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I am quite picky about old movies, but I was surprised by how much Spartacus held up when I saw it a few years back.  For anyone holding out because it's not a "real" Kubrick film, I'd urge them to seek it out.  Sometimes having limitations produces better work than having nobody to tell you 'no'.
I love Gladiator
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The Exorcist (1973)
Director: William Friedkin
Country: United States
Length: 121 minutes
Type: Horror

On the first few watches of the 'The Exorcist' it's probably all the mad possession stuff that grabs you but it's the deeper explorations of self doubt, Catholicism, depression, loss of faith, fear of youth, fear of death and heroism that hold your attention. It gets richer with every re-watch. On this viewing I was really appreciating the sound mix. It's very careful to present a baseline of realistic, documentary style sound, with no overt dubbing, exaggerated Foley, or "sweetening" but when the supernatural events happen, that's when the sounds become unreal, bass heavy and weird.  The in-camera FX are still impressive, with objects flying everywhere, seemingly ignoring physics.  All the performances are brilliant but it's Jason Miller's soul shattered Father Karras that dominates. I believe 'The Exorcist' still holds the adjusted-for-inflation record for the highest grossing R-rated film ever, by some margin, well over double 'Joker's receipts. The violent and offensive material is relatively tame by today's standards but was enough for it to be sporadically banned on home-video and TV for 25-years in the UK.





Here is film critic Mark Kermode's introduction to the first ever TV screening of the film in the UK, on Channel 4, 17th March 2001:



It's his favourite film and he's seen it 200 times (as of 2010) Big Grin :



The Fear of God: 25 Years of 'The Exorcist' (1998)
Mark Kermode's BBC documentary manages to get interviews with everybody involved in bringing 'The Exorcist' to the screen, even getting the quarrelsome William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin around the same table. Kermode continues to be an evangelist for the work of both men. The doc unearths mountains of interesting nuggets about the choices, changes and debates that informed the finished version, plus it featured a rough version of the deleted final scene, 2-years before Friedkin put it back in for his 2000 "Version You've Never Seen" re-release. I watched the uncut 81-minute version of 'The Fear of God' on iPlayer.

(04-14-2018, 03:37 AM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]79 years ago...

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Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)
Director: Michael Curtiz
Country: United States
Length: 97 minutes
Type: Gangster, Drama

The oldest movie I have that I still watch!  A lot of aspects of the drama and acting here are surprisingly anchored and gritty.  It's crazy to me how much better this is than a most gangster films made decades later, even today.
(04-15-2018, 10:08 AM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]79 years ago...

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Olympia (1938)
Director: Leni Riefenstahl
Country: Germany
Length: 228 minutes (3 3/4 hours)
Type: Documentary

It's interesting to hear your thoughts on this.  About it being basically propaganda-free, I'd read that one part you described was actually part of a long Nazi narrative tradition:
Quote:The opening 18-minutes of Pt1 is a wordless and elegant continuous montage set to triumphant music, taking us from the ruins of ancient Greece, then it's statues, then the statue-like naked bodies of male and female athletes in super slow-mo and finally a fantastical flight across the map of Europe from Greece to Germany, incorporating many effects, animations and paintings.
Hitler had invested a lot of research in twisting historical narratives to create a mythological "Aryan" race that had a long history of great deeds.  This opening section falls right in line with that, subtly (or not so) linking contemporary Germany through the ages to the foundations of athletic excellence in Ancient Greece, the society which once ruled the Western world.  There's a great 3-part podcast on the elaborate mythologizing Hitler and crew engaged in to link Germany to the great empires of the past from "Our Fake History."
 
