One of the best things about films–both good and bad–is that they inspire us to inquire. We ask while watching them: Did it really have to happen that way? Or maybe: What’s with the lighting in that scene? How does so-and-so get out of that scrape? We’re always exploring this universe. There always are questions that come up during the course of a picture.
Recently, I began to wonder if the ones I’m asking while watching certain flicks are the same as those being posed by other viewers. Perhaps we’re all thinking similarly … or perhaps not. In that interrogative light, here are my latest musings, as unattached to each other as they may be:
Does anybody really like the character George Berger in Milos Forman’s film version of Hair?
Which is more disturbing: The discovery in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia that Gasim, the man T.E. Lawrence saved from death in the desert, has murdered another man, or Michael Corleone’s lie to his wife Kay in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather about killing his sister’s husband?
Would Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus be a heckuva lot better without Alex North’s excruciatingly bombastic score?
What would have happened in Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Life of Oharu if the eponymous character had rejected the advances of her suitor at the beginning of the film?
Where did Antoine Doinel go at the end of Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows? How about Kevin at the end of Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits?
Couldn’t Louis Mazzini just have gone back into the prison to retrieve his memoirs at the conclusion of Robert Hamer’s Kind Hearts and Coronets?
I’m just wondering. How about you?
Today, Tuesday, December 30, 2014, the great actress Luise Rainer reportedly died at the advanced age of 104.
She was a terrific thespian, one of the important Jewish performers in Hollywood, and a standout for roles such as O-Lan in The Good Earth, a classic of the cinema. In that film, she played opposite Paul Muni, who distinguished himself as well. Surprisingly, she isn’t as well-remembered as other celluloid stars, and I’m not sure why. Her body of work is excellent, her performances consistent. This is someone who should be on the tongues of anyone interested in the movies and the history of motion pictures. She was a good one.
I wonder if the lack of immediate recognition her name elicits in some circles is because she wasn’t a traditional Hollywood beauty. She was certainly striking, no doubt about that, but the real glamour was in her acting, not her features. I hope that leads to her name being recalled with fondness in the future.
I will do that, for sure.