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Full Version: TM2YC's 1001 Movies (Chronological up to page 48/post 480)
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77 years ago...

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The Mortal Storm (1940)
Director: Frank Borzage
Country: United States
Length: 100 minutes
Type: Drama, Political

This being one of the very few anti-Nazi films Hollywood dared to make before Pearl Harbor and it having been shot before the worst horrors of the regime had begun, I thought it would be somewhat naive. It is not and in some ways I found it more powerful and shocking than many later and recent films about the Nazis. With no wars, invasions, or occupations to cover, the film just focuses on the Nazis invasion of their own country and the creeping insidious evil of their ideology. It's often said that Sci-Fi films like 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' are metaphors for a political takeover and I've never felt that comparison as clearly than with 'The Mortal Storm'.

Although Hitler is mentioned by name, MGM were careful not to mention "Germany", or the word "Jewish", so as to try and not offend potential German audiences. They needn't have bothered being so timid because the Nazis banned all MGM movies in response anyway. A few small details like the Swastikas being too thinly drawn and a prisoner wearing wristbands with a "J" on, instead of armbands with a star of David, show that the filmmakers were working on partial intelligence about what was really going on in Germany. In all other respects, it's very accurate to what we now know from History.

The first 15-minutes deliberately setup the joyful happiness of a German family, led by the beloved and respected Professor Roth. The family consists of his daughter and son, his non-Jewish wife and her two step sons. There are also a couple of his students that are like surrogate sons, one being the star James Stewart. On the night of Roth's 60th birthday celebrations, it's announced that Hitler has become Chancellor. The rest of the film chronicles the slow destruction of the family, some gladly joining the new order, some trying to avoid trouble and some refusing to comply. The film is heartbreaking toward the end.



Another W.C. Fields Comedy next.
77 years ago...

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The Bank Dick (1940)
Director: Edward F. Cline
Country: United States
Length: 74 minutes
Type: Comedy

'The Bank Dick' is full of laughs but has little plot, or drama to hold it together, stuff just happens. W.C. Fields plays the permanently soused "Mr. Souse". He insists it is pronounced "Sooze-aye" and not how it looks Big Grin. He spends his days drinking Absinthe, Bourbon and Rum in the 'Black Pussy Cafe' and making up wild tales about himself. Through a series of unlikely events he gets put in charge of security at the bank and brings the drunken chaos with him.



Next up is the Citizen Kane of good movies.
^ Does he at the start of the film throw a broken hat onto a hat rack, and is there some kind of car action or something with W.C. and a firetruck?
(06-14-2018, 03:53 PM)Rogue-theX Wrote: [ -> ]^ Does he at the start of the film throw a broken hat onto a hat rack, and is there some kind of car action or something with W.C. and a firetruck?

A broken hat does feature and a chase happens at the end but I'm not sure. That could describe a lot of early comedies Big Grin .


76 years ago...

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Citizen Kane (1941)
Director: Orson Welles
Country: United States
Length: 119 minutes
Type: Drama, Political, Alternate-History

My (still current) obsession with all things Orson Welles started back in 2001. I was a big fan of The White Stripes (Jack White is also obsessed by Welles) and on their album of that year they had a genius song called 'The Union Forever' which features lyrics constructed (almost) entirely from 'Citizen Kane' quotes.



It's a film that gets better and richer on every viewing and I've had many over the years. This time I noticed the interesting parallels between Charles F. Kane and Donald J. Trump. A narcissistic millionaire with a media and real-estate empire, who inherits a fortune, uses it to run for high political office and threatens to jail his opponent. Kane puts out "fake news" that the polls were rigged when he loses and Trump did the same, even though he won Big Grin . Scenes from the film are routinely used (and misused) as political memes in our modern internet age.



