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  1. Hi Dennis. I’ve been following your work for many years now and enjoy consistently. I have an obscure question. One of my very favorite movies never played on the big screen, but I’ve often wished it had. The HBO/BBC film “Conspiracy” recreating the Wansee Conference. I’ve often wondered how it might have fared had it been nominated in the Academy Awards. Do you think it was Oscar worthy or am I just a complete weirdo?

    1. I’ve never seen it…but after a quick check I see it’s available to me via my HBO VOD service. It looks fascinating (if chilling) and certainly has a great cast (Ken Branaugh, Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth are all excellent players). I’ll have to put it on my watch list. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  2. Hello Dennis, Love your reviews on Digby’s blog. Wondering if you can recommend any films in the genre of WWII resistance. I’m fond of the film Black Book, and would be interested to see others like it. Hoping our future in this country won’t resemble that level of darkness.

    1. Melville’s “Army of Shadows” is a personal favorite. Also Fred Schepsi’s 1985 drama “Plenty” (w/Meryl Streep & Charles Dance). And if you are looking for a great binge, the French TV series “A French Village” is one of the best WW2 dramas I’ve ever seen in any medium. Truly outstanding writing, directing and acting. It’s 7 seasons, so you’d have to clear some time!

      1. Thanks for those excellent suggestions. Some others in this vein I seen recently include “The 12th Man” (2018), “A Man Escaped” (1956), and “Sophie Scholl” (2005).

        “Into the Darkness” (2021) was especially interesting, because it looked into the lives of members of a Danish community under increasingly restrictive German occupation.

        The people had a wide range of reactions to their situation: Playing dumb. Being politically naive. Seeing profits and prioritizing $$ over principle. Looking the other way. Not realizing the danger. Accepting creeping compromises with fascists. Protecting your privilege. Thinking that only other people will pay. Thinking you can wait it out. Being intimidated. Your government sells out. Passing the buck. It’s the person, not the ideology. Laughing it off. Dismissing the warning signs. Being forced to comply. We’re only sub-contractors. I’m doing this for the kids. People need work. It will be over soon. Let’s not talk politics. Believing the lies. What could go wrong? They say they have legal authority. We need stability. Don’t make trouble. Watch your attitude. I hate the commies and the nazis hate the commies, so therefore … Go with a winner. It’s irresponsible to protest in the street. We’ll just have to join with the power in this time of instability. Don’t rock the boat. No one knew just how horrific it would get. We have no choice … but to work for the nazis. But we’re nice, middle class people. You can’t stay, and you can’t go.

  3. Hi Dennis,

    Your writing has been getting better and better. It’s time somebody told you!


    Bill McCann

  4. I just want to mention a film about indigenous people that I’m fond of: The Education of Little Tree (1997). One of those films that you think about months after seeing it but you can’t remember the title.

  5. Hi Dennis,

    Bela Lugosi is Dead :

    “Undead, Undead, Undead” … rather than,
    “I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead” …



  6. I moved to SF in 1979 and lived at Hyde & O’Farrell which, if you’ve seen it lately, was a grimy Xanadu with a smidgeon of raffish charm compared to today’s desperate, drug-addled dungeon. Anyway, All Hail the probably-always-needed-to-be-fumigated-twice Strand. My concept of the power and influence of cinema on the modern mind in all it’s sloppy glory wouldn’t even exist without it.

    I’ll bet we went to A LOT of $2.00 matiness at the same time, and I know from reading your stuff (thanks, Digby) that we’d have had some good conversations about the Bavarian Bliss of Herzog and and Rimini Raptures of Fellini

  7. Hi! I saw your article on Digby’s Blog about X-rates movies, and wanted to know if you’ve seen “Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?”

    I caught it at an indie theater, and it was quite the watch.

    1. I don’t believe I have…I’m sure I would have remembered that title! I’m reminded of “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad” LOL. I’m intrigued to see it though.

  8. Mr. Hartley, I read your list of return from war films on Digby’s Hullabaloo, 11/12/2023. I enjoy your blog posts on cinema and music. Thoughtful and passionate reviews. I would hope you might consider “In Country”, from 1989. I think this is one of better films from this genre. The final scenes at the Viet Nam Memorial, in Washington, D.C., are heart breaking. Thanks.

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