Two-Faced Woman? A Life of Her Own? The Marrying Kind? The Chapman Report?...
I was on the middle on Sylvia. I actually liked both Hepburn (!) and Grant's performances, but the film was really uneven.
Two-Faced Woman? A Life of Her Own? The Marrying Kind? The Chapman Report?...
I still do that. That's what I get for watching about fifteen of her movies all at once.domino harvey wrote: ↑Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:16 amIt is too bad. Though for the longest time I kept confusing this with Alice Adams and thought I'd already seen it, so I'm glad to at least be able to say I have now with more accuracy!
Actually doesn't surprise me: I think we have two very different value systems and interests re: Hollywood classicism and the studio system. And re: film that juggle multiple tones and genres. With that said I think the above is unrecoverable: if you're not on the wavelength of Hepburn or her performance, I don't see any way the rest of the film is going to work. Personally, I've never found her more charming, effervescent and appealing than here. Although it probably helps I've never been all that keen on Katherine Hepburn the Movie Star.domino harvey wrote: ↑Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:44 pmIt gives me no great pleasure to say so, but I dutifully watched Sylvia Scarlett as promised and hated it... worst Hepburn performance, obviously-- turns out contemporary critical notices were too kind if anything... I found it obnoxious, idiotic, shrill, and an insult to decent Hollywood contrivance.
I would argue, for better or worse, it's a film that's all peculiarities! The whole narrative walks a tightrope with failure, the whole story seems ready to fall into shambles at any moment. I think a lot of this is precipitated by Cukor/Hepburn's own interest in the project: it was a pet project that both felt they had to do. Yet, by most accounts, once they started, neither seemed to be able to figure out why. There's a wishy-washiness there - like the inexplicable attraction everyone feels about Sylvester reflected outward by the authors themselves - which makes the film more fascinating, not less for me. There's a spontaneity to the film that's like accidental improv, not just in performance (McCarey and La Cava already did that) but in the totality of the film. It doesn't make for a classically great film, but it makes for a genuinely strange and ambiguous work that seems completely out of step with late '30s Hollywood while containing an effervescence that could only have come from then. (The Great Garrick shares a similar energy while being much more tightly designed and layered).
Nobody has answered this so... The two times I've watched it now I haven't even noticed those tonal contrasts, so they definitely seem dramatic to me. Thinking back, even from the start it doesn't feel like we're in for a pure comedy, given the undercurrent of anger/social ressentiment. I don't know, in this way this wasn't different for me than a lot of 30s comdrams in that way, maybe especially French ones, or, maybe more accurately, dramas with some com in them. As to why I'd call it the best, I can't think of another one that feels so accomplished in all aspects - maybe only Pépé le Moko (which I want to revisit). Story, themes, setting, characters, actors, visuals - it's all pretty near perfect to me. (Gorgeous women too, but that's just a bonus!) In terms of Un Carnet de bal, it worked a bit like segued pieces to me, and I found them of unequal interest.sinemadelisikiz wrote: ↑Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:07 pmI'd be curious to hear more from y'all that think Le Belle Equipe is Duvivier's best (of what I've seen, that would probably be Un carnet de bal for me). Perhaps it was the victim of heightened expections, but I saw it for the first time a couple months ago, and while there was a lot to like, I found it really tonally confused. The more melodramatic elements rubbed up against the looser comedic vibe of the beginning to the point of being jarring. Knowing that Renoir wanted in on this project makes a lot of sense though.
42nd StreetThe Berkeley Musicals are the work of the choreographer as auteur, and as such, the energy of his numbers are expended always behind the camera. No performer is ever truly allowed preference over the ensemble, dance is displaced in favor of complex drill formations, and the primary means of expression is through inventive framing, elaborate camera movements and montage...Berkeley [directed] "working-class" musicals: his settings were urban tenement buildings, often with two or three people to a room; less-than-four-star hotels in which the bellboy exchange knowing winks about what happened behind closed doors; and chief of all, sweat-soaked rehearsal spaces... [T]these musicals don't ignore the Great Depression. Rather, they create a fantasy where we watch working folk overcome it.
