Search this Site

2020 Films

Only days left until the
2021 Festival.

September 24, 25, 26, 2021

Print this page

Click the settings icon wheel-icon to access the print icon to print this page.

Film Trivia 2018

Have you taken the Trivia Quiz based on the 2018 program?  Try it here.

Tess Harding (Katharine Hepburn) is a progressively-minded political journalist. Sam Craig (Spencer Tracy) is a sports writer with very traditional values. The only thing the two have in common woman of the year posteris that they both work for the same New York City newspaper. Despite an initial and mutual dislike, the two eventually fall in love and get married. When Tess wins the Woman of the Year award, traditional gender roles become flipped and their relationship suffers as a result.

Director: George Stevens
Cast: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Fay Bainter
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Runtime:  114 min
Rating: PG

Review

By Louise Keller

There are many things to recommend this battle of the sexes film, not the least being the fact its script won best screenplay Oscar in 1943. It is the first (of nine) memorable on-screen collaborations between Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, whose appeal lies in their differences. Made in 1942, the film's working woman theme is a progressive one; sparks fly in all directions as Hepburn's multi-lingual woman of the world Tess ('she won't talk to anybody who hasn't signed a non-aggression pact,') and Tracy's Samwoman of the year2 450 (he calls her the Calamity Jane of the fast international set) irk and are besotted by one another before trying to work it all out. Filled with witty lines and hilarious situations, the film is good entertainment, reminding us of Hepburn and Tracy's appeal

'Tess Harding is so busy telling the American people what to do, she's probably never taken the time to get out and meet some of them,' writes Sam in his sports column. So begins the sparing in-print relationship between the diplomat's daughter and the laid-back sports writer. The first sight Sam gets of the celebrity journalist/personality is one of a shapely leg; the attraction is immediate, and Sam begins Tess' 'real-life' education by taking her to her first baseball game. It is clear from the start that their lives and lifestyles are totally different. He thinks they are going on a date; she thinks he is going to drive her to the airport. Tess' favourite aunt Ellen Witcomb (Fay Bainter) advises her that 'success is no fun unless you share it with someone' woman of the yearand the whirlwind marriage (scheduled between engagements) results in a wedding night to remember, in which the marital bedroom is graced by a refugee, his bodyguards, an entourage and family and friends.

My favourite scene comes towards the end when Tess tries to win her way back into Sam's heart through his stomach. It is obvious that she has probably never even been in a kitchen before, let alone tried to cook, and the results are hilarious. Sam watches from the doorway as Tess (wearing a fur coat) finds imaginative ways to separate eggs, works out how to light the gas stove and tries to keep an oozing waffle under control. 'You don't think I can do all the ordinary things that any idiot can do?' Tess pleads, to which Sam pragmatically states: 'Because you're incapable.' Tracy and the ever-elegant Hepburn are at their prime in this delectable black and white film that gives romantic comedies a good name.

 

Trailer

Small-time crook Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) tries to steal a car and winds up with its owner's daughter, dissatisfied small-town girl Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway). Their crimes quickly spiral from petty theft to bank robbery, bonnie and clyde posterbut tensions between the couple and the other members of their gang--hapless driver C.W. (Michael J. Pollard), Clyde's suave older brother Buck (Gene Hackman) and Buck's flibbertigibbet wife, Blanche (Estelle Parsons) --could destroy them all.

Director: Arthur Penn
Cast: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard
Genre: Crime
Rating: R
Runtime: 111 min

Review

by Stefan

The term most commonly used to describe Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is probably “landmark film”. It may seem a little odd to begin this review by focusing on the movie’s effect on film criticism, but it’s one interesting part of a crucial whole. When it opened, Arthur Penn’s movie divided the critics. Those who were against it looked like fools and the veteran Bosley Crowther even ended up losing his New York Times position. Those who supported the film looked like sages (both Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael launched their careers thanks to their positive reviews). Out with the old, in with the new. This was also true for Hollywood as a whole where Bonnie and Clyde is considered a watershed moment, the film that ushered in a new era of movies that were better in touch with modern audiences.

bonnie and clydeThis is the story of two of the most notorious (and romanticized) criminals in American history. In the days of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) happens to spot Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) as he tries to steal her mother’s car. Far from intimidated, Bonnie has always dreamt of an adventurous life and decides to give up her waitressing job in favor of hanging out with the charismatic criminal. Soon they’ve formed a whole bank-robbing gang, consisting of Clyde’s brother (Gene Hackman) and his wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons), as well as a gas-station attendant, C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard). Everything goes fine until the day when Clyde shoots a bank manager in the face and the authorities decide to turn their focus on the gang. Another threat against their lifestyle comes from within; Blanche and Bonnie can’t stand each other.

