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.