Tag Archives: cult classic

Black Girl

French-Senegalese cult film “Black Girl” (1966) directed by the legendary Ousmane Sembene and starring Mbissine Therese Diop among others.

Diouana (Mbissine Therese Diop) is a young Senegalese girl looking for work to buttress their family income. She roams all over Dakar looking for work, knocking on people’s doors. In one such outing she meets a guy who tells her to sit on a corner where maids all sit looking for work.

A French madame Anne-Marie Jelinek comes along looking for a maid, Diouana is the only one who does not rush to her. Madame picks her to look after her three kids. After some time, the French couple move back to France and ask Diouana to come to France to work for her.

Excited Diouana plans for herself to visit places, see things in France to Cannes, Nice etc. But in France, Diouana is cloistered in her room asked to do the laundry, cooking, washing, dishes, sweeping etc. In short she has become a full time maid. And the children are nowhere to be seen.

Conflicts arise between Madame and Diouana and Diouana sees herself as a slave in their house, not allowed to go out, not allowed to wear good clothes or slippers. Sembene has delivered an absolute cult classic, slowly taking the movie forward to a tragic end.

The vestiges of colonialism of Senegal by France comes to the fore in the movie, and its like a statement on all colonialism by the white powers over the entire African continent, be it the British over East Africa, French over West Africa, Belgium in Central Africa, Portual in South West Africa. Africa and Africans is subtly portrayed as slaves by the white people to do what they want. Its as if the black people do not have their own emotions, their ambitions, their thoughts and their goals and aspirations.

Its a brilliant movie made in black and white with outstanding camera work and cinematography. The Senegalese music played in the background is mesmerising. IMDB 9/10

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Mother India

What a magnificent magnum opus by Mehboob Khan, one of the finest movies ever made in Indian cinema and unarguably one of the greatest performances ever by Nargis.

Story of a rural family struggling against all odds in the fight to just eke out a honorable living. Radha (Nargis) and Shamu (Raaj Kumar) in dire debt to the local money lender who has taken advantage of their illiteracy to add a few rupees to their never ending debts on usurious terms, like mortgage of jewellery, hiving off the majority harvest and the likes. The movie of that era when poverty and depression ruled the roost in the years after independence of India.

Radha and Shomu have a small 5 acre barren plot, which they try to cultivate but it is full of stones, one of which falls on Shomu’s hands and decapitates him for life. He leaves the family one night never to be seen again. Raaj Kumar has done a brilliant role as the angst ridden farmer with a desperate family to look out for.

Radha grows up with her three sons, one of whom dies in a flash flood. But growing up does not lessen their woes as the money lender continues to harass them for years and years together. Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar as her two sons – one angry and other calm and the mother, its a brilliant relationship between them. Radha loves her sons dearly but she is a woman and will not tolerate insults to women. Its a very subtle women centric theme. Its a moving story of utter poverty, helplessness, depression, in a rural India much like reading Mulk Raj Anand’s Coolie or Kamala Markandeya’s Nectar in a Sieve.

Mehboob has done a brilliant job creating this mega movie with not a moment of boredom in it. The cinematography by Faredoon Irani is breathtaking to say the least. All the characters have done brilliant acting, but this movie is all Nargis. Right from the first frame she dominates the movie like nobody else. Its her masterpiece, her acting is magnificent just like that of Karuna Banerjee in Pather Panchali, Smita Patil in Bhumika and Rekha in Umrao Jaan, it is unarguably one of the greatest acting performances by anybody in Indian cinema. Jenifer Kendall in 36 Chowringhee Lane is also another gifted performance.

No wonder Nargis won a clutch of awards for her performance. She fully deserved it. IMDB 10/10 – its for Nargis.

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Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje

This is a kind of a combination of a music and dance movie somewhat like Grease but on a more classical scale, directed by the legendary Director V. Shantaram.

Starring Gopi Krishnan, an acclaimed dancer in the kathak style of dancing and coming from a family of distinguished classical dancers, this movie is all about Gopi Krishnan. Forget about anything else, just go and watch this movie purely for Gopi Krishnan dancing, its sensational, beautiful, lyrical, scintillating and magnificent.

Its basically a love story between two dancers against a rigid patriarchal society which frowns on romances. Shantaram has invested a lot in this movie, including his wife Sandhya in the lead role against Gopi Krishnan. Besides, the script, dialogues, music, singing, art direction, – all are top class.

Madan Puri comes in as villain in one of his early villainous roles whilst Manorama and Bhagawan provide some comic relief. Keshavrao Date as Gopi Krishnan has played a good role as the stern father. IMDB 6/10

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Deadly German horror film of the silent era “Nosferatu” (1922) directed by F.W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck, Gustav Von Wangenheim, Greta Schroder among others.

Its kind of a cult movie, because it is indirectly based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Apparently there were some copyright issues, so the names and everything else was changed, but its inspired by Dracula.

Its probably the first of its kind vampire movie in the history of cinema. Thomas Hutter (Gustav Von Wangenheim) is working with a real estate agent Knock and he brings in a proposal for sale of a house opposite his i.e. Hutter’s at a substantial amount, for which the commission also could be good. Hutter agrees to meet the prospective buyer and close the deal.

The prospective buyer is Count Orlok (Max Schreck) who is staying in some dark castle far away. Hutter clinches the deal but strange things start happening. Orlok apparently is the vampire who sucks the blood of humans by clinching their neck. He chances upon a photograph of Hutter’s wife Ellen (Greta Schroder).

Wikipedia mentions that the movie is an example of German Expressionism in the mould of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” but i did not find much of that in evidence there. The music is very baroque in style. The print is quite old and that is apparently because of the dispute with Stoker’s heirs, the movie was banned and only a few prints were available for viewing.

It does have its moments of horror especially when Orlok rises up with his long pointed finger nails, his deadly pallor, his frightening eyes, the creepiness when a swarm of rats is shown coming out. Good use of light and shadow accentuates the horror part. Its a cult classic.

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Satyajit Ray’s haunting portrayal of the Calcutta of the 70s, of the period of unemployment, naxalite movement, frustration of the youth, family expectations beautifully set out in Pratidwandi, the first of his Calcutta trilogy.

Siddhartha Choudhary (Dhritiman Chatterjee) is an unemployed youth having to abruptly terminate his medical studies due to the untimely death of his father. Being the eldest son, there are family expectations on him to step into his father’s shoes and provide for the family.

He has a sister who is employed and quite ambitious as well. She knows what it takes to get ahead in her career and is quite determined. His younger brother is into the political movement of that time and is quite sure of where his path lays. He even asks Siddhartha to join him so that he might get some job in the party office. Siddhartha declines.

Siddhartha is the idealistic son who smokes, has his first drink with a friend well past the legal drinking age and repulses when his friend takes him to a sex place. He gives interviews after interviews but at every interview there are hundreds of candidates waiting for that one job.

He accidently meets up with a girl Keya whom he has known fleetingly when she calls him home to fix up the light fuse which had broken. They develop a platonic relationship from there on. She is a single child of her father, her mother had died when she was young, but she does not like her aunt, whom her dad is proposing to marry soon. She has an adversary there.

He is offered a job as a medical representative but for that he has to leave Calcutta and go to a small town far away. He is averse to leaving his beloved city, though it has nothing to offer him. Siddhartha goes to a job interview that drags on and on in sultry conditions in a room packed with people with no fan whatsoever. He rebels against the indifference shown by employers in not providing even basic human facilities to people.

The film title’s English meaning is adversary. Siddhartha’s adversary is everything that Calcutta throws up to him – the unemployment, the frustration, angst at having to terminate his medical studies, the burden of shouldering the family responsibility, the idiotic employers who keep asking him stupid questions and not giving him a job. All characters in the movie have an adversary in some form or another. The sister at the boss’s wife who keeps doubting her integrity and for the younger brother of course, the entire egalitarian society is his adversary.

Ray opens the scene with a funeral shot in photo negative flashback and ends the movie with another funeral scene but in a normal shot. Siddhartha settles down in his rented room at the new town and starts reading the letter written by Keya when he hears the sound of the bird which he had heard in his youth with his siblings and was looking for it all along, but could not find in the busy noisy city of Calcutta. Is Calcutta his adversary, that’s the question that Ray ponders.

Dhritiman Chatterjee has done a brilliant job as the single most important protagonist in the movie. Camera work, lighting and photography are excellent and of course the masterful screenplay and direction of Ray. Timeless classic this from the master director. Proud to have watched it on his 100th birth anniversary today, 2nd May, 2021.

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Apur Sansar

Satyajit Ray’s magnum opus The Apu Trilogy of which Apur Sansar is the final part.

