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 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 6:00 PM   
 By:   Ed Lachmann   (Member)

Now what would the Westboro Church and snarky self-important narcissists who believe that only they know the truth about salvation have in common?

 
 Posted:   May 10, 2013 - 6:25 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

Now what would the Westboro Church and snarky self-important narcissists who believe that only they know the truth about salvation have in common?


Whoops! Sounds like someone somewhere in the thread may have crossed the line from film criticism to reigious criticism. I didn't notice it, but I'll take another look. Of course, if there is religious discussion occurring here, that's not allowed at this board, and for good reason. But if good honest (even if snarky) film criticism is being misinterpreted as a swipe at anyone's religious befiefs, I think it's safe to say that no one here had any such intention.

 
 Posted:   May 11, 2013 - 9:50 AM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

I once piped up after a similar dismissal of CAVALCADE and got a bit testy with the negativity, having just seen it on TCM and finding it a delightful film. Simultaneously, an entire cadre of the like minded over at Home Theater Forum jumped in and, evidently, it was read by the powers that be over at Fox and we will have a blu-ray or it coming out end of summer.

That's excellent news. I'm a big Noel Coward fan, and anything of his is always welcome.

Obviously, an 80 year old movie is going to look a little creaky to some, but, to the rest of us, it's a delight.

A portrait of an age long gone.....idealised, of course, but, a fun time-capsule, none the less.

A huge hit in it's day, both on stage and screen, and the genesis of TV's "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey".

Just what the Butler ordered !

 
 
 Posted:   May 11, 2013 - 11:26 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO JOE CAPS- I would say even if a film is on DVD, it is to a certain extent a bit obscure, not as obscure if it was not on DVD and also not shown for years on TV but still obscure.Just think, unless it is a big selling DVD, when a movie appears on cable, be it TCM or HBO,the movie Channel, THIS etc etc a lot of people will see it nationwide, I would therefore not call it obscure.I know from my own first hand experience getting your film put on DVD in stores is nice, but when JOE BOB BRIGGS SHOWS YOUR FILM ON the movie channel or GILBERT GOTTFRIED shows your film on up all night on the USA NETWORK, or your film pops up on CINEMAX, Well that's really nice. thinking about all the people at once watching your film.

 
 Posted:   May 16, 2013 - 4:40 AM   
 By:   Chris1770   (Member)

What is also of some interest, Borzage, a high ranking free mason* (according to Hervé Dumont's biography), directed this picture. The masonic beliefs usually are widely spread in Borzage's films of the 20's and 30's especially. As I've have never seen TBF I can't tell if it is the case here as well.

*Ironically, William "Ben-Hur" Wyler, was a mason, too.

 
 Posted:   May 16, 2013 - 2:57 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

As I've have never seen TBF I can't tell if it is the case here as well.


No, you can "tell" anything you want. You don't have to see the film yourself. All you have to do is type this crap.

Didn't you just state above that Masonic beliefs were all over Borzage's films for a couple of decades, without citing a single example? Are we all going to have to read the Dumont book to find out how "the masonic beliefs usually are widely spread in Borzage's films of the 20's and 30's"?

 
 
 Posted:   May 16, 2013 - 7:37 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Turner Classic Movies has scheduled THE BIG FISHERMAN for airing on Thursday, May 16 @ 8:00 PM (ET). It does not appear as if the showing will be in widescreen.

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/68656/Big-Fisherman-The/articles.html


So was it shown full screen or widescreen?

 
 
 Posted:   May 16, 2013 - 7:50 PM   
 By:   joec   (Member)

Turner Classic Movies has scheduled THE BIG FISHERMAN for airing on Thursday, May 16 @ 8:00 PM (ET). It does not appear as if the showing will be in widescreen.

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/68656/Big-Fisherman-The/articles.html


So was it shown full screen or widescreen?


Pan scan (full screen), needs restoration. About 165min, which I believe is the cut down version.

