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Macbeth

Date produced: 1947

Filmmaker(s):

David Bradley

Description:

"David Bradley, the dynamic heart of Willow Films, producers of Macbeth, has behind him a long and amazing record of outstanding dramatic pictures. Among these are his productions of The Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens; Emperor Jones, by Eugene O'Neill, and Peer Gynt, by Henrik Ibsen. His Macbeth is the greatest of them all. And in a sense, this moving evocation of the brooding Shakespearian tragedy is the end product of them all — since, in it, Mr. Bradley's creative and cinematic abilities have come fully and splendidly of age. The character of this brilliant achievement may perhaps best be illumined by Mr. Bradley's own words from his plans for the film. "We realized clearly," he has written, "that the strength of our Macbeth must be found in stimulating cinematic treatment, portrayed with such angular camera compositions as to suggest the twisted, supernatural aspects of the drama. We planned our lighting for harsh contrasts and textures, so that, on occasion, the brooding menace of cold, murky stone could almost be felt. For our Macbeth was to be, above all, a movie, depending on atmosphere more than acting, 'punch' more than pomp, for its ultimate success or failure." That it has been success, not failure, is rewardingly the case." Movie Makers, Dec. 1947, 534, 536.


Man With The Box, The

Date produced: 1952

Filmmaker(s):

James L. Watson

Description:

"A teen-aged girl — whose imagination has been excited by murder headlines in the local paper — and a mysterious new boarder in her mother's home are the ingredients of The Man With The Box, a superlative melodrama by James L. Watson. For here is as hair-raising a thriller as you could want to see. Mr. Watson tells his story through the interplay of image and counterimage, without benefit of dialog, and he tells it simply and well. Taut and well paced, the film should hold any audience in suspense-filled excitement from its quiet and clearly stated beginning right up to the shock of its logical and terrifying conclusion. The small cast has been cunningly chosen and wisely directed. The players, Cathy Moss as the inquisitive young girl and John Dowell as the strange boarder, give restrained yet moving performances, sustaining the film's mood admirably. The accompanying score not only complements the story line: it becomes, excitingly, an integral part of it. The Man With The Box returns to the first principles of the silent cinema with rewarding vitality." Movie Makers, Dec. 1952, 399-400.


Outpost

Date produced: 1950

Filmmaker(s):

Harry W. Atwood

Description:

"Startling photography in 8mm. Kodachrome gives Harry W. Atwood's Outpost a dramatic appeal beyond the merits of its rather confused and melodramatic story. Story aside (it's a tale of murder, in which some very critical action is not adequately pointed up), Outpost deals magnificently with some of the most interesting and barren country you are likely to find this side of your nightmares. If his plot developments can become more convincing, Mr. Atwood has an excellent filming future." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 468.


Paletero, El [The popsicle man]

Date produced: 1970

Filmmaker(s):

Gabriel Retes

Description:

"El paletero cuenta la historia de un vendedor de helados y paletas (Héctor Suárez) que recorre las calles de la ciudad. Es simpático: juega volados con los niños, conversa amistosamente con una criada que ha salido a la calle para hacer el mandado (July Furlong). De pronto un grupo de policías judiciales, vestidos de civil, deciden acosarlo. Se acercan intimidantes a la pareja. Rompen los conos de galletas para helado. El paletero siente pánico y huye por las calles de la ciudad. Es perseguido por los judiciales. Intenta esconderse en las ruinas de una casa abandonada, donde es seguido por uno de los policías. Luchan y el paletero consigue quitarle la pistola. Amenaza al policía y reemprende la huída. Al final encuentra un nuevo escondite en una vecindad. Presa del pánico, el paletero dispara sobre sus perseguidores, hiriendo a dos. Los policías lo ejecutan, y de paso matan a un niño que jugaba en el patio de la vecindad y que había quedado situado en medio del tiroteo" (Vázquez Mantecón, 2012).

El paletero [The popsicle man] tells the story of an ice cream and popsicles seller that goes around the city streets. He is nice: he plays coin toss with children, talks kindly with a maid that has left the house to run some errands. Suddenly a group of policemen, dressed as civilians, decide to harass him. They approach the couple in an intimidating manner. They break the ice cream cones. The popsicle man feels panic and runs away through the city streets. He is chased by policemen. He tries to hide in the ruins of an abandoned house, where he is followed by one of the policemen. They fight and the popsicle man takes his gun. He threatens the policeman and starts running away again. At the end he finds a new hiding spot in a vicinity. Overcome by panic, the popsicle man shoots wounding his persecutors. The policemen execute him, and they also kill a child of the neighborhood that was caught up between the shooting" (Vázquez Mantecón, 2012).


Phantom of Cragmont, The

Date produced: 1933

Filmmaker(s):

Arthur H. Smith

Description:

"Story of murder during a treasure hunt." Movie Makers, Nov. 1933, 475.


Pipe Dreams

Date produced: 1933

Filmmaker(s):

Edward Atkins

Joseph Dephoure

Description:

"Pipe Dreams, by Joseph Dephoure, ACL, and Edward Atkins, ACL, is ranked among the year's ten best because of its considerable triumphs over dramatic and technical difficulties. Through the imagination of its producers, a small cast, simple settings and moderate footage have been used to tell a big story, rich in pictorial effect. Dreaming that he has murdered his unfaithful wife, a young man sees in prospect the swift and fearful course of his life to the waiting gallows. The murder, the trial, the death cell and the hanging are represented in large part only by the imaginative and striking use of shadows of the real scenes. Occasional straight shots are heightened in effect by unusual angles and dramatic lighting. Sensitively planned, smartly executed and deftly cut, Pipe Dreams makes its simple story exciting and forceful." Movie Makers, Dec. 1933, 500.


Ritual of the Dead

Date produced: 1937

Filmmaker(s):

Richard H. Lyford

Description:

"'Ritual of the Dead,' is an old-fashioned thriller. The leading characters, that of the young man who murders rather promiscuously and the tattered mummy who returns to life seemingly to accuse the murderer after the latter has reason to believe he has safely escaped detection for his crimes are carried by the producer. The denouement of the story, which is just that we have here intimated, carries a real thrill" American Cinematographer, Jan. 1939, 16-17.


Steppes of Silence

Date produced: 1926

Filmmaker(s):

S. Winston Childs

Description:

Amateur film club production that parodies Russian tragedy literature. The story revolves around two warring families, the Yagustynkas and the Chenstohovas, a romance, a religious curse, and murder. Exaggerated intertitles contribute to the film's "burlesque" of Russian culture and literature.


Storm Due

Date produced: 1949

Filmmaker(s):

Francis J. Barrett

Description:

"Although there is no actual violence portrayed in this psychological thriller, Storm Due — in which a young wife discovers her husband to be a murderer — is instinct with mounting tension and terror. Francis J. Barrett's film is a potent combination of several related elements. Wedded almost as one are dramatic, hard-hitting camera angles and the visual stimulus of brilliant, low-key lighting. Acting of theatrical calibre by the young wife is accented by an off-stage voice which underlines her fears — a technique that suggests a loan from the best in modern radio. A taut continuity only hints at the story line as it hurries through this exciting evocation of violence. This very economy of dramatic exposition, in fact, will make Storm Due an unpopular and often misunderstood production. For these reviewers, however, it remains creative cinema of a very high order." Movie Makers, Dec. 1949, 454-455.


Tell-Tale Heart, The [1927]

Date produced: 1927

Filmmaker(s):

Thomas Fisher

Description:

"An honorable mention in the 35 millimeter division went to Thomas Fisher, of 410 Semple Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., for his grim and Barrymorish study of Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart.' Mr. Fisher played two parts, displayed no little skill in make-up and worked out an interesting, if gory, film." Photoplay, Jun. 1928, 137.


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