The movie starts with Apu (Soumitra Chatterjee) an unemployed youth having studied upto intermediate, does not find a job anywhere in Calcutta. He gets by giving private tuitions. One day his friend Pulu (Swapan Mukherjee) lands up at his house and asks him to accompany him to his cousin’s wedding in Khulna.

Out there tragedy occurs when the bridegroom turns out to a mad person and as per tradition if the bride Aparna (Sharmila Tagore) does not marry within the auspicious hour, then she has to remain unmarried her whole life. Apu comes to the rescue and marries her.

They have nice love life going on, when she has to return to her village for her delivery. She dies giving birth to a boy which shatters the life of Apu. It is from here that Satyajit Ray degrades the character from a happy go lucky loving smiling young man to a melancholy, depressed, anguished person ready to throw away all advantages. Its so brilliantly done which is the hallmark of Ray in most of his movies. He did that in Mahanagar and Nayak also.

Soumitra Chatterjee has given the performance of his lifetime, probably one of his best ever. I am surprised that he did not win any award for this movie. Its an extraordinary acting performance by Soumitra. Sharmila looks stunningly beautiful as the young bride with her dimpled smile, she is gorgeous in the movie.

The movie had to take an unnatural end with her premature death in the movie. In Pather Panchali also, young Durga dies leaving her parents disconsolate and here the same happens to Apu. Music by Ravi Shankar is very good as is the camera work, cinematography, direction by Satyajit Ray. Brilliant series. I am yet to watch the middle movie in the series, though.

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Mirza Ghalib

Award winning bio pic of Mirza Ghalib (1954) directed by Sohrab Modi and starring Bharat Bhushan, Suraiya, Nigar Sultana among others.

It depicts one part of his life when Mirza Ghalib (Bharat Bhushan) falls in love with Chaudhvin Begum (Suraiya) who is smitten with the poet. But her family have their own problems including poverty. Mirza has his own problems which is also debt and he is already married to Umrao Begum (Nigar Sultana) but who is childless.

Whole lot of darbar politics in the court of king Bahadur Shah Zafar, Mirza is arrested for gambling and there is whole lot of misunderstanding between the love of Mirza to Chaudvin Begum. Meanwhile Umrao Begum is pining for children at the background and silently crying at the romance between Mirza and Chaudvin Begum.

The dialogues are mostly in Urdu, very chaste, very rich. Suraiya looks beautiful in the movie and has acted magnificently as the jilted lover. Am surprised that she has not got any award for her performance in the film. Songs are all very rich sung by Mohammad Rafi, Talat Mahmood and Suraiya herself.

This is kind of a cult film, must watch for all ages. I hope they digitally enhance this movie to provide some rich colour to the prints.

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La Strada

Hauntingly beautiful Italian movie “La Strada” (1954) by Frederico Fellini starring Giuletta Masina, Anthony Quinn, Richard Baseheart among others.

Gelsomina (Giuletta Masina) is called upon by her mother saying she has to go on the road with strong man Zampano (Anthony Quinn) to replace her sister Rosa who has died. It is not clear how she died. Zampano gives her mother 10,000 lire to purchase Gelsomina.

Gelsomina is a gullible girl with a beautiful innocent face but she does not know anything – cooking or any of the skills to be with Zampano. He tries to teach her the trombone but fails. Zampano is a grumpy moody cranky guy who does strong man shows on the roads and circuses like breaking a iron chain through use of his muscles and lung power.

Gelsomina runs off to witness a high live wire event of “Il Matto” (the Fool played by Richard Baseheart) who falls for her completely and asks her to leave Zampano. He gives confidence to her and says everything including a stone has a purpose in life.

Il Matto fools around with Zampano which enrages him too much. Zampano stops at a few places and goes off with girls in the area, but hardly ever sleeps or makes love to Gelsomina. They go to a circus to perform there but a brawl ensues between Zampano and Il Matto which results in Zampano in jail for a few days. The circus people exhort Gelsomina to leave the rogue and come with them.

Zampano and Gelsomina stop at a monastery and there Zampano attempts to steal some silver articles from the church. Then they encounter Il matto on the road which again results in a fight between the two resulting in the death of Il Matto. Very tragic ending towards the climax of the movie.

La Strada is all about Gelsomina, her beauty, her innocence, her Chaplinesque style, her emotions. She realises that Zampano is only using her, but her love for Zampano ensures that she does not dump him. La Strada is Fellini’s tribute to Gelsomina as much as Pather Panchali was Satyajit Ray’s tribute to Durga.

