Friday, June 30, 2006

Screen Queen-Some of what I'm watching this Month

The Anniversary (1968)
Starring: Bette Davis, Sheila Hancock
Director: Roy Ward Baker Rating
Finally this camp masterpiece gets a DVD release!

For those of you who appreciate Miss Davis more subtle early work, this is not the Bette Davis film for you. This is Bette in high camp mode; by this time a caricature of herself flinging the vicious dialogue out of her red slashed upside down mouth and with enough venom to stop an elephant in its tracks.

Mrs Taggart is a one eyed monster of a mother who tortures her children and their spouses with undisguised zeal, in this film of a battling family who gather on the wedding anniversary of their widowed Mother.

Davis without firm direction plays to the galleries and is a mass of eye popping and cigarette waving mannerisms that makes for delicious black comedy. Davis is armed with some spectacularly bitchy dialogue and revels in every minute of it and her supporting cast, especially the fabulous, Sheila Hancock give just as good as they get. Ironically when the original play was staged again this year, in London, it was Hancock who played Mrs Taggart. Much as I enjoyed Hancock in the role, Bette is Better.

They really don’t make these kind of star vehicles anymore and this one is fabulous, so do yourself a favour and go buy/rent this movie you won’t be disappointed.

**** Stars
The Anniversary Buy it at Amazon

See a Clip of Bette in Action as Mrs Taggart




Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Starring: Ziyi Zhang, Suzuka Ohgo
Director: Rob Marshall
Nitta Sayuri reveals how she transcended her fishing-village roots and became one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

You really can’t find much to fault in this sumptuous adaptation. The story of one of Japans last and greatest Geishas. It has breathtaking photography, locations, costumes and make up, which all perfectly evoke pre-war japan and give this film a visual splendour.

Despite the controversy surrounding the casting of Chinese actresses in key roles Suzuka Ohgo is absolutely mesmerising as the Geisha and Ken Watanabe, always a very watchable actor, turns in another great performance. All in all an excellent film that is worth a couple of hours of anyone’s time.

Memoirs of a Geisha (Widescreen 2-Disc Special Edition) Buy it at Amazon

**** Stars

Cabaret (1972)
Starring: Liza Minnelli, Michael York
Director: Bob Fosse
We went to see this film at the open air cinema near Tower Bridge and armed with a picnic it turned out to be a very pleasant evening. It was also the first time I had actually seen this film on a big screen and with an audience. Yes dear readers I am too young to have seen the original theatrical release despite what people and the deterioration of my face may tell you!

I’d forgotten just how good a film this is, Liza is simply superb and the Bob Fosse’s direction is perfect. It was also good to hear people liked the humour as much as I always have and sung along with all the songs, like I always do. All that is except for my friend’s new BF who horror of horrors not only hadn’t seen the film he wasn’t a fan of Liza’s! I don’t understand these new fangled gays? Don’t they teach them anything in school?!

Go get yourself a Liza education and buy the DVD and while you’re at it start making your way through her Mother’s back catalogue.

Cabaret Buy it at Amazon

***** Stars

4 comments:

Georgio said...

WTF is the statue thing? love the line "Who died"? looks like it was Bette's career!

silver said...

love Bette in this what a star!

silver said...

Bette is Fabulous. Who died? not Bette!

Anonymous said...

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