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Topics - Groggy

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General Discussion / Leone and The Godfather
« on: January 14, 2016, 05:52:14 PM »
I couldn't find a thread where this was discussed, despite several Godfather-related topics.

We hear from Frayling and Leone's own testimony that he was offered the chance to direct The Godfather, even that he was Charles Bluhdorn's personal choice. I've read most of the Godfather-related making-of books (Cowie, Lebo, etc.) and none of them mentions Leone at all (except Cowie briefly discussing OUATIA). Might be an oversight, but these books provide an exhaustive list of directors approached to direct The Godfather before Coppola, from obvious choices (Arthur Penn, Peter Yates) to the not-so-obvious (Costa-Gavras? Richard Lester?) and Sergio's nowhere to be found. It seems an odd exclusion given how often Leone's story is repeated.

Do our resident Leone scholars know of an outside source that corroborates Leone's claim?

Off-Topic Discussion / Flashman movie in the works
« on: March 09, 2015, 04:37:56 PM »

I'd be excited, but the Malcolm McDowell thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

Off-Topic Discussion / RIP Richard Attenborough
« on: August 24, 2014, 03:19:04 PM »

Great actor, decent director, indisputably a major figure in British cinema.

Off-Topic Discussion / RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman
« on: February 02, 2014, 12:52:24 PM »
Esquire has a nice write-up:

Looks like a drug overdose. Somehow I thought he was way older than 46.

Off-Topic Discussion / RIP Maximilian Schell
« on: February 01, 2014, 08:29:58 AM »

Lots of great roles, though his sympathetic General Bittrich in A Bridge Too Far stands out.

Off-Topic Discussion / RIP Joan Fontaine
« on: December 15, 2013, 06:54:02 PM »

Always preferred Olivia de Havilland, but Joan was no slouch.

Along with O'Toole and Tom Laughlin that makes three notable deaths within 24 hours.

Other Films / Billy the Kid Versus Dracula
« on: November 10, 2013, 11:34:45 AM »
The greatest scene in cinema history? You judge.

Other Films / Two Flags West (1950)
« on: March 24, 2013, 06:04:31 PM »
Forgive me if there's already a thread.

1950 was a seminal year for Westerns. The genre turned towards darker fare: The Gunfighter and Winchester '73 deconstructed the gunslinger myth, while Broken Arrow and Devil's Doorway extoll favor of Indian rights. John Ford's brilliant Wagon Master showed traditional Westerns could still provide a kick. Lost in the shuffle was Robert Wise's Two Flags West (1950), a serviceable Civil War Western.

In 1864, Confederate POWs led by Colonel Tucker (Joseph Cotten) agree to join the Union Cavalry fighting Indians. These "Galvanized Yankees" arrive at Ft. Thorn, New Mexico, where Tucker immediately butts heads with untrusting Major Kenniston (Jeff Chandler). The friendlier Captain (Cornel Wilde) pines for Elena (Linda Darnell), Kenniston's widowed sister-in-law. Tucker and his men consider escape, goaded by Rebel agent Ephraim Strong's (Harry Von Zell) plans to stir up rebellion in California. Tucker makes his choice when hostile Apaches attack Ft. Thorn.

Story writer Frank S. Nugent explored North-South reconciliation in Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon but makes it Two Flags West's major theme. Mutual loss generates tension among characters: Tucker led the Rebels who killed Elena's husband at Chancellorsville, while both Tucker and Kenniston served in POW camps. Tucker has no interest in reconciliation, having lost his farm to Sherman's March. Ultimately Wise falls back on the old expedient of Americans uniting against a common enemy, forging a national identity slaying Apaches.

Two Flags West might interest film-goers for its influence on future Westerns. John Sturges's Escape From Fort Bravo (1953) borrowed the setting and north-south tensions for a routine action flick. Sam Peckinpah grafted whole scenes onto Major Dundee (1965): Dundee's recruiting speech, Tucker's obsessive loyalty, a Dixie-Battle Hymn of the Republic singing duel originate here. Henry Sibley's New Mexico Campaign, mentioned in passing here, became the focus of Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).

Robert Wise provides efficient direction, with expressive photography and a thrilling end battle. The movie's crisply paced yet seems to cram in a few too many plot strands. We're intrigued by Harry Von Zell's Rebel agitator yet his subplot comes to nothing. The Apache are goaded to violence by Kenniston's stubbornness (shades of Fort Apache) but soon revert to pop-out savages. At least Wise provides an unconventional resolution to the climax. Western fans will enjoy Two Flags' straightforward action but its ambitions seem frustrated.

Joseph Cotten is fine as the conflicted Colonel Tucker. Jeff Chandler gives the standout turn, a cruel martinet who reveals nobility under fire. Cornel Wilde is likeable in a secondary role and Arthur Hunnicut steals his scenes as Tucker's right-hand man. Linda Darnell makes an appealing love interest; if nothing else, it's nice seeing her play a non-stereotyped Latina.

Two Flags West is an enjoyable Sunday afternoon film. A masterpiece it isn't, but those seeking an undemanding oater should enjoy. 7/10

This thread was inspired when I learned the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater is The Red Shoes on 2/24! Not a personal favorite but I wager it would be amazing on a big screen.

Apparently Film Forum had a showing of Black Narcissus last week. Jenkins, did you miss that one?

Other films and events may be discussed as appropriate. For discussion's sake, I'll posit A Matter of Life and Death as my favorite.

Off-Topic Discussion / RIP Jon Finch
« on: January 14, 2013, 06:36:46 AM »
A few weeks old yet apparently breaking news: actor Jon Finch died on 28 December 2012.

Looking at Finch's biography, to the extent of course that Wikipedia or IMDB is reliable, it appears he missed a shot (by choice or accident) at being an A list star. He was reportedly a candidate to play James Bond, was offered John Hurt's role in Alien and an unspecified part in the Lester Three Musketeers. Looks like he did a lot of stage and TV work after the early '70s. At least he'll have Frenzy and Polanski's Macbeth to be remembered by. RIP

Off-Topic Discussion / RIP Harry Carey Jr.
« on: December 29, 2012, 08:08:37 AM »
Possibly the last surviving member of the Ford Stock Company passed away on Thursday.

Off-Topic Discussion / The Dark Knight Rises
« on: July 19, 2012, 04:05:06 PM »
I would have been happy to ignore the latest Bat-tastrophie, but something this asinine deserves at least passing comment:

I'm sure I'll see it eventually, if only to spot Pittsburgh locales and my friends who got bit parts.

Off-Topic Discussion / RIP Andrew Sarris
« on: June 20, 2012, 07:31:57 PM »
Not a critic I ever had much use for, but I won't deny his impact:

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