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La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928)
Transcends all Generations
Roger Ebert once said that "to see Falconetti in Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc" is to look into eyes that will never leave you." I cannot find a better statement for this miracle of a silent masterpiece. What has been mastered here is a view, taken from historical record, and put under a microscope figuratively and literally on screen to dive into the spiritual essence of destiny. This film is in a class by itself, and had a profound impact on this viewer.
The film begins during the 100 Years War in France. In its battle against its enemy England, a commoner rose through the ranks to lead France to many great victories. This great warrior was peasant girl Joan of Arc, not even 18 years old but commanded a presence among her peers and a reputation impressed upon her enemies. Joan has been promised French deliverance from the mouth of God himself. Captured and put on what is essentially a mock trial for the whole film (she would have most likely been executed anyway) she must stand firm against the cacophony of priests who at first spit at her and call her a demon who cries blasphemy. Soon however, when she is given the chance to free herself at the expense of her devout belief in God and refuses, the film becomes a tragedy of the rest form, a good person making the ultimate sacrifice to something bigger than anyone in this film can possibly imagine.
The mastery of this film's narrative is in its reliance on the extreme close-up, which i can only estimate takes up 95% of the film. Director Dryer and cinematographer Rudolf Mate take a radical approach to the film, which has stood the test of time as one of the most daring films ever made. Joan's face as well as the other characters fill the frame, and what was not normal for the silent films, the actors do not wear any make-up at all. What this gives is confinement in the audience, as wee are as locked in this small blank room as Joan is, thus helping us feel the emotions of the scenes and care for the main character in a unique way. We cannot look away from the faces, especially that of Joan's astonishingly beautiful eyes.
What stands out in this film is the central performance of Maria Falconetti as Joan of Arc. When she enters the picture, she does not look like a common heroine. She has short hair, no make-up, and no soft lighting to make her "gorgeous." In this way, Falconetti must communicate a visceral reaction and emotions through her facial expressions, and since she is always in close-up, this cannot escape and she cannot cheat. With this said, this is a truly flawless performance, in fact one of the greatest films I have ever seen in Cinema history. When she does stumble and ultimately does the "morally right" thing, I broke down in tears, quite rarely have I ever had so much respect and heartbreak over a person I never knew. This is a bravura performance that I cannot praise enough.
The Passion of Joan of Arc is a miracle, and when given again the fact that it was made in the 1920s, this is even more astonishing. Please see this film and judge for yourself.
Note: I am sorry I haven't written in a long time. College and work is murder and time must be put elsewhere quite a lot. But I intend to write more and this film helped me rekindle the flame that git me to doing this in the first place - Theflyace"
A Night to Remember (1958)
A Gripping Drama
Over forty years since the Titanic tragically went down on her maiden voyage, author Walter Lord published what many consider, including myself, the definitive account of the sinking. It was indeed a fascinating and incredibly detailed read, which accounts for why this film is the result of a faithful adaptation. A Night to Remember is a gripping docudrama which acts almost like a reporter observing a tragedy live. In a similar approach to the brilliant United 93, this film doesn't try to emphasize the drama, but rather let the drama speak for itself.
The plot revolves around the moments of both heroism and terror after the Titanic begins to sink, slowly but steadily. As the ship was popularly deemed "unsinkable," many of the passengers opt to stay with the ship, as we the viewer are helpless to tell them otherwise. Many of these moments come straight from survivors which lends a great air of authenticity. One major subplot of the film entails the activity, or rather inactivity, of the liner SS Californian. What might have happened if the distress call was received is almost too heart- wrenching to bear, and the film lets this sink in slowly.
In a narrative sense, this could have easily been too dry for audiences, like it was with Tora! Tora! Tora!. However, because of the source material, as well as the painstaking detail, the story is never dull, nor does it ever lose its suspense, all the way to the end. The casting uses fine respected British actors, but they were far from"stars." In this way, again like united 93, the people become far more "real" for us, and therefore there is no previous baggage for the actors to try to leave behind. Some of this acting is sublime, scubas Kenneth More's portrayal of 2nd Officer Lightoller, arguably the protagonist of the film.Others do fine in their roles, but some are rather crusty with no personalities, but this is perhaps the intent of the actors, so I give it leeway.
