Saturday, December 10, 2011

Movie review times 2

This 1950 British mystery holds up quite well. The body of a murdered woman is found by a little boy and two detectives piece together the story of her life and final days through interviewing the people who knew her and who interacted with her in her last days. Each person interviewed portrays their relationship with the murder victim differently, it's kind of like a British version of Rashomon.

The performances are all top notch, as is the direction, and the look of the film. If you're one of those philistines who won't watch black and white movies then you're an ass who should stop reading this blog right this minute. The lack of color actually aids in the story because the shadows and grey tones in the film become supporting characters.

Jean Kent and Susan Shaw are impossibly beautiful in this film. They are so glamorous that's it hard to focus on what they are saying when they're onscreen. And young Dirk Bogarde is incredibly handsome in this film as well.

I recommend this one. This film is available on the Criterion Collection on HuluPlus.

A man born in Communist Poland makes it over to the USA and makes it big in the polka music world centered in Pennsylvania. He marries a local beauty and they have two kids and they run a business centered around the polka and Polish gift business. The man, Jan Lewan, keeps his business empire and life afloat by running a Ponzi scheme centered on his entertainment business. When it all comes crashing down and hundreds of people, mainly easily duped senior citizens, lose millions.

This shortish documentary is a fascinating look at the world of polka and the people pf the coal mining areas of Pennsylvania who are huge fans of it. It's also a interesting look at greed, the greed of the Lewans and those they swindled. Jan Lewan eventually went to prison for his crimes but he comes across as someone who still blames others for his misfortune. He takes all of the glory and none of the blame, as does his wife and some of his band members. His wife and some of his old band take the attitude that no one forced anyone to invest in Lewan's scheme and that those who did who lost money were greedy anyway so they deserved what they got in the end, which makes his wife and the band members who espouse that tripe unrepentant assholes worthy of scorn and derision. Lewan went to prison, served 4 years of hard time in a maximum security prison in Delaware and one year in a federal pen. He's out now and he's back in the music business and if he or anyone connected with him asks you to invest in him, run the hell away.

This film proves the old saying that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

I enjoyed this documentary even though polka music and the old people who love it creep me out. It's on Netflix streaming if you want to check it out.

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