Movie Posters By Me #17: The Fall of the House of Usher

Movie Posters By Me

Episode Seventeen: The Fall of the House of Usher
http://www.beforewediefilms.com

An eight-year-old is given the title of a film he has never seen, and is asked to “illustrate a poster for this movie and explain what the movie is about.”

This week’s film is Roger Corman’s 1960 film, The Fall of the House of Usher

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Usher_(film)

Movie Posters By Me #16: Children of the Corn

Movie Posters By Me

Episode Sixteen: Children of the Corn
http://www.beforewediefilms.com

An eight-year-old is given the title of a film he has never seen, and is asked to “illustrate a poster for this movie and explain what the movie is about.”

This week’s film is Fritz Kiersch’s 1984 film, Children of the Corn
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_the_Corn_(1984_film)

Movie Posters By Me #14: Deep Throat

Movie Posters By Me
Episode Fourteen: Deep Throat
http://www.beforewediefilms.com

An eight-year-old is given the title of a film he has never seen, and is asked to “illustrate a poster for this movie and explain what the movie is about.”

This week’s film is Gerard Damiano’s 1972 film, Deep Throat
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Throat_(film)

Movie Posters By Me is a sub-project of our 1001 Movies to See Before You Die Blog at http://www.beforewediefilms.com

Movie Posters By Me #13: Eraserhead

Movie Posters By Me
Episode Thirteen: Eraserhead
http://www.beforewediefilms.com

An eight-year-old is given the title of a film he has never seen, and is asked to “illustrate a poster for this movie and explain what the movie is about.”

This week’s film is David Lynch’s 1977 film, Eraserhead
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eraserhead

Movie Posters By Me is a sub-project of our 1001 Movies to See Before You Die Blog at http://www.beforewediefilms.com

#61 Frankenstein (1931)

Coined in Schneider as “the single most important horror film ever made,” Frankenstein showcases a classic Boris Karloff in iconic makeup to portray a brutal, animalistic, touching, crazed, and horrifying creation. This first “Universal Monsters” film tells the story of the creation and fallout of one man’s conquest of dominance over nature, but features mainly stage hands, rudimentary makeup that was conceived on a shoestring budget, and a storyline that…sorta defined a genre by cutting up some source material to make a new story on screen. Definitely innovative, this piece takes a lot of interesting origin stories and combines them to create a work of art that seems like it would not have come together with what we have now, a film that is a “chilly and invigorating cornerstone of its entire genre” (Newman).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein_(1931_film)

Garrett

I’ll start with this one… Whoa boy. So, I am really interested in what people see in this film. I am convinced it is simply some sort of drive-in cruisin’ baby boomer late night double feature nostalgia or something. I literally cannot figure out what is so great about this film, except that it appears to be the first horror film like it (it isn’t the first horror film at all, though) with a shoestring production and budget that all seemed to come together in this miraculous way. It is interesting that a lot of the characters were stage hands (including Karloff), but the script and the performances are mediocre, camp, and cliche – maybe they were terrifying for early audiences, but I found myself ‘meh’ for most of the film. I did find myself fascinated by the makeup (but not who wore it), and the sets. The sets were incredible, and interestingly just some simple stage theater tricks with perspective and lighting easily turned small flat walls into gigantic, sprawling hallways and creepy windows. The main question, however, is: does that make this good?

I think my major gripe is that this literally couldn’t be any further from the book. The characters have different names, people don’t really die, the monster is scary and Victor isn’t made to deal with his choices (wait…he isn’t Victor), there is a weird campy dad, there are really no stakes or motivations for any of the characters, and what is with the ending? Scary, but literally couldn’t be further from Shelley’s work. Is my main gripe that it is nothing like the book? No… It’s that it isn’t anything like the book in every way, from tone to execution to theme to violence to science… heck, it spends practically half of the film covering material that is literally directly told to the audience that it is not in the book on purpose (probably because it would be as boring as it is in the movie). This probably colored the entirety of my feelings about the film…well, that and it is marketed as one of the greatest film achievements of all time by the Universal marketing department.

Will this be an unpopular opinion? Maybe. Frankly, aside from it being innovative, I was simply not only not scared, but I was disappointed, bored, and don’t understand what the motivation was to tie it to the book. If they had called it “the scientist” and used new names, I think I would be slightly less disappointed. To me, it just wasn’t as great as people and Universal markets as so very sacred. Meh.

Jennifer

So, I have never read the book, Frankenstein.  Prior to watching this film, Garrett treated me to an in-depth, scene by scene recounting of the original story – one of his favorite books of all time.  Watching the movie after this, I was utterly confused.  Pretty much the only thing that was the same was the name Frankenstein? Also, they changed Victor’s name to Henry in the movie because they thought the name Victor sounded too “unfriendly.”

