In a film that was secondary in my introduction to Terrence Malick, his world of estranged people took in my mind what would have been essentially a film like "Rebel without a Cause" and turned into an allegorical narrative, inspired by Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, about the seemingly halcyon lives of Kit and Holly. Kit in a fierce tragedian move killed Holly's Father for her love; obviously in this quixotic world, it was more hobson's choice then a behemoth dilemma about which lives she takes. It's in the same vein as a Shakespeare story and the film couldn't make its lucid poetry any more clearer then the conflagration, which is orchestrated by music of spontaneity.
As we go through the film, the narrative, relayed by Holly, would seem pretty monotonous and quite graining, but here it speaks the soft and wondrous sounds of a world with which acts in opposition. We see Adam and Eve, we see the life on a farm and we see them act like moguls; Malik also plays on individual alternate paths as Holly looks at genealogical pictures and knows that her life could never be the way it's.
The film is seemingly facile, but as it goes on, it pulls at the heart strings, makes you feel detached from any possible sense of wilderness and comfort and it culminates in the end when the last thing on Martin Sheen's characters mind is whether or not he can get a hat. It's really marvellous in doing so; some flaws would come from how realistic the story is in communicating the events of 1958. But I felt chilled to the bone, like I did with "Mirror" by Andrei Tarkovsky or even further back to "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Kubrick is that the world is rendered in the eyes of two young people who decided to go adrift into a world of chaos and most beautifully and swishing framed landscapes, which Kitt just wanted to embrace. Every errand is with a gun - it's as though his only resource isn't by sociological means, but by a pathological need for things to be done his way. In a way he's a selfish reprobate. And this is what makes the film interesting - there's no protagonist, not even bounty hunters, as they're looked at as though they're prey.
The part that put me in a very tentative position to judge the film was when they went to the Moguls house. I look at that now as an adventure like we're going through their terrible journey as well and it may not make a lot of sense, but I consider it to be part of an unduly ride. In the end, the films dialogue, powerhouse acting and naturalistic look make it a must to pick up. Completely imperative and it just goes to show that Maliks profession underlay in poetry because he certainly made it into transition as a film maker!
I have heard people say Martin Scorsese, it seems, wouldn't have made a film like this. I want to direct anybody about these qualms on that "kiddie film" idea to watch "A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through the American Movies". To put it in a laconic way, Scorsese was predestined to make a film like this. What makes it enchanting and close to home is that the film is a fable per se; underneath it, though, is Scorsese's true love for films.
The film is based upon a book about Hugo Cabaret, which Johnny Depp had in production for a couple of years now. Martin Scorsese was commissioned to direct and the result is a lavish design with an amazing stellar cast including Ben Kingsley who portrays George Melies with bathos and subtlety, Christopher Lee who plays a book keeper, Asa Butterfield as Hugo and Chloe Grace Moretz as Isabelle. Even the minor role by Ray Winstone as Claude the Uncle becomes momentous to the story. I think the real thing that came to mind for me was that 3D wasn't subordinate to the story or concurrent to the story IT WAS THE STORY. If you have ever seen Yasujiro Ozu's films or "Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" (1975) and films by Akira Kurosawa and even Orson Welles that you'll fathom out that film has ALWAYS been Three Dimensional. What Scorsese done with his amazing crew was that every spatial part of the foreground would be shot with depth of field. Melies at his celebration talking about what Scorsese would refer to as "the illusionist" the magic tricks he would pull with Mermaids and Magicians, it's as though he has been cut out and is sticking out the screen (to use a cliché).
The magic of cinema, the montages of the films to decipher "Papa Georges" despair, the film follows a young boy, who tries to fix an automaton. He constantly evades an inspector and always runs the clock in its amazing interior (referencing "Safety Last!" in terms of cinematic iconography) that his Uncle Claude does. His Father is no longer with him after a fire, while he was trying to fix an automaton, which his son subsequently has tried to fix using bits and bobs he can purloin from shops like George's shop. What's amazing is that throughout there's pervasive hints as to who this mysterious man is such as the poster, which seems to be showing "A Trip to the Moon" (though it's in French so you can't tell).
The film is relatively simple, though its tale of history is extremely pivotal to its anniversary of over 100 years now. Reduxing the Melies sets is wonderfully done through flashback and even little moments like Baron Cohen (playing the inspector who's basically a Keystone Cop in my opinion) constantly having pratfalls and pitfalls on the train station can actually feel more interactive as though his feet are sticking right out at us. Scorsese has not only proved the potential of this gimmicky device, but he's also used it to counterpoint with the old technology as an ardent student still learning his craft as he says. It could be up there with his great films ("Mean Streets", "Taxi Driver" and even "Casino").
The person I went with to the cinema had prior to it been told about Melies by me. I was oblivious to the premise being central to this Man; my reasons for talking about were because I was showing him primitive versions of Joan of Arc because I'm always interested in Dreyer's version, but I think that the way it branches out is fascinating. I then drew to the 1899 version of Jeanne D'arc by George Melies and how beautiful it was in its grainy hand painted form and I was telling him how Melies' anger caused him to burn the first carbon copies of his films. And then I get even more history on it in this film with so much poignancy about "reinventing the wheel" and basically the guile of the artist. For example, Scorsese plays with the dream sequences at one point; the boy tries to get something off the tracks and the train comes straight to him like an old suspense thriller from the silent era with Pickford or Gloria Swanson; though it was different here. The swishing of the train is emphasized as it crashes right through the building and then it's contrasted later on as if it was breaking the forth wall for a couple of minutes in my opinion.
It will be the first time you'll see Intolerance in this format, The General, "Trip to the Moon" and even Edwin S. Porter's "The Great Train Robbery" in this format. Even the projector in the cinema where Isabelle and Hugo go for an adventure flashes right out at the audience as we dabble into true magic. What an experience and I will note though that it will be tardy and slow paced for some. But it was simply rewarding in the end.
A Film of Veritable Sacred Messages, which soon marred and got extolled on Tian's side
I read a review on here saying that he was no Scorsese or film student and generally a cineaste. In other words, he thought that one could only enjoy the film if they analyse and explicate it as opposed to absorb it. I respect that he flouts it for a lack of entertainment, but generally speaking this film doesn't need a large overlook or analysis (though that can explain elements such as the sheep mask and the way in which they 'insert swords to pasture the sheep). What we must remember is that we're entering another world that is foreign to those in the western world.
The film warrants a high score anyway. Supposedly the year and period is set in 1923 as the prelude purports, but actually this was stipulated to be set in the time frame. Tian says that there's no necessity for a time period and that the film should be seen as a film without a period, as though it's pervasive. But taking this into consideration the film uses an old style; it's shot on celluloid, it's very visual compositions along with superimposition's and montages, which almost resemble the Rocky series, so the film is definitely a product of its time. But the truth still remains about the narrative within.
The main character (it says his name is Luobur on my DVD, but this site says his name is Norbu, but either way he's the focal character) has a son, Zhaxi, who in the beginning of the film has already died to due to illness and then gets devoured by birds, as a formation of religious men bat a ball as though it's a chime and his body gets taken up into the ether; this scene proved to be heavily controversial in China, but fascinating over here. Then we go into a descent of this landscape, where Norbu has to fend for himself and eventually cuts the strap of a horse to sell for his own needs. The film has a ponderous lapsing, such as when the tribal chief's father dies, and it's in this instance that the film absorbs us and shows us how the human condition affects the spectre as it sacredly goes in the sky... Norbu has to look after his other son and we see how he raises it by the little drips of water he picks up from the rain and how they bathe in the water to overcompensate for the fact they have no bath. Dolma (on my Chinese DVD, it says a different name wholly, but I'll disregard this) starts to fend for herself as the silhouetted world shows. Sometimes the film chronicles the incandescent lighting and ambient naturalistic light that creates an unknown dynamism in film.
One of my favourite parts is when he looks over the tribe as they chant. Now being unaccustomed to the Tibet traditions, I became increasingly interested in the way they looked at things, masquerading their faces with what either seems like sheep, calf or, appropriately, a horse. It's the emotional intensity that gets me with these moments that transpire. Tian tends to soar his score in for dramaturgical effect or better yet use the sounds of the people around to break it. For example, when Norbu comes to take a body into the water, he gets stoned along with the body and though he doesn't die, it leaves a rather perplexing effect. It can either be a negative energy or a positive energy.
There's actually only one graphic moment craning on a sheep getting slaughtered while the bereft Norbet lies out there in the cold shunned. It could be looked at as dispensable and graphic, but I look at it as a day in this individuals life. Tian, as has been said, was avant garde in making a documentary-esque film set to the backdrop of tumultuous times and beautifully lit mountains with lots of sacred iconography, which end up becoming too breathtaking with its superimposition's and the lost hope into the abyss of time.
The film is slow (a caveat and to reference the beginning of this review), but wholly overwhelming. It sometimes can inundate you with drama and melodrama that proves to be insignificant, such as when the chief's Father dies and so forth. But in the end, I felt like being in the eyes of a film maker in progress. It sometimes feels meditated at times as well. A cultural film that can be ignored (only by those not interested in film-making) or can be looked at as a textbook at the instigating film.
Tian said it was more about image then plot, character and story and though this may be a defect to the country he's in (In 1993, he made Blue Kite, which put him in exile for a decade, so... his images certainly were omnipotent anyway), it still sprawls over to a new culture like Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji or Akira Kurosawa; it just demands that you have the temerity to speak it with such vision. A scary insight into an eerily harrowing landscape that I have never entered, but can look at through this well done film.
