The horrible thing is that the last movie I saw, just two nights before, was Black Narcissus, also starring Deborah Kerr. I knew it was her, and when she first showed up, I said “that’s Deborah Kerr” and I STILL didn’t recognize her. Looks totally different. What is wrong with me?

Starts out reeeal obvious, as super-rich guy hires pleasant woman to care for pleasant-enough kids at secluded estate and kids turns out to be spooky or house turns out to be haunted or something. But then gets downright creepy with boy trying to make out with Ms. Kerr and tons of great gothic atmosphere. High quality little movie. The Others was based on the same book.

Who ever would’ve thought that I’d like a movie about nuns as much as this. Fucking incredibly amazing movie, one of the best I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think that’s just because I’m kinda drunk. Need to see this again and again. Would kill to see it in the theater. Maybe next year, 60th anniversary and all. Oughtta watch it again simply because I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should’ve… but still, seems like an extremely worthwhile movie.

Nuns opening school/hospital in the mountains with “primitive” people and a gruff, attractive male neighbor. One, maybe more of them, loses her mind. Plot and character don’t really need to be discussed, not that I paid strict enough attention to them to be able to discuss anyway, but even though they’re pretty great themselves, it’s the visuals that make the thing a fucking masterpiece. Wanted to cry at the end.

I like how some of the most beautiful shots (in terms of scenery, staging) are also some of the most fakey (obvious sets + backgrounds). Little praying, if any – surprising for a nun movie. Better than Nazarin probably… gotta see Viridiana next.

Also: a cockatoo and an african grey – in the same shot!

What I learned about life in the 50’s from watching The Day The Earth Stood Still:

Women scream and fall down when confronted with danger

Day The Earth Stood Still

In an emergency, army men ignore women entirely and let them get away.

If a spaceship lands in Washington DC, it’s okay to leave it guarded by two men and some police tape

Scientists necessarily have frizzy hair.

When you ask a US general to summon representatives from every country, the only one they’ll contact is Russia, whom they know will say “no” anyway.

Saying “klaatu barata nikto” can help in a lot of situations, not just when retrieving the book of the dead.

Day The Earth Stood Still

Even aliens believe in God. Lady: “He has the power of life and death” Klaatu: “No, that power is reserved for the almighty spirit”.

Kids say “golly” an awful lot.

The cold war was pretty serious stuff.

Aliens are well-mannered white men.

Day The Earth Stood Still

“The decision rests with you”

Not a good movie to watch when depressed, obviously. Patiently explains why the Iraq war and all the other countries we’ve had military dealings with since WWII are symptoms of the “unwarranted influence” of “the military-industrial complex” that Dwight Eisenhower warned against in January 1961.

Why We Fight

GW Bush and Cheney and Halliburton whatever. Saddam Hussein whatever. 9/11 whatever. A man whose son was killed and wrote to ask his name be written on a bomb dropped in Iraq. A woman who works at a bomb factory. Eisenhower’s descendants talking about Eisenhower. We’re all gonna die. Too bad I watched this, cuz now I can’t see Al Gore’s “An Undeniable Truth” without fucking killing myself.

Why We Fight

The movie Carol Reed made between Odd Man Out and The Third Man. I’d never heard of it before it opened outta nowhere at the Landmark.

The Idol in question is Baines, the butler, and the Idolizer is Phillipe, a typical shrill young movie kid who says “Baines” a whole damned lot. Baines doesn’t kill his wife, but she falls down the stairs and dies. At the end, I’m not sure if the kid is covering for Baines, “growing up” by claiming to be telling the whole truth while consciously not mentioning that he thought he saw Baines kill his wife… OR if the kid is smart enough to realize he didn’t actually see Baines kill his wife, and to trust Baines even though he realizes Baines has lied to him in the past. So the kid’s either learning to lie or learning to trust despite others’ lies… either way, that’s what the movie’s about.

Baines is having an affair and preparing to leave his wife, and shows no grief at all when faced with his wife’s death in front of the cops. One of those movies where you can see that everyone’s problems come from hiding something important and that all their troubles would clear up if they’d just stop being so secretive. A lotta movies like that.

But then, also one of those movies where everyone (except the dead wife, who died quite by accident so let’s not worry about her) gets away without trouble, where the movie doesn’t force any undeserved consequences on its characters to teach us a harsh life lesson… not all “Quai des Orfevres” feelgood, but nice nonetheless.

Cool looking part when the kid runs through the streets, terrified of Baines and the death, meets a cop… just the right mixture of low angles and shadows. Gets very tense towards the end, with Baines pulling a gun alone in the basement, threatening to kill himself over the false murder accusation.

Good enough picture but low, crackly sound made it hard to understand dialogue. Glad I saw it, but not gonna be a repeat fave. Movies with shrill British kids as protagonists never are.

Totally enjoyed it. Jim compares it to Neil Young: Heart of
Gold
in how the performances look + feel, and that’s about right (except
without the harsh video look of NY:HoG). Lotta performances and backstage
musings about life, death and endings. Except for the Tommy Lee Jones
part, it’s almost done mockumentary-style. If I didn’t know a little bit
about R Altman, I’d think they shot three times as much material and put
the thing together in the editing room. Tricky to make a fully-scripted
movie seem so free, but he always manages.

I don’t listen to the radio show and wouldn’t have recognized Garrison
Keillor’s voice before seeing the movie, so can’t comment on how it treats
the legacy of his show. Very well, I’d imagine, since he wrote it and
co-stars. I’ve read negative comments about Kline, Jones, Lohan and
Madsen’s characters, but I ate it right up… enjoyed all of them. Way to
combine humor with horror. I felt it was worth the ticket price right when
the opening credits started… all those names of some of my favorite
actors together up on screen. I’d happily call it Altman’s best film in a
decade, but I have sort of a soft spot for Cookie’s Fortune.

Not optimal viewing conditions – I wasn’t paying strict attention and the sound on the tape was no good. Anyway, a lot more humorous and lighthearted than I’d expected, until the end when it all turns bad for everybody.

Georgie is a spoiled kid who grows up and thinks he can marry a girl who doesn’t seem to like him too much. Meanwhile, his dad dies and his mom’s ex tries to win her back, which would be extremely easy if not for meddling Georgie who spoils everything for them and for himself. Family fortunes are lost and family names are forgotten.

An easily watchable, entertaining movie, well acted and shot… no reason not to like it. Will have to watch it again sometime for it to stick, I guess. That goes for all the other Welles movies too! Wonder which scenes were cut out.

About what I’d expected, really. Maddin slowed down the pace of his editing to accomodate Isabella’s writing style I guess. Not much to it – She plays herself, her mom (Ingrid Bergman), David Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin. Talks to her dad’s giant belly. Short, good. “My dad was a genius. I think.”