Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Alternate Best Actor 1948: Ray Milland in The Big Clock

Ray Milland did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying George Stroud in The Big Clock.

The Big Clock is a rather off-beat thriller, though effective, about a man finding himself accidentally the target of a murder investigation that he is also helping lead.

This film was later re-made as No Way Out, with Kevin Costner as the "wrong man", where that film was an overt thriller this film is not. It's actual a rather curious film that examines corporate politics of a magazine as much as it follows the murder plot. Our wrong man, George Stroud is very different from say the wrong man Milland played earlier in Ministry of Fear. Milland plays a man whose not on the run, but rather finds himself stuck within the claustrophobia of an ever shrinking sky scraper. The initial scenes of the film are of a man who isn't in any particular dismay except his inability to choose his family over his work first. Milland grants his typical charm to the role which as usual has a certain ease about it. This is particularly effective in this role as he makes Stroud not overly concerned in any point in the early scenes. He rather paint a man who haplessly falls into the thriller by simply not giving up on the connections of his job. Again Milland presents this with no malice or an exact callousness. He rather presents more as a carelessness of a man as his reaction illustrate a man who is trying to keep his job almost in spite of himself. Milland manages to capture this certain hypocrisy well by making it more of a lower key societal constriction more than anything else.

Stroud becomes entrapped within the plot so to speak by attempting collusion with the mistress of his boss Janoth (Charles Laughton). This technically could be a more overtly morally questionable element, however Milland realizes this interest well as more of a mild curiosity than real passion on his part. He brings just enough of a glint of real duplicity in his eyes to create the notion of his motivation, but only a glint to still keep Stroud as a generally decent man. His brief encounter with the mistress though leaves him to be the fall man for Janoth, well really Janoth's right hand man's, plan to cover Janoth's murder of his mistress. The fall man though is unknown to everyone except Stroud with Janoth trying to figure out the mysterious fall man, who he saw leaving his mistress's apartment, by having Stroud himself investigate the clues internally in the company. Well with that complex plot ready, and a murder having occurred you'd think the film would kick into a high gear. Well not so much as the film makes it far more a comedy of errors, despite that murder, than the thriller you'd expect. The comedy of errors is found through the strange personalities connected to the company, but also with Stroud bizarre position as trying to find the real murderer while leading the false investigation to find himself.

Milland's performance is key to realizing this strange situation, and to make it work within the film without leading the tone to become too unwieldy. Milland's low key approach from the start aids this greatly as he makes it feel natural that Stroud wouldn't be more upset by the situation by making it the genuine type of person he is. Now Milland does create the right internalized tension however he limits it. He off-sets this instead by bringing a certain glibness in his reactions and deliveries that allude so well to the man's situation that is darkly comical. Milland plays with that idea well by showing that strange effort in his moments of the investigation of a man's whose heart isn't quite in it against trying to find the real killer where he paints a stronger conviction. Milland most of all though becomes a mediator of sorts between the colorful people he comes across throughout the film. Milland's interactions creates the right grounding in each by portraying so well every moment of Stroud using the unique characters to help clue him towards his proper conclusion. Again Milland has just the right bit of fun in this in his reactions properly amplifying some of these strange sorts by showing a humorous yet honest reaction to them. The two interactions that defy this though are with his wife, and the real culprit and his collaborator. In these moments Milland grants the right urgency in his performance reflecting Stroud without being able to sort of distance himself through the tragic comedy of the situation otherwise. In the moments with his wife Milland conveys so well the unease of the situation and just the right hints of guilt of a man who was working against his wife's desires. With Laughton, and George Macready as the right hand man, Milland brings out much more the hero you'd expect from a story in his passionate though desperate manner in the final confrontation. This approach though works as a proper progression of Stroud as he uncovers the plot. This is very good leading turn by Milland, which is no surprise, as he effectively both subverts the nature of the role a bit, while also still fulfilling what is typically expected.

85 comments:

Matt Mustin said...

I assume you're saving Laughton?

Calvin Law said...

I agree with you on this. REALLY liked the film, and from your review it seems you'd agree that it was far, far superior to No Way Out.

