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falderal : a moving images blog

Archive for the ‘1960s’ Category

Some quick thoughts

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Since I got into grad school, I figured that I should brush up on my film knowledge before heading off because I say the following phrase too often: I’ve heard of the film, I know some things about it, but I haven’t watched it. Because of this, I am going to watch some films from my to-watch list. It’s about freaking time that I watched some of these!
I’m too tired to write fully thought out entries so this is the best I could muster.

8½ (1963)
Director: Federico Fellini
Actors: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo
Country: Italy, France
I FINALLY WATCHED THIS FILM. I FINALLY DID. AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO MAKE OF IT. My god, it’s beautifully shot and there were some parts of it that I loved but this was my reaction:
First third of the film: What is going on?!
Second third of the film: OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD.
Last third of the film: What what what what?! (à la Kyle’s mom from South Park)
I will have to rewatch this after 10 years have passed, although this movie did make me wonder if I would give it a second chance if it wasn’t such a well regarded film. Also, ANOUK AIMÉE IS SO GORGEOUS IN THIS MOVIE.

Asphalt (1929)
Director: Joe May
Actors: Albert Steinrück, Else Heller, Gustav Fröhlich, Betty Amann
Country: Germany
I really loved the way the title was filmed along with the city scenes since it reminded me of Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt — I think I read that the film was filmed by the same people? It was nice to see Gustav Fröhlich in a movie that isn’t Metropolis (will forever love his pants in that movie) and Betty Amann was such a babe in this film! Can I please look awesomely vampy as her one day?! Her as Else in this movie is my vamp idol. I didn’t find the movie to be too enjoyable to watch although I found it very interesting in that I felt like the movie was a morality film. It’s like: LOOK AT ALBERT’S PARENTS. THEY ARE OLD FASHIONED THUS HAPPY AND GOOD PEOPLE BUT LOOK AT HOW THE CITY HAS CORRUPTED ALBERT BECAUSE ELSE IS THE EMBODIMENT OF MODERNIZATION. Outside of that point, the story itself was nothing special and seemed trite. I did like the happy ending though :)

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Director: Tay Garnett
Actors: Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Hume Cronyn, Leon Ames
Country: U.S.A.
I DON’T REALLY CARE FOR THIS FILM BUT THIS MOVIE GAVE ME SO MANY FEELLLLLSSSSSSS. Cora, played by the oh-so-beautiful Lana Turner, is often labeled as a femme fatale and maybe I have the wrong idea of the definition of femme fatales, but to me, I always see that label as connoting something negative. Well, I don’t think Cora is a femme fatale and any trouble Frank got into in his movie was his fault. I found Frank so unlikable that I couldn’t help but side with Cora and couldn’t see her as anyone bad. I think it is because she is shown to be quite human (she is often stating her goals and she is jealous when she finds out Frank had a fling) whereas my personal ultimate femme fatale is Phyllis Dietrichson, who is cool as a cucumber and has an air of mystery. If you ask me, Cora doesn’t have that cool or steeliness that Phyllis does, although that kissing scene is AMAZING when she wipes her mouth and reapplies her lipstick after the kiss.
I wouldn’t watch this film for fun again but I really need to make a gif of that kissing scene because it is too great.

The Misfits (1961)
Director: John Huston
Actors: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach
Country: U.S.A.
I adore Marilyn Monroe and a long time ago, I decided that I’ll watch all the films she starred in but I kept pushing off watching The Misfits. I enjoyed it in the same manner that I enjoyed watching The Night of the Iguana because both films portray the characters so well.
Thelma Ritter was A+ as usual but what I found so disturbing about the film was seeing Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable. The Gable I know is the way he looked and sounded in the 1930s and to see him in this film looking so old and not having that voice of his was shocking. I didn’t know how to digest it and I felt like the charisma he had in all his older films was gone. He was good in the role but he didn’t have that sparkle that he has even in his most banal roles from the 1930s. I always associate Clift with his role in A Place in the Sun because that was the first film I saw him in and he made such a big impression on me. In The Misfits, he looked so haggard that I couldn’t get over it. What made it worse was that I felt like Marilyn Monroe looked so beautiful in this film and to see her with these two stars looking very different than what I am used to emphasized how I viewed her character in this film. Roslyn is so different from everyone around her and her beautiful appearance emphasized that amongst the other actors. The character of Roslyn is actually how I imagine Monroe to actually be: a very sensitive soul that isn’t understood by many people.

Lover Come Back ; 1961

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Director: Delbert Mann
Actors: Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall, Jack Oakie
Country: U.S.A.

