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 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   Jeff Bond   (Member)

How about The Man in the White Suit? The Ealing comedies were pretty good...

I read Burton's diaries a few months ago. What he was really interested in was BOOKS; he was staggeringly well-read and opinionated (might have even given Regie a run for her money) with a fantastic knowledge of literature. I would say his interests were probably reading, women and drink in that order (although women and drink probably jockeyed for position).

Cleopatra is one of those movies I can watch any time, although I wouldn't consider it a great film (to me there's no comparison to Lawrence of Arabia, which achieves its goals brilliantly and is a masterpiece on every level). I was thinking in watching the blu-ray that while Spartacus could be considered the last great 50s epic, Cleopatra was very much a product of the 60s, even that early in the decade. What I adore about the movie apart from the score is the incredible art direction, the sets and costumes. I would LIVE in that world. The costumes for Taylor are part brilliant, part hilarious 60s excess--there's one scene where she appears to be wearing one of those rubber faux-feathered shower caps and a bathrobe my mom would have been wearing around the same time. But that getup for her entrance into Rome (with a headpiece sculpted by Wah Chang) is stupendous--I actually bought the Liz Taylor Barbie Doll just to have a reproduction of that.

I agree that North's Spartacus is more compelling--it has far more emotional power. But on the other hand, I have to be in the mood to listen to Spartacus, while I can listen to Cleopatra all the way through any time. Its architecture and atmosphere are completely seductive and totally involving. It's very close to being my favorite film score.

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 12:35 PM   
 By:   JohnnyG   (Member)

BAKERS DOZEN - 13 Great British Films Before 1970:

I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING - 1945
THE THIRD MAN - 1949
KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS - 1949
RICHARD III - 1955
THE DAMN BUSTERS - 1955
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI - 1957

ROOM AT THE TOP - 1958
PEEPING TOM - 1960
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA - 1962
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER - 1962
TOM JONES - 1963
GOLDFINGER - 1964

PERFORMANCE - 1968 (released in 1970)




THE 39 STEPS - 1935
THE LADY VANISHES - 1938
THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS - 1946
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH - 1946
BLACK NARCISSUS - 1947
OLIVER TWIST - 1948

THE RED SHOES - 1948
HAMLET - 1948
PASSPORT TO PIMLICO - 1949
THE LAVENDER HILL MOB - 1951
THE LADYKILLERS - 1955
SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING - 1960

THE SERVANT - 1963


 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 2:27 PM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

BAKERS DOZEN - 13 Great British Films Before 1970:

I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING - 1945
THE THIRD MAN - 1949
KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS - 1949
RICHARD III - 1955
THE DAMN BUSTERS - 1955
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI - 1957

ROOM AT THE TOP - 1958
PEEPING TOM - 1960
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA - 1962
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER - 1962
TOM JONES - 1963
GOLDFINGER - 1964

PERFORMANCE - 1968 (released in 1970)




THE 39 STEPS - 1935
THE LADY VANISHES - 1938
THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS - 1946
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH - 1946
BLACK NARCISSUS - 1947
OLIVER TWIST - 1948

THE RED SHOES - 1948
HAMLET - 1948
PASSPORT TO PIMLICO - 1949
THE LAVENDER HILL MOB - 1951
THE LADYKILLERS - 1955
SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING - 1960

THE SERVANT - 1963


My point exactly.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 2:43 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

How about The Man in the White Suit? The Ealing comedies were pretty good...

I read Burton's diaries a few months ago. What he was really interested in was BOOKS; he was staggeringly well-read and opinionated (might have even given Regie a run for her money) with a fantastic knowledge of literature. I would say his interests were probably reading, women and drink in that order (although women and drink probably jockeyed for position).

