Murnau, Borzage and Fox

Discuss North American DVDs and Blu-rays or other DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#201 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:06 pm

Hm.. Craig your captures are convincing. Unfortunately I don't have the box to hand with me to see if they look that way on my TV-- not to mention I have a rare TV broadcast version of the restored movietone edition of the film to compare it against as well (which I indeed did send-- risky risky risky... fucking post offices of the world... testament to the high esteem we hold il dottore Hare around here-- to dave in Australia a couple yrs ago for rip to dvd). But if it looks that way on my tv at home, I stand convinced.

Dave, can you do a disc to tape comparison of the body statures?

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#202 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:20 pm

Until I can sort out the horizontal squeeze problem in my WinDVD (which started when I did the fucking 1.33 Carlotta Mag Obs grabs - is this the curse of Theakston?) I think it's pointless for me to post any more non anamorphic grabs. Curiously the anamorphic material seems unaffected by this. Has anyone got any suggestions? I'm using an older version of WinDVD (6 - I think it's four years old) and imageshack with variable rez selections. Is there any freeware I can use to capture? I can't use vlc - it completely eludes me (I need a four year child around to assist me with any computer function harder than typing.)

Craig on the subject of pinched DVD images there are two more which come to mind - the Warner Gypsy (which was shot in Technirama and screeened at 2.35) which looks like it's been pinched from an even wider original ratio. And the DVD of Resnais' Muriel which should be 1.66 but which appears to have undergone anamorphosis, and 1.78 crop then pinch. Sounds like a medical procedure!

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#203 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:52 am

Allright then, I've received the set now from amazon and am mighty impressed. For the 'damage record': one of those paper straps that is supposed to hold the first book was torn, but I guess it wouldn't have properly held the book anyway. "Street Angel" had slipped under the cardboard that was supposed to hold it and was pretty difficult to get out without damaging the paper or the disc. The greatest shock, however, was to find one of the slots completely empty, and the disc nowhere to be found at all. Whilst I was working myself into a mix of rage and heartbreak, it finally occured to me to take a look at the bottom part of the outer box, where luckily I found it, pretty scratched, but apparently playable. Most of the other discs however seem only lightly scratched or not at all. I couldn't resist checking "7th Heaven" after the amazon reports, although the disc wasn't scratched at all. Well, it seems it IS playable after all, but it caused my player to make the most horrible grinding noises I EVER encountered from it. Must be a manufacturing problem with that particular disc which seems to occur on a pretty regular basis. I only hope the player will survive the torture of playing it in its entirety, but even then, I suppose those noises will be a pretty annoying aural addition to the film experience....
But, as David said, enough of the negativity. This is indeed a mind-blowing package, and the wonderful photographs in the books gave me great delight already, though I agree that the Bergstrom essay says far too little about Borzage. I hope the missing bits will be covered by the documentary disc.

As I made up my mind to watch the Borzages - all unknown to me apart from "The River" - in chronological order, I started with "Lazybones" last night. I can only add to the praise already expressed by Schreck and others. It's indeed so tightly and convingly constructed, so effortlessly shifting between comic and tragic moments, with a style that relies much more on the details of the actors' expressions than on any visual gimmicks, that I also have the impression that it didn't need Murnau to make Borzage a great filmmaker. I was particularly amazed about the acting all around, most perhaps by Zasu Pitts as Ruth, perhaps because of her nicely 'expressionist'/moody looks at her rescue from the river. And the actress who plays her mother gave me the creeps, almost literally. It was also nice to see Madge Bellamy again whom I liked so much in Tourneur's "Lorna Doone", and this time thankfully without any over-acting.
As to the comparison with "Just Pals": much as I like Ford's film and indeed also find it similar, "Lazybones" for me is easily superior in its much wider emotional scope and perhaps 'meaning'. The latter for me consists in showing that the central character leads a life that I would call 'contemplative' in the sense of that he doesn't much care for what is considered important by society (money, work etc.); but he is not at all against these values and obviously cares for others (his mother, and especially Ruth and Young Kit of course). But for him life slowly passes on like the symbolic molasses that introduces him, for good or for worse, and he can even become a war hero by 'not-doing' something. Thus, Tuttle almost has a zen-like approach to life in my view. His way of leading this contemplative life however has the side-effect of letting chances go by, in this case, by not getting Kit. It is wise that Borzage left open whether his attitude will change after losing Kit, or whether he will quietly accept the loss. I suspect the latter, but in any case, Borzage never really pushes any interpretation. In this sense, the film is as contemplative as its 'hero', filled with a quiet but joyful melancholy. But in comparison to "Just Pals" or "La Roue", the Kit story for me never formed such an exclusive central part of the film, but serves as a (major) illustration of this more general theme of the film.

