Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Sword and Sandal Blogathon

Debbie of Moon in Gemini is hosting a blogathon covering the many epics that dominated the movie theaters throughout the fifties and sixties. Having only seen a select few of this particular genre, I opted for a more unconventional title. Which one was it?

(1958, dir. Richard Fleischer)

Having seen this for the first time only a few months ago, I wasn't expecting too much from this. (Okay, except for it to be worth my time.) So what did I think of it? Well, that starts after the jump.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Olivia de Havilland Centenary Blogathon

This past Friday two-time Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland turned 100, a rare feat amongst many people of Hollywood. And to celebrate, Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Phyllis of Phyllis Loves Classic Movies are hosting a blogathon. I decided to be a little adventurous for my contribution by covering the eight films de Havilland did with Errol Flynn.

Flynn and de Havilland's octet of films often had their characters follow the same formula: he's the dashing leading man (often in tights, uniform or tight pants), she can't stand him upon first impression and by film's end, she can't stand to be without him. (Can you blame her?) Those eight films, by the way, are:

(1935, dir. Michael Curtiz)
(1936, dir. Michael Curtiz)
(1938, dir. Michael Curtiz)
(1938, dir. Michael Curtiz)
(1939, dir. Michael Curtiz)
(1939, dir. Michael Curtiz)
(1940, dir. Michael Curtiz)
(1941, dir. Raoul Walsh)

More after the jump!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Mel Brooks Blogathon

This past Monday was Mel Brooks' 90th birthday and to celebrate, Louis of The Cinematic Frontier is hosting a blogathon on the director. I've seen the more famous of his films but which of them have I decided to cover?

(1974, dir. Mel Brooks)

You know it's going to be a funny movie when you read some of the production notes. Why? Apparently Brooks and the whole crew had to stuff handkerchiefs in their mouths so as to not ruin takes from laughing. And he added extra scenes to film since everyone enjoyed making it.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Devils

If one year could be pegged down as one filled with controversy, it would easily be 1971. All in the Family hit the airwaves, the Vietnam War was on its last legs, and the world of film was pushing the limits of what could be shown. With the likes of A Clockwork Orange and Straw Dogs being released that year, moral guardians were up in arms from their graphic content.

But those two pale in comparison to what Ken Russell had to offer with The Devils. All these years later, the controversy surrounding it hasn't faded. Beneath all of it, however, Russell provides a thoroughly captivating story.

In a way, The Devils is a more graphic take on The Crucible. (The Devils, by the way, is based on works by Aldous Huxley and John Whiting.) After all, it involves a supposedly upstanding citizen being accused of witchcraft. (Though Arthur Miller probably wouldn't have such details in as lurid a perspective as Russell displayed.)

Speaking of details, the production design of The Devils is a dazzling one. (Being designed by Derek Jarman certainly helps.) With this being a film as bleak as it is, what Jarman puts in adds something of a breather.

Despite the controversy that overshadows it, The Devils is a complex work to say the least. Had Russell made this film in a more flattering light, it probably would've escaped controversy. But had he cleaned up its content, it more than likely would've been tossed aside as another religious picture. (Apparently controversy's a good thing if you're Ken Russell.)

My Rating: ****1/2

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The 2nd Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) Blogathon

Steve over at Movie Movie Blog Blog has brought back his successful blogathon from last year. Last time around, I wrote about The Long, Hot Summer (mainly as an excuse to objectify Paul Newman and his Greek god physique). For this year I again chose a film where I could ogle the leading man without any sense of shame. The film in question?

(1951, dir. Elia Kazan)

Ah, the post-war era of Hollywood. This was when directors and writers started not giving a damn about the censors. They wanted to see how far they could push the limits of the Production Code. All it needed was that one film to start such a revolution.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Order in the Court! The Classic Courtroom Movies Blogathon

Theresa of CineMaven's Essays from the Couch and Lesley of Second Sight Cinema have teamed up for this examination of courtroom pictures. There have been many over the years from comedies to dramas to thrillers. My film of choice?

(1960, dir. Stanley Kramer)

Sure, you may have been thinking more along the likes of To Kill a Mockingbird or 12 Angry Men but I wanted to focus on one not often held in the same regard. (Also I wanted an excuse to re-watch it.)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Royalty on Film Blogathon

Emily of The Flapper Dame is hosting a blogathon where the subject matter is of the regal society. There have been lots of films (especially in recent years) about both fictional and real-life royalty. I opted for the former. My film of choice?

(1953, dir. William Wyler)

This is just one of those films where it's next to impossible not to like. Not one element of it feels dated and it's still lovely on re-watches. (Honestly, we need more films like this nowadays. Do away with big CGI'd explosions and gratuitous nudity. We just need a simple story.)