Cleopatra is one of those movies I can watch any time, although I wouldn't consider it a great film (to me there's no comparison to Lawrence of Arabia, which achieves its goals brilliantly and is a masterpiece on every level). I was thinking in watching the blu-ray that while Spartacus could be considered the last great 50s epic, Cleopatra was very much a product of the 60s, even that early in the decade. What I adore about the movie apart from the score is the incredible art direction, the sets and costumes. I would LIVE in that world. The costumes for Taylor are part brilliant, part hilarious 60s excess--there's one scene where she appears to be wearing one of those rubber faux-feathered shower caps and a bathrobe my mom would have been wearing around the same time. But that getup for her entrance into Rome (with a headpiece sculpted by Wah Chang) is stupendous--I actually bought the Liz Taylor Barbie Doll just to have a reproduction of that.

I agree that North's Spartacus is more compelling--it has far more emotional power. But on the other hand, I have to be in the mood to listen to Spartacus, while I can listen to Cleopatra all the way through any time. Its architecture and atmosphere are completely seductive and totally involving. It's very close to being my favorite film score.


Isn't it interesting how, being female, one is especially opinionated. I was only discussing this issue this morning with my husband and this is an unfortunate aspect of message-boarding. Men have problems with opinionated females. Men are either "right" or "wrong", but women are "opinionated". They should get back to the kitchen where they belong, aye!

IT'S POSSIBLE TO KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT FILMS, EXCEPT WHETHER OR NOT THEY'RE ANY GOOD!!

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 2:43 PM   
 By:   JohnnyG   (Member)

BAKERS DOZEN - 13 Great British Films Before 1970:

I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING - 1945
THE THIRD MAN - 1949
KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS - 1949
RICHARD III - 1955
THE DAMN BUSTERS - 1955
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI - 1957

ROOM AT THE TOP - 1958
PEEPING TOM - 1960
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA - 1962
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER - 1962
TOM JONES - 1963
GOLDFINGER - 1964

PERFORMANCE - 1968 (released in 1970)




THE 39 STEPS - 1935
THE LADY VANISHES - 1938
THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS - 1946
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH - 1946
BLACK NARCISSUS - 1947
OLIVER TWIST - 1948

THE RED SHOES - 1948
HAMLET - 1948
PASSPORT TO PIMLICO - 1949
THE LAVENDER HILL MOB - 1951
THE LADYKILLERS - 1955
SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING - 1960

THE SERVANT - 1963


My point exactly.



Was there ever any doubt? cool

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 2:46 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

"Tom Jones" and "Goldfinger" - both very ordinary films, IMO. There isn't a thing in either of these films which distinguishes them from any other film. I was bored to death with "Tom Jones" - having read Fielding's novel showed me it was nigh impossible to translate it meaningfully to film. Bingo.

"Goldfinger" - part of the 'franchise' and unexceptional. "Black Narcissus" was absolutely hilarious. "The Lavender Hill Mob" - the less said the better. You haven't mentioned the Kordas and Sabu!!! Mostly kitsch.

What you've done is listed British films that are well known. There are some exceptional ones there - true - but mostly you've only identified the halfway decent ones!! I'm sorry to say that films like "The Lady Vanishes" were significantly marred by the limitations of sound technology - and it wasn't very good anyway. Hitchcock really hit his stride after he arrived in the USA. "The Thirty Nine Steps" fell victim to the one-dimensional performance of Robert Donat and I could have wished that they removed those handcuffs hours earlier!! The closing scene? It had all the tension and appeal of a music-hall melodrama. There were ELEMENTS of early Hitchcock in Britain which pointed the way to his later greatness, but that's about all.

Would you like me to compile a list of very good American films for the period 1900-1970? It would be very long indeed. And there'd be plenty of British actors in them!! Then there's the French and then the German - and that's only up to the war years. Another long list.

"The Third Man" - the jury is out. I saw it again recently and, frankly, the endless canted framing and that mind-numbing theme always in the background....I could have been in "Gitmo"!!

