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Old 04-18-2009, 09:06 AM   #1
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Movies of the 30's and 40's

This thread is for those who love those movies from the Golden Age of cinema. We're talking Bogey & Bacall, Jimmy Cagney and all the good stuff. So, if you're into the classic films and want to talk about them, this is the place for you.

Sit down, pull up a wing-backed chair and let's chinwag

Here's some completely legitamate downloads of movies from the Internet Archive (no copyright worries here)

My Man Godfrey

His Girl Friday

The Stranger

Nora Inu (Stray Dog)

Sugata Sanshiro

The Front Page

Topper

Topper Returns

Meet John Doe

Father's Little Dividend

My Favorite Brunette

My Dear Secretary

The Amazing Adventure

Shadow of a Doubt

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Fear in the Night

Too Late for Tears

Scarlet Street

He Walked by Night

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

Terror by Night

Last edited by Moejoe; 04-18-2009 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:07 AM   #2
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okay, one we didn't mention previously : My Man Godfrey. the inimitable William Powell again, sparkling dialogue, hilarious hijinks, and sincere reflections on the value of human life as well !! another brilliant one.

and for sheer silly hilarity, you can't beat the marx brothers !!!
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:11 AM   #3
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I haven't seen My Man Godfrey in years (must dig it out sometime this weekend and rewatch). Now, the Marx Brothers, they always make me chuckle out loud. Out of the whole crop that burst into comedy at the time it's them and W.C. Fields that I always come back to. And not just because they're funny, but the music as well. When Groucho sings "Everyone Says I Love You" to the lady in the riverboat, that to me is perfection.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:11 AM   #4
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thinking about it, i think one of the things i love best about these old movies is they are so *intelligent*. even when they're being silly the dialogue is amazing. like in the thin man :
"i read you got shot five times in the tabloids"
"that's a lie, they never got near my tabloids." (or something. i'm quoting from memory).

they were really well-written.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
I haven't seen My Man Godfrey in years (must dig it out sometime this weekend and rewatch). Now, the Marx Brothers, they always make me chuckle out loud. Out of the whole crop that burst into comedy at the time it's them and W.C. Fields that I always come back to. And not just because they're funny, but the music as well. When Groucho sings "Everyone Says I Love You" to the lady in the riverboat, that to me is perfection.
oh my god, the marx brothers make me cry with laughter ! i can only watch one film at a time because my stomach hurts too much ! and you're right, i love the songs too ! "Lydia, the tattooed lady" showed up here recently and it's still amazing...
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
thinking about it, i think one of the things i love best about these old movies is they are so *intelligent*. even when they're being silly the dialogue is amazing. like in the thin man :
"i read you got shot five times in the tabloids"
"that's a lie, they never got near my tabloids." (or something. i'm quoting from memory).

they were really well-written.
They had a lot more pace to the dialogue, it seems, a lot quicker and often a lot more nuanced than what we find now.

I'll take Casablanca as my example:

Quote:
Captain Renault: What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?

Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.

Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.

Rick: I was misinformed.
That's genius
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
oh my god, the marx brothers make me cry with laughter ! i can only watch one film at a time because my stomach hurts too much ! and you're right, i love the songs too ! "Lydia, the tattooed lady" showed up here recently and it's still amazing...

You're right about that, it's too much to watch more than one, for fear of doing permanent injury. The wordplay and the anarchy in the Marx Brothers films is something approaching warp speed. You blink and you'll miss a joke or a funny little quip.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:26 AM   #8
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sorry, i had to go and listen to "everyone says i love you" on youtube.

yes, exactly, excellent example from casablanca ! i think the dialogue is maybe the biggest reason we can watch these films over and over without ever getting tired of them. the dialogue is so witty, so brilliant, so subtle, it stays fresh, and each time you notice new details.

we had a dialogue writer in france, Michel Audiard, he was later (mostly active in the 60's) but in a way he belongs to the same tradition ; he was like a silversmith of words. his dialogues are unbelievable ; it seems impossible that one person could write so much sheer brilliance.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
They had a lot more pace to the dialogue, it seems, a lot quicker and often a lot more nuanced than what we find now.

I'll take Casablanca as my example:



That's genius
Interesting this about 'Casablanca' (which is my all time fav) is the dramatic ending at the airport. As originally filmed, when the police arrive and look at Louie, he states lamely "Major Strassa has been shot, arrest the usual suspects". Just like that, no dramatic pause while the camera looked at each face.

When the screen writers saw this in the original version, they pitched a fit. They demanded it be redone and it was.

I've seen the original version of that scene and it was a real flop. Fortunately the writers got their way and in the realeased version Louie says, "Major Strassa has been shot!" Then the camera closes in a each face and the dramatic tension becomes unbearable. And then Louie says, "Arrest the usual suspects".

