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Rate The Last Movie You Watched

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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 5:03:42 PM PST

re: "a wrong-headed critic."
I find it astonishing that you are capable of acknowledging that there can be more than one point of view on a subject. Mercy.

William, you're perfect.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 5:17:01 PM PST
BGT: Coming from you, that's rich.

You really are too dense to understand the point, aren't you. I can conceive of not liking Vertigo--indeed, I could as an exercise make that case myself. But one must dislike a thing for the right reasons--and accusing a non-naturalistic narrative of (shock!) not be naturalistic is a tautology. The strictures you raise simply don't matter, except to a plodding literalist who misses the entire point of the film, which is a dream-like, surreal, psychological study--very different, in fact, from the rest of Hitchcock's oeuvre.

A D- on that critique, raised above failing only by perverse ingenuity.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 5:40:04 PM PST

Sorry, I'm not sure I grasp the syntax in the third sentence of your main paragraph.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 6:15:16 PM PST
WAS: Coen marathon, perhaps?

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 6:41:49 PM PST
HardyBoy64 says:
I just watched "Snow White and the Huntsman". The visuals were amazing. The acting was atrocious. 4 out of 10.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 7:00:46 PM PST
stevign says:
Wait till you see "In Cold Blood: The Musical"

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 7:04:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 7:56:55 AM PST

William, look. I'm getting tired of this p-----g contest. I think I am able the grasp the subtler aspects of the film "Vertigo" as its being Hitchcock's most personal film statement: That he personally identifies with the Scottie character in desiring to create his "dream" woman and its references to Pygmalion, Poe and maybe T.S. Eliot. That Hitch has been doing that with nearly all of his leading ladies. That his film creations were largely his replacement for sexual satisfaction. That there are are surreal aspects to Vertigo but nothing compared to the degree demonstrated in Mulholland Dr. which in some aspects are simply incomprehensible. I get it, i get it, OK? I think Vertigo is a good film but among Hitchcock's films I put it beneath:

Rear Window
North by Northwest
The Man Who Knew Too Much (remake)

There are things about Vertigo that bother me. Those things I listed above and in addition Bernard Herrmann who gave Vertigo the most beautiful opening title music I think I ever heard from him except the rest of Vertigo's music gets a little repetitive and it becomes more noticeable the more time you run the picture. Also, there are more examples of simple carelessness than in some of his other pictures.

For what it's worth the American Film Institute has not rated Vertigo as its number one film as far as I know: The top 10 of its 100 list of best films are:

Citizen Kane
The Godfather
Raging Bull
Singin' in the Rain
Gone With the Wind
Lawrence of Arabia
Schindler's List
The Wizard of Oz

I think the AFI's ratings are just as valid as Sight and Sound, if not more so.
I certainly don't buy Vertigo as being the best film ever made anywhere in the world but that's just my opinion and I don't need anyone's telling me I'm wrong in what I prefer. I've read four or five books about Hitchcock, his life and his films and what he did is pretty interesting. He certainly enjoyed what he did. He could also be a real p---k at times. I don't think he was the greatest film director who ever lived but was certainly one of the greats. I think he was surpassed by David Lean, Stanley Kubrick and a few others but only a few.

Now, can we simply can the crap and enjoy the movies?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 7:58:36 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 8:02:13 PM PST
Bruce: Sight and Sound did much better simply by putting on 2001 and ignoring Gone With the Wind.

And even if we were going by American films, I'd replace The Godfather, Lawrence of Arabia (only because it's BRITISH, dammit!), Schindler's List, Gone With the Wind, and The Wizard of Oz with 2001, Nashville, Sunset Blvd., The Gold Rush, and Apocalypse Now.

Posted on Dec 27, 2012 12:34:54 AM PST
Rebecca was shown on BBC last night so I've recorded it, and looking forward to watching it today at some point. I have it on VHS tape buried in a box in the loft, so I haven't watched it for a few years. I want to buy the Blu-ray version.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 3:29:23 AM PST

I agree that "Gone With the Wind" has always been overrated and I love 2001. The AFI has it at no. 15. With what would you replace the other films you listed?

Posted on Dec 27, 2012 3:35:00 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 8:02:38 AM PST
I assume you are referring to Hitch's "Rebecca." The Blu-ray of it is wonderful and discloses details I would never have believed were there. With the highest regard for George Sanders' portrayal of Addison DeWitt in "All About Eve," he was wonderful in "Rebecca." Only in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" did he disappoint -- he spoke at such a rapid clip, he glossed over the wit of Wilde and his character had all the great lines.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 5:50:50 AM PST
Bruce: What I listed would make up my top ten of the greatest American films. Best of all time?

Citizen Kane (Welles)
Casablanca (Curtiz)
Vertigo (Hitchcock)
Night and Fog (Resnais)
Seven Samurai (Kurosawa)
Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick)
Singin' in the Rain (Donen & Kelly)
The Third Man (Reed)
Apocalypse Now (Coppola)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 7:52:42 AM PST

Nice list. I would depart in a few places. I've never seen "Night and Fog" or "Seven Samurai." I'll make it a point to see them. "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Third Man" were British productions, weren't they?

The only thing that bothers me about "Casablanca" is that many of the actors seem to speak at too fast a clip to sound believable. That does not include Bogart or Bergman, who sound natural to me. I know that was the style then -- to keep audiences awake and interested.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 8:03:55 AM PST
Bruce: Well I was talking about a best of all time in world cinema list.

As for Casablanca, let us agree to disagree.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 9:24:39 AM PST
Yes :)
Thanks for the recommendation. I had a few pounds as a Christmas present so going to Amazon UK and purchase the Blu-ray version now.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 9:45:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 9:47:16 AM PST
BGT: First of all: the AFI and Sight and Sound polls are not comparable. The former factors in a number of criteria--chief among them being popularity--that have little to do with the real merits of a film. The AFI list is also limited to American films, the criterion being I believe production company. (PoM re Lawrence: British director, American company.) The Sight and Sound list is not limited to American films, and is a critical concensus pole--tabulating 10 best lists from over 800 critics and scholars. Here is the S and S list, with the number of critics mentioning each film:

01. Vertigo (191 mentions)
02. Citizen Kane (157 mentions)
03. Tokyo Story (107 mentions)
04. La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) (100 mentions)
05. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (93 mentions)
06. 2001: A Space Odyssey (90 mentions)
07. The Searchers (78 mentions)
08. Man with a Movie Camera (68 mentions)
09. The Passion of Joan of Arc (65 mentions)
10. 8½ (64 mentions)

5 American films; 1 Italian, 1 Russian, 1 Danish, 1 French, 1 Japanese.

But, as usual, you are muddying the waters with irrelevancies. Your analysis of Vertigo is defective. You do not understand the film at all. One could find perfectly logical explanations for factors like Ester's knowledge of Scotty's condition (newspapers, for one); one could easily work out the logistics of the murder of Madelaine; but that's not the point. In obsessing about petty bits of continuity, you miss the wider issues of obsession (and its metaphorical connection to vertigo), crime and guilt (along with I Confess, it's one of the films when Hitchcock's Catholic background shows most clearly), and surreal imagery. You miss the very heart of the film.

In other words, you dislike it for the wrong reasons. All this palaver about the relative merits of the AFI/S and S lists has nothing to do with it.

PoM: it might be a worthwhile topic to discuss the relative merits of various critical rankings on a new thread, although the signt and Sound thread did ventilate that pretty well.

As for rapid dialog: I certainly wouldn't characterize Casablanca that way. Heaven only knows what your reaction to true rapid fire dialog, as in His Girl Friday, would be.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 10:18:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 6:34:51 PM PST
Muppets, Have you had a chance to see 'Millers's Crossing' yet? Absolutely one of my favorite performances by Turturro.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 10:36:37 AM PST

Hope you enjoy it. "Notorious" and "Spellbound" are also available on Blu-ray. I did buy "Notorious" but I have never care much for "Spellbound" -- a rather boring film.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 10:58:58 AM PST
Not yet. I'm excited for more adventures into the wondrous land of Coen, but I've got The Maltese Falcon from Netflix today.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 11:02:09 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 11:08:46 AM PST
WAS: Both top notch screenplays. Casablanca's however, I'd say is stronger.