The turning point for the British, IMO, was "A Man for all Seasons" and a great writer (great, I say) like Robert Bolt.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 3:35 PM   
 By:   MikeyKW   (Member)

GOLDFINGER was far from ordinary. It was one of the first blockbuster films ever made that was so popular theatres around the world had to run it around the clock. It's editing was remarkable and influential -- films at the time rarely cut on action or dropped frames to keep things moving. You can still see the impact on modern action films. It's sexuality was also progressive for its time; although it may seem tame today.

It's not really fair to consider GF just "part of the franchise" when it, for the first time, brought together all of the Bond elements into a satisfying whole in a way that's never ben equalled.

Hitchcock's British films weren't marred by their lack of quality sound. They show a remarkable mastery of the form (despite their low budgets) even today and in some ways are far superior and pure than his American films. Watch his Man Who Knew Too Much ('34) and remake ('56) for a good example of this.





"Tom Jones" and "Goldfinger" - both very ordinary films, IMO. There isn't a thing in either of these films which distinguishes them from any other film. I was bored to death with "Tom Jones" - having read Fielding's novel showed me it was nigh impossible to translate it meaningfully to film. Bingo.

"Goldfinger" - part of the 'franchise' and unexceptional. "Black Narcissus" was absolutely hilarious. "The Lavender Hill Mob" - the less said the better. You haven't mentioned the Kordas and Sabu!!! Mostly kitsch.

What you've done is listed British films that are well known. There are some exceptional ones there - true - but mostly you've only identified the halfway decent ones!! I'm sorry to say that films like "The Lady Vanishes" were significantly marred by the limitations of sound technology - and it wasn't very good anyway. Hitchcock really hit his stride after he arrived in the USA.

Would you like me to compile a list of very good American films for the period 1900-1970? It would be very long indeed. And there'd be plenty of British actors in them!! Then there's the French and then the German - and that's only up to the war years. Another long list.

"The Third Man" - the jury is out. I saw it again recently and, frankly, the endless canted framing and that mind-numbing theme always in the background....I could have been in "Gitmo"!!

The turning point for the British, IMO, was "A Man for all Seasons" and a great writer (great, I say) like Robert Bolt.

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 4:34 PM   
 By:   Jeff Bond   (Member)

Regie, don't take it personally--everyone is treated equally horribly on this board, male or female. If I think you might be as well read as Burton, that's no insult. I'm sad you can't enjoy Black Narcissus, although you're not the only one I know to find it funny. It's overheated but I love its theatricality--it's kind of the dark side of The Sound of Music.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 5:27 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

IT'S POSSIBLE TO KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT FILMS, EXCEPT WHETHER OR NOT THEY'RE ANY GOOD!!

Well, that's my point exactly. But you didn't have to shout.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 5:29 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

GOLDFINGER was far from ordinary. It was one of the first blockbuster films ever made that was so popular theatres around the world had to run it around the clock. It's editing was remarkable and influential -- films at the time rarely cut on action or dropped frames to keep things moving. You can still see the impact on modern action films. It's sexuality was also progressive for its time; although it may seem tame today.

It's not really fair to consider GF just "part of the franchise" when it, for the first time, brought together all of the Bond elements into a satisfying whole in a way that's never ben equalled.

Hitchcock's British films weren't marred by their lack of quality sound. They show a remarkable mastery of the form (despite their low budgets) even today and in some ways are far superior and pure than his American films. Watch his Man Who Knew Too Much ('34) and remake ('56) for a good example of this.


"Tom Jones" and "Goldfinger" - both very ordinary films, IMO. There isn't a thing in either of these films which distinguishes them from any other film. I was bored to death with "Tom Jones" - having read Fielding's novel showed me it was nigh impossible to translate it meaningfully to film. Bingo.

"Goldfinger" - part of the 'franchise' and unexceptional. "Black Narcissus" was absolutely hilarious. "The Lavender Hill Mob" - the less said the better. You haven't mentioned the Kordas and Sabu!!! Mostly kitsch.

