In the summer of 1914, thirteen-year-old Oda von Siering (Paula Beer) leaves Berlin to join her family and an assortment of German and Russian aristocrats on an estate in Estonia. The von Siering family home is a character in its own right, a hulking, neoclassical manor that hovers on stilts above the sea. Oda arrives there bearing her mother’s coffin and a gift requested by her surgeon father: a jarred, two-headed fetus to add to his laboratory of gruesome curiosities. Ebbo von Siering (Edgar Selge) sees himself in his daughter when she calmly and expertly learns to suture the corpse of a cat. What he fails to recognize – and what Oda luckily understands – is that their interest in science is their only similarity. His dedication to experimentation is linked to an appalling obsession with power and destruction, while Oda is genuinely curious about life. Her quick, quiet intelligence complements her humanity and her lucid understanding of right and wrong. When she strays from a family…
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Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) Boris Ingster, Peter Lorre, John McGuire, Margaret Tallichet, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Rising reporter Michael Ward is a key witness in the murder trial of young Joe Briggs, who is convicted on circumstantial evidence while swearing innocence. Mike’s girl Jane believes in Joe and blames Mike, who (in a remarkable sequence) dreams he is himself convicted of murdering his nosy neighbor. Will his dream come true before Jane can find the real murderer?
With a Song in My Heart (1952) Walter Lang, Susan Hayward, Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, Biography, Drama, Musical
Jane Froman (Susan Hayward), an aspiring songstress, lands a job in radio with help from pianist Don Ross (David Wayne), whom she later marries. Jane’s popularity soars, and she leaves on a European tour… but her plane crashes in Lisbon, and she is partially crippled. Unable to walk without crutches, Jane nevertheless goes on to entertain the Allied troops in World War II.
Senza pietà / Without Pity (1948) Alberto Lattuada, Carla Del Poggio, John Kitzmiller, Giulietta Masina, Crime, Drama
Late nineteenth century. Young Kohana is sent to Yoshiwara, a suburb of Tokyo where exercise the profession of geisha. With the money you earn hopes to save the family estate. When she meets Serge Polenoff, a Russian lieutenant, falls in love with him.
Coming of age story for two girls, Mary Clancy and Rachel Devery, who find themselves as students at the St. Francis Academy, a catholic boarding school for girls. The story spans three years and follows the girls and their many pranks including setting off fire alarms, smoking cigars in the basement and putting bubble baths in the nuns’ sugar bowls. As the girls mature, they gain a greater respect for their teachers and the commitment and devotion required to be a nun, leading one of them to make a life changing decision.
Jun’ai Monogatari / The Story of Pure Love (1957) Tadashi Imai, Shinjirô Ehara, Hitomi Nakahara, Eiji Okada, Crime, Drama, Romance
Junai Monogatari AKA Story of Pure Love is about two poor youths, Mitsuko and Kando, rebelling against society in various ways, who are desperately trying to be together despite tortuous circumstances. The film depicts their lives as thieves, menial laborers who can get little pay, society outcasts, and of course, lovers. Junai Monogatari depicts, mostly, their struggles within the Japanese reformatory system and Mitsuko’s worsening sickness.
Set in the early ’40s, a San Francisco prostitute is run out of town just as the second World War has begun to intensify. Mamie settles down in Hawaii, hoping to start a new life. Though her prospects look good when she falls in love with a science-fiction writer who treats her with the respect she deserves, the dawning war and the fallacies of her previous lifestyle complicate their budding romance. Mamie cannot fully remove herself from her former profession, and provides some of her old services to the sailors stationed in town. Searching for another means of financial security, Mamie invests in several pieces of real estate and becomes quite wealthy, though her bad reputation has not been forgotten by the locals.
War Paint (1953) Lesley Selander, Robert Stack, Joan Taylor, Charles McGraw, Adventure, War, Western
Lieut. Billings and his army patrol are ordered to deliver a new peace treaty to the Indian Commissioner, who is missing. They have nine days to get the treaty to Chief Gray Cloud or there will be war. Chief’s son Taslik offers to guide them. But as their water runs low and conflicts escalate, they can’t help wondering why Taslik is wearing war paint.
The Song of Songs (1933) Rouben Mamoulian, Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, Lionel Atwill, Drama, Romance
Country orphan Lily goes to Berlin to stay with her tippling aunt, and soon meets Richard, handsome sculptor across the street. Persuaded half-reluctantly to pose for Richard, her physical charms (shown as fully as 1933 mores permitted) soon melt away his ‘strictly business’ attitude, and they become lovers. But Richard, wanting his freedom, connives at her marriage to his wealthy client Baron von Merzbach… whose household includes a jealous former mistress and a susceptible farm manager. Has Richard still a role to play in her life?