Technically, the film is quite well produced. The legendary director of photography Geoffrey Unsworth brilliantly uses the camera to give weight and size to the ship, and intimacy of the human element. All in all, the production is well guided by director Roy Baker and producer William MacQuitty, who both try to reproduce the liner in all of its glory. It did not have the budget of James Cameron's film, but that does not make it any less of an achievement than that great film was.
If there is anything to be considered "lackluster" in this movie, it would probably be the model work involved. I am a huge fan of miniature models and many times in film they are used well, rarely giving away scale. In this case, most of the shots work, making the Titanic looks grand. It is far better than the 1953 version of Titanic by leaps and bounds. However, the shots of the stern in the air and sliding into the ocean are not particularly convincing, but I will overlooks it as I am engrossed in the story. Also it sinks in one piece, but as this was the common perception at the time, it can also be forgiven.
I am ashamed that this movie does not get as much attention as it deserves. I myself love James Cameron's film and it is indeed a special and brilliant spectacle. However, both are definitive accounts of Titanic, and both should be viewed.
A Perfect Visual Short
"Tempus" is a rare breed of short film that prefers visual poetry to that of simply being visual for the sake of being visual. What I mean is, each shot, motion, or emotion could be interpreted differently. Short films to me are the perfect way for an individual to put their visual stamp in the film world, even though they may not quite get the recognition they so richly deserve. In this case, director Ian Clay and his incredible team of artists (I ponder how he got such talent in the first place) tell quite simply the tale of a man running to his wife.
With that simple story so many questions can be asked and discussed: Why is he running to his wife? What is contained in the letter he drops in the dirt? Why does he age backwards? What does the dove represent in the end? Coming back around to what i said earlier, all of these can be answered any way the viewer perceives them. For me this seemed like the story of a man who yearns to hold onto the woman of his dreams whom he had the fortunate opportunity to spend his life with. His aging backwards may signify his feelings about how cares little about the world around him and his core essence and spirit of youth is what propels him to his wife. The dove forms in that he and the woman are one forever and ever and that they will now go off to who knows where.
Now that is my opinion and I could be reading to deeply into it. Another person who saw this, or Mr. Clay himself may say differently. I remember Roger Ebert speaking of the ending of Hal Ashby's film "Being There." He asked some students what the meaning of Sellers walking on water in the end meant, as he had no such hint or buildup of this moment at all. When so many students gave "deep" answers, Ebert said they were all wrong. The moment was what it was. He walked on the water and that's that. This is a prime example of such storytelling. It certainly is what it is, but that doesn't necessarily that our own opinion of what we are watching cannot be quashed by a straightforward explanation.
Clay's fantastical use of the camera also gives us more information about the story and the feelings than we initially realize. It's filled with dust dancing through the beams of light, hearkening the work of masters Vilmos Zsigmond and Emmanuel Lubezki in creating a winsome and beautiful atmosphere. The music adds to this charming atmosphere, not really giving the emotional cues we are accustomed to, but drawing them out of us gradually.
So yes, "Tempus" is a short film masterpiece. Enough said.
Heaven's Gate (1980)
A Gloriously Shot but Overlong Mess
We have all heard the stories, the nick-names, and the utter hatred this movie received upon its premiere in 1980. Heaven's Gate was the egg laid by respected director Michael Cimino, which ultimately destroyed one of the most famous movie studios in movie history. I almost cannot put into words how bloody confusing this movie is in terms of reaction. I must ultimately ask this question many ask when they see it. Heaven's Gate: A grand true epic film, or a trip into he unchecked ego of Hollywood? Ultimately, the conclusion I drew was that Heaven's Gate is a gloriously shot but overlong mess.
