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  1. 9 points
    Yeah, I've been trying to keep quiet about this. I'm all for variety. BUT...I don't think she's picking real Essentials. I think she's missing the mark on what an Essential classic film is. If they had asked her to do a series on multiculturalism in film, then yeah, she would be great. But most of her choices do not fit the Essentials format. And when you compare her selections to Ben's, it is VERY jarring and seems like two different programs.
  2. 8 points
    To answer your question, no, every film picked by Ava DuVernay does not have a black cast, although some do. Neither are the films picked by new Silent Sunday host Jacqueline Stewart mostly ones with black casts or made by women filmmakers, although some may be. A look at the schedules for September and October reveals much more variety in their choices: Essentials 9/7 Sounder - dir. Martin Ritt, starring Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield 9/14 Roshomon - dir. Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshiro Mifune 9/21 Les Rendez-Vous D'Anna - dir. Chantal Akerman 9/28 A Warm December - dir. and starring Sidney Poitier 10/5 Ashes and Embers - dir. Haile Gerima 10/12 West Side Story - dir. Robert Wise, starring Natalie Wood 10/19 Pather Panchali - dir. Satyajit Ray 10/26 Cabin in the Sky - dir. Vincente Minnelli, starring Ethel Waters and Eddie Anderson Silent Sunday Nights 9/15 Two Arabian Nights - dir. Lewis Milestone, starring Wm. Boyd and Mary Astor 9/22 The Racket - dir. Lewis Milestone, starring Thomas Meighan 9/29 Cleopatra (1912) - dir. Charles L. Gaskill 10/6 The Symbol of the Unconquered - dir. Oscar Micheaux 10/13 Faust - dir. F.W. Murnau, starring Emil Jannings 10/20 The Phantom Carriage - dir. Victor Seastrom (Sjostrom) 10/27 The Haunted Hotel - ? Putting aside the films that I'm not familiar with, here's what I see in these films: Essentials -- Of the directors, 3 white American directors, 1 black American director, and directors from Japan, France, and India. Of the casts, 3 black casts (or with black stars), 2 white casts, and casts from Japan and India. Silent Sundays -- Of the directors, 1 black American director, 1 white American director (two films), and directors from Germany and Sweden. Of the casts, 4 are white and 1 is black. The question of whether the Essentials films are actually "essential" is a matter of opinion. It looks like Ms. DuVernay is choosing films that she believes are important but aren't seen often enough, maybe including Pather Panchali and Les Rendez-Vous D'Anna. At the same time, she's also including very popular commercial movies, like Sounder, West Side Story, and Cabin in the Sky. No, they're not necessarily the movies that prior Essentials hosts might have chosen, but we've already seen those choices. Do we really need to see Casablanca, Citizen Kane, or Mutiny on the Bounty on The Essentials again? It seems like Ms. DuVernay is trying to expand the viewers' horizons. I might not choose, or even like, some of these films, but I'd sure say that Roshomon, West Side Story, and Sounder are "essentials" in my book. I also like it that she's trying to feature possibly great movies that I haven't seen -- maybe I'll really love one of them, and it'll enrich my life. I'd say much the same about the Silent Sundays line-up. I'm not a silent movie expert, but I think Prof. Stewart is trying to show us some films that aren't the usual suspects. Believe me, I love The Gold Rush and Sunrise, but I don't need to see them (again) on Silent Sundays. I've heard of The Phantom Carriage, for example, but have never seen it -- now I'll have the chance because of Prof. Stewart's choice. The movies that any of us might pick as "essential" can often be as much a reflection of our personal tastes as a judgment on what we think is historically significant. For example, years ago, Martin Scorsese highly recommended a Jeanne Crain sorority-house drama called Take Care of My Little Girl. Sounds cheesy, right -- like something that's not worth your time? Well, for some reason, I remembered that title for years, and then finally had a chance to see the movie. I loved it! I've enjoyed that movie through multiple viewings, just because Scorsese brought it to my attention on some list of films that he was compiling. It may not be Citizen Kane, but there was something about it that Scorsese really liked, and I agreed with him. That's the kind of thing I hope for from The Essentials, Silent Sundays, and, for that matter, Noir Alley -- that the hosts will occasionally show me a film that's new to me and becomes part of my personal canon. I think it's worth the time to take a chance on that result.
