Monday, June 27, 2011

34. Oktyabr


OH MY GOD!!!!!  That movie was so boring!  I mean, we watched some pretty boring ones but yikes!  This movie is one hour and forty-two minutes long.  Now, that is not as long as some of the other boredom-generators but it is still way, way too long.

This movie is about the October Revolution in the Soviet Union (it was the ten year anniversary).  If you have taken a high school history class, you know the basics of the revolution, which is good because you will not learn anything from this film.  Much like Haxan, this movie is a reenacted documentary on the revolution.

This movie sucked.  I would not mind so much if it was boring if you learned something but the whole thing is glorified propaganda.  The best word for this film is "messy."  It is very hard to follow especially when you are not really paying attention.  Eisenstein may be a good technical director but I never really like his movies. Film is not just about camera angles, it has to have heart, something that sets it apart from, I don't know, a powerpoint on the Soviet Union.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

Is anything about this movie interesting?

The next movie on the list has sound!  Oh happy days!

This is the last you are going to hear from me for awhile because not only do I not have ready access to the next movie but I am going out of town.  See you in July!

This is available on Netflix Watch Instant.  It is not on YouTube so I am not posting a video.  You are welcome.

33. The Unknown

The Unknown

This short movie was really grotesque and weird but really, what do you expect from a circus movie?  Lon Chaney, who played the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, and Joan Crawford are the stars in this incredibly strange horror film so you know it is going to be freaky.  I think any movie with Joan Crawford is kind of horror flick, which may have something to do with the fact that I only know her from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Mommie Dearest.

This film is about an armless knife thrower who falls in love with another circus performer, Joan Crawford!  She is afraid of men's touch because she has had such a tough life.  The armless guy, though, really isn't armless, he just made it look like he was to escape from the law!  He murders her father (whoops!) and has to am-scray.  He then decides that he has to have her and some messed up shit happens. The book classifies this film as horror.  This movie isn't scary, just a little bit disturbing (though nowhere near as disturbing as Strike was).

Okay, time to make a point because I am just kind of rambling here.  I liked it!  We have seen some good movies lately, but the plots have all been pretty simplistic.  This film, however, has some interesting, unpredictable twists.  It is only about an hour but that is really all the time it needed.  Lon Chaney is a lot better in this than he was in The Phantom of the Opera.  Definitely go see it!

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

This was loosely based on a real event when a man pretended to be an acrobat to escape the police.

Joan Crawford freaks me the hell out!

I am sorry that I was all over the place with this review; I have been really busy today.

Available on YouTube.  First out of five parts:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

32. The General

The General
1926 or 1927 (there seems to be some dispute over this)

Wow.  This "wow" is not directed at the movie itself but at the reaction it received.  At first it was a total flop but now critics consider it to be the greatest comedy of all time!   AFI ranked it at #18.  #18!  I mean, do you realize how many movies that means it beat?!?  We are talking Titanic, The Godfather: Part II, Rear Window, even Sunrise!  And quite frankly, I don't see what the fuss is about.

Now, if you have read my earlier reviews, you know that I am an avid Buster Keaton fan (and if you haven't welcome!  I hope I am making a good first impression!).  So I am not hating on this movie so much as praising his other movies.  Sure this one has a nice plot and some pretty funny gags, but it I feel that it doesn't quite have what the others had.  It isn't as daring as Our Hospitality, or as funny as Sherlock Jr. was.

This film is about a Southern man who can't get into the army for the Civil War.  His girlfriend is a total bitch about it and says that she won't see him unless he is in uniform.  His other great love, his train, (I don't blame him; she doesn't exactly sound like a peach) gets taken by those damn Yankees with his girlfriend inside it!  He then spends the rest of the movie pursuing it.

This movie is definitely funny and there are a few good stunts.  I would be interested to have a discussion with someone who ranked this movie so high, however.  Why is it so special?!?

RATING: ***--(I feel pressure to give it more stars!!!)

Interesting Facts:

In typical Keaton style, this movie is pretty short (an hour and fifteen minutes).

Buster Keaton said it was his favorite too!  Probably because it is all about trains; he seems to have a huge obsession with them.

