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Archive for May 16th, 2015

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The Film Preservation Blogathon moves to Wonders in the Dark in almost seven (7) hours at 12:00 midnight and will continue for the entire duration of Sunday, May 17th.

Submissions can be sent to me directly at: TheFountain26@aol.com or on any of the comment threads (below) that are associated with the venture.

Thanks so much!  Looking forward to some fabulous science-fiction film reviews in support of the restoration of the 1918 silent film Cupid in Quarantine.

Please be sure to include the donation link on the sidebar at the end of your review!

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by Sam Juliano

One of the crowning glories of 50’s science-fiction, Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, based on a short story by Jack Finney, still enthralls both genre buffs and those riveted by the notion of the fantastic seeming perfectly credible.  The story of seed pods replicating living people and changing them into emotion-less conformists who communally work towards a world order without love or compassion, offers no obstacles to believability, and leads to the most unthinkable of nightmares.  Allied Artists were themselves so caught up in the hopelessness of this “psychological siege” that they forced Siegel to add a prologue which intimated that mankind would be saved.

The film was re-made in 1977, with Phillip Kaufman at the helm, but it lacked the original’s brilliant pacing, which has the excitement building all the way to the denouement.  Siegel employs a number of devices that keep the film in full-throttle, like characters always in motion, racing their cars, and spying each other through windows, blind and glass doors and reaching a level of unbearable tension in the scenes in the cave where the two lead characters hide beneath the wooden boards, after being chased up the steps of a long and very steep hill.  Siegel employs subtlety to great effect too, like the scene when the fleeing couple attempt to feign transformation to the soulless beings that are taking over the small town, only to be betrayed by one’s scream as a dog is about to be struck by a car.  The race against time and in the instance of this film, the struggle to stay awake, is woven into the fabric of it’s sense of urgency.  No less an authority than Jean-Luc Godard quotes the film in his futuristic Alphaville, and Francois Truffaut makes reference to it in Fahrenheit 451.  It is even suggested by UCLA Film Professor Maurice Yacowar (whose running commentary on the Criterion laserdisc in the early 90’s was one of the famous and controversial ever recorded) that maybe even the great playwright Eugene Ionesco was thinking of the film’s fearful “pods” when he wrote his absurdist masterpiece Rhinoceros, where humankind turns into thick-skinned, insensitive, conformist rhinos–pods on the hoof. (more…)

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A.I. 2

by Sam Juliano

The idea behind A.I. was originally conceived by Stanley Kubrick, who subsequently entrusted the proposed project to Steven Spielberg.  When Kubrick died suddenly in 1999, his widow successfully persuaded Spielberg to assume complete artistic control of the film, including the direction.  Set in a future time when progress in robotics poses a conceivable menace to the human species, David (Haley Joel Osment), a robotic boy, is the artificial life form who is capable of experiencing love.  As a prototype, he is given to a couple whose real son is mired in what appears to be an irreversible coma.  After a discordant initiation David and his mother bond, at which point the “real” son miraculously awakens from the coma, rejoins to the family, and tricks David into engaging in dangerous things.  The father concludes that they must return the robotic boy to the manufacturer for destruction, but the mother arranges for his escape via abandonment.  For the duration of the film David seeks to be reunited with his mother, and for a time is joined by “Gigolo Joe,” a robot designed to function as a male prostitute.  David becomes frozen I an the ocean, and millennia later–long after the extinction of the human species–robots of the future rescue him and allow him to reunite with his mother for one day that will last in his mind for eternity. (more…)

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CM Capture 2

by Allan Fish

this begins an infrequent series of films about childhood criminally neglected in the US to coincide with Sam’s childhood poll

(France-TV 1977 312m) not on DVD

Girl, boy, girl, boy…

p  Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville  d/w  Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville  ph  Pierre Binggeli, William Lubtchansky, Dominique Chapuis, Philippe Rony

Albert Dray, Betty Berr, Camille Virolleaud, Arnaud Martin,

If one was to ask a selection of serious film buffs, critics and writers to name the single-most influential director in late 20th century culture, I’d be surprised if Jean-Luc Godard didn’t top the poll.  He’s come to be seen as much as personification of the zeitgeist as a director, indeed often setting the tempo for what would become the daily zeitgeist.  One would think then that his work was easily accessible, preserved on DVD and now Blu Ray in the way that the work of, say, Hitchcock, Scorsese or Bergman is.  Yet this is only partly true; the canonical Godard has always existed, but it generally covers his work up to 1967-68; the experimental films that followed in the subsequent decades have always been somewhat harder to track down.  There are still a few I have been unable to see, and until recently one of them was France/Tour/Detour/Deux/Enfants.  It only became so when an old Channel 4 TV recording surfaced. (more…)

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