Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The plot is very interesting. François Périer plays the inspector who investigates the robbery. Deep in his heart he knows they are actually harmless for he knows the gang very well. However, there is one thing that wasn't in Max's plan. During his friendship with Lily, he becomes to like the girl and is shocked to find that Lily has also been arrested by the police because she is the brain behind the robbery. Without her, there would be no robbery. Of course Max is the brain behind Lily, but can he be arrested?
This movie has easily become one of my favourites. After the first seeing, I felt like having watched a Hitchcock movie, but Hitchcock movies never made me giggle that much. The new region 1 DVD from Koch Lorber, released only this August, contains both English and France dubbing (with optional English subtitles). Delon's voice in the French dub is very heavy and deep, different from usual, but the same like in Diaboliquement vôtre. The French version is also longer about 2:15 minutes. The running time for the French version is 1:37:00 while the English is only 1:34:45. After watching both versions, I found that in the English version, the scene where Barbara interviews Marc for the job is cut off. The scene ends right after she asks him if he likes to travel. In the French version, the scene continues with Barbara mentions America, but of course Marc won't go there for his head is wanted by the mafia. Then Marc shows Barbara some card tricks, and goes on with a discussion on the salary and that he gets one day off per week. There is also a hint that the interview takes place on May 30th. One important point in this scene is that Barbara refuses to return his passport.
The dialogues in both versions are a bit different. Examples: (for the French part I write the English subs)
Barbara [English] I don't expect an English butler, but at least you could get out and open the door.
Barbara [French] I know that you don't have much class, but you could still get out and open the door.
Melinda [English] It's amazing how you drive!
Melinda [French] Your driving method is hilarious!
The DVD also has the French trailer, but in my opinion, if you have Delon, Fonda, René Clément, Pascal Jardin, and Henri Decae in one movie, a trailer is not needed to promote it. The soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin which is dominated by bass riff gives more life to this wonderful thriller.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The main character is Diego Fernandez, a member of PCE. In one night, he plants bomb in 5 different embassies in Paris, 3 of them belonged to the Spanish government. His superior then sends him to Madrid to do another operation: to remove a minister dangerous to both PCE and ETA. He will be accompanied by Ana Maria, a daughter of an aristocrat. Prior to the operation, Diego's belief has been shaken. A Vice Consul for Spain in Paris has been kidnapped by his party and while guarding him, Diego had a long talk with the hostage and grown fond of him, but he later accidentally killed the man in his attempt to free him. On the way to Madrid, Diego falls in love with Ana Maria, but they know they cannot ran away from the task. Meanwhile, the woman planted in their next victim's office, has talked about the mission. In short: the Madrid job is a suicide for both Diego and Ana Maria. In the end, when trying to minimize number of victims in their Madrid job, Ana Maria blows up her own cover.
This book is not an easy read. The characters talk a lot about the political situation in Spain in 1974. Often sentences in French and Spanish are used, although the characters thankfully repeat them in English.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The main character is Lt. Colonel Raspeguy (Anthony Quinn). The movie starts with the final battle in Dien Bien Phu where the French are defeated and taken to a camp. After the armistice, they are released and returned to their country. The regiment is disbanded, for Raspeguy doesn't go well with his superior officer, although his men has much respect on him. Captain Esclavier (Alain Delon) persuades Raspeguy to talk to the widow of de Clairefons who died in Dien Bien Phu because she knows important men in military. Raspeguy then is given the command of 10th Parachute Regiment in Algeria, but his men will be of rejects from other units and volunteers. He asks his friends from Dien Bien Phu camp to join and they agrees. Their assignment is to fight the terrorist in Gafez, as asked by the local major.
That time Algeria is fighting for their freedom. They can get shot even by writing the word 'Independence' on the wall. Their leader is Mahidi (George Segal), one of Raspeguy's men back in Indochina. Living together in the camp has made them close to each other. Do they have the heart to kill Mahidi? If they do, do it make them some kind of animal? At one point, one of Mahidi's people murders 3 of the 10th regiment, and as a revenge, Boisfeuras (Maurice Ronet) and his men slaughter the men in Rahlem village. These people should be punished, but civilian (represented by Esclavier) and military have different views and the event will be hushed if Raspeguy can finish one more task: preventing arms distributed to the rebels, which culminates in a violent battle.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Set in Dover Mountain, North Georgia. Jared, an entrepreneur who just lost his girlfriend and his job, arrives in the middle of a storm helps Alisha to deliver her baby. He becomes their protector since. There is a mystery surrounds Alisha, but the people in the mountain protect her and her secret, except one, who wants to gain benefit from her dark past. As a new stranger, Jared quickly becomes the suspect, especially when the constable is one of the men who want Alisha and sees Jared as a worthy rival.