Also, I've realized that Kyle Chandler reminds me a lot of Milland in general; in a 2010s version of this I'd cast him, coupled with Brendan Gleeson in Laughton's role.

Calvin Law said...

Also, Louis: thoughts on this Korean version of Fargo directed by Bong Joon-ho:

Jerry: Song Kang-ho
Carl: Hwang Jung-min
Gaer: Ha Jung-woo
Marge: Kim Min-hee
Wade: Cho Jin-woong

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

For now.

Calvin:

Far superior, though I'll admit Will Patton may be my favorite thing in either film.

I like the Fargo cast, particularly Hwang Jung-min/Ha Jung-woo as the criminal duo, and it is easy to imagine Song Kang-ho sweating bullets under police interrogation from Kim Min-hee.

Might I suggest Paul Dano as Mike.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: Ingenious casting. And yeah, Patton was a standout in the remake.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 10 mark margolis acting moments

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 Martín sheen acting moments

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Red Harvest as a missed opportunity. Also thoughts on the cinematography of Ace in the Hole and Charade.

Calvin Law said...

To be fair, Yojimbo is probably the best ever sorta adaptation of Red Harvest that could've been possible. Though I would love to see someone tackle the source material nowadays.

Bryan L said...

Louis: Your present film roles for Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Given that you have said that you haven't seen it since it came out, could your opinion of Ratatouille improve with a rewatch.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating and thoughts on Macready.

Anonymous said...

Louis Morgan: Your very early predictions for 2018 Oscar

Mitchell Murray said...

Anonymous:

Actor -

Ryan Gosling
Steve Carell
Willem Dafoe
Christian Bale
Lucas Hedges
Ethan Hawke (?)
Joaquin Phoenix (?)
Robert Redford (?.. I might be pushing it here)

Actress -

Saoirse Ronan
Viola Davis
Toni Collette
Carey Mulligan
Kiera Knightley (?)
Felicity Jones (?)
Charlize Theron (?)
Rachel McAdams/Weisz (?)

Supporting Actor -

Timothee Chalamet
Sam Rockwell
Russell Crowe
Michael B Jordan (?)
Oscar Isaac (?)
Adam Driver (?)

Supporting Actress -

Margot Robbie
Nicole Kidman
Claire Foy
Amy Adams
Sissy Spacek (?)
Amy Ryan (?)

Also, for anyone who's seen it already I did watch "Tully" today. I found it to be quite good (though it may help that I haven't seen Juno or Young Adult), in that it found the ideal balance between sincere drama and more vulgar comedy. Reitmen's directing style worked much better here than in some of his other films, as he was able to be earnest while never becoming too obtrusive or artificial for his own good. As for the twist reveal, it does fit given the intentions of the story, but admittedly I was kind of bummed out by how the use a certain character.

Davis - 4 (Sadly this is the character I was talking about, and while I won't spoil the reveal I'll simply say that there could've been a greater depth within the role that just wasn't explored. That's not on the fault of Davis, though, because she's honestly very endearing in the part. She provides ample warmth and joy to her scenes, while realistically showing the increased stress put upon her later on.)

Duplass/Livingston - 3.5 (Both do very solid work here as essentially the supporting players to Theron. Livingston has the most emotive moment between the two and does fine with it, while Duplass rides the fine line of being slightly pompous, yet somehow affecting at the same time.)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Margolis:

1. Hector looks - Breaking Bad
2. Poolside message - Breaking Bad
3. Drowning family - Breaking Bad
4. Meeting Mike - Better Call Saul
5. Trying to contact the DEA - Breaking Bad
6. Threatening Mike - Better Call Saul
7. Gus torturing him - Breaking Bad
8. Bad Witness - Breaking Bad
9. Request to Nacho - Better Call Saul
10. Ding - Breaking Bad


Anonymous:

Calvin is correct in that Yojimbo is already there as an amazing adaptation (though there is some debate within that), and its remake is pretty great too.

A potential Bertolucci Red Harvest at the very least would have been shot gorgeously, since it would have been shot by Storaro, and even though as a director Bertolucci is hit or miss in view, a straight adaptation of the material could have had promising results.

