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1. Brother Sun, Sister Moon
$18.74 $13.93 list($24.98)
2. Jesus of Nazareth
$9.95 $5.01
3. Barabbas
$26.96 $20.83 list($29.95)
4. Juliet Of The Spirits - Criterion
$22.36 $19.45 list($27.95)
5. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
$35.96 $28.00 list($39.95)
6. Thieves' Highway - Criterion Collection
$13.46 $7.75 list($14.95)
7. The Barefoot Contessa
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8. Day for Night
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9. Le Amiche
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10. The Girl Who Knew Too Much
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11. Juliet of the Spirits

1. Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
list price: $14.99
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B00015HX9A
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3328
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (115)

4-0 out of 5 stars Vivid religious parable for 'youth' audience
BROTHER SUN SISTER MOON (UK/Italy 1972): The early life of St. Francis of Assisi (Graham Faulkner), the son of a wealthy merchant who underwent a spiritual conversion following his experiences in the crusades and later renounced his worldly goods before establishing a holy order separate from traditional Church teachings.

Conceived and executed in much the same visual manner as his ultra-popular ROMEO AND JULIET (1968), Franco Zeffirelli's BROTHER SUN SISTER MOON attempts to draw parallels between the work and philosophy of St. Francis and the ideology which underpinned the worldwide hippy movement throughout the 1960's and early 70's. Hence the ragged-but-lyrical cinematography (by Ennio Guarnieri), fractured editing (by Reginald Mills), and the use of contemporary - but strangely timeless - folk songs written and performed by Donovan, all of which conjures the requisite mood of spiritual awakening whilst simultaneously dating the movie quite firmly within its period. Cynics will hate it, while others will embrace Zeffirelli's defiant romanticism. Daringly, Zeffirelli's script (co-written by Suso Cecchi d'Amico and Lina Wertmuller) contrasts Francis' piety and virtue with the bloated pomp of official Church doctrine, weighed down by internal politics and social indifference, though it's difficult to gauge if this represents a veiled attack on Christian orthodoxy or is simply a reflection of Francis' dismissal of outdated customs in favor of a return to Nature.

Lovingly crafted by Lorenzo Mongiardino (art direction) and Danilo Donati (costumes), the movie is toplined by a cast of gifted newcomers and screen veterans, including Judi Bowker (one of the most beautiful actresses of her generation), Leigh Lawson, Kenneth Cranham, Valentina Cortese and Alec Guinness. But the film derives much of its visual strength from Faulkner as the young, battle-scarred nobleman laid low by his wartime experiences, who emerges from the horrors of conflict with a completely new and spiritual outlook on life. Faulkner was one of a handful of young actors (including FELLINI-SATYRICON's Hiram Keller and LISA AND THE DEVIL's Alessio Orano) who emerged from European cinema in the 1970's, handsome and talented in equal measure, to burn brightly and briefly before disappearing into relative obscurity. Here, Faulkner's intense beauty and fresh-faced innocence are illuminated by Guarnieri's worshipful camera and Zeffirelli's attentive direction, which places him center-stage throughout (there's even a generous, PG-level nude scene halfway through the movie). This was Faulkner's cinematic debut, and while Zeffirelli couldn't have made a better choice for such a crucial role, the director later described him as being slightly aloof from his fellow actors, which may explain his subsequent disappearance from the movie scene. But here, his grace and dignity are displayed in abundance, and it's hard not to fall in love with him, every time he appears on-screen.

Picture quality on Paramount's DVD is grainy in places and vivid in others, but overall, this is a huge improvement over previous video incarnations, all hideously cropped from the original hard matte widescreen version presented here. Sadly, there are no extras whatsoever, not even a trailer! It would have been nice to see footage from the Italian cut (FRATELLO SOLE SORELLA LUNA), which runs approximately 14 minutes longer and replaces Donovan's music with a fully orchestral score by Riz Ortolani. The film's editor, Reginald Mills, produced a 16mm documentary in 1973 entitled FRANCO ZEFFIRELLI A FLORENTINE ARTIST, compiled from footage shot during the making of the movie and featuring a lengthy interview with the director himself. Running a mere 51 minutes, it provided an invaluable insight into Zeffirelli's working methods and the thinking which gave rise to the finished product, and its absence from Paramount's disc is hugely disappointing. It's nice to have the film on DVD in its present form, but the lack of extras reeks of missed opportunity.

120m 56s
1.75:1 / Anamorphically enhanced
DVD soundtrack: Mono 2.0
Theatrical soundtrack: Optical mono
Optional English subtitles and closed captions
Region 1

5-0 out of 5 stars A movie that changed my outlook on life
This film with all its historical inaccuracies and its poor account of St. Clare and Bishop Guido has however the spirit of Franciscanism at its heart and its message is a relevant today as it was in the 13th century. Faulkner is brilliant, he captures the simple, pure humility of St.Francis. What ever happened to him after the movie? Donovan's music is outstanding and fits in perfectly with the simple and humble atmosphere permeating throughout the movie. To learn a more accurate account of the life of St. Francis I must recommend a book called 'St. Francis of Assisi, The Legend and the Life' by Michael Robson OFM Conv.

Pax et Bonum, A young Irish Secular Franciscan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
Dated; yes, but boring? . . . Never. Maybe if you're looking for action instead of inspiration. I've watched this movie countless times and have never failed to find its anti-materialist message inspirational. If it contains historical inaccuracies; show me a movie or book about a 13th century character that doesn't. Yes, it is dated to the '70s in places, but what of it? This is a movie with an essential message told well: i.e. The glory of war and possessions can't ultimately satisfy. And while I may hesitate to recommend this movie to anyone, say, under 40; if you want to know how it feels to leave the pursuit of yet another crummy dead-end job, for inner peace, Brother Sun Sister Moon may just do the trick.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
The editorial review by Amazon.com (Tom Keogh) should stop after the first sentence. Tom's review is "a decorous effort" to tweak his ego and impress readers who enjoy uppity reviews more than good movies. I don't know why Amazon would even allow their review to discourage sales, for one thing. More importantly, this is a beautiful movie, to a different tempo, with lovely music and spiritual significance for the gentle recipient.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spirit of Francis
This movie was a major inspiration in my life as a Franciscan. It captures the spirit of Francis of Assisi, the joy, the freedom, the devotion to Christ. It is true that it is "ahistorical" which is NOT to say unhistorical, but rather creative fidelity to the spirit of the saint. All of Zeferelli's work has a quality of caricature, but faithful even though exaggerated. Many people have used those songs by Donavan as well, as they are quite moving and joyous. ... Read more


2. Jesus of Nazareth
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
list price: $24.98
our price: $18.74
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Asin: B0000633QW
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1679
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (234)

4-0 out of 5 stars Majestic version of Christ's life
Majestic and beautifully shot with strong performances all around, Jesus of Nazareth lacks the overblown almost operatic production touches of Nickolas Ray's "King of Kings" but still manages to retain a sense of the importance of the subject through subtle, nicely wrought character touches.

Although not completely faithful to the New Testament, director Franco Zefferelli embellishes in such a way as to make the story more dramatically compelling and interesting. The performers particularly Robert Powell in the central role all give strong, interesting performances. Powell's characterization is less bland than many of the other versions we've seen and, as such, makes the Christ come alive much more so for the modern viewer.

"Jesus of Nazareth" makes a fine companion piece to Mel Gibson's controversial "The Passion of the Christ" focusing on different elements. The big difference between the two films, though, is the level of explicit onscreen violence. Zefferelli's film still shows what happens but with a more subdued touch (due to the constraints of network television censors as it was originally produced for NBC).

