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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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"The Buccaneer" 1958 Video Movie Review - War of 1812 Flick!

The Buccaneer Yul Brynner Charlton Heston Charles Boyer

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#1 TopBilled

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 09:43 AM

Just wanted to clarify I didn't say anything against the "artistry" of set movies...my point was simply that I (my personal preference that I'm sure a lot of people feel too) enjoy adventure movies that are filmed more on location or at least feel like they are on location...Westerns are a completely different thing. However, a movie like "The Searchers" or "The Big Country" are incredible and have many amazing shots on location! That's why I consider those better than the average Western movie.

 

I saw "The Revenant" last night and that was basically as good as it gets when it comes to filming on location. It really takes you on a ride into the wilderness, and you feel like you're on an adventure. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you see it in the theater before it goes to DVD!

Good post. I'm sorry if I didn't state things as eloquently as I had wanted to earlier in the thread. I was planning to go back and edit a few things but James had already quoted me, so I just "ran with it." LOL Thanks for understanding, and I hope you review a western next, Ian!


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#2 IanPatrickMovieReviews

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 01:03 AM

Just wanted to clarify I didn't say anything against the "artistry" of set movies...my point was simply that I (my personal preference that I'm sure a lot of people feel too) enjoy adventure movies that are filmed more on location or at least feel like they are on location...Westerns are a completely different thing. However, a movie like "The Searchers" or "The Big Country" are incredible and have many amazing shots on location! That's why I consider those better than the average Western movie.

 

I saw "The Revenant" last night and that was basically as good as it gets when it comes to filming on location. It really takes you on a ride into the wilderness, and you feel like you're on an adventure. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you see it in the theater before it goes to DVD!


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#3 TopBilled

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 05:58 PM

I understood where you were coming from and wasn't trying to imply I disagreed (because I don't).   I just wanted to brag that I'm going to that spot today!   (ha ha).    But yea,  I'm sure in the films mentioned they used a combination of actual location shots (but by 'location' I still mean right in the So Cal area),  often with NO actors in them (so these were cheap to film)  mixed with backlot shots to create the feeling the actors were in those locations.

 

"That's where the artistry comes in, in terms of production design, direction and performance".     Can't improve on that comment!

Thanks. Hope you're having a great day at the beach. 

 

A film I feel Ian should watch and review is the silent picture JANICE MEREDITH starring Marion Davies. It's on YouTube. Some of it is stagey and set-bound but since Davies' movie career was largely financed by William Randolph Hearst, it goes the distance. Not only are the sets elaborately furnished (and the most decorous costumes used), but there are authentic-looking replicas of things found in the Revolutionary War period. Hearst himself (who was dissatisfied with the battle scenes) reshot all exteriors in snowy New England. So you really see them freezing in the cold, you see them fighting each other in huge drifts of snow, and you see the cannons and other weaponry in action. But that was what audiences expected from Hearst-- combining the artistry of studio filming with the exteriors on location, because money was no object and Hearst wanted Marion to be in the best film possible. 


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#4 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 03:16 PM

That's great, James. What I was trying to underscore with Ian is that sometimes they have outdoor shots (such as retakes) that are done on the backlot. And often the exteriors are stock footage used in rear projection shots. I think PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE had a lot of that. And probably if you look closely at scenes in CAPTAIN BLOOD, though they have long shots filmed in Laguna, they still cut to close-ups filmed on stage or on the backlot. They have to do that usually because of sound problems on location. And if they use the on-location footage, chances are the dialogue has to be dubbed because of the wind, a plane flying overheard or crashing waves that might have drowned out the actors' line deliveries.

 

But the real issue is that when Ian sat down to watch THE BUCCANEER '58, he came to it with notions of how these kinds of movies are supposed to be made (according to him)...and I think if you do that, you miss out on the artistry that can still be achieved if most of it is done at a studio or on the backlot. With THE BUCCANEER '58, and this is the sense I get with the stuff Heston wrote in his autobiography (which Ian read on camera)-- Quinn's focus was on performance and the theatrical aspects of telling the story, as opposed to making it a pseudo-documentary about the War of 1812 and its historical figures. 

 

A good analogy would be to look at westerns. Just because something isn't entirely filmed at a ranch with characters on horses going down winding trails all the time doesn't mean the film can't still evoke the feeling of a western, shot on sets built on a soundstage. That's where the artistry comes in, in terms of production design, direction and performance.

 

I understood where you were coming from and wasn't trying to imply I disagreed (because I don't).   I just wanted to brag that I'm going to that spot today!   (ha ha).    But yea,  I'm sure in the films mentioned they used a combination of actual location shots (but by 'location' I still mean right in the So Cal area),  often with NO actors in them (so these were cheap to film)  mixed with backlot shots to create the feeling the actors were in those locations.

 

"That's where the artistry comes in, in terms of production design, direction and performance".     Can't improve on that comment!


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#5 TopBilled

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 02:15 PM

The beach outdoor scenes in Captain Blood where filmed in Laguna Beach.    This area was used by Warner Bros for a lot of their beach scenes.  e.g. look at Now Voyager when Davis and Henreid are having their first lunch together and there is a view of the ocean.   Same location as the Rathbone \ Flynn sword fight in Captain Blood.   (one can tell by the rocks out in the water).  

 

I'll be going to this same spot later today for a swim.    Those rocks are still there of course but sadly Olivia isn't!  

