Monty Python and the Holy Grail Cinema 5 The Invitation Janus If news from Britain these days is only moderately good, it's exceptional, and welcome. The British economic gloom is made even gloomier by the fact that Ken Russell, of Tommy, sometimes seems to be the only filmmaker on the island able to get backing. Untrue. Here is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which is neither as sparkling as it is said to be nor as bad as it seems to be at the start.
I dragged my feet about going to The Exorcist because of the gimmicky subject, and the adverse reviews I saw made me purr at my prevision. But this film about the diabolic possession of a 12-year-old girl has become such a huge hit that I thought I ought to grit what’s left of my teeth and investigate. I’m glad I did. In this case, anyway, vox populi vox diaboli. This is the most scary picture I’ve seen in years —the only scary picture I’ve seen in years. (Though I admit I don’t see many “horror” films.
Hurricane Marlon is sweeping the country, and I wish it were more than hot air. A tornado of praise—cover stories and huzzahs—blasts out the news that Brando is giving a marvelous performance as Don Corleone in The Godfather, the lapsed Great Actor has regained himself, and so on. As a Brando-watcher for almost 30 years, I’d like to agree. But from his opening line, with his back toward us, Brando betrays that he hasn’t even got the man’s voice under control. (Listen to the word “first.” Pure Brando, not Corleone.) Insecurity and assumption streak the job from then on.
Like most autobiographical works Federico Fellini's scintillating new film 8 1/2 reveals something more than its author intended. Begin with the title. It derives from the fact that, up to now, Fellini has made six full-length films and has contributed three "half" segments to anthology films. Before we step into the theater, the title tells us that he is clever, and that he sees the film as part of his personal history.
Long Day’s Journey into Night (Embassy) Eugene O'Neill's Long Day’s Journey into Night is the full statement of the early autobiography that he had disguised and used partially in several plays. Beyond the Horizon (1918) is about two brothers, one of whom is tubercular; the doomed couple in All God’s Chillun Got Wings (1923) have his parents' first names; other plays contain further references and derivations.
Between an audience and a good film a certain confidence is quickly established. This is especially true of comedies. The first two or three minutes are enough to tell you whether a comic film is going to be a dud; the first eight or ten minutes are enough to establish this confidence. In it the audience implies: “We recognize that we are in good hands. Take over.” In addition to the fun the picture provides, there is an extra pleasure in having found a good film and knowing it while you’re enjoying it.