A-Z Film Challenge: Day Eighteen


So many films begin with ‘R’ that I could easily have written three posts on this one letter. This will leave you a lot of scope, as I am determined to leave out the films from Tarantino, Scorsese, and many others who have chosen ‘R’ titles. In fact, I will limit my choices to only World Cinema films this time. So, no mention of ‘Ride With The Devil’, ‘Right At Your Door’, ‘Ronin’, or many other favourites. (Oops…)
My top choice was always going to be a Japanese film anyway, so here are some more foreign language choices to lead you up to it.

Two Chinese films to start with. Both historical dramas, and equally ravishing to behold. They are also both directed by Zhang Yimou, and star the same female lead actress, the wonderful Gong Li. ‘Red Sorghum’ (1987) was the film that introduced us to both director and…

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A-Z Film Challenge: Day Sixteen


I am really cheered by how so many of you have continued to engage with this challenge, and to add your thoughts and suggestions every day, without fail. It has been genuinely appreciated, as have the numerous re-blogs, re-tweets and other mentions.

We have arrived at the letter ‘P’. What do you think? Lots of choices? There are a great deal, I assure you. And there are three of my all-time favourites, so at least I am happy. I am generously leaving you the obvious titles to explore, and once again concentrating on some that are lesser-known.

In 1960, Michael Powell made what is still perhaps one of the least-known but most effective early psychological horror films, with ‘Peeping Tom’. This British thriller is set in the seedy world of glamour photography, and features Carl Boehm as an aspiring film-maker, earning money to finance his projects by taking photos of…

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A-Z Film Challenge: Day Fifteen


Up to the letter ‘O’. It’s another challenging one, though my top choice was already made. I am interested to see what you think of these ‘O’ films, and to read your own selections. I think I have left out enough obvious ones for some of you to mention.

I rarely mention comedy films on this blog. However, I am a lifelong fan of the madcap comedy of the British star, Will Hay. He made a series of films with an ensemble cast, with his most successful period during the 1930s. Accompanied by the grizzled figure of Moore Marriott, and the overgrown schoolboy character always portrayed by Graham Moffatt, he produced a series of hilarious films looking at aspects of British life at the time. ‘Oh Mr Porter’ (1937) remains as one of my enduring favourites, and is also a fascinating glimpse at a railway industry that has long disappeared…

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A-Z Film Challenge: Day Fourteen


On the ‘home straight’ now, and up to the letter ‘N’. I have an idea for my top pick, so let’s see if it stays the course today. There is not a huge number of film titles beginning with ‘N’, yet many of those are very good indeed. I will be leaving out some of the obvious classics, and some modern films for you to mention. As always, I much appreciate all the comments, and continued involvement.

To start, two black and white classics, with very different themes. ‘Jules Dassin set ‘Night and The City’ (1950) in post-war London. Suitably dark, for the film noir style, Richard Widmark stars as the hustler on the edge of the criminal underworld, with Gene Tierney as the requisite girl in danger, and Herbert Lom suitably villainous as the betting fixer. Perhaps not as good as its reputation, the film nonetheless has pace, and…

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A Magazine Photoshoot


When I received the copies of the latest Longshot Island magazine containing my published story, Daniel suggested I might like to take some photos of the magazines in unusual places. As the sun came out today, I decided to do just that. This is the first of two parts.

All photos can be enlarged for detail by clicking on them.

Ollie found a relaxing riverside bench on which to enjoy reading his copy of Longshot Island. It was a warm day though, and he went into the river for a drink. When he came out, he had forgotten where he had left that precious periodical, so rushed off so fast in search of it, he blurred the photo!

Over on Hoe Rough, we saw this sign warning of Private Property behind the fence. However, this copy of Longshot Island was so determined to show how good its contents are, it…

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A-Z Film Challenge: Day Thirteen


The letter ‘M’, and halfway through. Time for some thoughts about spending thirteen days coming up with a post on the same subject. They are nearly all positive, you might be surprised to hear. By my standards, views of the posts have been spectacular, averaging well over 200 a day. Visitors have also increased by around 20%, and many new followers have arrived too. After spending so much time on this project, that level of interest is rewarding indeed. I have greatly enjoyed the numerous comments that this topic has generated too.

I might never do another challenge though! 🙂

On to the films, and my choices for ‘M’. Once again, I have already decided well in advance which one is deserving of my top pick, so it’s up to you to add your own choices. ‘M’ films are numerous indeed, and many popular ones will be glaringly obvious. So…

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A-Z Film Challenge: Day Twelve


The letter ‘L’ seems to be admired by many film makers. The choice of film titles beginning with that letter is huge. No surprise, when you consider that it allows the use of all possible derivations of the words ‘Love’, ‘Long’, and ‘Luck’. My first shortlist was still over thirty films, and I considered doing a double post for this one. As it turned out, my top choice remained unchanged, and I decided to focus on some of the least well-known options for my other suggestions, to leave you free to romp all over the many on offer.

My first choice is an historical drama starring Johnny Depp. (No, nothing to do with Pirates…) I like his style, though not that many of his films. This one is an exception, and should have won him a house full of awards. In many ways, he was born to portray the real-life…

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A-Z Film Challenge: Day Ten


Not even half way through, and up to the letter ‘J’. Choices are a little thinner on the ground here, but I have still found a few good ones to select, and my top choice is already definite.

Starting with a fantasy film from my youth, ‘Jason and The Argonauts’ (1963) was made before CGI had ever been imagined, and special effects had to be contrived using small models, and stop-motion animation. This ancient tale of a band of Greek warriors setting sail into the unknown in search of the legendary Golden Fleece, was brought to the screen with a solid cast, and the special talents of model maker Ray Harryhausen. Who can forget the ‘army of skeletons’, or the immense metal statue of ‘Talos’? This is an all-action film, beautifully made, that still holds up in the 21st century. Stirring stuff!

I have yet to see ‘The Revenant’, but…

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A-Z Film Challenge: Day Nine


After a quiet weekend, time to get on with it, and the letter ‘I’. Lots to choose from here, with all those ‘Is’ and ‘Its’. I have left out plenty of films for you to consider, so please add your personal choices in the comments.

I am starting with a sumptuous classic from Douglas Sirk. ‘Imitation of Life’ (1959) is a treat for the eyes, and tackles an issue, as Sirk usually does. This time it is Racism, and attitudes to colour and race in 1950s America. The lovely Lana Turner stars, alongside memorable performances from Juanita Moore, and Sandra Dee. Despite the soap-opera feel, this was an important film, and dealt with sensitive issues that are still relevant as I type this. As always, Sirk delivers with a colour palette, and performances from the leads that will stay in your memory. A similar theme, adding powerful performances from Rod…

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A-Z Film Challenge: Day Eight

This series is fabulous and I’m adding hugely to my Netflix list.


Published a day early, as I am busy tomorrow.

Has it only been eight days, and up to the letter ‘H’? It feels like a life’s work already, and I have gained a new admiration for those bloggers who regularly take on such challenges. I note that views have reduced considerably over the weekend, so I hope that this long slog doesn’t become too tiresome for you all.

Nobody mentioned ‘Gandhi’ (1982) yesterday, one that I deliberately left off. Ben Kingsley gave an amazing performance in the title role, and that epic film won 8 Oscars, and 27 other international awards. Has it been forgotten, I wonder?

I am starting today with a great crime thriller from director David Cronenberg. Central performances of considerable strength take a well-worn theme up to a new level in ‘A History of Violence’ (2005).
It received an Oscar nomination, and it’s easy to see…

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