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Le Trou (1960)

So we had an example of French New Wave Cinema with Pierrot Le Fou, and here we have utter cinematic realism with Le Trou, a fine example of French Realism.

If there's one thing I learned from my time at MoFo is that many movie watchers value realism and gauges a films ability to be realistic as a yard stick. How many times have we heard people saying, 'Oh, that wasn't very realistic'. Of course realism isn't the only flavor of movie self expression but it's a style that rings true to most people. So yeah this seem really real and I dug it! ha...get it?

At 2 hours 11 minutes, time flew! I was hooked from the get go and fascinated to see the inventions that these men came up with to escape. Loved the 'broken mirror' periscope for looking out their peep hole for approaching guards. And the half-hour glass that was made out of two bottles and a handful of pinched sand was pretty cool too.

I was surprised the film didn't venture into high drama and conflict between the five cooped up men. Even though I usually like lots of personal drama in a film, this time around I was glad that the film was purely focused on the details of escaping. Le Trou puts the viewer into a tiny prison cell (where everyone is so polite!) and lets us participate in the audacious escape.

I enjoyed this one!
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Also answers to Jabba
I have fallen way behind with this because I have been busy. I will try to make up for it next week with Raise the Red Lantern. I hope the deadline isn't approaching soon.



I have fallen way behind with this because I have been busy. I will try to make up for it next week with Raise the Red Lantern. I hope the deadline isn't approaching soon.

You really aren't that far behind


Cosmic 10/10 (Ed Wood)
Siddon 10/10 (Anatomy) X
Citizen 9/10 (Raise)
Mija 4/10 (Peirrot)
Raul 3/10 (After Hours) X
Ed 3/10 (Memento)
Jabs 3/10
Nathanial 2/10 (Le Trou) X
Thursday 1/10 (Concubine)
Neiba 0/10 (Letter)



Technically I haven't set a concrete deadline yet, so we have quite awhile. I've been toying with late January early February.

Can somebody help with links for Pierrot Le Fou and Raise the Red Lantern?



Technically I haven't set a concrete deadline yet, so we have quite awhile. I've been toying with late January early February.

Can somebody help with links for Pierrot Le Fou and Raise the Red Lantern?
I'll PM you.





Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

I watched this last night and that was my second time watching it. I'd originally seen it in the 8th HoF. I haven't went back and read my old review of it (but I will after I'm done writing this).

So last night I watched Anatomy of a Murder again. I was very impressed with the way Otto Preminger handled the film. I know a lot of people love or hate a movie solely based on it's story content. Story matters to me too, but there's other elements that equally impress me.

What impressed me with Anatomy of a Murder was the relaxed pacing of the film, with scenes that took the time to include many little extras. Those extra little gestures and moments made me feel like I was there watching the events as they happened. Right at the start when James Stewart arrives home, the film takes it's time setting up the kind of man that Stewart's lawyer is. It does this by following him around his house as he completes simply little task like cleaning the fish he caught and putting them away in his fridge. The fridge is stacked full of fish! That take your time approach to film making is something I love. And it continues all the way through the trial, which then made the trial seem very real too. Anatomy of a Murder is one of few courtroom movies that I think is superb. Maybe one day I'll nominate the other one.

I loved the title credits by the graphic design artist Saul Bass. It's easy to recognize his work in 50s-60s films. They have this certain style that captures the era. Loved the jazz score too by the great Duke Ellington. And what's cooler than casting the Duke as Pie Eyed and giving him a scene with Jimmy Stewart! The frosting on the cake is that Stewart's country loving lawyer also loves jazz!

James Stewart is the man! One of my all time favorite actors and he's excellent here. Walter O'Connell the older booze hound lawyer was good too. Along with Eve Arden they both help to lighten the mood so that the film doesn't get to heavy and down trodden. That's important so that when we get to the lengthy trial our pallets aren't already over taxed. Sort of like having a cracker in between wine sampling.

This time around I did like Lee Remick, she's an enigma. Is she a trashy woman who falsely accused a man of rape to keep from being beat to a pulp by her brooding husband? Or is she just an innocent flirt who's wanting to have some harmless fun? You decide...And that's what I love about this film, it never force feeds an answer to you. Anatomy of a Murder can be interpreted different ways, and that's the difference between art and a commercial.

I still didn't like the Judge in the first couple minutes, he just seemed a bit flat in his acting, but then something clicked and I got it! The Judge like Eva Arden (the secretary) is meant to lighten the mood so that the battling lawyers look all the more fervently bombastic. The Judge is the calm between the two storms....I loved the way the lawyers did their jobs in this movie, with their fast talking, jury tainting methods couples with oodles of showmanship...and armed with reference materials from past trial precedents so as to kick the oppositions ass, ha!

