Alexander Granach

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Nosferatu - A Symphony Of Terror Review


OK
Classic? Yes. Great? No.

F.W. Murnau's classic take on the Dracula legend -- or rather, the "Count Orlok" legend, as Marnau was unable to get the rights to Bram Stoker's novel -- doesn't even get the villain out of his homeland until 60 minutes into the 79 minute film. Gothic and very German, its stars caked with eye makeup, Nosferatu's heroes are shrugging and ambivalent, while its antihero is a ghoulish yet surprisngly ineffective menace. As a silent film, Murnau's title cards are incredibly over the top and uninteresting, while the film on the whole appears to be directed by a madman.

Continue reading: Nosferatu - A Symphony Of Terror Review

Ninotchka Review


Excellent
As a sex symbol, Greta Garbo may seem like an odd choice -- she lacked the drop-dead gorgeousness of subsequent Swedes like Ingrid Bergman -- but few stars have built or maintained a bigger reputation in Hollywood. A silent film star, Garbo caused a sensation when American audiences finally heard her voice ("Garbo talks!"). Ninotchka is one of Garbo's few comedies, and part of its success is because the script plays off of the actress' slightly stiff, very foreign demeanor.

Garbo plays Ninotchka, a Soviet envoy sent to Paris to sell jewels that belonged to a former Russian duchess now turned Parisian socialite (Ina Claire). Melvyn Douglas is a count who becomes infatuated with Ninotchka and tries to divert her away from her duty to the Party. It's not Casablanca -- but it's not just another frothy romantic comedy either, thanks to Garbo's performance and the clever screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett (who also co-wrote the legendary Sunset Boulevard and The Lost Weekend).

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Alexander Granach

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