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Donner wrote:

Don't frighten me away, man!
Too late!

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Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:01 pm
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Stu wrote:
Glad to see you liked it too; while I thought the first act of Detroit was slightly underwhelming, and the third one lost a bit of momentum, the middle portion at the hotel was some intense shit, and more than made the film worthwhile on the whole. It's not quite as good as Bigelow's previous two efforts (especially not ZDT), but still a solid addition to her body of work nonetheless.


I think the first act does a great job of setting up the history and the external drama hitting critical mass. The busting of the club feels like a short film with its own dynamics between characters and unique protagonist. It's a pretty bold choice but a necessary one to earn it such a wide encompassing title. While I don't think it's as good as ZDT, I'm not wholly convinced it's less than Hurt Locker. HL has brilliant style going for it and a far more cinematic script but I don't think it quite touches the authenticity and complexity of Detroit, at least not in a substantial way.

I just think Bigelow has such an interesting career. That these films are from the woman that also made Point Break, Near Dark and some of the best episodes of Homicide is fascinating. I still need to finish the Loveless (got 20 mins in and jumped ship. Was not in the right frame of kind) and watch my copy of Strange Days.


Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:31 pm
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Room 237 - C+ - I don't know. I just don't know. Everyone's entitled to their interpretations, and Kubrick purposefully kept his movie obtuse, apart from the central punning theme of a man haunted by "spirits," so there's room to play in this sandbox. But I didn't find any of these theories convincing or compelling. The documentary didn't bore me, but it never struck me as enlightening except in its distant, seemingly amused depiction of how far some of these people are willing to reach for their particular theories.

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Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:13 pm
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We all know him as Walter. The Zen anarchist that the John Goodman character was based on also happens to be one of the unsung heroes of the New American cinema. The man who introduced George Lucas to Kurosawa and samurai films, who wrote the iconic Dirty Harry line "Do you feel lucky?", who first transubstantiated Apocalypse Now by doctoring a badge with a peace symbol into a napalm bomber. And he also wrote the USS Indianapolis monologue from Jaws. These accomplishments alone merit legendary status. He also made some pretty good films on his own.

This doc tells his tale, of missing out (due to asthma) from his beloved Vietnam War to holing up with the Zoetrope outlaws in San Francisco. He was already a sore thumb among the peace-nik hippies like Lucas and Coppola, but despite his abrasive demeanor and incendiary persona, his friends considered him a big teddy bear inside. There's probably no starker yin/yang of the generation than Milius and his good friend Terrence Malick. His writing was already exceptional - from drafts of Dirty Harry and Magnum Force (which Milius didn't care for, probably because Harry turned against his fellow vigilantes) to Jeremiah Johnson and the Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Milius had a mythical flair and a stubborn, hard-nosed style emulating Hemingway and Chandler. His grand coup, however, was having the inspiration to adapt Conrad's Heart of Darkness into a Vietnam setting, introducing the world to the lovely smell of napalm in the morning. Despite being retouched by Lucas and Coppola as both were considering directing the film, Apocalypse Now is most likely the true essential John Milius film to hit the screen.

Milius himself eventually got behind the camera, making his own Dillinger, one of the best of the Depression-era crime films of the 70s, and blessed with the terrific Warren Oates kicking Baby-Face Dick Dreyfuss into a lake. But the Wind and the Lion is where Milius first got a taste of big-budget fame. The film is more commonly associated with Sean Connery's Berber, eh, brogue let's call it, but the heart of the film was in Brian Keith's masterful portrayal of Milius' hero Teddy Roosevelt, and it was in his dialogue where the Milius macho-poetry came alive.

Milius lucked out by exchanging gross points with Spielberg and Lucas between Big Wednesday and Star Wars/Close Encounters. At least Milius was OK financially once his film bit the dust. It's since become a cult hit, but it falls short of very similar post-Vietnam boomer films. Milius simply doesn't do sensitive very well. More in his natural lane, he followed up with the tremendous adult fantasy Conan the Barbarian, co-written by fellow dreadnaught Oliver Stone. This film, I think, is the pinnacle of his brand of machismo and mythology, hard-as-stone but sensuous and as classically romantic as a pair of wolf titties.

The mythology of the Cold War, in 1984, proved to be a lot less stable ground for such romantic chivalry, and Red Dawn combined a not-especially believable conceit of Cuban/Russian geo-strategy with a brat pack guerrilla outfit siphoned off from a John Hughes audition. In the same year when media was saturated with premonitions of Russkie Nuclear Winter, the film seemed a bit irresponsible and exploitative. It was, however, very successful, and so it seems too simplistic, as Milius and the documentary suggest, that Milius was black-balled for this reason. I'm going to guess that it may have been more due to the fact that he had a big mouth, and in Hollywood, the big mouths get sidelined into being script doctors, which is where Milius would spent much of his remaining career.

Also more likely is that Milius' follow-up, Farewell to the King, cost him any remaining cachet in town. Too bad, as I've always liked the film. It is shambling, Milius has always promised an extended director's cut, but it's a better film than its reputation as a box office turkey. Flight of the Intruder, however, was utter shit, and proved the final nail in the coffin of his directorial career.

According to the documentary, Milius suffered a stroke in 2010, and has struggled to recover.

George Lucas probably gets the man just right by mentioning his "persona" as this brutish thing with which he presents to the world, but the man being a generous and loyal collaborator. Like Walter, he'll even pick up a phone on shabbos, when he knows he's needed.


Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:29 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:
There are definitely times that I watch movies (especially movies about women) where I can tell immediately that a woman had no part in the writing or direction. This is definitely not to say that men can't do a good job telling stories about women (both Ginger Snaps and Lilya-4-Ever spring instantly to mind). But I think that people bring different life experiences and perspectives to their work, and that reflects in their work. It isn't essential that women be the only storytellers about other women, but I do think that there is worth in allowing women that role.

It's a slippery slope saying "Women are no different as directors!". Because, if that's the case, then why not have all directors be men? Why make an effort to put more women behind the camera? If they bring nothing special, what's the point?

Once again, I find myself agreeing with you without reservation.

But if women are no different as directors, isn't that also an argument that maybe all directors should be women? ;)

Our group, as I recall, didn't say that women are no different as directors. What we seemed to conclude is that you can't tell whether a woman directed a film in most cases by simply watching her film (that is, if you don't know from reading the director credit just before the story begins). We didn't agree on any distinct signatures that would tell us with certainty that the unknown director was either male or female.

I also don't recall anyone suggesting that women bring nothing special to the films they direct. But it was years ago and RT is ephemeral, so I can't go back and check my memory against the cold, hard bits of the thread. Years ago I tired to follow my bookmark to the thread and got 404.

Recently, I saw, and then bought a used DVD of a film entitled The Black Balloon. The writer/director is a woman. She wrote and filmed a story about an autistic teenage boy and his younger brother. Ordinarily, being a woman wouldn't be any special credit for directing such a film. But does she have creds?

Yes. She is the sister of two autistic brothers. One is older than her, the other is younger. She modeled the autistic character in the film after one of her brothers. And then she made up the protagonist younger brother. He's in love with a girl his age, but the autistic brother kind of ruins everything for him.

Wait, some might say. How can a woman direct a film with male characters and do it any authentic good? Well, I've been male all my life, although never autistic. I found the young brother character to be believable, as played by a young male actor, but written and directed by a woman.

When women direct men to play men, they have a knowledgeable assistant in the person of the actor. I think most female directors acknowledge that fact.

What galls me is that men directing women to play women often (perhaps I should say 'sometimes') seem to ignore the fact that despite the man's best instincts as a director, the women playing the female parts have a hell of a lot more experience thinking and behaving the way authentic women think and behave. The male directors should listen to their female actors' suggestions (I think).

I also think that they often don't do that.

But, if I had watched The Black Balloon without knowing that Elissa Down directed it, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to tell that it was written and directed by a woman. Because I knew it was directed by a woman, though, I was able to spot details that I thought proceeded from the female mind. And probably some of them had nothing to do with the sex of the director at all.

What seemed different, and I'm pretty certain that I didn't make up this part (even though I knew Down directed), is that the sensibility of the entire production was subtly different than I would have expected from the same story if a man was the director. The focus of the piece, rather than the style of the piece. And that might be something we could try to discern about films written by women, no matter whether directed by man or woman.

And certainly, when the main characters are female I can't see any way that having a female director would hurt the authenticity of the piece at all.

In the case of The Black Balloon there were certain shots, and angles and situations that certainly would have to come from a female director (or a gay male director). Down starts one shot with the camera close on Rhys Wakefield's butt as he tugs at some Speedo-like trunks that his new school requires boys to wear, instead of the surf-shorts style that he had brought to school with him on his first day. In the making-of feature they use a clip where she hatched that idea, and then cut to the finished shot from the movie. But that's a blatant example of how a female director might approach a subject. When the brothers get into a very violent quarrel it's just as brutal as you might expect from any guy directing the scene.

I've always thought it would be a great experiment to give exactly the same script to a male director and to a female director. Give them the same salary and budget and let them cast and create the film independently of each other. Then smash the two parts together to make one feature film that tells the same story twice from their two perspectives. If I were fabulously wealthy I'd drop 50 million to fund my project, but, alas, I couldn't even fund such a project for $5,000. [sigh]

Maybe someone has already done this and I just don't know about it. :D

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The Future Unreels will also lose all its images on the same day. But just think about how many images Jedi has on Photobucket, and the other posters here.


Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:39 am
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I enjoyed the new Ghost in the Shell. The visuals are stunning in 3D and do a lot of work in carrying the film through it's fairly rote plot. The action is more than solid and ScarJo carries the film well. It's just a fine way to spend an afternoon and I feel it was unfairly maligned.

It does feel a tad quaint post BR2049.


Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:27 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I enjoyed the new Ghost in the Shell. The visuals are stunning in 3D and do a lot of work in carrying the film through it's fairly rote plot. The action is more than solid and ScarJo carries the film well. It's just a fine way to spend an afternoon and I feel it was unfairly maligned.

It does feel a tad quaint post BR2049.

No argument here, it was a fine little thing, once I accepted that it was a total B-movie and reset my expectations, I enjoyed the hell out of it.


Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:22 pm
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Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

basically an oral history but a lot of funny anecdotes and that's enough for me. given that I come from a more politically-correct, "woke" age, I'm not going to have as much sentiment for the Reagan-era politics of some of the schlock. but at least they make for some good time capsules. I wouldn't be shocked if J. Hoberman's sequel to The Dream Life covers a number of Cannon films. and I hope that Golan and Globus's sleaziness didn't ever venture into Weinstein territory as I was a bit charmed by their enthusiasm/naivete. the movie ends with one of the participants lamenting that Miramax was what Golan and Globus had hoped Cannon could be. but we know now it could be worse. and if Cannon were around today, I'd like to think they would cash in on the scandals with some schlocky revenge thriller. maybe there is a female director out there who wants to be the next Michael Winner, who knows? bring in that diversity and you have so many new possibilities for schlock!

p.s. is The Apple worth seeing? as far as "bad movies made with passion" are concerned


Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:08 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

basically an oral history but a lot of funny anecdotes and that's enough for me. given that I come from a more politically-correct, "woke" age, I'm not going to have as much sentiment for the Reagan-era politics of some of the schlock. but at least they make for some good time capsules. I wouldn't be shocked if J. Hoberman's sequel to The Dream Life covers a number of Cannon films. and I hope that Golan and Globus's sleaziness didn't ever venture into Weinstein territory as I was a bit charmed by their enthusiasm/naivete. the movie ends with one of the participants lamenting that Miramax was what Golan and Globus had hoped Cannon could be. but we know now it could be worse. and if Cannon were around today, I'd like to think they would cash in on the scandals with some schlocky revenge thriller. maybe there is a female director out there who wants to be the next Michael Winner, who knows? bring in that diversity and you have so many new possibilities for schlock!

p.s. is The Apple worth seeing? as far as "bad movies made with passion" are concerned
I enjoyed this a lot as well. I'd also like to know if Death Wish II, Death Wish III, America 3000 or Journey to the Center of the Earth (1988) are worth checking out.

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Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:16 pm
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Torgo wrote:
I enjoyed this a lot as well. I'd also like to know if Death Wish II, Death Wish III, America 3000 or Journey to the Center of the Earth (1988) are worth checking out.


It's hard to justify the trashy, scuzziness of DW2, but it's the film most seem to be under the assumption that the first film is. DW3 is the insane 80s personified and captures the quintessence of Canon films.

My favorite from Canon is Cyborg, though.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:14 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

basically an oral history but a lot of funny anecdotes and that's enough for me. given that I come from a more politically-correct, "woke" age, I'm not going to have as much sentiment for the Reagan-era politics of some of the schlock. but at least they make for some good time capsules. I wouldn't be shocked if J. Hoberman's sequel to The Dream Life covers a number of Cannon films. and I hope that Golan and Globus's sleaziness didn't ever venture into Weinstein territory as I was a bit charmed by their enthusiasm/naivete. the movie ends with one of the participants lamenting that Miramax was what Golan and Globus had hoped Cannon could be. but we know now it could be worse. and if Cannon were around today, I'd like to think they would cash in on the scandals with some schlocky revenge thriller. maybe there is a female director out there who wants to be the next Michael Winner, who knows? bring in that diversity and you have so many new possibilities for schlock!

I enjoyed this a lot, but I grew up watching all these movies. Dragged my poor mother to the edge of town to take my buddy and I to Ninja 3: The Domination.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:28 am
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Death Wish 3 is kind of the epitome of a so-bad-it's-good movie, if you're into that sort of thing. It's a terrific spectacle of senior citizens wielding bazookas and hand cannons to blow away young punks who dress exactly like a senior citizen's idea of how young punks dress. It's like the bastard love child of Punisher: War Zone and On Golden Pond.

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:30 am
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BL wrote:
Death Wish 3 is kind of the epitome of a so-bad-it's-good movie, if you're into that sort of thing. It's a terrific spectacle of senior citizens wielding bazookas and hand cannons to blow away young punks who dress exactly like a senior citizen's idea of how young punks dress.It's like the bastard love child of Punisher: War Zone and On Golden Pond.

And there we have it. The final, truest word ever spoken. We can call it a day. We're done here.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:57 am
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"Wanna dance or would you rather just kill punks?"

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:07 am
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"I grieve for this country. It is so different to how it was in the forties and fifties. If I was prime minister I would be to the Right of Hitler. No immigration! Shoot anyone who commits a crime! Shoot people who park in the wrong place in front of my garage! I would be ferocious. And believe me, it's needed." - Michael Winner

sometimes you just have to let the id run free. thankfully it only brought us the Death Wish movies.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:40 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
sometimes you just have to let the id run free. thankfully it only brought us the Death Wish movies.
Hey, don't forget his restaurant review column, Winner's Dinners.

"The still mineral water tasted as if it had come from a graveyard and six people had died, their bodily fluids joining the water. I think I tasted a touch of my Uncle Harry in it."

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:47 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
"I grieve for this country. It is so different to how it was in the forties and fifties. If I was prime minister I would be to the Right of Hitler. No immigration! Shoot anyone who commits a crime! Shoot people who park in the wrong place in front of my garage! I would be ferocious. And believe me, it's needed." - Michael Winner

sometimes you just have to let the id run free. thankfully it only brought us the Death Wish movies.

Death Wish, when Dirty Harry is too left for you.

Speaking ideologically antiquated cinema, I watched Annie Get Your Gun. It has a certain charm to it, though the choice to have many of the musical numbers sung directly into the camera is oddly unnerving. However, the thing I remember most will be the moral of the story, which is that women must limit their talent and ambition if they ever hope to get a man. It was a strange stance to take given that "Anything You Can Do" has become something used to push forth the idea of gender equality and competition.

Overall, I found it to be a tad mediocre with some stand out songs. The film was supremely hurt by the lack of dancing, as the best the cast could do was awkwardly march around, something elevated the other Stevens/Keel collaboration I watched, Kiss Me Kate. Speaking of, that film had a lot of subtext about putting women in their place as well. George Stevens may be the Michael Winner of the musical world.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:50 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
George Stevens may be the Michael Winner of the musical world.
George Sidney (Scaramouche, Show Boat), not George Stevens (Giant, Shane), right?

