New Video | #ClassicMovieTag

Hello people! It has been a while since I posted in this blog but I am a little behind translating some posts and working on my illustration projects that you can see here. Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you my take –my first take– on a tag and proper video in my YouTube channel. I have been trying for many months to publish some more content and I finally found the perfect excuse with this lovely prompt #ClassicMovieTag created by Raquel Stecher. She has a great blog called Out of the Past and she made a video prompting us to answer some really interesting questions for classic film fans. In this video you will see me and hear me (I do apologize beforehand for the sound and traffic noise) answering them. Click on the video to watch!

Film Anniversaries 2019 | “Act of Violence” (1949)

Act of Violence_1949_Cine Gratia Cinema

While Battleground dealt with World War II's mental and physical impact on men, Act of Violence (1949, Fred Zinnemann) points to the actual consequences for those men recovering from the war. What were the implications of their actions? Was it courage or cowardice? Those two questions are looming in this minor film noir, release January 22nd in 1949, celebrating today its 70th anniversary. With all the initial elements of a cat-and-mouse thriller, a powerful face-off between Van Heflin and Robert Ryan, this movie approaches a heavy subject and it is certainly not your typical MGM film. A fast-paced script, a smooth direction and first rate performances; Act of Violence is a highly recommended film for all noir enthusiasts and, if you ask me, for all film lovers.

Film Anniversaries 2019 | “Battleground” (1949)

Battleground 1949_Cine Gratia Cinema

As I had previously mentioned through my Facebook and Twitter pages, we begin the celebration of 2019 film anniversaries with Battleground (1949, William A.Wellman), an overlooked gem. Released in January 20th 1949, today we celebrate its 70th anniversary. The movie had a smashing big screen debut, so much so that it became a box office that year to the surprise of MGM and its illustrious president Louis B. Mayer. He reluctantly gave his new head of production Dore Schary green-light to a script written by Robert Pirosh and inspired in his own experiences during the Battle of the Bulge(1) in World War II. It is therefore a true story that directed by filmmaker William A. Wellman becomes even more real and human.

2019, a Year of Films

Gunga Din_Cine Gratia Cinema

In the same spirit of sheer happiness as the photography that leads this post, as 2019 started I decided I wanted to give this blog a new challenge in order to celebrate more films, their history and to be able to share that with you. To that end, I researched all the films that would celebrate an anniversary this year depending on the date in which they were premiered. From that long list, I selected 46 films to be reviewed and discussed that I really loved or considered true milestones of cinema, some of which may have been slightly forgotten or overlooked throughout the years. The novelty this year is that we will be dealing not only with Hollywood productions but also European movies that have had a real impact in film history. I invite you to join me in this challenge and rejoice in a wonderful cinematic experience.

#Noirvember | My Film Noir's Magnificent Seven

Seven favourite Film Noir

Few genres fascinate me and continue to do so as film noir. Surprisingly enough, I discovered this genre not through cinema but through literature. Although my love for movies began at a very early age, I was actually eighteen when I found a book in my house that combined the "The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler and "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiell Hammett. On the cover of that book, you could see the pictures of Humphrey Bogart playing the starring role for their film adaptations. I was mesmerized. By that time, I had to do a final paper before I entered college and I knew I wanted to base it on cinema. I wasn't sure, though, which specific subject I would choose as there were so many movies and themes I adored. When I found that book, my search was over. I would not only complete the final paper but I would also learn everything about film noir. That genre truly captivated me as I dug into its history and evolution. My love for noir films grew exponentially and I would like to share a little of that love with you with this post.

"Shane" by George Stevens

Shane cinemagraph by Miriam Figueras

Heroes disappearing into the sunset, the desperate cry of a boy; those are some of the iconic references that connect us immediately to Shane (1953, George Stevens). A film that, right from its premiere, deeply bonded with its audience resulting in long-lasting affection and admiration through generations of movie lovers. This Good versus Evil fable –dividing homesteaders and cattlemen–, is dramatically seen through the eyes of a little boy. An underlying message, an important reflection on the use of firearms is fostered and echoed just as the thundering gunshots during the final showdown. Its subtle magnetism is breathtaking and inscrutable. Guided by Alan Ladd's immortal character, we will cross the valley of Jackson Hole to analyze this masterpiece and the work of George Stevens.

"I like a man who watches things going around. It means he'll make his mark someday."
— Shane (Alan Ladd) 

6 Lesser-Known Facts About Alan Ladd

Alan Ladd

Alan Ladd was an actor of Hollywood's Golden Era who, perhaps small in stature, became a star of colossal proportions. Few characters in movie history have a more powerful impact on audiences than that of SHANE (1953, George Stevens), as they continue to yell Shane, come back! Time has somehow dimmed the extent of the spectrum of a legend that would be more present had it not been for his premature passing and the fact that his life emphasizes the contradictions of era that was not at all as easy and magic as we tend to perceive.

The prevailing contrast of his calmed and unaffected expression with the force coming from his voice and glance, was his performing trademark. His eyes often revealed that deep down inside of him there was an eruption persistently restrained. Film noir benefited enormously from that quality. With performances like the one in THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942, Frank Tuttle), Ladd defined a series of characters that would transform the genre and immediately connect with spectators. His legacy in film history is undeniable and influenced future generations. In this post we will review some of those lesser known facts about Alan Ladd that will capture the importance and trail of enchantment that Ladd achieved onscreen and that definitely set him aside as an exceptional actor.