This opening bit might not be in the book but most of what follows is.

My Top 10

  1. That Obscure Object of Desire
  2. King Lear
  3. Equus
  4. Oh God
  5. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  6. The Marquise de O
  7. Dersu Uzala

Note:  That’s it.  That’s all I’ve got.  I had actually placed Jacob the Liar on the list (at #4) but when I looked at it again, I realized that it was a screenplay first, then, when cutbacks in film production in East Germany delayed the film for nearly a decade, it was rewritten as a novel.  But the screenplay had already existed which means, in spite of the credits, it’s not really an adapted script and I can skip having to review a very good film (and book) that are also brutally depressing so Happy New Year (2019) to me. (more…)

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A Century of Film


War


The Genre

Though there are those who consider a less stringent definition, for me, a War film is one that actually depicts what is going on during the war.  By that, I generally mean the combat field, though it can also mean those fighting the war who aren’t in actual combat.  I don’t, for the most part, mean things that are happening due to effects of the war (for instance, Holocaust films or other films about civilians during the war), though those do sometimes get war sub-genres. (more…)

“Deep Throat moved closer to Woodward. ‘Let me explain something,’ he said. ‘When you move on someone like Haldeman, you’ve got to be sure you’re on the most solid ground. Shit, what a royal screw-up!'” (p 220)

My Top 10:

  1. All the President’s Men
  2. Solyaris
  3. Carrie
  4. Voyage of the Damned
  5. The Outlaw Josey Wales
  6. The Shootist
  7. Marathon Man
  8. The Last Tycoon
  9. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings
  10. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

Note:  There has been a change since my Nighthawk Awards, with The Shootist moving up into the Top 10.  If it seems like a big leap, that’s because #6-10 aren’t all that strong and in a good year many of them wouldn’t make the list.  The only two films on my list that aren’t in the Top 10 are both reviewed below because of nominations: Bound for Glory and Family Plot. (more…)

A Century of Film

Actress

Lead actresses, of course, have been a part of film since its history began and certainly since feature films began.  Indeed, Lilian Gish was the big star of D.W. Griffith, the first director who focused on American feature films.  She had already proven that while there was a definite market for sex appeal (dating all the way book to Theda Bara and continuing on through to any number of sex symbols such as Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and any number of others, with variable rates of acting return with their sexuality.  But Gish, quite distinct looking, was not particularly sexual and there was always a market for those who were not as traditionally beautiful but could act like Bette Davis or actresses who aged out of their explicit sexuality like Rosalind Russell, Katharine Hepburn, Anne Bancroft or Meryl Streep. (more…)

Surprisingly enough, there are no Knights Who Say Ni in the original Malory. Neither is there a Black Knight who says “It’s only a flesh wound”, a witch being weighed against a duck, a holy hand grenade or a killer rabbit.

My Top 10

  1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  3. Barry Lyndon
  4. The Man Who Would Be King
  5. Three Days of the Condor
  6. Jaws
  7. The Sunshine Boys
  8. Hester Street
  9. The Story of Adele H.
  10. The Day of the Locust

note:  Originally, Hester Street was reviewed as a WGA nominee.  But, my reaction to the film bumped it up the list and it displaced French Connection II (which still gets reviewed because it was also a WGA nominee).

(more…)

A Century of Film

Columbia Pictures

The Studio

“Three men started it and they named it after themselves: C.B.C. Film Sales Company, for Jack Cohn, Joe Brandt and Jack’s younger brother, Harry Cohn.”  (Hail Columbia, Rochelle Larkin, p 11)  “The enterprise was growing in distinction, and hence it required a new name.  C.B.C. was now universally recognized in the trade by its sobriquet, Corned Beef and Cabbage.  A company could scarcely prosper under such a handicap.  On January 10, 1924, C.B.C. became Columbia Pictures.”  (King Cohn: The Life and Times of Harry Cohn, Bob Thomas, p 36)

“The movie business was divided into two unequal parts: The best film properties went to the major studios, the rest to the novices and dreamers on Poverty Row.  Harry Cohn was going to bridge that gap.”  (Larkin, p 12)  “Harry Cohn assumed the presidency of Columbia Pictures Corporation in 1932.  He retained his position as chief of production, becoming the only film company head to hold both positions.”  (Thomas, p 79) (more…)

This scene isn’t in the original novel even though it comes during the period of time covered by the novel. Nor is it ever mentioned in the novel that the Don’s birthday is December 7. This is pure Coppola.

My Top 10

  1. The Godfather Part II
  2. Young Frankenstein
  3. The Parallax View
  4. Murder on the Orient Express
  5. Lenny
  6. The Front Page
  7. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
  8. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
  9. Thieves Like Us
  10. Sanshiro Sugata

Note:  If you look at my original Nighthawk Awards you will only see nine films listed.  But, re-watching The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, which I needed to review anyway because it was a WGA nominee, I was reminded that it should have been on my list in the first place because the script really is quite good. (more…)