Born in small-town Wisconsin in 1911, Nicholas Ray’s early experience with film came with some radio broadcasting in high school. He left the University of Chicago after a year, but made such an impression on his professor and writer Thorton Wilder that he was recommended for a scholarship with Frank Lloyd Wright, where he learned the importance of space and geography, not to mention his later love for CinemaScope. When political differences came between the seasoned architect and his young protégé, Ray left for New York and became immersed in the radical theater. He joined the Theater of Action and later the Group Theater, which is where he met his good friend Elia Kazan. Times were tough and money was tight, but Ray loved the bohemian lifestyle of the close-knit group and enjoyed one of the happiest times of his life. Anybody who met him always noted his intellect and amazing energy. During this period he, along with his fellow Theater Group members, was also active in Socialist/Communist… read more
Guy Green is well known to film audiences. Formerly a cinematographer, he was the first British D.P. to receive an Academy Award for his black and whit ephotography on David Lean’s “Great Expectations.” He founded the British Society of Cinematographers together with Freddie Young and Jack Cardiff.
Green worked with Lean on several films, and it was this close association that inspired him to give up cinematography at the height of his career to become a director. While directing two early pictures, “House Of Secrets” and “Sea Of Sand,” Green became associated with actors Richard Attenborough and Michael Craig, and “The Angry Silence” was the first conceived when the three were involved filming “Sea Of Sand” in the 140 degree heat of the Lybian desert. The film became a landmark in the careers of all concerned, and brought Green international attention. It was Britain’s first entry at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the International Critic’s Award.
“The Angry Silence”… read more
The massive complexity of events is boiled down by the Hollywood machine into Heston's manliness, Gardner's saintliness, Niven's suaveness, and -who else!- Flora Robson playing the Empress Dowager. It's exoticness is reduced to menacing choral music, human wave attacks, and Robert Helpmann's sneakiness and becomes a Western in all but name, where the progress and righteousness of Western man is assured.
A strong cast often has to work their way through long sequences of talky melodrama (as well as being incredibly historically inaccurate and dated in terms of cultural sensitivity). But it's a lavish production, an impressive visual spectacle with a number of rousing action scenes that keep the story moving. Not any kind of masterpiece, but one of the better-crafted of its kind. Great score by Dimitri Tiomkin.