Home Movies/Out on Digital: June 22, 2017
Gauguin: Maker of Myth
Canvas after canvas fills the frames of this documentary on one of the great visionaries of modern art. Paul Gauguin began as a collector before he decided to make his own art—and create new identities for himself several times over. Willem Dafoe narrates and Alfred Molina voices the words of Gauguin, who sought primal forces beneath the corruption of Western civilization, found modernity in ancient myths and “authenticity” in the lives he invented for himself.
The Paradine Case
The jail door slams shut with a dismal thud: a beautiful foreign woman is locked up, accused of poisoning her husband. To the rescue comes London’s star barrister, played by Gregory Peck. The case involves many twists as the tricky facts emerge. The big problem: Peck becomes emotionally obsessed with his client. Alfred Hitchcock assembled a top-drawer cast for this 1947 film, including Charles Coburn as a kindly solicitor and Charles Laughton as a swinish judge.
Man of La Mancha
In this colorful 1972 reinvention of the Broadway musical (already on its way to summer stock), Peter O’Toole plays Miguel Cervantes, a subversive playwright whose spoofing pantomime of the Spanish Inquisition leads to his arrest by the humorless Inquisitors. Tossed into a dungeon of desperados, he saves himself by staging a musical based on his character, the delusional Don Quixote, who frees himself from the prison of “reality” through imaginative engagement with myth. Sophia Loren costars.
“We had faces then,” Gloria Swanson declared in Sunset Boulevard. The origins of the character she played (and satirized) in Billy Wilder’s classic of stardom and delusion are evident in this 1923 silent movie. Swanson plays a music hall star—a woman swept along on tempests of passion, a spectacle mad with desire, arms waving in weird spidery gestures. Her eyes implored or raged with spite. Yes, she had a face then, a crazily expressive face.