Giuletta Masina has enacted one of the most magnificent roles done any any female actor in more than 100 years of world cinema. She is breathtaking in the movie. She has stolen the show in every single frame. We wonder why Gelsomina does not leave the brute for better prospects elsewhere especially when Il Matto had shown her the way. Reason is that she has come to love Zampano for whatever the animal he is and proves in the end by dumping her on a sidewalk with some money and the trombone. In the entire movie, not once does Zampano call her by name.

Both Anthony Quinn and Richard Baseheart have done superb roles but La Strada is all about Giuletta Masina. Haunting music by Nino Rota, brilliant direction by Fellini for which this movie has gobbled up a spate of awards.

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Stray Dog

An Akira Kurosowa classic “Stray Dog” (1949) starring Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji, and Isao Kimura among others.

The story starts with rookie police officer Detective Murakami (Toshiro Mifune) losing his colt gun in a busy jam packed tram. Upon realising his loss, he immediately gets down and pursues one guy, but loses him after some time. Amply commiserated, he reports his loss to his superiors who have a benign attitude towards him and give him some clues to follow.

He manages to snag the lady who was crushing him on the tram, but that trail proves to be cold. She advises him to roam the village looking for second hand gun and dealers will lead him to the right person. Doing that for many days in an exhausted and weary state, he finally manages to catch a woman who had sold the colt to somebody else for his ration card.

By now he is helped by senior inspector Sato (Takashi Shimura) and through his experience Murakami is able to make some head way. They come to know that one Honda is interested in baseball games, so they stakeout a baseball game and arrest him. He leads them to Yusa (Isao Kimura) who is a war veteran and frustrated and angry at lot of things. He has a girlfriend Harumi Namiki (Keiko Awaji) who refused to co-operate with the police first.

Fantastic acting by both Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune and they are the central characters in the movie throughout the camera dwells on them. Kimura and Awaji have short roles in the movie.

The cinematography and dialogues are quite excellent – way above what you can find for a 1949 movie. Its a bit of a noir film and the length is way too long.

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Pather Panchali

Finally managed to watch the cult classic of Satyajit Ray “Pather Panchali” his first film and the first of the Apu trilogy made in 1955. This has been digitally restored in colour and has English sub titles.

Haunting story of Sarabajaya Roy (Karuna Banerjee), story of Durga Roy (Runki Banerjee/ Uma Dasgupta) – story of their plight and suffering in a rural Bengal mileau in the 1920s. Sarabajaya’s husband Haraihar Roy (Kanu Banerjee) is a priest but has to take up odd jobs in order to survive with his family. They stay with an old aunt Indir Thakrun (Chunibala Devi) and Apu (Subir Banerjee) is yet to be born. Chunibala Devi has done a delightful role as the old tootless bent but caring aunt.

Apu gets born and there is joy in the family due to birth of a son, and subtle degradation of Durga starts from that point. Anything Apu asks for or does is doted upon anything Durga asks or does is frowned upon. They don’t go to school, girls are married of at 14 itself.

The family has to suffer the taunts of their better off neighbours but some of them do help and commiserate with their plight. Harihar gets a job in town so leaves the family with hopes, but nary a letter from him for months reduces Sarabajaya to an abject despair. Meanwhile, the money starts running out so do the grains.

Heavy rain storms bring more misery to the family as their humble abode is completely wrecked while Durga and Apu enjoy the rains, being kids, Durga later on falls sick and there is an old wizened man to give his doctor’s verdict. Apply more wet cloth as the fever raises. Devastating scene when Harihar returns home and realises his darling Durga is no more. That scene when the father gives a sari which he bought as a gift for Durga to her mother and the mother crumbling down helplessly gutted me.

The silent suffering Sarabajaya magnificently played by Karuna Banerjee is the highlight of the movie. I am surprised she did not win any acting accolades for her role in the movie. It is absolutely one of the most beautiful roles played by any lady in any film in India. She is breathtaking. She makes the movie come alive with her raw emotions of suffering, despair, happiness, pain, anguish, worry, and love.

Uma Dasgupta playing the role of teenage Durga is the next best thing to happen in the movie. With her twinkling eyes, she enraptures the audience and behind that naughtiness is an emotion of understanding, of responsibility of caring for her little brother.

Apu played by Subir Banerjee with his naughty eyes, disheveled hair, sprightly running holds a mirror to what young kids be like irrespective of the cultures they are brought up in. There is a haunting scene, when immediately after Durga’s death the young Apu, comes out of the ramshackle house, neatly dressed, takes a comb and burnishes his hair properly, looks up at the sky to see if the rain beckons, goes inside the house to pick up an umbrella, tucks it under his armpits and goes out seriously. That is the scene when boy become man in the movie.