James Stewart was so smooth in this, he's perfectly cast...and so was George C. Scott who was very intimidating. Loved the scenes where he's grilling Lee Remick and is smack dab in her face...Very intense and effective cinematography.

Loved the way the movie wrapped things up in the last scene...And that's exactly how the real murder case, that this movie was based on ended too.


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As if my last post wasn't long enough Here's what I originally wrote in the 8th Hof about Anatomy of a Murder.

Anatomy of a Murder (Otto Preminger, 1959)



Otto Preminger knows how to make a movie! Who else could make a 2 hour 40 minute movie about a murder investigation with a long trial and yet make it interesting? Without using over dramatization, Preminger tells a straight forward story as he takes a frank look at the inner workings of the judicial system.

Preminger masterully controlled the story keeping it focused. Many other directors would have thrown in a car chase or a gun battle or two. Another director would have been tempted to create a romantic sub plot around Lee Remrick and James Stewart. But this is a tight film, it has focus, it knows what it wants to be and it delivers.

Preminger's cinematography is polished. The camera glides effortlessly. I loved how the film opens with a Duke Ellington jazz score that tells us James Stewart's character marches to a different drummer. The score tells us he's a bit roguish but likable. Equally impressive was how the score changed when we get to the trial portion of the film, then it was all business. Preminger has all the elements of film making in harmonization.

James Stewart is always amazing. What's amazing here is he plays his character more subdued than he usually does. He's not as quirky, not as colorful...and that matches the feel of the movie. Same goes for George C Scott, amazing always. Here he's powerful but not uber powerful as he often is. He's metered, also matching the style of the film. Artur O'Connelly and Eve Arden were good choices to lighten the film some.


Lee Remrick was OK but didn't quite fit the role. Oh sure she's all dolled up and looks the part, but she didn't have the personality of a man crazy, party girl floozy.

I liked Ben Gazzara's performance he seemed capable of committing a violent act of passion. On a side note why does Ben Gazzara have a crazy cigarette holder? Was that prop a red hearing?

Anatomy of a Murder is rich in detail and nuances. I found the realistic study of how defense and prosecuting attorneys operate in a court of law fascinating.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
Makes for quite the full review. With the first focusing on the "reaction" of how all the actors came across while the original delves deeper into the technical aspects.
__________________
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~Mr Minio



Makes for quite the full review. With the first focusing on the "reaction" of how all the actors came across while the original delves deeper into the technical aspects.
I never did find out why Ben Gazzara has that crazy cigarette holder in the film?



I found it odd that he was still allowed to have it when he was in jail.

The types of people you usually see with fancy or ornate cigarette holders in films tend to be rather arrogant, so maybe it's just meant to be a reflection of his character?



I still didn't like the Judge in the first couple minutes, he just seemed a bit flat in his acting, but then something clicked and I got it! The Judge like Eva Arden (the secretary) is meant to lighten the mood so that the battling lawyers look all the more fervently bombastic. The Judge is the calm between the two storms....I loved the way the lawyers did their jobs in this movie, with their fast talking, jury tainting methods couples with oodles of showmanship...and armed with reference materials from past trial precedents so as to kick the oppositions ass, ha!


I loved the judge, the way I see him is he's in his 70's he's seen the Stewarts and Scott lawyers for 10-20 years and he's just over it. One of the things that I think Anatomy of a Murder does so well is it creates this world where these characters aren't just defined by the role they play in the case.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
I loved the judge, the way I see him is he's in his 70's he's seen the Stewarts and Scott lawyers for 10-20 years and he's just over it. One of the things that I think Anatomy of a Murder does so well is it creates this world where these characters aren't just defined by the role they play in the case.
True.
Also, remember this is a rural town in Michigan's Upper Penisula so he wouldn't, necessarily be as cynical as say a city judge may be. He fit in with the location of the proceedings.



The Judge was a real life lawyer and Otto Preminger had a law degree from Vienna where he was born. His father had been the Attorney General to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So law practice was an integral part of Otto's mindset. That's why Anatomy of a Murder is one of the best trial movies ever made.

The beauty of the film is that Preminger went to great lengths to make the trial and movie seem so real, while avoiding all the usual cliches.

Did you guys know this was filmed entirely on location in the same Michigan town where the actual murder had occurred? There's no studio shots in the movie, not one and that was a rarity. And the house that the lawyer (James Stewart) lives in, is the same house the real lawyer who defended the accused murderer lived in. Same with the courtroom, that's a real courtroom and if you visit the town you can see both it and the lawyer's house. The Judge was a real lawyer like I said and historically quite prominent which is a big part of why he was hired to do the role:

"This is the attorney who represented the Army during the Army-McCarthy hearings. In those hearings, McCarthy attacked Fred Fisher, who was a member of Welch's law firm. The attack provoked Welch's famous response "...Have you no sense of decency, sir..". and which spelled the end of McCarthy."

