baleanoptera: (Sound of Music - the true story)
[personal profile] baleanoptera
Some of the answers to the Top Five Meme, the rest will come shortly.

Top Five Films


+ The Third Man - you know what I love most about this film? The way the ever present music stops when Harry Lime is trapped in the sewer. The dance is finally up, and it's so eerie. All in all a perfect film, that also has Joseph Cotton.
+ Sound of Music - see icon. This was one of first films I loved utterly. It actually made me want to be a nun. Until that is I found out what real nuns actually do, and that very few of them resemble Julie Andrews. Still, the world needs singing nuns. Its just the way things are.
+ Seven Samurai - thus began my love for all things Toshiro Mifune.
+ Harakiri - thus began my love for all things Tatsuya Nakadai.
+ Casablanca - It's the film that always manages to be on my Deserted Island list, and even though it's sometimes nearly beaten by His Girl Friday, Casablanca wins because it manages to be stirring and funny at the same time. Also it has Claude Raines.

With honourable mention going to Last of the Mohicans (don't judge me!), Out of the Past (" - No person is wholly evil! " - Well, she comes the closest"), Night of the Hunter ("Chiiildreeen!"), Nights of Cabiria (*sob!*), Tokyo Monogotari (*SOB!*), The Royal Tenenbaums(have I mentioned I'm a sucker for cinematography?) and M (If you only see one Fritz Lang film etc.)

Top five favourite things about Norway

+ The dark, morbid humour.
+ Kick ass folk music.
+ The Law of Commons. It's actually an old Viking custom, if the land is in common use it belongs to everybody and it cannot be claimed as private. So you rarely have to worry about trespassing, which is excellent if you are mushroom crazy. And I am.
+ Okay, I'll admit the nature is pretty cool.
+ Bergen.


Top five storylines from The Wire
+ Stringer Bell, the rise and fall of, respectively.
+ Frank Sobotka, walking knowingly to his doom.
+ The character development of Carver. Such a huge, yet believable change.
+ The whole of season four.
+ And because I need something a bit sweet after all that doom, I'm rather fond of the Omar and Ronaldo lovestory. Or Omar Little in general actually.

Top five film noir style movies

The Big Heat

+ The Big Heat Fritz Lang, weirdly symbolic plot and Gloria Grahame as my favourite femme fatale ever; Debbie Marsh
+ Out of the Past So quotable it is actually painful. "- After a while all the places seem the same. - I bet you say that to all the places" or "Baby, I don't care!"
+ M - since we are talking film noir style I have to include one of the films that preceded them all. Also, Fritz Lang, Peter Lorre, late Weimar-cinema, claustrophobic cinematography and disturbing plot. I see nothing wrong here!
+ Notorious - Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Raines. In addition the cinematography is so good it is like visual candy.
+ Where the Sidewalk Ends - I have a fondness for Dana Andrews as a tortured hero, and that he is here, in a way he simply isn't in Laura. Though Gene Tierney is bland in both. And since I'm a sucker for cinematography I love the highly stylized look of this film, more than I do Laura's crazy plotlines.

Top five classic Hollywood pairings(either in real life or film)
To dispense with the classics first:
+ Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. If nothing else, then for the glory that is Adam's Rib
+ Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. If in movie, then The Big Sleep is a good bet.
As for on-screen couples:
+ Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Brining Up baby is delightful, but Philadelphia Story is pure love.
And to move away (?) from the romantic angel:
+ Cary Grant and James Stewart in Philadelphia Story. And yes, it's not technically a classic pairing, because they only did this film together (I think), but dammit I want to see more of the friendship between Mike Connor and C.K. Dexter Haven. Let them get drunk and discuss Marx! It would be glorious!
(+ and should the last not be qualified I've always had a soft spot for the craziness that was Marlene Dietrich/Jean Gabin. )

Top five films set during WWII

Kalde Spor/Cold Tracks

+ Ernie Pyle's The Story of G.I.Joe - based on war reporter Erine Pyle's reports, it chronicles an infantry company up and through the battle of Monte Cassino. Beautifully played and shot (including on location in Italy, in 1946! With the ruins and damages of war quite visible). It's one of those film's that manages to be pro-troops, yet anti-war.
+ The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - Powell and Pressburger's strange, slightly patriotic tale that avoids preaching. Instead it is warm, thought-provoking and quite touching.
+ Kalde Spor/Cold Tracks - possible the film none of you have seen. A Norwegian war film that focuses on the trauma of the Occupation, seen through the eyes of a man that is literary haunted. It is creepy, it is beautiful and it is one of the best Norwegian films ever made.
+ The Human Condition - nine hours of the sorrowful and deeply tragic tale of a Japanese soldier trying to fight for his individuality and humanity in the Japanese Army. Wonderfully played by Tatsuya Nakadai and directed by Kobayashi. Depressing as all hell, but quite possible the best war films there is.
+ Come and See - [ profile] alexandral recommended me this one, and it is incredibly good, yet I will never willingly see it again. For if ever there was a film that captured the whole "War is hell" adage...