And in Sidney's defense (sort of), plenty of Broadway and film musicals of that era managed to be crazy sexist in their objectification, and particularly their fixation on the control or "breaking," of women even without Sidney's involvement. Oklahoma! is basically the story of two creeps fighting over who gets to keep a woman, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is at heart a peon to the acquisition of women for the purpose of scrubbing your floors and fixing your dinner.

It's an ugly patch that the genre went through, and you could similarly argue that thrillers went through a similarly ugly patch of flirting with fascism during the '70s. But to say Sidney is the Michael Winner of musicals, I think would be to single him out as the most egregious perpetrator, which I don't know is the case.

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:20 am
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BL wrote:
George Sidney (Scaramouche, Show Boat), not George Stevens (Giant, Shane), right?

And in Sidney's defense (sort of), plenty of Broadway and film musicals of that era managed to be crazy sexist in their objectification, and particularly their fixation on the control or "breaking," of women even without Sidney's involvement. Oklahoma! is basically the story of two creeps fighting over who gets to keep a woman, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a basically a peon to the wonders of acquiring women scrub your floors and fix your dinner.


Got my Georges crossed, you are correct. Yeah, I thought of mentioning SBFSB, given the Keel connection. He seems to be the go to guy for said genre. SBFSB is perhaps the most dubious as it seems to condone kidnapping women if you can get them to fall in love with you. I'm not too crazy about this era of musical. I've preferred the 30s musicals of Berkeley and Astaire/Rogers and the musicals that followed in almost all regards: dance choreography, music, plot and theme.

Then again, I haven't dug too deeply into Busby, so perhaps his films that I have sitting on my shelf, with titles like Dames and Gold Diggers of 1935, that I'll find some precedence for the themes of AGYG.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:25 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I'm not too crazy about this era of musical. I've preferred the 30s musicals of Berkeley and Astaire/Rogers and the musicals that followed in almost all regards: dance choreography, music, plot and theme.
That's my preference, too, and to bring things full circle back to George Stevens, Swing Time is pretty great.

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:29 am
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BL wrote:
That's my preference, too, and to bring things full circle back to George Stevens, Swing Time is pretty great.


Man, I'm really stinking it up at the moment. Recall is at an all time low. Swing Time is probably my favorite Astaire/Rogers film I've seen this far (I've got a handful of others to watch in my collection) but totally forgot he did it. You're on your A game today, BL.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:31 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Man, I'm really stinking it up at the moment. Recall is at an all time low. Swing Time is probably my favorite Astaire/Rogers film I've seen this far (I've got a handful of others to watch in my collection) but totally forgot he did it. You're on your A game today, BL.
Swing Time is one I have to remind myself is Stevens, too, because it's definitely more a product of the Astaire/Rogers RKO musical machine than it is an auteur-driven picture (not that that's a bad thing) and I typically think more of his later color epics like Giant or The Greatest Story Ever Told when I picture his signature style. But Swing Time is great journeyman work, taking everything that was perfected in Top Hat and just adding a little more gloss, a little more smoothly professional elegance, which is probably what Stevens can be thanked for.

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:51 am
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BL wrote:
Swing Time is one I have to remind myself is Stevens, too, because it's definitely more a product of the Astaire/Rogers RKO musical machine than it is an auteur-driven picture (not that that's a bad thing) and I typically think more of his later color epics like Giant or The Greatest Story Ever Sold when I picture his signature style. But Swing Time is great journeyman work, taking everything that was perfected in Top Hat and just adding a little more gloss, a little more smoothly professional elegance, which is probably what Stevens can be thanked for.


Top Hat and Swing Time sort of blur in terms of specifics, as I recall them having rather similar plots, but my memory of both is highly positive and that ST was more refined, so I agree with your summation. It's the problem of watching them back to back. Which one has the black face number that's almost so impressive that you forget it's racist?


Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:56 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Which one has the black face number that's almost so impressive that you forget it's racist?
That's Swing Time. And yeah, it's the most professional musical racism this side of Holiday Inn.

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:17 am
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BL wrote:
That's Swing Time. And yeah, it's the most professional musical racism this side of Holiday Inn.

That's what I thought. Well now I have another reason to check out Holiday Inn!


Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:20 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
That's what I thought. Well now I have another reason to check out Holiday Inn!
It gets censored in most TV broadcasts, but I think the "Abraham" sequence is intact in most home video releases. Because no Christmas film is complete without a blackface tribute to Abraham Lincoln.

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:22 am
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no mention of the romanticized wife-beating in Carousel?

and I really wish SBFSB didn't have such catchy songs/great dancing so I could hate it more easily.

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"Ha ha ha! Stockholm syndrome!"

oh well


Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:29 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
no mention of the romanticized wife-beating in Carousel?

and I really wish SBFSB didn't have such catchy songs/great dancing so I could hate it more easily.

Image

"Ha ha ha! Stockholm syndrome!"

oh well

I didn't care much for the music in SBFSB but I loved that dance off between the brothers and the suitors. One of the best musical sequences around. I also think the plot is ripe to inspire a dark, period drama.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:44 am
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Gort wrote:
But if women are no different as directors, isn't that also an argument that maybe all directors should be women? ;)

Our group, as I recall, didn't say that women are no different as directors. What we seemed to conclude is that you can't tell whether a woman directed a film in most cases by simply watching her film (that is, if you don't know from reading the director credit just before the story begins). We didn't agree on any distinct signatures that would tell us with certainty that the unknown director was either male or female.


