May 272020
 

On This Day

BORN - May 27



On This Day

May 252020
 

Pretty Baby

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PLOTIn 1917, during the last months of legal prostitution in Storyville, the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana, Hattie is a prostitute working at an elegant brothel run by the elderly, cocaine-sniffing Madame Nell. Hattie has given birth to a baby boy and has a 12-year-old daughter, Violet, who lives in the house. When photographer Ernest J. Bellocq comes with his camera, Hattie and Violet are the only people awake. He asks to be allowed to take photographs of the women. Madame Nell agrees only after he offers to pay.

Bellocq becomes a fixture in the brothel, photographing the prostitutes, mostly Hattie. His activities fascinate Violet, though she believes he is falling in love with her mother, which makes her jealous. Violet is a restless child, frustrated by the long, precise process Bellocq must go through to pose and take pictures.

Nell decides that Violet is old enough for her virginity to be auctioned off. After a bidding war among regulars, Violet is bought by an apparently quiet customer. This depiction of child abuse experience is unpleasant. Hattie, meanwhile, aspires to escape prostitution. She marries a customer and leaves for St. Louis without her daughter, whom her husband believes to be her sister. Hattie promises to return for Violet, once she's settled and has broken the news to the new spouse.

Violet runs away from the brothel after being punished for some hijinks. She appears on Bellocq's doorstep and asks him if he will sleep with her and take care of her. He initially says no, but then he takes her in and commences having a sexual relationship with the child. In many ways, their relationship resembles one between a parent and child, with Bellocq standing in for Violet's absent mother. Bellocq even buys Violet a doll, telling her that "every child should have a doll". Bellocq is entranced by Violet's beauty, youth, and photogenic face. She is frustrated by Bellocq's devotion to his photography and lack of care for her as a dependent, as much as he is frustrated by the reality that she is a child.

Violet eventually returns to Nell's after quarreling with Bellocq, but social reform groups are forcing the brothels of Storyville to close. Bellocq arrives to wed Violet, ostensibly to protect her from the larger world.

Two weeks after the wedding, Hattie and her husband arrive from St. Louis to collect Violet, claiming that her marriage is illegal without their consent. Bellocq does not want to let Violet go. Violet asks if he will go with her and her family. Upon hearing that she does in fact want to go with them, he lets her leave without him, realizing that schooling and a more conventional life will benefit her greatly.
1978Personal Rating30Rotten Critics70Rotten Audience59IMDb Rating66Combined Rating56.3

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May 242020
 

The Wild Geese

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PLOTAllen Faulkner, a former British Army colonel turned mercenary, arrives in London to meet merchant banker Sir Edward Matheson. The latter proposes an operation to rescue Julius Limbani, the imprisoned President of a southern African nation who is due for execution by General Ndofa. President Limbani is held in a remote prison in Zembala, guarded by a regiment of General Ndofa's troops known as the "Simbas".

Faulkner accepts the assignment and begins recruiting forty-nine mercenaries, including officers he had worked with previously: Capt. Rafer Janders, a skilled tactician, and Lt. Shawn Fynn, a former Irish Guards officer and pilot. Fynn also brings in Pieter Coetzee, a former soldier in the South African Defence Force who wishes only to return home and buy a farm. The mercenaries fly to Swaziland, where they are whipped into shape. Before the operation begins, Janders exacts a promise from Faulkner to watch over his only son, Emile, should he not survive.

Because of an unexpected development, Faulkner is given only a day's notice to launch the mission. On Christmas Day, the 50-man mercenary group parachute into Zembala via HALO jump. One group rescues an alive, though sick, Limbani from a heavily guarded prison, while another group takes over a small, nearby airfield to await pickup. Back in London, however, Matheson cancels the extraction flight at the last moment, having secured copper mining assets from General Ndofa in exchange for President Limbani. Stranded deep in hostile territory, the abandoned mercenaries fight their way through bush country, pursued by the Simbas. Many men, including Coetzee, are killed along the way.

The mercenaries make their way to Limbani's home village, hoping to start a rebellion, but discover his people are too ill-equipped to fight. An Irish missionary living there informs the group of an old Douglas Dakota transport aircraft nearby that they can use to escape. As the Simbas close in, the mercenaries hold them off in a climactic battle sequence while Fynn starts the Dakota's engines, suffering heavy casualties. Janders is shot in the leg and unable to board the departing airplane. Faulkner is forced to kill him, sparing him from capture and torture. The thirteen surviving mercenaries finally manage to land at Kariba Airport, Rhodesia, but Limbani dies from a gunshot wound sustained during the escape.

Some months later, Faulkner returns to London and breaks into Matheson's home, forcing him to disgorge the cash in his wall safe—half a million dollars—to compensate the survivors and the families of those who died. Faulkner then kills Matheson and makes a swift getaway with Fynn. Faulkner fulfills his promise to Janders by visiting Emile at his boarding school.
1978Personal Rating60Rotten Critics63Rotten Audience75IMDb Rating68Combined Rating66.5

Movies IMDb