What you've done is listed British films that are well known. There are some exceptional ones there - true - but mostly you've only identified the halfway decent ones!! I'm sorry to say that films like "The Lady Vanishes" were significantly marred by the limitations of sound technology - and it wasn't very good anyway. Hitchcock really hit his stride after he arrived in the USA.

Would you like me to compile a list of very good American films for the period 1900-1970? It would be very long indeed. And there'd be plenty of British actors in them!! Then there's the French and then the German - and that's only up to the war years. Another long list.

"The Third Man" - the jury is out. I saw it again recently and, frankly, the endless canted framing and that mind-numbing theme always in the background....I could have been in "Gitmo"!!

The turning point for the British, IMO, was "A Man for all Seasons" and a great writer (great, I say) like Robert Bolt.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 5:30 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

IT'S POSSIBLE TO KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT FILMS, EXCEPT WHETHER OR NOT THEY'RE ANY GOOD!!

Well, that's my point exactly. But you didn't have to shout.


I don't actually think that was your point at all, but nice try anyway.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 5:32 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Mikey KW: (the format of this messageboard is very challenging!):

Thanks for the comments. I think "Goldfinger" was one of the first of what I regard as "megaplex" cinema - i.e. mass audiences and the establishment of a franchise. We'll have to disagree about the film as I thought it just dull - notwithstanding what you've said about editing. I was talking about "great" films and this almost certainly cannot be regarded in this vein. I don't think we can conflate 'greatness' with 'popularity' and/or production values.

Form and production values (re Hitchcock) shouldn't be confused - one can almost certainly undermine the other. The sound was dreadful, muffled and - I'm sorry, it has to be said - the 'Englishness' of it drove me mad. That superiority and pomposity, (with avuncular males and female 'duchesses') which has hindered a great deal of my viewing enjoyment of British film in the same way that the dialects and their various social groupings have created the impression that it was at least two separate countries which were headed on vastly different courses - a great deal of the time, it has to be said. At least there was a kind of 'homogeneity' with American film in that it reflected a nation as a consistent entity. That may not ncessarily be entirely the fault of British film-makers but, from my point of view, it's a significant reason I eschew that cinema. Also, the vast numbers of cheesy, unfunny, badly acted films with lamentable plots - and there were literally THOUSANDS of them. Please remember, I speak of films up to circa 1970. From the early 60's they started to seem a bit more international and sophisticated - but too little too late, IMO.

(The Hitchcock biography I recommended earlier is a good insight into some of the myriad problems of British cinema during the 30's and early 40's.)

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 8:00 PM   
 By:   MikeyKW   (Member)

All countries produce films ranging from mediocre to outstanding: the fact that you dislike a particular culture in no way diminishes the inherent quality of the films.

I regularly watch films from many countries as they are a wonderful little window into a culture. They are refreshing change from the violent, dumbed-down films produced in America.

Goldfinger cannot be considered part of "megaplex" cinema, as megaplexes didn't appear until many years later. Goldfinger can certainly be considered great by almost any barometer. Of course popularity is not an indicator of quality, but neither does it exclude it from greatness. Films like Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Jaws, Godfather, and (yes) Goldfinger were all popular successes that had an inherent artistic quality. "Conflate"? I doubt this is the correct word here: perhaps if you could put away your thesaurus your posts would be more readable.

As for the "problems" of British Cinema as you call them, yes they had many challenges (including a few inconvenient World Wars) but they also had some incredibly creative craftspeople behind the scenes who came up with some creative solutions; producing films that are still enjoyed today.




Mikey KW: (the format of this messageboard is very challenging!):

Thanks for the comments. I think "Goldfinger" was one of the first of what I regard as "megaplex" cinema - i.e. mass audiences and the establishment of a franchise. We'll have to disagree about the film as I thought it just dull - notwithstanding what you've said about editing. I was talking about "great" films and this almost certainly cannot be regarded in this vein. I don't think we can conflate 'greatness' with 'popularity' and/or production values.

