Author Topic: Frank Borzage Marathon: The Best Old Hollywood Director that Nobody Watches  (Read 18676 times)

Junior

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2010, 11:08:59 PM »
There are two different adaptations of the same play. One by Lang and one by Borzage. And others, of course, but these were fairly concurrent.
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roujin

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2010, 11:09:15 PM »
I chalked up the strange, mannered acting (and delivery) to perhaps Borzage not knowing how to deal with sound yet. Farrell has a strange voice. It didn't really seem to suit the role. I mean, they keep talking about how Liliom is supposed to be this fun roguish-type character, and about how everyone loves him, but he's really just kind of a jerk.

The death scene was superb. I think that's the one time in the film where I was genuinely moved.



Besides, it's hard to deny how powerful the image is by itself, and then it gets all spooky when the train comes in (this has to be one of my favorite shots of all time, I think).

I honestly don't know what to make of the ending. It was powerful that he would be rejected by his own daughter since Liliom was kind of a jackass, but then that gets all twisted by the whole "kiss" thing. Really, the entire relationship between Julie and Liliom is really weird. It always seem very one-sided to me.

Glenn Kenny writes about the film here and compares it to Fritz Lang's 1934 version of the same story. I'm very curious about it.

BTW, if you want more 1930 Charles Farrell action, check out Murnau's sublime City Girl. The huge window of their apartment actually reminded me of the girl's room in that movie. However, it turns out I misremembered it. Instead of the apartment having one huge window, it has two big ones. Every so often a train will pass by, just like the coaster from Liliom.




Junior

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2010, 11:11:35 PM »
Lilom was Borzage's third (I think) talkie and the others aren't as strange (I've been told). It's definitely more of an artsy movie than any of the others I've seen, so I think it was all done on purpose. What that purpose is...
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roujin

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2010, 11:15:45 PM »
I kind of loved Liliom.  It had a totally messed up message about gender relations, but the visuals were amazing

I know you're talking about the Lang, but it also applies to the Borzage film. I think my favorite example of this (beside the ending) is the first time we see Liliom. Julie and her friend go to the carousel and when they get on, the first thing Liliom does is pat Julie's friend's butt. And she likes it! I love how Julie says she wants to get on the tiger so Liliom tells the other girl to get on the donkey (Julie wants excitement so she goes after Liliom and rejects the carpenter - does this guy ask her out on a date every week for a decade?  ;D - whereas her friend gets the donkey, the safe and boring one, even though the guy she eventually marries is named Wolf :) )

roujin

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2010, 11:20:57 PM »
Did your teacher say anything about this movie, evil twin?

Also, what's the schedule?

Junior

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2010, 12:37:27 AM »
He did say some things, though I don't remember what else was said beyond what I've mentioned. I'll ask him again on Wed. The schedule has been so messed around with now that I have no idea what's next. 3 Comrades, maybe. That sounds about right. I have The Spanish Main and Desire at home to watch. Maybe the first tomorrow. Pirates!

As for great shots, how about that first one where we see her cleaning all the glass. And that one where Liliom is laying under that stupidly large window. And the one on the stairs.
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roujin

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2010, 12:59:16 PM »
The movie ends with one of the best depictions of an everyday miracle that I've seen on film. I had tears of happiness in my eyes.

Yes! There are no words!

roujin

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2010, 02:49:52 PM »

Little Man, What Now? Frank Borzage, 1934

As the movie makes clear, we are the little man, struggling against a universe which is indifferent to us. It is depression-era Germany and unemployment is widespread. If there is something I've figured out about Borzage from watching these three movies in quick succession is that he's a hyper-romantic (kinda like of Carax in a way). He treats his lovers as the center of the universe and the outside world is against them at every turn. What Borzage does is overwhelm the reality of their world thru artifice (miracle endings / studio shenanigans) in order to give them more hope. This film basically follows the lovers as the dude gains and loses jobs and he returns home every night to his wife, the source of his strength and happiness. They go thru up and downs and everything seems lost but then we learn that there's nothing too fear. Goddamn, those closeups killed me. Margaret Sullavan just glows! This is an ardently romantic and emotional movie. I loved it.

+

the other ones:


Lucky Star Frank Borzage, 1929

Janet Gaynor is sublime in this film. It's not anything special, really, just her face. She just makes you feel the moments of happiness and the moments of sadness, and all she has to do is slightly alter her face. Something like that. She's this little dirty child at the beginning of the film and by the end she's this mature woman or something and the transformation and the moments of beauty (like when she just looks up with wonder at that one dress) really melted my heart. The film exists in this strange space where downtrodden individuals can see each other through broken windows and really, truly believe that they can love. It should not surprise then that the ending of the film is unbelievable. Love conquers logic and reality. You know what? CINECAST! logic and CINECAST! reality. Lucky Star is excellent.


Liliom Frank Borzage, 1930

Really bizarre film. Charles Farrell plays Liliom a carousel barker who's apparently an artist even though we never see what he actually does. Mostly he just drinks and chases the girls. Then he meets a girl who seems to have nothing but devotion for him. The whole thing is some weird ass paean to the irrationality of love. The performances are all weird and mannered in their own way and everyone seems to be trying to deliver their line in the weirdest/slowest way possible. And what they're saying is bizarre, too. While Julie is on the ground comforting Liliom in what's supposed to be a really dramatic scene, the cops undercut it with some totally banal talk. And Liliom keeps calling Julie bird names (?) and none of it seems to make sense, and the end is like this totally messed up thing that's saying that there's beauty in abuse (he hit me and it felt like a kiss~). But some of this movie is ridiculously beautiful. That entire carousel bit casts the film the film in the realm of some bizarre fairy tale and so it's hard to take any of it very seriously and when the trains jump into rooms from huge ass windows, roujin's heart leaps out into the streets and dances like David Bowie.

Over the course of whenever, I plan to see:

Lazybones
7th Heaven
Street Angel
They Had to See Paris
Bad Girl
After Tomorrow
Young America
A Farewell to Arms
Man's Castle (I hear this one is essential, evil twin)
History is Made at Night
Big City
Three Comrades
The Shining Hour
The Mortal Storm

We can do it!

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2010, 02:53:22 PM »
Hmm, I've seen A Farewell to Arms. It's better than the novel, I reckon. Though that novel has a beautiful conclusion.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Frank Borzage
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2010, 07:41:26 PM »
I think I might add this to my potential marathons of the year.