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"That's not even your face."


Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:56 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
"That's not even your face."
:D I think my favorite moment from that is during the theme for Apt Pupil, when "Ray" just adds in at the last second "There's a kid and a Nazi down there!"; man, oh man, do I miss that show...

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:04 am
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Poor Ray Parker. The black Kenny Loggins.


Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:41 am
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Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig/2017) B-

Lady Bird is Gerwig's directorial debut (she's also the writer but not new to that job). She apes very little from her husband (lots of over-lapping dialogue) and keeps this coming of age story not feel too coming of agey. It's like a slice of life. Ronan (I can't spell her first name or pronounce it) is great as Lady Bird as is Laurie Metcalf as her put-upon mother. There are a few real good sub-plots Gerwig is juggling and she does it well. It's not the greatest movie but it's worth seeing and you won't be disappointed.


Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:55 am
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That Key and Peele had me almost crying laughing. Those guys must have smoked a lot of dope coming up with all their crazy skits. Poor Ray Parker Jr.


Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:00 pm
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ski petrol wrote:
That Key and Peele had me almost crying laughing. Those guys must have smoked a lot of dope coming up with all their crazy skits.
Or, as they would put it, they got "hy-on-potenuse"...

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:13 pm
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VERTIGO

#TeamMidge

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:37 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
The disc I rented included a roundtable discussion with Spielberg and the cast. It was painful watching Hiddleston say things with a straight face like "I think Joey <the horse> represents pure love", then they cut to Toby Kebbell somberly nodding in agreement. It's like "seriously, dude?"

I just threw up a little.


Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:02 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
VERTIGO

#TeamMidge

I've always found Barbara Bel Geddes to be sexier than Kim Novak. I thought it was just me.

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:14 am
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They really stacked the deck against her character when they gave her that name. It's just too hard to imagine anyone in their moment of ecstasy crying out, "Oh, Midge!"

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:24 am
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BL wrote:
They really stacked the deck against her character when they gave her that name. It's just too hard to imagine anyone in their moment of ecstasy crying out, "Oh, Midge!"

Her name is 'Ms. Wood' if you're nasty.


Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:29 am
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I've never been able to fully embrace Vertigo and this viewing was no different. I think my main obstruction is that I can't identify with anyone being obsessed with the lifeless Novak. She gains a bit more personality in her brunette phase towards the end, but it's just something I can't get past. I wonder if replacing her with Grace would make a difference, because Grace Kelly could stand perfectly still with a finger in her nose and I'd be obsessed. Bummer that I can't enjoy this one as much as the rest of the world. Hitch is my guy, after all.

(And Midge just seems WAY more fun.)

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:50 am
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BL wrote:
They really stacked the deck against her character when they gave her that name. It's just too hard to imagine anyone in their moment of ecstasy crying out, "Oh, Midge!"

And she wears glasses! Gross,right?

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:51 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I've never been able to fully embrace Vertigo and this viewing was no different. I think my main obstruction is that I can't identify with anyone being obsessed with the lifeless Novak. She gains a bit more personality in her brunette phase towards the end, but it's just something I can't get past. I wonder if replacing her with Grace would make a difference, because Grace Kelly could stand perfectly still with a finger in her nose and I'd be obsessed. Bummer that I can't enjoy this one as much as the rest of the world. Hitch is my guy, after all.

(And Midge just seems WAY more fun.)
I don't think we're supposed to identify with Scottie's obsession. It's creepy and unhealthy and ultimately doomed. It's what leads to Scottie's own psychotic break and Judy's ultimate death. The obsession is his tragic flaw, and I don't think the movie ever asks us to approve of it. Even when Scottie is first getting drawn into the mystery with "Madeleine," it's very deliberately artificial and forced, largely because it's an elaborate play being stage-managed from behind the scenes by Gavin (and by extension Hitchcock himself) for an audience of precisely one. Why Scottie becomes so obsessed (especially when he has the adoring Midge doting over him) is part of the mystery of the movie, something we're not supposed to understand until finally it's explained when we know how he was manipulated by Gavin -- manipulated so personally that Scottie is the only person on earth on whom the scheme could possibly depend.

I think Hitchcock very intentionally holds us at arm's length in the first half until this information is doled out, and I think the reason Novak seems to have more personality in the second half is because she's actually playing a person in those scenes and not just the mannequin onto whom Gavin has affixed every little detail to draw Scottie's attention. By the time Scottie is ruthlessly trying to turn her back into that mannequin, I would say our sympathy has squarely shifted from Scottie in favor of Judy, as Scottie's behavior is pretty menacingly loony by then.

