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All reviews - Movies (109)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 14 December 2011 06:56 (A review of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948))

Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Curtin (Tim Holt), cheated out of promised wages and down on their luck, meet old prospector Howard (Walter Huston) in a small Mexican town. They set out to strike it rich in the remote Sierra Madre mountains, searching for gold.

They ride a train into the hinterlands, surviving a bandit attack en route. In the desert, Howard proves to be the toughest and most knowledgeable; he is the one to discover the gold they seek. A mine is dug, and much gold is extracted. Greed soon sets in, and Dobbs begins to lose both his trust and his sanity, lusting to possess the entire treasure. Dobbs is also unreasonably afraid that he will be killed by his partners.

A fourth American named James Cody (Bruce Bennett) appears, which sets up a moral debate about what to do with the new stranger. The men decide to kill Cody, but just as the three confront him with pistols and prepare to kill him, the bandits reappear, crudely pretending to be Federales. (This leads to a now-iconic line about not needing to show any "stinking badges.") After a gunfight with the bandits, in which Cody is killed, a real troop of Federales appears and chases away the bandits.

When Howard is called away to assist some local villagers, Dobbs, who has become more paranoid, and Curtin constantly argue, until one night when Curtin falls asleep, Dobbs holds him at gunpoint, takes him behind the camp, shoots him, and leaves him for dead. However, the wounded Curtin survives and manages to crawl away during the night.

Dobbs is later ambushed and decapitated by some of the bandits. In their ignorance, the bandits believe Dobbs' bags of unrefined gold are merely filled with sand, and they scatter the gold to the winds. Curtin is discovered by indios and taken to Howard's village, where he recovers. He and Howard miss witnessing the bandits' execution by Federales by only a few minutes as they arrive back in town, and learn that the gold is gone.

While checking the area where the bandits dropped the gold, Howard realizes that the winds must have carried the gold away. They accept the loss with equanimity, and then part ways, Howard returning to his village, and Curtin returning home to the United States.

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The Princess and the Frog

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 14 December 2011 06:49 (A review of The Princess and the Frog (2009))

Tiana is a young inhabitant of 1926 New Orleans. She has held a passion for the culinary arts since childhood, and works two jobs in order to save money and eventually open her own restaurant. Charlotte La Bouff, a débutante and childhood friend of Tiana, hires her to provide refreshments for the Mardi Gras masquerade ball being thrown by her rich daddy, Eli La Bouff. Eli, the perennial King of the Mardi Gras, seeks to welcome Prince Naveen of Maldonia, who has recently arrived, as an eligible suitor to his pampered daughter. Tiana is thrilled to finally have enough to purchase and renovate an old sugar mill into her restaurant.

The disinherited Prince Naveen, penniless and unskilled, is nevertheless intent on marrying a wealthy woman, rather than learning a trade. He and his valet Lawrence encounter Dr. Facilier, a voodoo witch doctor who convinces the pair that he can improve both their lives. Instead, Facilier transforms Naveen into a frog and gives Lawrence a voodoo charm, filled with Naveen's blood, which when worn transforms his appearance to that of Naveen's. Facilier intends for Lawrence, under the guise of Naveen, to marry Charlotte in order to gain access to her father’s fortune.

At the ball, Charlotte flirts with Lawrence as Tiana discovers she may lose the mill to a higher bidder. Tiana then meets Naveen, who, believing her to be a princess because of her costume, asks her to kiss him and break Facilier's curse. Tiana agrees, in exchange for the money needed to outbid the other buyer. However, instead of Naveen turning into a human, Tiana is turned into a frog herself. Naveen and Tiana escape to a bayou.

Lawrence later proposes to Charlotte, who happily agrees, but soon the magic in Facilier's charm wears off and Lawrence reverts to his original form. Facilier tells Lawrence they need another sample of the prince's blood in order to prolong the spell, but discovers that Lawrence had foolishly released him. Facilier turns to the voodoo gods for help, with the promise that once Lawrence marries Charlotte, he will have total control over New Orleans and will be able to offer the citizens' souls as payment. The voodoo gods give Facilier shadow demons, who are then dispatched to locate Naveen.

