Showing posts with label 1962. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1962. Show all posts

16 March 2015

DVD Review - Panic in Year Zero (1962)

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Simply Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date:
16th March 2015 (UK)
Rating: PG
Ray Milland
Cast:Ray Milland, Jean Hagen, Frankie Avalon, Mary Mitchel, Joan Freeman
Buy: Panic in Year Zero [DVD]

Ray Milland was one of the big screen’s greatest actors, which is evident in such classics as Lost Weekend (which he won the Oscar for), Dial M for Murder, and The Big Clock amongst many others. Due to rumoured alcoholism (but never confirmed) and a desire to direct, he moved away from acting in major films and started directing, but he also starred in some AIP B-Movies, and actually directed one of the ones he starred in - Panic in Year Zero.

Panic in Year Zero is a classic bit of cold war, apocalyptic filmmaking. Ray Milland plays the father of the Baldwin family, Harry. The Baldwins try to go on a family camping trip, but L.A gets attacked with nuclear bombs (if only that would happen). Harry must become a full out survivalist to survive the nuclear fallout and the chaos and crime that follows in it’s wake.

It’s not quite the harrowing apocalyptic tale of something like Peter Watkins' fantastic The War Game. It moves at a swift 87 minute pace, which is due to the fact it was a part of a double bill with Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror. It’s also certainly one of Milland’s finest later roles; he plays a total paranoid asshole perfectly. It might not be the genius of X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes but it’s pretty damn good. The teen heartthrob singer Frankie Avalon plays his son.

The depiction of the total moral collapse of society after a nuclear war is a more likely outcome than the more proto-hippie takes around the same time. It’s also sets the template for so many post-apocalyptic journey films from Mad Max to The Road to stuff like Time of the Wolf. It may have had a tiny budget but it’s big ideas and the atmosphere it portrayed, despite showing very little, still works it’s charms over 50 years later.

Ian Schultz

1 October 2014

Blu-ray Review - Salvatore Giuliano(1962)

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Crime, Drama, World Cinema
Arrow Video
BD Release Date:
29th September 2014 (UK)
Francesco Rosi
Frank Wolff, Salvo Randone, Frederico Zardi
Buy:Salvatore Giuliano [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray]

Francesco Rosi is often forgotten in terms of Italian Neo-Realism, but his work is just as vital as Vittorio De Sica or Roberto Rossellini. It may have to do with the fact he came slightly after the initial wave of Neo-Realism and is sometimes considered a part of a “Post Neo-Realism” alongside directors such as Pier Paolo Pasolini and Gillo Pontecorvo.

His two most well known films Hands Over the City and Salvatore Giuliano have been recently remastered on Blu-Ray in the UK. The latest release is Salvatore Giuliano, which is quite possibly his masterpiece. Martin Scorsese has cited the film as one of his twelve favourite films ever.

The film is about the bandit Salvatore Giuliano who is rarely ever seen on-screen but his presence is always felt. The film opens with his suspicious death on the streets of Sicily. The rest of the film jumps back and forth in a time in a non-linear fashion, telling the story of the separatists who hired Salvatore and other criminals to do their bidding. The film ends with an exhilarating courtroom scene after Salvatore’s death - will the truth finally come out and will the criminals be pardoned after Sicily is declared independent?

The film moves with urgency that Hands Over the City also has but it plays around more with the medium of cinema. It somewhat owes something to Citizen Kane which the idea of Giuliano’s friends, family and enemies tell the story after his death and how it’s told in a non-linear fashion. It also very much predates the docudrama approach Gillo Pontecorvo took with his masterpiece The Battle of Algiers.

It’s a mesmerizing piece of Italian cinema that has received a gorgeous 4K transfer, which shows the film in the best possible quality. The disc includes an hour and a half of interviews and documentaries, which delves deep into the career of Francesco Rosi but also the true life story of Salvatore Giuliano. It seems Arrow has released the definitive package of this classic film.

Ian Schultz