Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Golden Age of Movies?


Here are three movie trailers from three different periods of movie making. It seems obvious which period carried the highest production values; i.e., the best aural and visual experience, which, when seen in theaters, on film, is a huge part of what the art of film is about.

"Mutiny on the Bounty" 1935. (Early Hollywood.)

"Mutiny on the Bounty" 1962. (Wide screen/original Technicolor era.)

"The Bounty" 1984. (Post inflation/revisionist era.)

Other aspects of the three films-- screenplay, casting, acting, editing-- are up for debate.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Planning the Project

FYI: I still believe I can pull the El Cid Project off-- which means staging a showing of the film, as film, in New York City, hopefully close to Ground Zero. There are, of course, details and preparations to work out.

In the meantime I'm working on a post devoted to the Miseducation of America-- about how we've been raising a generation of so-called "best and brightest" who don't even believe in their own country, and whose thinking on most topics is generally all screwed up. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Classic

Here’s the main title to another great film made in 1961, “The Guns of Navarone.”

A story about latter-day heroes. It has many of the same strengths as “El Cid”: wonderful cinematography, magnificent score, strong acting, classic pacing where everything is set up step-by-step to bring the moviegoer emotionally into the film experience. The structure is intentionally mythic—the Guns are like ancient monsters—to match the mythic setting. Seen on a giant screen, this is a tremendous experience.

We can only revive the culture if we’re able to recognize our cultural high points. Fifty years of cultural garbage have destroyed many values, but perhaps not all of them.

(Note: The narration by James Robertson Justice is missing from this video, unfortunately; a speech about "gods and demi-gods" which is important to setting the story and mood.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ben Yagoda: Out of Touch


Here’s a curious column appearing this day in the Philadelphia Inquirer, a bankrupt newspaper:

Writer Ben Yagoda is fighting battles of fifty years ago. I guess it makes the battles fairly winnable. But where are newspaper columns from Ben Yagoda about the disappearance of Molly Norris?

The threat to free speech in America today doesn’t involve obscenity. Indeed, in this rather obscene society, one finds all the obscenity one can want. Four letter words have become regular discourse. The threat to free expression now comes from the advocates of political correctness, a viewpoint which demands that all speech be squelched which can possibly offend the sensibilities of specially-designated groups. In Molly Norris’s case, the religion of Islam, which meanwhile is busily squelching all contrary beliefs wherever it can. (57 Christians including two priests slaughtered in Baghdad Sunday. We fought a bloody war for that?)

We’re living in a world where down is up and up is down. Characters like Ben Yagoda are part of the problem. Look how bravely he defends D.H. Lawrence! 50 or 80 years after the fact when no risk is involved. About Molly Norris, from this defender of liberal principles, nary a word.