The Gold Diggers of 1933There's a very interesting progression at play in this first film. The search for the cinematic musical is plain here. Each number escalates further than the last, it "folds-out" more and more outside the realm of the stage and further into the realm of the cinematic. It's almost as if Berkeley is making a step-by-step lesson on how to film a movie musical... With each cut, each pan, Berkeley obliterates the stage. He conducts and achieves things that could never be done under the proscenium. The crowd are no longer background dancers; they transform into real people on the streets, with their own stories, like the Indian statue that comes to life... Then, as quickly as it began, it retreats. The crowd turns back to uniform dancers. The buildings float away. The two-dimensional background reappears. Like a sorcerer reversing his spell, Berkeley has everything he animated return to the artifice from whence it came.
Footlight ParadeHand down, no-question, the best of all the Busby Berkeley musicals. This film is simply a jewel of 1930s cinema, the buzz of 42nd Street parlayed into a command and daring that he would never achieve again... [T]he Jazz Age is over, and Old Man Depression has the last laugh. The police bust in, the set is pulled down, the money vanishes. The entire number goes bust like Black Tuesday. The image of cops ransacking the set and shutting down production bring up a flurry of images: financial collapse, bank runs, shuttered business, raids on Hoover camps... and Bonus Army camps. It's the Depression, dearie, and don't you forget it!
The Backstage Musical... is one of the most interesting of all cinematic sub-genres as they're precisely and chiefly about movie-making: Not just movie-making in general, but they're about there own creation: the self-begetting movie. We watch the film unfold as the various characters come together and create the very narrative that follows. The characters are creative people straining to use their talent and build a film, like behind the camera. The drama of the narrative is the drama of putting together a film. The final climactic denouement comes in the joy of having accomplished pure cinema... [If] Bacon and Berkeley could have made it truly about a film unit, if they could have taken its "self-begetting" scenario to its conclusion, it may have been the best film of the bunch, instead of the runner-up... With "Shanghai Lil", Busby Berkeley collides head-on with Josef von Sternberg, in this tribute/parody/imitation of the high stylist, and Shanghai Express, in particular. With it's shimmering surfaces and perverse undertones, I'd like to think the man would be proud. Granted, I still don't know whether the reveal of Ruby Keeler as Lil is either anticlimactic or a brilliant punchline.
I definitely saw this as a remake of Bernard's film - with, if I remember correctly, battle footage lifted directly from it (?) -, although with a romance thrown into it (two men and a girl, a conceit carried over from A Girl in Every Port and Today We Live) and a silly tragi-comic dimension of a father (Lionel Barrymore) serving his captain’s platoon. I thought the film looked good but that it gets lost in different directions and winds up being, as one would expect, a pale version of the French film, and forgettable for that reason.knives wrote: ↑Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:34 pmThe Road to Glory (dir. Hawks)
Looking around ye olde interwebs it seems this Hawks actioner started off as a remake of Bernard's Wooden Crosses. Certainly it overlaps with a number of story elements from that film, but William Faulkner's script shrinks it down observing the tiniest of mental details aiming it closer to Journey's End. There is a small subplot with a nurse that expands the film outside the hole, but it floats like a wish that March's soldier is having in order to forget the horror of where he is. For example a very large chunk of the film's first thirty minutes is dedicated to hear the screams of a soldier caught in no man's land. It's hard to listen to for the characters and for me as the soldiers are forced to grow more calloused just to survive.
It's bizarre that such a mature and varied film with such a pedigree as this (Gregg Toland shoots this like how Faulkner writes) and contemporary success is so forgotten and alone. The, good looking, print here for example is sourced from a television print as if the movie had disappeared for sixty years.