Archive for the ‘Classic Film Fandom’ Category
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Andy Griffith, who was most well known for his role in television as Sheriff Andy Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show” (1960-1968), died today at his home in North Carolina.
Griffith also starred in a handful of films including the amazing A Face In the Crowd (1957) which was directed by Elia Kazan and co-starred Patricia Neal. A Face In the Crowd is the story of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, a charismatic drifter who gains national fame after being given his own television show. On tv Rhodes comes across as a folksy, down home, good ol’ boy but in reality he’s a narcissistic and power hungry fraud.
A Face In the Crowd made a big impact on me the first time I saw it. It amazed me how relevant it still is today and how little we seem to have learned from its message. Its a film I think everyone should see and if you’re lucky enough to have TCM you can celebrate Andy Griffith’s contribution to classic film by watching it Wednesday, July 18th at 8pm.
Nora Ephron, screenwriter of films such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail, passed away yesterday. While not technically a classic film figure, she had many links to the classic film world. Her parents were screenwriters and among other films, wrote the 1956 film version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Carousel, and the 1957 Spencer Tracy/Katharine Hepburn comedy Desk Set.
Nora clearly had an admiration for classic film. Sleepless in Seattle has numerous references to An Affair to Remember. You’ve Got Mail is based on the 1940 Jimmy Steward film The Shop Around the Corner. When Harry Met Sally includes footage of Casablanca and references Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes.
I love Nora Ephron’s screenplays because of all the observations she makes within them that do nothing to advance the plot but still add so much charm and humor. The audience gets a movie and a personal essay for the price of one. An example from You’ve Got Mail, Tom Hanks’ internal dialogue:
The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.
Some other wonderful Nora Ephron lines:
All I’m saying is that somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don’t get him first, somebody else will, and you’ll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband – When Harry Met Sally
Sally: Well, if you must know, it was because he was very jealous, and I had these days of the week underpants.
Harry: Ehhhh. I’m sorry. I need the judges ruling on this. “Days of the weeks underpants”?
Sally: Yes. They had the days of the week on them, and I thought they were sort of funny. And then one day Sheldon says to me, “You never wear Sunday.” It was all suspicious. Where was Sunday? Where had I left Sunday? And I told him, and he didn’t believe me.
Sally: They don’t make Sunday.
Harry: Why not?
Sally: Because of God.
-When Harry Met Sally
Keith: It is easier to be killed by a terrorist after the age of 40 than it is to get married.
Annie: That is not true. That statistic is not true.
Becky: It’s not true, but it feels true.
Keith: It feels true because it is true.
-Sleepless in Seattle
I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and watch a whole film lately so this weekend I’m making time and having a Orson Welles (mini) movie marathon. I’ve been wanting to re-watch The Third Man for a while so I decided I may as well check out some of the other Orson Welles films my library has to offer.
Here’s what I’m planning on watching this weekend:
The Third Man (1949): Linds wrote a post a while back about this film’s amazing cinematography.
The Stranger (1946): Welles’ first box office success co-starring Loretta Young and Edward G. Robinson.
Touch of Evil (1958): It’s probably a classic film fan crime that I haven’t seen this film yet. Written, directed, and co-starring Orson Welles.
Compulsion (1959): Based on the trial of Leopold and Loeb, Welles plays the murderers’ attorney.
Anyone else have film watching plans of their own for the weekend?
This past Sunday I took advantage of the less-than-stellar weather and hunkered down to watch Doctor Zhivago for the first time. Five slices of pizza and 197 minutes later, I was able to cross another film off of the AFI 100 list. The only other David Lean film I’ve seen is Lawrence of Arabia, which clocks in at 216 minutes. But I’ve also heard that Bridge on the River Kwai is quite lengthy which got me thinking – has David Lean ever made a film that’s not outrageously long?
