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Vertigo (1958) -


This is definitely my favorite Hitchcock film, so I'm glad to revisit it for this thread. When I first watched it, I viewed it as a tragic romance film, but only with future viewings did I really how wrong this reading was and that, in reality, Scottie was dangerous and obsessive. For instance, after Madeleine jumped into a river in an apparent suicide attempt, Scottie's way of handling the situation was by bringing her to his house, undressing her, and leaving her in his bed without telling anybody what happened (a doctor, a neighbor, or even Midge or Gavin, at the very least). If this doesn't make him creepy, I honestly don't know what would. The less time he spends with Midge and the more time he spends around Madeleine, the more clear it is that he's emotionally damaged and that the movie is about the dangers of his obsession, which extend to his fixation on Madeleine in place of Midge, his creepy behavior and demands with Judy, or the reveal that Gavin chose Scottie out of the likely hundreds of acquaintances he had since he knew that Scottie was the only person peculiar and strange enough that his elaborate scheme could possibly depend on. In spite of what we learn about the other characters in the final act, I think the full extent to Scottie's emotional damage is revealed during this part of the film (most of this is caused by Gavin and Judy though) and, as a result, we ultimately fear for Judy and are on her side.

There's also a few other things I love about this film. For one, Hitchcock utilizes technicolor better than almost every film I can think of. Through its red and green color pallet, it's able to convey such a strong emotional reaction, with red indicating danger and green indicating lust. Also, I've seen some people express boredom over Scottie tailing Madeleine by car, but I find that sequence to be an excellent slice of slow-burning tension. In fact, most of that sequence consists of Scottie driving downhill (San Francisco is a coastal city and has a number of hills), symbolizing his descent into obsession. It's a great touch to that sequence which makes it all the more atmospheric. I also loved the terrific dream sequence in the middle as, instead of feeling unnecessary, it was actually a product of Scottie's damaged emotional state. Lastly, I think the ending is perfect. Yes, it's abrupt, but intentionally so as the abruptness and confusion of it matches Scottie's headspace. The emotions it leaves me with linger long after the credits, anyways.

Overall, this is an emotionally complex masterpiece which never ceases to blow me away. Rear Window used to be my favorite Hitchcock film, but it lost its throne to this film a couple years ago.

Last up: Whiplash



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Whiplash (2014)

This is my second viewing.

Hello. My name is edarsenal, and I am a proud disciple of the Church of Fletcher (J. K. Simmons) and the Doctrines therein.

This is no Walt-Disney, pop culture, cue " zero to hero montage" supplied by the "everyone gets a trophy," sheep herd; their ecstatic embrace of, and pursuit of, mediocrity, in all of us.
Because every epic tale is one of going forward and upward as EVERY [email protected] sh#t is jet rocketed from some of the most unpleasant projections. Directly hitting the most vulnerable targets. And still moving forward.
The old saying regarding someone putting "blood, sweat, and tears" into something isn't a metaphor.
To rise above the ordinary. To attain greatness is not a happy rainbow road. Not in reality. There is a REASON why so few truly attain it.
If I may quote from Scripture, Bar 108:


Terence Fletcher: I don't think people understood what it was I was doing at Shaffer. I wasn't there to conduct. Any [email protected] moron can wave his arms and keep people in tempo. I was there to push people beyond what's expected of them. I believe that is... an absolute necessity. Otherwise, we're depriving the world of the next Louis Armstrong. The next Charlie Parker. I told you that story about how Charlie Parker became Charlie Parker, right?
Andrew: Jo Jones threw a cymbal at his head.
Terence Fletcher: Exactly. Parker's a young kid, pretty good on the sax. Gets up to play at a cutting session, and he [email protected] it up. And Jones nearly decapitates him for it. And he's laughed off-stage. Cries himself to sleep that night, but the next morning, what does he do? He practices. And he practices and he practices with one goal in mind, never to be laughed at again. And a year later, he goes back to the Reno and he steps up on that stage and plays the best [email protected] solo the world has ever heard. So imagine if Jones had just said, "Well, that's okay, Charlie. That was all right. Good job." And then Charlie thinks to himself, "Well, sh#t, I did do a pretty good job." End of story. No Bird. That, to me, is an absolute tragedy. But that's just what the world wants now. People wonder why jazz is dying.
Andrew: But is there a line? You know, maybe you go too far, and you discourage the next Charlie Parker from ever becoming Charlie Parker?
Terence Fletcher: No, man, no. Because the next Charlie Parker would never be discouraged.

In Closing, and I do Quote: "If you want the part, [email protected] earn it."
__________________
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.



