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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:05 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:33 pm
DVD Times


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:35 pm
Amazing film, wonderful supplements, and a strong contender for DVD of the year.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:49 pm 
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Okay folks, after having moved or deleted a number of posts in this thread, it's time for a reminder. This thread is for discussing the DVD and the film. If you want to talk about the cover art, do it here. If you want to talk about ordering, waiting for, and receiving your DVD in the mail, do it here. If you want to find a place to get a good deal on this DVD, check here.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:39 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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But where do I post if I want to talk about Chuck Norris movies and have a picture signature? Oh right


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:30 pm 
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Beaver review.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:44 pm 
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hopefully the 'Sweeney Todd' of the mods who deleted/shifted my last post to the Criterion Forum equivalent of the Black Hole of Calcutta will allow this post to linger long enough to give persons who've already watched the DVD get an opportunity to reply, but can anybody who's seen both films tell me do they see any similarity between this film and Lang's 'Dr Mabuse The Gambler'??


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:45 pm 
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DVD Outsider review


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:31 am 
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Yojimbo wrote:
any similarity between this film and Lang's 'Dr Mabuse The Gambler'?

Yes, there certainly is, especially and obviously in the stock exchange bits, and there's also a general thematic resemblance with the obsession for big industry money-making et al. "L'Argent" however has much less of the typical Thea von Harbou 'pulp' character, and also avoids the 'supernatural' /demonic leanings of the Lang film. But both are very stylish and visually striking films, and if you liked "Mabuse", I bet you will also like "L'Argent". Don't miss it.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:26 pm 
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Tommaso wrote:
Yojimbo wrote:
any similarity between this film and Lang's 'Dr Mabuse The Gambler'?

Yes, there certainly is, especially and obviously in the stock exchange bits, and there's also a general thematic resemblance with the obsession for big industry money-making et al. "L'Argent" however has much less of the typical Thea von Harbou 'pulp' character, and also avoids the 'supernatural' /demonic leanings of the Lang film. But both are very stylish and visually striking films, and if you liked "Mabuse", I bet you will also like "L'Argent". Don't miss it.

I've just received my copy, so I'll be watching it shortly, but first off, I'll be watching my final Yoshida film, "Eros Plus Massacre", which I'm even more eagerly looking forward to (I've been posting, along with zedz, regarding the magnificent French-subbed boxsets, if you're interested)

I liked 'Mabuse', a lot, but I thought Lang ultimately fell between two, or even three, stools with it.
Needless to say, though, it contains much brilliance


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:10 pm 
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Kudo's to MoC (and Carlotta of course) on a great set of discs. Watching this fully restored (vs an old unrestored unsubbed backchannel rip) I'm struck by how rough-around-the-edges are many of Kruger's camera movements (tracking into a compositionally 'off' landing point, and making the last-minute adjustment via a quick swivel midshot), and some of the strange focal techniques. Focus in some scenes even looks miscalculated with splitsecond adjustments to compensate. So many scenes, particularly of Alcover-- with him as the compositional focal point-- show him just out of focus with the background activity in focus. In some of these scenes and in some of the tracking shots you see the operator pulling 'off' focus back into normalcy, offsetting (or correcting, if it's unintentional) the "off" focus.

In some scenes it looks like a sloppily shot scene... in others it might be a dab of Impressionism.

Anyone else catch this? In some cases it almost looked like the focus 'wobble' of Pandora, but that is due to improper duping of a print, not anything happening within the camera on the set.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:19 pm 
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Something else-- a really fun bit of trivia-- occurred to me while watching this restored, clear print of the film: that's HENRY VICTOR playing the pilot Jacques Hamelin... Henry Victor-- Hercules from Freaks!

Image

"Ungrateful little trrrammmp!"


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:42 pm 
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Yes, I also noticed the odd focusing. As you note, there's clearly some intentional focus work in the picture - like all the POV of Hamelin losing his sight. But I had a hard time discerning an intent behind most of it, including the rough camera movements. Seems like the result of a mechanism sorely in need of some lubrication. (I don't mean that as some kind of theory - it's just how it feels.)

