Archive for September 9th, 2008

The Shop…(Obch o Na Korze) is a personal testament of Ján Kádar, and in the best traditions of story tellers it is couched in the form of a story, as much as the Ugly Duckling is a personal testament of the Danish master storyteller. Director Ján Kádar spent World War II in a Nazi labor camp, and his Slovakian Jewish parents and sister died at Auschwitz. “Of all my films, The Shop on Main Street touches me most closely,” he seems to have told the New York Herald Tribune, “I am not thinking of the fate of all the six million tortured Jews … my work is shaped by the fate of my father, my friends’ fathers, mothers of those near to me and by people whom I have known.”
Like all great epic filmmakers, from D. W. Griffith to David Lean, he knew the simple rule of telling an intimate story that touches the heart. Big budget epics of Hollywood may resort to spectacular sets and thousands of extras to dazzle the eye but leave the heart of the viewer untouched. Evidently the production of The Shop didn’t have a big budget. The sweep of world war could only be suggested, and the film underlines directorial control and brilliance to weave an intimate heartwarming story:there is loyalty, betrayal, cowardice and heroism.
It won the 1965 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, The Shop on Main Street) stars Josef Kroner as Tono Briko, a slothful Czechslovakian carpenter. He is not too bright, not too ambitious either.
Thanks to his Nazi brother-in-law,who gives him jurisdiction over a button shop on Main Street owned by Rozalie he barely understands the inevitable devastation of his town and his own role in it. Rozalie is an elderly Jewish widow and deaf as a doorpost.  When the Jewish population is threatened with deportation, she does not, or will not, fully understand Tono’s role as Aryan overseer, benefactor, and would-be savior. He realizes that his new job won’t bring much in the way of money; the old woman doesn’t even know there is a war going on. The shopkeeper’s Jewish friends, knowing that the woman will be carted off for extermination if she doesn’t have an Aryan coworker, offer to pay Tono if he’ll stay on as her assistant. Kroner and the old woman form a friendship, but when the order goes out that all Jews be rounded up, he panics and prepares to turn her over to the Nazis. His last-minute change of heart unfortunately comes too late.
On its initial release, The Shop on the Main Street contained several ingredients that would make it an instant classic. Firstly the  heartfelt drama about the effect of the Holocaust on two humble individuals brilliantly emoted by two actors touched the heart. Secondly the timing. Czechs were dealing with a totalitarian regime of their own and a holocaust of ideological kind. Those who didn’t kowtow to Soviet hegemony were as marked as Jews under the Nazi occupation.

* Genre: Drama
* Director: Ján Kadár
* Main Cast: Josef Kroner, Frantisek Zvarik, Ida Kaminska, Hana Slivkova, Martin Holly
* Release Year: 1965
* Country: CS
* Run Time: 111 minutes
Jaromir Janacek – Editor; Ján Kadár – Director; Ján Kadár – Screenwriter; Elmar Klos – Director; Elmar Klos – Screenwriter; Zdenek Liska – Composer (Music Score); Vladimir Novotny – Cinematographer; Karel Skvor – Art Director; Ladislav Hanus – Production Manager; Ladislav Hanus – Producer; Jaromir Lukas – Producer; Jordan Balurov – Producer; Ladilsav Grossman – Screenwriter; Diana Heringova – Editor; Ladislav Grosman – Short Story Author
Similar Movies
Bittere Ernte; Demanty Noci; Wielki Tydzien; Concorrenza Sleale; … A Pátý Jezdec Je Strach; Divided We Fall; Smrt Krasných Srncu; Do You Remember Dolly Bell?
(Ack: Allmovie guide,answers.com,wikipedia)


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Royal Mistresses
Madame de Pompadour(1721-1764)
The mistress of Louis XV of whom Carlyle wrote,’of whom it is not proper to speak without necessity’ was however an exceptional woman. After Encyclopaedia was banned without her active intervention the Enlightenment as a movement could not got its potential as it did. She was on friendly terms with Voltaire and his circle of friends.
In one of the supper parties at Trianon the Duc de la Valliere wondered loudly how gun powder was made of .’It seems so funny that we spend our time killing partridges, and being killed ourselves on the frontier, and really have no idea how it happens.’
Madame Pompadour didn’t miss her chance and she asked,’yes and face powder? What is it made of?’She turning to the king and asked,”Now if you hadn’t banned the Encyclopaedia, Sire, we could have found out in a moment.’
The king presently asked for a copy from his library. After an amusing evening he relented and allowed the subscribers to have their copies, though he kept the ban for public in place.
Mme de Coislin was a rival who after her success in snatching the king’s favor did not forget to rub it in whenever she had a chance. During a game of brelan Mme de Coislin had a winning hand and she said to Mme de Pompadour ,’I take the lot,”. Scooping the cards she gloated,’I’ve a handful of kings.’
Madame de Maintenon( 1635-1719) the mistress of the Sun King once told her confessor that it tired her very much to make love with the king twice a day and asked it she was obliged to go on doing so. The confessor wrote down her question for his bishop to decide and he replied as a wife she must submit. The king was five years younger to her and she was 75.

Once two mistresses of the Sun King came across each other at Queen’s staircase at Versailles. Marquise de Maintenon called out to Marquise de Montespan and said,”You are going down, Madame, I am going up.”

Years later Marquise de maintenon was asked what was her secret of her influence over Louis XIV and she replied,”I always send him away despondent but never in despair.”

On their first night Louis XV said reproachfully to his mistress Countess d’Esparbes,”you have slept with every one of my subjects!”
Bashfully she said,”Oh Sire!”
“You have had the Duc de Choiseul.”
“He is so powerful.”
“The Marechal de Richelieu.”
“He is so witty.”
“He has such beautiful legs.”
“Very well, but what about the Duc d’Aumont, who has none of these?”
“Ah sire,” replied she,”he, he is so devoted to your
Nwell Gwynn(1650-1587) Mistress of Charles II
Once she called her son within the hearing of his father thus,”Come here you little bastard!” King Charles was naturally annoyed by it and said so. She excused herself saying,”I have no better name to call him by.”
This must have had a direct bearing to the boy being created Baron of Headington and Earl of Burford.
Tallulah Bankhead(1903-1968) Actress
The actress who described herself as ‘pure as the driven slush’ was as irrepressible as ever even when she nudged fifty-four. She reflected thus: “They used to shoot Shirly through gauze; you ought to shoot me through linoleum.” Before her death on an occasion someone asked if she really were Tallulah Bankhead. She assured the well-wisher thus,”What’s left of her, dahling.”
Lady Nancy Astor(1879-1964)
At a political meeting a heckler called out,” Say missus, how many toes are there on a pig’s foot?”
Came reply,”Take off your boots,man, and count for yourself.”
Catherine Hyde(177?-1777)
When Horace Walpole drank to the Duchess of Queensberry and wished that she might live to grow ugly she replied,”I hope then, you’ll keep your taste for antiquities.”

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