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PopcornAndDots

documentaries that you can't seem to forget

39 posts in this topic

to start with:

 

Sentimental Women Need Not Apply: A History of American Nurse

 

Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Caty Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

 

A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, based on her diary, 1785-1812

 

 

No, I didn't watch them in a university (women's studies or other) classroom. :);)

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The only one (and I try to watch any I see coming up) I know I've seen - and ran a copy - was the Elizabeth Cady Stanton one. I seem to vaguely recall the midwife one, but the others have whizzed by me, apparently.

 

Were they all on PBS? I got a huge batch of Beta tapes a while back (eBay and others), with a LOT of PBS on them, going back to, maybe, the mid-'80s. No chance to look at more than a couple so far (too busy with TCM, BBC,and PBS!). And they're not labelled well, since at one time there was a numerical listing for them, which, VERY unfortunately, didn't make its way to me. When I really do get to checking them out better, there will be a lot of transferring to DVD, I'm sure. Maybe then (next summer?) I'll be able to post a "winner" on this part of the forum.

 

Bill

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Bronxgirl, Although it has been awhile, I have watched "Gray Gardens." As I recall, that was an interesting documentary. Strange and rather unbelievable was the response I had while watching the story of those two women.

 

Bill McCrary, I looked up "Sentimental Women Need Not Apply: The History of the American Nurse" and found that the cost of purchase for this film (on one of the sites) is $250.00. Ouch!!

 

Here are some other films that I thought of:

 

-Killing Us Softly

 

-Still Killing Us Softly

 

-The Merchants of Cool

 

-Hip Hop: Beyond Beat and Rhymes

 

-Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

 

-Children of the Secret State (North Korea)

 

 

Here's one that I forgot: "Bob Newhart Unbuttoned" Made me smile!!

 

Message was edited by: PopcornAndDots

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Directed by John Ford

 

The 1984 documentary on Marlene Dietrich, titled Marlene, by Maximillian Schell.

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Loved Schell's "Marlene". Just a crack in the door, a haze of smoke, and she manages to embellish her legend while trying to dismiss it! Amazing how that can happen. I wonder if Schell knew what the thrust of the film would be before he got to the editing room?

"Grey Gardens" A straight doc that feels more like a "baroque" I felt like I had no right to keep watching; yet couldn't turn it off. A strange "voyeurism". It did ultimately provide comfort to her.

More recently, "The Fog of War". Robert McNamara's conscience cleansing is a chilling window into man's dark side.

Along similar lines,"The Thin Blue Line". That kid's flippant lack of empathy shook my faith in human nature. I was probably around his age when I saw it; that may have magnified things for me.

 

Message was edited by: mickeeteeze

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I saw it a number of times, but not lately(last 10 yrs). I seem to recall WNET 13, NY PBS playing it,oh 15 years ago. But....I could be wrong. There ABSOLUTELY was a VHS distribution, as the little Mom and Pop video store had one before Blockbuster choked the life out of them.

I will check around for availability, as this is a "must see" IMHO for any Deitrich fan.

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Talk about Goodnews/Badnews. It can be had on Amazon for....gulp....$150.00 US . Judging from the photo of the DVD cover, my guess is that it's a VHS transfer copy.

Now here's the thing. Actually as the clouds clear, I'm pretty sure my local library had a copy. The documentary was widely acclaimed, Academy award nominated, if not a winner in the early 80's.

Now thats a while ago, but not forever. Maybe try your library, even ask if it's possibly "no longer on the shelf", but around somewhere. She hated it.

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Upon further review, Robert Osbourne personally chose it to be run at his First annual film festival,held in Athens Georgia, 2005. Maybe TCM can connect a print?

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mickeeteeze--My local Library had it, but discontinued offering it because there was no call for it,

Also I find that TCM indeed does own a copy, and is considering showing it when they do a tribute day to Marlene-- if it can be cleared by her daughter,Maria Riva, who apparantly has the distribution rights--you were right, the fly in the ointment is the fact that Dietrich ,herself, disliked it even though she is never on camera. I even tried you.tube who has everything ,but.

 

........................................................................................................................................

 

:

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I thought for sure that TCM had shown "Marlene" at least once in the past couple of years, since I've been doing DVD-Rs. I've GOT to get my database completed/updated. But I did buy the VHS years ago - maybe so long ago that I belonged to the RCA Video Club (very early '90s).

.....

Well, I went hunting through all the ones I can get to (don't even try to imagine my housekeeping) and, voila!, there it was (on the third try). Embassy Home Entertainment 1344, Hi-Fi Mono, 96 minutes, issued by Embassy in 1987. If the (various) dates on the box are any indication, it was made in '83 but not released (here, maybe?) until '86.

 

And, no wonder I don't recall my first watching too clearly - it's still sealed. And yes, I got it through the club - apparently on a clearance (or as part of a "big buy"), to judge from the price I coded on the box (not to share that, to make anybody cry...).

 

Now, since I obviously haven't watched this one, I MUST have seen it on TV. Could have been Cinemax or such, I guess. But it seemed to be relatively recent.

