Archive for February 2nd, 2018

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Loss of Innocence

Some film historians lament that we’ll never recapture the magic of a film noir, screwball comedy, or musical comedy. There’s some truth to that, but why would you want to? Ideally, you learn the lessons from the past and apply what’s equally good from the present. That’s not possible, you say? One of the best […]

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Archetypal Western

Greatest Western of all time? Most influential Western? Archetypal Western? Stagecoach (1939) may be all three, depending on your point of view. John Ford hadn’t made a Western since 3 Bad Men (1926) and was eager to make another. Stagecoach was originally slated to be shot in Technicolor with David O. Selznick as the producer. […]

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Breaking the Rules

Sometimes the conventional wisdom is true. In this case, Citizen Kane (1941) really is one of the best films ever made. Another bit of conventional wisdom is that Welles wasn’t able to direct another great film after Kane. That bit of shared knowledge is not true. Kane is the only film where Welles was given […]

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018

The Same Only Different

The Awful Truth (1937) is one of the least appreciated of the top screwball comedies, in part because director Leo McCarey isn’t as well known as directors Frank Capra, George Cukor, Ernst Lubitsch, Preston Sturges, or even Howard Hawks. His best comedies include Let’s Go Native (1930), Duck Soup (1933), Six of a Kind (1934), […]

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Artistic Spirit

A great film depends on everything coming together into an unlikely alignment. If a director, actor, screenwriter, cinematographer, composer, or other essential component is lacking, you may end up with only an interesting film that shows promise. With The Red Shoes (1948), so many things that could have gone wrong, didn’t. Michael Powell could have […]

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Beyond Intellect

Many of today’s teenagers have never seen a classic foreign film. So what would be the best one to show a teenager if you wanted to pique his or her interest in foreign films? The best choice might be Seven Samurai (1954). Because Kurosawa was so strongly influenced by Hollywood films (especially the Western genre), […]

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018

A Modern Odyssey

When asked by Jean Mitry in 1955 to list his favorite films among the ones he had directed, John Ford included The Long Voyage Home (1940) among a handful of titles. At the time of its release, John Mosher wrote in The New Yorker that this was “one of the most magnificent films in film […]

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Pushing the Envelope

Some films are beautiful, and some films are strangely exotic. However, there are only a few films that are both beautiful and strangely exotic. Black Narcissus (1947) is one of those few. Quite simply, it’s one of the most beautiful films every made. It was once cited by the Technicolor company as the best example […]

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