The movies is neo realist in the sense that locations are actual villages with farms, ponds, trees, etc. Music by Ravi Shankar is haunting, while cinematography and photography are breathtaking to say the least. Satyajit Ray has run a nice tight script and being his debut film which won the National film award and also the Cannes, it is highly commendable.

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Akaler Shandaney

Mrinal Sen’s haunting self critical classic “Akaler Shandaney” (1982) starring Smita Patil, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Sreela Majumdar, Rajen Tarafdar, a timeless cult classic.

Its a film within a film in the sense that a film unit goes into a village to shoot a movie about the great Bengal famine of 1943 killing more than 5 million people. The Director Dhritiman is a thinking sort of person ready to listen to the others point of view. They settle into an old decrepit run down mansion in which the owner is staying in one room tendering to her bed ridden husband.

Smita Patil plays the role of a housewife in the famine movie with sons and husband to take care of. The husband and his father do not want to part with their piece of land for Rs.50 (believe it or not) because they have pride in the land. Smita has to resort to other means by visiting a local contractor to get rice for the family. Ultimately all the villagers leave the village with their belongings on their head but at one point Smita turns around, looks at the village she is leaving by and breaks down and cries uncontrollably.

Meanwhile the film unit has an usual star problem with one lady star deciding to cut her hair, do her eyebrows which is not suited for a famine stricken women she is playing at. After some tantrums she leaves the unit in a huff, which renders them critically short of one actor. There is one lady Durga (Sreela Majumdar) who works in the film unit, sweeping floors and making tea and earning Rs.7 per day and one time meal. While she is watching the scene being enacted by Smita in which her husband is threatening to pick up the kid and throw it down, Durga suddenly reacts with alarm. Her husband has no job having lost his arm in a factory accident and she has a baby to take care of. Both these women, Durga and the other lady caring for her bed stricken husband are survivors of the great Bengal famine.

While scouting for a replacement actor in the vital part, Rajen Tarafdar suggests one village damsel who is apparently quite smart and suitable for the role. But when the girl’s father listens to the plot and the part that his daughter has to play that of a prostitute, he suddenly backs off, blaming the film unit for disgracing their lives. The villagers, thereafter, are up in arms against the film unit and they ultimately have to leave the village without completing the full shooting. The headmaster of the local village school reminds all the villagers of how they have profited from the famine.

In the last scene, the headmaster of the local village school tells the director that the fault is with both the parties. The villagers with their selfishness, greed, ignorance and the film makers with their inability to understand the sensitivities of the rural people. The dice is brilliantly thrown both sides by Mrinal Sen. For eg. there is one scene in which the film unit goes to the local village market and buys off all the vegetables and fruits for which a local villager accuses them of creating a mini famine. There is another scene in which the film unit people play games with photos of the dead people from famines or tragedies from different eras. So its like a brutally self critical film brilliantly made by Mrinal Sen.

Of the cast, Smita Patil, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Rajen Tarafdar and Sreela Majumdar have acted quite brilliantly.

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Wuthering Heights

The 1939 version of the movie, directed by William Wyler and starring Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon, David Niven, Geraldine Fitzgerald among others.

Everybody knows the story, so not narrating it here, but i guess the same rich girl meets poor boy, falls in love, parents disapprove, poor boy goes away, becomes rich, comes back to haunt the rich girl who has already married of somewhere else and tragedy, must have appeared in countless movies including some Indian movies.

Its a timeless classic written by Emily Bronte and here in this movie, Laurence Olivier shines brightly as the poor kid adopted by a stranger, his becoming a stable boy and then falling in love with Cathy becoming rich and coming back. Troubled, tormented, anguished love between two individuals who love themselves so much. Merle Oberon is okay in parts, David Niven has done a good role as the rejected husband and Geraldine Fitzgerald as the unhappy wife. Got some awards at the Oscars. Worth watching cult classic.

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What a brilliant western movie this one, Stagecoach (1939) directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Louise Platt, John Carradine, George Bancroft, Thomas Mitchell among others.

A rich star cast, superb direction, awesome camera work, beautiful cinematography, awesome story and screenplay make this a cult classic. A fine western movie as has been made any time – one of the all time great westerns.

