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Terrible!


28Silent
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This recent installment of story of film was suppose to be about the thirties,but, not only it relied on too much of the clips from the most popular classic of tha time,it did not spend enough time in the thirties.This episode kept focusing too much on clip from modern movies and too little from the thirties.It really was not about the thirties at all rotten.This episode like the others were predictable This is typical,since this documentary is a reflection of the times

 

Edited by: 28Silent on Sep 23, 2013 11:42 PM

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The Story of Film may not be absolutely terrific but I have thoroughly enjoyed each episode including last nights. I am learning new and interesting items every moment I watch. Loved seeing the giant Hitchcock head in the little surreal park. As I said it ain't perfect but I am enjoying the series and have no complaints.

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While I've enjoyed the various examples and explanations of techniques, what I have a problem with is the way Cousins cherry-picks examples to support his spurious theories and presents them as facts.

 

In this recent episode, Cousins tried to negatively compare Hollywood films of the thirties to European films of the thirties by attempting to shove all of the Hollywood thirties films into five genres: musicals, comedies, horror films, gangster films and animated films. As though those were the only types of films produced by Hollywood during that period and each film within each genre was a formulaic as formulaic could be. (Example: comedies in the sound era were now "feminized," as evidenced by Carole Lombard and Katherine Hepburn. Yet there was no mention of the films of the Marx Brothers.)

 

But by contrast, each European film presented was "innovative." (Music played backward! Slow motion!) As though no film industry of any European nation in the thirties ever produced any film that wasn't of the highest artistic quality and always far outside the petty boundaries of genre.

 

Even when the French produced romantic, escapist cinema, it was for a far more innovative reason than American romantic, escapist cinema. The French needed escape from the reality that they were German-collaborating cowards (the documentary's assertion, not mine.) Whereas there was no mention whatsoever about the Great Depression and it's impact on American cinema.

 

Cousins' obvious need to promote his own agenda through carefully chosen examples and glaring omissions undercuts the value of this project.

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I agree with this assessment of Cousins. One thing that has been bothering me is that Cousins will talk about a technique or a director from an era, such as the 30s, and then show a film completely out of that era, often something from the 80s, 90s, or later using an example of that technique. He did this several times in the 30s episode.

 

As far as the idea of the romanticization of the gangster, watching the gritty Public Enemy, with its completely amoral (an eminently watchable) Tom Powers as depicted by Cagney, I think that both Enemy and the original Scarface (not the remake) are two of the sparest and unromanticized gangster films ever made. Look at these two movies compared to something like the Godfather.

 

I also find some of Cousins' worship of the Europeans laughable. Last week when he showed the clip from French film where the couple makes love in the mud with the crowd looking on and then the man envisions the woman on a toilet, I couldn't stop from laughing. Somehow this is superior to what came out of Hollywood in the 30s?

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> selimsa803 wrote:

> Cousins' obvious need to promote his own agenda through carefully chosen examples and glaring omissions undercuts the value of this project.

 

It is sad to say that I have seen nearly none of his presentations. I have watched many of the movies time-shifted because of real life activities at the time of airings and the introductions seem to fall by the wayside.

 

It is my experience that nearly all grand projects suffer to some degree to the situation you state. I believe it may be that monomaniacs promoting their agenda have an advantage in that they are driven more powerfully to devote the time and energy required to produce truly expansive works.

 

I feel it is the responsibility of the reader or viewer to separate the facts from the opinions and to gain what they can no matter what the perspective of the creator of the work.

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rosebette wrote:

 

> One thing that has been bothering me is that Cousins will talk about a technique or a director from an era, such as the 30s, and then show a film completely out of that era, often something from the 80s, 90s, or later using an example of that technique. He did this several times in the 30s episode.

 

This is one thing about his documentaries that I like very much, showing us the origin of the technique, and its continuing usage and development, up to modern times. His main concern in the series seems to be showing the evolution of film. I find it very interesting, and informative. IMO, he doesn't have an agenda, he has a point of view, one that I find interesting, and reasonable, even if I don't agree with every detail. He is challenging us to take an analytic look at film, with a fresh perspective.

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