Both films in their own ways tell what could be termed essential variations on the same great story. Their contrasting styles make each suitable to very different audiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST-HAVE FOR EVERY BELIEVER!
It is inconceivable that on Amazon there are only 90 reviewers for Franco Zeffirelli's masterful and inspiring masterpiece as opposed to over 2000 for "The Matrix," a less-than-monumental piece of fluff from 1999.

"Jesus of Nazareth" sports a cast of Academy Award-winners (Lawrence Olivier, Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine, and Peter Ustinov, to name a few) and nominees (James Earl Jones, James Mason, Christopher Plummer) as well as a support from an international group of performers. Olivia Hussey brings just the amount of warmth and humanity in the role of Mary; Rod Steiger deftly portrays Pontius Pilate as a man torn between duty to his country and awe of this man called Jesus; Michael York is stunning as John the Baptist.

Robert Powell brings to the movie the definitive portrait of Jesus. His passionate performance is the stuff of legend. Prior to this motion picture, there had been few instances wherein Christ had been seen; it is as if the screen was awaiting the right man for the part. Powell proves that to be true; he is perfect!

If I have motivated even one soul to purchase this masterwork, then I have accomplished the goal of this review. Money could not be better spent.

1-0 out of 5 stars Jesus Christ Never Existed.
'Jesus of Nazareth' is a famous film some people have seen or at least heard about. Most people fail to realize all of that doesn't matter because Jesus Christ never existed!! Jesus Christ is a mythological figure the church has exploited for hundreds of years and now the film industry has for almost a hundred years. There is absolutely no archeological or historical evidence that Jesus Christ existed. Even if he did exist, it would be highly unlikely he would have received that kind of punishment.
It is a shame that con artists like these filmmakers are using this mythological figure to make millions of dollars. People have to start swaying away from the manipulations of the church and the filmmaking industry and start looking at the hard facts. Jesus Christ and his crucifixion never happened.

5-0 out of 5 stars Realistic interpretation
Each movie of the life of Jesus is subject to the creator's interpretation and perspective, however, I found this movie to be the best depiction of the humanity of the individuals involved in experiencing Jesus' mission. It is respectable and not corny. The only thing my father (a priest) found odd was the way the Virgin Mary was wailing at the foot of Christ's cross. He felt she would have displayed quiet resignation.
It's beautiful and the score is fantastic. I've watched this movie a million times and watch it when I need some spiritual renewal.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jesus of Nazareth Music
I watched on the first for the first time yesterday the DVD movie Jesus of Nazareth on my computer. All of my some previous negative emotions of the film were replaced with honest love. Good pc equipment will enhance your feelings. I spent the day watching the complete movie. I played 'ALL' the correct songs to the movie. You need to play some songs to comprehend the true concept of the movie. The songs do not waver true Christian beliefs. I played near 20 original concept songs. If you're looking for love about faith then this is the movie for you. ... Read more


3. Barabbas
Director: Richard Fleischer
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
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Asin: B00005V1WY
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11702
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fine character study....
This is a fine character study and classic portrayal by Anthony Quinn from the Pulitzer Prize winning novellete. What sets this one apart from the other Biblical films of the 50's and early 60's is its lack of "epic" proportions; that is, there are not the usual 50 familiar faces playing a variety of supporting roles. You've got Quinn as the principle, Arthur Kennedy as Pilate (brief), Ernie Borginine (brief), Jack Palance in another evil turn, and filled out by mostly fine Italian character actors. As a Christian, I'm always amazed at how this film reaches me on a spiritual level with each viewing; The soundtrack is innovative and quite extraordinary. A definite thumbs up.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Great Film
I've often wished for a widescreen edition of Barabbas and now here it is. I became excited several months ago when I saw this edition was to be relased on DVD. So here I am on March 5th ordering my copy. I own the VHS version which distracts from the excellent photogarphy. There are some important things to know about the production of this film: the crucifixion sequece was filmed during an actual eclipse, a one shot scene. The sets were constructed three dimnesional so the streets of Jerusalem and Rome appear real. Anthony Quinn was a perfect choice for Barabbas. If you've read the book this film will provide a quality visual to the fine, simple telling of a man's life, the man who was spared crucifixion and free'd instead of our Lord. Also if you've read the book you'll know what Barabbas is thinking most of the time. Quinn is excellent, his eyes ever roaming in thought of survival. This is a big movie shot in a down to earth realistic way. A fine study in seeking truth, arriving on it's doorstep only to turn away. Because of the book, when Baabbas is helping set fire to Rome, I am aware of how truly emotional this last scene in the film is. (I hope am not giving anything way in the film). Barabbas finally makes an open commitment, acting out on a belief system that he's denied since Christ's crucifixion, only to discover in the end it was Nero who set fire to Rome and not the Christians. It's really all there. The muscal score is unsual and unique. I have the old mono 33 1/2 rpm version which gives musical examples at the end of how Mario Nascimbene wrote and orchastrated the incedibe score. Sadly enough this old recording is far supeior to the new CD issue which edited cuts and left out the 5 minute + prologue. I rate this movie 5 stars. If you like the old spectaculars this one is unique and should be in your library.

3-0 out of 5 stars God Provides Special Effect On Cue
Anthony Quinn gives a good, tortured portrayal in this speculative movie of what happened to Barabbas after the death of Jesus. Although a bit slow in places, the film manages to keep the viewer interested in what will become of this poor character. One fact about the film that a lot of people do not know is that the sequence featuring Christ's crucifiction was shot during a REAL solar eclipse. This lends an eerie and divine backdrop to the crucifiction and sets the mood for Barabbas' journey to his ultimate destiny.

5-0 out of 5 stars The "deepest" of the Biblical epics...
I've seen just about all of the Biblical epics, but this one has always been my favorite because of the deeper character development. Except for the beginning of the movie, where Barabbas has been released instead of Jesus, the story is completely speculative. But the journey the story takes is quite moving and unpredictable and thought-provoking. It's probably the only older Biblical movie that actually touches upon the struggle for faith in Christ and the consequences of advertising that faith in a society that outlaws it. Barabbas is a man in anguish, full of guilt and indecision, but tries hard to repress his emotions and his humanity when he's imprisoned and enslaved in a mine for many years. When he's partnered later with another slave, this time a devout Christian, Barabbas resents and then envies this other man's joy in the face of hardship. Is life nothing but hard work and then death, with nothing to look forward to? Nothing to sustain you? Just a bleak end? It's the sort of questions Barabbas faces, even when trying to remain detached. He's a simple man throughout the movie, almost stupid and barbaric, but you can see that deep down he's trying to be a good man. Trying! So, compared to other Biblical movies, this one really touches upon what it means to be human, what it means to have faith, rather than dealing with cardboard cutout characters and flashy special effects. Not to say that the movie is lacking spectacle. The sets are wonderful and massive, and the gladiator fights are huge and violent. As you watch the crowds moving and cheering in the background, you can't help but think: Everyone is real back there. No CGI, no computer manufactured people. It's amazing how they were able to make such large sets and fill them with so many people.

As for the DVD itself, it's beautifully transfered and in its original widescreen aspect ratio. Very sharp and clear, one of the best looking DVDs I own. No special features, which is only a slight disappointment. After all, this has been a favorite movie of mine for years, so I was cautiously celebrating when I haerd the DVD was going to be released. "Cautiously" only because I worried they might cut corners and release a cheap looking DVD. But I was pleasantly surprised that it looks better than I expected.

Bottom line: If you want depth with your spectacle, this is the best choice. And the DVD quality is superb! 'Nuff said.