This movie was AFI's #18 in 2007.  Before that, it had never made it on the list.  That is one fast leap.  Gone With the Wind has been taking it slow and steady but this one just zoomed ahead!

The scene where The Texas crashes through the bridge is the most expensive shot in the silent film era.

Available on YouTube.  First part:

31. Sunrise


Well, this movie blew my mind in a couple of different ways.  First off, I realized that quite a few things I had taken for fact were wrong.  For instance, I always thought that the first Best Picture Oscar went to The Wings but actually there were two Best Picture Oscars that year.  The first was for production which indeed went to the The Wings, but the second was for best unique and artistic production which went to this film.  I also thought that the first talkie was The Jazz Singer but in reality this movie had a line of dialogue and several crowd scenes audible.  So basically, everything we know is a lie.

This film is about a really attractive man who starts to have an affair with an urban woman.  She talks him into killing his wife because for some reason it is always the woman who convinces the man to commit the murder.  What is that about?  Anyway, the husband chickens out and spends the rest of the day "making it up to her" (um, okay?).  More stuff happens but I try to never spoil it for people.

This movie is really, really good.  I know you are supposed to think that given that critics adore this film.  Sometimes, you can't fight the mainstream and you just have to go with it, and this is one of those times.  You can seen from the above picture how the sultry temptress haunts the main character.  Each scene brings some new emotion or technique to the table (my favorite being the wedding scene), so I will not even attempt to vocalize anymore but rest assured you will be impressed.  The acting is really good (which sadly is refreshing).  The plot was not the greatest.  If my husband tried to kill me, let's just say he would not be able to make up for it with a stroll in the city.  The movie is never boring though, so it is definitely worth a watch.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Ranked #82 in AFI's top 100.  I think we will see every movie on the list through the course of the book.

Anybody who is anybody knows that Murnau hates title cards (I am kidding of course; even I am not that pretentious)!  They become virtually nonexistent towards the end of the film.

Available on YouTube.  First part:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

30. Metropolis


So we have at last reached the milestone that everyone has been waiting for...30!  I was excited to watch this film when I learned how many movies it had influenced (namely Star Wars).  In fact, there were times that I was so taken aback by the sets and the costumes, that I forgot to pay attention to the plot which, as I understand it, was pretty shitty.

This movie is about....oh damn, what was this movie about?  This film is set in the future and the world is divided into workers and thinkers.  A man from the thinker group experiences the worker's life and I think falls in love.  Meanwhile, this mad scientist creates a robot-monster version of the woman and it wreaks havoc.

Well, you can see from above just how memorable the plot was.  The acting was rather awful as well (Maria had this weird eye twitch that I think she thought was both evil and sexy).  However, the sets were pretty incredible.  Some of the shots of the city looked just the city in Attack of the Clones (I was extremely nerded out)!  The robot thing was actually the model for C-3PO!  The costumes were also pretty erotic for the times.  So overall, it is only striking visually; in all other ways it is boring and kind of weird.

RATING: ***--(just because I love Star Wars)

Interesting Facts:

It is said to be Hitler's favorite movie.  If that is not a reason to dislike it, I don't know what is.

One of the first sci-fi movies (if you don't count Le Voyage dans la Lune).

Alfred Abel was in this who was also in Dr. Mabuse.  It was weird to recognize a silent movie actor other  than someone like Chaplin.  Or Keaton.  Or Gish.  Now that I think about it, it is not so weird...

With this movie, there is the restored version and then there is the original.  The original is a neat two hours long but you miss a lot.  I watched the restored which is available on Netflix Instant.  This is the restored version that is available on YouTube:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

29. The Big Parade

The Big Parade

Finally!  I am back! I apologize about the hiatus but this film took eons to get to my house.  I have often found that I lack foresight and this is no exception.  I ordered the movie after watching the last one (instead of looking ahead and ordering it earlier) and since I am kind of weird about lists, I couldn't move on until I saw this.  As for my book blog, every summer I reread my favorite series and so I took a break from that as well.  I have been updating the albums and art one fairly regularly but Brie has been out of town, so there haven't been a lot of posts lately. There is going to be another short hiatus because I am going abroad but I will try to do as much as I can before I leave.  Enough about me!  Let's crack on!