Quote:Things were clearly pretty bad in America in the '30s, when they make the Nazi state look less racist.
Yeah, people in the modern US are often not aware of how much headway the eugenics movement made there in the '30s.  The footage of the Nazi party rally in Madison Square Garden is chilling.  That said, it's disappointing as an American to see you feel this way.  As troubled as the US was, Hitler treating a few athletes as exceptional just strikes me as seizing the moment for propaganda.  It doesn't change what they were doing with the "German Hygiene Museum" since '34.  (What would Owens have said if he visited there?)  Or what happened with the German-Jewish athletes and even many Jewish-American athletes.  This article might change your perspective: https://time.com/4432857/hitler-hosted-olympics-1936/

I'd like to think that despite the incredibly troubled history the US has had with race, we can still say we were better than Nazi Germany.  Cry
(09-04-2020, 04:38 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-15-2018, 10:08 AM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]79 years ago...

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Olympia (1938)
Director: Leni Riefenstahl
Country: Germany
Length: 228 minutes (3 3/4 hours)
Type: Documentary

It's interesting to hear your thoughts on this.  About it being basically propaganda-free

I said it was "generally" propaganda-free, it's a subtle difference in wording that I think is important. I fully understand who made the film and what messages they would seek to project with it but for the most part, this message is not overt, absent entirely, or contradicted.
(09-04-2020, 04:38 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: [ -> ]I'd read that one part you described was actually part of a long Nazi narrative tradition:

The opening 18-minutes of Pt1 is a wordless and elegant continuous montage set to triumphant music, taking us from the ruins of ancient Greece, then it's statues, then the statue-like naked bodies of male and female athletes in super slow-mo and finally a fantastical flight across the map of Europe from Greece to Germany, incorporating many effects, animations and paintings.

Connecting the place where the Olympics was first held and the place where it was currently being held, would be difficult to avoid. A sequence with the message of "the Greeks were awesome and we're awesome too" is pretty low key propaganda in my book. I'm sure every Olympic opening ceremony does the same. You could recreate the same sequence shot-for-shot for the host of the next Olympics and nobody would bat an eyelid. It's only knowing who paid for this film to be made and why it was made, that makes it sinister.

(09-04-2020, 04:38 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-15-2018, 10:08 AM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]Things were clearly pretty bad in America in the '30s, when they make the Nazi state look less racist.

It was in jest and that line was in context of Owen's treatment only e.g.

(04-15-2018, 10:08 AM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]Apparently Owens received a congratulatory wave, handshake and signed-photo from Hitler. Owens stayed in unsegregated hotels in Germany and received the first ever sponsorship for a male African American athlete from German shoe maker Adidas. In contrast, on his return to the USA he was made to use the servant's entrance to his own New York celebration and received no congratulation from the President, or invitation to the White House. Things were clearly pretty bad in America in the '30s, when they make the Nazi state look less racist.

Of course I wasn't saying the US were worse than the Nazis (or anything close), just that in this one case of Jesse Owens the contrast was "not a good look". Owens himself has made this sad comparison.
(04-15-2018, 10:08 AM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]people in the modern US are often not aware of how much headway the eugenics movement made there in the '30s.  The footage of the Nazi party rally in Madison Square Garden is chilling.

You mean the Oscar nominated short film? Yeah that doc is horrifying:



(04-15-2018, 10:08 AM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]it's disappointing as an American to see you feel this way.

Trust me, I don't feel that way.



Thanks for the interesting discussion as always but if you are going to quote very old posts, would you mind also including a link to where the specific one you are talking about is, like this (you just right click on the post number, hit copy, paste, done):

https://forums.fanedit.org/showthread.php?tid=12356&pid=308210#pid308210

It can take a while to find it otherwise Big Grin .
A couple of movies from the Spielberg/Amblin golden-era...

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Poltergeist (1982)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Country: United States
Length: 114 minutes
Type: Horror, Fantasy

I think if I'd seen 'Poltergeist' when I was a bairn it would've blown my mind and had me hiding behind the sofa but as an adult it just feels like a sanitised, slightly silly riff on 'The Exorcist'. The in-camera FX appearing to show objects moving on their own, a whole stack of chairs switching position in the space of a quick pan and fixed-camera/rotating-sets distorting gravity, still look like magic, the few opticals look far less impressive. I liked the way the family don't follow that annoying trope of absolutely refusing to believe their eyes and trying to rationalise the supernatural, well past the point of credulity and instead just accept the events as the work of a ghost from the get go. I also appreciated the avoidance of spooky horror lighting, it's mostly filmed in a very normal, flat, suburban way, which grounds the situation. The unnecessary double ending made the last half hour drag for me.

