Author Topic: The Movies From Within My Lifetime  (Read 10114 times)

hal9g

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The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« on: March 23, 2011, 03:46:41 PM »
I'll use this thread to post my reviews and link them to the list in the Discussion Thread.

YearsTitleRating
1951A Place in the Sun
4
1952Ivanhoe
3.5
1953Tokyo Story
4.5
1954The Last Time I Saw Paris
3
1955Mr. Roberts
5
1956Giant
3.5
1957Sweet Smell of Success
4.5
1958Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
1959Suddenly, Last Summer
1960Butterfield 8
1961
1962
1963Cleopatra
1964
1965
1966Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 01:26:48 AM by Hal »

hal9g

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A Place in the Sun
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2011, 08:47:58 PM »
    A Place in the Sun (1951/United States)

Paramount Home Entertainment (United States)
Director:George Stevens
Writing:Michael Wilson (Original Material By), Harry Brown (Original Material By)
Length:121 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: 5.1, English: Dolby Digital: Mono, French: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: 2-Channel Stereo
Subtitles:English

Stars:
Montgomery Clift as George Eastman
Elizabeth Taylor as Angela Vickers
Shelley Winters as Alice Tripp
Keefe Brasselle as Earl Eastman
Anne Revere as Hannah Eastman

Plot:
George Stevens' stunning adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's 'An American Tragedy' garnered six Academy Awards® (including Best Director and Best Screenplay) and guaranteed immortality for screen lovers Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor. Clift stars as George Eastman, a poor young man determined to win a place in respectable society and the heart of a beautiful socialite (Elizabeth Taylor). Shelley Winters plays the factory girl whose dark secret threatens Eastman's professional and romantic prospects. Consumed with fear and desire, Eastman is ultimately driven to a desperate act of passion that unravels his world forever.

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Audio Commentary
  • Feature Trailers
  • Featurettes
  • Closed Captioned
  • Interviews


My Thoughts:
This is another "star-crossed lovers" story, with all of the essential elements of the handsome boy, the beautiful girl, wealth, greed, deceit, ambition, love, betrayal, murder (or is it?) and ultimately tragedy.  Taylor was stunningly beautiful at the age of 19 in this film, while Clift was 31, but somehow, it was easy to believe that they were very close to the same age.  While very good looking, I have never really been taken by Montgomery Clift's acting abilities, being a bit too brooding and laconic for my tastes, but it seemed to fit the mood of this film.  I  found the contrast between the factory-worker lives and that of the wealthy owners to have been very well done here without being judgmental or exaggerated for effect.  This movie doesn't seem to come up on the radar when people talk about Elizabeth Taylor's career, but I  think it's in her top 5 performances.

Rating: 4
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 02:42:06 AM by Hal »

hal9g

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Ivanhoe
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2011, 05:40:03 AM »
    Ivanhoe (1952/United States)

Warner Home Video (United States)
Director:Richard Thorpe
Writing:Noel Langley (Screenwriter), Aeneas MacKenzie (Original Material By)
Length:107 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: Mono, French: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles:English, French, Spanish

Stars:
Robert Taylor (1911) as Ivanhoe
Elizabeth Taylor as Rebecca
Joan Fontaine as Rowena
George Sanders as De Bois-Guilbert
Emlyn Williams as Wamba

Plot:
Stand and pledge loyalty -- or prepare to lie cold beneath your shields. Chivalrous knight Wilfrid of Ivanhoe is determined to restore Richard the Lionhearted to England's throne.

Gallantry and costumed pageantry combine in this crowd-pleasing nominee for 3 Academy Awards® including Best Picture. Robert Taylor plays the title role and Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Fontaine also star in a rousing adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's novel. The film's jousting tournament is a galloping display of steed and stout-hearted men. Most spectacular of all is the siege of Torquilstone Castle, a wave-after-wave combat of arrows, fire, boulders, battering ram and blade. To the battlements!

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Feature Trailers
  • Closed Captioned
  • 1952 Tom & Jerry Short: 'Two Mouseketeers'


My Thoughts:
Although I love all things related to this era of history, this movie just did not hit the mark for me.  Robert Taylor was never the "swashbuckler" that Errol Flynn was, nor was he the swordsman.  The fight scenes just looked rather clumsy, although the jousting match was fun.  Even though Taylor's role was not a major one, she handled it quite well, and the scene of her "answering" the charges against her in the king's court shows just how stunningly beautiful she was.  George Sanders gave the best performance in my opinion.  The country scenery and the siege at the Torquilstone Castle were well done; but not well enough to keep me from thinking about how far we've come when compared to movies like 300.  I'm a little surprised that this film was not nominated for Best Costumes, as it was quite colorful (including the horses) and authentic looking for the times.  Not a bad film, but not on the same par as others of that genre and era.

