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 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 9:01 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

British pictures have tended toward picture postcard scenery and more languid dialogue scenes, and sometimes rather pointlessly convoluted romantic plot lines set against classical music. Lean's best picture is surely Lawrence of Arabia but some of his others pictures are utterly languid, beautiful but dull.

In later years Hitchcock pictures got rather dull and calculated, and exhibited more than ever his peculiar points of view on women. The highpoint for Hitchcock was North by Northwest, and it was all downhill from there. Then also Vertigo is probably the single most over-appreciated movie of all time, it is stultifying boring and odd.


'Vertigo'boring? You're missing a tragic amount there.

I fail to see how 'Cleo' qualifies as a British pic in the precise terms you're discussing.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 9:35 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

. Then also Vertigo is probably the single most over-appreciated movie of all time, it is stultifying boring and odd.

You are so totally wrong.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 9:36 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)


I fail to see how 'Cleo' qualifies as a British pic in the precise terms you're discussing.


Yeah, an American studio, & writer/director & shot in Italy, & post production carried out in America. I think any chance of this being anything like a British film disappeared when the fog rolled in at Pinewood.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)


I fail to see how 'Cleo' qualifies as a British pic in the precise terms you're discussing.


Yeah, an American studio, & writer/director & shot in Italy, & post production carried out in America. I think any chance of this being anything like a British film disappeared when the fog rolled in at Pinewood.


I never said it was British, but thanks for all that stuff that did not apply to what I said.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 9:43 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

. Then also Vertigo is probably the single most over-appreciated movie of all time, it is stultifying boring and odd.

You are so totally wrong.


A terribly boring and bland movie, with bad backdrops and background effects.
The best thing about it was Jimmy Stewart doing a great job at crazy for a usually straight as arrow good guy. Aside from that, it is an amazingly overpraised movie. North by Northwest exceeds it on every level.

 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 10:40 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

A terribly boring and bland movie, with bad backdrops and background effects.
The best thing about it was Jimmy Stewart doing a great job at crazy for a usually straight as arrow good guy. Aside from that, it is an amazingly overpraised movie. North by Northwest exceeds it on every level.





Your attitude is all wrong here.

'Vertigo' is four-layered. It starts as what would appear to be a routine 'hero has a trauma and needs catharsis' predictable idea. Then it moves to a semi-mystical 'anima' 'man lost on vortex of the feminine and fate' movie, almost arthouse, then turns into a witty mercurial crime-con film and finishes with the most astounding 'religious' layer when the innocent nun blunders in and delivers the coup de grace. That's the layers of the psyche, and until, maybe you've explored them, you won't enjoy the film.

Nevertheless, many who care nothing about these things actually enjoy the film anyway, because it's so, well, good.


NBNW is an action movie. Sure, it has its depths, the man who is a mum-fixated marriage failure who becomes someone more heroic by inhabiting the life of a man who never was. That's useful to know in life. But there's more depth to Vertigo.

When I meet a movie I don't understand, I don't immediatley write it off. I wonder about the limitations in myself. Film critics, though lauded and lionised by the press, espccially in the US (probably because they ARE the press), are not the big creatives. Learn from the film, not templates of what critics write.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 10:44 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Well I saw CLEOPATRA when it came out and it confused me. It seemed more fragmented than HOW THE WEST WAS WON that came out a few months earlier. This from the maker of everything from ALL ABOUT EVE to SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER? Then I heard the whole story and it became a "aha" moment. Joseph Manckiewicz was offered the irresistible project of making 2 Roadshow films at one fell swoop. One with Caesar and the other with Antony. That would have been six hours. When you cut two hours out of something THAT is dramatic. As Wim Wenders said when he had to cut an hour out of UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD the first thing to go is the humor (something Manckiewicz is known for). Then you look at what might be deemed unnecessary, which tends to be all the details that make a movie a movie. Every supporting actor in CLEOPATRA (Martin Landau, Roddy McDowell, etc.) have had stories about how their best work in that is on the cutting room floor.

A couple years ago I saw a movie I always nodded mechanically when people said it was a classic METROPOLIS. I assume it was due to the visionary nature of the piece. But they found a big chunk of missing footage that had been cut long ago. It dealt with character development and plot. Everything that made this movie a movie. Now indeed I see the potential "classic" that is there. And this is from just 20 some minutes put back.

At 2 hours missing, watching CLEOPATRA today all I can imagine is what the film might have been. The best of what I am watching is a collapsed "save" of a movie. But what is front of me is a beautiful gutted whale.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 10:56 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)




I never said it was British, but thanks for all that stuff that did not apply to what I said.


Well I read your post, & I'm scratching my head. I don't see how it has any relevance to a Cleopatra thread (I honestly thought you'd posted it in the wrong thread). I really don't know what you're talking about.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 11:04 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I don't understand why Manckiewicz was writing the script in the evening for the next days shooting. He was on the production for six months before shooting started, I'd have thought he'd have had a lot of script by then, & filming was at such a snails pace, & so many days not shooting anything. But then the whole production was a complete balls-up.

 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 11:31 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean by his being on the production six months before shooting began.

Which time? The London shoot was directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Mankiewicz came on in Rome and inherited a script he disliked. The Fox hierarchy demanded the production be resumed and Mankiewicz began the Rome filming, addressing what he perceived to be inadequcies in the original script by re-writing it, and that is why he was writing at nights before the next day's shoot.

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/the-case-for-cleopatra

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 12:17 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Amen, CinemaScope. When he said, "I never said it was a British picture," I thought that was either him being disingenuous, or unable to read his own post. I mean, when the very first words are, "A British picture..."

You get the picture.

***

Piggybacking just a bit on Morricone's erudite & astute post, I well remember -- and please forgive me for reiterating something I've said before on this Board -- a Merv Griffin show wherein an agent stood up in the audience to introduce his young client, one Martin Landau, with the words, "A year from now, everyone will know his face, because he has an important role in CLEOPATRA..."

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 1:11 PM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean by his being on the production six months before shooting began.

Which time? The London shoot was directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Mankiewicz came on in Rome and inherited a script he disliked. The Fox hierarchy demanded the production be resumed and Mankiewicz began the Rome filming, addressing what he perceived to be inadequcies in the original script by re-writing it, and that is why he was writing at nights before the next day's shoot.

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/the-case-for-cleopatra


I got that from a Richard Burton biography "And God Created Burton" by Tom Rubython, that I read last year, good read. There's a lot about Cleopatra, & producer Walter Wanger sounds like a right idiot the way he was throwing around money. He paid a hell of lot of money to buy Burton out of his Camelot contract a few months early, & then Burton sat around in Rome all that time as they weren't ready for him. As well as her huge fee, all Elizabeth Taylor's expenses were paid & she was given $300 a week just to spend how she liked, her husband was put on the wage bill as her minder, his only job was to make sure she turned up on time, & he was paid $50,000 (I'm sure that's right, I'll check it I don't have the book right now). And of course the Italians got in on the act & robbed the production blind, & good for them. Remember this was 1961, a little money went a long way then, I think my dad was earning £12-£14 a week. If Zanuck had been in charge I'm sure he would have put a stop to all the madness, it was making Fox look like a company of stupid amateurs.

There's a great book still to be written about the making of Cleopatra. I wouldn't trust anything Walter Wanger wrote.

 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 1:54 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

How it "might" have gone down:


"And later, when Sisogenes...err, umm, Sosigen...no, Siso...oh, whatever the heck his name is..."

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 14, 2014 - 4:14 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

I can't very well comment on Wanger vis a vis CLEOPATRA, not having read his book on the subject nor compared other people's accounts against his. And certainly the film is a notorious production, which makes it a problematic entry in his filmography, to say the least.

But I do want to put in a good word for him, in the spirit of feeling we should all be judged by the best things we've done, rather than our worst ones. (Like going to jail for shooting his wife Joan Bennett's lover in the groin.) And the fact is that Ivy Leaguer Wanger was a rare figure of intelligence, culture and independence in Hollywood, and over the years he was responsible for many fine films of both artistic and sociological merit, including collaborations with Hitchcock and Fritz Lang. Even Wanger's imprisonment led him to make the Don Siegel sleeper-with-something-to-say RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11.

All of which is by way of saying, whatever one thinks of CLEOPATRA or the mistakes committed in its creation, Mr. Wanger was no idiot.

FOR FURTHER READING:

http://www.amazon.com/Walter-Hollywood-Independent-Matthew-Bernstein/dp/081663548X

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 15, 2014 - 1:31 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I can't very well comment on Wanger vis a vis CLEOPATRA, not having read his book on the subject nor compared other people's accounts against his. And certainly the film is a notorious production, which makes it a problematic entry in his filmography, to say the least.

But I do want to put in a good word for him, in the spirit of feeling we should all be judged by the best things we've done, rather than our worst ones. (Like going to jail for shooting his wife Joan Bennett's lover in the groin.) And the fact is that Ivy Leaguer Wanger was a rare figure of intelligence, culture and independence in Hollywood, and over the years he was responsible for many fine films of both artistic and sociological merit, including collaborations with Hitchcock and Fritz Lang. Even Wanger's imprisonment led him to make the Don Siegel sleeper-with-something-to-say RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11.

All of which is by way of saying, whatever one thinks of CLEOPATRA or the mistakes committed in its creation, Mr. Wanger was no idiot.

FOR FURTHER READING:

http://www.amazon.com/Walter-Hollywood-Independent-Matthew-Bernstein/dp/081663548X


Yeah, fair enough. He may have lost it on Cleopatra (his last producing job), but he had a very impressive list of credits before that.

 
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