Top five war movies where women play an important on screen role.
- I must first admit that I'm a bit disturbed by how difficult compiling this list was.

+ In Harm's way. Patricia Neal as the nurse that romances John Wayne. It could have been a boring character, but Neal makes her something special. Someone with her own agenda and great believability.
+ From Here to Eternity Deobrah Kerr and Donna Reed make out more than half of this film, and they are just as flawed and desperate as the men.
+ Der Untergang. In a sense Traudl Junge is the centre of this film. It is her naivety, her wilful ignorance and her horrid realisations that carries the emotions of the film and in my opinion gives it is power. Without her it would be just a brilliantly executed docu-drama.
+ The Battle for Algiers - the first - and only - on the list with actual female combatants, and as utterly terrifying terrorist bombers at that.
+ Mrs. Miniver - Greer Garson in her defining role. Though the film is more than a bit marred by the whole "England can take it!" theme, I am fond of the fact that one of the most successful film's of all of WWII had a female main character, and a prominent female supporting character as well. In this film it is the men that are cardboard.


To be honest I've always wanted someone to make a film or video that used Radiohead's Exit Music for a Film. then it turns out someone has, to the edited version of Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. The beginning is a bit slow, but it picks up and becomes excellent towards the end:

Date: 2009-08-13 12:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Is that were you are? I made a friend from Bergen while I was in Shanghai. Small world.

I'm rather fond of the Omar and Ronaldo lovestory

Oh, me too.

Date: 2009-08-14 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Bergen is indeed the place. And the world is small isn't it? Small, yet big and incomprehensible at the same time. I quite like that.

As for Omar and Ronaldo, I just love it when couples are so in tune that they don't necessarily need words. Don't get me wrong, banter is fine - yet sometimes silence is more important.

Date: 2009-08-13 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This gives me very happy flashbacks to all the film posts you've made. Absolute pleasure.

Date: 2009-08-14 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aww, so nice to hear. And I should get around to finishing and actually posting some of those film posts floating around on my computer.

Date: 2009-08-13 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There are so many things I agree with in this post!!!!!!!!!

Also - YAY! You have watched and liked "Come and see". Imagine that I watched this film at the tender age of 14 , totally without any prior pre-warnings. It haunted my sleep for at least a week.

Date: 2009-08-20 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

And I really liked "Come and See" (yet I'm hesitant to say loved it, because the nature of the film seems the opposite of love in a way). Thank you so much for recommending it.

And watching that film at 14 must have been horrifying. You have my sympathies.

Date: 2009-08-13 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Is Come and See the translation of Klimov's Idi i smotri?
I also love a Czech WWII movie called Diamonds of the Night ( Just as impressive and harrowing as Come and See.

Date: 2009-08-16 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
P.S. On the subject of movie nostalgia, I thought I'd add that I've always preferred High Society to Philadelphia Story, mainly because it was the first version I saw and it's so bubbly and sweet, and I love it when Grace Kelly gets drunk at the party and sings "I'm sensational".

Date: 2009-08-20 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Would you believe I've never seen "High Society"? I must do something about that. Right now though I'm in the middle of this John Ford/western thing, so lots of open landscapes and ambiguous masculinity.

Date: 2009-08-20 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I would be "Idi i smotri". It's one of those films where you can say it was absolutely fascinating, yet awful to watch - without it being a contradiction.

And thank you so much for the recommendations. I love getting tips from my f-list. Best way to watch films if you ask me. ;)

Date: 2009-08-13 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, great lists, they're are some films on here that I've never seen. Must check them out.

And I adore The Philadelphia Story. I love all of the characters and the various relationships in it!

Date: 2009-08-20 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You even have a "Philadelphia Story" icon! I'm a bit envious at that! But it is such a great film isn't it? It just manages the balancing act between bitter-sweet, funny and satirical so well.

Date: 2009-08-13 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, Twin, I am right there with you on The Sound of Music!

Also, I really need to watch more old movies.

And I totally want to visit Norway. Sniffle.

Date: 2009-08-14 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hee! We should get buttons that says: "Singing Nuns Defined My Life."

You totally should visit Norway! I would happily support any such endeavour!

And yes to old movies. Particularly stuff like Casablanca, and the classical Hollywood films from the 1940's and 50'. They are just so much fun. (at least some of them. I've just recently had to watch some John Ford films from the late 1930's and they are so racist it is actually painful to watch them. For instance Prisoner of Shark Island, which I think beats Birth of a Nation in the use of horrific stereotypes.)

Date: 2009-08-21 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really think it's hard to top Birth, though you might enjoy either the 1903 silent Uncle Tom's Cabin or the 1927 version, both of which are so awesomely offensive given that they're supposed to be anti-slavery, etc.

