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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1761050 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #12390 on: August 11, 2013, 07:43:20 PM »

Slavish observance of a narrative conceit does not always produce good results. Even in Rear Window AH doesn't always stick to the idea of seeing everything from Jimmy Stewart's apartment window (during the dead-dog-in-the-courtyard scene, for example, we see some of the neighbors from perspectives that Stewart can't possibly have). There should be consistency in such approaches, but it doesn't have to be adhered to 100% of the time--especially if, by breaking the conceit, one can enhance the drama or add necessary info. In DI, I believe Wilder was correct to not always follow his self-imposed convention: seeing Stanwyck preparing for MacMurray's visit helps generate suspense; and to quote the Master again, suspense is always preferable to surprise.

if the movie all along had shown us stuff that MacMurray couldn't see, I would have no problem with that whatsoever - the movie could establish whatever rules it wants to. But once it establishes the rule that everything we are seeing is from MacMurray's perspective, I don't agree that it should then break the rule for a single scene toward the end. And I don't think that breaking the rule helps it either; I don't think we needed to see her hiding the gun. IMO,  if we just heard MacMurray's voice saying "but she had other plans..." and then later saw her pulling the gun on him, that would be fine. Suspense may be better than surprise, but I don't see how seeing her hide the gun adds to the suspense. We know from the beginning of the movie that he is shot; as soon as we see her hide the gun, we know she's gonna shoot him. (We don't know if he shoots her, but IMO the audience's focus is on MacMurray's fate, which we know all along anyway).

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« Reply #12391 on: August 11, 2013, 07:48:50 PM »

when do you think she started taking up with Nino Zachetti (which I see now is the correct way to spell his last name)? You think she was with him all along, or started messing around with him at some point while she was seeing MacMurray? If the former, then do you think Zachetti was only going with her daughter as some kind of coverup, that it was all part of
Stanwyck's plan? Or was it only after the daughter was going with him for a while (and after MacMurray came into the picture) that Stanwyck started going with Zachetti?
I think it started after MacMurray came into the picture. For one thing, Zachetti was sore when MacMurray dropped the daughter off: what's this slick dude doing with his girlfriend? He became suspicious, and Stanwyck was able to exploit his suspicion. Remember, Stanwyck wants to get rid of the girl--she knows about the death of her mother and might be dangerous to Stanwyck. And the more time the girl spends with MacMurray, the less time she spends with Zachetti, which gives Zachetti more to worry about. And Zachetti only has time to spend with Stanwyck because he isn't seeing his girlfriend as much. I don't think the opportunity is there for Stanwyck to work on Zachetti until the daughter (is her name Lola?) starts hanging around with MacMurray.

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« Reply #12392 on: August 11, 2013, 08:00:15 PM »

if the movie all along had shown us stuff that MacMurray couldn't see, I would have no problem with that whatsoever - the movie could establish whatever rules it wants to. But once it establishes the rule that everything we are seeing is from MacMurray's perspective, I don't agree that it should then break the rule for a single scene toward the end. And I don't think that breaking the rule helps it either; I don't think we needed to see her hiding the gun. IMO,  if we just heard MacMurray's voice saying "but she had other plans..." and then later saw her pulling the gun on him, that would be fine.
Once again I am reminded that I'm so glad Wilder made the film and not you. True, we don't absolutely need to see Stanwyck hiding the gun, but it's a powerful image that gets us thinking. Not everyone is gonna put the beginning together with that scene until the gun goes off. We know the MacMurray gets wounded at some point; we don't necessarily know that he's been shot. When we see the gun, it doesn't necessarily mean Stanwyck is gonna use it--maybe Zachetti will. Maybe MacMurray will try to take it away from her and it will go off accidentally. A lot of things could happen. About the only thing we know for certain is that someone's gun is going to go off--as per Chekhov's famous rule. But the image is more powerful than words; in film image always trumps voice-over.

