Author Topic: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner  (Read 1696 times)

Eric/E.T.

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2021, 05:03:22 AM »
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - I've only seen it once but this film opens with a prolonged sequence that only introduces Clive Candy at the very end, after 5 or so minutes of needless shenanigans amongst characters which never appear again and don't matter at all. It's just too long of a set up. It's all there just to cue up a monologue for Clive, but could be so much shorter. I almost stopped watching the film because of it and would have missed all the greatness that came after. Awful awful way to start a film imo.

I keep meaning to come back to this. In the opening, you get to know the cartoon character version of Colonel Blimp. It brilliantly establishes expectations for the buffoon. Everything that follows is showing "Colonel Blimp" to be a much more complex man named Clive Wynne-Candy, who lives a full life with plenty good and plenty of disappointment. But since the character is based on the comic strip, the first scene creates expectations that are then subverted over the course of the rest of the film. It's a pretty essential opening sequence.
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oldkid

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2021, 02:39:24 PM »
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - I've only seen it once but this film opens with a prolonged sequence that only introduces Clive Candy at the very end, after 5 or so minutes of needless shenanigans amongst characters which never appear again and don't matter at all. It's just too long of a set up. It's all there just to cue up a monologue for Clive, but could be so much shorter. I almost stopped watching the film because of it and would have missed all the greatness that came after. Awful awful way to start a film imo.

I keep meaning to come back to this. In the opening, you get to know the cartoon character version of Colonel Blimp. It brilliantly establishes expectations for the buffoon. Everything that follows is showing "Colonel Blimp" to be a much more complex man named Clive Wynne-Candy, who lives a full life with plenty good and plenty of disappointment. But since the character is based on the comic strip, the first scene creates expectations that are then subverted over the course of the rest of the film. It's a pretty essential opening sequence.

I agree.  The film wouldn't be as good without it.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2021, 03:13:49 PM »
Titanic could have cut all the underwater and old lady stuff and maybe be a tight 2 hours instead.

smirnoff

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2021, 07:08:25 AM »
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - I've only seen it once but this film opens with a prolonged sequence that only introduces Clive Candy at the very end, after 5 or so minutes of needless shenanigans amongst characters which never appear again and don't matter at all. It's just too long of a set up. It's all there just to cue up a monologue for Clive, but could be so much shorter. I almost stopped watching the film because of it and would have missed all the greatness that came after. Awful awful way to start a film imo.

I keep meaning to come back to this. In the opening, you get to know the cartoon character version of Colonel Blimp. It brilliantly establishes expectations for the buffoon. Everything that follows is showing "Colonel Blimp" to be a much more complex man named Clive Wynne-Candy, who lives a full life with plenty good and plenty of disappointment. But since the character is based on the comic strip, the first scene creates expectations that are then subverted over the course of the rest of the film. It's a pretty essential opening sequence.

I agree.  The film wouldn't be as good without it.

I agree with the purpose of the scene, as you've outlined it. The payoff down the road is indeed very much increased by first depicting the General as such a cartoon. However the actual conscruction of the opening is my problem. Beginning with some mundane paperwork being typed out, then cutting to a brigade of motorcycles, which peel off one by one and head off different directions on some business. The sequence confusingly slapstick in both action and musically, with the motorcycle courier we follow being upended by fellow soliders as he arrives at one particular outpost (a rope suddenly pulled tight across the roadway... in other movies I've seen such a thing decapitate a rider, but here it's a prank? I don't get the point of it). A message is delivered regarding a war exercise, and a plan is hatched to catch the opposition unawares. Now off to some place to round up a drunk, or someone who has received a head injury, I don't know which, and a chase sequence between a convoy of troop trucks and a sedan (all set to the high spirited 1920's jazz which has accompanied the entire opening). Finally the arrival at the bathhouse, and after much todo the troopers find the General and the confrontation takes place. You're up to almost 10 minutes of screentime to arrive at that moment, none of which has begun the important work of establishing the seemingly bafoonish character of General Wynne-Candy, and none of which is very entertaining/meaningful in itself, in my opinion of course.

I picture a film which begins when the soldiers' boots are first crossing the threshold of the bathhouse, and less disorder and chaos as the troops make their way to Candy's location within it. Who the boots belong to kept vague, and you have some idea that this may present a real threat. The rest of the scene could play out more or less as it already does, as Candy wakes from his rest and the situation becomes clear.