Ugly and true violence

No one involved with the production says they knew they were making a game-changing masterpiece, but the filmmakers were definitely not watching old American gangster movies for inspiration; rather, they looked to France. As fans of the New Wave cinema, the filmmakers wanted to create a movie that seemed naturalistic and true but still honored the fact that it was a film. As a result, cinematographer Burnett Guffey shot scenes in Texas that look earthy and relevant (especially in the depiction of Depression-era suffering and regular folks, such as Bonnie’s family in one particularly good sequence where her mother sees straight through Clyde)… but we’re constantly reminded of the director’s presence because of choppy editing and some weird camera angles. bonnie and clyde1 450And then there’s the violence. The final scene where Bonnie and Clyde meet their fate has become legendary not only for the rapid-fire editing, but also the blood-soaked approach to depicting death on film. Many critics were turned off, but others were correct in pointing out that this is what violence really looks like; it’s ugly and true. A few scenes portray sexuality in the same naked way. As a story about alienated youths in a time of desperation, Bonnie and Clyde likely appealed to a young audience who must have considered this movie quite the eye-opener.

An impotent scoundrel who blames his crime spree on the Depression? A foolish girl who falls for a crook? And yet by the time they give each other a quick, desperate look before they’re gunned down, our feelings for them hit us in the gut. Beatty and Dunaway, in their breakthrough performances, manage to give their troubled characters plenty of depth. Hackman, a stage actor, got an opportunity to shine as Clyde’s wild brother. Gene Wilder appears in a small role (his first on-screen) that brings a terrific sense of humor to the movie, an appetizer to the wonderful work he would do with Mel Brooks.

 

Trailer

The story of a gentle-hearted beast in love with a simple and beautiful girl. She is drawn to the repellent but strangely fascinating Beast, who tests her fidelity by giving her a key, telling her that if she doesn't la belle et la bete posterreturn it to him by a specific time, he will die of grief. She is unable to return the key on time, but it is revealed that the Beast is the genuinely handsome one. A simple tale of tragic love that turns into a surreal vision of death, desire, and beauty.

Director: Jean Cocteau
Stars: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Language: French
Runtime: 96 min
Rating: PG

Review

By Sonia Cerca

After reviewing last year's Beauty and the Beast, which we can all agree that it was not a good movie, Birgit from BB Creations (check out her blog because it's great) mentioned Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête), and how the new one, although she hadn't seen it yet, would never hold a match to it. And she was right. Not only this version of the Grimm brothers fairytale is better than the Disney live-action, but it's better than the original 1991 Disney film too.

la belle et la beteA half-ruined merchant (Marcel André) goes off one night in the darkness hoping to fetch some goods from his ships before his creditors get them. But he gets lost on his way back and takes shelter in a castle. He picks up a rose and that's when the castle's owner appears, a creature that is half man and half beast (Jean Marais), and tells him that he has a choice of dying or having one of his three daughters come to live in the castle. Belle (Josette Day) who has always been selfless, sacrifices herself for her father and goes to the castle, and soon discovers that there's more than meets the eyes.

Plot-wise, Cocteau's film is far from being perfect. I haven't read de Beaumont's classic fairy tale so I don't know who is to blame, but there are some silly subplots and some characters motivations that aren't explained. To be honest, the whole plot is very illogical and I often found myself rolling my eyes at it. However, that's not really a negative thing. First, this is a fairy tale which is why I don't think it's supposed to make a lot of sense and second, the film opens with a quote from Cocteau saying, "children believe everything they're told, without question", so I guess what Cocteau is trying to do is making us feel like children again, and if you are able to do that, stop thinking and just sit back, you're definitely going to enjoy his film.

la belle et la beteThe romance between Belle and the Beast has never been more charming and touching than this which is very weird considering how thin the characters are. They never get to know each other, and therefore we don't get why Belle is falling for him, but there's something about it that is very beautiful.

