Top 250 Tuesday – An Interlude: Trailers For The Top Ten

sandsSince I’ve found myself with not as much time for a proper movie write-up as I would have liked this week, I thought I’d do something a little different, and give you a taste of things to come with a countdown of the top 10 via their trailers. Actually, “things to come” is not quite accurate, since I’ve already written about three of these (and I’ll link to those write-ups below), but that still leaves seven that I’ve yet to tackle. Anyway, here you go, counting down from number ten to number one:

#10: 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

#09 – The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927) (This is actually a reissue trailer, but It’s the closest I could find to an actual trailer.)

#08 – Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929) (Another reissue trailer, tis time for a showing with a live score, but it serves the purpose well, I think.)

#07 – The Searchers (Ford, 1956)

#06 – 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)

#05 – Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)

#04 – La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939) (This trailer is for the Janus Films restoration/re-release.)

#03 – Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)

#02 – Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)

#01 – Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)

So there you go. Just a bit of a look ahead. I am curious, though, if there are any of these that you’re particularly looking forward to, or that you particularly like yourself? Which of these, if you’ve seen them, would make your own personal top 10 and which ones wouldn’t? And are there any that you think are overrated, or perhaps there are some further down the list you think should be here in the top ten? Speak out in the comments below and let me know.

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Here’s A Good Reason Not To Bring Your Work Home With You – Alice Jacobs Is Dead (2009)

ajSo what happens after you’ve found a way to stop the zombie virus, but haven’t actually found a cure for those who were already infected? How far do you go in the name of love? These are the questions that face Doctor Ben Jacobs in this very effective and evocative short film from Strange Case productions.

Alice Jacobs is Dead stars John LaZar as Dr. Jacobs, and Adrienne Barbeau (yes, Adrienne Barbeau!) as his wife Alice. It was written and directed by Alex Horwitz.

The film runs around twenty-one minutes, and like the best short films, does a good job of getting in, setting things up, taking the time it needs to tell the story it wants to, and then getting out, without being overblown or overstaying its welcome.

Give it a look:

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Serial Sundays 001: A Sampler

serial1So back in the day, when I was writing Professor Damian’s Public Domain Treasure Chest, one of the regular features there was the Sunday Serial, and it’s something that I’ve decided it’s time to revive here, but in a somewhat different format. Next week we’ll take a more in depth look at the movie serials, talking some about what they were and what they weren’t and looking at the wide variety of genres that they encompassed, and then after that we’ll begin highlighting individual serials, but I thought for today, just as an introduction, I’d simply begin with a sampler of episodes from various serials, again to kind of highlight the variety of serials that were made over the years. Some of these will probably already be familiar to those of you who are fans of the genre, many of them may not be. But hopefully, no matter what kind of films you like, you’ll find something here you’ll enjoy.

By the way, yes, for this introduction, I’ve just pulled various chapters from the serials that seemed indicative of the flavor of the whole thing, but as we go forward, whenever I can I will actually be posting the entire serial, or as much of them as I can. And I definitely invite your comments. Please be sure to let me know in the comments if you have a favorite serial, or one you’re intrigued by, and I’ll do my best to highlight it as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

 

 

 

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Old Time Radio Thursdays – #039: Escape (1947-1954) – Part One

 

The short intro: For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Old Time Radio is the phrase generally used to refer to the time when radio was (mostly) live, and was full of a variety of different shows, as opposed to simply being a means for record labels to use robots to promote the top records of the day. Old Time Radio Thursdays is my chance to explore some of those old radio shows, their connections (both old and new) to movies, and hopefully to encourage some of the rest of you to take a look at a probably unfamiliar source of entertainment that I truly love. If you want more info on OTR, and some examples of the variety of shows that were made, be sure to check out this introductory post.

escLast week in writing about the long-running CBS series Suspense, I mentioned that in its later years the show often reused scripts from its “sister show”, Escape, so it only seems appropriate to follow that post with a couple devoted to that show. So, much like I did with Suspense, this first post will simply be a sampler of some of the shows from the series, and I’ll be back next week with more info and more shows.

So, if you’re “Tired of the everyday grind? Ever dream of a life of romantic adventure? Want to get away from it all? We offer you… Escape!

Enjoy!

Until next time, as always, Happy Listening!

