Posts tagged ‘Movies’

Astor – Goldrush/Modern Times

The Tramp working on the giant machine in the ...

Image via Wikipedia

Tonight I went to the Astor cinema in Prahran to watch Charlie Chaplin‘s The Goldrush and Modern Times as a double feature. Even though I own both of these great movies on DVD I wanted to see how they were on the big screen.

It was amazing. Both films are over 3/4 of a century old, yet they both still retained their power to make an audience laugh and cry. Yes, the dancing breadrolls scene in Goldrush had me blubbering like a baby. Not only is this one of the most iconic of all scenes in cinema, but one of the most beautiful too.

I am thinking of going back to the Astor next week. On Saturday they have the Sound of Music playing whilst on Sunday it’s Forbidden Planet/The Time Machine. I am definitely going in August to see Vertigo and Rear Window.


Modern Times

La Belle et la Bête

Beauty and the Beast (1946 film)

Image via Wikipedia

This is a film that I have wanted to watch for a very long time, ever since I first saw photographs from it in my brother’s horror movie book almost 30 years ago.  Finally I got that chance today. This film was voted at number 26 in Empire magazine‘s 100 Best Films of World Cinema in 2010.

Jean Cocteau‘s La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) is a French masterpiece of surrealist cinema. The plot of the film follows the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale that we all know and love so well. Belle’s father wanders into the Beast’s castle where he unwittingly cuts a rose to give Belle on return from his travels. The Beast takes offense at this and gives Belle’s father an ultimatum, either he dies for this or he sends one of his daughters to pay his debt, and to become a prisoner of the Beast. Belle agrees to take her father’s place and although initially repulsed by the Beast, ends up admiring him. The Beast invites Belle to dinner, where he tells her that she’s in equal command to him and that she will be asked every day to marry him.

Days pass as Belle grows more accustomed and fond of the Beast, but she continues to refuse marriage. Using the magic mirror Belle finds her father deathly ill. The Beast grants her permission to leave for a week. Belle’s sisters devise a plan to keep Belle from returning to the Beast and Belle reluctantly agrees to stay the Beast almost dies of a broken heart. Belle returns to the Beast while Belle’s admirer Avenant, and her brother Ludovico, attempt to enter the castle so that they can slay the Beast. As the Beast dies in Belle’s arms, Avenant breaks into the Pavilion through its glass roof and is shot with an arrow by an animated statue of the Roman goddess Diana and is himself turned into a Beast. As this happens, arising from where the Beast lay dead is Prince Ardent (Marais) who is cured from being the Beast. Prince Ardent and Belle embrace, then fly away to his kingdom where she will be his Queen, and where her father will stay with them and Belle’s sisters will carry the train of her gown.

It is a really beautiful movie and I don’t know why my brother’s old book labeled it as a horror film. Sure the Beast bears a resemblance to Lon Chaney Jr.‘s Wolfman character, but the actual movie is very romantic with quite a bit of fantasy thrown in for good measure. Anything horrific is done off-screen. It is simply a great, enjoyable film, although some of the special effects are dodgy by Hollywood standards, whilst the ending is a little strange and is perhaps the only weak point of the film.

Gerald McBoing Boing

This 1951 UPA cartoon is one of my favourites. Whilst it does not have as many laugh out loud moments as the best Warner Bros. or MGM cartoons of the 50s I think that it is quite cute and that their is always something new to discover somewhere in the cartoon. (I don’t think I articulated myself too well there!) It won the 1952 Academy Award for best animated short film and was adapted from a story by Dr Seuss and directed by Robert ‘Bobe’ Cannon.

This is one of the few UPA cartoons that is available on DVD. None of the Magoo cartoons are available on DVD, whilst Gerald can be found on Cartoon Adventures With Gerald McBoing Boing and on the Hell Boy dvd. The 1952 Academy Award nominated cartoon Madeline, which is a straight forward retelling of Ludwig Bemelmans‘ classic story, can be found on the Madeline live action film as an extra.

I was looking through some old posts at Stephen Worth’s ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive and came across some UPA model sheets. Like the magpie (thief) that I am I thought that some of these would be good for my own blog. Here is one of UPA’s most famous cartoon, Gerald McBoing Boing.

Google can sometimes be your best friend. Whilst looking around the net on something, anything, to post about UPA, I stumbled across some photos from Gerald McBoing Boing on Google. Apparently back in 1952 Life magazine did a big feature on Gerald and took photos of the cells specifically. I’d like to comment on a couple of these just to show what I think makes this cartoon so special.

The first picture is basically Gerald, his Mom and Dad and may not look too special, except when you look at the background. Unlike with other studios there is not a great deal of detail in the background.

This is perhaps one of my favourite scenes in the film. I just love the child like drawing of the school-house and the school yard. It looks like it would be easy to draw like this but I assure you it’s not Another great background where less detail is more.

Great use of shadow, light and perspective.

Mmm, you’d almost think that I know what I am talking about. I must confess that I am not really artistic and cannot draw for quids. Unfortunately I am just someone who admires art but cannot create it myself.

Rooty Toot Toot

This is another fine UPA cartoon from 1952 that was nominaed for an Academy Award for best animated short film. With Gerald McBoing Boing this is probably the most fondly remembered of all UPA’s cartoons and one of its best.