  3. 7 points
    I'm rather indifferent to the 'auteur theory' of film directors, but as much as it applies to anyone it should apply to Preston Sturges - whose THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) is showing on TCM as I type. It's my favorite of his list of films. He was most in demand for his screenplays, but strove to be a director too - and in this he succeeded with 12 (or 13, depending on who gets screen credit.) And, among 'auteurs' he's a rare case who confined his work to comedies. His great achievement was in devising improbable plots in a recognizable universe of people who are all very recognizable types but are revealed to be slightly insane once they start to interact with each other. It's an extension of 'slapstick' - but more restrained in the comic set-pieces (no collapsing dinosaur skeletons, etc.) but also more inane because no one is playing what once was known as "the straight man." At the moment it seems that THE LADE EVE (1941) is regarded as his masterpiece - and maybe that's right. Previously, SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (1941) was regarded as the best - and maybe that's right. I'm also a fan of the other films on his list (e.g., THE GREAT McGINTY, 1940; CHRISTMAS IN JULY, 1940; and UNFAITHFULLY YOURS 1948), all of which are worth the effort to locate and see. His screenplay work is also exemplary, especially EASY LIVING (1937) and REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940), the latter of which has emerged in recent years as a favorite Christmas film. I like THE PALM BEACH STORY best because it's the one that (for me) is practically impossible to see 'around the corner' of the plot. It's obvious Sturges knew what he had in mind, but he doesn't tip his hand until the very end. I've recommended that TCM should return to the 'Director of the Month' style showcase. Preston Sturges would be an ideal re-entree to that offering.
  4. 7 points
  5. 7 points
    The Trouble With Harry (1955) I was not a big fan of the film (I think it's OK), but it is always the one I first think of when scenes of Autumn are mentioned. Any others?
  6. 7 points
    I know a lot of people here are bored or frustrated with The Essentials, and having read your posts, I completely get why. But I also think, speaking as a millennial who is (fairly) new to classic film, The Essentials is perfect for someone like me. In fact, looking through previous lists, there are a LOT of movies that I imagine people here would say are overplayed that I haven't yet seen and I'd love for an Essentials to be able to introduce me to those films and have a discussion about why they're so important or significant. So I understand why people are so 'ugh' about this still being a regular feature on the network, but I think you have to look at it from the perspective of someone who is still new to 'classic cinema'. It's nice to have a curated collection of 'essential' films rather than waiting until that one movie happens to show up on the schedule. That said, I'm also not a fan of Ava's picks and I think the list is kind of strange as a whole. Personally, I don't care if it's a subtitled or foreign film, nor do I care what race or nationality the actors or director is as long as it's a good movie. But the list is just odd. While some of the choices can be argued as true essentials (I personally think Rashomon is absolutely an 'essential', for example), a lot of them do feel better suited to a Spotlight on African-American cinema rather than being presented as an 'Essential'.
  7. 6 points
    BDS = Bush Derangement Syndrome TDS can apply to whatever anyone wants it to, since it's a BS phrase to begin with. It's not like it's some clearly defined illness in the official psychological journals. It's a simple-minded way to write-off criticism of Trump without actually having to refute said criticism. It was the same when it was used in previous presidencies, as well.
