Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I recently bought a mae West Collection for $12.00 and watched it for two nights,recalling that I had seen some of them as a child....many will dismiss her and her movies on various grounds, and usually because they have never really seen them or watched them with any intentions or understanding,etc. and it is interesting to see some of the styles, the cars, the lingo, and the sets and effects used.....BUT, also to see some of the actors involved, such as, George Raft,Cary Grant,Randoph Scott,Fuzzy Knight, Jack La Rue, and, of course, W.C.Fields... Mae wrote some of the scripts and things it would seem and she had a pleasant voice and a specific style, full of 'wise cracks' and the music is really an 'ear-opener'....NIGHT AFTER NIGHT has a nice 'fisticuffs' scene with George Raft doing a sort of face slapping scene which I slowed down to watch carefully...and noted how even the mirror reflections were taken into account during the filming....I do this with similar fight scenes to see how they were choreographed,filmed, etc. and we can learn a lot of 'standard' tricks employed, that require timing and agility,etc. I' NO ANGEL is also standard 'circus' fare and the plots of Mae's movies always end up with her getting the right man, that is, winning the man of her choice, a reversal of the 'hero's' winning the heart of the right girl.....Her audacious statements have become,along with WC Field's, quotable ones and assembled recently into some 'philosophy' of sorts that still can amuse and interest moderns whose mouths are full of foul-mouthisms restricted to single 'f' words.....
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Recntly, I have been watching a 'special' collection of the films of the late MARLENA DIETRICH($12.00) and found that my favorite thus far, is GYPSY EARRINGS with Ray Milland, of 'THE LOST WEEKEND' fame, a movie I saw while in the fifth grade that the lady in the ticket office tried to dissuade me from attending at the time, but to no avail). I saw Marlena in DESTREY RIDES AGAIN on the screen as a child and later the 'in'famous BLUE ANGEL and then in Judgment in Nuremburg and, when in Germany, I purchased some of her records which I still have. Of course, we all fell in love with LILI MARLENE....I even took German in college and can still do a fair imitation of Adolph when called upon.... Anyway, the movies on the screen have a charm and power lacking in TV and other smaller screens...and the power of black and white, to my eyes, will most always surpass 'colorizations' of such......more on Marlena another time...
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Ana May Wong is one of my favority actresses....I fell in love with her at an early age, when seeing some of the movies she was in on actual movie theater screens, later on Television, and now on DVDs,etc. She was one of the many Asian actors/actresses who paved the way for actual Asians to play movie and theater roles as well as TV eventually.....Another such actress was the late LOTUS LONG, of whom I shall mention under a separate topic...along with others, most of whom I enjoy watching when possible despite some the limited and even uncredited roles.....FOR PHILIPPINE & FILIPINO MOVIES, I have added a separate blog and will also include movies where non-Asian appeared in Asian Character roles when time permits as well as interest....from time to time..... Martial Arts movies will also be discussed under different and related blogs from time to time......
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
'THE THIEF OF BAGDAD' is another of my favorite 'silent' films and stars the great DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS as well as a favorite actress of mine, ANNA MAY WONG(Ana Mae Wong). Though both are dead,of course, they and their acting live on in a special cinematic way. Early films created certain trends that still persist today in that they gave various impressions of cultures, peoples, religions, manners,dress,etc. of which many notions about the Middle East, Arabia, China, etc. are still operating today. No matter how the quality or quantity of these films, some of which have been lost or destroyed, were produced they still,in their early days, set up impressions and created impressions in the viewers of those early days, that present day producers of films cannot do anymore. To be sure, modern, contemporary films do entertain but they rely less on the things that were original and fresh.