Part of the credits surely goes to the actors portraying the lovebirds. Jean Marais does a wonderful job as the Beast, delivering a sensitive, passionate and emotional performance, and he's pretty good as Avenant too, the friend of Belle's brother who asks her in marriage. Josette Day isn't at Marais's level, but she does a pretty good job as Belle.

Despite its many flaws, Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast is still the most magical, enchanting adaptation of the fairy tale I've seen. It was made more than seventy years ago but today's CGI will never hold a match to the visuals of this film. Sure, it all looks very artificial, but it's marvellous --the black and white cinematography, for example, is evocative and adds so much grace to the film. At last, the surreal music fits the story very well.

 

Trailer

The residents of a small town organize a team to track down a killer on the loose. The town's entire male population joins the hunt, save one jittery youth (Harold Lloyd) who wants nothing to do with a murderer.grandmas boy poster He instead retreats to his grandma's house. She tells him a fantastic story that rouses his confidence, and hands him a talisman that supposedly holds the power of bravery. Unaware he's been given an ordinary piece of wood, the young man decides to chase the criminal by himself.

Director: Fred C. Newmeyer
Cast: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Anna Townsend
Genre: Comedy
Silent
Runtime: 60min
Rating: G

Review

by Patrick Nash

Grandma's Boy holds the distinction of being Harold Lloyd's first feature length movie. Although some sources give that honor to 1921's A Sailor-Made Man, I disagree. That movie runs only 46 minutes, which is rather long for a short, but still nearly 15 minutes shy of feature length. Grandma's Boy clocks in at just under an hour, making it, by today's standards, Lloyd's first true full-length movie. He would never again star in a short film.

grandmas boyGrandma's Boy was originally intended as a sort of drama. Harold wanted to stretch himself as an actor and to focus a bit more on character development. He plays his usual Glasses Guy but he's more meek and cowardly than ever. He lets the neighborhood bully walk all over him and monopolize his girl's attention. He is afraid to shoo away a tramp that has made himself at home in Harold's Grandma's yard. The feisty old lady has to do it herself.

When this same tramp commits a robbery and shoots a man, a posse is formed to catch him. Harold is made a deputy but is so scared of his own shadow that he spends the night cowering under his bedcovers. His Grandma tells him a story about his grandfather's exploits during the Civil War. She tells him his Grandfather was also a coward but was given a lucky amulet by a wizened old crone that gave him special powers. She then produces this same lucky charm and gives it to Harold. I'm sure you can guess where the story is headed from there.

Grandma's Boy does contain humor but the sight gags are less frenetically paced than in most Lloyd movies. In one scene the bully pushes Harold into a well, ruining his best suit. His Grandma gives him his Grandfather's suit from 1861, which he proudly wears to call on his girl.grandmas boy During the flashback story set during the War Between the States, Harold plays his Grandfather. He looks exactly like Harold only with sideburns. The actor playing the bully is a Union General in a scene where Harold's Grandfather must steal some secret plans.

Why is it that in movies about the Civil War they are almost always shown from the point of view of the Rebel Army? Lloyd's Grandfather was a Confederate soldier as was Buster Keaton's character in The General. Neither actor was from the South. Perhaps it is more romantic to be on the losing side?

On an historical note, I find it interesting that Anna Townsend, the actress that plays Harold's Grandma, actually lived through the Civil War years. She was born January 5, 1845 in Utica, New York. That's the very same year in which Scarlett O'Hara was supposed to have been born. Anna Townsend was a spry 77 when she made this movie. She appeared in several other Lloyd comedies, always specializing in funny old lady parts. She died in 1923.

Grandma's Boy is not Harold Lloyd's funniest movie but it tells a sweet story and has plenty of heart.