Dallas (Claire Trevor) is a prostitute driven out of town by a Law and Order League of women of that town. Mrs. Mallory (Louise Platt) is pregnant and going to meet her husband who is a soldier in the army. They are all going in a stagecoach with Marshal Curley (George Bancroft) and Doc Boone (Thomas Mitchell) a sozzled doctor. Hatfield (John Carradine) a gambler tags along.

There is danger on the way from Apaches. Banker Henry Gatewood comes along after having embezzled from the bank and he is running away. Along the way Ringo Kid (John Wayne) joins in. He has broken from jail and on the lookout for Luke Plummer and his brother and father who were responsible for the murder of his brother and father. He has vowed revenge.

All this makes for a heady cocktail. There is romance brewing between Ringo and Dallas, there is the much pregnant Mrs. Mallory, the drunken doc, danger from apaches, hard country, hard riding all going into a tumultuous end. The horse riding scene with the apaches chasing them is quite spectacular. Would have been great to watch this scene on the big screen.

The movie is in black and white, still the cinematography is quite breathtaking by Bert Glennon. It would have been great to have this movie digitally converted into colour.

All the characters have acted quite superbly – from John Wayne, John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell as the drunken doc got the best supporting actor at the Oscars and George Bancroft whom we saw act quite brilliantly in Underground, is again very good here. All in all, a great western movie to watch.

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Ivan the Terrible

Breathtaking Russian historical film Ivan the Terrible (1944) directed by the legendary Sergei Eisenstein. Its a two part movie, totally running into a good 3 hours. The movie depicts the life and times of Ivan the Terrible, the Russian tsar who was responsible for uniting Russia but at the same ruthless with his opponents. The movie starts with his coronation as a Tsar and during the event itself there are murmurs of dissent from many regional war lords like the boyars and also from his own aunt Evfrosinia (played finely by Serafina Birman) who wants to promote her own son Vladimir is who is little slow in development. Ivan (played by Nikolai Cherkosav) has a tough time dealing with his two close friends also Prince Andrei Kurbsky and Fyodor Kolychev. Kurbsky has eyes on Ivan’s wife Anastasia (played by Lyudmila Tselikovskaya) and he is sent to fight the Kazans while Kolychev gets permission to retire to his monastery. Ivan’s wife is poisoned by his relatives and the first part ends with him consolidating power.

In the second part, Kurbsky is seen joining hands with the King of Poland to lead an assault against Moscow. The second part is less oppressive than the first part. I guess Sergei realised this to make it more amenable to the public. There are couple of song and dance routines in the second part. Ivan’s aunt continues to make machinations against Ivan desperately wanting her son to rule Moscow.

The canvas that Sergei has deployed for making this film, way back in 1944 and by then standards is quite breathtaking to say the least. His camera work, cinematography, editing are simply out of this world. The screenplay is very good for a period movie to condense their lives into cinematic hour. The dialogues could have been better but we have the advantage of English sub-titles. Except for a very small part, major part of the movie is in black and white. I thought some agency should have digitally touched up the prints to infuse colour into the movie just like it was done for Mehboob Khan’s Mughal -e- Azam, which is another breathtaking movie in its own right. This one is a cult classic for the ages.

Sergei Eisenstein was a genius way ahead of his time. His Battleship Potemkin was another great movie.

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The Blue Angel

Deadly 1930 German film starring Marlene Dietrich, Emil Jannings among others. Immanuel Rath (Emil Jannings) is a professor of English and literature at a local school. While taking a test he discovers a post card being kept surreptitiously by the students. Upon espying, he finds it that of a cabaret dancer. On further questioning he comes to know that the students visit the Blue Angel, a dance bar during the night. Immanuel is a strict kind of a professor and therefore decides to visit the bar in the night to see for himself what the students are upto.

There he chances upon a beautiful seductress Lola (Marlene Dietrich) who is a cabaret dancer in the show. The professor falls heads over heels in love with Lola and proposes to her. Meanwhile all is not well at the school and he loses his job. Over at the cabaret, he is reduced to a nothing, doing odd jobs, selling post cards etc. Years go by and Lola treats Immanuel very badly. He is forced to do the role of a clown where his master smashes a couple of eggs on his head just for laughs sake.

Deadly descent of a normal, respectable, intellectual person to a veritable clown and his degradation as a ridiculed nonentity. Brilliant acting by Emil Jennings and Marlene is of course gorgeously beautiful in the movie. The story is very good and so is direction. The print is probably the same one they shot it way back in 1930. The print should have been digitally restored. Its a cult classic.

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