Ace in the Hole, as typical to cinematography in a Wilder film, doesn't typically emphasize itself. It is particularly fantastic work from Charles Lang technically working with this idea particularly in the lighting. It doesn't go full noir, mostly adhering to a realistic gritty black and white that is perfect for the story, however allowing a bit more style in fitting scenes such as those in the cave, which create such a palatable atmosphere of isolation in those scenes. What's most notable is the framing and composition of the work as the shots are consistently so dynamic in either fashioning an emotional mood in the interactions between characters, or granting the right scale to the story, such as in the climatic go home scene.

Another fine example of range as where Wilder liked subdued cinematography Stanley Donen loves to show it off. Lang proves his ability in this other extreme, mostly in terms of the lighting which seeks to craft such a beautiful vibrancy in the film. Again adhering to sort of the glamorous Europe style of such a thriller, but a bit more. The work also does make brilliant use of shadows, as much as the colors, in creating a distinct and dynamic mood, particularly in the climactic scenes of the film.

Tahmeed:

Maybe, wouldn't say absolutely not anyways.

Luke:

Macready - 3.5(He's good, though not Will Patton good in the same role, who I found managed to more effectively find the motivation for the character. Macready though does a credible job on his own though in portraying the character as less of a directly sinister force, but rather sinister by way of avoiding situation. He's good in his scenes in Laughton by reinforcing this as he delivers his lines less of a man who trying to perform evil, and more so as a man who just wants to avoid any trouble for himself or his boss. This makes his change natural in the end then as Macready shows it as just another after effect of avoiding any trouble for himself, which will eventually involving sacrificing his boss to do it.)

Anonymous:

Sticking to my predictions seen here (for now)... http://actoroscar.blogspot.com/2018/06/alternate-best-supporting-actor-1991_11.html

Louis Morgan said...

Bryan:

O'Toole:

David (naturally)
Harry (In Bruges)
Reynolds Woodcock

Harris:

Bronson
Ray (In Bruges)
Dr. Gachet

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 10 cinematography snubs in nominations.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Note: I define this type of snub as it had be in some sort of contention, so either it needs precursors or the film needed to be in contention in general.

Cinematography Snubs:

1. The Red Shoes (How???)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (How???)
3. The Godfather Part 2 (How???)
4. Goodfellas (How???)
5. The Elephant Man (How???)
6. All The President's Men (HOW???)
7. The Devil and Daniel Webster (10 noms How???)
8. The Godfather (How???)
9. Seven (Don't worry though Batman Forever was nominated)
10. Collateral (One I "get", though don't agree with at all due to the anti-digital crowd)

Emi Grant said...

Louis: Your thoughts on your top 5 tracks from Good Time's score.

Also, your thoughts on Good Time's cinematography.

Calvin Law said...

Watched Burning. I'll need a re-watch to gather my thoughts fully on it...but I did find it captivating throughout, and it features two of my favourite performances of the year thus far.

Yoo: 5
Yeun: 5
Jeon: 4 (could go up with re-watch)

Omar Franini said...

Calvin: I’m glad you really liked Yoo and Yeun, only a 4 for Jeon? I thought she gave an excellent performance and she would be my supporting actress winner so far. Thoughts on the cast?

Calvin Law said...

Omar:

Yoo - (I feel like one could go either way with this performance since it is pretty mannered yet understated, and one could possibly see him as doing 'nothing' for most of his performance, but I thought he brought Jong-su's peculiar state of mind to life in a surprisingly complex fashion, which was in itself quite the achievement, and making the moments he breaks from it quite powerful. I won't say more yet so the rest of this blog can see for themselves)

Yeun - (I'm glad he's getting bigger and meatier roles to shine, even though his overall screentime is pretty sparse I thought he made a great impact as essentially a thinly veiled asshole, possibly sociopathic, possibly just a liar, and I thought he straddled the ambiguities of the character beautifully, and every one of his spiels was a highlight of the film. He's probably my supporting actor winner so far.)

