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(05-27-2020, 09:33 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-16-2017, 01:03 PM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]'An Andalusian Dog' ('Un Chien Andalou')

Oh man, how can you not mention the eyeball cutting?  One of the most horrific images I've ever seen in my life.

Oh yeah. I guess it's so ubiquitous that I forgot to mention it.

(06-06-2020, 05:19 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: [ -> ]I'm looking forward to your 2021 series of silent-film fanedits.

There are silent edits on ifdb. I'd be more interested in making a sound film silent, then trimming a real silent. I was part way through creating a version of Fritz Lang's full-length Metropolis with English intertitles of my own design:

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61 years ago...

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The Music Room (1958)
Director: Satyajit Ray
Country: India
Length: 100 minutes
Type: Drama

Satyajit Ray's 'The Music Room' ('Jalsaghar') depicts the final days and years of a cultured feudal lord (from a line of rulers) whose money, land, palace and prestige have all but faded. His reputation as a lover and patron of Indian classical music is all he has left to cling to, spending his dwindling money on staging lavish concerts for local dignitaries in order to maintain his prestige... a pursuit that costs him everything, in all senses. His fall is mirrored by the rise of a crass money lender. The combination of Ray's direction, Chhabi Biswas' otherworldly performance and Vilayat Khan's Sitar music create an intoxicating and hypnotic mood. The long musical sequences were a little lost on me because I don't know enough about the art form, they're good but I think I was supposed to be in awe of their technical genius.



The first film in the book by Truffaut and the first of the New Wave.
61 years ago...

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The 400 Blows (1959)
Director: Francois Truffaut
Country: France
Length: 99 minutes
Type: Drama

Francois Truffaut's 'The 400 Blows' ('Les Quatre Cents Coups') has a heavy rep, as a pioneering entry in the French New Wave movement, The Criterion Collection's spine #5, Timeout's 9th greatest French film ever and a place in Sight & Sound Magazine's Top-50 films of all-time list. 14-year old Jean-Pierre Leaud plays Antoine Doinel (who he would play four more times), a troubled and in trouble boy. It's a semi-autobiographical film about Truffaut's own upbringing and has some elements that mirror Leaud's life too. We are shown Doinel's low-level bad behaviour from the start, stealing, lying, playing truant from school and sneaking into the cinema instead but we learn the causes as the story progresses. The shaky marriage of his parents, his ineffectual step-father, unfaithful mother, unsupportive teachers and brutal treatment in a Borstal. We watch them from his eye level, seeing their muddled attempts to correct him, the little cruel things he overhears and POV observations of their mannerisms and clothing. The scene where Doinel is driven away in a police van is very sad, his tear streaked face through the bars, as lullaby style music plays. It all feels very emotionally real but I wasn't able to see why 'The 400 Blows' is held as such a masterpiece of cinema? Sure it looks modern and unflinching next to other more artificial Hollywood films of the late 50s but it's no more naturalistic and gritty than the Italian neorealist films of the previous decade.





Another Hitchcock film next.
(11-11-2017, 04:39 AM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]84 years ago...

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Footlight Parade (1933)
Director: Lloyd Bacon & Busby Berkely
Country: United States
Length: 102 minutes
Type: Musical, Comedy, Drama

At first I found the super-rapid pace of dialogue in 'Footlight Parade' to be hard to follow (like they were being paid based on how many words they could squeeze into the picture) but once I'd caught up with who the characters all were, it was frenetic fun.  James Cagney plays a theatrical Producer of short live musical "Prologues", or "Units" used to preface movies (A practice I'd never heard of). Joan Blondell is his tough, hard-working, no-nonsense Secretary who keeps this particular Genius on the level. She is also in love with him (a fact clear to everyone except him) and stole the film from Cagney  for me.

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This is basically the exact same plot from '42nd Street' done again but done even better. The three Busby Berkely musical extravaganzas at the end are fantastically lavish and inventive but this time they find a way to more smoothly integrate the film's plot into the dance numbers. One of the characters is a prudish (but hypocritical) censor, who everyone hates and makes fun of. This combined with the film's later stages including scenes celebrating unmarried sex, prostitution, drunkenness, near nudity and drug-abuse must be seen as a big f**k you to the proponents of the "Hays Code" that would soon come into force 9-months later.



Busby Berkely's 'Gold Diggers of 1933' is next.

I'm thinking the Coens must be big fans of Busby Berkely...hasn't he influenced several of their films.  That shot you pulled is homaged in The Big Lebowski, for example... or am I crazy?
(07-05-2020, 08:31 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: [ -> ]I'm thinking the Coens must be big fans of Busby Berkely...hasn't he influenced several of their films.  That shot you pulled is homaged in The Big Lebowski, for example... or am I crazy?

They're definitely into referencing old song and dance movies but I haven't seen Big Lebowski in forever.



61 years (and 7-days) ago...

