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Canadian Film Ideas for TCM Programming 2016


misswonderly3
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It's a little-known fact - and this really is a fact - that Canada has produced many great films.

 

If you know a Canadian film that you liked- French or English language - let's hear what it is !

 

Two of my favourites:

 

English:  Highway 61, (1991)  director: Bruce McDonald

 

French:  C.R.A.Z.Y., (2005) director: Jean-Marc Vallee

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I'm not sure if this is my favourite French Canadian film, but I did like Les Bons Debarras (1979) which was directed by Francis Mankiewicz (1944-1993).  Mankiewicz was a distant relative of Ben's, though I'm not sure if Ben knows this or not.

I have recommended the film a few times in Suggest a Movie.

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I don't know if I have a favorite Canadian movie, but there's several I like a lot.  Also, I've noted the director of photography on a lot of Canadian films is Renè Verzier.  He was a busy feller, at least for a while. 

 

POSSESSION OF VIRGINIA, The (1972)  Filmed in Montreal.  D:  Jean Beaudin.  Starring Daniel Pilon, Louise Marleau, Danielle Ouimet and Rose-Rey Duzil as 'The Grandmother'.  English-dubbed Tv print runs just over 82 minutes.

 

LE DIABLE EST PARMI NOUS (1972)  This is the original French version of the movie.  Runs 87 minutes and has an epilogue missing from the Tv version.  

 

GAS (1981)  I ♥ this movie even if no one else does. 

 

FUNERAL HOME (1980)  Released in the U.S. in '82, btw.  I've seen this at least 7 times.  Have 3 copies on Paragon Video. 

 

RABID (1977)  Fun with David Cronenberg and venereal horror! 

 

THEY CAME FROM WITHIN (1975) 

    

MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)   

 

PYX, The (1973)  Filmed in Montreal

 

PICK-UP SUMMER (1981)  (Aka:  "Pinball Summer")  A low-grade teen-oriented comedy I saw when I was 9 or 10 on cable.  Years later, I bought it on video having remembered it fondly.  ► I think the movie's title was changed to "Pick-Up Summer" for it's American release so potential ticket-buyers wouldn't think the film was all about pinball.  Note the groovy theme tune, tho, which has lyrics that say "pinball summer" throughout the song. 

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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974) by Ted Kotcheff.  With Richard Dreyfuss.

Duddy Kravitz was good, as I recall, but I saw it  so long ago I can hardly remember it, I should watch it again. Did you have the novel on your high school English curriculum? I know I did.

 

Bogie, you probably know that Mordecai Richler inspired more than one good movie. Have you seen Barney's Version ?  I remember being annoyed that this very good 2010 movie was not even nominated for an Oscar (yet another reason for me to give very little credence to the whole Academy Award thing).

 

Anyway, I recommend it, check it out if you haven't already seen it, if only for Paul Giamatti, an actor I always like.

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Duddy Kravitz was good, as I recall, but I saw it  so long ago I can hardly remember it, I should watch it again. Did you have the novel on your high school English curriculum? I know I did.

 

Bogie, you probably know that Mordecai Richler inspired more than one good movie. Have you seen Barney's Version ?  I remember being annoyed that this very good 2010 movie was not even nominated for an Oscar (yet another reason for me to give very little credence to the whole Academy Award thing).

 

Anyway, I recommend it, check it out if you haven't already seen it, if only for Paul Giamatti, an actor I always like.

Yes, I have seen Barney's Version as well.

A triple bill of Mordecei Richler films should also include Joshua Then and Now (1985) also directed by Kotcheff who was an old London pal of Richler's.  Joshua has the finest performance ever given by Alan Arkin IMHO.

 

Duddy Kravitz has Denholm Elliott's all time best performance.  And quite possibly Dreyfuss' too.

 

*Gee, otto censor wouldn't let be put in c h u m.

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Don Shebib's 'Goin' Down the Road' (1970).

 

Simple and perfect in its depiction of two east coasters coming to The Big Smoke in the late 60's. A movie about cultural shock and survival. As realistic a movie as I'd ever seen back in 1970.

