Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks-Movies about Movies


I am juggling the A to Z challenge, which is fun by the way and Wandering Through The Shelves about the weekly movie theme which is movies about movies. There are actually so many to choose from that I went with a classic and 2 from the 1970's. I hope you can check out what the other film people have chosen. If you want to ever do the A to Z Challenge, check it out and maybe, you can aim for next year:) Here are my 3 picks...

1. SUNSET BOULEVARD-1950


This is the film about movies and everyone should see this film at least once. If you know film history you can relate to this film even better but don't let that stop you from seeing the great Gloria Swanson give it her all as the faded, former great silent film star, Norma Desmond. I know I chose this film before but I love it so...so there:) Joe Gillis, an arrogant, penniless scriptwriter is being chased, literally, by the repo men who want to take his car. Joe ducks into a hidden driveway into a dilapidated  garage and walks into a nightmare that his weak soul doesn't want to leave. He meets Norma Desmond who still lives in this old mansion and when she finds out he is a writer, she gives him a script about Salome where she will play the lead. He thinks he is using her but who is using who? There are so many great moments from the dead chimp that was her pet(hey, one famous silent star would walk down the main drag with a cheetah on a leash) to the waxworks (poor Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nielsen and H.B. Warner who were huge stars in their day). The music, especially at the end, takes your breath away...at least it does mine. Cecil B. DeMille has a guest shot in this film and he directed Swanson many times and did actually call her Little fella. I love Mae Murray's quote after seeing this film, "None of us floozies was ever that nuts."

2. THE GREAT WALDO PEPPER-1975


There were quite a few films about movies done in the 70's and this is an above average  film based on the stunt pilots that flooded the film sets after the Great War. Robert Redford plays Waldo who is itching to get back to flying since the First World War ended. He teams up with an old friend of his, played by Bo Svenson and, together, they create a show for the townsfolk all around the midwest. They become Barnstormers (because these actual nuts would fly through barns) and sell tickets to see their feats of flying. Soon they pick up a gal, Susan Sarandon, to look pretty while standing out on the wing of the plane. Hollywood beckons and Redford makes a B-line for this land of plenty. This is a fun film with tragedy placed in, all done with a nostalgic air. They even create a scene with a former German pilot who now works for a film studio..which happened. Redford and Svenson did their own stunts on the planes without the benefit of any wires etc...-they were nuts!

3. NICKELODEON-1976


This tanked at the box office and I don't know why because I found it thoroughly entertaining. Peter Bogdonavich used many old anecdotes from 2 silent film directors who were around when the motion picture business began-Allan Dwan and Raoul Walsh. I love how funny it is but kept true to what really happened in those early days when Edison had his patent and didn't want anyone else to make films. The outright arson, beatings, threats etc.. that were made against other film companies, was one of the main reasons the companies went out west. When they landed in sunny California, the old film people knew they made it because they had sun, beach, mountains, snow, desert- all close. Ryan O'Neal plays one such director who takes off to California to make movies and get away from the patent men. He brings his leading man (Burt Reynolds) with him along with a smart ass kid (Tatum O-Neal) and they set up shop. Brian Keith and John Ritter also star in this little gem.

What films would you choose?

38 comments:

  1. I LOVE Sunset Boulevard, now I'm annoyed I didn't think of it. lol

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    1. I thought this would be popular today

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  2. I'm planning to watch Sunset Boulevard this weekend. Can't wait to see it!

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    1. I hope you like it. I would suggest to read up on Gloria Swanson and Cecil B. DeMille together. They were a good team and check out Erich Von Stroheim directing Queen Kelly

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  3. I haven't seen any of these yet though Sunset Blvd is on my queue of movies I've recorded recently.

    There are a lot of good picks for this category: Singing in the Rain, Living in Oblivion, and the more recent The Disaster Artist (a hilariously uplifting film). Some of my other favorites are Day of the Locust (based on a novel by Nathaniel West) and a good many films by Federico Fellini, especially 8 1/2, Roma, and And the Ship Sailed On.

    So many wonderful films are flooding my mind, but I've named enough. I'll let someone else come up with more.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I have seen Singing which is great but I have only seen 8 1/2 and not the others. I need to rectify that

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  4. Now we once again get into the movies I have never seen, never heard of, and have no frame of reference about. I hate to say this, but I much prefer your A to Z movies, because at least I stand a chance with those (grin).

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    1. Hahahaaa. I know because I chose to talk about newer films for the most part but my heart belongs to the old films

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  5. Just watched the Waldo clip and laughed out loud. I haven't seen any of these.

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    1. If you ever get a chance, see it.:)

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  6. Of course Sunset Blvd. is one of the true greats and a wonderful choice, I just watched the end of it the other day when I ran across it on TCM.

