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1001 Movies in Chronological Order - Printable Version

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RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - Zamros - 05-02-2017

Coppola needs to either start making his own films again or shut the hell up. His Dad's score was only in the US release of the 1980 restoration. I wonder if Arthur Honegger and Werner Heynmann's families felt about their scores being replaced by some other guy. Granted that other guy composed the music for The Godfather, but still.

I don't think Coppola has any right to block the release. The film is in the public domain for fuck's sake.

As for the score, yup, that was it. Truly breathtaking stuff. I'm sure Carmine Coppola's score is good too, but I'm not sure I'd even want to listen to it if this is how his son is acting over it.

As for the rare screenings? Aye. I had to be in the cinema for 12 noon on New Year's Day. There weren't any other screenings. Thank the maker I wasn't as hungover as my friends were.


RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - TM2YC - 05-06-2017

(05-02-2017, 04:10 PM)Zamros Wrote: I don't think Coppola has any right to block the release. The film is in the public domain for fuck's sake.

I'm a bit hazy on the exact definition of "public domain". I might be wrong but if you find some old cr*ppy print of an out-of-copyright film and stick it straight onto a DVD, then that is fine but if a person/studio has spent millions of hours and dollars restoring a film and even editing together a new cut, I think they then can claim the copyright on their version. If they couldn't, nobody would invest in restoring stuff. FYI: The 'Napoleon' blu-ray is copyrighted (at the end) to Brownlow and Coppola's respective companies.



90 years ago...

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Napoleon (1927)
Director: Abel Gance
Country: France
Length: 330 minutes (5 1/2 hours)
Type: Silent, Historical, Biopic

It's not often that you can say a 5.5 hour movie is too short but on the basis of what is here, I would have loved to see the (reportedly) 6-9 hour lost versions, not to mention the other 5 films that Abel Gance originally planned to follow this first part. The movie covers the first chapter of Napoleon's life from his school days, to early military career during the Revolution, marriage and finally his invasion of Italy and dreams of future conquests.

Vladimir Roudenko is so good as the young Napoleon, that I wished more of the runtime had been given over to his time at military school. The young actor's eyes burn with a defiance and sorrow. The key scene in the movie occurs here (for me at least) when an outcast young Napoleon is pictured crying, taking refuge on a cannon with his pet Eagle. We see he is a boy set apart from others, touched by destiny.

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Albert Dieudonné plays the adult Napoleon with equal otherworldly power. Often he is stood statue still, observing the rash and frenetic actions of others, as the cogs of his mind turn. When needed though, he leaps decisively into action commanding all around him. The best portion of the film portrays Napoleon's heroic defense of his home land of Corsica. Charging in on horseback and stealing the Tricolor from the enemy headquarters.

The most famous part of Gance's 'Napoleon' is the 15-minute "Tryptic" finale. To create an epic panorama he used 3x cameras, stitching together three 4:3 images to make one shot. It's a huge 4:1 aspect-ratio he called "Polyvision", making 'Ultra Panavision 70' (used recently by Tarantino) and Cinerama look positively square in comparison Big Grin .

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Unfortunately, this means that on home video almost two thirds of the image is given over to black letter-boxing, meaning you have to squint to see the 3 panels (even on a very large 16:9 screen). Handily the blu-ray also contains a branched single-screen 4:3 version of the end (of a very different edit) to provide an alternate way to view the sequence. I'd recommend watching it this way first, as the story is clearer because the image is so much larger and more detailed. Then experience the full effect of the Tryptic version. It's not just wider in several shots, Gance often screens three different shots and sometimes three different montages, to create a kind of dizzying stream of consciousness. It's like nothing else.


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The blu-ray goes even further by including all 3 panels of the Tryptic in separate full-size 1080p versions, across 3 discs. So if you happen to own 3 projectors (or 3 screens, plus 3 players) you can recreate your own authentic full-HD 'Polyvision' experience at home. You'd need to employ two friends to hit those other play buttons!  Wink The mastermind behind the restoration is silent film historian Kevin Broownlow and his 50-minute Gance documentary 'The charm of Dynamite' is on the blu-ray too in HD. Amazingly it includes extensive on-set footage from 'Napoleon' and scenes from other Gance films, unavailable in HD anywhere else. They look so good! By the way, at home you also do not get the full "curved" Cinerama-style effect you get at rare screenings...

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Lastly, Carl Davis' score is really wonderful. He's had 37 years to keep perfecting it as Brownlow has discovered more footage. It's a mixture of Beethoven's 'Eroica' Symphony (originally dedicated to Napoleon), variations on 'La Marseillaise' and his own themes. Davis and Brownlow are my new heroes.



A Harold Lloyd comedy next.


RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - TM2YC - 05-07-2017

90 years ago...

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The Kid Brother (1927)
Director: Ted Wilde, J.A. Howe, Harold Lloyd & Lewis Milestone
Country: United States
Length: 84 minutes
Type: Silent, Comedy

I think 'The Kid Brother' might be the only Harold Lloyd comedy in the book, next to the many included from Keaton and Chaplin. I wasn't all that impressed based on just this entry, so I will have to go back and try out some of his other famous features like 'Safety Last!', to see if it was just this movie I didn't quite get. It lacked the technical and comedic sophistication and invention of Keaton but also didn't have the same touch with drama and romance as Chaplin. There are still some decent gags to be found, the best being Lloyd climbing an enormous tree higher and higher (the camera climbs with him), as the girl he love gets further away and her intertitles get smaller too! Yet again Carl Davis delivers a winning score.



Another King Vidor film next. Hope it's as good as 'The Big Parade'.


RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - TM2YC - 05-09-2017

89 years ago...