Form and production values (re Hitchcock) shouldn't be confused - one can almost certainly undermine the other. The sound was dreadful, muffled and - I'm sorry, it has to be said - the 'Englishness' of it drove me mad. That superiority and pomposity, (with avuncular males and female 'duchesses') which has hindered a great deal of my viewing enjoyment of British film in the same way that the dialects and their various social groupings have created the impression that it was at least two separate countries which were headed on vastly different courses - a great deal of the time, it has to be said. At least there was a kind of 'homogeneity' with American film in that it reflected a nation as a consistent entity. That may not ncessarily be entirely the fault of British film-makers but, from my point of view, it's a significant reason I eschew that cinema. Also, the vast numbers of cheesy, unfunny, badly acted films with lamentable plots - and there were literally THOUSANDS of them. Please remember, I speak of films up to circa 1970. From the early 60's they started to seem a bit more international and sophisticated - but too little too late, IMO.

(The Hitchcock biography I recommended earlier is a good insight into some of the myriad problems of British cinema during the 30's and early 40's.)

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 9:14 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

The culture is only one small part of the problem - the biggest is the awfulness of the films. Far more of them than in USA.

There were and are fine technicians in the British industry - no doubt about that. Pity they were put to work on such poor product.

When I said "Goldfinger' was "megaplex" I was using that metaphorically to mean 'mass consumption - big budget/action/sex etc." I stick by that.

Right at this moment one of the most dreadful films of all time - a British production - is playing on TV: "Shalako". It's not restored (why would they!?) and it has an 'international cast'. Jack Hawkins, Peter van Eyck, Stephen Boyd (now he was a great actor!), Brigid Bardot and the main star is Sean Connery. Music by Robert Farnon. A de Grunwald Production.

I have to ask, WHY? They're all standing around in a 'set piece', looking over-costumed and made up and just, plain incongruous in their desert locale. Not to mention the endless zoom in/zoom out photography and faux French-new-Wave editing. Terrible.

FWIW, I despise the vast majority of American films of today - action/violence/sex/drugs/swearing and that obnoxious swagger the males develop where they are ready to "kick butt" all the time. Great films are fewer and farther between than they used to be, but when they're good they're VERY GOOD.

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 9:36 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

Some excellent points here. I think the film cost significantly more than $40M; if memory serves it bankrupted Fox.

And I'm an Australian female who doesn't use the (male) venacular!! You must think we're an uncouth lot here - please don't confuse us with our very common female ex Prime Minister.

When I said North was ahead of the curve, I meant he was ahead of 'everybody' up to that time. Rosenman used dissonance in his scores, as I recall, but I still think North's was way better.

I laughed about your comments on the mixed styles in "Cleopatra". So true. Joe was a great writer, but there were 2 others on the film with him - Ranald McDougall and Sidney Buchman. And Joe directed the film after Rouben Mamoulian had been fired - a litany of problems with the film which ultimately reflected its production values.

Disagree that Burton was a great actor in "Who's afraid of...". He was merely being himself - they both were. Total narcissists caught up in a mutually destructive relationship - they merely suited Albee's material, that's all.


A few thoughts/observations:

I had no idea you were a female until you said you were female. I have many female friends who love film and film music. I share most of their opinions but we deviate in individual ways and still find value in our mutual opinions.

