Sunday, November 18, 2012

"A Royal Affair" Finds Contemporary Issues

The age old struggle between enlightened progressives and religious reactionaries is dramatized in the new Danish film, “A Royal Affair,” about the King Christian VII, his physician and his young Queen Caroline in 1760.  The villains in this yarn are the prime minister Guldberg and the Dowager Queen, who plan a palace coup. The physician is the champion of the poor and downtrodden and steers the king to a progressive path, abolishing slavery.  The contemporary equivalent of the Dowager Queen and Guldberg would be McCain and Boehner. Ambassador Susan Rice would be the Queen.  Get caught up on history and see this movie now playing at the newly remodeled Uptown which is gorgeous with leather reclining seats and a much more.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Nazi Lifestyles, Two Film Noir

A Jewish German Israeli women who survived the Holocaust dies and leaves puzzling evidence that reveals an association with a high ranking Nazi official who hired the notorious Adolph Eichman.  The woman is a hoarder and left letters, photos and newspaper articles that reveal a  relationship with the German gentile family that continued after the war.
In the Israeli documentary “The Flat,” her grandson, Arnon Goldfinger, who produced and narrated the film, seeks to learn more about his grandparents lives in Germany and in Israel.  A generational conflict develops where Arnon is more determined to learn the truth while his mother is a reluctant participant and very tentative about finding the grave of her grandfather in the cemetery in Germany.
An expert is sought out to hypothesize on how two very different families of the intelligentsia established a lasting friendship despite the Holocaust, which Arnon cannot accept.  See this documentary playing now at the Edina Theater.

Somewhat related is the 1940 MGM all-star epic “Mortal Storm” where a family in Germany is torn asunder by the Aryan/  question.  James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan defend tolerance while Robert Young and Dan Dailey poetry fervent Nazi characters.
Two excellent film noir from the early 50s are on one disk, “Where Danger Lives” and “Tension,” from RKO and MGM respectively.  You would think that Robert Mitchum would have had enough of the crazy ladies but he’s back with Faith Domergue (Howard Hughes protégé) as the femme fatale in WDL.  Likewise, Audrey Totter is quite fetching in “Tension” and I understand why Hughes hired her for the Robert Ryan film noir about the boxer.  WDL is comparable to “Detour” and “DOA.”  Listen to some of the film critics commentary.  Audrey  Totter recalls that Marie Windsor said the movies are now “Film  noir” but  those who worked in them knew them as B movies.