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The Crowd (1928)
Director: King Vidor
Country: United States
Length: 103 minutes (1 3/4 hours)
Type: Silent, Drama

'The Crowd' is an unusual film, the kind where you are constantly thinking "Where is this going?". A thought it manages to stretch out 'til the last shot, when you understand it's been going nowhere, on purpose. You think it's a triumph-over-adversity story about a struggling family in the Big Apple, who are going to make it someday! But really they aren't going to "make it" because they are just normal and unremarkable people. Two contemporary reviews reacted differently, one positively "A powerful analysis of a young couple's struggle for existence in this city" and one negatively "a drab action-less story of ungodly length and apparently telling nothing". I think it's somewhere in between, maybe a film can be too realistic.

It makes you realise how very rare it is for a film to show random people, to which random things happen, over a random period of time... the end. It still has strong dramatic scenes (the death of a child, suicide and despair) but without the usual greater meaning that these things would usually hold in a structured plot with defined character arcs.

The male star James Murray overacts wildly but his female co-star Eleanor Boardman is grounded and convincing. Murray's life tragically reflected his character, becoming alcoholic and homeless. Vidor tried to help him when he found him on the street, offering him the sequel but he angrily rejected it and committed suicide not long after. His character in the movie drinks to excess, barely keeps a roof over his family's head and contemplates suicide after refusing a job out of pride. Life imitating art, in another King Vidor picture it seems. Carl Davis provides yet another great score (that's three in a row!).



By the way, I ordered the DVD for this from France and it turned out to be the new worst DVD in my collection. Not only was the picture clearly taken from an old VHS tape (and a very bad one at that) but it had burned in French subtitles and an appalling Jazz-band score that bore no resemblance to the action on screen. Luckily I found a version online that did have perhaps a worse image but no distracting subtitles and the better Carl Davis score. So that was a waste of money Angry . I'll give the movie another go when it gets a blu-ray release.

Next is the first film in the book by Josef Von Sternberg.


RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - Zamros - 05-11-2017

(01-10-2017, 06:34 PM)TM2YC Wrote: However, I thought the last intertitle was a bit insulting to the audience...

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This was the most incredible ending to the 1910 Danish film The Abyss.



Alternatively titled "The Woman always pays", this film started a trend of Danish directors making horrible, dark and depressing films. This isn't on the list, but it should be.


RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - TM2YC - 05-11-2017

^ I've been less keen on the earlier silent films I've seen. The lack of the visual cinema language, often makes them hard going. Still at only 37.19 minutes, I'll give that one a watch. The later silent films on the other hand are my new favourite genre.  I've purchased a few already that aren't in the book and I plan to watch soon (Piccadilly, The Informer and Wings) and I'm in the middle of watching 1925's 'The Lost World' at the moment (The first-ish feature using stop-motion specialFX). So many other silent movies I'm excited to see.

This new teaser/scene for the just released BFI 'The Informer' blu-ray showed me I had to have it. The way the camera is still then suddenly glides away towards the crowd is great...





89 years ago...

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The Docks of New York (1928)
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Country: United States
Length: 75 minutes
Type: Silent, Drama

'The Docks of New York' has to be one of the most beautifully shot movies I've yet seen. The fact that this visual beauty is dedicated to showing a word of dirt, sweat and grease makes it all the more memorable. The whole film takes place over a night and a morning, among the seedy bars and murky wharfs of the eponymous docks. You can almost smell the sea air, the smoke from the furnaces and the whiskey drenched denizens. This is definitely the kind of den of sin and despair that wouldn't really fly post-code and feels like an early Noir.

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George Bancroft plays an engine-room stoker, with one night of shore-leave to raise his usual brand of hell. Bancroft is like an early incarnation of Charles Bronson at his very best. At first look, he's a brutish beast of a man looking for any excuse to fight everybody in the room. Think Begbie in 'Trainspotting', just desperate for somebody to spill his pint. However, when he happens to save a suicidal girl from drowning,
the film slowly reveals him to be a much deeper and kinder character beneath all that bravado. Apparently Bancroft was nominated for the Best Actor in 1928 but not for this film, so I'll be sure to check that out and his other films too.

The Criterion DVD looks very good but I'd kill for a future HD release.



The infamous 'Un Chien Andalou' next.


RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - Vultural - 05-11-2017

Sternberg's use of light and smoke is magical in this.

Another JvS favorite of mine is Underworld (1927), also with Bancroft.


RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - Vultural - 05-12-2017

Bit of nostalgia here.
Siskel & Ebert's "Silent special"




RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - ssj - 05-13-2017

a century from now there'll be a tm2yc successor who watches 2000 films in chronological order, and he'll watch stuff from the early 21st century that his contemporaries find obscure but he spreads the word and lo and behold he sparks real interest and keeps the fire alive for that guy or gal 10,000 years from now who takes an interest in ancient movies which sets the stage for that human descendant several million years from now who will look at us the way we look at early hominids and is able to look past our ugliness and enjoy our films the way we enjoy cave paintings.


RE: 1001 Movies in Chronological Order - TM2YC - 05-14-2017

(05-13-2017, 10:31 PM)ssj Wrote: a century from now there'll be a tm2yc successor who watches 2000 films in chronological order, and he'll watch stuff from the early 21st century that his contemporaries find obscure but he spreads the word and lo and behold he sparks real interest and keeps the fire alive for that guy or gal 10,000 years from now who takes an interest in ancient movies which sets the stage for that human descendant several million years from now who will look at us the way we look at early hominids and is able to look past our ugliness and enjoy our films the way we enjoy cave paintings.

Have you been watching 'The Deconstruction of Falling Stars' while partaking of some 'erb...? Big Grin



I did have the crazy thought the other day, that since they are essentially a finite quantity (and most have gone missing), it would be just about feasible to set oneself the goal of watching all silent movies ever made, with a realistic chance of achieving that goal.