Lover Come Back was a delightful movie to watch and I enjoyed every single minute of it. I have watched a few Doris Day films in the past (at the top of my head I can name Please Don’t Eat the Daisies and The Glass Bottom Boat to name a few) but I have never watched a Day/Hudson film although I do own Pillow Talk. This film reminded me of another film called Down With Love with Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor and I know that the film was inspired by Day/Hudson films and my, my, Down With Love did a fabulous job with that. I should write an entry for that film as well!

Anyway, this film is full of situations that lead to misunderstandings, competition, and problems what make it so enjoyable. Not only that, Doris Day and Rock Hudson looked amazing as a couple and their acting complemented each other. I sighed happily when they were both in a scene together and couldn’t help but think how adorable they were. Day plays her wholesome character to perfection and the way she acts in the scene when she is pouring champagne (oh you’ll know when you watch it!) was played to perfection. The music, her actions, her face expression just fit so well. Hudson is charming as a deceitful worker of an advertising agency and you cannot help but fall for his charms. I can see why Hudson was loved by everyone and he definitely was handsome. My mom always calls Hudson “The Good Looking Man” because she can never remember his name. I never found Cary Grant to be attractive, but Hudson is like a sexier version of Grant! I don’t know why, but something about Hudson’s looks made me think of Grant.
I really don’t want to give away much of the plot, but I beg you to watch this film. It’s a breath of fresh air after watching recent romantic comedies and even screwballs from the 1930s and 1940s and the innuendos are to die for. One of my favourite scenes full of innuendos is when Rebel (Edie Adams) shows off the “Good Conduct Medal”; I had to pause the film because I laughed so much. When something shocked me and I thought, “HOW DID THIS GET PASSED THE CENSORS?!” (I wonder that a lot I noticed), it was answered right away by the following action or scene. Day’s face expressions are priceless as well and I couldn’t help but love her in every scene.

I’m pretty sure that you probably know my picture set-up for posts. I usually use a screencap I took of a scene that epitomizes the film (or one that I simply like!) for the first one, then use other stills to use as references throughout the post. Well, this time, the screencap I used for the first one was my favourite scene and I think the scene did embody what this film was like. It was a scene of when Carol (Doris Day) takes “Dr. Tyler” (Rock Hudson) to a burlesque show and the conversation that goes on during the show and afterwards is great, but what made the scene even better is Day’s face expressions. It’s worth a watch, I promise!

Underneath all the hilarity and cuteness of this film, I really liked what it had to say about the advertising agency and how it shapes people’s perception of the world. It also showed how honest work sometimes isn’t enough to get the job done and that a little something-something is necessary or at least helpful.

And of course, an entry cannot do without any superficial anecdotes. First of all, there is Day’s hair which is absolutely gorgeous. It makes her look both classy yet also gives her a casual air. I wish I could style my hair like that every day… In every scene she has such perfect hair, well, except that one scene towards the end, but she always looks poised with her perfect coiffure. And then of course, Day’s hats in this film were outrageous. I wonder where she even got them because they were so peculiar that they were charming in their own way. They were on the borderline of hideous, weird, and I don’t know, but Day makes them look like they aren’t anything special. Hm, also, can I say that the shade of lipstick Day wore is glorious? I love it.

The only thing I was a bit ambivalent about is the ending. At first, I thought, “Oh well that’s what happens!” but then I thought about it and it seemed unfair for Day’s character. The ending seemed rushed and a bit tacked on, but at the same time it went by so quickly that I barely thought about it. Watch it and judge for yourself!

IMDb Link: Lover Come Back
Where to buy: Amazon.com

Tanin no kao (The Face of Another) ; 1966

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Posted by Maddy

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Machiko Kyô, Mikijiro Hira, Kyôko Kishida, Eiji Okada, Miki Irie
Country: Japan

Of the various films Hiroshi Teshigahara adapted from novels by Kobo Abe, The Face of Another is his most visually recognizable. The story of a Japanese psychiatrist (Tatsuya Nakadai) who, after an accident in a factory, has his face burned off is a film ripe with ethical implications. Feeling alienated from his wife and society Okuyama seeks the help of a young doctor specializing in constructing fake limbs for amputees. Together they create a mask so realistic that it might as well be real flesh. With this new face, and new identity, Okuyama wishes to seduce his wife believing he will be able to exact his revenge upon her for when she rejected him with his previously scarred face.
Throughout the film the young doctor voices his worries – what kind of society would we have if these masks were massed produced? Anyone could have an entirely new identity and the possibility of infinite freedom is at hand. All desire could be met; all crimes could be committed without the slightest implication. Okuyama also faces the dilemma of losing his original self to the identity of the mask. He changes his style and mannerisms and gives into temptations that his previous self would not.

