If this is your first time here please read our FAQ and Rules pages. They have some useful information that will get us all off on the right foot. More details on our policies, especially our Own the Source rule are available here. If you do not understand any of these rules send a private message to one of our staff for further details.

TM2YC's 1001 Movies (Chronological up to page 48/post 480)
(09-02-2018, 09:52 AM)Rogue-theX Wrote: If Scarlet Street isn't on the list, it ought to be.

I don't want to spoil anything because I saw it without knowing anything about it, but I will say:
1. Edward G. Robinson stars.
2. Fritz Lang directs.
3. It wasn't long after the movie started before it had me by the ankle, and didn't set me back down till well after it was over.

[Image: 1519601474038.JPEG]

I know you recommended it to me in PM, but I wanted to come here and say THANKS because its the best movie I've seen in a while.

Glad to hear it. I've been meaning to watch that one for ages.

70 years ago...

[Image: 43464890435_049d04548f_o.jpg]

Out of the Past (1947)
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Country: United States
Length: 97 minutes
Type: Film-Noir

'Out of the Past' is centered on an early lead-role for a very young looking Robert Mitchum but he still plays it old, world-weary and tough. It's the classic femme-fatale Noir, with Jeff the rain-coated PI pulled back into the shady criminal world he thought he had escaped. Visually it feels like it takes place in "Hitchcock Land", with similar San Francisco locations to 'Vertigo', a Gothic Bates-like home and the villain living in a Frank Lloyd Wright style house like the one in 'North by Northwest'. Kirk Douglas, in one of his first roles, is suitably menacing as the shady criminal boss with a hold over our hero. I really enjoyed watching Mitchum trying to stay one step ahead of all the people trying to double-cross and frame his character.

The first Rex Harrison film the book next.
71 years ago...

[Image: 43655012294_bd18eda642_o.jpg]

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Country: United States
Length: 104 minutes
Type: Romance

Joseph L. Mankiewicz (brother of the 'Citizen kane' writer) directs Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison in this fanciful ghost story. Lucy, a headstrong young widow moves into a remote hill-top house, haunted by a crusty, fiery tempered sea Captain. Both are too stubborn to leave the house, so they are forced to tolerate each other and eventually become friends. The fact that the filmmakers made no effort to make the ghost "ghostly" was very distracting. He's just there, totally solid, stepping out the way of people and objects, casting long shadows everywhere etc. All it needed was a few FX-shots scattered around showing him walking through walls, or fading in and out, to sell it. George Sanders once again does a brilliant job portraying a slimy, creepy, borderline sexual-harassment-case but I finally lost patience with the film, when our heroine (initially) finds him charming. Bernard Herrmann's score is memorable and the romantic ending is really beautiful but not worth the journey for me personally.

The first film by Carol Reed in the 1001 list next.
71 years ago...

[Image: 43655012174_bed7b27301_o.jpg]

Odd Man Out (1947)
Director: Carol Reed
Country: United Kingdom
Length: 116 minutes
Type: Drama

I sensed the influence of Roberto Rossellini's 'Rome, Open City' (a film about Italian urban guerillas trying to evade capture) on this fictional story of an IRA-alike leader (James Mason) slowly dying from a bullet wound, while hiding from the authorities in an unnamed Northern Irish city. A similarly large and varied cast of people react to his plight, some shunning him, some betraying, few helping. His increasingly desperate and stricken state is taken to it's ultimate conclusion when his barely alive body is propped up on a chair like a mannequin so he can painted by an alcoholic bohemian artist. A host of brilliant character actors like William Hartnell (a cynical barman), F. J. McCormick (a rambling tramp), Robert Newton (the drunken painter) and W. G. Fay (a kindly Catholic Priest) deliver the philosophical and poetic dialogue with real impact.

That's 200 films down... 801 more to go! Big Grin
69 years ago...

[Image: 43464891185_d5f789609c_o.jpg]

Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Country: Italy
Length: 89 minutes
Type: Drama, Neo-Realist

This was my second viewing of 'Bicycle Thieves' ('Ladri di biciclette') and it's even better than I remembered. It's amazing that Directer Vittorio De Sica can imbue a film about the search for a stolen bicycle in post-war Rome with such unbearable drama, tension and emotion. Lamberto Maggiorani plays the father who must find his bicycle, so he can continue his film-poster job and feed his family, the stress and angst written into every line on his face. Enzo Staiola brilliantly plays his 9-year old boy, conveying all the complex range of emotions needed to portray this father-son relationship. The scene they share in the restaurant, as equals, as men, is just beautiful. Alessandro Cicognini's score reminds me of 'The Godfather' music, perfectly capturing that 1940s Italian feeling. 'Bicycle Thieves' has sometimes been voted the best film ever made, I'm not sure about that but it's up there at the top for sure.

A Max Ophüls film next.
70 years ago...

[Image: 43464890825_80c0802ac0_o.jpg]

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Director: Max Ophüls
Country: United States
Length: 86 minutes
Type: Drama, Romance

'Letter from an Unknown Woman' just didn't work for me. Joan Fontaine plays a teenage girl who worships an older famed pianist and carefree bachelor played by Louis Jourdan (he most famously played the baddie in 'Octopussy'). She basically stalks him, following him around, spying on him and sneaking into his apartment when he is out. I think this is all supposed to be charming and romantic? When she has grown up they have a genuinely charming and romantic night together but she never tells him she loves him, or that she has become pregnant.

Ten years later she sees the pianist again, instantly deciding to break up her current marriage to a different (kind and honorable) man. Again she doesn't reveal her love for Jourdan's character, or tell him he has a child, who soon dies of typhoid anyway, never having known his father. She dies too, leaving the pianist a letter to read from beyond the grave, as he cries, drinks and essentially drives off to commit suicide "to atone for what he did"... which was what?!? The film looks handsomely shot and the sets and costumes are pretty lavish, so at least I had something nice to look at while I was hating the story Wink .

