15th Hall of Fame

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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Rebecca



Rewatch of this has confirmed why it’s my second favourite Hitchcock film (first is Rope, by the way, with The Lady Vanishes probably rounding out the top 3).

Rebecca effortlessly combines the creepy thriller aspects with romantic drama, all drenched in atmosphere.

Joan Fontaine is wonderfully awkward as the unnamed main character, thrust into a life she is completely unprepared for. Laurence Olivier has just the right air of ‘could be a romantic hero, could be a psychopath’ as the moody Maxim. Judith Anderson as the sinister Mrs Danvers, still devoted to the dead Rebecca, is the real highlight.

Joan Fontaine’s character says something towards the beginning about wishing there was an invention that could preserve memories - but it is the memory of Rebecca preserved in the very air of Manderlay that causes so many problems. (Well, that and Maxim’s failure to communicate.)

It’s an interesting conceit that the main character is never named - her very identity becomes secondary to Rebecca’s every time someone refers to ‘Mrs De Winter - I mean the late Mrs De Winter’. It’s a difficult thing to get the hang of a new name, and having to fill the shoes of that name’s late owner must make it peculiarly difficult - I like the moment when surrounded by Rebecca’s monogrammed stationery she tells the gardener on the phone that Mrs De Winter is dead, forgetting that actually means her.

One of my favourite scenes is the whole scene in which they look at the movies from their honeymoon - the light flickering uncertainly over her face and the way he blocks the light when he’s angry about her mentioning gossip.

I think it’s great that we never actually see Rebecca; however I stumbled across a discussion wondering what Rebecca would have looked like, with some people suggesting Gene Tierney and others Vivien Leigh - I think either of these would fit my idea of Rebecca (think of Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven). According to imdb trivia, Olivier wanted Leigh to play the lead role and as a consequence treated Fontaine horribly.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Potential spoilers for Rebecca below!

First and foremost the decision to change the death of Rebecca from murder, as it was in the novel, to an accident just felt like a lame attempt to keep the audience from disliking Maxim and it felt very out of place to me.
While there may have been some debate over the likeability of Maxim, I was under the impression that the change was due to the Hays Production Code. As per the code, Maxim could not have murdered Rebecca without facing the consequences for his crime. So the choice was either to make her death an accident, or completely change the ending.



Ever seen Shadow of a Doubt? Think you would really like that one actually
No. It's one of many I'd intended to watch for the 40s countdown and then never did.

I was under the impression that the change was due to the Hays Production Code.
Ah, didn't realize that. Leave it to censors to mess things up.



Potential spoilers for Rebecca below!


While there may have been some debate over the likeability of Maxim, I was under the impression that the change was due to the Hays Production Code. As per the code, Maxim could not have murdered Rebecca without facing the consequences for his crime. So the choice was either to make her death an accident, or completely change the ending.
I was going to say that too Under the Hays Code, a murderer would have to end up dead or be sent to prison.



Either way, it didn't work for me. I also had a hard time buying the particular accident they described. When Maxim was telling the story all I could think was "Yeah, right."




L'Avventura (1960)

This was one of my favorite noms in an Hof that has had some really great films!

There's a lot to like here. Mostly I like how the film invites us to come along for a boat ride and later a tour of Sicily. It's like we're part of the group and we are along for the ride. The film never varies from that feeling either. I found it relaxing in a way, as the scenes are never rushed, nor do they even feel like scenes. It felt like I was hanging out and on a vacation.

When we get to the rocky island and most everyone goes ashore and the Captain says they are some old ruins on top of the island...I was thinking 'what a cool island, but we'll never get to see it.' But we did! We go right up to the top and see the ruins and this gorgeous view of the sea. Then we go inside that little building that's closed off. I like that the film just spends time allowing the feel of the place to soak in and shows us around.

Truth be told, I was glad Anna (Lee Massari) disappeared. She was kind of a pain in the ass and besides her friend Claudia (Monica Vitti) was so much more interesting, so I was glad when she disappeared. I wasn't surprised either as the film had already established that she was: unhappy, and a liar with the shark incident, and took a very dangerous dive from a moving boat (which was a pretty impressive scene). So yeah, I'm not surprised that she was the one to disappear.

The mystery of the disappearance was interesting as it was actively pursued. But then at the right time in the film, the director puts the ex fiance together on a train with the blonde friend Claudia. The film then shifts the focus onto the relationship between the two. It was interesting to see the effects of their lust, versus their guilt over the possible death of their friend/fiance. Well, not Sandro he didn't seem to care too much about his missing fiance one way or another.