Date: 2009-08-21 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really think it's hard to top Birth

True, yet Prisoner of Shark Island at least comes fairly close. There is something so fundamentally wrong with the whole film, that I am a bit aghast that people manage to write about it without succumbing to rage. (Goodness knows I had difficulty doing so). One of the strangest reviews argued for the film's actuality, since it showed a man wrongfully imprisoned "just like the prisoners of Guantanamo". Though that analogy is interested to a certain degree, I think it gives a film with too much vile content too much credit and actuality.

ETA: Also, I have a slight irritability with the implication that history or fiction about historical events are important only because they relate to a current issue. Quiet a lot of historical events are important in and of themselves, and don't need a more modern partner.

The other two film's are noted. Recs are always welcome.
Edited Date: 2009-08-21 08:38 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-08-25 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a slight irritability with the implication that history or fiction about historical events are important only because they relate to a current issue. Quiet a lot of historical events are important in and of themselves, and don't need a more modern partner.

Word! Remind me to give you an example of this the next time we exchange PM!

Date: 2009-08-25 10:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Which reminds me that I should finish the mail I started sometime in July. ;) The fall semester started about two weeks ago, and so things have been a wee bit crazy. (Favorite question so far: "When I study Film Analysis, do I have to watch the films screened as part of the course?" )
Edited Date: 2009-08-25 10:04 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-08-14 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love these top-five memes! I'm just about to embark on the insanity of doing it myself :D Your list of favorite films is very interesting. I think for me, I would have to put the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and probably Kieslowski's "Trois Couleurs" trilogy and "Das Leben der Anderen" on the list, because they are films that I come back to over and over again.

One thing I love about Norway are FJORDS! Because that's just an awesome word. Plus, it just looks so beautiful! I am still longing to visit - I hope to imbue the Dauphin with my own fixation on Vikings so that in a few years, he will clamor for a visit to the Viking lands :D (Though hopefully he will not personally take up pillaging as a hobby!)

I love "Laura" so I definitely want to check out 'where the Sidewalk Ends" - I feel that Dana Andrews is very underappreciated :D (And on the war-movie front, I think we've discussed this before, but I lovelovelove "The Best Years of Their Lives" and I would add also the German "Stalingrad" and I absolutely agree with your assessment of "Der Untergang" which is a deeply unsettling movie on many different levels!) I'm jotting down the other titles so I can see if I can find them!!

P.S. Have added "Come and See" to my Netflix queue; on that note, have you ever read Catherine Merridale's Ivan's War? It made a very powerful impression on me!
Edited Date: 2009-08-14 01:07 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-08-20 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Top five memes are wonderful! They are fun to do, and it is even more fun to read other peoples answers.
I must admit that the Top Five Movie list was one of the hardest, and I really debated what films to include. In the end I ended up with a mix of films that combined both a

Though hopefully he will not personally take up pillaging as a hobby!

Hee! Well, if its any comfort the big focus in Norway is on vikings as traders and craftsmen. We're not too fond of the pillaging thing. (perhaps it is a post-Lindisfarne syndrome? ;P)And I'm not just saying that to increase your desire to visit, though if it does I wouldn't mind. ;)

And as a fellow lover of Dana Andrews you should definitely check out "Where the Sidewalk Ends". It is made my the same people who made "Laura", including Otto Preminger as the director, and it has a lot of the same feel. I think the reason I like "Sidewalk" best is largely because of Andrews,since he is given a much more complex character here. In "Laura" he is essentially a cop attracted to Laura, whereas in "Sidewalk" he has daddy-issues, since his father was a thief, and so he is desperately trying to prove himself better than his old man. I am such a sucker for those stories.

I've read Ivan's war, and I think on your recommendation as well. It is a very good book, and there are parts of it that still haunt me - like the description of the living conditions and the endless propaganda officers.

Date: 2009-08-14 10:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah Bergen. Very pretty (, but a bit wet at times. Or so I've heard. :)

Date: 2009-08-14 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It can rain quite a bit yes. ;) But now I am intrigued - where does the photo come from? Did you take it?

Date: 2009-08-14 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The picture was taken by my mom about two weeks ago. The man you can see is my dad. My parents were on a cruise to the North Cape. I uploaded all the pictures they took to a printing service earlier this week. So I couldn't resist posting one here. :)

Date: 2009-08-20 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad you did! It is always fun to see photos of known places taken by people you don't know. It helps you look at things in a new light I think.
And I hope you parents had a nice trip, and that the weather treated them well. It can be quiet horrible this time of year. (It can be quiet rainy in July, due to the hot weather on the continent. )

Date: 2009-08-16 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really liked The Third Man, but I'm a big fan of Joseph Cotton in general.

Gosh Bergen looks gorgeous.

Date: 2009-08-20 07:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm actually more inclined to watch a film once I know it has Joseph Cotton in it - and "The Third Man" is just wonderful on so many levels. Though the music is like the worst earworms in the history of annoying soundtracks.

And yes, when it is behaving Bergen can be very lovely. (Though at the moment it has decided that thunder is the way to go, and I've just recently got my electricity back after four hours. Fun times...)


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