Author Topic: Top 100 Club: Sandy  (Read 9530 times)

1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #150 on: February 23, 2019, 11:48:16 PM »

All That Heaven Allows

The relationship in ATHA doesn't really do it for me. Jane Wyman is a cerebral performer and it's hard for me to really see someone carry a torch for her.
It's this comment that kept poking my brain. I wondered why you saw Wyman as a cerebral performer. ATHA was my 2nd film for her. Since then she's been a part of my Classic Hollywood Actors Marathon and I'm currently at 34 films. Throughout the 1930s, she was blond, wide-eyed and bubbly. In the 40s her hair went brown and she got serious, winning an Oscar for 1948s Johnny Belinda where she plays a mute who gets attacked and impregnated. (Never mind the year of release, it's as harsh a film as The Accused.) None of her work struck me as especially cerebral and calculated.

Re-watching ATHA, I noticed what you're saying. So, she's not a cerebral performer, but this one performance is exactly that. She's constantly calculating what everyone else is thinking - her kids, her "friends", her lover - and trying to find the right balance to please everyone. She's a bit cold because she's trying too hard to make others happy instead of doing what's best for herself.

"Does it matter that much?"
"It shouldn't."

But it does. At times, the movie is as rough as I feared. There's a section of about 20 minutes where it's just one abuse on top of another. Wyman gets hit from all sides and once she makes a decision so that it will all end, it only gets worse. The damage done, can't be undone and the kids move on, contradicting their earlier objections. It's a heartbreaker when Wyman realizes, "It's all been so pointless." Because she couldn't just live for herself and embody Hudson's lifestyle, she turns out to be her own worst enemy.

I do still love this movie and it will stay on my Essentials. Mainly because Douglas Sirk perfectly captures how people can be monsters - This small town is like a rapidly trending twitter lie - who don't notice the damage they cause and if you try to please them, you become an even worse problem. Yet it's what we do time and again.
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Teproc

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #151 on: February 24, 2019, 04:25:34 PM »
How Green Was My Valley (John Ford, 1941)



I'm not entirely sure what this film is supposed to be. A social drama, an ode to pastoral life (well, they're miners but "pastoral" stil seems like it applies to the general vibe here), a period film about industrialization in 19th century Wales, or a family drama ? It's all of these in a certain sense, but part of me wishes Ford had chosen just one. I get the feeling that the family is supposed to be the key element, with the rather effective emotional ending... but I find the characters way too lacking for that. Aside from Donald Crips's patriarch and his wife, none of the characters really register for me. The sister's subplot seems like an afterthought, and the brothers are never presented as individuals really. I suppose there is our boy protagonist, but I didn't quite find him to entirely work either: his decision to become a miner is interesting, but... it kinda just happens ?

I think the core problem here is that this is a literary adaptation, and everything I am missing may be in the source material, but Ford felt obligated (as filmmaker often do) to include every event whether or not it fits into the film he's making: Maureen O'Hara's subplot in particular strikes me as such an obligatory plot point that Ford doesn't know what to do with.

It is, however, quite a striking film visually. Seeing Ford working with landscapes that aren't his beloved Monument Valley is quite nice, and he definitely creates this sense of an idyllic Welsh countryside... which I suppose gets destroyed is what the start of the film implies, but we don't quite see that process happen. That's really how the whole film feels to me: a lot of unfulfilled promises... and yet it still does coalesce into a fine film, in no small part because of those two parent characters (Donald Crisp is really great), just not one that fully works for me.

6/10
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oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #152 on: February 25, 2019, 12:24:33 PM »
Much Ado About Nothing

The major criteria for my viewing of an adaptation of Shakespeare is how well the director and actors interpret the script.  We have the "writer's cut" of each play, as the original performances were shorter, but a full length presntation is three hours, at a steady pace.  I am unsure about others, but the difficult language and poetry slows down my comprehension, let alone the centuries-old puns.  So I need an interpretation, whether on stage or screen, that pauses, allowing me to catch up, and uses all tools at hand to explain the script.  Not just the plot, but the jokes as well.

