Reviews written by registered user
|5 reviews in total|
I've watched this film about 150 times (no lie! -- and I'm only 25!) and I appreciate it more with each viewing. The interaction between the characters is perfect (particularly the scene between Kirk and Spock in Spock's quarters about handing over command). Ricardo Montalban's obsessed Khan is one of the greatest villains to ever come to the screen. The literary references to Moby Dick are blended into the dialogue without being obvious (Khan and Ahab are blood-brothers in their mental state). And Spock's death scene? The most heart-wrenching one I've seen -- after 150 times, I still cry. THAT is emotional acting and writing! I would give this a 20 out of 10 if I could!
I've always been an ardent fan of Flesh and the Devil, but
I saw Love. This movie is absolutely beautiful, there's
other word to describe it. Whereas Flesh and the Devil
to be crass commercialism, Love is more subtle in many
I gave this movie a 9 due to two rather melodramatic moments where Garbo wasn't exactly restraining herself. However, there are enough scenes where she conveys Anna's inner turmoil by the most fleeting and eloquent of expressions. The lighting in her scenes are breathtakingly beautiful, and I can only imagine how long it took to set it up just right! In so many of her scenes she is heartbreaking, especially when, exiled from her home, she sees a schoolboy and momentarily believes that he is her son and tries to embrace him. When he struggles and runs away, she does a wonderful job portraying Anna's rather unstable mind, which she does to great effect throughout the picture. In the beginning, however, when she first meets Vronsky, she seems to be in control of herself, and there is a wonderfully imperious stare in close-up, followed quickly by a close-up of Gilbert. As I watched her, I was astonished when I remembered that she was only 22 in this film.
Which brings us to Gilbert. For those who think of him as simply Valentino's successor as the Great Lover, being no more than a slab of meat for the delight of female audiences, need to watch this film. He is simply perfect, the model of natural acting -- there is not a hint of melodrama or the "ham" about him. He is completely in love with Anna, but there are none of the breast-heaving love scenes that are throughout Flesh and the Devil. He is jealous of anybody coming between him and Anna, but there are no widened eyes and arm waving. Simply jamming his hands in his pockets and an angry stare into the distance.
My only complaint with this film was the presentation on TCM. They used a live performance, and we get the "audience reaction" throughout the film. Which is fine at points, but for the most part, the reaction is totally wrong. Too many times there was laughter at what was, in 1927, a very dramatic moment. When Jack is too busy looking at Garbo to blow out the match and ends up burning his finger, that's funny. But when Anna says the profound line to the jealous Vronsky "There is no more or less in love -- I love you both infinitely" (referring to her son), the laughter was totally inappropriate. I hope this is not the avenue of any future TCM silent movies. Even though modern audiences are supposedly more "sophisticated," they aren't sophisticated enough to appreciate what "worked" 70-75 years ago. Even though these movies are old, there are still images and "lines" that are as ageless as Garbo's face.
Anyone who scorns silent comedy should see this little piece of work. It has crude slapstick and goofy rustic humor, but also charming moments of pure beauty. Roscoe Arbuckle, still unfairly maligned as a rapist, is boyishly romantic with the unbeatable Mabel Normand. Their puppy love antics warm the heart and make one despise Hollywood for cutting short these two amazing careers simply because of circumstantial evidence in two of early Hollywood's biggest scandals (Arbuckle: Virginia Rappe's death; Normand: William Desmond Taylor's death). This film, under the helm of Arbuckle and Normand, is a stark contrast to the grotesqueries of the main output of Keystone and Mack Sennett. One of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen in film is Roscoe's silhouette bending down to kiss Mabel, who is asleep in bed, their dog curled up next to her. This one is not to be missed by silent film fans.
One Week and The Scarecrow are the only two silent films that I can watch over and over and over and laugh like a maniac each time I see them. I have seen hundreds of silent films and seen hundreds of performances, but there is no performer, past or present, who was as versatile, good-looking, and out and out funny as Buster Keaton. He is the king to which all comedians should aspire and he leaves Chaplin thousands of miles behind in terms of comedy. Personally, I can't watch Chaplin without being all too aware that I'm supposed to be in a music hall. Keaton, however, isn't hindered by his vaudeville roots and can make a laugh-out-loud domestic comedy using vaudeville tricks without making it seem like a recreation of a vaudeville routine.
This ranks #2 on my all-time favorite silent films list. Keaton's parody of one-act "mellers" that he was subjected to during his days on the vaudeville stage is priceless -- the wringing of hands and clutching of breasts, etc. The entire first scene with Big Joe and Buster going through their morning routine is hysterical and at the same time makes you speechless at Keaton's inventivenes. Genius couldn't be more obviously displayed than in this short, only a preview of what was to come in his later feature films.