There has been some controversy and union wrangling over the question of who directed 'Poltergeist'. Some cast and crew insist it was all the credited director Tobe Hooper and some are adamant it was mostly writer/producer Steven Spielberg. I'm sure neither extreme is right but it was certainly a close collaboration and has that trademark Amblin style all over it. It's sad to read that two of the actors playing the kids died in tragic circumstances not long after. 'Poltergeist' was one of the films that led to the creation of the PG-13 rating because Spielberg and Hooper somehow got this downgraded from an R-rating, to a PG on appeal, which is nuts considering the levels of Horror shown.

The 35mm trailer:





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Back to the Future (1985)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Country: United States
Length: 116 minutes
Type: Romanti-Comedy, Sci-Fi, Action, Fantasy

It's really hard to try and pick apart a movie as utterly perfect as 'Back to the Future'. It's almost difficult to believe these are actors standing on sets and not characters that really live. The premise is endlessly fascinating. The Doc is like a reverse surrogate grandfather, teaching Marty to be a better person, lessons Marty passes back as the surrogate father of his own father. I love the home-made details of the time machine visible in HD, rough welds on the exhaust fins, all the embossing-tape instrument labels, exposed wiring, cable-ties and consumer junction boxes. You can totally believe the Doc really built it in his garage using components he bought at a hardware store.  I've only seen a DeLorean in the wild once before (I've seen the prop in a museum too) and everybody in the street just stops and watches it go by, transported for a moment out of their mundane day and into the magic of the movies! I'd love to own one.

After all these years there are moments in the film that can still move me to tears, like when George saves Loraine and asks her "Are you okay?" and when they kiss to 'Earth Angel'. It's one of the best ever romantic-comedies and one of the best Sci-Fi adventures all in one package.  It's testament to the production team's quest for perfection that they were prepared to restart production with a new actor after 3-weeks and $3-million dollars had been spent shooting with Eric Stoltz because they knew Michael J. Fox had to be Marty after all.  Lea Thompson probably gives the best performance, she's so charming, energetic and sexy as young Lorraine but also horribly real, pathetic and depressing as old alcoholic Lorraine. The bit where she is sat at the dinner table recounting her meeting with George is so dark. You can see her eyes light up with the warm memory of her first love and then switching in an instant to a look of almost hatred at the grim realisation of her present. She plays the double meaning of the line "It was then I realized I was going to spend the rest of my life with him" so well.

After watching this movie 50+ times, something I never noticed before was that there isn't a single note of non-diegetic music in the first 18-minutes. Alan Silvestri's lush, memorable and exciting score only begins at the precise moment when Doc Brown and the Delorean roll back out of the truck in a cloud of theatrical smoke. The sound of the DeLorean's engine drowning out the first notes so we aren't even aware it's begun. This serves two purposes, it transitions us subconsciously from the fairly grounded opening family drama of 1985 Hill Valley, into the magical fantasy world of the Doc. The absence of music also stops the viewer from becoming passive, or distracted due to a score telling us what to think and feel, so we concentrate our minds fully on the sights, sounds and exposition-packed dialogue of the opening act, nearly every moment of which will be made reference to and subverted as the movie plays out. It must take real effort to construct a script that feels this effortless. How does all this happen in under 2-hours and not feel rushed! Also, this time I noticed, isn't the chime of the Hill Valley clock tower the same as that of Big Ben?

The 35mm teaser trailer from TeamNegative1:





Ebert is dead-on comparing BttF to 'It's a Wonderful life':

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West Side Story (1961)

Director: Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins
Country: United States
Length: 152 minutes
Type: Musical

The opening ballet sequence, set on the real streets of New York's Westside is thrilling. The line between dance choreography and physical violence is almost invisible, to the point where you see a gob of spit arcing though the air in perfect time with the music. Unfortunately the rest of the film takes place inside very artificial looking sets, that never have the same sense of realism and danger. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim seamlessly turn William Shakespeare's 'Romeo & Juliet' into a modern-day (the 60s) Musical. Instead of Montagues and Capulets, we have two young street gangs, the white American gang, the Jets and the Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks. You wouldn't get away with casting a white girl in brown-face as your Puerto Rican Juliet these days (quite rightly) but to be fair to Natalie wood, she does it convincingly. I've seen the film once before but this time I was really taking notice of the lyrics, especially the famous number "America". An impassioned discussion of attitudes to Hispanic immigrants in the US, which is still very relevant today. By the way, my goodness can Twin Peak's Russ Tamblyn dance when he was young! It'll be interesting to see Steven Spielberg's remake this Christmas.







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An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Country: Japan
Length: 113 minutes
Type: Drama

Due to his death a year later, 'An Autumn Afternoon' ( aka 'Sanma no aji' = 'The Taste of Sanma' (a Japanese autumn seasonal fish)) would be Director Yasujiro Ozu's last film. Like the celebrated 'Tokyo Story' (and other Ozu films), this again centers on the serenely wonderful actor Chishu Ryu but I much preferred this film. He plays an ageing widower, wondering if it's time to send his daughter (who cares for him) off to start her own family, knowing he will be left alone. His old school acquaintances join him for regular reunions at a bar and offer him advise, referencing their own mistakes. The colour Cinematography glows with a natural, subtle palette. Ozu's compositions are exquisite, accentuated by the still camera and measured editing.

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Director: John Frankenheimer
Country: United States
Length: 126 minutes
Type: Thriller

The idea that a whole US platoon from the Korean war could be brainwashed almost perfectly sounds a bit fanciful and the reasons for doing so don't make any sense whatsoever at the end. However, this high-concept premise does allow for some interesting examination of PTSD and McCartyism, within an exciting political thriller. Angela Lansbury is wonderfully monstrous as the Lady Macbeth-like mother of the titular assassin. Just a couple of years after the Hollywood blacklist was broken by films like 'Spartacus', you could now have a hit movie which ends with the good guys winning when a corrupt fascistic fictional politician who is blatantly supposed to be Sen. Joseph McCarthy gets shot in the head Big Grin .







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An Actor's Revenge (1963)
Director: Kon Ichikawa
Country: Japan
Length: 113 minutes
Type: Drama

Kon Ichikawa's 'An Actor's Revenge' ('Yukinojo Henge' = 'Yukinojo the Phantom') is about a Kabuki actor who uses his status as a famed "onnagata" (a female impersonator, both on and off stage) to exact revenge on three powerful men in Edo society, who were once responsible for the deaths of his parents. Kazuo Hasegawa plays the title character and also plays a separate thief... multiple roles being a theatre convention. The use of neutral-coloured lighting, stark bright spotlights which fade in and out, painted backdrops, characters speaking out loud to themselves and wide single-angle tableau compositions further blur the line between the film we are watching and the theatrical world it depicts. I found the extremely washed-out colours on the blu-ray unpleasant to look at, maybe it's supposed to be that way but I boosted the saturation and everything looked much better (Sacrilege? Wink ).

^"The idea that a whole US platoon from the Korean war could be brainwashed almost perfectly sounds a bit fanciful and the reasons for doing so don't make any sense whatsoever at the end."  Yeah, I couldn't get past that when I watched this for the first time this year.  Every since I graduated with a degree in Psychology, a pet peeve of mine has been movies using "psychology" as a magical explanation for whatever fantastical premise they want to create.  This movie was ridiculous sci-fi to me, and depressing that so many people watch it today and still praise it as if it's remotely credible.