I'd be interested to know if you (or the other men in here) have had the experience of seeing a sequence in a movie and knowing immediately that it was written and/or directed by a woman. I've often had that moment (the movie Teeth is a particular stand-out in this regard). (EDIT: I meant to ask if you'd ever seen a sequence and known that the writer/director was a WOMAN).

Are there times that a male character did something or that a male character was shot a certain way that tipped you off that the director or writer must be female?

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Kiss Me Kate. Speaking of, that film had a lot of subtext about putting women in their place as well. George Stevens may be the Michael Winner of the musical world.


Looking at the cover of a man spanking an adult woman I'd have never guessed!

BL wrote:
And in Sidney's defense (sort of), plenty of Broadway and film musicals of that era managed to be crazy sexist in their objectification, and particularly their fixation on the control or "breaking," of women even without Sidney's involvement. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is at heart a peon to the acquisition of women for the purpose of scrubbing your floors and fixing your dinner.


Several years ago I taught a reading unit centered on slavery, both in the past and in modern times. It was tricky, because sexual trafficking is a huge part of modern day slavery in the US, along with wage slavery and other forms. Anyway--we ended up having a conversation about your right to control your body, how it is wrong to force people into work against their will, and how important it is to have the right to say "no".

In the middle of this unit, I'm asked if the high school can come over and do a sales pitch for their musical during my reading class. I say sure. They come in and try to sell the kids on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

"These guys want wives, so they go down to a town and they kidnap a bunch of girls to be their wives!"

The kids' heads all immediately swivel over to me and their hands shoot up in the air. I didn't want to put the high schoolers on the spot, so I said "I'll help you guys with questions after they leave." And immediately after they left my students were like "BUT KIDNAPPING!! WHY WOULD THAT BE A MUSICAL?!?!?!". I just ended up saying "Well, people a long time ago had a different sense of what was funny. Also, the guy who directed the movie had like five ex-wives, so there you go." I mean, when your original title has the word "rape" in it, going for comedy is a stretch to begin with.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:57 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I didn't care much for the music in SBFSB but I loved that dance off between the brothers and the suitors. One of the best musical sequences around. I also think the plot is ripe to inspire a dark, period drama.


I did laugh mightily when they initially kidnap the girls and they are wailing and distraught because it's like "well, of course!" and knowing that by the end the movie was never going to honor that turmoil.


Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:29 am
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BL wrote:
Death Wish 3 is kind of the epitome of a so-bad-it's-good movie, if you're into that sort of thing. It's a terrific spectacle of senior citizens wielding bazookas and hand cannons to blow away young punks who dress exactly like a senior citizen's idea of how young punks dress. It's like the bastard love child of Punisher: War Zone and On Golden Pond.
It's times like this when I wish RT-GD still existed (and still had a functioning search engine) so I could link to that old thread Dougal McGuire made of his 10 favorite Paul Kersey kills, #1 of which was the point-blank rocket launcher kill from 3:



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Such.a good, good thread. Alas, tears in the rain!

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:31 pm
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Good Time - 8

I'm a sucker for criminal contingency comedies, and this one ranks close enough. Not really lol, but, I dunno, I lol'd. Robert Patterson continues his streak of range-expansion by playing a manipulative would-be bank robber who turns everything he touches into shit. Remarkably, his King Mida in reverse never dims his sense of self-confidence or resolve, adding to an escalation of fecal-sculpturing the lives of everyone around him, most centrally his special needs brother, played by co-director Ben Safdie. The only sour spot is that Jennifer Jason Leigh is wasted in a thankless part, a walk-on role far beneath her abilities. Maybe she just wanted to take part in some capacity, and, well, this really just isn't the most feminine movie imaginable.


Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:01 am
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Obsession aka The Hidden Room (1949)

B+

Just a really fun, charming mystery/thriller about a man who thinks he has concocted the perfect murder scheme to kill his wife's lover (and also torment his wife for years of infidelity).

There is a dog who totally steals the show and one of those fun, understated/wry performances from the actor playing the Scotland Yard investigator trying to sort it all out. I watched it for free on FilmStruck, but you can rent it on Amazon (and possibly other platforms).

I appreciated that the movie managed to convey that both the husband and wife were pretty crappy people, but without much of the misogynistic crap that you can get in such a dynamic. They are just both kind of awful people and their dynamic works really well with the unfortunate lover trapped between them.


Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:22 am
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I rewatched I'm a Cyborg But That's OK with my wife for Valentine's Day. Sure it treads dangerously close to mocking mental illness and playing it lightly, but the film is still pretty much perfect.


Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:05 pm
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Black Panther

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Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:19 pm
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Black Panther was so good. It feels like the most Marvel standalone movie out of all of them. Great acting all around. Although not as much action as I expected.


Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:13 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
I'd be interested to know if you (or the other men in here) have had the experience of seeing a sequence in a movie and knowing immediately that it was written and/or directed by a woman. I've often had that moment (the movie Teeth is a particular stand-out in this regard). (EDIT: I meant to ask if you'd ever seen a sequence and known that the writer/director was a WOMAN).

Teeth is in my Flix queue. I haven't researched it much, nor have I watched it so far. I assume what you noticed was that this was decidedly not the perspective that a female writer/director would take with such a story. Yes? So before you even read the credits you were aware that the writer/director must be Mitchell Lichtenstein rather than Michelle Lichtenstein. Perhaps because Michelle would be unlikely to write such a story in the first place (but that last part is a stereotypical assumption on my part).

My answer to your question to us is derailed by the fact that I always know beforehand who the director is when I watch films. That's been true for over ten years. In fact, I select female directed movies just for that reason. So, in recent years I have not had the experience that you report. But if I think back, a couple of incidents parallel your experiences. One of these doesn't actually fit with your template. It's kind of an Opposite Day example.