  8. 6 points
    Thanks to some internet issues I was unable to watch NOCTURN (1946) when it aired on NOIR ALLEY last weekend. I watched it Friday night, here were my thoughts. NOCTURN (1946) Tonight I learned I am NOT a George Raft fan. I guess this movie just rubbed me the wrong way, especially Raft. I saw no glimmer of talent in him, though I assume there must be – or at least he can dance. LOL The rest of the cast was really good, but Raft just blah. My other big issues would be some of the logic involved. I feel there was no indication that Joe was acting differently as a detective than he had ever acted before, so why was it creating so many problems at work all of the sudden? I also knew who the killer was as soon as he became a character. I thought to myself, “If he says more than a few passing lines then he is the killer.” I see no reason I’d ever watch this again, but there were some really AWESOME shots in the movie. Speaking of shots, the scene where Joe finds Shawn’s body. When he is walking up the path to the front door there is a woman walking up the adjacent path. This isn’t a sidewalk. There are clearly two walkways leading from the sidewalk to Shawn’s front door. Did anyone else notice this? I assume it is a deleted scene. When Joe gets to the front door in the next shot he is alone. I noticed there are credits on IMDB for people who were in deleted scenes. So after reading everyone’s comments I guess I have to sit through THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1940) to find out Raft does have a spark worth watching. LOL WOMAN ON THE BEACH (1947) Wow what can I say here. So much to like and so much to scratch my head at. I assumed I would love this movie because it was a Robert Ryan flick I hadn’t seen yet. I was mistaken. It was okay, but I think my impressions were tainted by Eddie’s intro. All I kept thinking was, “This wasn’t what was originally intended.” I hate knowing there was a different cut or deleted scenes. Like the first scene when Scott awakens from his nightmare. He is explaining the situation to Wernecke and the scene ends on a note that you can tell more was said. Ryan delivers his line and there is just a fade to the next scene. There was obviously more to that scene. I don’t want to sound harsh here because there is a lot to like about this movie; I just wish I liked more of it. I thought all of the performances were great and there were flashes of brilliance here and there, but for the most part it just didn’t really capture my interest. I did feel totally vindicated in the outro when Eddie explained the thing about dubbing Joan Bennett’s voice. It was great. The whole time I was watching the movie I kept thinking her voice sounded unnaturally low. LOL So staying on Robert Ryan as a topic. I have been listening to old SUSPENSE radio programs on my way to work every day. The next one up is an hour long show titled CROSSFIRE starring the cast of the film, including Ryan, as the characters they played in the movie. I am so excited. I think I have to find time to re-watch the movie before I listen just so I’m sure I know exactly what they edit out for the hour long radio drama.
  9. 6 points
    It's the most boring film about a prostitute anyone could ever make.
  10. 6 points
    The word brilliant has been way over used as of late.
  11. 6 points
    Sounds pretty much like the whole movie blows ...
  12. 5 points
    I don't think that Dylan is after any financial gain. In fact, I think she probably believes that the incident occurred, as many people begin to see truth in a story repeated often enough. Personally, I don't think it happened. I think Mia Farrow was (understandably) emotionally devastated by the Allen/Soon-Yi relationship, and that she coached Dylan to accuse Woody as a form of retribution. Multiple accounts have testified to Mia's horrible temper and mercurial nature, which would put using the child as a way to strike against Allen in the realm of possibility. I've also read that the account of the supposed incident closely mirrors that of an incident that occurred to one of Mia's relatives when Mia was a child, a story that she heard growing up many times. Combined with the professional analysis and court testimony that ruled in Allen's favor, and the later editorial by Dylan's brother Moses stating that the incident was fictional and concocted by Mia, and I have to side with Allen's innocence in regards to the Dylan abuse allegation.
  13. 5 points
    I can't answer that. I probably shouldn't venture into personal opinion, but clearly the face of that girl is not Soon-Yi's face. I think a lot of white people just thought it was because it was an Asian face, the old "they all look alike to me" bit.
  14. 5 points
    Woody Allen did it a lot: Annie Hall--they're watching The Sorrow and the Pity Radio Days--the film playing at Radio City is The Philadelphia Story The Purple Rose of Cairo--the final film playing is Top Hat Play it Again Sam--clips of Casablanca Foul Play--Goldie Hawn is watching This Gun for Hire when her date drops dead The Blob--the film Dementia (1955) gets interrupted Diner--the gang goes to see A Summer Place\ What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?--Joan Crawford watches herself in Sadie McKee on tv Throw Mama From the Train--Strangers on a Train gives Danny DeVito the whole criss-cross idea Bonnie and Clyde--the gang watches Gold Diggers of 1933 84 Charing Cross Road--Anne Bancroft watches Brief Encounter Pennies From Heaven--Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters dance along with Fred and Ginger in Follow the Fleet
  15. 5 points
    Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  16. 5 points
    The internet is full of frightened, lazy people who can only regurgitate others' words. Oops, did I just say that?
