and Georgy’s quirky personality, she tries on a completely different set of circumstances by accepting her family’s employer as stand-in dad. James Leamington (played by James Mason). James Leamington is supposedly Georgy’s better in social standing -  although one wonders if he isn’t actually her “worser” after he offers her an albeit “very proper” and attractive contractual arrangement for Georgy to be his mistress. Georgy passes up the offer. She’d like to think she can do better. She changes her mind (like a girl changes clothes) when the offer firms up a bit more and becomes a proposal of marriage after Leamington’s wife conveniently takes herself out of the way by dying.

In the end, it is a marriage of convenience that Georgy chooses as her best fit in the era of the sexual revolution. It is perhaps the best option afforded to someone like Georgy “who just missed being beautiful”. One wonders how well this arrangement is going to work out over time, as we watch the closing scene where the new bride repeatedly caresses her adopted infant. She seems oblivious to the groom sitting next to her in the get away car.  It may well end up as just another failed experiment to be washed away down the drain along with the hair pins and mascara of Georgy’s “new look” in the opening scene.

Georgy’s pick of the best offer out of a limited range of options appears to be missing something: unconditional commitment and acceptance of people for who they really are. It’s what Georgy really wants; it’s what all of us want in the end –free love.

Don’t miss the SNAM Interviews on the subject of “Beauty -and Other Myths”. The Interviews deal extensively with another movie with a parallel theme shown in conjunction with “Georgy Girl” The second feature was “Dogfight”.

>>Real Life: Michelle participated in “The Biggest Loser” contest in order to lose weight. She found unexpected healing that led to a more permanent change in her life.

>>More to see: Looking for more out of life?

See the TVO video trailer for "Georgy Girl" (1966)

Priest (1994)

“Priest” (1994) is a difficult movie tackling a difficult subject. It holds up for scrutiny the many conflicts of being a modern-day Roman Catholic priest. Upon arrival at his new parish, Father Pilkington (Linus Roache) quickly becomes embroiled in a series of no-win situations. His fellow priest (Tom Wilkinson) is having a clandestine affair with the maid; a young parishioner reveals while in the confessional that she is the victim of incest; and he himself is caught in compromising circumstances in an ongoing homosexual relationship. The ready answers of Father Greg’s conservative version of Roman Catholic faith appear to be no match for the very real problems of real life in his very ordinary English parish. A crisis of faith ensues for Father Greg. His fellow clergy and the parish in general are dragged along unwittingly and unwillingly.

Although most of the crises in the film revolve around the depiction of a mangled sexuality, on a more global level, the sex is just a window through which to see more deeply into the soul, into what it means to be human. In spite of the brouhaha that the film engendered when originally released, this film endures in its unflinching look at a certain situation in the Church today. That being said, the film is not totally devoid of either the hope or the redemption that the Church is supposed to be famous for. Like the rest of what is depicted in the film, it’s just not that simple.

Also shown on Saturday Night at the Movies was another film underscoring high drama resulting from the secrecy of the confessional, Alfred Hitchcock’s I Confess

>>More to see: Looking for more out of life?

See the video trailer for "Priest" (1994). See also the climactic final scene of the movie here.

Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 11:59AM by Registered CommenterCatherine Savard | CommentsPost a Comment