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(11-05-2018, 06:28 PM)CourtlyHades296 Wrote: [ -> ]I decided to watch the films from the 2013 edition in randomized order.

Sir I salute you.

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A Trip to the Moon is interesting as an insight into the earliest days of cinema.
67 years ago...

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Gun Crazy (1949)
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Country: United States
Length: 87 minutes
Type: Film-Noir

'Gun Crazy' was secretly written using a front name by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo (who had been one of Hollywood's highest paid and most sought after screenwriters). His script and the skills of Director Joseph H. Lewis elevate this B-movie budgeted Bonnie & Clyde type caper. Lewis' documentary style location filming has the feel of French New Wave, a decade early, a world away from the set-bound artifice more typical of Hollywood in this period. There would have been little or no money for driving process shots, so Lewis simply straps a camera to a car and has the actors drive around in long takes. Taking a budget limitation and turning it into exciting style. John Dall (who had just made 'Rope' with Alfred Hitchcock) and Peggy Cummins play bank-robbing lovers. Dall's character's obsession with guns is taken to a sexual level, he falls for the girl in the instant she points a pistol at him and fires.The heist scene (below) is reminiscent of 'Reservoir Dogs' and the central relationship is also a little 'Natural Born Killers' so I'm sure Quentin Tarantino was taking notes:

A Hepburn and Tracy film next.
68 years ago...

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Adam's Rib (1949)
Director: George Cukor
Country: United States
Length: 101 minutes
Type: Romantic-Comedy

'Adam's Rib' opens with a woman discovering her husband has been cheating, in her hysterical anger she pulls a gun and shoots the husband in the shoulder. I was quite surprised to see how darkly comic they go in the scene, ending with the wife switching to hugging and caressing the husband, as he lies bleeding and crying on the floor in terror. Enter Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, a married couple of lawyers. Tracy is assigned to prosecute the woman but Hepburn sees an opportunity for a feminist test case and takes up her defense, to the irritation of Tracy. The sexual-politics mostly feel pretty current, although it's dated by the husband's physical abuse being treated as a side issue, next to his infidelity.

Most of the film divides it's time between the court-room "battle of the sexes" and Tracy and Hepburn's apartment. The chance to fight each other tooth-and-nail in court initially makes the pair horny for each other but as the court scenes get more bitter, they start to damage their happy marriage. George Cukor's clever ways to get around the censors and to continually talk about sex, without actually saying it, is something to marvel at. One of the latter scenes has Tracy chewing a large mouthful of liquorice and struggling to say "If there's anything I'm a sucker for it's liquorice". The S in sucker sounds an awful lot like an F but I'm unsure if this was an innocent accident, or a sly way to get some naughty language into the movie. It's funny either way, the moment and the film are hilarious. The contrived ending threatens to spoil things but Cukor just gets away with it.

Another Ealing comedy gem next.
69 years ago...

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Whiskey Galore! (1949)
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Country: United Kingdom
Length: 95 minutes
Type: Comedy

'Whiskey Galore!' is in the top rank of Ealing Comedies and is always a pleasure to re-watch. An isolated Scottish island runs out of Whiskey due to the war, causing widespread depression, panic and even an old man taking to his death bed. When a ship full of cases of "The water of life" runs aground, the locals all conspire to steal the cargo from under the noses of the officials. The pompous Home-Guard leader Capt. Waggett and his insubordinate Unit were surely a blueprint for Capt. Mainwaring and the 'Dad's Army' Platoon. The Comedy is subtle and warm, superbly underplayed by a cast of craggy-faced character actors.

Another Jimmy Cagney film next.
69 years ago...

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White Heat (1949)
Director: Raoul Walsh
Country: United States
Length: 114 minutes
Type: Film-Noir, Gangster, Heist

Innocent bystanders and defenseless people are getting capped left and right as soon as the credits finish, clearly a harder edge than the earlier Jimmy Cagney films I've watched. What I initially feared was going to be a rehash of his other Gangster films 'The Public Enemy' and 'Angels with Dirty Faces', instead turns into a prison movie and then a heist. Cagney is superb as hoodlum Cody Jarrett, teetering on the brink of insanity. The rest of the cast are a little wooden, or overplayed, with the exception of Margaret Wycherly as Cody's scheming mother. The scene where Cody retells The Trojan Horse story in 1940s Gangster slang is a nice touch. I suddenly got a weird Batman '89 vibe at the end as Cagney is cackling to himself maniacally while cops chase him through an industrial plant.

