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  • Under Capricorn

    Under Capricorn

    ★★★★★

    Stirring, raging, beating, brooding, bleeding... we witness an immense romance born from ever-continuing selfless acts, diluted by public gossip and major social class chasms, yet hidden in ominous secrecy combined with melodrama spiked to maddening heights; Under Capricorn is peak Hitchcock. Characters flee countries for better tomorrows while others are forced to do the same as punishment for their crimes, in serving the non-convicts, ex-convicts, and emancipators settling down to stake claims. The independence and dependence of characters in love,…

  • The Paradine Case

    The Paradine Case

    ★★★½

    It's nice to be married to someone who can help others - even save their lives.

    The Paradine Case by Alfred Hitchcock is maybe the best example of a director flaunting his skills in his less-spoken about but easily comparable skillset of one genre, in lieu of the other. In my review of Marnie, I highlight this assertion by talking about these skills working in tandem. Hitchcock is and should be known as The Master of Romance. His suspense put…

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  • The Drifting Classroom

    The Drifting Classroom

    ★★

    Ôbayashi #3

    This is a sprawling mess of absurdity from start to finish, so chaotic at times, that Obi’s freneticism and unique style he utilizes to great effect in The Rocking Horsemen (and to a much lesser extent in His Motorbike, Her Island) becomes too much. While The Drifting Classroom has a top-notch creative premise that plays with a mother-son familial dynamic broad-width, the drama and characters fall into silly, one-dimensional arcs. The mature themes Obi reaches for in the…

  • Elstree Calling

    Elstree Calling

    ★★½

    Hitchcock #42

    A vaudevillian curio that has all involved experimenting with the transition to sound. Elstree Calling is made up of melodramatic vignettes and whimsical old-timey interludes. The jokes and language are all outdated but all the more reason as to why this is fascinating. I do not believe I have ever seen a larger man with quicker wrists (I’m looking at you Teddy Brown) or a more bizarre closing number (thank you Cicely Courtneidge). There is only one scene…

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  • His Motorbike, Her Island

    His Motorbike, Her Island

    ★★★★½

    A dreamy ode to young love, memory and the ever moving stations of life; like a sudden burst of wind, here one moment, gone the next, and transported to an elevated state of bliss. Passion rides every inch of pavement and the gorgeous Japanese landscape, whether black and white or captured in color—providing quiet moments for us to engage in a reflective reverie of our own experiences. Ōbayashi is like a brilliant instrumental soloist knowing exactly when to induce the…

  • Waltzes from Vienna

    Waltzes from Vienna

    ★★★

    Hitchcock #41

    Getting back to my current Hitchcock Retrospective, the year 1934 gives us the only biographical piece he ever did mixed in a slurry of music, comedy, and melodrama. This has all the early staples Hitch had already established at this point in his career; inducing minor chaos to hand us laughs and throwing us into a soapy romance. In this case it revolves around Johann Strauss Jr. who has been living in the shadows of both his older…