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North by Northwest (1959)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Country: United States
Length: 136 minutes
Type: Thriller

The middle film in Alfred Hitchcock's "perfect triptych" is his ultimate expression of the type of adventure/mistaken-identity/spy-thriller which he had been re-working since 1935's 'The 39 Steps'. The plot is utter genius (so I won't give it away), Bernard Herrmann's score has at least two of the finest themes he ever wrote, Saul Bass' titles are once again iconic and the chemistry between the two leads is electric. As soon as Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint's characters meet on a train, the sexual tension is edge-of-the-seat stuff. The cracking dialogue finds a way for Saint to offer Grant to "go back to her cabin and f**k" without ever saying it. Every scene oozes style and sophistication, sharp clothes, tasteful cinematography, modernist architecture, luxurious interiors, chrome plated trains and an endless supply of cocktails. You can tell Hitch is having fun in the way he ends the film on a train euphemistically entering a tunnel, or when the premise requires that one character explain the plot so-far to another, he just drowns out their dialogue with a plane's engine noise to show the audience that he knows it's irrelevant and that we know that he knows it's irrelevant. I never get tired of re-watching 'North by Northwest'.



The official AFI "funniest film ever" next.
^Under-rated in favor of Vertigo and Psycho by most people, imho.

For The Big Lebowski, I can't find the exact shot, but this scene:
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61 years ago...

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Some Like It Hot (1959)
Director: Billy Wilder
Country: United States
Length: 121 minutes
Type: Romantic Comedy, Farce

I thought I'd watched 'Some Like It Hot' before and I have owned the blu-ray for a few years but I soon realised I hadn't.  Sometimes a movie is such a famous classic that you've seen enough clips to make you feel you have. Billy Wilder writes, produces and directs this expertly paced farce that was placed at No. 1 on the AFI's Top 100 comedies list. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play two starving Chicago musicians who witness the 'Saint Valentine's Day Massacre' and fearing for their lives accept a job at a Florida resort masquerading as "Josephine and Daphne" in an all-female band. I guess this kicked off a whole sub-genre of cross-dressing comedy, followed by movies like 'Tootsie' and 'Mrs. Doubtfire', although of course Shakespeare started it really. They soon befriend (and one falls in love with) Marilyn Monroe's ditzy Sugar "Kane" Kowalczyk character. The comedy has barely aged a day, the two boys are shown enjoying exploring their feminine side, they quickly experience what it's like to be harassed by men and by the end a same-sex marriage is on the cards. The farcical plot really kicks up a gear halfway through when Curtis starts pretending to be an eccentric millionaire yachtsman to impress Sugar. He does a note perfect Cary Grant send-up and Lemmon cheekily remarks "Where did you get that phony accent?! Nobody talks like that!". The script is packed with quotable and memorable lines but the one that got the biggest line from me was very Groucho Marx:

Sugar: "Water polo? Isn't that terribly dangerous?"
Joe: "I'll say! I had two ponies drowned under me"



An Otto Preminger courtroom drama next.
61 years ago...

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Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Director: Otto Preminger
Country: United States
Length: 160 minutes
Type: Courtroom Drama

I do love a good courtroom drama and this is one of the very best. It's kinda the polar opposite of '12 Angry Men' with it's high ideals of the law, 'Anatomy of a Murder' is about two lawyers dueling with every sly maneuver they can muster. James Stewart's defense attorney character plays up his trademark folksy 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' shtick for the sympathy of the jury. George C. Scott plays his opposite number, wise to Stewart's playbook, with a few tricks of his own. Everything is grey, the truth is malleable and nobody is entirely innocent. The case is about a jealous and volatile Army Lieutenant accused of killing the man who is alleged to have raped his flirtatious wife. It's a premise cleverly constructed to make us doubt the evidence because of our suspicions about the various dubious characters and that's the point the film is trying to make about how the justice system works. I was a little startled to hear some of unfiltered graphic sexual language of the script coming out Stewart's mouth in a 50s B&W film, I guess Director Otto Preminger was again pushing the boundaries of the censors. Preminger also got in Jazz legend Duke Ellington to do the score (and he appears in one scene playing piano with Stewart), making this the first major Hollywood film sound-tracked by an African American. The court Judge is brilliantly played with a twinkle ever in his eye by non-actor and real-life lawyer Joseph Welch, who was famous for having dressed down the notorious Senator Joseph McCarthy (see video below). Welch sadly died a year after the film came out.





A French Horror film net.
60 years ago...

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Eyes Without a Face (1959)
Director: Georges Franju
Country: France
Length: 84 minutes
Type: Horror

An early French "art house" spin on the Horror genre. The Third Man's Alida Valli plays a women abducting young female students for a Frankenstein-esque plastic surgeon who wants to use their faces to repair that of his disfigured daughter. Edith Scob in her smooth white face-mask is simultaneously unsettling and sympathetic. The very real looking scene of a girl's face being slowly peeled away with a scalpel still looks shocking. The score by Maurice Jarre alternates between a macabre waltz and an beautifully sad piano theme. I bet Dario Argento was obsessed by this movie.





A Western from Budd Boetticher next.
(07-17-2020, 03:54 PM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]I bet Dario Argento was obsessed by this movie.

And Billy Idol.