Posted by davidkalat on May 18, 2013
This week TCM debuts some super-rare Harold Lloyd shorts from the early years of his career. I cannot overstate the significance of this find.
I was asked by TCM to write some material for the web site to introduce Harold Lloyd in general and some of these shorts in particular, but the specific remit of that assignment was kind of limiting, so I have a lot else to say about these films that didn’t fit into the website content. But hey—I have a blog!
Posted by Richard Harland Smith on May 17, 2013
… that guys in movies will never again wear top hats. READ MORE
Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on May 16, 2013
I’m fond of mysteries that evolve through conversation and unravel in small spaces such as Alfred Hitchcock’s ROPE (1948) and Robert Hosseins DOUBLE AGENTS (1959). The claustrophobia they evoke seems directly linked to our primal fears and primitive suspicions. One of the most interesting films in this vein is Giuseppe Tornatore’s A PURE FORMALITY aka Una Pura Formalita (1994). I recently revisited this opaque thriller after almost 20 years and was surprised by how effective it still was. Even though I was well aware of the surprise twist ending I was mesmerized from start to finish thanks to Tornatore’s deft directing choices, Pascal Quignard’s brilliant dialogue and the masterful performances etched out by two powerhouses of European cinema; Gérard Depardieu and Roman Polanski.
Posted by Greg Ferrara on May 15, 2013
The movies are now and have always been eager to please. They want you to like them, even if they’re giving you a bit of history along with the entertainment. They want you to know they have you in mind no matter what, and when I say “you,” I don’t mean whoever is watching the film at any given moment. I mean whoever is going to see the movie in the theater during its initial release. That’s the audience the movies want to please because they don’t know who the audience is going to be in 40 or 50 years so best to concentrate on the one before them right now. And that’s why period movies always give more than a passing nod to the present day and if the choice comes down to period accuracy or present day pandering, pandering will win every time.
Posted by R. Emmet Sweeney on May 14, 2013
Delmer Daves is having a moment. The Criterion Collection, the closest thing the U.S. has to a cultural gatekeeper, just released 3:10 To Yuma (1957) and Jubal (1956) on DVD and Blu-Ray, while the Anthology Film Archives in New York City is holding a mini-retrospective of rarely screened Daves titles, including Pride of the Marines (1945) and The Red House (1947). I had never delved into the director’s work because the ambivalent words of Andrew Sarris and Manny Farber were ringing in my head. Sarris thought his films had “stylistic conviction in an intellectual vacuum”, while Farber positioned Daves against the Spartan “Hawks-Wellman tradition” as “a Boys Life nature lover who intelligently half-prettifies adolescents and backwoods primitives.” While encapsulating their writing approaches, Sarris’ lucidity versus Farber’s contradictory collisions, they both convey images of shallow postcard beauty. Then I saw Daves’ extraordinary The Hanging Tree (1959, on DVD from the Warner Archive), which uses a cliffside cabin as a visual metaphor for Gary Cooper’s moral atrophy, and realized his use of landscape is far more complex than Boys Life kitsch. Eager for more, I watched five Daves films over the weekend, which revealed a sensitive director of actors drawn to tales of regeneration both spiritual and physical.
Posted by keelsetter on May 12, 2013
I wrapped up the TCM Classic Film Festival two weeks ago. It was their fourth fest and my first time there. I’ve been attending Telluride and Sundance for over 20 years, added SXSW to the roster about five years ago, and I like to check in on other film festivals too, be they local (in Denver, Estes Park, or Boulder), or outside the U.S. (ie: Vancouver, with Berlin next on my list). Every film fest has a different vibe, a different way of running things, and I’m not here to detract from any of that as I’m down with the whole idea of variety being the spice of life and I enjoy them all. I also need to be careful because, as a Morlock, I’m on the TCM dole and I realize that what I’m about to say might strike some as a conflict of interest. Still, here goes: TCM FF 2013 blew me away, and now, if anyone asks me about my favorite film festivals, I’m putting the TCM FF on the very top shelf. Most of the films I saw were on 35mm and the selection was – across the board – excellent. Every film was preceded with an introduction featuring very special guests, and not only were all the exhibition venues in dedicated film sites, some were in the best film theaters I’ve ever sat in, one even adding an award-winning organ player to an elaborate curtain show (El Capitan, I’m looking at you). Of the many films I saw at TCM FF, let me point to one particular title to illustrate the wonderfulness of it all, a mint-condition 35mm print of Tarzan Finds a Son! (Richard Thorpe, 1939), which screened at The Egyptian and was preceded by a special 45-minute presentation led by Oscar winners Craig Barron (matte painter) and Ben Burtt (sound editor and designer). READ MORE
Posted by davidkalat on May 11, 2013
Later this month, TCM is unveiling a package of Harold Lloyd films, which will include debut screenings of some rarities from the early end of his career. I was asked to contribute some material to the website to help promote and document this Lloyd festival, and in the course of fulfilling that assignment I found myself writing a lot of material that just didn’t fit the specific needs of TCM’s website, so I’ll be letting the excess Lloyd stuff spill over here to Movie Morlocks over the next several weeks.
This week concerns Safety Last, which will be screening on May 23 and is coming out imminently as a deluxe Criterion Collection Blu Ray. It is of course the film from that image comes, the most famous icon of all silent comedy:
And, as it happens, there’s a story behind that image.
Posted by Richard Harland Smith on May 10, 2013
We all know the drill: a mad killer, a disparate collection of potential victims, the first murder, then the second, a third follows, usually a fourth… and before you can say Jack Robinson the Ripper you’ve got yourself a good old fashioned stiff stack, a cadaver crop. A body count. We tend to think of the body count as an invention of the horror film, specifically the so-called slasher cycle of the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s — HALLOWEEN (1978), FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980), MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981), HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (1981), and so on — in which the whole point was to watch ‘em die, one little two little three. Though horror flicks are, for all intents and purposes, the final resting place of the cinematic body count, they were actually late to the game, with the trope crossing more genres to end there than you’d likely imagine.
Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on May 9, 2013
Today TCM in celebrating the French actor Alain Delon and showing a batch of films he appeared in so I thought I’d join in the fun and share some photos of my small but much loved personal collection of Delon memorabilia. Delon happens to be one of my favorite actors and I’ve written about him as well as some of the films he’s appeared in before so it probably won’t surprise some readers that I’ve occasionally purchased memorabilia associated with the “Ice-Cold Angel.” This odd assortment of items I’ve managed to accrue over the last 18 years or so might not be worth much to anyone but me but I thought some readers might appreciate getting a peek at a fellow film buffs budget conscious passion.
Posted by Greg Ferrara on May 8, 2013
I shouldn’t do this, I really shouldn’t. I’m leaving on a long trip today, heading out for a couple of days to retrieve my stepdaughter from college and bring her back home. What little free time I’ll have online will be mainly concerned with quick surfing, facebook notifications, e-mails and the like. So I shouldn’t write a post on the definition of cinema and open it up to a free for all conversation of ideas, questions and answers which will inevitably lead to more questions. What I should do is pick a film I love that I feel is under-seen and under-known and write that up. But I won’t. No, I’m going to write about this because it’s on my mind and next week will be too late. So there it is. Cinema. What is it?
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
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