Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Amnesic Leading The Blind

Movies in Review

Well blogspot has decided that I speak Spanish now so I'm writing this without a spellcheck. Just wanted to comment on a couple of movies I saw today, as you may have noticed I've had an awfull lot of time lately for watching films. First off is Random Harvest, based on the best selling book by James Hilton (one of the more popular writers of the 1930's & 40's). This is a very well done semi-tragic love story staring Ronald Colman and Greer Garson in her first post Mrs. Miniver role. Colman is Charles Rainer the heir to a prominent industrial family who loses his memory in the foxholes of World War One. The Germans capture Rainer and return him to the British after the war, however the military is somehow unable to identify him and he ends up in a mental asylum from which he eventully escapes. Rainer comes under the care of Paula Ridgeway (Garson), a music hall entertainer who calls him 'Smithy', takes him in, helps him escape from the authorites, and with whom he eventully falls in love and marrys.

Severl years pass and 'Smithy', on his way to a job interview out of town, is hit by an automobile and regains his previous memory, forgetting everything that has transpired over the last three years. Still more years pass and Charles establishes himself as a captian of industry with a strong sense of compasion. Paula eventully comes across Charles picture in a newspaper and seeks him out hoping to jog his memory, instead she ends up becoming his private secretary. The two souls come to live a tormented existance, Charles plauged by a sense of having lost something of great value from his 'missing years', and Paula by an inability to regain her pervious relationship with Charles. This film offers a well done unconventional love story that was much praised in its time as one of the best 'moving pictures' ever made. Actress Susan Peters plays a supporiting part in the film, she was later paralized in a car accident but managed to continue her career for a number of years there after in a wheel chair.

Scent of a Women is a wonderfull film directed by Martin Brest which itself recived a good deal of critical praise upon release in 1992. The film concerns Frank Slade (Al Pacino in a bravo performance), a retired Lt. Colonel in the Air Force and former member of President Lyndon Johnsons staff. Renderd blind by a gernade accident taken by most of his associates as perfectly representational of his life of carelessness, the 'old man' is farmed out to a neices family in New Hampshire. Charlie Sims (Chris O'Donnell), is a young man of limited means from Oregan, attending a prestigous private school in Franks area on a scholarship. Charlie is hired to 'care' for Frank when his family goes out of town over Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of the quite couple of days that Charlie expected, Frank takes the young man to New York City where he intends to take a final tour through the pleasures of life before killing himself. Charlie learns a number of life lessons from Frank, who (you guessed it) finds a new will to live through his friendship with the young man. You pretty well know the arc of the film by the end of its exposition heavey first half hour, but the journy the story takes really is worth your time.
Bradley Whitford, Frances Conroy, and a young Philip Seymour Hoffman all have supporting roles in the picture


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