Long winter nights are good for more than one thing. So why not try a couple of lesser-known old movies, released on video for the first time as part of Connoisseur’s rediscovered-classics series?
For director Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life), sap ran year-round, and this version of a Damon Runyon weeper (which Capra remade as 1961’s Pocketful of Miracles) shows he liked it sweet and flavorful — if a tad too slick. In Lady For a Day there are plenty of amusing moments like in the pleasingly creaky tale of apple vendor Annie (May Robson), gambler Dave the Dude (Warren William), and their gala masquerade for the benefit of a daughter and a Spanish count.
For the opposite mood, try the dark, dreary Stromboli, with Ingrid Bergman in her first role directed by soon-to-be-husband Roberto Rossellini. The film, in this uncut version, is almost as unyielding as the volcanic rock of Stromboli, the island that is prison to selfish Karin but proud home of the ex-soldier and fisherman who was her ticket out of a World War II internment camp. Rossellini — and his lover — pull no punches here.
Lady for a Day: B