That's great, James. What I was trying to underscore with Ian is that sometimes they have outdoor shots (such as retakes) that are done on the backlot. And often the exteriors are stock footage used in rear projection shots. I think PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE had a lot of that. And probably if you look closely at scenes in CAPTAIN BLOOD, though they have long shots filmed in Laguna, they still cut to close-ups filmed on stage or on the backlot. They have to do that usually because of sound problems on location. And if they use the on-location footage, chances are the dialogue has to be dubbed because of the wind, a plane flying overheard or crashing waves that might have drowned out the actors' line deliveries.

 

But the real issue is that when Ian sat down to watch THE BUCCANEER '58, he came to it with notions of how these kinds of movies are supposed to be made (according to him)...and I think if you do that, you miss out on the artistry that can still be achieved if most of it is done at a studio or on the backlot. With THE BUCCANEER '58, and this is the sense I get with the stuff Heston wrote in his autobiography (which Ian read on camera)-- Quinn's focus was on performance and the theatrical aspects of telling the story, as opposed to making it a pseudo-documentary about the War of 1812 and its historical figures. 

 

A good analogy would be to look at westerns. Just because something isn't entirely filmed at a ranch with characters on horses going down winding trails all the time doesn't mean the film can't still evoke the feeling of a western, shot on sets built on a soundstage. That's where the artistry comes in, in terms of production design, direction and performance.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#6 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 01:57 PM

I noticed you barely said anything about Claire Bloom either. So perhaps the women in the movie didn't register with you..?

 

MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY '35 and CAPTAIN BLOOD may seem like they had scenes on location, but a lot of the outdoor feel is because they did shots on the backlot without a ceiling over them. The point I am making is that there are illusions and camera tricks they use to make it seem like it's taking place on the high seas, when 95% of it is still studio bound.

 

In THE BUCCANEER '58, they try not to trick the audience so much and use the limitations of filming behind the Paramount gates as a stylistic advantage.

 

The beach outdoor scenes in Captain Blood where filmed in Laguna Beach.    This area was used by Warner Bros for a lot of their beach scenes.  e.g. look at Now Voyager when Davis and Henreid are having their first lunch together and there is a view of the ocean.   Same location as the Rathbone \ Flynn sword fight in Captain Blood.   (one can tell by the rocks out in the water).  

 

I'll be going to this same spot later today for a swim.    Those rocks are still there of course but sadly Olivia isn't!  


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#7 TopBilled

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 10:15 AM

Personally, for an adventure movie, I want it to feel like I'm on an adventure and not on a set. Especially if it is a movie that is at sea..."Plymouth Adventure" at least had some good scenes of real ships sailing on the ocean...also, I don't think "Plymouth Adventure" is a great adventure movie either. The most memorable for me, at least, are ones like "Mutiny on the Bounty," "Captain Blood," or "King Solomon's Mines." Basically, a movie that takes place on location in a lot of scenes. I love plenty of movies with that "play" or "set" feeling, but when it comes to an adventure flick, I don't enjoy it as much.

 

I didn't mention her because I didn't really have anything to say about her...I suppose I could have briefly mentioned her name when I said who was in the movie, but I already said like 4.

I noticed you barely said anything about Claire Bloom either. So perhaps the women in the movie didn't register with you..?

 

MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY '35 and CAPTAIN BLOOD may seem like they had scenes on location, but a lot of the outdoor feel is because they did shots on the backlot without a ceiling over them. The point I am making is that there are illusions and camera tricks they use to make it seem like it's taking place on the high seas, when 95% of it is still studio bound.

 

In THE BUCCANEER '58, they try not to trick the audience so much and use the limitations of filming behind the Paramount gates as a stylistic advantage.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#8 IanPatrickMovieReviews

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 02:18 AM

 

 

Regarding the sets-- you also reviewed PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE, which MGM made primarily indoors. What's wrong with it seeming like a play? Some people enjoy seeing the connection between cinema and theatre. 

 

You didn't mention Inger Stevens who plays Annette Claiborne in the movie.

 

Personally, for an adventure movie, I want it to feel like I'm on an adventure and not on a set. Especially if it is a movie that is at sea..."Plymouth Adventure" at least had some good scenes of real ships sailing on the ocean...also, I don't think "Plymouth Adventure" is a great adventure movie either. The most memorable for me, at least, are ones like "Mutiny on the Bounty," "Captain Blood," or "King Solomon's Mines." Basically, a movie that takes place on location in a lot of scenes. I love plenty of movies with that "play" or "set" feeling, but when it comes to an adventure flick, I don't enjoy it as much.

 

I didn't mention her because I didn't really have anything to say about her...I suppose I could have briefly mentioned her name when I said who was in the movie, but I already said like 4.



#9 TopBilled

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 11:32 AM

Nice review. Some comments--

 

Yul Brynner & Claire Bloom did another film together the same year...the adaptation of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV for Richard Brooks.

 

You mentioned Anthony Quinn taking over directing duties for the film. He was DeMille's son-in-law and appeared in other films DeMille had made, including the original 1938 version of THE BUCCANEER.

 

Regarding the sets-- you also reviewed PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE, which MGM made primarily indoors. What's wrong with it seeming like a play? Some people enjoy seeing the connection between cinema and theatre. 

 

You didn't mention Inger Stevens who plays Annette Claiborne in the movie.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#10 IanPatrickMovieReviews

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 03:06 AM

This was a fun movie about Jean Lafitte, the privateer, who helped the Americans beat the British during the War of 1812. Sadly, it is a bit forgettable, but the great actors in this movie saved it from being a total bust!

 


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