Phew! Its been a long while since I posted something new here on the blog but there is a ton of new content up on my YouTube channel. With such a diverse show this week I wanted to do a video dump again and let you guys see all the full footage of the clips I used. I really loved this week because of all the great animation I got to watch again and again. I hope you guys enjoy these clips as much as I did! Cheers!
Tags: anchors aweigh, animation, Beauty and the Beast, Elton John, frollo, gene kelly, Glen Keane, Hans Zimmer, hellfire, hunchback of notre dame, Joe Hisaishi, Lion King, Miyazaki, Music, One Summer's Day, Road to El Dorado, Shrek, Spirited Away, Tim Rice, Treasure Planet, Triplets of Belleville, Wall-E
This week it is all about Paul Newman, one of film’s most popular and talented stars. He was well known for his “H” movies as the 60’s and 70’s gave him a string of hits with movies either starting with the letter or somewhere prominent within, (Hud, The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Hombre, and Harper). Towards the end of his career he finally won his only Oscar for “The Color of Money”, which upon further reflection should probably have made my top 5 but as “The Hustler” is its precursor I think I can let it go. A fellow Connecticut resident (technically I’m now a CT expat) Newman he was well known for his charity work including co-founding “The hole in the wall gang camp” for severely-ill children, also in Connecticut and the famous Newman’s Own brand of salad-dressings, lemonades, pasta sauces etc. all of which profits go to charity. While Newman’s persona was one of a lovable and charming rebel on the big screen his heart and class in life is what makes him such an enduring star.
When I was in my early teens, probably around fourteen or fifteen my dad took my to the Broadway production of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I had seen a few shows with him at this point but since my sister was much more into musical theater then I was we had seen shows that I think appealed more to her and my father’s love of music then anything that would hold a teenaged boy’s interest. Then came the Pimpernel! That production had me enthralled from start to finish as Sir Percy Blakeney masqueraded through revolutionary France saving imprisoned aristocrats from the guillotine as the Scarlet Pimpernel, all the while disguising his true identity by adopting the role of a foppish buffoon back in the English court. To my teen-aged mind it was Batman and Bruce Wayne in 18th century Paris. It remains one of my favorite memories of New York City.
That being said, it is clear why the 1934 film should have such a fond place in my heart. Leslie Howard stars as Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel and gives an impressive performance. It is difficult not to find yourself laughing during his turns the sartorially-minded and always aloof Blakeney but a quick shift in his eyes and quickly The Pimpernel appears. Many will remember Howard best for his role of Ashley in “Gone with the Wind”.
For those of you who have followed the T5 show you might remember Raymond Massey as Black Michael in “The Prisoner of Zedna” which appeared on my list of the greatest sword fights. As Chauvelin, the French Ambassador to England, he is again wickedly evil and conniving but I found that I enjoyed his character much more in this film because of the sharp contrast between Chauvelin and Blakeney.
All in all, this is a fun film. I was disappointed that there was no crossing of swords or even a shoot out but subsequent remakes correct this for me. Like I mentioned, this movie is a particular soft-spot for me though. So check out 1934’s “The Scarlet Pimpernel” on your Netflix instant queue.
Admittedly I am not someone who understands the music industry. It seems to exist by a logic completely beyond my grasp but every so often a certain mood hits me and I become completely powerless to it. I walk to my corner store and buy a bottle of scotch whiskey. Then, after returning home, I draw the curtains tight and blare every Tom Waits track I own and for awhile revel in unbridled gritty machismo. It is great that Waits has given us an endless catalogue of song tracks but what is more he has had himself an eccentric and at times surprisingly impressive film career that makes him the focus of my first “brilliance in film” segment. So here’s to you, Tom Waits, for not only being a ground-breaking force in music but also a class act cross-over to film.
Make sure to check out: Wristcutters, Coffeee and Cigarettes and Down by Law
Directed: Ralph Nelson
Starring: Cary Grant, Leslie Caron
Description: Cary Grant plays Walter Eckland, a drunken boat captain in the South Sea during WWII. He is strong-armed into being a temporary island watchman for the British Navy and before long matters get out of hand. When a watchman on a neighboring island reports that the Japanese are closing in Grant agrees to a rescue mission only to find the watchman dead and instead a prim and proper schoolteacher and a band of young girls. Taking them back to his island the rest of the movie is a funny series of adjustments and changes of character.
Reasons to watch: When we think about film as a medium it is easy to say “oh yes, yes the Godfather. Oh yes, yes Citizen Kane. Oh yes, yes…” and we all stick our fingers under our suspenders and rock back and forth on our heels. We so often forget about the little tiny gems. Even when thinking about Cary Grant one thinks of “To Catch a Thief” and “His Girl Friday” but this was one of his very last films and it so often is forgotten which is a real shame. I watched this movie countless times as a child and when I stumbled across it again recently it still had me laughing hysterically. Now, for those of you who might be fashion-minded we all know that Grant is an edifice of men’s fashion but again we remember “North by Northwest”, “Charade” and “Notorious” but this movie is in my opinion why Cary Grant is so memorable as a sartorial icon. The entire movie he is dirty, unshaven and covered in grime but his chambray shirt and canvas pants still couldn’t look any cooler. So here’s to you Mr. Grant and to a great movie. Seriously, if you are in the mood for a good, heart-warming laugh I suggest this movie. It’s on Netflix’s instant play so check it out!
This is a huge video dump this week but I loved so many of these ending scenes that I just had to put them up for you guys! Episode 4 of the Top Five is all about the greatest walk-off endings of all time. You don’t see it too much but when you do and when it is done effectively it can be a great device for telling the audience in one last shot what that character is all about. How or why they walk away at the end can tell us a great deal. For instance, in “The Searchers” the Duke walks away at the end because there is no one left for him. He has fulfilled his mission and now has nothing left as is beautifully reinforced by that vast and desolate Texas landscape. In “On the Waterfront” we see just how unbreakable Brando’s character is as he staggers towards the boat yard in defiance of the mob. All of this is garnered from just one shot of a man walking and that is why this week the T5 is paying tribute to the best of them.