Posts Tagged 1960s

Tinto Brass Meets Antonioni in Swinging London

DEADLY SWEET

Before Salon Kitty redirected his career toward sex films and before Caligula became the most infamous movie in the world, Tinto Brass was just another idealistic young director looking to capture the zeitgeist of the 1960s. His 1967 film Deadly Sweet was inspired and influenced by Antonioni’s Blow-Up but also markedly different. For one, it lacks that film’s sense of disillusionment. It also lacks that film’s self-control. Deadly Sweet is experimental but still commercial. Bleak but still bubbly and colorful. Tinto Brass seems to think that Swinging London is still, you know, swinging.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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Blood & Black Lace

Revised and revived on Mezzanotte for the two-month long giallo spotlight:

BLOOD & BLACK LACE

When it came time for Mario Bava to turn in his version of a Hitchcock movie, he picked up on that underlying current of malicious giddiness and ratcheted it up. In Blood and Black Lace, Bava is a peasant let loose to demolish a nobleman’s home during the Russian Revolution. There is unbridled celebration in the carnage, but there’s also unsettling tragedy. Bava employs a subtle absurdity, taking delight not just in demolishing the vacant aristocrats in his cast of characters but also in wreaking havoc with the language of cinema and expectations of what was, then and now, acceptable. Blood and Black Lace gave giallo the element that made it so much different from the early whodunits from which it evolved: the snarl.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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Cat Demon Blues

We’re celebrating Halloween early on TC.

KURONEKO

kuroKuroneko is a film that feels older than it is. Shot in 1968, five years after Shindo’s more famous horror movie Onibaba, Kuroneko hearkens back to the more humanistic period pieces and sword-fighting films of the 1950s. Kuroneko is also one of my favorite films. And not just because it has cat demon ladies in it. Though, really, cat demon ladies should be an enormous draw for anyone. Cat demon ladies and ghost cats have been around long before Ju-On / The Grudge or even before Utagawa Kuniyoshi illustrated a sweet party of a lady, two cats dancing with handkerchiefs on their heads and a giant cat monster interrupted by some guy in 1835.

 


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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While I was Busy Cutting Off Faces

quelle_horreur2

OK, running more than a little bit late for the “Quelle horreur!” round table, but…well…some French excuse. I don’t know. Anyway, I’ve finally pulled my act together and completed my entry.

Eyes Without a Face/Les yeux sans visage

feat“With a few exceptions scattered throughout the past hundred years or so of feature filmmaking, the French never really embraced the horror film. Instead, the French response was cinema fantastique. Certainly it had elements of horror, sometimes more overt than others, but more traditionally recognizable characteristics of horror were mixed into a dreamy mist that also included romance, science fiction, mystery, and melodrama all spun with a disregard for logical narrative structure and progression in favor of a dreamlike (or nightmare) quality. Of the many films that make up the body of cinema fantastique, few have developed an enduring reputation, good and bad, quite like that of Georges Franju’s Les yeux sans visage, aka Eyes without a Face.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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Mad Science and Martian Maidens

Mad Science and Martian Maidens:
The Science Fiction Adventures of Aleksey Tolstoy

aelita1Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy was Russia’s less internationally known Tolstoy. While the one was writing thousand-page tomes about sad people losing things (pretty sure that’s the plot of most Leo Tolstoy books) that would be forced upon generation after generation, the other Tolstoy was writing slick science fiction adventures like Aelita (1923, adapted into a movie a year later), Engineer Garin (1924), and Count Cagliostro, which American high school students did not get to read, since there was no time left after plodding through Anna Karenina — in which absolutely no one travels to Mars, builds a death ray, or practices alchemy. Both Aelita and Engineer Garin were adapted into films, the first during the silent era, and the second during the heyday of the swingin’ sixties.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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