4-0 out of 5 stars Widescreen Barabbas finally
After years of waiting, finally there is a widescreen version of this great movie (which is the ony way to see these widescreen epics and the only way to do them justice). So much for the good news. Unfortunately, Barabbas hasn't been granted the same deluxe treatment of other equally deserving epics of the 50's and 60's. I mean going to huge epic movies back then was quite an experience not unlike going to the Opera and you got treated to an introductory musical Overture, an Intermission with Entre'act music and sometimes even Exit music. In line with this treatment for other epics (now restored on Laser Disc/DVD versions), Barabbas was no exception. It originally included a Bolero-like overture of Mario Nascimbene's main theme, an Intermission at the end of the Mines sequence (you can see the abrupt cut into the next scene at the fields where the intermission has been deleted from the all versions of the movie currently available), and an Intermezzo (on the theme for the arrival to Rome)previous to the continuation of the second part of the movie. Until Mario Nascimbene's innovative score is restored, we should still wait for a definitive restored version of Barabbas. The Circus scenes are probably the best ever filmed, and are up there with similar sequences of Ben-Hur and Gladiator. (Spartacus is a great movie but does not include Circus action). I hope some day we get the Deluxe verson of this great epic. ... Read more


4. Juliet Of The Spirits - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $29.95
our price: $26.96
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Asin: B00005V6N6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4376
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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Description

Cinematographer Gianni di Venanzo's masterful use of Technicolor transforms Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini's first color feature, into a kaleidoscope of dreams, spirits, and memories. Giulietta Masina plays a betrayed wife whose inability to come to terms with reality leads her along a hallucinatory journey of self-discovery. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the fully restored version of one of Fellini's most dazzling dreams. ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars "C'mon Guilietta! We're all waiting!" (for you to come out)
This is a film about a woman in her 30s--a well-to-do Italian housewife--and the inner changes she experiences through several events in her life including, most prominently, the infidelity of the husband she loves. But it's much more too.

Fellini's stunning visuals--the colors and settings, the outrageous dress, and the fantastic score of Nino Rota, makes it seem as if Italy is the most exotic place on earth.

The first time I watched this film I was a bit put off by some of the events that didn't always make sense, as well as the annoying white subtitles that are difficult to read. But there was something about it that compelled me to watch again. I'm still not sure I understand the ending, or the role of the tall Spaniard, but there are many subtle and wonderful things happening.

The music of Rota is simply captivating. Most of it is carried by a lilting, swinging clarinet and a quirky organ in an unlikely but very rich marriage. I'm disappointed to find there is apparently no film score available on CD.

The viewer is treated to the whole litany and range of emotions of a woman suspecting her husband of cheating--and Guilietta Masina, in a great performance, tells it all in her face.

Guilietta also has visions. Her penchant for the spirts, along with the urging of her kooky friends, ("S/he only comes every seven years!") leads her to visit a spiritual charlatan, a phony guru, in a memorable and hilarious scene. "
"Isn't it an apple?"
"No dear, you must see beyond material form."

Guilietta's friends also try to persuade her to experience love beyond her marriage. I shan't tell the result but, again, Fellini treats the viewer to many, many exotic and unexpected scenes.

Finally, this film also explores the relationships of Guilietta to her husband, her mother and sisters, her friends, her husband's friends and her maids. In a sense, this is very much a woman's film. But it's more; it's surreal; it's certainly one for those tired of boring, contemporary films.

4-0 out of 5 stars FELLINI'S BEST FILM?
Federico Fellini's films often reflected an enticing and disturbing dreamworld. "JULIET OF THE SPIRITS" is his first color film and it is a delight to see the bright, vivid colors again. All previous existing prints on tape were deplorable transfers.

Simply put, the story focuses on a wealthy Italian housewife in her 30s and the interior metamorphosis she undergoes as she experiences the passages, events and changes in her life, most notably her husband's unfaithfulness. A husband she loves. No words can do justice to the stunning visuals -- cinematography, costumes and production design.

Many film buffs consider this Fellini's best film -- even better than his autobiographical "81/2" -- a film that is in many ways the psychological flip side of "Juliet."

Fellini was one of only a handful of world class filmmakers that was fully actualized as an artist. He could not only break the rules, but make new ones. And no one excelled better than he in visualizing an elliptical, ephemeral dreamstate that still speaks to our deepest feelings in a unique and fresh style.

Nina Rota's fantastical score raises the intensity of the images and nuances the fleeting emotions. See this great movie for the first time and discover a genius and humanist who painted with light.

Thanks to Criterion for continuing the tradition of gathering the greatest films from the finest filmmakers around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements.

4-0 out of 5 stars Who Doesn't Daydream...?
....It's a Fellini Cine, babes!

I was--like I have been while watching other foriegn films--put off initially by the seemingly incongruous little snippets of music and visuals. I mean, couldn't those Europeans make a movie that flowed better? Jeez! I open my mind, watched it a few times and came to these conclusions. First, Giulietta, the actress, must have been a bit off to have done this apparently semi-real story abouat a middle aged woman married to a famous director who she suspects is having an affair. I mean, she was married to Fellini when this was produced. Second, albeit the digital reprocessing has made the cinema more vivid and the costuming more striking, the women more sexier, it showed it's date. When Juliet goes to confront the lady about l'affair, she should have kick the B*'s tail. That probably would have been the response for a character in a current day movie. Third, in an odd sort of way, it all but helps a more modern Eyes Wide Open to make some kind of sense. I mean, who can say how we will respond when a whiff of infidelity comes into our relationships, our lives? Juliet's response were these visions. Some of these were from her far away youth. Some just were pure Fellini bacchanalia. Tom Cruise in Eyes was thinking well, if my wife can *think* it, well, I can just *do* it and be one up on her. It starts for Tom as 'getting even', but it corrodes into something else that he had no control over. (I always say we are forever one step from a huge disaster and we don't know it....) We see Juliet almost giving into her urges with the pretty Latin kid who she meets at her neighbor's...but something just doesn't feel right.

And so, that's what this film is about. What we go thru when we suspect something or hear some painful news. We have the brilliant Guilietta Masina and the surreal Fellini to thank for giving these emotions some sort of form..

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Fellini's best films
I started watching Fellini films as a young teen, seeing the older ones in the revival theatres, and eagerly anticipating his newest films. Juliet of the Spirits is truly my favorite Fellini film. The camera visuals and color are stunning. The wide screen format is imperative. I only wish that Criterion had also added the (bad) English language soundtrack. It's better for first time viewers. Some of Fellini's imagery is easily missed by reading too many subtitles.

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Filmed Nonsense
While I admire the cinematic beauty of "Nights of Cabiria" and even its plot (as threadbare as it is, it's still good fun), by the time Fellini got to Juliet of the Spirits, he had really run out of things to say. Early on in the movie, there are harbingers of a plot, some suspense and even something verging on high drama, but none of these pan out, and instead we are left with.......a mess.

Giulietta Masina is a very great actress, it is just that there wasn't much material for her to work with. It is too bad she hitched her wagon to husband Fellini's star her entire career, because if she were just in a few movies with plots, character development and finely crafted dialogue, we could have discovered the full range of her talent.

In 1965, when this movie came out, there weren't so many movies about a woman's "midlife crisis" and her quest for "fulfillment"; By now this plot has become a cliche. As far as the story line goes, "Juliet of the Spirits" has got to rank among the worst, even losing out to the B-movies and straight-to-video films that are grist for the mill on Lifetime and The Oprah Channel.

And that is really a shame, because this is one of the most gorgeously filmed movies I've ever seen. Director of Photography Gianni di Venanzo's use of Technicolor is breathtakingly fascinating for its sumptuous use of warmth and its balance of colors and use of shocking hues. It rivals movies such as "Fantasia" and "Vertigo" for its artistic *visual* excellence.

