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Posts posted by slaytonf

  1. I'd have to disagree with you on Duffy, only in a positive way. It's one of the best caper movies. Lots of great talent. James Coburn at his smoothest and hippest. Susannah York at her slinkiest and sylphiest. Great mod atmosphere, slick music, cool Rawls tune, and Duffy's house in Tangiers is a blast. The caper itself is a little lame, but in a good caper movie, the caper is the least important part.

  2. Headquarters, 8th Air Force. Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. Despite intense pain, shock, and loss of blood; with complete disregard of his personal safety; Captain Derry crawled back to his bomb site, guided his formation on a perfect run over the objective, and released his bombs with great accuracy. The heroism, devotion to duty, professional skill, and coolness under fire displayed by Captain Derry. . . .under the most difficult conditions, reflect highest credit upon himself and the armed forces of the United States of America. By command of Lieutenant General Doolittle."


    (That's my boy.) Pop

    The Best Years of Our Lives.

  3. I do not like to respond without the title of a movie, so I was waiting to see if someone else came up with anything. As there has been no response, I will tell you what I have in mind and see if that jogs your, or someone else's memory. The girl is on a bicycle, and is the target of a thug. She is the daughter of a police detective who is putting big pressure on a crime boss. As a precaution, the detective sends his family to stay with relatives. The thug the crime boss has sent to get the family discovers where they are, and goes after the little girl, but I believe he only succeeds in killing himself. The detective's wife comes back to him, not wanting to leave him alone in his time of danger.


    Everything works out just fine in the end.


    I hope this helps.


    Edited by: slaytonf on May 30, 2011 6:41 PM

  4. There are two other good ways of checking when a movie is coming up. First, there are the monthly schedules, and you can look up the title of the film you are interested in. If it is scheduled, the date and time will show up under the title in the Web page for it. For example:




    All times are Eastern. Evidently TCM has determined that the rest of the country has ceased to exist.

  5. Dragonwyck and Harvey have both been shown on TCM numerous times. But they, like other films, show up in waves. They will be shown often for the period of some months to a year and then disappear for a year or more, then return again. Another good example of this is Pride and Prejudice, with Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier, which used to have quite a short rotation, but has not shown for over two years. It will reappear in July. Over a year ago, or more, a whole slew of Hitchcock films were repeatedly shown, including The Birds, Psycho, Rope, and Vertigo. Now all we see is North By Northwest. I think it has something to do with licensing agreements. TCM buys the rights to show a film so many times, or over a period of so long. So to watch a film you want, you just have to wait until they lease (or whatever) it again.

  6. OK, let's try it--


    >Good observations about Lewton and Cat People. I should have specifically stated in my previous post that I quite agree with you, about it being an "Essential." That was the point of my definition of what is an essential film, but I neglected to make it clear I meant to back you up. Sorry.


    No need to apologize, I understood your intent.

  7. I wish I knew how to do that trick quote-in-a-white-rectangle thing. Well, I will have to struggle the best I can.


    "It doesn't matter if a film has actually deeply changed filmmaking, it only matters if it is artistically true to itself. . ."


    I agree it is not sufficient to discount any creative effort based on its lack of influence, but it certainly is necessary. My point was that the lack of its influence was the result of its poor quality, not evidence of it.


    "When was the last time you actually saw a new Lewton-esque picture?"


    I can truthfully say never. As I said before, Lewton's look and atmosphere were emulated, but never successfully. His method of flattening perspective, posing the characters full-on, or in absolute profile, making them appear almost as cutouts against the background; the shots of the characters in spare settings to emphasize the sense of loneliness, isolation, and vulnerability; the deliberate measured cutting between shots to build tension excruciatingly; the lack of music and reliance on ambient sound (wind, footsteps on concrete) to intensify the effect; the combination of these and other elements have never been re-created. Directors have appreciated them and attempted them, however, including Wise and--hey!--Martin Scorsese himself (in Shadow Island, though I have not seen the film, so I cannot say how well it was accomplished). The best film I can cite to attain the Lewton look, if not the precise eerie, unsettling atmosphere, is Laughton's Night of the Hunter.


    The main achievement of Lewton was to inject into filmmaking the psychological aspect of horror and suspense, and the use of the spectator's own demons to achieve the effect. Previously danger arose from the physical threats posed by an enemy or monster. Lewton also had monsters, but now added was an accompanying premeditated ontological attack on the victim's identity by a malevolent force. The intent was not only to injure or kill, but to destroy or eradicate. This, I believe is the source of the effect of his films. He was not the only one to do this, but he was a major agent.


    Note also the lighting in his films, early examples of what what was to typify the lighting in film noirs. Not surprisingly, as the cinematographers and directors that worked with Lewton went on to make them, some of them the best.


    "You can't see all of the charged eroticism (the famous jackhammer and the elevator ending), the very apparent architectural and material obsessions, the deliberateness of Gary Cooper's performance?"


