10 items from 2013
Kino resurrects an odd curio with Shoot the Sun Down, a counter-culture Western from 1978, notable for headlining Christopher Walken just prior to his Oscar win for The Deer Hunter and Margot Kidder before she was that year’s Lois Lane in Superman. Of further note, director David Leeds, who financed with his own production company, would never again lend his name to another film in any capacity. The film, which is obviously modeled after Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name series, considering it’s mysterious protagonist, has all the makings of a subversive genre entry, it’s stance on violence guided by an incredibly idiosyncratic score (that’s not Ennio Morricone) and Michael Chapman’s beautifully photographed landscapes (with plenty shots of rising/setting suns for its grand motif). However, muddled plotting and a comatosely constructed climax peg the film as rather forgettable, which is unfortunate considering its strange ambience. »
- Nicholas Bell
Orson Welles is often held up as the most abused child in the history of Hollywood, but Erich von Stroheim was easily his equal as whipping boy: Beginning with “Foolish Wives” -- Hollywood’s first “million-dollar movie,” for which von Stroheim recreated Monte Carlo on the back lot of Universal – the former assistant to D.W. Griffith lost one duel after another to the hedge-clippers of Hollywood. On “Greed” alone, he was probably relieved of more footage than Welles ever shot in his life. The loss to cinema history has been mourned since the ‘20s. The good news: On Tuesday [July30] “Foolish Wives” -- mastered in HD from an archival 35mm print of the 1972 AFI Arthur Lennig restoration -- comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Classics. It features the original 1922 Sigmund Romberg score, performed by Rodney Sauer, as well as “The Man You Loved to Hate,” Patrick Montgomery's feature-length documentary profile of von Stroheim, »
- John Anderson
The lineup for the 66th Locarno Film Festival has been announced. Sections include the Concorso internazionale, (highlights which include premieres from Hong Sang-soo and Albert Serra and the long desired extended cut of Jacques Rivette's Va savoir), special Piazza Grande presentations, Histoire(s) du Cinéma, Fuori Concorso, and more. The various Jury members have also been announced, and heading the Concorso internazionale is Lav Diaz. David Hudson has more details for you over at Keyframe.
New issues now available on physical and digital shelves: Film Comment & Brooklyn Rail. Pitchfork's new film criticism sister site, The Dissolve, has opened its doors.
Above: via Jonathan Rosenbaum, his introduction to Erich von Stroheim's Greed at the 2013 Greater St. Louis Humanities Festival. For Cinema Scope Online, Celluloid Liberation Front writes on Il Cinema Ritrovato Xxvii:
"Were we to emulate the Biblical terminology Il Cinema Ritrovato employs to describe one »
- Adam Cook
In May 2011 the Spanish writer-director Pablo Berger was busily prepping his second film, Blancanieves. After an eight-year struggle to raise funding, he was finally about to start shooting a film whose uniqueness he was convinced would surprise and delight audiences the world over. After all, this was the sort of mainstream entertainment that hadn't been seen in decades — a black and white, silent movie, complete with lush orchestration.
But then came the Cannes film festival, and The Artist.
"Nobody knew about The Artist until it appeared in Cannes," he recalls, with a reflex ruefulness. "It was completely out of the blue. I was in my office in Madrid, doing the storyboards for my film, when a producer »
- Demetrios Matheou
Review by Sam Moffitt
I grew up a monster kid in the 1960s. I tried to watch any movie with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney or Peter Lorre, whether the movie was horror or not, I loved all these actors. But Bela Lugosi has always had a special place in my heart and I’ve made every effort to see all his films. Phantom ship was one title that has eluded me for years, until now.
Courtesy of Image Entertainment and Netflix I finally caught up with Phantom Ship, also known as The Mystery of The Mary Celeste. Was it worth the wait and worth seeing? Yes and no, depending on how you feel about Lugosi. This is one film that allowed Lugosi room to move and create a character not really related to horror movies and it show cases just how good an actor he really was. »
- Movie Geeks
The Canadian (photo: Thomas Meighan in The Canadian) Thomas Meighan is The Star of William Beaudine’s The Canadian (1926), which screened at the 2012 San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The credits feature his name far above everyone else’s. The basic story of The Canadian, scenario by Arthur Stringer from the 1913 W. Somerset Maugham play The Land of Promise, is similar in theme to Victor Sjöström’s later film The Wind (1928), but without the wind tempest and the murder. Instead, The Canadian concentrates on characterizations. After her rich aunt dies, stuffy, uptight Nora (Mona Palma) travels from London to a wheat farm owned by her brother (Wyndham Standing) in Calgary. She looks down with disdain at the simple, rustic life he lives in the country, with his wife, Gertie (Dale Fuller), and farm hands — especially the independent-minded Frank Taylor (Thomas Meighan). The Canadian starts out as an unpredictable and engaging tale. »
- Danny Fortune
Greed (1924) is considered one of the greatest silent films ever made, although the film was a box-office failure at the time. Greed is an epic morality tale about how three people are dehumanized by the influence of money upon their lives. They are the simple, uneducated former miner and dentist McTeague (played by Gibson Gowland) in turn of the century San Francisco, his miserly, vulgar and pathological wife Trina (Zasu Pitts), and their mutual friend and McTeague’s ultimate nemesis Marcus (Jean Hersholt) – who all are caught up by their greed for riches. What remains of the film was directed by the ambitious, extravagant, stubborn and independent-minded Erich Von Stroheim – he spent nine months shooting the film and a total of fifteen months writing and editing it (from 1923-1924). Production costs were close to half a million dollars. Von Stroheim, who is best known for his role as Gloria Swanson »
- Tom Stockman
Last night I watched Orson Welles' 1942 film The Magnificent Ambersons for the first time. Of course, like everyone else, I'm watching the edited down 88-minute version of the film, which was recently re-released by Warner Home Video along with the 70th anniversary release of Citizen Kane, but at this point you take what you get as it seems decided we'll never see the original 148-minute version. As David Kamp wrote in his 2002 Vanity Fair piece, Ambersons is considered one of the "two great 'lost' movies in the annals of Hollywood filmmaking" along with Erich von Stroheim's Greed, which Christopher Nolan recently pegged as a Criterion hopeful. I've had Kamp's piece bookmarked for the longest time, not wanting to read it before seeing the movie myself and I was finally able to do so. It's a fascinating story of how the film came to be an hour shorter than »
- Brad Brevet
What does the director of Inception and The Dark Knight like to watch? What may have inspired some of his visual and storytelling cues? Well, Christopher Nolan has just made a list of his top ten Criterion titles, including one that may be a hint as to what's to come. I have included his rankings below along with his brief thoughts as well as a link to buy each. Personally, of those he chose I personally love 12 Angry Men and The Thin Red Line and also enjoyed both The Hit and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse enough to purchase each. I have never, however, seen Bad Timing, The Complete Mr. Arkadin or Greed the latter of which was directed by Erich von Stroheim who may, now, best be remembered as first husband and butler to Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. I have never seen any of the films he directed, »
- Brad Brevet
To start the New Year, every day in January we will be publishing another section of our 300 Greatest Films Ever Made List. This list was compiled over a two-year period using a variety of criteria, including--popularity, critical response, box office take, influence, originality and awards won. Thanks to all the people who helped in making this list by giving their feedback over blogs and hubs during the period it was being compiled. And now, on with the list…
296) The Red Shoes (1948) Michael Powell British
293) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Ang Lee Hong Kong/Taiwan
291) Halloween (1978) John Cartenter USA
Numbers 290-281 next....
FILMMAKINGfilm cultureclassic »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
10 items from 2013
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