 
 
 Posted:   May 16, 2013 - 8:11 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Probably the same ratty print you can see on YouTube. Under the circumstances one has to give a pass to Lee Garmes and the camera crew. I do have a childhood memory of brilliant colors. But how to explain the trite story, impossible acting, and all around torpor in the work of an old master like Frank Borzage? The score is generic orientalism a la Khachaturian and remarkably lacking in drama.Any number of of Hollywood composers could have helped. Think SODOM AND GOMORRAH.

 
 
 Posted:   May 16, 2013 - 8:54 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Any number of of Hollywood composers could have helped. Think SODOM AND GOMORRAH.

I'm always thinking SODOM AND GOMORRAH. Trouble is, I'm almost the only one.

You out there, James!!! smile

 
 
 Posted:   May 17, 2013 - 2:36 AM   
 By:   joec   (Member)

Probably the same ratty print you can see on YouTube. Under the circumstances one has to give a pass to Lee Garmes and the camera crew. I do have a childhood memory of brilliant colors. But how to explain the trite story, impossible acting, and all around torpor in the work of an old master like Frank Borzage? The score is generic orientalism a la Khachaturian and remarkably lacking in drama.Any number of of Hollywood composers could have helped. Think SODOM AND GOMORRAH.

There are hints of beautiful camera work. Great sets and costumes. Capable cast, but little else. Score is a disappointment.

 
 
 Posted:   May 17, 2013 - 12:08 PM   
 By:   jskoda   (Member)

I watched it for the first time on TCM last night. Was pleasantly surprised. Thought the story was interesting and the dialog pretty good. The story construction is a little clunky--scenes keep fading out rather quickly, probably because of all the late editing.

Unfortunately, the print was really awful. Looked like a bad VHS copy of a 16mm print. Photography and production design were all but impossible to appreciate.

The score sounded OK to me. I'd like to hear it with better sound.

 
 Posted:   May 17, 2013 - 1:41 PM   
 By:   Chris1770   (Member)

As I've have never seen TBF I can't tell if it is the case here as well.


No, you can "tell" anything you want. You don't have to see the film yourself. All you have to do is type this crap.

Didn't you just state above that Masonic beliefs were all over Borzage's films for a couple of decades, without citing a single example? Are we all going to have to read the Dumont book to find out how "the masonic beliefs usually are widely spread in Borzage's films of the 20's and 30's"?







I wonder why you react to my post the way you did.

I have that book, the French language first edition. The English translation is still easily available overseas, and at a reasonable price. I suggest you buy it to see for yourself.

Practically every major movie by Borzage is masonic.

Also use google (borzage / mason / masonic / freemason):

From "Film Comment" [I have the printed edition]
The Sanctum Santorum of Love: Frank Borzage
There's always room for Frank Borzage. Kent Jones explains why

Written by Kent Jones
"He had something rare in Hollywood: a philosophical formulation of life that, at a certain point in his career, took precedence over the delivery of a satisfying piece of entertainment. It may have been a naïve one, nourished by Masonic teachings and quite possibly by his early exposure to the Mormons when he was growing up in Salt Lake City, but he believed it and sometimes bent plots inside out to accommodate it. It also informed his unique way of arranging space. When a character looks in a film by Hawks or Hitchcock, he or she is usually looking at something concrete. When a character looks in a film by Ford, it's often into the past. When a character looks in a film by Borzage, it's usually a matter of looking through objective reality into an ultimate reality of celestial harmony, around which time tends to dilate and space tends to become elastic to the point of transparency."
http://www.filmcomment.com/article/the-sanctum-santorum-of-love-frank-borzage


From a fan site:
http://imre.visele.ro/iuga-daniela/borzage.html
"Also, Borzage's origins inform a number of his films set in lower and working class milieux. The Catholic Borzage family lived in Salt Lake City, with its large Mormon population. Later on, Borzage became a lifelong Freemason - perhaps one reason staircases, a Masonic symbol for spiritual ascension, figure so prominently in his work."


A remark posted by user "lubitsch" on
http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6985
Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:13 pm
"It's a good work [referring to Dumont's book] because he obviously researched a lot and interviewed people though I'm uncomfortable with the strong emphasis on Borzage being a Free Mason and the resulting interpretations of his films."

