Saturday Evening Movie Thread - 9/24/2022 [TheJamesMadison]

Fritz Lang


Fritz Lang started his career in film as a screenwriter at Ufa, the main German production company, before quickly moving into directing. Along with his then wife, Thea van Harbou, he made a series of increasingly expensive films as he met with continued success, capped with the one movie he's truly known for: Metropolis, one of the most influential films ever made. The son of a Catholic father and a Jewish mother, he watched as Nazism steadily overtook his home, including his wife who joined the Nazi Party, until his final film in Germany for more than twenty years, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse was banned by the new Nazi regime in 1933.

However, both Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels were huge admirers of Metropolis, and they didn't want to throw someone as talented as Lang in prison. Goebbels invited Lang to his office where he offered the filmmaker complete control of the German film industry, including the assertion that he could "fix" Lang's mother's status as a Jew. Lang left Germany that night (at least according to how he liked to tell the story). After a brief stint in France, he landed in Hollywood, and Hollywood was happy to welcome another celebrated filmmaker fleeing German oppression. However, it quickly became apparent that Hollywood simply had no idea what to do with him.

Fritz Lang is known for Metropolis, but the film is actually something of an aberration in his filmography. I think people in Hollywood thought they were going to get the guy who made Metropolis, which is a fine assumption. However, what they got was the guy who made Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge.

The Destiny Machine


From Destiny in 1921 to The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, Fritz Lang's films are largely about what film scholars have called the Destiny Machine. The way I interpret that is a larger force (often technological like in Metropolis but not always) grinding down on the strength of the individual. A supposed realistic view of that would typically lead to the individual losing, and most of the time, Lang's protagonists did. That could manifest in small ways, like a man losing everything and roaming the streets like a lost ghost, or it could manifest in large ways, like with an all-consuming fire.

It seems odd to say that a filmmaker's most recognizable film isn't actually indicative of who he was as a storyteller, but it happens (I asserted that about Martin Scorsese a while back). The thing about Lang is that I haven't seen a director more consumed by the idea of the apocalypse since Andrei Tarkovsky. You can see this in things as varied as M, Scarlet Street, Secret Beyond the Door, and even The Big Heat. For a specific example, Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge is the second half of a two-part film about the Germanic folklore hero Siegfried who is murdered at the end of the first part. Kriemhild is his wife, and she sets out to get vengeance upon the man, a close advisor to her brother, the king, no matter the cost. It's a tale of obsession and fire that ends with pretty much everyone dead. That's in stark contrast to Metropolis where a rebellion in a futuristic city by the underclasses gets solved with a handshake and the declaration that "The mediator between head and hands must be the heart!"

Metropolis asserts that man can come together to overcome the Destiny Machine. Almost everything else Lang made makes it clear that man is alone and it's a losing battle. It was Metropolis combined with M, his expert procedural about the search for a child killer in Berlin, that Hollywood mostly knew him for when they brough him to Los Angeles to make a movie with Spencer Tracy called Fury. They didn't realize what they had bought when they signed his contract.

Pessimism


Fury is a compromised work, mostly in that the ending ends happily rather than what it seems to be building up to: the main character burning everything down like in Kriemhild's Revenge. By every indication, it was an ending forced on Lang by the studio (along with the casting of Tracy since Lang wanted to hire a black actor to play the role of an innocent man being lynched), and it showed that from the start, Hollywood didn't know what to do with this German immigrant. After two more films that touched on themes he was obviously interested in that didn't manage to light the box office on fire (both films that the female star of Fury, Sylvia Sidney, brought him onto), he started getting assignments from his studio bosses that don't seem to make sense in retrospect.

The Return of Frank James is a sequel to Jesse James, a film made by Henry King. Western Union is effectively a John Ford film. Man Hunt is effectively a cross between an Alfred Hitchcock thriller and a plea to get America involved in the new war in Europe (released five months before the attack on Pearl Harbor). From 1936 to 1944, happy endings were almost everything Lang was delivering, almost like Hollywood was trying to force him into a genre director along the lines of Hitchcock. Instead of a filmmaker who could work across genres with a distinctive visual style who delivered crowd-pleasing entertainments (like Metropolis), Lang was more interested in using those same tools to tell stories to spoke to him. His life being colored with his half-Jewishness in 1920s and 30s Germany (which Billy Wilder said was only second to Vienna as the most antisemitic place he knew), Lang just simply didn't have that kind of outlook. In his view, evil won more often than it lost.

That was hard to accomplish under the Hays Code. Implemented in 1934, it was designed to streamline the whole censorship process in America which had, up to that point, been regional in nature, where Hollywood would have to cut movies to fit the requirements set out by places like Chicago or Mississippi but not others like New York, depending on the film and subject matter. One of the rules that the Hays Office set out was that antagonists needed to be punished and protagonists needed to win at the end. That didn't coalesce with how Lang saw the world, but he did find a workaround. It was called film noir.

Film Noir


Heavily inspired visually by German expressionists like Murnau, Pabst, and Lang himself, film noir is, as Dictionary.com describes it, "a style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The term was originally applied (by a group of French critics) to American thriller or detective films made in the period 1944-54 and to the work of directors such as Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder."

That emphasis on pessimism and fatalism worked against creators at the time because of those Hays Code mandates. The solution was to essentially rob the films of protagonists, such as in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity where both Walter Neff and Phyllis Dietrichson end up committing the murder of Phyllis's husband. Lang first toyed with this in the same year as Double Indemnity with The Woman in the Window, the story of a man getting caught up in a murder committed by a femme fatale, but it all ends up a dream. He would immerse the audience in the full potential of the genre with his next film Scarlet Street, an adaptation of the French novel La Chienne about a middle-aged man given the opportunity for the pretty girl and an escape from his hateful wife as well as a chance at artistic success when the pretty girl uses him at the behest of her pimp boyfriend. The main character ends up in a hell of his own creation in the end, and you can see how the choice of material fed both Lang's thematic obsessions and the needs of the Hays Office. The man turned bad, and he was punished for it.

The problem for Lang was that he was still a studio director. When he wasn't quite able to twist other material to fit his vision as well, he seemed to know less of what to do with them. The spy genre seemed like a particular place where he couldn't make things fit, his Cloak and Dagger matching his silent Spies as curious misses in the genre. He also dipped his toe more than once into gothic romances, mostly Secret Beyond the Door which is an obvious attempt to mimic the success of Hitchcock's Rebecca to much less effect, though House by the River functions in a similar space and does it better.

The height of his American output was The Big Heat in 1953. Based on a serial printed in The Saturday Evening Post by William McGivern, it tells the story of the intersection of corruption in the halls of power in an unnamed American city with the criminal underground (this version of the destiny machine). Anchored by a pair of great performances by Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame and helped by a strong supporting cast, most notably Lee Marvin as the hood who throws a pot of boiling coffee in Grahame's face, it's some of the best noir ever put to film, helped in no small part by the attention given to Gloria Grahame's character, Debby, making her more than a femme fatale and turning her into her own tragic figure. In the end, a blow is made against the corrupt system at the sacrifice of a good person's life. Will it fix the city? Probably not, but a blow was struck nonetheless.

And...Lang's career quickly sputtered out in America. He had four more movies in Hollywood (Marlon Brando decried the fall of Lang's career by calling his next film, Human Desire, trash, a curious assertion since it was based on an Emile Zola novel, La Bete Humaine), the last two film very obvious and cheap B-movies in terms of their budgets and billing, and he said goodbye to the American filmmaking system to return to Germany in the late 50s.

