The difference between Oliver! and Midnight Cowboy is the difference between day and night. Oliver!, the previous Best-Picture winner, is a G-rated movie that’s, as they say, suitable for the entire family. Midnight Cowboy is an X-rated movie (later reduced to R) that’s, as they say, suitable for the entire family – if it’s [...]
Entries from September 30th, 2009
September 29th, 2009 · No Comments · 1968, Adaptation, Color, Columbia Pictures, Hugh Griffith, Musical, Oliver Reed, Oliver!
I have an amendment to my earlier proclamation that I hate musicals.
I’ve discovered something far worse:
A musical with, about, and presumably for children.
Charles Dickens, on his best day, could not possibly be considered cheery. So to take a story about orphans, pickpockets, prostitutes, child labor, lying, violence, murder, and the grime of turn-of-the-century London [...]
September 28th, 2009 · No Comments · 1967, Adaptation, Color, Drama, In the Heat of the Night, Mid-Point, Norman Jewison, Plot Point I, Plot Point II, Quentin Dean, Quincy Jones, Racism, Rod Steiger, Screenplay Structure, Sidney Poitier, United Artists
I don’t like “message” movies, ones that were seemingly created to teach me a lesson or re-align my thinking to be more in line with whatever the latest cause is in Hollywood.
I don’t need Hollywood to teach me right from wrong. I can think for myself.
So I bristled when I watched the behind-the-scenes commentary [...]
September 27th, 2009 · 1 Comment · 1966, A Man For All Seasons, Adaptation, Color, Columbia Pictures, Drama, Henry VIII, Orson Welles, Robert Shaw, Thomas More
This movie came as a tremendous surprise. I didn’t know what it was about or who starred in it. But the second I saw the names Robert Shaw (one of my favorite character actors) and Orson Welles I knew I was in for a treat.
The story takes place in 16th century England. But [...]
September 26th, 2009 · No Comments · 1965, Adaptation, Christopher Plummer, Color, Julie Andrews, Marni Nixon, Musical, Robert Wise, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sound of Music, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
I have to be careful with The Sound of Music. Even though it’s a musical, my wife loves the film. She says it’s part of her childhood. And everyone knows how critical such memories are.
So I will tread lightly regarding this particular musical, to wit:
The scenery is gorgeous.
Julie Andrews’ voice is remarkable.
Angela Cartwright (Brigitta) [...]
September 25th, 2009 · No Comments · 1964, Adaptation, Alan Jay Lerner, Audrey Hepburn, Color, Composer: André Previn, George Bernard Shaw, George Cukor, Marni Nixon, Musical, My Fair Lady, Panavision (Widescreen), Rex Harrison, Swearing, Warner Bros. Pictures
Now this is a musical I can enjoy. The songs are memorable. The characters are rich. The story is delightful. The actors are magical. The costumes are vibrant.
My Fair Lady is one of two musicals I hold near and dear to my heart, the other being Singin’ In the Rain, my favorite musical of [...]
September 24th, 2009 · No Comments · 1963, Adaptation, Color, Comedy, Henry Fielding, Hugh Griffith, Not Released In United States, Tom Jones, United Artists
After the grandeur of Lawrence of Arabia, Tom Jones looks like the work of a film-school student who didn’t graduate. This is sloppy, virtually unwatchable stuff. In fact, this may hold the distinction of being the worst Oscar-winning movie ever made. (To this point, at least.)
The direction and cinematography are amateurish and off-putting. The [...]
September 23rd, 2009 · No Comments · 1962, Adaptation, Claude Rains, Color, Columbia Pictures, David Lean, Drama, Jack Hawkins, Lawrence of Arabia, Panavision (Widescreen), Peter O'Toole
Sweeping doesn’t begin to describe Lawrence of Arabia. Even the making-of feature is epic. And, certainly, the aspect ratio of Lawrence of Arabia is vast. Of that, the description of the film on Amazon says this:
There’s no getting around a simple, basic truth: watching Lawrence of Arabia in any home-video format represents a compromise. [...]
September 22nd, 2009 · No Comments · 1961, Adaptation, Color, Composer: Leonard Bernstein, Marni Nixon, Musical, Panavision (Widescreen), Robert Wise, United Artists, West Side Story
There’s a line in Raiders of the Lost Ark that ranks among my favorites: “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”
In my case, it’s “Musicals. Why did it have to be a musical?”
West Side Story is a musical.
“These are the gayest gang members I’ve ever seen in my life,” my wife said as [...]
September 21st, 2009 · No Comments · 1960, Apartment, Billy Wilder, Black and White, Comedy, Inciting Incident, Jack Lemmon, M-G-M Studios, Mid-Point, Original Screenplay, Panavision (Widescreen), Plot Point I, Plot Point II, Screenplay Structure, Shirley MacLaine, Swearing
Ah, Billy Wilder. After the length, depth, and heaviness of Ben-Hur a good Billy Wilder film is just what the doctor ordered.
As nuts as I am about Gene Kelly, I’m equally as passionate about Billy Wilder, a writer/director I’ve come to respect above all others.
Hallmarks of a Billy Wilder film include incredibly clever writing, [...]