Film and Poster of the Day: Paths of Glory (1957)

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Directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou and Ralph Meeker.

“NOW THE SCREEN BLASTS OPEN THE BOMBSHELL STORY OF A COLONEL WHO LED HIS REGIMENT INTO HELL AND BACK – WHILE THEIR MADDENED GENERAL WAITED FOR THEM – WITH A FIRING SQUAD!”

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“I PITY YOU.”

SAINT-AUBAN: DID YOU URGE YOUR FELLOW SOLDIERS FORWARD?

ARNAUD: MOST OF THEM WERE DEAD OR WOUNDED BEFORE THEY GOT THREE STEPS BEYOND THE TRENCHES.

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“IF THOSE LITTLE SWEETHEARTS DON’T FACE GERMAN BULLETS, THEY’LL FACE FRENCH ONES!”

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“LOOKING OVER YOUR RIFLE, I SEE? WELL, THAT’S THE WAY. IT’S A SOLDIER’S BEST FRIEND. YOU BE GOOD TO IT AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE GOOD TO YOU.”

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PARIS: YOU SEE THAT COCKROACH? TOMORROW MORNING WE’LL BE DEAD AND IT’LL BE ALIVE. IT WILL HAVE MORE CONTACT WITH MY WIFE AND CHILD THAN I WILL. I’LL BE NOTHING AND IT’LL BE ALIVE.

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PRIEST: HAVE FAITH IN YOUR CREATOR – DEATH COMES TO US ALL.

ARNAUD: THAT’S REALLY DEEP!

posted by Dixie Turner

Stanley Kubrick’s Top 10 Favourite Films…

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In 1963, Stanley Kubrick submitted the below list of his Top 10 favourite films to American magazine, Cinema – this is the first, and apparently only, time he ever submitted such a list:

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1. I Vitelloni (Fellini, 1953)

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2. Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957) – what an inspired poster!

Viktor: When you were little you believed in Santa Claus. Now you believe in God.

Kubrick, in a letter to Ingmar Bergman: “I believe you are the greatest film-maker at work today. Beyond that, allow me to say you are unsurpassed by anyone in the creation of mood and atmosphere, the subtlety of performance, the avoidance of the obvious, the truthfulness and completeness of characterization.”

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3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)

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4. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Huston, 1948)

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5. City Lights (Chaplin, 1931)

Kubrick on Chaplin:

“If something is really happening on the screen, it isn’t crucial how it’s shot. Chaplin had such a simple cinematic style that it was almost like I Love Lucy, but you were always hypnotised by what was going on, unaware of the essentially non-cinematic style. He frequently used cheap sets, routine lighting and so forth, but he made great films. His films will probably last longer than anyone else’s.”

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6. Henry V (Olivier, 1944)

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7. La notte (Antonioni, 1961)

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8. The Bank Dick (Fields, 1940)

Roger Ebert on W.C. Fields:

“Assimilating the unique fact of W.C. Fields is a lifelong occupation for any filmgoer, conducted from time to time according to no particular plan. There is not a single Fields film that “must” be seen in order to qualify as a literate movie lover, and yet if you are not eventually familiar with Fields you are not a movie lover at all. What is amazing about him is that he exists at all. He is not lovely, and although he is graceful it is a lugubrious grace, a kind of balance in a high psychic wind. All of his scenes depend, in one way or another, on sharing his private state: He is unloved, he detests life, he is hung over, he wants a drink, he is startled by sudden movements and loud noises, he has no patience for fools, everyone is a fool, and middle-class morality is a conspiracy against the man who wants to find surcease in alcoholic bliss. These are not the feelings of his characters; they are his own feelings.”

