Archive for roy ward baker

DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #50 – #46

Posted in movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2012 by goregirl

Film is a huge part of my life. I can not seem to prevent myself from introducing it into a conversation with everyone I meet. Once in a while I run into someone whose taste in film so violently opposes my own I want to glove slap them. I do try my best to be open-minded and can usually find some common ground. It surprises me a little that so few people I discuss film with know directors by name. The underappreciated director does not generally make the tabloids and I guess in turn doesn’t make many people’s radars. Personally, I am all about the director as I suspect many a cinephile is. I follow director’s work fervently. If I loved one of the director’s films, it is a guarantee I will see another; those who score a hat trick will have a fan for life! So in honour of the director I give you my 50 favourite! I thought for this project I would mix it up a bit, so I will be counting down my 50 Favourite directors from ALL GENRES! I will be posting these lists in groups of five a couple times a week.

My 50 favourite directors #50 – #46

*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*

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#50. Roy Ward Baker

What I’ve Seen: Inferno (1953), A Night to Remember (1958), Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Anniversary (1968), The Vampire Lovers (1970), Scars of Dracula (1970), Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971), Asylum (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973), The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974), The Monster Club (1981)

British director Roy Ward Baker has a list of 33 feature length films on IMDB. Baker made his last full length feature film, Monster Club in 1981 and directed a number of TV shows before retiring from the industry in 1992. He died at the age of 93 October 5, 2010 in London England. 93!! Holy crap! That is a ripe old age! Baker makes this list thanks to his director status on 3 of my favourite Hammer Studio films Quatermass and the Pit, The Vampire Lovers and Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde. All three are films to which I gave a perfect score. But just look at that list of films! What great fun! Okay, A Night to Remember can’t really be considered “great fun”.  A Night to Remember is about the Titanic disaster without the cheesy love story; not to mention a solid film. Baker is a superb filmmaker who brought excitement to the screen and knew how to get the best from his cast. There are a number of Baker’s films I have yet to see, although some of the subject matters are not of particular interest to me, there is still room for exploration.

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#49. Carl Theodor Dreyer

What I’ve Seen: Blade of Satans Bog (1921), The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Vampyr (1932), Day of Wrath (1943), Master of the House (1925), Gertrud (1964)

Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer’s made just 14 full length feature films in his career. I have seen 6 of the 14 and gave The Passion of Joan of Arc and Day of Wrath a perfect score and the other four films a 4/5! A pretty bloody impressive track record! Seriously, The Passion of Joan of Arc is one of the best films I have seen. A wrought with emotion character study that must be experienced. All of Dreyer’s films have a certain surreal vibe even those with a fairly straight up narrative. Dreyer died at the age of 79 March 20, 1968. I look forward to checking out the other films on his list, if they are half as good as The Passion of Joan of Arc they will still be very watchable!

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#48. Jean Renoir

What I’ve Seen: La Chienne (1931), Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932), Le crime de Monsieur Lange (1936), La grande illusion (1937), La Bête Humaine (1938), The Rules of the Game (1939)

French director Jean Renoir has 32 full length feature films listed on IMDB. I have seen a miniscule six of these, but bloody hell what a magnificent sextet they are! I must admit, I only seen my first Renoir film 4 years ago. I was picking up a Jean Cocteau DVD from the library and got in a conversation about foreign films with the guy behind the counter. Turns out Renoir is one of his favourite directors and he actually seemed disgusted that I had never seen a film from the director. He insisted I rented The Rules of the Game, claiming it was one of the greatest satires ever made. I don’t usually allow myself to be muscled by men working at the library, but I appreciated his passion. WOW! He wasn’t kidding; The Rules of the Game is simply perfect. I loved all six of Renoir’s flicks! All beautifully filmed, engrossing and character-driven studies of French society and humanity in general. Renoir died February 12, 1979 at the age of 84 and left behind an impressive legacy on celluloid. Clearly I have tons of fertile ground left to sow in Renoir’s field!

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#47. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

What I’ve Seen: Katzelmacher (1969), Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? (1970), The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971), The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), Satan’s Brew (1976), The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Lili Marleen (1981)

German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder made 23 full length feature films and a ton of TV movies during his short career. Fassbinder died June 10, 1982 at the age of 37 of an overdose. I’ve read quite a bit about Fassbinder over the years, and he seemed like a pretty complicated guy. The characters in his films seem as conflicted as he himself was. Meditations on sexuality, racism, oppression, family and the like are knitted through all his films. I have seen seven of his titles and they are all a little quirky. His films get under my skin and his characters are not always likable but are nonetheless intriguing. I have enjoyed all of the Fassbinder films I’ve seen but I am particularly fond of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? Another director who has much juiciness left for me to bite into!

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#46. Jee-Woon Kim 

What I’ve Seen:  The Quiet Family (1998), The Foul King (2000),  A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), A Bittersweet Life (2005), The Good the Bad the Weird (2008),  I Saw the Devil (2010),

Jee-Woon Kim is alive! Yep, this is the first living director still making films to land on the list. I have seen every full-length feature South Korean filmmaker Jee-Woon Kim has directed and have given TWO of his films perfect marks (The Quiet Family and A Bittersweet Life). I don’t give a film 5/5 lightly my friends! Kim’s stylish and original films range the genres but each one contains a violent element. I eagerly anticipate each one of Kim’s new projects! His next project, The Last Stand (2013) seems completely and utterly random and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger?! To be honest it is unlikely I would bother with this film if it didn’t have Kim’s name attached. A testament to how much I enjoy and respect Kim’s work.

Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde (1971) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by goregirl

I’ve mentioned my love for the films of Hammer Studios multiple times on this blog. Strangely, Dr Jekyll And Sister Hyde will mark only the third full review I’ve done for one of the studios films. Clearly, I need to review more Hammer films! The studio struggled through the 70’s and would in fact make their last horror film during the decade. Their formula of bringing unique twists to period pieces based on classic horror literature just wasn’t working for them like it once had. Horror was becoming more graphically violent and themes were decidedly uglier and more vicious. The British censors apparently were real ball-busters up to this point, so the studio was tethered by the regulations. But more than this, the studio didn’t seem to want to change their shtick. When they found something that worked, they beat the hell out of it. I mean, how many Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing Dracula and Van Helsing variations does one person need to see? Don’t get me wrong, I love many of these, but by 1970 it was a little like beating a dead dog. Hammer Films from the 70’s sometimes get a bad rap from purists like my dad who thought the studio quality had declined. I would have to respectably disagree with dad on the quality of the studio’s films during the decade. Sure, there were some duds, no doubt about that, but there were also some really outstanding films from the period. In my opinion two of the studios best films were created during the decade; the fabulous Vampire Lovers which made my number five spot of favourite horror films from 1970 and today’s review Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde! I only wish I had seen this before compiling my 1971 favourite list because this would have ranked highly for me!

The fiercely dedicated Dr. Jekyll spends every waking hour in his laboratory working on an elixir to extend life. He discovers female hormones may be the secret ingredient needed for the formula. Obsessed with obtaining the female hormones he seeks the help of grave robbers Burke and Hare. Jekyll tries the elixir on himself which transforms him into a beautiful woman. When Burke and Hare are killed by a lynch mod Jekyll is forced to find another way to acquire what he needs. The good doctor convinces himself that the ends justify the means and begins prowling the streets of Whitechapel for victims. It is not long before the murders begin to draw considerable attention. With the ultimate perfect cover he begins to stalk Whitechapel’s streets as his alter-ego sister Hyde.

Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde has everything that the studio so competently brings to the table. A wickedly fun twisted period piece based on a classic story with great costumes and sets. The most obvious twist being that the titular Dr. Jekyll transforms into a woman instead of a monster. It cleverly uses Jack The Ripper mystique and the infamous 17th century grave robbers Burke and Hare in its story and it works exquisitely. It even brings a little 70’s into the fold with bloodier violence and naked breasts! Just a word of warning, it is bloodier than most Hammer films but no one would call the violence particularly graphic. The nudity amounts to a couple of bare breast shots but that too was unheard of in Hammer films. The nudity is actually used in a very effective manner when Dr. Jekyll transforms into sister Hyde for the first time. Come on guys, you’ve just transformed into a beautiful woman, what’s the first thing you do? Examine your brand-spanking new breasts in a mirror of course! The man transformed into a woman scenario really made for some well thought out, awkward and amusing scenes! The film has an outstanding atmosphere and mood. Jekyll and Hyde’s late night excursions in Whitechapel are particularly effective. It nicely balances suspense, intrigue and humour into its well-laid out premise.

The casting couldn’t have possibly been more perfect. Martine Beswick and Ralph Bates are an awesome choice based on visuals alone as the two look strikingly similar. Martine Beswick plays sister Hyde, Jekyll’s stunning female alter-ego. Beswick gives a wonderfully devilish and naughty performance. The more comfortable sister Hyde gets in her new skin the more she battles Dr. Jekyll for possession of the body. Ralph Bates is excellent as the dedicated, handsome and socially inept Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll’s uptight ways are the perfect balance for Hyde’s all too loose ways! Of course, one of the most appealing concepts of the classic story is the exploration of darkness within us all. While Jekyll’s Hyde appears to be his opposite, she also represents his darker more base instincts. Complicating Jekyll’s life further are new neighbours Susan and Howard. The sister and brother have recently moved into the apartment above Jekyll’s with their mother. Susan is attracted to Jekyll instantly and begins knocking on his door at the most inconvenient of moments. Brother Howard is not at all impressed with Jekyll but is certainly smitten with his widowed sister Ms. Hyde. Susan Brodrick is very likable as the sweet and innocent Susan. Lewis Fiander is also good as Howard and share’s one of the film most amusingly awkward moments with Dr. Jekyll. A further complication arrives in the form of acquaintance Professor Robertson who believes Jekyll may have something to do with the recent killing spree of several ladies of the night. Gerald Sim is quite competent as the professor with an eye for the ladies and also finds himself drawn to the captivating sister Hyde. Needless to say, Jekyll has some issues to deal with but none more significant than preventing his beautiful alter-ego from taking over completely.

Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde is sexy, fun, stylish and thrilling! I’m only sorry it took me this long to see it! There really isn’t a single thing I would change about this film. It is an outstanding and extremely entertaining film and in my opinion is absolutely one of Hammer’s best.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Roy Ward Baker

Starring: Ralph Bates, Martine Beswick, Gerald Sim, Lewis Fiander, Susan Brodrick, Dorothy Alison, Ivor Dean, Philip Madoc, Irene Bradshaw, Neil Wilson, Paul Whitsun-Jones, Tony Calvin