Review older films here: 1979 and earlier - Page 48 - AVS Forum
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post #1411 of 1414 Old 09-28-2014, 03:43 PM
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the 6th screen grab sold it to me
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post #1412 of 1414 Old Yesterday, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Brief Encounter (1945), directed by David Lean.

It begins at the end: a man and a woman in a railway diner, very sad. This is obviously good-bye, their last meeting. Whatever they might have said is ruined by the arrival of a noisy gossiping woman, so they don't have their final moments in private.

The rest of the movie is shown in flash-backs of the previous few weeks. They met in the same place. Both are married. We never meet his family but we do see hers and she obviously loves them: good kids, decent if dull husband.

The love affair is emotional; they never cross into physical infidelity, although we have close calls. But even that restrained, repressed degree requires lying and generates paranoia. Lying is too easy once you start. It can't go on.

In the end we have a few minor miracles: that they end it with some amount of dignity, that her sudden urge to suicide is prevented by she doesn't know what, and finally that her husband, although not aware of the details, understands and forgives.

This is a great classic "women's picture" and shows up on many "Best British Films" lists. Tremendously sensitive performances by Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. The soapy nature of the story is improved by a screenplay that moves along, lovely photography, and clever lighting and transitions.

In this case I think the massive locomotives roaring through the train-yard are less of a sexual metaphor and more about the impersonal, frantic energy of modern life, leaving no time to think or stop and enjoy the moment. Their greatest act of rebellion in to break the timetables, missing their trains.

From a Noel Coward play.

Criterion Blu-ray.

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post #1413 of 1414 Old Today, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by hitchfan View Post
I'm with you on that, Bill. I sat through M.A.S.H. once and that was enough. Thought it was just ok. I could have walked out of NASHVILLE midway through (but didn't) and not felt the least bit deprived or curious about what happened next. But I liked Altman's THREE WOMEN quite a bit. In fact, it is one of those rare movies where, on its initial release, I turned around the following weekend and paid to see it a second time. Couldn't stop thinking about it.
I agree that Altman's work is a mixed bag. Like you, I have never liked Nashville, which it seems to me is a talky, bloated mess. Don't remember enough about 3 Women to comment one way or the other. I confess that I fell in love with M.A.S.H. when I saw it first run in one of the old OKC movie palaces and have loved it ever since.

Believe it or not, my favorite Altman movie is his obscure TV movie, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (1988). Although Altman's casting choices struck me as odd, the cast performs well and the screenplay takes the time necessary to tell Herman Wouk's classic tale adequately. 8 Stars out of 10, highly recommended!
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post #1414 of 1414 Old Today, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
Coma (1978), written and directed by Michael Crichton.....
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post
I liked Coma too. Michael Crichton certainly was not the greatest screenwriter or director who ever came along but he made a number of movies I really liked, among them Westworld (1973) and The Great Train Robbery (1978)....
I just watched WESTWORLD again (on the cruddy DVD) while convalescing last week (arthroscopic surgery; apologies for misspellings, limited use of right hand). Might look dated, but in fact the theme of an "amusement resort" where cosplay violence and sex (in that order) are the primary attractions is as relevant today as ever. Nicely executed (ignore all that early 70s "future tech" set dressing), and Yul Brynner's performance as a robot caricature of his role in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is inspired, arguably on of his best. The shot where smiles is Grade-A chilling.


Crichton sure made some snoozers (LOOKER, anyone?), but this wasn't one of them. Forty dang years later and it's still entertaining and a bit thought-provoking.

Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
Four Sided Triangle (1953), directed by Terence Fisher.....
There's a lot of gold in that era of British cinema. This reminds me of a film I've wanted to see again for years ... The Mind Benders (1963).[1] When ALTERED STATES came out I recalled seeing this as Saturday afternoon filler on a local TV station (KTVU, Oakland, CA) or maybe as a featured flick on Bob Wilkins' famed Creature Features weekly show. Really effective, artfully crafted suspense flick, a la DEAD OF NIGHT, THE THIRD MAN.

[1] The Mind Benders (film) - Wikipedia

Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
Brief Encounter (1945), directed by David Lean.
Another b/w Brit classic. The subtle metaphors go so deep ... their deviation from societal mores and regimented "acceptable behavior" is mirrored in the distraction from the train schedules, and the sub-drama beneath all the humdrum conversation and interactions in the public train station is almost unbearable. I get depressed about the state of modern commercial filmmaking when I think of how great a film could be made from such a small, simple idea as this.

Anyone who only knows Trevor Howard from THE THIRD MAN and SUPERMAN THE MOVIE and his other well-known roles will be surprised here.

Don't think it's on BD yet, but the Criterion DVD of Pygmalion is really great, another treat. I'm sorry that I missed out on Criterion's big DVD sell-off a couple of years ago, their DVDs are/were better than some outfits' BDs. (Been revisiting a few while recuperating at home. Next stop: Kurosawa!)

Modest "theater": Samsung UN40ES6150, Panasonic BDT215, Yamaha RXV775. Bose 401 mains, 301 Series III surrounds, Yamaha NS-C444 center.

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