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9. Roxie Hart (Wellman, 1942)

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10. Hell’s Angels (Hughes, 1930) – unbelievable trailer, by the way, that so callously boasts of the “ariel combat so real it took the lives of three pilots…”

posted by Dixie Turner

Stanley Kubrick to Ingmar Bergman: “Your vision of life has moved me deeply…”

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Transcript

UNIVERSAL-INTERNATIONAL PICTURES
UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIFORNIA

February 9, 1960

Dear Mr. Bergman,

You have most certainly received enough acclaim and success throughout the world to make this note quite unnecessary. But for whatever it’s worth, I should like to add my praise and gratitude as a fellow director for the unearthly and brilliant contribution you have made to the world by your films (I have never been in Sweden and have therefore never had the pleasure of seeing your theater work). Your vision of life has moved me deeply, much more deeply than I have ever been moved by any films. I believe you are the greatest film-maker at work today. Beyond that, allow me to say you are unsurpassed by anyone in the creation of mood and atmosphere, the subtlety of performance, the avoidance of the obvious, the truthfullness and completeness of characterization. To this one must also add everything else that goes into the making of a film. I believe you are blessed with wonderfull actors. Max von Sydow and Ingrid Thulin live vividly in my memory, and there are many others in your acting company whose names escape me. I wish you and all of them the very best of luck, and I shall look forward with eagerness to each of your films.

Best Regards,

(Signed, ‘Stanley Kubrick’)

Stanley Kubrick

(Source: http://www.lettersofnote.com/)

***

BERGMAN

The Seventh Seal (1957)

Wild Strawberries (1957)

Cries and Whispers (1972)

***

KUBRICK

The Killing (1956)

Lolita (1962)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

***

posted by Dixie Turner

Staff A-Z of Films: F is For… (Pt.1)

TOM SAYS:
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F is for First Blood (1982) – dir. Ted Kotcheff
I was really wracking my brains trying to come up with an F-Film, then I checked the list. It happens that a lot of my very favourite films begin with the letter F, including two that I claimed were “My favourite film of all time” at various points, but only when badgered for an answer. (Do real people really have a favourite anything of all time?) These “all time” tops were The Fly and Faces. Faces has some of the most exquisitely natural performances I’ve ever been blessed to see and The Fly has a scene where Geena Davis gives birth to a giant maggot… but, I really really need to tell you about the original Rambo film, First Blood.
 
The film is about Vietnam veteran, John Rambo, who in searching for his friends returned from the war, finds them prematurely dead in an uncaring America. He is bullied by small town police who he escapes and is then pursued by. It is a simple film dealing with big themes of authority, responsibility, freedom, societal constraint, and wilderness. Stallone is perfect for this role, part everyman, part fearsome force of nature, part wounded animal. 
firstblood1The film’s thrust mirrors that of the song Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen, and like Springsteen the film is very populist whilst not pandering. For the reasons that a Springsteen song will always hold me tighter than a meandering ramble by Bob Dylan, I believe First Blood is an infinitely stronger film than The Deer Hunter, arguably its closest and more critically acclaimed rival.
 Born In The USA – Nebraska recording video.

First Blood’s reputation as an elegant and sensitive film is ruined by its sequels. James Cameron, the blame is at your feet, and not just for this. Mr Cameron made a series of weak action movie sequels to a string of amazing original films, sparking them into awful movie franchises. Aliens was a saccharine bloodbath that followed the nuanced terror of Alien. Rambo: First Blood part II, (arguably the dumbest title ever) reduces meaning, style, content, …basically everything except the body count, until you are left with a dulled-out nothing of a feature in which even the endless killing is completely flat. Just when you’re starting to believe he is doing all this out of some kind of demented malice you realise even his own films aren’t safe, and he runs the terrible formula on Terminator. I concede his original is a solid sci-fi horror which he proceeds to pump full of Disney morality for a horrendous joke of a follow on. 
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BEN SAYS:
fargo14F is for Fargo (1996)

This quirky and darkly funny thriller is the brainchild of Joel and Ethan Coen. Set in the locations of Brainerd, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota it tells the tale of a ransom gone horribly wrong.

William H Macy plays car sales man Jerry Lundegaard, who due to financial difficulties decides that he can make some good money by having his wife kidnapped…! His plan is to pay his hired kidnappers, played by the brilliant Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare, $80, 000 but tell his wealthy father-in-law that they have requested a cool one million dollars. However, this being a Coen brother’s film, things don’t go quite the way Jerry had planned.

fargo09As with many of their films, the Coen brothers deliver a clever, twisted thriller with moments of brilliant dark humour, helped fantastically by William H Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare whom are all on excellent form. Bare in mind this film isn’t for the faint of heart or for viewers looking for a light comedy. But if you don’t mind the odd bit of blood and strong language then this film really is a must… Just a quick word of warning, if you’re planning on using a wood chipper soon after watching this film, you might want to do some other house hold chores. Trust me!