Jeon - (again, I need a re-watch, since she does probably get the least overall screentime despite having arguably the greatest importance within the narrative. I will say I'm already considering bumping her up just because of how much of an impact she makes in her limited screentime, both as the manic pixie girl but with that streak of insecurity, and as the far more troubled soul broiling within)

Everyone else is pretty decent in their limited screentime and focus.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Your current Lead Actor top 5.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I don't think Hawke being nominated is out of the realm of possibility. I could see him getting the Viggo support where he's respected well enough by his peers to get him over the line.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: in alphabetical order,

Ben Foster, Leave No Trace
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool 2
Alex Wolff, Hereditary
Yoo Ah-in, Burning

Calvin Law said...

I could see Hawke getting in too. The Academy does seem to like him a fair bit.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: And your Supporting Actor top 5.

Luke Higham said...

I feel a bit guilty in saying this but I kinda hope Backseat flops.

Calvin Law said...

Again, alphabetical order:

Lily Franky, Shoplifters
Chris Hemsworth, Avengers: Infinity War
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther
Anton Yelchin, Thoroughbreds
Steven Yeun, Burning

Omar Franini said...

Luke: your 2018 Oscar predictions?

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Do you consider Brolin Lead or Supporting for Infinity War.

Omar: I'll get back to you on that later.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: Supporting, and I'll admit that on re-watch though I still found Thanos compelling as a villain, I don't think what Brolin does in the role is as impressive as Jordan, if I'm honest.

Calvin Law said...

Though I still wouldn't mind a review, since I don't expect that Louis will end up saving Jordan.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: That's OK, he'd still be my MVP with Hemsworth in 2nd.

I'm inclined to agree with you on Jordan after a recent Re-Watch.

Calvin Law said...

A re-watch of the film tempered my affection for certain aspects of the film a bit, namely T'Challa's journey, some of the needless detours in the third act, and the supporting character arcs, but enhanced my appreciation of Jordan all the more. Viewing the whole film I saw what he was going for a lot more clearly, and even the initial minor quibbles I'd had with his performance vanished immediately.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the direction, screenplay and cinematography of Paris, Texas

Luke Higham said...

My Oscar Predictions
Picture
First Man
Widows
Beautiful Boy
A Star Is Born
Boy Erased
Peterloo
BlacKKKlansman
At Eternity's Gate
Roma
Alt. Backseat

Director
Steve McQueen - Widows (I have him as the favourite to win, I feel it's too soon for Chazelle to get his 2nd win even when Inarritu won 2 in a row)
Damien Chazelle - First Man
Mike Leigh - Peterloo
Spike Lee - BlacKKKlansman
Joel Edgerton - Boy Erased
Alt. Julian Schnabel for At Eternity's Gate, Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk and Alfonso Cuaron for Roma.

Actor
Steve Carell (If he's to win this year, I'm praying that it'll be for Beautiful Boy instead of Welcome To Marwen)
Willem Dafoe - At Eternity's Gate
Ryan Gosling - First Man
Ethan Hawke - First Reformed
Lucas Hedges - Boy Erased
Alt. Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born, Christian Bale in Backseat and Hugh Jackman in The Frontrunner.

Actress
Glenn Close - The Wife
Carey Mulligan - Wildlife
Viola Davis - Widows
Emily Blunt - Mary Poppins Returns
Saoirse Ronan - Mary, Queen Of Scots
Alt. Kiki Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk, Toni Collette in Hereditary and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born

Supporting Actor
Timothée Chalamet - Beautiful Boy
Russell Crowe - Boy Erased
Oscar Isaac - At Eternity's Gate
Sam Elliott - A Star Is Born
J.K. Simmons - The Frontrunner
Alt. Sam Rockwell in Backseat

Supporting Actress
Nicole Kidman - Boy Erased
Margot Robbie - Mary, Queen Of Scots
Claire Foy - First Man
Olivia Colman - The Favourite
Regina King - If Beale Street Could Talk
Alt. Amy Adams in Backseat and Sissy Spacek in The Old Man And The Gun

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Any 2018 viewings lately.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Blackkklansman, which I liked on the whole however as typical to Lee he hammers in his points to the extent that the nail is going through the back of your head. He also strangely bungles what should be the "money shot" in the climax.

Alex Marqués said...

