Alec Guinness: A Film Collection (five discs). Yes, there was far more to Sir Alec than the Ealing Studios comedies he made in the Fifties, but if he’d done nothing other than make Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit, and The Ladykillers, his reputation as a great screen comedian would be absolutely secure. This new boxed set contains good transfers of all four films (plus a lesser effort, The Captain’s Paradise) and is a must for anyone who doesn’t already own these zany studies of Austerity Britain as seen through the cracked lens of farce. The Ladykilllers is the best of the four, but all are essential and immortal (TT).
Archives for February 5, 2009
Here’s my list of recommended Broadway, off-Broadway, and out-of-town shows, updated weekly. In all cases, I gave these shows favorable reviews (if sometimes qualifiedly so) in The Wall Street Journal when they opened. For more information, click on the title.
Warning: Broadway shows marked with an asterisk were sold out, or nearly so, last week.
• Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (comedy, G, suitable for bright children, reviewed here)
• August: Osage County (drama, R, adult subject matter, reviewed here)
• Avenue Q (musical, R, adult subject matter and one show-stopping scene of puppet-on-puppet sex, reviewed here)
• The Little Mermaid (musical, G, entirely suitable for children, reviewed here)
• South Pacific * (musical, G/PG-13, some sexual content, brilliantly staged but unsuitable for viewers acutely allergic to preachiness, reviewed here)
• The Cherry Orchard (elegiac comedy, G, not suitable for children or immature adults, closes Mar. 8, reviewed here)
• The Cripple of Inishmaan (black comedy, PG-13, extended through Mar. 15, reviewed here)
• Enter Laughing (musical, PG-13, closes Mar. 8, reviewed here)
• The Fantasticks (musical, G, suitable for children capable of enjoying a love story, reviewed here)
“Our neighborhod theater in Gentilly has permanent lettering on the front of the marquee reading: Where Happiness Costs So Little.” The fact is I am quite happy in a movie, even a bad movie. Other people, so I have read, treasure memorable moments in their lives: the time one climbed the Parthenon at sunrise, the summer night one met a lonely girl in Central Park and achieved with her a sweet and natural relationship, as they say in books. I too once met a girl in Central Park, but it is not much to remember. What I remember is the time John Wayne killed three men with a carbine as he was falling to the dusty street in Stagecoach, and the time the kitten found Orson Welles in the doorway in The Third Man.”
Walker Percy, The Moviegoer