At the bayou, Tiana and Naveen meet Louis the Alligator, who plays a trumpet expertly, and Ray, a Cajun firefly. Louis and Ray offer to lead them to the good voodoo priestess Mama Odie, who they believe can undo the curse. Mama Odie tells the frogs that Naveen must kiss a true princess for them to become human. They determine that since Eli La Bouff is King of Mardi Gras, it follows that Charlotte is a princess. The quartet return to New Orleans in order to find Charlotte before Mardi Gras ends, at the stroke of midnight. Tiana and Naveen realize that they love each other but before they can admit their feelings, Naveen is captured and brought to Facilier.

Before Lawrence (disguised as Naveen) and Charlotte can marry, Ray helps Naveen escape and steals the charm. Ray gives the charm to Tiana in order to hold back Facilier's minions, but is killed by Facilier. Facilier then confronts Tiana and offers to make her restaurant dream come true in exchange for the charm, but she refuses and destroys it. The angered voodoo spirits claim Facilier himself as payment for his debts and drag him into hell.

Tiana and Naveen reveal their love to each other and explain the situation to Charlotte, who agrees to kiss Naveen. Unfortunately, the clock strikes midnight before she can kiss him, but the two decide they are content to live together as frogs. After a funeral is held for Ray, Tiana and Naveen are married by Mama Odie. Because of Tiana's new status as princess, they are restored back to human form after their kiss. The couple return to New Orleans to celebrate and, with Louis's help, finally buy and open the new restaurant

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the lion king

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 14 December 2011 06:47 (A review of The Lion King)

A large number of animals gather around Pride Rock in Africa witnessing the arrival of Simba, the newborn son of the lion king and queen, Mufasa and Sarabi. Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, is displeased with the birth of this heir. As a young cub, Mufasa teaches Simba about being king. While touring of the Pride Lands, Simba asks about a shadowy place; Mufasa tells him it is forbidden. The lesson is stopped when Zazu, Mufasa's Hornbill adviser, informs him that hyenas have entered the Pride Lands. Mufasa tells Zazu to take Simba home while he gets rid of the hyenas. Later that day, Scar tells Simba that the shadowy place is in fact an elephant graveyard. Simba's curiosity is piqued, and he convinces his best friend Nala, a female lion cub, to come with him. Sarabi sends Zazu to keep an eye on the two cubs, but they soon leave him behind. They finally reach the elephant graveyard, where they come upon three spotted hyenas, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. The hyenas chase after the cubs, but Mufasa rescues them. Mufasa sends Nala and Zazu back to Pride Rock, and admonishes Simba before teaching him about the stars. Simba learns that these stars represent the past kings who will always be there to guide him.

Meanwhile, Scar plots with the hyenas to take over the Pride Lands. On Scar's orders, the hyenas stampede a large pack of wildebeest into a gorge and Simba runs away. Mufasa learns of Simba's predicament, rescuing the cub. However, as Mufasa attempts to flee by climbing the gorge's walls, Scar throws him back down the gorge to his death. Scar tricks Simba into thinking that Mufasa's death resulted from the cub's carelessness. Ashamed, Simba flees the Pride Lands, intending to never return. In Simba's absence, Scar steps forward as Mufasa's rightful heir and becomes the new king.

Simba collapses in the wasteland after his escape, but is found by Timon, a meerkat, and Pumbaa, a warthog. The duo nurse him back to health and take him in, teaching him their motto, "hakuna matata" (interpreted as "no worries"). Years later, as an adult, Simba rescues Timon and Pumbaa from a hungry lioness, discovering that the lioness is Nala. Simba learns from Nala that Scar's irresponsibility as King of the Pride Lands is leading to the suffering of its inhabitants. Still feeling guilt over his father's death, Simba refuses to return. The wise mandrill Rafiki tracks Simba down and summons Mufasa's ghost for Simba. The ghost informs Simba that he must return to the Pride Lands and become king; Simba refuses, but the ghost tells him to remember that he is his son and the true king.