I really want to see that film. Lee isn't a subtle director (and some of his films are...problematic), but I don't see many of his detractors in this blog having a problem The Shape of Water, or with Gibson's filmography, for example. Plus I think the subject matter of stuff like Do the Right Thing are ideal for his "heavy handed" (and, like it or not, technically accomplished) approach.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your ratings and thoughts on the cast. And I hope to get your opinion on First Reformed soon.

Louis Morgan said...

Alex:

Well for me it isn't necessarily a lack of subtly I take issue with when it comes to Lee but usually the execution of that lack of subtly. For example in Blackklansman there is a scene where an African American leader is inspiring the crowd. We see the crowd's reactions as they are inspired by the words as bluntly as possible with almost stars in their eyes as they look on in wonder. It's not subtle, but it works. You get the point he's going for, but then he keeps doing it in the scene to the point the scene has a ridiculous number of the same stylized reaction shots contained in total.

Louis Morgan said...

Emi Grant & Anonymous:

Will get you those soon.

Luke:

Saving Washington and Driver.

Harrier - 2.5(I don't know if it was wholly her performance or mostly the character, but she just came off as a little one note. Not terrible or anything though.)

Grace - 4(Best I've seen from him, and he along with the other Klan members are examples of Lee doing overt well. All of them are cartoons, however with the right disturbing grotesque quality within that. Grace is actually the best at this as he speaks in his horribly racist statements with his sunny demeanor and unearned confidence. His best moment though is where he briefly switches from this sort of politician's facade to reveal the real hate in the man, which Grace pulls off extremely well.)

Hawkins - 3(There for his one speech, which he handles well.)

Paakkonen, Hauser, Egghold - 3(All cartoonish, grotesque yet comical effectively in their own ways. Hauser nearly reprising his role from I, Tonya, but he does it well. Paakkonen, who I thought was David Hornsby while watching the film, being most aggressively overt yet doing it to the point that it serves the character's purpose. Egghold being less extreme, though still cartoonish, but effective as more of this sort of club man.)

Belafonte - 4(Great in his one scene, again not a subtle moment yet again a circumstance with this approach works incredibly well. Belafonte is terrific in delivering all of the blunt emotion of his speech with such raw emotion but also such genuine compassion as well.)

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: Is Driver lead or supporting?

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

Supporting, even though there are many scenes where he is the focus it is always in service to Washington's story.

Calvin Law said...

Alex: to be fair I don't think this hoard is that in love with Gibson in general.

Calvin Law said...

As for Lee the only film of his I've felt he went overboard was Jungle Fever.

Charles H said...

I'm not a fan of Lee at all, his films go too overboard and are WAY too blunt. I think his films such as Do The Right Thing. Malcolm X, and Jungle Fever have all misfired in some ways.

Calvin Law said...

I personally really love Do the Right Thing, He Got Game, Inside Man, but mixed on most of his stuff and outright hate his Oldboy remake.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I personally consider Do the Right Thing an absolute masterpiece and the best film of 1989.

Louis Morgan said...

Looking over it actually, I hardly dislike Lee's films at all, honestly. I flat out love Inside Man, and like, just with definite reservations, Do the Right Thing (mainly Lee's performance), Malcolm X, the 25th Hour, and now Blackkklansman. Even Jungle Fever, while kind of terrible as a whole, does have the Gator scenes which are quite good.

Emi, Anonymous: Sorry still working on it.

Calvin Law said...

So looks like the saves so far are: -

Lead -
Ben Foster, Leave No Trace
Lakeith Stanfield, Sorry to Bother You
John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman
Alex Wolff, Hereditary (unless Louis considers him supporting)

Supporting -
Josh Brolin, Avengers: Infinity War
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Once we get to the Silent Era, are you still doing a 10 lineup or going year by year (1915-1927), I'd rather you did the latter at this point because I don't want you risking not reviewing a 5 performance.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: I am pretty sure he is doing a classic round if you get what I mean, so probably 1920s all together.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: If that's the case then just Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush instead of both it and The Kid.

Or what you could do is have one performance per actor in the lineup and review another performance from the same actor that is just as worthy.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: For instance, Lon Chaney in The Phantom Of The Opera and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your favorite movie original songs?

RatedRStar said...