I haven't posted in awhile, but that's just because I don't really have anything to add. I've enjoyed reading everyone write-ups though!

CR, since you finalized your list I assume it's safe for me to send mine in now too? Once I find where I saved it of course haha.



I haven't posted in awhile, but that's just because I don't really have anything to add. I've enjoyed reading everyone write-ups though!

CR, since you finalized your list I assume it's safe for me to send mine in now too? Once I find where I saved it of course haha.
Yes and thanks for asking



Hadn't been watching anything lately as my free time has been taken up by vtuber streams, old episodes of Passions and the NHL playoffs but today I managed to squeeze in
Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio de Sica, 1948)

I have almost nothing to say about this. It's a nice enough little movie but almost entirely not my thing. It looks fine but there's nothing that really stands out, the score is quite nice the handful of times it shows up and I like the note it ends on even if that scene is a bit goofy. Otherwise it kind of just goes by in a blur.

Hopefully I can pick the pace back up going forward. Getting low on time.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Chimes at Midnight



Historical costume pictures are a rough go as it is for me but when you make it Shakespeare it doesn't get any rougher. I didn't like this at all the first time I watched it but fortunately this time was much better.

As far as the dialogue goes, I always felt like I knew what they were saying, but that doesn't mean I knew what they were talking about or what was going on. Most of it however was decent to watch. I couldn't tell how good Orson was in this. It came off very much like a performance but his enormous presence always makes him a compelling figure. The other actors all seemed pretty good, including Gielgud who is experienced with films like this. The movie looks great but I didn't like much of the score which seemed better suited for slapstick. The tone is very inconsistent with much of it not very serious. This normally is a big negative for me, but in this case given that this type of movie is not my type, it could have helped. I'm not sure.




Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
I rewatched Bicycle Thieves on blu ray tonight. Directed by Vittorio De Sica, this film is about a father and a son and the events that transpire after the father's bicycle is stolen. The performances were very good and I thought the story was told in an effective and compelling way. I really liked the look of the film too. I think I was more impressed by the film the first time I saw, but it does still hold up very well and is an excellent film. Glad I rewatched it, an excellent nomination.



Sundays and Cybele



Perhaps the hardest film so far of all the nominations to truly dissect, it has a lot of moving pieces. The performances are rather solid. The people who played Pierre and Cybele did real well in my opinion. The film was shot really well and the cinematography was good for it's time. The first half drew me in, there was a big lull in the second half and it came together with a rather well done ending. I had a feeling it would end in a way like that and really I had no issue with it. I think the film could have had a better storyline, obviously it can make the viewer uncomfortable at times with some of the insinuating that Cybele does and unfortunately Pierre just seems to go with it. That's what makes it a bit uneasy for me. But I can see how one could really think there's no foul play, but it's definitely in my mind when watching unfortunately. Still a decently well made film just nothing too up my alleyway.

-



rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
La Vérité (1960)

I was predisposed to liking this. I have a 4-year old daughter named Verity! Unfortunately, that was not enough to overcome the outrageous misogyny and moral depravity of this film.

Let's start with the positives. The storytelling is visually interesting. I enjoyed the use of conversation to transition locations in mid-thought. It fostered a dreamlike state that tracks with the subjective nature of the storytelling. I also thought the courtroom scenes were shot well and supported the drama nicely, particularly in the way that they interrogated the actions, credibility, and motivation of the individual witnesses. Additionally, Bardot was fantastic given what she had to play with.

OK, with that out of the way let's get to the meat of it. The film tells the story of an ill-fated romance between a 20-year-old supernaturally gorgeous party girl, Dominique, (Bardot, probably the only actress that could pull the role off believably) and a slightly older uptight music/conductor student, Gilbert (Sami Frey), that ends with Dominique killing Gilbert. The film takes place largely in flashback to the events leading up to the killing, posing the question whether the killing was murder or an act of passion (the so-called ‘truth’).

Gilbert is serious, studious, and stuck up. He looks down on Dominique, but ultimately is tempted by both her incredible beauty and the lure of the life she represents. A lust play, primarily. Then, somehow, in the film's biggest suspension of disbelief, Dominique falls for Gilbert. Really falls. She worships him, despite him being an overly possessive self-serious douchebag. It really is hard to credit. The film’s internal logic appears to be the opposites attract trope, Dominique wants a regular life so she is attracted to Gilbert, who is not fun or interesting like her friends. But there is no evidence this is what she wants. At 20, she seems to realize youth is wasted on the monogamous. Eventually Gilbert grows tired of her and breaks up with her, leading Dominique to end up in a desperate situation, quitting her job and turning to prostitution to survive while still fixated on Gilbert. Ultimately, she kills Gilbert (and the filmmaker seems to be suggesting this is tragedy.