Monday, January 4, 2010
In the movie, THE TEMPTRESS, which opens in PARIS, where Gurdjieff settled and remained until after WWII and died there, I am reminded of the WORK that G undertook in the West. In reading about his 'ballet' 'THE STRUGGLE OF THE MAGICIANS' it seems to me that this movie has elements of this in it. Greta Garbo is the 'heroine' . The ending of the movie seems to me to be also a great example of 'INTENTIONAL SUFFERING' and I disagree with the film commentator when I re-watched the film with his comments, that it was not this sort of thing, although he made it appear to something else than what many concluded was the reason for the ending. You must watch this movie to understand, if you can, what I am implying. the opening takes place at which people are reveling and goes to a banquet that is a reminder of those that Gurdjieff is said to have given in Paris as well as a particular one mentioned that he gave in New York for which people paid him an enormous sum of money for showing them what they are! GREAT NATURE asserts herself in the Argentine episodes and we see 'SUPER EFFORTS' being attempted by the hero as well as his TASK or WORK. We see the various "I's" at work as well and how ordinary and contemporary people act and live,etc. for MARTIAL ARTISTS there is the fight with whips in a circle to hold their interest and this is probably the first such instance of this sort of thing in a movie(save perhaps for some Zorro with Douglas Fairbanks Sr.). Many such duels between antagonists were fought in a similar manner within a circle which is one stepped out lost the match or if he stayed in and died or was killed, well so much for that, he had his honor. These things were done in various ways, with guns, clubs, knives, swords,etc. and especially in Meditarranean countries or Spanish colonies,etc.).
In my opinion, THE TEMPTRESS is one of the great motion pictures of the 20th Century. An epic, it stars GRETA GARBO as she became known under this screen name, and ANTONIO MORENO,that starts in Paris, goes to Argentina, and ends up in Paris(in the true ending,since there was an alternative ending to it). The film is based on a novel by Vicente Blasco Ibanez(Ybanez) and is controversial in quite a number of ways. The original film footage was lost and so much of,if not most of, the film was re-shot though pictures of the first filming exist to show some interesting things apparently. Another great film star from a great film family in this picture was John Barrymore. The movie could well be re-done if anyone had the time and effort and money needed to do it but, of course, minus the cast that really made it a great epic. This movie and the others like it nowadays would be seen as 'objectionable' or 'not suited for childlren'etc. and I am most lucky again that I was able to see a great many movies in my childhood that such labels would have kept me away from. Thanks to my parents and other relatives I was able to see a lot of movies from babyhood upwards! The only movies I couldn't see were those that were quarantined (polio,measles,etc.) or restricted to 18 or 21, like war atrocity movies which I later saw.
Recently I purchased for the sum of $3 bucks, a two disc DVD of three movies that Greta Garbo did in the so-called 'silent' era of motion pictures or cinema. I have other such films on VHS and DVD in my collections. I intend to add more as time and funds permit since I find they are refreshing from the contemporary drival being produced today and cranked out. Of course, the early films may have appeared crude and naive,etc. to today's 'sophisticated' audiences! Nevertheless, early films or movies have a certain refreshing quality to them if one OBSERVES and not merely sees! There are many things one can OBSERVE as well as SEE. In actuality, there were not really silent movies or films since even the whirr or hum of the projector(s) made noise and people often talked, laughed and reacted to the movies, especially in the early days when they are novel, unusual, and interesting from many angles. Orchestration and other sound devices, like organs, pianos,etc. were played and stage shows were also sometimes part and parcel of the movies and theaters. I was most fortunate because I was exposed to silent films in many instances when they were sometimes shown in theaters, church halls, social clubs,etc. and schools. I also saw the first really technicolor and sepia color movies and went from there into cinerama, cinemascope, 3-D, etc. I also had my own movie projector(which I still have in the original box and it still works, but I do not have any of the films I once had that I showed to neighbor kids and friends. Films sold for around 2.98 or so and I saved my pennies to buy more). If you watch thesse early movies you can see many things and you will be surprised at the 'freshness' of things that are not marred by sound or speculation of others. They are best watched alone so you can see what is there and what the impressions, if any, they make on you. Sometimes, several viewigs are needed to extract the 'essence' what is there. Actors and Actresses implied many things and their gestures and motions and the like, their antics, all had communication of some sort.