JKL Triple Bill

After a brief hiatus because, well, I forgot about it, the 2015 Alphabet Film Project returns with a bang, today brought to you by the number 3 and the letters J-K-L.

Having endured the play in 3rd year English class I can't claim much fondness for Shakespeare's Julius Caesar - the only tragedy was that we didn't get to study King Lear or Hamlet instead. Nevertheless the film adaptation Julius Caesar (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1953) is a handsomely staged affair, filled with good performances. The main interest at the time was to see how the mumbling method man Marlon Brando (playing Marc Antony) would cope with the delivery of Shakespeare's verse. I'm guessing it must have been pretty annoying for respected British thesps John Gielgud (Cassius) and James Mason (Brutus) that the new kid on the block not only cut a fine figure in a toga, but stole the film totally, not least by smashing the "Friends, Romans, countrymen...." speech out of the Forum, and netted a third Best Actor Oscar nomination in as many years in the process. All in all, this was a film well made.

Klute (Alan J, Pakula, 1971) is not up to the standards of The Parallax View and All The President's Men, the other two films in Pakula's 'Paranoia Trilogy', but if you ever wondered why Jane Fonda was famous, you could do worse than start here. Her layered performance as Bree, a New York prostitute struggling to break out of the game, is really terrific and won her a first Best Actress Oscar. She's the focus of the entire film, so it's somewhat unfair that the film title instead refers to the main male character (Donald Sutherland), a detective who requires Bree's help to track down his friend's killer. As a renowned feminist, that probably pissed Fonda off no end. Anyhow, it's a fairly slow-paced murder-mystery with some predictable plot developments, but see if for Fonda and then go out and burn your bra.

"Watch out lads! She's onto us!"
Late Chrysanthemums (Mikio Naruse, 1954) is a gentle social drama exploring the changing fortunes of four geisha in post-WWII Japan, as they lament how their lives in this modern society don't match up to the dreams and expectations of their youth. It's elegantly directed and contains nice performances (Haruko Sugimura as O-kin particularly good), but I was never particularly stirred by the memoirs of the geisha, so I found it a film to admire rather than love. After a lot of melancholy it does finish on a somewhat optimistic note, but still best avoided if you're in the middle of a mid-life crisis, although one character offers some good advice if you are; "Enjoy drinking while you can, forget your worries". Banzai!

So we're back on track. Like James Bond, the 2015 Alphabet Project will return in M-N-O! Book your tickets now!

This series has been brought to you by the number 26 and the letters A to Z. The entire list of reviews can be viewed in one handy list here, in reverse order for extra excitement. Or you can click on the links below because it's still Christmas and I'm feeling helpful. Until next year, farewell

Previously on the Alphabet Film Project....


Atlantic City
Blood of Fu Manchu
Curse of Frankenstein


Esio Trot


Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Hiroshima Mon Amour


Julius Caesar
Late Chrysanthemums



Perks of Being a Wallflower
Quatermass and the Pit
Roman Holiday

Sherlock Holmes & the Scarlet Claw
Tender Mercies
Under the Skin

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

You're Next
Zombie Flesh Eaters

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