One of the more interesting scenes is when Sandro goes into the hotel to get a room and Claudia is feeling guilty and worried her missing friend might be there, so she stays outside....and ends up surrounded by gawking men. Those starring men illustrate her inner turmoil at that moment of her journey

Another telling scene is the empty town at the top of the hill. Claudia describes it like a cemetery, utterly void of life. And that's their future together, they don't have one.

By far the most passionate scene was when they embrace in the grass. OMG the look on Claudia face, the way she breathed and the look in her eyes. Ah ha, that's romantic passion!

So I enjoyed it! And I'm done with the noms
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jiraffejustin's Avatar
R.I.P. Billy Conforto
American Graffiti

The thing that struck me first about this film was not what I expected. Lucas has a reputation now, that is rightfully earned, that is less than glowing. Sure, he created a beloved universe in Star Wars, but he also ruined that same universe. His talent has been swept under the rug because of his egotism and freedom. Because of that I didn't realize that at one time, this dude could really make a stone-cold classic. I love the original trilogy, but I have chalked that up to being enamored with that universe and the two sequels being the better films... but American Graffiti proved to me that Lucas really was a talented guy. I am not great at describing technical aspects of film, such as the names of different types of shots or whatever, but I was reminded, at different times, of filmmakers like Spielberg, Fellini, and Altman with the way the camera moved. I am frustrated, because I really can't express how much I enjoyed watching this film due to the camerawork. The music is another aspect that I am sure gets a lot of attention. But it deserves to be mentioned, because it is the glue that keeps the film together. Every aspect of the film is connected by this constant feed from Wolfman Jack's show. The music is all good music too, so that helps. I loved the metaphor of the beautiful blonde in the ghost white car. It's exactly how people often times feel: confused and desperate for something you don't understand and can't quite get to. I feel like there is a lot packed into this film that I could only scratch the surface of with my aimless, incoherent, insipid ramblings, so I'll stop typing.



American Graffiti

...I feel like there is a lot packed into this film that I could only scratch the surface of with my aimless, incoherent, insipid ramblings, so I'll stop typing.
I enjoyed reading your review and of course I'm always thrilled when another person connects to my nomination...So I'm a happy camper

There's an excellent documentary about George Lucas making of American Graffiti. He's interviewed in detail and talks about his film making technique and about the score. I think you'd like this. It's on youtube.






Aguirre, the Wrath of God / Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (1972)
Dir. Werner Herzog
Starring: Klaus Kinski, Del Negro, Peter Berling

The visual scale of Aguirre could only be accomplished by filming on location, which provides breathtaking scenes despite its low budget. The production was just as troubled as its characters, which gives the film an extra layer of authenticity. Combining the real-life situation with the images presented on the screen makes for an incredibly interesting narrative, though it's certainly possible to appreciate the film without any of that knowledge.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God is a film about the fragility of humanity as it clashes with nature, both from the jungle and from within. The Amazon river and its surrounding walls of greenery are just as important to the film as Aguirre himself. The landscape forces the characters in a downward and circular motion that mirrors the decline of their mental health. It starts with a descent from atop the mountains, into rushing water that forces them downstream and along whirlpools, then into a basin where the water stills, everything stagnates, and the spiralling continues as the boat drifts aimlessly. It's the perfect parallel to the film's plot.

Similar to the water, Aguirre's stature also reflects the state of his mind. While he is arguably a megalomaniac from the very beginning, his posture and gait start out quite normal. However, he becomes more deformed and loses the ability to stand straight as his madness and lust for power grows. Towards the end of the film he almost looks like a hunchback, and his mannerisms become just as eccentric as he is. It's a type of visual storytelling that is not only aesthetically interesting, but it also emphasizes the themes of the film, and that's why it's so brilliant.

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
great little view, JJ regarding American Graffiti and comparing the icon to the man who made movies way back in the day.
I have a feeling I'll be feeling the same when I revisit this film.

Ahh, I have SOOO missed reading your reviews, @CosmicRunaway and the picturesque descriptions you give that brings you "into" the film.



Kinski has certainly been nuttier (Fitzcarraldo, Crawlspace).
This reminds me of something I was going to mention in my post, until I got sidetracked.

There was a lot of tension between Kinski and Herzog during filming since the two wanted Aguirre played differently. Kinski wanted the part to be incredibly maniacal, but Herzog wanted a more subdued and quietly sinister performance. Herzog would intentionally spark an argument to get Kinski riled up, and then when the actor was exhausted after his tantrum, that's when Herzog would start filming.

