Gabriel Axel’s The Red Mantle

The name Gabriel Axel might not be familiar to most American moviegoers but many are familiar with his 1987 film Babette’s Feast which became a surprise art house hit and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, beating out Louis Malle’s Au Renoir les Enfants. Ironically, Axel was almost 70 and at the end of his filmmaking career when he experienced a career resurgence. But the film that is considered his first international art house breakthrough is Den Rode Kappe (1967), which was released in Europe as Hagbard and Signe and is best known under the title The Red Mantle in the U.S. The poster above with the awkwardly edited quote – and movie spoiler – from Time magazine also includes the reference “From the producers of Dear John” which means nothing to anyone today but that film was a slightly risque art film in its day (due to the nudity) and a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film of 1965 (It lost to Elmar Klosand and Jan Kadar’s The Shop on Main Street). Continue reading

Advertisements

Roman Polanski’s Lost Film

A Day at the Beach DVDThe headline is referencing the past, not the present, for A DAY AT THE BEACH, a film that Roman Polanski scripted and co-produced with his partner Gene Gutowski for their short-lived production company, Cadre Films, in 1969 finally surfaced on DVD in 2007 via Odeon Entertainment’s “The Best of British Collection” series in the U.K. and then in the U.S. in 2008, courtesy of Code Red, which specializes in re-releasing cult and lesser known genre films like Rituals (1977) and Group Marriage (1973).  For more than thirty five years, the film was considered lost after being shelved by Paramount following an unsuccessful limited release in Europe. But a serviceable print was discovered and preserved and any self-professed fan of Polanski’s films will want to check it out if they haven’t already.  It may not be “the lost Roman Polanski masterpiece” that the Code Red DVD cover promises but it is much more than a curiosity piece and quite compelling if you are in the mood for a bitter, bleak and harrowing character study.    Continue reading