Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GREEN FOR DANGER (1946)

GREEN FOR DANGER is a delightful and subtlety quirky, but still serious whodunit set in a British country hospital during World War II. The war backdrop is especially interesting because throughout the movie V1 flying bombs cruise overhead. You could hear the V1's rocket and right before they hit the rocket would cut off and put it into a steep dive. So that meant when you heard the silence kick in you better get to cover quick! I thought that was a really inventive way to create tension.

The film starts off like a soap opera, with the different romantic dramas of the various nurses and doctors, but then a patient dies as he's being prepped for surgery. The only people present were the six main characters (two doctors and four nurses). An investigation is called for and rumors swirl that it was murder. That night at a party a nurse outright says that it was murder in front of everybody and a few minutes later she's stabbed to death! Scotland Yard sends in Inspector Cockrill to solve the case. He's a droll, quirky older gentleman who thinks he's way smarter than he actually is (he even accidentally causes another death during the course of his investigation!) and who's main means of investigation is keeping all of the suspects extremely agitated.

Not the greatest mystery, but an enjoyable time waster with good performances and a satisfying ending.

Monday, October 26, 2015

FLOATING CLOUDS (1955)

Bust out yer handkerchiefs!  This is a sad one.

1946.  Looking to escape her brother-in-law who "violated" her, 22-year-old Yukiko (Hideko Takamine) takes a job as a typist in Indochina.  While there she falls in love with co-worker Tomioka (Masayuki Mori) who's not only married, but also a womanizing playboy as well.  Eventually he goes back to his wife in Japan and Yukiko follows.  She's brokenhearted and endlessly pines away for this guy.  As the years pass they both have relationships with other people but still end up together over and over and over again.  It's kind of fascinating in a way because while they're obviously not good for each other (and they know it) they've somehow grown this unbreakable bond that prevents them from ever being apart for too long.

This is only my second Mikio Naruse film and I thought it was fantastic.  Not only was it an engaging story but it features three of the top actors from WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS!  Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori and Daisuke Kato...how cool is that?!  Now I can't wait to see what other Naruse films I can locate.  Anyway, back to FLOATING CLOUDS...I really enjoyed Naruse's naturalistic style and how he kept showing the two main characters walking side-by-side.  It almost seemed like a way to show the passage of time.  Anyway, while the direction was masterful I was once again captivated by Hideko Takamine's performance.  She conveys so much with just her face and body language.  It's beautiful to watch.  Masayuki Mori ain't too shabby either.  

Highly recommended, but very depressing.