User avatar
Max von Mayerling
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:02 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#204 Post by Max von Mayerling » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:37 pm

As has been noted, shipping experiences with this box can vary widely. I was holding off due to concerns about this, but when Amazon put the thing in my goldbox deals of the day, I gave in. It was sent to me by UPS two-day shipping. There was no meaningful damage to the box, and I have inspected all the discs & none are scratched. One had slid a bit into its sleve, as described above by Tommaso, but mine was pretty easy to gently extract. So, it's obviously a bit of a crapshoot, but it is possible for the thing to make it through UPS fairly unscathed.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#205 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:17 pm

That gives me hope, as I would be getting my set from Amazon Prime the same way. Still on the fence, but wavering closer to going for it

User avatar
Max von Mayerling
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:02 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#206 Post by Max von Mayerling » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:44 pm

On another random note, Netflix had happened to ship me Street Angel the same day that I ended up ordering the box. I had put it at the top of my list on account of HerrSchreck's ravings. It arrived the day before the box, so I gave it a spin. Turns out the version Netflix sent me was from some other company, pre-dating the Borzage box. The print was not was not the greatest & the transfer was fairly miserable. Much of the detail was lost. When I received the box, the first thing I did was pop in Street Angel, and it was, of course, night & day.

User avatar
arsonfilms
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Contact:

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#207 Post by arsonfilms » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:54 pm

domino harvey wrote:That gives me hope, as I would be getting my set from Amazon Prime the same way. Still on the fence, but wavering closer to going for it
Although it does not necessarily relate to the Murnau/Borzage set specifically, when I ordered my John Ford box (long after the hype had died down), every disc was in place and the whole thing looked great. Similarly, while I fully plan to get the Murnau/Borzage box, I'm hoping that the quality of the handling improves once demand dies down a bit.

Ishmael
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:56 pm

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#208 Post by Ishmael » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:42 pm

Max von Mayerling wrote:On another random note, Netflix had happened to ship me Street Angel the same day that I ended up ordering the box. I had put it at the top of my list on account of HerrSchreck's ravings. It arrived the day before the box, so I gave it a spin. Turns out the version Netflix sent me was from some other company, pre-dating the Borzage box. The print was not was not the greatest & the transfer was fairly miserable. Much of the detail was lost.
Netflix is also carrying the new Street Angel from the Borzage box. Fortunately, that's the one they sent me. Amazing film; great transfer. But I guess it's the usual pot luck for those like me who are renting these.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#209 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:56 am

Tommaso wrote: "7th Heaven" caused my player to make the most horrible grinding noises I EVER encountered from it. Must be a manufacturing problem with that particular disc which seems to occur on a pretty regular basis. I only hope the player will survive the torture of playing it in its entirety, but even then, I suppose those noises will be a pretty annoying aural addition to the film experience.....
Mine too-- like a fucking helicopter hovering overhead buzzsawing wood in the cockpit.

Was there a report on amazon or somewhere that says this is a common occurrence with everybody's 7th Heaven disc? Is everyone else having this same problem?

And what in god's name is it? I was thinking that maybe my disc had an excess of connective glue or whatever on one side-- or the layers in the ds disc were not weighted evenly, and one side was heavier than the other, causing it to have an uneven or perhaps even quasi-wobblized spin.

But that's just amatueristic speculation. ANyone know what this is, and does anyone have a 7th Heaven disc that does NOT make this noise?

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#210 Post by Tommaso » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:38 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Was there a report on amazon or somewhere that says this is a common occurrence with everybody's 7th Heaven disc? Is everyone else having this same problem?
Well, the people at amazon reported that they couldn't play the disc at all! They also mentioned the buzzing noise.