Simba returns to Pride Rock with Nala, Timon and Pumbaa, who all agree to help him fight. While Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyena guardians, Simba confronts Scar on Pride Rock. Scar forces Simba towards the edge of Pride Rock to kill him, informing him that he killed Mufasa. Enraged at this realization, Simba leaps back up and pins Scar, forcing his uncle to reveal the truth to the other lions. A fight ensues between the hyenas and lionesses while Simba confronts Scar alone at the top of Pride Rock. Scar begs Simba for mercy, accusing the hyenas of planning everything. Despite Simba sparing Scar, the lions attack again, and Simba eventually throws Scar off a cliff. Scar survives the fall, but is attacked and killed by the hyenas, who overheard his attempt to betray them.

With Scar and the hyenas gone, Simba is greeted by Sarabi and Nala. Simba walks up Pride Rock and remembers Mufasa, then lets out a roar in which all the lionesses join. Sometime later, Pride Rock is restored to its former glory and Simba looks down happily at his kingdom with Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa by his side; Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub to the inhabitants of the Pride Lands and the circle of life continues.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 9 December 2011 05:43 (A review of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993))

Halloween Town is a dream world filled with dark creatures such as deformed monsters, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves and witches. The Pumpkin King, named Jack Skellington, leads them in a frightful celebration every Halloween, but he has grown tired of the same routine year after year. Wandering in the forest outside the town center with his ghost dog, Zero, he finds a cluster of trees each with a door which represents a certain annual holiday. Jack is drawn to the tree with the Christmas tree-shaped door and opens it which leads to a portal to "Christmas Town". Impressed by the feeling and style of Christmas, Jack presents his findings of the holiday to the Halloween Town residents. They fail to grasp his meaning and compare everything he says to their idea of Halloween. Jack undertakes several experiments to try to understand Christmas logically, but he becomes frustrated when he fails to understand. However, he realizes that just because he can't understand Christmas does not mean he still can't enjoy it; so he announces to Halloween Town that this year they will take over Christmas.

Jack's obsession with Christmas leads him to usurp the role of Santa Claus, known to him as "Sandy Claws". Every resident is assigned a task, while Sally, a rag doll woman who was created by the town's mad scientist, has romantic feelings towards Jack. However, when she is alone, she has a premonition of Jack's Christmas ending badly. When she tries to warn Jack of the imminent disaster, he misinterprets her anxiety to mean that she is worried when given the responsibility to make Jack's Santa costume. Meanwhile, Jack assigns Lock, Shock and Barrel, a trio of mischievous children, to bring Santa to Halloween Town. When he arrives, Jack tells him of his plan that he will take over Christmas this year, much to Santa's protests. After this and against Jack's instructions, and largely for their amusement, the trio deliver Santa to Oogie Boogie, a gambling-addict bogeyman who plots to play a game with Santa's life at stake.

Christmas Eve arrives and Jack prepares to embark into the sky on a coffin-like sleigh pulled by skeletal reindeer. Sally tries to stop him by releasing fog juice, but Jack is inspired by Zero's glowing nose and orders the ghost dog to lead the team. He begins to deliver presents to children around the world, but the gifts (shrunken heads, Christmas tree-eating snakes, etc.) only terrify the recipients. Jack is believed to be an impostor attempting to impersonate Santa. The army is alerted, and, using searchlights to spot him, they open fire on him with artillery. Jack believes at first that the shells are merely fireworks, set off to thank him; by the time he realizes the truth, it is too late. The sleigh is shot down and Jack is presumed dead by Halloween Town's citizens, but in fact he has survived the crash, landing in a cemetery, where Zero is seen finishing up reassembling Jack. Although he is depressed by the failure of his plan and the damage it caused, he realizes that his Christmas adventure has helped him to rediscover his love for scaring people. Having come up with new ideas for next Halloween and wanting to "set things right", he rushes back to Halloween Town.