In this, Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing is as good as it gets.  Clearly the script is edited for length's sake, but each line is given it's due, and a proper context for comprehension and enjoyment. Perhaps it has a little too much mugging for the camera, and they spend a bit too much time setting up some scenes, but it all works for the clear presentation of a difficult script.  And I know it's difficult because this play is much different than Joss Whedon's adaptation a few years ago, which was mostly incomprehensable.  Branagh and his team pull every stop to make a fun presentation of all that Shakespeare is about.  The songs, the costumes, the acting, the setting, it all works together.

And then we come to the script.  I find Shakespeare's comedies, with one exception (AMND), to be little more than sitcom-level entertainment. Fun, but rarely laugh-out-loud, and, of course, his situations and lines have been used for centuries.  Generally, I find them tiresome.  But watching these performers are not.  These are some of my favorite performers of the last 20... dare I say 25?... years. Most of them have done better work, but it is fun to see them cheerful and energetic.  Three performances really pushed ahead: Emma Thompson, of course, who speaks the acidic wit as if she were born to it.  Keanu Reeves, who rolls the Elizabethian words naturally off his villianous tongue.  And, surprisingly, Michael Keaton, who stole the show with his idiot clown.

Not a favorite play, but one of the best Shakespeare adaptations I've seen.

3.5/5

"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

smirnoff

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #153 on: February 25, 2019, 07:58:47 PM »
In some ways I had a very similar reaction. Not about Keaton though! On that point we are completet opposites.:))

oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #154 on: February 25, 2019, 09:08:33 PM »
In some ways I had a very similar reaction. Not about Keaton though! On that point we are completet opposites.:))

I love broad-comedy Keaton.  Much better than Keaton Batman.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

smirnoff

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #155 on: February 25, 2019, 09:10:07 PM »
In some ways I had a very similar reaction. Not about Keaton though! On that point we are completet opposites.:))

I love broad-comedy Keaton.  Much better than Keaton Batman.

It was like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean!

oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #156 on: February 25, 2019, 09:57:46 PM »
In some ways I had a very similar reaction. Not about Keaton though! On that point we are completet opposites.:))

I love broad-comedy Keaton.  Much better than Keaton Batman.

It was like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean!

This adaptation deserved some PotC. 
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #157 on: February 26, 2019, 12:09:49 AM »
A Matter Of Life And Death (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1946)

Speaking of old movies that are still funny (see slightly above), I found David Niven in the opening to be a gas. I could see Graham Chapman or maybe John Cleese doing a version of this, the deadpan guy who, facing danger, will not take it seriously or as gravely as he should. Marcus Goring continues the comedy, with lines like his referencing his “surgery” aka getting the guillotine, all in a charmingly fey, slightly manic manner.

I knew the basic premise, its supernatural, spiritual nature, but I wasn’t expecting all the surreal touches, like the opening trip through the universe, or the transition by way of a cell or blood vessel (or something red and bodily.) The camera when he’s getting wheeled into surgery is straight out of Frankenheimer’s “Seconds.” The time pauses are nicely done, though I thought my disc skipped and jumped at the paused ping pong game.

I’m glad to have finally seen an Archers I liked, after feeling cold to lukewarm about “The Red Shoes” and “Black Narcissus.”

Also, this was the first time I’d ever seen Raymond Massey, and it took until two days later why I thought I’d seen him before. Turns out it was because he looks like “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” announcer Joel Godard.

I'm all smiles! I was going to interject with each paragraph, but it seemed silly to just put a happy face after each one. :) Niven is so charming! I'm glad he won you over too. Of the Archers' films, the others I most enjoy are I Know Where I'm Going, A Canterbury Tale and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. My first and strongest memory of Raymond Massey is from Arsenic and Old Lace. He's scary! :)) I haven't seen Seconds yet, but if I do, I'll keep in mind your words here!

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #158 on: February 26, 2019, 12:28:53 AM »


That picture! Her imprisonment behind societal/familial bars.

Quote
All That Heaven Allows

The relationship in ATHA doesn't really do it for me. Jane Wyman is a cerebral performer and it's hard for me to really see someone carry a torch for her.
It's this comment that kept poking my brain. I wondered why you saw Wyman as a cerebral performer. ATHA was my 2nd film for her. Since then she's been a part of my Classic Hollywood Actors Marathon and I'm currently at 34 films. Throughout the 1930s, she was blond, wide-eyed and bubbly. In the 40s her hair went brown and she got serious, winning an Oscar for 1948s Johnny Belinda where she plays a mute who gets attacked and impregnated. (Never mind the year of release, it's as harsh a film as The Accused.) None of her work struck me as especially cerebral and calculated.