Welcome Home


Lang restarted his German film career the way he probably should have started his American career. His American career began with Fury, a serious film about a social issue told in searing style. His first film back in Germany was a two-part story set in India (The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb) with bright colors and a sense of grand adventure, a callback to such silent films as Woman in the Moon and based on a script that he and Thea van Harbou had written for the 1920 silent version directed by Joe May. It's unchallenging to the extreme, and Lang would later dismiss them as sugary confections. That they are, and they're some kinds of delightful.

He only had one more film in him, and it was the final of three movies he made about the German literary villain Dr. Mabuse, The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse. It's a return to the kinds of stories he obviously wanted to tell. It embraces the destiny machine in the use of a Nazi-era hotel built for diplomats filled with surveillance equipment that the eponymous doctor uses to gain leverage over the rich clientele. Mabuse extends as a metaphor for the German psyche as he had since the beginning of Lang's treatment of him, with the first, Dr. Mabuse, being about Germany during the Weimar Republic, and the second, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, being about Germany during the rise of Nazism, thinly veiled as the rise of the "Empire of Crime". Like Kurosawa after him, Lang was nearly blind by the end of production and stopped making movies, though he lived until 1976, 16 years after the release of his final film.

Legacy


Fritz Lang's legacy will always be first and foremost Metropolis followed by his help in creating the film noir genre. I just find it interesting that the two are diametrically opposed to each other. Metropolis is optimistic while film noir is naturally not. Lang's heart was in the pessimistic, though. Probably colored by the inside view of Germany falling to Nazism, his best work reflected a certain apocalyptic view of the world, where everything was going to burn. That prevented him from working naturally in Hollywood during the 30s, 40s, and 50s where rosier endings were all but mandated. He mimicked Alfred Hitchcock more than once, and I think Hollywood was hoping for another master of suspense from their European imports.

It wasn't to be, though. Lang's predilections just didn't gel with the needs of mass entertainment. He had successes, for sure. He wasn't like John Carpenter, meeting almost nothing but financial failure, but Lang was never able to make Hollywood his playground. His voice got muted in Hollywood, to a degree, but he kept on in a professional manner, putting out roughly a film a year for the entire two decades he was there.

Still, M is the blueprint for how to make a serial killer movie. He helped create film noir. Metropolis continues to be referenced explicitly to this day. Christopher Nolan modeled his version of the Joker on Dr. Mabuse, specifically his ideology as presented in The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. He made one of the first spy movies. He's had an incredible effect on film, especially popular film, despite the fact that most of his career felt like he was operating under someone else's thumb.

Movies of Today

Opening in Theaters:

Don't Worry Darling

Movies I Saw This Fortnight:

The Big Heat (Rating 4/4) Full Review "It's Fritz Lang's best American movie, the best combination of the kind of movie he wanted to make and the kind of movie Hollywood would let him make." [Archive.org]

House by the River (Rating 3/4) Full Review "It's Lang using his camera to tell a racy story (as Mrs. Ambrose describes the tastes of the masses that Stephen should be appealing to in his novels) to entertain and nothing more. In that, he succeeds." [Roku]

Rancho Notorious (Rating 3/4) Full Review "It's standard and does it well, but it could have been more." [Plex]

Human Desire (Rating 3.5/4) Full Review "She's the cornerstone on which the film is built, and I think she's a very strong cornerstone. The rest of the film shines because of her." [Youtube]

Moonfleet (Rating 2/4) Full Review "I really don't see what Cahiers du Cinema saw in this. Its second half is better than its first, but it culminates in a mostly lackluster overall experience that doesn't excite all that much, which is not a great thing to say about a boy's adventure movie." [Library]

The Indian Tomb (Rating 3/4) Full Review "It's not even Lang's best adventure movie (that would be Woman in the Moon), but The Indian Temple, both as a standalone feature and second half to a two-part film, is an entertaining romp through a boys adventure novel version of India as envisioned in the 1910s and made in the late 1950s." [FreeVee]

The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (Rating 3/4) Full Review "As Fritz Lang's final film, it feels very appropriate as a reflection of his work as a whole." [[Youtube]

Dracula (Rating 3/4) Full Review "Dracula is a fun start to the classic Universal horror monsters. It's not deep or really scary, but it has a surprise focus on Renfield that works and a wonderful visual sense." [Personal Collection]

Contact

Email any suggestions or questions to thejamesmadison.aos at symbol gmail dot com.
I've also archived all the old posts here, by request. I'll add new posts a week after they originally post at the HQ.

The next post I am responsible for will be a guest post by our very own Mary Poppin's Practically Perfect Piercing about the F.W. Murnau silent horror film Nosferatu, a seminal work of both the silent age and the horror genre. Expect it on October 15.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:30 PM




Comments

(Jump to bottom of page)

1 Popcorn time

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 07:31 PM (xhxe8)

2 and a soda

Posted by: Ciampino at September 24, 2022 07:31 PM (qfLjt)

3 Going back to read the thread.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 07:33 PM (qH6FZ)

4 I nooded.

Posted by: April--dash my lace wigs! at September 24, 2022 07:34 PM (OX9vb)

5 Inexplicably, it looks like Don't Worry Darling is going to be number one at the box office and it's going to beat the re-release of Avatar by a healthy margin and relegate The Woman King the dustbin of history.


Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 07:40 PM (up/3i)

6 Fritz Lang's error was in failing to recognize the insatiable American appetite for films centered around abrasive girlboss wimmenz who don't need no man.

Posted by: Cicero (@cicero43) at September 24, 2022 07:41 PM (kWfhJ)

7 Well I nodded in a roundabout way granted, but what else would that mean?

Anyway not sure seen any but Metropolis but read the entire content. I like Film Noir

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 07:41 PM (xhxe8)

8 7 Anyway not sure seen any but Metropolis but read the entire content. I like Film Noir
Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 07:41 PM (xhxe

========

You must watch The Big Heat.

https://tinyurl.com/2p9fee86

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 07:42 PM (LvTSG)

9 Tonight's Movie Roulette selection:

Wayne's World

A *very* dated movie...But notable in that my cat Allie curled up with me on my futon. First time she's done that and it was adorable.

Next up in the queue is Phantasm IV: Oblivion, which I'll probably watch next weekend to kick off October...

Posted by: "Perfessor" Squirrel at September 24, 2022 07:42 PM (K5n5d)

10 "He wasn't like John Carpenter, meeting almost nothing but financial failure, but Lang was never able to make Hollywood his playground."


I thought Carpenter did alright money wise?

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 07:43 PM (qH6FZ)

11 What I want to know is, were nonbinary transsexual POCs appropriately represented in Fritz Lang's movies?

Posted by: Cicero (@cicero43) at September 24, 2022 07:45 PM (kWfhJ)

12 10 I thought Carpenter did alright money wise?
Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 07:43 PM (qH6FZ)

=========

He had one movie that could be called a real financial success: Halloween. Second best was Escape from LA, which was a flop. Then it was Starman, which made money considering its small budget, but that was it.

Lang worked better with producers, it seems, which helped stave off his need to find independent financing for a couple of decades. Giant ass to his actors, though.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 07:45 PM (LvTSG)

13 One of the videos from this channel showed up in my suggested. Pretty neat.

https://tinyurl.com/ydbpkek6

Posted by: Aetius451AD at September 24, 2022 07:46 PM (dNqv+)

14 What movie is under the film Noir heading ?

Posted by: runner at September 24, 2022 07:48 PM (V13WU)

15 9 Tonight's Movie Roulette selection:

Next up in the queue is Phantasm IV: Oblivion, which I'll probably watch next weekend to kick off October...
Posted by: "Perfessor" Squirrel at September 24, 2022 07:42 PM (K5n5d)

As I mentioned on some of the week's threads, I gave in and watched Morbius for my son and for the horde, so you don't have to.