The story, based on historical fact, dramatizes the Johnson County Cattle Wars of 1890. Marshall Jim Averill (Kris Kristofferson) a man born into wealth in the midst of European settlers, tries to keep order despite and impending tragedy. The rich cattle barons of the state of Wyoming, led by Canton (Sam Waterston) create a "death list" of each settler in the county to prevent "anarchy cattle theft." All the while Averill woos local bordello madam Ella (Isabelle Huppert) despite her similar attraction to Baron hit-man Champion (Christopher Walken)
The premise seems simple to follow, but that is only a summary of this nearly three and a half hour movie. In fact, most of the film is empty shots of people quite literally doing nothing of importance. The problem is director Michael Cimino. The film is lacking what it so richly deserves, evoking emotion within the viewer. When there is a five minute scene of people obscured by dust and incomprehensible dialog, the viewer ultimately becomes frustrated, not subversively challenged to get up to speed to understand it. There are numerous subplots Cimino includes in his script, and while some are decent enough, like Jeff Bridges character opening a roller skating rink called "Heaven's Gate," the rest are ultimately and sadly pointless. Two perfect examples are completely unnecessary prologue and epilogue sequences which add nothing at all to the impact of the movie, in fact in my opinion they hurt the movie's flow and central idea.
The budget of this movie has become stuff or movie lore, forty-four million dollars on a movie that could have been made for at least three quarters of it. Most of it was spent on Cimino's relentless attention to mostly unnecessary details. But, with that said, the movie is BEAUTIFUL. One of the brilliant choices Cimino made on this movie was the selection of legendary DP Vilmos Zsigmond. The vistas and wide shots are like beautiful oil paintings put to film. Zsigmond is the master of lighting, and it truly shows in this film. Sometimes I got lost looking at the lighting and shadows created. The sets, however expensive they were, are also gorgeous. I can at least say that this movie is not cheap looking at all, every penny seems to be on the screen.
What ultimately makes this movie a dud is Cimino's lack of idea what this movie is supposed to be. It was trying to be the greatest movie ever made, but it tried much too hard. Much too hard to the point where one cannot latch on to anyone or anything in the movie, which is what we as a viewer are supposed to do. While it is a pretty movie, it runs far too long to have a cohesive story and not much interesting development in the characters.
I do believe that this movie deserves at least one or two viewings to catch what may have been missed the first time around. However i wouldn't go putting it on the top ten list of anything, or the top 100 for that matter. Ultimately, Heaven's Gate is the scorned child of a director who went too far without really going anywhere to begin with.
House of Cards (1990)
Impressive and Gripping
When I first watched the U.S. Series of House of Cards, i was surprised to learn that not only was it based off a book, but also another BBC Miniseries. Whet i found was not only a good miniseries, but perhaps ones of the finest television series ever put to film. House of Cards U.K. is most impressive and gripping considering how short it is and how much story there is. Thanks to clever writing and a powerful performance from Ian Richardson, this is one of the best.
After Margaret Thatcher's departure as Prime Minister of England, Chief Majority Whip Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson) seeks a higher office after years of learning the deepest secrets and ins and outs of politics. However when is double crossed by the spineless new P.M. Hal Collingridge, he sets out to ruin the P.M. and take power for himself. He assembles the desperate band of scoundrels and spins the web of political drama that may very well be dangerous for unsuspecting members of Parliament.
This series, based on political writer Michael Dobbs' best selling novel, is a prime example of how well balanced a political series can be without getting bogged down in the minutiae. Much like The West Wing, we are given a very complex situation and setting, and yet we are able to follow it because just enough is explained for us to know whats really happening. Andrew Davies' writing is some of the best I have ever heard in media, and really set a high bar for Beau Willimon when it came time for him to write the U.S. Series, but thats for the next review.
The best element of this series is Urquhart himself. He is played by a little known British actor named Ian Richardson, and by gum he hits out of the stratosphere. He is a very calculating man who always seems to hit the right note when he has to. What makes him even more interesting, when he shares his little asides with the audience (a wonderful idea), is that he can be a warm and quite funny individual, like a charming uncle you would visit every so often. He never once gnashes his teeth or ever goes over the top as most villains would. In fact he's very subdued and stoic, making him all the more intimidating when his lackeys must do his bidding.
When your dealing with a book the size of the Bible and turning it into a mini-series, a lot of stuff must be left in or left out to make it dramatically compelling. In the case of House of Cards U.K., just the right amount of both political jargon and human elements are left in. Sometimes it takes a second viewing to rally catch whats going on and how they are trying to deal with the situations Urquhart has spun beyond their control. It all builds up to a rather exciting conclusion which i wouldn't dream of spoiling.
This is one of the best no questions asked. I do hope that the U.S. Series will make people aware of this truly outstanding series and they will at least give it a view. As to whether this will become quite as popular as the newer one, I couldn't possibly comment. Enjoy!