 

Also, Don Shebib's 'Rip Off' (1971).

 

A funny and touching movie about a group of high school buddies, one of whom (Don Scardino) inherits a piece of land way up north from his grandfather. He and his friends, who are not popular kids, get the idea that they should set up a "commune" on the property. When word gets around the high school about it, the kid with the land is suddenly considered very cool. The four friends take a road trip to check out the property and ready it for the urban hippie kids they envision will be coming to it. The movie also stars a young actor by the name of Peter Gross, who became a celebrity in Toronto many years later when he became a tv reporter/anchor on the CITY-TV station.

 

Again, realism is just spot on. Shebib's movies have a genuineness to them. I feel I've lived and observed in real life what is depicted on the screen.

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Why Rock the Boat? (1974), a wonderfully atmospheric newspaper drama set in 1947 Montreal. It stars Stuart Gillard (reminiscent of a young Jimmy Stewart, in many ways) as a naive cub reporter getting his first job (and with no desire to rock any boat) who falls head over heels for a beautiful reporter from another newspaper who wants to start a union for reporters. The film is chockful of a good natured humour.

 

Henry Beckman is a particular joy as the tyrannical publisher of the paper on which Gillard works. But there are also terrific performances from Ken James as the wily, cynical news photographer who dispenses seasoned advice to Gillard, and the incredibly sensual Patrciai Gage as the cougar wife of the paper editor who sets her cap on having the virginal Gillard. The scene in which the innocent Gillard and and predatory Gage sit before a roaring fireplace as she seductively talks to him about the heat and friction and sounds of the pops made by the popcorn they are eating has a remarkable erotic impact.

 

This little known small gem is, unfortunately, woefully diffficult to find.

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Tom, I concur that Why Rock the Boat is going to be quite hard to find.

In fact most Canadian films from the 70's and 80's before the advent of dvd's are very hard to find.  The distributors just don't see any money in making new dvd copies of these films and the government won't spend anything to preserve the films either.  We should be going cap in hand to Martin Scorsese to preserve our film heritage!  It worked for the Polish.

Here are a few that I am trying got get copies of:

 

Amanita Pestilens (1963).  A Wonderfully funny film by Paul Almond who only just passed away.  It features Genevieve Bujold's first film appearance.  It was shot in both English and French.

 

Les Plouffe (1981) by Gilles Carle.  It was based on the French Canadian tv and radio series.  Unfortunately the dvd copy doesn't have English subtitles.  Neither does the sequel Le Crime d'Ovide Plouffe.  Les Plouffe features some great performances.  One is by Emile Genest.  Some may remember him as the French Canadian dog lover in both The Incredible Journey and Big Red.  He had quite a little career going in Hollywood before doing Les Plouffe.

 

The Hounds of Notre Dame (1980) featuring a great performance by Thomas Peacocke.

 

Who Has Seen the Wind (1977) with one of Jose Ferrer's best career performances.

 

Heartaches (1980).  Another Don Shebib film.  This one made it as far a laser disc.  Nice performances by Margot Kidder and Annie Potts.

 

It Can't be Winter, We Haven't Had Summer Yet (1980) with a good performance by Celine Lomez.

 

J.A. Martin Photographe (1977) with Monique Mercure.  I wish I had recorded this one the last time it was on the MoviePix channel.

 

Les Beaux Souvenirs (1981) with Monique Spaziani.

 

Mr. Patman (1980) with fine performances by James Coburn, Kate Nelligan and especially Fionnulla Flanagan.

 

Perfectly Normal (1989) with Robbie Coltrane.

 

The Rowdyman (1972) with Gordon Pinsent and Stuart Gillard.  Will Geer is very good in this one too.

 

The Grey Fox (1982) with Richard Farnsworth.  This still has not been released on dvd.

 

South of Wawa (1991).  Not a great film but Rebecca Jenkins and Catherine Fitch are very good in it.

 

Tribute (1980).  Notable for the Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick performances.

