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Movies That Have Improved Over Time


Palmerin
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The story of CHARIOTS OF FIRE in Puerto Rico was really ridiculous. Movie managers, aware of how boring it was, waited until after the Oscars to release it, praying that its Oscars would deceive the public into thinking that it was a good movie.

The public was NOT deceived; everybody in PR hated it. If Hudson wanted so badly to do a movie about the Paris Olympics of 1924, why didn't he film the story of gold medalist swimmer JOHNNY WEISSMULLER, who had a really interesting life and a really memorable career, instead of wasting all that money and resources on two nonentities whom nobody remembers???

This misFIRE has not improved with time; quite the contrary. Which leads me to my question: how many movies do you recall that were universally panned when they came out, but which now have vastly improved reputations? I know, for example, that Roger Corman was once dismissed as a cheap maker of trashy schlock, but now he is very well respected, and several of his cheapies are now admired as true classics.

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Actually Palmerin, while I'll admit I think CHARIOTS OF FIRE was always a BIT overrated, as yes, I always found it's pacing a mite slow, this film was anything but "universally panned"...especially by the film critics of its time and even today.

 

(...it actually might be one of the first cases in which the now seeming gulf between "what the film critics like" and "what the general public likes" made it presences felt)

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I was living in London when Chariots of Fire was first released. People over there were simply going crazy over it. They sold tickets in advance. You couldn't get in to see it and the lines were so long. That's all anybody ever talked about.

 

I don't really have an opinion on the film- - but could it be that people with different historical and cultural perspectives view films differently?

 

However, a great film should have universal appeal.

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I think the 1982 Richard Brooks movie "WRONG IS RIGHT" starring Sean Connery has improved over time.  Connery plays an international reporter attempting to demonstrate he's a serious journalist and not just a shallow, globe-trotting pretty boy.  There are a lot of plot threads going on concurrently.  Better to just watch the movie instead of me trying to describe it here.   

 

     Other cast members are Katharine Ross, Hardy Kruger, Robert Conrad, George Grizzard, Rosalind Cash (she plays the Veep), G. D. Spradlin, Leslie Nielsen, Robert Webber, Dean Stockwell, John Saxon, Ron Moody.  Runs 117 minutes.  Rated [R]

 

     SCAVENGER HUNT (1979), which is apparently coming to DVD and Blu-Ray for the first time very soon, makes me laugh more now that it did when I first saw it in the 1980s.  Richard Benjamin trying to talk his way out of a thrashing by a biker gang (lead by Meat Loaf) cracks me up.  He was trying to steal a foxtail from the back of a motorcycle and got caught.  Rated [PG]

 

      I'll have to think of some more . . .          

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Connery plays an international reporter attempting to demonstrate he's a serious journalist and not just a shallow, globe-trotting pretty boy.

Does he know the difference between an ism and a kangaroo?

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The story of CHARIOTS OF FIRE in Puerto Rico was really ridiculous. Movie managers, aware of how boring it was, waited until after the Oscars to release it, praying that its Oscars would deceive the public into thinking that it was a good movie.

The public was NOT deceived; everybody in PR hated it. If Hudson wanted so badly to do a movie about the Paris Olympics of 1924, why didn't he film the story of gold medalist swimmer JOHNNY WEISSMULLER, who had a really interesting life and a really memorable career, instead of wasting all that money and resources on two nonentities whom nobody remembers???

This misFIRE has not improved with time; quite the contrary. Which leads me to my question: how many movies do you recall that were universally panned when they came out, but which now have vastly improved reputations? I know, for example, that Roger Corman was once dismissed as a cheap maker of trashy schlock, but now he is very well respected, and several of his cheapies are now admired as true classics.

 

 

The opposite happened here:  British films, Masterpiece Theater and Merchant-Ivory hadn't really taken hold yet in 1981, so Chariots was taken as highbrow elegance at the time.

Also, that early in the 80's, we weren't yet buried in red-state athletes saying "Thank you, Jesus, for my Super Bowl win!", so Eric Lidell racing for his faith seemed like a rather noble thing to be made the theme of the movie.  (Think the film may have been produced as an "inspirational" film, before inspirational-studios sports movies also became dime-a-dozen.)

It just LOOKED good at the time.  Should Raiders of the Lost Ark have won?...Not really, but nice to be nominated.  Should On Golden Pond or Reds have won?...Lord, no.

 

And MST3K-indoctrinated fans still joke about Roger Corman without ever having seen "Masque of the Red Death", "The Intruder", or "X: the Man with the X-Ray Eyes".