  17. 5 points
    This is available on: Etsy for approximately $50. I believe that my movie-related preference would be this: I must admit a certain fondness for the feelings behind this one:
  18. 5 points
    Spider-Baby Galaxy of Terror THX 1138 Diamonds Are Forever The Big Bird Cage Jackie Brown House of 1000 Corpses Bone Tomahawk 3 from Hell - (final film) R.I.P. Sid, one of the last great grindhouse and horror stars.
  19. 5 points
    United Artists The year started with a western saga The clown and the Kid was a family quickie The Misfits was both the final film for Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, and was close to the end for Montgomery Clift and Thelma Ritter as well (they'd all be gone by the end of the decade). The film itself becomes a bit dull toward the end, but one thing is clear, it's Monroe's finest performance. It was time for a Frontier Uprising Dog versus criminals Don Murray brought religion and hope to prison... Flashback to the battle in Burma the Brits served up a little horror saga The minotaur was another sword and sandal saga Ride 'em cowboy to a Gunfight The Western theme continued with Jim Davis Burt Lancaster, Shelley Winters, and Dina Merill entered the world of crime in The Young Savages. John Frankenheimer directed. Robert Mitchum decided to try comedy.... A Matter of Morals is an ironic title for a film which poster makes it clear is about anything but..... When the Clock Strikes was a law vs gangsters saga Gary Cooper made his final screen appearence in the thriller The Naked Edge. Deborah Kerr was a woman in danger. Toshiro Mifune was cast as a native American.... The story of Buddha made for a 70 MM epic. Michelangelo Antonioni made a splash with La Notte with Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau Three on a Spree was a British comedy Ingrid Bergman fell for Anthony Perkins in Goodbye Again back to the sword and sandals. Fate of a Man was an esteemed drama from the USSR Lana Turner returned to the screen for another romantic potboiler. Mary Had a Little... was a provocative Brit comedy The Cat Burglar was a little thriller The crime theme continued in You Have to Run Fast Teenage Millionaire was a youth oriented musical Fredric March and Ben Gazzara were at loggerheads in The Young Doctors Paris Blues was a lovely little bittersweet romantic drama with fine roles for Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier, and Diahann Carroll, plus it had a great Jazz soundtrack to boot. Aliens were after a plane in Flight that Disappeared Gangsters ahoy in the Secret of Deep Harbor Kirk Douglas was facing off against a group of individuals accused of sexual violence in Town without Pity. Seems to me that the basic plot sounds like the much later 1988 film The Accused. UA secured the Best Picture winner two years in a row with West Side Story, an ever-popular musical. The boy Who Caught a Crook was a little family film William Shatner was a teacher in The Explosive Generation, also featuring Patty McCormick. Gun Street was a return to the west.... One Two Three was an utter-delight. A whiz-bang satire from Billy Wilder, it is one of the funniest films I have ever seen. Summer of the seventeenth Doll was a saga of infidelity set in Australia. And another choice title was The Children's hour, with gripping performances from Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, and many others. The film had a savage impact. And Judgment at nuremberg also stands as one of the greats. Indeed, this film, I feel is among the 50 best films ever made. Rex Harrison and Rita Hayworth were up to no good.... X-15 was a fictionalization of the NASA program with Charles Bronson. It was the cinematic debut for director Richard Donner and co-star Mary Tyler Moore Carroll Baker went through unspeakable horrors in Something Wild And Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Hope Lange, Peter Falk, and film-debuting Ann-Margret were featured in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles, a remake of his own Lady for a Day from 1933. American International Pictures The Year opened with Barbara Steele in Black Sunday Followed by the horror of The Hand Konga had Michael Gough on the run from a gorilla Beware of Children was an unusual sight at AIP, a family comedy Vincent Price and Charles Bronson took on Jules Verne.... Alakazam the Great was the company's first animated film Back to horror with Vincent Price and John Kerr in The Pit and the Pendulum The Rough and the Smooth was a saga of infidelity Twist All night was a dance film Space-men was from Europe the Phantom Planet continued the Sci-fi trend Flight of the Lost Balloon was an Adventure film Guns of the Black Witch was a pirate saga Embassy This company technically started a few years earlier, bringing in mostly small scale foreign titles or sword-and sandal films, of which there are a few here. But this was the year they made their first big impact, and for a time at least (as AVCO Embassy) they