Thursday, February 21, 2019

"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" is the March Film Classic in Bigfork

“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” is the March Film Classic in Bigfork
  
The third 2019 movie in the Classic Movie Series in Bigfork is a western classic that will keep your attention trying to figure out exactly what happened and will happen. “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” has more twists and turns than a cork screw with a flashback within a flashback. And the final twist comes with the last line of the movie. The movie stars James Stuart and John Wayne in roles which are very complicated and interesting. The film was made in 1962 in black and white, while the whole industry was turning to color. However, the paying audience certainly did not need color. It was the 16th highest grossing film of 1962. It grossed 8 million dollars while costing 3.2 million to produce. It got one Oscar nomination for costume design, won two Golden Laurel Award Nominations, winning one, and in 2007 was added to the USA National Film Registry. This Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theater in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday March 14th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.


Director John Ford, said he shot the film in black and white because ”In black and white, you’ve got to be very careful.  You’ve got to know your job, lay your shadows in properly, get your perspective right…” He said he preferred it. But that’s only one of many speculations about the lack of color. If you see the movie on the “big screen” in a darkened theater you will also get a sense of the “film noir” quality of the story.  For me this fits the mood of the story best.  


Coincidentally, the movie set was not always a happy place to be. There was bickering on a number of fronts from the stars to the director. When there is that much growling on a movie set, be it true or just rumor, it probably involved money, publicity, and “billing” on the advertising. That was the case here, and Jack will have to be the one to sort it all out when he shows this one at the Edge.


Come and see a film that is a good movie, received lots of audience support, and probably did not necessarily get the respect it should have on Oscar night.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday the 14th of March at 6:30PM.  It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon. And there is plenty of background for Jack to share with you. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.



Sunday, January 20, 2019

“Wuthering Heights” is the February Film Classic in Bigfork


Wuthering Heights” is the February Film Classic in Bigfork



The second 2019 movie in the Classic Movie series in Bigfork is the classic love story “Wuthering Heights,” just in time for Valentines Day. Made in 1939 this is a black and white movie that needs to be seen on the big screen to really be appreciated. The movie headliners Merle Oberon and Sir Laurence Olivier were some of the eight nominations for Oscars. It won an Oscar for best Cinematography.  It’s haunting and beautiful music “Cathy’s Theme” is remarkable and is still remembered. The movie got a nomination for the best film score, but lost to “The Wizard of Oz”…bad luck on that one. This February Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theater in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday February14th . Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.


The movie takes place later than the period the book depicts, and does not cover all the chapters in the book of the same name. If you have read the book, don’t expect to see it all on the screen. Just go and see a great love story with passion and depth that will move you.



Two of the stars, Merle Oberon and Sir Laurence Olivier disliked each other and Merle is said to have asked the director William Wyler after he stopped one particular romantic scene if William could please ask Sir Laurence to stop spitting at her. At one point producer Sam Goldwyn took Sir Lawrence aside to what seemed to be a quiet talk. Sir Lawrence was hobbled by some sort of foot problem and had to use crutches between scenes. Instead of a quiet discussion Goldwyn had a rather loud discussion about several things all unpleasant. The quiet talk was pre-arranged between Goldwyn and Wyler so they could play “bad cop-good cop” to help Wyler deal with Sir Lawrence.


It has been so long since the movie was made that many of the trivia stories you can read about the movie are substantially different than the truth. In one place you might read that Heather was brought from Europe and planted where the film was being produced to make the scenery look authentic and that it grew so much better in the California sun that it had to be kept trimmed. That same heather is said in another story to be tumbleweed painted to look like heather. So it is hard to tell what stories are true. Time, I guess, allows for such variations and the truth is possibly in between. One of the things that seems to be well known and true is Goldwyn considered this movie be his best movie ever.



What also seems true and believable is that two stars Sir Laurence Oliver and Merle Oberon were unhappy being here at the time of the movie because they were separated from their significant others back in Europe and did not like it.  What also seems very believable is that movies back then were still the new “kid on the block” in the minds of some stage actors, like these two, and had not earned their respect yet. 



To get a flavor of how the movie was received by the press at the time of its release.
Here is a period review from the New York Times April 14, 1939.

Written by Frank S. Nugent.  April 14, 1939. Goldwyn Presents Film of “Wuthering Heights” at Rivoli.

“After a long recess, Samuel Goldwyn has returned to serious screen business again with his film ‘Wuthering Heights,’ which had its première at the Rivoli last night. It is Goldwyn at his best, and better still, Emily Brontë at hers. Out of her strange tale of a tortured romance Mr. Goldwyn and his troupe have fashioned a strong and somber film, poetically written as the novel...it is a living thing, vibrant as the wind that swept Times Square last night….It isn't exactly a faithful transcription…But it is a faithful adaptation, written reverently and well, which goes straight to the heart of the book, explores its shadows and draws dramatic fire from the savage flints of scene and character hidden there.

And it has been brilliantly played. Laurence Olivier's Heathcliff is the man….Charlotte Brontë, in her preface to her sister's novel, said Heathcliff never loved Cathy; the only claim he might have had to humanity was his lukewarm regard for Hareton Earnshaw; …Heathcliff is demon, ghoul…But Heathcliff is no demon and he loved Cathy, in the film as in the novel…Mr. Goldwyn has provided a flawless supporting cast…It is, unquestionably, one of the most distinguished pictures of the year, one of the finest ever produced by Mr. Goldwyn, and one you should decide to see.”

Come and see a film that has met the test of time and is a good movie.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday February 14th at 6:30PM.  It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.



Friday, December 28, 2018

2019 January Classic Movie Bad Day At Black Rock



“Bad Day At Black Rock” is the January Film Classic in Bigfork

The opening film, for the 2019 Classic Movie Series in Bigfork is one that has an unusual number of stars in it.  Starting with Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan as the headliners, you can add Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine. That is a lot of talent for even the big screen to handle.  The title is “Bad Day at Black Rock”. It is a 1955 thriller film that combines elements of both the western and film noir genre in a mixed story about a stranger arriving in a small desert community who stirs up quite a storm for the residents to handle.  The cast is predominantly male and the action fast and furious at just the right times. With Tracy as a one-armed war veteran as the star who can take very good care of himself.  The soft side is only in the fact that he is trying to find the father of a Japanese-American veteran who saved his life in the Pacific war to give him his son's medal. This January Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theater in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday January 10th . Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge



The film was released only 10 years after the war ended.  The country was still in a “healing” mode.  Good movie, good cast, lots of audience acceptance, positive reviews, awards, nominations and a profit for the studio. A good one to see and it is hard for me not to tell you more because of the really good plot. Just a little trivia about this film: the studio wanted to call it “Bad Day at Hondo”, but John Wayne had just made the movie “Hondo” and there might be some confusion. The title came about when a studio staff person was on a train going by a town called “Black Rock” in California, where a lot of movie work was done, and the ideas came together: they called the movie a “Bad Day at Black Rock.” 



Spencer Tracy was “cool” to the idea of doing the movie. But when they made the character both with one arm and a real tough guy, he could not turn it down.  The fact that he was a “mysterious stranger” showing in a small town with probably no reason to be there, made the close-knit town nervous anyway and allowed the movie to have its mysterious “edgyness.”. And then there is his reason for being there: to put a medal on the grave of a Japanese-American serviceman. Who knows how he died and why?  All good plot builders.




In 2018 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."


Here is a little about the movie that Bosley Crowther said in his February 2, 1955 review of this movie.



“The streamliner hasn't stopped in four years, and apparently few people ever pass through. Especially are they wary of this stranger when they discover that he is interested in a certain Japanese farmer who they tell him left town a few years back. They wonder if he is a detective, seeing how he noses around. And he, in turn, wonders darkly why everyone is so hostile toward him. Slowly, through a process of guarded discourse, which Director John Sturges has built up by patient, methodical pacing of his almost completely male cast, an eerie light begins to glimmer….”       


Come and see a film that has met the test of time and is a good movie.  And also why the town was so suspicious. Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday the10th at 6:30PM.  It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

“Saturday Night Fever” is the December Film Classic in Bigfork






Saturday Night Fever” is the December Film Classic in Bigfork

The December film for this season’s “Classic” movies at the Edge is a 1977 movie that has held its popularity through the decades. The fact that it is not based on the work of an American is of little importance. It is an American “monster-sized” success. The story is from a 1976 article in the “New York” magazine by a British writer and based on British youth’s “mod” subculture. Nothing very American about any of that…right? It still has one of the best selling sound-tracks of all time, and the movie itself is part of the American Library of Congress selections being preserved as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” being picked in 2010.  This December Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theater in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. This is an "R" rated movie and not suitable for children. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday December 13th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.


