Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Now he's too rich to kill."

Here is the latest set of cross-offs from my film list:

43. KING KONG (1933)

52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)

57. THE THIRD MAN (1949)

74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925)

82. GIANT (1956)

93. THE APARTMENT (1960)

92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)


King Kong
I was nervous about watching the original King Kong. I have been told that it is superb, but having seen and loved the recent remake, I was afraid that I would not be able to get in to the 1933 version. Peter Jackson's special effects are so amazing that I did think I'd be able to go backwards. But I was quite taken in by the film. It took me a little while to get used to the primitive special effects, but after a little while, I was able to astral project. I put myself in the place of someone seeing it in 1933, only four years into sound pictures. And King Kong used every effect known to man at the time, and it does not scrimp on the violence. Yes, it is primitive and clunky, but I was able to imagine seeing it 73 years ago and being utterly terrified. But I am also glad I saw it just for its sheer importance in film history.

From Here to Eternity
The only thing I knew about the plot of From Here to Eternity was that it involved Pearl Harbor, and that it featured one of the most famous love scenes in all of film:


But there was so much more to this epic. The plot has multiple layers, but the real reason I am glad I saw it is that I have finally seen a film starring Montgomery Clift. I have heard about him, and I know that he is regarded as one of the best actors of his time -- he's even compared with Brando -- and I knew he had a tragic fall from grace, but I had never seen one of his movies. And his performance alone makes the movie worth seeing. Burt Lancaster is very good, as are Deborah Kerr and Frank Sinatra, but Clift takes the acting to a different level.

The Third Man
This is a great thriller/film noir featuring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. The film is all about style; the plot has nice twists and turns, but it is the cinematography, music, and mood that make it great. Roger Ebert has a great essay about The Third Man.


The Gold Rush
This film is one of Charlie Chaplin's classics. It is entertaining and, well, Chaplinesque, but for my money, I'll go with The Kid, City Lights, and Modern Times over The Gold Rush any day.

Giant
This movie is wonderful. Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean form a great cast in this story about Texas ranchers and oil. It is a powerful reflection on the American Dream and the greed that goes along with it. This is a long one, but James Dean's performance is a sight to behold. (For an interesting story about my "hometown" connection to James Dean, and how this relates to Morrissey, see my friend Jennifer's recent blog entry.)


The Apartment
This is another one that I would not have put on my 100 greatest list, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It combines humor and sorrow, and both Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine give excellent performances.

A Place in the Sun
This tragic love story by George Stevens is a tough one to watch. It starts out like a good old-fashioned "small-town boy makes good" love tale but quickly evolves into a complex and complicated story about the dark nature of humankind. I did not know where it was going, and it went to some deep dark places. But Elizabeth Taylor is brilliant, Shelley Winters is tragic, and once again, Montgomery Clift proves that he was one of the best of his time.

3 Comments:

At 12:43 AM, Blogger Carson posited...

So how many do you have left now?

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

15 left.

 
At 10:15 PM, Blogger Kid C posited...

Only 15? I'm impressed!

 

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