The Iron Mistress (1952) Gordon Douglas, Alan Ladd, Virginia Mayo, Joseph Calleia, Action, Adventure, Biography
Barely historical presentation of the life of Jim Bowie. Here he goes to New Orleans to sell lumber but falls in love with Judalon. To match his rivals he must become sophisticated and does so. By the time he sells the mill, starts a plantation and tries to wed Jedualon the woman has wed playboy Phillipe. Along the way to true wisdom he designs a special knife made from part of a meteorite.
Joe Hill (1971) Bo Widerberg, Thommy Berggren, Anja Schmidt, Kelvin Malave, Biography, Drama, History
In the early 1900’s, the legendary Joe Hill emigrates with his brother to the United States. But after a short time, he loses touch with his brother. Joe gets a few jobs but is struck by all the injustice and tragedy going on. He becomes active in the forbidden union IWW, a union for workers without trades. It is forbidden to demonstrate and to speak in public but Joe gets around that by singing his manifests with the Salvation Army. He manages to get more and more people to get on strike with him but he also makes powerful enemies doing that. Finally he gets connected with a murder and during the trial he fires his lawyer and takes upon himself to become his own defender.
American journalist John Reed (Warren Beatty) journeys to Russia to document the Boleshevik Revolution and returns a revolutionary. His fervor for left-wing politics leads him to Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton), then married, who will become a feminist icon and activist. Politics at home become more complicated as the rift grows between reality and Reed’s ideals. Bryant takes up with a cynical playwright (Jack Nicholson), and Reed returns to Russia, where his health declines.
Die Gebrüder Skladanowsky / A Trick of the Light (1995) Wim Wenders, Stefan Barber, Wiebke Bayer, Nadine Büttner, Biography, Drama, Documentary
A rare gem of cinematic storytelling that weaves docudrama, fictional reenactment, and experimental photography into a powerful, reflective work on the early days of German cinema. The film tells the story of the Skladanowsky Brothers, the German-born duo responsible for inventing the “bioskop”, an early version of the film projector.
Impromptu (1991) James Lapine, Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin, Biography, Comedy, Music, Romance
1830s Paris. Novelist George Sand, who is known to be writing her memoirs, is causing a sensation in the literary scene not only for the quality of her writing, but because of her extreme views and manners, including blurring the lines between the sexes – she generally wearing men’s clothes – and her non-belief in the sanctity of marriage after having gone through the institution once before, now preferring sexual liaisons outside of her own wedlock, with the marital status of her lovers of no concern to her. She is just coming to the end of a turbulent affair with Félicien Mallefille, who she is now trying to avoid in his continual pursuit of her. Despite thinking it will be a bore because of their insufferable hostess, she invites herself to a weekend gathering of some of France’s greatest artistic and creative minds – many who are attending solely for a weekend of free food – at the country estate of the Duke and Duchess D’Antan in Angers. George’s want to attend is largely to get …
The Robin Hood of El Dorado (1936) William A. Wellman, Warner Baxter, Ann Loring, Bruce Cabot, Biography, Drama, History
In the 1840’s Mexico has ceded California to the United States, making life nearly impossible for the Mexican population due to the influx of land and gold-crazy Americans. Farmer Joaquin Murrieta revenges the death of his wife against the four Americans who killed her and is branded an outlaw. The reward for his capture is increased as he subsequently kills the men who brutally murder his brother. Joining with bandit Three Fingered Jack, Murrieta raises an army of disaffected Mexicans and goes on a rampage against the Americans, finally forcing his erstwhile friend, Bill Warren, to lead a posse against him.
In 1914, with men gone to war, Marcel Proust hired Céleste Albaret as his attendant. More than eight years later, she was at his side when he died. During this entire time, she only entered his room when he rang for her, sleeping from 9 AM to 3 PM to wait during the night while he wrote. Marcel uses her as more than a servant: she is his muse, telling stories of her childhood to stir his remembrance of things past; she’s in cahoots with him as he manipulates those he wants to draw on for his writing; she listens appalled to his descriptions of the underside of Paris. Hers is a life of love and sweet devotion as he races time to finish his work before death.
Chariots of Fire (1981) Hugh Hudson, Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell, Biography, Drama, Sport
In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Christian born to Scottish missionaries in China, sees running as part of his worship of God’s glory and refuses to train or compete on the Sabbath. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) overcomes anti-Semitism and class bias, but neglects his beloved sweetheart Sybil (Alice Krige) in his single-minded quest.
Viva Villa! (1934) Jack Conway, Howard Hawks, Wallace Beery, Fay Wray, Leo Carrillo, Biography, Western
In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father’s death. In 1910, he befriends American reporter Johnny Sykes. Then a meeting with visionary Francisco Madero transforms Villa from an avenging bandit to a revolutionary general. To the tune of ‘La Cucaracha,’ his armies sweep Mexico. After victory, Villa’s bandit-like disregard for human life forces Madero to exile him. But Madero’s fall brings Villa back to raise the people against a new tyrant…