FLASH GORDON
1980, Universal, 111 min, France/USA, Dir: Mike Hodges

Like the early-1930s serial, director Mike Hodges’ FLASH is surprisingly faithful to Alex Raymond’s original comic strip, with just the right balance of action, tongue-in-cheek humor and mind-blowing production design (here courtesy of wizard Danilo Donati), with a score by none other than Queen! Relative unknowns Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson play Flash and Dale, but the supporting cast is full of heavyweights, including Max Von Sydow as Ming, Topol as Dr. Zarkov and Ornella Muti as Aura, as well as Lina Wertmuller favorite Mariangela Melato (SWEPT AWAY) and future James Bond Timothy Dalton.


FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
1971, MGM/Park Circus, 181 min, USA, Dir: Norman Jewison

Coming at the end of the great era of Hollywood musicals, director Norman Jewison’s wonderful, elegiac FIDDLER ON THE ROOF added a note of somber realism to the genre, contributing such soul-inspiring numbers as "Tradition," “Sunrise, Sunset" and "L’chaim (To Life)." Topol stars as the beleaguered yet optimistic Russian milkman Tevye, trying to hold his Jewish family together in the face of troubling changes in early 20th-century Russia. Production designer Robert Boyle (THE BIRDS, CAPE FEAR) conjures up a marvelous, earth-toned vision of life in the shtetls. Based on Joseph Stein’s play, with music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Academy Award winner for Cinematography (Oswald Morris) and Score (John Williams).


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