Yet, this movie taken as a whole is rambling, unfocused and pretentious in a genre that is not too difficult to master. Some call Fellini's movies "surrealistic," and I have no argument with that. Perhaps my bourgeoise temperament lacks the patience to put up with it in two-hour-long doses. I prefer my surrealism in visual stills from Dali, Man Ray, Magritte.

The irony of it is that the best movie of the "woman finding herself" genre -- "Shirley Valentine", directed by Lewis Gilbert -- is filmed so dryly that it borders on incompetence. Imagine what a movie that would have made were the script put into the hands of di Venanzo and Fellini with a soundtrack by the great Nino Rota.

Altogether, viewing "Juliet of the Spirits" can be a pleasant experience, so long as one is concerned with camera work, editing, color timing and music. ... Read more


5. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Director: Terry Gilliam
list price: $27.95
our price: $22.36
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Asin: 0767809335
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2171
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Movie!
Terry Gilliam's mostly-ignored fantasy-adventure is without a doubt my favorite film to watch. The highly imaginative production (infamous for blasting past its budget limit, and for being underdistributed by Columbia) is an incredible film, a treat to watch again and again. A host of major British actors (including John Neville) team up with a menagerie of character players (Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce) to create the exaggerated, fantastic adventures of the 18th-century cavalry officer Karl Heironymous Friedrich Baron von Munchausen as he flies to the moon in a hot air balloon, falls back to earth into an active volcano, and then gets swallowed by a giant sea monster, all in an attempt to defeat The Sultan. Families: some immoral innuendos, brief female nudity, and a frightening incarnation of Death may make this one unsuitable for some.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not MY favorite of the trilogy
I seem to be definitely in the minority in these reviews, but I found THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN the worst of Terry Gilliam's trilogy (the other two films being TIME BANDITS and BRAZIL which I love). It wasn't a bad movie; just not a great one. It seemed to drag in parts. The first half hour of the film especially takes far too long to get into the story. Still, even Gilliam at his worst is often a lot more fun than most of the fantasy-based films out there.

The visuals are spectacular and you can definitely see where the money went (I read that this was one of the most expensive films made at that time). Terry Gilliam has an incredible imagination and is able to translate his vision to the screen. I was convinced the Baron could fly holding a cannonball!

The actors seemed to have a good time making it. John Neville uses the proper restraint in his roll to make his character believable while in unbelievable situations. Uma Thurman is incredibly beautiful as Venus. Robin Williams and Eric Idle have a lot of fun in their roles.

Aside from the slow pace in parts, I also am disappointed in the lack of features on this DVD. Where's the onscreen commentary or the behind-the-scenes features? Terry Gilliam did such a great job on the TIME BANDITS and especially the Criterion Collection BRAZIL, I'm surprised that a film that he spent so much time and money into lacks these extras. Perhaps even Terry Gilliam doesn't like this film as much as his others?

4-0 out of 5 stars The Baron Lives on
Anyone who can sit there and say thay never spun a tale or two in their lives has no imagination. The Baron is a man who has cheated life and death by being both hero and con man but still retaining a sense of "je ne sais quois" Robin Williams steals his cameo and plays it in his usual frantic way. Sarah Polly is wonderful as the child of innocence who looks up to the Baron and the rest of the cast is wonderful as well. Not a movie that should be missed especially by those who enjoy the mania that is Monty Python

4-0 out of 5 stars Baron Munchausen
See the lovely Uma Thurman years before this "kill bill" nonsense!

4-0 out of 5 stars Darn Good Movie
check it out. a great fantasy tale. ... Read more


6. Thieves' Highway - Criterion Collection
Director: Jules Dassin
list price: $39.95
our price: $35.96
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Asin: B0006Z2NDQ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 13843
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The rugged world of long-haul trucking knits perfectly with classic film noir dynamics in this sizzling, underrated picture. Navy veteran Richard Conte returns home to California, only to plunge into a revenge scenario and a scheme to haul the season's first apples to the teeming San Francisco fruit market (a place seen as a nocturnal jungle for the survival of the fittest). Lee J. Cobb enjoys himself enormously as the chiseling boss at the Frisco market, Millard Mitchell is wry as Conte's angle-playing trucking partner, and Valentina Cortese adds a bright, sexy exoticism to the multi-layered duplicitous dame. Director Jules Dassin, in his last American-shot film before blacklisting, shows his expressive abilities with shadowy interiors and road-movie exteriors alike. The punchy screenplay by A.I. Bezzerides, whose trucking experiences also fueled They Drive by Night, is a textbook case for the complexities of pulp--not apples, fiction. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars an excellent film noir piece.
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

"Thieves' Highway" is one of the most impressive moves I have seen in the film noir genre.

It is about a young man just home from the navy and his attempt to get revenge on a merchant that swindled his father and caused him to lose both legs. He spends his money to get a job as a truck driver and he makes a large delivery of apples to the merchant. But there are people trying to sabotage his efforts.

The film is well made, has great acting, and some very good on location work at the market square in San Francisco.

The special features are great also.

There is a theatrical trailer, an interview with director Jules Dassin, and optional audio commentary by Alain Silver, an expert on film noir. there is also a trailer for the upcoming documentary "The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides", a biography of A.I. Bezzerides who wroe the screenplay and novel that the film is based on.

This is a must see film!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Bright Light of Noir
Exhausting Jules Dassin film details the fall of rising man Nick Garcos---the turn towards hell of Nick isn't as intense as Glenn Ford's Sgt. Bannion in Lang's The Big Heat, probably due to the charm of Richard Conte---nonetheless, the film pulls few punches (watch out for the ending, though)---the film has moments as good as the first half of They Drive By Night (1940) and moments just as bad.

4-0 out of 5 stars terrific movie and great commentary
I'm a big fan of both film noir and commentary tracks, and this disk has the best commentary of any film noir I've yet seen. It's done by Alain Silver, author of several books on noir, and coeditor of the "you gotta have it" book on noir: "Film Noir; An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style."I was particularly impressed with the professional production values of the commentary. Silver will mention a key piece of dialog, and precisely on cue he'll stop talking and the sound level of the dialog will come up so you can hear what he was talking about. Several times I found myself wondering how they timed things so neatly.

Silver does a great job of pointing out the thousand details that make the movie work as a movie, the turns of plot that are typical of film noir, the use of darkness and shadow, the framing of scenes and placement of the actors, etc., etc.

Other reviewers have put in their vote for the quality of Thieves' Highway as a compelling and well made movie. I'd like to add my plug for the commentary track. In addition to being darn good entertainment, this is a movie that rewards careful examination and thoughtful reflection. Silver's comments are terrific guide to that reward.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent film noir through the truck lights...
Vultures prey upon the dead, as they are a vital part of the ecosystem that helps with environmental sanitization. Humans, however, are a different story, as they prey upon the living, the dead, and sometimes kill to accomplish their desired result. The reasons to why a person would go to great lengths to achieve desired results varies from person to person, but it often has to do with money. Jules Dassin's story Theives' Highway is an illustration of humans and their greed, which appears to be the motivation factor to break the compassionate fabric of moral value, ethics, and kindness in the true spirit of film noir.

Unlike film noir Thieves' Highway opens with Nick Garcos' (Richard Conte) homecoming during a sunny afternoon accompanied by hearing his father singing in the kitchen. Nick has brought presents to all of his family members and a bundle of money, which he has earned in order to settle down. The money should help Nick get married to Polly (Barbara Lawrence) and go into business with her father. However, this joyous moment is suddenly halted, as Nick finds out that his father has lost his legs.

Nick's father informs him of how he lost his legs, as he had done business with a certain Mr. Figlia (Lee J. Cobb). The story that Nick hears makes him cringe in anger, as he understands that Mr. Figlia had set up his dad through a dubious plan. When Nick heard the whole story he decides to return to his father's truck, as the man, Ed Prentiss (Millard Mitchell), who bought it had not yet paid for the truck. However, Nick goes into business with Ed and together they pick up some Golden Delicious apples that he intends to take to Mr. Figlia.

