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Two:  ‘Ratatouile’ and ‘City Lights’
Posted: 07 July 2007 12:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Odd pair, one the absolute zenith of computer animation, and the other one of the last silent pictures.

We saw R last night, it is good, well, passably good, mildly entertaining to me, certainly not 4 stars like the local newspaper gave it.  Maybe 2.5 stars.

As for City Lights, what got me to think of it is that there is an Artsy-style movie theater near the Stanford University campus that plays such movies, and it was reviewed again in the paper because it is playing there right now, and still got 4 stars, which it truly deserves.

We rented it a while back, a few months ago, and it truly is a great movie, Charlie Chaplin’s last great movie. The Little Tramp, penniless himself, befriends a blind flower-girl.  Absolutely great.  I saw a documentary of the making of the movie, and in the key scene where she mis-identifies him as being very wealthy, a scene that lasts perhaps 60 seconds in the movie, Chaplin actually halted production for three days to put the scene together and make it work.

Very much worth renting.  Oh, and of course it has the nearly obligatory Mr. Chaplin doing one of his comedic ballet routines on skates.  His skating ability is beyond believable, but this is the age before camera tricks, so it is quite real.

Dan, contributing away (doesn’t ‘contributing’ sound was classier than ‘posting’ ?)

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Posted: 07 July 2007 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Dan Jr. - 07 July 2007 04:13 AM

but this is the age before camera tricks, so it is quite real.

You’d be surprised.  I think that camera tricks were probably invented the afternoon of the same day that cameras themselves were invented.  If not the day before.

Not that I’m saying that that particular scene used any sort of tricks.  I’ve never seen the movie (I’m not really a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin), so I wouldn’t have a clue.  But they did have cinematography tricks even then.  The movie Nosferatu comes to mind.

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Posted: 07 July 2007 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Actually, Acci, you are correct (as usual).

I remember seeing old photographs, taken in the very early days of photography, showing cute little flying fairies hovering about people’s heads (obviously intentional double-exposures), but used fraudulently to sell people books all about these heavenly manifestations, visible to the camera but not to us, of course.

Typical, I guess. Electricity, when first discovered, was offered as a cure for lots of maladies, and Ben Franklin himself went into the hoax-exposing business to unmask the perpetrators by painting wooden dowels to resemble metal rods.  And magnets, and copper bracelets, and now, of course, among many thousands of other things, DNA Rehabiliation or something, some poor (and foolish) contributor to our site was taken in, his posting is somehwere in the hoax section.

Damn, I wish I did not have a conscience!  There’s a powerful lot of money to be made in that field!

Anyway, though, Charlie Chaplin’s ability on roller skates was incredible, I have seen movies taken of him when he performed live on the stage in touring shows, etc, before he became a film star, the man had a gift of movement, coordination, and balance that is very nearly incredulous to see.

By the way, his career ended when tallking pictures came out; he had a high-pitched voice that did not record well.  He once told Groucho Marx, who was a rising Broadway star at the time, that he would pay him a Million dollars to swap voices.

Dan, rattling on and on and on and on…....

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