Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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Doug Sulpy

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 06, 2012 5:07 am

Jim Roots wrote:You misread me -- enough to attribute my posting to Mike.

My point was not profanity per se; it was the, quote, "absolutely ridiculous" excesses to which Milch took it.


For the record, I didn't mis-read you. I apologize, though, for misattributing the quote to Mike. That was an editing mistake caused by NEC (not enough coffee).
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drednm

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 06, 2012 9:35 am

Radio Days may have a house with aluminum siding or something like that, but the house interiors are quite good and look lived in.
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Donald Binks

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 06, 2012 10:06 pm

I think that the old "movie moguls" were canny in putting out pictures that would cater for all audiences - they had a guaranteed income from all demographics. By removing the general exhibition label and aiming films at niche markets, producers today are only guaranteed a certain percentage based upon that market. "Blockbusters" in the main these days seem to me to be thrown at an audience consisting mostly of adolescents who have more disposable income than I ever had even when I was actually working. (slight exaggeration for effect) :)

With profanity becoming so widespread and entering everyday speak (as indicated by what's on the telly and in the pictures) - it is time that we invented a whole new profane vocabulary. W. C. Fields quashed by censorship started this trend in his pictures by the utterances of "Drat!" and "Godfrey Daniels" plus other inaudible invective muttered under his breath. I thought he was quite effective. There were those in the audience who knew what he was "really saying" - but at the same time the picture could also be viewed by one's maiden aunt who had had a very sheltered upbringing.

Suggestion in pictures worked for me more than the actual. Take Bela Lugosi's "Dracula" for instance - we didn't have to see all the blood and guts did we? But, we knew it was there.
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westegg

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostThu Jun 07, 2012 6:38 am

I kind of miss the days when everything didn't have to be so explicit and literal, because it's now so expected. After awhile a big "so what?" sets in because there's nothing left for the mind to conjure. My favorite horror movie remains THE HAUNTING (1963) because of its mood and suggestion. It's both terrifying yet rated G! That's some hat trick.

Somewhat back on topic, the biggest challenge for any movie revisiting the past is to have that "lived in" look. How many times have I seen something set in the '30s, and everyone is wearing the same damn cap and sweater, with a Model A tootling around. Looks like generic stuff one may find in a gauzy, nostalgic-themed commercial. THE GODFATHER movies were excellent in evoking all its time periods without showcasing them.

Off Topic but who cares: a pre-Globe Shakespearian theater has been uncovered in London. Next to movies, archeological finds like this are the best next things to time travel, especially if they've been hidden for so long. Seeing them reconnect with the present must be very exciting.
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostThu Jun 07, 2012 6:59 am

The other thing wrong in a lot of movies ... A LOT .... is that the clothes are so obviously brand new, the old cars right out of a museum (way too clean), and the women don't know how to wear hats.
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostThu Jun 07, 2012 8:00 am

drednm wrote:The other thing wrong in a lot of movies ... A LOT .... is that the clothes are so obviously brand new, the old cars right out of a museum (way too clean), and the women don't know how to wear hats.


That, in a nutshell, is the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby.
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entredeuxguerres

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostThu Jun 07, 2012 8:48 am

Donald Binks wrote: W. C. Fields quashed by censorship started this trend in his pictures by the utterances of "Drat!" and "Godfrey Daniels" plus other inaudible invective muttered under his breath.


Don't forget my favorite, "mother-of-pearl." He managed to make that sound even more reprehensible than the others.
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostThu Jun 07, 2012 9:33 am

drednm wrote:The other thing wrong in a lot of movies ... A LOT .... is that the clothes are so obviously brand new, the old cars right out of a museum (way too clean), and the women don't know how to wear hats.


Even worse (IMO), the men don't know how to wear hats, either.

This reminds me of when Henry Ford transported Thomas Edison's laboratory to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford took great care to make sure everything was there and in its proper place. When finished, he asked Edison to inspect the results, and tell him if there was anything wrong. Edison replied: "We never kept the place so clean!"
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostThu Jun 07, 2012 10:08 am

Beach Red (1967) Rip Torn curses, The Japanese speak Japanese
Tora!, Tora!, Tora! (1970)
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostThu Jun 07, 2012 10:36 am

TORA! TORA! TORA! has one howler though--in a canteen there's a girl who looks like a '60s go-go dancer. The hairstyle is utterly late '60s.
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostFri Jun 08, 2012 9:19 am

I think that the old "movie moguls" were canny in putting out pictures that would cater for all audiences - they had a guaranteed income from all demographics. By removing the general exhibition label and aiming films at niche markets, producers today are only guaranteed a certain percentage based upon that market. "Blockbusters" in the main these days seem to me to be thrown at an audience consisting mostly of adolescents who have more disposable income than I ever had even when I was actually working. (slight exaggeration for effect)

With profanity becoming so widespread and entering everyday speak (as indicated by what's on the telly and in the pictures) - it is time that we invented a whole new profane vocabulary. W. C. Fields quashed by censorship started this trend in his pictures by the utterances of "Drat!" and "Godfrey Daniels" plus other inaudible invective muttered under his breath. I thought he was quite effective. There were those in the audience who knew what he was "really saying" - but at the same time the picture could also be viewed by one's maiden aunt who had had a very sheltered upbringing.

Suggestion in pictures worked for me more than the actual. Take Bela Lugosi's "Dracula" for instance - we didn't have to see all the blood and guts did we? But, we knew it was there.
Silents Please!
Regards from
Donald Binks


There are those, who own film production and distribution companies, that believe market research makes them smarter. They feel they can target segments of the market and get the most bang for their buck in dollars spent. Of course, you have something like "The Artist", a non-talkie, come along and knock things cockeyed for a moment and it gives them pause. How did it happen? How do we capitalize on it. I believe it's the pendulum swinging back the other way. I am finding more independent filmmaking going on out there than I first realized. My hope is that this movement will bring back making movies for the sake of making a good movie. If it is good, people will go see it. Yeah, I know "Field of Dreams." Isn't that how it started though? Movies will have their own language and own voice, non-talkie or not, as you suggest. Well said, Donald.
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostFri Jun 08, 2012 2:08 pm

westegg wrote:TORA! TORA! TORA! has one howler though--in a canteen there's a girl who looks like a '60s go-go dancer. The hairstyle is utterly late '60s.

That's nothing compared to the anachronistic feel of In Harm's Way.
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostTue Jun 12, 2012 10:42 am

Revisited Radio Days and quite honestly I couldn't see a thing out of place. Even the houses were appropriately shabby with their paint jobs etc. The interiors were just marvelous. Where does Santo Loquasto find this stuff? The family house was like stepping back in time at my grandparents' home.

The scene where they go to Radio City Music Hall is quite good, and the interior is gorgeous with its dimmed lighting and red-and-gold plush feel. Never got there, so I've never seen it in person.
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entredeuxguerres

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostTue Jun 12, 2012 1:22 pm

drednm wrote:Revisited Radio Days and quite honestly I couldn't see a thing out of place. Even the houses were appropriately shabby with their paint jobs etc. The interiors were just marvelous. Where does Santo Loquasto find this stuff?


My house is full of those '40s overstuffed armchairs, floor lamps, & many of the smaller items, because they've never acquired any significant collector value (excepting radios & some appliances), so it should not have been particularly difficult (especially in Gotham) to load up on such decor. I'm more impressed by the exterior location scenes, & can't imagine how they were achieved except by paying residents to temporarily remove their window ACs, TV antennas, etc. (If it was all done on a Rockaway Beach set...don't tell me!)
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostTue Jun 12, 2012 8:05 pm

Well what I noticed more about the exteriors was how seedy everything looked ... a block from the ocean. I grew up on the ocean in the 50s (not NYC) and that's just what it looked like. Of course now, everything a block from the ocean is piss elegant or condo city. Even here in Maine now, "camps" on lakes are million dollar year-round homes. When I was a kid, they were camps ... not even "winterized."

But I digress. Woody's films are always beautifully authentic.
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westegg

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 13, 2012 5:46 am

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS I caught one thing out of place in an otherwise impeccably done time travel movie. In one scene Gertrude Stein is reading out loud the modern day character's writing, which includes the word "camp," and I don't mean Maine camps. Stein doesn't even question or blink at this word, which I believe wasn't coined until decades later. Not a major thing, but given Woody Allen's scrupulous standards it was somewhat clumsy to have a then-unknown word go unnoticed, like, "what camp is this?"

:roll:
Last edited by westegg on Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 13, 2012 5:58 am

westegg wrote:In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS I caught one thing out of place in an otherwise impeccably done time travel movie. In one scene Gertrude Stein is reading out loud the modern day character's writing, which includes the word "camp," and I don't mean Maine camps. Stein doesn't even question or blink at this word, which I believe wasn't coined' until decades later. Not a major thing, but given Woody Allen's scrupulous standards it was somewhat clumsy to have a then-unknown word go unnoticed, like, "what camp is this?"

:roll:


Partridge gives the dating of 'camp' in this sense -- as an adjective -- as some time between 1909 and 1920. Its use in other parts of speech, including the slightly more mainstream "high camp" and "low camp" as 1945 and later.

Bob
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 13, 2012 6:33 am

Thanks for the clarification!
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 13, 2012 7:03 am

westegg wrote:Thanks for the clarification!


For more, a lot more, read (if you've got half an hour to spare) the Wikipedia entry, as I just did. (Even provided me--wouldn't have believed it possible!--additional grounds for abominating Susan Sontag, by referencing her opinion of Swan Lake.)
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 13, 2012 7:22 am

I believe Robert McAlmon (my dissertation topic) used the word "camp" in his 20s writings. He was part of the Hemingway/Stein crowd.
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 13, 2012 11:58 am

I need to be more erudite.

8)
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostWed Jun 13, 2012 4:18 pm

How far back in time makes a "period film"? Does prehistoric count?
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostSun Mar 12, 2017 7:16 am

Although one book ('Abraham Lincoln on the Screen', I think is the right title) criticises the historical accuracy and absence of horse manure on the streets, I would nominate YOUNG MR LINCOLN (1939) as having a wonderful feel for the period and setting.

On the subject of manure, surely some of the townspeople would have surely gathered some of it up to put on their rhubarb...
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostSun Mar 12, 2017 8:29 am

Since this old thread popped up, and it contains mention of my two sets of bedsheets that I've seen in movies, I'll add a third item:

Image

I'm no Wolf of Wall Street, but I did and do own exactly that tie.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostSun Mar 12, 2017 8:35 am

Speaking of ties... a lady friend and I went to see The Ruling Class in a theater when I noticed something interesting. I held up my tie. "Look! I went to the same school as Jesus!"

Bob
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostSun Mar 12, 2017 10:14 am

boblipton wrote:Speaking of ties... a lady friend and I went to see The Ruling Class in a theater when I noticed something interesting. I held up my tie. "Look! I went to the same school as Jesus!"

Bob

At Mt. Calvary High School the ties were all the same, but it was school policy that no one could wear sandals, wasn't it?
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostSun Mar 12, 2017 8:43 pm

There Will Be Blood
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maliejandra

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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 6:09 am

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wasn't a great movie, but they captured the feel of the 20s without beating you over the head with it.

A Christmas Story really takes you back, but everything looks lived in.

Days of Heaven doesn't whitewash the past.

Oh Mad Men! <3
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 1:50 pm

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Amadeus! That film I think, may be the best period film I've seen. It also doesn't look too squeaky clean - we get all of the white wigs, candles, and the actual theatre where Don Giovanni premiered, but the scenes in the streets, the Mozart house, the cemetery, and asylum all convey a proper grunge to the era. You can almost smell everyone in those scenes.
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Re: Most Convincing Period Films: Not Just Decor

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 2:22 pm

In my opinion the greatest period evocation ever done on film was the French 1978 production "Molière"! It showed in America as a five part TV showing on PBS. Absolutely brilliant in every sense of the word. It is literally unforgettable; and I will reckon that no one who has ever seen it has found it less than unforgettable.
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