The Spirit of the Beehive

This week we spend too much time talking about Franco to lay a floor for discussing The Spirit of the Beehive as a political film. Of course, even without that context it’s a masterpiece of a movie, visually stunning and stylistically perfect. Also it has Frankenstein.

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Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes from a Marriage started life as a 6-part miniseries on Swedish television one episode per week from April 11 to May 16, 1973, and it is best experienced in that pacing: watch an episode then let each scene sink in before you move on. Six weeks may be too much time, but six nights may be just as good. Plumbing the depths of a relationship so perfectly its no surprise that an international release was sought, but director Ingmar Bergman found trouble convincing foreign television broadcasters to carry a subtitled mini-series. So Bergman edited it all down into a single 167 minute film that is not nearly as impactful. Still great. But not as great. 

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Brian De Palma set out to make an homage to Alfred Hitchcock with 1973's Sisters and achieves something a bit better than Hitchcock's 1972 outing Frenzy. Frenzy is pretty low hanging fruit, and it's certainly not the film De Palma was meaning to emulate. That is to say, Sisters has its problems. It's not wholly unenjoyable -- as Pat puts it: "I don't hate this film as much as I've hated some of the others we've watched" -- but it seems like someone who wasn't entirely sure of his own footing trying to cop the style of a much better artist. Which is what it is, I suppose.

Flesh for Frankenstein

Paul Morrissey's 1973 horror-comedy was originally titled Andy Warhol's Frankenstein despite the fact that Andy Warhol had virtually nothing to do with it. Udo Kier (whose name is amazing) stars as the good doctor in this bizarrely sexualized telling of Mary Shelley's classic that doubles as a critique of Free Love. In 3D! (Where available.) It was originally rated X for all the sex and gore, almost rivaling Salo on that front, though playing it for comedy makes it quite a bit more palatable. Also, as if anything could even come close to rivaling Salo on that front.