So my initial happiness about finally receiving this movie was a bit dampened when I saw that it was over two hours long. It is also a war movie of which I rarely enjoy (thumbs up Gone With the Wind; thumbs down Saving Private Ryan).   I was actually pleasantly surprised.  The story is about a rich, spoiled guy who is kind of a pansy and cannot stand up to his fiancee enough to say "but I don't want to go to war!".  He ends up going to France and falling in love with a lovely French girl.  Typical war tragedy ensues, and the ending is really poignant.

I will start with my complaints.  The love story is a bit half-assed.  They can't speak the same language so you kind of gather that it is a pretty, ahem, physical relationship.  It kind of reminded me of Disney's Pocahantas although the girl didn't magically learn to speak English (maybe if she had listened to Grandmother Willow, she would have been able to).  They then proceeded to make Jim's, the main character, fiancee fall in love with his brother so you didn't feel sorry for her which felt a bit lazy to me.  If you get past the rather pathetic romance, however, it is a pretty good coming of age story.  Some of it was fairly predictable but if it wasn't it wouldn't be a war movie!

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Highest grossing silent film of all time.

A studio electrician died on the set when he slipped and fell off a platform.

This film was immensely successful.  King Vidor, the director, was entitled to 20% of the net profits.  MGM found out and swindled him into selling his share.  It grossed around $55 million (adjusted for inflation).  Corporate windbags!

I apologize that this post was so long but it has been a long time since I did this!  Good luck getting this film by the way!  Now I am stuck with a secondhand video tape...groan...

28. The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush

When I started watching this movie, I expected it to be just like a Buster Keaton.  Of course, this movie was only about half as good as Buster's but still, it was refreshing to see a funny movie of quality after some of the shitty movies I have been viewing lately.

This film is about Tramp who goes to Alaska to search for gold.  While there, he meets some really wacky characters including Big Jim and Georgia, a girl he is in love with.

I always try to get the bad stuff over with first and this review will be no different.  First of all, the gags aren't as funny or daring as Keaton's.  During the famous joke, when Chaplin is dancing, I just stared at the screen blank-faced.  Not really my sense of humor.  A couple of the gags I laughed out loud with like whenever the house was falling off the cliff.  If you looking for a really funny movie, however, go for Keaton.  This movie can also be slow in parts as well, which led to quite a few moments of boredom.

I did think this movie was entertaining most of the time.  I wouldn't say you had to see if you were studying film, but it is kind of a light watch especially after the previous movie.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

The dancing roll scene was so popular that audiences had the projectionists replay it.  Really?  I mean, really??

Charles Chaplin's wife was originally going to play Georgia but she got pregnant so the role went to Georgia Hale.  Chaplin was having an affair with Hale during production.  What a jackass.  You will never be Keaton, jerk!

Available on Netflix Instant or YouTube:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

27. Bronenosets Potyomkin

Bronenosets Potyomkin
The Battleship Potemkin

I did not like this film at all and I will probably be cursed for this by film buffs.  First of all, you are not even supposed to enjoy it.  This movie is more of a message that a piece of entertainment.  It is disturbing and depressing and it doesn't exactly put nice images into your head (dead children and maggots).  So I guess what most people think is that it is worth it because it is such a beautifully made film.  Eisenstein, the director, is called the master of montage and the stair scene is one of the most famous in cinema.

I do not agree.  Basically, this is a piece of propaganda.  The whole time they want you to just be cursing the czarists.  I, being the stubborn person that I am, don't like being told who to root for or what to think.  Good films let you decide those kinds of things for yourself.  In addition, the movie is supremely one-dimensional.  The czarists are mean for no other reason then to be mean and the workers are noble.  There is no character or even plot development.  The only thing this movie made me think about was how one-sided it was.

I recently read a movie review by King Roger Ebert.  He was reviewing Mommie Dearest and said that the movie "is unremittingly depressing, not to any purpose of drama or entertainment, but just to depress." My experience with Battleship was quite similar.

RATING: **---(two stars because someone thinks it is good)

Interesting Facts:

Probably should see it since it is so famous.  They actually kind of reference it in Star Wars.

