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Michael Curtiz influence


lablanche
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I just joined today when I came across the forums while doing a search on MI chanel Curtiz's influence on the Coen brothers. Why I didn'not find this forum before is a huge mistake, I am sure I will be spending a lot of time in the next few weeks reading posts.

 

What prompted my plunge into starting a thread right off the bat was my watching the two more obscure early films being shown today. I just watched Cabin in the Cotton for the first time, and immediately noted that while these stories were entirely different, O Brother Where Art Thou was influenced visually by the early pre-code Curtiz. I didn't catch the opening credits, but the costumes could have been used in both films. Even the inclusion of the blue grass music snippets were harbingers for the fabulous soundtrack in OBWAT. I originally was drawn to Cabin in the Cotton because of my mother's description of share croppers in rural North Carolina in the 1920's, then found out that it had to have inspired one of my favourite modern movie makin teams.

 

Then another Curtiz movie came on, Female. Well, I was again surprised to see visual and plot similarities in that film and The Hudsucker Proxy, one of the Coen's more obscure movies. Much has been written about the influence of Frank Capra with the rapid fire dialogue, but I swear Jennifer Jason Leigh sounds like Ruth Chatterton's Locust Valley lockjaw. Then there was the long panning shot in Chatterton's office, which of course is very Art Deco, huge window looking over the bustling plant. The innocent male employee being manipulated by the powerful boss is a nice touch, especially since she is a woman.

 

All of the movies have different plots, I am just noting the visual similarities. Am I totally out of place in seeing/hearing them?

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I just joined today when I came across the forums while doing a search on MI chanel Curtiz's influence on the Coen brothers. Why I didn'not find this forum before is a huge mistake, I am sure I will be spending a lot of time in the next few weeks reading posts.

 

What prompted my plunge into starting a thread right off the bat was my watching the two more obscure early films being shown today. I just watched Cabin in the Cotton for the first time, and immediately noted that while these stories were entirely different, O Brother Where Art Thou was influenced visually by the early pre-code Curtiz. I didn't catch the opening credits, but the costumes could have been used in both films. Even the inclusion of the blue grass music snippets were harbingers for the fabulous soundtrack in OBWAT. I originally was drawn to Cabin in the Cotton because of my mother's description of share croppers in rural North Carolina in the 1920's, then found out that it had to have inspired one of my favourite modern movie makin teams.

 

Then another Curtiz movie came on, Female. Well, I was again surprised to see visual and plot similarities in that film and The Hudsucker Proxy, one of the Coen's more obscure movies. Much has been written about the influence of Frank Capra with the rapid fire dialogue, but I swear Jennifer Jason Leigh sounds like Ruth Chatterton's Locust Valley lockjaw. Then there was the long panning shot in Chatterton's office, which of course is very Art Deco, huge window looking over the bustling plant. The innocent male employee being manipulated by the powerful boss is a nice touch, especially since she is a woman.

 

All of the movies have different plots, I am just noting the visual similarities. Am I totally out of place in seeing/hearing them?

 

Welcome to the board, LB! Glad you're here!

 

I've never heard of the two Curtiz films you mention, but your observations have put them on my list of films to watch. The dialogue between artists of all genres -- artists "discussing" their views on a certain subject, whatever it may be, or referencing other artists' views -- is always of interest to me.

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I just joined today when I came across the forums while doing a search on MI chanel Curtiz's influence on the Coen brothers. Why I didn'not find this forum before is a huge mistake, I am sure I will be spending a lot of time in the next few weeks reading posts.

 

What prompted my plunge into starting a thread right off the bat was my watching the two more obscure early films being shown today. I just watched Cabin in the Cotton for the first time, and immediately noted that while these stories were entirely different, O Brother Where Art Thou was influenced visually by the early pre-code Curtiz. I didn't catch the opening credits, but the costumes could have been used in both films. Even the inclusion of the blue grass music snippets were harbingers for the fabulous soundtrack in OBWAT. I originally was drawn to Cabin in the Cotton because of my mother's description of share croppers in rural North Carolina in the 1920's, then found out that it had to have inspired one of my favourite modern movie makin teams.

 

Then another Curtiz movie came on, Female. Well, I was again surprised to see visual and plot similarities in that film and The Hudsucker Proxy, one of the Coen's more obscure movies. Much has been written about the influence of Frank Capra with the rapid fire dialogue, but I swear Jennifer Jason Leigh sounds like Ruth Chatterton's Locust Valley lockjaw. Then there was the long panning shot in Chatterton's office, which of course is very Art Deco, huge window looking over the bustling plant. The innocent male employee being manipulated by the powerful boss is a nice touch, especially since she is a woman.

 

All of the movies have different plots, I am just noting the visual similarities. Am I totally out of place in seeing/hearing them?

 

First welcome to this site.  I hope you stick around.

 

I have seen all 4 of the movies you mention and yes there are visual similarities,  I just don't know if one can say that they exist because the Coen brothers watched these specific Curtiz movies and this influenced them in the movies they made.    There are many movies from the 30s that had similar visuals to Cabin in the Cotton (the first movie where she really made an impression).    

 

As you noted for The Hudsucker Proxy the brothers had many different influences, so maybe Female was one of them, but I'm not seeing it.    As for Female;  I do like Ruth in this film but the ending is too sexist.    Yea, I know,  that was the tradition at the time.

 

As for Curtiz;  One question that is debated around here is if he had a unique style.    While he has directed many great films (and since Warner Brothers is my favorite studio from the studio-era,  I have seen most of his WB films),   I'm not sure he has a unique style.      If he does it is an understated style.  This works well since the pictures speak for themselves.   

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Thanks for the warm welcome. I am not sure if Curtiz had a distinct style either, and even discussed it with Howard Koch, who was a friend and neighbor when I lived in Woodstock. Howard was a wonderful man, but said working on Casablanca was a bit like the mad tea party. It was almost like a manic newsroom, literally a rip and read with some of the scenes.

 

I know many were offended when Howard put his Oscar up for auction so he could pay for his granddaughter's grad school, but I can attest to the fact that he used it as a door stop in his study. He really thought while it was an honour to receive it, he felt his best work was done on A Letter from an Unknown Woman.

 

I think he thought that Casablanca had just a bit of magic in it, too. Everyone helped to make it a brilliant film. Around that time (1986? 87?), Byrdcliffe Theatre did a production of Everyone Comes to Rick's. And while it was interesting, it had enormous obstacles to overcome. The only scene that worked was when they sang the Marseillaise.

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Thanks for the warm welcome. I am not sure if Curtiz had a distinct style either, and even discussed it with Howard Koch, who was a friend and neighbor when I lived in Woodstock. Howard was a wonderful man, but said working on Casablanca was a bit like the mad tea party. It was almost like a manic newsroom, literally a rip and read with some of the scenes.

 

I know many were offended when Howard put his Oscar up for auction so he could pay for his granddaughter's grad school, but I can attest to the fact that he used it as a door stop in his study. He really thought while it was an honour to receive it, he felt his best work was done on A Letter from an Unknown Woman.

 

I think he thought that Casablanca had just a bit of magic in it, too. Everyone helped to make it a brilliant film. Around that time (1986? 87?), Byrdcliffe Theatre did a production of Everyone Comes to Rick's. And while it was interesting, it had enormous obstacles to overcome. The only scene that worked was when they sang the Marseillaise.

 

I would agree with Mr. Koch that his best work was done on A Letter from an Unknown Woman.   I would also say that it is Joan Fontaine's best performance.   

 

With regards to Casablanca;  if one looks at the film under a microscope one can find a lot of flaws,  but the end result, at least to me,  is magic.    

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just watched Cabin in the Cotton for the first time, and immediately noted that while these stories were entirely different, O Brother Where Art Thou was influenced visually by the early pre-code Curtiz. I didn't catch the opening credits, but the costumes could have been used in both films. Even the inclusion of the blue grass music snippets were harbingers for the fabulous soundtrack in OBWAT. I originally was drawn to Cabin in the Cotton because of my mother's description of share croppers in rural North Carolina in the 1920's, then found out that it had to have inspired one of my favourite modern movie makin teams.???

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