Another factor in the film was that Bogart's wife thought he was having an affair with Ingrid Bergman and kept calling the sound stage threatening to come over and start shooting. Consequently, some of the tension in Rick and Ilsa's faces was that much more realistic.

Also, when they started filming, the directors hadn't decided whether Rick would get on the plane or not. And, Bergmann asked them how she should play the Ilsa role, i.e., based on whether they were going to run off together or she would stay with her husband. And the answer was, "we haven't decided yet". So, the uncertainty in her face became all the more real.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:34 AM   #10
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Dialogue and story. That's all they had, they couldn't rely on whizbang effects or CGI to get that across. I'm not saying there haven't been great movies made since then, there have, but to me that period of film-making (I'd say up to the 70's) across the globe produced some of the finest talents.

What we seem to have now is endless comic-book movies with bigger and bigger explosions, tired serial-killer thrillers, torture-pornography horror, and unfunny comedies. There's been very little on release in the last five years that has drawn me to the cinema. And if I see one more remake I think I might give up altogether.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:37 AM   #11
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Interesting this about 'Casablanca' (which is my all time fav) is the dramatic ending at the airport. As originally filmed, when the police arrive and look at Louie, he states lamely "Major Strassa has been shot, arrest the usual suspects". Just like that, no dramatic pause while the camera looked at each face.

When the screen writers saw this in the original version, they pitched a fit. They demanded it be redone and it was.

I've seen the original version of that scene and it was a real flop. Fortunately the writers got their way and in the realeased version Louie says, "Major Strassa has been shot!" Then the camera closes in a each face and the dramatic tension becomes unbearable. And then Louie says, "Arrest the usual suspects".

Another factor in the film was that Bogart's wife thought he was having an affair with Ingrid Bergman and kept calling the sound stage threatening to come over and start shooting. Consequently, some of the tension in Rick and Ilsa's faces was that much more realistic.

Also, when they started filming, the directors hadn't decided whether Rick would get on the plane or not. And, Bergmann asked them how she should play the Ilsa role, i.e., based on whether they were going to run off together or she would stay with her husband. And the answer was, "we haven't decided yet". So, the uncertainty in her face became all the more real.

It's one of my favourites too, and the creation of it (when you read the back-story) is such a confused mess, you'd hardly think that something so lasting would have come out of such anarchy.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:37 AM   #12
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Contrary to popular belief, writing for Hollywood paid extremely well for the times. Weekly rate (weekly!) of $1,000 to $2,000 was not unheard of. F. Scott Fitzgerald's last writing stint was for Hollywood, for 5 weeks @ $1,750 a week... At the time, you could by a new Ford for $940 F.O.B. Detroit...
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:39 AM   #13
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Contrary to popular belief, writing for Hollywood paid extremely well for the times. Weekly rate (weekly!) of $1,000 to $2,000 was not unheard of. F. Scott Fitzgerald's last writing stint was for Hollywood, for 5 weeks @ $1,750 a week... At the time, you could by a new Ford for $940 F.O.B. Detroit...
You're right there. A lot of novelists made a good chunk of money writing for Hollywood under the old system.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:40 AM   #14
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You're right about that, it's too much to watch more than one, for fear of doing permanent injury. The wordplay and the anarchy in the Marx Brothers films is something approaching warp speed. You blink and you'll miss a joke or a funny little quip.
...or eleven.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
Dialogue and story. That's all they had, they couldn't rely on whizbang effects or CGI to get that across. I'm not saying there haven't been great movies made since then, there have, but to me that period of film-making (I'd say up to the 70's) across the globe produced some of the finest talents.

What we seem to have now is endless comic-book movies with bigger and bigger explosions, tired serial-killer thrillers, torture-pornography horror, and unfunny comedies. There's been very little on release in the last five years that has drawn me to the cinema. And if I see one more remake I think I might give up altogether.
that's all they had, true, yet they managed to do so much with it !! i agree, cinema recently has seemed to become and more stupid (and i mean that literally). we have amazing technology now but it can't hold a candle to a really well-crafted screenplay. and i think most of it is down to the writers. the screenwriters of course, but also they were often adapting books which were brilliant in their own right ; the thin man by dashiell hammett is a true gem, and chandler's the big sleep (well, everything he wrote !) is genius as well ! funny story about the big sleep ; during filming, at one point (i think it's when they fish the car out of the water) they called chandler because they realised they had no idea who had done it ; he said "it was the chauffeur" (or something), and they said "no, it can't be, he was dead" (again, details fuzzy... you get the idea). to which chandler replied, "well then i have no idea either." but the occasional hole in the plot didn't even matter.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:42 AM   #15
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Maybe what we need is a movie of the month thread. Everybody agrees on a Golden Age movie and watches it around the same time and discusses it afterward...
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