were a formidable mini-major with several Oscar nominated films. They lasted until 1986. The Sky Above and the Mud Below was an Oscar winning documentary The Hellfire Club was a swashbuckler with Dennis Stanton.... er I mean Keith Michell (too much Murder She Wrote here) Journey beneath the Desert was a saga of Atlantis Two Women was the breakthrough as Sophia Loren won the Oscar for her heartbreaking work in a shocking saga from Vittorio De Sica The Fascist continued a look at the Italian side of WWII Donald O'Connor starred in The Wonders of Aladdin The Miracle of the Wolves was a French swashbuckler Peter Finch was caught between love and politics The Three Musketeers made an appearance Constantine and the Cross was another epic, this one with Cornel Wilde Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinele were an item in Bell'Antonio Marcello's Divorce Italian Style would win the Oscar the following year for Foreign film Sophia Loren starred in Madame What a Carve Up was a Brit horror comedy Now Claudia was with Belmondo in La Viaccia Fury at Smuggler's Bay was a pirate adventure Sword without a Country was an Italian swashbuckler The Seven Revenges told of Mongols at battle Hercules in the Valley of Woe was another sword-and-sandal saga Triumph of the Son of Hercules was more prehistoric adventure Lex Barker played Robin Hood And Anna Magnani led The Passionate Thief
  20. 5 points
    Well I caught LES RENDEZ-VOUS D'ANNA (1978) and HOTEL MONTERREY (1972) while waiting for Noir Alley. They were both what I'd call art films, some interesting photography in both but I wouldn't call them essential to anything except possibly to Ava Duvenay. Obviously they were super low budget, the first had essentially a camera shooting out the window of a train then cutting to the star and her various relationships and interactions with people she meets, then back out the window, sometimes the window is a car nor taxi window you certainly got the somber mood and loneliness that the director was conveying. The second film - shots of a hotel from various locations, was reminiscent of what I've heard about Andy Warhol's EMPIRE (1964) a single shot of the Empire State Building from early evening until nearly 3 am the next day. It runs 8h 5min.
  21. 5 points
    Yeah, never criticize or discuss anything in a way I don't approve of ever. Just watch a DVD.
  22. 5 points
    Agreed! He did that with all his intros. I still the miss the guy. But that's on TCM. That's not her fault if they didn't call her attention to it. There had to be some discussion about all that before hand. I kept thinking early on it should have been called Ava DuVernay's Essential Picks with Ben Mankiewicz. Maybe that's an idea for a future series featuring film professionals!
  23. 5 points
    It is not just the story of a drunken boy molesting girls a long time ago. He then lied about it under oath when giving testimony to determine whether he was fit for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Think about that for one minute.
  24. 5 points
    Another Raft film that is rather fun is Johnny Allegro, with George Macready, which turns into a variation on The Most Dangerous Game. Can't you already envision Macready with a bow and arrow? "Okay, Raft, show me fear. Show me joy. Show me SOMETHING!"
  25. 5 points
    Dracula (1931) Now that I have finally seen this film, the historians can close the book on its watching history. It can now be said that it has been viewed by everyone in the world. I am generally anti-horror, anti-vampire, Anti-Frankenstein (and the like) in the extreme and did not think I would like this that much. But I was wrong. I DID like it. Expanding my horizons. Early on I was lamenting that the movie would have been so much better if they had waited a couple of years. As we all know, there is big, big difference between 1931 to, say, 1933. They had the appearance of trying to film a movie during a period where they didn't know much yet and therefore it was required that all participants give everything they had "if we're going to make this work." The actors (sorry, please see IMDB) who played Mina, Von Helsing, and Renfield were very solid (with the latter closing in on brilliant). Even not having seen this movie the piercing stare of Bela seemed to have been etched in my mind since birth and so that was very anti-climactic. But it was sure interesting to hear him speak. Early on in his Hollywood career he knew not a whit of English and had to sound out phonetically every utterance. I don't know how much he had progressed when the film was made but the intonation and pronunciation was weird enough to effectively add to the effect of his menacing person. His threatening gesture towards Von Helsing and his reactions to crosses, wolfsbanes, and mirrors were pure melodrama but managed to evoke the stature of well-done classical movements and thus avoid the notion of "corny." IMO.

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