Good thing I have a penchant for silent films and this one of the more poignant ones in the same vein as "Passion of Joan of Arc"
I can't help, but give this film a deserved 10. Not only does it go against the idea that silent films were a novelty and a really egregious piece of pantomime, but that it could be completely poignant, pungent, painful and heart aching. What I just mentioned in that list of sentiments really do impose upon this film. The idea that this could be a rudiment is easily debunked by the quantity of reviews that are all nearly consecutively impeccable.
Some of the praise for this film can be laid upon Sjostrom's masterful direction replete with the novel of Hawthorne's lyrical words and story. Of course, the films screen time and period is set in the 1800's and it illustrates the hypocrisies of the church, the relentless protest against heresy and that unbelievably taking place all because of a pointless hullabaloo of Hester Prynne not turning up to church. She becomes enamoured with the priest; then she gets pegged as an adulteress.
There are subtle moments when her denotation and symbol that is firmly on her are then drew by her Daughter, the most innocuous thing in her life that she couldn't just punish for not understanding. And when she holds her Baby in a plea for serenity - there's no copious intertitles - there's only a break in pure, unadulterated drama. The minister/priest's performance can be hyperbolised at times, but this was probably to posit an alternative state of ambivalence, so it's only a nitpick. Sjostrom's touch to the heart of his audience, infused with Gishes poised and tragedian performance shows that not only was the methodology of this film ahead of the curb, but the fact it's not been released on a legitimate copy is heinous.
Another thing that nearly moved me was when one of the onlookers say, when they see Hester's lover go for her, that "He must be the most compassionate Christian ever to go past such evil" (paraphrased). It's true that we get a complete anthropology of this town and it keeps your interest right into the 1hr 37mins running time.
When Gish was getting this film past the censors, it was on the list of "Banned Book Adaptations". Her complete regard for the novel allowed for one to push the envelope. She personally hired Sjostrom to direct the film, a novice to Hollywood at the time. He had came of his success on that amazingly suspenseful "Phantom Carriage" (1920). The elements in the film that may not seem very much into his style would be the narrative; it doesn't seem like something he'd tackle, but his craning of the world to show us it especially when an intertitle that inserts says "The day when they didn't take gaiety as an offence" is proof that I got deceived. It seemed as though they were just having merriment in the village, then after coming from a pure long shot, we see from close shot that it was somebody being accused of being a whistle blower.
When the character Robert came in the film I was entranced by both the sorrow of the situation and I couldn't turn it off, so much so, that it affected my sleep the next day. It had an insurmountable grip; I believe Sjostrom was one of the few legends of his time that can actually branch to a whole new set of novices. Without a doubt, he learned the craft of storytelling and he learned the tricks and artifices of enticing his audience. Verily, he's not dissimilar to any suspense masters that subsequently came.
In "Wild Strawberries" you can see how Sjostrom played his character so well. He understood the trade of acting.
Perchance Historically Accurate, but does it have the same Spark?
I think this film warrants a 6 or 7 in my mind. I have been introspective about this film for a wee while; in many ways, it's almost as if Joan was there - a sturdy, studiously determined and plagued 19 year old (in Dreyer's version it said she was 19, though this could be ascribed by Dreyer as to the response rather then the reality). I bought the artificial eye version in Fopp at a relatively good price. Robert Bresson whose work I'm unfamiliar with, bestowed upon the film a versimilitude, but was it overall as good as one hopes? You can see Bresson was heartfelt in his interpretation, but he couldn't sustain my interest for the ephemera of length. Of course, I can't seem to see Bresson's film as underrated, but I can see that it's heavily overlooked as a new look on the trial.
This one took itself seriously to the point of a docudrama. Its documentary-esque nature make it seem alien and detached from me and I think it was the approach that startled me. However this was my gut reaction; the film has Florence Delay portraying Joan in one of the best portrayals you'll see off her. Although the acting can feel stilted and the dialogue exchanges can feel artificial, it's Bresson's Costume Designers and so forth that give this Joan a feeling of authenticity. In some ways it feels ungodly brutal. For example, when Joan passionately wields the cross, she's nearly unceremoniously tripped up by one of the onlookers. Her feet look as if they waded right through the filth.
The references to St. Matthew and Catherine can feel really genuine and at the same time this is what the documentary needs is a stance. I finally seen that Bresson was a historian on the matter and this is why the film detracts from many other fictitious films. A study is seen of Joan from a peep hole where one of the vouchers observe her. In Dreyer's obviously we see the man with the crown and that come straight out and accentuate himself, this one keeps cool and in the background.
There's also a brutal scene where it's as if by rape that Joan has no sacrament and with the confession in this film, there's no play on objects shaped like some kind of psychoanalytical force from Germany, but rather an actual plea for the truth.
Bresson's film may be disingaging and a very unlikely film to be made, but I feel that this intepretation rings more true then any other exegesis of the book. That's a purity that could be seen as overlooked here. At the opening title sequences, we pretty much digest so much already, that the trial itself, on film, feels almost unnecessary. But the fact he done it should mean it's not meant to be avoided by any cineaste. You won't feel, you won't think, you won't bite your nails - you will be deadpan and firm. Bresson said "I want the critics to feel my films and not to think about them intellectually on first viewing". Well one can't help, but think during this film and one can't feel anything. What I can tell from the experience is that you will understand the pain and you will understand the essence of the trial
A Great Example of Griffith and Also an Example of his Quaint Traits
This film I think deserves a 7. I don't even need to say that Griffith was the pioneer of cinema at one point. This film about the Monteagues during the American Revolutionary war proved this as well. It even had influence on the amazing Abel Gance's "Napoleon" including the board room scenes, which add an interesting counterpoint to that otherwise modern masterpiece. You see Griffith used doctrines of another time to express things in his contemporary periods, so when watching his films there's a grand sweep of history and layers and layers of his own inherent interest in history. It just so happens this can be a defect when he infuses it with the melodrama of his own time in Biograph. Considering the man's extraordinary acute vision of cinema - the way he coached actors and actresses for hours and hours, sometimes even showing them the way they have to sit, their body language and the way they have to interact in the scene - then on how he cut film, masked film, brought emphasis on certain things along side his masterful cinematographer Billy Bitzer, who ran his course shortly after "America or Love and Sacrifice" this also proves to be the epitome of a man stuck in his time and frame of mind during which films like "The Iron Horse", "Strike" and "Michael" were getting made amongst some other classics by others like Chaplin and Fairbanks. Though I can't help to have a soft spot for his work here.
It's not contrived as such and it's actually a pretty supreme experience especially when Griffith filmed the dipsomaniacal Paul Revere riding recklessly on the horse to declare "fists to fists" as a way of commencing an act of war against England. I happen to be from Britain and found the story was interesting for me to look at as it was done with Griffith's perspicacious perspective and albeit I'm not really very conversant with it either, I understood how England was disparate back then (in the sense that they had total control over America) and how America wasn't the way it's today. And then as the war would see it, America would augment in stature again. As if this was like a lesson in history just goes to show how Griffith substantiating that instead of books, films should be the new source of history, remained completely obstinate in his views. Not so much that one can agree with him, but one can agree with the notion that this film should be accessed in film classes. It's just as good an archetype as "Birth of a Nation" and even grander in my opinion. As a lot of the film centres on Walter Butler's derailment on America, an English man, it's interesting how he pulled the performance from Lionel Barrymore that proved suave and understated and despicable in expression. His ideas of Good and Bad become two main elements here; for example Butler leading of Tories and Indians against that jingoistic mentality was a pure example of this perception. And his romantic archetype in the war, while she spectates across (Carol Dempsey) is just an element of Griffith that could have been dispensed. In some ways, I wasn't quite clear about whether or not Butler was English or American, so I had to try and resolve that ignorance subsequently watching the film.
I agree with another reviewer on here, who said that the subplot was really unnecessary. I concede because with this the film drones on these characters in an ineffectual way and it then loses its touch of brilliance. Nathan is the main character, who's sent out to War. During this time he's deeply impassioned in love by Nancy Monteague, a very wealthy woman who goes away to Mowhawk Valley. There's a lot of unnecessary establishing scenes with her and Butler and it's also set during the time Washington was growing to prominence.
Even with its preachy didacticism at times and the way it portrayed Men as chauvinistic, scenes such as the entrance into war and when Butler gets closer to the Americans can be intriguing, especially in the way Griffith uses lighting to emphasise them as if they're figures and his impressionistic use of editing to make you feel as though the war was taking place in his mind, which is done adeptly, but in saying so one wishes the film wasn't this melodramatic in the end. It's as though he was trying to pay the debt of his masterpiece "Intolerance" and then transgressed down the line afterwards. This film is just as well crafted, baroque and immense as anything, but as one reviewer said back during its debut "A war film has dwindled to shear melodrama" it shows this was essentially the counterproductive reaction during the time Vidor brought out his war film "The Big Parade" which made enormous box office revenue during the 20's. It's weird how Vidor also suffered in the 50's when he made "War and Peace" which was reputedly gorgeous, but lacked the substantive content of Tolstoy's original idea.
So what I am saying is that when watching the film, one must put it into context. It's a cliché I know, but unless you're interested in history, the film will rank poor. Interesting to note that during the film there are scenes where Indians seem like they're getting treated the same way Black people were almost a decade before in Griffith's film and yet it's barely looked at. It seems to be a marginal linkage, but it showed how conservative Griffith was still. Well for some of its faults (mainly because Griffith was coming out of his infancy in film making), I can't help, but be enraptured by the heat of war and the way Griffith shows it in great detail. If you have the chance pick up the Image Entertainment DVD, which restored the film to perfection.