The book was a light reading and for me, Alisha worried too much, for she wasn't as guilty as she thought. Her sin wasn't her fault and the law had acquitted her, so why couldn't she forgive herself? Published by Steeple Hill, this is a Christian book, so the characters are religious.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
A few weeks ago, I saw this nice copy in a bookshop. It was sealed, so I couldn't look inside. I loved the cover, though, so I bought this Treasury of Aesop's Fables. When I opened the seal at home, I was a bit disappointed because the illustrations by Val Biro were not as wonderful as I had expected. It was the style of the drawing which I wasn't fond of.
Last week I brought this when I went to visit my 5 1/2 year-old niece. The stories were in English, but every page was illustrated in colour, made it easy for me to tell the stories to her without reading them - only by following the illustrations. Then I was glad I bought the book. There are 16 stories in this.
The picture above are from 'The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs'. There are total 8 illustrations in this story only.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
There are 5 movies in the Angélique saga:
1. Angélique, marquise des anges (1964)
2. Merveilleuse Angélique (1965)
3. Angélique et le roy (1966)
4. Indomptable Angélique (1967)
5. Angélique et le sultan (1968)
which all were directed by Bernard Borderie. I haven't read the books, but I enjoyed watching the 5 movies. I like the first movie the most, in which we are introduced to the heroine. Angélique Sancé de Monteloup is told that her future husband, Joffrey de Peyrac, is old and hideous (but very rich, of course). On the wedding day, she finds that Joffrey is actually not that old, but his face is scarred and he has a limp. Gradually she learns to love him because he does not only can produce pure gold, but is also very kind. People who work for him will not hesitate to die for him, if needed. Their happiness is shattered when a monk accuses Joffrey of practising witchcraft, and King Louis XIV himself is jealous of Joffrey's wealth.
The saga starts with Angélique as a teenager with her playmate Nicholas, who later will help her after Joffrey's death at the stake, and goes on with her success as a business woman and a diplomat. Although she marries again to her cousin Le marquis de Plessis-Bellières, Angélique's great love is still Joffrey. Being the most beautiful woman in France does not always bring happiness, for she suffers several rapes, almost becomes a victim due to female jealousy, and at last she is sold and kidnapped for Sultan Moulay-El-Raschid. The last ending is not very satisfying to me; I hoped she was rescued by The Rescator and not the sultan's guards. In all, this series is a enjoyable adventure.
The theme song is beautifully nice and Robert Hossein, who plays Joffrey, has a melancholic look. The cast is perfect. One memorable scene: Angélique, Joffrey, and the statue.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Even though Dandieu doesn't even have time for his wife, who is hospitalized after a mental breakdown, his son, and his mother (or he simply doesn't want to see them. If I don't want to meet someone I also can invent a thousand reasons); he tries to be with Creezy every time he can. She wants to see him more often and when he cancels their dates again and again, she runs out of patience and says it's over. Throughout the movie we see how he tries to contact her desperately. Dandieu finally realizes that he really loves her and doesn't want to lose her. Creezy agrees to give him one last chance, but suddenly he has to face a very difficult choice: to keep his promise to Creezy or to meet the Prime Minister who will give him his new post. Cannot she give him 30 minutes more?
The movie is not bad, but I like better Pierre Granier-Deferre's other work La Veuve Couderc. It's the editing, the flashbacks, which make me rather confused. The jazzy soundtrack is done by Philippe Sarde whose works in La Veuve Couderc and Deux hommes dans la ville I love so much.
Friday, August 8, 2008
After reading the end credits, I realized both Simon and Jared were played by the same actor, Freddie Highmore. That boy is one of the most talented young actors I've ever seen on screen. The whole cast is superb, with wonderful production design. The special effects are also great. I only don't like the parts when the family drama is on, like: why Jared's father doesn't keep his promise to come? Why he doesn't dare to tell him the truth? 'The last thing I said to my mum was I hate you',...
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Prior to the champagne operation, Antoine wants to spend the Easter holiday with Yvette, so he tells his parents that he will go with Paul in his family house in Burgogne. Michaud gives his son 1,000 francs pocket money without knowing that Antoine is much richer than himself, but his son accepts it to avoid suspicion. However, Antoine's little sister Pierrette sees him riding his bike in Paris, so she cries when they receive a letter from Antoine from the country, knowing that he lies to them. The letter is a bit funny, telling how he saves his spot for others, the big, nice country dog etc. As if the letter alibi is not enough, Antoine and his friends send their friend Lulu, dressed as a German officer to the Michauds', to tell them stories that their son is busy involving in something dangerous, and now he is wanted by the Gestapo. Fortunately it also explains Antoine's bad rapport, that he has no time to study. However, Michaud can't let his son in danger without warning him and he goes back to Tiercelin's restaurant, trying to reach Paul via his father, and finds his son and the group are about to celebrate the success of the champagne deal. I wonder what happened to the 400,000 francs. Michaud has it wrapped in the table cloth and brings it with him when he goes into the shelter, but when he goes out with his son answering the soldier's cry for help, he doesn't hold it anymore.
The theme song by Paul Misraki is lovely. Love the scene where Antoine rides his bike, whistling the tune. Hope this movie will be available on DVD, so that I can watch it again whenever I want.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
I wanted a version for children which I thought would be easier to read, and with illustrations here and there the book should be more interesting. After comparing several versions, I decided to take this Gary Schmidt version. I am pleased with the presentation and lovely water colour illustration by Barry Moser. In fact, it is better (and bigger) than I expected.
The story itself tells the journey of Christian from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Many problems occur during the dangerous journey for he has to go through the Delectable Mountains, the Valley of The Shadow of Death, the Doubting Castle, Vanity Fair, the Valley of Humiliation... ; and meet those who will try to make him leave his path: Obstinate, Pliable, Giant Despair, Pagan, Atheist, Envy, Hate-Good, Deceiver, Hypocrisy, Apollyon, ... but he is not alone in his pilgrimage, has Faithful and Hopeful at his side, and gets help from Goodwill, Discretion, Prudence, Watchful, Sincere, Knowledge,... . This work of John Bunyan should be read by all Christians, whatever version it is.
1. Sissi (1955). From all 3, this is the one I love best. Princess Elizabeth (nicknamed Sissi) from Bavaria comes with her mother and sister Helene to Vienna. Emperor Franz Josef is supposed to marry Helene, but he meets Sissi first and they both fall in love. I found some parts were very touching, that Sissi would not marry the man she loved for the sake of her sister's happiness. The scene with the telegraph operator and Major Böckl is very funny.
2. Sissi - The Young Empress (1956). In this part, Sissi has married Franz Josef and becomes the Empress of Austria. Her relationship with her mother-in-law is not smooth and she flees from the palace in her chagrin when her mother-in-law decides Sissi cannot bring up her own daughter herself.
3. Sissi - The Fateful Years of An Empress (1957). I like this 3rd part better than the 2nd. I like how Sissi wins the heart of Hungarians and Italians. It was very funny what happened to the Milanese aristocrats.
The sceneries are really beautiful, remind me of The Sound of Music. I wonder if all those trees are still there, if the lakes and mountains are still that lovely. Costumes and set are also wonderful.
The DVD set includes Forever My Love, an edited Sissi Trilogy dubbed in English, which sadly has not been properly restored. The colour is pale and the picture is not as sharp as the German version. I assume this disc is a bonus, so I should not complain about it. Furthermore, I do not need this English version when I can watch the original. However, what a pity that the 5th disc is also not restored. It's Victoria in Dover (Mädchenjahre einer Königin - 1954), another work of director Marischka prior to Sissi. Romy Schneider plays Victoria, who becomes the Queen of England in such a young age after the death of King William IV. Madga Schneider was more appropriate to be cast as her mother for the resemblance between them was obvious, but perhaps the director wanted a bigger part for her. It's deplorable that movies like these are not made these days. Don't we believe anymore that falling in love is possible in innocent ways?