 

and The Terry Fox Story (1983).  A really good bio-pix by Ralph Thomas with Eric Fryer and Robert Duvall.

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Producer Budge Crawley gave us some good 'uns.

 

The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964) with Robert Shaw, Mary Ure and Liam Redmond.  It is on dvd.

 

The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975).  Academy award winner for Best Documentary.

 

and Janis (1974) about Janis Joplin.

 

I finally caught up with the NFB short Universe (1960) by Roman Kroiter and Colin Low.   I posted something in the I Just Watched thread about it yesterday.  It was said to be somewhat of an inspiration for Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey.  It was narrated by Douglas Rain, our own HAL 9000 voice.

 

And speaking of Kroiter and Low we should all hail the Canadian development of IMAX which is now a world wide concern.  

 

 

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Ralph Thomas' 'Ticket to Heaven' (1981) is a very fine movie - probably the best feature film ever made using the 70's phenomenon of "moonie" type brainwashing cults as its base.

 

Truly standout performances are the norm in this remarkable film - Nick Mancuso, a teacher who is lured into the cult after his longtime girlfriend breaks up with him. Mancuso has never been able to do anything better than he did with this role; Saul Rubinek as his best friend who learns that something is very wrong when he receives an interrupted phone call; Meg Foster as a thoroughly chilling leader in the cult; Guy Boyd as a delightfully "immune" searcher, looking for his sister; R.H. Thomson as a bracing, no-nonsense de-programmer; Robert Joy as a thoroughly brainwashed (and abusive) member; and Kim Cattrall is amazing (the energy!) as the manipulative bait that draws guys in.

 

Speaking of Cattrall, I also like Bob Clark's 'Porky's' (1982) very much. Helluva entertaining movie. I can just hear Kim howling now.

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Ralph Thomas' 'Ticket to Heaven' (1981) is a very fine movie - probably the best feature film ever made using the 70's phenomenon of "moonie" type brainwashing cults as its base.

 

Truly standout performances are the norm in this remarkable film - Nick Mancuso, a teacher who is lured into the cult after his longtime girlfriend breaks up with him. Mancuso has never been able to do anything better than he did with this role; Saul Runinek as his best friend who learns that something is very wrong when he receives an interrupted phone call; Meg Foster as a thoroughly chilling leader in the cult; Guy Boyd as a delightfully "immune" searcher, looking for his sister; R.H. Thomson as a bracing, no-nonsense de-programmer; Robert Joy as a thoroughly brainwashed (and abusive) member; and Kim Cattrall is amazing (the energy!) as the manipulative bait that draws guys in.

 

Speaking of Cattrall, I also like Bob Clark's 'Porky's' (1982) very much. Helluva entertaining movie. I can just hear Kim howling now.

I heartily agree.  Ticket to Heaven was one of the best Canadian features and I wish R.L. Thomas had stuck around and made more of them.

I obtained a dvd copy of it earlier this year from Germany of all places.  Though I suspect it was just a vhs dub or transfer from a television master with some legitimate distributor artwork as the quality wasn't that great.  The German subtitles were removable.

I did some extra voices in Ticket in post-production on the chanting sequences.  I'm in there somewhere.

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I don't know if I have a favorite Canadian movie, but there's several I like a lot.  Also, I've noted the director of photography on a lot of Canadian films is Renè Verzier.  He was a busy feller, at least for a while. 

 

POSSESSION OF VIRGINIA, The (1972)  Filmed in Montreal.  D:  Jean Beaudin.  Starring Daniel Pilon, Louise Marleau, Danielle Ouimet and Rose-Rey Duzil as 'The Grandmother'.  English-dubbed Tv print runs just over 82 minutes.

 

LE DIABLE EST PARMI NOUS (1972)  This is the original French version of the movie.  Runs 87 minutes and has an epilogue missing from the Tv version.  

 

GAS (1981)  I ♥ this movie even if no one else does. 

 

FUNERAL HOME (1980)  Released in the U.S. in '82, btw.  I've seen this at least 7 times.  Have 3 copies on Paragon Video. 

 

RABID (1977)  Fun with David Cronenberg and venereal horror! 