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:29 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I've never been able to fully embrace Vertigo and this viewing was no different. I think my main obstruction is that I can't identify with anyone being obsessed with the lifeless Novak. She gains a bit more personality in her brunette phase towards the end, but it's just something I can't get past. I wonder if replacing her with Grace would make a difference, because Grace Kelly could stand perfectly still with a finger in her nose and I'd be obsessed. Bummer that I can't enjoy this one as much as the rest of the world. Hitch is my guy, after all.

(And Midge just seems WAY more fun.)


Vertigo is my favorite Hitchcock, so I'm "biased", but I've never cared that much about Novak's character. Outside of how tragic her fate is, there really isn't a lot of emotion or charisma to her. However, I've always gravitated more towards Scottie's story, which IMO, is presented, written, and acted perfectly. To me, that's what drives the story, regardless of how well Novak is written/acted. She is a plot device.

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:32 am
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BL wrote:
I don't think we're supposed to identify with Scottie's obsession. It's creepy and unhealthy and ultimately doomed. It's what leads to Scottie's own psychotic break and Judy's ultimate death. The obsession is his tragic flaw, and I don't think the movie ever asks us to approve of it. Even when Scottie is first getting drawn into the mystery with "Madeleine," it's very deliberately artificial and forced, largely because it's an elaborate play being stage-managed from behind the scenes by Gavin (and by extension Hitchcock himself) for an audience of precisely one. Why Scottie becomes so obsessed (especially when he has the adoring Midge doting over him) is part of the mystery of the movie, something we're not supposed to understand until finally it's explained when we know how he was manipulated by Gavin -- manipulated so personally that Scottie is the only person on earth on whom the scheme could possibly depend.

I think Hitchcock very intentionally holds us at arm's length in the first half until this information is doled out, and I think the reason Novak seems to have more personality in the second half is because she's actually playing a person in those scenes and not just the mannequin onto whom Gavin has affixed every little detail to draw Scottie's attention. By the time Scottie is ruthlessly trying to turn her back into that mannequin, I would say our sympathy has squarely shifted from Scottie in favor of Judy, as Scottie's behavior is pretty menacingly loony by then.


And this is a great reply also. Last year when I took that Hitchcock course, I was surprised at how many people rejected the film for that same reason (they couldn't identify with Scottie, or they didn't want to condone it) when it's obvious that we're not meant to. It's worth remembering that Scottie's obsession is driven by guilt. The guilt of the man he couldn't save, transposed to the woman that she still can save. I'm going to fish out a lengthy post I wrote last summer on TCM.com where I expand on this.

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:37 am
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Back on the TCM Forums, someone was complaining that the film didn't tell us what happened to Gavin or what not. My reply...

Quote:
I read there was an extended ending that showed Gavin Elster getting arrested, but Hitch ditched it.

But anyway, the point of the story was never Gavin Elster. His plan and his fate is the film's MacGuffin. Our focus is Scottie and the fact that is catastrophic is part of it. And in that respect, I have to ask, do we have to feel empathy towards a character like Scottie in order to enjoy the film? Is it necessary for him to have redemption for the film to be great? I think that the fact that he's so troubled and remains troubled by the end is what makes the film more interesting.


When someone else brought up his dislike of Vertigo because Scottie was a "bizarro, dysfunctional JERK", here's my reply...

Quote:
But I refer you to one of the points I made in my previous post to jfedelchak where I ask: do we have to empathize with all the characters in a film to enjoy it?

Second, many people are being excessively dismissive of Scottie's situation. Do I think he should be held accountable of his actions? Sure, but we all have to put in perspective what he has been through. He suffered a near-death experience and the trauma of seeing someone else die because of him. The acrophobia or vertigo is merely an expression of the guilt he feels for the death of that cop. He is still reeling from the PTSD and standing at the door of retirement, so when a friend approaches him asking for his help, he sees this as a way to atone while also feeling useful in a role similar to his old job.

In that fragile state of mind, Scottie is used by Elster to achieve his ultimate goal of murdering his wife, but Scottie doesn't know it. So you have to add yet another layer of guilt to his baggage. Not only was he responsible for the death of the cop in the opening, but now he is responsible for the death of the woman he fell in love with, while also having to deal with having "failed" his friend. There is a bit of dark humor in the "trial" scene with the way the judge presents the facts of the case, but it all goes back to Scottie's guilt.

With all that in his mind, he has no alternative but to seek psychiatric help, and when he sees a woman he thinks looks like Madeleine (not knowing it's the same person), he feels the need to "rescue" her again; bring her back to life, if you may. She lost her, but Judy symbolizes the possibility of bringing her back.