Perhaps it is, but only in the sense that any female existence in France in 1960 must have been similarly tragic. The trial scenes seem to be little more than excuses to abuse Dominque as a loose woman, treating her viciously, interrogating every detail of her private life and drawing absurd, offensive inferences from her behavior. This, of course, tracks with how she is treated by virtually everyone throughout the film. Dominique is never given agency. At one point, she must remind Gilbert that she is a person with her own feelings, dreams, and emotions. If only someone had reminded the filmmakers.

4/10 solely for the technical work and Bardot’s performance. Would not recommend.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Les Miserables



I first watched this a few months ago after Ed picked it for me in the Personal Rec HoF. I said Ed what the hell you know I don't like musicals. I never knew. It was an instant favorite and I still love it.

It's the only version I've seen and I didn't read the book. I knew zippo about it on my first watch. Instant love with the story and that goes right through to the end. The first time it never occurred to me that it speeds through. I just thought it was fast paced, and that does have it's advantages. After reading some of the comments in this thread, I'm even more enthused to watch the almost 5 hour French version from 1934. I was already a fan of Fredric March and Charles Laughton, and they were in top form here. Special shout out as well to Cedric Hardwicke-loved his performance and character. This movie is a good example of why I love old movies.

+



La Vérité (1960)

I was predisposed to liking this. I have a 4-year old daughter named Verity! Unfortunately, that was not enough to overcome the outrageous misogyny and moral depravity of this film.

Let's start with the positives. The storytelling is visually interesting. I enjoyed the use of conversation to transition locations in mid-thought. It fostered a dreamlike state that tracks with the subjective nature of the storytelling. I also thought the courtroom scenes were shot well and supported the drama nicely, particularly in the way that they interrogated the actions, credibility, and motivation of the individual witnesses. Additionally, Bardot was fantastic given what she had to play with.

OK, with that out of the way let's get to the meat of it. The film tells the story of an ill-fated romance between a 20-year-old supernaturally gorgeous party girl, Dominique, (Bardot, probably the only actress that could pull the role off believably) and a slightly older uptight music/conductor student, Gilbert (Sami Frey), that ends with Dominique killing Gilbert. The film takes place largely in flashback to the events leading up to the killing, posing the question whether the killing was murder or an act of passion (the so-called ‘truth’).

Gilbert is serious, studious, and stuck up. He looks down on Dominique, but ultimately is tempted by both her incredible beauty and the lure of the life she represents. A lust play, primarily. Then, somehow, in the film's biggest suspension of disbelief, Dominique falls for Gilbert. Really falls. She worships him, despite him being an overly possessive self-serious douchebag. It really is hard to credit. The film’s internal logic appears to be the opposites attract trope, Dominique wants a regular life so she is attracted to Gilbert, who is not fun or interesting like her friends. But there is no evidence this is what she wants. At 20, she seems to realize youth is wasted on the monogamous. Eventually Gilbert grows tired of her and breaks up with her, leading Dominique to end up in a desperate situation, quitting her job and turning to prostitution to survive while still fixated on Gilbert. Ultimately, she kills Gilbert (and the filmmaker seems to be suggesting this is tragedy.

Perhaps it is, but only in the sense that any female existence in France in 1960 must have been similarly tragic. The trial scenes seem to be little more than excuses to abuse Dominque as a loose woman, treating her viciously, interrogating every detail of her private life and drawing absurd, offensive inferences from her behavior. This, of course, tracks with how she is treated by virtually everyone throughout the film. Dominique is never given agency. At one point, she must remind Gilbert that she is a person with her own feelings, dreams, and emotions. If only someone had reminded the filmmakers.

4/10 solely for the technical work and Bardot’s performance. Would not recommend.
I think the whole thesis of the movie is that a woman being treated like this one s a tragedy. Never for one second did I think the filmmakers condoned the male behavior in this film. Your reading really surprises me.



rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
I think the whole thesis of the movie is that a woman being treated like this one s a tragedy. Never for one second did I think the filmmakers condoned the male behavior in this film. Your reading really surprises me.
It's tempting to read this redemptively as you suggest, but the problem is Dominique only has a single line indicating her humanity. Even if you think this is a critique of male behavior (something I obviously don't agree with), its utter failure to give Dominique agency over her choices and her life generally undermines any progress the film might claim to make. Whether the film views the treatment of Dominique as bad or good, the key word is "of." Dominique is just an object, albeit a beautiful one. Not even the women in the film come to her defense in any real way.



It's tempting to read this redemptively as you suggest, but the problem is Dominique only has a single line indicating her humanity. Even if you think this is a critique of male behavior (something I obviously don't agree with), its utter failure to give Dominique agency over her choices and her life generally undermines any progress the film might claim to make. Whether the film views the treatment of Dominique as bad or good, the key word is "of." Dominique is just an object, albeit a beautiful one. Not even the women in the film come to her defense in any real way.
But the whole movie is about her attempting to have agency and the culture constantly telling her she can’t. That aspect just gets worse and worse until eventually she can’t endure it anymore.

I would also suggest her circle of friends are allowing for this kind of life for her, but she is stuck between two worlds. They aren’t as big a part of the story for sure, but I still think that’s there.



rbrayer's Avatar
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But the whole movie is about her attempting to have agency and the culture constantly telling her she can’t. That aspect just gets worse and worse until eventually she can’t endure it anymore.

I would also suggest her circle of friends are allowing for this kind of life for her, but she is stuck between two worlds. They aren’t as big a part of the story for sure, but I still think that’s there.
I get that and my first thought was along the lines you laid out, but as the film went on this reading fell away for me for a few reasons. First, we got no testimony from Dominique at trial and no hint of her interior life. Her existence is narrated by men. Second, she is portrayed as a desperate, emotional, ineffective person, a hysterical woman for all intents and purposes. Does she have other traits? Skills? Anything?

The filmmakers may have thought they were making a film about how badly women are treated, but without any input from the object of that treatment, the film just compounds the problem. Dominique is an object not a person. Generously, one could argue that the film wants us to treat that object better but there is nothing in the film to indicate treating her as a person was an option. Even if society made it impossible for her to express herself, the film could have given us interior monologue or scenes with that group of friends that establish her. None of the first and note the second pretty much exclusively focused on sleeping with her. For a film nominally about Dominique, she sure is a cipher.



Second, she is portrayed as a desperate, emotional, ineffective person, a hysterical woman for all intents and purposes. Does she have other traits? Skills? Anything?
So you want her too be just like her sister except not scared of sex? Again, that’s kind of the whole point. She was s absolutely desperate. Desperate not to have to have “skills” desperate not to have to be “effective” desperate to be able to fall in love with whoever the hell she wants. Desperate not to be put into the exact type of box you are putting her in.

Desperate is a great word to describe her character. Desperate and with nowhere in her culture to turn.



rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
So you want her too be just like her sister except not scared of sex? Again, that’s kind of the whole point. She was s absolutely desperate. Desperate not to have to have “skills” desperate not to have to be “effective” desperate to be able to fall in love with whoever the hell she wants. Desperate not to be put into the exact type of box you are putting her in.

Desperate is a great word to describe her character. Desperate and with nowhere in her culture to turn.
No, I want her to be a realistic character with an internal life not a symbol for the director to use like everyone else uses her in this film.



No, I want her to be a realistic character with an internal life not a symbol for the director to use like everyone else uses her in this film.
Just one last question. Do you not see her as struggling to get exactly what you are talking about at all?

I don’t think it’s at all uncommon for someone who is marginalized and oppressed to appear to be struggling upstream their whole life. To be aimless and not feel like they have anywhere to turn. That’s exactly why this story is about her and not her sister. Not everyone has aim and focus, and people that don’t aren’t less than. You are putting your expectations on her, the same as the other characters in the film. You just think it’s okay because your expectations are the “moral” sort of expectations.



rbrayer's Avatar
Registered User
Just one last question. Do you not see her as struggling to get exactly what you are talking about at all?

I don’t think it’s at all uncommon for someone who is marginalized and oppressed to appear to be struggling upstream their whole life. To be aimless and not feel like they have anywhere to turn. That’s exactly why this story is about her and not her sister. Not everyone has aim and focus, and people that don’t aren’t less than. You are putting your expectations on her, the same as the other characters in the film. You just think it’s okay because your expectations are the “moral” sort of expectations.
I think you are misunderstanding me here. I'm not saying she needs to be anything or have any particular aim or focus. I am saying the film gave her zero characterization and treated her like an object. That's the issue.



I think you are misunderstanding me here. I'm not saying she needs to be anything or have any particular aim or focus. I am saying the film gave her zero characterization and treated her like an object. That's the issue.
Fair enough. When you say she doesn’t have any skills and she’s ineffective, it just sounds different to me.

I digress. You can have the final word.