But a fascinating specimen in any case. And the baroness. Now she's a specimen. Good lord.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:58 pm
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Odd thing... I started watching L'Argent and I just started going out of my mind because of the score... I don't know why this soundtrack aesthetic has persisted in silent films (I guess it's the cheap alternative) but It doesn't seem to work very well; it's repetitive, random, and unfocused in most instances... the film seemed to drag... I had the same problem with the Artificial Eye version of Les Vampires... BUT... for some reason there was something in the images that suggested the score of There Will Be Blood... I don't know what... a sense of constant menace... so I ended popping in the score of TWBB at a random place (about 15 min in) along with the images and holy cow... I just did it randomly and it seemed to work, scenes started getting synchronized with the music almost by magic, and the film just started to GO! It's very odd... the score suggests the implacable drive of capital and it fits quite well with the general themes of L'Argent...


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:23 pm 
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Now, I've only watched "L'Argent" once, so I don't remember the score at all (but I suppose I would if there had been something that irritated me), but:

patricio00 wrote:
It doesn't seem to work very well; it's repetitive, random, and unfocused in most instances... the film seemed to drag... I had the same problem with the Artificial Eye version of Les Vampires...

Ouuuii... that "Vampires" score is a knock-out in my view; absolutely wonderfully creating the right menacing atmosphere that the film deserves. I vaguely remember one moment when I got frightened (and hell, this was made in 1915!) simply because a car was coming towards the front of the image; of course this is also due to Feuillade's mastery in creating suspense, but I'm pretty sure it also had to do with the impact of the score. The same musicians did the music for the AE "Fantomas", which I found even more impressive, but surely, "Les Vampires" has one of the very best silent film scores I ever came across.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:49 pm 
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Patricio: if the AE Vampires didn't do it for you, maybe you can track down someone who has the Image/Shepard/Waterbearer version, and you can create a custom version merging one score with the superior transfer from the AE... the Image has a Robert Israel score-- from back in the days when he was just a dude with a small ensemble that recorded in tiny rooms, with that distinctively squealy violin-- that I think works very well with the material. Most of it-- if not all of it-- is stock music from the era, but very well applied, I think.

I was let down a bit by L'Argent-- and I couldnt say it was the music-- it just wasn't the mindblower I was expecting. From what I'd been reading for years prior to seeing this film, I was expecting a work of such pictorial monumentalism that I'd be flattened in a way that I was viz the best of Murnau, Lang, Epstein, etc... instead I saw a film that was very much about narrative details that were not recorded-- or recordABLE-- in the images... the corporate intrigues, the financial manipulations, the plans, the backstabbing, elements that didn't seem to translate into the monumental images I was anticipating. I saw lots of shots of jealous folks standing around tables, eyeing each other suspiciously, reading stock memos & tickers, coming on to each other with anxiety and jealous frustration, just a bunch of tuxedoed men and well-dressed women standing around tables, sitting on sofas, at soirees, talking, talking, talking............ endlessly.. in title cards. It was pure melodrama but on its own admittedly stupendous terms. It's always great seeing the monumental Alcover, as well as Brigette Helm, Al Abel, et al, but I expected a "bigger" film-- rather, it tended more towards merely 'long'. I thought that upgrading to the MoC from the old TV rip I had for a while prior to its release would bring the film's greatness into sufficient clarity, but it fell a tad short of my expectations.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:31 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:58 pm
Location: Mexico
HerrSchreck wrote:
Patricio: if the AE Vampires didn't do it for you, maybe you can track down someone who has the Image/Shepard/Waterbearer version, and you can create a custom version merging one score with the superior transfer from the AE...

I liked the score of Les Vampires fine, but it became waaaaay too repetitive after the second hour. Tho I really did love the film in spite of it... I think I liked the score for Fantomas better.