The Haunting (1963)
One of the Scariest
After many years and limited titles, I have finally discovered a new film to go with the ones that actually get the hairs on the back of my neck to shoot up on end. The Haunting is a masterpiece from director Robert Wise, the kind that comes rarely in a distinguished career. There is hardly anything I can find in this film that is remotely lacking. I rarely say this... this movie genuinely made me afraid.
The story thank goodness is actually very solid. A professor's keen interest in the supernatural leads him to create a group of "established" parapsychologists and ESP experts and observe the goings on of a aged property called Hill House. One of the invited, Nell (played by Julie Harris), is a mentally unstable woman who harbors deep fears and insecurities about herself and her place in the oppressive world around her. Eventually the house-guests begin to experience paranormal activity and hear sounds that send them into absolute terror. Nell however believes that this haunting may be for a reason that the others can't understand like she can.
The execution of this seemingly simple story actually becomes very complicated, and keeps you guessing at every turn. As a viewer, we aren't exactly sure if the sounds are coming from the house itself or the minds of the house-guests, more specifically Nell's own tortured mind. Much like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, this particular story is made all the more suspenseful and scary in what we do not see, and what our subconscious presents to us. Some of the images become so disturbing and creepy that we actually begin to doubt what is real, which is the sign of ingenuity in storytelling.
In what initially annoyed me in the acting, eventually changed to empathy and wanting to help these characters. Initially, Julie Harris' Nell is a very mousy character who grated. But as the film progresses and the haunting becomes more intense, her insecurities and delusions about her lack of respect from the others begin to consume her, much like her romantic notions about the house when she arrives. The other actors, including Claire Bloom (Charly) and Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story) and Richard Johnson as the surprisingly honest Professor Markway do good jobs trying to portray flawed people thrown into an uncomfortable situation.
The atmosphere of this movie is immense and breathtaking. The old unchanged look of the house gives off the impression of the Gothic, and the cinematography and lighting emphasizes this. I think this is the first film from the 60s that I've seen that uses very odd techniques and pan shots to convey a sense of mind bending terror and confusion very effectively and stunningly. The sets and statues in this movie gives off a very menacing presence adding to the chilling atmosphere.
While it may not be the scariest movie ever, and believe me there are very few movies that are truly scary, this one really got me cold and shivering as we went from one encounter to the next. Practically every aspect of this production works very well. This visit to Hill House is definitely worth your time.
Unbelievably Great Looking, Dramatically Lacking
The biggest cultural phenomenon of its time, Batman has become a thing of legend. Its Batman logo with its simple black and yellow design is now so iconic nobody needs to ask what it is. I unfortunately think the film's popularity overshadows a seriously flawed movie. Tim Burton's Batman is a perfect example of production design triumphing over substance of the story and potentially great characters.
The film plays out during Batman's (played by Michael Keaton) beginnings of crime busting in Gotham City, all while mob Lieutenant Jack Napier (played by Jack Nicholson) is set up by mob boss Gus Grissom to take a fall. Through the inadvertent interference of Batman, Napier is dropped into a vat of chemicals and emerges as the twisted, psychotic, silly, Prince music-loving Joker. As Joker's reign of crime continues and Batman must solve it, his alter ego Bruce Wayne must balance his double life with romance for ace reporter Vicki Vale (played by Kim Basinger)
The most impressive elements of this movie is the production design by artist Anton Furst and set decorator Peter Young, and the cinematography by the amazingly bizarre Director of Photography Roger Pratt. When I think of Gotham City this is the look I think of, something that few of the following films, except for The Dark Knight, have been even able to try to aim at. The sets and look of Gotham City is truly a wonder to behold, a bizarre array of angles, black schemes and Gothic Deco accentuated by Pratt's gloriously under-lit photography during the night scenes. One can almost feel the grime and gross smell of everyone and everything in this world. The Batmobile still remains one of the greatest designs for a car ever made and blows anything out of the water.
The best surprise of the movie for me in the dramatic department is Michael Keaton as Batman. Keaton is a very funny actor with great timing, but was rarely given the opportunity to anything outside the mold, in fact when Burton cast him fans were outraged that Mr. mom would play the beloved caped crusader. But thankfully, no one griped after they saw the masterwork he does here. One thing I noticed when watching is Keaton is very silent as Batman, and very reserved as Bruce Wayne. This is actually a very good approach to the role, on the opposite spectrum of what Christian Bale did as Batman in Nolan's films, which itself was a great take on the character. Keaton is able to convey the sense of loss and emptiness that Wayne feels after the terrible tragedy he's endured with one look in his face. That is impressive.
The rest of this film I find to be a little dull and too silly to take seriously. Basinger doesn't have much to work with as Vale, I just find her as a pretty object for affection. The characters of Bob and Knox are enjoyable to watch so thats fine. Jack Nicholson as the Joker sounded like a really good idea, until he became the Joker. He is so silly I can't ever believe him as a villain. I actually thought he was more scary as Jack Napier than Joker. Anybody who uses Prince songs to carry out crime to is as non-threatening as a demented snail.
The story is decent enough except for a few things writer Sam Hamm, who often takes the blame for it, did not do. One is making the character of Jack Napier into the man who killed the Wayne parents and into the Joker himself, who has always been nameless. He is not responsible for it, end of story. Alfred also makes the most unbelievably stupid mistake in the universe, but I can't reveal what it is.
I like this movie enough to watch it if its on TV occasionally, but I wouldn't call this a must see movie. For me its kind of a bore in most spots. But like I said before, it still has an amazing and gorgeous look to it that make sit an interesting movie. Of course, i have to credit this movie for giving Batman movie life, and ultimately paving the way for Nolan's films.
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
Cooked to the Right Shade
Sometimes there comes a film that falls under the radar, despite earning positive reviews from many important critics. The Brave Little Toaster is a gem of creativity from a team of Disney animators independently of their corporate masters which never got the release it so richly deserves. Thanks to its smart writing, near-perfect direction, a glowing voice cast, and not half-bad animation, Toaster is cooked to the right shade of entertainment.
In an isolated summer cabin, five anthropomorphic household appliances (a toaster, a vacuum, a desk lamp, a radio, and an electric blanket) wait forlornly in anticipation for the return of "The Master," a little boy whom they formed a bond with before his "2,000 day" disappearance with his family. Fed up with waiting, Toaster (outstandingly voiced by Deanna Oliver) decides its time for them to set out toward the "City of Light" to find him. Their journey includes the stuff of adventure including appliance mutilation at a parts shop, a waterfall, evil modern appliances, and a sadistic junkyard magnet. Along the way, they learn to deal with their differences and band together to get home.
This film, based from the novella by Thomas M. Disch, was originally a vehicle for a young animator's directorial debut. That animator was John Lasseter, who sought to combine 2-D characters on a computer background in-house at Disney. Unfortunately, Disney's films were in the malaise era, therefore it's penny-pinching management pulled the plug on the project and fired Lasseter from his job. The project was then taken to independent studio Hyperion, where it ended up in the hands of Lasseter's good friends, animators Jerry Rees (Tron) and Joe Ranft (later Pixar writer) who transformed the novella into a smart screenplay that, unlike Disney, wasn't afraid to take risks with its imagery or ideas. Despite a budget that is practically an eighth of what it takes to produce decent animation, the heart and creativity gives it that special edge.
What sets this film apart from other animated films during that time, and even some features nowadays is the way Rees and Ranft got a handle on their characters. Just like the finest work at Pixar (where Lasseter and Ranft expanded on these achievements even more) each character has a special personality, and has the voice cast to match. The cast includes great voice actors and some great comedians, like SNL alums Jon Lovitz (as the loud and bombastic Radio) and Phil Hartman (who hilariously impersonates both Jack Nicholson and Peter Lorre in great cameos), Disney/Tony the Tiger voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft as the rumbling vacuum Kirby, Groundlings Deanna Oliver and Tim Stack as Toaster and Lampy, respectively, and Timothy E. Day as the sweetly innocent Blanky.
What makes Toaster very unique is its unabashed ventures into nightmarish imagery and scary sequences. There are plenty to go around in this movie, which some have seen as totally unnecessary and cruel. However, they're no scarier than the original Disney features, which themselves dabbled in darker images to offset the whimsy and sweetness. These scenes also add to the emotions of the journey that anything may face. I must say the darkest, but also the best, has to be the Junkyard sequence which is accompanied by the Van Dyke PArks song "Worthless," which evokes more emotion in five minutes than many features can't achieve in two hours.
