marți, 27 iunie 2017

Note on Saving Private Ryan, written by Robert Rodat

Note on Coal Miner's Daughter, based on the autobiography of Loretta Lynn

Saving Private Ryan, written by Robert Rodat, directed by Steven Spielberg

Saving Private Ryan, written by Robert Rodat, directed by Steven Spielberg

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:


This is one of the best and most popular movies ever made.
It is at number 28 on the IMDB list of most popular films:


it has won five Academy Awards, been nominated for others and won multiple prestigious prizes around the world.
The film is also on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made List:


the story is overwhelming and believable: the many dead, the horrible violence, bravery and cowardice have been real.
It is also an interesting angle, with the Saving of Private Ryan at the forefront, but with the background of the World War II.

The cast is formidable:

-          Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Paul Giamatti- one of my favorites, Ted Danson- an outstanding professional, Dennis Farina- very likeable and good, Bryan Cranston- Breaking Good in a brief role, Vin Diesel- somebody I do not care much for and so many other excellent actors…

And the director is Steven Spielberg, showing here that he can create anything and he really is one of the best…

The introduction is gruesome, but one of the best entries there ever was, with the invasion of Normandy.
June 6th, 1944 as it was, with many soldiers killed, acts of bravery but also the dark side of war that involved murder.

In one scene, some American soldiers advance towards Germans that evidently want to surrender, with hands up.
The “good guys” keep shouting to their enemies and these answer in…German, but it is not good enough and they are killed.

Unjustified and to make matters worse, if that is even possible, the murders mock their victims with…”look, we cleaned ourselves for dinner.
Captain Miller aka Tom hanks is witnessing this and so many other outrageous deaths, violence throughout the film.

He used to be a teacher of English in his civilian life, but he now has to cope with attempts at desertion and mainly… the Nazis.
The mother of Private Ryan has to receive three letters of condolences, for three of her sons killed in battle.

When they notice this, officials in the Army decide to try and Save the only remaining son, given that this mother has had enough sacrifice in the family.
So they send a team, led by Captain Miller, to extract Private Ryan and send him home from the front.

It is not just a difficult task, for on the way soldiers are killed- and spoiler alerts are not needed for that, because it makes sense, doesn’t it? - and at times all hell breaks loose, with acts of heroism and cowardice.
I thought that the take on this war was extraordinary in that it showed real life and what happens, not the fairy tales that are made up
At one point, one member of the team is really scared and as a consequence he cannot even move from the spot where he is.

If he did, he could save the life of one of his mates, engaged in a life or death struggle with the enemy.
But this anti-hero sits there on the steps leading to where his fellow soldier was giving his life for country and freedom.

And the audience can realize that this is a different film, for in other takes, heroes simply destroy the enemy.
Our side is better, always ready to shoot and kill, fly from danger and always shooting down the enemy tank or plane.


In this magnificent film we learn that it does not always work that way and heroes fight alongside ordinary men…

Note on Kills on Wheels, written and directed by Attila Till

The Earrings of Madame de…, based on the novel by Louise de Vilmorin, directed by Max Ophüls

The Earrings of Madame de…, based on the novel by Louise de Vilmorin, directed by Max Ophüls

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:



This is a very good romantic comedy.
And you can find it on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies ever Made List:


the director, Max Ophüls was one of the most acclaimed filmmakers…

-          Lola Montes, La Ronde, Le Plaisir and The Earrings of Madame de…are among the most appreciated movies

Charles Boyer is also a glorious actor.
He is sophisticated, majestic, at times flamboyant, aristocratic in manner, charismatic and able to play both sides.

He has been a perfect villain in the recently viewed and noted on Gaslight, but he can act in comedies perfectly:

-          Barefoot in the Park is the perfect testimony

As for his opponent in The Earrings of Madame de…, Viitorio de Sica is one of the Gods of cinema, with an impressive career as actor…
But he is also sure to be included in the history of motion pictures for the masterpieces that he has directed:

-          Bicycle thieves for instance is among the best movies ever made, perhaps among the best five
-          Two Women, The Gold of Naples, Umberto D., Shoeshine, The Garden of Finzi- Continis, Marriage Italian Style and others are also among the best ever made films!

Charles Boyer is Général André de... and he is married to the Comtesse Louise de…
In the first stages of the narrative, the Comtesse is trying to sell her earrings.

And as the title suggests, these jewels will be one of the important personages of the story and they will change hands.
The jeweler is offering a good sum, since they are not just diamonds, but have been bought from his own shop.

Nevertheless, he announces the baron, especially given the circumstances under which their loss has been announced.
Because they were a present from the general, the wife makes up a lie about their being lost on the way to the opera.

Given their immense value, a theft is not excluded and this is when the Jeweler thought it better to talk to the general.
The latter buys the earrings- again- and then he makes them a gift, but…not to his own wife, but to a mistress.

This one is departing from Istanbul, where she engages in roulette games where she loses everything and has to sell the jewels.
Enter the stage the Baron Fabrizio Donati, portrayed by Viitorio de Sica, the man who buys the earrings.

He meets the Comtesse Louise de… and is fascinated and a relationship is developing between the two.
She even faints at one hunting party, when she sees with binoculars that the baron has fallen from his horse.

It is also an amusing incident, for the husband is reproaching the duration of the faint, which was inappropriate:

-          Keep your lapses short my dear

Throughout the film, the parties involved act with incredible politeness and extraordinary restraint, up to when duel is in question.

This viewer was often tempted to quote:

Note on Big, with Tom Hanks

Note on Don't Drink the Water, written and directed by Woody Allen