Amph 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die: Now Disc. "Heat" (1995)

Discussion in 'Community' started by Zaz, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" is a book--a weighty book--complied by a bunch of critics, film profs and lecturers and various writers and publishers. When I first looked at some of the selections I thought they were a bit strange. However, remember the title--the book is not the 1001 best movies. The editor explains that they were looking for the 1001 movies that would give the broadest knowledge of film, and all its various sub-genres, and make you curious about knowing more.

    In that light, the selections do make more sense. I didn't intend to start a thread on the book originally, because of the overlap with the AFI's 100 Best Movies thread of blessed memory. However, 1001 Movies is considerably different. For one thing, it's much longer, and for another, it covers numerous foreign movies, including some I've never heard of before. There is some overlap, however.

    Anyway, first on the list:

    "A Trip to the Moon" (Le Voyage Dans La Lune) (1902)

    Directed, Produced and Written by George Melies.

    Silent, B & W, French, 14 minutes long.

    I haven't seen this film, though there is a famous still from it: the moon with a grimace, because a rocket ship has hit it in the eye). It's somehow fitting that the first famous movie is scifi.

    Plot: A French expedition to the moon discoveres that it is inhabited by Selenites, from whom the expedition escape by means of magic tricks. They return to Earth and are feted in Paris as heroes.

    Melies uses superimpositions, dissolves and editing, all of which were generally unknown in previous short movies, most of which were about 2 minutes long at this point. (Note: Melies was actually a magician by trade)

    Anybody seen this movie?





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  2. Django211 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 1999
    star 4
    I saw this a long time ago way back in film school. What always struck me is how Melies' films always felt more dream like to me than most dream sequences in films.

    An interesting companion viewing piece would be the final episode of "From the Earth to the Moon." Tom Hanks directs and stars in an episode that contrasts Melies' film with a real moon landing. It sheds some light on Georges Melies that not many people know.
  3. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

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    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
    Quite an undertaking, Zaz. I've seen this book around - but I thought it was an Australian thing. It might still be, just a different publication.

    I was planning on doing the '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die' version of this thread, actually. I think I still will.
  4. MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    Mar 18, 2001
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    I saw this back in college during a film course. Not sure if we got the whole version or excerpts but it was remarkable for what it did technically at such an early stage of development.
  5. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    The album project sounds good, TBM. :D

    I'm impressed that two people have actually seen the film. It must have been an extraordinary undertaking for Melies, like writing a book without speaking the language, or more accurately, having to invent your own.

    I'm not familiar with the TV show (it sounded like that) you're referring to, Django. What date is it?
  6. Darth_Banal Jedi Grand Master

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    Jul 22, 2002
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    I have very faint memories of this film, which were stirred up in the second episode of Futurama, where Bender sticks his bottle in the eye of the Luna Park mascot.
  7. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Next: "The Great Train Robbery" (1903)

    USA; silent; B & W; 12 minutes

    Directed by Edwin S. Porter

    The first real Western, in that it has a fully developed story, and apparently quite sophisticated story-telling technique.

    Plot: Two masked robbers force a telegraph operator to send a fake message to a train so that it will make an unscheduled stop. They board the train, fight with the staff, open the safe on the mail car. They then overpower the driver and fireman, and hold up the passengers. One passengers run away and is shot. The robbers use the engine to escape and ride away on their horses. The telegraph operator sends for help; a posse is formed; and the robbers are killed.

    There is a shot, where one of the robbers aims a gun point blank at the audience. This is usually shown either at the start or at the end.

    I have seen a bit of this movie in "The Grey Fox", where an old stage coach robber is released after 30 years in prison. No more stagecoaches, so he doesn't know how to earn his living. Then he sees this movie. Light dawns, and he starts robbing trains in British Columbia.

    But I haven't seen all of it.

    I hope one of you have and can tell us what it is like.
  8. Django211 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 1999
    star 4
    The series "From the Earth to the Moon" was a terrific HBO mini-series that Tom Hanks had a big hand in making (director, writer, executive producer). There were 12 episodes in all. It features a remarkable cast. In the final episode they contrast Georges Melies filming his trip to the moon with the final NASA moon voyage. The series is available on DVD.
  9. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Don't have HBO, unfortunately. Is it out on DVD?
  10. winter_chili Force Ghost

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    Nov 6, 2002
    star 5
    They referenced the "shooting at the audience" in Goodfellas.
  11. Drac39 Force Ghost

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    Jul 9, 2002
    star 6
  12. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    I've looked at this book and I hope to see all the films in it before I die. But that's a massive undertaking, even given that I'm only 23. :p Especially with all the other lists I'm working with. ;)

    I really, really, really look forward to this thread.

    The Great Train Robbery gets a lot of clip play and I've seen about two minutes of it all told, but I haven't seen it all yet.
  13. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Next: "Birth of a Nation" (1915)

    USA; B & W; 190 minutes; silent

    Starring: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall

    Directed by: D. W. Griffith

    Seen extended clips from this, but not the whole thing.

    Technically, it's a marvel, especially for its time.

    Among the innovations: dramatic close-ups; tracking shots; parallel action sequences, cross-cutting, and the first orchestral score. Griffith's film language is still used today.

    The problem is the story. It's based on a play: Thomas Dixon's "The Clansman", which is apparently explictly racist. People like to pretend this was par for the course for 1915, but even then, the contents of this film caused a scandal.

