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Dr. Stranglove's (Crazy?) Journey Through Cinematic History

Dr. Strangelove

Nuclear War Expert
Staff member
As one might guess from my username, I am a big fan of the movies. The combination of artistry, psychological intelligence, business acumen, hard work and a deep sense of culture that goes into making a great film is intoxicating for me. It is truly something magical.

A couple of years or so ago, I made the decision to go on a kind of cinematic journey. I decided that I would follow the history of film more or less chronologically, starting with the Georges Méliès at the turn of the 20th century, then making my way through time until I eventually reach the present day. I promised myself I would only watch movies from the year I had reached or earlier. I have, so far, held that promise. I haven't watched a modern film since 2018.

I am currently in the year 1942, 39 years from the year 1903, where my journey started.

I have watched a ton of movies since then, discovered many actors and directors. Due to the nature of this undertaking, I find myself following works and releases as if they were "new", despite the fact that the people who's work I am seeing are now mostly, well, deceased.

This brings me to the reason why I'm starting this thread. You see, it's all becoming a bit overwhelming without some kind of outlet to externalize all this. I'm hoping this can be exactly that - a place to jot down notes and opinions on the movies I'm watching and have watched, or discuss the films and filmmakers of the time with anyone who might be interested. I realize this is quite the niche topic, and it is likely very few will even care (if any). Still, if this little thread ends up entertaining even one silent reader, then I'd be more than happy.

Please feel free to post your own favorites (as long as they're close to the time period I'm currently exploring), recommendations or questions about anything. Cheers, and thanks for stopping by!
 
I can't say about movies (I have horrible taste in movies I just follow the mainstream ones)

But probably my favorites are:
LOTR series
Star Wars Episode IV V VI

sorry not your time era 🤣
 

Walidos

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
funny, I had a cinematic phase, however was not a chronological thing, but rather wanting to see movies that are more artistic, not Hollywood shallowNess...

Let me drop a few of the directors I really liked, if you watch some of their movies, let me know your thoughts:
Goddard - Bergman - Tarkovsky - Satyajit Ray - Fellini

Start there, especially Bergman whom I think really revolutionised cinematography and who’s movies can be quite deep...

A note for the curious: if your thing is action, excitement, surprise and special effects, the movies from above directors are not for you... these are slow, dialogue heavy movies (mostly) but quite the influence on modern cinema if you read their history...
 

Dr. Strangelove

Nuclear War Expert
Staff member
funny, I had a cinematic phase, however was not a chronological thing, but rather wanting to see movies that are more artistic, not Hollywood shallowNess...

Let me drop a few of the directors I really liked, if you watch some of their movies, let me know your thoughts:
Goddard - Bergman - Tarkovsky - Satyajit Ray - Fellini

Start there, especially Bergman whom I think really revolutionised cinematography and who’s movies can be quite deep...

A note for the curious: if your thing is action, excitement, surprise and special effects, the movies from above directors are not for you... these are slow, dialogue heavy movies (mostly) but quite the influence on modern cinema if you read their history...
A few of these directors form a big reason of why I took this on in the first place. I'm still a couple of decades behind, but I'm very excited to reach that time period and (re)discover some truly great filmmakers. You'll know when I get there!
 

Dr. Strangelove

Nuclear War Expert
Staff member
jeanne-darc.jpg
No film through the 1910s and 1920s struck me as hard as Carl Theodor Dreyer's La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928). Having just watched Fritz Lang's sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis (1927) and F. W. Murnau's brilliant romantic drama Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), a historical picture based on the trial of the French saint seemed to me a bit underwhelming - something to cross off a list. It took Dreyer less than 5 minutes to make me feel like a fool for even considering the thought.

Stage actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti's ordeal as Joan of Arc under the famously tyrannical hand of her director bleeds through the screen, captured in extreme close-ups by Dreyer's unconventional camera. She and her supporting cast, deprived of make-up and lit in a way to emphasize deliberately the grotesqueness of their facial features, act out a script that adapts the actual records of the torturous interrogations by the ecclesiastical jurists. The result, elevated by the artistry of the cinematography and the ambitious set design, is claustrophobic and intense. As Jeanne eventually meets her demise in a fiery audio-visual crescendo, one cannot help but feel completely intoxicated by the sheer cinematic brilliance of it all.

"Vous dites que je suis l'envoyée du diable... Ce n'est pas vrai. C'est vous qui êtes envoyés par le diable pour me faire souffrir!"
- Jeanne d'Arc (Renée Jeanne Falconetti)​
 

Dr. Strangelove

Nuclear War Expert
Staff member
sherlock jr.jpg

Even today, Charlie Chaplin remains one of the most famous human beings to ever grace the world of cinema. This, however, isn't a write-up about a Chaplin film, but a film by one of his somewhat lesser-known (but equally well-regarded) contemporaries: Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr. (1924). Like Chaplin, Keaton was a master of the poignant silent comedy. Unlike Chaplin, Keaton relied not on emotive body language to generate humor and sympathy, but on an astoundingly stoic attitude in the face of outrageous circumstances. Clever physical comedy, surprisingly violent stunts and ambitious filmmaking were all staples of Keaton's work, and Sherlock Jr. was no exception.

At only 44 minutes long and chock-full of complicated gags, Sherlock Jr. moves at a breathless pace. Keaton plays a movie projectionist dreaming of becoming a detective. After being framed by a thieving rival vying for his girlfriend's hand, the young man, crestfallen, falls asleep on the job. He is then transported in his dream state to a cinematic reality where he becomes "Sherlock Jr.", the world's second greatest detective. What ensues is a series of mesmerizing scenes in which Keaton's character (and Keaton himself - one stunt left him with a fractured neck!) survives great danger to achieve formidable feats of sleuthing heroism. The film delivers laughs and shocks in equal measures, while touching on topics such as the reality-versus-illusion dichotomy and the nature of cinema. As cliche as the expression might sound, Sherlock Jr. is true movie magic.

"Say, Mr. "Detective"... Before you clean up any mysteries, clean up this theater!"
- theater manager (Ford West)​
 

Even today, Charlie Chaplin remains one of the most famous human beings to ever grace the world of cinema. This, however, isn't a write-up about a Chaplin film, but a film by one of his somewhat lesser-known (but equally well-regarded) contemporaries: Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr. (1924). Like Chaplin, Keaton was a master of the poignant silent comedy. Unlike Chaplin, Keaton relied not on emotive body language to generate humor and sympathy, but on an astoundingly stoic attitude in the face of outrageous circumstances. Clever physical comedy, surprisingly violent stunts and ambitious filmmaking were all staples of Keaton's work, and Sherlock Jr. was no exception.

At only 44 minutes long and chock-full of complicated gags, Sherlock Jr. moves at a breathless pace. Keaton plays a movie projectionist dreaming of becoming a detective. After being framed by a thieving rival vying for his girlfriend's hand, the young man, crestfallen, falls asleep on the job. He is then transported in his dream state to a cinematic reality where he becomes "Sherlock Jr.", the world's second greatest detective. What ensues is a series of mesmerizing scenes in which Keaton's character (and Keaton himself - one stunt left him with a fractured neck!) survives great danger to achieve formidable feats of sleuthing heroism. The film delivers laughs and shocks in equal measures, while touching on topics such as the reality-versus-illusion dichotomy and the nature of cinema. As cliche as the expression might sound, Sherlock Jr. is true movie magic.

"Say, Mr. "Detective"... Before you clean up any mysteries, clean up this theater!"
- theater manager (Ford West)​
I agree, Charlie Chaplin is one of my favorites.
 
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