I mentioned this in our earlier conversation. I think this was in 1999 or 2000. The major recognition incident I had with a female-directed film occurred before I began always paying attention to the director's name for films. The result was that I had no clue that Antonia Bird directed Ravenous. Maybe that was in part due to the writer being Ted Griffin. But when I read the director credit at the end of the film I was stunned that such a gruesome movie could have been directed by a female. This is, as you might guess due to a stereotype that I carried about what women would and would not do. I have been disabused of that misconception, and am certainly better off for it!

Takoma1 wrote:
Are there times that a male character did something or that a male character was shot a certain way that tipped you off that the director or writer must be female?

Keep in mind that I was born in 1952, so the world in which I grew up was different in many ways from the world you inhabited as a kid and teenager. Still, films had that male bias from long ago, at least long before either of us was born.

This question is a tough one. I suspect that you can detect those "not by a female" scenes because you are accustomed to living in a culture where your particular viewpoint is not the presumed starting point (if that makes any sense). On the other hand, I am encumbered by being someone whose viewpoint is close to the starting viewpoint for what appears in films, although being in this situation is not done on purpose; that's just the way things were structured by other people, and it's the way I grew up. There is possibly no need to point out that I didn't notice this synoptic detail of my life and cinema. And I suspect that you would naturally have noticed the dys-syn-optic (to coin a clumsy word) aspect of your own life and cinema. As a boy I never bristled at the stupid phrase "It's a man's world," whereas you might have. And I think that has a profound effect on the ways we see those moments in film.

Not because you wanted to, but because of the way things were set up by others, you had your nose rubbed in the male gaze as you grew up. I didn't notice it. (I'm using "male gaze" here to mean more than merely the way men look at women, but to embrace the way we are taught to see the world in general.) This doesn't mean that the male gaze does not diverge from the way I see things; it diverges quite a bit and frequently. But I grew up understanding that culturally, that was how I was supposed to and expected to look at things.

Films, being so often written by and created by men, tend to embrace the "supposed to" aspect of the male world picture. The Real Boy initiative that is ground into every boy's heart (withering it perceptibly, I think) is a part of that male world view. We are trained to notice things about other boys, and if they don't "act the right way" we are taught to make fun of them for it. You know, to whip them into line. Why, it's for their own good! (In fact, the primary enforcer for the Boy Code and compliance with it is me. I am trained to become my own enforcer, shaming myself to avoid public shaming--believe it or not.)

So, if a female writer creates a character who is male but doesn't follow Boy Code as expected (required?) then it is noticeable. But there are male writers who purposely create characters who deviate from the Boy Code. So, that sort of "failure" to act correctly isn't really noticeable, as far as I'm concerned. At least it doesn't serve as a sure-fire indicator that this is female writing or female direction.

Clueless was an earlier viewing than Ravenous. And I got the sense that the point of view that I was being treated to was not the Boy Code worldview. I suspected that a woman had a strong hand in the creation of that film. When Amy Heckerling's name appeared at the end I noticed it only because I was wanting to know whether a woman had done this movie. But it was not because the men in the movie acted in a way different from what I expected. It was because the women in the film seemed real (in spite of the comedic caricaturing), and I wouldn't have expected such authenticity from a dude.

But how did I know it was "authentic" in any way at all, given the buffoonery of the story? Well, I think my clue was that the women didn't act the way women did in similar films that were made by men. Heckerling is very critical of her protagonists, but she sympathizes with them and allows them to grow up and self-correct throughout the story. I don't recall a lot, I've only seen the film once. These are the persistent recollections that I have of the viewing.

In high school our Film Society watched To Kill a Mockingbird based on the story by Harper Lee. Since the only Harper I had ever met was a boy I assumed it was written by a guy. But there were aspects of Atticus Finch that are well outside the Boy Code limits. I noticed them, but it didn't make 16-year old me think that this was written by a woman. Many men in my generation were far more nurturing of our children than our fathers were. My Dad and his generation were far too stand-offish with sons. So, I was kind of jealous of Jem and Scout for having such a connected father. Atticus was the sort of dad that I hoped to be one day, and his presentation in the film made it seem worthy and possible, not an outlier way for a man to behave.

As for the way the film looks at the men in it indicating a female view, I also included The Black Balloon in our earlier exchange, and it's still the primary one I can think of at the moment for that angle.

I will also hint that films directed by men in other cultures don't always come across the same way in terms of presentation of male characters. So I'm encumbered by lack of cross-cultural understanding in those instances where men act in unexpected ways. Beijing Bicycle is an example of this. The only traditionally "American Male"-acting character in the film is a total clown character, not because he is funny, but because the film deprecates him so severely. If the writers were British or American I might have reason to suspect that the film was a product of female minds. In a sense it was, because two of the writers are female. But the director is a man. So the cultural differences kept me from concluding that women must have written some of these characters.

I've already written too much, and I don't have time to do any more editing or clarification. My mother has a doctor appointment this afternoon. She's 88, and I kind of have to stay after her to keep her on task, the same as I had to do with my offspring when my sons were little. The last few years have taught me why the expression "second childhood" is used for elderly people. She has dementia, but it isn't severe, and she still dallies and might spend an hour deciding how to replace her purses in the closet, rather than simply selecting the one to take. She's easily distracted! [sigh] I try not to get short-tempered over these things. After all, she once carried me around for 9 months despite the fact that she couldn't put me down someplace when I got to be too great a weight.