A few interesting facts about the making of the movie, since I really don’t have too much to say about the actual film.  Each of the monster’s shoes weighed thirteen pounds each, and his costume weighed forty-nine pounds.  The filming was of course done primarily in the summer.  Currently, the monster’s makeup is under trademark by Universal Studios until the year 2026.

Many of the sets seemed impressive and well dressed.  None of the acting or the actors interested me, and I can’t say I was rooting for any of the characters.  When researching the movie I found that the movie was apparently based on a stage adaptation of the novel, rather than the novel itself.  Also, with more than a century between the novel’s debut and the movie along with various different stage productions and adaptations occurred – including parodies.  While this makes sense when thinking about the vast difference between the novel and the movie, it didn’t make the film any more appealing to me.

#354 Some Like It Hot (1959)

Some Like It Hot is a rollicking comedy that features two fun-loving chauvanists in drag chasing some hot Marilyn Monroe tail while fleeing mobsters out to get them after witnessing a brutal execution. Okay, so that opening sentence is a bit too much, but so isn’t this hilarious boozy comedy that showcases Lemmon, Curtis, and Monroe at the height of their game. Labeled “The Best Comedy of All Time” by the American Film Institute, Diamond and Wilder’s independently written and independently produced script is wound as tight as a Swiss watch, pulling up gags and knocking them down three or four times over by the end of the film. Truly a pleasure to watch, and surprisingly holds up and lacks many ethical or social concerns one would think comes up decades later considering the subject matter. Pleasurable, funny, and enticing, Some Like it Hot is “sensationally funny, fizzing from start to finish with great situations, cleverly crafted gags, breakneck timing, and terrific performances” (Errigo).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Some_Like_It_Hot

Jennifer

This movie delivers exactly what you expect- silly slapstick comedy and antics.  What is surprising is that while the “dressed in drag” joke does get tired about halfway through, the performances are so spectacular that you barely notice. Marilyn Monroe is perfectly cast as “Sugar Kane,” and her acting, performances, and outfits alone make this movie hard to look away from- in fact I think she pretty much steals the show in this movie.

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are delightful and their banter works well throughout the film. To be honest, I lost interest in the “gangster” plot line early on in the movie.  When the gangsters appeared at the hotel it took me a few minutes to even remember their involvement in the movie.  For me, I most enjoyed the farce between Curtis and Monroe, and Lemmon and the clueless billionaire  Joe E. Brown. Curtis is definitely the hero in his story, who wins the girl at the end, while Lemmon is the comic relief (and easily evokes the most laughs).

Garrett

We’ve watched this film before and thoroughly enjoy the writing, optimism, fun, plotting, and characterization of films from this era. The story is a hoot, with our main protagonists staring down morbid alcoholism while barely able to hold a job, a relationship, or a dollar. Still, we root for these guys as they make mistake after mistake. They are surprisingly rewarded for some of them, the most notable being the love of Marilyn Monroe who in this film is a soused girl who has men fawning over her but none committing to sticking around long enough to make an honest woman of her. Where it gets weird is that she falls in love with one of our characters under completely false pretenses – and manages to forgive him? The dudes are kinda bad people, but we fall in love with them because they are good in their hearts and don’t seem to know any better.

A few questions that I had at the end of the film were… What is the trans perspective of this film? I really only saw one cringeworthy conversation from my perspective, nevermind the fact that the whole movie has this pair sporting drag under false pretenses. But they are kind of bad people and don’t know any better, so what does that mean for what they do? And the premise?  Also, similarly, I would love to know the feminist perspective on this film. As a self-coined feminist, I kinda have a problem with the last five minutes of the film. Monroe falls for Tony Curtis’ rich character by simply being rich, and spends the film completely starving for his attention even though he’s trying to ignore her. Of course, these are her choices to make, but what is with her completely having no problem with the men having lied to her for literally the entire movie? Is that charming? To me, that just sounds loud, red, horrifying alarms for Candy’s near-term and long-term future. I could almost see her wearing a pencil skirt and a button-down with a pencil in her mouth reading “Mountebanks and Relationships: A Practical Guide To Love.”

On the surface, a really fun film. I love every scene with music, and the film is full of it. Monroe’s final solo in the basement club is beautiful. Still, the film raises a lot of questions for contemporary audiences that may or may not ever need to be answered on a grand cultural scale sixty years later. Frankly, the final line of the film seems to sweep all of these concerns away when Jack Lemmon finally comes out to tell Joe E. Brown, “I’m a man,” to which Brown replies, “well, we can’t all be perfect.” Perhaps this was Wilder’s slight nod to the fact that, in fact, women are the perfect creatures deserving of the respect they deserve – unlike these truly funny, can’t-catch-a-break clowns.