    Lots of argument as to whether Griffith himself was a racist. He was a Virginian, and something of a naif. I suspect that it never occurred to him that the story would cause a furor, and he was appalled to be termed a bigot. Yet certain elements, most specifically the title, suggested he knew exactly what he was saying.

    The story follows a Northern family (the Stonemans) and a Southern one (the Camerons) trough the Civil War and Reconstruction. Every embarrassing racial stereotype is present and barking. The Klu Klux Klan is glorified as the saviour of the nation. And so forth.

    Is this film propaganda? Yes.

    Can propganda be art? I think so, and we will meet another example later on, "The Triumph of the Will." It's creepy, horrifying art, but art nonetheless.



  14. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Well I haven't seen any of these yet, so let's hope I don't die anytime soon :p
  15. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Saw it and hated it. While I know it was an important film and all, it's still a pretty bad movie for everything that it stands for.
  16. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    I like silent films, but this was beyond stagy. The techniques might have been innovative, but the film still never really rose above its roots and the acting was pretty uniformly terrible. And this from a guy who thinks Lon Chaney's turn in Phantom of the Opera was brilliance. So, you see the kind of acting we're dealing with here.

    Is it racist? Yes, so the first half is better than the second, but either way its biggest flaw is simply that it's too long by at least an hour or more.

    The only scene that I think really succeeded on any level of what I could call 'art' was the little Colonel's charge.

    It's on all of these lists, but it's really not worth the time. Skip this one.

    And do you ever just feel overwhelmed . . . all the movies, all the music, all the books . . . and only seventy years or so, if you're lucky. I feel that way on a regular basis!
  17. Captain_Typho Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 5
    Sorry to join the thread 3 movies late into the game. I have seen all 3 of the movies mentioned so far and each one is an amazing film in their own right. Trip to the Moon was the first Sci Fi film with groundbreaking special effects for its day (like Star Wars was) Great Train Robbery had a fantastic plot and amazing use of cameras and editing (pan shots, matting in images and coloring images) Birth of a Nation is criticized for being a racist film but technically it introduced us to things like iris shots, close ups, and other innovative filming techniques. I recommend seeing all 3 of these pioneering works in your lifetime.
  18. Zombi_2_1979 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 4
    I love Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera (double disc Ultimate Edition) and even more in The Unknown.

    There is only one action to take, take in as much as you can or hope a great fortune lands in your lap and you can retire and pluck away on the "play" button and turn the page at your devoted leisure.
  19. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Drac, that is a good website. It went immediately onto my 'favorites' list.

    Rogue, as to the staginess, Griffith began as a stage actor in the touring melodramas popular at the time. But before "Birth of a Nation", he spent years working on short films, often very effectively. During that time, he started experimenting with film in a technical way, and the result is the innovations in BOAN. He also had a sharp eye for talent, especially female talent, but his taste remained Victorian.

    190 minutes gave me pause when I read it. Griffith had an giant burst of ambition, because usually films were much shorter.

  20. Drac39 Force Ghost

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    Jul 9, 2002
    star 6
  21. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    That was indeed a highly interesting article, Drac

    Next: "Les Vampires" (1915)

    B & W; French; 440 minutes (it's a series/serial)

    Directed & written by: Louis Feuillade

    I'd never heard of this particular movie.

    Released in ten parts, of varying length. The release dates also varied.

    Plot: "Les Vampires" are a gang of Parisian criminals. They are led in turn by four successive "Grand Vampires", who are killed off during the series. The main star is Irma Vep (Musidora), the handmistress of each of the Grand Vampires. Their opponent is a reporter played by Edouard Mathe.

    Here's the book: "It is Feuillade's ability to create, on an extensive and imaginative scale, a double world--at once weighty and dreamlike, recognizably familar and excitingly strange--that is of central importance to the evolution of the movie threiller and marks him as a major pioneer of the form."

    From a review on IMDB:

    "Each episode builds upon the first, so I strongly recommend you watch it in sequence (as if you watching the Sopranos on HBO). It's interesting to see how the characters develop and improve their acting as they gain experience and confidence within their roles. Irma Vep and Mazamette, especially are a treat to watch. Later in the series, both Irma Vep and Mazamete deliberately ham it up for the viewing audience and camera just for fun! Guerande reminded me a lot of Gene Kelly with his clean-cut facial expressions and haircut. Only the last episode (#10) was a disappointment. For some reason, much of the print was washed out in the interior scenes, the tinting inconsistent (many outdoor scenes were red instead of green etc.) and the storyline was unrealistically forced forward (i.e., how did Mazamette enter into Guerande's house at 2:00 am uninvited and how did Guerande climb down the 3rd floor balcony of the Vampires' mansion after he threw away their knotted rope, the Vampires' only means of escape from that level?)

    Most episodes are 45 minutes in length, except #10 which is nearly a hour. Even though the entire series runs over 8 hours, don't watch it a double speed as suggested by a previous reviewer. The score adds ambience, suspense & excitement to the Parisian scenes at the appropriate places."

    Now, of course, I'd love to see this.
  22. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Nov 2, 2000
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    I read a detailed breakdown of the first few episodes of this a year or so back. I then decided that I really wanted to see it, so I'd better stop with the spoilers.

    This looks really fantastic and I'd love to see it sometime.
  23. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Has anybody ever seen any of this movie?
  24. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    This book is on order from the library.
  25. Captain_Typho Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 5
    I have not seen this or heard of it but I will make every effort to see it before I die.