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:20 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I rewatched I'm a Cyborg But That's OK with my wife for Valentine's Day. Sure it treads dangerously close to mocking mental illness and playing it lightly, but the film is still pretty much perfect.


I think it's a fun but weird movie. Great choice for Valentine's Day!

Gort wrote:
Films, being so often written by and created by men, tend to embrace the "supposed to" aspect of the male world picture.

I will also hint that films directed by men in other cultures don't always come across the same way in terms of presentation of male characters. So I'm encumbered by lack of cross-cultural understanding in those instances where men act in unexpected ways.

I've already written too much, and I don't have time to do any more editing or clarification.


I appreciate the long and thought-out answer.

I also appreciate your point about cultural differences in terms of presenting men and women.

You mention that the default point of view in our culture is the "male gaze" and that's what makes it easier to notice when someone deviates from that default. And I would actually say that's where there is the value in having directors/writers from different backgrounds. Just that different point of view to shake things up and show people a story or a character in a way that they wouldn't have seen it otherwise.


Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:10 am
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Mirror (1975) - 8/10

Haven't visited Tark in a few years, actually I believe I fell asleep on this one the original go around. Pretty much all his usual things, great looking, slow moving, some dialogue that makes me think about stuff. The mother seems the most engaging thing. Might have to get my copies of Solaris and Stalker soon.

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:58 am
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I've found a highly accurate method of determining whether a feature film is made by a man or a woman:

If it is a feature film, I assume it's directed by a man. It's about 96% accurate.

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:00 am
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It's not a large sample pool.

For Amy Heckerling, I'll rather mention Fast Times. I don't think it's a coincidence that no other teen comedy from the 80s managed to deal with the issue of abortion in such an empathetic way. Also, to contrast the more famous Phoebe Cates scene with Jennifer Jason Leigh's nude scene, the latter is remarkable in not being leering or sexualized, instead emphasizing her vulnerability, naivite and, of course, her disappointment. I'll guess that a male director could not have staged the shot in the same way, to the same effect.

Another side-by-side comparison could be made between Elaine May's Heartbreak Kid and the Farrelly Brothers' remake. The major misstep in the latter is their decision to remold Lenny into some kind of decent person, obliterating the titular fact that he's the cause of these heartbreaks. May's version is more sharp at dissecting the male's selfishness, infantilistic approach to sexual needs, utter self-delusion to prevent recognizing these faults in himself. But the Farrellys decide that the flaw is not in the sweet, but possibly overly impulsive romantic lead character, and rather choose to make his first wife into the stereotypical crazy bitch, making his retreat from their honeymoon seem like a sensible reaction rather than motivated by a neurotic need to run away from commitment for dreams of greener grass. Now the original film was written by a man, Neil Simon, so there's not a clean gender break at work here, but it's very tempting to presume that this radical change (indeed, utter contradiction) of the material's themes was a bro-ish need to justify and rationalize these male impulses. As infantile as the Farrellys are, I doubt that could revel so sarcastically as May on that final shot of Grodin sinking into the morass of his own inability to realize any mature satisfaction.


Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:35 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
You mention that the default point of view in our culture is the "male gaze" and that's what makes it easier to notice when someone deviates from that default. And I would actually say that's where there is the value in having directors/writers from different backgrounds. Just that different point of view to shake things up and show people a story or a character in a way that they wouldn't have seen it otherwise.

Hear hear!

Also your last statement is basically why I watch films. To let me see a life with its problems and joys when that life is something I'll likely never experience directly. It really doesn't matter whether it's a sexual difference, or a cultural difference or an ideological difference. It doesn't matter whether I agree with the protagonist or find him/her to be a creep. It's the view into that that counts for something, and can also be very entertaining.

It also doesn't matter whether the view is entirely, clinically accurate, as long as it's spiritually accurate for the most part. But I appreciate efforts to get accuracy going within the film insofar as possible. That's why female-produced films are important in my view. I'll never get to be female, but I would like to understand a bit about how life and the world looks to half the human population. And if I don't get a sample that's at least properly-seated in that view of the world, then I don't learn anything. Understanding the ways males and females see things the same are equally important to understanding ways in which we get a different take on the world. And because everyone is subtly different, the greater number of female brains I can find mostly accurately represented, the closer I can get to understanding something that I wouldn't be able to, otherwise.

I believe film can do that when it is used well.

Jinnistan wrote:
For Amy Heckerling, I'll rather mention Fast Times. I don't think it's a coincidence that no other teen comedy from the 80s managed to deal with the issue of abortion in such an empathetic way. Also, to contrast the more famous Phoebe Cates scene with Jennifer Jason Leigh's nude scene, the latter is remarkable in not being leering or sexualized, instead emphasizing her vulnerability, naivite and, of course, her disappointment. I'll guess that a male director could not have staged the shot in the same way, to the same effect.

I should try to see Fast Times. Also your analysis of the two Heartbreak Kid films is informative. I think I'd rather see May's version only. But there might be some educational benefit of seeing it and the remake. After all, for a while I was the Remake Rematch guy (while wearing the YTMN avatar).

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images disappeared 14 Feb 2018 -- forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels will also lose all its images on the same day. But just think about how many images Jedi has on Photobucket, and the other posters here.


Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:53 am
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Naked Violence was a tedious bore that engaged in all the less savory aspects of Italian exploitation cinema with none of the style or charm.


Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:06 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Naked Violence was a tedious bore that engaged in all the less savory aspects of Italian exploitation cinema with none of the style or charm.