Rating: 3.5
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 02:41:45 AM by Hal »

m.cellophane

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 06:02:54 AM »
This movie doesn't seem to come up on the radar when people talk about Elizabeth Taylor's career, but I  think it's in her top 5 performances.
I agree.

I remember being greatly affected by this film when I first saw it, which was probably in the '80s. Shelley Winters is also heartbreaking in her role.

hal9g

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Tokyo Story
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2011, 12:39:15 AM »
    Tokyo monogatari: The Criterion Collection (1953/Japan)

Home Vision Cinema, Janus Films, The Criterion Collection (United States)
Director:Yasujiro Ozu
Writing:Kôgo Noda (Original Material By), Yasujiro Ozu (Original Material By)
Length:135 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:Japanese: Dolby Digital: Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital: 2-Channel Stereo
Subtitles:English

Stars:
Chishu Ryu as Shukichi Hirayama
Chieko Higashiyama as Tomi Hirayama
Setsuko Hara as Noriko
Haruko Sugimura as Shige Kaneko
Nobuo Nakamura as Kurazo Kaneko

Plot:
Yasujiro Ozu's TOKYO STORY follows an aging couple, Tomi and Shukichi, on their journey from their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling post-war Tokyo. Their reception, however, is disappointing: too busy to entertain them, their children send them off to the hot springs. After Tomi falls ill, she and Shukichi return home; the children, grief-stricken, hasten to be with her. From a simple tale unfolds one of the greatest of all Japanese films. Starring Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, the film reprises one of the director's favorite themes—that of generational conflict—in a way that is quintessentially Japanese, and yet universal in its appeal.

Extras:
  • Scene Access
  • Audio Commentary
  • Feature Trailers
  • Featurettes
  • 2-Disc Set, Tribute to Ozu, Essay, 8-Page Liner Notes


My Thoughts:
I found this film to be very slow getting started, but eventually I became more engaged as it went along.  One of the things that bugged me was the physical quality of the film.  I expected Criteria would have done a lot more "cleaning up" and I found the quality of the lighting, especially for the indoor scenes to be extremely annoying because of its inconsistency, displaying light "blooms" and then darkness in waves and reminding me of silent films from the '20s, rather than a movie made in 1953.

All that aside, the story was compelling, as we see the parents shuffled from the child to child and then to a daughter-in-law and ultimately to a hotel/spa because the children were "too busy".  It is a story that has become all too familiar in this country, but it was unexpected because of the culture and time frame in which it is told.  Not being all that familiar with Japanese culture, I was nonetheless very surprised at the absence of emotion.  Although the children demonstrated great respect for the parents, there was little warmth or caring, except surprisingly from the daughter-in-law, whose husband (the actual child of the parents) had died 8 years earlier in the war.  It would seem that their lives were being governed more by duty than anything else.

The scene of the one son (who was closest) arriving too late, hit a little too close to home as the same thing happened to me, but for a different reason.  It brought back some very strong emotions.

The moral of the story is an old one, but it is one that we continue to ignore everyday as we get wrapped up in our own "busy lives" and forget the things that are truly important in this life.  Very sad!

There are some beautiful scenes and, for me, Setsuka Hara (Norika)  provided the best performance of the lot.  This is a great film that everybody should see.

Rating: 4.5
« Last Edit: April 03, 2011, 02:41:26 AM by Hal »

Najemikon

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2011, 12:44:59 AM »
I haven't watched any Ozu yet, but I'm currently reading a fascinating book about film in general and the author argues that if you were to truly consider film as an art, then it would have a classical period, and that must be Ozu's work. You mention the lack of emotion and that ties in with what he was saying that Ozu's work is a more balanced between Hollywood romance and Italian neo-realism.

This has been on my wish-list for ages and I'm just waiting for a special offer on the Blu-Ray.

hal9g

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2011, 12:54:31 AM »
I haven't watched any Ozu yet, but I'm currently reading a fascinating book about film in general and the author argues that if you were to truly consider film as an art, then it would have a classical period, and that must be Ozu's work. You mention the lack of emotion and that ties in with what he was saying that Ozu's work is a more balanced between Hollywood romance and Italian neo-realism.

This has been on my wish-list for ages and I'm just waiting for a special offer on the Blu-Ray.

