Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Movie List 

John Douglas replied to an earlier post about my chatting with a guy at World Fantasy Con named Al Robertson about classic films that would change my life. I didn't say what they were, but I'm happy to do so now -- a list of films by co-directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger:

- I Know Where I'm Going
- The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp
- A Matter of Life & Death
- Black Narcissus
- The Red Shoes
- Peeping Tom (Powell only, the English 'Psycho' only *more disturbing*)

A couple of these titles are familiar, but I've never seen any of them...
I've seen four of the six films listed and, while most are worthwhile, I would not say that any of them have life-changing qualities. "I Know Where I'm Going" is a little hard to follow and too precious by half. "Colonel Blimp" holds interest despite its length, but is ultimately only a fair-to-middling character study. "Red Shoes" is rather dull and uneventful, although the photography is beautiful. I saw "Black Narcissus" many years ago but have no lingering impressions of it. I've always felt the Powell/Pressburger collaboration was somewhat overrated. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts if you have time or opportunity to see any of these.

As for my own nominations for "life-changing" movies, I'd mention the following:

"The Searchers": as a 10-year-old, I found it hypnotically fascinating; it's still the cinematic gold standard for me.

"The Ten Commandments": magnificent spectacle on the big screen; has no equal.

"True Grit": the second-best western ever made; unique combination of humor and melodrama.

"The Black Sleep" (with Karloff): scared me (almost) to death as a young child; it's why I became a horror movie fan.

"Psycho": yes, I *was* afraid to take a shower for a long time after.

Well, there are others, but I'll not go on. All of them are from my youth. I'm not sure it's possible to have a transformative aesthetic experience beyond the age of maximum impressionability. At least, I haven't had one.
>>"Red Shoes" is rather dull and uneventful, although the photography is beautiful.<<

"The Red Shoes" is neither dull nor uneventful. It is, instead, one of the most enchanting films of all time. As a big, burly, beer drinking Brit, I doubt I am the target demographic for a film about ballet, but I can watch this film again and again and never tire of it. The performances are exquisite, from the elfin, fiery red-headed beauty of Moira Shearer, to Anton Walbrook's enigmatic and remote Svengali, Boris Lermentov. To toss this masterpiece off as "dull" and "uneventful" says more of the commentator than it does of the film! But yes, Jack Cardiff's cinematography is extraordinary - at least that much is correct.
Post a Comment

king under the dome

doctorow makers

banks transition

kress steal sky

atwood year flood

roberts yellow blue tibia

wilson julian comstock

 ness ask and answer

collins catching fire

collins hunger games

sawyer flashforward

baker hotel

disch proteus

tan tales

mazzucchelli asterios

zebrowski empties

morrow shambling

hamilton cpt future

beckett genesis

meller evo rx


kurzweil transcend

sawyer wake

ness knife never letting go

barzak love we share

mcewan cement garden

holland sci-fi art

gladwell outliers

bittman food matters

baggini what's it all about

Still in progress:

ross rest is noise

aldiss billion year spree

pollan omnivore's dilemma

Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
Latest Posts

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?