Friday, March 23, 2012


One of the best of Alfred Hitchcock's British suspense thrillers hits the big screen once more at the Hollywood Theatre this weekend.  From 1938, The Lady Vanishes is many a Hitch fan's favorite of his pre-Hollywood work (mine is The 39 Steps), featuring Margaret Lockwood (Night Train to Munich), Michael Redgrave (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner) and, in the titular role, Dame May Whitty (Night Must Fall).

Some might argue, though, that the real star of the film is the train; its motions and movement drive the story forward throughout the picture.  Hitchcock certainly loved using rail travel as a device in his films, borrowing their kinetic energy and confined spaces for numerous films throughout his career.

In The Lady Vanishes, the tension is focused around what befell poor Miss Froy (Whitty), where she possibly could have vanished to, given the limited options aboard the train, and--again, due to the confined space--how the threat might extend to the leads of the film.

It's a cracking, suspense-driven voyage and it's only playing twice this weekend, so don't miss out!

Lady Vanishes plays at the Hollywood Theatre on March 24th & 25th at 2pm.  More info available here.

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There's the temptation when watching Sound of Noise, the rhythm-heavy, feature debut by directors Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson, to liken it to a full-length version of the final episode of The Flight of the Conchords, where the Conchords play ordinary objects (drinking glasses, a lamp, etc.) , producing a ridiculously fun musical arrangement out of them.  Turns out, Simonsson and Nilsson first played with this rhythmic conceit back in their 2001 short, Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers, featuring the same percussion ensemble that also stars in Sound of Noise.

The story centers around Amadeus (Bengt Nilsson), a cop from an exceptionally musical family.  His parents were both classically trained musicians and his brother appears to be the most famous conductor in Sweden.  Amadeus, however, has a tin ear, visibly suffering whenever he encounters music in any form, setting him up for the challenge that lies ahead.

A group of drummers, led by expelled music conservatory student, Sanna (Sanna Persson), and a composer, Magnus (Magnus Börjeson), begin perpetrating a series of illegal musical performances/acts of terrorism around the city, ranging from rhythmic attacks resembling a bank robbery to, most hilariously, the hijacking of a hospital operating theater. 

The film playfully manipulates the conventions of the crime film genre.  Amadeus is, of course, the only person capable of deciphering the crimes, thanks to his inability to bear musicality in any form.  It even has a bit of fun with the oft-exploited dynamic between the hunter and the hunted, where an affinity is formed by virtue of the chase itself. 

All in all, Sound of Noise an infectiously fun comedy infused with truly weird and wonderful musical performances.  Just try and resist smiling, for instance, during the sequence involving construction equipment.

Sound of Noise will begin its run at the Living Room Theaters on Fri., March 23rd.  More info available here.

As a bonus, here's Simonsson and Nilsson's short film, Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers.  If you like the short, you'll love Sound of Noise:

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