Cornel Wilde

Cornel Wilde

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Leave Her To Heaven Review


Extraordinary
The second half of a double feature shown at The New York Film Festival with Drums Along the Mohawk, and introduced by Martin Scorsese under the auspices of Scorsese's The Film Foundation as a restored three-strip Technicolor masterwork, Leave Her to Heaven, was clearly a film that Scorsese holds close to his heart. Scorsese could be seen at the screening in his seat, his head cradled in his hand, absorbing a climactic courtroom scene with vindictive prosecutor Russell Quinton (Vincent Price), as if seeing the damned thing for the first time, when you know the guy must have seen the film dozens of times already. It certainly holds a peculiar place in Scorsese's personal life. He related at the screening how he first encountered the film in the middle of the night in a big house in Hollywood. Awakening by a dreadful asthmatic attack, he switched on a colossal Zenith TV, and saw an otherworldly close-up of Gene Tierney on the set that hovered over the Los Angeles landscape through the window of his room. He proceeded to watch the rest of the film "through long gasps of breath."

Leave Her to Heaven stakes out its territory in the form of a flashback, as novelist Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) returns to a small lakeside town that has now become tainted with the aftertaste of murder. Homespun lawyer Glen Robie (Ray Collins) relates the sorry tale of how things came to such a pass and the film-length flashback begins -- noir fatalism in the blinding daylight. We are taken back to the genesis of all this misery, the ravishing but deadly Ellen Berent (played to evil perfection by Gene Tierney, in an iconic film noir role), who meets Harland on a train and quickly latches onto the poor sap, and soon her berserk compulsion for him drags the innocent Harland and his loved ones down into the dark waters of tormented possessiveness.

Continue reading: Leave Her To Heaven Review

Beach Red Review


Excellent
If you've ever been curious where Terrence Malick stole his flashback-infused war film The Thin Red Line from, check out Beach Red, a clear influence for the picture in more ways than one. What starts off like any other war film (storming the beaches at Normandy, an examplary series of special effects for 1967) rapidly turns on its ear, as the various soldiers are developed via flashbacks to their lives at home: Families, girlfriends... director Cornel Wilde shows us that soldiers are people too, and that war is more than just a few bullets traded on the battlefield. Remarkably soulful for a war movie from 40 years ago, Beach Red is underseen but highly worth watching.

The Naked Prey Review


Very Good
Truly disturbing, The Naked Prey has virtually no dialogue yet somehow required two writers to come up with it. The concept is simple: Men on an African safari manage to piss off the local tribesmen, then end up captured and put to death one by one. One man is fed to the cobras, another is covered in clay and baked over a fire (egads!), and another is cut loose so he can be hunted. The bulk of the film feature Cornel Wilde (known only as "Man") on the run, only a few steps ahead of his unflagging assailants. It's real edge-of-the-seat stuff, and though it isn't all that well made (Wilde also directed and produced) it's still a spine-tingling, unforgettable classic.
Cornel Wilde

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