Decent start, and inexplicably one of the worst plots and editing I've ever seen for the last hour of the movie. It gets a D-, tying my Thor grade (since the beginning was more watchable while the end was much worse...and the after credits - what on Earth?).

2022 is a bad year for supers movies. Thor 4 and Morbius are D-, Superpets is a C...and Dr Strange 2 I avoided so far. Only Batman (and Minions 2) were worthwhile for the genre.

Posted by: Nova local at September 24, 2022 07:48 PM (exHjb)

16 That's Glenn Ford , right ?

Posted by: runner at September 24, 2022 07:48 PM (V13WU)

17 Very nice write-up , TJM. Well done!

Posted by: runner at September 24, 2022 07:49 PM (V13WU)

18 14 What movie is under the film Noir heading ?
Posted by: runner at September 24, 2022 07:48 PM (V13WU)

=========

It's probably The Big Heat. I'm 95% sure.

The other 5% says Human Desire.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 07:51 PM (LvTSG)

19 And thus the premise in "Inglorious Bastards" is come to life.

Posted by: Ben Had at September 24, 2022 07:52 PM (GG0QO)

20 Next up in the queue is Phantasm IV: Oblivion, which I'll probably watch next weekend to kick off October...
Posted by: "Perfessor" Squirrel at September 24, 2022 07:42 PM (K5n5d)

Can I admit that I've never head of Phantasm IV, let alone Phantasm I, II, and III.

It's also like admitting when my kids did Gothic fiction a few years ago, we watched the classic Frankenstein and Dracula (aka the one listed above), and while the Frankenstein movie is clear in my head and compelling, I can't remember practically anything from Dracula...while I remember liking Frankenstein more, it seems my brain literally just deemed Dracula lesser and purged the whole thing from memory...

Posted by: Nova local at September 24, 2022 07:53 PM (exHjb)

21 I can see why it would be difficult not to feel apocalyptic after living through the rise of Nazi germany.

Posted by: runner at September 24, 2022 07:53 PM (V13WU)

22 hiya

Posted by: JT at September 24, 2022 07:54 PM (T4tVD)

23 At least Gloria Grahame got to serve Lee Marvin his own pot of coffee.

Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 07:54 PM (63Dwl)

24 Hiya James Monroe !

Posted by: JT at September 24, 2022 07:55 PM (T4tVD)

25 Ben Had, I kinda like Inglorious Bastards.

Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 07:55 PM (0OP+5)

26 Not really an appreciator of silent film, however, one of the best films of the genre was, The Artist, which was amazing, when George Valintin utters the words, "With Pleasure" when the director asks him to do another take of the ending dance scene, it's the perfect CODA to the entire silent movie experience.

Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 07:55 PM (up/3i)

27 It takes a man of vision perhaps X-ray vision to need eyepatches AND blind glasses...

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 07:58 PM (Lzpvj)

28 26 Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 07:55 PM (up/3i)

I think silent film has its place, I do appreciate slapstick more without inane laugh tracks.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 07:59 PM (Lzpvj)

29 Eromero, I do too. Have it on DVD and revisit it often.
Tarantino found a thread and pulled it into a perfectly cast hit.

Posted by: Ben Had at September 24, 2022 07:59 PM (GG0QO)

30 I remember Phantasm seeing it at movies, quite possibly in base theater in late 70s

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 08:00 PM (xhxe8)

31 So it seems "in a massive M Night Shsamalamadingdong twist CornPop was the good dude protecting kids from a creep" has gone mainstream...

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:01 PM (Lzpvj)

32 @28

>>I think silent film has its place, I do appreciate slapstick more without inane laugh tracks.

Indeed, my big hangup with most silent films is the unfortunately necessary overacting that's required to convey the action and intent of the story.

It's just not quite my tempo.

Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 08:03 PM (up/3i)

33 Pale Rider just started. Haven't seen it for ages.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:04 PM (6/K6X)

34 I only offer 31 in the spirit of movie criticism...which is to say that the underlying hypothesis or gamble this century seems to be there is literally no limit to the embrace of competing narratives.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:04 PM (Lzpvj)

35 I know many cineastes despise the Hays Code. On the contrary I believe it is single-handedly responsible for the enormous popularity and dominance of the American film industry throughout its heyday (late '30s to the late '50s). It also saved the American culture from turning as dark as Europe's, which we see starting to happen after the fall of the Hays Code in the late '60s, before the brief revival of American culture ushered in by the optimism exuded by Ronald Reagan in the '80s, before the darkness of negativity reasserted itself in this century, placing our culture in a stranglehold from which it has yet to extricate itself.

Posted by: Rusty Trawler at September 24, 2022 08:05 PM (1gif2)

36 30 I remember Phantasm seeing it at movies, quite possibly in base theater in late 70s
Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 08:00 PM (xhxe

-----------

I had an Angus Scrimm coffee cup.

Posted by: Cicero (@cicero43) at September 24, 2022 08:05 PM (kWfhJ)

37 32 Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 08:03 PM (up/3i)

Eh it was what separated the era greats form the also rans.

Chaplin understood precisely how much acting was needed post his early stuff, and Keaton got a lot done with just his eyes.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:06 PM (Lzpvj)

38 35 Posted by: Rusty Trawler at September 24, 2022 08:05 PM (1gif2)

The Hays code definitely required decent writing, the further we get from standards the more shit disguised as swirl milkshakes we get story wise.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:07 PM (Lzpvj)

39 I agree that Dracula was not very scary but it had tremendous atmosphere and it was well acted. The book is tough to bring to the screen because its basically a journalist's dispatches about a series of very odd events. Great device for a book, less so for a movie.

I've only seen M all the way through of all the Lang films listed, and its a freaking masterpiece.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:07 PM (Ivdso)

40 32 Indeed, my big hangup with most silent films is the unfortunately necessary overacting that's required to convey the action and intent of the story.

It's just not quite my tempo.
Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 08:03 PM (up/3i)

===========

Lang had his directors go in both extremes depending on the movie. Something like Metropolis is a big, expensive melodrama, so it is complete with the clutching of chests.

Die Nibelungen: Siegfried is a fantasy adventure and does it as well. Die Nibelungen: Kriemheld's Revenge, though the sequel, has a central performance by Margarete Schön that's all just below the surface. The exterior is thinly cool, but there's rage and obsession in her eyes.

I've been watching some Josef von Sternberg movies recently, and his silent films are that kind as well. Naturalistic performances through and through. It really depends on the particular movie. They didn't invent naturalistic acting with sound.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:07 PM (LvTSG)

41 I was scrolling down what I thought was TJM top ten Lang films, realized he was doing his top 40 countdown.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 08:08 PM (qH6FZ)

42 33 Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:04 PM (6/K6X)

coincidence of coincidences we watched pale rider two nights ago...

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:08 PM (Lzpvj)

43 At least in beginning getting to England we went to base movies a lot, practically every weekend and seem to remember lots of horror movies at late to midnight.

