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Feed my newbie brain!


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#1 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 03:23 PM

I'm sure that even some of the pro's on this board had that "ewww... black and white? I'm not watching that!" phase when they were younger.

I remember seeing "The Bicycle" (is that what it's called?) and "Metropolis" in junior high and falling asleep in the middle of both films.

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So would someone please destroy my ignorance of what I used to refer to as "artsy fartsy film snob crap" and recommend a few good classic staples of filmmaking?

Here's one that comes to mind... methinks it's time to go rent it actually watch it from beginning to end this time around:

1. Citizen Kane
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#2 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 04:55 PM

More Orson Welles! And check the 'Recommended Movies' section of this site, on the board index.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 06:14 PM

More Orson Welles! And check the 'Recommended Movies' section of this site, on the board index.



Well, I can give you a short B&W starter list. There are comedies, dramas, abstract, and horror films. There are silent films and "talkies." Newer films, and some very old films, as well as films from varying countries, cultures, and movements in film.

Citizen Kane
Touch of Evil
Psycho
The Apartment
Ninotchka
Sunset Boulevard
Dr. Strangelove
Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"
Un Chien Andalou
Nosferatu
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Battleship Potemkin
Sevin Samurai
The Hidden Fortress
Birth of a Nation
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#4 Mark Allen

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 11:08 PM

Watch every movie talked about in the book Film Art.

I'm going to take your "artsy" comment and put that secondary to "important" films.... just because I could list a ton of artsy films which I do not think were, in the end, very imporant.

Here are some films off the top of my head that might be seen such that you are aware of what people are talking about when they come up in discussion as well as being important movies. I'm going to lean towards the contempoary entries 'cause of the last post and try to give a list of samples from various important directors.

Citizen Kane (as the Orsen Welles sample)
The Sacrifice (as the Tarkovsky sample)
Modern Times (as the Chaplin Sample)
Annie Hall (as the Woody Allen Sample)
Easy Rider (cause people talk about it)
Pulp Fiction (Tarrantino sample you've probably already seen)
The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola Sample) ***see note below
Watch at least one film by Igmar Bergman
Eraserhead (the David Lynch sample)
Blue Velvet (Mr. Lynch gets two samples :) )
Taxi Driver (Scorcesse sample)
She's Gotta Have It (Spike Lee sample - Malcom X is a better film, but She's Gotta Have it was important in the history of movies - especially black filmmaking.)
Sex Lies and Videotape (While Soderberg has done a bunch of great movies since, this film was the beginning of today's independent cinema... in the sense that it was the first indie to break through - charming movie too)
Stranger than Paradise (black and white... artsy ;) )
Buffalo 66 (artsy and recent)
Exotica (Atom Egoyen's sample)
Un Chien Andalou (Bunel sample)
Breathless (as the Goddard sample)
North by Northwest (as the Hitchcock sample)


Wow... there are so many I could go on endlessly it feels like - but that should be a good start! :-)


***the note about Coppola - most people would say "The Godfather." Now, I thought the Godfather was "just ok" and that The Conversation was his best film with Tucker as maybe the secondary. Now, I know a woman who I talked into being an editor and helping me on my very first film project as an assistant. I just had a gutt feeling she'd be good. Well, she ended up getting some editing work and finally ended up as the Coppola's family editor (editing projects for all of them and living at their vinyard). Well, I told her my theory and she thought I was crazy - but apparently mentioned this to Coppola once and I very much respect that she actually came back to tell me that he agreed that the conversation was his best film and that to this day he really felt like The Godfather was just a job. She seemed disappointed, I felt hugely vindicated.
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#5 solomanpro

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 07:49 AM

These are some film I like in b/w:


Persona, BERGMAN
Sunrise, F.W. MURNAU
Meshes of the afternoon, MAYA DEREN
Casablanca,CURTIZ
The General, BUSTER KEATON
Seven Samurai, KUROSAWA
The third man, CAROL REED
A man with a movie camera, VERTOV
The 400 Blows,TRUFFAUT
Alphaville, GODARD
Eraserhead, LYNCH
Dead Man, JARMUSCH
The night of the living dead, ROMERO
The 39th steps, HITCHCOCK
The trial, ORSON WELLES
Any film of FRITZ LANG.

Edited by luismpla, 31 October 2005 - 07:50 AM.

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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:19 PM

I would suspect that Coppola feels that "The Godfather, Part II" is a greater accomplishment -- it's certainly more ambitious. I love them both, but I'm more impressed by Part II visually. Certainly photographically, both films are superior to "The Conversation".

For great b&w cinematography, check out John Ford's "The Fugitive", shot by Gabriel Figueroa. Also Ford's "How Green Was My Valley", shot by Arthur Miller. And "My Darling Clementine" while you're at it...

For me, the best silent film ever made is probably Buster Keaton's "The General". But from a film-art standpoint, you'd have to look at "Sunrise" and some of Murnau's other movies. Also Dreyer's "Passion of Joan of Arc". Seeing a good print projected with an audience and live music makes a HUGE difference when it comes to silent movies. I saw "Passion of Joan of Arc" that way, with a full orchestra and choir. I've watched Keaton's movies with an audience and laughed so hard that I thought I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen. I can't think of any modern movies that have made me laugh as much.

If you start watching 30's / 40's movies, don't forget to check out Michael Powell / Emeric Pressburger's movies (I Know Where I'm Going, Black Narcissus, Red Shoes, Life & Death of Colonel Blimp).

For me, watching most of Hitchcock's movies was a film school all in itself.

There are a lot of entertaining, well-directed comedies from the 1930's -- Lubitch comes to mind, especially "Trouble in Paradise" and "The Shop Around the Corner." Preston Sturges too.

For color design, check out some of Vincent Minnelli's movies, like "American in Paris", "The Pirate", "Lust for Life", especially any musical numbers (in the first two.)

From a stylistic perspective, check out early CinemaScope movies to see how they gradually learned to use widescreen effectively. Probably "Rebel without a Cause" is one of the first "modern" scope movies in terms of using scope dramatically, not just for showing off big sets & costumes. But the earlier "How to Marry a Millionaire" is a good example of the awkwardness of scope, everything being framed in wide shots with people just stretched across the frame in wide sets.

Early artistic use of widescreen, besides "Rebel", can be seen in Kurosawa's first scope movie "Hidden Fortress" plus some of the early Truffaut movies.
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