Archive for 1930s

The Purple Rose of Cairo

Posted in Film, Woody Allen with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 30 September, 2008 by Ally

Woody Allen, 1985

They always say you ought to write what you know, which is why so many films chronicle the creative process. From Sunset Boulevard to Adaptation, Hollywood’s favourite subject is itself. But great as they are, most of these films seem determined to make the audience understand the pain of the artist, the stress of putting together a production, how hard it is to make something look effortless. It’s rare to find a film that appreciates the finished product above all, and understands the spell it casts over the ordinary person sat there in the dark.

Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo is one of those films. Set in Depression-era New Jersey, it stars Mia Farrow as Cecilia. She’s a timid woman with an abusive husband (Danny Aiello), and a stressful waitressing job which she constantly jeopardizes with her clumsiness and daydreaming. Her only comfort is the cinema, where she can lose herself in shimmering Hollywood gloss for an hour and a half.

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Angels With Dirty Faces

Posted in Film, Film Noir with tags , , , , , , , , on 9 September, 2008 by Ally

Michael Curtiz, 1938

There’s these two kids, see, Rocky and Jerry. They’re up to no good, pickin’ on girls and gettin’ into mischief. One day these two kids try to rob a railroad car full o’ fountain pens, but the guard spies ’em and they gotta make a break for it. Jerry can run just a little faster, so he gets away, but Rocky ain’t so lucky. He’s packed off to reform school and grows up to be a notorious gangster. Jerry’s life takes a completely different path.

All grown up, Father Jerry Connally’s (Pat O’Brien) pet project is a bunch o’ kids he’s hoping to keep on the right side of the law. When Rocky Sullivan (James Cagney) gets outta the slammer, he heads back to his old neighbourhood and meets up with Jerry for old times’ sake. The kids get a kick outta Rocky, see, they start to idolize the guy. Well what can he do? He’s a charismatic guy fergodssakes! Continue reading