Luke: That is what I mean, I cant think of any like...performances from the 1910s that are worth a review, I mean like, I cant say with hand on heart that Birth of A Nation has anyone worth a review, so 1920s it is really, all of my choices for the classic year as I have it written are from the 1920s.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I would like Louis to watch Griffiths work from 1915 onwards just to get an opinion on it and I'm gonna enjoy what he's going to write about The Birth Of A Nation. Also I want to see his opinion on Gish's early performances.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: That might be a challenge for Louis, can he find those performances lol?

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I had thought about Albert Dieudonné in Napoléon as a request but I'm getting the feeling it's more of a technical masterpiece than an Actors Showcase.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I'm sure Intolerance is available somewhere. Broken Blossoms, Way Down East, Orphans Of The Storm and Ben-Hur have been viewed by others so perhaps he'll be able to see them too.

Louis Morgan said...

Emi Grant:

Flashback - (Fantastic electronic experimental work, here creating this seemingly random kinetic energy realized through the very classic 80's synth sounds, though so beautifully random in its use, that is particularly effective in tandem with its mad sequence.)

Hospital Escape - (A piece that is a marvelous representation of the film itself in it is a piece that sounds fitting of a thriller, with its heightened, and intense orchestration. The electronic approach though grants such an atypical sound, again fitting for a rather atypical thriller, in its videogame style sound offers for a properly invigorating style though in such a unique way.)

The Acid Hits - (Fitting to the name, it is a properly trip within the blending of the sounds to create something rather tripping, quite properly in score form.)

Connie - (If you take this as a character's theme, it feels simply right in its sort of dancing repetition, that has this certain lightness that slowly transforms to a harshness properly emblematic of the character's approach to solving his problems. It becomes essentially wrapped within itself as the different sounds build, and wrap within each other to create this purposefully broken tapestry.)

Entry to White Castle - (A lower key piece within the score, though again just an effectively lurid use of the synth that creates this atmosphere, that overwhelms to create a proper claustrophobia within the music.)

Sean Price William's cinematography for Good Time is absolutely fantastic, especially when you compare it to other films that take sort of the guerilla or pseudo-guerilla approach. So often that is just an excuse to let the film look ugly. Perhaps most importantly he doesn't overdo the documentary camera to do shoddy shaky cam. It finds the right balance to adhere to that type of natural camera movement, while still bothering to look cinematic. It's a great hypocrisy in a sense in the shots have such kinetic movement, and there is a sense of proper framing and composition, however it is done in way that makes it still feel accidental. The same goes for the lighting of the film which makes such brilliant use of every odd colored light source, especially the fun house, to also grant a real vibrancy to the film's colors, even though again it all comes off as by accident.

Louis Morgan said...


Anonymous:

Paris, Texas is one of the all time great "Americana" films, and it is directed by the German Wim Wenders. Wenders, who I haven't seen enough of his work, directs as an observer however not a bystander. Wenders's work here is particularly striking in his approach which is to maintain distance in a certain sense, in terms of letting certain emotional moments very much play through the performances. He ensures to create such a distinct lens though in which to observe this, a lens that only amplifies the potency of what is seen. A view that grants a vibrancy not only to these characters, but also in terms of the environment they inhabit no matter how "mundane" the setting may be. He crafts striking images, but then carefully allows what comes naturally through the performances bringing the words to life. For example take his staging of the final confession scene, which is brilliantly set up in terms of the two rooms, the one in darkness, the other in light, but then allows Stanton, and Kinski to take it from there.

Of course at the center of it is the screenplay written by L.M. Kit Carson and Sam Shepard. The screenplay is structured brilliantly by taking this what is essentially a family, and making so much more dynamic through creating the film as a mystery. A mystery of who is this man, and then what was his life. This never feels like a gimmick, rather is such a remarkable way to create a central thrust within the story. This never hides though honesty of the material through its realization of Travis's story. It's development goes beyond that granting the needed vibrancy to every character within Travis's extended family that creates such a rich history behind the mystery. Any such would be meaningless though if the screenplay didn't create such an honesty within the interactions between the characters, and the development of them. Every element skirts melodrama, to create such vivid people Travis meets along the way. The dialogue is in particular is so very powerful, with a certain poetic quality, yet never overly stylistic as such. It captures so well, a certain spirit, and certain attitude that is distinct however never does it feel broad. The final monologue in particular is an absolute work of art, as essentially the full truth behind the mystery of the man wandering the detail, and doing it with such poignancy.

