The Raging Moon
Bruce Pritchard (Malcolm McDowell) is a young twenty-three with everything to live for. That all changes when he is left paralysed after his brother’s wedding and is told that he will never walk again.
Not wishing to be a burden on to his parents, he takes up residence in a care home run by a church. Depressed and angry, he slowly comes to terms with the complications of his illness thanks to his friend Jill (Nanette Newman).
The Raging Moon was made in 1971 and, for its time, it may have pushed a number of boundaries; most notably that those with a disability should not find love or even have any form of sexual activity. Sadly, or rather thankfully, these taboos have been eradicated and modern society no longer frowns upon love, physical or emotional, between disabled people.
The film has some very clunky dialogue and tries to pull no punches (for its day, anyway) in the way it portrays disabled people. It doesn’t show the audience the physical difficulties of everyday tasks such as cleaning, dressing or even getting in and out of the chair, however, where it does succeed is in giving the audience an insight into the emotional and physical desires of those who, just because they may have lost the use of a limb, does not make them any less of a person.
The acting by Malcolm McDowell and Nanette Newman as they portray two wheelchair bound lovers is quite touching, though by today’s modern standards, will leave the audience scratching their heads as to the characters’ methods (I write this in the technical aspect of physical love making as the film tries to provide the viewer with more than just an idea of what is happening).
The Raging Moon is one of those movies that when it was first released, would have caused quite a stir among both critics and audiences alike. Thankfully, due to medical science, more mature attitudes and better understanding, the taboos mentioned in this film are no longer of consequence. This is a film that is best left to the archives or those looking at attitudes of the past.
2 out of 5 Nerds
The Captive Heart
In 1940, a concentration-camp escapee assumes the identity of a dead British officer, only to become a prisoner of war.
Cpt. Mitchell dies during a battle in 1940 and in order to save his life, a Polish escapee from a German concentration camp assumes the dead man’s identity. Captured, along with thousands of British troops, Cpt. Hasek, now under the identity of Cpt. Mitchell, must blend in and avoid not only the suspicion of the Germans but also the British officers who fear he may be a spy.
The Captive heart, made in 1946, is generally considered the first silver screen WWII Prisoner of War movie. Filmed in Great Britain and at the actual POW camp mentioned in the movie, this is a very realistic portrayal of the boredom, the lack of hope, the sense of despair and the continued belief prisoners of war endured during their captivity.
Sadly though, The Captive Heart is also a love story for the main character of Cpt. Hasek/Cpt. Mitchell must reply to the letters from the real Cpt. Mitchell’s widow. Thus over the course of four years, the two begin a kind of love affair of sorts.
This is a film very much of the time that it was made. It accurately portrays the British POWs as honourable (or mostly honourable save a single incident), while their German guards only meted punishment when rules were broken. History has proved that both of these portrayals were incorrect, yet the most unbelievable act is the love affair that ensues. With typical fan fares of the period, the two meet (with the usual and predictable clunky dialogue) and may perhaps live out their dreams of peace, love and happiness after the war!
The Captive Heart is a great attempt at a POW movie (some of the actors on screen actually were POWs) that accurately portrays the look and feel of the camp, but is sadly (by today’s standards) overshadowed by the unrealistic romantic sub plot.
3 out of 5 Nerds
The Fallen Idol
A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy.
It’s 1948 and young Phillipe is the son to a French diplomat. Lonely and missing his mother and father, Phillipe latches on to Baines, the Butler to the Diplomat. The two form a interesting friendship, though Baines finds comfort in the arms of younger woman. When Mrs Baines dies through “mysterious circumstances” suspicion automatically falls upon Baines as no-one will listen to what young Phillipe tells them.
The Fallen Idol is an interesting suspense movie as the plot centres around the friendship of a young boy and his adult butler. Phillipe, portrayed by Bobby Henery, who had never acted before, gives an annoying performance at times. His constant harassment and beckoning of Baines most certainly will annoy the viewer, yet there is a charm to it. As for Baines, portrayed by Ralph Richardson, the viewer can easily feel sympathy for his desire to be with anyone other than his domineering and spiteful wife.
This Fallen Idol is one of those classic movies that few may have heard of and yet it’s an interesting film to view. The dialogue isn’t as clunky as some British films of this period and the suspense, whilst not in the same league as an Alfred Hitchcock movie, does indeed build the tension up notch by notch. The short running time is also a plus point as the viewer neither becomes bored nor loses interest, and things naturally liven up when the Police arrive to investigate.
This is a film that, although made in 1948, could quite easily be at home in the 1960s or 1970s and one that thoroughly deserves the painstaking measures it took to restore it.
4 out of 5 Nerds