Vintage movies, soundtracks and writers

Here's the place to talk about DVDs (or VHS) films and movies you have seen on television and recommend or don't recommend. Discuss actors and scores, too.

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Belle
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Vintage movies, soundtracks and writers

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:31 am

I recently re-watched this excellent noir directed by Michael Curtiz, "Mildred Pierce". I was completely captivated by this lovely title music by Max Steiner:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mO8_3cUs0sQ

What wonderful writers they had in that golden age; "Mildred Pierce" screenplay was written by Ranald MacDougall and adapted from a novel. The lines are terrific and very potent and the themes of ambition, social class and betrayal are still relevant today. Crawford was amazing at her best; a combination of tremendous strength and coldness mixed with vulnerability. The one thing which persistently annoys about the film is the endless back-ground music which is very wearing and rather like an opera without the singing!! But the words are just so good. Michael Curtiz proved himself an accomplished director, light years away from the stasis of "We're No Angels" some years later. But he would demonstrate his flair again in "King Creole" with Elvis Presley a few years after that.

Another vintage film, William Inge's "Picnic". Directed beautifully by Joshua Logan (who hadn't directed a film before - his next one being "South Pacific"). I thought Kim Novak was the weakest link, but the performances of William Holden, Rosalind Russell and Susan Strasberg were absolutely superb. Who will ever forget this dancing sequence, music by George Duning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oivcG31tDY

Again, great lines for these actors to deliver. Screenwriter Daniel Taradash captured the essence of Inge's play really strongly. And the warm and sympathetic images from the great James Wong Howe captured the provincial post-war aesthetic in the US very well - from the quotidian, to the poignant, insouciant and the very humorous (particularly in the actual picnic scenes with its montages of a society untroubled by the external world - of crying babies, amateur choirs, children playing and small-time community leaders and their pomposity). I absolutely love this film and in many ways it reminded me of Australian life in the 1950s and 1960s.

I regard Robert Bolt and Carl Foreman as amongst the greatest screenwriters in film history. Bolt's writing for "Dr. Zhivago" was profoundly moving, every last word of it. And who could not recognize the rather noisy score by Maurice Jarre.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kmA0Sk ... 7I&index=2

The combination of Lean, Bolt, Jarre, Sharif, Guinness and Tom Courtenay made this a compelling film experience. Freddie Young's images of the snow and cold always send a shiver down my spine. Lean had a rare talent of establishing his landscapes as a powerful character in his films. In "Dr. Zhivago" his landscape was a white desert. I didn't like the film when I first saw it in 1968, thinking it too long and rather laboured. But I've come to appreciate image and word over the ensuing decades.

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