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classicsuz

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Everything posted by classicsuz

  1. With Mourning Becomes Electra showing today, I was reminded of Kirk Douglas' autobiography "A Ragman's Son" published in 1988. He said in an interview that it was an angry book, and I would agree with him on that. But it is very interesting in terms of his relationship with his father, in particular, and his struggle to become an actor and the filmmaking process. It is a fairly lengthy book, and he apparently was forced to delete any number of topics he had written about to keep the book to a size that the average person could lift absent a crane. No comment in the book on the Electra film,
  2. What led me to consider Hammer's motivations in agreeing to help Christina avoid the police was the shot of the dashboard just before he sees the upcoming checkpoint. The dashboard and all its machinations--gauges, the key inside the ignition, meters, everything that shows the car is working--is the cue that what is to follow is what makes Mike Hammer tick. The combination of the terrified passenger and the bevy of cops in search of her is a situation that makes him tick. It leads him to dive in to help her because this is exciting for him, it's what drives him, and his motor is running on
  3. So interesting, even though I've never seen the film and know little to nothing about Mike Hammer. Given that ignorance. . . A couple of things about Hammer's character displayed in this sequence. His extremely rough exterior--?suggesting he should have ditched her over the cliff after guessing she was assaulted?--is clear, and he speaks to her in a demeaning manner. He sees her more as a temporary headache despite his trash talk toward her. What quickly changes his assessment of her, however, is when he sees the line up of police vehicles and learns she is sought as an escapee from a
  4. I had always been a fan of "classic" movies shown on the only three television stations broadcasting where I grew up far too many years ago. (Cable was yet to be invented.) But what really sunk the hook in for good were two film courses on film noir that I took in college. The courses initially served two purposes: to relive my glory days of youth watching classic films at home and to alleviate some of the humdrum tone of other required courses for my major. What the two courses actually did, though, is embed a deep appreciation for the art form of film and, especially, film noir. I rem
  5. I thought the shadows on the walls and floor were very noir. As Frank sits at the counter talking to Cora's husband, a confined shadow of cross hatches is located on the wall behind Frank, at the same level visually as his head. When the lipstick tube rolls across the floor, the camera shoots the shadows on the floor, presumably from the diner window, on the diagonal. As the camera eventually views Cora in full, there are diagonal cross hatches on the walls on either side of her very cramped framing, with the shadows larger on the left versus the right. These crossing linear shadows in dia
  6. Great points about this clip by The Working Dead on framing techniques, the sense of confinement noted by Toni Noir, and black looking portals into which Mitchum walks while in search of Greer mentioned by Bill Holmes. All of the shots filming Mitchum walking toward the cantina show increasingly narrow frames, created by walls on the right side of the frame, and a wall on each side in the foreground as he sits in the bar alone before Greer enters. The trap is ever-narrowing in a visual sense. I thought the background of the shots of Greer and Mitchum as they talk reflected their reaction
  7. I don't remember who said it--whether Robert Osborne or someone he was interviewing--but the comment was made that some of the most interesting information on Hollywood is in the autobiographies of the less well known stars. Mentioned in that conversation was the autobiography of Evelyn Keyes from 1977, Scarlet O'Hara's Younger Sister, covering her early years and marriages/relationships. After reading this book, I found her descriptions of Hollywood royalty in her social sphere--given her film career, marriage to John Huston and relationship with Mike Todd--to be detailed and entertain
  8. In this week's lecture, the questions of what film noir stole and from whom is asked, and I see some elements of Cubism in this opening sequence of Border Incident. With Cubism, an influential art form from about 1900 to 1920, the artist disassembles, views and reassembles the object from different perspectives to create a whole. In this sequence, I was impressed with the differing views of industrial farming in California: we are first told of the broader industrial Imperial Valley and its benefits, then we hear of the groups of law abiding braceros who work in the fields, and finally
  9. Did anyone notice the radio up high on a shelf above The Swede's bed, and how the shadow of Nick's head falls onto the wall just beside the radio as he warns The Swede? In this week's lecture, we are told that items positioned in a scene, like in a photograph, are there for a reason. Although this is not directly related to the prompts at the end of today's Daily Dose from The Killers, I wonder if this artifice of object and the actor's shadow is another aspect of formalism in the scene. The position of the radio and Nick's shadow suggests that Nick was The Swede's "radio," telling him th
  10. I am hopeful that Mr. Osborne's surgery is successful and that his recovery brings him back in better health to loyal TCM fans. He has been incredibly generous in sharing his talent with us for so long and so consistently. In more recent years, I've come to more fully appreciate the depth of knowledge and commitment he brings to us as fans and viewers each evening. He is a remarkable person. My heartfelt and very best wishes go out to him and his loved ones. classicsuz
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