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Syndication

Luchino Visconti was known for dabbling with neorealism, but Senso mixed his love of the opera and melodrama with the film movement that his name is attached to.

Italy's first Technicolor film, Senso is a love story set during the Austrian occupation of Venice in the 1860's.  The film is a visual feast, with sweeping setpieces that reflect Visconti's love of the opera.  Alida Valli and Farley Granger (whose English was dubbed into Italian for the film's Italian release) give stellar performances as the leads, particularly Valli, who won a Golden Globe for her effort.  This is another title currently readily available on Blu-Ray and DVD from the Criterion Collection; viewing the heavily-cut American version of the film from the disc's special features is to experience an exercise of how not to edit a film.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast.com.  Also, if you're enjoying our journey, please leave some positive feedback on iTunes!

Direct download: Episode_13_Senso_1954.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Continuing with the theme of Holocaust dramas (yes, each film really is drawn at random), we jump back three years to 1987 and Louis Malle's Au revoir les enfants.

This story of secrets, innocence, and eventually mistaken betrayal is one of my undiscovered favorites so far on this podcast, and is sadly one of Malle's final films before his death of lymphoma in 1995.  This story of a French schoolboy who slowly learns that his best friend is a Jew sheltered by the schoolmaster is provacative, sad, and mesmerizing.  It would go on to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.  Au revoir les enfants is currently avaialble on Blu-Ray and DVD via the Criterion Collection.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com.  Also, if you're enjoying the journey thus far, please leave a favorable review on iTunes!

Direct download: Episode_12_Au_revoir_les_enfants_1987.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Film is not exactly rife with female Polish directors, which makes Agnieszka Holland exceptional.  She focused primarily on television and documentary work before writing and directing the epic Europa Europa.

Dozens of films have been made about the Holocaust but, as The Washington Post put it, "[there are] only a handful as passionate, as subtly intelligent, as universal as this one."  Europa Europa tells the true story of Salomon Perel, a Jewish boy who finds himself jumping from the frying pan into the fire after he accidentally enlists in the German army and moves from one situation to another to hide his identity and escape alive.  Not to be confused with the Lars von Trier film Europa, the film is available on DVD, although scrupulous purchasers might consider buying a used copy: a new copy is currently available for about $65 on Amazon.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter via @1001moviesPC.

Direct download: Episode_11_Europa_Europa_1990.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Fresh off of our discussion of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, we set our sights on My Man Godfrey, another comedy from 1936.  Directed by Gregory La Cava, the film is a satire of the lives of the naive and wealthy family residing in their Park Avenue and the merry misadventures that occur when they employ a new butler, Godfrey, who teaches them a few life lessons before the film's conclusion.

La Cava's films are laced with similar social and political satire, such as Gabriel over the White House (1933) and She Married Her Boss (1935).  Commentary aside, My Man Godfrey's true charm is that it still holds up today.  Several editions, many with questionable quality, have been released on DVD, but obviously the Criterion Collection edition remains the best.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter via @1001moviesPC.

Direct download: Episode_10_My_Man_Godfrey_1936.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

When you mention Frank Capra, most people will thank of It's a Wonderful Life, or any of a handful of other movies starring James Stewart.  In the 1930's, however, Capra was probably Hollywood most prolific director, earning a string of Oscar nominations for his charming screwball comedies with traditional American values.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town was another notch on Capra's belt after his film It Happened One Night hit the grand slam after winning all four major Academy Awards.  Featuring Gary Cooper as the titular character from a small town who is thrown into a frenzy of money-grubbing New York lawyers and businessmen, the movie was hugely successful and earned Capra another Oscar for Best Director.  Fun aside fact: it's also fetaures the first instance of the word "doodle", which soon found itself in the English vernacular.  The film is readily (and cheaply) available on DVD.

Have a comment or a question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter via @1001moviesPC.

Direct download: Episode_9_Mr._Deeds_Goes_to_Town_1936.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

After penning Dogme 95, a manifesto urging filmmakers to subscribe to a particular method, Danish director Lars von Trier made Breaking the Waves, about the ways of rigidly living by a particular religious dogma.  The film follows the rules set down by von Trier, but for a select few shots that are beautifully touched up by computer imagery and graced with pop music from the 1970's.

Based on a fairy tale von Trier read as a child, the story follow doe-eyed Bess (Emily Watson) as she marries oil rig worker Jan (Stellan Skarsgard) and copes with the tragedy that follows, both with the rigid religious rules laid down by the elders of her small Scottish village and the frustrations of sexuality.  The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.  The film is now available on Blu Ray and DVD via the Criterion Collection.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001movies@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter via @1001moviesPC.

Direct download: Episode_8_Breaking_the_Waves_1996.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Considering the number of films that Bollywood has spawned, it's surprising that there's a dearth of them in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.  One of the few inclusions is Deewaar, a 1975 (somewhat musical) drama directed by Yash Chopra and featuring Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

"Deewaar" translated into English means The Wall, in this case referring to the divide between two brothers, one who has joined the police force and the other who has chosen a life of crime.  Whether you consider yourself a fan of Bollywood or not, you have to admit it's a great drama, even if you don't enjoy the musical bits that are so characteristic of the genre.  Deewaar is available on region-free Blu Ray from some international retailers.

Have a question or feedback for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter via @1001moviesPC.

Direct download: Episode_7_Deewaar_1975.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Greta Garbo has long been in the American cultural zeitgeist as the actress who "wanted to be alone", as her early retirement from Hollywood precluded her from a long career as an actress.  Ninotchka was her penultimate film, and it was billed as "Garbo Laughs!", as it was her first comedy, a fact that she had quite an issue with, particularly the scene in which she appeared drunk.

Garbo was in the good hands of Ernst Lubitsch, a German-born director who had made a string of successful comedies before and after Ninotchka.  The film became a critical and box office success, and remains surprisingly witty even today.  It is readily available on DVD and Amazon Instant Video.

Have a question or feedback for Sean?  Email him at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter via @1001moviesPC.

Direct download: Episode_6_Ninotchka_1939.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder were pretty much a staple in my home growing up; at an early age I was indoctrinated with History of the World, Part 1 and Young Frankenstein, but never really got around to watching Blazing Saddles until years later.

This is the one that really put Mel Brooks on the map and, as I explain in the podcast, it paved the way for future comedies like Airplane!  Blazing Saddles was also, in a way, the last of a dying genre: since the 1980's comedies have seen box office success but, like horror movies, are often shunned by critics.  This film stands out as a testament both to Brooks the writer and director, and also to the time it was made.  It was recently released in a special edition on Blu Ray to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Direct download: Episode_5_Blazing_Saddles_1974.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

The French new wave movement of the 1950's and 1960's may not appeal to the majority of audiences today, but the genre is required viewing for any film fanatic.  Jean-Luc Godard's Week End came at the tail end of the movement, which may not make it an ideal introduction to the genre, but it's nevertheless a spectacle that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

Week End is currently available on Blu Ray and DVD via the Criterion Collection as well as on Hulu (don't confuse it with the 2011 Andrew Haigh film of the same name), and the transfer has probably never looked better since its initial release.

Have any questions or comments for Sean?  Feel free to email him at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com.

Direct download: Episode_4_Week_End_1967.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT