ROOTS (Benito Alazraki, 1954)

Benito Alazraki’s Raíces consists of four nonprofessionally cast, non-studio segments, each based on a story by Francisco Rojas Gonzáles about native Mexicans. Only the final segment, “La Potranca,” is without merit.      The “cows” of “Las Vacas” refer to humans and the choices that poverty presses. Martina’s unemployed spouse sees stealing as the only open alternative. […]

MONSIEUR VERDOUX (Charles Chaplin, 1947)

I have just added this, Chaplin’s own favorite among his films, to my 100 Greatest English-Language Films List. Henri Landru had been guillotined for murdering eight women. Fifteen years later, in 1937, Henri Verdoux met the same fate, with half a dozen more victims to his credit—or debit. From the grave, this “mass killer” speaks […]