Film Review 1982-1983 by F. Maurice Speed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More interesting articles this time around. There is a very stimulating article about Third World cinema, an absorbing read is the story of sound, and another two good ones, on silent cinema stars and how the advent of sound either done the stars in or enhanced their careers, and the advent of the video cassette tape, along with the regular columns, obituaries, and promising faces.

The films on review are releases of the year are for the 1981-1982 year in Great Britain, from July 1 to June 30. Many of these films were first released in the United States or Europe and come later to Great Britain. So, many of the films on review in this annual had an original release date of 1981.

Still, outrageously raucous in places, the censors were busy placing ratings, but quite a few more decent films. And Quiet Rolls the Dawn, The Antagonists, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, The Boat, The Chosen, Clarence and the Angel, Clash of the Titans, Condorman, Escape to Victory, Evil Under the Sun, The Fox and the Hound, The Great Muppet Caper, Herbie Goes Bananas, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, Manganinnie, The Mouse and His Child, My Dinner with Andre, Oblomov, The Proud Ones, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Roar, Spirit of the Wild, Supersnooper, Three Brothers, and Voices.

That is quite a lengthier list than the previous two years, perhaps the filmmakers saw the box office sense of the clean films of the later part of the 1970’s, which did well.

Some fascinating films as well, such as Mephisto, which kind of straddled the line, occasionally crossing it. What a story.

Less nudity this time, and a more interesting read than the 1981-1982 annual.

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Reading the film review annuals means I am thinking about what I could see. There were the usual suspects that I have seen before and may see again as well as a few new ones. Ordinary People, Coal Miner’s Daughter, The Stunt Man, Tess, Kagemusha, and Man of Marble were of interest. I would have seen Ordinary People again but last time the plot and profanity did let me down so I thought to pass on it. I have never seen Coal Miner’s Daughter, but on my before viewing investigations, there is a dirty rape scene in it, so won’t bother with this film. That was the final straw. The other two — The Stunt Man and Tess — might have been interesting except there’s four-letter words and some odd kind of posturing here and there that my investigations led me to avoid them. These days I am more and more committed to avoiding what I am sensitized to, but Kagemusha and Man of Marble were more on the borderline. However, I have no qualms about seeing The Elephant Man again, and a handful of others from 1980.

Another year

Film Review 1981-1982 by F. Maurice Speed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A new decade and F. Maurice Speed reviews the raw and the real, where quite a few films continued to cross boundaries. Speed does not focus on the poor language and diction in his introduction this time, but on the state of the box office in Britain and the USA, in 1980.

It is an always interesting if not fascinating exercise to look back at the films of yesteryear, which one finds in the warmly written reviews. One finds that in 1980 there were the usual ‘factory made’ films, of certain genres, that might have been of dubious or above average quality, but few over and above. There are always one’s favorites to re-examine in a new light and new ones to explore, some are a little tempting I must admit.

I observed a lack of decent (i.e. clean) films that were available, but there were a few decent ones, if not on actual viewing, but at least on appearances. The Black Stallion, Breaker Morant, Chariots of Fire, The Elephant Man, The Empire Strikes Back, Heartland, a remake of Little Lord Fauntleroy, Marigolds in August, The Mirror Crack’d, Raise the Titanic, Spiderman-The Dragon’s Challenge, Stalker, maybe even Xanadu, and perhaps Flash Gordon, the latter’s subtext would probably go over many kid’s heads. Overall, truly decent or wholesome films were slim pickings.

There are the perfunctory articles that are at least interesting if a bit drawn out, depending on your interest in Rank movies and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which should be of interest to the dedicated film buff. Personally, I did not find these articles dry but enjoyable, historically informative, and of interest.

Finally, the sporadic nude photos in various positions may be off-putting, but my rating does not turn a blind eye to this, but is in keeping with the other very good qualities of this book.

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A year of it

Film Review 1980-1981 by F, Maurice Speed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Audiences at the end of the 1970’s saw a certain number of films with a general sense of propriety. There were also many leftovers from a decade of explicit films. F. Maurice Speed reviewed them all, mostly in a generous mood, although his lengthy introduction begins with his concerns over how the language in the movies of the day became less and less conscious of reserve but more condoning of four-letter words and why did producers let it stay. Even the Oscar winners of the day contained, even in films that were generally more acceptable, the profanity that the author addresses in his introduction. Speed reviews these films individually and objectively, but still with reservation on occasion. I was heartened to have such a book that did address these issues and where the reviews are from a critic with a more sensitized perspective.

I have watched quite a few of the films that contain the various “nasties” as they are called which I have considered with some reservation, but like Speed, tended to be ‘objective’ as well as critical.

In Speed’s reviews, there is, despite the need to be objective, none of the glossing over that some reviews tend to do in the name of story and social concerns, where language and other content does not seem to matter.

Of the 200-odd films on review, in short, informative, and warm prose, there are a couple of dozen that do not or probably would not cross the traditional boundaries of censorship, in alphabetical order:

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