Monday, September 23, 2013

2013: Part Seven: Cinematherapy 4

Thanks to the joys of bootlegged video, I finally obtained a really nice print on DVD of the 1978 TV movie Dr. Strange (my favourite Marvel Comics character). I saw this two hour pilot when it was first broadcast, and even as a wee tot I was outraged by all the changes from the source material. I'd read Stan Lee's Origins of Marvel Comics at an obscenely young age, and I knew the story told in this film was not the origin of Dr. Strange as I knew it. Regardless, as time has gone by, I've learned to appreciate the TV pilot's many charms, and appreciate the basic spirit of it, which is admirably translated, albeit awkwardly, from the comics. So I'd call this one a semi-guilty pleasure. Though dated, it stands pretty well on its own apart from the comic. And Doc is given a killer costume similar to the one in the comics, but for some reason, he's given another costume at the end of the film that's garishly ugly.

I recently picked up several great films on DVD. Foremost among these is Abel Ferrara's masterpiece, Ms 45, the ultimate rape-revenge flick. I've always loved this movie, and its star, Zoe Tamerlis (who sadly died an early death) does an amazing job as Thana, the mute seamstress who becomes an avenging angel of the night after being raped twice (!) in one day. I also picked up William Lustig's finest film, Vigilante, starring Robert Forster and Fred Williamson, who contributes some of his best acting. Vigilante is highly evocative of John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13, and the mood it sustains is nearly as powerful as Carpenter's film. Next up, I received The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a beautiful bittersweet romance starring Catherine Deneuve, who in my mind could do no wrong in the 60s. The dialogue is entirely sung, and much of the music is quite memorable. Director Jacques Demy did two other musicals (though not with every word sung, opera-like, but akin to standard musicals), one of which, Donkey Skin, is among my favourite films.

Next up: Cinematherapy 5

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