Show contents, with start times:
- Controversial Take: Movie Theaters (1:20)
- Trivia Question: Orson Welles Movie (11:46)
- Series Spotlight: James Bond, Part 2 (12:44)
- Film Buff’s Dictionary: Cut (28:48)
- Top 6: Definitive Adaptations (34:51)
- Film Spotlight: The Third Man (47:57)
- Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (61:28)
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Controversial Take: Movie Theaters
Stephen feels that movie theaters are still the best way of seeing a movie, because the atmosphere, the size of the screen, and the quality of the image are all miles above what even the best home theaters afford.
Sam disagrees in many cases, believing that theaters are full of distractions and that regular technical difficulties at many theaters significantly detract from the movie-watching experience.
Adaptation (2002), a self-referential movie that’s about itself, is a doubly bizarre experience if the theater in which you’re watching it misframes the movie.
Please note that if you see boom microphones in shots or if the picture seems dim and dull, your theater management has botched the projection, perhaps intentionally so.
Trivia Question: Orson Welles Movie
James Bond, Part 2
This segment is an installment of our continuing discussion about the James Bond film series. See Episode 3 to hear about the origins of the series and the first few movies.
- The fifth James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice (1967), begins the tradition of sending Bond to exotic locales. Recurring set designer Ken Adam does some of his best work in this one, and the villain Blofeld, played here by Donald Pleasence, shows his face for the first time.
- The success of the Bond franchise inspires parodies and knock-offs that start cropping up, most notably Our Man Flint (1966) and a comic adaptation of Casino Royale (1967). In a testament to the longevity of the Bond franchise, the most succesful of the Bond parodies (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) is not released until 1997, a full 35 years after Bond made his big-screen debut.
- Sean Connery leaves the role of Bond, and model George Lazenby is hired for the sixth movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), one of the best movies but a commercial disappointment. Lazenby opts out of doing further movies, a decision he later regrets.
- The studio pays through the nose to woo Sean Connery back for Diamonds Are Forever (1971). The transition between actors hurts the franchise a bit, however, as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was intended to introduce elements that would carry over to the next film, but the filmmakers backed off on this a bit after the poor reception of Lazenby’s work.
- Roger Moore is hired to fill the role for the eighth installment. His first outing, Live and Let Die (1973), suffices and is perhaps notable for how little fanfare the movie makes about switching lead actors.
- Moore’s second film, The Man With the Golden Gun (1974) marks a series low. It fails on almost every level, with flat action scenes and wasting the talents of Christopher Lee who is cast as the film’s villain.
- After Golden Gun, longtime producer Harry Saltzman bails out and sells his part ownership of the franchise, leaving Albert R. Broccoli to produce future installments on his own.
- Even after three films without him, Bond still hasn’t established itself as a viable franchise without Sean Connery. Can the series endure? James Bond will return in All Movie Talk, Episode 5.
Film Buff’s Dictionary: Cut
- Cut functions as both a verb (to cut a movie is to edit it; refers to the days when editors literally cut pieces of film and pasted them together) and a noun (a cut is the abrupt change in scene or camera shot that comes from editing two different shots together).
- The very earliest films of the 1890s consisted of unbroken shots that were very short. Around the time films started telling slightly more complex stories in the early 1900s, filmmakers began cutting together different shots and cutting out extraneous pieces of story.
- The early director D. W. Griffith pioneered cutting as a visceral part of filmed narratives. His 1915 film The Birth of a Nation famously used cross-cutting — showing one group of people under attack, cutting to a different group of people riding to the rescue (unfortunately these rescuers were members of the Ku Klux Klan), and then cutting back to the group under siege — and it remains a textbook example of how to create action by cutting.
- In the 1920s and ’30s, Soviet filmmakers including Sergei Eisenstein would study editing and the psychological impacts of cutting on an audience, developing a comprehensive theory of film editing which we will discuss further in Episode 6.
- Many film scholars dislike too many cuts in a film, as they can be disruptive to the flow of a film. On the other hand, modern action directors like Michael Bay use this disruptive nature of cuts to inject a sense of excitement and chaos into fast-paced scenes.
Top 6: Definitive Adaptations
Film Spotlight: The Third Man
The Third Man (1949) sets an out-of-water American played by Joseph Cotten in a post-war Vienna filled with intrigue. Director Carol Reed, best known for this film and the musical Oliver! manages to create a surreal atmosphere through a haunting score, strange camerawork, and brilliant performances from the cast.
Understanding our discussion is probably helped if you’re familiar with two earlier film styles. The first is German Expressionism, a movement predominant in the 1920s. It emphasized using the camera as a way to express the psychological state of the characters and featured bizarre sets and lighting.
Film noir, an American style predominantly of the ’40s and ’50s, borrowed style from expressionism but was more realistic. It also focused almost entirely on crime and presented a bleak worldview to match its stark photography.
Though neither of us feel The Third Man fits into either of those styles, both undeniably influenced Reed’s artistic choices in the film.
For a more in-depth analysis of The Third Man and its relation to film noir, you may be interested in Episode Four of Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir a film analysis podcast dedicated solely to noir.
The music in this segment is an excerpt of The Third Man Theme, composed by Anton Karas. It is used without permission but is believed to fall under the fair use exemptions for critical commentary of United States copyright law.