Week 5: PUNQ Week
Challenge: Watch an unseen feature that ranked in the top ten on any of PUNQ’s pre-1940 lists.
I gotta give PUNQ props - I don't keep up on Letterboxd that much, but this guy has Top 100s for every year from like 1896 to 1939. I watch a lot of old movies, but that's crazy. Anyway, that…
Straightfoward but solid Revolutionary War story from the perspective of a teen. I read the book recently and I actually think the movie did a lot of things better - it streamlined a lot of the minor characters, and shortened the first half significantly so we're tossed into the grumblings of the Sons of Liberty much sooner instead of spending so much time with Johnny's personal grumblings. The movie also tweaked the end to actually show the Battle of Lexington…
A misunderstanding with some perfume on a husband's collar and gloves on the counter at home cause a husband and wife to quarrel and make an agreement to live separately (but under the same roof to keep up appearances) and only talk via written correspondence. It's a ridiculously escalation of the misunderstanding, but it's funny and lighthearted. The use of hand-written notes as a method of communication is really interesting - they'd have to use title cards to get dialogue…
Series of vignettes from Christ's life and death. Stagey, as you'd expect for 1906, but much better staged than many films from the time. The world feels lived in beyond what we see, and that's refreshing.
Here's how the film entered my Flickchart:
The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ < Good Will Hunting
The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ < Stage Door Canteen
The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ > The Mummy Returns
Very short (less than a minute) film with a fairy woman pulling babies out of cabbages. Gotta say, I'm a little concerned about how nonchalantly she dumps the babies on the ground, but there's also an airy charm to the film, which is the first film ever by a woman director, and considered one of the first if not the first narrative film.
Week 4: 60's Blockbuster Week
Challenge: Watch an unseen film from among the Top 50 Highest Grossing Movies of the 1960s.
This was another week where I had seen many of the big hitters - The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Doctor Zhivago, etc. I wasn't too enthused about any of the remaining options (geez, audiences in the '60s liked…
So far this may be my favorite of the Pvt Snafu shorts, aside from a really unfortunate bit of racist caricature in the beginning, as a Japanese soldier is island hopping toward the USA. The point is that the Aleutians were the back door to Pearl Harbor, but now it's the front door to Tokyo, and thus very important to gain and keep control of. But the weather is crazy there, and we get some really quality sight gags to go along with the weather extremes.
This had a LOT of stuff in it I didn't know about (and I mean, I played Call of Duty 2, so....j/k), and I found truly fascinating. It's also interesting seeing a film from 1943 that basically praises the Russian people and their courage and strength against German aggression while being basically completely neutral about Communism (it barely even mentions it). Hollywood had already been experiencing Red Scares for a while by 1943, so you'd think there'd be more tension…
Wow, so you could get away with more in a Private Snafu film meant for military consumption than you could in regular cartoons. This is pretty racy, and also pretty funny (if a bit, well, misogynist).
Here's how it entered my Flickchart:
Booby Traps > Billy Elliot
Booby Traps < Air Force Once
Booby Traps < Roll Initiative
Booby Traps < Lantana
Booby Traps < Junebug
Booby Traps > South Park Bigger Longer & Uncut
Booby Traps > Three Orphan Kittens
Booby Traps < Cache
Booby Traps < Drums Along the Mohawk
Booby Traps < Annabelle Serpentine Dance
Booby Traps > Top Five
Booby Traps < Babes on Broadway
Final ranking #1684 out of 3540
Very effective distillation of the history that led up to WWII, meant for American soldiers who had little idea what the war was about or why they were fighting it - obviously this is propaganda to some degree, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's untrue. The things that Capra was able to bring to the table in terms of Hollywood-style writing/narration/editing/animation, etc. makes this quite an easy and interesting watch even today.
It's interesting watching the section outlining Mussolini's, Japan's,…