Monthly Film

December Film: Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka Analysis

After the embarrassing failure of the adolescent poem Hanz Kuchelgarten, Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka was the first collection of short stories published by Nikolai Gogol, in two volumes between 1831 and 1832. The collection was an immediate success. While Gogol had already been taken up by the leading literary figures of the day, including Anton Delvig and Vasily Zhukovsky, had made…

December Film: Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka (1961)

  Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka («Вечера на хуторе близ Диканьки») 66 minutes | 8 December 1961 | Soviet Union Based on the story ‘Christmas Eve’ by Nikolai Gogol, this eccentric and fantastical fairy tale takes place near the village of Dikanka on the night before Christmas. Amid carol singing, drunken revelry, and amorous hijinks, the blacksmith Vakula persuades the Devil to fly him to…

November Film: The Little Match Girl (1928) Analysis

The Little Match Girl (‘La Petite Marchande d’allumettes‘), based on the short story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, was the eighth of nine silent films directed by Jean Renoir. Released in June 1928 – still in the early phase of Renoir’s career, a decade before his French masterpieces Grand Illusion (1937), The Human Beast (1938), and The Rules of the…

November Film: The Little Match Girl (1928)

  The Little Match Girl (‘La petite marchande d’allumettes’) 34 minutes | 8 June 1928 | France ‘From Hans Christian Andersen’s story to the screen by Jean Renoir, Catherine Hessling as Karen evokes delight and pathos. An impoverished girl tries to sell matches on NYE. Shivering with cold and unable to sell her wares, she sits in a sheltered nook. Striking a match…

October Film: Carnival of Souls Analysis

Herk Harvey – the professional name of Harold Arnold Harvey, born 3 June 1924 – was a student of the theatre, first as an undergraduate then as a graduate at the University of Kansas, acting and directing and afterwards remaining at the university to teach. In 1952 he was hired by the Centron Corporation, an industrial and educational film production…

October Film: Carnival of Souls (1962)

  Carnival of Souls 83 minutes | 26 September 1962 | United States ‘Atmospheric 60s B-horror film with a cult following. Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around with two friends but everything goes wrong when challenged to a drag race and their car gets forced off of a bridge. The car sinks into the murky depths, and all three women…

September Film: The Stranger Analysis

The Stranger was the third Orson Welles directorial effort to see the light of day and the dark of cinema screens, following Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). Production lasted from late September until 21 November 1945, with the picture released the following July. Welles’ earliest take on film noir – preceding The Lady from Shanghai (1947), and Touch of Evil…

September Film: The Stranger (1946)

  The Stranger 95 minutes | 2 July 1946 | United States ‘Set in Connecticut after World War II, The Stranger is a cat and mouse game between Wilson (Edward G. Robinson), a member of the Allied War Crimes Commission and Franz Kindler (Orson Welles), a Nazi who has assumed the false identity of Dr. Charles Rankin. To complete his new intelligentsia disguise,…

August Film: Detour Analysis

The production of Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1945 film noir classic Detour is as fabled as the picture itself: reportedly shot over anything from two days up to four six-day weeks, on a small budget costing somewhere between $20,000 and $100,000. Ulmer himself, in an interview given in 1972, asserted that the film took six days to shoot. Yet it subsequently spent more than six…