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 08:09 PM (xhxe8)

44 35 I know many cineastes despise the Hays Code. On the contrary I believe it is single-handedly responsible for the enormous popularity and dominance of the American film industry throughout its heyday (late '30s to the late '50s). It also saved the American culture from turning as dark as Europe's, which we see starting to happen after the fall of the Hays Code in the late '60s, before the brief revival of American culture ushered in by the optimism exuded by Ronald Reagan in the '80s, before the darkness of negativity reasserted itself in this century, placing our culture in a stranglehold from which it has yet to extricate itself.
Posted by: Rusty Trawler at September 24, 2022 08:05 PM (1gif2)

=========

What's funny is that the people who thrived challenging conventions under the Hays Code saw their careers collapse after the fall of the Hays Code. When it was outre to be risque but not vulgar, you had an audience that could appreciate it. When the vulgar became the norm, the risque became old fashioned.

This is what happened to Billy Wilder.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:09 PM (LvTSG)

45 Father Knows Best TV star was in an excellent pre war movie about 1/2 a family gone nazi. Creepy.

Posted by: humphreyrobot at September 24, 2022 08:09 PM (MMBW8)

46 Didn't they redo Metropolis with a Queen soundtrack?

Posted by: Joe Biteum at September 24, 2022 08:09 PM (sn5EN)

47 Lang, clearly, understood nothing about American optimism.

Posted by: Chatterbox Mouse at September 24, 2022 08:10 PM (C1rbv)

48 41 I was scrolling down what I thought was TJM top ten Lang films, realized he was doing his top 40 countdown.
Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 08:08 PM (qH6FZ)

=========

"Bring me Lang's movies."

"All of them?"

"EVERY ONE!!!!"

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:10 PM (LvTSG)

49 39 I agree that Dracula was not very scary but it had tremendous atmosphere and it was well acted. The book is tough to bring to the screen because its basically a journalist's dispatches about a series of very odd events. Great device for a book, less so for a movie.

I've only seen M all the way through of all the Lang films listed, and its a freaking masterpiece.
Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:07 PM (Ivdso)

I admit, my thoughts may have been the let down. After Frankenstein was fantastic, you think the famous Dracula had to be better...and it isn't.

And I did watch the non-censored version of Frankenstein - it was useful to teach the kids that movie censoring/scene cuts aren't just a modern day thing...

Posted by: Nova local at September 24, 2022 08:10 PM (exHjb)

50 49 And I did watch the non-censored version of Frankenstein - it was useful to teach the kids that movie censoring/scene cuts aren't just a modern day thing...
Posted by: Nova local at September 24, 2022 08:10 PM (exHjb)

==========

The Hays Code censoring pre-Code movies is the worst thing on Earth. Modern Hollywood censoring pre-woke movies is a purely motivated act of altruism.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:11 PM (LvTSG)

51 There is a colorized version of the Metropolis Whore of Babylon scene on youtube.

Amazing.

Posted by: Regular joe at September 24, 2022 08:12 PM (nnp+f)

52 I know many cineastes despise the Hays Code. On the contrary I believe it is single-handedly responsible for the enormous popularity and dominance of the American film industry throughout its heyday

I am an illustrator and writer, and I'll say this: artists work better under restrictions and limits than totally free. You an take that way too far, but you get better stuff from an artistic type when you tell us some stuff we cannot do than just giving them carte blanche.

The thing is, those limitations have to be on stuff that artists use as cheap tricks to get emotional impact: nudity, swearing, violence, etc. Tell an artistic type that they cannot use shortcuts or be gross, and you force them to come up with a better, more clever or meaningful way to make the same point.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:12 PM (Ivdso)

53 50 Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:11 PM (LvTSG)

as a confirmed history nut allow me to reiterate....leave the past and shit alone.

//The preceding was a public service announcement from Sven J Olafson.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:13 PM (Lzpvj)

54

There was a remake of M in 1951

www.imdb.com/title/tt0043766

Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 08:13 PM (63Dwl)

55 TJM how do you get these movies like this Lang series?
DVD, on line streaming? Other?

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 08:14 PM (xhxe8)

56 I admit, my thoughts may have been the let down. After Frankenstein was fantastic, you think the famous Dracula had to be better...and it isn't.

Probably part of that is the topic.

Vamires are really played, you have to do something super fresh or shocking to make vampires interesting now. Back then they were shocking and new.

Frankenstein, however, is a really fresh take on a zombie movie, even now, and it tests a lot of moral limits and concepts that are still not clearly easy to work out. You end up feeling sympathetic toward the monster, who is yet a monster.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:14 PM (Ivdso)

57 @40

>>Metropolis is a big, expensive melodrama, so it is complete with the clutching of chests.

Metropolis is like watching sheer lunacy captured on celluloid.

I bet a re-make and re-imagining by Terry Gillium or Guillermo Del Toro would be neat.

Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 08:14 PM (up/3i)

58 Mel Brooks made Silent Movie in 1976, "the Artist " was made in 2011. Lots of directors and screenwriters riffed on no dialogue for awhile scripts.

Posted by: Ben Had at September 24, 2022 08:15 PM (GG0QO)

59 55 TJM how do you get these movies like this Lang series?
DVD, on line streaming? Other?
Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 08:14 PM (xhxe

===========

Anyway I can.

My mother bought me the Kino set of Lang's silent films, so that got me through Woman in the Moon. I'm pretty sure you can just search for each entry online and find them at places like Youtube or DailyMotion.

I also use JustWatch.com as a resource to find more legal ways these things are available. I own a few random other entries (M, Woman in the Window, Fury), but it's mostly just using Internet sources and the occasional DVD at my library.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:16 PM (LvTSG)

60 56 Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:14 PM (Ivdso)

The problem with Vampires in the modern era is the "angst" bullshit.

Vampires do not feel angst they are apex predators who pick on the daylight apex predators for fun and a mental exercise like old ladies and sudoku.

When you are young you aspire to vampirism sexy, fast and elegant, in middle age you settle for being a werewolf feral, muscular and predatory, and in your twilight you accept you are a zombie getting by on willpower fear and rage.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:16 PM (Lzpvj)

61 There was a remake of M in 1951

What fool tried that??

Joseph Losey, not familiar with him. I cannot imagine eve trying that. its like me trying to re-write Conan.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:17 PM (Ivdso)

62 57 I bet a re-make and re-imagining by Terry Gillium or Guillermo Del Toro would be neat.
Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 08:14 PM (up/3i)

=========

Gilliam did his version with Brazil.

That's the problem with having a hugely influential movie. The question from an artist's point of view (beyond why do I want to remake something instead of make my own?) is, "I already did that with x."

Dark City, Blade Runner. It's like asking Paul Schrader to remake The Searchers. It's called Hardcore.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:17 PM (LvTSG)

63 Humphrey is back with what appears to be a new algorithm.

"Gargoyles" is on Svengoolie. It's no Lang, but it does have sideboob.

Posted by: fd at September 24, 2022 08:18 PM (sn5EN)

64 Probably part of that is the topic.

Vamires are really played, you have to do something super fresh or shocking to make vampires interesting now. Back then they were shocking and new.

Frankenstein, however, is a really fresh take on a zombie movie, even now, and it tests a lot of moral limits and concepts that are still not clearly easy to work out. You end up feeling sympathetic toward the monster, who is yet a monster.
Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:14 PM (Ivdso)

That's probably all true...

For Lit class, since we're in Russian Lit year, we'll have the 1949 version of Inspector General coming up on this year's watch list. Unfortunately, it seems to take a lot of liberties from the play (which having just read it again - damn is Gogol a modern playwright trapped in a 19th century body)...but hopefully, it will still be worth the watch...

Posted by: Nova local at September 24, 2022 08:18 PM (exHjb)

65 I saw M couple years ago on TCM

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 08:18 PM (xhxe8)

66 Skip, quick check of YouTube and they seem to have a lot of them. I might have to check out "M" some night, You Tube has it.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 08:18 PM (qH6FZ)

67 Of the big three silent stars, Chaplain strikes me as the least of them. I favor Lloyd personally but I think ol' stoneface was the most gifted and talented of them all.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:20 PM (Ivdso)

68 It's funny getting the question about how I catch all these movies because I'm going through a list right now trying to figure out where to find them.