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« Reply #12393 on: August 11, 2013, 09:43:51 PM »

I think it started after MacMurray came into the picture. For one thing, Zachetti was sore when MacMurray dropped the daughter off: what's this slick dude doing with his girlfriend? He became suspicious, and Stanwyck was able to exploit his suspicion. Remember, Stanwyck wants to get rid of the girl--she knows about the death of her mother and might be dangerous to Stanwyck. And the more time the girl spends with MacMurray, the less time she spends with Zachetti, which gives Zachetti more to worry about. And Zachetti only has time to spend with Stanwyck because he isn't seeing his girlfriend as much. I don't think the opportunity is there for Stanwyck to work on Zachetti until the daughter (is her name Lola?) starts hanging around with MacMurray.

but why does Stanwyck suddenlt start going with Zachetti then? Does she and/or Zachetti know that MacMurray is seeing Lola, and now Zachetti and Stanwyck are finding comfort from their lovers' cheating ways in each other's arms? Is it that Stanwyck is so sex-deprived now that MacMurray has to avoid her after committing the murder, that she just goes off with the nearest guy, which happens to be her stepdaughter's ex that is young enough to be her son?

If we are to believe that Stanwyck's real lover is Zachetti - that she really does love him (or at least like him) and plans to run off with him once she pockets the 100 grand, IMO that would only make sense if she was with him all along. I don't know if I can buy the idea that while she is in the midst of what could be a major legal battle over the insurance money, and is supposed to be playing the grieving widow, she would be so dumb as to start getting involved with Zachetti. Of course, it may well be that she doesn't give any more of a damn about Zachetti than she ever did about MacMurray - but again, don't you think Stanwyck is being reckless by shtupping Zachetti so soon after her husband's death and while she knows the insurance company is tailing her? I just think that Stanwyck has shown to be very coldly calculating, and I don't think she would be so reckless or or needy of sex that she would not risk it all by shtupping Zachetti. if it turns out that she really was with Zachetti all along, that would make more sense. Because it's one thing to at this point continue seeing your lover; it's quite another thing to start up with a new one.

I'm not in any way married (no pun intended) to this interpretation, I'm happy to be convinced either way.

------------------------------------------
RE: discussion of the scene showing Stanwyck hiding the gun: This discussion reminds me of an argument Powell and Pressberger had, which Roger Ebert quotes in his review of The Red Shoes: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-red-shoes-1948
Discussing the script, Pressburger argued that Vicky couldn't be wearing the red shoes when she runs away, because the ballet had not yet started. Powell writes: "I was a director, a storyteller, and I knew that she must. I didn't try to explain it. I just did it." 
 I don't think showing Stanwyck hiding the gun is as important as showing Vicky wearing the red shoes when she dies, but hey, I guess that's what movies are for  Wink



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« Reply #12394 on: August 12, 2013, 02:50:05 PM »

but why does Stanwyck suddenlt start going with Zachetti then? Does she and/or Zachetti know that MacMurray is seeing Lola, and now Zachetti and Stanwyck are finding comfort from their lovers' cheating ways in each other's arms? Is it that Stanwyck is so sex-deprived now that MacMurray has to avoid her after committing the murder, that she just goes off with the nearest guy, which happens to be her stepdaughter's ex that is young enough to be her son?

If we are to believe that Stanwyck's real lover is Zachetti - that she really does love him (or at least like him) and plans to run off with him once she pockets the 100 grand, IMO that would only make sense if she was with him all along. I don't know if I can buy the idea that while she is in the midst of what could be a major legal battle over the insurance money, and is supposed to be playing the grieving widow, she would be so dumb as to start getting involved with Zachetti. Of course, it may well be that she doesn't give any more of a damn about Zachetti than she ever did about MacMurray - but again, don't you think Stanwyck is being reckless by shtupping Zachetti so soon after her husband's death and while she knows the insurance company is tailing her? I just think that Stanwyck has shown to be very coldly calculating, and I don't think she would be so reckless or or needy of sex that she would not risk it all by shtupping Zachetti. if it turns out that she really was with Zachetti all along, that would make more sense. Because it's one thing to at this point continue seeing your lover; it's quite another thing to start up with a new one.

I'm not in any way married (no pun intended) to this interpretation, I'm happy to be convinced either way.