This is like a worst version of Strike!.

The Soviet Union wanted it to beat Robin Hood in the box offices but Robin Hood won.  They thought it would show the how cool Russian arts were post-Revolution.  Told you it was propaganda.

Available on YouTube or Netflix Instant:

Friday, June 10, 2011

26. The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera

This movie was the last adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera that I hadn't seen (there are two others).  I also read the book.  It is not that I was particularly obsessed with the story, but over the course of the years these opportunities presented themselves.  This was also probably my least favorite version.

For those of you who don't know the story (I don't know why you wouldn't; where on Earth have you been?) I will do a brief synopsis.  A man who has a horribly disfigured face and is therefore shunned by society lives under an opera house.  He falls in love with one of singers and terrorizes the opera whenever they do not let her perform.  Eventually, he kidnaps her and takes her down to his cave-like dwelling.  As you know, I never do spoilers and will not ruin the ending.

Let's get the bad stuff over with.  The acting is really awful.  Also, in this kind of setting, you would expect the costumes to be better.  The plot moves along slowly.  I felt like we were really moving forward in cinema and now we have taken twenty steps backward.  There are so many title cards and the directing is really horrible.  There is a brief scene in Technicolor but that really is not enough of a reason to watch it.  I think the only reason this was on the list is because everyone has heard of it.

I do, however, think it is a really romantic story.  I am not talking about the love between the Phantom and Christine, the opera singer, either.  Simply the idea of someone dressed up like a Phantom in an opera house and causing drama is just so...French.


Interesting Facts:

If you are looking for another (good) version to watch, I would recommend the most recent one with Gerard Butler.  It starts with a flashback, and I am a sucker for those (Titanic, Moulin Rouge, etc.).  It also has a wonderful soundtrack.

Gregory Peck watched this when he was nine and was so scared that he had to sleep in his grandmother's bed.  Gregory Peck could have slept in my bed whenever he wanted.

Oldest standing interior set in the world.

Available on Netflix Instant or YouTube:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

25. Seven Chances

Seven Chances

Ah, Buster Keaton, you have the power to make everything right again.  After pouting for awhile about how bad the last film was, I welcomed a comedy with open arms and I believe that this is one of the best Keatons we have seen up to this point.

When you watch this movie, it plays out just like a comedy you might see today.  Keaton will inherit bucket loads of money if he marries someone on the same day he learns about the stipulation.  Buster asks Mary, the woman he already loves, to marry him and she says yes.  However, he makes the mistake of telling her about it and chaos ensues.  I don't know if this is one of those women-are-hard-to-understand moments because I would have the exact same reaction if I were her.  Of course, he is Buster Keaton and he does have a lot of money so maybe I would end up like one of women pictured above.

This does not have the same amount of daring stunts we are used to but like all Keaton films, it is modern and hilarious.  I almost spit out my drink when the wanted ad for a bride came on the screen.  I frantically checked, and there are more Keaton films to come so I do not have to say goodbye just yet.  Thank goodness!

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

There was some light racism.  The sad thing is I am kind of getting used to it in older films.  It still depresses me everytime I see it though.

I have been reading about the movie and apparently there is a remake called The Bachelor.  It is supposed to be simply awful, which means I will probably watch it just to get upset.

This was Keaton's least favorite movie of his.  Don't be so hard on yourself BustKeat!

Available on Netflix Instant or YouTube:

24. Der Letzte Mann

Der Letzte Mann
The Last Laugh

It finally happened.  Our fantastic movie streak has come to an end.  I did not expect this from the Germans.  They had created such gold before and now this?  Sigh...

If you look up this movie, you will probably read about critics whining about the "tacked on happy ending."  Still, at least when you got to the end stuff happened.  The rest of the movie is just following around the delightful creature I have pictured above.  Look, it is sad that the guy lost his job but shit happens.  It sucks, but do something about it.  I hate whiners.  Name another movie where the whole story is about a guy losing his job.  You cannot, because even if that is an element of the film, other stuff happens!

