On June 28th 1389, at Kosovo Polje, an army of the Serbian Prince Lazar made a stand against the advancing Ottoman forces of Sultan Murad, resulting in a great battle which would later inspire Serbian folk tales and poems about courage, sacrifice, betrayal and tragedy. The movie was made for the 600th anniversary of the event.
La Patagonia rebelde / Rebellion in Patagonia (1974) Héctor Olivera, Pedro Aleandro, Héctor Alterio, Luis Brandoni, Drama, History
In 1920, workmen of Patagonia (Argentina), grouped into anarchist and socialist societies, decide to strike demanding better working conditions. Among the workers there are numerous European immigrants acting as ideological ferment of their peers. The situation is unsustainable and Yrigoyen government sent from Buenos Aires, Lieutenant Colonel Zavala to impose order …
Seven Angry Men (1955) Charles Marquis Warren, Raymond Massey, Debra Paget, Jeffrey Hunter, Biography, History, Western
Fictionalized account of abolitionist John Brown and his six sons who fought to ensure Kansas would enter the Union as a slave-free state. Firmly believing that he was doing God’s work, Brown was prepared to use force and violence to achieve his goals. His principal adversary is Martin White who organizes the raid on the town of Lawrence, burning it to the ground. Brown becomes judge, jury and executioner killing five of the raiders. Several of his sons disagree with him and leave. After completing his work in Kansas, Brown continues his quest to end slavery. His fervent belief that violence was the only way to achieve his goal led to his demise, convicted of treason and hanged after the raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry.
Ludwig II: Glanz und Ende eines Königs / Mad Emperor: Ludwig II (1955) Helmut Käutner, O.W. Fischer, Marianne Koch, Paul Bildt, Biography, Drama, History
King Ludwig II of Bavaria is frustrated, having to accept parliament’s will to join Bismarck, rather he his cultured Habsburg friends, in wars. His love-life being as fruitless, he seeks comfort in art. But building fairytale castles and an even grander opera for his musical idol Wagner proves so expensive, his cabinet ends up resorting to formally challenging his mental health, plausible as his beloved brother Otto contracted schizophrenia earlier. Tragedy now lurks in Ludwig’s prison-castle.
Set in 15th-century Italy, The Cardinal stars Matheson Lang as one Cardinal de Medici. Bound by the rules of the confessional, the cardinal is unable to disclose the multitude of sins revealed to him by one of his most influential parishioners. De Medici’s dilemma is compounded by the fact that the confessor has committed a murder for which the Cardinal’s brother has been arrested. The basic plot gimmick was good for another go-round in the 1953 Hitchcock flick I Confess. This 7-reel British film was based on a play by Louis N.
Triumph des Willens / Triumph of the Will (1935) Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Max Amann, Documentary, History, War
Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) is a filmed record of the 1934 Nazi Party Convention, in Nuremberg. No, it is more than just a record: it is an exultation of Adolf Hitler, who from the moment his plane descends from Valhalla-like clouds is visually characterized as a God on Earth. The “Jewish question” is disposed of with a few fleeting closeups; filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl prefers to concentrate on cheering crowds, precision marching, military bands, and Hitler’s climactic speech, all orchestrated, choreographed and illuminated on a scale that makes Griffith and DeMille look like poverty-row directors. It has been alleged that the climactic rally, “spontaneous” Sieg-Heils and all, was pre-planned according to Riefenstahl’s specifications, the better to take full advantage of its cinematic potential. Allegedly, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels resented the presence and intrusion of a woman director, but finally had to admit that her images, achieved through the use of 30 cameras and 120 assistants, were worth a thousand speeches. Possibly the most powerful propaganda film ever made, Triumph of the Will is also, in retrospect, one of the most horrifying.
Broadway to Hollywood (1933) Willard Mack, Jules White, Alice Brady, Frank Morgan, Jackie Cooper, History, Musical
Ted and Lulu Hackett are vaudeville’s The Hacketts, a fairly successful song-and-dance team. They bring their son Ted Jr. up in the business and he soon eclipses them. When the son is offered a starring role on Broadway, he arranges for his parents to join him in the show, but Ted Sr. is embarrassed to learn that he and Lulu are there purely in order to keep their son happy. They return to vaudeville, only to find that their duet act has gone stale with time. Meanwhile, Ted Jr. has married and had a son, but he has also fallen victim to drink. Tragedy strikes the Hackett family, and only the march of time will tell whether Ted III will repeat the failings of his father and grandfather.
Caligula II: The Untold Story (1982) Joe D’Amato, David Brandon, Laura Gemser, Luciano Bartoli, Adult, Drama, History, Erotic
The deranged Roman emperor Gainus ‘Caligula’ (Little Boots) Caesar (12-41 A.D.) rules Rome with an iron fist and has anyone tortured and exectued for even the slightest insubordination. Mostly set during his last year of his reign, as Caligula loses support due to his brutal and crazed excess, a young Moor woman, named Miriam, becomes his lover while ploting to kill him to avenge the murder of a friend which Caligula was responsible for. But Miriam is torn between her personal vandeda against Caligula and her own personal feelings towards him despite his madness and debauched lifestyle of orgies and bloody torture murders.
Two Lieutenants, Chard of Engineers and Bromhead find that their 140 man contingent in Natal has been isolated by the destruction of the main British Army column and that 4,000 Zulu warriors will descend on them in hours. Each has a different military background in tactics and they are immediatly in conflict on how to prepare for the attack. Nearly a third of the men are in the infirmary, as the welsh company tries to somehow survive with no help in sight. Based on a true story.
The Beggar’s Opera (1953) Peter Brook, Laurence Olivier, Hugh Griffith, George Rose, Crime, History, Musical
Authentic rendering of John Gay’s 18th century musical, filmed in Technicolor, about Captain MacHeath, a highwayman, and his love for too many beautiful women. Betrayed by Jenny and Sukey, two of his bygone lovers, and temporarily freed by two others, MacHeath is arrested and condemned to death. While waiting to be hanged, the captain is entertained by a musical beggar, who has written an opera of which the highwayman is the hero.