Spellbinding and Not as Depressing as one might think
This is one of these experiences. One can't adopt a mindset of the Bergman way by just diving into a foray of his content in this film. It seems as though the well versed people, especially those who seen it in 1972, seen what Bergman was tackling here. On the ground, it seems as though we should identify with these human beings, keeping in mind that Bergman doesn't even understand or identify with them either; he tells us this with that psychic lens by image exponent Sven Nykvist, who is perhaps the best cinematographer of the 70's during a time when cinema was changing its form as far as politics and fantasy were concerned.
The narrative of the film is bleak as anything. Not surprisingly Kubrick would take his toll on the baroque period in my personal favourite of his "Barry Lyndon" (based on the William Makepeace Thackeray novel) and then Kurosawa would adapt King Lear a decade later in "Ran". But these two aforementioned films weren't as deep and as gritty and ultimate as this film. I remember in my review of "Persona" that I gushed over its melding of character, its bound on our reality and its breaking through the forth wall. A nonconformist film and one of the greatest experiences I had ever undergone; it was not just beautiful, it was sincere, and because it was pure Bergman and Nykvist, it seemed as though there would be no rival on film. He then brings out his period drama... Everything came full throttle.
When one watches "Cries and Whispers" they are mesmerised by the reversible colour, the pantheistic symbols and the lacklustre, yet surprisingly compelling dynamic of the relationship of three sisters and a maid. I always wonder when watching this film, how can this be enticing? Well, simply put, the illusion and disillusioned and the distance and intimacy make this another Bergman triumph. Some say that of "Scenes from a Marriage" being his most personal, but even Bergman said this film was like an actual dream he had, even so much as saying "The film could not be thought of in Black and White. There was too much colour". It was an exceptional example of photography in film. This was the film that has now influenced me to use photography in more avant garde ways.
So what does it need to sustain this with? The backing repertoire of actresses (akin to Persona). Bibi Andersonn refused to do the role of any of the women, thinking it would be imprudent if she was involved. Bergman, being the visionary, that he was still tried to co-erce her, but to no avail. Instead hiring Ingrid Thulin, Liv Ullman (Persona), Harriet Andersson (Summer with Monika) and Karl Sylwan take centre stage. Agnes (Harriet) is cancer stricken and is near to death. Her life flashes past her, with her dismissive sisters Maria and Karin, who cannot get any close or near to her. The maid Anna treats her as if she was a child in her bed ridden state.
In the prelude, Bergman decidedly took some exterior shots and some shots of clocks and so on for he wanted to ground us in the film. Its silence can be liberating and in many ways Bergman is, once again, codifying his cinematic techniques and subverting the conventions of some of them. Most films have a soundtrack in it and yet the chief soundtrack in this film is the quiet sounds of dialogue exchanges and the sound of a pendulum and tick tock. Throughout we look at the life of Maria, Agnes' sister, who philanders with David, the doctor, basically to vent her sexual ways. One scene, which I won't spoil, shows this as Ullman's wonderful acting goes against the words being said. It's the visual with words being subordinate to the story. Karin, the other sister, represses her feelings and ultimately during her sister's untimely death, unceremoniously confesses them to ultimately recanting them.
The film builds on the static character (the centrepiece) who happens to be Agnes, an insignificant character, who eventually passes on in the most disconcerting of ways. Bergman's idea of distance and silence to noise and closeness is astutely looked at when Maria and Karin grow close with the truth of their own selves - she's sulky and childish and Karin is an apologist and, in my opinion, deceitful. Eventually when they grow close, Bergman soars in a soundtrack that washes everything away from the surface so that he creates a certain distance with his essential audience. It's one of the most enchanting elements of the filmic experience.
I can't describe what kind of a bittersweet feeling I felt from this minimalistic film. I felt as though the receptive of what ever truth of what they sought, ultimately came at a price. Some will not like this film; for others it might colour their actual emotions about death. This was when I really felt, in Marshall Mcluhan's words, that "The Medium is the Message". Some masters like Trauffaut, Bertoluccio and Dreyer are able to embed their own influence on their work in one of the most subtle ways, Bergman seems to actually have a message that can be legible even without looking too far into it, which makes this an accessible masterpiece and one of the most sumptuous films ever made. I agree with Allen when he said that you come away feeling exhilarated because you feel like you're in the presence of great art rather than a depressing experience. Yes "Wild Strawberries" and any other are undeniably going to get received with warmer reception, but if it wasn't for the decorative beauty of the milieu imbued with the dour and off putting feeling of what transpires, it probably wouldn't rank that high for me. He has ample films to pick and choose - some don't even know his earlier films like "Prison" and "Summer Interlude", which happened to be a Godard favourite.
Certainly not Murneau's Best Film, but his most Daring
I would give "Nosferatu" a 7. Why? Because out of all the films that predate it, Nosferatu comes of age. But we must respect the fact it pertains to a medieval tradition and some flaws can be found outside when you actually see Max Shreck outside in the sun light. More a nitpick then anything on Murneau's masterwork. What made me like it so much? Well out of all the macabre films that have launched in the genre, this one had more layers and had well executed performances; it was actually shot in the Carpathian mountains, it infused the Monster (Frankenstein's Monster)'s pathos with the Vampire's lust for blood and the film chronicles epidemic more in earnestly then most films (only thwarted by "Vampyr" and Coppola's "Dracula" in terms of serious approach).
Nosferatu uses atmosphere to capture the viewer's reverie for nightmarish figures. Knock is a character who has been driven from sanity to madness as the disseminating epidemic takes its toll. It took Bram Stoker's novel and Murneau explicated how he could translate it with subtlety. The answer was substitute the name (now well seeded in folklore) and create jagged and prismatic architecture to change the story ultimately. It's fair to say the film doesn't really have an all encompassing narrative, though it does encompass narrative POVs. There's a famous key scene when Orlock's shadow engulfs Hutter and it's seen from a Woman dying in her bed. The scene is so lurid and so resonant that it doesn't matter about movies like "Saw", "Halloween" (brilliant notwithstanding) and "Friday the 13th" when the director gives your imagination enough fulcrum.
It was bodacious no doubt even with the notable flaws that we can dismiss. Undoubtedly it's probably the most sterling horror movie ever made. I.e. when Hutter comes to the mountains he's completely lost. His time being lost gives us enough to soak up the gorgeously Stygian and cavernous world, much like how Allan Grey soaks it up 10 years later in Vampyr. It's only abruptly that Orlock interjects and stipulates that Hutter must come here. Not exactly a congenial acquaintance as the ravishing Bela Lugosi, but a shunned ogre-esque creature who besotted company. Then another scene, which looks almost like stop-frame animation, where Orlock moves rigidly to the coffin to make it up and then wields it as if like Jesus carrying the cross. I'm not saying this was intentional symbolism, but the impression is so sacrosanct that it starts to feel cogent.
Like with most silents of greatness, some may not respond to it concordantly. We must remember though that for its time, it had brilliantly archaic element, like "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari", which remain artistic. Although I must admit I have seen many other amazing silents.
I got Gance's avant garde melodrama several weeks ago (back on 15, October). It's probably one of the most engaging and suffering films on the human condition.
Now much has been made on its elaborate train wreck, derailment, the fantasy between Elie and Norma and also the famous second act where the fight and blizzard transpires. Has much been made about the innovative use of macrophotography or the magnificent way of masking? I don't think so. Gance was engineered the camera distinctively and his interest in the mechanical engines such as the train is very much that with which is inherent to his interest in the camera. The thing is the story becomes subordinate to allow more of an excursive metaphysical reality to come into play. Gance takes a thorough amount of time to set up Ivy Close as if she is the most enchanting thing on earth; and in a way, probably sharing a big slice of his mind in doing so. It's as if the world collapses with heart throb after Sisif impelled to give her up to Hersan, the chief of the locomotive industry. One stand out scene where he tries to persuade Sisif to allow him to marry her is one of the most disconcerting parts of the film because life and love have been made to dwindle into a gritty fight for love (You'll see that in the second act).
This film is probably one of my favourites, not because of its spectacle, but because of the subliminal feeling one gets from it. It's like fauvism each and every time that metaphor of the rose is used and the psyche of the characters is measured by one girl, one man and all in a disaster movie. Gance not only cut the film with the first source of souviet editing (to which Pudovkin and Eisenstein commended him for), but he also gave us macrophotography of indelible faces as if we know them personally, which is also attributed to the disturbing theme of the film.
Masking is used to flap out the images with a more sumptuous look, especially notable on the train sequence, where the whole thing is getting loaded with coal and the alarming rate of disaster is hell bent on mans reluctance. His love is insatiable, but his desire is unstoppable. It could be a banal love story, but instead it descends into something akin to Vertigo, but where Vertigo wasn't about any incest themes, La Roue does. The dolorous Sisif cannot come to terms with his lies and deceit and because of layers upon layers of complexity we never see resolved. What we do see though is probably just as grandiose as watching The Passion of Joan of Arc or Night on Bald Mountain (end of Fantasia).
I notice that the main complaint is with the running time. Unprecedented it's been said. But what makes a film long winded? Is it the content or the quantity of images? I think the images haunt you... and even move you to elation.