This movie has all the right elements that work to a very good degree. David Newman and Van Dyke Parks' score and songs are pretty impressive, and dare I say brilliant. Jerry Rees' direction is pitch-perfect, the writing is good, the characters are good, its good to look at. This is a good, and very underrated movie. Give it a watch, and you will not be disappointed.
An Interesting Milestone in Student Filmmaking
During the transitional period between the Studio system period of filmmaking and the New Hollywood period of filmmaking, the modern greats were still film students breaking out of their box of creativity. One of the brightest was George Lucas. Based on a script by both himself and friends, Lucas created a film that drew attention to film students from major studios. THX 1138 4EB is one of the milestones by how student films are measured.
The minimal story is the escape of a drone, named THX 1138 4EB, from his dystopian labyrinth of a society, in which everything is white and sterile. "Authority," which is equivalent to "Big Brother" in this universe, always has security cameras and eyes watching THX's every move as he sprints his way figuring out how to escape Authority to the color world above his own.
This film isn't deep, this film has no character to really attach to. However, the artistry and storytelling approach is what make this short film quite unique. Lucas really knows how to present sets, characters, and sound in such a precise detail that one becomes enthralled by the sights and sounds before we even know whats happening. The theme of THX breaking free of an oppressive society where everything is controlled to the last chromosome is very familiar, and one we can all connect to on a visceral level.
This is a very impressive short film. It's not perfect, but its still has effort both in front of the camera, and had a future genius stretching his wings behind the camera.
Gentleman You Can't Fight in Here! This is The War Room!
The year is 1964, and the Cold War has been at a high for well over two years. People on both sides lived in fear of one another, relying on their leaders who constantly had their finger over the button. Such was seen as comedic fodder for great film director Stanley Kubrick who released his wickedly funny and satirical film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This kind of movie was the proper dose of medicine the subject needed in the eyes of the film-goer.
Crazy American General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) seizes his initiative (lawfully given by the military mind you) to send his bomber squadron to attack Russia, because, as he tells exchange RAF officer Madrake (Peter Sellers) he will not let the Communists "sap and impurify all of our bodily fluids!" In the War Room, U.S. President Merkin Muffley (also Peter Sellers) negotiates fervently with the Russian Premier over the hot-line because the premier is angry that Muffley didn't "call just to say 'Hello.'" In the air, Maj. Kong (Slim Pickens) flies his B-52 toward their target, describing survival content boxes that are fit "for a weekend in Vegas" than surviving the Russian tundra. Muffley also takes advice from disabled former Nazi politician Dr. Strangelove (again Peter Sellers) who may have sinister plans in mind for the future, such as proper breeding techniques "of ten females to one male" should anything go wrong.
There is a reason why I included quotes when describing the plot of this movie. The quotes not only accurately describe the plot, but also gives a taste of the sheer lunacy of the characters in a situation that should be quite serious. For an odd reason, Kubrick and co-writer Terry Southern made this film into a comedy, thus giving a situation that was quite large and menacing a different point of view. With all the fault of humanity festering in the characters that hold the future in their hands, you have great comedic lines and a flawless setup and execution.
The acting of Peter Sellers is legendary. He had played multiple roles in films before, but here it seems far more farcical and funny that he has done so. Except for Mandrake which I kind of found flat and uninspired (perhaps this was the intent but I don't know)the other two are absolutely hilarious. But the only actor on the same plateau as Sellers is George C. Scott. Oh is this man great fun to watch. General Turgidson is the ultimate American, or so he believes. He is prone to anger and acts like a child when his opinion is quashed or when he thinks this is all a trick. The other actors are fine too, but since Mr. Sellers and Mr. Scott are two of my favorite actors, I have to give them more praise.
There is very little that I can say is wrong with Dr. Strangelove except for one crucial aspect of the film, the flying sequences. These have really bad rear-projection and blue screen work and its poor models really don't help the effect. That's only one star docked from this otherwise perfect movie. The camera work is outstanding, the editing is great. The sets by Ken Adam are immense and breathtaking.
This is one of the great films ever made. Its made even greater by that fact that it dared to make a scary situation funny, and succeeded.