The Cranes Are Flying is a groundbreaking movie that escaped the Soviet’s relentless orthodoxy to celebrate individuality during war. The stunning Tatiana Samoilova is Veronika, a girl in love with a soldier. A simple story told with subtle direction from Mikhail Kalatozov and remarkable cinematography from Sergei Urusevsky. Their long takes and fluid camerawork influenced films as recent as Children of Men.
No one can claim more influence in horror than Mario Bava, whose handiwork shows in Caltiki, the Immortal Monster, a taut sci-fi/horror film that takes The Blob’s creepy monster to another level of queasiness, especially when horror and sci-fi films were drearily flat. Bava does wonders on a limited budget, especially with melting flesh, and the story of radioactive comets and Mayan ruins is ingeniously brought to horrific life, with John Merivale battling both Mexican bureaucrats and the monster from the sacrificial pool of Caltiki.
- The Cranes Are Flying (Soviet Union) 1957, Criterion Collection
- List price: $29.95
- Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (Italy) 1959, PR Studio
- List price $19.98
— Vanwall Green, Watcher/writer