I don't think it's the glue (there's simply nothing unusual visually with the disc), but you might be on the right track with the uneven weight. Which again causes me to ask why they didn't do a normal DVD-9 for "7th Heaven" and "The River" both on one side if they can't get the double-sided ones right?

Anyway, I put the disc into the computer (far quieter, but still quite audible buzz), and seeing that "Heaven" was single-layered, I decided to make a copy. I will play that one from now on, if only to get rid of that NOISE. And considering what the original may or may not do to the player, the term 'safety copy' gets a whole new meaning...
Last edited by Tommaso on Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ishmael
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:56 pm

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#211 Post by Ishmael » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:41 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Does anyone have a 7th Heaven disc that does NOT make this noise?
The one I rented from Netflix played fine, and it was definitely one from this set.

Mark Metcalf
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:59 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#212 Post by Mark Metcalf » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:11 pm

My box came in the mail, and all disks were fine.

gordonovitch
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:14 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#213 Post by gordonovitch » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:49 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:
Tommaso wrote: does anyone have a 7th Heaven disc that does NOT make this noise?
No noises from my 7th Heaven disc except the unending reprises of "Diane" on the Movietone soundtrack, culminating in the fat lady singing it at the denouement, a rather special moment, to say the least that's compromised by the dowdy vocal; the vocal on the Street Angel soundtrack is just as dreadful--I should know the name of that tune, but I don't, and it nearly spoils a really wonderful moment in the film, when Farrell takes Gaynor away with him in the boat. It's appropriate for Fox to include these tracks--this is how people experienced the film after all--but in the case of these two Borzage films, they're real liabilities, to my ears, anyhow. The newly composed scores for City Girl and Lucky Star are not as good as they could be, but personally I find them less distracting than the Movietone scores--except, well, the one for Sunrise, which works pretty well.

Speaking of Sunrise--and excuse me if this already been brought up in this thread--the European version not only has missing frames in the trolley ride sequence, it cuts it in half! Gone are the sights through the trolley windows of the gradual advance into the city. Instead, O'Brien pays the fare and, boom, we're in the city square. This is well under a minute's loss of film, but it's some of the most magical in the film.

Gordon Thomas

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#214 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:04 pm

gordonovitch wrote: It's appropriate for Fox to include these tracks--this is how people experienced the film after all--but in the case of these two Borzage films, they're real liabilities, to my ears, anyhow. The newly composed scores for City Girl and Lucky Star are not as good as they could be, but personally I find them less distracting than the Movietone scores--except, well, the one for Sunrise, which works pretty well.
Well there's a point of view. I rather think the Movietone soundtracks work perfectly for these films, which are extraordinary because of the direction and the nature of the visuals. (Okay maybe the fucking whistling in Street Angel prompts a pop of bicarbonate.) The stories themselves-- the substance of the text, which the music aims to correspond to and bring out (the way live music was used on the set to get actors in the "mood") for the viewer in lieu of dialogue-- correspond in spirit rather precisely to the music. Borzage's run from 7th H to Lucky Star-- I daresay if anyone else handled these scripts you'd have insufferably glucose goo.

gordonovitch
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:14 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#215 Post by gordonovitch » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:34 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Well there's a point of view. I rather think the Movietone soundtracks work perfectly for these films, which are extraordinary because of the direction and the nature of the visuals. (Okay maybe the fucking whistling in Street Angel prompts a pop of bicarbonate.) The stories themselves-- the substance of the text, which the music aims to correspond to and bring out (the way live music was used on the set to get actors in the "mood") for the viewer in lieu of dialogue-- correspond in spirit rather precisely to the music. Borzage's run from 7th H to Lucky Star-- I daresay if anyone else handled these scripts you'd have insufferably glucose goo.
I'll cede your points, HerrSchreck. My main criticism is with the vocals, which I think are mood-busters. I love opera, but do we really need an ersatz Schuman-Heink (Christ, maybe it is her) warbling at that fabulous moment? Otherwise, I agree the tracks work well for the material, and for their age they don't sound bad at all on these discs. I didn't mention the whistling in Street Angel, but that is a tough business indeed, reminding me of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in what, Indian Love Call?