34 films! I think I've only seen this one and Magnificent Obsession. So, I've not discovered all the other sides of her yet. :)

Quote
Re-watching ATHA, I noticed what you're saying. So, she's not a cerebral performer, but this one performance is exactly that. She's constantly calculating what everyone else is thinking - her kids, her "friends", her lover - and trying to find the right balance to please everyone. She's a bit cold because she's trying too hard to make others happy instead of doing what's best for herself.

"Does it matter that much?"
"It shouldn't."

But it does. At times, the movie is as rough as I feared. There's a section of about 20 minutes where it's just one abuse on top of another. Wyman gets hit from all sides and once she makes a decision so that it will all end, it only gets worse. The damage done, can't be undone and the kids move on, contradicting their earlier objections. It's a heartbreaker when Wyman realizes, "It's all been so pointless." Because she couldn't just live for herself and embody Hudson's lifestyle, she turns out to be her own worst enemy.

Yes, very much so! You can't blame her for her coldness and careful maneuvering. I like to think Ron Kirby could see past all of that, even if I couldn't :).

Quote
I do still love this movie and it will stay on my Essentials. Mainly because Douglas Sirk perfectly captures how people can be monsters - This small town is like a rapidly trending twitter lie - who don't notice the damage they cause and if you try to please them, you become an even worse problem. Yet it's what we do time and again.

"rapidly trending twitter lie" ugh. It's suffocating.

It's the play of this against the "Waldenesque" alternative, which really captures my attention and makes me wish to run away from it all vicariously through her. :)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #159 on: February 26, 2019, 09:58:46 PM »
How Green Was My Valley (John Ford, 1941)



I'm not entirely sure what this film is supposed to be. A social drama, an ode to pastoral life (well, they're miners but "pastoral" still seems like it applies to the general vibe here), a period film about industrialization in 19th century Wales, or a family drama ? It's all of these in a certain sense, but part of me wishes Ford had chosen just one. I get the feeling that the family is supposed to be the key element, with the rather effective emotional ending... but I find the characters way too lacking for that. Aside from Donald Crips's patriarch and his wife, none of the characters really register for me. The sister's subplot seems like an afterthought, and the brothers are never presented as individuals really. I suppose there is our boy protagonist, but I didn't quite find him to entirely work either: his decision to become a miner is interesting, but... it kinda just happens ?

You ask good questions, questions I don't have the answers to, except to say, yes to all those themes. They are all in play, yet are only snapshots like old photos left in an attic, alongside an old phonograph with a few dusty cylinders, leaving us to fill in the blank spaces.

That photo you chose is certainly a fairy tale image of pastoral life. so pretty.

Quote
I think the core problem here is that this is a literary adaptation, and everything I am missing may be in the source material, but Ford felt obligated (as filmmaker often do) to include every event whether or not it fits into the film he's making: Maureen O'Hara's subplot in particular strikes me as such an obligatory plot point that Ford doesn't know what to do with.

He sure doesn't! Angharad is an afterthought in the movie as well as in her community. It's the part of the story which leaves me the saddest -- small minded society thwarting an honest coupling. It was almost a relief to not have more of the movie spent on her and Mr. Gruffydd. It's all too painful.

I have the book on my shelf and it's been there for a long time waiting for me to see what the movie is missing. I too think there is going to be a lot in there which the movie either skimmed over, or left by the wayside.

Quote
It is, however, quite a striking film visually. Seeing Ford working with landscapes that aren't his beloved Monument Valley is quite nice, and he definitely creates this sense of an idyllic Welsh countryside... which I suppose gets destroyed is what the start of the film implies, but we don't quite see that process happen. That's really how the whole film feels to me: a lot of unfulfilled promises... and yet it still does coalesce into a fine film, in no small part because of those two parent characters (Donald Crisp is really great), just not one that fully works for me.

6/10

It sounds like a bit of a good experience, albeit a frustrating one. Glad you caught up with it! :)