Wednesday, March 26, 2008
March revivals: second half
Mike here with what to catch for the rest of March. Small list, because of the small number of flicks. Have been enjoying some of the films at the Ziegfeld. I enjoyed West Side Story, but I expected to. What I didn't expect to catch was The Sound of Music. But I did, and enjoyed it. There's just some cheesiness that can't be overcome, but this was the first time I got to understand the cinematic scope of this picture. Additional kudos to Robert Wise. South Pacific may have better songs, Oklahoma may have a standout dance sequence, but Wise's camera and editing work, combined with Julie Andrews' iconic performance, is why Sound of Music is among the classics, and why the other Rodgers and Hammerstein movie musicals won't be.
I believe there was a Robert Wise retrospective done by the Forum a few years back. But for Wise's films from West Side Story through Star Trek The Motion Picture, I think the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center is the only revival house who can do them justice. That still doesn't make me want to run to see Star (Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence?), but I don't see the Forum or any other screening room pulling them off well. And now when I talk to some about great film musicals, I can no longer leap from 1964 (My Fair Lady and A Hard Day's Night) to 1972 (Cabaret). I have to acknowledge Sound of Music in 65. I'm still not doing the same for "Oliver!". Not at this time anyway.
Anyway, back to the list. Here we go:
JAWS- Thurs Mar 27 at 8- at the Ziegfeld for 8 dollars- I mentioned this in the last post, so I won't repeat myself except in one respect. A reminder for those who haven't seen it that this is the last night. If you've never seen it, this is the time and place to go. Seeing this on TV isn't the same, people.
PLANET OF THE APES- Fri Mar 28, Sat Mar 29, and Tues Apr 1- Thurs Apr 3 at 2, 5 and 8- at the Ziegfeld for 8 dollars- A new 35mm print for the 40th anniversary. For those of you who lived and where consciously aware in New York at least through the mid 80s, have a memory of Ch. 7's The 4:30 Movie, with that theme and those graphics that were fun but a little dated by 1978. When they did Planet of the Apes week, I was there BA-BY! The first film chopped into 2 edited parts, followed by 3 of the sequels. Now I'm not asking you to see the sequels, and God knows I don't want to get near the Tim Burton remake. I'm just pushing the original. A hit in its day, that a surprising number of critics ripped apart back then. Many of them had to do mea culpas weeks and years after.
3 astronauts land in a strange place, filled with talking apes, and human slaves who are mute. 3 astronauts go down to one. The one being Charlton Heston, who, after going through many trials, begins to kick ass. Until the ending, the kind that makes M. Night seem like a weakling. There, the story told in a nutshell.
Basically, its an enjoyable action/sci-fi/drama with satirical moments. A number of screenwriters contributed to this adaptation to Pierre Boulle's novel, including Rod Serling and Michael Wilson, who previously adapted Boulle's The Bridge on the River Kwai. Wilson is credited with the tribunal scene that was a cross between the Scopes Monkey trial and a Communist witch hunt hearing, the kind that had Wilson blacklisted for years. Serling is credited with the ending, one that Boulle apparently preferred to his own.
With the most unique hero in film in Heston's Taylor. A man with no hope, no faith, and a complete asshole. And yet, he becomes more naive and more hopeful as the film goes on, while still being an asshole. And he still kicks ass. Not like in the second film, when he blows up the entire planet, but close.
Of course this doesn't work unless you buy the monkey makeup, which didn't work if the cast didn't take fellow cast mate Roddy McDowall's suggestion to add the occasional tic, blink and anything else they could think of, to not rely on just the mask to show character. 2 Oscar nominations, and a special Oscar for the makeup. Granted, this was a year when the ape makeup work for 2001 went completely ignored. I guess because the Academy believed everyone in the Dawn of Man sequences were really apes. Anyway, a fun time for all of us who catch it.
A BOY AND HIS DOG- Fri Mar 28 and Sat Mar 29 at Midnight- Landmark Sunshine Cinema- E. Houston bet. 1st and 2nd Ave.- Here's a fun, god awful piece of crap, midnight movie for you all. A 1975 cult flick set in the U.S., sometime after World War 4. Don Johnson, practically a baby back then, tries to survive in this world with his genius dog, who he either has a telepathic link with or talks to or I don't remember what crap they came up with. Then he meets a hot chick and then end up in some underground world where the old ways are maintained, and all the adults are wearing blush. Jason Robards plays the film in a dead drunk. Years afterward, when he was sober and was working with Johnson on a TV remake of The Long Hot Summer, he was surprised to learn he worked with Don before. And then stunned to see this film, where he looked like a cross between a geisha and the farmer from the American Gothic painting.
THE KILLING- Sun Mar 30 at 6 and Mon Mar 31 at 10:30- Film Forum- Part of a retrospective of the best films ever made and/or distributed by United Artists. Before Tarantino was making crime films that twisted the timeline back and forth, Stanley Kubrick made this film noir very early in his career. A film that made his reputation forever more. Kubrick adapted the novel "Clean Break", with additional dialogue from pulp author Jim Thompson. Sterling Hayden is the leader of a group robbing a race track. Of course, things go wrong, with a memorable ending. Among the standout performances, take note of Elisha Cook Jr. as Sap Incarnate, and Marie Windsor as his scheming wife.
United Artists had no faith in The Killing, and threw it out there as part of a B movie double feature. But critics took notice, and so did Kirk Douglas, who desperately needed a director for Paths of Glory. A classic of the genre. The Killing is playing as part of a double feature with Paths of Glory, and if you have time for both, go for it. You'll be in film buff nirvana. But I've done Paths of Glory fairly recently, so I'm not running to that one. But it's been about 8 years since I caught The Killing, and I'd like to catch this again. And don't worry, its only 84 minutes long.
That's it for now. I expect the next list to be somewhat heavy in the Forum's UA retrospective. Must know fast if Jaws is doable. Later all.
P.S.: Found two links on You Tube that might amuse that relate. You'll probably have to cut and paste the links in order to see them. First, the 4:30 movie theme and logo that introduced and ended each airing. If there was a way to have it be what played into anyone looking into my Facebook account, I'd love it:
Second, I stumbled on this one. The CBS Friday Night Movie, introducing Planet of the Apes in what would be it's last prime time airing back in 1976. Interesting introduction, gets one interested by concentrating mostly on one scene from the movie: