Author Topic: Top 100 Club: 1SO  (Read 50215 times)

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 23070
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #160 on: March 17, 2019, 10:05:30 PM »
I can't say I would describe either 28 Days Later or Bloody Sunday as having poor production values.

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 19037
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #161 on: March 20, 2019, 01:44:47 AM »
The Beguiled (1971)

Some initial caveats: I've already seen the more recent version of this film and it continually interrupted my appreciation of this original.  Also, I watched it as a possible overlap between the Westerns Marathon (in which I have been woefully unparticapatory) and the Top 100 Club, but...

How is The Beguiled a Western?  I found it in a Western list on ICM, it has Clint Eastwood, takes place (at the end?) of the Civil War era and has guns... but it takes place in the South.  In a location that is NOT Texas.  It is a war film, a woman's film (although not female-directed), a Clint Eastwood film, a great ensemble film... but it is not a Western.  So it seems to me.

However, it is very interesting.  Most interesting is the shifting tone.  Clint is certainly the danger in the house, much more dangerous than soldiers suggesting rape, but being beaten back with kindness.  Clint's kind words and sweet lies were so much what the young, lonely women wanted to hear, and although he was obvious in his desire to control, it was just as obvious that he was telling them what they wanted to hear. 

In the end, though, it felt much more like a Freaks revenge-horror than the more subdued version by Coppella. The final third of the movie was harsh and bitter and horrific even as many of the words are sweet and polite.  I wonder if it were a feminist message or a warning to men about giving women too much power.  It might just as well be a warning not to cross women.  Whatever the case, it really worked.

4/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 36101
  • Marathon Man
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #162 on: March 20, 2019, 09:12:03 AM »
Definitely not a Western.

When I saw you selected this, my first thought was wondering how the film plays now that we've had our attention drawn to male gaze and strong female characters? Sofia Coppola gives her woman a homogeneous strength, where they all diverge slightly from that main fountain. Don Siegel separates the women out a lot more so that they're maybe more simplistic and broader, but it's a way where you can see how Clint Eastwood looks at Elizabeth Hartman different than Geraldine Page, different than Jo Ann Harris. (Harris is the only one truly looked at with male gaze here, which is fitting for her character.)

I'd love to hear your comments on the use of religion. While Coppola's film uses religion as a justification, this one seems more overt about tying what happens towards the end to the Old Testament. Did you think it was more impactful here, or perhaps more exploitation? (Hollywood has a tendency to misrepresent the bible for story purposes, just like they won't let go of "humans only use 10% of their brain.")

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 19037
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #163 on: March 20, 2019, 09:40:39 AM »
I loved the dream sequence in which Miss Farsworth blends her painting of the Pieta with a sexual encounter, it seems creepy and like a real dream.  Overall, the religious aspect of the film is just part of the cultural landscape, mixed in with the war, the desire, the school and the social placement of all the characters to offer justification.  The question wasn't what they were going to do, but how they were going to justify it, the correct manner in which to go about it, and all those aspects go into the mix.  One huge part of the film is about how we use the things around us to support what we want to do.

I didn't mention the young Amy at the end... wow, was that menacing, or what?
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 36101
  • Marathon Man
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #164 on: March 20, 2019, 02:00:29 PM »
There are the three main women who each react to Eastwood's soldier in a different way, but many of the fringe ladies also form a different bond with this man. The two most interesting to me are the servant who shaves Eastwood, also trapped in this house though more wise about the world than most of them, and Amy, who bookends the film with a coin flip change in her attitude towards strangers.

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 23070
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #165 on: March 23, 2019, 01:36:48 PM »
The Beguiled

Like oldkid, I come to this having experienced Coppola's version first, though I was indifferent enough about that film that a few months out I had few strong memories to overshadow this telling. As a baseline, what I find is Coppola's icier emotional palette, fitting to many of her films like Somewhere, falls short of Siegel's more passionate style. This is after all a story with passion at its center. Romantic passion of course, but also national passion separating two sides within the country.

I once sketched out a story riffing on Planet of the Apes where the time-traveling men land not in a future where apes have evolved to dominate society but rather men have ceased to be, giving way to a female-driven utopia...one disrupted immediately by the presence of these men. That is a bit the role that Clint Eastwood plays here as the wounded Union soldier taken in by a girls school. Even if not for the lack of other men making him all the more sought after, he has a charm about him. Even from his initial meeting where he tells the 12-year-old Amy she's old enough to kiss, which though cringeworthy is probably more a ploy to get her to shut up and not give his position away, he manages to spark desires and set the state for jealousy to take root, with no less than five women in the immediate path of his flirtations.

Even if McB had played the situation true, directing his affections to a single woman, trouble was inevitable. But in playing them off each other to try to gain advantage, he loses any moral high-ground we might bestow him (though Siegel uses intercutting flashbacks to call out McB's lies to the women). Ultimately, there is a certain insight that a good man might cause conflict between women, but a bad man will ultimately unite the women against him. Not sure if this is an accurate message per se, but it is a thematically appealing one. And while I am not sure I find Coppola's exclusion of Hallie is problematic in terms of whitewashing, she is an extremely strong character here whose absence is noticed.

P.S. I definitely saw a lot of Nicole Kidman in Geraldine Page and a lot of Elle Fanning in Elizabeth Hartman, so that was a neat tie-in.

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 36101
  • Marathon Man
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #166 on: March 23, 2019, 10:47:03 PM »
If you find my posts when Coppola's Beguiled was coming out I had thrown up my hands that it would be regarded as the better film. When I watched the remake, i was underwhelmed, but you'd expect that reaction from my being such a fan of the original. This month has given me hope that Don Siegel's version is that one that will endure. Perhaps this isn't a story that plays to Coppola's strengths and her version is too remote?

Ultimately, there is a certain insight that a good man might cause conflict between women, but a bad man will ultimately unite the women against him. Not sure if this is an accurate message per se, but it is a thematically appealing one.
This is a thought that will stay with me whenever I watch the film. Sounds right to me.

And while I am not sure I find Coppola's exclusion of Hallie is problematic in terms of whitewashing, she is an extremely strong character here whose absence is noticed.
Right! Thank you for saying that.

P.S. I definitely saw a lot of Nicole Kidman in Geraldine Page and a lot of Elle Fanning in Elizabeth Hartman, so that was a neat tie-in.
Curious about your comparison between Fanning and Hartman since Hartman's character is played by Kirsten Dunst in the remake.Jo Ann Harris plays the Fanning role and she reminds me of Natalie Dormer.

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 23070
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #167 on: March 24, 2019, 12:35:20 AM »
Yes, well I led with my not remembering that much of the Coppola.  :D

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 19037
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #168 on: March 28, 2019, 12:34:20 AM »
Perhaps, Bondo, you should be Coppola's casting agent.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 12060
  • "The life we build, we never stop creating.
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #169 on: March 28, 2019, 02:27:37 PM »
Silver Lode



Hints of High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma and The Fugitive waft over this production. I might as well throw in Pleasantville and The Truman Show too, since even though I think we're heading out of town in the first five minutes of the film, the title alone tells me we're not going anywhere.

It's a movie of faces and face offs, with action bundled together near the end. The framing of each scene is stagnant, but useful in how the numbers migrate from one side to the other, as people are swayed by what they think they see and hear. How anyone can believe Duryea is beyond me, though! The truest words in the movie are spoken by a woman as he rides into town, "That man's eyes. Frightening."

 

love