    You're other two are terrific out of the main selections as well. Waldo Pepper isn't a lost classic but it has a freewheeling charm and Redford is certainly dashing.

    I put off Nickelodeon for some time not being that big a fan of either O'Neal nor Reynolds and then when I did decide I wanted to see it I had the hardest time tracking it down! It was better than I had anticipated and did capture some of the innocence and charm of those early days.

    I reached back as well and one of mine looks at an aspect of silents as well.

    Hollywood Story (1951)-Producer Larry O’Brien (Richard Conte) decides to make a film of the infamous unsolved murder of a silent film director that had occurred decades earlier and remained shrouded in mystery. As he attempts to investigate during pre-production the truth begins to emerge and he finds his life in danger. We see behind the scenes of at the time modern filmmaking as well as the appearance of several one-time silent stars. Slightly reworked (probably because many of the participants were still living) version of the infamous real life murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor which remains officially unsolved to this day and destroyed the careers of silent stars Mabel Normand and Mary Miles Minter and rocked the 1922 film community.

    The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)-Movie producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), ruthless and opportunistic claws his way from bottom of the barrel movies to the apex of studio system success. Along the way he enlists, uses and betrays movie star Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner in her best screen work), director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan) and writer James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell) making sworn enemies of each. Now down on his luck Shields, though his agent (Walter Pidgeon), attempts to involve them in a collaborative project but old wounds are not so easily healed. Nominated for six Oscars it won five including Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress (Gloria Grahame-a great actress but her role is a nothing).

    Contempt (1963)-Writer Paul Laval (Michel Piccoli) is hired by boorish American producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) to contemporize his current film’s script about Ulysses which he feels director Fritz Lang (who plays himself) is making too prosaic. Heading to the Isle of Capri with wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot) in tow he becomes enmeshed in the process of filming as his marriage disintegrates in large part due to Camille’s resentment that Paul is using her to leverage his position in the production. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

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    1. I knew you would have seen the films I chose. I love the Bad and the Beautiful but I agree with you about Gloria Grahame. I have not seen Contempt but it is one of the Godard films I would like to see. I so t know your first pick but now I must see it! I know the case well and wished King Vidor would have been able to make that film since he claimed he knew he did it.

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  7. I love the parody of Sunset Boulevard that Carol Burnett used to do on her show. Evidently, so did Gloria Swanson.

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    1. Yes...I remember well and I laughed so hard...Carol Burnett was brilliant.

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  8. Hm. One of my favorite subjects. I have lots of picks for this one! 2011's The Artist comes to mind, as do 1980's Stuntman with Peter O'Toole, Burt Reynolds' 1978 flick Hooper, The Comic (1969) with Dick Van Dyke, and 1992's Chaplin, with Robert Downey, Jr. as The Little Tramp himself. And then there's 1975's Inserts with Richard Dreyfuss, and After the Fox with Peter Sellers and Victor Mature (as a Victor Mature parody!). And I suppose we could count Inglourious Basterds (2009), too?

    And Sunset Boulevard is indeed a masterpiece. For all those actors and actresses to play has-been characters like Norma Desmond and "the waxworks" was amazing.

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    1. You picked some great ones here...I almost went with Hooper. You mention some that I really need to see like After the Fox

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  9. BIRGIT ~
    Funny! I just came from your 'Letter K' post ('KEY LARGO') where I said that movie was #6 (or #7, depending upon how someone wants to count 'em) on my list of '12 FAVORITE FILM NOIR'. Well, 'SUNSET BOULEVARD' is #1 on that same list (and regardless of how anyone wants to count 'em).

    Lee mentioned 'SINGIN' IN THE RAIN', and that's another A+ selection for this topic.

    Although most people now hate Woody Allen, and although even many Woody Allen fans disliked it, 'STARDUST MEMORIES' would definitely make my very short list of 'FAVORITE MOVIES ABOUT MOVIES'. I love the weirdness and the surprise twist ending of that movie. It also boasts one of the greatest musical soundtracks ever assembled, and of course I dig the black & white cinematography.

    This is a neat movie topic.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'

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    1. It is a great topic and so many films to choose from. I already chose Singing twice before so I thought I better pick another although this film is the best especially Jean Hagen as Lena Lamont. Who can forget Cyd Charisse! I chose a Woody Allen film a couple weeks back and, despite what I think of him as a man, he is one talented director and writer. I don’t think I saw this film unless..is this the one where Mia Farrow ( whom I never cared for) goes to the movies and the lead actor comes out of the screen??

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    2. No, Mia Farrow isn't in STARDUST MEMORIES. I'm not sure which movie you have in mind. 'Broadway Danny Rose' maybe??

