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Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Current Cinema and the Classics - A senior reader's response to The Dressmaker and a Melburnian cinephile's response to Margaret Pomeranz's latest venture into cinephilia

Senior Citizen Gloria Chalmers writes:
Dear Geoff

I have just returned from "The Dressmaker" and to me it is one of the best films I've seen in a long time.

The opening scenes of our beautiful Australia and the Greyhound bus on a long empty road with the light from a lonely farm house were reminiscent of my days in Delegate.

Dad had his bake house there, went to war in 1939. The school in this film made me think of mine back then.
Rob and I went to take a look at the town and it hasn't changed, at all, since 1940  when we left. The petrol is still pumped up and the locals gave us the once over, a bit threatening I thought.

The story line was intriguing. The humour, the pathos, the characters, the tragedy were all so beautifully portrayed. I knew some of these people.  The acting and directing were superb.  In a word - BRILLIANT, no criticism whatsoever. I stayed to see where it was filmed thinking the terrain was very much like Delegate, but it was filmed in the Wimmera.
The audience was very quiet with just a chuckle now and then.

Veteran Melbourne cinephile Michael Campi writes: 
Has anyone analysed the rarity factor of the items in the Margaret Pomeranz "The Hollywood Retro Film Festival"? At least in Melbourne. "Many on the big screen for the first time in decades". I know that Melbourne may have been unique in having The Astor working through repertory, but not too many of those HRFF items seem so rare. GONE WITH THE WIND has managed to be a perennial box office earner for 75 years. Does it need a 2016 boost by the ever popular movie presenter?  In terms of rarity of the films in the HRFF, from what I've gleaned THE RAZOR'S EDGE and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES may not have been in cinemas for a while and perhaps a couple of others are in the same position.  Otherwise that list looks like the regular Astor wall-hanging of years gone by and into the future. The plus might be seeing digital restorations.  Perhaps in other cities this festival will be more unique than in Melbourne.

Palace has blurred the distinction between their basically commercial plexes and others that were more art house. Since they took over the Astor the amount of repertory has increased plus it gives them a venue of a decent size for national film festival launches and so on.  At least that is good news in Melbourne where at The Astor, and at ACMI as well, moviegoers have a chance to see some films months after their first release.

You posed the question about how many films are needed to make a film festival when that brief Taiwanese event was in Sydney exclusively recently. I hope you did see THANATOS, DRUNK, one of the best films of the year, I think.

While the ABC is still recycling their RKO package with mostly very good copies and original logos, 7TWO is adding a number of other titles from this studio during the early hours, sometimes as double bills.  Astonished though that those old C&C Movietime prints, that destroyed the opening and end title of each film, should still be around. I have no idea if there is any crossover of titles between the channels.  Probably not.  I don't remember Gordon Douglas' Eddie Cantor film (he produced) IF YOU KNEW SUSIE,  being on TV in recent times.  This was an early week attraction, revival even then, at the Mordialloc Regent in my primary school days.

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