Paris, Texas's cinematography, by Robby Müller, which RIP sadly another I did not hear of his passing until checking on his name right now, is an essential facet in realizing that sort of Americana beauty. That in between its distinct use of the very American, red, white and blue, to support more optimistic ideas, against the vivid greens that suggests a pain and unease. The film is shot in such an emotionally evocative way. As we have moments of sure the expected grandeur of the landscape in the opening, yet what is most distinct is how Travis is framed within these given shots. Even as the film shifts towards more intimate setting the cinematography is as striking in amplifying the emotions through its careful use of lighting and colors, and the distinct composition of shots. It is again a film that works so wonderfully within its color scheme, which it again makes nearly "accidental" in terms of how natural every source appears. Wholly brilliant work.

Luke:

No matter what, I don't think I'll be doing lineups, rather narrow in on certain performances of note like how I did 1928.

Luke Higham said...

That's completely fine by me, Louis. :)

Houndtang said...

If you do 1970 again I strongly recommend you review Nicol Williamson in the unjustly overlooked The Reckoning.

Luke Higham said...

Houndtang: Him along with Delon in Le Cercle Rouge are likely fives for that year.

Anonymous said...

It's kinda easy for me to predict what Louis would think of Birth of a Nation. He would like it on a technical level, but on other levels, yeah no.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

No particular order, just 20 songs I love, don't think about any omissions too much.

"The Bells of Notre Dame" - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
"Ben" - Ben
"Beautiful Ride" - Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
"Call me Irresponsible" - Papa's Delicate Condition
"Falling Slowly" - Once
"Flying Dreams" - The Secret of NIMH
"Gonna Fly Now" - Rocky
"The Green Leaves of Summer" - The Alamo
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Meet Me In St. Louis
"Hellfire" - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
"The Hell of It" - Phantom of the Paradise
"I'm Easy" - Nashville
"A Life Without You" - Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
"Live and Let Die" - Live and Let Die
"Mona Lisa" - Captain Carey, U.S.A.
"Moon River" - Breakfast at Tiffany's
"The Story of a Soldier" - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
"Suicide is Painless" - MASH
"The Way You Look Tonight" - Swing Time
"White Christmas" - Holiday Inn

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your 11-20 acting moments for James Stewart

Luke Higham said...

Louis: What is your Original Song winner for 2007.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

11. Lashing out at his family - It's a Wonderful Life
12. "They'll vote with Potter Otherwise" - It's A Wonderful Life
13. Opening - Vertigo
14. Calming the bank run - It's a Wonderful Life
15. Cross Examination of the bar tender - Anatomy of the Murder
16. Visiting Mary's House - It's a Wonderful Life
17. Considering quitting - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
18. Learning the truth - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
19. Putting forth the murder theory - Rear Window
20. Turning down Potter's Offer - It's a Wonderful Life

Luke:

Not sure.

Anonymous said...

Louis what are you top ten endings of the 90's?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

1. "You've bled with Wallace, now bleed with me" - Braveheart
2. "I'm here to kill you little Bill" - Unforgiven
3. "I did Lyle" - The Straight Story
4. Kint loses his limp - The Usual Suspects
5. "Everyone be cool" - Pulp Fiction
6. Great train robbery - Goodfellas
7. Fiction becomes reality - Barton Fink
8. 3 cent Stamp - Fargo
9. "The Dude Abides" - The Big Lebowski
10. "I'm on top of the world" - Richard III

Anonymous said...

Louis: So, apparently at point, Robert Towne wrote a script from a novel called The Brotherhood of the Grape by John Fante and Coppola was to direct the movie. The novel is about about a successful writer who returns home to help his aged parents, and finds himself and his siblings sucked in by their latest drama. Curtis Hanson tried to do his own adaptation of the story with Burt Lancaster, but that never happened either.

