Saturday, April 25, 2015

Briefs for April 25, 2015

Richard Corliss, Time magazine's movie critic died on Thursday at the age of 71. I only this morning noticed the obituary on Wikipedia's list of notable deaths, although I'm not certain when it was first reported. Corliss was one of the critics who showed up in the "Critic's Choice" month when, instead of having a regular Guest Programmer, TCM invited eight notable film critics to present two of their favorite movies each. More recently, Corliss could be seen on TCM promoting his book about Mom in the Movies. I guess we won't be seeing TCM haw that book this Mother's Day.

TCM is running a night of movies with screenplays by Frances Marion tonight. I've recommended all of the feature films before, with my favorite among them being The Big House at 10:45 PM. Perhaps more interesting is that there's going to be a documentary about Marion in among the feature films, at 9:45 PM. I can't recall whether I've seen this one before, or whether the stuff I've seen about Marion comes from some of the other documentaries about that era in filmmaking that TCM has shown. There's one called Complicated Women about the role of women characters in pre-Code films that shows up from time to time, and I think it was one about Irving Thalberg that discussed the collaboration between him and Marion on The Champ. If memory serves, it was Thalberg who resolved the perceived problems the movie had by coming up with the ending we see today.

I was under the impression that the establishing shots of the United Nations in North By Northwest were actually of the UN building, but obtained surreptitiously. I know the UN didn't want filming going on at the UN building, and understandably Alfred Hitchcock wouldn't have been able to film in their interiors. There are also overhead shots that Craig Barron and Ben Burtt pointed out were matte paintings. Those had to be, since there was no other way to obtain those perspectives. But the shots of Grant in front of the UN building before he goes in and gets involved in the shooting, I thought were the real deal. I don't know how much of thne land around the building the UN owned, but I'd think it should have been perfectly legal to film from across the street, much the way that anybody can stand at the fence around the White House and take tourist photos or home movies.

Being There is overrated. I might do a more substantial post on the film the next time it shows up, but there, I've said it. I have a feeling I'm seriously in the minority with my view, however.

No comments: