Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
  • Author
  • Message
Online
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5680
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostThu Jun 22, 2017 9:39 pm

There are classic films that I see at least once a decade-- at least a decade has never gone by that I haven't managed to see Sunrise, Casablanca, All About Eve, The Godfather etc. etc. Films I know well enough to quote from, to recognize this or that from, to have in my repertoire of analogies and examples of film history. These are my movies, the ones I treasure enough to have acquired in multiple formats over the years (I have four Sunrises, three each of Casablanca and All About Eve, and two Godfathers, from laser to blu-ray).

And then... there are classics that I have seen. But have I seen them? I saw them when I was a kid or a teenager, maybe many times—but not since then. I saw them in college. I saw them before I had kids. In any of the cases it means not in 15 years or more, possibly not in 30 years or more. I am not that person, exactly, though we are often close relations. But there's nothing like watching a movie you haven't seen since a very different phase of life to make you realize how much your perceptions change as time goes by.

I thought it might be interesting to make an effort to see some of these things, that I know... but maybe don't really know, now. The classics that maybe I've never loved enough to acquire on laserdisc or DVD or blu-ray, and thus haven't seem in a very long time. Here goes with number one...

Image

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939)

One of the local TV stations in Wichita had the RKO package from C&C Movietime, so if there's any set of movies I grew up with, it's Kong, Kane, Gunga Din, even Bs like Five Came Back... and the 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame. I can't remember when I last saw it, so it's entirely possible I haven't seen since I was 12, but I saw it a number of times then and many scenes stick in my memory— Quasimodo kicking the bells, getting whipped on the pillory, the notion of sanctuary in a church being where the law could not touch, and interestingly, the scene where King Louis XI (Harry Davenport) and his valet (Etienne Girardot) discuss whether he should bathe more than twice a year. That stuck in our young heads when many other things sailed over it.

Such as that the Gypsies being persecuted are stand-ins for the Jews in 1939 (also, of course... the Gypsies in 1939). Or that the film is quite mature about portraying Cedric Hardwicke's sexual mania as he's tormented by the thought of gorgeous Maureen O'Hara, all of 19 when it came out (though largely indistinguishable from herself at, say, 33, in The Quiet Man—apparently she was never a teenager). Though the script can sometimes be simplistic (King Louis XI has a speech about the printing press bringing freedom that sounds like one of those speeches Rathbone lays on Nigel Bruce at the end of one WWII-era Sherlock Holmes movies), overall it successfully conveyed the multidimensional narrative of the Hugo novel, with multiple major figures having their own plot lines and philosophical points of view advancing toward the showdown at Notre Dame. It often has the innocence and winking humor of 30s historical films like The Adventures of Robin Hood, yet it also veers into darker territory— historically not shrinking from some of the darker aspects of middle ages life, and psychologically (Cedric Hardwicke, in what could have been a two-dimensional baddie role, really conveys sexual repression and derangement well).

What I'm sure I didn't get on the 25" TV back then is what a handsome production it is—no doubt I got something of the historical setting, but it really conveys medieval Europe as well as any movie of that time, through a mix of sets, models and glass shots. William Dieterle is hit or miss as an auteur, I think, but this shows his strengths as a visual filmmaker with a keen sense of chiaroscuro and gothic detail, which sometimes crowds in just a little too tight, like it wants to be Expressionist and be all angly-jangly. I suppose Dieterle felt challenged by the Lon Chaney film, not that it was exactly a visual masterpiece (mainly, it was good at filming Universal's handsome set) but that the film needed to have something of the visual splendor associated with the silent era. (I wonder if the film he was really comparing it to was The Beloved Rogue, in which Louis XI is also a character.)

What I mainly remember from the film, of course, is Charles Laughton, who is the title character if not quite the main character—like his RKO colleague King Kong, he's kept out of sight for much of the early parts of the picture, and it's not until the plot is good and heated up, like a cauldron of lead, for act 3 that he takes a central role (which, I note, also involves carrying a girl up to the top of the tallest building in town). He's poignant, and an obvious inspiration for John Hurt's Elephant Man, but, well, I guess older me noticed that there's a lot more movie around him than I remembered.

So The Hunchback of Notre Dame holds up, indeed though it is long (nearly two full hours), it remains an effective production with memorable moments, serious performances, and it looks very handsome indeed on the blu-ray which came out in 2015, though the Amazon complaints that the sound levels are inconsistent are correct. In any case, a film whose acquaintance I am glad to make again.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Online
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5680
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSat Aug 05, 2017 7:09 am

LOST HORIZON (1937)

A few years ago my wife and I spent a weekend at a fancy spa in Napa Valley, a rolling wooded place of vaguely Eastern cedar cottages and wind chimes and healthy breakfast buffets and an assortment of hot tubs and massages with which to rejuvenate your spirit, as the brochures for the upscale places call relaxing and laying about.

Image

The joke about Frank Capra's vaguely Frank Lloyd Wrightish vision of Shangri-La, the mystic hidden paradise of James Hilton's pre-WWII fantasy novel and Capra's 1937 film Lost Horizon. is that it looks like The Fontainebleau or some other fancy resort of the midcentury. But surely this is much backwards as true; our collective vision of the hidden New Age paradise to which we want to escape from the world's cares comes from Hilton and Capra. Lost Horizon may be an influential film (watching it, I suddenly realized exactly where Peter Jackson's inspiration for the various paradises of the Elves in the Lord of the Rings films came from) but it's the travel industry it has shaped the most. It's a dream that has persisted for 80 years, and despite a notoriously awful musical remake in the 1970s.

That's a bit surprising because seeing it today, it is very much a fantasy for its time. I last saw it in the early 80s and I had never seen Robert Gitt's reconstruction, which took the full 132-minute soundtrack and restored all but about 7 minutes of footage cut in various reissues, using still photos to get us through the remaining 7 minutes. Ronald Colman is Robert Conway, "the empire builder," a British popular hero in foreign affairs whose disillusionment will be the driving force of his enchantment with Shangri-La. (I assume T.E. Lawrence is the primary inspiration for his character, perhaps with others mixed in.)

Capra's story is that the movie started with two reels about Conway in China before the current slam bang opening, in which Conway, his brother (fellow Bulldog Drummond player John Howard), a paleontologist (Edward Everett Horton), a cynical businessman (Thomas Mitchell), and a woman of undefined dark past (Isabel Jewell) get out on an airplane just ahead of Chinese warlords. I've always wondered—is there any proof that the two reels before this were actually shot? It is hard to imagine that their presence ever seemed necessary to a plot which would head straight for Tibet.

In fact they've been kidnapped and are flown to the Himalayas, where they are led into a colonialist's dream of paradise— founded by a presumed Jesuit missionary and devoted to preserving western learning, run on benignly authoritarian-socialist principles rooted in plenty, a population of happily working Asians with a steady supply of white female foundlings so there's no question of mixing the races when it comes to romantic interest, the whole tranquil resort managed by Chang, H.B. Warner very good as a mystic proprietor talking in New Age platitudes.

Someone could rip into this fantasy of the White Man's Burden's ultimate benevolence pretty harshly today, but you have to look at the time that the book and the movie come from. The next war was coming, the only way to think otherwise was to be in denial—and at one point Conway spins a fantasy of disarmament solving everything, and then acknowledges that a fantasy is all it is. I don't think 1937 really needed 2017 doctoral students to tell it that the West had some serious failings.

In fact the film itself displays its contradictions pretty obviously and immediately. Not just that Shangri-La is nothing like a democracy, and depends on a contented peasantry completely uninterested in class struggle for its lack of the strife that exists in every human society. But it is hard to see what has seduced Robert Conway so completely, except perhaps that he's simply tired. Well, Lawrence was tired, so he enlisted in the air corps as Ross, to be among other manly men. But why would Conway, at this momentous time in history, disappear to this monastic retreat— just to keep the ideas in books properly shelved? Why disarm himself? Ultimately, it seems unconvincing, maybe even a little cowardly, and it takes Colman's considerable charm to not dislike Conway at this point. In fact Conway makes me think of another figure besides Lawrence— the Foreign Office official Ralph Wigram, who early on began leaking classified information to Winston Churchill to enable him to make his case for the Nazi threat during his "wilderness years." Wigram is thought to have sought his own way out of the coming disaster of the 1930s, committing suicide when he came under suspicion (at least that's one version of events).