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Top 250 Tuesday #070 – Blade Runner (1982)

Continuing to wend my way through the Sight and Sound Top 250 Greatest Movies of All Time. This week, it’s #070 on the list, Ridley Scotts Blade Runner. For a longer introduction to this series and a look at the full list, just click here. And if you want a heads-up on what I’ll be watching for next week in case you want to watch along, just head on over to the Facebook page or follow me on Twitter (both of those links are in the sidebar) where I’ll generally be posting that info later in the day.

br1Is Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner the best science fiction film ever? Hmm… I don’t think I’m going to go quite that far.

Is it my favorite science fiction film ever? I don’t even know that I’m going to go that far.

What I will say is this: if I were stuck on a desert island and could only have one science fiction film with me, it is definitely the one that I would choose.

Why? Simply put, because this is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and not only never lose interest, but seemingly always find something new to enjoy about it.

I actually first encountered this movie during its first theatrical run, back before it became such a controversial movie because of the changes made to it by the studio. Or at least before we (and by we, I mean most of us movie-goers who at the time just showed up at the cinema to take in whatever was out without knowing all the behind-the-scenes information that id today so readily available because of this here thang-a-mabob called the interwebs) found out about it all because of the so-called “Director’s Cut” (which it seems really wasn’t) that was released to home video in  1992.

Actually, according to Wikipedia, there have been seven different cuts of this movie made available over the years since its first release.

br2But that’s really not the point of this little essay, and I’m not going to go into all of the differences and minutiae of the changes that have been made over the years. Nor am I going to go into any kind of detailed plot synopsis. Information on all of that, is available readily elsewhere, including the Wikipedia article that I noted above, which has a nicely detailed outline of the different cuts and releases that have seen the light of day since that initial release.

Instead, I’m simply going to say this: this is a movie that I fell in love with upon that first theatrical viewing in 1982. and one that I have remained enchanted by and enamored of ever since.

br4It is, in my eyes, perhaps the most perfect blending of science fiction and film noir tropes that we have seen on the screen yet, and that we are ever likely to see.

Plus, you have a standout performance by Harrison Ford who, despite being such a fresh face in Star Wars only five years prior, does a wonderful job of translating the world-weariness of his bounty-hunter character Rick Deckard (a role originally written and envisioned for the much older Robert Mitchum), you have William Sanderson, who practically steals every scene he’s in as the reclusive inventor J.F. Sebastian, and you have a quite young and relatively at the time unknown Sean Young as the femme fatale Rachael. Even the supporting cast is filled with familiar faces and outstanding character actors such as Daryl Hannah, M.Emmet Walsh, Brion James (whose performance as Leon at the opening of the film perfectly sets the tone for what is to come), Edward James Olmos, and others, all of whom seem to bring everything they have to the movie and in some cases step up their game in ways we had not seen from them before as if inspired by Scott and his vision to really shine in their roles.

br3

And then you also have Rutger Hauer. Actually, what I suppose I should say there is: And then you have Rutger Hauer and the “Tears in rain” soliloquy. There’s a reason this is one of the most noted and most quoted scenes in all of science fiction, and that reason is Rutger Hauer. Hauer’s casting as the replicant Roy Batty is one of the most perfect choices ever made.

Obviously, this is a movie I absolutely love, would recommend to anyone who is a fan of either the sci-fi or film noir genres (and especially those who are fans of both), and which I think definitely deserves its high ranking on this list. If you’ve never seen it, I’d say you owe it to yourself to give it a watch. And if you have seen it, or at least some version of it, I’d say you should give it yet another go.

And, of course, if you ever find yourself stranded on that proverbial desert island… well, I suppose you’d have a few other concerns first, but once you’ve gotten them worked out (and once you’ve managed, like the professor on Gilligan’s Island, to figure out how to make a Blu-ray player and flat-screen TV out of bamboo and coconuts and devised a way to power it, you might just want to make sure that you have this flick on hand. Because until the rescue ship comes along, you’ve got a lot of time to pass, and there are not many better ways you could be doing it.

Here’s the original trailer:

So what are your thoughts on Bade Runner? Is it a movie that you’ve seen or would like to? If you have seen it, is it one that would make your own Top 10 list? Or would it not even crack your Top 250? Also, I’m curious about what you think about my argument that some movies simply have to be seen on the big screen before one can even really judge them. And if you agree with it, what films you would put into that category. Let me know in the comments below.