The life of a trucker means long hours, deadly and financial dangers, and very little sleep, as life on the road cuts between the driver and their family while they try to find a way to make a buck for their near and dear. Nick decides that this is what he wants to do, as Ed and he pick up two trucks full of apples in Fresno. The apples are to be taken to the wholesale produce market in San Francisco, which is described as a 36-hour drive.

In San Francisco the audience gets to follow Nick on his quest to find Mr. Figlia, an idea that never seemed to be fully thought through. Eventually he finds him and discovers that he is the man that he suspected him to be, a ruthless businessman that shows no consideration for anyone. The only thing that he seems to care about is the money he makes, which he is not willing to part with.

They Drive by Night (1940) offers a similar cinematic experience as Dassin's film, as it also depicts the struggles of truck drivers. However, Raoul Walsh's story is more glamorous, as the tale slowly drifts away from the tough life of being a truck driver. Dassin's story focuses on the job and on the characters within the environment in which they exists. They cannot escape to a better place, as it is their destiny to be where they are while they have to make the most out of it

A valuable side note is that the year after Thieves' Highway was released Jules Dassin was identified as communist by Edward Dmytryk, which made him blacklisted. As a result Hollywood lost one of their most promising directors and Dassin decided moved to France where he continued to make films. He made great films such as Rififi (1955) and Never on Sunday (1960). In the awareness of Dassin being blacklisted the audience gets to experience the films he made prior being blacklisted, which have terrific cinematic value. Thieves' Highway is one of these films that he left for coming generations to enjoy and ponder. ... Read more


7. The Barefoot Contessa
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.46
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Asin: B00005AUK7
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6379
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars What kinda answer is that against a 10 million dollar gross?
I'd not heard anything about this Bogart film before; as such, I wasn't expecting much. What a mistaken assumption! What a wonderful though tragic film!

It's fairly rare to see a film with an intelligent script and believable characters; the Barefoot Contessa has both.

Ava Gardner is beautiful, classy, and self-assured; she has high expectations for life and is not willing to settle for less. Humphrey Bogart does well as the character we might expect: a wise and worldly director/writer--the tough guy with a heart who befriends Gardner--the woman every man wishes he could have. Edmond O'Brien is brilliant as the PR flack to two men who can buy anything--except Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner). O'Brien is the crass American, always running his mouth, always looking at the money angle.

This film takes some broad swipes against big money and high society while retaining faith in big dreams. It has some of the most true-to-life dialogue I've heard in a long time. It is an unsung treasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bogart as Oracle, Gardner as Screen Goddess
Joseph Mankiewicz was a dialogue master as well as a brilliant director, as evidenced by hits such as "All About Eve" and "A Letter to Three Wives." He is on top of his game once more writing about a familiar area, the world of film, in "The Barefoot Contessa." This film is the number one showcase vehicle in the career of the astoundingly beautiful Ava Gardner, cast in this drama as Maria Vargas, a dancer from Madrid who is discovered by film director Bogart on behalf of his then producer boss, Warren Stevens, a humorless, ruthless financial giant modeled somewhat on the persona of Howard Hughes. From there she goes on to a brief and meteoric career as an international film star before meeting an untimely death at the peak of her beauty and screen renown. Mankiewicz pulls out all stops to display her beauty at every angle, showcasing that beautifully chiseled face accented by the elegant cheekbones.

Bogart plays the role of a world-wise oracle, delivering pungent Mankiewicz one-liners, along with snappy first person narration. He serves as a surrogate father for the restless Gardner, who detests the superficilialities of the film world. A free spirit, she loathes stardom's confinements of living in a glass house, seen by all. Bogart serves as a convenient buffer from Stevens, who Gardner, as well as everyone else, detests with a passion.

Eventually Gardner meets the handsome prince of her exotic dreams in Italian nobleman Rossano Brazzi, but the tragedy is that he is compelled to love her "with all my heart" and is unable to provide her with the kind of physical fulfillment she desires due to a war injury that has left him impotent. When she endeavors to fulfill his desire for an heir by having an affair with another man, he fails to see things her way and believes she has betrayed him when she had launched the affair to please him. Disaster results.

Fans of Edmond O'Brien, who performed with great accomplishment in the film noir classic "D.O.A." as well as in many other films, were overjoyed to see this fine actor honored with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in playing nervous, palm-sweating public relations man Oscar Muldoon in "The Barefoot Contessa." O'Brien is at his best in reading Stevens, who had treated him as hired baggage, the riot act when he is offered a position by a South American playboy with designs on Gardner.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great romantic and dramatic film!
This is a must see. Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner make a great romantic couple. This film is beautiful and dramatic, as well as romantic. It's in color, which is even more wonderful. Ava's costumes are gorgeous.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent screenplay. Great acting. Fine directing.
This 1954 film was written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz who sure does know how to make movies. In one of the very first scenes, Ava Gardner is dancing in a nightclub in Spain. We know she's great even though the camera isn't on her for one minute. All we do is hear the music and watch the faces of the people watching her. By the time we do see her, she's already in her dressing room. She's absolutely gorgeous and lights up every scene she's in. We see her character's rise to movie stardom and share the unfulfilled life she leads. And then, just when we think she's finally found happiness, tragedy strikes. It's a modern day classic drama with a story that pulled me right in.

Humphrey Bogart plays a movie director who befriends this "barefoot Contessa", nicknamed that because she was once so poor that she didn't have shoes. She prefers going barefoot and this theme is emphasized all the time, showing her barefoot whenever possible. Rossano Brazzi, who doesn't appear till late in the film, is cast as the true romance in her life. All of these actors do a good job, but I was particularly impressed with the performance of Edmund O'Brien, cast as a public relations man for a studio executive. It's a small part but I just kept thinking how good he was. Later I discovered that he won an Academy Award for this role.

It's the screenplay that moves the action. It never lagged and I sat there with my eyes glued to the screen wondering what would happen next. Considering that this is basically just a love story, that's saying a lot. I totally enjoyed the viewing experience. It's too bad though, that there were no features included on the DVD. It would have been nice to have a little more background. "The Barefoot Contessa" gets a high recommendation from me just because I enjoyed it so much.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rich Tones and a Sad Tale
In the film, "The Barefoot Contessa," Humphrey Bogart indeed is a cynic from the very start. He niether likes his role of being a paid screenwriter on the payroll of a very moody boss and his talkative associate (Edmond O'Brien), nor does he enjoy exploiting himself. Ava Gardner as Maria is a very grounded dancer in Madrid, who cannot make up her mind between wanting stardom or wanting the simple life in her hometown. She is torn from the very start and feels she never quite belongs to the Hollywood scene. Nevertheless, all the men, except Bogart and O'Brien, are after her beauty and want a piece of her fragile being, only to end up a fatal end to her short life.

The story is rather complex and if you don't pay attention to each word, you may get lost with what exactly is happening. Each word the player says is meant completely, and the film is dependent on each charactors wordplay. The actor Edmond O'Brien, for instance, uses this method effectively and grabs every scene from the film that he's in. He was fantastic in it and probably was the most humble of the characters. He really deserved his Best Supporting Actor Academy award for 1954.

Ava Gardner, sorry to say it, was merely a ploy throughout the film to pretty much show the masterful direction of Mankanviez (sp?). She was marvelous, though, and completely made the film the success as it stands today. People watch it because of her screen presence, not to examine Bogart's duantless growl or O'Brien's snappy chit-chat; it's Gardner's presence and appeal that really brought the film into status.