Meanwhile, Sally attempts to free Santa, but fails and is also captured by Oogie. Jack slips into the Oogie's lair and frees both Santa and Sally just before Oogie can drop them into a fire pit. Jack then confronts Oogie, who sets off several lethal traps, which Jack nimbly avoids. Oogie tries to escape, but Jack uses a single loose thread hanging from the bogeyman's sewn rag structure to rip him open, exposing the bugs that he is made of. He falls apart, and most of his bugs fall into the fire pit. The last one is squashed by Santa, who then reprimands Jack before setting off to deliver his presents to the children of the world. Jack asks Sally how she got into Oogie's lair in the first place and he realises that she was trying to help Jack because she has feelings for him. When Jack and Sally return to Halloween Town, the citizens rejoice that Jack is alive. Moments later, Santa is seen in the sky, making snow fall over Halloween Town to show that there are no hard feelings between himself and Jack. The townspeople are confused by the snow at first, but soon begin to play happily in it. Jack follows Sally out into the graveyard after seeing the Doctor with his new creation. Jack and Sally sing a romantic song together and then share a passionate kiss on top of the spiral hill in the graveyard. Zero watches them from afar before flying into the night sky forming a bright star shape and ending the film.

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Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 9 December 2011 05:41 (A review of Tangled (2010))

A drop of sunlight falls to the ground and grows into a magical flower, with the power to heal the sick and injured. An old woman named Gothel finds it and uses it to keep herself young by singing an incantation. Centuries later, the Queen becomes ill during childbirth, and is fed the flower. She is healed and gives birth to a daughter, whom they name Rapunzel, whose golden hair has absorbed the magical abilites of the flower. Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel and hides her in a tall tower, saving the powers of the magic flower for herself, and raising her as her own child. Gothel knows that if Rapunzel's hair is cut, it will turn brown and lose its magic, so Rapunzel's hair is left to grow. Every year, on Rapunzel's birthday, her kingdom releases thousands of sky lanterns, in the hope that the lost princess will return. On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Rapunzel asks Gothel to let her see the floating lights, but Gothel refuses.

Meanwhile, a group of thieves, led by the charismatic Flynn Rider, steals the tiara of the lost princess from the castle. During the ensuing chase, a horse named Maximus is separated from his rider, the Captain of the Guards, and continues the search for Flynn on his own. Flynn outwits his accomplices and takes the tiara; he abandons them and stumbles upon Rapunzel's tower. Once inside the tower, Rapunzel knocks Flynn unconscious with a frying pan. She hides Flynn inside her closet and confiscates the tiara. When Gothel returns, Rapunzel requests, as a birthday present, a special paint made from white shells from a faraway beach. Gothel leaves on the three-day journey to bring back the shells. Rapunzel makes a deal with Flynn: a journey to the "lights" in exchange for the tiara. Flynn attempts to make Rapunzel end their journey by taking her to the Snuggly Duckling inn, which is full of Gaul thugs, but the thugs are charmed by Rapunzel, who encourages them to follow their dreams.

Mother Gothel sees Maximus riderless and worries someone will find Rapunzel. She returns to the tower to find Rapunzel gone. Meanwhile, the guards invade the tavern, but Rapunzel and Flynn have escaped. The pursuit ends at a dam, which Maximus causes to collapse; Flynn and Rapunzel are trapped in a flooding cave. Believing he's about to die, Flynn admits his true name: Eugene Fitzherbert. Rapunzel admits she has magic hair that glows when she sings. Using her power, they find a way out. Later, when Flynn goes to gather firewood, Gothel secretly meets Rapunzel. Gothel tells Rapunzel that Flynn does not care for her and merely wants the tiara. Gothel gives Rapunzel the tiara, insisting that she tests Flynn by giving it to him.

The next morning, Maximus confronts Flynn, but to Flynn's dismay Rapunzel befriends the horse. The three arrive at the kingdom and that night Flynn takes Rapunzel to see the lanterns. There, Rapunzel gives Flynn back the tiara. Flynn spies the Stabbington brothers and leaves Rapunzel waiting as he gives them the tiara back. However, the brothers tie him up on a boat and sail him across the lake. They reveal Flynn's "betrayal" to Rapunzel as they attempt to kidnap her for her hair's power, but Gothel "rescues" her and they return to the tower. Later, Flynn is arrested and sentenced to death. Maximus brings the inn thugs to rescue Flynn, and Maximus and Flynn race back to the tower. From various clues she found during her adventure, Rapunzel realizes she is the lost princess and attempts to flee the tower. When Flynn escapes on Maximus and returns to the tower, he climbs up Rapunzel's hair only to find her chained to the wall and gagged. Gothel stabs him from behind and prepares to take Rapunzel to a new hiding place, detaching the end of the chain from the wall and trying to pull her away. Rapunzel's gag comes off and she says she will always fight, but promises to go with Gothel willingly if she allows her to heal Flynn. Knowing that Rapunzel keeps her word, Gothel agrees, but before Rapunzel heals him, Flynn cuts her hair with a shard of broken mirror. Rapunzel's hair turns brown and loses its power and Gothel rapidly begins to age. Disoriented, Gothel stumbles around the tower when Pascal, Rapunzel's pet chameleon, causes her to trip and fall from the tower. She turns to dust before she hits the ground.

Rapunzel tries to heal the unconscious Flynn; however, with his last breaths he declares his love for her and says that she was his new dream. Flynn slowly dies in Rapunzel's arms. Heartbroken, she cries, and tearfully sings the incantation. One teardrop, filled with her power, lands on his cheek and revives him. The two embrace and kiss. Back at the kingdom, the royal family has a tearful reunion. "Years" later, Flynn and Rapunzel are married. Along the way, the Gaul thugs fulfill their individual dreams and Maximus becomes a respected official on the Royal Guard.

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the 36th

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 4 December 2011 02:55 (A review of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin)

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (少林三十六房, Shào Lín sān shí liù fáng), also known as The Master Killer and Shaolin Master Killer, is a 1978 Shaw Brothers kung fu film directed by Liu Chia-liang and starring Gordon Liu.

The film follows a highly fictionalized version of San Te, a legendary Shaolin martial arts disciple who trained under the general Chi Shan, portrayed by the director's adopted brother Gordon Liu.

36th Chamber of Shaolin is widely considered to be one of the greatest kung fu films and a turning point in its director's and star's careers.[1][2][3] It was followed by Return to the 36th Chamber, which was more comedic in presentation and featured Gordon Liu as the new main character with another actor in the smaller role of San Te, and Disciples of the 36th Chamber. A young student named San Te is drawn by his activist teacher into the local rebellion against the Manchu government. The government officials suppress the uprising and liquidate the school, killing friends and family members as well. San Te seeks vengeance. Wounded in an attack by Manchu henchmen, he flees to the Shaolin temple and seeks training in kung fu. Initially the Buddhist monks reject him, since he is an outsider, but the chief abbot takes mercy on the young man and lets him stay. One year later, he begins his martial arts training in the temple's 35 chambers and advances more rapidly than any previous student. Along the way, he is depicted as inventing the three section staff.

However, as San Te nears the end of his education, the temple officially exiles him as a surreptitious way to allow him to aid the people against the oppressors. He returns to the outside world, namely to his hometown, and assists the people by teaching them martial arts. Before the political revolution he is inspiring to complete, he is forced into conflict with the Manchu governor. Finally, he triumphs and returns to the Shaolin temple, where he establishes the 36th chamber, a special martial arts class for laypeople to learn kung fu.

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prison on fire

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 4 December 2011 02:54 (A review of Prison on Fire II)

The plot mostly involves the two main characters, Ching and Yiu and problems they face with Mickey, a fellow inmate and "Assassin", a prison guard. Yiu is sentenced to three years for manslaughter. In a fight for his father, he pushed a man that was then run over by a bus.

Ching was sent to prison for killing his wife for being a prostitute.

During the end of the film, inmates decide to go on hunger strike to protest against the cigarette price rise, this causes problems with Assassin.

Ching bit Surface's ear off and gets an extended sentence, continued on Prison on Fire II, Yiu is released later on.
[edit] Cast

Chow Yun-fat
Tony Leung Ka-fai
Roy Cheung
Ng Chi Hung
Shing Fui-On

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Escape from Alcatraz

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 4 December 2011 02:53 (A review of Escape from Alcatraz)


Clint Eastwood as Frank Lee Morris
Jack Thibeau as Clarence Anglin
Fred Ward as John Anglin
Patrick McGoohan as the Warden
Larry Hankin as Charlie Butts
Paul Benjamin as English
Frank Ronzio as Litmus
Roberts Blossom as Chester "Doc" Dalton
Bruce M. Fischer as Wolf Grace

