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#21 Izo

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:24 PM

I Siegfried for the most part is too strong and partially because of this makes him less interesting...


I thought that Siegfried's appearance was pretty goofy. He was so damn scrawny for being so supposedly strong.

Which half of the film did you prefer?

#22 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:34 AM

I thought that Siegfried's appearance was pretty goofy. He was so damn scrawny for being so supposedly strong.

Which half of the film did you prefer?


I finished the second half this morning, then rewatched a good chunk of it again. I easily prefer the first half. While I like the battle scenes in Kriemhild’s Revenge and always appreciate monomanical revenge at all costs, the first film felt more mythological, had overall more memorable scenes, did not have as many illogical mistakes (though as I mentioned above it had a few) and kept my interest more.

Rudolf Klein-Rogge's Attila the Hun was my favorite character (even with his penchant for overacting) within the film and completely agree he was the most human in the film. The baby talk scenes were hilarious. Seriously, one of the more ugly and effective make-up jobs. Of course it makes you feel that Kriemhildmonomaniacal will do anything to exact revenge for the death, that she was a big reason for, her beloved (making the ending even more poignant).

Hagen Tronje (figuring out that first letter is quite annoying, is it an H or is it some unknown character) did the most idiotic thing in this film by killing the kid. That really seemed illogical (other than its use in getting Attila to go against his guests). Also no Kingdom on Earth would send all their princes over to a potentially hostile area.

I think an interesting topic from these two films is the rigidity of code and how it can destroy.

Like in Ben Hur (1925) some of the battle scenes felt dangerous to the actors/stunt people (though several times you can tell when they were doubled with dummies). Very impressive. Good point in putting it toward the end because the slow lead up to it (watching it a second time made it really noticeable) really makes the film uneven in pacing.

I am glad to get this over with. I don't think I'll revisit (at least the second half) anytime in the next few years.

I recently rewatched Metropolis (though this time with Complete footage) as well. That is a film I have seen several times (though first time with the new footage) and is still one of my favorite silent movies. I didn't realize until watching it that the added scenes were of such atrocious shape, though I'm quite glad they were found. Of course it is aggravating when you find out that they had the original and destroyed it (mentioned dozens of times in the extras).
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#23 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:47 PM

An interesting statement here from the Jan-Christopher Horak essay in the Kino release of Die Nibelungen (Kino doesn't have a link to the essay that I know, I had to type it out :D; it can also be found on the first disc as well):

As we now know, Lang's often-told tale that he was offered the directorship fo the German film industry by none other than Joseph Goebbels, leading him to flee for Paris the next day, was apocryphal. In point of fact, he not only officially joined the National Socialist Association of Film Directors in March 1933, but would also return to Nazi Germany repeatedly between Aprila nd December of 1933, as his surviving German passport documents indicate. Maybe only the direct experience of German Nazism would allow him to make the sincerely anti-Fascist films of her American career, beginning with Fury.


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#24 Izo

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 05:50 PM

Lang is really a fascinating figure. Actually, a lot of the classic Hollywood guys are, which is something you don't see nowadays. Guys like Ford, Lang, and Boetticher had bizarre histories that would have made great movies in themselves.

#25 Duke Togo

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 06:26 PM

^
Yes, that war stirred up a lot of intrigue. From the divisive transforming of nations like Germany, the Stalinist expansion afterwards, the knee-jerk Communist witch-hunt in the US, and all the various film movements that followed in almost all continents, WWII was an undeniable force in film history. I noticed some of the story behind Douglas Sirk reminds me a bit of Lang's journey, and you are right that the stories behind these productions could often make a great film, possibly more deservingly than the actual productions themselves.

I typically don't go for biopics, but I would really love to see one on Fritz Lang. He has more than earned the honor, and his story seems exciting.

#26 Izo

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 03:58 PM

So I thought Rancho Notorious was just above mediocre. In fact, "The Ballad of Chuck-a-Luk" song that serve's as the films' Greek chorus is one of my favorite aspects of the picture, despite the fact that it's usually the first thing reviewers seem to point out as a negative. I've always had a weakness for these silly western songs, though. Marlene Dietrich's two songs come off as self-parody and wholly unnecessary. Lang actually does make very good use of studio-bound sets, usually a hindrance in westerns, by exploiting their claustrophobic nature and artificiality. His use of sets has always been one of the things that I like most about Lang's films that I've seen, particularly in the silents and The Indian Tomb. Additionally, Lang and his screenwriters also do some pretty interesting things with the morality of the protagonist, as in his quest for revenge he becomes a full-blown criminal, something you'd never see most other western heroes do.

