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The story of film -1939 to 1952


28Silent
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God awful! Too much showing of clips form modern films .They should of shown a few more clips from film made in Germany and Austria ,in the war, as well as some clip that were made in the Mussolini period of the earlier part of the forties as much as the Hirohito films too,since this was part of the war.Too much focus form clips of films that are popular .Draw a quick audience.Makes corporate distributor repeated fast quick ratings .

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Very ambitious series, but my interest wanders with each episode. Maybe its just me but the narrator (who produced the series) annoys the hell out of me. He just seems to be singing the narration. I guess its his accent. I think he should have left the narration to someone else. I have not seen many comments on this series so I must be missing a thread. I only found one other thread that was new.

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Actually a few weeks back?...there were a number of threads?...about this series?...and almost all of them?...contained a few of us?...who seemed to have?...the same complaint about the narration?...as yourself? ;)

 

(...and if you now have surmised that I was one of 'em, you'd be RIGHT on the mark here, my friend!)

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Thanks. Its nice to know that I am not the only one who had problems with the producer's narration. He has totally turned me off to watching the entire series. I really wish they had dubbed some actor with appealing voice to do the narration.

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I myself am enjoying his offbeat Irish voice. Does not bother me. The series including part 5 has been enjoyable and informative for me. As I am not expecting a complete biblic epiphany from the series and am not trying to disparage what Cousins has wrought thru years of hard work then viewing has been working for me most enjoyably plus learning some interesting tie ins between then and now. New Knowledge is a good thing and I am gaining some. Myself, I watch for the wonder and enjoyment only. Not looking for criticisms.

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You have definitely made some very valid points here, rr. I can not say I too haven't learned(sorry for the double negative here, bro) a few things while watching Mr. Cousins' series.

 

Just wish I could "enjoy" his, what'd you call it again? Oh yeah, his "offbeat Irish accent" too. Maybe after all these years I've just become too accustomed to professional narrators doing these sort of things. Yeah, THAT must be it, alright.

 

(...though then again?...I must say?...his accent?...now seems to be?...working its magic on me?...'cause all of a sudden?...I seem to be?...actually getting into this whole thing?...and now find myself?...really enjoying?...typing sentences like this?)

 

LOL

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Dear Silent...please define the exact meaning of "God awful"?

 

I agree with Roverrocks, I totally dig the way the narrator talks.

 

But then after drinking Guinness in a bunch of pubs in Dublin, this feeling of affection comes naturally to me.

 

Perhaps those here who don't like Cousins, should go have a few brewskis in Ireland and they might learn to like such voices. I'm sure after a few drinks they could be converted???

 

Actually, reading this thread is making me want a Guinness now...

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So CG?...and now after your experience?...in that Dublin pub?...do you still find yourself?...talking like this?...after you've taken?...that first sip of Guinness even now?

 

(...or do you still just talk like a garden variety "Stepfordish American" afterward???)

 

LOL

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I think it really say something about today's movie viewer when there are more comments about the narrator than about the content... except what he should have kept in or should have deleted .

 

I wonder if there will be ,with all the threads, a comment or two about the actual program and what's in it.

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Oh, we covered a lot of THAT issue too in some of those earlier threads, Geraldddddd. So don't worry about THAT, dude!

 

Specifically, his seeming distaste of Hollywood's fare...or at least his offhanded remarks which seemed to imply he holds Tinseltown's products in juuuuust a little lower esteem than he seemingly does the rest of the world's cinema.

 

(...we're not ALL facile and shallow individuals here, ya know!) ;)

 

LOL

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I really wanted to like this series, but part 5 was just about the last straw. I can live with the Scootish accent, but I wish he'd give us more clips and less theory. Much too academic a slant for my taste.

 

OTOH since along with Cousins we're also getting a ton of films (YAY, SILENTS! YAY, FOREIGN MOVIES!) that almost never get shown on TCM, the sacrifice of about 65 minutes a week has been well worth it.

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So...now it is wrong to be academic?

 

Geez, what a mortal sin it must be to be scholarly!

 

Hey, Dargo I believe you said that it seems that Cousins is holding the films of Tinseltown in lower esteem than the European ones...

 

Are you saying that this is a BAD thing...haha!

 

Kind of like giving prostitution a bad name, ain't it?

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Well, I'm not sure your "prostitution" analogy here is really a valid one, BUT seein' as how Hollywood films past and present were and are usually bigger budgeted affairs which were more collaborative efforts than was/is often the case in cinema made elsewhere in the world, I MIGHT be inclined to admit that the ol' expression, "A camel is a horse designed by committee" COULD apply in many cases here.

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With several factual errors per episode, he's not a very good academic.

 

Hey, Dargo I believe you said that it seems that Cousins is holding the films of Tinseltown in lower esteem than the European ones...

 

Are you saying that this is a BAD thing...haha!

 

Not to presume to speak for Dargo but since I agree with that assessment, what I will say is the problem for me is Cousins' way of cherry-picking his examples. He is presenting the idea that European filmmakers never made anything that was not artistically or socially significant. That no European filmmaker anywhere ever made a film that was frivolous, gratuitous, silly, pointlessly romantic or just plain bad. When we know that is a ludicrous idea.

 

Anyone could put forward any theory and find examples to support it so long as one pretends that everything else simply doesn't exist. Not a scholarly approach.

 

He is also taking a rather narrow and pretentious view that because a film is commercial, romantic, light, frothy, it contains no value. Not every film has to be ground-breakingly artistic or starkly realistic to have merit or serve a need. If those needs happen to be needs Cousins doesn''t recognize or doesn't feel are important, he needs to broaden his outlook a bit.

 

And while he has taken pains to view European and Asian films within the context of the times and events during which they were made, he more often seems to view the films of Hollywood as a homogeneous whole, created in a vacuum separate from the history and changing psychological needs of the audience.

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>Not to presume to speak for Dargo but...

 

Tell ya what, selimsa! You keep excellently expressing as you just have some of the very thoughts I've had while watching this series, and you can continue to presume to speak for me all ya want! ;)

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Ya gotta approach watching The Story of Film like viewing a great mountain from different directions. Every view is different but still spectacular as one piece of a gigantic awesome whole that can't be captured in it's entirety from any one direction. One piece of a multifaceted puzzle.

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Wow, Roverrocks!

 

You have just brilliantly brought the concept of cubism into this discussion of Mark Cousins and his most vilified documentary.

 

Bravo!

 

Why, even Thomas Mann and his Magic Mountain would approve of your defense of the show. I must wholeheartedly agree that instead of being offended by his "cherrypicking" of movies and topics, one can appreciate the overall concept as being multifarious views of one large edifice of film.

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I must wholeheartedly agree that instead of being offended by his "cherrypicking" of movies and topics, one can appreciate the overall concept as being multifarious views of one large edifice of film.

 

That would be fine, if that's what he was doing. But I don't see it as multifarious at all. Someone (possibly you?) mentioned in another post somewhere that perhaps the all-encompassing title is at fault in the way this series is being received since Cousins' view is not all-encompassing at all.

 

I don't feel we are being shown many diverse views. We are being shown Cousins' one narrow view. And the problem with that is that he isn't presenting it as one man's opinion but as the only proper way to evaluate film. Unless you are a crass and shallow American, that is.

 

Not only that, he seems focused on visual technique more than anything else, the relation between the visionary, the camera and the image on the film. Which again, is fine. But it is hardly the complete story of film to zero in on that one aspect. He so far has said little about writing, dialogue or even storytelling except in how visual tricks relate to moving the story. The story of film is also partly the story of story, but he isn't interested in that. And has even less interest in actors and performances, unless they're staring at coffee foam and aren't lit well.

 

And having an issue with someone selectively using specific examples to forward a theory that would not stand up under alternate examples isn't about being offended. It's about being able to see through a poorly constructed argument.

 

Could we learn things, regardless? Sure. But you have to sift through a lot of twaddle to get a few interesting tidbits out of this myopic mess. And you have to be on your toes because as I said, he isn't always strictly accurate in his facts.

 

I propose an alternate title: "Ceilings and Coffee Foam: One Man's Idea of What Film Really Should Be All About."

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