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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk => Directors => Topic started by: MartinTeller on October 28, 2010, 04:26:25 PM

Title: Milestone, Lewis
Post by: MartinTeller on October 28, 2010, 04:26:25 PM
1. All Quiet on the Western Front
2. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Not much to judge by, but both are superb.
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: Bill Thompson on October 28, 2010, 04:40:38 PM
1) All Quiet On The Western Front
2) A Walk In The Sun
3) Les Miserables

Not a fan, I find his films to be far too plain and generic.
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: ˇKeith! on October 28, 2010, 04:45:10 PM
All Quiet on the Western Front
Mutiny on the Bounty
Ocean's Eleven  
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: roujin on October 28, 2010, 05:21:10 PM
Hallelujah I'm a Bum!
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: sdedalus on October 28, 2010, 06:42:37 PM
1. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum
2. A Walk in the Sun
3. All Quiet on the Western Front
4. Ocean's Eleven
5. Strange Love of Martha Ivers
6. Rain
7. Mutiny on the Bounty
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: jascook on June 14, 2014, 11:54:35 PM
Of Mice and Men: 10/10
All Quiet on the Western Front: 9/10
Ocean's 11: 8/10
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on June 15, 2014, 01:19:42 PM
Ocean's 11
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis
Post by: 1SO on February 01, 2015, 10:33:13 AM
1. A Walk in the Sun
2. Edge of Darkness
3. Pork Chop Hill
4. The North Star
5. The Racket
6. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
7. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum
8. The Purple Heart
9. Of Mice and Men
10. Anything Goes
11. Ocean's Eleven
12. Lucky Partners
13. Halls of Montezuma
14. The Front Page
15. Arch of Triumph
16. The General Died at Dawn
17. All Quiet on the Western Front
18. The Red Pony
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: Antares on February 01, 2015, 03:23:54 PM
Of Mice and Men
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
All Quiet on the Western Front

Halls of Montezuma
Pork Chop Hill

Ocean's Eleven
Mutiny on the Bounty

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: 1SO on February 01, 2015, 03:31:49 PM


All Quiet on the Western Front
"If we threw away these rifles and these uniforms, you could be my brother."

How much leeway do you give a film for being "of their time"?  All Quiet on the Western Front, is badly dated.  It plays like a bridging film between the silent era and talkies.  Bits that are light on words, namely the large-scale battle sequences, are still pretty impressive, but much of the dialogue suffers from rigor mortis and characters have less dimension than the cover of the book it was based on.  I've seen films that were great for their time and films like Sunrise which are as great to day as they ever were.  This one is neither.

There are great scenes, or at least ideas for scenes that make me believe the book is still extraordinary.  First of all, making the Germans the lead army is a masterful idea, completely annihilating the nationalism and driving home the main theme of brothers under different flags.  There's a nice moment in the beginning where we see our young leads being convinced by their elders (a teacher) that they should enlist.  It contrasts nicely with a moment later when they meet their drill sergeant on the battlefield and show him all manner of disrespect.  But then we get a scene even later when one of the soldiers returns to the teacher.  The emotional point has already been hammered in, and now we're pounding the nail through the wall.  It's as bad as the worst Oliver Stone moment.  Scenes like these, and all manner of episodes from the dead Frenchman in the foxhole to the French girls, they're all great ideas for scenes, but their cinematic execution is stiff. 

So the high points come from the action, watching the brave young soldiers break down under the constant bombardment.  I especially liked the unceremonious presentation of death.  With everything else being dated, I expected lots of last words and "tell my wife I love her".  But many of our characters just go down and the camera moves past them, forgetting them in an instant.  The camerawork in these scenes was surprisingly fluid, with lots of nice tracking shots.  As the film wore on I became increasingly tired of the heavy-handed morality.
RATING: * 1/2
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis - Director's Best
Post by: oldkid on March 07, 2015, 08:49:03 PM
Of Mice and Men 4/5
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis
Post by: Corndog on March 30, 2016, 08:23:57 AM
1. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (3)
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on November 27, 2017, 12:21:01 PM
Of Mice And Men (1939)

Paint by numbers version of Steinbeck’s great novella that was published two years earlier. The characters feel like cut out from cardboard and show little depth. Much of the enigma is gone with the wind.

Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on November 27, 2017, 12:23:11 PM
All Quiet On The Western Front, 30˚
Of Mice And Men, 25˚
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis
Post by: 1SO on May 28, 2018, 09:57:45 PM
Pork Chop Hill (1959)
"How can I do it with a lousy squad?"
"Just do it. Ask me how later."

Watched this Korean War film starring Gregory Peck for Memorial Day. Based on a book by an Army General, the story focuses on a single, costly battle that took place while peace talks were underway, which increased the feeling among the men that they may be risking their lives for no good reason. Milestone doesn't clutter up the film with backstory and character building. You'll recognize some faces - Rip Torn, Norman Fell, Robert Blake - but except for Peck nobody's star power influences the size of their role or whether they will make it out alive.