Otto Preminger hated the Production Censor Code and was the person most responsible for breaking it with his 1953 movie 'The Moon is Blue'. The Production Code refused to pass the movie unless some words were cut and told Preminger without approval the film would never get shown. There was so much news press over the film that the limited number of theaters that did show the film turned in a huge profit which proved to film makers that the approval of the Production Code was NOT needed. That's all thanks to Otto Preminger.


He was drawn to the novel Anatomy of a Murder as he knew he could further push the envelope and get in banned words like sperm, rape, etc... and further piss off the Production Code. At the time the movie was controversial and James Stewart's own father took out a full page newspaper ad urging people not to see the movie as it was 'obscene'.

If you guys get a chance to see this on the 2 disc Criterion DVD set there's an excellent documentary on Otto Preminger and the making of Anatomy of a Murder.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
@rauldc14





Le Trou aka The Hole

Without realizing it, I've done two of @Nathaniel's nominations in a row. Both french, and both I rather enjoyed seeing.
For this one, the director, Becker, an assistant to Renoir during the 30's does a splendid job of creating tension and a more realistic visitation into the penal system by using a story based on a true incident. Along with having three of the actual prisoners from the attempted escape as technical assistance and having one, Roland, playing himself in the film as well.

While prison films are almost a genre upon itself, Becker ignores the usual tropes of cruel guards or volatile prisoners and we find a closed camaraderie accompanied by some truly inventive means to dig their way out. I was continually impressed by the way they created tools and props to hide what they were doing. As well as delving into the manual labor necessary to get through cement and rock to an escape route.

All of this culminating into the attempt and the betrayal which, adding an additional of stunned surprise when it ends moments later.
An excellent ending to quite an excellent film!



Weird is relative.
The Man from Earth (2007)



This was my third viewing, I believe. The first time I saw this, I fell in love with the 7th Symphony, 2nd Movement of Beethoven which featured in the soundtrack. (Shortly after that, I had watched The Fall from Tarsem Singh, and it was in that too!)

The one thing this movie seems to be known for is "the guy that said he's Jesus." Now, over ten years since it came out, I can refer to it as such and people who are more casual moviegoers than me know what I'm talking about. I guess it gathered something of a cult following.

It's definitely not perfect and the dialogue and reactions of the other professors were sometimes cringeworthy, and it had the style of a low-budget p*rno without the actual sex.

However, it is certainly thought-provoking, and I appreciated its ambiguity - like the people in the room, we never know if the man is lying or not. The ending seems to suggest that he wasn't, but it just creates more questions. That might be a cop-out showing lack of imagination on the part of the writers...

People have also taken this film too seriously and think it's "blasphemous" or whatever. To them, I would say, "Relax. It's fictional. If you let a movie shake your beliefs so much, it's not the movie that's the problem."

(Full disclosure, I'm not religious so this sort of indignant outrage goes over my head anyway.)

Memento (2000)



The first time I saw this I wasn't thrilled about it, but I liked it more years later on my second viewing, the other day. My takeaway is that it's about more than a man with anterograde amnesia who's seeking vengeance. It's about the fragility of the human mind, and how we can spin our memories in a way that suits us, in our journey to survive. The reality is that we all forget more than we're aware, and everyone involved in a situation usually remembers it at least slightly differently than you did. That's why it's difficult to charge people for crimes where there is no visible evidence, but only the victim's recollections.

It's an unsettling thought, so it must be even more frightening when you can't form new memories and your life basically feels like a dream that you forget every ten minutes or so, and you are forced to rely on those around you, who will take advantage of you at every opportunity - but it also gives you the chance to reinvent yourself, because you won't remember what you did before.

@rauldc14



Weird is relative.
Le Trou (1960)



I'm going to be honest: there just wasn't enough tension here for me to really get into it. A Man Escaped was the same way for me. I love French films, but French films about prisoners breaking out? Not exactly my style, it appears.

I did appreciate the detail, because it made you feel like you were there, and I certainly was rooting for the men. The ending was obviously a let down.

I mean, it was good on a technical level and I'm glad I saw it, but I can't see myself going for a re-watch unless it's for another HOF or the like some years in the future.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)



This caught my attention more. I've always liked law and even considered becoming a lawyer at one point.

It's good how we as the audience don't know any more than the "murderer's" legal representative himself (Jimmy Stewart), so we are just as surprised as he is when new facts are brought to light in the courtroom, and his antics, while over-the-top, seem more comedic that way.

I'll probably want to re-watch this someday. I don't want to repeat what the other HOF members have written, so I'll just say that this was a pretty decent watch for me for which I'd give a high rating (8/10).

@rauldc14