 

THEY CAME FROM WITHIN (1975) 

    

MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)   

 

PYX, The (1973)  Filmed in Montreal

 

PICK-UP SUMMER (1981)  (Aka:  "Pinball Summer")  A low-grade teen-oriented comedy I saw when I was 9 or 10 on cable.  Years later, I bought it on video having remembered it fondly.  ► I think the movie's title was changed to "Pick-Up Summer" for it's American release so potential ticket-buyers wouldn't think the film was all about pinball.  Note the groovy theme tune, tho, which has lyrics that say "pinball summer" throughout the song. 

I like every one of these films, as well; and, would add 1978's THE SILENT PARTNER to this list.

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Les Flintstones (1981) by Jean Jacques Annaud wasn't too bad either.

Of course most people would know this film as Quest For Fire.

 

'Quest for Fire' (1981) is brilliant! I've seen it a dozen times and it always touches me. Rae Dawn Chong is absolutely wonderful in this - as are the 3 male leads (Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nicholas Kadi). While there's not a single piece of modern language spoken anywhere in the movie, there is never any doubt as to what is being expressed in the languages that Anthony Burgess invented for the film.

 

Every human being on earth should watch this movie at least twice. Any adult who claims there's nothing relatable in it needs to seriously examine their soul.

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Outrageous! (1977) features a great performance by Craig Russell.  This was Canada's Priscilla, Queen of the Desert -  Goin' Down the Road style.

 

Russell (1948-1990) was once Mae West's personal secretary!  He was running her fan club and wrote to her and went to see her in Los Angeles and they hit it off.  West and Carol Channing were two of Russell's best drag impersonations.

 

He went to the same high school as I did but quite a few years earlier.  

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Not trying to be a wise guy, but there aren't a huge number from which we can select. (at least, that Americans know about)

Well, like Christmas, Canada Day comes but once a year.

But stick around.  You might gather a few pointers on some good films.

For instance, all fans of Alan Arkin should see Joshua Then and Now.

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Not trying to be a wise guy, but there aren't a huge number from which we can select. (at least, that Americans know about)

 

Especially in this community - one that's so dedicated to old movies of the 30's, 40's and 50's.

 

Canadian movies didn't even really start until 1970.

 

There were some from before that date, but they were few, far between and unheralded. It was Shebib's seminal 'Goin' Down the Road' that proved a Canadian movie could garner an audience and make money, and the industry up here was truly born as a result - albeit to grow slowly. This does discount Quebec, of course. That province had had a regional industry for a decade already - but unless they were dubbed into English, they were strictly for an in-province audience back then. What did manage to get played in English speaking provinces - dubbed - were usually soft core sex-themed films of the 60's.

 

So, with the industry being virtually non-existent to both Americans and English speaking Canadians prior to 1970, it's absolutely true that there's little chance of most Americans being aware of these Canadian titles. 'Black Christmas' (1974) notwithstanding.

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Murder by Decree (1979).  A pretty good Sherlock Holmes movie by Bob Clark with lots of cameos by stars such as Donald Sutherland, David Hemmings, John Gielgud and Genevieve Bujold.

Christopher Plummer makes a fine Holmes but James Mason steals the show as Dr. Watson.

If the film had been a little bit better, Mason's Watson may have gained the attention it deserved.

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Away from Her.  Arguably Atlantic City is a Canadian film, or a French-Canadian production, notwithstanding its French director, American stars, and American setting.  David Cronenberg is arguably the greatest of Canadian directors, and Videodrome and Dead Ringers are arguably his best Canadian films.

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Threshold (1981) is an underrated Canadian gem by American director, Richard Pearce.  It stars Donald Sutherland as a heart surgeon and Jeff Goldblum as a research scientist who team up to develop the world's first artificial heart.

This film is so ahead of its time and Sutherland's portrayal of a Doctor is one of the finest in film.

John Marley, Mare Winningham and Michael Lerner co-star.

Stuart Gillard even has a bit part.

The early 80's were really the best of times for the English Canadian film industry.

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