One of the problems of silent films is that the music must be wall to wall, and when the film is as good as a Borzage or a Murnau the music simply isn't as sophisticated as the visual content. It's best that the score keeps a low profile, and having it burst into blowzy song is I think a misstep on the part of the composer/arranger. Sunrise, again, is a case where I think this kind of underscoring works really well; it kind of stays back there for a lot of the time. It seems in 7th Heaven they maybe wanted to sell that song a little too hard--looking to push sheet music sales perhaps?

Gordon

User avatar
Max von Mayerling
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:02 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#216 Post by Max von Mayerling » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:34 pm

Just tested my 7th Heaven disc & no creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

[edit - see my follow up post below.]
Last edited by Max von Mayerling on Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
fdm
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:25 pm

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#217 Post by fdm » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:39 am

Max von Mayerling wrote:Just tested my 7th Heaven disc & no creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Well, that's a pisser. The scratched up one from the box I returned, no mouses stirred either - on my main player. (Watched the whole thing, both sides even. That and both sides of Sunrise before I got around to sending that box back.)

The replacement box's 7th Heaven is awful though (buzz-saw/motorboat like noise when the disk is spinning). In that same player. Seemed to get stuck at the "best elements available" part and that was that. On the computer, same noise, went away once started playing it though. On my region-free player, no stirring at all. Which is about right with respect to behavior noted on a couple of other DVDs I've had that were really bad like that. [I just "skimmed" though, so mileage may vary if I'd actually played them through.]

A question of balance. I think it's a crappy glue job. Crappy manufacturing job. [All of those Ford box and this box's double-sided disks just look really badly done (look at the glue in the clear spindle area, they all seemed to be like that (partly glued, partly not); don't recall seeing any like these elsewhere (kevyip excepted.)]

Thanks for the head's up, would probably have taken a while to get back to that film again otherwise. Guess I need to check the rest to be sure. (In the meantime it seems to be backed-up, so my send-it-back urge has subsided somewhat.) What a fucking mess. Maybe Fox can be bothered to do something about them?

[Got to check out those recent amazon complaints...]

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#218 Post by Tommaso » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:16 am

HerrSchreck wrote:Well there's a point of view. I rather think the Movietone soundtracks work perfectly for these films, which are extraordinary because of the direction and the nature of the visuals. (Okay maybe the fucking whistling in Street Angel prompts a pop of bicarbonate.) The stories themselves-- the substance of the text, which the music aims to correspond to and bring out (the way live music was used on the set to get actors in the "mood") for the viewer in lieu of dialogue-- correspond in spirit rather precisely to the music. Borzage's run from 7th H to Lucky Star-- I daresay if anyone else handled these scripts you'd have insufferably glucose goo.
I must say I'm more with Gordonovitch in the case of "7th Heaven". I didn't even have much of a problem with the vocals, though they sounded pretty horrendous, but that recurring 'Diane' theme, good as it is, began to drive me nuts after its twentieth reappearance. The problem is that the film already walks on a very, very thin line between romanticism/poetry and utter melodrama of the not-so-great kind, and I'm afraid, with the music constantly pushing the heart pedals the film was in danger of becoming a tear-jerker of the worst kind. Even the comedy parts with the taxi-driver were pushed by the music into an over-dramatic direction. But I quite liked the way the 'Diane' theme is intercut/collaged with the war music at one point, a nice and quite well-working effect.

It was quite interesting to see the same visuals afterwards with the audiocommentary on (quite good, btw): what seemed to be rather over-wrought with the music was revealed to be quite subtle and just 'right' with the music in the background and the two guys rambling on over it. So I'm all for the Movietone score being included on the disc, not only for historical reasons, but I wished that Fox would have provided a new score as an alternative option.

However, even with a new musical score, I'm not sure whether all of the film would have worked for me. At least some moments, obviously those 'CHICO-DIANE-HEAVEN!!' intertitles (especially in their later reappearance) are so over-the top that I constantly imagined the audience at that time: women of all ages making whining noises and desperately searching for their handkerchiefs in a way that would only be rivalled by "Gone with the wind" a few years later. Not to speak of the ending; as you know, I'm easily touched by sentimental things and am quite good at providing huge amounts of suspension of disbelief if required (I'm totally with Schreck in his description of how "Sunrise" works for him), but this was simply TOO MUCH for me. I felt like I had been forced to eat five huge chocolate bars in a row after that. Good Lord, the idea of the blind man repenting and seeing things better even was a rather bad idea in "Jane Eyre", but Chico here is not a Rochester (quite on the contrary, of course) and that whole resurrection conceit (complete with that totally unnecessary shot of a spiral staircase where obviously there wasn't one before) well... didn't work for me at all. So I consider "7th Heaven" a marvellous film in many many very obvious ways (wonderful actors, brilliant sets and cinematography), but well, I wished the marvellous Gladys Brockwell would have reappeared at the end to give Herr Borzage or his scriptwriter a good whipping for that.

User avatar
lubitsch
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:20 pm

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#219 Post by lubitsch » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:32 am

Tommaso wrote:
HerrSchreck wrote: However, even with a new musical score, I'm not sure whether all of the film would have worked for me. At least some moments, obviously those 'CHICO-DIANE-HEAVEN!!' intertitles (especially in their later reappearance) are so over-the top that I constantly imagined the audience at that time: women of all ages making whining noises and desperately searching for their handkerchiefs in a way that would only be rivalled by "Gone with the wind" a few years later. Not to speak of the ending; as you know, I'm easily touched by sentimental things and am quite good at providing huge amounts of suspension of disbelief if required (I'm totally with Schreck in his description of how "Sunrise" works for him), but this was simply TOO MUCH for me. I felt like I had been forced to eat five huge chocolate bars in a row after that. Good Lord, the idea of the blind man repenting and seeing things better even was a rather bad idea in "Jane Eyre", but Chico here is not a Rochester (quite on the contrary, of course) and that whole resurrection conceit (complete with that totally unnecessary shot of a spiral staircase where obviously there wasn't one before) well... didn't work for me at all. So I consider "7th Heaven" a marvellous film in many many very obvious ways (wonderful actors, brilliant sets and cinematography), but well, I wished the marvellous Gladys Brockwell would have reappeared at the end to give Herr Borzage or his scriptwriter a good whipping for that.
I don't mind Borzage's romanticism but I find the ending cringeworthy, too. To connect his stories with reality, in this case the World War, isn't always fruitful. Creating a ressurection through love is rather tasteless in this context.

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#220 Post by Tommaso » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:22 pm

lubitsch wrote:To connect his stories with reality, in this case the World War, isn't always fruitful. Creating a ressurection through love is rather tasteless in this context.
Not just tasteless, but truly badly motivated. I mean, didn't all those officials testifying to his death see that he was still alive? The other option is that he was quite literally resurrected by a deed of God. Which reminds me that I found that whole 'confirmed atheist becomes firm believer'-conceit pretty unconvincing and somewhat false-sounding, too. Connecting the story with WW I wasn't a big prinicipal problem for me; but the way the French army was brought to the front with taxis also made me scratch my head a bit.
The more I think about it, the more that whole script seems to be rubbish. But there are so many wonderful moments in the film that I think it still works...somehow.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#221 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:08 pm

Testiment to the power of the ability of someone like Mauritz Stiller in something like Sir Arne to avoid this kind of syrupy feel, while still delivering a cornball climax of removing evildoers/pleasing the lord/breaks up the ice---------->frees the ship.. and actually creating a believable supernatural/nordic-mythical aroma about the whole affair. Stunning.
Tommaso wrote:
lubitsch wrote:To connect his stories with reality, in this case the World War, isn't always fruitful. Creating a ressurection through love is rather tasteless in this context.
Not just tasteless, but truly badly motivated. I mean, didn't all those officials testifying to his death see that he was still alive? The other option is that he was quite literally resurrected by a deed of God. Which reminds me that I found that whole 'confirmed atheist becomes firm believer'-conceit pretty unconvincing and somewhat false-sounding, too. Connecting the story with WW I wasn't a big prinicipal problem for me; but the way the French army was brought to the front with taxis also made me scratch my head a bit.
The more I think about it, the more that whole script seems to be rubbish. But there are so many wonderful moments in the film that I think it still works...somehow.
I thought the whole affair of 7th works wonderfully right up until Chico goes to war. One thing I think that is well rendered here is the sexual tension between the two.. Farrell is quite nearly Stanley Kowalski up in his garrett stalking around with his shirt off, and Janet Gaynor-- the great little cupie doll she is-- looks miraculously Quite Do-able. It's the first time I found myself with a jones for her... seeing her in her undies and her toucha butt. (Sorry to befoul Our Holy Waif, but... *snort* ya know..)