 
 Posted:   May 17, 2013 - 5:30 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

As I've have never seen TBF I can't tell if it is the case here as well.


No, you can "tell" anything you want. You don't have to see the film yourself. All you have to do is type this crap.

Didn't you just state above that Masonic beliefs were all over Borzage's films for a couple of decades, without citing a single example? Are we all going to have to read the Dumont book to find out how "the masonic beliefs usually are widely spread in Borzage's films of the 20's and 30's"?







I wonder why you react to my post the way you did.



I apologize for my unpleasant tone. I just think that it's kind of an audacious thing to propose that a director's personal belief system, perhaps comparable in some ways to religious beliefs, had such an important and supposedly obvious/unmistakable effect on the content of his films without specifying any one of these beliefs or even attempting to support the theory with a description of a single shot or line of dialogue from one of these supposed "Masonic" films. It also supposes that we all know exactly what is meant by "Masonic" in this context, and you must be able to at least imagine how insulting to the intelligence this kind of sweeping statement can be without substantiation.

Take what Kent Jones wrote above:

". . . nourished by Masonic teachings and quite possibly by his early exposure to the Mormons when he was growing up in Salt Lake City, but he believed it and sometimes bent plots inside out to accommodate it."

Doesn't that seem a remarkable thing to say without giving ANY example?

So now Borzage's both a Mason AND a Mormon?

What are we even talking about? Scholarly-sounding people throwing around terms like Masonic and Mormon without connecting the dots, as if we all know what all this means already, nudge nudge, wink wink. What's the point? Am I being hypersensitive?

 
 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 7:53 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

There are hints of beautiful camera work. Great sets and costumes.

Yes, I saw some hints. The credits and some of the set designs made good use of the Pompeian frescoes. Billowing curtains added texture to some of the interiors of Herod's palace. As we've noted, it's impossible to judge from a lousy presentation like this. I saw very little panning or scanning by the way. The view seemed stuck in dead center. Still, I find it hard to accept the claim attributed to Lee Garmes that "the whole film glowed like a series of Rembrandts. I believe that that picture will one day be acknowledged to be a visual masterpiece." For one thing, an awful lot of the action takes place in the bright sunlight (or day-for-night) of the California desert.

I was surprised to discover how little the movie had to do with Peter, let alone Jesus. It's mainly about the rivalry of two Arabian princelings over a girl who turns out to be part Galilean -- the daughter of Herod Antipas. She dresses up as a boy to go off and assassinate her hated father. (Didn't Douglas realize how that sort of plot device is usually the stuff of comedy?) In Galilee she encounters . . . well, you can figure it out. But it's back to the desert for the final resolution. This sort of approach to the challenging subject matter of the New Testament is a venerable tradition. You have a better chance of showing Jesus's impact on Judah Ben-Hur or Barabbas or Marcellus Gallio than you do of depicting the unknowable and controversial Christ-event itself. But other filmmakers have done it better.

 
 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 8:13 AM   
 By:   Ralph   (Member)

There are hints of beautiful camera work. Great sets and costumes.

Yes, I saw some hints. The credits and some of the set designs made good use of the Pompeian frescoes. Billowing curtains added texture to some of the interiors of Herod's palace. As we've noted, it's impossible to judge from a lousy presentation like this. I saw very little panning or scanning by the way. The view seemed stuck in dead center. Still, I find it hard to accept the claim attributed to Lee Garmes that "the whole film glowed like a series of Rembrandts. I believe that that picture will one day be acknowledged to be a visual masterpiece." For one thing, an awful lot of the action takes place in the bright sunlight (or day-for-night) of the California desert.

