Discussion in 'Television & Movies' started by PongQ, Apr 28, 2017.
I think all silent films are a struggle for people raised on color/sound movies. I know it is for me.
The real reason...
Damn! You got me pegged. (Insert off color pegging joke below)
That sounds like your Saturday night at MY mom's house.
Thoughts on a few more, as the quest continues...
The General - This is a watchable silent movie. By that, I mean silent movies are a chore for me. This one is much less so. Buster's acrobatics steal the show (Jackie Chan's physicality is similar to some of Buster's stunts). The plot is entertaining and straightforward. If you've never watched a silent film, it's not a bad place to start.
Arsenic and Old Lace - Just a great movie. Don't want to comment too much, as it would spoil it for those that haven't seen it. Definitely belongs on a must see list. Watch it or I'll have Teddy dig another lock for you in the Panama Canal.
Duck Soup - Now I understand Ceezyr's Rufus T. Firefly glasses (and the great description - one of the better quotes from the movie). I had to google duck soup after watching. Apparently in 1933 it was slang for something easy. That fits with the movie, which really has nothing to do with ducks or soup.
It's funny to watch older movies after seeing more recent work that was clearly influenced by them. When I was watching Duck Soup it brought to mind Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Brooks, and a splash of Airplane/Naked Gun/Coming to America. If you like any of these, you'll find something to like in Duck Soup.
Just finished Modern Times. Much like with Laura, it's amazing how some of the big themes never change. Instead of Hollywood (as in Laura), Modern Times addresses the plight of the working man in an era of increased automation.
The thing about these movies is I've got to plan on spending a few hours reading about them after watching. Here are a few tidbits that aren't spoilers that would have made the movie even more interesting while watching.
First, it came out about 10 years after talkies became common. But Chaplin kept it (largely) silent. He was afraid that putting voice to his character The Tramp would shrink his worldwide audience. He thought the pantomime was superior and that talkies were going to be a flash in the pan. As with his other movies, he wrote, directed, financed, and composed the music.
He also was married to the female lead (he's late 40s, she's mid 20s....way to go Chuck). And once again, I'm disturbed finding a woman who's been dead nearly 30 years to be hot. But she is, no doubt about it.
OMG I LOVE THAT LINE!!!
I just finished both versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much. The first is great because it's Peter Lorre's big break, as well as the film that really put Hitchcock on the map. That said, it's still got some issues. Notably, the plot really isn't developed at all.
Hitchcock remade the move 22 years later, starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. The second version is better in nearly every way. As Hitchcock put it, the first was the work of an amateur and the second that of a professional.
I'd recommend skipping the first version and watching the second. But if you're not familiar with Peter Lorre (and you should be, he's in tons of great movies) you should at least watch this clip. It's from the Maltese Falcon, and he's on the receiving end of one of the best tough guy slaps ever.
I know you're wondering...he said "one of the best tough guy slaps," what else is out there? This one for starters:
C'mon Don. Those are wussy slaps:
OK. If we're going to take a detour and discuss movie slaps, here's one of my favorites:
And sometimes just the threat of a slap is enough:
How on earth can you talk about slapping scenes and not include this classic?
Easily in my top 5 fav movies of all time.
Go ahead, skin that smokewagon!
Put on your reading glasses, get ready for subtitles, and go watch M. It's a ripped from the (1931) headlines movie. Peter Lorre is fantastic. Fan.....tastic. This isn't some art house movie that normal people hate, it's a genuinely good time.
I watched it online at the Critereon collection via my local library. I learned you can send the movie to your phone, where you can download it in DRM FREE MP4. The resolution might not be as good as a blu ray, but you can get a decent copy for free. Check it out.
When watching these old movies it's hard to put them in context. For example, I just watched Horse Feathers. It's a Marx brothers movie about a "college widow" (one of my new favorite phrases) trying to seduce people to get the plays for an upcoming football game. It's a typical Marx brothers adventure, but what I didn't know until after the fact is that it is a parody of an earlier dramatic movie of the same plot. It made me think about all the young people trying to watch something like Hot Shots or Naked Gun without knowledge of what it was spoofing. Horse Feathers is still fun, but I can't help but think I'd have liked it even more were I familiar with the source material.
Several more movies under the belt. I watched both City Lights and The Circus.
Everybody seems to agree that City Lights is Chaplin's best. It's good, but I think several of the gags go on for too long. The boxing match, in particular, could have used less time hiding behind the ref. The cigar smoking/sharing also went on too long. I think that by repeating the physical comedy time and again each of these lost some impact. City Lights does have more of a plot than most Chaplin movies of this time.
But for my money, I prefer The Circus. It's set up to show Chaplin at his best. The physical comedy is superb, from tightrope walking to cowering before a lion. He was really in the cage with a lion. He has balls of steel.
It's really the little things in The Circus that show off his talent. How he climbs ladders, poles, boxes...all effortlessly and with grace. And you should take a minute to read about what was going on during the filming. With all that shit hitting the fan, not surprising that this is the only movie Chaplin doesn't mention in his autobiography.
On the Marx Brothers front I watched Monkey Business. I enjoy each Marx Brothers movie a little more than the last. There's something about becoming more familiar with their characters and what they've done in previous movies that adds to the enjoyment. Groucho is king of the double entendre, and it's great to see some spicy innuendo in these older movies. Some things never really change.
Time to throw my support behind Double Indemnity. Just watched it the other day, and I loved it. My previous exposure to Fred MacMurray was from My Three Sons. He's in a much different role here. Highly enjoyable.
I've also been working through the Orson Welles catalog. I highly recommend Compulsion. It's better if you have at least a passing knowledge of the Leopold and Loeb story. Not exactly Law and Order "ripped from the headlines." More of an "inspired by a crime a few decades earlier." Bonus is that you get to see a young Dean Stockwell.
That was my previous knowledge of MacMurray before seeing those old films, too. Barbara Stanwyck is in Double Indemnity; she was the matriarch on The Big Valley when I was growing up. It was weird to see her as a femme fatale.
Noticed Don mentioned Hitchcock above... shoutout to my fav Hitchcock classic (it's color) North by Northwest
Black and white though...
Edit: We took a roadtrip to Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash comic book store yeeearss ago and the guy that plays Randall worked there, got to meet him.
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