Tommy Ingram's Eclectic Variety Show

How these curiosities would be quite forgot, did not such idle fellows as I am put them down.

Category: Quest for the Classics

Quest for the Classics: A Night at the Opera

All the movies I’ve looked at so far in this series have been rather serious. Casablanca and Kane had some humour in them, and Strangers on a Train was hard to take seriously at times, but in general they’ve dealt with themes like murder, personal tragedy, heartbreak, and existential crises. Good movies, but hardly lighthearted entertainment.

To abruptly switch gears, today’s classic movie is one of the funniest of all time.

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Quest for the Classics: Strangers on a Train

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most important directors ever. It would be madness to have any kind of discussion on classic film without including him. I set my completely arbitrary cutoff for “classic movies” at 1955. For my purposes, anything released after midnight on December 31, 1955 belongs to a different era. However, most of Hitchcock’s best-known work falls after this cutoff. Today’s entertainment isn’t as ubiquitous as Psycho or North by Northwest, but it’s an excellent movie nonetheless.

Strangers on a Train is a Hitchcock thriller from 1951 that’s been parodied and referenced countless times since then. But who’s actually seen it? All anyone seems to know about it is the classic murder plot that is concocted within the first few minutes. Today, we’re going to take a deeper look.

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Quest for the Classics: Rashomon

Foreign movies are something I’ve never tried before. Nearly every movie I’ve ever seen has been from Hollywood (which is a little foreign, but not much). Watching a movie made entirely in another language really brought me out of my comfort zone. Akira Kurosawa’s films have been hugely influential on western fiction. His samurai movies are famous in their own right, and inspired many classic westerns. However, it’s the highly-influential Rashomon that we’re going to take a look at today, a classic tale of a crime committed in feudal Japan.

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Quest for the Classics: Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane is generally considered to be the greatest film ever made. Orson Welles is given the title of genius for his role in this movie. It’s tempting, for a certain type of person, to wonder if it lives up to the hype, to go into it thinking there’s no way it can possibly be as good as everyone says it is. It’s easier to believe that film studies majors just have their heads up their asses than that a movie can be just that good.

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Quest for the Classics: Casablanca

My knowledge of classic movies is woefully small. I can think of only two pre-1950 films I’ve seen before, and while both of them are excellent, they’re not the standard ones everybody knows. It’s not good to be so ill-informed about anything, but especially not something as important as cinema. I had to watch some old movies. But where to start? How do you kick off a movie-watching spree that includes some of the greatest films ever made? What could possibly take that place?

Why, Casablanca, of course. Read the rest of this entry »