I turned to IMDB for help. According to them, Lean is credited with directing 16 feature films. Here they are with durations:
A Passage to India (1984) – 164 minutes
Ryan’s Daughter (1970) – 195 minutes
Doctor Zhivago (1965) – 197 minutes
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – 216 minutes
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – 161 minutes
Summertime (1955) – 99 minutes
Hobson’s Choice (1954) – 107 minutes
Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952) – 118 minutes
Madeleine (1950) – 114 minutes
One Woman’s Story (1949) – 86 minutes
Oliver Twist (1948) – 116 minutes
Great Expectations (1946) – 118 minutes
Brief Encounter (1945) – 86 minutes
Blithe Spirit (1945) – 96 minutes
This Happy Breed (1944) – 105 minutes
In Which We Serve (1942) – 115 minutes
So the answer to my question is yes, David Lean clearly is capable of telling a story in two hours, he’s just better at making films that run for three. And all the long ones come at the back half of his career. Perhaps he wanted more of his films to hit the three hour mark, but only received the creative control to once he had become an established director.
We’re happy to announce our recently opened Etsy shop, Frankly My Dears. The shop features vibrant, classic film-themed posters that we designed for our own dwellings and through the magic of Etsy can share with the world. Or rather, whoever stumbles across them. Get a print for your room. Or outfit your cubicle with one and relish every opportunity to explain to coworkers what, exactly, a milkshake has to do with All About Eve. The first four designs are up, with more to come.
While I’m thankful that I’m off school for a whole week, I’m not so thankful for all the studying I have to do to get caught up for finals. Also, since it’s snowing I’m stuck in my apartment. Good thing I have a case full of classic films to get me through the week! Since I’ve probably watched less than 10 films in the last four months I’m planning on making up for it this week.
My only tip for picking films to watch while studying is don’t watch anything for the first time. I either spend the whole time watching the film and get nothing else done or I end up continually re-winding the film because I missed crucial parts.
That said, here’s a little of what I’m planning on watching this week while brushing up on interpreting blood gas values:
Not only is Doctor Zhivago an amazing movie, its also incredibly long. Epics are perfect for people like me who tend to study for 10 minutes and then get distracted by the internet for the next 30 minutes. Plus, the view out my window is starting to look like the movie scenery.
The Misfits is only of my favorite films, but I haven’t had the chance to watch it for a while. Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, and wild mustangs – what could be better than that for a snowy afternoon in front of the tv?
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Because who does’t want to see Paul Newman on the screen in between studying really boring notes?
Strangers on a Train
I thought about watching this on Halloween, but didn’t get to it so I’m making up for it this week. Strangers on a Train is not one of Hitchcock’s best known films, but it’s one of my favorites. Bruno may be one of Hitchcock’s best villains as I’ve previously mentioned.
What is your go to movie when you want some entertainment while working or studying?
Happy Halloween everyone! For the third year in a row I dressed as a notable classic film character. As evidenced by the number of people I interacted with today who were not familiar with Lawrence of Arabia (or even Lawrence of Arabia), there’s still a lot of work to be done in spreading the word about classic film. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go catch my camel…
I recently borrowed a copy of Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) from my library and was surprised when first handed the DVD case. My first thought was, “Did I ask for the remake of the film by mistake?” But no, there on the front was Laurence Olivier’s name. The back said copyright 1965. Nothing about the film cover seemed to indicate this was a black and white film from the ’60s though. The images on the case were in color and made the film appear to be a more modern psychological thriller.
The original poster for the film (and title sequence) was created by Saul Bass who created iconic film posters and title sequences for classic films like Vertigo (1958) and the Man With The Golden Arm (1955). Bass is well known for using paper cut-out style imagery to create interesting and compelling posters and titles. Not too long ago, Warner Archives tweeted a link to a comparison of original film posters created by Saul Bass and the posters currently used. Here is the original Bunny Lake poster with the image used on the DVD I picked up:
I personally find the original poster more interesting, but admit that it does look like it’s from the 60s (which is not necessarily a bad thing in my mind). It seems like most of the Saul Bass poster updates are an attempt to lure a non-classic film buff into watching or buying a film, but it’s unfortunate that Saul Bass’s work won’t be introduced to a new generation. Some of the posters find a happy medium where elements of the old poster are blended with other images from the film like with the Anatomy of a Murder (1959) or Vertigo posters. Other posters have no elements from the original work. If I were picking a movie to watch based on the cover of the DVD I think I would be more likely to watch Love In the Afternoon (1957) if I saw the Saul Bass poster, but that’s just me. Any thoughts?