THE PAVILION ANNEX

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Sat May 24, 2014 1:56 pm

Woody was never that political. He is more of a cultural liberal.

I don't suppose he cares much.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sat May 24, 2014 7:36 pm

But as much as I love Hitchcock, I don't think he ever made a film as rich and multidimensional as CITIZEN KANE. I was naturally disappointed to see KANE lose its #1 spot on Sight & Sound's list of the Ten Greatest Films of All Time, replaced by VERTIGO. But since I love VERTIGO, I wasn't inordinately disappointed.

I find that bizarre. VERTIGO? The greatest movie ever made? Of all the movies to choose from? CASABLANCA is a better movie than VERTIGO. DR STRANGELOVE is a better movie than VERTIGO. Interesting to hear Welles' reaction to Hitchcock. I wasn't aware of his opinion. Do you know what he made of Kubrick? I would really like to know what Welles thought of 2001.

The trouble with too many films is that they're not."cold" enough.

Any hint that an American audience is being encouraged to think as well as feel is enough to drive them away in droves. Which is why a brilliant film like HER (to pick a recent example) only did so-so at the box office.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Sat May 24, 2014 8:52 pm

Ezra -- Well, those are the facts. Every ten years the British Film Institute's prestigious Sight and Sound magazine conducts a worldwide poll of leading critics, filmmakers, programmers, etc. for their choice of the 10 Best Films of All Time. This year they received over 800 ballots, and KANE dropped to second place on the list, after being number one for fifty straight years. VERTIGO had been gradually moving up the list, from 7 to 2 and finally 1 in 2012. Here are the rest:

http://explore.bfi.org.uk/sightandsoundpolls/2012/

Some of the respondents admitted they had gotten bored of seeing KANE top the list decade after decade, and even worried people might start seeing the film as a sacred monster.

I believe I read somewhere that Welles was impressed by only two directors in the latter part of his life, and one of them was Kubrick.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Sat May 24, 2014 9:52 pm

It's not entirely surprising that VERTIGO would make the top of the list. After all, interest in Hitchcock has steadily grown in the last thirty years, with more books, articles, college courses, and film festivals devoted to Hitchcock than any other director. And among Hitchcock scholars, a consensus has slowly developed that VERTIGO is his greatest film, a development paralleled by the fim's steady rise up the Sight and Sound list, reaching the #2 spot in 2002. Given also that there had been grumbling about KANE, a film from 1941, appearing to be destined to head the list forever, it was almost a foregone conclusion that VERTIGO would become number one eventually. (Hindsight is always 20-20.) So that brings the top film up to 1958; and the most recent film on the list is 2001 -- not the year, the movie. That makes 1968 the most recent year of any film on the top ten. Even THE GODFATHER, in the top ten back in 2002, is now gone. As the respondents to the poll become younger, the films get older. (More than half the films in the top ten are in black-and-white, and three are silents -- at a time when many people under 30 refuse to even look at a black-and-white film.) Now that is bizarre.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Sat May 24, 2014 9:58 pm

In fact, 7 of the films on Sight and Sound's 10 Best list are in black-and-white!
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Sun May 25, 2014 1:38 am

The late Roger Ebert called NOTORIOUS among the 10 best films of all time "no matter what's on anyone's list".

As for VERTIGO, much as I DO like it, I also felt a little ill-at-ease about the miscasting of Jimmy Stewart - which Hitchcock felt later WAS the case - as he does indeed come across as a horny old lech more than a guy a hottie like Kim Novak would go for! (Through much of the movie I felt sorry for her) I worked passed it for the most part and fell under the movie's incredible spell, but it remains the film's sole stumbling block.

I'm more at home with some of the titles I mentioned - 39 STEPS, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, and PSYCHO (which I remain in awe of).

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Sun May 25, 2014 1:42 am

And REAR WINDOW, of course, which constructs itself a bit like a semi-comical psychoanalytic Rubic's Cube.