    But how has this influenced subsequent filmmaking? Well, regardless. I can recognize the charged eroticism. That does not mean I don't consider it obvious and silly. But if the point is that this was the first time that such obvious erotic associations were made with objects, at least since the early 30's, I'll agree with that; unless it be the elevator patter between Lana Turner and Jimmy Stewart in Zeigfeld Girl, but that was definitely less blatant.


    "The images are heavy handed and often ridiculous or "pretentious" because that's what The Fountainhead is. As a visual extension of the ideas it is superb. "


    I don't consider heavy handedness and pretentiousness as positive qualities. Nor do I consider a director's faithful translation of the faults of a source work as evidence of superior filmmaking. A Tale of Two Cities is a great novel (one of my favorites), but there is a lot of terrible writing in it, especially in the dialogue. Should a film adaptation be hampered by the faults in an otherwise masterful source simply from fidelity to it?


    "What does this have to do with my post?"


    The tenor of this thread, at least in my interpretation, was essentially, "what is a B-movie doing in the Essentials?" It was the object of my comments to demonstrate why I considered it essential that Cat People be included as an Essential.

  8. Well, then, do so. Say how "The Fountainhead" has influenced films and filmmakers. Say how anything in its use of camera angles, its framing, the composition of the pictures, its use of sound, or lighting, or art direction, or editing, or anything else has affected the way any films have been made. Or identify any filmmaker who has referred to it as an inspiration. I don't think it is possible, because, far from being innovative, the movie is distinctly derivative. It uses well-worn and trite conventions to communicate its story and themes in a clumsy, heavy-handed, and pretentious manner (Ayn Rand can claim a certain amount of credit--or blame--for that). I will agree that it is not conventional big-budget Hollywood fare. It is decidedly below that low standard.



    B-movie does not mean Bad movie. Low-budget does not mean low quality. The restriction of resources often results in innovation and creativity that would not occur had there been money to pay for conventional techniques and practices.


    Edited by: slaytonf on May 20, 2011 11:35 PM

  9. People often conflate big budget with high quality. This is a correlation which is not reliable. I'm sure many can come up with numerous examples of films with big budgets, big stars, big everything, that are wretched. The opposite is true for low-budget, or B-pictures, Casablanca being perhaps the most well known example. Most film noirs were B-pictures. Regardless of what you may think of his pictures, Val Lewton's work, especially his collaborations with Jacques Tourneur, and among those especially "Cat People," had a great influence on many other filmmakers and filmmaking, especially in the suspense/horror/supernatural genres. The eerie, unsettling, threatening atmosphere of his films has always been emulated, but to my mind never re-created. Jacques Tourneur is one of the great under-appreciated directors. The composition, framing and use of light in his images are the equal of any of the better recognized directors. Nothing similar can be said of "The Fountainhead," or films like it.

  10. "Favorite line from movie." Great! Love those lines. Really powerful. Memorable. Hey, wait. What's this? Whole sections of dialog. That's not a line! A line is a line, like "Here's looking at you, kid.", or "What we have here is: failure to communicate." Hm. Oh well, I can skip those. Let's see, debate about Ayn Rand, ecology. . . .control of nature. . . .The Fountainhead. . .(started reading that, didn't get past the first twenty pages; read Atlas Shrugged, though; forced my way through it; piece of junk; no art; two dimensional characters, straw men, contrived plot to serve ideological premise; both artistically and intellectually disingenuous). Interesting enough debate, cheapened a little by standardized tagging, typecasting and coding. But, hey! this is "Favorite line from movie."! Maybe this Rand thing should have its own thread and leave space for actual lines, like:


    "More matter, less art."

    Shakespeare, via Lawrence Olivier




    "Mistah, what does it mean when a man---crashes out?"

    Ida Lupino, High Sierra

  11. This is the way I set my system up, and I don't see why it can't work with you (I have Time/Warner Cable). The feed runs into a digital decoder box. Then, instead of running the output directly to my TV, I run it to the input of my DVD player. Then I run the output of the DVD player to my TV. I can record, or just watch through the DVD player. Strangely, I seem to get a better picture that way.

  12. "Freaks," yes that is a disturbing movie. "The Exorcist," aside from the grossness was also disturbing for me. I felt "The Silence of the Lambs" excessive, silly, and ultimately unbelievable. Although, I have to admit I was fooled by the switcheroo Hannibal Lechter pulls to make his escape. I usually catch those things.


    It wasn't an entire movie, but the most disturbing thing in film for me is a scene in "The Leopard Man," one of the Lewton/Tourneur collaborations. I'm sure most people know what I'm talking about, the one where the daughter is sent to get corn flour and has to go under the railroad trestle to get it. It's the best executed assault on one's sense of security in film. I get creepd out every time I see it, even though I know what's going to happen.

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