I agree with your assessment of "L'Argent". I think that I too watched it with a certain expectation given that it was a MoC release. I had just watched People on Sunday recently, and I was expecting it to be another affecting find like that. A lot of the visuals are pretty spectacular but I think I felt a little bit detached from it. Changing the score was a plus tho... the There Will Be Blood is such an ambivalent score that every frame either reads as menacing or tragic. Sort of the tragedy of capitalism. It's weird how well it works at any given random spot.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:12 pm 
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Location: Brisbane, QLD, Australia
I finally saw this movie last night at last (one of many sealed MOC’s that I'm determined to see before Xmas) and feel compelled to add some belated thoughts in light of this forums characteristically informative comments written some 3 years ago..

I found that the rickety movement of the mobile camera & the off set framing/focus was an almighty plus for me. The camera slips the silent straight jacket and relocates itself all over the scenes while exploring the space between, above and below the characters in the film. The extraordinary external evening shots of the crowds gathered outside at the end of act one presented an immediacy and tumultuous pace that I have never before seen in movies of this era.

Thankyou MOC for adding Autour de L'Argent, Jean Dréville's time capsuled documentary on this set. It is an utterly fascinating, contemporaneous and enlightening record of the numerous technical feats that were used to create this splendid film. So much extraordinarily precious footage, I had to watch this instantly after the first sitting.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:32 am 
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All the groundwork (and hard work) on that edition was primarily carried out by Carlotta in France, in conjunction with CNC. I'm very glad we were able to carry it all across to the MoC edition. Most of our work was focused on the booklet – hope you have time to go through the booklet, it's a big one!


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:41 am 
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It looks exquisite peerpee and will dig in tonight.
I will also be interested to learn more about the thinking around those incredible distorted lens effects throughout the film (an example can be seen in the DVD Times link above) and off kilter framing device. I can’t believe they were all achieved accidentally on set through an emergent mastering of mobile cine-photography. For me, it further accentuates movement through blurring the bustle around members of the principle cast.
It's quite difficult at the moment to shake out so many of the images from this film. I wasn't quite expecting this.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:47 pm 
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There's a chance that that blurring effect is just a consequence of lens limitations. You see a similar (though much less extreme) kind of border diffusion in a lot of John Ford's early films (up till the early 40s, if I recall correctly - I think I remember noticing it even as late as Tobacco Road), particularly in outdoor shots. I find it a very beautiful effect, and Ford uses it expressively, even if it is a technical problem he's working around.

Here's a lovely example from Pilgrimage:
Image

And this one's from Four Sons:
Image

Here's a similar effect in Hathaway's Peter Ibbetson:
Image


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:59 am 
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It is indeed something that's caused by the shape of the glass in the lens. I like the effect a lot. As zedz already mentioned, in Ford's films it's very noticable, I do wonder if he used it consiously or by accident. There are some beautifull examples in The Iron Horse as well, and I remember correctly, you can notice it in McCarey's Ruggles of Red Gap to.
Has anyone any idea if this effect has a name?


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:22 am 
wax on; wax off
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I believe Stroheim referred to it as 'That F*cking Lens Blur' effect.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:46 am 
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haha, i've been experimenting in photoshop, and radial zoom blur is the closest thing to it, but that fucking lens blur has a better ring to it.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:58 am 
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A few years back when swing and tilt lenses were fashionable to achieve variable focus in the same plane I found some old Bausch and Lomb lenses from the thirties and diddled around with those as a cheaper and more random option. They are prone to having uneven or peeling coating on the back of the lens and hey presto I got some results that whilst maybe not achieving the magnificence of the captures above gave a very similar effect.


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 Post subject: Re: 40 L'Argent
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 2:47 pm
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It's a beautiful effect when it's used right (and it has been, often). It's like a Vaseline smear around the periphery of the images and then, as was mentioned above a radial zoom blur in Photoshop. It's an older weird sister to the dolly/zoom of the VERTIGO staircase, but stationary/static.


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