It's Ernst Lubitsch's movies. If I do it, it'll be sometime next year, but I just wanted to make sure finding at least most of his non-lost stuff is possible.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:20 PM (LvTSG)

69 Some years ago always seem to find out about movies, mostly foreign, that were impossible to get except renting DVDs by mail, never did it.

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 08:20 PM (xhxe8)

70 Nothing good on TCM tonight. Jaws.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:21 PM (6/K6X)

71 Okay, off to watch a movie so I can check back in next week with more reviews. Thanks so much for the thread - it always inspires me to actually watch another movie each week!

Posted by: Nova local at September 24, 2022 08:21 PM (exHjb)

72 Opps, AMC. TCM seems to have old scifi.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:22 PM (6/K6X)

73 I'm not a film buff so I never know who directed what or produced that. Even who acted is sometimes lost in my memory unless it's a memorable film. Anyway something I wanted to mention. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea - James Mason and Kirk Douglas, had no women in it. Amazing.

Posted by: Ciampino at September 24, 2022 08:22 PM (qfLjt)

74 TMC is not the same since Robert Osborn died.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:23 PM (Ivdso)

75 67 Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:20 PM (Ivdso)

Chaplin was the only one who bridged well.

I think as a comic keaton was better, and as a human being Lloyd and Keaton were both giants compared to Chaplin.

Keaton like Houdini was damn near a superhuman.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:23 PM (Lzpvj)

76 Just got a DVD of Catch-22 in the mail. Gonna watch it tonight.

Forgot that Bob Newhart was in it.

Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:23 PM (x8Wzq)

77 Regukar Joe, i was just going to reference that! What amazes me is that in the very first use of humanized robots in film history, of Course the centerpiece is a sezmx crazed fembot, sent to drive men to their doom!

Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 08:23 PM (r46W7)

78 77 Regukar Joe, i was just going to reference that! What amazes me is that in the very first use of humanized robots in film history, of Course the centerpiece is a sezmx crazed fembot, sent to drive men to their doom!
Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 08:23 PM (r46W7)

==========

Lang was really suspicious of technology. He saw it as largely dehumanizing.

His last film (made in Germany), The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, is about the surveillance state, essentially.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:24 PM (LvTSG)

79 76 Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:23 PM (x8Wzq)

The modern remake was not horrid.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:25 PM (Lzpvj)

80 So, a Catholic marries a Jew. Did he get permission from his Bishop? Did she agree to raise the children Catholic?

Sounds like a man that was tormented by his own decisions.

Posted by: Chatterbox Mouse at September 24, 2022 08:26 PM (C1rbv)

81 I argue that Rotwang, in Metropolis, is the archetype for EVERY Mad Scientist character in film that followed. The key to him is realizing that A) he truly is the most brilliant man alive, and B) he doesnt want to tak..e over, he just wants to destroy EVERYTHING . Because he is insane.

Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 08:26 PM (r46W7)

82 Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:23 PM (x8Wzq)

The modern remake was not horrid.
Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:25 PM (Lzpvj)

Eh. Big Alan Arkin fan. Told my wife to make sure it was the Arkin version.

Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:26 PM (x8Wzq)

83
TMC is not the same since Robert Osborn died.
Posted by: Christopher R Taylor


I don't remember him ever whining about the "blacklist."

Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 08:28 PM (63Dwl)

84 82 Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:26 PM (x8Wzq)

His turn as Clouseau was so painful it is a warcrime to force people to watch.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:28 PM (Lzpvj)

85 64
Frankenstein, however, is a really fresh take on a zombie movie, even now, and it tests a lot of moral limits and concepts that are still not clearly easy to work out. You end up feeling sympathetic toward the monster, who is yet a monster.
Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:14 PM (Ivdso)
----
In 1974 Cambridge MA I got talked into accompanying a friend to see Andy Warhol's Frankenstein. Terrible even with lots of nudity.
(It was a double feature with another pron movie called White Trash, even worse.)
Anyone else seen it?

Posted by: Ciampino at September 24, 2022 08:28 PM (qfLjt)

86 @62

>>Gilliam did his version with Brazil.

Yeah, but Brazil is tame and subdued compared to Metropolis and I've seen Metropolis already, there is nothing on earth that would make sit through it again.

I bet the snake dance scene in From Dusk To Dawn was inspired by the dance scene in Metropolis.

Hmm, on second thought, I might have to re-evaluate my opinion of Metropolis.

Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 08:29 PM (up/3i)

87 Anyone tell Nurse Ratched that she's dead?

I don't want to be the one to tell her.

Funnily enough, my brother's wife is an RN at a VA hospital, and that's her nickname too. Guess there's a lot of mean nurse out there.

Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:29 PM (x8Wzq)

88 Lang was really suspicious of technology. He saw it as largely dehumanizing.

He's not entirely wrong. Technology is an amplifier, for good or evil. You can kill one man with a sword, dozens with a gun, and millions with a bomb. Its the same act of evil but amplified by the tools at hand.

Pushed too far or abused, technology definitely does begin to strip away the humanity of someone. Just look at what social media has done to human interaction and society.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:30 PM (Ivdso)

89 Note that Peter Lorre 's performance in M was perfect, probably the best (and creepiest) pf his career.

Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 08:31 PM (r46W7)

90 Looks like we exhausted the Fritz Lang discussion, any new movies worth watching? I bought "My Son Hunter" and tried to watch it, it sucked, still haven't finished it.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 08:31 PM (qH6FZ)

91 I started watching "Mu Son Hunter". needt to finish it. has potential.

Posted by: runner at September 24, 2022 08:34 PM (V13WU)

92
Anyone tell Nurse Ratched that she's dead?
I don't want to be the one to tell her.


She's writing her otterbiography.

Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 08:34 PM (63Dwl)

93 The last good newish movie I've seen was The King's Speech. There may have been other good movies but I didn't see them.

The Highwaymen was a great movie, but it was only on Netflix so I'm not sure it counts. I have not darkened a theater door for like 5 years.

Anyone else seen it?

I have only heard of it, not seen it.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:35 PM (Ivdso)

94 Pushed too far or abused, technology definitely does begin to strip away the humanity of someone. Just look at what social media has done to human interaction and society.
Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:30 PM (Ivdso)

Back in the day, a bully knocked you over, or dumped your books, or challenged you to a fight after school. now it's public shaming on the interwebs. There has always been that animalistic element to human beings. Doesn't take much for humans to go totally ape-shit and beat people with rocks. Social media makes it all the more prominent.

Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:35 PM (x8Wzq)

95 Pushed too far or abused, technology definitely does begin to strip away the humanity of someone. Just look at what social media has done to human interaction and society.
Posted by: Christopher R Taylor

People think I'm weird since I don't do Faceplant or any social media.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:37 PM (6/K6X)

96 94 Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:35 PM (x8Wzq)

The problem is a generation has grown up with the risk free cupidity only social media allows....

you ran your mouth too much in my childhood you would eventually pay a price...the same fuckers today get feted.

Posted by: sven at September 24, 2022 08:38 PM (Lzpvj)

97 The big heat's comin' down!

Posted by: Texican ette at September 24, 2022 08:38 PM (JCecY)

98 The Highwaymen was a great movie, but it was only on Netflix so I'm not sure it counts. I have not darkened a theater door for like 5 years.
Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:35 PM (Ivdso)

It counts, I would guess most movie viewing is done through streaming now. Last movie I saw in the theater was "Dunkirk", I fell asleep.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 08:39 PM (qH6FZ)

99 People think I'm weird since I don't do Faceplant or any social media.
Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:37 PM (6/K6X)

Pretty much everyone at my office is on Facetwat and boogerhook and whatnot. They think I'm weird for not doing that.

Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:39 PM (x8Wzq)

100 Watch Nurse Ratchet's Oscar exceptance speech. A breath of old Hollywood. Jack Nicholson in the audience wearing shades.

"I don't make movies," Jack said once. "I make classics."

Posted by: Regular joe at September 24, 2022 08:41 PM (nnp+f)

101 95
People think I'm weird since I don't do Faceplant or any social media.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:37 PM (6/K6X)
----
I don't either. I have a FB account from my employment days as it was a sort of requirement, but I never used it. Used it once recently to track an old schoolmate from Africa. I don't use Twatter except to READ others' posts such as Ace links to the Cafe.

Posted by: Ciampino at September 24, 2022 08:41 PM (qfLjt)

102 Social Media in less than a decade has reversed thousands of years of development of how to behave in public and how to treat strangers.

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:41 PM (Ivdso)

103 People think I'm weird since I don't do Faceplant or any social media.
Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:37 PM (6/K6X)

Social media? You're soaking in it.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 08:42 PM (qH6FZ)

104 I think the last movie I saw in a theater was Flags of Our Fathers. Went with a friend who died a few years later of the dreaded C.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:43 PM (6/K6X)

105 Wife and I like the Kingsmen movies more than we thought we would. She's got a yuge crush on Colin Firth. She has the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice memorized.

I memorized Lizzie's bewbs.

Anyhoo, pretty fun movies.

Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:44 PM (x8Wzq)

106 Went with a friend who died a few years later of the dreaded C.

So you're saying that Clint Eastwood gives people cancer?

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:45 PM (Ivdso)

107 106 Went with a friend who died a few years later of the dreaded C.

So you're saying that Clint Eastwood gives people cancer?
Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at September 24, 2022 08:45 PM (Ivdso)

==========

15:13 to Paris turned me into a newt!

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:45 PM (LvTSG)

108 lol.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 08:45 PM (6/K6X)

109 Thanks for the reminder, TJM -- there's a bunch of Lang I either haven't seen at all or haven't seen in so long I need to revisit 'em. (The first one I saw was on the tube when I was in high school mid-60s -- Beyond a Reasonable Doubt with Dana Andrews and Joan Fontaine.)

Posted by: Just Some Guy at September 24, 2022 08:46 PM (a/4+U)

110 109 Thanks for the reminder, TJM -- there's a bunch of Lang I either haven't seen at all or haven't seen in so long I need to revisit 'em. (The first one I saw was on the tube when I was in high school mid-60s -- Beyond a Reasonable Doubt with Dana Andrews and Joan Fontaine.)
Posted by: Just Some Guy at September 24, 2022 08:46 PM (a/4+U)

=========

Not his best work. It's twisty and turny, especially in the end, and it plays an effective trick on the audience by thinking it's going to be a serious film about the death penalty while subverting those expectations. But the finale just twists and turns too much too quickly so that nothing really lands emotionally or feels like it matters.

It was also Lang's last American film, a B picture with no budget and something of a dud of a main actor (I'm not exactly a Dana Andrews fan).

Human Desire was his last American film really worthwhile, and it's really underappreciated.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:48 PM (LvTSG)

111 My recollection, poor as it is, is that a lot of emigre directors kind of assembled a team that they worked with from film to film, since they knew they could get the results they wanted. Did Lang do this? I don't recall anyone (other than Von Harbou) that he worked with regularly.

Posted by: BeckoningChasm at September 24, 2022 08:49 PM (m0zqP)

112 @105

>>Anyhoo, pretty fun movies.

And the amazing thing is that PnP PBS version is nearly 30 years old and that people like your wife and my wife watch and rewatch it is because nothing of it's quality has been made in 30 years.

Don't get me started on the Kiera Knightly abomination of PnP and that was made almost 20 years ago.

Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 08:49 PM (up/3i)

113 111 My recollection, poor as it is, is that a lot of emigre directors kind of assembled a team that they worked with from film to film, since they knew they could get the results they wanted. Did Lang do this? I don't recall anyone (other than Von Harbou) that he worked with regularly.
Posted by: BeckoningChasm at September 24, 2022 08:49 PM (m0zqP)

==========

Nope. Once he got to America, he was working with a rotating cast and crew. I think across his last 8 American movies he didn't work with the same cinematographer twice. His recurring relationships never really lasted for more than two movies or so. There are stories of Lang's cruelty towards actors, including him screaming at and denigrating the 10 year old star of Moonfleet, though there are also people like Sylvia Sidney who had only nice things to say about him.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:50 PM (LvTSG)

114 I find it fascinating that both Lang and Tartovsky were obsessed with the apocalypse. I believe that, like many great artists can do, they sensed the fate awaiting both of their nations.

Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 08:52 PM (r46W7)

115 hey. Wasn't the world s'posed to end today?

Hell, I think the world ended in 2012. the Mayans had it right.

Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:54 PM (x8Wzq)

116 114 I find it fascinating that both Lang and Tartovsky were obsessed with the apocalypse. I believe that, like many great artists can do, they sensed the fate awaiting both of their nations.
Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 08:52 PM (r46W7)

==========

I love characters who have to face the reality that everything they know will end, and they'll be left alone. I like it best when it's less literally the end of the world and a bit more metaphorical, but the ethos that underlies a lot of Lang's work could really be brought down to two words:

Everything burns.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 08:54 PM (LvTSG)

117 Gonna go watch Catch-22. 'night, Horde.

Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:55 PM (x8Wzq)

118 TJM, thank you for the great Lang essay. Framing his work through the lens of the Destiny Machine, a new idea to me, articulates much of how I instinctively have understood his work. My experience with his films are the common ones, Metropolis, M, The Woman in the Window, Scarlet Street, The Big Heat, Human Desire, House by the River, and Blue Gardina and like Ford's best work have left an indelible appreciation of what is possible with cinema regardless of when it was made. Though Metropolis does resolve to optimism I find the entire journey to that an oppressive ride on the Destiny Machine. More film essays please as they cause me to read deeper about your topics and then view the work with a deeper appreciation of them. Regards.

Posted by: Lost In Spaceto at September 24, 2022 08:55 PM (/qNGG)

119 I missed the end of the world !

Posted by: runner at September 24, 2022 08:57 PM (V13WU)

120 I'm more familiar with Friz Freleng of Merrie Melodies / Loonie Tunes for Warner Brothers. He's a different director all together.

Posted by: Count de Monet at September 24, 2022 08:58 PM (4I/2K)

121 115 hey. Wasn't the world s'posed to end today?

Hell, I think the world ended in 2012. the Mayans had it right.
Posted by: Pug Mahon, Gen X Ne'er-Do-Well at September 24, 2022 08:54 PM (x8Wzq)
Yeah, right? I hope it doesn't end before I finish this Wild Turkey 101.

Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 08:58 PM (0OP+5)

122 Don't get me started on the Kiera Knightly abomination of PnP and that was made almost 20 years ago.

I like this one actually.

Posted by: bear with asymmetrical balls at September 24, 2022 08:59 PM (KFhLj)

123 I watched M one afternoon. I liked 3rd Man better.

Posted by: Jamaica NYC at September 24, 2022 08:59 PM (b+v9B)

124 118 Though Metropolis does resolve to optimism I find the entire journey to that an oppressive ride on the Destiny Machine. More film essays please as they cause me to read deeper about your topics and then view the work with a deeper appreciation of them. Regards.
Posted by: Lost In Spaceto at September 24, 2022 08:55 PM (/qNGG)

==========

You're welcome!

