Movies Tagged ‘Classic’

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Metropolis (1927)

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Metropolis is a brilliant German expressionist film made in 1927 by Fritz Lang.

Set in a futuristic urban landscape it explores the political theme of the day, the social tensions between workers and owners within the capitalist system.

The most expensive silent film ever made, 5 million Reichsmark was the eventual cost.

Metropolis is the name of the city in which the two classes in society live. One in luxurious skyscrapers and and the other below ground. The film tells the story of a dehumanizing society where machines matter more than people and the rich thoroughly exploit workers.

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Alice in Wonderland

Friday, May 14th, 2010

1915 version of the Lewis Carroll book. Directed by W.W. Young and starring Viola Savoy as Alice amongst the animals!

Famed for it’s bizarre and imaginative costume design this was the third film adaption of the book and is generally regarded as one of the best, if not the best versions.

The film is considered a faithful adaption of the book of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland,) an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll .

It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures. The tale is filled with allusions to Dodgson’s friends. The tale plays with logic in ways that have given the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children.] It is considered to be one of the best examples of the “literary nonsense” genre, and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential, especially in the fantasy genre.

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The Last Woman On Earth

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Produced and directed by Roger Corman in 1960, this epic production relates the tale of the survivors of a mysterious apocalpse which seems to have destroyed all human life!

Hariold Gem is a New York businessman fresh from his legal travails. Him and his wife Evelyn are on holiday in Puerto Rico with his lawyer friend Martin Joyce.

During a scuba diving expdetion they realise something terrible has happened to their surroundings whilst they have under water! They appear to be the only three survivirs left, perhaps in the whole world and they try to figure out what has gone so terribly awry.

They attempt to adapt to life in this new world without other human beings but soon the three surivors start to find it more and more difficult to exist together with devastating consequences.

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Vampyr

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Vampyr (German: Vampyr – Der Traum des Allan Grey) is a 1932 horror  film directed by Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer. The film was written by Dreyer and Christen Jul based on elements from J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s “In a Glass Darkly.” Vampyr was funded by Nicolas de Gunzburg who starred in the film under the name of Julian West among a mostly non-professional cast.
Gunzberg plays the role of Allan Grey, a student of the occult who enters a small village outside of Paris which is cursed by supernatural creatures known as Vampyrs who lure townspeople to suicide so they can become servants for the devil.

Vampyr was challenging for Dreyer to make as it was his first sound film and had to be recorded in three languages. To overcome this, very little dialogue was used in the film and much of the story is told with silent film-styled title cards. The film was shot entirely on location and to enhance the atmospheric content, Dreyer opted for a washed out, fuzzy appearing photographic technique. The audio editing was done in
Berlin where the character’s voices, sound effects, and score were added to the film.

Vampyr had a delayed release in Germany and opened to a generally negative reception from audiences and critics. Dreyer edited the film after its German premiere and it opened to far better review at its French debut. Critical reception to the film has become even more favourable with time, critics praising the film’s disorienting visual effects and atmosphere. Indeed, some sources claim it to be a truly great work.

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The Sheik (1921)

Friday, April 30th, 2010

The Sheik is a 1921 silent movie produced by Famous Players-Lasky, directed by George Melford and starring Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres and Adolphe Menjou. It is based on the bestselling romance novel “The Sheik” by Edith Maude Hull.

The Sheik became the movie that defined Rudolph Valentino’s career much to his annoyance. The film was also the picture that propelled him into superstardom. Ironically the first releases had the title credits as, The Sheik…starring Agnes Ayres.

The Sheik became so popular that the word came to be used to mean a young man on the prowl. The object of a Sheik’s desire was dubbed “a Sheba.”

Lady Diana Mayo, part of the British expatriate community in Algiers, loathes the idea of marriage because she believes it means the end of independence for women. Against advice she is making a month long journey into the desert alone. As she discusses her plans Diana notices a commotion going on at the next door casino and asks what is going on. She is told it is a party being thrown by a wealthy and important Sheik and no one but Arabs may enter. Annoyed at being told what to do, and curious as to what’s going on, Diana borrows an Arabic dancer’s costume and sneaks into the party.

At the party women are being gambled off like coins. When she is spotted, an Arab tries to bring her to the front of the crowd, but she resists, causing much commotion. Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan (Rudolph Valentino) takes notice and intervenes, realizing the woman is white. He realizes she is the woman he had spotted earlier as he entered, and amused, he sends her out of the party. After she leaves, Mustapha Ali (Charles Brinley) tells the Sheik she is the woman he is to guide into the desert tomorrow. The Sheik hatches a plan, telling Mustapha to lead her to him and his caravan.

Diana and her brother venture into the desert. At her insistence, her brother finally leaves, she promising to see him in London next month. Once he is gone Mustapha sends the signal. Then the Sheik’s caravan attacks, capturing Diana. Diana is upset and tries to escape, but is unable to.

During dinner in the Sheik’s sumptuous tent, Diana tries again to escape from the Sheik, this time into a raging sand storm. The Sheik runs after her, saving her from certain death, and tells her she will learn to love him. The Sheik is then told by a servant that the horses have escaped into the storm and he is forced to leave Diana. When he returns, he finds Diana alone in her sleeping quarters. The Sheik initially thinks of forcing himself upon her, but instead is moved to shame for his thoughts by her crying and her prayers.

As Diana and her servant are out on a trip Diana is captured by another caravan.

The Sheik receives the news and goes to find out what happened. He sees Diana’s message in the sand and gathers up his army and goes to attack the rival tribe.

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The Birth of a Nation

Friday, April 30th, 2010

The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 silent film directed by D. W. Griffith. Set during and after the American Civil War, the film is based on Thomas Dixon’s The Clansman,
a novel and play.

The Birth of a Nation was the highest-grossing film of its day, and is noted for its innovative camera techniques and narrative achievements.

The film is controversial due to its interpretation of history. The film suggests that the Ku Klux Klan restored order to the post-war South, which was depicted as endangered by abolitionists, freedmen, and carpetbagging Republican politicians from the North.

W. E. B. Du Bois and other black historians vigorously disputed this interpretation when the film was released. Most historians of all backgrounds today agree with them, as they note African Americans’ loyalty and contributions during the Civil War years and Reconstruction, including the establishment of universal public education.

The film was originally presented in two parts separated by an intermission. Part 1 depicted pre-Civil War America, introducing two juxtaposed families: the Northern Stonemans, consisting of abolitionist Congressman Austin Stoneman (based on real-life Reconstruction-era Congressman Thaddeus Stevens), his two sons, and his daughter, Elsie, and the Southern Camerons, a family including two daughters (Margaret and Flora) and three sons, most notably Ben.

The Stoneman boys visit the Camerons at their South Carolina estate, representing the Old South. The eldest Stoneman boy falls in love with Margaret Cameron, and Ben Cameron idolises a picture of Elsie Stoneman.

When the Civil War begins, all the young men join their respective armies. A black militia (with a white leader) ransacks the Cameron house. The Cameron women are rescued when Confederate soldiers rout the militia. Meanwhile, the youngest Stoneman and two Cameron boys are killed in the war. Ben Cameron is wounded after a heroic battle in which he gains the nickname, “the Little Colonel,” by which he is referred for the rest of the film. The Little Colonel is taken to a Northern hospital where he meets Elsie, who is working there as a nurse. The war ends and Abraham Lincoln is assassinated at Ford’s Theater, allowing Austin Stoneman and other radical congressmen to punish the South for secession, using radical measures Griffith depicts as typical of the Reconstruction era.

Part 2 depicts Reconstruction. Stoneman and his “mulatto” protegé, Silas Lynch, go to South Carolina to observe the expanded franchise. Black soldiers parade through the streets. During the election, whites are shown being turned away while blacks stuff the ballot boxes.

The film continues in a similar vein but ultimately ends on a suppsed message of reconciliation.

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The Sin Of Harald Diddlebock (1947) (Mad Wednesday)

Friday, April 30th, 2010

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock is a 1947 comedy written and directed by Preston Sturges, starring the silent film comic icon Harold Lloyd and featuring Jimmy Conlin, Raymond Walburn, Rudy Vallee, Arline Judge, Edgar Kennedy, Franklin Pangborn and Lionel Stander. The film’s story is a continuation of The Freshman, one of Lloyd’s most successful movies.

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock was Sturges’ first project after leaving Paramount Pictures, where he had made his best and most popular films, but the film was not successful in its initial release. It was quickly
pulled from distribution by producer Howard Hughes who took almost four years to re-shoot some scenes and re-edit the film, finally re-releasing it in 1950 as Mad Wednesday.

The film is generally considered to be a product of Sturges’ and Lloyd’s declining careers.

Lloyd was nominated for a Golden Globe for “Best Motion Picture Actor – Musical/Comedy”, and the film was nominated for Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, both in 1951. Lloyd, however, was never to star in another film, turning instead to production, and releasing compilation films featuring his earlier silent film work.

In this film, that reprises a character portrayed by Lloyd in a 1925 film, it is shown what happened to our hero, Harold Diddlebock (Lloyd), twenty years after his big triumph on the college football field. Struggling in the same job he received twenty years previous, Diddlebock is fired so he wanders the streets and eventually goes into a bar.

After drinking his first drink in his life, and a specially prepared drink in his honor, Diddlebock goes on a crazy rampage through town, buying things including a new wardrobe, a horse-drawn cab with cabby and also a circus.

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Shock (1946)

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Film noir classic from 1946 starring Vincent Price; noted for its dark themes, stark camera angles and high-contrast lighting.

The film tells the story of a psychiatrist, Dr. Cross, (Vincent Price) who is treating a coma-bound young woman, Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw.) Also starring Lynn Bari as Dr. Cross’s nurse/lover, Elaine Jordan.

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Easy Virtue (1928)

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Easy Virtue (1928) is a silent film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and loosely based on a play by Noël Coward.

The heroine Larita (Isabel Jeans) is married to a drunken brute. After he catches her almost being seduced by the artist who has been painting her picture, he brings suit for divorce on the grounds of adultery.
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The Red House (1947)

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

The Red House is a 1947 film noir starring Edward G. Robertson and directed by Spencer Selby adapted from the novel “The Red House” by George Agnew Chamberlain.

Handicapped farmer Pete (Robinson) and sister Ellen (Anderson) have raised ward Meg as their own on a reclusive farm. Now a teenager, Meg (Roberts) convinces her friend Nath to come help with chores on the farm. When Nath insists on using a shortcut home through the woods  Pete warns the young man of screams in the night and the terrors associated with the abandoned red house. Curious, Meg and Nath ignore his warnings and begin exploring and troubling secrets are revealed.

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