"Cleopatra", as a production, is as magnificent as any ever put on screen...production values included. It's script was literate to a point. Mankiewicz spent most of his evenings rewriting the existing script for the next days' shoots. The second half remains a snoozer. When Harrison's "Caesar" dies, the film's literacy dies as well. Neither Burton nor Taylor were up to the challenge of making their lines seem significant or interesting. Alex North, however, makes it worth watching, along with the glorious photography, costume and production design. The film did not "bankrupt" 20th Century-Fox. It almost did, but Darryl Zanuck stepped back up and offered a bailout -- his film "The Longest Day" with him returned to the studio as head with certain powers to do what he wanted. That saved 20th Century-Fox from bankruptcy. What "Cleopatra" did do was shut studio production down for virtually the entire year of 1962. The studio released four films that year, none of which had any fiscal impact on the studio's solvency. "The Longest Day", advances and boxoffice on "Cleopatra" and the films the studio began making under Zanuck's leadership led the studio back to solvency. "Cleopatra" despite claims to the contrary, was never a boxoffice bomb. It was the highest grossing film of its year. It simply didn't make it's money back until a few years later. It remains one of Fox's moneymakers on home video.

Unless you personally knew Burton and Taylor, and I'm satisfied in my belief that you did not, you have no point of reference in saying Burton was playing himself in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" or that their relationship was mutually destructive (but it certainly seemed to have that potential). I have never seen a greater performance by Burton, and certainly one that was very different from himself. The next greatest by him was his "Becket" and, after that, his Petruchio. Taylor, as Martha, was in a part for which she was eminently suited...a faded beauty turned slattern -- coarse, abusive and grating. It was the anti-Taylor...what she might have been had she embarked upon a path as a hooker or madam instead of a great movie star. It HAS to be acting because every instinct she had developed during her career would have screamed at her not to do it. I thought "Taming of the Shrew" was brilliant. Still do.

And, finally, my thoughts here are no better nor worse than yours. Merely personal opinion formed after many thousands of hours spent watching film, film performances, etc., over 50-plus years. As my educational degree is in theater, I do not throw that in as suggesting my opinion about acting has any more merit than anyone else's. I'm certain many people have taken film courses but that does not qualify them to know what registers with the moviegoing public or lovers of film who don't take film courses. The theory proposed in such courses is akin to the trends studio heads embark upon in order to create financially successful films. It's theory that works sometimes and doesn't work at others. And certainly there are directors working today, as there were directors working in the past, who should never been hired to direct even though they had "credentials" to do so.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 10:03 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Some excellent points here. I think the film cost significantly more than $40M; if memory serves it bankrupted Fox.

And I'm an Australian female who doesn't use the (male) venacular!! You must think we're an uncouth lot here - please don't confuse us with our very common female ex Prime Minister.

When I said North was ahead of the curve, I meant he was ahead of 'everybody' up to that time. Rosenman used dissonance in his scores, as I recall, but I still think North's was way better.

I laughed about your comments on the mixed styles in "Cleopatra". So true. Joe was a great writer, but there were 2 others on the film with him - Ranald McDougall and Sidney Buchman. And Joe directed the film after Rouben Mamoulian had been fired - a litany of problems with the film which ultimately reflected its production values.

Disagree that Burton was a great actor in "Who's afraid of...". He was merely being himself - they both were. Total narcissists caught up in a mutually destructive relationship - they merely suited Albee's material, that's all.


A few thoughts/observations:

I had no idea you were a female until you said you were female. I was disappointed that you chose to use your femaleness in an argument in which you supposed someone was suggesting you should know your place.

"Cleopatra", as a production, is as magnificent as any ever put on screen...production values included. It's script was literate to a point. The second half remains a snoozer. When Harrison's "Caesar" dies, the film's literacy dies as well. North, however, makes it worth watching, along with the glorious photography and production design.

Unless you personally knew Burton and Taylor, and I'm satisfied in my belief that you did not, you have no point of reference in saying Burton was playing himself in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." I have never seen a greater performance by Burton, and certainly one that was very different from himself. The next greatest by him was his "Becket" and, after that, his Petruchio. Taylor was in a part for which she was eminently suited...a faded beauty turned slattern -- coarse, abusive and grating. It was the anti-Taylor...what she might have been had she embarked upon a path as a hooker or madam instead of a great movie star.