But again, the fantasy is in a movie, a few hours of relief from hard facts no one would really be able to forget. Most of the other characters find practical use for their time in paradise; only Conway's brother seems to be agitated, frankly to the point of overacted mania, from an early point by being held captive in paradise. That prompts the third act, in which Conway, brother and the Russian foundling Howard loves (played by one-named Margo, long married to Eddie Albert) try to leave Shangri-La and return to the world of the 1930s.

Ultimately the answer would be for democracy to be an arsenal; when Franklin Roosevelt famously referenced Shangri-La in a speech, it was as the place from which the Doolittle Raid took off to show Japan that it could be bombed (even if, at the time, ineffectively, but the psychological point was made). By 1942, the dream of Shangri-La was that it could serve as an airbase, apparently.

The restoration is interesting, though I would rather see a version without stills, few of the reconstructed scenes seem all that essential (where the bits taken from inferior sources, revealing the reissue cuts, often provide important shading on characters). The main exception comes in one of Conway's visits with the High Lama (Sam Jaffe); a number of bits of dialogue about the philosophy behind Shangri-La were apparently removed, which substantially weaken the arguments for the life being practiced there.

For me, I enjoyed the New Agey resort, getting massages and eating fresh fruit and yogurt and sleeping on really nice sheets, but after a few days I wanted to get out and eat tacos and see the messy world, such as it is. A break from it, yes, a permanent escape to peace away from cities and noise, I am not made for that.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline
User avatar

Ray Faiola

  • Posts: 968
  • Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:18 am
  • Location: Ellenville, NY

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSat Aug 05, 2017 3:37 pm

The original opening of the film, discarded by Capra, was included in the 1940 Lux Radio Theater broadcast.

http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com/los ... on_lux.mp3
Classic Film Scores on CD
http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com
Offline
User avatar

MattBarry

  • Posts: 234
  • Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:08 pm
  • Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostThu Aug 17, 2017 4:36 pm

Mike, your review of LOST HORIZON makes me want to see it again. I always tend to skip over it when re-visiting Capra's classic '30s-'40s films.

As for HUNCHBACK, that's still one of my favorites. Absolutely heartbreaking performance by Laughton. Classic Hollywood at its best, as far as I'm concerned.
Offline
User avatar

Rick Lanham

  • Posts: 1865
  • Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:16 pm
  • Location: Gainesville, FL

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostThu Aug 17, 2017 7:26 pm

There is a new blu-ray of Lost Horizon coming out in October from Sony. It will contain the latest restoration, which may or may not be what Mike saw. I read somewhere that this restoration has been available on a disc from Australia for a while now.

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Horizon-Blu ... on+blu+ray

Rick
“The past is never dead. It's not even past” - Faulkner.
Online
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5680
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostThu Aug 17, 2017 7:51 pm

The Amazon listing says:

Now restored in 4K and featuring an additional minute of footage long missing from the film, Lost Horizon is a sumptuous experience for lifelong fans and newcomers alike.


So, down to six minutes of still reconstruction, I guess.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline
User avatar

Harlett O'Dowd

  • Posts: 2067
  • Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:57 am

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostFri Aug 18, 2017 1:58 pm

MattBarry wrote:As for HUNCHBACK, that's still one of my favorites. Absolutely heartbreaking performance by Laughton. Classic Hollywood at its best, as far as I'm concerned.


HUNCHBACK is one of those sound remakes I like as much as the silent version. But then, the source material is so strong I liked a lot of the Disney animated version.

A few months ago, I sat myself down and forced myself to give CITIZEN KANE another chance. I saw it in a film class 30+ years ago. At the time, I appreciated the deep-focus photography and the tricks OW used to make Xanadu and the film as a whole appear to be more sumptuous than the budget allowed. But I didn't care enough for the characters to be emotionally invested in the story.

Turns out my opinion of the film hasn't really changed over time.

Finally, for obvious reasons, I've been thinking a lot of THE GREAT DICTATOR in recent days. I also first experienced that film in that film class of long ago. I've watched it on video since then, but not often, and almost certainly not within the last ten years. Perhaps I'll dig it out of mothballs this weekend.
Offline
User avatar

Rick Lanham

  • Posts: 1865
  • Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:16 pm
  • Location: Gainesville, FL

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostTue Aug 22, 2017 11:06 am

The Lost Horizon Blu-ray pre-order is now down below $12:

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Horizon-Blu ... on+blu+ray" target="_blank

Rick
“The past is never dead. It's not even past” - Faulkner.
Online
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5680
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostFri Sep 15, 2017 8:09 pm

Image

ALICE'S RESTAURANT

The following review assumes you've heard the song.

I like restaurants, but I don't like a lot of hippie restaurants, a genre that still exists, especially in college towns. They tend to have people working in them who think they can make anything without knowing the fundamentals, so they make Indonesian stir-fries without understanding how Asian flavors are built, which ironically means they're cooking more like 60s housewives than modern chefs who actually educate themselves about other cuisines. And they can be slackly run, 28 minutes for that water refill or the salsa they forgot to bring with the breakfast burrito.

So watching Alice's Restaurant, Arthur Penn's 1969 film of the hit song (which honestly is no classic film, and was something of a letdown after Bonnie & Clyde), I'm having issues with the logistics of the business in the movie, like the guy who goes to Death of a Salesman and comes out saying "That New England territory never was any damn good." The hippies wander in and out of the kitchen and taste food then put the spoon back in it and Ray tries to get Alice to go swimming with the hippies when she's got tickets backed up from diners sitting in there. This is no way to run a restaurant. (Not to mention, speaking of 60s housewives, the Thanksgiving feast on which the plot sort of hangs includes, prominently, a ham with pineapple slices on it.)

The reality of 1960s restaurants— including that one started by another Alice— is that whatever slack kind of hippie cooks walked in there, they quickly learned to run by something resembling the dictatorial French brigade system, because otherwise you close. So for me, Alice's Restaurant is a movie, like all hippie movies, about people who want to live by a new, looser and freer mode of life than all the squares. But what's honest about it is that it acknowledges that it's not that easy; there's a restaurant to run, and responsibilities to be maintained, and you can't entirely be a lovable drunken Irish flake (as Ray, partner to Alice and played by James Broderick channeling Thomas Mitchell, can be at times). The squares aren't wrong about everything.

The best thing about it, in fact, is that while the kids' struggles are fairly routine and seen with bemused innocence (a good choice since none of them can actually act, though Guthrie has a likable presence), and the squares are caricatured (including, in what must be the Good Sport Performance of all time, Officer Obie himself acting out his role in the song, fake-crying when he realizes the judge can't see the 8x10 color glossies), the portrait of the adults is considerably more serious, fraught with moral choices and consequences and the awareness that after a certain age, in fact your whole life is not ahead of you and your choices are not infinite. If this slack, sloppy movie survives as a watchable enough picture of its time, it's because Penn sees that the 60s are going that way— not the heavy-handed apocalypse of Easy Rider, but a point where some people make something out of their choices and keep the restaurant running, and other people remain screwups, a little less likably so with the passing years. And that women are usually the ones who wind up doing the hard work.

I saw it in college. Did I get any of that then? Honestly, I remember nothing about it that isn't also in the song, though I do remember the scenes with Woody Guthrie (that is, Arlo acting opposite an impostor dad, reenacting his own father's death just two years before). So maybe even then, the grownup stuff stuck with me more than the stuff about the kids my own age.

Curious fact about the film: it is hard to think of a movie from the 60s or 70s where so few people involved with it went on to do anything. The star, of course, never really starred in anything again (he has a couple of bit parts in things like Bob Dylan's Renaldo and Clara and some TV appearances*), Pat Quinn doesn't seem to have had a boost from playing Alice (she has lots of TV roles in the 70s), and most of the other kids had short or no further acting careers. The screenwriter went off to teach, the cinematographer has only three credits, one of them an apparently unreleased film he directed, the guy who plays Woody Guthrie was dead within a year, and so on. It's a surprise when a familiar face shows up in the draft office—M. Emmet Walsh, looking exactly as he will a decade later in Ordinary People, Blade Runner and Blood Simple.

* Wikipedia reminds me that Guthrie was in another big hit the next year: the concert documentary Woodstock.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Online
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5273
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 9:41 am

Yar. Just the other day I asked a friend of 44 years what he wanted to be when he grew up. He thought for a few seconds and said "Alive."

I think I saw Guthrie Junior once after this movie. It was at a show he gave at Carnegie Hall, for which I got talked into buying tickets by a young woman. I could not hear or see much, 'cause some other woman just in front of me kept standing up to hold a personal conversation with Arlo.

Bob
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
Offline

earlytalkiebuffRob

  • Posts: 2806
  • Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 12:16 pm

Interested to read a reasonably friendly write-up of ALICE, which I first saw on the big screen circa 1977, paired with BOUND FOR GLORY. Two friends who were twenty years older than me positively loathed the film, with what seemed to me extreme hostility. And, I would agree it's not a great film by any means, but it came across as genial and likable at the time.
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 2511
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 12:55 pm

By an odd coinkidink, last night I turned to PBS and it was showing Isn't This A Time!, the last classic folk concert, held at Carnegie Hall, with an unrecognizably old Arlo as the host. The guests were The Weavers, a barely-recognizable Peter Paul and Mary, and an always-recognizable Pete Seeger.

Jim
Online
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5680
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 3:36 pm

I think a taut, tough movie about hippies would be a misrepresentation of the era (see Coogan's Bluff for an example); a hippie movie needs to be a little shaggy to be true to the time. That said, a little shaggy quickly becomes too shaggy.

Speaking of hippie restaurants and that other Alice, there's an interesting documentary called Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, which is about the hippie restaurant Chez Panisse, and how Tower— a splendidly tall and handsome gay man who had basically grown up like Eloise in hotels— came in and taught them fine French cooking, which in turn led to the American food revolution of the 70s. Although I don't entirely agree with the movie's point of view (he went on to have a glitzy celebrity restaurant called Stars, which I think is more of a sellout than a glittering pinnacle; then vanished to Mexico, where I suspect life is not as ascetic as the movie claims), it's pretty interesting as a picture of that period and of the charismatic and mysterious Tower, who is sort of like Ralph Lauren crossed with Edward Gorey.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 2511
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostTue Sep 19, 2017 5:55 am

Mike Gebert wrote:I think a taut, tough movie about hippies would be a misrepresentation of the era (see Coogan's Bluff for an example); a hippie movie needs to be a little shaggy to be true to the time. That said, a little shaggy quickly becomes too shaggy.


Dirty Harry.

Jim
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2863
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostTue Sep 19, 2017 6:38 am

A good picture from the hippy era might be Andy Warhol's 8 hour epic just featuring a camera staring at the Empire State building. One presumes it was watched by an audience who were stoned out of their minds and therefore thought it was simply spiffing. Supposedly we were all "turned on" in the sixties.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
Online
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5273
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostTue Sep 19, 2017 6:49 am

Donald Binks wrote:A good picture from the hippy era might be Andy Warhol's 8 hour epic just featuring a camera staring at the Empire State building. One presumes it was watched by an audience who were stoned out of their minds and therefore thought it was simply spiffing. Supposedly we were all "turned on" in the sixties.


As the saying goes, "if you remember the '60s, you weren't there."

Bob
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
Offline

Daniel Eagan

  • Posts: 723
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:14 am

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostTue Sep 19, 2017 8:44 am

Mike Gebert wrote:it's pretty interesting as a picture of that period and of the charismatic and mysterious Tower, who is sort of like Ralph Lauren crossed with Edward Gorey.


Not even Tower could tame Tavern on the Green.
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 2511
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 5:30 am

boblipton wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:A good picture from the hippy era might be Andy Warhol's 8 hour epic just featuring a camera staring at the Empire State building. One presumes it was watched by an audience who were stoned out of their minds and therefore thought it was simply spiffing. Supposedly we were all "turned on" in the sixties.


As the saying goes, "if you remember the '60s, you weren't there."

Bob


Some of us who were there just prefer to forget.

Jim
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 2511
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 5:35 am

Donald Binks wrote:A good picture from the hippy era might be Andy Warhol's 8 hour epic just featuring a camera staring at the Empire State building. One presumes it was watched by an audience who were stoned out of their minds and therefore thought it was simply spiffing. Supposedly we were all "turned on" in the sixties.


Oh, Donald, stop pretending you didn't enjoy it!

Jim
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2863
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 5:46 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:A good picture from the hippy era might be Andy Warhol's 8 hour epic just featuring a camera staring at the Empire State building. One presumes it was watched by an audience who were stoned out of their minds and therefore thought it was simply spiffing. Supposedly we were all "turned on" in the sixties.


Oh, Donald, stop pretending you didn't enjoy it!

Jim


How would I know? I was out of it, Man!
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
Offline

All Darc

  • Posts: 1112
  • Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
  • Location: Brazil

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSun Oct 08, 2017 4:38 pm

Lost Horizon (1937) review Blu Ray.Com with 720p screen captures

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Lost-Hori ... 29/#Review


Is this one the alleged lost scene found a few years ago ?
http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/2239 ... tmltarget="

I had the DVD, but can't find it right now. It wasn't digitally restored (except for 2 scenes for fix a uggly tear and a heavy instability - for the DVD) but a tranfer from the chemical restoration.
There was a commentary of film restorer Robert Gitt, and I remamber well he said there was a fine grain master, a 35mm print and a 35mm blow-up from a 16mm made in the early 70's. According hin the fine grain 35mm had flicker, and he presumed could be from bad chemicals in war time, used in the film developing, that lead the restoration team to opt tom use the 35mm print instead of the fine grain. He also pointed that the 35mm blow-up from 16mm made in 70's it's not as great as a modern blow-up could be if they still had the 16mm material.

Today we have great toold to deal with flicker. As far as I know a fine grain master made from camera negative can vary in quality depending of the film printer used and lab work. A continuouss print, used for make exhibition prints, it's not so good as a step contact print (ideal for make film massters) but a fine grain made by continuous print will always look some better than a 35mm exhbition print made by the same continuous film printer, given the higher quality emulsion.

This 4K restoration it's reported as being made from the film preservation masters from the 1990's restoration. Uhhn ??? Why not go back to the fine grain master and do direct 4K scan it, digitaly correct the flicker, instead of use the film preservation elements made from the 35mm print ?
Last edited by All Darc on Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Keep thinking...

Image
Offline

All Darc

  • Posts: 1112
  • Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
  • Location: Brazil

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSun Oct 08, 2017 5:18 pm

I found my DVD of Lost Horizon, and I'm listening to the commentary track of Robert Gitt about the restoration.

I will update the information soon.
Keep thinking...

Image
Offline

All Darc

  • Posts: 1112
  • Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
  • Location: Brazil

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostMon Oct 09, 2017 1:56 pm

This Lost Horizon 4K restoration appear that leaked and someone put on youtube in january of this year :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiNVerU1hBA

The video on youtubet's in perpective angle screen an transparent over a background image, but the complete scene of the High Lama it's there. The contrast it's also more pleasant and with better dynamic than the DVD.

About the audio commentary I refered before, from film restorer in my DVD (from years ago), he explained that the fine grain was less sharp, it was made poorly, and the originakl print had more details, despite be more contrasting. This explains everything.
Keep thinking...

Image
Offline
User avatar

syd

  • Posts: 614
  • Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:55 am

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostWed Oct 11, 2017 8:17 pm

What is interesting about Alice's Restaurant is the lack of gloss in its cinematography style.
Psych-Out, made a year earlier, had a few glamour shots of stars Susan Strasberg, Jack
Nicholson, Adam Rourke and Max Julian.

The flower children in AR are presented in an almost documentary way as if someone brought a 16mm
Bolex to the restaurant and started filming unfolding events. Arlo Guthrie is such a sweet soul that it was
probably a challenge for Arthur Penn to make him stand out in his own movie. He reminds
me of stories I read of Will Rogers who would "underact" in some scenes of his movies so
fellow actors would shine.

Although I like The 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Lon Chaney, the 1939 version
with Charles Laughton is more accessible. If the goal of the book is to make you feel for the suffering
of Quasimodo, then the 1939 movie delivers. Charles Laughton puts you squarely in his corner and is
probably one of the most sympathetic horror character performances in all of cinema.
Online
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5680
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostFri Oct 27, 2017 9:42 pm

Image

AIRPORT

I keep meaning to get back to NitrateVille-style classics, i.e. movies made back in the 20s or 30s or 40s, but at the same time I have a family and a certain tradition of watching things together on Friday night, so we wind up watching what everyone is willing to sit through. Younger son being a bit of a large machine and mega-engineering enthusiast, one night it was the granddaddy of 70s disaster movies, which I had picked up on blu-ray a while back.

Why, you ask? Isn't it one, on TV incessantly, and two, totally cheesy, rendered impossible to take seriously by the Zucker Brothers' parody (which is, truly, one of the greatest comedies ever made?)

Well, no, I had been waiting for it to play TV for quite a while, and two, it is pure plastic filmmaking, but it is not cheese— it is entertainment as sleek and machine-tooled and assured of comfortable, safe travel as the 707 it is set on, from a time when America had the confidence to make such things. It is a Ross Hunter soap opera—a movie where by the end, the plot apparently has produced more divorces than deaths, by a ratio of 2-1—but it lays out realistic situations (the central bomb plot is based on a real case) and then tightens the screws by credibly dramatizing the procedural responses of the big institution. So in a sense it's factory storytelling, much as an airport is a factory for moving passengers around, yet the fascination of the real-life situations—which made Arthur Hailey's book a huge bestseller for all the ways it told us how this new wonder of the postwar era worked—is completely compelling (younger son glommed onto the models of the future airport as soon as they came on screen).

In terms of all the people moving on the peoplemover of the plot, under the direction of... whoever (George Seaton is credited, but Henry Hathaway directed some of it, at least the exterior work, due to Seaton's poor health), it manages to maintain a number of tones at once, ranging from didactic (a lot of lines from airport chief Burt Lancaster and King of Mechanics George Kennedy are more like speeches ending in zingers), to soap operatic (Dana Wynter, semi-villainess as the rich bitch wife who doesn't understand Lancaster, but styled as glamorously as any woman in movie history), to wryly old pro (Helen Hayes, of course, but also Lloyd Nolan and Jessie Royce Landis) to genuinely affecting and underplayed (how good is that scene between Jacqueline Bisset and Dean Martin when she tells him about wanting to keep their baby?) to downright heartrending (Van Heflin and Maureen Stapleton as the pathetic bomber and wife—if Hayes hadn't already sucked up the supporting actress Oscar, it should have been hers).

Still, a disaster movie is different from other movies because the plot is driven by the disaster, not the action of the characters. So I accept that in the end, it is high-grade plastic, not real drama. And yet... seeing it for the first time in at least 35 years, maybe more, like so many older movies, it has gained with the passing of years a poignancy like what I felt when I saw (bear with me here) White Christmas for the first time a couple of years ago. I don't know how I had never seen that specific movie, but it brought back to me the Christmases of my childhood—the Christmases in which the carols were sung by Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole and the Percy Faith Choir, not Mariah Carey and Shania Twain.

Airport, too, brought back a vivid sense of the world of 1970... the white shirts and black ties, the smoking everywhere, the Danish modern furnishings and loud wallpaper on the airplane, the world in which nothing was more glamorous than (for a man) business travel and (for a woman) being a stewardess. (Before you say anything about "why can't flying be like that now," note that the price for the flight to Rome is $474 in 1970 dollars; I flew to Japan last year for $450 in 2016 dollars. That is why.) Of course, at this moment in particular no one really wants to make women go back to that world, and the relationship between married pilot Dino and meltingly lovely stewardess Jacqueline Bisset (and how neglected wife Barbara Hale feels about it) doesn't seem as attractive and glamorous—but this is the imperfect world I grew up in. This is the world that went from the Depression in 1930 (when Dino was barely a teen-o) to prosperity, cosmopolitanism and international travel by 1970, and felt like it could do anything. Airport represents the high crest of an era, making a bunch of money at the box office for this sleekly crafted example of what its era could produce—only to watch it be turned into cheesy junk over three sequels in the grubby, cynical 1970s, and ransacked for snarky humor in the 1980s.

Guess I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline

wich2

  • Posts: 1406
  • Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:11 am

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSat Oct 28, 2017 10:20 am

I grew up in that world. One word comes to mind:

"Hubris."