I'm quite surprised you haven't seen it as it seems just the sort of thing you'd like.  I  hope the Blu-ray transfer is better, but it is very possible that the source material is in bad shape, unfortunately.

Najemikon

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2011, 01:07:43 AM »
I haven't watched any Ozu yet, but I'm currently reading a fascinating book about film in general and the author argues that if you were to truly consider film as an art, then it would have a classical period, and that must be Ozu's work. You mention the lack of emotion and that ties in with what he was saying that Ozu's work is a more balanced between Hollywood romance and Italian neo-realism.

This has been on my wish-list for ages and I'm just waiting for a special offer on the Blu-Ray.

I'm quite surprised you haven't seen it as it seems just the sort of thing you'd like.  I  hope the Blu-ray transfer is better, but it is very possible that the source material is in bad shape, unfortunately.

I know, I'll get there!  :-[

Apparently, the BFI's Blu-Ray is sourced from Criterion's master, so likely it will have the same issues. That said, it is considered Criterion did the best job possible. Sadly the original negatives of the film were lost in a fire, so it's been scraped together from god knows where.

hal9g

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2011, 01:21:42 AM »
Sadly the original negatives of the film were lost in a fire, so it's been scraped together from god knows where.

Ahhh...that is very unfortunate, but explains a lot.  At least it wasn't lost altogether!

m.cellophane

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2011, 07:18:41 PM »
Tokyo Story was my gateway into Ozu and I've enjoyed many of his films on Criterion. This reminds me I have a few that are to-be-watched.

hal9g

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The Last Time I Saw Paris
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2011, 02:40:03 AM »
    The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954/)

Goodtimes Entertainment (United States)
Director:Richard Brooks
Writing:Julius J. Epstein (Screenwriter), Philip G. Epstein (Screenwriter), Richard Brooks (Screenwriter), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Original Material By)
Length:116 min.
Video:Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: Mono
Subtitles:

Stars:
Elizabeth Taylor as Helen Ellswirth
Van Johnson as Charles Wills
Walter Pidgeon as James Ellswirth
Donna Reed as Marion Ellswirth
Eva Gabor as Lorraine Quarl

Plot:
Writer Charles Wills (Van Johnson) returns to Paris and remembers the heady days after its liberation, when he met American expatriate James Ellswirth (Walter Pidgeon) and his lovely daughters, Helen and Marion. An OSCAR® winner for Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Elizabeth Taylor is Helen, whom Charles marries, with Donna Reed (Best Supporting Actress, From Here to Eternity) as the jealous Marion.

Extras:
  • Scene Access


My Thoughts:
I'm not sure exactly what it is about Van Johnson, but I have a hard time seeing him as a romantic lead, especially paired with Elizabeth Taylor.  The first three quarters of the movie, the two of them are simply care-free, good-time Joe and Jane, kind of taking their marriage for granted.  The transition to the jealous pair came on rather suddenly, and from the one I would have expected it least.  The scene with Van Johnson losing it over his publishers' rejections seemed to come on suddenly as well.  The foreshadowing of the tragedy of the film was also not done with much subtlety.

Even so, Taylor was marvelous, and as radiant as she ever was.  I especially liked the short "french" haircut she sported at the end of the film.  Donna Reed's role was well done, although her turn-about in the end, although predictable, was not really in keeping with the character.  Walter Pidgeon was excellent, as usual.

A good movie for Taylor, in a somewhat mediocre film overall.

Rating: 3

Najemikon

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2011, 02:50:22 AM »
Zavvi.com are bastards who think nothing for the welfare of my credit card. Because of their sneaky generous voucher offers to me as a 'loyal customer' and temporary reductions site-wide, I am about to fill the Ozu shaped hole in my collection with four BFI Blu's.

The swines!  ;)

Hal, as you're having a bit of mini Liz Taylor tribute, I thought you might appreciate this:

Empire feature

Barry Norman also did a nice article in Radio Times with a cute anecdote. I'll try and scan it for you tomorrow.

hal9g

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 04:02:49 AM »
Thanks, Jon.  I enjoyed reading that!

hal9g

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2011, 04:16:47 AM »
...I am about to fill the Ozu shaped hole in my collection with four BFI Blu's.

Which four?

m.cellophane

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Re: The Movies From Within My Lifetime
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2011, 04:46:07 AM »
Thanks, Jon.  I enjoyed reading that!
I enjoyed it too.  :)

And yes, which four Ozu did you order?  :fingerchew: