Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Moment of Truth (1965, Francesco Rosi) and Last Holiday (1950, Henry Cass)

Shorter posts better than no posts?

I watched two films from the amazing Videotheque rental store in Pasadena, CA

The Moment of Truth (1965, Francesco Rosi) severely disappointed, was quite boring. It wasn't shocking when I watched the bonus interview and he said he shot without a script! 
This is a go-nowhere, predictable bullfighting movie with excellent bullfighting footage.
It may be unduly praised for breaking ground in the latter, documenting something important in detail
and capturing all the elements of it.

But... it doesn't document the emotions of bullfighting, or the philosophical questions it can engender,
which I think Budd Boetticher does much better in Bullfighter and the Lady (1951) and The Magnificent Matador (1955) with Anthony Quinn. I really would skip this and watch other Rosi like Hands Over the City (1963) and Salvatore Giuliano (1962), which are far more rewarding.

This was the second time I'd seen the lovely Alec Guinness film Last Holiday (1950), but I oscillated between like and dislike. First, delighted glee at how much fun it is, primarily with the main concept of how well he does once he no longer has anything to live for. Fascinating concept, but this time I noticed, despite his brilliant acting, ever engaging to watch, the script pops in a few contrivances and adds bits of business not that is not very well honed to a single main theme and muddies the sharpness of what could have been an intimate masterpiece. Some delightful character actor appearances, but I now swing back to my own British roots (born there) and join my British brethren at the time of release who found it a bit of a miss, as opposed to my original American reaction (I've lived here way longer!) which originally thought it was a masterful overlooked gem. Although this was a second viewing, so I think for theme and performance it is a compelling enough film to still warrant a hearty recommendation for a Saturday evening viewing.

Cheers, and I'll try to write more later!