I probably should still watch that as my Fernando di Leo box sets have been gathering dust for years, haha.

You seen Shoot First, Die Later or The Italian Connection yet?

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:49 pm
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It's often amusing and sometimes annoying when someone from another part of the world makes a movie that's set in your hometown. There's always a bunch of inaccuracies that are immediately apparent to anyone that lives there, if not to the rest of the world. Is that what it's like for women to have to watch female characters that have been written by men? Just as I cringe every time I hear another botched Cajun accent, do women yell at the screen "Oh my god, we don't talk like that!" ? That's what I imagine it's like.

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:07 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
It's often amusing and sometimes annoying when someone from another part of the world makes a movie that's set in your hometown. There's always a bunch of inaccuracies that are immediately apparent to anyone that lives there, if not to the rest of the world.
I don't know that I buy this premise. I was born and raised around Atlantic City and my earliest jobs involved delving into the city's history. Boardwalk Empire (the HBO series, not the book) absolutely blows the history and its significance, and that was made by Americans. On the other hand, Louis Malle as a frenchman was even further removed from the history of that city, but with Atlantic City he much more sensitively depicted the historical moment of the city's transition into the gambling era.

Similarly, I think outsiders are very often the most perceptive artists in their depictions of a particular culture. I defy you to name a novel of the 1950s that's better at depicting the American landscape than Nabokov's Lolita, or a film that does likewise for the 1980s than Wenders's Paris, Texas.

But gender is a completely different question, as cultures that are otherwise fairly disparate can be similar in their subjugation of women. It's not exactly a fair analogy to liken nationalist outsider status to a distinct restriction on female perspective. Imagine being a foreign artist who also happens to be female. The horror.

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:33 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:

I'd be interested to know if you (or the other men in here) have had the experience of seeing a sequence in a movie and knowing immediately that it was written and/or directed by a woman. I've often had that moment (the movie Teeth is a particular stand-out in this regard).

I think you've mentioned Teeth before, what was the particular moment you refer to? (Granted, the whole vagina dentata thing is pretty much a male concern to begin with.)
To answer your question, I couldn't think of any examples. Like Gort, I'm rarely unaware of a film's director by the time I've decided to watch it so I generally have some expectation of what I'm in for anyway. And I've also been guilty of being surprised when a female-directed film is extra violent or gory. I mean, it's not like I'm expecting it to be about rainbows and ponies but for some reason that prejudice is still there, enough for it to register even if just subconsciously.

An interesting fact I learned this week-- SPOILER for Hitchcock's Marnie: There's a scene where Connery basically rapes Hedren, his wife. In a bonus interview, a male screenwriter claims that he urged Hitchcock to delete the scene for fear that the audience would never come around to Connery after this moment. He wrote an alternate script that did not include the rape, and Hitchcock fired him. He was replaced by a woman, also interviewed, who claims that she didn't give the rape a second thought and was surprised to learn later that it was an issue at all. So if you'd asked me to read both scripts and guess which was written by a woman I'd no doubt have guessed wrong.

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:42 pm
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BL wrote:
I don't know that I buy this premise. I was born and raised around Atlantic City and my earliest jobs involved delving into the city's history. Boardwalk Empire (the HBO series, not the book) absolutely blows the history and its significance, and that was made by Americans. On the other hand, Louis Malle as a frenchman was even further removed from the history of that city, but with Atlantic City he much more sensitively depicted the historical moment of the city's transition into the gambling era.

Similarly, I think outsiders are very often the most perceptive artists in their depictions of a particular culture. I defy you to name a novel of the 1950s that's better at depicting the American landscape than Nabokov's Lolita, or a film that does likewise for the 1980s than Wenders's Paris, Texas.

But gender is a completely different question, as cultures that are otherwise fairly disparate can be similar in their subjugation of women. It's not exactly a fair analogy to liken nationalist outsider status to a distinct restriction on female perspective. Imagine being a foreign artist who also happens to be female. The horror.

"Another part of the world" was not meant to imply other countries, sorry. I mostly meant Hollywood. (also this was mostly meant to be humorous)

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:45 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
"Another part of the world" was not meant to imply other countries, sorry. I mostly meant Hollywood. (also this was mostly meant to be humorous)


I don't think it's the most accurate analogy either, but I also don't think the overall premise of it is much of a stretch; that of an outsider putting his/her perspective of something foreign to him/her on screen. Obviously, when we talk about gender, the issue is more deeply rooted and the implications are far more serious, but I do get where you were coming from.

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Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:04 pm
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Thief wrote:

I don't think it's the most accurate analogy either, but I also don't think the overall premise of it is much of a stretch; that of an outsider putting his/her perspective of something foreign to him/her on screen. Obviously, when we talk about gender, the issue is more deeply rooted and the implications are far more serious, but I do get where you were coming from.

Yeah, I'll start over in case my point was lost. As Gort said, as a straight white male my perspective is pretty much the default. So the concept of being misrepresented in film is not something I can relate to. The only comparison I could come up with is when Hollywood tries to portray my hometown or the South in general. And I'm talking about minor things, like botched accents. Or Southerners sitting around fanning themselves in the heat instead of sitting in the A/C like sensible folks. Stuff that makes you holler at your TV. I've heard women make similar complaints about female characters (like "why isn't she wearing a bra?") that a woman viewer will catch but a guy might not. It seems to me that a woman having to watch two female characters having a pillow fight is similar to a New Orleanian having to watch another scene involving a voodoo priestess. ("That never happens, Hollywood!") Again, this was meant to be funny and not at all deep.

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