Compositions that will never leave you and emotions that will haunt me each viewing of the film
I would like to note that I advocated Carl Theodor Dreyer way before I was seated in front of this film, which became to most critics, his crowning moment. He took cinema into sacrilegious areas and instilled ideas about the existence of a deity. These theocentric and glorious disembowelling of the truth of this and the truth of death are amongst a subject matter, which was picked up by Goddard, Bergman and Allen. It's good to know that it has been done, but Dreyer was ahead of this in condensing philosophical things to his films, such as this film, Vampyr and Ordet. What makes him more potent then Bergman (given that Bergman is a genius and undeniably knew how to make a film that tried to thwart any believe that he wanted to debunk. Powerful example of this is found in "Winter Light" (1963)), but let's just say Bergman tried a film that represented symbols rather than words. In Prison (1949), a film in which he dismissed as terrible, he uses visual ideas in quite crude ways. It's an anticlerical film in a way and it showed his passion in silent cinema, until he formalised his own approach head on. But he took ideas and brought them into nuanced complexity. Dreyer wanted to actually bring forth something as a standalone work and he never really wanted his opinion to be influenced into his films. I even think Bergman liked Dreyer; his works seemed to be influenced by him. Dreyer was a Danish director; he was one of the first masters of abstract images. It's bizarre to see overtly on his IMDb credits that his first film was "The President" made in 1919, even though it tackled similar ideas, it's unlike anything that his style encompasses. I discovered him by a feature that I fell in love with called "Vampyr" 1932; its mysticism, demythologising of the vampire and technological effects that set the way we move in Allan Grey's ventures, where he enters a world that we shouldn't have entered and he shouldn't have either is amazing and the demonology of the film is in my opinion really overlooked. It exploits death in such a way especially how Leone died by a ghost we don't see (similar to "Blood of a Poet" when Jean's character peaks through a painting to see a cowboy shooting a gun – the same nervous effect). The film is expressionistic, dominantly white and metaphorically about us as thinatophiles and in doing this, reifying legendary figures. When the Vampires Accomplice gets killed, the ending is perfect because it's a time glass and it symbolises the memento mori and again we want to see this guy die because he wants to see others die as well. And then it segues into the forest where Allan and the affected of woman go off into the sun, the first mammoth bit of life in the condition of the films environment. Enticed by the shadows of figures and interiors of cavernous places, it's no doubt a fantastic film and heavily overlooked. The power is understated, but gloriously executed. I had been excited about "Passion" for a long time; "The President" (1919), "Mikhail" (1924) and "Master of House" (1925) are the only silent films I was aware of that he made. I then dabbled into film documentaries (one of which was the episodic "Story of Film" by Mark Cousins) and I found out more about the realist film maker and this made me even more serious about getting it. It was a criterion edition I purchased and it came through last week. With those few films mentioned into consideration, Dreyer makes a foray into detailing Joan's story – The accuracy is diminished slightly, ultimately to accommodate the drama of the story, and instead Dreyer employs Marinee Falcolnetti as Jeanne D'arc and it's the most beautifully lit face in all of pantomime in cinema. There are a lot more that are probably better actors during that era, but it's an unequalled accomplishment to give such a resonance, simply with close ups (and it looks nearly like macro photography and this was during a time where these innovations weren't even around). I love seeing her response for salvation of soul, as if the apotheosis is manifestos. I don't believe anything that is said by Joan, but taking her impassioned words in this film, which are to me probably false and seeing how she goes against them, shows us the rigour of that terrible system.
The film interlinks objects with emotions and takes different accounts very serious. I nearly cried in the first half of it and as it culminated calamitously. Dreyer used a panning shot very infrequently when he showed the judges and there's one scene where the camera pans right down one of their faces and then it cuts to Jeanne in a state of despair about where she leaned the prayer from. The judges don't hate her, but rather that they hate her mendacity and hubris ways, which make them hypocritical just because she wants to help people. Two Judges plea that she is a saint and didn't stem from the Devil, but from God. As if by envy of her accomplishments in helping people, they refuse to accept any verisimilitude of the trial. Trust me, the subtle moments of cinematography such as when the people come in with the weapons or when they're getting out the stake and the unbelievable part when they tell her that the King wrote a letter just to get her to put down a signature to death, hits the emotional side, not because it's playing for poignancy, but because of the woe of it So while probably not the most accurate version of the story (I have yet to see Demille's "Joan the Woman" and actually read up on it), this is a bravura film and is close to being the best Dreyer film I have seen.
7 for it being a bit of a pastiche, but commending it for its realism
Michael Curtiz is a wonderful film maker. Albeit, he's often reputed to be wonderful for "Casablanca" (his magnum opus about Rick, played by Humphrey Bogart, who is abscond and inhabits in Casablanca as his past floods back to him and during these events, we see the brooding war). But he's also done masterpieces like "Angels with Dirty Faces", "Mystery of the Wax Museum", "Mildred Pierce" and many others. I marginally mention this because I just want to say that he wasn't limited in his credentials with great film and to illustrate this point, I'll intersect this point by using this grandiose and technical masterpiece as an example.
"Noah's Ark" was made just after WW1. It intercuts this event with the other fateful event "Noah's Ark". And I do want to laud this film for a few things; one is Guinn Williams as Al; his performance is spellbinding, as his passion of war and love combine. He's Travis' friend and he doesn't act in formulaic melodrama and embodies the character perfectly. There really is nothing divisive about it that I can say, as he was a stellar for what feels like a short lived and marginal character. He's also quite funny when he says through inter-title "If he's fighting my friend, you better look out for the guy he's fighting". His death scene is not sonorised (perhaps to better effect) and is played out in a solo way. What impressed me most about his sterling performance was that the acting was naturalistic and dialogue utterances are not forced, as if by the script lines. This actor was also in the silent era and he might be one of the best actors to transition into the sound era.
Dolores Costello plays Marie, a young woman, who finds love when she boards the same bus as Travis (played by the dazzling George O'Brien, from films that stem from "The Iron Horse" (1924) and "Sunrise" (1927) by F.W. Murneau). There's people on the bus that say things through superfluous inter-titles such as "Science disproves god" and contrariety's by an old man (a man who will be the one-dimensional character and be considered later on). During the bus crash that ensues, it will remind viewers of Noah's Ark, which the film opens up with the construction of and like "The Bridge on the River Kwaii" the sets were getting built during the production, but unlike "The Bridge on the River Kwaii" it's not on location. It's one of WB's best films during that era.
Travis and Marie take refuge at a nearby house, where Nickoloff is, and they fight against him due to reasons of love. After this, sequences with the two permeate for a while until Travis is confronted about his place in the army. He then enlists in it leaving by his wife.
The modern story is basically WW1 and it isn't done very well. More scenes could have chronicled the disaster, but instead it chronicles around the sentimentality, the dialogue exchanges between Travis and Al and a bomb getting thrown.
Much of the latter story is infinitely better and makes up for this last part to the first act. This act is shown through the book of God and it soon becomes biblical as that Old Man returns, as if by divine intervention, to hinder the death of his wife who goes in the breech. She is captive in this story and God (almost a replication of "The Ten Commandments" title sequence) orders that he must kill them by water. And then comes the most famous sequence of the film.
It would be a bit higher on my list, after I found it that the way they emulate it, was real. Dummies were in a separate set and the real people with inflections and the lot were where the deluge of blood was played out. It's mind boggling; sets fall and tragedy is completely futile.
I don't want to go too deeper into it. This film was the "Ben Hur" of its day. But it's also a pastiche and more coherent version of "Intolerance", influenced by the modernity of its time, whereas Intolerance compared that with various eras before the 20th century. I am interested in its dialogue scenes, as well and how it mainly permeates war songs. The score seems rhythmic as well and it seems picked by the film maker or Warner Brothers. It may disconcert people that many people were injured and at the risk of that, the film may not be one you will pick up. However I recommend watching Hollywood 1980: A Celebration of Silent Film (the first part and the rest are on YouTube) and look at a slight history of the films making and then think about purchasing it. As for me, I was excited to get it. But it's an each to their own film.
Andy Warhol interests many enormously. Reading into him is, as he's mentioned continuously, a futile gesture.. He's boring, he's dreary, he's neurotic and he's gay. But, in his own right, he is a postmodern artist, and ergo has been hailed for his work in the dept of art, with reproductions and the way he prints things. However, where art underlies, films were, as he put it, "a lot of fun" (paraphrasing). Okay, so let's evaluate: Fun and cinema? Do the two mix? Yes. Gelling this with an audience is an impossible task and livid as anything. Andy said "I enjoy watching out the window". He also said before his untimely death that he couldn't care less about what people think. He also confessed to not working hard enough in his own life as well. He was really quite a cynic on his own self that for other people to upbraid him, it would just give more credence in his mind. I don't dislike this so called "film". I find it interesting. One of the film historians Adriano Apro, said that "People say Warhol's films are boring. That's partly true, from a superficial point of view. But not from an in depth point of view. The frames are studied thoroughly. Andy was a painter (first and foremost)". He said "Empire was in a way his most abstract film". To paraphrase, it's as if the abstraction of the world is only spotlighted with one static skyscraper. We must remember, also that Adriano said (in the Andy Warhol 4 silent movies collection as one of the introductions) that half of the lighting (in such films as "Blow Job" and "Kiss") that the lighting was probably coincidence, but it shows a talent that Warhol had.
Now, I want to say: Warhol was not one of the conventional film makers. And nor is this film his grand achievement. It's more like one of his most interesting enterprises. Somebody, who worked as one of the cinematographers on the film said (I don't agree with them on this) that it was sort of like the unveiling of Birth of a Nation. However, this I cannot concede with what he said after: They literally wanted to kill Warhol at the premier stipulating for their money back claiming "There's no movement in the picture". Again, remember, Warhol likes an extension of movement. As I do agree with Adriano, I cannot agree with him that there's some depth to the film. It's just Warhol staring out of a window eventfully.
Now why did I give it 5/10 as opposed to 1/10? I found the changing condition to be quite fascinating. I'd like to know if they do have a full 5 hour version of the film (it was badly cut due to its debacle) and to see how the lighting changes. Smudges and dust from the print make it fascinating as it becomes so luminous. It's phallic and disorientating - the building - and reified within our own minds eye; we see it, but it's only darkness around it that illuminates it. The movement varies from up and down to a transition in a white iris fade.