Okuyama is a complex character. With his face rapped in bandages he feels that the world sees him as a monster and pushes everyone away, believing they all scorn him. But does society and the people he cares about really feel this way or is he too self absorbed to see those around him? When the seduction of his wife backfires upon him he sees, with horror, the error of his ways and delves deeper and deeper into the new identity the mask has given him.
Teshigahara also intersperses the film with a film within a film. A young Hibakusha girl and her brother live together. The girl, whose face had been burned by the atom bombs, goes throughout her daily life. She is approached and then scorned by strangers and makes guns with her brother. She asks him if there would be another war soon. He answers honestly not realizing that what they are doing, creating weapons, could create more people like her. In the novel her story is deliberately shown to be a film that Okuyama had seen in the theatres having gone there to find comfort in the darkness. In the film it cuts back and forth never making it clear what her story had to do with Okuyama’s. Both have been horribly scarred, one by industry, the other by war.
Teshigahara fills this film with spectacular visuals, particularly those in the doctor’s office. Another visual highlight would be the way he focuses attention. In the scenes where the doctor and the newly masked Okuyama go out to drink at a German bar Teshigahara slows down the crowd behind them, quiets the music and alters the lighting. These subtle touches go unnoticed until he returns the bustle and noise of the crowd. The conversation is one that the audience, and the men involved, become so involved with that the crowd fades away behind them.
Brilliant but far from upbeat, The Face of Another highlights the moral ambiguity that rests within society. Teshigaraha’s outstanding cinematography makes the film one of a kind. The Face of Another, which would make an excellent double bill with Seconds, is a dark moral tale about alienation and identity. What kind of reaction is an audience supposed to have when all of Okuyama’s attempts to rejoin society that only push him further away?

IMDb Link: Tanin no kao
Where to buy: Criterion

Judgment at Nuremberg ; 1961

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Director: Stanley Kramer
Actors: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift
Country: U.S.A.

All I can say about this film is WOW. Never have I watched a film where everything worked so perfectly (I lie, there is Amadeus) but my God! This film was just… breathtaking? Perfection? I can’t describe in words how I felt when I watched this film; it captivated me from the credits until the end. Each shot, each camera movement, each scene was so perfectly in place, so exact, so precise, that I can’t even say which scene was my favourite or which scene should even be cut or moved around. The whole film as a whole just worked perfectly together like a Beethoven symphony: if one part is missing or if one part messes up, the whole thing is gone. Every actor was amazing in their roles and each character represented different facets of the situation that I can’t even pick out which character I thought was the most important. Sometimes all-star casts are a letdown, but this film was the completely opposite of one.

One scene that particularly caught my eye though was the sound and editing when there is a transition from Rolfe (Maximilian Schell) speaking German to Rolfe speaking English. The editing was something that I’ve never seen before. It first started with seeing the back of the translator’s heads in the foreground and Rolfe in the background speaking German and then the camera slowly moves up at an angle, looking over the glass that separates the translators and then there is a fast zoom and the transition from German to English is made. One knows that Rolfe is still speaking German, but it is as if that slow move away from the translators and going over the glass is putting the audience into the same plane as the Germans and being able to understand what he is saying. The language barrier is broken and that quick zoom brings us to the location of the setting as if we’re part of the scene. The transition was seamless and perfectly executed, thus I had to point out that scene.
I read that the role of Ernst Janning, played by Burt Lancaster, was for Laurence Olivier. I adore Olivier, but for some reason, I can’t see anyone else playing Janning the way Lancaster did; he played the role to perfection. It’s funny because my Italian cinema professor said that Lancaster is known for being in Westerns, and the only film I saw him in was Il gattopardo (The Leopard), and the role he played was originally for Olivier as well. Once again, I thought that Lancaster was superb in Il gattopardo, just like I felt when I watched Judgment at Nuremberg. I wonder if the name “Ernst Janning” was a nod to the famous German director Ernst Lubitsch and the famous Swiss/German actor Emil Jannings. I know that Janning and Jannings are different, but nonetheless it could be a reference like in Double Indemnity with “Dietrichson” being a nod to Marlene Dietrich.

I am still in a moment of awe with this film. Maybe when I rewatch it, I’ll be able to write something better and make thorough analyses , but right now, I’m going to sleep, thinking about what a great film this is.

PS: On a less serious note, I was happy to see Marlene Dietrich with real eyebrows! I adore Dietrich, but I hated her drawn-on super-arched eyebrows during her early Hollywood years.

IMDb link: Judgment at Nuremberg
Where to buy: Amazon.com