Okay, so zero on the entertainment scale.  Let's move on to this movie's influence.  First of all, there are very few title cards.  The plot, though shitty, is able to move along without them.  That is a huge step in the right direction.  I would argue that Sherlock Jr. did that too and that movie didn't suck but whatever.  Also, apparently the happy ending that was demanded by studios was kind of a "fuck you" to them.  Stick it to the man!

I appreciate what the film did then but I do not like what it was.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

The first dolly was made for this film.  A dolly allows the camera to move during shots.  Again, a case of being impressed with the movie's influence but not the actual movie.

There is very little about this film that is actually interesting so I will just leave it at that.

Available on Netflix Instant or YouTube:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

23. Sherlock Jr.

Sherlock Jr.

When I first saw this movie in the book, I performed an amazing, over-the-top eye roll.  I LOVE Sherlock Holmes (I have read every story I could get my greedy hands on) and I was positive this would be some spoof that would disgrace Holmes.  However, I should have just trusted Buster Keaton.  This movie was by far my favorite so far.  It was funny, impressive, and entertaining.

This film is simply amazing.  First of all, it is only 44 minutes.  I felt like I was watching an episode of an extremely funny show.  This movie felt really modern and not just because of the amazing stunts performed by our favorite badass, Buster Keaton.  There are very little title cards and when they are there, there are there for jokes, not to move the story along.  Buster Keaton is incredible at being awkward and adorable and provides the perfect lovable lead.  I am absolutely baffled at how they pulled off some of the stunts (wtf??????).  It is also really cool that the jokes are still funny after almost 90 years.

The movie centers around Keaton, a man who desperately wants to be a detective (who doesn't?) but in reality projects movies for a living.  He is accused of stealing a guy's watch.  While he is asleep, he dreams that he is the greatest of detectives and solves the crime (I initially thought he had died and I was freaking out!).  Unlike other silent movies I advised you to watch, this will not take over your life for a day.  Hurray for short silent films!

RATING: ****- (I would give it five but that is reserved for my top favorites.  I don't think a silent film will ever cut it because I think dialogue makes a movie.)

Interesting Facts:

Buster broke his neck and didn't even know it in this film.  It is weird that he always is so awkward in his movies around women but he is like the biggest daredevil. I really need to stop falling in love with dead guys (Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Buster Keaton, etc.).

I am enjoying the streaks of Keaton films so much more than I enjoyed the streaks of Griffith films.

If you go to this page, a lot of his tricks are explained.

I did not even have to worry about spoofing Sherlock.  The title was more of a joke on how bad of detective Keaton was.  I thought they were making Holmes have a son or something (whoosh!).

You can watch this on YouTube or Netflix Watch Instantly.  Since that would be easy enough to find, I included a short video I found that contains funny clips from the movie just to give you a preview:

22. Greed


If it is possible to botch watching a movie, I just did it.  If you are unfamilar with the dramatic history of this film, let me give you the lowdown.  This movie was originally nine hours long but when the director's arch rival became general director of MGM studios, it was cut to two and half hours long (presumably he did it just to be a jackass).   Erich von Stroheim, the director of the movie, called it a "mutilation of his work" and everyone apparently thinks it is the greatest loss in cinema.  The version I watched tried to fill in some missing parts by putting in stills and connecting it with title cards.  The overall effect was like watching a four hour long powerpoint.  The actual movie was good but if it the rest is gone, it's gone.  Let's not half ass this thing.

This film is about an illegal dentist who falls in love with one of his patients.  There is a really creepy scene where he kinds of molests her while she is knocked out.  I have a male dentist, and I sincerely hope that if he ever has to put me to sleep, no funny business happens.  Anyway, this patient is also his best friend's girlfriend.  The friend "gives" him his girlfriend (um, hello?  She is not a trophy!!!!) but regrets it when she wins the lottery.  I will not ruin the ending for you (even though it gets ruined if you even look up trivia) but it is pretty bleak.