Bill

....

added 1-12-08:

In looking for another tape in the "stacks," I came across the TCM showing (several times) I was remembering: "Marlene Dietrich: In Her Own Words." So, it's quite likely "Marlene" has, indeed, not been shown at all recently. I still think I have a TV showing somewhere in my tapes. I haven't decided yet to unwrap my copy, if they're selling at such a premium. I need to check other sites before deciding. But it lets me know I might need to transfer it before going to my next film show, if I do open it!

Bill

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How about The River by Pare Lorentz, Nanook of the North and The Louisiana Story by Flaherty, and Triumph des Willens and Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl?

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Ooh! Ooh! Fred... "Triumph of the Will" and "Olympia" are AWESOME documentaries ("The Terrible Wonderful Life of Reni R." ain't half bad, either)... "Nanook," I've heard of but never seen (want to), "River" is new to me, but am sure I'd love. Somehow, I don't know... "Brando" by TCM -- esp. when it consists largely of Johnny Depp's pretentious talking head -- doesn't seem to fit in this category... Sad commentary as to what passes for "documentary" today; good old days!

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"Nanook" was not great, but it was interesting. The first documentary about Eskimos.

 

"The River" was pretty good. It was a short made by the WPA, which was a Roosevelt "New Deal" agency formed to help the poor out of work people. This was one of the first "government" films, and it was quite impressive, with a good script and narration. It was about flood control along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. These were our early "American" documentaries, which had some style, but nothing of the quality and creativity of Leni Riefenstahl's work in Germany. She really set the style for later documentaries made in the second half of the 20th Century, and even today.

 

She was the first to use reflex movie cameras and telephoto lenses to do follow-focus shots of people in the 1936 Olympics. And she was the first to have a small camera on a rail to run along side of the runners as they ran down the track. She invented that, and it is still used in TV coverage of Olympics today.

 

She produced, directed, and came up with the ideas for stuff like this:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58N73cAF97Y

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Ok, look at this...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOrdbRSTkAM

 

...push the slider to the right to about the time of 4:10 and notice the small ?elevator? going up between the first and second tall banners on the left. In the little elevator is a cameraman, and he shot a lot of film from that position. She said in her PBS interview that she had to argue with the Nazis in charge of the event to be able to put that elevator there.

 

At 4:28 you can see the elevator coming down. It went up and down like that all during the parades and speeches, and the scenes were edited into the final film, which you can see at 5:27 as the elevator goes up. The pan to the right is from the elevator, and then at 5:55 the pan to the left is from the elevator. At 7:12 the elevator can be seen stopped at the top.

 

See the telephoto shot of all the flags at 5:01. Normally, an American photographer back in that era would shoot a wide-angle shot of such a scene, to show all the flags, but the German cameraman shot a telephoto shot (under Leni?s direction) which gives the impression of an infinite number of flags, a ?sea of flags?.

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No doubt about it. She definitely had "an eye". Those are some of the most famous images ever put on film.. It's too bad the politics have left much of her work dismissed as "propaganda". For her, they were probably just "stylish shot's".

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Scorsese's "No Direction Home" which cover's Bob Dylan's rise to fame up until his motocycle accident in 1966 (no, that's not in the film) was very enjoyable to me. When it first ran on PBS, I was unaware of it till somebody called me and told me it was on.I changed the channel and there was Bob, actually talking about himself, like a person. I was hooked immediately.

 

It is mostly composed of footage from the sixties shot by D.A. Pennebaker, with later footage (eighties?) from an interview Bob had given, along with other later interviews with his sixties contemporaries, my personal favorite being Maria Muldaur (whose own recordings are worthy of much more attention that she seems to get).

 

Many scenes are memorable, but the jeers he was subjected to when he and Mike Bloomfield plugged in at Newport in '65 (and Mike was killin' on "Maggie's Farm") even made me angry. I can imagine how he felt.

 

Fans of The Band will also enjoy seeing Robbie Robertson and the boys in their youth, backing Dylan in England, where he was subjected to the same crap. Morons.

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Definitely a good one Dan. I might just as well throw in "The Last Waltz", because, damn, weren't those guys in "The Band" the most likable rock-n-rollers of that whole "60's thing"?

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LuckyDan, I/we have "No Direction Home" on DVD!

Maybe you could tell me the name of the new film that is coming out about Bob Dylan. I think it may be getting an oscar nod. I/we would love to see this film, but I can't remember its name.

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They were definitely some fun guys. Clapton said that at one point he wanted to join them but didn't know who to ask cuz he couldn't figure out who the leader was.

 

I have to be careful about putting The Last Waltz on because I always OD on it, playing certain tracks over and over, especially "Evangeline."

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Yeah, I know what you mean! I'm kind of a sucker for the Van Morrison cut.

Danko's vocal on "It Makes No Difference". I better stop!

Cool Clapton quote! I have read that he said "if he could have any job in the music business, it would be as lead guitarist for The Band".

I was fortunate enough to see them in the early 90's at Stonybrook U (SUNY).

No Robertson or Manuel but, boy oh boy. Danko, Helm, and, man, THOSE SONGS!

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