I was surprised to discover how little the movie had to do with Peter, let alone Jesus. It's mainly about the rivalry of two Arabian princelings over a girl who turns out to be part Galilean -- the daughter of Herod Antipas. She dresses up as a boy to go off and assassinate her hated father. (Didn't Douglas realize how that sort of plot device is usually the stuff of comedy?) In Galilee she encounters . . . well, you can figure it out. But it's back to the desert for the final resolution. This sort of approach to the challenging subject matter of the New Testament is a venerable tradition. You have a better chance of showing Jesus's impact on Judah Ben-Hur or Barabbas or Marcellus Gallio than you do of depicting the unknowable and controversial Christ-event itself. But other filmmakers have done it better.


Terrific mini review. Thanks.

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

I was surprised to discover how little the movie had to do with Peter, let alone Jesus. It's mainly about the rivalry of two Arabian princelings over a girl who turns out to be part Galilean -- the daughter of Herod Antipas. She dresses up as a boy to go off and assassinate her hated father. (Didn't Douglas realize how that sort of plot device is usually the stuff of comedy?) In Galilee she encounters . . . well, you can figure it out. But it's back to the desert for the final resolution.






Oh, now it's coming back to me. I remember reading the first few pages of Douglas' book, with this plot, and found it so utterly out of period and feel that I ditched it, and never read the rest. It starts with a girl riding out into the desert a la 'Sodom and Gomorrah'.

The Herodian family history in Josephus is so utterly bizarre in terms of depraved nepotism and in-fighting that any soap-opera writer would think them unbelievable. They've written soaps about the Borgias, the Caesars, the Tudors, the Plantagenets: why on earth has one of those American mini-series companies not tried 'The Herods'? Their lives and plots have to be seen to be believed. Maybe it's a blessing. It'd be a potboiler.

The HBO 'Rome' series was intended to continue to four seasons, but was condensed into just two. Later episodes would have featured the Herods apparently, and their relations with Augustus. Graves' 'I Claudius' has Herod the Great as a character, but far too amiable, and too 'Jewish' in the TV version for that matter, since he was actually an Idumaean opportunist.





I've never seen this film, it just seems a turkey. But then, I was never a fan of 'The Robe' either. Too mock-reverential. The cold reality is that most Roman epics, despite the few excellent ones in the genre, are bloody awful, including the awful recent crop like the 'Spartacus' TV series and 'Gladiator'. Mind you, 'Rome' from HBO was quite good.

As a friend of mine who's a composer from Milan said, 'Why do they always make films about the Romans, when they do Italian civilisation?: they were about gangsterism, pure and simple. What about the Christian history, and the Renaissance, and the other Italians? All they're ever interested in is those total bastards.'

And he has a point. The recent films re Rome are all 'macho, bruto', 'I'm a lad and I'm ugly' nonsense. Adolescent appeal. And the Greeks get even worse treatment. '300' for all its technical skill, was vomit-inducingly disgusting. We've gone from over-reverential cornball to 'vomit in yer face'. Very few manage good taste and 'meaning'.

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)


And he has a point. The recent films re Rome are all 'macho, bruto', 'I'm a lad and I'm ugly' nonsense. Adolescent appeal. And the Greeks get even worse treatment. '300' for all its technical skill, was vomit-inducingly disgusting. We've gone from over-reverential cornball to 'vomit in yer face'. Very few manage good taste and 'meaning'.


If you want a sensible movie about them thar Romans, done with good taste and meaning.....
This is where the money's at ! big grin



 
 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 11:15 AM   
 By:   joec   (Member)

And he has a point. The recent films re Rome are all 'macho, bruto', 'I'm a lad and I'm ugly' nonsense. Adolescent appeal. And the Greeks get even worse treatment. '300' for all its technical skill, was vomit-inducingly disgusting. We've gone from over-reverential cornball to 'vomit in yer face'. Very few manage good taste and 'meaning'.


If you want a sensible movie about them thar Romans, done with good taste and meaning.....
This is where the money's at ! big grin




Oh how I wish one of our favorite labels would get this soundtrack out on CD. Unlike many other MGM musicals, this never had an LP release.

 
 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 11:56 AM   
 By:   filmo   (Member)

speAking of biblicly oriented films, has anyone heard the music to kennrth stevens' A STORY OF DAVID and do they have any opinions on this score to be released one day in the future? thanks alot.

 
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