Alexander Mackendrick

Sweet Smell of Success

June 12, 2015

James Wong Howe and director Alexander Mackendrick knew right away that to tell this story properly, they really needed to film on the streets of New York City at night. So they did, and in the process created a stunningly gorgeous and dark film noir that feels like it truly lives in the city, not on some Hollywood soundstage. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Black-and-White Cinematography of James Wong Howe series with Mackendrick’s wonderful 1956 film, “Sweet Smell of Success.”

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The Ladykillers

January 31, 2015

Alec Guinness’s Professor Marcus really meets his match with Katie Johnson’s Mrs. Wilberforce in Alexander Mackendrick’s 1955 Ealing Studios comedy “The Ladykillers,” what some call the last great comedy from the studio. Where he plots and schemes to rob a bank truck, she makes tea and makes sure her guests act like gentlemen – even when those men are thieves. It’s a great premise for this film, and one that makes at least half of us on the show laugh. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Sir Alec Guinness series with “The Ladykillers.”

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The Man in the White Suit

January 23, 2015

Ealing Studios comedies, particularly the ones we’ve been talking about, have all had a bit of an anti-establishment feel to them but “The Man in the White Suit” feels like they were trying to something a bit more with it. The film is fascinating satirical comedy looking at the relationship between the factory owners and the union laborers in England back in the 50s that doesn’t just focus on their differences but also finds a way to bring the two groups together. The reason for their coming together is, of course, the titular character, played wonderfully by Sir Alec Guinness. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we talk about this great Alexander Mackendrick film from 1951 as the next in our Guinness series.

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