Another Max Ophüls film next.

Obviously this a big spoiler but I found this little fanedit clip where somebody has quite convincingly made the explosion finale more "Awesome" with explosions from other movies Big Grin :

69 years ago...

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The Reckless Moment (1949)
Director: Max Ophüls
Country: United States
Length: 82 minutes
Type: Film-Noir

Lucia Harper (Joan Bennett) is a middle-class suburban wife who discovers the body of her daughter's sleazy boyfriend and to divert suspicion from the family moves the corpse out of panic. The boyfriend's gangster friends soon guess what has happened and blackmail Lucia, as the Police close in. James mason plays Donnelly, the oddly decent man sent to do the blackmailing but in an unexpected twist he begins to fall in love with Lucia. There follows an increasingly tragic downward spiral into mystery, fatal love and more death. The script repeatedly raises the notion that a loving family, a close community and friendly neighbours can feel like a cage when you have a secret to hide. Max Ophüls pre-stedicam gliding camera work, looks so effortless but it must have been difficult to achieve.

An iconic role for Orson Welles next.
69 years ago...

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The Third Man (1949)
Director: Carol Reed
Country: United Kingdom
Length: 108 minutes
Type: Film-Noir

Joseph Cotten plays Holly Martins, a writer of Pulp-Westerns, arriving in crumbling post-war Vienna to visit his childhood friend Harry Lime but finds him recently dead. The story follows Holly's efforts to map out the shape of the void Lime has left behind in this strange city. He sifts through the lies and half-truths told by dispossessed and damaged people living in lavish but derelict old buildings. The faded glamour of this Noir-ish city has an aesthetic not unlike that of Los Angeles in the later 'Blade Runner'.

Orson Welles' brief partly-improvised cameo is rightly celebrated but the more times I re-watch 'The Third Man', the more I appreciate everything around it. Carol Reed's Direction is so classy, so expert, so refined. Every shot is just the right length, framed from just the right angle and lit to shadowy perfection. Alida Valli plays the sad eyed but tough girl that Harry has left behind and who Holly begins to fall for. The Cuckoo-Clock speech, the sewer chase, the iconic score and that final shot linger long in the memory. The most recent 2015 StudioCanal 4K-scan is one of the best looking blu-rays I've yet seen. The extra detail over the old HD transfer adds 10-years to poor Joseph Cotton's face Big Grin .

A Technicolor Musical next.
68 years ago...

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On the Town (1949)
Director: Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen
Country: United States
Length: 98 minutes
Type: Musical

An early example of the kind of bright and upbeat Technicolor Musical that would dominate the following decades. Three excited young sailors have a 24-hour-pass in New York City to explore, have fun and hook up. Ironically the one sailor (played by Frank Sinatra) who genuinely wants to see all the tourist spots, is immediately accosted by an insatiable female cab-driver who just wants to take him back to her place. Some of the dance routines are spectacular and some of the songs are winners (but not all of them). It's gonna come down to how much you enjoy dance for dance sake and how much you like plot, drama and romance (Not enough of the later for me). I did get a kick out of the way the film ends almost exactly as it begins, inviting you to watch again on an infinite loop.

This song is delightful Smile:

Another Jean Cocteau film next.
The first film of the 1950s and 68 years ago...

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Orpheus (1950)
Director: Jean Cocteau
Country: France
Length: 95 minutes
Type: Drama

'Orpheus' ('Orphée') is a loose adaptation of the Greek-Myth transposed to (then) contemporary Paris. A sort of surrealist love-quadrangle between the eponymous poet, his wife Eurydice, The Princess Death and her servant Heurtebise. Orpheus slips between reality and the underworld through clever mirror trick-shots, slow-motion, back-projection and reverse-motion photography. Director Jean Cocteau has his actors act out quite lengthy and elaborate sequences backwards and then plays them in reverse, so we don't even realise what is happening until his actors suddenly do something the right way and we see what looks like impossible magic.

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This reverse weirdness often takes place in a room with a distinctive chevron floor... which can only make you think David Lynch must've been paying very close attention. The wonderful in-camera trickery and memorable dreamlike images aside, I found the narrative and characters frustratingly unengaging and the film quite a slog to get through.

Another John Huston Noir next.