LE BEAU SERGE (Claude Chabrol, 1958)

Claude Chabrol has repudiated his first film, because of its Roman Catholic themes and imagery, and one must admit it is rough-hewn, schematic, and uncertain as to tone; but Le beau Serge is among Chabrol’s most deeply affecting works. Shot on location in black and white in Chabrol’s hometown of Sardent, mixing locals and as-yet […]

KING LEAR (Grigori Kozintsev, Iosif Shapiro, 1971)

Solemn, slow, intelligent though in no way inspired version of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Grigori Kozintsev’s Soviet Korol Lir, based (like his Gamlet) on a Boris Pasternak translation, is a terrible disappointment. Jüri Järvet, the Estonian actor who plays Lear, does a so-so job.      Lots of lovely black-and-white shots, but scarcely a single interesting one.      A better […]

EXODUS (Otto Preminger, 1960)

How does one explain it? The superficiality of much of the action and virtually all the characters; historical inaccuracies; the minimal Jewishness in evidence, whether in terms of religious observance or the casting of Gentiles in nearly all the younger Jewish roles; the schematic quality of the film’s portrayal of the conflict between Jewish factions, […]