I don't think we're ever completely sure what Stanwyck is up to. MacMurray, when he finds out about her seeing Zachetti, assumes that she's lining him up to take care of MacMurray for her. That might be right, but it's an interpretation. Stanwyck counters with a different explanation: she's trying to turn Zachetti against Lola so he can get her out of the way. See, she's worried about Lola--she knows about Stanwyck's possible murder of Lola's mother when she worked as her nurse. And she's close enough to figure things out: maybe she'll accuse Stanwyck of murdering her father, either to the police or to the insurance company; either way, it can cause Stanwyck a lot of trouble. She can end up without the money and in jail. So, Zachetti can be useful--he can at least run interference, maybe even kill Lola if he's amenable. By controlling Zachetti, Stanwyck has options. She doesn't know what MacMurray is going to do ultimately. Maybe Zachetti is her insurance: if MacMurray becomes difficult to control, she's got (she hopes) a guy who can counter him. It's interesting that Zachetti turns up the night of the showdown between Stanwyck and MacMurray. Presumably, he's been summoned by Stanwyck. But why? To help her with MacMurray's body after she's killed him? We can only speculate.

btw, I don't think Stanwyck's character gets much of a kick out of sex. It's all business with her. She uses sex to get men to do what she wants. She's discovered that she can manipulate men up to a point, but that they remain dangerous. It's always prudent to have more than one guy on her string so she can pit them against each other if necessary. So she is promiscuous, but only for a divide-and-conquer strategy. For her, sex is just part of the job.

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« Reply #12395 on: August 12, 2013, 04:11:30 PM »

She uses sex to get men to do what she wants.

In other words, she's a woman?  Wink

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« Reply #12396 on: August 12, 2013, 08:47:45 PM »

I agree that we don't know much for sure about Stanwyck's intentions - the one thing that's clear all along is that Stanwyck has been planning to kill her husband.

Whether she initially plans to kill him herself, or whether she planned all along to have MacMurray fall so madly in love with her that he would (think that he) thinks up the idea himself, that you can debate. Also, whether she ever knew about or planned to use the double indemnity clause.  And her feelings vis-a-vis MacMurray and Zarchetti.

Again, Body Heat took the ambiguities out of those issues. In Body Heat, it's quite clear that she has planned to kill her hubby all along, planned to have the lover fall so madly in love with him and therefore think that he is the one who actually dreamed it up, and planned to invoke the Rule Against Perpetuities to get all the money rather than half.

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« Reply #12397 on: August 13, 2013, 09:24:05 AM »

Again, Body Heat took the ambiguities out of those issues.
Yet another reason I dislike that film.

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« Reply #12398 on: August 13, 2013, 11:35:56 AM »

I liked Body Heat as well as Double Indemnity. And The Postman Always Rings Twice

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« Reply #12399 on: August 13, 2013, 11:51:22 AM »

And The Postman Always Rings Twice
the Garfield or the Nicholson?

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« Reply #12400 on: August 13, 2013, 12:54:47 PM »

the Garfield or the Nicholson?

Garfield. Never saw the Nicholson one.

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« Reply #12401 on: August 17, 2013, 08:26:49 AM »

The Fly - 7.5/10
Jeff Goldblum = fly.

The Tree of Wooden Clogs - 7/10
Religious farmers farm.

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« Reply #12402 on: August 17, 2013, 09:07:37 AM »

Conspiracy - 8/10 - HBO docudrama about the Wannsee Conference, basically a remake of the 1984 German film. Kenneth Branagh makes an outstanding Reinhard Heydrich.

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« Reply #12403 on: August 17, 2013, 07:34:04 PM »

the Garfield or the Nicholson?

is the Nicholson one good?

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« Reply #12404 on: August 18, 2013, 08:43:15 AM »

Brokeback Mountain - 8/10 - A solid drama about love, loss and wounded masculinity; think Midnight Cowboy with better scenery. The gay angle isn't exactly incidental, but from the backlash I was expecting something like a Stanley Kramer flick (which surely fits the same year's Crash). Jake Gyllenhaal is better than I've seen him elsewhere though Heath Ledger really owns the movie; good support by Randy Quaid, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway. It's mostly well-paced and compelling, though the last 15 minutes feel superfluous. Even those not captivated by the story should relish Ang Lee's gorgeous photography, especially the opening sheep drive.

Also been watching The Thick of It this past week, but finding it a bit rougher sledding than the film. Maybe because I'm not as up on British politics I should be.

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