      I think you'd perhaps not care for STARDUST MEMORIES. It's pretty weird.

      The movie you REALLY NEED to see is 'TORTILLA FLAT'. Based on what I know of your movie tastes, I think you're really screwing up by having (STILL) not seen it, despite how many times I've mentioned it.

      It would not at all surprise me if 'TORTILLA FLAT' turned out to be one of your Top 50 movies of all time, and maybe even higher than that. (It's in MY Top Ten!)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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  10. I've only seen the oldie - but a very goodie.

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  11. Sunset Boulevard has been on Turner Classic Movies like twice in the last week. (I keep my TV tuned to TCM, but mostly I watch stuff on my DVR.) I probably should record it and then actually sit through it one of these days.

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    1. I don’t think I would leave my home or do anything if I had TCM. We were away this past weekend and they had TCM which I loved!!

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  12. Haha hitting a barn roof had to hurt. Waldo was a great one indeed. Never saw the last one, but I enjoyed Sunset Boulevard.

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    1. Waldo was crazy but these stunt pilots and men all were back in the day...still are. Maybe one day you will see the last movie

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  13. Only one i’ve seen is Sunset Boulevard. I’m not doing well on your A to Z either - I thought I was at first because I had seen a couple then I descended to my usual ignoramous level.

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    1. Hahahaaaa...you put me to shame with all your walks

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  14. I’ve never seen any of these, though heard of them. Fascinating to think of former silent movie star Swanson playing a former silent movie star, though she at least made it to talkies early. You’re right about those men being nuts! Even crazier was the director who let them do it. If a stunt man hurts himself, you can get another one. If the actor is injured, who is going to replace him till his broken leg is fixed? That’s why even skilled actors rarely do their own stunts.
    Have you seen the film Hugo? Noe, THAT is an amazing movie about movies! It was about Georges Melieres, who did those wonderful early science fiction films, only through the eyes of a young boy in a Paris railway station..

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    1. You are so right about the early stunt men who would throw a grease slick across the street and then take their tin lizzy, do the sign of the cross and hope they wouldn’t end up in the hospital. If you can, watch Harvey Perry talk about his stunt work. I love...love Hugo because it is based on one of my favourites, Georges Melies. I found this Scorsese film a beautiful hi,age to this great director who just loved the power of film.

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  15. I might of believed Nickelodeon the tv network might have named themselves after this movie (which would be odd) but it seems it was rather the small movie theaters going by that name.

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    1. Yup...you are correct...the old .05 cents to see a flicker

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  16. Saw Sunset Boulevard, not the other two.

    Boogie Nights? Ha.

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  17. *****
    Mulholland Drive. THE Classic Hollywood dream. Makes me want to jump off the HOLLYWOOD sign.

    Rules Don't Apply. If Warren Beatty wrote it, directed it, and produced it, at least two out of three for sure if past is prologue, you know it's good.

    The Player shows Hollywood movies as formulaic. Of course it's formulaic it's a formula.

    Wag The Dog. Dustin Hoffman plays Stanley Motss /Robert Evans. "Producers never get the credit! Everybody knows the director and the actors. Nobody knows the producer." Then he agrees to produce a fake war. "I don't want an ambassadorship. Hell, I'd just do it for the credit."

    "No you can't take credit." Robert DeNiro.

    "Of course not. That was just a figure of speech," Hoffman.

    After creating a great show....

    "Look at that! That is a complete fucking fraud, and it looks a hundred percent real. It's the best work I've ever done in my life, because it's so honest," Hoffman.

    "Stanley, don't do this. You're playing with your life here," DeNiro.

    Then DeNiro (foreshadowing - he's done it before) has Hoffman iced for trying to take credit for a fake war he produced. The whole thing: The music, the pageantry, the actors.

    The Kid Stays In The Picture. Robert Evans should be a senator. He can talk for over an hour and loves the sound of his own voice.

    *****

    They say, "Write what you know." Therefore a majority of scripts are about writers trying to make it in Hollywood. NOBODY knows the writers. Nobody wants to know the writers. You're John Wayne swaggering just off set in character and you run into -- the writer. The writer who wrote your dialogue. You don't want to know there Are writers.

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  18. Hello bonjour? Seems like my comment did not go through.

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  19. I've heard of all 3 movies, but haven't seen them yet. I'm thinking about movies with this scene. That movie done several years about that won the Academy--French actors, B&W, no words spoken. And that movie by Mel Brooks, hmm I think he did with nobody saying a word except for that famous mime. As you can tell I'm no good with titles today. :-)

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  20. Sunset Boulevard is the BEST. I haven't seen the other two but I am very intrigued by Nickelodeon.

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  21. Sunset Boulevard is the only one I've seen and I like it.

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