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EPICS : Let's talk the big talk


misswonderly3
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> {quote:title=stjohnrv wrote:}{quote}

> Your not wrong and your not alone mswonderly Every epic film I`ve seen (and I`vs seen most of them) could have been improved with a little judicious pruning of between 30 to 45 minutes.

> *The Sand Pebbles* would have been improved if the camera had spend about 15 minutes less in the bar scenes, 15 minutes less of the film travelogue of the Chinese country side, 30 minutes lopped off that would never have been missed.

> *Lord Jim,* I loved it but surely 30 minutes of the his personal pain could have been lopped.

> Ben-Hur, 55 days, and all the rest of the epics were just too da** wordy sometimes for their own good.a few minutes here and there might have been a very good thing.

>

> Edited by: stjohnrv on Mar 7, 2011 3:08 PM

 

While I can't say Lord Jim is my favorite Epic, I do enjoy watching it from time to time.

 

Critics savage it by comparing it to Lawrence of Arabia. Unfair as far as I'm concerned.

 

I remember reading that Robert Wise said The Sand Pebbles was one of the most difficult movies he ever tried to make. I gotta believe he wanted to include many details to keep the movie original.

 

It's Steve McQueen's best performance hands down and he should have won the best Actor for his performance.

 

I own the DVD and thoroughly enjoy it...

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Heads up for epic lovers: Sunday March 13 at 5:00pm, *My Fair Lady*. (once again.) Some good songs in this, but way too long for me, and I lose patience with the "shall we make it romantic between Dolittle and Higgins or not? What would Shaw have said? Oh, let's just drag out the ending by 45 minutes..." aspect to it.

Monday March 14 at 8:00 pm: *Inn of the Sixth Happiness*, clocking in at an epic 158 minutes. For some reason missionary stories set in China (or anywhere, for that matter) depress me. Anyone a fan of this?

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> Monday March 14 at 8:00 pm: *Inn of the Sixth Happiness*, clocking in at an epic 158 minutes. For some reason missionary stories set in China (or anywhere, for that matter) depress me.

 

I generally find them condescending, patronizing, and colonial. Not to mention the slanty-eyed white folk tryin' to pass as real Asians. They depress me too.

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

> MY FAIR LADY is a fine musical play. My favorite. The movie fails to live up to it.

 

My favorite stage musical, my least favorite film musical. Dreary, by comparison to the play and inept, as cinema.

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> {quote:title=MovieProfessor wrote:}{quote}

>...only ?Helen of Troy? was presented with an impressive overture by composer Max Steiner. Both the Warner epics ended up as a moderate success at the box-office.

 

While I take exception to much of what you wrote in your posting, I had to the correct the above misstatement.

 

HELEN OF TROY never had an overture. What was billed as an "overture" on the home video versions was actually a piece of music cobbled together from the film's music tracks by the (nameless) person who edited the unauthorized bootleg CD of the soundtrack that was issued in the late 1990's. In the absence of paperwork from the score's original recording sessions, the studio was actually bamboozled into believing that there was an overture, and so included it in authorized releases, but it's actually 100% fake.

 

Of course, even in the grand old days of Big Studio roadshow attractions, not all overtures, entr'actes and exit music were original compositions. In many cases, they were cut together from the films' underscoring exactly the way the anonymous bootlegger did it for the CD. It depended on the films' budgets and post-production schedules.

 

There's also your assertion that Warner's was as committed to stereophonic sound as Fox was. This is patently false. Fox, which was actually the last studio to switch to recording on magnetic tape, jumped in with both feet, and utilized stereo for both music and dialogue. While Warner's began to record their scores in stereo, their stereo release program was actually quite limited, and they never bothered to record multi-track dialogue. They also re-used their full-coat 35mm stereo masters, leaving, in most cases, only 1/4" mono back-up tapes, whereas Fox preserved much of its stereo heritage.

 

As for E.W. Korngold, whom you mentioned elsewhere in this thread, his devotion to his art forbade him from ever allowing his music to be edited together by others into a false "overture." He only wrote two for films: JUAREZ, which was recorded and attached to the full release prints for the film's original engagements, and THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, which was performed only once, live, for the invited audience at the film's world premiere. Both pieces are, happily, available on CD in modern re-recordings.

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I agree with you about the film. And certainly not an epic, not even a bad one. It's a little story blown out of proportion on screen. They really lost the knack in making film musicals around that time -- an exception might be *A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum*, which had a unique visual sense. Also not an epic -- musicals just don't quality.

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I realize I'm posting in the wrong place, but I can't seem to find the right place. I don't see the edit feature anywhere on the postings. Am I blind, or is it gone? Help! NEVER MIND! Evidently I can't edit earlier posts, since the edit showed up after this post.

 

Edited by: jbh on Mar 12, 2011 9:42 AM

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Regarding defining "epic" perhaps we should stick to the dictionary which says it's "a long poem in elevated style narrating the deeds of a hero." My thesarus says it's "a narrative or heroic poem or story, saga, legend. It also mentions heroic,classic, grand. Many of the films stated are many of these things, certainly some of them are long. Then we can get into what makes a "classic" film, which is defined as "a work of enduring excellence" which many of the films mentioned certainly are. Ah...semantics... A great post misswonderly, lots of action, many wonderful opinions & lots of fun.

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I like all genres. I don't focus exclusively on pre-code or film noir, even though I like those genres, as I think to consider only those exclusively leaves out a lot of good movies. I don't want to watch movies with blinders on--only considering a narrow spectrum of movies as good. I like comedies, dramas, mysteries, musicals, adventure, science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.

 

There are some practical considerations, however. Sometimes it's easier for me to watch a shorter movie than an epic because I don't have enough time to watch a longer movie.

 

Robbie

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  • 2 months later...

I'm looking for a thread that ties in with QUO VADIS. This looks like a good place to park. I watched this awkward, pretentious epic only for the second time yesterday. I didn't like it years ago. Still don't. The story exists only to support the religious philosophy. That philosophy is presented in a silly, heavy handed manner. "Look! They died smiling." Missing some limbs. But happy.

 

The story is the secondary reason I've resurrected (oops!) this discussion. I was most bothered by the acting. I don't accept Robert Taylor in ancient costume. He looks foolish in IVANHOE, absurd in this. He's too all American.

 

The big disappointment is Peter Ustinov. He's painfully bad as Nero. Where Taylor was primarily tall and handsome, Ustinov was generally considered a fine actor. In fact, I like him in TOPKAPI and THE SUNDOWNERS. But this foppish, deranged artist routine is unbearable. It's some of the worst acting I've ever seen.

 

I'm of the opinion that BEN-HUR is by far the best of the biblical epics. The question is, Is it the only good one?

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

>

> I'm of the opinion that BEN-HUR is by far the best of the biblical epics. The question is, Is it the only good one?

 

I'll admit that I'm not big on Biblical epics, but my favorites are the 1956 *The Ten Commandments*, and *The Life of Brian*. Of course both *BH* and *TTC* have the insufferably self righteous Charlatan Heston, but *TTC* also has Yul Brynner, Edward G., Vincent Price, John Carradine, and many more. I could do without John Derek, though.

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