'Citizen Kane' is a marvel on all creative and technical levels. It's been said that it features more FXshots than Star Wars. Every opportunity is taken to make shots in some way unique, different and dazzling, in service of plot and character. The labyrinthine flashback structure, weaving together faked-newsreels, documentary style interviews and dramatic scenes, is so fluid and easily comprehensible that it's an astonishing feat of editing. The film's title has become a byword for excellence "The Citizen Kane of..." and it's often cited as the greatest film ever made. I would probably vote for a few others but it's definitely still a contender for that accolade.



Another Barbara Stanwyck film next, hurray!
77 years ago...

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The Lady Eve (1941)
Director: Preston Sturges
Country: United States
Length: 94 minutes
Type: Comedy, Romance

I don't think I'd ever seen Henry Fonda or Barbara Stanwyck in a Romantic-Comedy before but they are just as good as in their more familiar dramatic work. Stanwyck plays a seductive con-artist preying on the wealthy and naive Fonda. She falls in love for real (so does he) and I thought we were in for the usual "He finds out before she can tell him the truth and rejects her" formula. Except the clever plot engineers a way for her to reject him too and then to set out to con him all over again for revenge. Fonda and Stanwyck have such beautiful romantic chemistry that you want them to end up together so badly. The final comic lines are a hoot.



Next is another entry in the early "Dark Universe".
76 years ago...

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The Wolf Man (1941)
Director: George Waggner
Country: United States
Length: 70 minutes
Type: Horror

'The Wolf Man' is one of the early Universal Horror staples I hadn't got around to watching before. I'm left wondering what it is doing on the 1001 list because although it's not an awful film by any means, it is every inch a cheesy B-grade Horror. The British setting is so lazily and incompetently staged that none of it ever convinces, least of all the Welsh gravedigger dressed as a cowboy Big Grin . Claude Rains is just a few years older than star Lon Chaney and they are nothing alike, so them being cast as father and son looks frankly ridiculous. Rains is wasted, being utilised simply to stand around and spout exposition. Chaney in the Werewolf makeup, with the full soundFX and his animalistic acting is still pretty startling, although it adds up to less than 5-minutes of screen-time. Even that is compromised, as many shots of the Werewolf are replayed time and again to save on the budget. Mostly the sets are lit in a bland TV way (this is no romantically gothic James Whale picture) and only the foggy dark forest set has any real atmosphere.



A classic private-eye mystery next.
^ Best movie ever made. Deep down you know it to be true, but clearly you have been brainwashed by a secretive government agency, an agency with plans to take over the earth with a werewolf army, an agency that wants the public to think that werewolves are just dumb animals in cheap movies, to have made that ^ post, its the only logical explanation. Oh, aye, one day you'll find yourself in the yard enjoying a fresh apple fritter and then two seconds later the whole planet is surrounded by freaking werewolves in freaking u.f.o.'s with freaking lazers attached to their freaking faces, and then you'll wish you hadn't lied to the whole internet about that A+, five star, cinematic game changing picture.
^ LOL
(06-20-2018, 03:04 PM)Rogue-theX Wrote: [ -> ]^ Best movie ever made. 

I second that motion!!!    Big Grin
76 years ago...

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The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Director: John Huston
Country: United States
Length: 101 minutes
Type: Film-Noir, Drama, Detective, Romance

I've watched quite a few Humphrey Bogart Film-Noirs and seen so many imitations, parodies and homages (e.g Star Trek: TNG) to 'The Maltese Falcon' that it took me a little by surprise when I pressed play on this and soon realised I had never actually seen it before. Bogart plays a hard-boiled Private-Eye in a world where everybody (except his trusty secretary) is a pathological liar. We watch him wade through this fog of deception, with murders round every corner to find the titular MacGuffin. Peter Lorre is deliciously slimy and Sydney Greenstreet plays the main bad-guy with such charm, you want to love him. It's funny to note that Bogart's 'Sam Spade' character dislikes guns and does not carry one but is pictured in many of the promotional posters duel-wielding two 45s Big Grin .




Another Howard Hawks picture next.