History professor George (Richard Burton) and his boozy wife, Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), return late one Saturday night from a cocktail party at the home of the college president, virginia woolf posterMartha's father. Martha announces that she invited another couple, newly appointed instructor Nick (George Segal) and his timid wife, Honey (Sandy Dennis), over for a nightcap. When the younger couple arrive, the night erupts into a no-holds-barred torrent of marital angst and verbal tirades.

Directed By: Mike Nichols
Cast: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis.
Rating:  R
Runtime: 127 minutes
Genre: Drama

Review

by Jennie Kermode

"I loathe marriage. I hate its smugness, its safety, its compromise," says one of Virginia Woolf's characters in The Voyage Out. It's a position that was close to the author's own heart; she made clear in much of her writing that she resented the fact it was seen as the only way a woman could be fulfilled. Although she doesn't appear in the Edward Albee play that borrows her name, nor in Ernest Lehman's big screen adaptation of it, her presence looms large, and everybody is afraid.

virginia woolf 1 450This is a film that opened to great excitement as the play had been a storming success; it featured two of the biggest stars of the day and there was also a delicious hint of scandal about it occasioned by its use of language and innuendo that was right at the limit of what the censors would tolerate - it's actually one of the pivotal works that liberated American filmmakers to pursue more varied directions in the decades that followed. Over those decades, however, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? has taken on a different and more complex character. It's a film strangely positioned in time; written early in Albee's career, it seems to echo, rather than foreshadow, his later work. Elizabeth Taylor temporarily adopts the appearance which would make her the butt of cruel jokes in the Eighties. She and Richard Burton, still in a happy if volatile marriage just four years after the affair that brought them together on the set of Cleopatra, play a pair of perpetually quarrelling alcoholics like those they would become, yet the chemistry between them enriches the story, hinting at an enduring love with which nothing else has managed to compare.

She plays Martha; he is George. They have been arguing all evening and he's ready for bed, but she reminds him that they have guests coming - young couple Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis). Both couples are forced into this awkward arrangement; the dance in which they take their positions has been scored by Martha's father, the omnipresent but never present college president whom everybody wishes to please. To make the situation bearable, they drink. Martha, careless of the presence of the others, flirts with Nick, and he can see what sort of opportunity she represents, besides which Taylor has the capacity to be dowdy yet glamorous, crude yet sensual at the same time. This is a career best performance for her, the one which finally announced her presence as a real actress, but it's Burton who is the standout. Hating himself as only Mark Antony could, George responds to Martha's barbs with superlative passive aggression and sometimes with real aggression. The speed with which he can switch between the two disorientates the younger couple and sometimes the viewer, especially once the 'games' begin.

virginia woolf 3 450This is a film which one ought ideally to watch in one's twenties and then in one's fifties - rather like Pinter's Sleuth - to get the best of its twin perspectives. Nick and Honey are out of their depth. He doesn't realise it, continuing to try and make the running though George sees him coming every time. She does, and forsakes the intellectual battleground for something more primitive, joyously crying out "Violence! Violence!" as the games take a darker turn. She may not be the deepest character but there's something about her that darkens the mood further: of all of them, she's the best equipped to survive in the wider world, too flimsy to be harmed by the gravity of the situation, her mind possessed of a lower terminal velocity. Nichols, making his debut but already alert to the significance of such women, gives her space to bloom in her own way, where stage directors had not.

Throughout, there is talk of another character, George and Martha's son, so they say, who is perpetually yet vaguely expected to arrive, like David in Hitchcock's Rope; one might say this is a film full of ghosts, but perhaps it's simply indicative of a fear of engaging with the outside wold, a fear strong enough to keep love alive even in the grimmest circumstances. George attempts to strangle Martha. She shrugs it off, and the absence of neighbourly intervention during any of the rows speaks to a simple truth, that everybody around them is used to this. Only Nick is shocked, and perhaps only because that gives him an advantage. When everybody is performing, only old love, however damaged, is real.

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? shows us a marriage in close-up, both figuratively and literally. There is no sympathetic soft focus here, no forgiveness. By the end, when the lights come up (before the lights come up), the viewer will share that sense of being hung over. Everything is far too clear.

 

Trailer