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#222 Post by Tommaso » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:53 pm

Phew, I was expecting a whole downpour of Schreckonian ire against anyone who is only in fourth heaven with "7th Heaven"...

The Stiller comparison is quite to the point, not just "Sir Arne", in which the whole medieval frame of mind makes such a divine interference (if it is one) much more believable in the greater scheme of things, but also if I think of the irresisitible impulse of the girl for following the stranger in "Johan". So much more convincing than, but probably not really comparable to, those pure souls that are Chico and Diane. However, I wasn't really disturbed about what was going on in the Borzage up to the moment the war breaks in, too, and was initially almost relieved that there had to be a break now in the narrative, allowing me to get a slight pause from those love-making turtles, or rather, from that 'Diane' melody. Too bad that tune kept returning all the time she was on screen in-between the war scenes...
HerrSchreck wrote:. Farrell is quite nearly Stanley Kowalski up in his garrett stalking around with his shirt off, and Janet Gaynor-- the great little cupie doll she is-- looks miraculously Quite Do-able.
Yes, I found that pretty risqué for the time (and a few years later Borzage wouldn't have gotten away with it), but erotic titillation aside it was exactly what the film needed to feel a little more 'grounded' and to continue with some sort of 'dramatic flow' in that otherwise rather static sequence, beautiful as it is. My favourite part of the whole movie, not just because of the undies, though I admit it's difficult to ignore them.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#223 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:56 pm

That little bit of terrain below Gaynors glute goes a long way...

No I'm not a superatomic fan of this film. I like it, admire it more than that, find it fascinating as an oddball genre-specimen... but as a film, in the moment-to-moment viewing expwerience, it's not a supervbeloved Borz. I far prefer some of his sound work, and find just about all of his other silents in the set to be more satisfying. My all-time films aren't the type that survive in spite of themselves (Sunrise may be an example, though I find the story in and of itself to be quite plain, believable and simple... minus the speed with which Indre forgvies her husband), i e despite a script that would cause a Harlequin romance novelist to twitch ("We've hit Overage in the loading docks... sound the alarms!")

I don't know if I mentioned this elsewhere but I think River works fabulous shorn of it's context-- maybe better than the completed film loaded with all it's melodramatic story-specifics... it turns almost into a mythological poem occurring Anyplace in Anytime. You can see the characters as gods (destroying a whole forest with his bare hands) or mortals, as you wish. The crow-- almost Zeusian symbol order. Great film.

User avatar
Max von Mayerling
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:02 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#224 Post by Max von Mayerling » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:54 pm

Max von Mayerling wrote:Just tested my 7th Heaven disc & no creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Not to take away from this discussion of aesthetics, but I want to apologize on account of my lame attempt at wordplay left at least fdm with the entirely wrong impression. I meant to convey that my 7th Heaven disc does not make helicopter-like sounds - in other words, it appears to work fine & dandy, like a dvd should.

User avatar
fdm
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:25 pm

Re: Murnau, Borzage and Fox

#225 Post by fdm » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:28 am

Max von Mayerling wrote:
Max von Mayerling wrote:Just tested my 7th Heaven disc & no creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Not to take away from this discussion of aesthetics, but I want to apologize on account of my lame attempt at wordplay left at least fdm with the entirely wrong impression. I meant to convey that my 7th Heaven disc does not make helicopter-like sounds - in other words, it appears to work fine & dandy, like a dvd should.
No I got that. My first copy was the same way (despite the scratches on it).

The second copy is the one that makes the godawful noise (and I mean really loud -- way beyond any possibility of trying to watch it and not go nuts -- on that particular machine; part of my point was that it might possibly play quietly on a different machine.)

Post Reply