But in the end, it's definitely SUBJECTIVE. Objectively it's a still life; an object that has light now and again, but is generally underexposed (supposedly it was shot with an Arriflex camera and Warhol put the camera up to 24 fps, which is quite evident as our eyes watch the building, but the whole background is black and white, so the effect is minimum to the viewer. Shot on 16mm though, because, as he put it "it was cheaper"). I'd recommend watching it; or if not, at least understand that it wasn't meant to be entertaining. It has, not intentionally (from the film maker), become a time capsule. And its interest inherent in that is why I can't completely pan it. But the majority of his films were infinitely superior. Just don't expect influence from the film because only one man could get a static image to have a greenlight.
The thing about King Vidor's "The Crowd" is that not only does it supplement wonderful performances and perambulating cameras - but that it also takes influence from expressionistic works and in doing so, creates a world where the crowd is dwarfed, and we take only one narrative from all these people.
"Don't let the Crowd get into opposition". James Murray portrays a simple, reckless human being called "John", who was born in 1900 just 124 years subsequent from the conception of America. Impressively throughout the years, he becomes older and then takes his place at work. He meets Mary, a woman he loves unconditionally and wants to settle down with. All the simplicity is a backdrop to the turbulent situations; one scene is reminiscent of "Way Down East" (1920) and much of the architectural shots represent "Metropolis" (1927), wherein they have an inherent likeliness; the lighting, the craning. Supposedly, the money was used to inherit much of the paraphernalia that would be used to move the camera around. This is one of the landmarks of tracking shots, simplicity and washing away the Hollywood grandeur. Vidor is known for creating this magnum opus. Looking at his oeuvre, it seems that he has never toppled the film (In grandeur, though, he has gone beyond this film - "Hallelujah", "War and Peace", "Duel in the Sun" and even being uncredited in "Wizard of Oz" - he's subversive in this which became incomparable to his body of work, even before that - "The Big Parade" and taking the theme in this film further with "La Boheme"). Sure they all seem better, but taking into consideration the message, more potent and of the period.
There are vignettes that stay with you and ideas that move you to the point of gut-wrenching horror, such as when one of their children get run over through excitement, and we crane away to the overwhelming crowd. And in one scene, where he quits his job due to the lack of concentration, whereas before, he was putting his nose to the grindstone and disregarding his wife. It traverses through fantasy, near the falls and going through the Love Tunnel (once again, another shot which integrates a sense of beauty) to an unhappy life and struggle throughout the age. It says "Don't pass judgement to people you don't know" and therefore gives an anodyne to many I think. The message is a positive one.
Vidor started off as an usher and through doing so had a burning passion for films and Filmic ideas. This film for him was an experimentation and MGM gave him leeway to do what he must - one of the biggest successes he had under his belt enabled him - Vidor said "The studio could handle a failure".
Much of it feels poignant as well; James Murray shushing the crowds down below his house is quite well done; the face will never leave my mind, for it has been ingrained in there. His gritty and truthful style spotlights a time in the 20's, where people were augmentative in New York and where jobs became more problematic to get, as well as the welfare of your family, kept under control. It's well done and the film deserves recognition on a DVD (I watched it on a VHS transfer on DVD. The film is relatively pristine actually).
In conclusion, I feel that even in the advent of sound, the film pushes the boundary of the medium. Imbued in pantomime, as Vidor recalls. The film is bittersweet and leaves off with a fascinating closure, which is steadily within the tone of the Film. The end scene does drain I admit and it will put audiences off with its form of communication, but all in all, the conduciveness to its kinetic power will impress cinematography buffs and will also ensure people of Vidor's greatness. One scene, where John walks up the stairs, illustrates his understanding of lighting and I was swept away by it. Just don't expect a felicitous experience.
It's not too shabby, but it's not replete with classic status either and full of terrible techniques
Alfred Zeisler sought to make a comical story of the much famous Ernst Bliss in folklore. Cary Grant was an indispensable pick as his retorts and witty alacrity add to the characters sulken quality.
I think this kept Grant in good stead; it's not a lavish production or even an actual proficiently made one. But for what it's worth, you can get into the narrative and watch the way it unfolds. The crux is that it's about the mogul Ernest Bliss, who inherited fortune from his Father posthumously. Idle and fatigued, he seeks more life and from the aid of a psychologist he decides to go on hiatus from money for 12 months.
Of course, in a way, this is a good allegory. Life is worth more then money. It may be a platitude but we get the essence of this from the help that Bliss bestows - he gets a business funded for Frances. In conflict with Clare and that (an unmitigated insignificant subplot), the idea behind Blisses assessment of love is somewhat superficial until the end I feel. At one point he utters "Love is more then Money", which the psychologist finds insane. A little hypocritical? Trying to put him adrift in another path, yet still uncertain about how it works? I don't know.
Though I do know that is Grant that holds up the foundation of the film in the enjoyment department, especially in the scene where two people find out he's that mogul, and they have a slapstick fight in the house.
The film is limited in location shots, albeit it also uses cheap segues and effects. In a way another problem is that Bliss is smitten with a totally unlikable character who I adopted an aversion for after she straight up admitted to the fact she was avaricious. His chasm though is that of meaning, but hers is that of a compromised love. He has to help her and then becomes even more enamoured to her.
This was made just a few years prior to Frank Capra's "Mr Smith Goes to Washington", but it took a while for there to be a colossal film for Grant. It's not here, but you can explicate his character traits here - unceremonious and visceral to name a few. The story is stylised, the plot is heavy handedly handled and the tone is comical, so it's completely innocuous (unless you get offended by the shear synthesis of implausible love).
It could be subjected to ample fan base material though, which may be favourable to it. But I have to admit I'm not impressed with the overall experience. Also there will be no qualms for the running time as it goes swimmingly and ends in a blink, though I find that to be insatiable. I quite like long films (La Roue, 1900, Barry Lyndon, Greed, Intolerance, Gone with the Wind, Andy Warhol etc.).
Walsh had much more spotlight subsequently. Can we ever forget "White Heat", "High Sierra", "The Roaring Twenties"? He's the reason John Wayne is on the map and he has worked in a vocation where he has given many actors their magnum opus, and moreover, he's one of the directors that inherited story before methodology.
The role that he left an indelible impression on me, was his portrayal of John Wilkes Booths. He was a harrowing figure in it, and aptly it worked as he had just started off acting, and was probably the right age to give the portrait a verisimilitude. The time, place and cause and effect were balanced by a brooding canvas in historicity; a momentum of perfection.
The same year, he graced his own project to the screen. It's 96 years old and has barely withered its original acetate (despite being heavily smudged on blue tints of the negative especially near the beginning when Owen goes and gets a bucket for his dipsomaniac adopted Father. But a lot of it is fairly pristine.
The film is based on a book about a young boy Owen. As we go through the pervasively impressive film there's one thing for certain - it's a commentary on the civilisation of susceptible parents and their malicious effect to this young adopted boy. It reflects later on when Owen saves a boy, who Marie Deering (a girl who works in Grogan's and then is drawn to his joint). The period periodically changes and we're then lead to believe that he has ran down to the lowest status in a derelict area. Potent in the way it's looked at, we watch a society without poise, were fighting is ample in mustering entertainment.
The character of Owen and the regeneration of his clique is hellbent on the omnipresence of Marie Deering; she aids Owen in his studies, influence and loving compassion. She's the thing that also destroys him; he never reconciles in the gang he originally lead and they're causing a havoc with their abuse of Police and their brutal comeuppance. One bit that's sort of disjointed from the narrative, is when Marie Deering during the second act, invites him and his Friends into a party and throughout it Owen leers at another woman, who's docile and unfazed. He then throws his cigarette on the boat, unbeknownst that it burns. I guess the scene was used as a visual provocation, yet it still does leave a grand and lyrical impact inherent. It's also perhaps a way of uniting them all and separating it later.
It's a deep film. The seminal Gangster film has a lot of heart, and you can even sense its seminal films on such films as Howard Hawks' "Scarface", "The Public Enemy" and his own film "Roaring Twenties". The manipulation of lighting to emphasise by masking the gun or dissolving is not dissimilar to how it's done today. Though the way it's used here is a bit more vivid, looking at the way the officious guy is introduced to the scene, where Marie is working, to entice us with important plot points. The most impressive of these sequences is an abrupt scene where a Gang Member is harassed by an Officer and takes out a knife to go in for the coup de grace. Most films would chiefly employ blood to give it the verisimilitude - the realism to set it apart - here though, to keep its gritty and taut realism, Walsh uses off screen cutting to let the Audience comprehend the outcome.
It's probably fundamentally great to understand, like Fleming with his primitive films, that Walsh was just a disciple of Griffith, who he was influenced by (watch "The Muskateers of Pig Alley") and his literary influences (this film was adapted from Owen Kildare Frawley's "My Mamie Rose" autobiography, which hitherto I was startled to find out that the film was reciting a time of an actual boys life and memoirs to accompany it, making it, of even more valuable commodity).
The thing is, the character is visceral and not intellectual. The story grows in a cerebral way, and does not descend to ruthless violence, probably because it would have been harder to sell. But in a way, it's adscititious; it would be faltered in its tone and focus.
Another thing that will definitely jolt audiences today is the fact that the film relies on visuals. If when looking at the narrative through the camera, you actually notice that in fact, your mind gives the character their contours. You have to understand the struggle - with other films to justify it all seems pretty well grounded in the genre of its tradition - and it will not leave you with disappointment.
While not epic, the film is a character study, a utopian and dystopian story - truly taut, hard, stylised, with little bits of emotions and a veracity.
The bigwig is the patriarch of narrative. With "Those Awful Hats" 1909, "Corner in Wheat", "The Painted Lady" and many of his biographs, you can sense that this is a man who understands the lexicon of cinema (though did not pioneer it in the same sense that George Albert Smith made the close-up or how Louis Lumiere showed the first train interacting with an American audience), he is still responsible for crosscutting and this is evident in "What Shall we Do with our Old", "Birth of a Nation", "The Muskateers from Pig Alley" and onwards.
Intolerance ranks as one of the most potent films ever made by a one trick pony. Many say Welles was the greatest innovator - well, he did do something of fresh sinew, but he himself also quoted Griffith's intolerance as an influence to his illustrious debut. Kubrick as well says that he was like Ikurus, when he flew too close to the sun and melted, but regardless he was ambitious at changing film from a novelty to a revered art.
So enter "Orphans of the Storm" his period film (similar to that of an older french film he done "The Sealed Room"), which is in essence, topping with Amadeus and Barry Lyndon as the great period drama. And it's this because of the enlightening irrevocable effect of the films doctrines. The french revolutionists are selfish people and Maximilien Robespierre is the one that fostered it. The film chronicles the tragedy of Jean Picard's decision to allow his Daughters to live in luxury. With this judicious, yet regretful decision, Louise (Dorothy Griffith) and Henriette (Lillian Gish) are born. Later in life, Louise is blind and Henriette, her consolable sister, finds word about a cure for it. When they travel away they're separated into the darkness - Louise is lost and Henriette is taken away only to be saved by an anti-french revolutionist Chevalier De Vaudrey, who as one person in the film puts it "I wish more aristocrats were like you" and Louise then falls into the trap of Frochard, which in sequence we see one of the best dolly shots pulled away as she gets manipulated as she is used as a singer in order to get money. Where the reign takes its toll against the Bolshevism, Jacques-Forget-Not subverts the system periodically and this is so powerful because of how character driven it really is, you can empathise with these peoples struggle. However with certain scenes, such as the one where a Man sits on the back of a French Revolutionist, it seems ridiculous, to me it shows how the place has been rendered to many dolorous people.
The movie is probably Griffith's least melodramatic film. Its interplay with appropriate characters, offset by a poignant time and ornate setting. The movie is mesmerising - the swordsmanship, the guillotine, the carts, the costume - it all feels authentic and Griffith really wanted to adapt the book faithfully, and that was conducive to the manifestation of a bulb that is replete with such melancholy, ambivalence and escapism.
No matter what, the napoleonic scale (as with his prior films) never ceases to spellbind me. I find Griffith entertaining because he's the illusionist that creates totalitarians and characters who we strive for in their victory, and it's all in quick succession. A time well spent.
This is an interesting excerpt from days of old. Robert Paul employed cinematographer Paul Robello (from Scotland) to record a wedding, horses stampeding and cars en route to Aberdeen University.
The movie starts off from where we can see multitudinous crowds all gathering. It's a simple square at first, but then as the camera panels, it starts to augment with people, who we don't really know. It seems to be one of the first events or gatherings ever filmed; it's not like "The ? Motorist" or "The Spiritualist Fraud"; it's more akin to Robert Paul's earlier film "Dehli Durbar" where the camera is, what would seem very perfunctory today, put on a tripod and traversing through the scene in a documentary fashion, which has now been adopted today. This movie was made just subsequent from the Edison Kinetoscope, and while it's not very entertaining, it's really fascinating to see some of the architecture, and some of the primitive shots of people in a discreet way.
Yet I am saddened to say, nobody knows Robert W Paul today. He seems to be old news. Well the great thing is that this movie came in a compilation with Paul's other movies such as "The Magic Sword" (a take on the prince story, with an actual human domineering over people like dwarfed miniatures) and so much more on the BFI's "RW Paul collection from 1895-1908"; it encompassed the bulk of his older features, including an allusion to the motion picture in "The Countryman and the Cinematograph" (1901), which is very fascinating, and many of his magician works. This one is a black sheep to his other movies, and shows the genuine passionate output that Robert W Paul had for the moving picture, just like Mathew Brady's passion with using photography to get deeper to the bone of the civil war.
For me, Buster Keaton is a very subjective clown. He is third, for me, to both Chaplin and Lloyd. Whether you like him or not, he is undeniably instrumental, not just in the way of farce and so on, but also in the way films were crafted and designed. Look at "The Cameraman" 1928, which is what I usually consider to be his magnum opus; he proves that the disillusioned camera shots and works of art are made completely inadvertently and that they're made with sufficient heart to really breath in our own personal passions for what we anticipate to show on screen - and it could be our personal statement or just our frame of mind - however way, it's still done without a lot of intent. Just like what Keaton done in the stunt department and of course in "The General" and his earlier shorts where in one of them he feel right into the water, "Steamboat Bill Jnr." made in 1928, which bears a similar name to "Steamboat Mickey", is a prominent example of his exposure to folly and his way of pinning down on jokes spot on, while he essentially puts himself in situations that he crawls out of, either harmed or not, stoically.
That's one of the things about Keaton; he doesn't blow up like what Mack Sennet would have done. He is a well collected and cordial fellow, who just happens to be clumsy.
In "Steamboat Bill, Jnr." he plays William, who has sent a letter to his Father who works on a boat. The beginning they wonder if he's going to be very tall or not, which is of course poking fun at Keaton being extremely small and if you're not familiar with Keaton during the viewing of it, it doesn't tickle you as much. So basically, his Father tries to suit him up when he comes down to work on the deck of his ship - and on his ship a lot of predicaments take place, where he doesn't seem to be accepted. He falls in love Kitty King, and it develops as the movie goes on.
The folly is shown in this movie, through a sequence of bad decisions and klutzy ways that Keaton acts, as he tries to keep a straight face and successfully does. His Father in the picture is a really recalcitrant character, and he is also what contrasts with William in that sense. A lot of the folly and what is funny is the fact that the movie is the basis of simple things and times - it's a charming movie as well, and it can be really exuberant to watch. The beginning might make you laugh heartily and then near the end it might make you pour your heart out for Keaton. Either way, the story is really basic and it's really Keaton that safes the picture with his screen presence.
I highly recommend it. I don't want to give much away about the movie because it will entice you long enough to really appreciate what it's going for and making ephemera feel greatly important.
A Funny and Cogent Account, But It Does Lend Itself to Tedium
Guy Hamilton reconstructs an account based on the Highly Secure German Camp back in the 40's. It's has a lot of the schema that would be utilized 8 years later in "The Great Escape" and its escape scene has been subject to affectionate parody (e.g. The Simpsons). Let it suffice to say though that not a lot of people are aware of this film; it's an archaic film definitely, and it has sufficiently identifiable characters under an oppressive system. One of them are even thrown into solitary confinement due to the ruthless attempt of escaping and getting in the way of the French. Even in the face of peril, one man tried to escape but was unfortunately caught by bullets - It's too militarized to be subverted.
It is divided into the French, Dutch, Polish and English (the English are the ones to triumph in this picture)
Pat Reid (John Mills) and Mac McGill (Christopher Rhodes) are two English people, who contravene the rules in order to give people their home run. It can be humorous, in places where they sneer at the Germans and it really is poignant and terrifying how convincingly shot it can be as well.
It plots a lot on the German Leader, the interpreter and the Commanding Officers who rule the place with an iron fist and a totalitarian output. A lot of the time, the movie can become quite boring, and fall flat in places feeling dormant (for example: when they're discussing the obvious about the escape plan, the bit where they all walk in single file rows, the beginning scenes setting everything up in respective order, the bit when they try to pick the escapist- craftsman leader, and when you get jolted back up with a slight bit of exhilaration, it gets to the scheming bits and so on that become more interesting (to me at least)).
However they are never under any malaise and hide it behind a sardonic exterior, always lurking, and it makes the movie moving somewhat; the bit when one of the prisoners is questioned about this plan, and he then expounds about Lewis Carrol's "Alice and Wonderland" about how she got bigger by eating was establishing a lighter tone to the gritty movie it could have easily been.
I do think it to be in my best interest to give this 5, as I think the struggle is handled quite well, but that the movie is befell with some boring sequences, and that it can make you weary about continuing it. But it is still, for me personally, able to objectify me to much of hardships and much of the pretenses established in these times. The accuracy of the movie is dubious however, but from what you see it leaves you without any doubt. It's also not a technically sophisticated movie. The lighting can be a bit underexposed, but this is perhaps deliberately done to give the notion of an unadulterated base and giving it that simply.
Guy Hamilton was tinkering around with the movie in a way that is distinctive from other movies that I have seen from that time; John Mills was in another movie in 1958 called "Ice Cold in Alex" and at this point I have yet to see this movie. But it is produced by the same place "British War"... and now I have to be firm about what I think about this movie as a war film: I do like War Films, such as Lean's "Bridge on the River Kawaii" and Kubrick's "Paths of Glory"; seeing this in the same light as "The Colditz Story", I would say that it didn't pace me up with excitement as those other two movies did. Those movies evoked the fears and they tampered with the situation; however, here I knew the outcome. But still even in saying that, I was still really invested in the characters and I felt satisfied after watching it. But it is not one of the greatest war films that I have seen, and nor will it ever stand out that way to me. But I think this one should be looked at and I do recommend it for those who are looking for a true story and want to be swayed away into looking at it.
Troy Cook, a relatively obscure director, has brought to screen an exercise in discrepancies between plot time. It is a roller-coaster ride - if afterwards you throw up due to how nauseating it is. It is also a movie that is so mishmash into an oblivion, stitched together with not even a modicum of delicate care and characters rather odious and inasmuch as you can handle them it's the only thing that is focused and transfixed on. I swear I had a paucity of care through the first 45mins of running time that was consumed with such things as Brad Dourif's hamfisted acting, terrible one-liners, and talk of something between the organic and artificial side of the brain; all (cause and effect) mustered through a shoot out of people locating mine fields...
The movie is so unpleasant and noxious. It stars Billy Drago as Kilgore, Reiger played by Dourif, and another bunch of people trying to outweigh a lot of the story by trying to "track down" forensically to find out how these killers got into the 'Titus 4', but also why they didn't use it to great avail.
The plot centers on these people who infiltrated a base killing people at a monitor, and then becoming android leaders. Meanwhile, spectators try to analyze the problem, and then some troops are deployed under the authority of Reiger to try and rescind the peace and take over the "evil head of the corporation" for their useless and badly prompted attempt at taking over the galaxy!! And I'm not sure about the rest because I found the movie rather hard to watch... My cut off point was an hour in. However, I'm sure all it consisted of was jumbled up fighting scenes involving characters such as Kilgore getting unintentionally shot and then we have to be inspired to care through nothing, but screen time forcing us to watch it. Naturally I fell out of place, and switched it off.
The framing is akin to "The Langoliers" in it that space looks like a hub for everybody to get jacked up to an LSD drug and take hits from; it's not like Space at all; it's more like a subconscious version of Space that you might dream up when you're somnolent.
It is a bunch of exposition and orders barked out by the lamest guy on earth, hamming it up and arbitrarily hating one of his comrades as a form of superiority. It is like a little kid fighting, and it's not even given clear cut depth. And yet Brad Dourif is such a revered actor, and has put himself into a movie that he has fortunately not been slandered from because no human being on earth has practically watched it.
The dialogue is tenuous as expected; like Butch not being much of a man and then getting his head plonked right off a bar in prison. And the reason they're in prison is because... they were bad? You know, the cryptic nature of the film mixed with the almost bogus scope and unbearably cheap production values, are only the effortless attempt to make this movie a rip off of such things like "Battle Galantica", "Star Trek" and even "2001: A Space Odyssey" with the way they focus on mini extraterrestrial entities (Space Odyssey is one of my favorite movies by who I consider to be one of the greatest directors; the other two I'm not a fan of, but it proves how terrible an experiment this movie was).
If you're expecting some of the vibes to reflect on the 90's, don't buy this. If you're an eager Sci-Fi collector then you might like this - but I also like Sci-Fi and this is just the nadir of Sci-Fi and narrative, so if you just watch Sci-Fi for the thrill of watching explosions and listen to terrible one-liners (ones that Joss Whedon's "Firefly" a much better programme, would be sickened by) then you will like it. If you enjoy extemporaneous fighting scenes then by all means.
... Sorry. I apologize for tally marking the statistics. I don't think anybody would really like this movie.... ANYBODY. But if you do, it's none of my business.
This is Bergman at his most sublime. He is self-aware again when he makes Monika utter "You're like a film, Harry" (paraphrased) - and this is the point where I knew "Summer of Monika" was going to be a great film. I was a little disheartened when I was watching "Secrets of Women" (I'm not a big fan of the movie); I did get enraptured by "Smiles of a Summer's Night" but it still wasn't him at his most adroit.
Now, finally getting to watch this movie reminded me how amazing he was. The framing, the chiaroscuro lighting and all based on the study of what seems like two pariahs in their own society; Monika, who works as a grocer doing menial tasks to earn a living and Harry who works also, but who has a Dad who has ailments and a Mother who deceased when he was 8. Monika feels frightened in her own kinship and Harry is ready to go adrift into the Summer. They both become one, and then we segue into their departure to another place. "If they want to keep us apart, then we'll leave them" as Monika says, proving that we're still watching adolescents who want to free them selves from the frustration of conformity. Monika was abused by her Father and made an instinctive decision to go with him to the other side.
As the movie goes on consecutively, we're then treated with the views beyond the sea. The cinematography is a marvel, as we see from the POV shots which set up the beauty. I always think that the set up of window dressing, will give us plenty of time to become accustomed to the life akin to turbulence and anguish; in the ending, he reminisces on this, when he mirrors into himself parallel into his past... he is unfortunately occupied with the Baby, and now sees nothing of prudence to look forward to.
It is a deep, darkening and rather imbued experience through the struggles mixed between the life going through swimmingly. Bergman also gives us a sense of a celestial body with the shots of the sky, which seem very emblematic, although I'm not sure what of. It is one of those excursions that subjects you to a fresher form of the bittersweet. The closeups are not made from the caricatures of their characters - when Harry gets a closeup shot he contorts his face with more emotion, and a real sense of a saturnine guy, who was tamed by a Woman, and is now toiled with the trouble of premature adulthood. It doesn't preach it, but it makes you feel it; he becomes like her Father eventually and it then veers away from the path that we can all aspire for... the feeling of waves swaying back and forth and the freedom to do whatever you want. As Monika says "I don't ever want to go away from there" (paraphrasing), and yes, it is just one of those woes.
"Summer with Monika" is not a cutesy, rom-com like you would be used to it. It is a Ingmar Bergman romance - watch his other movies like "Summer Interlude", "Through a Glass, Darkly" and "Persona" and then watch this movie that was made 2 years after "Summer Interlude" and predates the latter; you will be seeing a spectacle and a truth, perfection is now nonsense. Apart from the perfections of this one man's fable.
The movie, while yes it does borrow and plagiarize bits from "Close Encounters of The Third Kind" and it is supposed to be a fun-in your face horror film, with a certificate sufficient for younger people to see it and I do get this; however the movie simply did not hit the right chord with me.
Here's why. It is preposterous in the way it builds character who we couldn't care less about dying, and yet it tries to make us identify with them. Dispensable Characters can be done well; in "Halloween" for example, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was the only character you wanted to see prevail; here, the movie has hiccups of death, but to no avail. It's boring when it lacks suspense as well. The thing that gives the story any sense of real exercised life is the Critters - even them, the "Creatures" like in "Gremlins" are the ones that we can identify with - come on they're omnivores looking for a bite to eat; they are so terrible at getting it that we just wished everything was inexorable. The first kill was of a police officer who was eaten through unknown means - we know who killed him, but it was the way it was done that seemed enticing, and then we realized that this movie is not going for the route of body counts that happen in fast and furious ways (which albeit I love suspense, but the movie would have been better as a schlocky movie in that sense, and not a stale and mind numbing movie, only proving it's schlocky at suspense), but it is not even set up with natural consequences. And it's not fun when you just expect things, as opposed to evolve things.
The plot involves Brad Brown (played by Scott Grimes), a kid who finds leisure time using explosive things and his slingshot. Her Sister April (Nadine Van der Velde) and she is the petulant and quarrelsome teenager who incidentally looks older than a normal teenager. Their Dad is Jay Brown (Billy Green Bush) who is a mechanic in a field. Of course, the Critters are from an extraterrestrial planet, and we just wait for it to go down to earth. Charlie McFadden is the one who can feel the subliminal signals from outer space... and he is also the one who is too "timid" to open himself up. Eventually a UFO crash into their field, but it doesn't just crash: It steadily and lethargically move towards it. April is in the barn with her Boyfriend, about to fornicate, and Brad is grounded and unable to watch movies for 2 weeks (god, if it meant "these movies" I would be fine, apart from that it would be torture!). When the creatures come down, they spark a ruckus and then everything ensues respectively and boringly, without any sense of caring.
This movie counterpoises your interest in the sense that it doesn't even replenish your enjoyment; scenes where the Critters play around in their house is just an example of this movie not being serious. Yet the undercurrent that becomes the problem is that it isn't thrilling and it is really stupid. I mean stupid because the Critter eats a bomb, showing us that he really is carnivorous, implodes and then other Critters inexplicably come out of nowhere. Then you have the ones that take Human Flesh that throws a bowling ball with full strength and it knocks out the bowling balls; I don't know why but for some reason these bits felt languidly boring, off setting and I think this destroys the atmosphere of the film. It has an atmosphere of a post-tragedy film, but it lacks the humor of typical horror films, and it has one- dimensional characters and odious critters. What else can I say? ... I don't recommend this movie. Not even to Hardcore Horror Fans because this movie doesn't even pervade a disturbing, satirical or lively quality; it is languid, boring, uninteresting and predictably long-winded and for this I give it a 1 for Awful!
The Impeccably Imperfect Film By a Heartfelt and Praiseworthy Director
The audience were not able to access the over-excessive time; the lack of humor was an attribute to that as well. They couldn't handle looking at a study of a dramaturgical realistic story. So accustomed to the likes of Arbuckle, Mary Pickwalsh and so many more, Von Stroheim was known for how autocratic he was in "The Heart of Humanity", and this fundamentally changed his image from an immigrant to the bad guy.
The story involves Mcteague (Gibson Gowland), a young boy working in the mines; his Mother puts him under the wing of a Dentist, so that he can aspire to something; he shows an aptitude in it and he is signed up to work in Dentist with him. His Friend Markus is given his establishing scene, and we see Mcteague's love interest, Trina (Zasu Pitts) Markus' cousin; the way he initially embraces her is just deeply intimate with her before he gives her a procedure and this underlines the depth of the movie. The Grannis characters are another subplot he centers on; we see how they're deprived of money and have a lust for it. There is another subplot involving Maria, who is a subject of the same thing; riddled with money, but incapable of keeping it with the extravaganza she can spend it with and in such high dosages.
Trina gets a bootleg of a lottery ticket and she wins $5,000 through it; she then indulges with it and so does McTeague; however in the duration of their marriage, they idle away, McTeague's establishment is taken over and he becomes redundant, he becomes a drunken dipsomaniac, lost to hitting his wife and feigning his love for her "I'm in a turn" - he goes for houses near the point, but aware that she is prodigal, they struggle to get one.
From Frank Norris' novel, he speaks of the charlatan without respect and rightfully so; like in "Citizen Kane" and in modern days "The Social Network", avaricious misers get lost to nothing but Dystopia; what's fascinating is how Von Stroheim directs the actors in a very unbinding but really brutal way. The golden tooth that McTeague finds is his "jewel" and he gives it back to the person who owns his Dentist Establishment.
The movie is just brilliant! It is even reconstructed through panels of images in a lot of parts to constitute to its 4hr length, but the metaphors, like a metaphor for gluttony when Stroheim makes everybody at the wedding gorge their selves on food is just a sense that he is truly trying to make us feel this concept sensuously.
They are unable to change their house...
McTeague gorging into his money is then the real focal point of the movie. It chronicles the mans troubles and instincts at wealth, and even turning on the people that blossom his life. Even when he negotiates with his Friend to take her out of his tutelage, you feel a genuine sense of self indulgence. From what the movie says in its intertitles for exposition, she does have a baby as well.
However, now on to why I love it: I love it because Stroheim's brass, bleak and uncompromising reality very much challenges that of our own intrinsic qualities, but dramatised so far that it becomes an extension of the deeper and inhumane; themes so associated now a days, but never done quite as well. Frank Norris said (paraphrased) that he was trying to show this in his novel.
Also the cross cutting of Stroheim as he utilizes a Cat's face and puts it frame by frame to the redundancy of Mcteague is deliberately off key; when looking into it is also a rapacious prey looking for its scraps of food as well. Like in "Birth of a Nation" where Griffith uses a Cat and a Dog to portray Hostility, Stroheim is akin to that in that scene.
From the very beginning McTeague drunk heartily in celebrations; the pain of his fall makes it all the more unbearable. But withering to the idea established, it fits appropriately. The movie has a certain core that fits tightly into it; it's like a painting, created with the strokes of fervor, only to simplify the intricate idea of life, hindsight or just the wholehearted desires. The thing is the Grannis, Marie and Mcteagues all had it coming in hindsight and this is what is, maybe not endearing, but rather hard hitting.
I like Chaplin and so on, but they don't have this type of awe-inspiring effect that "Greed" has on me; inspiring "Sunset" on a way and imbuing an unfortunate legacy as being the most sought out gem of the silent era. However, the version I had was 3hrs 55mins and I would recommend getting this one; it's a hard DVD to locate, but it is possible to get one; you just have to scrutinize the internet and there you will most likely find a copy.
For what ever it costs, this movie is definitely warranted for repeated viewings; the "movie" shouldn't even be deemed a movie. It should be deemed a relic from a time, lurking underneath the "golden mines" it seems; the film fanatics all want to excavate it, and collect it, and I was in the same position because I dislike watching movies on the Internet.
But for all it's worth, Turner Classic Movies have done a sublime job at reduxing this. Brutally passionate and uncompromising, "Greed" is a movie that shouldn't be dismissed; not by anybody with any serious output to Cinema; it's there as a personal statement for both Stroheim (I think) in his extravagant budgets for movies (this one cost $500,000) and what cinema can do to our manipulation as a spectator; the length only proves that he was really trying to do a story with turns and twists and by doing so has fleshed it out to embrace the suspense.
Bergman was in his prime and tweaking his virtuoso for his next films thenceforward; this is one of his first movies where he co-write the script and where he interlaced the story with a flashback sequence; as a ballet dancer named "Marie" gets ready for her performance in "Swan Lake" she is greeted with an unexpected parcel... She then peruses a nostalgic pad written from her summer 10 years ago, and is in a conflict with her nostalgia and the tragedy that entails through that nostalgia... This is where the movie shines; it's profoundly stimulating for me to watch a story where it's unfolding through a period where the character seems to be unable to engage with the world, and with the biggest anthropological study of how, we're treated with it through the turning point at a happier time. It's, I'm sure, an overused staple in Drama or Romance today; here, it is used to great avail, and it is the strongest part of the film. She grows deeply in love with
Where she says that God is doing a scant job of helping her in her time of need, was deep and very much (as a criticism) pushed; Bergman indulged in his Lutheran Upbringing frequently in his movies; I suppose it was a way of expressing philosophy, to which he thought was the only way he could paint it on this canvas. Unfortunately, here it feels like it was done with a slight reserve She goes in superficial relationship with Hendrick (in the flashback sequence), where only she can be the mirror into the heart. Maria loves Henrick, but really in context I think she's impelled towards him; even though you're given not much context as to how this relationship sparked any dynamic, you're treated to the recklessness that is attributed to the love and all its might.
It's deep and transfixing. Also, rather unsettling; it doesn't spark anything memorable about the Ballet Dancer; she's lovelorn and dwells on her past; her Uncle Erland wants her to elope with him, despite the fact that she's already in a relationship; the weird thing is he is so callous that even with the subsequent tragedy, you still feel deep detachment; as a criticism, it is unsettling and really only plays the part of disrupting your psyche; I suppose in conventional Drama, it is a bit less realistic, but even this infatuation is not really directed well so much to the point where the character is involved and this seems like a stitched up emotion, in order to sweep her under the mat.
And like "Friday the 13th" (not that this movie is any shape or form related to that; it is trash compared to him) Bergman makes great use of his setting of the water and would do so onward; the sorrows he displays and the insecurity of his characters shun our ideas about the irrationality of relationships, and how we console ourselves with partners to feel important both cognitively and knowingly so.
The ending is not very resonant, but I think this was yet another wink at the audience that she becomes ingratiated to another man (A Newspaper Journalist) and now that he knows the truth of what happened to Henrick, she can now throw herself at him as an empathetic person.
My favorite part was in the Dressing Room, where the guy talks about the ugly facade created by people and how her absent mindedness, while style obscurely understood, stands for grandest depths of the artistic medium... Bergman really is enamoured to any art, and this is where his canvas would soon manifest in and respectively so.
So in conclusion, this is not Bergman's best by a long shot, but it has his emotional elements, it contains enough drama to traverse through and it's a charming nostalgic movie... it doesn't have any significance that any of his later films would have though.
This Dethrones A Great Actor Into A Side Character
I mean, if you enjoy staging and staging and only the set ups until the third act where they only just pace through everything hastily and uninhibited then that's fine by me; either than that to me it shows no characteristic of any particular style of film-making that can precipitate story.
From the beginning, Peter Cushings (the actor in my alluded in my summary) is Baron Frankenstein, who takes pride in manipulating a decedent so that he can transform him into a mechanical-esque, robotic and cold blooded individual, which we soon find out is absolutely futile on his part; his assistant Hans, does not help him very much a tall and only accompanies him in most situations.
The police are inept and linear, which does not compensate for the egregious limit of the movies running time!
Zoltan wants exhibitionism to the creature and thinks would be the perfect idea and yet all Frankenstein wants him for is a little pet and nothing less invaluable than that; he devalues it, merely a means to show that he is... well able to instigate such procedures, and that there is no "nucleus" to it all. However, Zoltan uses it to kill people like Burgomaster of Karlstaad, who purloined Frankenstein (Cushing)'s ring.
The trademark of the Hammer Movies and even Universal (especially, Universal) is the merriment of the audience they supplement their movies to. Is this ridiculous enough to get laughs? Is it fun and endearing, possibly even enthralling? You know, it's lucidly laid out clear and crisp; however, it abandons these trademarks here because the movie is not funny and it is not even one bit suspenseful; it plots around the police "arresting" the fire going to do; also the only thing moderately interesting was that the Frankenstein subverted the golden rule of cinema: killing animals!
The scene where Frankenstein unleashes his ray and brings the decedent to life is fascinating, but banal and stagnant. I mean, we've seen it before, why can't we just hear it and then be introduced to the imbecilic malevolence incarnate. If you have seen "Dracula Vs. Frankenstein" with Zander Vorkov, it looks exactly like that, and this besmirches it EVER being taken seriously. The only suspense is the locomotion of Frankenstein - oh, what's he going to do? He touches fire! FIRE BURNS! - it's that preposterously jading.
It's a shame because they have typecast such a fine actor, in the business of horror, and made him the joke to the community of the genre he is synonymous with; Freddie Francis has been a better director then this ("Tales From The Crypt") and here does not illustrate this; the actors are klutzy, the cinematography is mediocre at giving you the impression of any Gothic architecture, the heroine (deaf girl) is not even that important, apart from taming the creature, and the direction of killing scenes is laughable. It's sadly alas, another movie to add along side "Horror of Frankenstein".
Belief? Lost due to the eyes not even being emotional on Frankenstein. Karloff's give you the sense of a pariah, but it then welcomes you with innocence; this however, is an abyss of stupidity. Investment? Lost due to the lack of things that Frankenstein and also because when Zoltan dies, he wasn't even a likable character to begin with, deliberately so that there would be an antagonistic character; however without a protagonist it loses its core. Caring? Lost to the inevitability that crocks up and that never changes (the ending for example), occupying vacant creativity and nothing more.
For entertainment purposes, it is distasteful and to the world of Hammer House, it is just one of their nice and cheap productions that are so often perceived as "fun"... however the badge has no place on this. Watch it if you must, but remember that the boredom will sink.