1948: 2 movies

(Last updated 9 May 2014)

The Pirate 
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Produced by Arthur Freed
Written by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich
Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr.
Editing by Blanche Sewell
Music by Lennie Hayton and Conrad Salinger
Art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Jack Martin Smith
Set decor by Edwin B. Willis
Costumes by Tom Keogh
Starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly,
Walter Slezak, and the Nicholas Brothers

   Possibly the most fun a movie can be! The music, the suspense, the romance, the dancing, the humor, and the actors: they all combine raucously but sweetly under director Vincente Minnelli's vision as an enjoyable feast for the intellect and the senses! But it wouldn't be half the picture without the charisma of Gene Kelly and Judy Garland! Their chemistry and talent beams like no other stars before them, and their humor is so vibrant and sharply sarcastic it feels contemporary. The dance scenes are unparalleled because of Kelly's progressive ambition, especially when he shares the penultimate number with the legendary black dance duo, the Nicholas brothers!
   And yet, beyond all this, it's the ambitious structure of the movie that really makes it a timeless treasure: the way it melds story with song and dance, is really the birth of the modern movie-musical. It's a new form, and also a return to the dream-like version of reality which Hollywood had gotten away from since the 1930s when it began to favor more starkly realistic depictions.

The Red Shoes
Written, directed, and produced by
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Cinematography by Jack Cardiff
Editing by Reginald Mills
Music by Brian Easdale
Production design by Hein Heckroth
Art direction by Arthur Lawson
Starring Anton Walbrook, Moira Shearer,
and Marius Goring

   It's almost too delicious! Yes, it may be longer than two hours, but it's actually so economical you may find yourself wishing it were longer and even more detailed. The movie is simply so enthusiastic that you can't help being swept up with it. The colors, the perspectives, the story and acting, the dreamy music: it all adds up to fantastic ballet-like cinema. The cast is so superb and fleshed-out that we get the sense of multiple perspectives and agendas all tugging for control, and yet the direction is so stead-fast and controlled that we always feel safe and able to understand the grammar. The color and crazy-good composition, combine with the masterly editing to pound it undeniably into our heads that Powell and Pressburger owned cinema from 1946 through 1948. In fact, this movie feels like a culmination of their powers, in that every possible facet of cinema is performed to perfection.
   Story-wise, the movie is intense and depicts the struggle an artist faces when choosing between personal fulfillment and success in her career. The ending may be the weakest part of the picture since it feels too brief and rushed for there to be time for the audience to come down from the great build-up. Nevertheless, the build-up is so beautifully constructed and edited that the tacked-on feeling of the ending may be swallowed just like a mediocre dessert that follows the most sublime meal imaginable.

No comments:

Post a Comment