The True Glory (1945) Garson Kanin, Carol Reed, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Fallon, Robert Harris, Documentary, War

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British filmmaker Carol Reed and American playwright Garson Kanin team up to direct the war documentary The True Glory. The movie was assembled from actual footage of the WWII allied invasion of Europe, captured by thousands of different camera operators. Starting with D-Day, the documentary covers the major battles all the way to the fall of Berlin, along with personal vignettes. The prologue is read by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, with Robert Harris and Peter Ustinov providing narration. The True Glory won an Academy award for Best Documentary in 1945.

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Life Marks / La vida mancha (2003) Enrique Urbizu, May Pascual, Gabriel Moreno, Alfonso Torregrosa, Drama

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Fito, a truck driver, and Juana, an administrative assistant, live under the heavy pressure of the debts he has to pay off. After ten years of absence, during which he has remained silent, Pedro, his elder brother, shows up in Madrid, freshly arrived from England and eager to spend some time there with the excuse of re-establishing the brotherly ties and settling an account from the past. However, we assume he has more down-to-earth and darker motives, like erasing his own footsteps to prevent being tracked down by the police and by his accomplices in the diamond-dealing business. While Fito muddles through life and tries to make money outside the household, Pedro gracefully takes on his role by looking after his son, Jon, while a powerful attraction appears between him and Juana.

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Fallen (1998) Gregory Hoblit, Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland, Crime, Drama, Fantasy

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Det. John Hobbes is convinced that when killer Edgar Reese is executed, all of his troubles are over. But when people he knows and people on the street start to sing the same tune that Reese sang in the gas chamber, and those same people taunt him, he is told that maybe the cursed fallen angel Azazel is behind it all. Azazel is cursed to roam the Earth without a form, and he can switch bodies by any contact, making him hard to track. When Hobbes is forced to kill a man possessed by Azazel, he must clear his name while protecting his family and others from the evil, vengeful Azazel.

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Eskimo Nell (1975) Martin Campbell, Michael Armstrong, Terence Edmond, Christopher Timothy, Comedy

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Three young men, a scriptwriter, a producer and a director are called in by Benny U Murdoch, an exotic movie producer. He wants to make a new erotic movie starring a big woman – the “Eskimo Nell” of the title. However problems start from the beginning, the scriptwriter is a virgin, a lover of penguins and hasn’t a clue on how to write an erotic movie, each of the three main backers want a different type of movie – a western, an erotic and a kung-fu movie with different people in the main part. However problems really start for the three when Benny runs off with all the money and they have to make three different versions of the same film and try not to let the backers and stars know what has happened. And this is made harder when there is a clean-up-filth society breathing down their necks….

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Elizabeth I (2005) Helen Mirren, Hugh Dancy, Toby Jones, Biography, Drama, History

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Emmy-winner Helen Mirren and Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons star in Elizabeth I, a two-part HBO Films miniseries event that explores the intersection of the private and public life of Elizabeth I (Mirren) in the latter half of her reign, offering a personal look at her allies, her enemies and her suitors as she struggled to survive in a male-dominated world. Part 1 explores the middle-aged Elizabeth’s tempestuous relationship with the Earl of Leicester (Irons) as it survives a French suitor, war, treason, and illness. Part 2 follows Elizabeth through her later years, during which she had an equally passionate affair with the young, ambitious Earl of Essex (Hugh Dancy), who had been raised, ironically, by his stepfather Leicester.

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Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004) Ken Burns, Jack Johnson, Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson, Documentary, Biography, Sport

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The story of Jack Johnson is huge. The first black Heavyweight Champion of the World, 1908 to 1915, he was rowdy, smart, rebellious, and proud. He was also resilient in the face of unrelenting racism. And, as Stanley Crouch observes in Ken Burns’ Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, “There is nobody like Jack Johnson, because, first thing, when Jack Johnson was fighting, he could have been killed at any of his major fights. There were people out in the audience who were probably willing to murder him. He knew it, they knew it, everybody in the world knew it.”

Talented and world-famous as a young man, as well as essentially unbeatable, Johnson was champion when (official, as opposed to underground) boxing was a wholly white province, when the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Jack London, all editorialized as to natural orders, in which African Americans were humble and inferior, and Caucasians were honorable, strong, and always right. And yet, as courageous and frankly brilliant as Jack Johnson was, his story is frequently forgotten in the wake of more recent flashy sports and other celebrities.

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Dark Passage (1947) Delmer Daves, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett, Film-Noir, Thriller

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Bogart plays a man convicted of murdering his wife who escapes from prison in order to prove his innocence. Bogart finds that his features are too well known, and is forced to seek some illicit backroom plastic surgery. The entire pre-knife part of the film is shot from a Bogart’s-eye-view, with us seeing the fugitive for the first time as he starts to recuperate from the operation in the apartment of a sympathetic young artist (played by Bacall) for whom he soon finds affection. But what he’s really after is revenge.

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