Dennis Schwartz'
Short Reviews 
'V'  4


VERTIGO (director: Alfred Hitchcock; screenwriters: from the novel ...d'Entre les Morts by Pierre Boileau  & Thomas Narcejac/Samuel Taylor/Alec Coppel; cinematographer: Robert Burks; editor: George Tomasini ; music: Bernard Herrmann; cast: James Stewart (Det. John 'Scottie' Ferguson), Kim Novak (Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton), Barbara Bel Geddes (Marjorie 'Midge' Wood), Tom Helmore (Gavin Elster), Henry Jones (Coroner), Ellen Corby (Manager of McKittrick Hotel), Lee Patrick, (Car owner mistaken for Madeleine); Runtime: 128; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Alfred Hitchcock/James C. Katz; Universal Home Entertainment; 1958)

Hitch's contemptuous look at love. Stewart is the neurotic detective, afraid of heights, who is following his friend's wife. On this assignment, he finds out what he fears about himself. Hitch comes up with a film that is just a hair short from being top-notch. The story seems to take a long time to unfold, but it's worth the wait. GRADE: B+    videos

VIKING, THE (director: R.William Neill; cast: Donald Crisp, Pauline Starke, Le roy Mason; 1928 -Silent)

About the Vikings plundering the coast of Europe. Crisp, as Leif Ericsson, is vibrant, as he exhibits courage and good judgment. Egil, Leif's Captain, is in love with Helga, Leif's girl, and is jealous of the English slave she buys and falls in love with. Leif explores the unknown land beyond Greenland; and, as a strange twist of fate, his father, Eric the Red, wants to kill him because he became a Christian. This colorful adventure and love story captures the boisterous nature of the Vikings, as it claims that they were the first white men to step foot in the New World and that they raised a cross there. GRADE: B

VINCENT: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF VINCENT VAN GOGH director/writer: Paul Cox; cinematographer: Paul Cox; editor: Paul Cox; music: Norman Kaye; cast: John Hurt (Narrator); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Tony Llewellyn-Jones; New Video; 1987-Australia)

John Hurt does the narration, as he reads the letters Vincent sent to his younger art dealer brother Theo. On the screen, we see Vincent's oeuvre of art work unfold until his suicide in 1890, at the age of 37. One of the most fascinating and exhilarating art documentarys ever made. It captures the sensitivity, wit, passion, and intellect of the much misunderstood Vincent, who is moved to paint portraits and later on landscapes out of love, spirituality, and a deep identification with the forces of nature. He derives great satisfaction from the colors he uses. From his life among the peasants he paints "The Potato Eaters" as he tries to contrast their life as being real, compared to the city people's bourgeois existence. He moved to Paris to study the Impressionists then to Arles, in the south of France, where he painted his masterpieces, "The Sunflowers" and "The Harvest." He cut off part of his ear upon hearing voices, admitted himself into an asylum; and, when he left that place, supposedly cured, he shot himself in the stomach, dying two days later. As a result of his ten-years of painting he sold one picture, and today he is considered a genius. GRADE: A+

VON RYAN'S EXPRESS (director: Mark Robson; screenwriters: from the book Von Ryan's Express by David Westheimer/Joseph Landon /Wendell Mayes; cinematographer: William H. Daniels; editor: Dorothy Spencer; music: Jerry Goldsmith; cast: Frank Sinatra (Colonel Joseph Ryan), Trevor Howard (Maj. Eric Fincham), Raffaella Carrà (Gabriella), Brad Dexter (Sergeant Bostick), James Brolin (Pvt. Ames), Sergio Fantoni (Captain Oriani); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Saul David; 20th Century Fox; 1965)

WW 11 adventure story about PoW's in Italy seizing a Nazi train to escape to Switzerland. Frank is more than competent for the part of the arrogant colonel leading the escape. Some good scenes, especially the ending, where Frank gets them to safety. Otherwise, your average war film. GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"