Saturday, November 23, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Martha Vickers’ sucking her thumb and batting her eyes as she attempts to lure men to their doom or find a new thrill is much more disturbing and much closer to the mark laid down by the novel. Her portrayal of the little girl all grown up in all the wrong ways is both frightening and positively scandalous. And why the filmmakers went this dark in this one portion of the movie and remained vanilla elsewhere mystifies. She is, at one point, quite clearly drugged, raped and photographed for blackmail purposes. As if this is not enough, Vickers makes it clear her character actually enjoyed the defilement.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
High Noon (1952)
Davy Crockett (1955)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Monday, July 2, 2012
Because as I said, this is not altogether incredible stuff.
Monday, April 30, 2012
See also my review of the film.
Monday, December 5, 2011
|Ancient Babylon, from Intolerance.|
What saves the effort is the big ideas wrestled with on the screen. The story, which should be familiar to all, involves a potent mixture of war, intrigue, the attempt by a great man to secure his legacy and his fear of dying and having his life stand for nothing (a timeless concern that haunts us all). Aurelius is only on screen the first hour, but it is his conflict that drives the action here and his alone. The rest of the players are simply reacting to conundrums the great philosopher plays out in his head, while an empire and unknowing mass of people swirl in the whirlwind of unrealized thought and deed that he leaves behind (great men are often agents of chaos, whether they intend it or not).
For Boyd it is a frightening moment, one in which he truly becomes a son of Aurelius, for like the departed emperor, his life's work is made meaningless by the whims of a populist mob who has lost all sense of self. For the audience living in uncertain times, both then and now, it is strikes a chord of warning. When a society forgets its pride, when it ceases to defend itself and work toward greater ends, then it truly loses its way and its worth. The penultimate scene, wherein the throne of the empire is auctioned off to the highest bidder, shows how much and how little the title has become, thanks to collective social abrogation Commodus and his reign of terror gave voice to.