Home Movies/Out on Digital: Aug. 17, 2017
Before a word is spoken, editing, facial expression and the music’s melancholy tone show a homecoming for a man lost in familiar places. Soon enough, the protagonist of this 1973 film by Italy’s Fernando Di Leo rekindles an old flame left behind years before. But then, the soft focus romantic-sex comedy takes a Lolita turn when he falls for her pubescent daughter. More emotionally complex than Stanley Kubrick’s scenario, La Seduzione critiques male attitudes toward sex.
Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt
In the last decade of her life, Hannah Arendt was one of the world’s most misunderstood intellectuals. But after her death, her core ideas about bureaucracy, ideology and morality have only grown more resonant. Ada Ushpiz’s documentary explores the controversy surrounding her description of the “banality of evil” surrounding Adolf Eichmann and her warnings against the danger of conformity, and the totalitarian mindset. In her view, Eichmann’s superficiality, his normalcy, left him open to evil.
Silent film was reaching the zenith of its artistry by the time of German director Ewald Andre Dupont’s Varieté (1925). A lost masterpiece of seduction and jealousy, painstakingly restored for its Blu-ray release, Varieté depicts hostility, humor, desire and despair visually—through powerful acting and artful editing. Much credit goes to the highly mobile play of light against shadow by cinematographer Karl Freund (Metropolis) and a cast headed by Emil Jannings and Lya de Putti.
“The Carol Burnett Show: The Best of Harvey Korman”
Comedian Harvey Korman played in several movies, notably Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles, but might be best remembered as the virtual co-star of “The Carol Burnett Show” (1967-1978), for which he won four Emmys. The latest installment of Burnett DVD issues focuses on Korman in a variety of settings. Included are song and dance numbers, skits where he usually played Burnett’s grumpy husband and even a drag routine, high-heeled, sequined and singing like one of the Andrews Sisters.