 

As for "Movies that have improved with time"?--You could do a whole THREAD about former 80's, quote-fingers, "flops" that are now beloved by generations....Starting with "Clue: the Movie":

 

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Palmerin, your mistake was to inject such a lengthy and needless story concerning one movie that suffered in a different social culture.  And WHY at the time it might have.  And the result was that this almost became a CHARIOTS OF FIRE thread rather than what you may have intended.  But...back to basics...

 

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE , when IT came out and like KANE didn't do so well either.  But NOW, it's America's BELOVED CHRISTMAS MOVIE.  AND a highly regarded "classic".

 

 

Sepiatone

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The opposite happened here:  British films, Masterpiece Theater and Merchant-Ivory hadn't really taken hold yet in 1981, so Chariots was taken as highbrow elegance at the time.

Also, that early in the 80's, we weren't yet buried in red-state athletes saying "Thank you, Jesus, for my Super Bowl win!", so Eric Lidell racing for his faith seemed like a rather noble thing to be made the theme of the movie.  (Think the film may have been produced as an "inspirational" film, before inspirational-studios sports movies also became dime-a-dozen.)

It just LOOKED good at the time.  Should Raiders of the Lost Ark have won?...Not really, but nice to be nominated.  Should On Golden Pond or Reds have won?...Lord, no.

 

1982 was a very N~ON~O=UNDISTINGUISHED year; I would have voted for ATLANTIC CITY because I love Burt Lancaster.

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It just LOOKED good at the time.  Should Raiders of the Lost Ark have won?...Not really, but nice to be nominated.  Should On Golden Pond or Reds have won?...Lord, no.

 

My sentiments exactly. The late 60s and the 70s were a great era for Masterpiece Theater, however, with The Forsyte Saga, Upstairs Downstairs, and I, Claudius, among others.

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Here are the English Language movies from 1930 to 1991 that have clearly improved over time (twenty five years being I think good enough for perspective)

 

The Man I killed

Hallelujah I'm a Bum

Sylvia Scarlett

Make way for Tomorrow

Helzapoppin'

I Walked with a Zombie

The Three Caballeros

Detour

Yolanda and the Thief

From the Day Forward

Monsieur Verdoux

Good Sam

The Small Back Room

The Set-up

Colorado Territory

Thieves Highway

Alice in Wonderland (Disney animated version)

The Prowler

The Steel Helmet

Limelight

My Son John

The Lusty Men

The Marrying Kind

The 500- Fingers of Doctor T

Pickup on South Street

Johnny Guitar

The Night of the Hunter

The Man from Laramie

It's Always Fair Weather

Invitation the Dance

The Sweet Smell of Success

Vertigo

Touch of Evil

Murder by Contract

A Time to Love and a Time to Die

Wild River

The Young One

The Manchurian Candidate

Heaven and Earth Magic

The Trial (Orson Welles)

Help!

Chimes at Midnight

Ice

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Deep End

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

The Ballad of Cable Hogue

Zabriskie Point

A New Leaf

Avanti

Winter Soldier

Pink Flamingoes

The King of Marvin Gardens

Badlands

O Lucky Man!

The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Scarecrow

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Providence

Killer of Sheep

The Shout

Quadrophenia

The Human Factor

The Shining

Time Bandits

Cutters Way

Four Friends

Pink Floyd:  the Wall

Blade Runner

The Man with Two Brains

The King of Comedy

My Brother's Wedding

Twice upon a Time

Videodrome

Once upon a time in America

The Cotton Club

Love Streams

Brazil

Clue

Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer

Absolute Beginners

She's Gotta Have it

Down by Law

Inner Space

Housekeeping

Distant Voices, Still Lives

Enemies:  a Love story

Queen of Hearts

Mountains of the Moon

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And MST3K-indoctrinated fans still joke about Roger Corman without ever having seen "Masque of the Red Death", "The Intruder", or "X: the Man with the X-Ray Eyes".

 

 

How do you like THE ST VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE? It came out in 1967, the same year as Penn's BONNIE & CLYDE, and, like the latter, was heavily criticized for its violence. I myself found it very absorbing, even though it has a feature that still turns off many people: except for the pitiful mechanic played by Bruce Dern, practically all the characters are damned miscreants who richly deserve to get whacked.

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How do you like THE ST VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE? It came out in 1967, the same year as Penn's BONNIE & CLYDE, and, like the latter, was heavily criticized for its violence. I myself found it very absorbing, even though it has a feature that still turns off many people: except for the pitiful mechanic played by Bruce Dern, practically all the characters are damned miscreants who richly deserve to get whacked.

 

I saw that movie on the same bill with "Bonnie and Clyde".  Likd it then and still do.  The mechanic getting "whacked" didn't bother me though.  I knew well that many undeserving people "got it" back in those times among those characters.

 

 

Sepiatone

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My sentiments exactly. The late 60s and the 70s were a great era for Masterpiece Theater, however, with The Forsyte Saga, Upstairs Downstairs, and I, Claudius, among others.

I, Claudius was one of my favorite shows on Masterpiece Theater.  I also liked TraffikTo Serve Them All My Days, The Jewel in the Crown, and currently, Sherlock.  I do wonder why PBS dropped "Theater" from the title though.  Now, it's simply known as "Masterpiece".  Of course, it may not have been a PBS decision to do that, but I'm still curious nonetheless.

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Here are the English Language movies from 1930 to 1991 that have clearly improved over time (twenty five years being I think good enough for perspective)

 

The Man I killed

Hallelujah I'm a Bum

Sylvia Scarlett

Make way for Tomorrow

Helzapoppin'

I Walked with a Zombie

The Three Caballeros

Detour

Yolanda and the Thief

From the Day Forward

Monsieur Verdoux

Good Sam

The Small Back Room

The Set-up

Colorado Territory

Thieves Highway

Alice in Wonderland (Disney animated version)

The Prowler

The Steel Helmet

Limelight

My Son John

The Lusty Men

The Marrying Kind

The 500- Fingers of Doctor T

Pickup on South Street

Johnny Guitar

The Night of the Hunter

The Man from Laramie

It's Always Fair Weather

Invitation the Dance

The Sweet Smell of Success

Vertigo

Touch of Evil

Murder by Contract

A Time to Love and a Time to Die

Wild River

The Young One

The Manchurian Candidate

Heaven and Earth Magic

The Trial (Orson Welles)

Help!

Chimes at Midnight

Ice

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Deep End

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

The Ballad of Cable Hogue

Zabriskie Point

A New Leaf

Avanti

Winter Soldier

Pink Flamingoes

The King of Marvin Gardens

Badlands

O Lucky Man!

The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Scarecrow

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Providence

Killer of Sheep

The Shout

Quadrophenia

The Human Factor

The Shining

Time Bandits

Cutters Way

Four Friends

Pink Floyd:  the Wall

Blade Runner

The Man with Two Brains

The King of Comedy

My Brother's Wedding

Twice upon a Time

Videodrome

Once upon a time in America

The Cotton Club

Love Streams

Brazil

Clue

Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer

Absolute Beginners

She's Gotta Have it

Down by Law

Inner Space

Housekeeping

Distant Voices, Still Lives

Enemies:  a Love story

Queen of Hearts

Mountains of the Moon

Very interesting assortment; I'll definitely explore it. Gracias.

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I recently, in another thread, mentioned the film THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, another movie that sunk at the box office when it came out, but over time became considered one of the finer films from it's era.

 

Personally, I think it's one of both Lancaster's AND Curtis' finer performances.

 

 

Sepiatone

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And MST3K-indoctrinated fans still joke about Roger Corman without ever having seen "Masque of the Red Death", "The Intruder", or "X: the Man with the X-Ray Eyes".

 

Don't paint with such a broad brush, Eric. You can lose nuance, especially on such a relatively small canvas. ;)

 

Besides, Roger Corman made many finer films than "X". You mention "Masque", but what about "A Bucket of Blood", "Little Shop of Horrors", "Haunted Palace" and "Pit and the Pendulum"?

 

At the same time, "Teenage Caveman", "It Conquered the World" (Spoiler: "It" did not), "Gunslinger", "Swamp Diamonds"- These are not great films.

 

The appeal of making light of some samples from Roger Corman's body of work wasn't to denigrate the prolific legend, but to roast him. And many, many MST3k fans who are also fans of B-Movies and Psychotronic Films accord Roger his due respect. I mean, c'mon, have you SEEN a Roger Corman interview? The man pokes fun at himself. He's in a wholly unique position: He's fully aware of the impact he's had on modern cinema while embracing the fact that he turned out reels of profitable schlock.

 

Coleman Francis? Now that was a different matter entirely.

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Don't paint with such a broad brush, Eric. You can lose nuance, especially on such a relatively small canvas. ;)

 

Besides, Roger Corman made many finer films than "X". You mention "Masque", but what about "A Bucket of Blood", "Little Shop of Horrors", "Haunted Palace" and "Pit and the Pendulum"?

 

I mean, c'mon, have you SEEN a Roger Corman interview? The man pokes fun at himself. He's in a wholly unique position: He's fully aware of the impact he's had on modern cinema while embracing the fact that he turned out reels of profitable schlock.

 

Seen, no, but I've HEARD his DVD commentaries to X and Masque--

Unlike some of his shlock-fan bashing, he's not a low-rent huckster trying to make six movies in three days, or a delusional loser believing the ending of Teenage Caveman was going to win the Nobel Prize.

Corman's a smart director, and aware of the director's job at Amer. Int'l in the 50's, namely, to deliver a movie on time, under budget, and make it resemble what the poster and title promised.  Apart from that, the director was left alone to pursue whatever higher statement he wanted the movie to make and cut whatever production corners were necessary, and Corman had ambitions to enjoy his relative independence with a bit of artistic indulgence.  (As he describes the ending of X, "There you have it, folks, Greek tragedy at the drive-in.")

 

As for Bucket and Shop (and MST3K's kidding of "The Undead"), I put those down to Charles B. Griffith's talent for consciously tongue-in-cheek scripts, which were more on display when Corman founded New World and produced "Death Race 2000".

(The current Roger Corman has slipped a bit in to lazy self-aware Asylum-wannabe camp ever since producing cable and direct-video movies for Epix and SyFy--In response to those dopey humorless Lionsgate "Death Race" remakes in the 00's, Corman's current trailers for the consciously tongue-in-cheek "Death Race 2050" are more in tradition, but you can see he's gone over the edge kissing up to his reputation.)

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As for Bucket and Shop (and MST3K's kidding of "The Undead"), I put those down to Charles B. Griffith's talent for consciously tongue-in-cheek scripts,

 

He couldn't have done "A Bucket of Blood" without Griffith, but the film is as good as it is because of Roger's attention to detail. He and Griffith energized each other, but Roger drew on his experience as a fringe player on the periphery of the Beat scene, and his eye and ear were sound. He and Griffith incorporated into the film incidents and scenarios the two had witnessed either together or independent of the other. (Only Griffith's name is on the screenplay credit, but Corman had a good bit to do with this one's story.) In my opinion, Roger's direction hit all the right notes with "ABOB". Mood evocation, atmosphere, pacing, humor, shot selection- he was dialed in.

He made prettier movies, to be sure, but "A Bucket of Blood" is one of his most effective.

 

Remember- Charles Griffith also wrote "Gunslinger". So not every screenplay he wrote elevated Roger Corman's work.

 

You've got to see some Corman interviews. He's a joy to watch. Ben Mankiewicz did a fine job with his segments for TCM. But there are Corman interviews and docs out there. (The best are when he doesn't take himself too seriously. I love it when he discusses his relationship with American International Pictures, especially when he allows himself to be candid about his "bosses".)

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"Peeping Tom" is higher regarded now than at the time of its release, and I am of the opinion that its psychology holds up much better than "Psycho"'s.

 

John Carpenter's version of "The Thing" is often cited as one of the great sci-fi/horror films of the modern era. Neither audiences nor critics felt that way back in 1982.

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"Peeping Tom" is higher regarded now than at the time of its release, and I am of the opinion that its psychology holds up much better than "Psycho"'s.

 

John Carpenter's version of "The Thing" is often cited as one of the great sci-fi/horror films of the modern era. Neither audiences nor critics felt that way back in 1982.

 

Audiences and critics may not have liked THE THING but I sure did; saw it twice in the theater and I've got the DVD.  It's great; I love the original, too, very much.  Carpenter's version came out around the same time as ET and audiences wanted their aliens cute and cuddly.

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Audiences and critics may not have liked THE THING but I sure did; saw it twice in the theater and I've got the DVD.  It's great; I love the original, too, very much.  Carpenter's version came out around the same time as ET and audiences wanted their aliens cute and cuddly.

 

 

No, we just wanted our Carpenter movies coherent and non-icky--We hated "The Fog" because we expected it to be another slasher film after "Halloween", hated "Halloween III" because it didn't have the killer in it, and, to be fair, hated "Big Trouble in Little China", because, seriously...the script's goofy enough as it is, Kurt, what's with the voice?

 

But then, it was 1982, and we also hated Blade Runner for being muddled and impenetrable, we didn't get the jokes in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" except for the coffee and tongue-shaving jokes, we hated "Tron" because we thought it didn't have enough Pac-Man in it, and, IIRC, everyone back then insisted Gandhi or Paul Newman should win the Oscar because Best Picture shouldn't have cute and cuddly aliens.

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