Jeanne Moreau was supposed to play a beautiful but mature businesswoman, feeling empty, who considers suicide. Her past is then revealed through flashbacks: as a young girl she worked for the French resistance against the Nazis, but went on to have lurid affairs with Nazi officers. The movie was supposed to be directed by Fritz Lang.

Another interesting project that was never made was a movie about a failed communist insurrection in Shanghai, written by Han Suyin. David Niven, Peter Finch, Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow, Eiji Okada, Juzo Itami, Joss Ackland, and Clive Revill were in the cast and Fred Zinnemmann was attached to direct, but MGM canceled the production before filming began.

Thoughts?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top ten George c. Scott and Sterling Hayden acting moments.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Could Angus Macfayden become your win for 95 Supporting, or rise up to #2 at least.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: had Heath Ledger not passed, could you see Jake Gyllenhaal and him as Mike and Nick, respectively, in an early 2010s version of The Deer Hunter?

Bryan L said...

Calvin: That could've been something great, especially since I think they would've been looking for another film to do together this decade.

Louis: Who would you have cast instead of Wahlberg in We Own The Night?

Anonymous said...

Tahmeed:

George C. Scott

1. American Flag - Patton
2. Message for the deceased - Patton
3. Apology - Patton
4. Visiting the wounded - Patton
5. Being dressed down - Patton
6. Turgidson's thoughts - Dr. Strangelove
7. Final confrontation - The Hustler
8. Catching the Russian Ambassador - Dr. Strangelove
9. Seeing his father - A Christmas Carol
10. 3's breakdown - 12 Angry Men

Michael McCarthy said...

I just saw BlacKkKlansman, boy did that pack a punch. The initiation sequence is some of the finest direction I think I’ve seen from Lee, and I also have to commend Washington for creating an engaging screen presence that is entirely distinct from that of his father.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

The first film sounds intriguing, any Towne screenplay should be at least a little bit, particularly with Coppola to back it up. The same goes for Hanson/Lancaster. Haven't read the novel though, but given that sort of talent's interest in it, I'd be curious to learn more about it actually.

Well likely would have resulted in quite the performance from Moreau. Lang however seemingly never quite returned to form of his earliest work and perhaps that spark was gone, however that material potentially could have shown if he still had or not.

Zinnemann, from what I've seen, never made a genuinely bad film, in fact mostly made great ones, and in his weaker ones his efforts were not the problem, so it likely would've effective to an extent. The period in question is fascinating, however Han Suyin as far as I know never wrote a screenplay, so that's big ? there. The cast is hard argue against though particularly Ullmann, von Sydow, and Okada, though I ponder what Niven's role would've consisted of.

Tahmeed:

Hayden:

1. Torture - Dr. Strangelove
2. Precious Bodily Fluids - Dr. Strangelove
3. Orders to the men - Dr. Strangelove
4. Recall code - Dr. Strangelove
5. First Scene - Dr. Strangelove
6. Wade has to pay a fee - The Long Goodbye
7. What's the difference - The Killing
8. Dreaming of the farm - The Asphalt Jungle
9. Just before a walk to the ocean - The Long Goodbye
10. Fine Italian Meal - The Godfather

Not completely out of the question.

Calvin:

Yes, absolutely, though I actually might go the reverse though I could see either in each role.

Bryan:

Ethan Hawke

Michael:

That scene was great.

Calvin Law said...

Louis and everyone: what's your current top 10? Mine would be,

1. Leave No Trace
2. Mission Impossible - Fallout
3. Burning
4. Isle of Dog
5. Thoroughbreds
6. Avengers: Infinity War
7. Shoplifters
8. First Reformed
9. Deadpool 2
10. Black Panther

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

1. Mission Impossible: Fallout
2. Leave No Trace
3. Isle of Dogs
4. Avengers: Infinity War
5. Blackkklansman
6. Deadpool 2
7. Sorry to Bother You
8. Incredibles 2
9. A Quiet Place
10. Black Panther

Michael McCarthy said...

Calvin:

1. Sorry to Bother You
2. Isle of Dogs
3. Thoroughbreds
4. BlacKkKlansman
5. First Reformed
6. Avengers: Infinity War
7. Hereditary
8. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
9. Black Panther
10. Deadpool 2