Posted by Greg Ferrara on July 27, 2011
Occasionally, I hear people (very foolish people indeed) complain that a movie doesn’t have an ending. Of course, this is nonsense. Unless the film in question has an infinite running time, it has an ending. When the credits are done and the lights go up, trust me, the movie is over. Nevertheless, just a few short years ago, when No Country for Old Men (2007) was released, many of the same complaints were heard again, even if they were easily dismissed by anyone actually watching the movie with open eyes. You can even find websites with “Movies with No Endings” lists (though I won’t link to such garbage here) that find such movies troubling. In the end, literally, it’s a matter of how the viewer wants it to end, on the tonic, so to speak, but not every movie goes down that path. Now, I’m not here to provide a list of every movie like that but there are three movies I saw several times growing up that defined the non-traditional ending for me, and if I ever get around to making a feature film, all three of these will play a definite role in how I end it.
Posted by moirafinnie on September 2, 2009
Think of a montage in a classic movie. Are you picturing falling calendar pages, or swirling newspaper headlines spinning toward the camera lens, stock market crashes, the outbreak of wars or the mounting hysteria of an anonymous crowd evolving into a mob?
Perhaps we’ve seen them so many times, we are no longer conscious that these sequences in familiar movies were often composed with such artistry by unseen hands. Yet, if you are an inveterate credit reader of classic films, one of the creative individuals who developed these artful transitions had what is still an unjustly unfamiliar name to many of us.
Even if the name of Slavko Vorkapich (1894-1976) fails to ring a bell, you definitely know his work, especially if you happened to catch Wednesday evening’s broadcast of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939-Frank Capra) on TCM. In a matter of moments, a lively montage unfolded in that film, telescoping the overwhelmingly heady experience of Jimmy Stewart‘s impressions of the nation’s capitol as he went on a whirlwind travelogue of the sights, ending at one of the most moving, the Lincoln Memorial. Bursting with movement and rapid visual imagery, the sequence conveys the naive Stewart‘s ebullience, awe and sense of freedom once he eludes his handlers, (led by the inimitable froggy-voiced Eugene Pallette).
That was just one example of Vorkapich‘s remarkable ability to goose the story of just about any film using a visual shorthand blending wipes, dissolves, flip-flops, and super-impositions to summarize and punctuate events during films, especially in the period from the 1920s to the 1940s.
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