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1001 Movies in Chronological Order
#21
Here is the complete (Checkable) list on icheckmovies.

For someone that considers themself a film buff, I've seen a dissapointing few of these (Barely even seen 1/5th of the filmography). I keep trying to watch The Birth of a Nation, but I inevitably keep getting angry and lose interest. I'll watch it eventually, I'll just have to disconnect myself from watching something so atrocious. It's frustrating that one of the most important movies of all time is also one of the most despicable.

Gah, what the hell is going on with this formatting? I'm not doing this on purpose guys, promise.

[url=https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/1001+movies+you+must+see+before+you+die/][/url]
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#22
100 years ago...

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Intolerance (1916)
Director: D. W. Griffith
Country: United States
Length: 177 minutes (3 hours)
Type: Silent, Historical, Epic, Social-Drama

After the last two offensive/wearisome entries, thankfully 'Intolerance' was a lot more enjoyable. Given the horrific racism of Griffith's last movie, I went into this with deep suspicion. I was concerned when it started down the "Passion of the Christ" route but it's a pretty progressive picture actually with little to get annoyed about. It refers to one evil character as being "effeminate" once but that's as far as the "Intolerance"  Wink goes. I watched a version with a score by Antoine Duhamel and Pierre Jansen which was note perfect. I can't speak for other soundtracks but this one felt very modern yet fitting, with epic pieces for the battle scenes.

The film has a heavy inter-cutting structure between four stories across the ages, exploring the theme of the title. For me, it didn't really work as the connections between the pieces were thematic but barely narrative/intellectual. However, I still enjoyed it, as the structure meant it was difficult to become bored as we are constantly moving between different time periods, keeping things fresh. The Biblical and Renaissance periods aren't lingered on long enough to have real impact.  Most of the time is devoted to a "modern" story about a mother being oppressed by the state and the fall of Babylon.

The modern story was good but as the central "Dear One/Little Wife" character is at the mercy of fate and the actions, or in-actions of others she wasn't all that interesting. I most enjoyed the Babylonian segment as it mainly focused on a character called "The mountain Girl". She felt like a character straight out of a movie of today. A girl railing against rules and conventions placed on women of the past. She refuses to be married/sold off, takes up armour and weapons in a colossal siege and rides off on a chariot to save the Kingdom. 'Intolerance' was also released as two separate movies (Babylon and Modern) and think it probably plays better that way.

The siege of Babylon is Epic on a scale that probably hasn't been outdone in the hundred years since. Vast sets, thousands of extras, sweeping FX and model shots. Stunt men (clearly not dummies) falling hundreds of feet from battlements. Gore effects and in-camera beheadings worthy of Peter Jackson. In fact the sieges of Minas Tirith and Helms Deep are brought to mind more than a few times.This is highly recommended for those interested in D.W. Griffith (Just skip 'Birth of a Nation').



'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' is up next which I've wanted to see for years.
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#23
96 years ago...

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Director: Robert Wiene
Country: Germany
Length: 75 minutes (1 1/4 hours)
Type: Silent, Horror, Expressionist

This was a really excellent watch but to be honest I probably enjoyed the music the most and the film was a nice accompaniment. The unsettling discordant Jazz-Rock soundtrack by Donald Sosin, was exactly what the film needed. The madder the characters/story gets, the more unhinged go the musicians. At times it felt like the mood Wendy Carlos created for 'The Shining'.

The exaggerated set designs took some getting used to. For example... at first you just see some white boxes crudely daubed on a wonky wooden wall. Then you realise they are supposed to be Gothic windows. Throughout the "lighting" is created by the paint on the sets (or actors faces) and not by actual light sources. I found myself forgetting the literal look and just taking the intended effect in by the end. Perhaps it's not supposed to look as sharp and clear as the 4K restoration I watched? With much more contrast and less "stagey" set detail visible, the weird look of the scenes might be more effective.

The best scene features Caligari being chased around by onscreen text that appears as if my magic in the air, taunting him. I'm not sure how the FX were achieved but it was impressive. Perhaps they exposed the animated text onto the negative, wound it back and then filmed the live-action scene? Maybe they simply painted it onto the negative in black paint afterwards?

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#24
Just a wee bit of trivia when it comes to "Intolerance".

Griffith made it in response to "The disgusting intolerance shown by critics towards my film The Birth of a Nation"...

This fuckin guy...
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#25
(01-03-2017, 07:54 PM)Zamros Wrote: Griffith made it in response to "The disgusting intolerance shown by critics towards my film The Birth of a Nation"...

Yes I was bit surprised when I read that in the book. However, he's gone a ways to redeeming himself in my eyes with the next film I watched (Which could be considered a kind of apology on the racism front)...



97 years ago...

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Broken Blossoms (1919)
Director: D.W. Griffith
Country: United States
Length: 89 minutes (1.5 hours)
Type: Silent, Tragedy, Romance, Domestic-Violence

Many films of this era I've watched fit squarely into the "Silent Films" genre (with the problems that can entail) but this is one of the rare Silents that feels like just a film that happens to not have words. I'm sure anybody could sit and watch this and be captivated. The acting is almost realistic, as is the design/costuming and the filmmaking itself feels much more assured than earlier works. If you are skeptical of silent cinema, this is a good place to start. It's the story of a brutalised sad young London girl, befriended by a gentle, lonely and defeated Chinese Buddhist missionary. The 2011 film 'Tyrannosaur' is like a modern day counterpart.

Griffith is much more famous for his two big epic films but this small-scale drama is far superior in my opinion (Apparently, he went small after 'Intolerance' bombed to his near financial ruin). When he's just focused on the love between two damaged souls, it feels more confident than when he's trying to marshal thousands of extras and vast unwieldy plots. The scenes of domestic-violence are upsetting but the romantic scenes are beautiful by contrast. The intertitles often read like poetry, even if the occasional ill-chosen period phrase like "Chinky" and "Yellow Man" are off putting (I'm sure they were seen as harmless at the time).

I listened with Carl Davis' orchestral arrangement of the original 1919 score and it was simply gorgeous and romantic stuff, soundtracking every moment to emotional effect. The main theme was particularity strong. A cylinder recording of said theme...



It's shame this hasn't received an HD restoration yet. I'd buy this in an instant on blu-ray and look forward to repeat viewings.



There are two more Griffith films in the book (Including the next one 'Way Down East') and if they are both as good as 'Broken Blossoms', I might consider forgiving him for 'Birth of a Nation'... but I doubt it Big Grin .
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#26
^ now there's a ripe target for new subs. Big Grin
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#27
You made me want to watch some of those movies.

Caligari: good enough (Tim Burton touch with a twist à la Night M. You could almost see Johnny Depp in the role of Cesare...) but I'll not watch again.
Broken Blossoms: Very good (for those who likes sad stories). I agree that it needs a restoration though.
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#28
This is an awesome(ly daunting) endeavor. In the category of 'I totally want to do that... but probably never will' Sad
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#29
(01-05-2017, 05:12 PM)L8wrtr Wrote: This is an awesome(ly daunting) endeavor. In the category of 'I totally want to do that... but probably never will' Sad

I'll never watch them all I imagine... it's more about the attempt and the films I'd otherwise never see if I didn't try. Right now, I want to get to 1927, so I can watch my new 5.5 hour 'Napoleon' blu-ray set (That I got for Christmas) in context Smile .



96 years ago...

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Way Down East (1920)
Director: D.W. Griffith
Country: United States
Length: 149 minutes (2.5 hours)
Type: Silent, Romance, Morality-Tale

Another entry from D.W. Griffith, which at times is the equal to and even surpasses 'Broken Blossoms'. However, it's padded to hell with annoyingly irrelevant comedy skits, inflating the runtime way beyond what it needed to be and testing the patience.  The stock of comedy character types are ludicrous and unconnected to the main plot (until the very end and then only just).  It really could do with a fanedit.

For the most part, the story follows penniless innocent girl Anna who is essentially sexually-assaulted by a rich b**tard... comedy skit... she falls pregnant, he abandons her to her fate... comedy skit... infant mortality... comedy skit... general misery... comedy skit... etc etc... happy ending.  Anna and her love-interest are once again played by Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess, rekindling their chemistry from 'Broken Blossoms'. Two very good actors in any film era!

The finale is a chase across a vast broken ice drift. Watching real stunt men/women leap from shaky ice, to crumbling ice, knowing they lack any sort of modern thermal wet-suit, or a helicopter-based rescue-team is nerve shredding to watch. To think people were losing their sh*t because Leonardo DiCaprio ate some sushi in 'The Revenant' Big Grin . I hope Griffith gave his performers some serious hazard pay for the scene... assuming they survived.

'Way Down East' is well worth the watch by the time you reach the crowd-pleasing end... but I wouldn't be surprised if many got frustrated and gave up halfway through.




Next up is the earliest surviving film by an African-American Director, made in response to 'Birth of a Nation'. This should be interesting!
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#30
this might be a misperception, but i get the sense you dig cinema. Big Grin
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