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Folding ideas put out an excellent video on Triumph of the Will.
The excessive marching is really just to project an image of power, of which the Nazis at the time had little of.
I have viewed Riefenstahl's film numerous times.
As propaganda, it is far better than the earlier (non Riefenstahl) S.A.-Mann Brand.
From time to time, I do watch presidential conventions and have often speculated if and how much planners borrowed from Triumph Of The Will.
(12-01-2017, 03:02 PM)Zamros Wrote: [ -> ]Folding ideas put out an excellent video on Triumph of the Will.

I watched that video thanks but I didn't like it as much.

He wastes 5-minutes describing how he's going to review the film (instead of reviewing it), two minutes on history that we all know (I'd hope), two minutes discussing Lord of the Rings, then finally says TOTW is all badly shot, sloppily edited, has no ideas and no narrative but then lists the clever editing ideas, how the narrative is conveyed purely visually and subliminally and shows off the amazing cinematography... wait what? Out of the 18-minutes he only reviews the film for about 2 of them. I found it frustrating and I find the dude a bit pretentious generally (His Suicide Squad video was great though).

83 years ago...

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The Atalante (1934)
Director: Jean Vigo
Country: France
Length: 89 minutes
Type: Drama

I'm starting to hate these "Restorations" of early films. When archiving was not what it should have been, movies were often cut and recut with no thought for their long term value. So trying to piece them back together isn't always going to be possible, or desirable. So it proves with Jean Vigo's only feature film 'The Atalante' ('L'Atalante') and the 1990 "Restoration" I've watched. It feels like every scrap of existing footage has been cobbled together to try and and get back to his original cut, with the result that the version I saw looked pretty great but the narrative ranged from confusing, to incoherent. The widely available version before 1990 was apparently just 65 minutes but I bet it made more sense. I found mention of Gaumont doing a new 4K Restoration/Recut this year, so maybe that will be smoother?

'The Atalante' is mostly confined to four characters getting on each other's nerves aboard a shipping barge as it travels the Canals of France. The always reliable Michel Simon plays a similar uncouth character to that of Boudu but this guy is quite sweet underneath. Most of the focus is on Dita Parlo, a new bride trying to find her place in (and to put her stamp on) this rough male environment. Maybe there is a cut of this film that I'd truly love, but this wasn't it. Anybody fancy getting their Fanedit thing on, 1934 style? Wink

(^ Watch this short clip to see where Spielberg got a certain 'Last Crusade' gag from.)

Karloff and Lugosi team-up next.
83 years ago...

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The Black Cat (1934)
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Country: United States
Length: 65 minutes
Type: Drama, Horror

Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff team-up and take center stage in Universal's psychological Horror 'The Black Cat'. A young American honeymooning couple are caught up in the feud between two mysterious old European gentlemen, as a macabre game of revenge plays out. I was surprised to read this was a box office smash because I'd have thought this would have been way too disturbing for contemporary audiences. Featuring as it does, suggestions of necrophilia, possible child abuse, skin flaying and Satanic worship.

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I half suspect Denis Villeneuve had seen 'The Black Cat' before shooting 'Blade Runner 2049'. The minimalist/angular lines and moody lighting of Poelzig's lair, his black kimono, his woman in white and of course his glass cases containing suspended human bodies, all point to it's influence on the Wallace character.

The book's first John Ford movie next.
83 years ago...

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Judge Priest (1934)
Director: John Ford
Country: United States
Length: 80 minutes
Type: Comedy, Drama, Propaganda

John Ford's 'Judge Priest' is a very frustrating watch. For the most part, it's a beautifully evocative story, full of warmth and humour about "The South" but it's also full of vile Racism. I was shocked that the review in the book by Martin Rubin only mentions that the film has "dated" well (His review is from 2003, or earlier). In fact, not only is the film horribly dated in it's portrayal of the two Black characters but his review is dated too. I can't imagine a film critic getting away with ignoring the racism in 2017.

'Judge Priest' is hateful Propaganda about "The Lost Cause", the 'United Daughters of the Confederacy' (whose monuments the US are currently finally tearing down) and the idiotic idea that Black people were happy to be subservient to whites, singing Southern songs about "Darkies" and playing "Dixy" on the harmonica. The two black characters are treated with love and kindness but the sort of kindness you'd show to a dog, or a child. It should be noted that Henry Walthall takes a central role in a deliberate refrence to his lead character in 1915 rascist Epic 'Birth of a Nation'. I noticed that there were many clips from 'Judge Priest' in Public Enemy's 1990 music-video 'Burn Hollywood Burn'. Used to illustrate the very worst depictions of African-Americans in Hollywood movies:

That aside (and it's difficult to put it to one side) the film is well worth seeing. Will Rogers plays the title role with such humanity and understatement. A character that seems amiable and carefree on the surface but clearly is a man of deep feeling underneath. A lovely and sad scene of Priest, after having spent the evening jovially match-making for his beloved nephew, retires alone to his bedroom to talk to a picture of his departed wife about his day. The light-dappled cinematography really brings old Kentucky to life.