I enjoyed the journey, and it makes me happy that other people can get something out of it as well.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:00 PM (LvTSG)

125 I had not watched any Tartovsky until recently, and started by your recommendation. I am amazed by his depth.

Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 09:01 PM (r46W7)

126 @122

>>I like this one actually.

She acts with her teeth, her teeth have chewed and stolen more scenery than William Shatner.

Posted by: Thomas Bender at September 24, 2022 09:02 PM (up/3i)

127 123 I watched M one afternoon. I liked 3rd Man better.
Posted by: Jamaica NYC at September 24, 2022 08:59 PM (b+v9B)

========

Mmm...Carol Reed and Graham Green.

Lang actually worked on an adaptation of one of Green's novels, Ministry of Fear. Lang agreed to make the film based on his love of the book, but the script he got handed cut out some of the meat of the book that he had appreciated so much. He tried to back out, but he had signed the contract. He had to do it.

He actually apologized to Green for the movie, something that Green really appreciated because he also found the film lacking. Green had been an English film critic during Lang's late German and early American film period, and he had been a huge proponent of the director.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:02 PM (LvTSG)

128 125 I had not watched any Tartovsky until recently, and started by your recommendation. I am amazed by his depth.
Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 09:01 PM (r46W7)

==========

I like hearing this sort of stuff.

Yeah, Tarkovsky is not, "grab a bowl of popcorn and have some fun" cinema. He's "cinema is an art, you peons," type stuff. He's not for everyone at all. If you can get into it, though, there's a whole lot to dig into.

The funniest thing about him, though, is that, before he died, he had wonderful praise for...James Cameron's The Terminator.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:04 PM (LvTSG)

129 Lang working his Moshe Dayan impression.

Posted by: SFGoth at September 24, 2022 09:05 PM (KAi1n)

130 "I'm more familiar with Friz Freleng of Merrie Melodies / Loonie Tunes for Warner Brothers. He's a different director all together."
Posted by: Count de Monet at September 24, 2022 08:58 PM (4I/2K)

That got me curious if Warner still made full length Looney Tunes anymore, besides those godawful "Space Jam" movies. Looks like they're going to do a Wiley Coyote live action/animated combo thing with John Cena. Good grief.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 09:07 PM (qH6FZ)

131 TMJ, I appreciate the movie thread but it is usually way over my head. You are a craftsman explaining the movie business though. Maybe it's because I don't watch very many movies and I don't like theaters. And of course I despise Hollywood in it's current state.

Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 09:07 PM (0OP+5)

132 131 TMJ, I appreciate the movie thread but it is usually way over my head. You are a craftsman explaining the movie business though. Maybe it's because I don't watch very many movies and I don't like theaters. And of course I despise Hollywood in it's current state.
Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 09:07 PM (0OP+5)

=========

That's really nice of you to say. Well, at least to me.

My only real hope with this is that I convince some people to discover cinema they haven't heard of before, and that they enjoy it.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:08 PM (LvTSG)

133 The optimistic ending of Metropolis was really Thea von Harbou's contribution. She preferred that sort of thing, and Lang must have gone along with it at times. I think he even fooled her into thinking he agreed with her. Her comments on the end of 'Woman in the Moon' show that she thinks it's a happy ending! A man and woman embracing, about to build a new world on the moon, like Adam and Eve. When really, the lovers have been united finally on the moon, only to die! They have no source of water, no ship can be built and make it back in time to rescue them, even if the cowardly Hans has the gumption to go back. Helius is actually sobbing as he holds Friede, and she's looking angelically at Heaven - this is obviously not a 'happily ever after' ending, but von Harbou didn't realize it.

Posted by: Dr. Mabusette at September 24, 2022 09:11 PM (OpQZg)

134 Nosferatu in 6 mins w/"score"
m.youtube.com/watch?v=N-2SC-smBW0

Posted by: SFGoth at September 24, 2022 09:12 PM (KAi1n)

135 'Woman in the Moon' reminds me, another thing Lang invented, besides the spy genre (Spione) is the sci-fi rocket launch sequence. He created the dramatic countdown from 10 to 1 then Blastoff! It was so effective, we ended up using it in real life when rocket launches became a thing.

Posted by: Dr. Mabusette at September 24, 2022 09:15 PM (OpQZg)

136 135 'Woman in the Moon' reminds me, another thing Lang invented, besides the spy genre (Spione) is the sci-fi rocket launch sequence. He created the dramatic countdown from 10 to 1 then Blastoff! It was so effective, we ended up using it in real life when rocket launches became a thing.
Posted by: Dr. Mabusette at September 24, 2022 09:15 PM (OpQZg)

===========

I love the mixture of prescient and absolutely ludicrous in terms of how Woman in the Moon saw space flight.

On the one hand, it's got the countdown clock, multistage rockets, and even the construction of the rocket in a tall warehouse. On the other, everyone lays down on cots without close access to the controls during launch, the rocket launches from under water, and there's air on the far side of the moon.

It's delightfully quaint.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:17 PM (LvTSG)

137 I've been getting bombarded with trailers for "The Fabelmans", the Steven Spielberg bio pic, written and directed by Spielberg. Looks horrible, I wonder why Spielberg thought the story of him getting into filmmaking was movie worthy?

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 09:18 PM (qH6FZ)

138 TMJ a lot of tonight's stuff is familiar to me and in fact we have Metropolis which I really like. As we finished supper It Came from Outer Space came on TCM and the thing most interesting to me was the helicopter they flew out to inspect the crater where the spaceship crashlanded. It was an early Bell Model 47 with no bubble, just a windshield, and the main character drove a 53 Ford convertible and carried a .38 snubnose revolver. Yeah like that's gonna take out a 6 foot tall eyeball from outer space. I sat there doing the Mystery Science Theater until Mrs. E got up and went to the big screen. She thinks I'm a moron. Fortunately.

Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 09:19 PM (0OP+5)

139 137 I've been getting bombarded with trailers for "The Fabelmans", the Steven Spielberg bio pic, written and directed by Spielberg. Looks horrible, I wonder why Spielberg thought the story of him getting into filmmaking was movie worthy?
Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 09:18 PM (qH6FZ)

=========

It won the audience award at the Toronto film festival.

I have a feeling its going to be a crowd pleaser.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:19 PM (LvTSG)

140
and there's air on the far side of the moon.

But no cheese

Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 09:19 PM (63Dwl)

141
a .38 snubnose revolver. Yeah like that's gonna take out a 6 foot tall eyeball from outer space.

Who knows? If a Red Ryder can take out Ralphie's eyeball...

Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 09:21 PM (63Dwl)

142 141 Who knows? If a Red Ryder can take out Ralphie's eyeball...
Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 09:21 PM (63Dwl)

=========

I swore that was the icicle from the roof...

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:22 PM (LvTSG)

143 Thanks for the movie thread TJM

I've been waiting for you to write about Fritz Lang and you did not disappoint. I've always appreciated Metropolis more than Lang so thanks for broadening my horizons

Posted by: San Franpsycho at September 24, 2022 09:22 PM (EZebt)

144 143 Thanks for the movie thread TJM

I've been waiting for you to write about Fritz Lang and you did not disappoint. I've always appreciated Metropolis more than Lang so thanks for broadening my horizons
Posted by: San Franpsycho at September 24, 2022 09:22 PM (EZebt)

========

For an out of left field recommendation, I'd say try Western Union.

