Saturday, 4 January 2014

Movie reviews: ''The Last Laugh'', ''Marnie'' and ''West Side Story''

The Last Laugh (1924 movie)

Directed by: F. W. Murnau
Released: 1924
Country: Germany

Genre: (Silent film) Drama

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Short review: F. W. Murnau is simply amazing. From the artistic, creepy horror film ''Nosferatu'' to, ''Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans'', which is, according to my opinion, one of the most beautiful romantic movies that I have watched, he has always impressed me. ''The Last Laugh'' is no exception. This was also a beautiful film, a very emotionally intense film, and remarkably with only a single inter title. It tells it's story through the pictures, and there is only one intertitle (it doesn't represent a spoken dialogue). ''The Last Laugh'' is a film that delivers a painful and emotionally intense story, with strong performances and great direction by Murnau.

The story is simple. An elderly man who has worked as the doorman of a respectable hotel for a long time is reduced to the rank of a washroom attendant, as his old age doesn't allow him to work hard. He doesn't reveal this to his family and neighbors, who have always given  him a lot of respect because of his respectable post. He has to deal with the tragedy alone...

The film was quite an emotional journey and Emil Janning's performance as the protagonist was extremely memorable and effective. One of the most emotional moments in this film was when the old man dreams that he is still capable of doing hard works and lifting heavy things.

The fairytale-ish ending was also extremely memorable. I loved this film. The more F. W. Murnau films that I watch, the more I think that he is one of my favorite directors.

Marnie (1964 movie)

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Released: 1964
Country: United States

Genre: Psychological thriller, Drama, Mystery

Short review: ''Marnie'' is often called one of the last great movies directed by Hitchcock. The story centers around Marnie, played by Tippi Hedren of ''The Birds''. She is a thief, who steals from the offices where she works (she gets into the offices using fake identity) and then flees from the office. A man named Mark Rutland (played by Sean Connery) comes to know about Marnie. Marnie, ignorant of this, joins as a secretary in Mark's publishing company. With the passage of time, they fall in love, and Mark confronts Marnie and tells her that he knows her real identity, and blackmails her into marrying him.

But Marnie has mysterious problems. She is afraid of the color red. She does not want any man to touch her. Mark suspects that something must have happened in her past that has caused her to fear these things. He tries to learn about Marnie's past and background, knowing exactly what happened that made Marnie afraid of these things. 

Most of the parts of the film (the early part and the middle part) felt just barely enjoyable to me. I just liked it enough to keep watching it. I mean, I didn't really get what the story was heading to. But then. Then something happened that left me startled. The climax is not just a shocking revelation, but I also felt that the film has a very disturbing and painful climax. The ending was so strong that it made me feel that it was indeed a good film, it was quite worth a watch.  Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, and Diane Baker give excellent performances, and the screenplay is excellent as well. 

Overall, ''Marnie'' is, though not one of Hitchcock's best films and not even a great  film, certainly a very good film with a good story, good performances, and a shocking climax.

West Side Story (1961 movie)

Directed by: Robert Wise
Released: 1961
Country: United States

Genres: Musical, Romantic drama, Crime

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Short review: ''West Side Story'' is based on a play of the same name, which is inspired by William Shakespeare's ''Romeo & Juliet''. Robert Wise is a director who directed two movies I love: ''The Sound of Music'' and ''The Haunting''.

The film centers around two rival gangs, the ''Jets'', an American gang, and the ''Sharks'', a gang of Puerto Rican immigrants. After many incidents, the ''Jets'' and ''Sharks'' decide to fight, planning to meet under a highway for discussions about the future fight. 

However, Maria (the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the ''Sharks'') and Tony (an inactive member of the ''Jets'') fall in love. However, their relation is affected because of terrible incidences that happen because of the rivalry between the two gangs.

''West Side Story'' was a lively, fast-paced, yet sad and thought-provoking film. The film's running time is 152 minutes, but the events of the film take place within a couple of days. It tells it's story in an energetic way, with a lot of songs and often sweet scenes with the two protagonists. I loved this film.

4.5 out of 5



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