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Saturday Night at the Movies


An interesting group of films this evening

1 The Scapegoat (1959) – Alec Guinness,Bette Davis,Nicole Maurey – dir: Robert Hamer

The Scapegoat is a 1959 crime film based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, and starring Alec Guinness, Nicole Maurey and Bette Davis

John Barratt (Alec Guinness), a lonely, discontented teacher of French at a British university, vacations in France. There, by chance, he meets his double, French nobleman Jacques De Gué (Guinness again). They become acquainted. Barratt becomes drunk and accepts De Gué’s invitation to share his hotel room. When he wakes up the next morning, Barratt finds himself alone in the room, with his clothes and passport missing. De Gué’s chauffeur Gaston (Geoffrey Keen) shows up to take his master home, and Barratt is unable to convince him that he is not the nobleman. Gaston calls Dr. Aloin (Noel Howlett), who diagnoses the Englishman as suffering from schizophrenia.

A bewildered Barratt allows himself to be taken to De Gué’s chateau, where he meets “his” family: daughter Marie-Noel, wife Françoise (Irene Worth), sister Blanche (Pamela Brown) and formidable mother, the Countess (Bette Davis). None of them believe his story – it appears that De Gué is a malicious liar – so Barratt resigns himself to playing along. As time goes on, he feels needed, something missing in his sterile prior life. MORE AT LINK

2 The Visitors (1972) – James Woods,Patrick McVey dir: Elia Kazan

The Visitors is a 1972 American drama film directed by Elia Kazan and starring Patrick McVey. It was entered into the 1972 Cannes Film Festival. Kazan used an article written by Daniel Lang for The New Yorker in 1969, and Lang’s subsequent book Casualties of War, as a jumping-off point for this film

Bill Schmidt and his long-term girlfriend Martha Wayne and their young son Hal live in a small Connecticut farmhouse owned by Martha’s overbearing father. One snowy winter Sunday, two of Bill’s ex-army buddies, Mike and Tony, arrive. A few years ago, they had all served together in Vietnam in the same platoon but later ended up on opposite sides of a court-martial. Bill has never told his girlfriend what happened in Vietnam nor at the court-martial. The story slowly unfolds. Under orders in Vietnam not to take any prisoners, and faced with potentially hostile civilians who might attack them if left behind, Mike kills a civilian. Bill testifies against him and Mike is sent to the stockade (military prison) for two years. He is angry. There is sexual tension between Mike and Martha. The tension builds and culminates in a fight and a rape.MORE AT LINK

3 Of Human Bondage (1934) – Leslie Howard, Bette Davis

Of Human Bondage is a 1934 American pre-Code drama film directed by John Cromwell and is widely regarded by critics as the film that made Bette Davis a star. The screenplay by Lester Cohen is based on the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham.

Sensitive, club-footed artist Philip Carey (Leslie Howard) is a Briton who has been studying painting in Paris for four years. His art teacher tells him his work lacks talent, so he returns to London to become a medical doctor, but his moodiness and chronic self-doubt make it difficult for him to keep up in his schoolwork.

Philip falls passionately in love with vulgar tearoom waitress Mildred Rogers (Bette Davis), even though she is disdainful of his club foot and his obvious interest in her. Although he is attracted to the anemic and pale-faced woman, she is manipulative and cruel toward him when he asks her out. Her constant response to his romantic invitations is “I don’t mind”, an expression so uninterested that it infuriates him – which only causes her to use it all the more. His daydreams about her (her image appears over an illustration in his medical school anatomy textbook, and a skeleton in the classroom is transformed into Mildred) cause him to be distracted from his studies, and he fails his medical examinations. MORE AT LINK

4 A Shriek In The Night (1933) –  Ginger Rogers

A Shriek in the Night is a 1933 American pre-Code comedy horror film directed by Albert Ray and starring Ginger Rogers, Lyle Talbot, and Harvey Clark.

Rival newspaper reporters Pat Morgan (Rogers) and Ted Rand (Talbot) find themselves unravelling the mystery behind the death of a millionaire philanthropist who fell from his penthouse balcony. When it is discovered that the plunge was not an accident, the building’s residents come under suspicion. Soon, the body count begins to mount as three more murders occur by strangulation. MORE AT LINK

5 The Road to Ruin (1934) – Pre-Code

Road to Ruin is a 1934 Pre-Code, exploitation film directed by Dorothy Davenport, under the name “Mrs. Wallace Reid”, and Melville Shyer, and written by Davenport with the uncredited contribution of the film’s producer, Willis Kent. The film, which is in the public domain, is about a young girl whose life is ruined by sex and drugs.MORE AT LINK

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