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Filmtracks On Cue

On Cue for July, 2006:

7/31/06 - We're No Angels: (George Fenton) --Expanded Review-- "A more recent adaptation of Albert Husson's play "La Cuisine des Angels," the 1989 We're No Angels directed by Neil Jordan follows a 1955 film and a Broadway production. It's a tale of mistaken identity that the 1989 film blows up to huge proportions. As the story opens, two convicts of the 1930's era are repressed in an absolutely hellish prison with freakish guards and inmates. After their escape, they are mistaken for two lost priests in a town on the American/Canadian border, and they decide to play along with the game until they can sneak across the border to freedom from pursuing police. One falls in love with a local woman along the way, the other discovers religion in the process of playing the role of priest. The critics largely blasted the film for trying too hard to extend the humor of the mistaken identity, though others admired the pairing of Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn as the two convicts..." **** Read the entire review.

7/28/06 - Shadowlands: (George Fenton) --Expanded Review-- "Among Richard Attenborough's narrative triumphs was 1994's Shadowlands, a glimpse into the later years of admired British scholar and author C. S. Lewis. In his career of biographical storytelling, Attenborough would experience the full range of success, from the heights of Gandhi to the failures of Chaplin, and while Shadowlands is not anywhere near as well known as many of his other pictures, Attenborough's telling of the friendship and love between Lewis and American poet Joy Gresham is widely regarded as a nearly flawless film. Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger perform with heartfelt respect along with an accomplished supporting cast. Some of the lesser important facts about the lives of the two leads were altered for the purpose of pacing, but the plot stays true to the long distance friendship between poet and author that would eventually lead to marriage and the trials of illness. As usual, Attenborough's touch would lead to a film lovely in its English setting..." **** Read the entire review.

7/25/06 - One Against the Wind: (Lee Holdridge) --Expanded Review-- "A rather anonymous entry in Lee Holdridge's significant collection of docu-drama scores is One Against the Wind, a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie that received a handful of Emmy and Golden Globe nominations after its release in 1991. Notably one of the first projects ever to be filmed in Luxembourg, Larry Elikann's film tells the true story of Countess Mary Linden, a British aristocrat and former Red Cross nurse living in Paris at the time of its fall in World War II. Despite the Nazi occupation, she assisted in smuggling downed Allied pilots out of the country. Weaving in the Resistance and the Gestapo, the story outlines simple noble principles and was generally satisfying for audiences despite cramming a lengthy period of history into 90 minutes. While Judy Davis received most of the attention for her lead performance, the film is also regarded well for its performances by Sam Neill, Kate Beckinsale..." *** Read the entire review.

7/22/06 - The Giant of Thunder Mountain: (Lee Holdridge) --Expanded Review-- "Even by the standards of composer Lee Holdridge's usual television and B-film projects, The Giant of Thunder Mountain was a monumental failure. It's a project that centers entirely around actor and writer Richard Kiel, who most people will recall as the immense character 'Jaws' from the James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Believe it or not, Kiel's acting through the years has taken a back seat to his Christian faith, which has led him to spend much of his time spreading that faith and writing screenplays for films that essentially tell tales that promote those beliefs as well. Judging from the audience response to his story for the 1991 theatrical release The Giant of Thunder Mountain, perhaps we now know why studios aren't leaping at the opportunity to purchase these scripts. With practically no critical response whatsoever and a no-name studio and distributor, the film grossed only $127,000..." *** Read the entire review.

7/19/06 - Call of the Wild: (Lee Holdridge) --Expanded Review-- "No less than half a dozen film adaptations of Jack London's classic novel have been put on either the big or small screen, and this 1993 television version is just as anonymous as most of the other versions. This variation was produced by the American RHI Entertainment Inc. company that put many such friendly adaptations on the small screen during the 1980's and 1990's before the well-known Gulliver's Travels in 1996 signaled their declined. The bittersweet London novel involves a young boy who, during the Gold Rush era, journeys to the Yukon in search of riches after losing his relationship with his timber-industry father. Upon arriving, the man is befriended by a mistrustful native and, of course, the true star of the film: an Alsatian dog named Buck. Filmed in British Columbia, this version of Call of the Wild has no star power and suffers from minimal production quality during its 90 minutes...." **** Read the entire review.