Overall, if you get the DVD, the clarity is remarkable and you can really notice how well Gardner spoke, see every grimace of Bogart's usual snarl and hunched back, and see some wonderful panoramic views that only Technicolor could produce. This is worth the buy; for the story and script. ... Read more


8. Day for Night
Director: Fran├žois Truffaut
list price: $19.98
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Asin: B00007G1ZE
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 10824
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Description

The leading lady is recovering from a nervous breakdown, another performer is soused on the set, unions threaten to walk, shooting must finish before the insurance lapses and a cat can't hit its mark. Is this any way to make a film? FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT's sly, humorous OscarO-winning Best Foreign Language Film (1973) that speaks the language of everyone who loves movies. JACQUELINE BISSET, JEAN-PIERRE AUMONT, VALENTINA CORTESE, NATHALIE BAYE and Truffaut star. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars The best film about filmmaking...
If you have any interest in filmmaking, just buy this film. Don't even debate the question. Day for Night is the best film about filmmaking there is. We have Truffaut playing a thinly veiled characterization of himself. Of course, Jean-Pierre Leaud is there as well as an immature actor. Plus, Jacqueline Bisset at her most beautiful.

The film captures the French's love of film - from the way that Truffaut collects film books to the way that Leaud spends every possible moment going to the movies. The best line of dialogue is when Truffaut says "When I begin, I try to make the best picture possible. Half-way through, I just try to finish." Anyone who has ever worked on a film set will see that some things are eternal - the way all actors are children, and all the drama that develops. More than anything else, the film captures the sad quality of making and losing a family. A film crew comes together for about a month, spend all their time together, become very close, and leave for the next project. No wonder no one in show business is normal.

I watched the dubbed version of this film. I usually prefer subtitles, but in this instance the dubbing was perfectly acceptable.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Making a film is like a stagecoach ride into the Wild West"
Day For Night (also called La Nuit Americaine) is a captivating glimpse into the mechanics of the film-making industry. It is a film within a film - the plot concerns the trials and tribulations (both human and technical) involved in the production of the fictional movie "I Want To Present Pamela".

We are inducted into the world of director Francois Truffaut and his motley band of cast and crew as they cope with the seemingly endless difficulties in trying to make a film they can be proud of in a limited amount of time. There are tempestuous actors who storm off the set, canisters of film which go missing, and even the death of an actor during filming to deal with. And yet, through all this, the film itself reigns supreme.

Day For Night is a French film, so unfortunately for English-speaking viewers some of the feeling is possibly lost in translation (either through dubbing or subtitling). However, the essence of the film remains, helped in no small part by some montage sequences set to Georges Delerue's wonderful orchestral score.

The film was made almost thirty years ago, so looking at it from a purely historical perspective, it might seem a little dated. However, to see it merely as a representation of a point in time is to miss entirely the message contained within the movie; this message being that films are timeless. So whilst we might smile nostalgically at the clothes (most of which are unbelievably tight), the aspects of human relationships revealed are as relevant today as they were in 1973.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this now, while you still can.
If you're thinking about it at all, you should buy this DVD as soon as possible, because it looks likely to go out of print. I read a news article this week saying that the estate of Truffaut has sued Warner Bros. to stop making this DVD.

Apparently Warner had the rights to the film for 30 years, which ended May 24, 2003. Warner released this DVD in the US on March 18, 2003, and the Truffaut heirs say this was knowingly done to get in before the deadline. Apparently excess stocks of books and movies are usually allowed to be sold even after rights have been lost. However, the Truffaut estate claims Warner released this DVD so close to the expiration of their rights that they are abusing this. They want a large amount of money and for the DVD to be pulled from stores, because they say Truffaut and his estate never got much if any money from Warner Bros.

However this gets resolved, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see this well made DVD, which finally offers the film in the original French, just quietly disappear from the market at some point soon. If you want it, pick it up now, before it's going for $100 at ebay.

5-0 out of 5 stars If your French is poor, be ready to read a lot!
As the film began, I was annoyed (because I'm not a great fan of Truffault). By the end I was in grateful tears. A truly inspiring film about making art. In it, Truffault rightly predicts the future of filmmaking -- that films would be made on the streets, independent of Hollywood.

Like any Truffault film, one must be in the mood to enjoy intellectual banter and slow development to get to the heart of it. This was very Altman-esque, with lots of activity and talk at once making the subtitles difficult to follow. Yet once I resolved myself to sitting close enough to read constantly, I was completely taken up with the beauty. Truffault brilliantly illustrates the experience of being an artist in a medium that requires so many tedious details to be taken care of. The actors are superb and the characters are developed brilliantly, beginning the film as the caricatures that they present to strangers, and becoming more developed as they get to know one another. The music was also a suprise, as instead of using it as background filler or to create suspense, he brings in distinct themes at certain parts to draw one into greater understanding. Long live the DVD format -- watching the accompanying interviews was a great learning experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Film by a True Film Master = a True Delight
This DVD of Francois Truffaut's charming 1973 classic "Day for Night" is a wonderful little movie - very bright, funny, warm, cute, inviting, entertaining, informative, and fascinating. In the mold of other great films about making films, such as Fellini's "8 1/2" and Godard's "Contempt", Francois Truffaut let's us visit the set of a French film crew at work - with himself playing the deaf director in charge. Francois Truffaut does as much acting in this film as directing. Indeed, just four years later, he'd star in Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" as the French scientist Lacombe. It's a sheer joy from start to finish and the humanity shines throughout. I loved this film.

The DVD is a nicely mastered picture with some pleasant extras, such as a documentary on the film by film scholar, Annette Insdorf (who always gives a wonderful introduction to any French film masterpiece).

Francois Truffaut makes wonderful movies and this is one of his best! An adorable movie by anyone's standards. ... Read more


9. Le Amiche
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
list price: $24.99
our price: $22.49
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Asin: B00005M1ZQ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 28617
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great DVD transfer of a disappointing Antonioni movie...
If you are a fan of the great Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, you have never heard of "Le Amiche" and are buying this DVD because of the director, you are in for a disappointment. There are good reasons why you haven't heard of this film! Sporting a great black & white DVD transfer by Image, the movie is an early effort that goes nowhere and is ultimately unsatisfying. While the acting is adequate, and it is amusing to get a good view of Italy in the 1950s, the story is poor and superficial (the film is based in a story "The Girlfriends.") Ostensibly dealing with the same subjects that Antonioni will continue to revisit in later movies, this one fails to get into any of them with any depth.

In summary: The movie gets ** two stars, the DVD quality gets **** four stars. If you can rent it cheaply, give it a try, otherwise pass.

