Friday, May 24, 2019

CONSENSUS 72. Colonel Redl (1985)



SYNOPSIS: Col. Redl (Klaus Maria Brandauer) is a closet Jew and homosexual who rises through the Austrian army pre-WWI by ratting out any comrades who are less than enthusiastic with the monarchy and the army. He is appointed head of military intelligence where his ambitious ferreting can flower. Ironically, he gets ensnared in his own game.

BACK-STORY: Colonel Redl is a Hungarian film directed by Istvan Szabo. It was the second in a trilogy and came after the acclaimed Mephisto. It is based on a British play by John Osborne entitled A Patriot For Me. The movie won the Jury Prize at Cannes, was chosen Best Foreign Film at the BAFTAs, and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. The movie was hardly shown in America and made just $2,357 in one week at one theater.

Belle and Blade  =  N/A
Brassey’s              =  4.0
Video Hound       =  N/A
War Movies         =  N/A
Military History  =  #50
Channel 4             =  not on list
Film Site                =  yes
101 War Movies  =  no

OPINION:  Colonel Redl is overrated at #72. It is interesting, but not special.  It is an interesting movie, but predictable. The themes that power corrupts and ambition is bad have been explored ad infinitum. There is little that is outstanding about the film.  The strength of the movie is the acting. Brandauer is excellent as Redl. His portrayal of a tormented man is mesmerizing. His performance is the main reason to watch the movie.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

PICTURE, QUOTE, MOVIE QUIZ #59


1.  What movie is the picture from?

2.  What movie is this quote from?

Everybody does his duty at Zinderneuf, dead or alive! We'll make those Arabs think we've got a thousand men. 

3. What movie is this? 


 It was directed by Lewis Milestone of “All Quiet…” fame.  He also directed another “Forgotten War” film entitled “Steel Helmet”.  It was his last war movie.  It was released in 1959.  The screenplay is based on the nonfiction by the famous war author S.L.A. Marshall (SLAM).  The main character, Joe Clemons, acted as technical adviser.  Clemons was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for the battle.  The movie is populated by many familiar actors from the 1960s and includes a small role by Barry McGuire of future “Eve of Destruction” one hit wonder fame.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

CONSENSUS #73 - Ministry of Fear (1944)



SYNOPSIS: The movie is set in Britain during the Blitz.  A Brit (Ray Milland) straight out of an insane asylum (for the murder of his wife) gets caught up in intrigue in WWII England when he accidentally acquires an item of value to spies.  Going from pursued to pursuer, he tracks down a Nazi spy ring and finds love in the process.

BACK-STORY: Ministry of Fear is a classic film noir by the acclaimed Fritz Lang. It was based on the novel of Graham Greene which is noirier than the screenplay. The movie was released in 1944 and is black and white. It is partly Langs reaction to Nazis dominance of Europe. Lang, a German, had been offered a job in the Ministry of Propaganda by Josef Goebbels and immediately fled from Germany.

TRIVIA:  imdb

1.  Lang was disappointed with film because he felt the script differed too much from Greene’s book (see #3), but he was not allowed to tamper with it.  This was because the screenwriter was also the producer.
2.  The McGuffin is a cake.
3.  The main character in the book is much more tormented with guilt over his wife’s death and it is more clearly murder.  The romance is also less idyllic.  She is a spy and he is a murderer.

Belle and Blade  =  N/A
Brassey’s              =  4.0
Video Hound       =  N/A
War Movies         =  N/A
Military History   =  #53
Channel 4             =  not on list
Film Site                =  yes
101 War Movies  =  no

OPINION: Sadly, Ministry of Fear is nothing special. It is not a great war movie and it is not even great film noir. The acting is satisfactory, but not up to the great film noir classics.  The plot has holes and bizarre aspects, but you expect that from film noir.   It does not belong on this list.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

CATCH-22 Private Screening


Recently, I and my wife went to the WWII Museum in New Orleans to see a private screening of the first episode of the new Hulu miniseries. It is co-produced by George Clooney and he directed two of the six episodes. He also plays a minor character - Scheisskopf. Scheisskopf, as well as several other characters, did not appear in the movie. Since the miniseries is three times as long, it clearly will cover more of the book. For those of you who were put off by the nonlinear structure of the movie and the book, the miniseries is in chronological order. Probably a decision aimed at the comfort of the masses. Based on the first episode, it appears the project is well done. The cast is mostly unknowns, with the exceptions of Clooney, Kyle Chandler as Cathcart, and Hugh Laurie as de Coverley (another character that does not appear in the movie). I am sure the young cast is competent, but they will have to go a long way to match the movie. The episode evidenced realistic depiction of the missions, something that CGI allows over the original. They only had access to two B-25's, but the formation scenes are seamless. If you enjoyed the book, or don't want to have to read it, it looks like it will do the trick. It should be a boon to the summer reading students. Just be aware that the book is partly chosen by your English teacher because of Heller's style as well as his satire.

After the screening there was a panel discussion featuring a co-writer (Luke Davies) and three actors - Rafi Gavron (Arfy), Graham Patrick Martin (Orr), and John Rudnitsky (McWatt). Considering they were at the WWII Museum and there were veterans in the crowd, it was nice that the lads made it clear that their experience of making a movie at an Italian resort was not comparable to that of the B-25 crews.


I'll try to watch the series soon and post on it.  Stay tuned.

Here is my review of the book and the movie.