by Daniel Suddes
A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) Directed by: Jean Luc Godard. Written by: Jean Luc Godard (screenplay) and Francois Truffaut (story). Starring: Jean Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg. Oscar Count: 0
Jean Luc Godard’s Breathless is one of those films that completely rewrote what films could be. Better still, it was done without needing to be guided by some hot shot Hollywood producer. It was a completely organic work, a story that a director used to remind everyone why these little flickers of light are called “moving” pictures.
Do you remember the impact that Pulp Fiction had on the world when it was released in 1994? Breathless did the exact same thing, except, in many ways, it was more revolutionary. It pretty much popularized the use of the jump cut, and was, in many ways, the first real “indie” film. The film mostly centers on two people talking in a hotel room. The performances are mostly derivative (that’s part of the point) and the cinematography is not the best. And you know what? None of it matters. This still managed to be a better film than almost all of the Hollywood epics every produced. Continue reading
by Laurent Kelly
A Touch of Evil (1958) – Director and adapated screenplay: Orson Welles Starring: Charlston Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Dennis Weaver OSCAR COUNT (0)
The film opens with a pulsating Henry Mancini score accompanying the shot of a man’s arms placing a bomb into a car. A couple get in and drive through the hustle and bustle of the energetic town motoring past our muscular protagonist Vargas (Heston) who walks alongside the pavement with his wife girlfriend Susie (Leigh). Moments later the bomb explodes and all hell breaks loose. Continue reading
by Daniel Suddes
The Wizard of Oz (1939) Directed by: Victor Fleming (also an uncredited George Cukor, Mervin LeRoy, and King Vidor) Written by: Noel Langlely, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allen Woolfe (as well as a slew of uncredited writers including Ogdan Nash and Herman J. Mankiewicz). Based upon The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton Oscar Count 2 (Best Original Score, Best Original Song.)
The Wizard of Oz is not the greatest film of all time. However, it is one of the few films that will last forever. It has been a classic film for decades that still manages to draw enormous crowds. It has been re-released, analyzed, sequeled, and used by different cultures seeking comfort. It is also an amazing technical achievement, and created one of the most beloved Hollywood stars.
When people are talking about the good old days of Hollywood, this is usually the film that they are talking about.
Still, it is a miracle that the film exists at all. Every part of the production was mauled with difficulty. The casting was difficult (Judy Garland was far from the first choice to play Dorothy and other actors had to be replaced), many directors were called in to help with certain scenes (although only Victor Fleming is credited in the final cut), the elaborate costuming was time consuming, and the film was cut after its initial premiere. If this film were being made today, it would be pegged as some sort of disaster before its release and may not have been able to even be completed. Continue reading