BEN SAYS F IS ALSO FOR:

fugitiveThe Fugitive (1993)

I know, I know… every one over the age of 20 has probably seen this film and it really doesn’t need recommending, but I don’t think you can possibly have an A to Z list of film recommendations and not include it…

If you’re one of a unique band of people whom have not watched this film with delight then allow me to give you a brief over view…

Starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, it centres on Ford’s character Dr Richard Kimble coming home one night to his house to find his wife being brutally attacked and murdered in their home. During the fight between Kimble and the assailant, the assailant escapes into the night and Kimble is left to pick up the pieces. Sadly for him things go for bad to worse and he is subsequently the main suspect in the crime. Faced with no alibi, he’s found wrongfully guilty and sentenced to life in prison and death row… Then just when things couldn’t get any worse for Kimble, he finds himself in an explosive bus accident when a fellow inmate attempts to flee the prison bus en-route to the jail. Seizing his chance, Kimble decides to make a bid for freedom and to try to clear his name and bring his wife’s killers to justice. I know… exciting eh? Well just when you think it couldn’t get any better, in steps Tommy lee Jones as US Marshal Samuel Gerard who is assigned the task of bringing in the now fugitive Dr Kimble at all costs. Let the chase commence…

fugitive-740If you really have not seen this film then I can assure you it’s a Saturday night must. Although rated 15 at the time, I think most of us would agree that now it would be a 12 rating and actually quite good fun if you’re looking for a family film looking for some edge of your seat thriller action. Enjoy!

BEN SAYS F IS ALSO FOR:

MSDFADO EC034Falling Down (1993)

What else can I say but Falling Down….

If you’ve ever had a day that you wish would just end and everything and anyone is making it worse than this may, or may not as the case may be, the film for you…

It’s a simple story of one man, played by Michael Douglas, who finally reaches breaking point on his morning commute to work and decides he has had enough with it all and simply wants out and to spend time with his young daughter now living with his estranged wife. As he walks away from his car after snapping, his day simply goes from bad to really really really bad as he finds himself in an attempted mugging, forced to walk through gangland territory, missing the breakfast menu in a fast food restaurant for being 2 minutes after they have stopped serving and well you get the point…

large-falling-down-blu-ray9As twisted and dark as it is brilliant, Michael Douglas doesn’t let up as the simple white-collar worker who has finally had enough of being on the bottom rung of society. His portrayal of frustration and anger at the way modern society has become is attention grabbing to say the least and in some ways reflects how many of us have felt at some point in our lives, especially with the way we move through life almost too quickly for our own good. (Just FYI the fast food restaurant scene alone makes the film worth watching…!)

BEN SAYS F IS ALSO FOR:fight-clubFight Club (1999)

The first rule about fight club is you “don’t talk about fight club”

So I wont…. (But please watch it! Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf… what more could you want?!?)

BEN SAYS F IS ALSO FOR:

Full-Metal-Jacket-006Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, this film follows a group of US marines in training in 1967, during the Vietnam War. Its central characters, Privates “Joker”, “Cowboy” and “Pyle”, become the main three protagonists in this very dark and bleak war film.

As the recruits go through week by week training under the demoralizing and often brilliantly crass and blunt Gunner Sergeant Hartman, we see how their innocence and spirit are slowly dwindled down, forcing them to question their own morality. For many, Kubrick’s portrayal of military life showed how it was far from glamorous to say the least, (compared to Top Gun made only a couple of years prior) and that he, Kubrick, wanted audiences to understand what it was like being a young G.I. in 1960’s America in war they knew little about. In fact, Kubrick’s want for realism was a major factor in casting the actors, namely actor R. Lee Ermey, who played drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. For Ermey was himself a former Marine and real life Marine drill instructor! (Which also may explain most of the ad-libbing he does when confronting his trainees!!) As the film continues and their training completed they are then sent off to Vietnam in 1968 where they learn very quickly how little they are prepared for such a horrific and violent conflict. As humorous as it is dark, Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket touches on the dark physique that often goes hand in hand with war. Yet despite the dark moments, Kubrick manages to weave in moments of humour into otherwise deeply dark scenes that many other directors have tried and failed to do. So for that reason, Full Metal Jacket is regarded as one of the 100 films you must see before you die…

Other F films I recommend:

The Fighter

Family Guy Series and their take on Star Wars.

Fifth Element

***

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Scorsese’s Top 12 Favourite Films of All Time

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2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY – dir. Stanley Kubrick (1968)

H.A.L.: “JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING, DAVE?”

A couple of astronauts with a weird and worrying smart computer go on a mission to explore signs of intelligent life buried beneath the surface of the moon. That music. That space. that computer.

***

large_8_5_blu-ray1x8 1/2 – dir. Federico Fellini (1963)

GUIDO: “ACCEPT ME AS I AM. ONLY THEN CAN WE DISCOVER ONE ANOTHER.”

Memories and dreams interweave with reality in the mind of a director suffering from a creative block whilst working on his new film. It’s interesting to note that the actors worked on the film without any set dialogue, often delivering random sentences, the sound being recorded after and dubbed over. The film’s title is a reference to the number of films Fellini had made up to that point.

***

ashesanddiamondsASHES AND DIAMONDS – dir. Andrzej Wajda (1958)

On the first day that Germany officially surrender in WWII, diverse factions who had lived in peace with one another during the occupation of a small Polish town now begin to fight one another.

***

93456-050-5BB33DA5CITIZEN KANE – dir. Orson Welles (1941)

“ROSEBUD…”

Generally considered to be the greatest film ever made, until recently knocked off that position by Sight & Sound controversially nominating Vertigo for that spot. Made by Orson Welles when he was just 20 years old, the film’s central character is allegedly based on William Randolph Hearst – in fact, similarities between the two created a feud between the Hearst family and Welles that lasted 71 years. Innovative cinematography and lighting are just a couple of the reasons why this film is so lauded. Watch it again.

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leopardTHE LEOPARD – dir. Luchino Visconti (1963)

“IF WE WANT THINGS TO STAY AS THEY ARE, THINGS WILL HAVE TO CHANGE.”

Based on the novel by Lampedusa. An epic telling the story of the social upheavals which took place in Sicily in the mid 19th century and starring an international cast, including Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale.Winner of the 1963 Palme d’Or.

***

293183.1020.APAISA – dir. Roberto Rosellini (1946)

Made up of six vignettes that follow the Allied invasion during WWII and cover the length of Italy.

***

THE RED SHOESTHE RED SHOES – dir. Powell&Pressburger (1948)

“… A GREAT IMPRESSION OF SIMPLICITY CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED THROUGH GREAT AGONY OF BODY AND SPIRIT.”

A dancer torn between her passion for dancing and the man she loves. Innovative, beautiful, magical, startling. See it now.

***

the-river-ritualTHE RIVER – dir. Jean Renoir (1951)

Three women, growing up in Bengal, fall for the same American soldier. A beautifully shot, Technicolor wonder, this film has been important for directors as diverse as Satyajit Ray who met his future cinematographer, Subrata Mitra, on set, to Wes Anderson whom it inspired to make The Darjeeling Ltd.

***

Editors-Pick-Salvatore-GiulianoSALVATORE GIULIANO – dir. Francesco Rosi (1962)

A young outlaw becomes entangled in the political – and corrupt – forces that shape modern-day Sicily.

***

searchers_19THE SEARCHERS – dir. John Ford (1956)

Two men go in search of a girl abducted during a Comanche raid. One of the most beautifully shot westerns of all time, all rolling expanse and dramatic colour. John Wayne’s staggering/lurching walk has never been framed so well.

***

05UGETSU MONOGATARI – dir. Mizoguchi Kinji (1953)

Set in 16th century Japan, Ugetsu is one of the great masterpieces of Japanese cinema and is often credited, along with Roshomon, as being one of the films that brought Japanese cinema to the attention of the rest of the world. Based on a couple of Japanese ghost stories, Ugetsu is a tale of personal ambition, love and war and is famed for Mizoguchi’s use of long, poetic takes and its meticulous attention to period detail.

Roger Ebert’s review.

***

vertigo-2VERTIGO – dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1958)

Recently rated by Sight & Sound as the greatest film of all time – highly debatable, but still a fantastically tense (and occasionally trippy) watch, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.

***

(List first published in Sight & Sound magazine)

posted by Dixie Turner

A Face In The Crowd: Timothy Carey

“Every time a policeman gets a look at me I can see the wheels starting to turn in his head. He’s positive that I’m on his “wanted” list for at least three major crimes” – Timothy Carey

MV5BMTUxMTgyMzk1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTkwNDQzMQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_That long face, those droopy eyes – Timothy Carey is unmistakable, unpredictable, and electrifying with those lizard features that became both a blessing and a curse.

He appeared briefly in The Wild One alongside Lee Marvin and Marlon Brando – three heavyweights in a hokey B-movie. But is was Kubrick that first unleashed his potential. In The Killing he’s Nikki Arcane the sniper with the snarl and in Paths of Glory he is one of the court-martialled men. His looks have meant a career playing villains but here he is heartbreaking as the soldier bearing the emotional brunt from the generals supreme abuse of power.

Carey

A true maverick known for improvising and getting fired he’s worked with Roger Corman, Coppola, and Cassavetes including a memorable turn as a mafia heavy in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (we know just from the look in Carey’s eyes that Ben Gazzara is in deep, deep shit).

Carey is an actor to get excited about, like Bruce Dern there’s a manic energy inside him, a screw loose combined with a fearless realism. He often didn’t seem like an actor at all, more like a wonderfully intuitive amateur dragged out of a skid row bar and slid in front of the camera.

Nic Cage wishes he was Timothy Carey, but Carey didn’t have things easy…

“I can’t even take a stroll through a park. As soon as women see my face they start gathering up their children and running for home.” – Timothy Carey

Posted by Rob Munday

Room 237 – Kubrick Fans Unravel the Secrets of The Shining

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Why you should watch… Room 237 – By Rob Munday
If you haven’t seen The Shining then stop right now and go watch it – it’s the archetypal Kubrick film and arguably his most personal (like Jack Torrance, Kubrick lived cut off from the world in a big manor house with his family).
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Room 237 is a documentary about The Shining but probably not what you’d expect. It’s not about the making of the film, there’s no interviews with cast or crew or some dull man in an armchair telling you why it’s important. This is instead a film driven by The Shining’s obsessional fans and their theories about the hidden messages tucked away in Kubrick’s opus.
Even if you’ve seen The Shining many times some of these theories will shed new light – most however, are completely nutbags.
And why not, because in a way Room 237 is about the power of cinema, about how great films get under your skin, how they take a grip of you and seem to mirror your own fears and desires.
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For some, cinema is a terminal condition – watch Room 237 and you’ll understand.

NEW THIS WEEK: The Killing Season 3 and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (It’s A Veritable Slaughter – Merry Christmas)

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Just when you thought it was safe to put away your jumpers. Just when you thought it was safe to lay off the Rosetta Stone tapes in a vain attempt to speak Danish as well as Eddie in a recent episode of Absolutely Fabulous. Just when you thought it was safe to read a book. Just when you thought it was safe to close your eyes – The Killing is back with more Power, Politics, Murder and Deception, and more Danish than ever before.

If you thought you knew Sarah Lund, think again. If you thought you were over watching subtitles until you’ve gone cross-eyed, think again. The Killing Season 3 will change your mind. And your life.

***Also Out This Week:***

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Stanley Kubrick’s stunning noir, The Killing (1956), has been newly added to our shelves. Starring Sterling Hayden as the driving force behind a daring heist, The Killing features fantastic dialogue that is at times classic snappy-noir and other times anachronistically natural –  full of hesitations and interruptions, with one character played by Kola Kwariani  (a professional wrestler in his only film appearance) whose Georgian accent is so thick he’s almost incomprehensible. The cinematography is beautiful, at times having the gritty and honest, no-frills grain of a high-contrast photocopy, at other times almost drowning the actors in swirling black velvet and inky shadows. Not least of all, the film is note-worthy for its unusual narrative structure and back-and-forth timeline, playing out various scenes from beginning to end that we are told are happening simultaneously adding to the sense of tension and drawing the film to its heist-climax. And then ultimately, having drawn us up, it lets us roll back down again in what must be one of the great under-stated, unheroic, unglamorous endings of any noir ever.

Over all The Killing stands up as a classic noir, but with more than just a touch of the renegade and maverick to it, which should come as no surprise to any seasoned Kubrick fan.

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