4-0 out of 5 stars FIlm=4.5 Stars/ DVD=3 Stars
For those approaching it in 'historical reverse', that is AFTER knowing the 'Trilogy' ("L'Avventura" "La Notte" "L'Eclisse") and "Il Deserto Rosso", "Le Amiche" is striking in the way it prefigures nearly all the themes the director would continue to explore in his somewhat more daring works of the 1960s. In the character of Clelia (played by the beautiful Eleonora Rossi Drago) can be seen the ancestor of Monica Vitti's Claudia in "L'Avventura": she is an outsider, curious and compassionate, who is coming to terms with her own sense of self. Gabriele Ferzetti plays Lorenzo, a frustrated artist, much like his lost architect in the same famous film. And in Rosetta (Madeleine Fisher) is prefigured the enigmatic Anna go 'goes missing' on the immortal volcanic island. Yvonne Furneaux's Momina embodies the superficial leisure class characters with whom Antonioni will continue to populate his next three or four films. And Nene (Valentina Cortese) acts out the director's great theme of forgiveness.
But it is not just in the characters that "Le Amiche" points toward the future. There are many scenes of wandering, along city streets, or beaches. Casual sexuality it presented not for its sensual or aesthetic appeal, but as an empty attempt to connect. And the great chasm of miscommunication between men and women is on full view. Yet, even in 1955 the director knows that all is not black and white. Characters of the same gender don't really understand one another either. The film is posing a difficult question: is it possible to 'be yourself' and still need others? Clelia finds a difficult answer, while Nene seems to find its mirror image.
And speaking of mirrors, the famous Antonioni 'doubling' is here in germ form as well. In the very opening shot, Clelia looks into the hotel bathroom mirror while drawing her bath: she is about to find her self divided in her feelings about her soon-to-be new friends and her old home town of Torino. Later, she regards her reflection in a shop window mirror before deciding to pursue a romance with the handsome Carlo (Ettore Manni).
Possibly most interesting of all is Rosetta, who, in attempting suicide, is trying to 'disappear'. The film makes it more than clear that this character has no real sense of self: she is dependent upon the affections of a man and the perceived loyalty of her mostly vacant friendships. There is a telling scene with Lorenzo in which she feeds off his flattery. And, in a beautifully acted scene aboard a train, Clelia tries to help her understand the importance of connection to others, never realizing how unstable Rosetta truly is.

Antonioni would in his next feature, "Il Grido", begin to streamline his technique. "Le Amiche" has far more characters than he would later prefer, and they talk constantly. There are virtually none of the characteristic, nearly silent sequences that will inform his later works. Nor does landscape play as commanding a role it will assume in the 1960s. While the two main narrative threads of "Le Amiche" (Clelia and Rosetta/Lorenzo/Nene) will be reduced to one for nearly all his remaining films.
Complex, dramatic, and visually seductive, "Le Amiche" is not just a fine early work by Antonioni, it deserves a place beside his more famous achievements.

The DVD issue of "Le Amiche" is up to the best of Image Entertainment in terms of quality of the sharp and clean transfer. There are no extras to speak of, but it well worth having such a fascinating film in the new format.

4-0 out of 5 stars Antonioni's first significant film
Le Amiche was made in 1955, and was the first significant film from Michaelangelo Antonioni. This film follows a Roman woman named Clelia who, in an effort to improve her life, moves from the city to work at a small shop. She finds the lives of the small town is much less pleasant than she suspected. The women that she befriends are allowed to show a surprising range of emotions, especially for a film made in the fifties. The film seems to suggest that you cannot have a sense of self if you rely upon others. It definitely feels like an Antonioni film, even if it's more talky than his average work. The plot never really feels melodramatic, even though the events could easily make it feel that way. I would reccomend the film highly. ... Read more


10. The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Director: Mario Bava
list price: $24.99
our price: $22.49
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Asin: 6305907706
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 28147
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Stylish, athmospheric and suspenseful
This early giallo is high on style and athmosphere and one can easily see how Bava influenced Dario Argento. I myself am much more of an Argento fan then Bava but this little thriller is actually one of Bava's better outings.
The story is good and keeps you guessing until the very end and the finale is quite suspenseful.

3-0 out of 5 stars SO-SO GIALLO THRILLER.....
This is not a horror film even though it was once shown in America as "The Evil Eye". Instead, it's a very tame little mystery with Bava's giallo atmosphere and little else. An "American" girl (Italian actress Leticia Roman) comes to Rome to visit an old family friend who up and dies on her. She then witnesses a murder but there's no body to back her up to the police. So she starts her own investigation ala Nancy Drew style. A bland John Saxon plays a doctor who believes her and provides clues to the mystery. Lots of creepy set-ups but no action keep this one from being as good as it could have been. Not bad as long as you don't expect too much but it was way too dull for me.

4-0 out of 5 stars Smart, Funny Thriller with a Smart, Brave Heroine--Nice
Many fans of director Mario Bava seem to underrate this film because it isn't as violent or cynical as his later film BLOOD AND BLACK LACE. Personally, I find that to be one of the things that reccomends the film to me; that the film isn't a bloodbath full of loathsome people where the only interest is in seeing how spectacularly unpleasant their demises will be. Although there are holes and improbablilites in the plot, this is generally a suspenseful, humorous film, solidly anchored by the appealing performance of Leticia Roman as the heroine, Nora Davis, an American tourist visiting an old family friend and falling into the middle of a terrifying mystery involving a serial killer who has been attacking women on or near Rome's famous Spanish Steps for almost a decade. Nora witnesses what may have been the latest murder shortly after being attacked by a mugger, so people suspect that she may have imagined the whole thing, but she knows otherwise, and with the help of a friendly doctor (played very nicely by John Saxon), she sets out to prove it.

The result is a stylish, entertaining thriller, full of moody atmosphere and eerie set-pieces, such as Nora's rondevous with someone who can help her solve the mystery in an empty but brightly-lit apartment and the harrowing sequence that begins with the death of the family friend, continues with the attack by the mugger on Nora, and ends with her coming to to witness the murder in the Plaza d'Espana, full of rain-slicked streets and moody shadows. Here, Bava proves himself as stylish as anything in Hitchcock, and maybe more so. There is another shot that Hitch would have loved, with a group of nuns in elaborate habits hovering over Nora in a hospital bed, moving away to reveal her face; from overhead, it resembles the blooming of a big, goofy flower. This one of several subtle touches of humor that lighten the proceedings without ever disturbing the forward movement of the plot or lessening the tension. Indeed the film is top-notch in pretty much every area; stylish art direction, excellent costumes by Tania Grani, and a great score by Roberto Nicolosi. One should also say an extra word for the leading ladia, Leticia Roman; she bears a faint resemblance to Natalie Wood, and like that actress, she brings a quiet intelligence and intensity to her performance. Hitchcock would probably have liked her blonde beauty and appreciated her talent as well. But Bava got there first and got a first-rate performance out of her.
It's nice to see a smart, sympathetic woman at the center of a thriller, a heroine as opposed to simply a victim . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars I LOVE THIS MOVIE
While it certainly isn't MARIO BAVA at his best, THE GIRL WHO KNEW TO MUCH is a stylish and unusual thriller which pre-dates BLOOD AND BLACK LACE as one of the earliest examples of the 'giallo' style. No other country but Italy could produced a film with such a unique feeing and 'look'.
The VERY attractive Leticia Romain is excellent as the niave yet plucky heroine who tries to unravel something she witnessed after being mugged. Was it a murder, a dream, or an 'ectoplasmic projection' of a crime committed in the same spot 10 years earlier?
The black and white photography enhances the beauty of Rome and the under-rated John Saxon provides the love interest, some humour and a possible suspect as the doctor who befriends 'Nora' when she arrives in Italy.
A superb unsung milestone in cinema thriller history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Overwhelming movie - average DVD
In the liner notes by Tim Lucas (which are as usual
the strongest and most interesting entry in the bonus
section) we learn that Bava only reluctantly accepted
to direct this movie. Nevertheless, the result is
a masterpiece.
The plot evolves around Nora Dralston, a lover of "Gialli"
who travels to Rome for vacation but wakes up in a nightmare
which forces her to solve a murder mystery. The plot is
quite artificial, but that goes for most movies of this
genre.
It is Bava's direction which makes this movie an unforgettable
experience. Like Hitchcock (to whom not only the title pays
hommage), Bava is in the entire movie in full possession of
all the means at his disposition, he always finds
the right camera angle, the right shot to propel the story
and to create an extremely intense atmosphere of fear and
threat. Bava contrived almost surreal scenes such as an empty
appartment with swinging light bulbs and an eerie voice from
a tape recorder. The scene when Nora gets mugged at the totally
deserted Piazza di Spagna and witnesses the crime is one of
the most memorable scenes I have ever watched. In order
to provide the viewers with a little relief from the thrills
he has created, Bava inserts quite a lot of comic moments.
The movie has definitely had an enormous impact on movie makers
around the world. Most clearly, "The Girl who knew to much"
reveals the influence Bava's work had on Dario Argento.
E.g., the relationship between Marcus Daly and Gianna Brezzi
in "Deep Red" is somewhat reminiscent of the one between
Nora and Dr. Bassi in "The Girl ...".
This movie would have deserved a better release than the one
given by Image. The transfer seems a little too dark and too
grainy and could have been a little sharper. The master was -
with some exceptions - quite clean. The sound is clear.
This movie is highly recommended and the DVD is a must for everybody with an interest in Italian thrillers. ... Read more


11. Juliet of the Spirits
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $24.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00000JWW7
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 32302
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars "C'mon Guilietta! We're all waiting!" (for you to come out)
This is a film about a woman in her 30s--a well-to-do Italian housewife--and the inner changes she experiences through several events in her life including, most prominently, the infidelity of the husband she loves. But it's much more too.

