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Ahead of Their Time


CaveGirl
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Well, of course I would put Ed Wood at the top of the list.

 

As Picasso once said, "Good taste is the enemy of creativity" and since Ed did not have much taste, he was incredibly creative.
 

He was also quite prolific even with his limited resources and so ahead of his time that he foresaw the future of crossdressing and addressed this topic in "Glen or Glenda" [aka "I Changed My Sex" 1953] and not only produced, wrote and directed but even played the lead. A real quadruple threat in Hollywood.

 

With other classics to come and all this in the early 1950's, who else would have touched such subjects like crossdressing on film? No one I can think of sadly!

 

I think films like "Jail Bait" prefigure some Russ Meyer epics with Tura Satana, and things like "Night of the Ghouls" and "Bride of the Monster" having come out in 1954/1955 lead the way for other similar horror films of Hammer and other cheapie B's made in the USA.

 

A real fan can join the Church of Ed Wood and celebrate Woodmas on the birthday of this off the wall genius.

 

Name another ahead of their time auteur in films.

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A few I can think of off the top of my head...

 

Virtually anything directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I think he sort of paved the way for future thriller/horror films of the 1950s and 60s, as well as maybe the 80s and beyond.

 

The Bad Seed (1956) dealt with an 8 & 1/2 year old girl named Rhoda, who was essentially born without the normal emotions of remorse, guilt, etc. and murdered grown ups whose personalities clashed with hers, or who promised her things after they died. I can't think of any (at least right now) that related so prolifically to a child that was so evil or ominous, except for The Innocents (1961) with Deborah Kerr, that came later, obviously.

 

Possibly some of Bette Davis' earlier films could maybe be considered "ahead of their time," as well, mainly due to the fact that the kinds of women in these films (i.e. Of Human Bondage; 1934) were women that no other actresses really wanted to play. These somewhat garish or grotesque roles (I think) were sort of ahead of their time, because the majority of roles for women during this time period were more sophisticated and more glamorous.

 

The Moon is Blue (1953): This one just popped into my head. This was one of the first 50s films to include the word "mistress" in relation to a married man's "other woman," rather than, say, "Mistress of the Manor" or whatever. Other terms included were "virgin" and "pregnant," and the production code organization refused to endorse this film, but director Otto Preminger refused to take the words out, and thus released the film without the seal of approval.

 

*don't know if this is related to the thread or not, but it's just what I thought of*

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A few I can think of off the top of my head...

 

Virtually anything directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I think he sort of paved the way for future thriller/horror films of the 1950s and 60s, as well as maybe the 80s and beyond.

 

The Bad Seed (1956) dealt with an 8 & 1/2 year old girl named Rhoda, who was essentially born without the normal emotions of remorse, guilt, etc. and murdered grown ups whose personalities clashed with hers, or who promised her things after they died. I can't think of any (at least right now) that related so prolifically to a child that was so evil or ominous, except for The Innocents (1961) with Deborah Kerr, that came later, obviously.

 

Possibly some of Bette Davis' earlier films could maybe be considered "ahead of their time," as well, mainly due to the fact that the kinds of women in these films (i.e. Of Human Bondage; 1934) were women that no other actresses really wanted to play. These somewhat garish or grotesque roles (I think) were sort of ahead of their time, because the majority of roles for women during this time period were more sophisticated and more glamorous.

 

The Moon is Blue (1953): This one just popped into my head. This was one of the first 50s films to include the word "mistress" in relation to a married man's "other woman," rather than, say, "Mistress of the Manor" or whatever. Other terms included were "virgin" and "pregnant," and the production code organization refused to endorse this film, but director Otto Preminger refused to take the words out, and thus released the film without the seal of approval.

 

*don't know if this is related to the thread or not, but it's just what I thought of*

Love your takes and also your Janet Blair picture!

 

Rhoda Penmark is definitely ahead of her time as a child serial killer.

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Ida Lupino dealt with a lot issues in her directed features which are now talked about a lot buy were not at the time.

 

Edward Dymetrik (sorry, I don't know how to spell his name, but he directed Cornered) was an early film noir director before 'film noir" really took hold in United States.

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Ida Lupino dealt with a lot issues in her directed features which are now talked about a lot buy were not at the time.

 

Edward Dymetrik (sorry, I don't know how to spell his name, but he directed Cornered) was an early film noir director before 'film noir" really took hold in United States.

Great choices, GPF. I think it is spelled "Dmytryk" but we may both be wrong. I'm sure someone will correct us!

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I would say that Orson Welles was way ahead of his time when he was directing.  Many of his films were under-appreciated in their day--being viewed as pretentious, bloated affairs.  Films like The Magnificent Ambersons were butchered by the studio's editing team.  Welles' contributions to the art of filmmaking were not appreciated until well after his films were released and audiences began to see the creativity and innovation present in his work.  Citizen Kane, regarded by many as the greatest film of all time, was monumental when it came to filmmaking techniques.  The cinematography in 'Kane' is remarkable and truly one of a kind in the time that it was made.

 

What I appreciate about Welles' films, is that no one film is the same as its predecessor.  He was always trying out new techniques in each of his films.  One of my favorite films of his is The Lady From Shanghai.  The end shootout scene in the hall of mirrors is truly remarkable and one of the most memorable scenes in cinema.

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Another I just thought of is One Potato, Two Potato (1964) starring Miss Barbara Barrie. This one dealt with a love story between a black man and a white woman, so obviously this one was ahead of its time, since it involved an interracial couple, which was not unheard of during the 60s, but was oft looked down upon.

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Re: The Moon is Blue. I would say that Otto Preminger's advertising ploys for the film are ahead of its time; daring to take on the powerful Production Code is very gutsy and edgier films are certainly indebted to his efforts. However, the film itself wasn't as scandalous as he made it out to be . I can think of at least 2 films that used the word "pregnant" before The Moon is Blue- Tomorrow is Another Day and I'll See You in My Dreams. In the latter, the word is not inconspicuous at all as Doris Day's character repeatedly shouts the word to an oblivious Danny Thomas in a noisy jazz club. 

 

As far as other films ahead of their time I would add No Way Out another film about race relations. I think it's more interesting than many anti-racist films because the black characters are presented as people rather than saintly archetypes. You see them as intellectual people who fight for themselves rather than just depending on benevolent white folks. 

 

I thought that some of the 50s movies that critiqued suburbia like The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit and No Down Payment were ahead of its time in regards to its criticism of how the new middle class lifestyle is a sterile environment. You especially see this in No Down Payment where the community at first glance seems to be an egalitarian environment for all upwardly mobile young families. However, the hardworking, Christian Japanese family that is refused housing (initially) and the way that the white trash couple is shunned shows that there is trouble in paradise. Many people claimed that the ending was a total copout; I disagree. I thought the ending was intriguingly ambiguous and I thought the circularity of it implies that the characters undergo vicious cycles.

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