As for Lawrence: no. It was produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company, Horizon Pictures. Just because it was distributed by Columbia Pictures doesn't necessarily make it American.

And your idea for a new thread about the ranking merits is a fine one, though we'd have to decide where to draw the line with what lists are to be discussed and debated. I'd say no IMDB because it is simply too ridiculous, and no Empire as well because it includes readers as well as filmmakers and critics.

Posted on Dec 27, 2012 11:31:56 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 11:34:45 AM PST
PoM: Casablanca is one of the most perfect screenplays ever--the only (mainstream) screenplay that is even better is All About Eve, which is just about perfect, as far as I can see.

The Maltese Falcon is one of my favorite films. Among other things, it's like a textbook for great character acting--both leads and secondary characters. I strongly suggest that you follow it up with Across The Pacific, which had essentially the same cast, also directed by Huston. Not quite as good, but great fun, and a completely different role for Mary Astor. And then consider segueing over to yet another Mary Astor film--one of her best--The Palm Beach Story, which may be the funniest film in Hollywood history.

Spellbound is boring only to those (a) who have no sense for psychology or (b) have no understanding of surrealism. It's not the very top Hitchcock--Bergman and Leo G. Carroll are wonderful, but Gregory Peck is a bit stiff--but it's not far off.

As to whether Lawrence is an American film or not--I suggest you take it up with the AFI, and see under what criteria they included it. It is of course a great film.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 1:44:09 PM PST
stevign says:
Miller's Crossing is another perfect movie.

Posted on Dec 27, 2012 2:45:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 2:53:44 PM PST
Spellbound (1945)

Certainly one of Alfred Hitchcock's poorer films designed to entertain an audience unschooled and unfamiliar with the subjects of psychology or psychoanalysis. Ingrid Bergman's characterization is unconvincing in portraying a trained psychoanalyst and is rather that of a love sick girl waiting for the right man to come along.

The film is nothing more than a murder-mystery romancer in psychological trappings. The only character in the entire film of any real interest or richness is Michael Chekhov as Bergman's mentor, Dr. Alexander Brulov. He performs his part with depth and humor. The remainder of the performances are flat and uninteresting. Anyone who finds this film to be in any way informative or sophisticated in the subject of psychoanalysis is simple-minded indeed.

As to the subject of surrealism: The illustrations and sets designed after some artwork provided for the film by Salvador Dali have little to do with the nature of dreams but are laughably straightforward clues to the solution of the "mystery" ultimately leading to the identity of the murderer and Gregory Peck's completely and unbelievably instantaneous cure of his mental condition that had been caused by a childhood incident. Gregory Peck's character is, of course being incorrectly suspected and pursued as the guilty man, a device used in many, many Hitchcock thrillers.

I've been an admirer of Salvador Dali's technique for years, but the artwork intended to represent or depict dream images is simply not effective. Dali had provided considerably more artwork than was finally used in the film which Ingrid Bergman thought was wonderful and regretted that its use had been severely cut back by David Selznick. A far more convincing film representation of a dream sequence is, in my opinion, that depicted in Frances Coppola's fine film "The Conversation" that Gene Hackman's character experiences. He is mumbling in his sleep as he is trying to speak to a character he sees in his dream -- something I have experienced a few times myself and found to be very interesting. In the dream I had great difficulty trying to speak and was, in fact, mumbling in my sleep -- a rare occurrence for me.

On the technical side, the rear projection used for the scenes of Peck and Bergman skiing is, as it is in most Hitchcock films, woefully incompetent and should never have been approved.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 2:50:29 PM PST

Just a note of caution. re: " of the most perfect screenplays...." is an example of very poor grammar. "Perfect" is a superlative and cannot be qualified with "most" or "rather", etc. I would watch out for that.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 3:27:02 PM PST
C McGhee says:
Bruce G. Taylor- Night & Fog

I heartily recommend a viewing, as for myself I can't imagine not owning it.
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Initial post:  Jun 15, 2012
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