Spartacus wallpapers

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2 1920×1080 wallpapers for Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, starring Kirk Douglas.

The Lady From Shanghai [1947] wallpapers

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2 1920 x 1080 wallpapers for Orson Welles’ “The Lady From Shanghai“, a film which is laughably bad at times but interspersed with moments of sheer genius.

Case in point : the final showdown in the funhouse. Welles’ ludicrous Irish brogue, messily explaining the twists and turns of the convoluted plot, but shot with tension and vision in an unsettling backdrop of a hall of mirrors. Keep an eye out for possibly the most over-acted false limp in movie history at around the 3 minute mark.

Dead End [1937] wallpaper

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1920 x 1080 wallpaper of William Wyler‘s big screen interpretation of Dead End, featuring Humphrey Bogart.

Black Narcissus wallpaper

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1920x1080 wallpaper

A 1920 x 1080 (1080p HD) wallpaper for Powell & Pressburger’s Black Narcissus. Enjoy the film Simon.

Black Narcissus DVD winner

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Who said Wednesday was a dull day? Time to pick the winner of the Black Narcissus DVD giveaway. Using a random number selector at random.org, today’s winner and the new owner of the beautiful restored edition of Black Narcissus is….

Simon Andrews

Congrats Simon, I’ll be in touch and you’ll have it faster than you can say “the repressed sexual desires of nuns”.

In related news, Chris (the winner of the last DVD – A Matter of Life and Death) dropped me a mail last night and gave his thoughts on the film;

“…having read the synopsis on the back, I must admit I was expecting something excessively cheesy and perhaps a bit weak, despite what you’d said about enjoying it. I was glad to be proven wrong. Within the first few minutes of the film I was drawn into the emotion between Peter and June, and for me, the very “real” connection between them that remained throughout was a nice contrast to the somewhat surreal overall theme of the film. I think there were several contrasting elements like this that added to the overall impact of the film, such as the shift between black and white, and colour, sometimes vivid colour, to represent Heaven and Earth respectively.

I could go on and write a lot more, but as it’s getting late/early, I’ll just finish by saying that I can see why this is considered by many to be a classic, and has reminded me that I really should hunt down and watch a few more like it, if for no other reason than to indulge in a bit of classic British dialogue.”

Thanks for letting me know your thoughts Chris, glad you liked it and could appreciate the oh-so-British “tally-ho” delivery of English gent David Niven.

Thanks for reading everyone. As I said last time you can unsubscribe now but it would be great if you stayed around – I’ll have another DVD giveaway lined up for a few weeks time. I’ll perhaps make the next one more of a contest/quiz.

Take care.

Dead Reckoning [1947]

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1920x1080 wallpaper

Apologies to anyone who isn’t a fan of Humphrey Bogart – this blog is rapidly turning into some kind of Bogie homage. I did nothing to avoid this by watching yet another Bogart film last night – John Cromwell‘s rather disappointing “Dead Reckoning“.

I really cant work out what went wrong here. On the surface John Cromwell might as well be making a Sam Spade film, and seems to have all the right ingredients. Bogart’s character has been lifted with minimal change from The Maltese Falcon, and has some brilliantly dark and cutting lines. Unfortunately Bogart -along with his well-written dialogue and delivery – is the only positive point.

After a strong and intriguing start, the film’s plot begins to meander and flatten, and at times becomes downright convoluted and confusing with too many red herrings and false leads. There are a few great scenes – Bogart coolly avoiding a murder set-up, and demonstrating some awesome skill at dice – but they are strung together so flatly, in such a contrived, derivative plot that it is easy to lose interest.

Lizabeth Scott appears in a role that was obviously designed with an actress such as Lauren Bacall or Rita Hayworth in mind, and proceeds to put in one of the most wooden and cringe-worthy performances I have seen in a film-noir, highlighted by one of the most awkwardly mistimed lip-synch songs that I have ever seen. I believe this is the first performance of Scott’s that I have experienced, so I may be doing her a disservice, however there is nothing here that makes me want to check out any of her other roles.

I have been very fortunate with film choices recently, and have had a good run of some great films, but Dead Reckoning was an average, nay below average, experience for me. It’s testament to Bogie’s skill that he was able to remain thoroughly convincing and entertaining amidst a sea of (admittedly stylish) mediocrity. If it wasn’t for his faultless performance it is likely I wouldn’t have finished watching. For die-hard Bogart fans only.

Even the trailer is corny…

Sahara [1943] wallpaper

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1920 x 1080 wallpaper for Sahara [1943] starring Humphrey Bogart .

Considering this film was made while WWII was still underway, you would be forgiven for approaching Sahara as nothing more than a patriotic propaganda film, and for the most part you would be right. But while there is plenty of allied camaraderie, back-slapping and pulling together to beat the Hun, its message never really gets in the way of what is essentially a solid military movie. Anyway, watching Bogie is always worth your time, and he is his usual charismatic, dependable self here.

In summary, there is nothing mind-blowing here, but the film doesn’t really put a foot wrong either. An easy to watch film and a typically strong performance from Bogart.

Bogart gets ready for a take in Sahara

Oh, and the score is great.

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