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Sun May 25, 2014 4:36 am

Of course, Kim Novak's boyfriend in the film, the guy who puts her up to the whole charade, is Jimmy Stewart's old classmate in the film and hence the same age. So he's both a horny old lech and murders his wife, so Stewart looks pretty good by comparison.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

DanielBarron
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby DanielBarron » Sun May 25, 2014 8:53 am

Here's a relevant quote from Welles re : Kubrick

“Yes, but "The Killing" was better than "The Asphalt Jungle". The problem of imitation leaves me indifferent, above all if the imitator succeeds in surpassing the model. For me, Kubrick is a better director than Huston. I haven't seen Lolita but I believe that Kubrick can do everything."

source :
Interviews with Film Directors
by Andrew Sarris

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Sun May 25, 2014 11:18 am

Robert, I don't want to flatter you TOO much, but you raise a good point.

I've seen VERTIGO many times (though less often than other Hitch titles) and what I never rationalized is that part of the husband's choice to bait his old buddy Stewart was - apart from his psychogenic condition - much, much older-looking, making him that much more easily taken in by a hot young chick. The age difference between Stewart and Novak served the scheme. "The old man" was like shooting fish in a barrel.

There was, of course, the matter of Novak yammering at the end of the movie about how she was falling in love with Stewart. But she's bullshitting him, of course! She may have felt guilty about the deception (as symbolized by Hitchcock's shadowed outline of the nuns), but she wasn't in love. Another thought I should have followed through with.

So, my notion that Stewart should have been some hunkier guy cast (like Cary Grant), or whatever the hell I was thinking, would have worked against the premise...maybe even to the story's detriment! Just as with Stewart's duplicitous rich pal, I'm starting to think there was no miscasting at ALL!

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Sun May 25, 2014 12:28 pm

Rob, I can never be flattered too much. :mrgreen:

But I've always had the sense while watching the end of VERTIGO that Kim Novak has fallen in love with Stewart. After all, she initially fell in love with Elster, who draws her into the scheme to murder his wife. Maybe she has a thing for older men. And when Stewart finds her as "Judy," she doesn't take much persuasion to go out with him and allow him to remake her into "Madeleine." She could easily have just blown him off, which would have been the safer thing to do. And that long, amazing kiss between them in the hotel room bathed in green light from the neon sign outside the window certainly seems real on both sides. Not to mention that having Novak really love Stewart makes the ending even more tragic. Sure, there may have been some guilt mixed with her feelings, but love is rarely 100% pure.

This may be a case of what Hitchcock.called "icebox logic," where the audience gets so caught up in the film that it doesn't notice the holes in the plot until going to the icebox for a snack later that night. Although I think I've explained the film's logic here without benefit of a snack.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Sun May 25, 2014 12:57 pm

Vertigo is weird that's why I like it.

His obsession with that woman is classic. He cannot just love the one that he cannot make his human art project. His Vertigo leaves when the symbol of his obsessions dies--bloody brilliant.

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Sun May 25, 2014 1:04 pm

"I can never be flattered too much"

I didn't think so!

It's definitely open to SOME interpretation. I liked Hitchcock when he threw in ambiguity, particularly in his endings. (For all the legitimate debate about THE BIRDS, the ambiguous ending totally turns me on; something we'd never see in today's movies where everything has to be explained or tied up in a pretty ribbon for a dumb audience)

Your speculation that she really HAD fallen in love with him is as valid as any other, but for the nonce I'm riding with my own. At least until I view it AGAIN. I may see new things there.

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Sun May 25, 2014 1:56 pm

When I first saw THE BIRDS on TV, the last shot faded out and then went to a commercial. I kept waiting for the ending to come on, but instead there was another show. "My God, the station left off the ending!" I couldn't believe what I'd just seen could actually be the ending. It took another viewing in a college film class to convince me that that really was the ending. I felt a bit disappointed at first, but now I love the ambiguity.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Sun May 25, 2014 2:18 pm

That's the effect such endings often have. They grow on you with subsequent viewings. (Certainly when you're free of commercial interruption) They become haunting. You feel it more. And sometimes that leads to reflecting about it further. First-time viewers of VERTIGO often have the same reaction to the last fade-out as well. It's been a long time, thankfully, that I had to see THE BIRDS in the commercial tv format, but at least I always saw the fade-out as the car drove into the distance, followed by the Universal logo. So, at least I understood that was, indeed, the official ending.


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