Another Frank Capra film next.
83 years ago...

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It Happened One Night (1934)
Director: Frank Capra
Country: United States
Length: 105 minutes
Type: Drama, Comedy

There isn't much to Frank Capra's 'It Happened One Night' but when the two leads have the charm and chemistry of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, that's all you need. A spoiled rich socialite and a cynical disreputable reporter are stuck together on a road trip. It's an early model for that style of film where the central couple hate everything about each other, but we know they are going to be helplessly in love by the end of their adventure... the pleasure for the viewers is in seeing how it happens.

The first of the 'Thin Man' mysteries next.
83 years ago...

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The Thin Man (1934)
Director: W. S. Van Dyke
Country: United States
Length: 93 minutes
Type: Drama, Comedy

From now I'm taking William Powell's performance as retired PI Nick Charles as one of personal role models. He glides around looking immaculately stylish in a silk dressing down, with a Cocktail in hand, never sober but never drunk, solving crimes without breaking into a sweat and always ready with a razor sharp quip. Truly something to aspire to and Myrna Loy as his charming wife, is every bit his feisty equal. The cast of peculiar socialites who they investigate are hilarious too. I simply loved every second and there are five sequels, so hopefully I've plenty more laughs to savour.

A pirate adventure next.
81 years ago...

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Captain Blood (1935)
Director: Michael Curtiz
Country: United States
Length: 119 minutes
Type: Drama, Adventure

I was expecting a classic swashbuckling adventure from Errol Flynn's 'Captain Blood' but there isn't any pirating at all for the first hour. Instead we get a captivating story about a proud Doctor sold into slavery by an unjust King. That character building first half is well spent because when the cannon balls do start to fly, we know where everybody stands, right or wrong. The action is well worth the wait, with either real ships doing battle, or very convincing large-scale models (I couldn't tell which). Erich Wolfgang Korngold's thrilling, heroic and romantic score is a major step toward the blockbuster scores of people like John Williams that we take as a given now. Could we not have some new "realistic" pirate movies, without all the magical nonsense in POTC?

Another sea-bound film next.
Hi TM2YC, I'm new here and just wanted to say great thread. Glad I stumbled across this. I once started a similar thread on another forum but never got past the 1920s! Gets in the way sometimes. Can I ask where you got your list? Seems a little heavy with more recent hack titles while missing some good ones back in the early and mid-20th century, but that's just my opinion!

Reading through the first few pages and I like your reviews. Even if you're further along and not reviewing new titles anymore I would suggest looking back at some of Rex Ingram and Charlie Chaplin's work from the silent era. I have a fan edit of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that I can share anytime (public domain anyway). Martin Scorsese has a well-known list of 85 must-see films and I also like Robert McKee's filmography list in his book.

Looking forward to more of your reviews! Maybe I'll give my own another try.
(01-02-2018, 04:45 AM)Film Snob Wrote: [ -> ]Can I ask where you got your list?

It's the '1001 films to see before you die' 2005 edition. The exact composition of the list isn't all that important to me... it's just a good way to make me to watch a variety of films.

(01-02-2018, 04:45 AM)Film Snob Wrote: [ -> ]I would suggest looking back at some of Rex Ingram and Charlie Chaplin's work from the silent era.

Not that familiar with Ingram but I've seen all of Chaplin's features.

(01-02-2018, 04:45 AM)Film Snob Wrote: [ -> ]Martin Scorsese has a well-known list of 85 must-see films

I've seen 30 or so of them. I notice he's got 'The Magic Box' on the list which is a favourite of mine. It's currently languishing on a warped and faded 3-strip transfer DVD. Hopefully Scorsese will get around to having it restored one day.

His semi-chronological doc about his favourite movies is lovely...

82 years ago...

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Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Director: Frank Lloyd
Country: United States
Length: 132 minutes
Type: Drama

The main appeal of 1935's 'Mutiny on the Bounty' is watching two of the all-time great actors, Charles Laughton and Clark Gable face off against each other in a battle of iron wills. The script is careful to present both Bligh and Christian as flawed yet dynamic men, so our sympathies don't swing too far in Christian's direction.

More Marx Brothers next.