One of the more memorable performances among the cast comes from Woody Strode (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance). Wanting no part of the killing, he constantly tries to hide, fake injury and help people walk to the medical tent. For this, his manhood is belittled and he's put down by other black soldiers who don't want his cowardice to taint their contribution. Strode has a stoic physical presence, perhaps even more than Peck, and his argument has sound logic backed up by the personal attacks of everyone else on the hill.


Most of the film is wartime action and there are a lot of cast that look similar. Even on the Blu-Ray, there are some shots at night or in smoke where I wasn't even sure which army I was looking at. Still, Milestone has a number of standout moments where he lets the actors show more than they tell. Typical of the director, this extends to the enemy where one soldier is tasked with spewing propaganda on the radio and you can see his occasional disdain for the ruthless trickery he's forced to spread by his superiors. A worthy companion to A Walk in the Sun and along with Edge of Darkness Milestone has a worthy War Trilogy.
RATING: ★ ★ ★ - Good

Edge of Darkness (1943)
★ ★ ★ - Good
The most interesting film in the bunch. Lewis Milestone's direction is all over the place and plays up the preachier aspects in Robert Rossen's script. It takes forever to get going, with numerous subplot from a weak handful of supporting players. However,  this story of a Norwegian rebellion against the Nazis benefits from its unusual setting and increasingly interesting work by Errol Flynn, Ann Sheridan, Walter Huston, Judith Anderson and Ruth Gordon. The final half shakes off the lethargy and preachiness of the opening and the action, while done on a large scale takes on some real flesh and blood stakes.

[I know most people would put All Quiet On the Western Front in with these films, but I think my three selections make for a superior trilogy.]
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis
Post by: 1SO on August 20, 2018, 08:11:29 PM
The North Star (1943)
★ ★ ★ - Good
In my previous post I created a Lewis Milestone War Trilogy, but he actually has a Box Set. Like Edge of Darkness this one deals with Nazi's invading a peaceful town, with an opening section that's like the county fair in Young Mr. Lincoln before the murder. The impressive ensemble includes both Walter Huston AND Walter Brennan, along with Walk in the Sun star Dana Andrews, Anne Baxter, Erich von Stroheim and a decent performance by Farley Granger. To make things weirder, this is also a Musical. At first it just seemed like a lot of group folk songs like How Green Was My Valley, but the tunes more and more reveal a expression of emotions apart from the narrative.

Besides the cast, what makes this stand out is Milestone's direction, which is both tough and creative. Once again, the message is delivered like a blunt instrument, especially in farmer Brennan's words of wisdom. It might be as bad as Western Front, but years later I expect it from Milestone, and he does such a good job bringing the village to life it doesn't have the same propaganda feel as other pro-War films of this time. It's one of the most violent and cruel films I've seen from the 1940s, with a plot involving bleeding children to death to save the lives of wounded Nazis. Milestone also refuses to use typical filmmaking techniques to show the planes above attacking the people below. He employs a bunch of tricks I've never seen before to make it look like real planes are really putting bullet holes into people and things during their runs.
Title: Re: Milestone, Lewis
Post by: 1SO on September 09, 2019, 08:49:01 PM
Anything Goes (1936)
★ ★ ˝
First film adaptation of classic Broadway musical ditches the plot and most of the songs for a pre-Road musical rom-com. Crosby is here - he also stars in the superior remake - and the Bob Hope part has Charles Ruggles. The women are Ethel Merman and Ida Lupino. It mostly rambles like a sub-par Marx Bros. film (Margaret Dumont  even shows up), but finds some laughs and Crosby and Merman do a playful version of "You're the Top." Like too many 1930s musicals, this is ultimately undone by the racist finale, "Shanghai-Dee-Ho", which is as offensive as it sounds.

The Purple Heart (1944)
★ ★ ˝
The box set of Milestone war films gets even bigger. The Purple Heart is bald-faced propaganda, but interesting under those conditions and considering it was released during the war. It's about an American Bombing squad captured by the Japanese and put on trial for war crimes they didn't commit. There are unmoving Japanese bad guys, but also a number who are secretly sympathetic to the side of Justice. Stars Dana Andrews, Richard Conte and Farley Granger. Locations are limited, but it's quite visual.

Halls of Montezuma (1951)
★ ★
Inspired by Milestone's treatment of war, I added this. Turned out to be his most by-the-numbers effort. There are moments lifted from his earlier films, and the overall mission of searching a Japanese island for a rocket base has the walking and talking of A Walk in the Sun. Ensemble cast is largely under-served. Richard Widmark, Karl Malden, Jack Palance, Robert Wagner, Richard Boone, Jack Webb and Neville Brand.

I keep harping on the idea of a wartime Box Set because few people have seen anything by All Quiet on the Western Front, and that's just a slice of some eye-opening pie. So once again, I would like to recommend the Box Set of...
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
The North Star (1943)
Edge of Darkness (1943)
The Purple Heart (1944)
A Walk in the Sun (1945)
Pork Chop Hill (1959)