10/10/2006

All Movie Talk, Episode 2

Posted in Episodes at 5:00 am by Sam

Show contents, with start times:

  • Top 6: Sympathetic Villains (1:26)
  • Trivia Question: Karloff and Nicholson (14:53)
  • Industry Trend: Color, Part 1 (15:40)
  • Good Bad Movie: Sinbad of the Seven Seas (30:54)
  • Film Style Spotlight: Italian Neo-Realism (44:34)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Letters, Preview of Next Week (54:33)

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Show Notes:

Intro

Who is Keyser Soze? Probably not Stephen.

Top 6: Sympathetic Villains

See our Top 6 list post for more information about our picks.

Trivia Question: Karloff and Nicholson

Stephen has a weird obsession with the movie Wolf. No, we don’t know why. Also he makes that lame Die Hard 2: Die Harder joke in just about every episode.

Industry Trend: Color

Wikipedia’s page about Technicolor is a nice starting point for further reference about color in the movies.

  • Some of the very earliest films had hand-painted color. The brilliant French innovator Georges Méliès used this technique a lot. In Paris To Monte Carlo (1905), for instance, a car is painted red the whole way through.
  • The tinting of silent films was a common practice up through the 1930s. Stephen mentioned Charlie Chaplin’s great comedy The Gold Rush (1925) as one example, but there are many others.
  • Lots of films during the 1920s featured some scenes in the two-strip Technicolor process, including the first filmed version of The Ten Commandments (1923).
  • The Toll of the Sea (1922) was the first all-Technicolor feature. Probably the most famous of the early Technicolor features was The Black Pirate (1926).
  • Three-strip Technicolor made its debut in Disney’s Flowers and Trees (1932). In 1937 Disney would cement three-strip Technicolor as a viable process for feature films with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • The rest of the ’30s and ’40s were characterized by sporadic production of Technicolor features. It was a process reserved for big event movies such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Gone With the Wind (1939), or The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • With the rise of television and the advent of the cheaper Eastmancolor process (yes, it’s often referred to like that, with no space), color features increasingly became the norm rather than the exception. The Apartment in 1960 was the last black-and-white film to win Best Picture until Schindler’s List in 1993.
  • During the 1980s, films like Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980) point the way toward a rebirth of black-and-white as an artistic statement. Steven Spielberg helped bring this idea to a wide audience in 1993 with Schindler’s List. We didn’t mention it, but also noteworthy is Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979), also a great film by a major director and shot in black and white for artistic reasons. It precedes Raging Bull by a year, though it probably only had a tenth of its budget.
  • The independent movement also begins around this time, with emphasis on black-and-white movies because of their low cost compared to color film. Movies like She’s Gotta Have It (1986) and Clerks (1994) launch the careers of Spike Lee and Kevin Smith, respectively.
  • Most recently, a lot of directors have used digital technology to do interesting things with color. Pleasantville (1998) had the record for digital effects shots when it was released because director Gary Ross digitally put color into B&W scenes. Other films, such as O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000) and Amelie (2001) used digital color processing to enhance colors. In The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), the black-and-white cinematography was achieved by digitally processing color film.

As an interesting footnote, Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator simulates the progress of color technology as it plays. Early on, there is a strange scene in which peas on a plate look blue. This is a simulation of how colors get distorted in two-strip Technicolor. Later on, the movie looks more correct and more lush, as in three-strip Technicolor.

Good Bad Movie: Sinbad of the Seven Seas

Astonishingly, almost nothing we say about Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989) is exaggerated. This film is not related to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, or Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, cult classics with stop-motion effects by legend Ray Harryhausen.

For more info about Sinbad of the Seven Seas, you can read Sam’s review, or see what our friend Dave Parker has to say over at It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie. Also check that site’s “Reader Reviews” section for still more.

Film Style Spotlight: Italian Neo-Realism

We promise neo-realist films are not half as pretentious as the name implies.

  • The Italian Neo-Realist movement began sometime around the close of World War II. Exactly when it began is a point of minor contention among scholars. Some credit Luchino Visconti’s Ossessione (1943), the first film adaptation of James M. Cain’s novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, with starting the movement.
  • More widely considered the first film is Rome, Open City (1945) by director Roberto Rossellini. It is Stephen’s favorite neo-realist film. Federico Fellini, who would go on to be the most important Italian director of the ’50s and ’60s, was a writer on Open City.
  • 1948 saw the release of two of the greatest neo-realist films. Visconti’s La Terra Trema is one of Sam’s favorites, a simple story about a family of fishermen trying to overcome inescapable poverty.
  • Vittorio De Sica’s film The Bicycle Thief is probably the most famous film from this movement. It is also called “Bicycle Thieves” in the United Kingdom, something Sam apparently feels is important to note. (This is different from Alien and Aliens).
  • Italian Neo-Realism ends with Umberto D in 1952, around the same time Fellini is coming into his own as a major director. His first films, including La Strada and Nights of Cabiria, have their roots in Neo-Realism. By the 1960s, however, Fellini is directing such extravagant classics as La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2.
 
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19 Comments »

  1. Mia (6) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    Great show! It’s awesome to be able to hear BOTH sides of the show, now, instead of only Stephen’s.

  2. Dave (130) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    I predict the segment on Italian Neo whatever will put me to sleep. But considering my commute is about 40-45 minutes long, that’s ok, because I’ll only get through the end of the SINBAD section before I get home. GO SINBAD! I’ll listen to the part about Italian Keanu or whatever when I get home, where it’s safe to nap.

    Anyway, OMG GO SINBAD SEGMENT CANT WAIT.

  3. Sam (405) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    Mia: LOL. Leen said the same thing about last week. If you two got together to compare notes ahead of time, you’d have the whole story weeks in advance.

  4. ThePhan (128) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 12:56 pm

    HURRAY! *settles down to listen to the new podcast*

    Here come my comments, possibly slightly disjointed as I’m just writing them down as I write.

    -I have seen Blade Runner and 2001. In agreement with these. I was terribly saddened by HAL’s death scene.
    -Of course. How could Vader NOT be in there? I haven’t actually seen the second or third of the prequels… Phantom Menace kind of shoved me far away from the idea. I think Vader’s still a very sympathetic villain, just having seen the last three, and he’s one of my favorite villains of all time.
    -Oh, Norma Desmond. Absolutely. She’s an amazing villainess but you can’t NOT feel bad for her.
    -Fagin is an interesting character, but I haven’t read the book or seen a movie version in so long that I can’t really say whether I’d include him in a similar list or not.
    -That bit about color in movies was truly interesting. I had no idea it was around that early. Intriguing.
    -I love the story about people who came out of screenings of Psycho and swore Hitchcock had used color, because they distinctly remembered seeing red blood swirling down the drain.
    -SINBAD! :-D The little girl’s voice seriously scared me in that movie. That was NOT a child’s voice.
    -I don’t remember the bits about Alena being Ali’s sister, or her being in love with Sinbad.
    -What WAS the evil curse? At first I just thought it was a lot of wind, but then it looked like he made the villagers go evil or something. They don’t look evil, though, just panicky. And then they all hide.
    -The best part about the Ghost King is Sinbad’s face when he confronts it. I had to stop the movie while watching it so I could crack up laughing at the expression of utter terror on seeing… OH MY GOSH A SKELETON WITH A SWORD THAT MOVES REALLY SLOWLY!! That’s, you know, a heck of a lot scarier than all those ghosts he fought earlier. (Then, later, when Sinbad meets himself and the narration informs us that Sinbad felt fear “for the first time in life,” my brother and I both went, “Nuh-uh!”)
    -I also love Jaffar’s evil winds of destruction, which very helpfully blow Sinbad exactly where he needs to be anyway. You’d think Jaffar would want to send them as far away from the gems as he can.
    -Heh… the movie has SO many bad moments you can’t mention them all, but I must point out my two very favorites, where I almost fell off my couch because I was laughing so hard - when Sinbad’s crew are zapped out to sea and cheer, and when Sinbad speaks random gibberish to Nadir.
    -Really unfamiliar with the Italian neo-realism genre.
    -I should think of a cool question so I can be mentioned on your podcast. But, nope, don’t have one now.

  5. Sam (405) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    “I don’t remember the bits about Alena being Ali’s sister, or her being in love with Sinbad.”

    They were intercepted by the editor and cut out. The basic timeline is this: Enzo G. Castellari shoots the bulk of the movie in 1986. Cannon Films goes out of business, so it gets shelved, incomplete. Then in 1988 or 1989 or so, Luigi Cozzi and his crew gets hired to shoot the mother-daughter stuff and add some narration to cover for the gaps in the Castellari footage. But they completely screw it up, writing lines like Ali and Alena being siblings, which completely contradict everything. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the editor on the film was able to cut around the bogus narration.

  6. Ticia (6) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Wow, great podcast, again, you guys. I really enjoyed the Sinbad segment.

  7. ThePhan (128) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    Sam: Ohhh. Okay. I saw the movie three times and thought perhaps I just got up to get a drink every single time that came up. :-) I did like the moment where suddenly they’re looking for Alena, despite the fact that she’s back at the castle. O the lovely plot holes.

  8. Grishny (156) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Another enjoyable podcast, fellas. Loved the last little sound byte at the end; totally appropriate. Now, if you could just make your shows about ten minutes shorter so they’d fit on a CD, I could listen to them in the car…

    Or you could just buy me an mp3 player.

  9. Dave (130) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    Uh. I listen to them on CD in my car. What kind of CD-Rs do you buy? Mine hold 80 minutes of audio.

  10. Randy (21) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    Loved the Sinbad part, reminds me of watching it with you crazies.

    The color segment was really informative. I didn’t really know all the history behind it.

  11. Sam (405) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    I added a comment in the Show Notes about Woody Allen’s “Manhattan.” It didn’t occur to either of us during the recording of the Color segment, but it’s noteworthy in that it precedes “Raging Bull” by a year and is also a black and white film done by a major director for artistic reasons. Of course, “Manhattan” probably had a tenth of the budget of “Raging Bull,” so the financial risk was not nearly so great. Still, perhaps it paved the way for Scorsese?

  12. Dave (130) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Well, as I predicted, the stuff about Neo that had nothing to do with The Matrix didn’t interest me much (despite Sam predicting such a reaction in the podcast and trying to assuage those fears) but the rest of the show certainly delivered. The SINBAD segment rocked, and the segment about color in movies was interesting as well. I actually learned some stuff about Sinbad I didn’t know.

  13. ThePhan (128) said,

    October 10, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    I reread both Dave’s comments about four times before I realized what Neo thing he was talking about.

  14. Grishny (156) said,

    October 11, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    To Dave: yesterday morning when I tried to burn my freshly downloaded AMT episode two to CD, I was informed by iTunes that it was too big to fit. I thought it was strange, but as my mornings are usually rushed, I didn’t have time to look into it. Maybe I’ll try again next week.

  15. Grishny (156) said,

    October 11, 2006 at 12:27 pm

    To Sam/Stephen: I don’t know if anybody else got this, but when I listened episode two, for some odd reason whenever Sam was talking the audio sounded very tinny and in some places it almost sounded like there were people blowing high-pitched whistles in the background. And I *was* listening to it in iTunes, having downloaded it after subscribing to the feed through the iTunes store last week…

  16. Sam (405) said,

    October 11, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    Grishny: This has been a frustrating problem to track down, and it’s consumed quite a lot of time, in part because it plays just fine on certain players on certain platforms — which is why neither Stephen nor I noticed the problem during the editing process. Fortunately, I think I’ve stumbled on a fix for it. Unfortunately, it will require remixing the affected tracks from scratch and editing them into the episode. Hopefully I’ll be finished with that later today, and a better copy of the episode should be available soon.

    Am I correct in surmising that this was only a problem for you on the Sinbad and Neo-Realism segments? The problem only seems to exist for tracks recorded during one particular recording session. Some of the segments from that session appear in later episodes, but if I’m successful, those will be fixed before they ever get released.

    The audio quality on my side still won’t be as good as on Stephen’s side. For the first few recording sessions, we had some problems with my sound equipment. (The first episode was rerecorded after these issues were fixed, which is why I’m ok in that one.) But — at least after I finish fixing everything — it shouldn’t be screechy or whistly or completely irritating to listen to.

  17. Grishny (156) said,

    October 11, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    I don’t recall exactly which segments the noise occurred in, but I will say that it wasn’t “completely irritating to listen to.” It really wasn’t that bad; it was just a minor detraction from the overall enjoyment of the podcast. But if it’s something you’ve been able to track down and fix, so much the better.

  18. Sam (405) said,

    October 11, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Grishny: Ah, ok. Some people were hearing a *constant* high-pitched tone during two of the segments that made it pretty tough to listen to.

    All: I have replaced the audio files (mono and stereo) for Episode 2 with a fixed version. The fixed version may still exhibit sporadic brief ringing tones (on some audio software only), but no one should be hearing any constant ringing noises with the new version.

    I checked all the segments we’ve recorded for future episodes. A few still exhibit minor ringing noises now and again (again, on some audio software only), but only a small number, which are distributed across the next few episodes. Basically, the problem affects only those tracks we recorded during on particular early recording session. Segments from other recording sessions are unaffected.

    I still don’t entirely understand why the problem only manifests itself one certin platforms. I hear the ringing noise from my computer at work, but not from my computer at home. And even at work, I only hear it through the browser, not any local audio software. *shrug*

  19. Nyperold (116) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    HA! Didn’t expect Jaffar to close out the episode. :)

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