7/14/06 - Buffalo Girls/Gunfighter's Moon: (Lee Holdridge) --Expanded Review-- "Among one of the more well known television mini-series of composer Lee Holdridge's career is Buffalo Girls, a 1995 Western production of immense size by CBS Entertainment for debut on its network. Larry McMurtry's novel was brought to life by an all-star cast including Anjelica Huston, Melanie Griffith, Reba McEntire, Gabriel Byrne, and Western perennials Sam Elliott and Jack Palance, and along with considerable money spent on its technical aspects, Buffalo Girls received countless Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. The story takes place in the waning days of the Wild West, as lead lady and mule skinner Calamity Jane crosses the path of Bill Hickok and travels to London as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to reclaim her daughter. Numerous subplots abound, and all are given the kind of lengthy treatment that only a mini-series can provide. Without a doubt, CBS knew the potential of the series come time for awards..." **** Read the entire review.

7/11/06 - The Tuskegee Airmen: (Lee Holdridge) --Expanded Review-- "Back in 1995, the viewers of the cable-only HBO channel were only a small fraction of what they are today, and among the budding channel's earlier in-house productions was The Tuskegee Airmen. Based on the true story of the American 332nd Fighter Group in WWII, The Tuskegee Airmen details the training and triumphs of the first black aviators in the U.S. military. As an exhibition of the bravery and sacrifice of black airmen, this film treats its subject matter as Glory did for the Civil War era, staying true to the facts of history where possible. For viewers, The Tuskegee Airmen is most likely remembered for its remarkable acting performances across the board, as well as its fine photography of the vintage planes in action. The film's downside was its lower budget production values, including a limiting 16x9 shoot meant only for television viewing, a 2.0 Dolby sound quality that remains restrictive on 5.1 systems..." **** Read the entire review.

7/8/06 - The Long Way Home: (Lee Holdridge) --Expanded Review-- "In the genre of documentaries and historical dramatic fiction, few digital age composers have quietly assembled as impressive a collection of works as Lee Holdridge. The composer's collaboration with the Moriah Film division of Simon Wiesenthal Center would be highlighted by The Long Way Home in 1997 and continue at least to Unlikely Heroes in 2004. Highly acclaimed and winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary in its year of release, The Long Way Home was the launching success in the studio's regular output of films depicting different aspects of Jewish history during the tumultuous years between the end of World War II and the establishment of the state of Israel. In this specific case, The Long Way Home examines the tragedy that occurred for displaced Jews after their liberation, with some refugee camp survivors attempting to reassimilate into the German population, some staying at the camps..." *** Read the entire review.

7/2/06 - Fedora/Crisis: (Miklós Rózsa) --Expanded Review-- "There are parallels to be drawn between the convoluted plot of Fedora and the actual, real-life circumstances surrounding the end of director Billy Wilder and composer Miklós Rózsa's collaboration in 1978. The film was Wilder's attempt to recapture the success of the concept behind his classic Sunset Boulevard several decades earlier. Once again, an aging actress is an elusive recluse, living on an island under a false identity. So obsessed with her beauty from Hollywood's Golden Age, the actress passes off her daughter as herself, even forcing her daughter to accept an honorary Oscar while she pretends to be the mother. A washed up director played by a frail-looking William Holden (once again from Sunset Boulevard) attempts to rekindle a working collaboration with the actress and falls into the mystery that tragically ends with daughter committing suicide and the real actress dying peacefully as a fictitious countess of the island...." *** Read the entire review.

Page created 8/10/06, updated 8/12/06. Version 2.1 (Filmtracks Publications). Copyright © 2006, Christian Clemmensen. All rights reserved. "Real Audio" logo and .ra are Copyright © 1996, Real Audio ( "Academy Awards" and the Oscar statue are ® AMPAS, 1996.