Actually, I was reminded often of Johnny Guitar while watching this, both in the sets and visual style of the film and the way Lang plays with sexual roles throughout. Rancho Notorious came two years earlier, but I wouldn't be surprised if Nicholas Ray had been a fan. The movie seems to be pretty highly regarded, but I don't really get it, I suppose.

#27 cfkane

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:13 PM

So the newly restored Metropolis is playing in North Adams, MA at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, (MASS MoCA)with live score by the Alloy Orchestra on Saturday. $20. I live about 10 minutes from there, should I go? :D
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#28 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:18 PM

So the newly restored Metropolis is playing in North Adams, MA at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, (MASS MoCA)with live score by the Alloy Orchestra on Saturday. $20. I live about 10 minutes from there, should I go? :D


Well if you bring earplugs, of course (just kidding Alloy, well partially kidding). Yes but if you go please report back your trip over here :D.
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Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

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#29 cfkane

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:31 PM

Well if you bring earplugs, of course (just kidding Alloy, well partially kidding). Yes but if you go please report back your trip over here :D.


It is outdoors in a courtyard and there is the threat of heavy rain, so am not sure I will go, will wait til the late afternoon on Saturday to decide but I think it would be great.
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#30 Izo

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:51 PM

If it's not raining, I wouldn't miss it, myself.


But I also like the Alloy Orchestra.

#31 Izo

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 11:16 PM

Human Desire, from the Sony Noir Volume 2 set, is a bit above decent. I put it alongside The Pushover as being the two least-interesting films of the set, but they're both still pretty good. It doesn't seem like noir to me, but what do I know? It returns to Lang's favorite theme of revenge, and on a technical level the movie is excellent. The direction, lighting, photography, and score are all very good, sometimes better than very good. However, like The Pushover, the film doesn't have any surprises, and you pretty much find yourself one or two steps in front of the plot the entire time. Like I said, it's good Lang, but nowhere near his top tier.

The movie's ending is really bizarre and unexpected, though.

#32 clydefro

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 04:36 AM

Human Desire, from the Sony Noir Volume 2 set, is a bit above decent. I put it alongside The Pushover as being the two least-interesting films of the set, but they're both still pretty good. It doesn't seem like noir to me, but what do I know? It returns to Lang's favorite theme of revenge, and on a technical level the movie is excellent. The direction, lighting, photography, and score are all very good, sometimes better than very good. However, like The Pushover, the film doesn't have any surprises, and you pretty much find yourself one or two steps in front of the plot the entire time. Like I said, it's good Lang, but nowhere near his top tier.

The movie's ending is really bizarre and unexpected, though.


:huh: ;) :)

Have you seen La bête humaine? I was wondering if you preferred it over Human Desire. The two are close for me, with different strengths despite having almost identical plots.

#33 Izo

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 08:00 AM

That last part was sort of an addendum. I'm not sure how well the ending worked, to be honest. It was interesting, if nothing else.

I haven't seen the Renoir. Do you like Human Desire?

#34 clydefro

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:42 PM

Human Desire is good, if flawed. Having the same leads as in The Big Heat is a blessing and a curse because it adds a layer to what's on the surface but it also makes it difficult to avoid comparison to what is surely one of Lang's very best movies. I think Grahame is perhaps better performance-wise in Human Desire but Ford doesn't have a lot to do, unfortunately. His character weakens the film, as presumably does the code-restricted blunting of the sexual element.

I do love the ending to Human Desire and find the film to generally be of definite interest, if inferior to Lang's strongest pictures from even the fifties.

#35 Izo

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:49 PM

I thought that the ending was the most interesting part of the film by far. It was totally unexpected and completely open to any number of possible outcomes. It really is almost as if Lang ended the film with fifteen pages of script unfilmed, and it's a fascinating way to do it.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like the movie's cinematography, lighting, and framing were vastly more interesting than the story that was being told, and I'd say they're the primary reason to watch the film.

#36 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 12:00 PM

...Fury:
I'm a bit cold to Spencer Tracy in this (I liked him in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)), but his place here as a martyr to explore crowd violence is well used. I love the way Lang's films often tackle themes of human nature, particularly those dealing with communities. He even finds a clever way here to explore the morals of vengeance if the wronged were given the chance.
...


Sympathy for Mr. Fury:

I need to do some catching up with Fritz Lang since many here have seen quite a bit of his films so this weekend I watched Fury.

I liked the plot and the story situation (though once you hear the outline you have a pretty good idea on how the story is going to go), am pretty much in agreement with what you thought of Tracy (and his damn salted peanuts) though what would have been a more appropriate characterization? I think Lang always wants to ask "what would you do if you were in that situation?" It is easy to see how the character could snap. Mob vengeance especially of an innocent man is particularly frustrating to the audience, but where is that going to lead? A trial where both attorneys felt, well like attorneys.

If you were a director would you have Joe Wilson show off his burns (or injuries)?

On a side note it is probably best not to view too many vengeance films in a short period of time.

The camera work definitely reminds you of Lang with the panning face shots and the close ups at pertinent times.
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Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

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#37 Izo

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 01:05 AM

Moonfleet

Fritz Lang's Moonfleet is surprisingly great considering that it's not one of the director's better-known or more widely-seen films. It's an extremely unusual film, a pirate movie with only one scene involving ships, a subdued, moody - even Gothic! - adventure/swashbuckler film with only one spectacular but brief sword fight, this movie kind of shocked me with how good it really was considering all that it had going against it. Lang apparently came into the production only two weeks before filming began and had no input in script or editing choices, but even so several of his pet themes come right through to the forefront of the film - and in fact the film's writing is very sharp and features some very wonderful dialogue. Probably most shockingly is the wonderful use of color (those purples and reds!) in the film. The film is thoroughly well-acted, especially from a very melancholy Stewart Granger and an excellent young Jon Whiteley, but what you're really going to remember are the images. At times, the film feels closer to a Lewtonian horror film than your average swashbuckler, with truly frightening statues and graveyards and churches, in addition to Lang's consistent ability to find people with some of the most terrifying and memorable faces in the history of cinema. MVP awards for the film go to cinematographer Robert Planck and the ever-reliable Miklos Rosza, who provides a truly sublime score that I think I'd rank with his best. If the film occasionally doesn't look or feel like a Fritz Lang movie, you don't find yourself minding all that much because it really is gorgeous.

If I have a single complaint, it's one that I probably wouldn't have noticed if I weren't studying the compositions as closely as I was, it's that Lang seems uncomfortable (or disinterested) in the CinemaScope framing. Throughout the film the action is blocked as if it would have been shown in Academy ratio, without much being shown on either extreme of the frame. It's probably telling that this was Lang's only CinemaScope film, and it's likely that it wasn't his choice. Regardless, this isn't the sort of thing that one notices unless they're looking for it, and the Warner Archive disc presents a very good print of the film. Highly, highly recommended. Probably in my top 5 Langs now.

#38 Opale

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 07:00 AM

Moonfleet

I read that movie title about that film about 5 times a day in these times! In France they sure know that film. Serge Daney,(and then) Alain Bergala and Jacques Rancière wrote a lot about that film being a great example of the innocent (or childish but that seems a bit pejorative in English) way to watch a film just like real cinéphiles happens to (or should) watch films. This is believed by those three writers to be the best film to initiate children to art-house films...

Rancière wrote a wonderful analysis about Moonfleet called The child-film director (L'enfant metteur en scène):

"Isn't the ultimate secret of the Image to contain nothing more or less than what it does? The victory of the innocent carry on the obstinacy of the cinematographic vision which denudes the Image from all metaphors to only see whats offered on the horizontal gaze."

«Le secret ultime de l’image n’est-il pas de ne contenir rien de plus ni de moins que ce qu’elle contient? La victoire de l’innocent n’exerce que l’obstination du regard cinématographique qui dénude l’image de toute métaphore pour y voir juste ce qui s’offre à l’horizontale du regard»

Rancière, Trafic #16 p.49-50

#39 Izo

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:19 PM

I watched While the City Sleeps last night and found it to be pretty great. Dana Andrews, as passive and unemotive as ever, is used by Lang brilliantly as a drunken (Andrews was an alcoholic at the time), nocturnal TV newsman. I really found him endlessly compelling in the role, though I often feel that way about Andrews. He's an actor who we sense has a lot going on beneath the surface, but we can never tell exactly what. Really interesting actor, though it's a bit of a mystery to me how this man got any work at all in classic Hollywood films, as he's got such an unusual presence.

Clyde, I really would love to hear what you think of this film. Do you consider it noir? The characters and plot all seem to point in that direction, but it certainly doesn't look the part. Tourneur's The Fearmakers is very similar in this regard, and also happens to star Dana Andrews. Compared to the steeped-in-shadows look of the gorgeously-photographed Human Desire, the film is positively bright.

#40 clydefro

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:25 PM

I do think it's noir. Here's my review of the Exposure DVD - While the City Sleeps.

As for Andrews, he tends to, in the films I've seen, display a natural weariness which meshes well with noir. I'm mostly thinking of the Preminger films, all of which I love, and his work with Lang and Tourneur.




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