The build up to this movie was unbelievable.  I mean, the greatest loss to cinema?  I expected to fall in love with this film!  Alas, my version screwed me over.  Just get the two and half hour version.  It is sad that parts our missing but deal with it!  I mean, I am sad that Patrick Swayze is dead, but I am not going to try to reconstruct his body for my own perverse enjoyment (I really don't have to worry about creeping people out in The Lost Corner of the Internet).  Plus, even if you were one of the lucky few who saw the nine hour film, that is WAY too long for a movie.  My dad always says to treat each word like it costs a hundred dollars (so I am little in the red right now) and I think the same thing can be applied to film.  If you make a movie last too long, you will lose your audience, plain and simple.  No matter what message you want your audience to walk away with, they are going to end up going away with boredom too.  Okay, rant is over...

RATING: **--- (my version sucked)

Interesting Facts:

Apparently after they cut his movie Stroheim said "The only thing he had on his mind was his hat!"  I would start saying that, but no one wears hats anymore.:(

First film to be shot on location.

Number 9 in AFI's list of Top Ten Lost Films.  I cannot think of a single other film that would be on there.  I have to check that out!

Buster Keaton is next! Yay!

NEW ABSOLUTELY CRAZY GOAL: Get to 150 by the end of August.  Let's do it!!!

I am not going to include a video because the four hour version is the only one available on YouTube.  This is not available on Netflix so I would just bite the bullet and buy it on Amazon.  Of course, it is like ten dollars and you need a tape player but if you watch the other version, it is just like sitting through someone showing you pictures.  I am serious, save yourself!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

21. Stachka


This film was actually rather disturbing but there is no question about why it made the list.  The editing is incredible and it reminds me very much of kind of a Baz Luhrmann style (if you do not know who that is, shame on you for never seeing Moulin Rouge!).  The director seemed to really get how to work with film and what it was capable of.  Towards the ending, during the famous carnage scene, he cuts to a cow being slaughtered (it was really gross) to mirror the massacre of the workers.  Even though that was totally disgusting and random, it shows how far ahead he was to be able to not only invision such a scene but actually to carry it out and not make it look stupid.

This movie is able a worker's strike which gets painfully quelled in Russia.  Not very interesting storywise, but the director keeps it intriguing with the way he films it.  The beginning was nuts with all the fast scene cuts and there was a really disturbing scene that involved a little girl but other than that it was an interesting movie. This film is also an example of propaganda in the Soviet Union because it shows how noble proletariats and how cruel the upper class was.  A very enlightening film.

RATING: ***-- (there would be more stars if I could get certain scenes out of my head)

Interesting Facts:

First Russian film on the list (good first impression...).

Actually beginning to like silent films.  This book has already taught me so much!

This is available to watch on YouTube.  They don't have this movie on Netflix.  You can watch the entire movie right now!

20. The Thief of Bagdad

The Thief of Bagdad

When I was trying to think of how to start this post, only one word came to mind.  Sexy.  Out of all the movies on the list so far, this one is by far the most erotic.  The previous stars have been either virginal beauties or men in make up.  However, Douglas Fairbanks has his shirt off for the whole movie and he actually has a lot of sex appeal (at least to me).  The female lead certainly is no Lillian Gish which truthfully was quite refreshing.

This movie is the classic Aladdin type story that we are all familar with complete with flying carpets and dragons.  As you probably know, I am going through the book list as well.  Arabian Nights was one of the first on the list so I read it relatively recently.  I personally did not really like it because of how racist and sexist it was but this movie closely mirrors the kind of erotism that can be found in the book.

This movie is not politically correct (but come on, what silent film is?) but it is an exciting fairy tale nevertheless, and a definite must-see.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

They actually had a few sound effects like when the man is stabbing a basket with swords.

The Prince is played by a woman.  I was taken aback when I learned this, because you always hear about men playing women's roles.  I think that is pretty cool...

The movie poster for this was ranked number nine in best movie posters.  Totally random but fun list.

As you may know if you are doing research on this movie, the sets are absolutely incredible.  Reminded me of Intolerance.

Do not confuse this with the 1940 edition.  This edition is available to watch on YouTube or Netflix.  First part:

Monday, June 6, 2011

19. La Roue

La Roue
The Wheel

Why are silent films so fucking long?!?!  I mean seriously, this movie was over four hours long!!!!  Okay sorry, I had to get that out.  Moving on...

First of all, this movie is really hard to find.  It is not available on the internet and you have to pay like forty dollars to get it on Amazon.  It is available on Netflix.