“Saturday Night Fever” is a great movie, has music, music and more music, graceful dancing, plenty of sex for its time, and racial tension mixed in. It was a very successful commercially impact movie with more “lives” than a cat, from its three release formats, best selling movie track music, VHS and CD releases and still familiar music The movie was originally released in an “R” rated form, then was also released in a PG” version, and even later as “PG-13” version in 1980. It did much to popularize the “disco” life-style and music, has wonderful graceful dancing, and America’s male media idol of the time, John Travolta. 



All the fuss is about a simple story of a young man who has a “dead-end” job, squabbling family, and a strange girlfriend. But when he gets on the dance-floor, he is king.  Disco music’s popularity owes a lot to this one star and one movie.


The movie’s one big star is John Travolta, but he does not have one of the best scenes in the movie. That goes to “Annette” played by Donna Pescow.  When the “boys” fall off the bridge into the river they fall onto a platform set up to safely “catch” them just out of sight of the camera. However that fact was kept from Pescow because the director wanted a true horror reaction when she thought they really fell into the water. He got the reaction he wanted -- horror --terrified look --- and fear, then anger when she found out the truth. Her next line in the movie was “you f___kers!” was also real and not scripted. Also unscripted but used was Travolta’s response to his father’s head slap at the dinner table about mussing up his hair.  So there is a wide range of interesting sidelights to enjoy. 


This is a good movie all around. And evidently a local Mafia group thought so too.  They reportedly tried to extort money from the film makers during shooting and even used a small “fire bomb” on the studio. Also a group of Hasidic Jews were against the film being shot in their neighborhood, and tried to disrupt the filming. They even tried to turn one over one of the cars used in production. Lots of critics, lots of challenges. But the end result is a great piece of film history. 



Come and see a film that will show you what has met the test of time and is still a good movie.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday 13th at 6:30PM. Rating: R. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.





Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ellen Sandbeck Paper Artist Exhibit


2018 has been a wonderful year of exhibits in the Gallery at the Bigfork Edge Center for the Arts, and the final showing of the year closes with another unique show. Ellen Sandbeck bills herself as a “paper artist”, but that hardly begins to describe the multi- faceted presenter of this final “exhibit” of the year.  Ellen is not only an artist, but a teacher, organic gardener, mother and others. It is hard to imagine how she fits in enough time for her art. At this exhibit you will see examples of work that you must get close to appreciate the detail and then back up to appreciate how it "fits'" together. It is one of those exhibits that makes one want to study.   Ellen Sandbeck's work will be on display from November 1 through December 1 during normal gallery hours and during Edge Events. The gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10 am to 4 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, plus during Edge center events. Admission to the gallery and during the opening reception From 5 pm until 7 PM on Friday, November 2 is free.



Regarding her art, in her own words: “I have always been entranced by the natural world, and have been making nature-based art since I was a toddler. I have been doing papercuts since 1985, when my son was born, and the constant distraction of tending him made it difficult to do any form of artwork that involved drying time. I soon realized that papercutting was my true medium. Though every papercut I started during that first year fell apart in my hands, after a single, injudicious cut, I kept practicing. After that first year, I began sending samples to publishing companies, and within a year had landed my first book contract, with Dover Publications, for a stencil book. Ten other books of original graphics followed.



In 2009, I began a year-long project in which I executed a papercut of the historical Buddha every day. Like every project I have ever taken on, this project was far more time-consuming than I had anticipated, yet it was a year of very peaceful meditation. As the year progressed, so did I, and I began to feel as if I was getting a handle on my medium. Though papercutting could be considered rather limiting, and even clumsy, I find its limitations a challenge, and tend to regard it as a game or a sport, as well as an art. I also regard papercutting as a sort of hybrid between drawing and very very shallow bas relief, and as I am working, I almost get a sensation of working and feeling my way around the three-dimensional bodies of my subjects.”


 Even though the Edge Gallery is a “traditional gallery” at least in design, the Edge strives to bring to our audience a view of the wonderful diversity of what we call “Art on the Edge” and Ellen is a wonderful example of that effort.  Mark you calendar accordingly.  This is one you don’t want to miss.


Ellen Sandbeck will be showing her work at the Edge Center Gallery for the Arts November 1, through December 1 during normal gallery hours and during Edge center events. An open hose reception is on November 2 from five to seven P.M. at the gallery. This is an event filled with color and stories. You will art of incredible detail, vivid colors and unique beauty.



Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Chholing Taha Art Exhibit


Chholing Tata Art Exhibit at the Bigfork Art Gallery

The Chholing Taha exhibit is the October art show at the Edge Art Gallery in Bigfork this year.  She is a Cree First Nations artist born in Canada and is now based in Anoka Minnesota. She uses Native imagery to express both contemporary issues and indigenous stories.  She is a master story teller, artist and seamstress from which her name "The Shawl Lady" originates. Chholing Taha’s vibrant colors and masterful interpretations of Native North American’s tales, myths, legends and dreams, leap out from the paintings and shawls you’ll see when you visit Edge during October. Come and see Chholing’s work at the Edge Gallery from October 4th through the 27th .  The gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10 am to 4 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Admission to the gallery and October 5th reception is free.



October brings artist Chholing Taha to the Edge Gallery. A master story teller, artist and seamstress of exceptional talent, her masterful interpretations of Native North American’s tales, myths, legends and dreams, bring story, color and artistic expression into incredible works of art.



Chholing Taha was born in Canada and now based in Anoka. She draws on symbols from tribes from the Northwest coast, as well as the Great Lakes tribes, and it is her heart’s wish to instill a sense of mystery within anyone who views her work and discovers that place within each of us that beats together as one communal “spirit drum” common to all of humanity.  Her paintings act as an honoring, translating and preserving great stories, traditions, and messages.




Chholing Taha will be showing her work at the Edge Center for the Arts October 4th through the 27th. An open hose reception is on October 5th from five to seven P.M. at the gallery. This is an event filled with color and stories. You will be impressed by both so don’t miss this special talent with her colors and interwoven stories.

Monday, September 17, 2018

“All the King’s Men” is the October Film Classic in Bigfork




The October film for this season “Classic” movies at the Edge is a 1949 Film Noir classic, “All the King’s Men.” The movie won three Oscars including Best Film.  The plot is about a small time political want-to-be politician who rises from a rural county seat to become governor of a state. It’s a thinly disguised story of Louisiana politician Huey Long who rose to power with a similar anything-goes approach to politics in the 1930’s. The movie’s success is not just the story in the movie, which is compelling by itself, but the incredible editing done on the first attempts to tell the story that ended up being much to long and complicated. This October Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theatre in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday October 11th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.


The movie ended up so long after the “normal” tinkering done by editing that it made some of the management panicky to say the least. Production team members Robert Parrish and Harry Cohn were instructed to take just the best part of each scene and cut the rest, music and all. Then they cut another 100 feet from the beginning and end regardless. What ended up is a 109 minute movie “diamond in the rough” with a “jagged urgency” that is “compelling and Oscar worthy”. You got to see it knowing the back story to appreciate what happened. Don’t know if it was ever done that way again, but it worked.


The stars in the movie were Broderick Crawford, who won the best actor Oscar and Mercedes McCambridge who won the best supporting actress Oscar. The acting talent does not stop there because John Ireland was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor. That is some special talent on in one film.  In total the film was nominated for seven Oscars.  Great acting, great directing and a film “miracle” all combined to make this one well received by audiences and film critics then and now.


I think maybe this is one of those times where we should stop trying to restate what the critics said and let those reviews speak for themselves. Then you decide whether a trip to Bigfork is worth to see what the nice accolades were all about.  As a footnote to the reviews: in 2001 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registery and to date it is the last Best Picture winner to be based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. 


Bosley Crowther who reviewed films for thr News York Times, who said, "Robert Rossen has written and directed, as well as personally produced, a rip-roaring film of the same title ... We have carefully used that descriptive as the tag for this new Columbia film because a quality of turbulence and vitality is the one that it most fully demonstrates ... In short, Mr. Rossen has assembled in this starkly unprettified film a piece of pictorial journalism that is remarkable for its brilliant parts. Critic William Brogdon, for Variety Magazine, said  “As the rural Abe Lincoln, springing up from the soil to make himself a great man by using the opinionless, follow-the-leader instinct of the more common voter, Broderick Crawford does a standout performance. Given a meaty part, his histrionic bent wraps it up for a great personal success adding much to the many worthwhile aspects of the drama’”.

Those strong opinions most likely mean there is something special on the big screen in October. Come and see a film that will make you think.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday October 1tth at 6:30PM. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon of the period. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.