Tag Archives: movies

The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

An evening pause: From the Martin Scorsese documentary, The Last Waltz (1978).

Note that if a band tried to write a song like this today, sympathetic to the southerns who died during the Civil War, they would probably find their careers destroyed. So much for artistic freedom, and having empathy for all souls.

Hat tip Wayne DeVette.

High Diving Giraffes

An evening pause: Based on some emails I have received, I think some people have been fooled by this cool animation and actually think these are real giraffes! This just tells us that it will not be long now before real actors are no longer necessary and it will be possible to do live action films entirely with animation.

Hat tip George Petricko.

John Williams – Flying theme from ET

An evening pause: I have always thought Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) to be incredibly over-rated, poorly edited, shallow with a predictable script, and not very interesting. Why the public went mad for it in 1982 always baffled me. Nonetheless, Williams’ score was and is magnificent, and a listen here might explain that madness somewhat.

Hat tip Danae.

on account of because

An evening pause: From the 1941 Howard Hawks classic, Ball of Fire, about eight professors who hire a burlesque dancer to explain slang to them. Hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime, who notes, “Barbara Stanwyck demonstrates the art of seduction, complete with luminously backlit hair, opposite the uncharacteristically prim Gary Cooper.”

“I’m going to show you what yum-yum is!”

David Arnold – Independence Day

An evening pause: Vienna’s Radio Symphony Orchestra performs an excerpt of David Arnold’s soundtrack to the 1996 film Independence Day during the 2013 Hollywood in Vienna concert.

The film was incredibly silly, but fun nonetheless. The performance here captures some of that silliness, with the lighting and the smoke and the film clips. Also, the score’s use of a drum and flute in a short section near the middle is clearly intended to refer to the American Revolution, since in the movie the human race, led by Americans, conquers the aliens on the 4th of July, Independence Day..

Hat tip Danae.

Excommunication scene from Becket

An evening pause: On the eve of this year’s election day, this scene from Becket (1964) expresses well what I wish the American voters would do to both the Democratic Party and the Republican leadership in Congress. They all need to go, for the health of the country and because of their repeated malfeasance in office.

Hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of the new edition of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.

Ben-Hur – The Chariot Race

An evening pause: This clip is actually only the last half of the chariot race scene from Ben-Hur (1959), still one of the greatest action sequences ever put on film. And not only was it on film, but they did it without any computer animation. What you see is real, real horses and real chariots and real actors and real very skilled and brave stunt men. (See this short film on how the even earlier 1925 silent-era epic film Ben-Hur version was made, in a similar manner.)

If you get the chance, watch the 1959 film. Truly a great Hollywood epic.

Hat tip Phil Berardelli, author of the new edition of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.

Around the World in 80 Days

An evening pause: Hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of the new edition of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime, who notes, “Producer Mike Todd lured dozens of stars to appear in cameos in his still-glorious take on the classic Jules Verne novel, and nowhere were they more delightful than in the San Francisco saloon scene.”

How many well known actors and performers can you spot doing cameos in this short clip?

SpaceX – The Blue Danube

An evening pause: This SpaceX video taken by a camera attached to the fairing of the Falcon 9 rocket is cool not because of the video itself. Cameras on rockets have become routine, even for NASA. What is cool is that they have unveiled it using the same Johann Strauss waltz used in the move 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). It shows that SpaceX is aware of the cultural impact of what they do.

Hat tip Tom Wilson, Tom Biggar, and others.

The Americanization of Emily – “War is not moral”

An evening pause: A fine performance by James Garner from a Paddy Chayefski screenplay. While I agree that putting soldiers on pedestals is often a misplaced emotion that can lead to future unnecessary wars, I do not agree that all war is immoral. There are times, as a last resort, when good people have to stand up and fight, if only to prevent bad people from dominating the battlefield. In 1964, when The Americanization of Emily was released, Americans could be forgiven for being hostile to war. After World War II the country had gotten itself into a string of wars, the goals of all having been poorly considered. It was also a time when evil people were well restrained by our willingness to stand up to them.

Today, our fear and hostility to war is allowing evil to run rampant worldwide. It will very soon descend upon our heads if we do not begin to fight back.

Having said that, this is a fine and thoughtful scene from a fine and thoughtful movie, raising many profound thoughts about the nature and consequences of war. Hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.

“If life were only like this.”

An evening pause: A classic comedy scene from Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977). What especially makes the scene work is how realistic he portrays what it was like to stand in a movie line in New York in the 1970s.

Another hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.

Ben-Hur – John Wilson Orchestra

An evening pause: From the 1959 classic movie Ben-Hur, written by Miklós Rózsa. Watch the musicians as they aggressively play this very driving piece of music. Shows that classical orchestra music is far from staid and boring.

Hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.

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