This French silent film starts with a pretty amazing train crash, considering the time.  A man rescues a little girl from the wreck and raises her as his own along with his young son.  Eventually, the "father" falls in love with her and so does the son (tension...).  This whole plot reminds of a melodramatic Greek tragedy.  The plot is exciting but the character's actions are so beyond anything you would dream of doing (hopefully) that it is hard to relate.

This movie's influence is there.  I mean, you have the impressive sets and there is this cool scene where the man looks at his palm and sees his memories.  However, some parts drag on forever.  There are very few title cards but fortunately the actors are pretty talented.  Best to watch when you doing something else that doesn't take a lot of concentration.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

This film was orginally over eight hours but was edited.  There is something to be grateful for.

The director's wife died of tuberculosis which is how he got the idea for the film.  I really do not see how the two relate but whatever inspires you, I guess...

According to The Book, there are references to Greek tragedies.  I don't want to ruin the movie or the plays for you but there is an allusion to Oedipus and Sisyphus.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

An Announcement!

Hey, everyone (my one follower)!
I had to pause for a second partly because I am having difficulty finding the next movie on the list La Roue (where the hell is it?!?) and partly because I wanted to announce a new blog I am a part of.  My best friend Brie and I are starting two new blogs.  One will track the 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die book and the other will track the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die book.  I am really excited, and you will be able to hear two different voices.  Will my obsession with these books ever cease?  In any case, those should be up and running shortly and you can get to them by clicking on my other blogs.  Well, back to the salt mines!

18. Our Hospitality

Our Hospitality

FINALLY! A COMEDY!  I was so excited to finally watch one after the uplifters earlier on the list (Within Our Gates was hilarious!:P) that I think I was more susceptible to laughter during this movie.  This film is very Romeo-and-Juliet-esque.  I initially thought that that was this movie was based on but it is actually based on a real life feud between the McCoys and the Hatfields which you can read more about here.  I found this incredibly interesting because it does not seem like something like this would actually happen in real life (and by the way I am so on the McCoys' side).  This movie stars Buster Keaton (who bears a remarkable resemblance to Elijah Wood in this movie) as Willie McKay who returns to his hometown to look after his late father's estate.  He falls in love with a Canfield, the McKay's mortal rivals, and shit happens.  The comedic aspects of the movie are subtle and not in your face, which is what I enjoy in comedies.  Definitely check it out!

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Buster Keaton had a few close calls on the set.  During the waterfall scene he inhaled so much water that he needed first aid.  The cable also broke when he was in the rapids, and he barely managed to cling to a branch in order to be rescued by the crew.  You can actually see when it breaks in the movie!

I want to ride that train!!!!

I think anyone that rides that bicycle in the beginning of the movie looks like a total douche.

My jaw literally dropped at some of the stunts (Buster Keaton did all his own).

The whole movie is available on YouTube.  Here is the famous train scene:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

17. Foolish Wives

Foolish Wives

I really enjoyed this movie and I will probably have to watch it again to get everything out of it (well, not right away: it was over two hours long).  I felt like this movie could have been shot modern day.  Not to say that makes it a good film because Hollywood has been churning out a lot of crapola lately but you can relate to it unlike some of the other movies (here's looking at you, Haxan).  The acting is very good and the director seems very intent on moving along the story which I appreciated because I watched it late at night.

This movie about a good-for-nothing scoundrel that seduces married women for money.  The are some very exciting, climatic scenes that could have easily been overdone but that I actually watched without a single eye roll!  My only complaint is that the characters are really static so what you see at the beginning is kind of what you get at the end.  I am nitpicking of course, and this may not bother you, but I find films more interesting when you get some kind of character development or background.  Still, I really liked it.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

This movie was six hours long but it is now only two hours and ten minutes long. Good god, what a relief!  I cannot handle another Les Vampires!

Erich Von Stroheim was really egotisical and extravagant.  A huge diva.  He even ordered fake French money to be made for the movie and was consequently arrested for counterfeiting.  He got off though because he told the judge it was for picture use only.

I am really nervous that I am going to start hating the movies again...

Available on YouTube.  First part: