The seventh seal (Det sjunde inseglet)

the-seventh-seal-posterSwedish black and white fantasy drama from 1957.
Starring: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Writer: Ingmar Bergman
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Reactions

Contemplations

Judgement

Epilogue

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “The seventh seal” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

69 movies down. 296 to go.

If you want to get “The seventh seal” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The Battle of Algiers” (“La battaglia di Algeri”). Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Nine lives (Ni liv)

ni-liv-posterNorwegian language black and white biographical action from 1957.
Starring: Jack Fjeldstad, Henny Moan, Alf Malland
Director: Arne Skouen
Writers: David Howarth, Arne Skouen
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

Jan Baalsrud is part of the resistance during the Nazi occupation of Norway. During an operation all the other saboteurs are killed or captured, so Jan must get himself to safety, and the only place he can get away from the constant German patrols are in Sweden.

Reactions

“Nine lives” is based on a true story. If not, I would have found the tale unbelievable. Crossing the 200 km from Rebbensøya to the Swedish border would be quite a feat even in full health, with sturdy equipment and no one chasing you. Even springtime that far north of the Polar Circle offers harrowing weather conditions and the terrain across the mountains to the border is only for the more experienced hiker.

I have plotted an approximation of Jan Baalsrud’s route, as it is a bit confusing in the movie where he is and why he keeps having to use boats. His route is about the distance from London to Cardiff for reference.

And that is one of the movies weaknesses, we never quite know where Jan Baalsrud is. We are either supposed to know this information already, or it is supposed to not matter. I just kept wondering where he was throughout the movie. (So I tried to help other potential viewers by making a map. Take a look before the movie, no need to memorize anything, just get an overview, and rest assured, there are no spoilers in the map.)

Most of the “Nine lives” depicts the journey from the moment Jan Baalsrud is alone until he reaches Sweden, although there is a framing story where he tells his story to an official from the Norwegian government. This framing is very brief and doesn’t impact the movie much. Which is lucky as it falls flat and the big moment where Baalsrud gets respect for what he did just seems silly.

Contemplations

“Nine lives” is naturally a bit dated in some ways as it is now 60 years old, but for the most part it held my attention and told a story well. It is a shame that the beautiful landscapes in the area are shown in black and white, but the photography is otherwise excellent.

The resistance movement during the war might not be well exemplified by such an extraordinary feat, but all the help Baalsrud received does show a more general part of history. This makes the story more important than just one lone guy’s survival.

The acting is great in all the parts, and the only little annoyance I had with the movie was the overly dramatic music during the travel scenes.

Judgement

“Nine lives” is a good movie, but maybe not something to watch often.

Epilogue

I would recommend “Nine lives” to anyone, it is both good and important in some ways. Not a bad idea to watch it once.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Nine lives” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

47 movies down. 318 to go.

If you want to get “Nine lives” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The celebration”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

Witness for the prosecution

witness-for-the-prosecution-posterAmerican black and white crime drama from 1957.
Starring: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton
Director: Billy Wilder
Writers: Agatha Christie, Billy Wilder, Harry Kurnitz, Lawrence B. Marcus
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

A middle aged man is accused of murder and he hires the best lawyer available.  The lawyer will hopefully have the health to see the court case through to the end.

Reactions

This is a classical murder mystery and it is a good one, mostly due to the acting and the funny, strange and flawed characters.

I had never seen Marlene Dietrich in anything before, but as most others I have heard the many stories about her (some of them are on her wikipedia page). Her screen presence did not disappoint.  Her beauty was special and captivating, the personality of her character came across quite clearly and her renowned status as a WW2 entertainer is even put to use in a scene. I like the movie just because I got to see this legend in action.

Contemplations

The cinematography and sound was suitable for a mostly courtroom drama, and did not stand out overly much.

The actors all had both comedic timing and dramatic talent witch made the shifts between funny and more serious moments natural. However the comedy was based on stereotypes and simple gags that made it seem somewhat old fashioned. It was funny though. At least as long as I chose to overlook the more dated elements.

The story was good and somewhat less superficial then what I expect from Agatha Christie. But all the quirks and strangeness of her more famous detectives, such as Miss Marple and Poirot, were delightfully present. After reading a few of her books (I believe, sometime in my teens), it seemed that I knew what one of her crime stories would contain; detective called in or on vacation, either impossible crime or seemingly none or endless amount of suspects, or at least a “whodunit”, a few minor observations buried on page 259 (or there about) and finally, the detective gathers everyone and slowly, oh so slowly, reveals the murderer. Even though this is an Agatha Christie story, do not expect the typical structure or progression. This is a courtroom drama, and not a “roaming detective” story.

Judgement

I liked this movie. There were some of the small annoyances that I have come to expect from a movie from this era, but it was a few hours well spent.

Epilogue

I would recommend “Witness for the prosecution” to a friend, and no qualifiers or caveats needed, except standard age restrictions. (In this case children under 13 should probably not see the movie.)

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Witness for the prosecution” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

33 movies down. 332 to go.

If you want to get “Witness for the prosecution” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Scarface“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

12 angry men

12-angry-men-posterAmerican crime drama from 1957.
Starring: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam
Director: Sidney Lumet
Writer: Reginald Rose
Bechdel test: Fail

Exposition

A young Asian man has stood trial for murder, and we follow the deliberations of the twelve jurors.

Reactions

“12 angry men” is a strong movie. I have not seen it before, and it made quite an impression.  It is a concept I have seen before. I remember an episode of “Veronica Mars” where jury deliberations that put a focus on attitude towards poor people was the whole of the episode. In “12 angry men” the jury deliberation put a focus on attitudes towards poor immigrants of Asian and Spanish decent.

I would have thought that the attitudes of racism and intolerance in this movie would have seemed outdated considering the movie is from 1957, but sadly, not so much. The makeup of the jury, only white men, was dated, and how these men dressed and expressed themselves was dated, but the views they expressed, could have been this year.

In other words, this is still an important movie to watch.

Contemplations

The audio and visuals are simple, and all they convey is the feeling of being in a jury room, which is what they are supposed to do. For me today, watching this movie, it seems like they are wearing period costumes and the set is constructed to convey olden times, but I guess this is simply how the world looked and what people wore.

The story and acting is great. The 12 men are convincing and some of them go on an emotional journey that was believable. The men may have been a little stereo typical, but it just underlined that these men could have been anyone. Through the movie the jurors are referred to by their numbers and we don’t learn their names, which also drives home this point.

Judgement

I don’t regret watching this movie, and it made me think about how little, at least some parts society, has moved along towards tolerance and removing racism.

As someone on twitter suggested, after watching “12 angry men”, I watched Amy Schumer’s spoof on the movie, and it was really good. It mirrors the movie very well, and puts a spotlight on what we think of women. Below is the first part of the 12 angry men judging Amy Schumer. The rest is really good, as well.

Epilogue

Everyone should watch this movie. It is an important story of how simple questions can bring out our inner racist attitudes.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “12 angry men” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

24 movies down. 341 to go.

If you want to get “12 angry men” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “To kill a mockingbird“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.