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Saturday Double Feature: Heaven Is For Real (2014) and…

Saturday on the blog means Saturday Double Feature, right? Remember, the basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

For some reason it seems that God is a big-time presence in the multiplexes this year, from films like God Is Not Dead and Son of God to Noah (which, okay, substitutes “The Creator” for “God”, but still… And this week, just in time for Easter, we get Heaven Is For Real.

It’s kind of beyond the range of this feature to really comment on whether I agree with any of these films varying takes on heaven amd/or God, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll simply note that according to this 1976 Warren Beatty feature, whatever the case may be, Heaven Can Wait.

So what do you think? Are you looking forward to or have you already seen Heaven is fir Real? Do you have any other ideas for pairing films with it? If so, let me know below. And also let me know of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

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Old Time Radio Thursdays – #038: Suspense (1942-1962) – Part Two

 

The short intro: For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Old Time Radio is the phrase generally used to refer to the time when radio was (mostly) live, and was full of a variety of different shows, as opposed to simply being a means for record labels to use robots to promote the top records of the day. Old Time Radio Thursdays is my chance to explore some of those old radio shows, their connections (both old and new) to movies, and hopefully to encourage some of the rest of you to take a look at a probably unfamiliar source of entertainment that I truly love. If you want more info on OTR, and some examples of the variety of shows that were made, be sure to check out this introductory post.

sus1Last week I provided you with just a sampling of the 900 episodes known to still exist of the 945 that were produced for the long running CBS radio show Suspense. This week I thought I’d go into a bit more of the show’s origins and history.

Suspense actually got its start on the CBS program Forceast, which was designed as a tryout show which provided a place for pilots of ideas that the network was considering giving their own slot. The pilot for Suspense, which aired on July 22, 1940, featured an adaptation of Marie Belloc Lowndes’ story “The Lodger”, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Herbert Marshall, Edmund Gwenn, and Lurene Tuttle. Hitchcock had already filmed the story in England in 126, so he was already familiar with it, and this was his American radio-directing premier. Interestingly, in a very audacious move, Hitchcock holds back the actual ending of the story from the radio audience, thus compounding and confounding the promised emotion. I’ve provided this Forecast audition/pilot as the first item below.

Over its twenty year run the program went through, as would be expected, a number of various iterations and sponsors. Beginning as a sustained program in 1952, it wasn’t until two years later that it picked up its first advertiser, Roma Wines. Eventually, during what most consider the heyday of the program, it was sponsored by Autolite spark plugs.

sus3As indicated by the title, the main focus of the show was mystery/thriller stories, though in later years it did tend to present more horror/science fiction tales along with the mysteries.

One of the more interesting aspects of the program, and perhaps one of the reasons not only for its longevity but also for its popularity, was that it wasn’t afraid to re-present stories that proved popular with its audience. These were not actual re-runs, however, but actual new productions of the same script, sometimes with the participation of the original cast, and sometimes without. For instance, Suspense presented Lucille Fletcher’s story “Sorry, Wrong Number” eight different times during its run, first on May 25, 1943, and for the final time on February 14, 1960. Amazingly, every one of these presentations featured the great Agnes Moorehead in the lead role!

Suspense also, especially in its later years, was known for re-using scripts from other popular CBS programs, most notably what some consider to have been in a way its sister show, Escape, and The Mysterious Traveler. (Both of which, btw, I’ll be featuring in upcoming OTR Thursday posts.)

sus4At its height, Suspense was able to draw a number of great Hollywood stars to its microphones, including Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, Eve McVeagh, Lena Horne, and Cary Grant.

One final note: the date of Suspense’s last broadcast, September 30, 1962, is often cited as “the day the golden age of radio died”. Though that may not be literally true – obviously there were other broadcasts and shows that continued beyond that point, it is a significant milestone and turning point for the radio drama format, and for lovers of these great radio shows.

But let’s not dwell upon that today. Instead let’s sit back and simply be entertained by one of the truly all-time great radio programs and more tales calculated to keep you in…

SUSPENSE!

Enjoy!

Until next time, as always, Happy Listening!

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