And, finally, my thoughts here are no better nor worse than yours. Merely personal opinion formed after tens of thousands of hours spent watching film, film performances, etc. As my educational degree is in theater, I do not throw that in as suggesting my opinion has any more merit than anyone elses.


Well said , Ron -- I especially want to agree on that last paragraph - we all express opinions here and sometimes we confuse our personal thoughts with the "truth" - we all must be mindful to be respectful of others thoughts and opinions but also remember "Caveat Lector "- IMHO - see three years of Latin and a Masters in Theater gimme some smarts too!

I have found this to be a fascinating thread - But where were some of you when I posted about this topic last month on the Non-Film Score board "CLEOPATRA (1963) in theaters May 23 + 26" ?

Ron, I totally agree about the Burtons in WAOVW (did you mean Elizabeth was a faded beauty in '64/5 ? - she was only 33 ) and I also thought both were pretty damn good as Katharine + Petruchio in TOTS too -- Burton deserved an Oscar for WOOLF every bit as much as Paul Scofield did for MAN FOR ALL SEASONS - and Burton did not have the advantage of playing that role on stage many times as the great Scofield had.

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 10:06 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

No...I mean Martha was a faded beauty turned slattern. A part Taylor was born to play IF her instincts didn't keep her from taking the risk. Burton guided her through it and she went down a path she might have trod had prostitution been her calling.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 10:19 PM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

A very interesting thread - even with the detours. I watched the blu-ray a few weeks ago. I side with those who talk about 'Cleo' not aging well and it's mostly Liz's fault. Her buxom 60's look just doesn't ring my antiquity chime. Her voice is completely irritating. What saves the film and makes it still worth watching to any degree are the production values - which are overwhelming and Alex North's score. The latter is one of the benchmark musical works for cinema. I am a total sucker for the roadshow releases of the 50's and 60's and especially the large format films. Todd-AO, etc. It is the sheer, pre-CGI real-set grandeur of these films that renders them timeless despite all the other dated or incongruous elements. (Same with 'Fall of the Roman Empire', '55 Days at Peking', etc. etc.)

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 10:43 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

A very interesting thread - even with the detours. I watched the blu-ray a few weeks ago. I side with those who talk about 'Cleo' not aging well and it's mostly Liz's fault. Her buxom 60's look just doesn't ring my antiquity chime. Her voice is completely irritating. What saves the film and makes it still worth watching to any degree are the production values - which are overwhelming and Alex North's score. The latter is one of the benchmark musical works for cinema. I am a total sucker for the roadshow releases of the 50's and 60's and especially the large format films. Todd-AO, etc. It is the sheer, pre-CGI real-set grandeur of these films that renders them timeless despite all the other dated or incongruous elements. (Same with 'Fall of the Roman Empire', '55 Days at Peking', etc. etc.)

Bob, I can only say that I agreed with you about Elizabeth's voice for the character of Cleopatra when I first saw it in theaters and later on video. But when I saw it last month on the big screen in dolby digital , her voice did not bother me as it once did - I even thought (in this uncut version) "she isnt as strident or as shrill as I remember") -- it isnt a perfect voice trained for a role from antiquity ( stage trained voices are better, usually) but her vocal quality improves as the story unfolds IMO.
All these films play better in a movie theater -- what I wont give to see the ones you mention and many more back in theaters.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2013 - 12:09 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

)All these films play better in a movie theater -- what I wont give to see the ones you mention and many more back in theaters.

It was certainly great seeing Ben-Hur, Spartacus and El Cid back in cinemas in limited release in the early 90s. I'm sure there'd still be an audience for such juicy fare, particularly among those cheesed-off with the current comic book sequel/psychological horror/hard-boiled-serial-killer-hunting-detective output. (Not to mention those delightfully tasteful goofball Ben Stiller/Adam Sandler/Will Ferrell "comedies"). Even with the popularity of home cinema, dimensions like B-H's 2.75:1 just aren't viable on ye olde TV; the wow factor just isn't there.

 
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