Ward made his first starring role in a motion picture. Siegel makes a cameo appearance as the prison doctor. Danny Glover makes his film debut in a brief appearance as an inmate.
[edit] Production
[edit] Screenplay

Screenwriter Richard Tuggle spent six months researching and writing a screenplay based on the 1963 non-fiction account by J. Campbell Bruce.[3] He went to the Writers Guild and received a list of literary agents who would accept unsolicited manuscripts. He submitted a copy to each, and also to anybody else in the business that he could cajole into reading it. Everyone rejected it, saying it had poor dialogue and characters, lacked a love interest, and that the public was not interested in prison stories. Tuggle decided to bypass producers and executives and deal directly with filmmakers. He called the agent for director Don Siegel and lied, saying he had met Siegel at a party and the director had expressed interest in reading his script. The agent forwarded the script to Siegel, who read it, liked it, and passed it on to Clint Eastwood.[4]

Eastwood was drawn to the role as ringleader Frank Morris and agreed to star, providing Siegel direct under the Malpaso banner. However, Siegel insisted that it be a Don Siegel film and out-maneuvered Clint by purchasing the rights to the film for $100,000.[1] This created a rift between the two friends. Although Siegel eventually agreed for it to be a Malpaso-Siegel production, Siegel went to Paramount Pictures, a rival studio,[3] and never directed an Eastwood picture again.
[edit] Background and filming

Alcatraz was closed shortly after the true events on which the film was based. It is not known whether the three escapees survived, as they have never turned up.

Although Alcatraz had its own power plant, it was no longer functional, and 15 miles of cable were required to connect the island to San Francisco's electricity. As Siegel and Tuggle worked on the script, the producers paid $500,000 to restore the decaying prison and recreate the cold atmosphere;[1] some interiors had to be recreated in the studio. Many of the improvements were kept intact after the film was made.

The dangerous escape down the prison wall and into the water was performed without stunt doubles by Eastwood, Fred Ward, and Jack Thibeau (who had both been cast partly for their athleticism). Director Siegel twice thought they had been lost to the treacherous currents.
[edit] Reception

Escape from Alcatraz was well received by critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1979.[5][6][7] Frank Rich of Time described the film as "cool, cinematic grace", while Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic called it "crystalline cinema".[8] It currently holds a 94% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[9] The film grossed $5,306,354 in the U.S. during its opening weekend from June 24, 1979, shown on 815 screens. In total, the film earned $43,000,000 in U.S. theaters.[10] American Film Institute nominated the film under AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills category.

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Once Upon a Time in the West

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 1 December 2011 07:50 (A review of Once Upon a Time in the West (1969))

The film portrays two conflicts that take place around Flagstone, a fictional town in the American Old West: a land battle related to construction of a railroad, and a mission of vengeance against a cold-blooded killer. The main storyline revolves around a struggle for Sweetwater, a piece of land near Flagstone containing the region's only water source. The land was bought by Brett McBain (Frank Wolff), who foresaw that the railroad would have to pass through that area to provide water for the steam locomotives. When railroad tycoon Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti) learns of this, he sends his hired gun Frank (Fonda) to simply intimidate McBain to move off the land, but Frank instead kills McBain and his three children, planting evidence on the scene to frame the bandit Cheyenne (Robards) and his gang. By the time McBain's new bride, Jill (Cardinale), arrives from New Orleans, the family is dead and she is the owner of the land.
Henry Fonda as Frank

Meanwhile, a mysterious harmonica-playing gunman (Bronson), whom Cheyenne later dubs "Harmonica", pursues Frank. In the film's opening scene, Harmonica kills three men sent by Frank to kill him, and, in a roadhouse on the way to Sweetwater, he informs Cheyenne that the three gunfighters he killed appeared to be posing as Cheyenne's men. Sometime later, Harmonica kills two men sent by Frank to kill Jill.

Back at Sweetwater, construction materials are delivered to build a railroad station and a small town. Harmonica explains to Cheyenne that Jill will lose Sweetwater unless the station is built by the time the track's construction crews reach that point, and Cheyenne puts his men to work building it.
Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain

Meanwhile, Frank turns against Morton, who wanted to make a deal with Jill. Frank's betrayal is made easy by the fact that Morton is crippled. After having his way with her, Frank forces Jill to sell the property in an auction. He tries to buy the farm cheaply by intimidating the other bidders, but Harmonica arrives, holding Cheyenne at gunpoint, and makes a much higher bid based on his reward money for delivering Cheyenne to the authorities. After rebuffing another intimidation attempt by Frank, Harmonica sells the farm back to Jill. At this point, some of Frank's men try to kill Frank, having been paid by Morton to turn against him, but Harmonica helps Frank kill them in order to save that privilege for himself.

After Morton and the rest of Frank's men are killed in a battle with Cheyenne's gang, Frank goes to Sweetwater to confront Harmonica. On two occasions, Frank has asked Harmonica who he is, but both times Harmonica refused to answer him. Instead, he mysteriously quoted names of men Frank has murdered. The two men position themselves for a duel, at which point Harmonica's motive for revenge is revealed in a flashback: When Harmonica was a boy, Frank killed his older brother by tying a noose to the top of an arch, placing it around the brother's neck, and forcing Harmonica to support his brother on his shoulders with a harmonica in his mouth. Harmonica draws first and shoots Frank, and when Frank again asks who he is, he puts the harmonica in Frank's mouth. Frank nods weakly in recognition and dies.

With Frank dead, Harmonica and Cheyenne say goodbye to Jill, who is supervising construction of the train station as the track-laying crews reach Sweetwater. Cheyenne collapses almost immediately, revealing that he was shot by Morton while he and his men were fighting Frank's gang. The work train arrives, and the film ends as Jill carries water to the rail workers and Harmonica rides off with Cheyenne's body towards the horizon

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bicycle thieves

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 1 December 2011 07:47 (A review of Bicycle Thieves (1948))

Antonio Ricci is an unemployed man in the depressed post-World War II economy of Italy. With a wife and two children to support, he is desperate for work. He is delighted to at last get a good job pasting up posters, but he must have a bicycle. He is told unequivocally, "No bicycle, no job." His wife Maria pawns their bedsheets in order to get money to redeem his bicycle from the pawnbroker.

On his first day of work, Antonio's bicycle is stolen by a young thief, who snatches it when he is putting up a poster. Antonio gives chase, but to no avail. He goes to the police, but there is little they can do. The only option is for Antonio, his young son Bruno, and his friends to walk the streets of Rome themselves, looking for the bicycle. They search Rome's largest square Piazza Vittorio, where they encounter countless bicycles and parts resembling his own. They falsely accuse a merchant of possessing the stolen bike, and their task seems futile. Subsequently, at the market at Porto Portese Antonio and Bruno believe they have found the thief trying to pawn the bike to an old man, and they chase him but he manages to get away. They then pursue the old man into a church, where they accuse him of knowing where the purported thief resides. The commotion disrupts the mass, and the old man manages to slip away.

During a rare treat of a meal in a restaurant, Antonio shares his shattered dreams with his son. Desperate, Antonio even visits the dubious fortune teller that he had earlier mocked. However, she merely doles out to him the vague and unhelpful, "you'll find the bike quickly, or not at all." Antonio hands over some money and leaves.

As he walks out of the clairvoyant's house, he encounters the thief and chases him into a whorehouse. Antonio takes the thief outside and is set upon by the hostile neighbours. Bruno slips off to fetch a policeman. Meanwhile, Antonio angrily accuses the thief of stealing his bike, but the young man denies it. When the policeman arrives, the thief is lying on the ground, having or feigning a seizure. The irate neighbours blame Antonio for causing the "innocent" boy's fit.

The policeman tells Antonio that his case is weak; he did not catch the thief red-handed, nor did he get the names of any witnesses, and the policeman is certain the neighbours will give the thief an alibi. Antonio gives up and walks away in despair, to the jeers of the crowd.

Sitting on the curb outside a packed football stadium, Antonio sees hundreds and hundreds of parked bicycles. As he cradles his head in despair, a fleet of bicycles speeds past him. After vacillating for some time, he tries to steal one outside an apartment. However, he is caught by a crowd of angry men who slap and humiliate him in front of his son. The bicycle's owner sees how upset Bruno is and mercifully declines to press charges. Antonio and his son walk away, dejected.

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