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…)

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A Century of Film


Mysteries


The Genre

 

“What about Film Noir?” Veronica asked me as I was talking about this category.  But, as I explained to her, Film Noir itself isn’t a genre, but a style that moves across multiple genres, usually Crime, Mystery and Suspense.  Crime films are easier to pull out because, as I explained in the Crime post, they are films in which the main character is a criminal.  It is a lot more difficult to draw a line between Crime films and Suspense films and you could easily take all of Mystery and make it a sub-section of Suspense films.  But I will try. (more…)

A Century of Film

 

Suspense Films


The Genre

What is a Suspense film, anyway?  What makes it different from other genres?  I think I first started thinking about that with the release of The Hunt for Red October.  It was still early in my days of being serious about films but I realized it was a bit unclassifiable.  It wasn’t an Action film.  There was too much suspense to be a Drama.  I got a film guide (called the Video Movie Guide – I had the 1990 edition and later gave that to my mother who still has it when I got the 1993 edition which I eventually got rid of, feeling I no longer needed it) not long afterwards that classified films by genre and had Action-Adventure-Thriller as one of them.  I realized that was where Hunt for Red October belonged.  But eventually I would decide that Mysteries really were their own sub-genre.

Almost all Mysteries could be pushed into this Genre which is why Mystery will be the next genre covered in this series (it was originally going to be first but it was easier to find a list of Mysteries and go through that than it was for Suspense, so I am watching a bunch more Mysteries before that post).  But Mysteries are tied up in a specific Mystery and solving that Mystery while Suspense is often more about the feeling in the film.  There is often a Mystery as well and I would not quibble with any person who keeps any of these films in Mystery.  A lot of them could also be classified as Action, but Action films, for the most part, focus more on the actual action and less on the feeling of suspense (for instance, most Spy films are here, but the Bond films are in Action).  Crime films could also be classified here (Crime films are often described as “crime thriller”). (more…)

“As he reached for his hat, Chris was nodding her head, and then suddenly she was looking into eyes that overwhelmed her, that shone with intelligence and kindly understanding, with serenity that poured from them into her being like the waters of a warm and healing river whose source was both in him yet somehow beyond him; whose flow was contained and yet headlong and endless.” (p 291)

My Top 10

  1. The Exorcist
  2. Serpico
  3. The Day of the Jackal
  4. The Friends of Eddie Coyle
  5. Don’t Look Now
  6. Paper Moon
  7. The Last Detail
  8. A Doll’s House

Note:  This is my full list for the year.  It used to have one more film but as I was writing the review of Bang the Drum Slowly (comparing it to Brian’s Song, both of which are early 70’s films, though Brian’s Song was originally a tv film, that star major actors in their pre-Godfather roles as athletes forming an important friendship while dying of cancer, though of course Brian’s Song was a true story and this was based on an overrated novel), I realized that it really didn’t belong on the list.  The film succeeds, not on its writing, but on the performances of Robert De Niro and Vincent Gardenia and the moving scene with the song “Streets of Laredo”.  So I cut it from the list and since it wasn’t nominated for anything, I didn’t bother to include it. (more…)

“Kay could see how Michael stood to receive their homage.  He reminded her of statues in Rome, statues of those Roman emperors of antiquity, who, by divine right, held the power of life and death over their fellow men.  One hand was on his hip, the profile of his face showed a cold proud power, his body was carelessly, arrogantly at ease, weight resting on one foot slightly behind the other.  The caporegimes stood before him.  In that moment Kay knew that everything Connie had accused Michael of was true.” (p 419)

My Top 10

  1. The Godfather
  2. Sleuth
  3. Play It Again Sam
  4. Cabaret
  5. Deliverance
  6. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex
  7. The Heartbreak Kid
  8. Fat City
  9. Travels with My Aunt
  10. Avanti

Note:  My full list is fourteen films long but three of the of the other four are reviewed below because of award nominations (The Emigrants, Sounder, Frenzy) leaving just one for the list down at the bottom. (more…)


A Century of Film

Supporting Actress

Film has always relied on supporting performances but awards groups haven’t always recognized them right away.  It wasn’t until the 9th Academy Awards that the first supporting awards were given out.  Likewise, the BAFTAs would go through their first 20 awards without the category and no critics group would give such an award until 1957.  But eventually, of course, all the awards groups followed through and today it’s one way of celebrating great character actors although it has also been a chance for big stars to win their Oscar at last.  Supporting performances can be a role that runs through the whole film (like the way the Academy awarded Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago in a role that earned her a Globe nomination as a lead) or for a performance that dominates the film in spite of only being in a few scenes (like Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love). (more…)

“I was like wandering all over the flat in pain and sickness, trying to shut out the music and like groaning deep out of my guts, and then on top of the pile of books and papers and all that cal that was on the table in the living-room I viddied what I had to do and what I had wanted to do until those old men in the Public Biblio and then Dim and Billyboy disguised as rozzes stopped me, and that was to do myself in, to snuff it, to blast off for ever out of this wicked and cruel world.” (p 192-193)

My Top 10

  1. A Clockwork Orange
  2. The French Connection
  3. The Last Picture Show
  4. McCabe and Mrs. Miller
  5. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
  6. The Go-Between
  7. They Might Be Giants
  8. The Conformist

Note:  The only reason this year reaches 10 is because I moved The Go-Between into my list after watching it again.  Still a big drop-off from the Top 5 to the second 5.
Second Note:  I wrote that a couple of months ago.  Then I re-watched Sometimes a Great Notion and Dodes Ka-Den and decided that neither of them actually merited being on the list.  So that dropped my list back down to 8.  Sadly, I didn’t decide this until after reading Sometimes a Great Notion, which I thought was nigh on unreadable. (more…)