Fellini's stunning visuals--the colors and settings, the outrageous dress, and the fantastic score of Nino Rota, makes it seem as if Italy is the most exotic place on earth.

The first time I watched this film I was a bit put off by some of the events that didn't always make sense, as well as the annoying white subtitles that are difficult to read. But there was something about it that compelled me to watch again. I'm still not sure I understand the ending, or the role of the tall Spaniard, but there are many subtle and wonderful things happening.

The music of Rota is simply captivating. Most of it is carried by a lilting, swinging clarinet and a quirky organ in an unlikely but very rich marriage. I'm disappointed to find there is apparently no film score available on CD.

The viewer is treated to the whole litany and range of emotions of a woman suspecting her husband of cheating--and Guilietta Masina, in a great performance, tells it all in her face.

Guilietta also has visions. Her penchant for the spirts, along with the urging of her kooky friends, ("S/he only comes every seven years!") leads her to visit a spiritual charlatan, a phony guru, in a memorable and hilarious scene. "
"Isn't it an apple?"
"No dear, you must see beyond material form."

Guilietta's friends also try to persuade her to experience love beyond her marriage. I shan't tell the result but, again, Fellini treats the viewer to many, many exotic and unexpected scenes.

Finally, this film also explores the relationships of Guilietta to her husband, her mother and sisters, her friends, her husband's friends and her maids. In a sense, this is very much a woman's film. But it's more; it's surreal; it's certainly one for those tired of boring, contemporary films.

4-0 out of 5 stars FELLINI'S BEST FILM?
Federico Fellini's films often reflected an enticing and disturbing dreamworld. "JULIET OF THE SPIRITS" is his first color film and it is a delight to see the bright, vivid colors again. All previous existing prints on tape were deplorable transfers.

Simply put, the story focuses on a wealthy Italian housewife in her 30s and the interior metamorphosis she undergoes as she experiences the passages, events and changes in her life, most notably her husband's unfaithfulness. A husband she loves. No words can do justice to the stunning visuals -- cinematography, costumes and production design.

Many film buffs consider this Fellini's best film -- even better than his autobiographical "81/2" -- a film that is in many ways the psychological flip side of "Juliet."

Fellini was one of only a handful of world class filmmakers that was fully actualized as an artist. He could not only break the rules, but make new ones. And no one excelled better than he in visualizing an elliptical, ephemeral dreamstate that still speaks to our deepest feelings in a unique and fresh style.

Nina Rota's fantastical score raises the intensity of the images and nuances the fleeting emotions. See this great movie for the first time and discover a genius and humanist who painted with light.

Thanks to Criterion for continuing the tradition of gathering the greatest films from the finest filmmakers around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements.

4-0 out of 5 stars Who Doesn't Daydream...?
....It's a Fellini Cine, babes!

I was--like I have been while watching other foriegn films--put off initially by the seemingly incongruous little snippets of music and visuals. I mean, couldn't those Europeans make a movie that flowed better? Jeez! I open my mind, watched it a few times and came to these conclusions. First, Giulietta, the actress, must have been a bit off to have done this apparently semi-real story abouat a middle aged woman married to a famous director who she suspects is having an affair. I mean, she was married to Fellini when this was produced. Second, albeit the digital reprocessing has made the cinema more vivid and the costuming more striking, the women more sexier, it showed it's date. When Juliet goes to confront the lady about l'affair, she should have kick the B*'s tail. That probably would have been the response for a character in a current day movie. Third, in an odd sort of way, it all but helps a more modern Eyes Wide Open to make some kind of sense. I mean, who can say how we will respond when a whiff of infidelity comes into our relationships, our lives? Juliet's response were these visions. Some of these were from her far away youth. Some just were pure Fellini bacchanalia. Tom Cruise in Eyes was thinking well, if my wife can *think* it, well, I can just *do* it and be one up on her. It starts for Tom as 'getting even', but it corrodes into something else that he had no control over. (I always say we are forever one step from a huge disaster and we don't know it....) We see Juliet almost giving into her urges with the pretty Latin kid who she meets at her neighbor's...but something just doesn't feel right.

And so, that's what this film is about. What we go thru when we suspect something or hear some painful news. We have the brilliant Guilietta Masina and the surreal Fellini to thank for giving these emotions some sort of form..

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Fellini's best films
I started watching Fellini films as a young teen, seeing the older ones in the revival theatres, and eagerly anticipating his newest films. Juliet of the Spirits is truly my favorite Fellini film. The camera visuals and color are stunning. The wide screen format is imperative. I only wish that Criterion had also added the (bad) English language soundtrack. It's better for first time viewers. Some of Fellini's imagery is easily missed by reading too many subtitles.

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Filmed Nonsense
While I admire the cinematic beauty of "Nights of Cabiria" and even its plot (as threadbare as it is, it's still good fun), by the time Fellini got to Juliet of the Spirits, he had really run out of things to say. Early on in the movie, there are harbingers of a plot, some suspense and even something verging on high drama, but none of these pan out, and instead we are left with.......a mess.

Giulietta Masina is a very great actress, it is just that there wasn't much material for her to work with. It is too bad she hitched her wagon to husband Fellini's star her entire career, because if she were just in a few movies with plots, character development and finely crafted dialogue, we could have discovered the full range of her talent.

In 1965, when this movie came out, there weren't so many movies about a woman's "midlife crisis" and her quest for "fulfillment"; By now this plot has become a cliche. As far as the story line goes, "Juliet of the Spirits" has got to rank among the worst, even losing out to the B-movies and straight-to-video films that are grist for the mill on Lifetime and The Oprah Channel.

And that is really a shame, because this is one of the most gorgeously filmed movies I've ever seen. Director of Photography Gianni di Venanzo's use of Technicolor is breathtakingly fascinating for its sumptuous use of warmth and its balance of colors and use of shocking hues. It rivals movies such as "Fantasia" and "Vertigo" for its artistic *visual* excellence.

Yet, this movie taken as a whole is rambling, unfocused and pretentious in a genre that is not too difficult to master. Some call Fellini's movies "surrealistic," and I have no argument with that. Perhaps my bourgeoise temperament lacks the patience to put up with it in two-hour-long doses. I prefer my surrealism in visual stills from Dali, Man Ray, Magritte.

The irony of it is that the best movie of the "woman finding herself" genre -- "Shirley Valentine", directed by Lewis Gilbert -- is filmed so dryly that it borders on incompetence. Imagine what a movie that would have made were the script put into the hands of di Venanzo and Fellini with a soundtrack by the great Nino Rota.

Altogether, viewing "Juliet of the Spirits" can be a pleasant experience, so long as one is concerned with camera work, editing, color timing and music. ... Read more


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