So Aguirre could've been more of a lunatic if Kinski had gotten his way. But I actually like the version of Aguirre we have in the film. In the beginning he is pretty quiet, and isn't particularly involved in the plot until he starts the mutiny. So the character progresses from being more subtle and patient to screaming about being the wrath of God. If Aguirre was a complete, obvious madman from the very start, I think his transformation wouldn't have been as effective.





In the Mood for Love / 花樣年華 (2000)
Dir. Wong Kar-wai
Starring: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Rebecca Pan

Time in In the Mood for Love passes by quickly, but fluidly. It can initially be a little confusing, but it becomes easy to follow throughout the course of the film. The focus is always on the two main characters, as the world and events outside their relationship practically disappear. Similar to how our own memories function, the story only remembers the important events, while the inconsequential details are forgotten. The camera is almost always close to the characters, and frequently frames them in archways, mirrors, or windows. It's incredibly personal, while also being a reflection of how confined the main characters feel as they are unable to act how they truly desire.

The film uses repetition very well. Many shots early in the film have nearly identical ones later on, with a soundtrack that repeats the same beautiful melody. The main characters are also repeating situations, intentionally through their role playing, and unintentionally by falling in love and having an emotional counterpart to their spouses' presumably physical affair. I do like how Mrs. Chan's husband and Mr. Chow's wife are never directly seen. While they do influence what unfolds on screen, theirs is an entirely different story that wouldn't feel right if it was incorporated here.

Lush colours and selective lighting enhance the film's mood, and are an important part of its allure. The elegance of Mrs. Chan's stylish cheongsams set her apart from the environment, and feed into In the Mood for Love's beauty. The visuals are absolutely stunning, and the film almost feels poetic at times. I expected as much since I have seen Wong Kar-wai's 2046, but I was still pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
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This reminds me of something I was going to mention in my post, until I got sidetracked.

There was a lot of tension between Kinski and Herzog during filming since the two wanted Aguirre played differently. Kinski wanted the part to be incredibly maniacal, but Herzog wanted a more subdued and quietly sinister performance. Herzog would intentionally spark an argument to get Kinski riled up, and then when the actor was exhausted after his tantrum, that's when Herzog would start filming.

So Aguirre could've been more of a lunatic if Kinski had gotten his way. But I actually like the version of Aguirre we have in the film. In the beginning he is pretty quiet, and isn't particularly involved in the plot until he starts the mutiny. So the character progresses from being more subtle and patient to screaming about being the wrath of God. If Aguirre was a complete, obvious madman from the very start, I think his transformation wouldn't have been as effective.
That's interesting. I remember watching a film by Herzog some years back..something " friend? It was about their relationship. Imagine being in that position. Having to tame a beast thespian. A complete nutjob in real life who was hated by his own daughter for questionable acts and so on. Kinski is a definite curiosity, that's for sure!





L'Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/03/18
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 15th Hall of Fame, nominated by @rauldc14
Rewatch: No.


I'll grant that this film is very beautiful from a visual standpoint and the performances were strong, however that's all the praise I can give it. I actively despised all of its characters and really struggled to get through nearly two and half hours of watching a bunch of self-absorbed pieces of **** be self-absorbed pieces of ****.

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Miss Vicky's makes the 2nd voting list in and most of us are almost done Here's what I have, let me know if this isn't correct.

Citizen Rules - List Set In
Miss Vicky - List Sent In
Cricket 9/11
Cosmic Runaway 8/11
Joel 7/11
Raul 7/11
Siddon 6/11
Thursday Next 5/11
Jiraffejustin 1/11
Edarsenal 1/11
SilentVamp

This is a shorter Hof with 5 days per movie. So we only have a month left.
Starts:Feb 11th Length:55 days Deadline:April 6th



cricket's Avatar
Pimpin' ain't easy
The Station Agent


I didn't know what to expect with this one but it seems like everyone has liked it. I thought it was pretty great right from the start. It's just such a human story. The little guy has his issues but all the characters have their problems, except for the little girl. It's a tale of loneliness and the need for companionship and it's done with humor. I thought it was also very touching and I even got misty eyed a couple of times. The whole cast was excellent playing a perfect blend of characters. I really thought everything was just right. This was a great nomination and it was also a rare movie that my wife loved. I don't see how anyone wouldn't like it.

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cricket's Avatar
Pimpin' ain't easy
Out of the Blue

I didn't watch this again for this Hall of Fame because I watched it right before it started. I figured I should say a little something about my own nomination. It's a movie that suits my taste perfectly which will come as a surprise to nobody. I wasn't sure about the girl's performance until it was all over when I understood. I now think it's a great performance. The ending is one of my favorites, but of course I like to be shocked and sickened. Anyway, I love this movie.


And I'm done.