Tag Archives: David O. Selznick

The Prisoner Of Zenda

Directed by John Cromwell
W.S. Van Dyke (uncredited)
Produced by David O. Selznick
Written by Anthony Hope (novel)
Edward Rose
Wells Root
John L. Balderston (screenplay)
Donald Ogden Stewart (additional dialogue)
Ben Hecht (uncredited)
Sidney Howard (uncredited)
Starring Ronald Colman
Madeleine Carroll
C. Aubrey Smith
Raymond Massey
Mary Astor
David Niven
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Music by Alfred Newman
Cinematography James Wong Howe
Bert Glennon
Editing by James E. Newcom
Distributed by United Artists
Release date September 2, 1937
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English

This is a really great adventure film to watch. Probably almost as good as The Adventures Of Robin Hood which came out a year or so layer, although it’s action scenes don’t really come until the climax of the film.

Ronald Coleman stars in the dual role of Rudolf Rassendyll and King Rudolf. His performance from this film was memorably parodied by Don Adams in a couple of Get Smart episodes in the 60s, and I must say that Don was very accurate with his interpretation.

I think that the real stand out performance is that by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as the villainous Duke Rupert of Hentzau. He is very charming and likable but evil at the same time. David Niven is also in this film in an early role, but he really doesn’t do very much.

All in all this is a great film which they don’t make any more.


Spellbound

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by David O. Selznick
Written by Story: Hilary Saint, George Saunders & John Palmer
Screenplay: Angus MacPhail & Ben Hecht
Starring: Ingrid Bergman
Gregory Peck
Michael Chekhov
Leo G. Carroll
Rhonda Fleming
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography George Barnes
Editing by Hal C. Kern
Studio Selznick International Pictures
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) October 31, 1945
Running time 111 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Spellbound is a 1945 psychological mystery thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was nominated for the Academy Award for best picture, and won Oscars for best music, thanks to the score by Miklós Rózsa. Its most famous scene was a dream sequence designed by surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

The film is quite interesting but not what I would consider one of Hitchcock’s best, mainly due to how annoying the beautiful Ingrid Bergman is at the times when she is spouting off psychoanalytical mumbo-jumbo. Sure this is a film about psychiatrists but sometimes it just is a little too much.

If you forget about the psychoanalysis stuff this then becomes a whodunit, with Ingrid Bergman out to prove the innocence of amnesiac Gregory Peck, who it is believed murdered a prominent psychiatrist before taking his place. The way the mystery is solved is quite clever in the way in which it ties into the dream sequence that Peck experienced. Overall I did enjoy the film and the mystery elements to it. I also must make a comment about the brief display of Technicolor that appears in this black & white film at the climax.


The 3rd Man

Directed by Carol Reed
Produced by Carol Reed
Uncredited: Alexander Korda & David O. Selznick
Written by Graham Greene
Starring: Joseph Cotten
Alida Valli
Orson Welles
Trevor Howard
Music by Anton Karas
Cinematography: Robert Krasker
Editing by Oswald Hafenrichter
Distributed by British Lion Films (UK),
Selznick International Pictures (US)
Release date(s) 2 September 1949 (UK)
2 January 1950 (US)
Running time: 104 minutes
Country: United Kingdom

Holly, I’d like to cut you in, old man. There’s nobody left in Vienna I can really trust, and we’ve always done everything together. When you make up your mind, send me a message – I’ll meet you any place, any time, and when we do meet old man, it’s you I want to see, not the police. Remember that, won’t ya? Don’t be so gloomy. After all it’s not that awful. Remember what the fella said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.

Just who is Harry Lime? Is he the man who was your best friend for twenty years and who you think you know so well, or is he a racketeer and murderer? Orson Welles’ Harry Lime is central to The Third Man even though he doesn’t appear until after the sixty minute mark of the film. This is a truly great film of mystery and intrigue set in post WWII Vienna.

Harry Lime is dead but no one is sure of the exact circumstances of his death. It is said he was hit by a truck and was carried away by two men, but then his friend Holly Martins hear tales about at third man at the scene, and comes to think that foul play is afoot. Things only become more confusing for Martins after he sets out to solve the mystery and discovers Harry Lime himself, lurking in the shadows. (This is the worst trailer ever made!)

This is really a very enjoyable film that won an Oscar in 1949 for best black & white cinematography, and a BAFTA for best British film.  Carol Reed was nominated for an Academy Award as best director, and was named the 57th greatest film of all time by the American Film institute in 1996, and the #1 British film of all time by the British Film Institute.