Another Fritz Lang film next.
70 years ago...

[Image: 43853973185_18891ce7e9_o.jpg]

Secret Beyond the Door (1948)
Director: Fritz Lang
Country: United States
Length: 99 minutes
Type: Drama, Film-Noir

I'd compare Fritz Lang's 'Secret Beyond the Door' to Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rebecca', or the Orson Welles 'Jane Eyre' film because it's another story of a young lady entering the oppressive house of the troubled older man she loves, haunted by the spectre of his past (I don't know what the obsession with this theme says about 40s audiences?). Towards the end it's more akin to Paul Thomas Anderson's more recent 'The Phantom Thread', two disturbed individuals finding themselves drawn together by mutual understanding of their psychological flaws. However, that we hear a continual paranoid inner monologue from Joan Bennett's main character is very different from the approaches of those other films. Sir Michael Redgrave brilliantly plays the manically depressed husband, in a role darker and more complex than others I've seen him in.

Another Noir next.
69 years ago...

[Image: 43853973445_5b16b1944b_o.jpg]

Force of Evil (1948)
Director: Abraham Polonsky
Country: United States
Length: 78 minutes
Type: Drama, Film-Noir

On first sight 'Force of Evil' traffics in the standard Genre conventions of the Gangster Film Noir but it soon becomes clear that it's a much deeper film. The dialogue is cerebral, poetic and philosophical, replete with biblical references. John Garfield and Thomas Gomez (who is amazing) play two brothers, both racketeers but one is a low-level crook content make a modest living for himself and the "family" of people he employs. The other "respectable" high-flying brother wants it all and is prepared to crush everyone in his haste to get there.

Sadly this would be Director/Writer Abraham Polonsky's first and only film at his creative peak because he would soon be blacklisted as an unrepentant Socialist (not getting to Direct again for 20-years). In a departure from the studio-bound Hollywood style of the period, there is quite a bit of location shooting in New York. Giant Manhattan architecture is shown towering over men and even god (the Trinity Church in Wallstreet features). The "Force of Evil" Polonsky has in mind is clearly money and Capitalism. The way a murder is shot and edited towards the end feels shockingly violent, even today. We don't actually see a helpless man get shot in the face point-blank but but we are made to feel we did see it. Judging by his first effort, Polonsky would have gone on to be one the all-time Directors but it was not to be. Check out this powerfully written and Directed  scene:

A film from China next.
70 years ago...

[Image: 43853973105_f47e3e1b24_o.jpg]

Spring in a Small Town (1948)
Director: Fei Mu
Country: China
Length: 98 minutes
Type: Drama, Romance

It was worth watching 'Spring in a Small Town' ('Xiaocheng Zhi Chun') just to see where Chinese film-making was at in the late 40s but I didn't especially enjoy it. The film takes place entirely within the dilapidated estate of a once wealthy family. It's a love quadrangle between a bored wife, her kind but sickly husband, his young sister and his old returning Doctor friend (an old family servant is the only other character). I found the constant cross-fades (sometimes in the middle of lines and scenes) an odd choice and the low-key story and low-energy Direction didn't sustain 98-minutes for me. It didn't help that the main actress Wei Wei was a touch wooden, although the other four give superb performances.

A Howard Hawks Western next.
70 years ago...

[Image: 43853973305_3f53884ebc_o.jpg]

Red River (1948)
Director: Howard Hawks
Country: United States
Length: 133 minutes
Type: Western

'Red River' is essentially a more nuanced 'Mutiny on the Bounty', transposed to the wild-west. John Wayne plays the surrogate father of Montgomery Clift and Walter Brennan as their surrogate grandfather.  I read that Clift was one of the first of the new breed of "method" actors out of New York, so he's a modern breath of fresh air in this 40s movie. His edgy internalised acting style is the perfect counterpoint to the stern and stoic Wayne. The story follows the three as they drive ten thousand cattle hundreds of miles from Texas to a cattle market in another state. Exhaustion, stampedes, frontier justice, bandits, Comanches and rationing begin to sow discord among the group of headstrong and quick-drawing Cowboys. The film also serves as an interesting examination of the logistics of such a colossal cattle drive.

Another Hitchcock film next.
70 years ago...

[Image: 29826462337_13396db0db_o.jpg]

Rope (1948)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Country: United States
Length: 80 minutes
Type: Drama

'Rope' has a reputation for being "that film Hitchcock did in one take" but it's actually made up of many long takes, joined as seamlessly as a pre-CGI movie could manage (the more recent 'Birdman' used CGI joins to full effect). Even the Wikipedia entry incorrectly states that 'Rope' is "edited so as to appear as a single continuous shot" when in fact it features quite a few deliberate hard cuts but because they are used sparingly overall, Hitchcock can cleverly deploy them to jolt the viewer and draw attention to some critical plot elements... as Mike Stoklasa says "You might not have noticed it, but your brain did".

Two privileged young Manhattan socialites strangle a third kid, then host a dinner party with the buffet served on top of the trunk in which his body rests, supposedly in order to demonstrate their "intellectual superiority". John Dall plays the lordly and dominant Brandon with delicious flare but Farley Granger is a bit one-note as the hysterical and submissive Phillip. It's never mentioned in the script but today I think audiences would naturally just assume the two men are a gay couple. James Stewart plays their old teacher (who Brandon hopes to impress) with a world-weary bitterness, unlike so many of his other optimistic roles.

Another Olivia de Havilland film next.

I hadn't realised until now that the 1959 Orson Welles film 'Compulsion' is based on the same real life 'Leopold and Loeb' murder case. I really will have to get round to checking that out now.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)