Realizing that Madeleine wasn't in fact dead gives Scottie the drive to overcome his guilt/fear as he climbs the stairs. He doesn't feel guilty or responsible anymore because the woman he thought was dead, isn't. Unfortunately, Madeleine/Judy ends up falling, this time as she confronts her "sins" (the nun). Her reaction to the voice of the nun can also be seen as her guilt as she screams and literally jumps. The ending is intentionally ambiguous because we don't get a chance to see how Scottie will come out of the last tragedy, but we do know that he has no acrophobia anymore. Will he feel guilty now for Judy's death? will he jump?

Again, I do think Scottie has to be held accountable for his actions, but his character and his psyche are more complex than some of you are giving him credit for. He is a deeply troubled and flawed individual in a fragile state of mind, having to deal with extraordinary situations that he isn't fully equipped for.

And I think this proves that Vertigo is indeed my favorite Hitchcock... :D

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Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:52 am
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I watched The Spy Who Shagged Me last night, which is still a good time. As a kid it drove me crazy how they just threw Elizabeth Hurley's character in the trash. Now I realize that it was part of the self aware, sequel parody vibe they were going for. The whole thing reminded me of Gremlins 2 in that regard.


Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:18 am
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I watched Gun Crazy. Awesome noir that, while less stylish than some of the titans in the genre, brings a very unique, nigh cinema verité aesthetic to it that really makes it a highly engaging watch.


Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:09 am
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Gun Crazy is a film with a lot of personality.

I'm not finished with it yet, but I'm watching Dragon Inn I like it so far, but the subtitles are in white and go by kind of fast. I might need to rewatch the beginning because I'm embarrassed by how hard I'm finding it to keep track of all of the characters and their motivations. I've twice been like, "Wait, who was that who just got killed?!".


Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:33 am
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The Shape Of Water (Guillermo Del Toro/2017) B

Like all great fantasies you have to suspend your belief every once in a while because it's a fantasy. Del Toro is perfect for this kind of material and if in lesser hands it could have been a trainwreck. As it stands it's a gorgeous, sad and funny piece of filmmaking. I don't know what I'm gonna watch next. Maybe Three Billboards or maybe The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Trying to get in one a day before the Oscar nominations are announced.


Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:59 am
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Thanks to Thief and BL for the Vertigo feedback, some interesting points. It's true that I've been judging Scottie's behavior without factoring in his circumstances. Which makes me feel dumb since the word "vertigo" is the title of the movie. :-/ I've been approaching it as a doomed-romance kind of thing I guess, which doesn't really work thanks to that lack of chemistry I mentioned. But I can see how it works better as a "this guy is screwed up" story. His issues are more obvious in the later scenes, like when he's being so obsessive and single-minded at the dress shop, but for some reason I never applied that to the earlier scenes when he's just following her. He's screwed up from the beginning. Interesting. This has caused me to reconsider the post-rescue-from-the-bay scene. It's made pretty clear that Scottie has undressed her. I remember the first time I watched it, I expected some line of explanation ("My cleaning lady put you to bed"), since this was a film from the 50s, and how scandalous it seemed when there was none. Anyhow, I always interpreted that as an attempt at some sexiness by Hitch, which it probably was partly. But now I can see what it says about Scottie. After rescuing her he had a few options: take her to a hospital, or her house, or call a lady neighbor for help, or Midge. Instead he chose to take her to his house alone and undress her. It's no longer the sexy meet-cute I used to think it was supposed to be.

I've seen this probably 5 or 6 times now, so I just want to clarify that it's a film that I like, but haven't learned to love. It's a good one but I've found myself somewhat bewildered as I've watched it slowly creep up on Citizen Kane in GOAT lists in recent years. My bluray includes a commentary by William Friedkin of all people, so I intend to listen to that soon and see what ol' Billy has to say.

One thing that struck me during this latest viewing is that it "feels" different than a lot of Hitch's work, mostly due to the pacing I think. The early stalking scenes are all very slow-paced and virtually silent, especially compared to something as kinetic as NxNW the next year. That's something I appreciated more this time than I have in the past.
Also, Midge. :heart:

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:12 am
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I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri today, and I was quite mixed about it. Pretty underwhelmed to be honest. I need to write a decent review of it later.

Also, what a garbage title.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:52 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
This has caused me to reconsider the post-rescue-from-the-bay scene. It's made pretty clear that Scottie has undressed her. I remember the first time I watched it, I expected some line of explanation ("My cleaning lady put you to bed"), since this was a film from the 50s, and how scandalous it seemed when there was none. Anyhow, I always interpreted that as an attempt at some sexiness by Hitch, which it probably was partly. But now I can see what it says about Scottie. After rescuing her he had a few options: take her to a hospital, or her house, or call a lady neighbor for help, or Midge. Instead he chose to take her to his house alone and undress her. It's no longer the sexy meet-cute I used to think it was supposed to be.


Women waking up naked, having been undressed by a strange man is often used as a sexy meet-cute, especially in action or thriller movies, and it's incredibly gross and creepy. I think there's this weird "logic" that's supposed to be like "How gentlemanly--he took her clothes off but didn't sexually assault her!" but it's just sad how low a bar that sets for a "romantic" hero. I remember seeing Vertigo in the theater and that scene happening and a bunch of guys laughing at her alarmed expression (and, no, it was not uncomfortable laughter) and it really weirded me out. Throughout the entire movie Scottie is comfortable imposing his own needs on the women around him.

Midge is . . . fine. But her attempts to turn his unhealthy, controlling behavior in her own direction comes off as pretty pathetic.

I like the movie a lot as a study of mental illness and obsession, and a lot of the imagery is dynamite. But no one in the film is likable. Anyone who thinks it's a romance needs help.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:26 am
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Private Hell 36 was solid enough but plays like a B level not due to pacing issues and Siegel lacking the freedom to bring his sense of style and energy to the film. Apparently, he clashed with Ida Lupino and given her stardom and role as writer and actress in the film, it feels like she won more than he did. I dig the plot quite a bit and it opens and ends very well, but the meat of the film takes too long to get going then to long to end.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:35 am
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Wormwood - 8/10

Errol Morris ventures into his first Netflix series with this 6 episode documentary, concerning Frank Olson, the subject of one of the most fascinating controversies from the CIA's MK-Ultra program. The book Acid Dreams by Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain remains one of the best overviews of the program and its controversies. Olson, as it was claimed, was one of the Agency's unwitting victims of LSD research, being given the substance without his knowledge. Such covert experiments were done on agents in order to test its supposed 'truth serum' properties. It turned out that the psychological shock of the experience would just as likely produce catatonic psychosis as it would compliant cooperation, especially when combined with the community's culture of groomed deception and duplicity, and it was considered for many years, since the incident's disclosure during the Church Committee in 1975, that Olson's reaction to the drug had caused him to either jump or fall from a 17 story window.

In other words, it's a story seemingly tailor-made for Morris' investigatory eye, as he sifts through decades of tangled spooks, smoke and lies. There are a couple of striking deviations from his familiar style however. Most noticeably, gone is his patented Interrotron, and, for I believe the first time, Morris has now framed himself into his interviews. Also, the dependence on dramatic re-enactments is stronger than ever, perhaps necessitated somewhat by needing to fill the little over four hours of run-time. The result is like a combination Errol Morris documentary (sans Tron) with what could have been edited as a period thriller, starring Peter Skarsgaard and Tim Blake Nelson, of the flashed-back Frank Olson story.

As typical of Morris, all is not what it seems, and we venture deeper into cover-up and conspiracy in the height of Cold War paranoia. A tidy binge dose should do you.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:18 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Thanks to Thief and BL for the Vertigo feedback, some interesting points. It's true that I've been judging Scottie's behavior without factoring in his circumstances. Which makes me feel dumb since the word "vertigo" is the title of the movie. :-/ I've been approaching it as a doomed-romance kind of thing I guess, which doesn't really work thanks to that lack of chemistry I mentioned. But I can see how it works better as a "this guy is screwed up" story. His issues are more obvious in the later scenes, like when he's being so obsessive and single-minded at the dress shop, but for some reason I never applied that to the earlier scenes when he's just following her. He's screwed up from the beginning. Interesting. This has caused me to reconsider the post-rescue-from-the-bay scene. It's made pretty clear that Scottie has undressed her. I remember the first time I watched it, I expected some line of explanation ("My cleaning lady put you to bed"), since this was a film from the 50s, and how scandalous it seemed when there was none. Anyhow, I always interpreted that as an attempt at some sexiness by Hitch, which it probably was partly. But now I can see what it says about Scottie. After rescuing her he had a few options: take her to a hospital, or her house, or call a lady neighbor for help, or Midge. Instead he chose to take her to his house alone and undress her. It's no longer the sexy meet-cute I used to think it was supposed to be.

I've seen this probably 5 or 6 times now, so I just want to clarify that it's a film that I like, but haven't learned to love. It's a good one but I've found myself somewhat bewildered as I've watched it slowly creep up on Citizen Kane in GOAT lists in recent years. My bluray includes a commentary by William Friedkin of all people, so I intend to listen to that soon and see what ol' Billy has to say.

One thing that struck me during this latest viewing is that it "feels" different than a lot of Hitch's work, mostly due to the pacing I think. The early stalking scenes are all very slow-paced and virtually silent, especially compared to something as kinetic as NxNW the next year. That's something I appreciated more this time than I have in the past.
Also, Midge. :heart:


I think a fair part of its ascent up all those "greatest" lists is that Vertigo feels confessional. Hitchcock was famous for his interest in casting beautiful blondes in his movies and putting 'em through the ringer of suffering his direction (and sometimes-harassment (e.g. Tippi Hedren)) in the name of screamy thrillers. So here's a flick about a guy who's obsessed with blondes and gets so obsessed that he fashions this woman into his "ideal woman," but it doesn't actually make him any happier. [And if it did, well, that's its own sort of tragedy.] And the types of people who make those lists are the kind that are searching for these deeper, more personal levels - and it probably means something that they can find that in a film by Hitchcock, who was loved in his day but valued mostly as a thrill-generator instead of a vital artist.*

* - I don't know how true this is (I haven't read contemporaneous reviews/criticism of his work), but it was a big part of why the French critics/filmmakers of cahiers du cinema paid a lot of attention to him. They felt they were "rescuing" his reputation by treating him as an artisan and an auteur.

Anyway, it's a very good film and fascinating the more you consider it, but I'm more of a Rear Window boy.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:24 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

Women waking up naked, having been undressed by a strange man is often used as a sexy meet-cute, especially in action or thriller movies, and it's incredibly gross and creepy. I think there's this weird "logic" that's supposed to be like "How gentlemanly--he took her clothes off but didn't sexually assault her!" but it's just sad how low a bar that sets for a "romantic" hero. I remember seeing Vertigo in the theater and that scene happening and a bunch of guys laughing at her alarmed expression (and, no, it was not uncomfortable laughter) and it really weirded me out.

There's that moment when they both silently acknowledge that it happened, and his attitude is less "sorry about that" and more "oh yeah, I saw your boobies. WINK". That didn't help. Doesn't he even say "It was my pleasure" or something?

Takoma1 wrote:
Anyone who thinks it's a romance needs help.

I think that's been my main issue all these years. I'd watch it and think "worst love story ever". I'm starting to realize that's not the point.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:28 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
Anyone who thinks it's a romance needs help.


rah rah ah-ah-ah/ro mah ro-mah-mah/Gaga oh-la-la

and yes, that was very gentlemanly of James Stewart not to assault Kim Novak. obviously Hitchcock was beyond such politeness by the time he made Marnie.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:35 am
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DaMU wrote:

I think a fair part of its ascent up all those "greatest" lists is that Vertigo feels confessional. Hitchcock was famous for his interest in casting beautiful blondes in his movies and putting 'em through the ringer of suffering his direction (and sometimes-harassment (e.g. Tippi Hedren)) in the name of screamy thrillers. .


YES, this is an argument I've made before, in fact. I suspect that there is some projection going on, which I'm not a fan of because it's something that's not on screen. A film buff/historian knows the history and it's perfectly valid to factor that in to one's opinion of the film, but it shouldn't be required for the average viewer to appreciate it. (the version of the story I'd heard was that AH was in love with Grace Kelly and had pretty much decided to use her in every future movie, but that plan was thwarted by her marriage/retirement, so the idea of transforming Judy into Madeline was symbolic of Hitch trying to turn every actress into Grace.)

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:40 am
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Also, there's a 25-year age gap between Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, incidentally. Not that that ever bothered Hollywood.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:49 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Also, there's a 25-year age gap between Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, incidentally. Not that that ever bothered Hollywood.


for a movie about an unhealthy, emotionally-crippling obsession, I can deal. for a crowd-pleasing romantic comedy like Bell, Book and Candle, it's more troublesome.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:01 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I think that's been my main issue all these years. I'd watch it and think "worst love story ever". I'm starting to realize that's not the point.


For me, part of the problem was my association with Stewart himself, who I'd never seen play a character I didn't like. The idea of him being an anti-hero was just too hard for me to wrap my head around the first few times I saw the film, so I kept trying to justify and explain away his actions.

I think that it's also complicated separating Scottie's obsession from Madeline's deception and recognizing BOTH as being wrong and villainously wrong. Because of the genre trappings of the detective story, we are naturally inclined to sympathize with an investigator (even one for whom it "gets personal") who is trying to find the truth. People (and specifically women) who lie or deceive are the villains and the men who expose their lies (even if they themselves are flawed) are the good guys. The sexual/romantic relationship between the male detective and the femme fatale is usually just a way to make the ending more bittersweet. Vertigo is approaching this kind of story with a much more complicated take, but I think that our brains can't help but try to fit the story into a comfortable mold, casting Scottie as the flawed hero and Madeline as the villain.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:04 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
For me, part of the problem was my association with Stewart himself, who I'd never seen play a character I didn't like. The idea of him being an anti-hero was just too hard for me to wrap my head around the first few times I saw the film, so I kept trying to justify and explain away his actions.


fwiw, he's played some mean son-of-a-bitches for Anthony Mann prior to Vertigo. there's also John Ford's Two Rode Together but that comes later.

most of the everyman roles I'd seen Stewart play were from his pre-WWII career so maybe that's why it wasn't so hard for me to buy him as a creep.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:23 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

For me, part of the problem was my association with Stewart himself, who I'd never seen play a character I didn't like. The idea of him being an anti-hero was just too hard for me to wrap my head around the first few times I saw the film, so I kept trying to justify and explain away his actions.

As your doctor, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington will obviously clear that right up.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:36 am
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I've since seen a more nuanced/evil Stewart, but I first saw Vertigo when I was like 10 or 11, and my only context for him as a character was Rear Window (clearly the protagonist), Rope (again, kind of a jerk, but still clearly not a bad guy), and parts of Harvey.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:14 am
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Wooley wrote:
As your doctor, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington will obviously clear that right up.

But... He's not an anti-hero in either of those, Wools


Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:35 am
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I'm probably the only person here who hasn't seen Vertigo.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:44 am
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Yeah, you want mean Jimmy Stewart, you watch some Anthony Mann westerns. Or Anatomy of a Murder, he's got some good moral ambiguity going on in that one.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:58 am
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Macrology wrote:
Yeah, you want mean Jimmy Stewart, you watch some Anthony Mann westerns. Or Anatomy of a Murder, he's got some good moral ambiguity going on in that one.


I remember someone, maybe on RT, mentioning Winchester '73 as a good antithesis of the James Stewart persona. I've been curious to check that one.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:21 pm
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Macrology wrote:
Yeah, you want mean Jimmy Stewart, you watch some Anthony Mann westerns. Or Anatomy of a Murder, he's got some good moral ambiguity going on in that one.


My favorite Jimmy Stewart is the gently confident pacifist of Destry Rides Again.

I do admit that Mann's filmography is a real blindspot for me. The noir class that I took a few years back got me very interested in Border Incident.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:22 pm
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Slentert wrote:
I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri today, and I was quite mixed about it. Pretty underwhelmed to be honest. I need to write a decent review of it later.

Also, what a garbage title.
While I didn't quite think that Billboards deserved its astronomical 8.8 average rating on RT, I still really enjoyed its dark social drama, and the way you could really hear McDonagh's acidic voice in every character's dialogue. And the title's unique, something Hollywood needs more of, dammit :oops:

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:55 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Private Hell 36 was solid enough but plays like a B level not due to pacing issues and Siegel lacking the freedom to bring his sense of style and energy to the film.
That sounds like a shame, since, though I've never seen the movie in question, I did watch Dirty Harry last year for the first time in almost a decade-and-a-half, and I had forgotten just how fucking stylish Siegel's direction in it really was, something that I didn't appreciate anywhere near enough as I should've when I was 14... which is good, because writing-wise, Milius's overall sleazy tone, reactionary, quasi-fascist politics, and ridiculous caricaturing of early 70's San Fran as essentially nothing more than a city of nudie bars, crazy, horny hippies, and gay male hustlers did NOT hold up at all. Heck, it wouldn't have even held up back in '71, for that matter. But, I'm still trying to work on writing a full review of it eventually, inbetween everything else I'm doing, so more on that later.
Thief wrote:

I remember someone, maybe on RT, mentioning Winchester '73 as a good antithesis of the James Stewart persona. I've been curious to check that one.
I wasn't really a fan of Winchester; it wasn't bad or anything, but its various plot tangents didn't contribute much to the overall experience, and it ultimately didn't add up to much story or character-wise in the end.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:07 pm
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Stu wrote:
That sounds like a shame, since, though I've never seen the movie in question, I did watch Dirty Harry last year for the first time in almost a decade-and-a-half, and I had forgotten just how fucking stylish Siegel's direction in it really was, something that I didn't appreciate anywhere near enough as I should've when I was 14... which is good, because writing-wise, Milius's overall sleazy tone, reactionary, quasi-fascist politics, and ridiculous caricaturing of early 70's San Fran as essentially nothing more than a city of nudie bars, crazy, horny hippies, and gay male hustlers did NOT hold up at all. Heck, it wouldn't have even held up back in '71, for that matter. But, I'm still trying to work on writing a full review of it eventually, inbetween everything else I'm doing, so more on that later.I wasn't really a fan of Winchester; it wasn't bad or anything, but its various plot tangents didn't contribute much to the overall experience, and it ultimately didn't add up to much story or character-wise in the end.

Don Siegel is one of my favorite directors. I feel like I'm diametrically opposed to him politically, but like Mel Gibson, there's such vision in his works that I'm usually fascinated by them. I think Dirty Harry is a masterpiece of right wing revisionist history that still stands unique among many imitators, primarily due to Siegel's style.

That said, he's not easy to peg down politically. For every Dirty Harry and Coogan's Bluff, there's a Riot in Cell Block 11, Beguiled and Escape from Alcatraz, that seems to directly contradict what those films purport.

PH36 has none of that. It's a solid noir plot but aside from the brief action at the beginning and end, it could have been made by any number of directors for hire.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:34 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Don Siegel is one of my favorite directors. I feel like I'm diametrically opposed to him politically, but like Mel Gibson, there's such vision in his works that I'm usually fascinated by them. I think Dirty Harry is a masterpiece of right wing revisionist history that still stands unique among many imitators, primarily due to Siegel's style.

That said, he's not easy to peg down politically. For every Dirty Harry and Coogan's Bluff, there's a Riot in Cell Block 11, Beguiled and Escape from Alcatraz, that seems to directly contradict what those films purport.
Sounds like his films' politics (or Dirty Harry's, at least) was more the fault of the writers than Siegel himself. According to Wiki, Milius himself said that his main contribution to the film was
"a lot of guns. And the attitude of Dirty Harry, being a cop who was ruthless. I think it's fairly obvious if you look at the rest of my work what parts are mine. The cop being the same as the killer except he has a badge. In my script version, there's just more outrageous Milius crap where I had the killer in the bus with a flamethrower. I tried to make the guy as outrageous as possible. I had him get a police photographer to take a picture of him with all the kids lined up at the school – he kidnaps them at the school, actually – and they showed the picture to the other police after he's made his demands; he wants a 747 to take him away to a country where he'll be free of police harassment [Milius laughs uproariously], terrible things like this. And the children all end up like a graduation picture, and the teacher is saying, "What is that object under Andy Robinson?" and a cop says, "That's a claymore mine." Teacher asks, "What's a claymore mine?" And we hear the voice of Harry say, "If he sets it off, they're all spaghetti." Chief says, "That's enough, Harry." Everybody said, "That's too much, John; we can't have Milius doing this kind of stuff." I wanted the guy to be just totally outrageous all the time, and he is. I think Siegel restrained it enough.
If that's the case, then I'm glad Don did reign in Scorpio in the final product, because haha, holy shit...

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:58 pm
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Stu wrote:
Sounds like his films' politics (or Dirty Harry's, at least) was more the fault of the writers than Siegel himself. According to Wiki, Milius himself said that his main contribution to the film was
"a lot of guns. And the attitude of Dirty Harry, being a cop who was ruthless. I think it's fairly obvious if you look at the rest of my work what parts are mine. The cop being the same as the killer except he has a badge. In my script version, there's just more outrageous Milius crap where I had the killer in the bus with a flamethrower. I tried to make the guy as outrageous as possible. I had him get a police photographer to take a picture of him with all the kids lined up at the school – he kidnaps them at the school, actually – and they showed the picture to the other police after he's made his demands; he wants a 747 to take him away to a country where he'll be free of police harassment [Milius laughs uproariously], terrible things like this. And the children all end up like a graduation picture, and the teacher is saying, "What is that object under Andy Robinson?" and a cop says, "That's a claymore mine." Teacher asks, "What's a claymore mine?" And we hear the voice of Harry say, "If he sets it off, they're all spaghetti." Chief says, "That's enough, Harry." Everybody said, "That's too much, John; we can't have Milius doing this kind of stuff." I wanted the guy to be just totally outrageous all the time, and he is. I think Siegel restrained it enough.
If that's the case, then I'm glad Don did reign in Scorpio in the final product, because haha, holy shit...

I didn't know that. I think it might have made the politics less abrasive because the stakes would be so absurd, which I think is the friend of morally questionable action. Siegel is so good at grounding things in gritty realism without sacrificing cinematic flair that he may have accidentally make the authoritarianism more convincing.

Either way, I may need to force my wife to watch the first two Dirty Harry flicks now. She needs more Clint in her life.

That said, I believe that Eastwood was fairly vocal about the politics that ended up in the film and is also responsible for the right wing fantasy. He said he was responding to what he perceived to be the granting of rights to criminals at the expense of victims... His answer seeming to be a call for unrestrained police authority and brutality.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:09 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I didn't know that. I think it might have made the politics less abrasive because the stakes would be so absurd, which I think is the friend of morally questionable action. Siegel is so good at grounding things in gritty realism without sacrificing cinematic flair that he may have accidentally make the authoritarianism more convincing.

Either way, I may need to force my wife to watch the first two Dirty Harry flicks now. She needs more Clint in her life.

That said, I believe that Eastwood was fairly vocal about the politics that ended up in the film and is also responsible for the right wing fantasy. He said he was responding to what he perceived to be the granting of rights to criminals at the expense of victims... His answer seeming to be a call for unrestrained police authority and brutality.
Eh, The Jack Bauer Power Hour (a character whose methods we quite possibly would've never seen without Dirty Harry, it must be noted) had next-to-no connection to reality on a pure plausibility level, but its ends-justify-the-means attitudes were just as obnoxious there, so I don't think relative realism (or lack thereof) really makes a difference, but I admit, I am tangenting here. Anyway, that's a good idea, since, like Alien or Terminator, the first two Harry movies are the only ones really worth rewatching; I still need to check out Magnum Force again, because, again, it's been about a decade-and-a-half since I've done so, but I remember thinking it was a better-than-average followup, with a really impressive, underrated final car chase. And that makes sense (in context) if Eastwood was upset about "criminals" (or at least, suspected criminals) being given too many rights, since reading Miranda Rights only started to become a practice 5 years earlier, which is one of the rights that the film's bleeding-heart, Left Coast prosecutor strawman rails about after Harry's torture of Scorpio (because him doing that to a crook totally isn't a big deal, right Milius?).

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:47 pm
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I was sad when investigating Invasion of the Body Snatchers and sorting out that it was about the red menace from Siegel's perspective and was most likely not intended as a riff on McCarthy-brand paranoia. [The key is that a pod representative takes pride in the aliens' lack of "faith," which parallels the state atheism of Russia at the time and the USA's response by stuffing God into the Pledge of Allegiance and creating "In God We Trust."]

The good thing is that the film plays coy enough with its allegorical angle otherwise that it still functions as a takedown of all groupthink.


Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:01 pm
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Stu wrote:
Eh, The Jack Bauer Power Hour (a character whose methods we quite possibly would've never seen without Dirty Harry, it must be noted) had next-to-no connection to reality on a pure plausibility level, but its ends-justify-the-means attitudes were just as obnoxious there, so I don't think relative realism (or lack thereof) really makes a difference, but I admit, I am tangenting here. Anyway, that's a good idea, since, like Alien or Terminator, the first two Harry movies are the only ones really worth rewatching; I still need to check out Magnum Force again, because, again, it's been about a decade-and-a-half since I've done so, but I remember thinking it was a better-than-average followup, with a really impressive, underrated final car chase. And that makes sense (in context) if Eastwood was upset about "criminals" (or at least, suspected criminals) being given too many rights, since reading Miranda Rights only started to become a practice 5 years earlier, which is one of the rights that the film's bleeding-heart, Left Coast prosecutor strawman rails about after Harry's torture of Scorpio (because him doing that to a crook totally isn't a big deal, right Milius?).


I think 24 still tried to exist in a realm of pseudo-reality. It was absurd but it didn't play itself as absurd. When I'm referring to is the stylish unreality of many genre films, like Kung fu or spaghetti westerns. It creates a greater barrier between themes that are didactic or just inherent to the text. For instance, the bankrupt morals of Kill Bill don't bother me one bit because the flick is absurd and plays itself as such.

Magnum Force is great and takes Harry and makes him face the reality of what his brand of policing begets when he specifically isn't the one dealing it. It is my kind of sequel.

Though I find your lack of faith in the Harry films disturbing. Sudden Impact is absolutely worth seeing and the Enforcer is a decent enough buddy cop flick. Dead Pool isn't nearly as bad as its reputation, it just feels outdated when held alongside it's contemporaries as it desperately tries to fit in with them. Like a break dancing grandpa that actually has a few sweet moves.

DaMU- I choose a "Young Goodman Brown" style interpretation of Body Snatches in that the film is a manifestation of the Red Scare and can thus be judged as both symptomatic of the mindset yet still be a criticism of that mindset. The ending is lame though. YGB slays it on that front


Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:33 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:

My favorite Jimmy Stewart is the gently confident pacifist of Destry Rides Again.

I do admit that Mann's filmography is a real blindspot for me. The noir class that I took a few years back got me very interested in Border Incident.


Border Incident is absolutely stellar. One of my favorite noirs. It deserves far more attention than it gets.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:20 pm
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