It's the best John Ford movie that John Ford never got around to John Fording.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:24 PM (LvTSG)

145 It won the audience award at the Toronto film festival.
I have a feeling its going to be a crowd pleaser.
Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:19 PM (LvTSG)

Meh, film festivals are one thing, general movie watching people are something else. You're into the nuts and bolts of movies so you'll probably watch it.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 09:24 PM (qH6FZ)

146 145 Meh, film festivals are one thing, general movie watching people are something else. You're into the nuts and bolts of movies so you'll probably watch it.
Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 09:24 PM (qH6FZ)

=========

Probably. Eventually.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:25 PM (LvTSG)

147 I have not seen too many movies this week. I saw two horror movies: Marionette and The Banishing. I liked the latter, which had some good creepy moments. Marionette was bad though.

Posted by: bear with asymmetrical balls at September 24, 2022 09:30 PM (KFhLj)

148 This is relevant to my interests.

This was another good director choice. Not all of Fritz Lang's work was good, but there were indeed hidden gems I didn't know about mixed in with the heady highs I did know.

Also M is fucking brilliant.

Posted by: Mark Andrew Edwards (Logan Tiberius 2012-2021) at September 24, 2022 09:30 PM (xcxpd)

149 148 Also M is fucking brilliant.
Posted by: Mark Andrew Edwards (Logan Tiberius 2012-2021) at September 24, 2022 09:30 PM (xcxpd)

==========

M is required viewing for...everyone.

It is one of the the great movies.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:31 PM (LvTSG)

150 We are donem it's pitchforks and torches.
https://is.gd/fpevVK

Posted by: Ciampino at September 24, 2022 09:33 PM (qfLjt)

151 I've not seen a Fritz Lang film. I tend to have a bias against older movies, so it takes a bit of gumption on my part to watch one. I'm not sure I'd enjoy Lang, though the review of his work is interesting.

Posted by: bear with asymmetrical balls at September 24, 2022 09:34 PM (KFhLj)

152 Speaking of Sylvia Sydney (in the Lang portion of the post above) she had a long career, probably best known to modern audiences as the Newly Dead counsellor to Alex Baldwin and Geena Davis' characters in Beetlejuice.

Posted by: docweasel at September 24, 2022 09:36 PM (UVM+M)

153 I've been able to watch some of Lang's German output through an app from my local library: Dr. Mabuse, M, and the Niebelungen films. I had seen the Testament of Dr. Mabuse years ago; I'll now have to go look for The Thousand Eyes.

Posted by: Darles Chickens at September 24, 2022 09:36 PM (DXJAD)

154 153 I'll now have to go look for The Thousand Eyes.
Posted by: Darles Chickens at September 24, 2022 09:36 PM (DXJAD)

=========

I'm actually kind of ashamed to admit that I watched an English dub of The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse.

I couldn't easily find the actual German soundtrack, so I settled with the English dub.

The chief inspector in it is played by Goldfinger himself, Gert Fröbe.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:37 PM (LvTSG)

155
For an out of left field recommendation, I'd say try Western Union.

You'd do it for Randolph Scott!

Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 09:39 PM (63Dwl)

156 155
For an out of left field recommendation, I'd say try Western Union.

You'd do it for Randolph Scott!
Posted by: Bertram Cabot, Jr. at September 24, 2022 09:39 PM (63Dwl)

=========

RANDOLPH SCOTT!!!!!

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:40 PM (LvTSG)

157 M is required viewing for...everyone.

It is one of the the great movies.
Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:31 PM (LvTSG)

Agreed

Posted by: Mark Andrew Edwards (Logan Tiberius 2012-2021) at September 24, 2022 09:41 PM (xcxpd)

158 TJM,

Happened to catch Beyond a Reasonable Doubt again when it popped up on one of the streamers several years ago, and agree with you on it. But when I was in high school, the twists and turns as it wound down to the finish struck this kid as kinda nifty.

Will make it a point to catch Human Desire some time soon.

Posted by: Just Some Guy at September 24, 2022 09:41 PM (a/4+U)

159 TJM, the classic horror flicks! I grew up watching way too many non classic ones on Saturday afternoon or late night TV in addition to what I would much later come to view as masterpieces. For some bizarre reason one of my TV stations would play, in occasion, undubbed Mexican horror films late at night. To my good fortune this was this during the weed period of my life.

Posted by: Lost In Space at September 24, 2022 09:41 PM (nOB+O)

160 Gah, neighbor a few houses down has been having a party all day and I am tired of hearing their music.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 09:42 PM (6/K6X)

161 Chiampino, that's gonna go in your permanent record.

Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 09:46 PM (0OP+5)

162 A young Stallone on Rocky.

https://bit.ly/3DQ1pUo

Posted by: Anonosaurus Wrecks, Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? at September 24, 2022 09:47 PM (FVME7)

163 I recall seeing the Pre-Code "Tarzan and His Mate" as a child. A local station ran it in the Saturday afternoon "kiddie movie" slot, apparently without pre-screening it.

Nekkid Maureen Sullivan (or her body double) was very educational.

Didn't see anything like that on the tube again for some years, until the PBS station ran "I, Claudius" uncensored.

Posted by: Rodrigo Borgia at September 24, 2022 09:52 PM (bW8dp)

164 161 Chiampino, that's gonna go in your permanent record.

Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 09:46 PM (0OP+5)
----
What is? (note no H in my nic)
--
Graffiti seen on a fence:
THINGS I HATE
1.Vandalism
2.Irony
3.Lists

Posted by: Ciampino at September 24, 2022 09:53 PM (qfLjt)

165 Never saw metropolis. I heard of it often, but never saw it.

Posted by: Berserker-Dragonheads Division at September 24, 2022 09:54 PM (VwHCD)

166 > Nekkid Maureen Sullivan (or her body double) was very educational.


Hmm.... Wikipedia says that all the prints with nudity were recalled. Apparently not ALL of them, because the one I saw definitely had nudity.

Posted by: Rodrigo Borgia at September 24, 2022 09:57 PM (bW8dp)

167 Wow, after all of that, I feel like I should be dressed up in spats like Edward G. Robinson and on the dance floor with Barbara Stanwyck.

Posted by: Dr. Bone at September 24, 2022 09:58 PM (w2Z7l)

168 167 Wow, after all of that, I feel like I should be dressed up in spats like Edward G. Robinson and on the dance floor with Barbara Stanwyck.
Posted by: Dr. Bone at September 24, 2022 09:58 PM (w2Z7l)

========

Lang did work with Stanwyck once, in the very straight drama Clash by Night.

Marilyn Monroe is in it, too.

Posted by: TheJamesMadison, searching for the Invisible Man with Dracula and Frankenstein's monster at September 24, 2022 09:59 PM (LvTSG)

169 Another good movie thread TJM, keep them coming.

Posted by: lowandslow at September 24, 2022 10:00 PM (qH6FZ)

170 Nood ONT, yo!

Posted by: Commissar Hrothgar (hOUT3) ~ This year in Corsicana! ~ at September 24, 2022 10:01 PM (hOUT3)

171 Stanwyck has always been one of my favorites.

Posted by: Infidel at September 24, 2022 10:01 PM (6/K6X)

172 Threads almost done, but a reason to watch Metropolis is that it set the tone for much of the Sci Fi genre that followed.

Posted by: Tom Servo at September 24, 2022 10:02 PM (r46W7)

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OT: Wild rumors of an ongoing coup against Xi in China. Supposedly under house arrest, flights and trains in and out of Peking cancelled...

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