And that has never turned out well - since long before the Greeks coined that phrase for it.

The shallow, brittle MAD MEN ethos, if not seen clearly and grown beyond, results in sad, hollow old dinosaurs like one famous one who just left us, and one who I fervently pray soon loses his position of power...

-Craig
Online
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5680
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSat Oct 28, 2017 11:31 am

To me, hubris is assuming that your own age is so much wiser and better than a past age. Airport seems truthful to me in that it plainly sees a lot of things wrong with its world of Don Drapers— failed marriages, workaholism, irresponsibility (which will give way to acceptance of responsibility for a child), etc. That these issues come up frankly and, under the circumstances, fairly honestly in a work of commercial pulp fiction (which proved to be the most popular film of its year) speaks well for an age willing to confront some of its failings in dramatic form.

They landed on the moon the same year Airport was made.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 2511
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSat Oct 28, 2017 5:14 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:To me, hubris is assuming that your own age is so much wiser and better than a past age. Airport seems truthful to me in that it plainly sees a lot of things wrong with its world of Don Drapers— failed marriages, workaholism, irresponsibility (which will give way to acceptance of responsibility for a child), etc. That these issues come up frankly and, under the circumstances, fairly honestly in a work of commercial pulp fiction (which proved to be the most popular film of its year) speaks well for an age willing to confront some of its failings in dramatic form.

They landed on the moon the same year Airport was made.


They used some of the same sets, too.

Jim
Offline

earlytalkiebuffRob

  • Posts: 2806
  • Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSun Oct 29, 2017 4:01 am

syd wrote:What is interesting about Alice's Restaurant is the lack of gloss in its cinematography style.
Psych-Out, made a year earlier, had a few glamour shots of stars Susan Strasberg, Jack
Nicholson, Adam Rourke and Max Julian.

The flower children in AR are presented in an almost documentary way as if someone brought a 16mm
Bolex to the restaurant and started filming unfolding events. Arlo Guthrie is such a sweet soul that it was
probably a challenge for Arthur Penn to make him stand out in his own movie. He reminds
me of stories I read of Will Rogers who would "underact" in some scenes of his movies so
fellow actors would shine.

Although I like The 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Lon Chaney, the 1939 version
with Charles Laughton is more accessible. If the goal of the book is to make you feel for the suffering
of Quasimodo, then the 1939 movie delivers. Charles Laughton puts you squarely in his corner and is
probably one of the most sympathetic horror character performances in all of cinema.


A problem with the Chaney HUNCHBACK is seeing a good presentation of the movie. The first time I saw it, the BBC's copy was very scratched. The second time, the mood was spoiled by the fact that the music selection (it was a VHS, Eureka!, I think) was on a loop, which was fine to start with, but after four or five repeats the effect was ludicrous. With those reservations, I certainly prefer the 1939 movie.

p.s., when should we expect a version with a more p.c. title?
Offline
User avatar

greta de groat

  • Posts: 2013
  • Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:06 am
  • Location: California

Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSun Oct 29, 2017 9:55 pm

I remembered seeing Gilda in my teens, and not being impressed much one way or the other about it. At this point i thought i'd give it another look and expected to like it a good deal more. Unfortunately i found it quite disappointing. While it's not unusual for a noir to have characters who are all jerks, i at least expect them to be interesting or compelling jerks. Hayworth spends a lot of time interacting with her hair and acting like spiteful five year old. Admittedly Glenn Ford looks better than i've seen him look before, which isn't saying a lot. He can't even wear clothes well (which could plausibly be purposeful, since one of servants keeps calling him a peasant, but somehow i don't think it is). His character is both smug and creepy, and he's as spiteful as she is. George Macready as her mysterious husband is more interesting, or at least less annoying. The ending is mystifying and unsatisfactory. I know this film has a huge reputation but it wasn't appealing to me.

To get the bad taste out of my mouth, i followed it up with Ladies of the Jury, which was utterly ridiculous but unpretentious and modestly entertaining.

greta
Greta de Groat
Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen
http://www.stanford.edu/~gdegroat
Next

Return to Talking About Talkies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: boblipton, drednm, Mike Gebert and 10 guests