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Memorial Day Movies

Discussion of programming on TCM.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Memorial Day Movies

Postby Mr. Arkadin » May 27th, 2007, 3:01 pm

Here's a little teaser I did to for my wife's forum on Memorial Day a few years ago. Hopefully it will generate a bit of discussion (I guess everyone is traveling this weekend?). Have fun:

Ok, I'm not a big fan of "war" films, but in every genre there always things I like. As we reflect on this weekend (or if you find yourself on the couch), be sure to check out a few of these movies:

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

One of the greatest films ever made about WW1, this movie follows the lives of German schoolboys as they join for a noble cause only to find the slaughter of no mans land.

As one man says "...we sleep and eat with death. We're done for because you can't live that way and keep anything inside you".

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

The touching story of three veterans return from WW2. One of the men (Homer Parrish) is played by a real veteran (Harold Russell--the only man to win 2 Academy awards for the same part) with no hands who sits at the piano with Jazz Legend Hogey Carmichael and plays "chopsticks".

Shot in deep focus by master cameraman Gregg Tolland (Citizen Kane), the shots allow for more expression and reaction from the actors. A complex and moving story that swept the Oscars in '46.

King Rat (1965)

James Clavell's autobigraphical novel about life in a Japanese POW camp is toned down a bit for the screen here, but loses none of it's intensity.

Much of the credit goes to George Segal and Tom Courtney as Corporal "King" who lives a privileged life at the camp, and Lt. Grey who is determined to destroy him.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

An amazing anime film about 2 Japanese children who must fend for themselves when their parents and home are taken from them. A complex take on the victors and the victims--not for children!!

Open City (1945)

Roberto Rosselini's film about the Italian resistance movement was actually made while the country was still under occupation.

The whole film has a realistic newsreel look about it that definitely influenced "Schindler's List". The sight of Anna Magnani being mowed down by SS machine gun fire is one of the great shots of cinema.

Shoah (1985)

This 4 DVD documentary of the holocaust would take up your whole weekend!

Done over a 10 year period, interviews were conducted with camp survivors, German camp guards and commandants, and people in the towns nearby who knew of what was going on, but were powerless to stop it or sided with the Nazi's.

No corpses or other unsightly shots are seen. Just people telling their story (or nightmare) in front of the camera.

The Grand Illusion (1937)

"In 1936 I made a picture named La Grande Illusion in which I tried to express all my deep feelings about the cause of peace. Three years later, the war broke out".

Jean Renoir's classic film about the illusion of class and honor in WW1, is one of the most amazing films ever made. Many films such as "Casablanca" and "The Great Escape" have copied whole sequences from this movie.

Cross of Iron (1976)

Orson Welles once called Cross of Iron "The greatest antiwar film ever made". High praise indeed.

Set in 1943, the Germans are losing the war on the Russian front. A new power hungry commander arrives to take charge of the retreating German army. His opposition is Sgt. Stiener (an Oscar worthy performance by James Coburn) who is more concerned about the lives of his men than winning medals.

This is the movie "Saving Pvt. Ryan" tried to be, but failed.

Other war films you might check out:
The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)
Murphy's War (1971)
Pride of the Marines (1945)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Lifeboat (1943)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Schindler's list (1993)
Three Comrades (1938)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Killing Fields (1984)
The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Glory (1989)
The Big Parade (1925)
Shame (1968)
Mother Night (1996)
The Mortal Storm (1940)
Das Boot (1982)

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Dewey1960
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Postby Dewey1960 » May 28th, 2007, 9:13 am

Mr. Arkadin, to your fine list of Memorial Day movies I would add:

BATTLEGROUND (1949) William Wellman's thoughtful examination of the Battle of the Bulge is one of the few Hollywood war films that actually succeeds at getting inside the feelings of the soldiers involved. The ordinarily vapid Van Johnson turns in his best performance and he's flanked by a sturdy cast including John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban and James Whitmore. It's thoroughly gritty and uncompromising in its honest portrayal of men fighting under the most strenuous of circumstances. Technically it isn't an "anti-war" film (what film about World War II made in Hollywood would be or should have been, after all?) but in its own way comes very close. A five star masterpiece!

SAHARA (1943) At the height of Humphrey Bogart's popularity at Warner Bros he was loaned out to Columbia to star in Zoltan Korda's great saga of the North African campaign (co-starring Bruce Bennett, J. Carol Naish, Dan Duryea, Rex Ingram, Kurt Kreuger and a host of others). A tremendous sense of time and place is achieved in this excellent film and features a simply phenomenal musical score by Miklos Rozsa. Bogart is great as the grizzled tank commander (the tank itself is pretty impressive, too); in fact the entire cast really shines here. Highly recommended!

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Kyle In Hollywood
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Postby Kyle In Hollywood » May 28th, 2007, 10:15 am

Dewey1960 -
I am glad you added Battleground to the list. From the title I felt this was a movie that I could avoid as I am indifferent to "combat" films at best. But Battleground threw me a curve. I think I made time for it because it was nominated for Best Picture. And I am glad I did.

Mr. Arkadin -
For me, there is one military film and then there is all the rest - Sergeant York. I know, not the most inspired choice for a favorite military film and most of what I really like about the film appears before they ship out to Europe, but the extraordinary story of Alvin York is one every American should know. I don't think there has been a better film at demonstrating what was the humbleness of the American people than this one.

Kyle
Kyle In Hollywood

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mongoII
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Postby mongoII » May 28th, 2007, 3:20 pm

I always enjoy watching "Sergeant York" as I did today.
I would hope to see "The Victors" (1963) on TCM one of these days.
Joseph Goodheart

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mrsl
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Postby mrsl » May 28th, 2007, 4:50 pm

I just can't get enough of John Wayne this week. I just tuned in to see him in Flying Leathernecks.

Hey mongo,

Since you don't have an 'Ask Mongo' thread here, I thought I'd ask you about something that occurred to me today.

I was watching Bury Me at Wounded Knee this morning and the female star was Anna Paquin. I couldn't remember where I'd seen her before, and just before the end, I recalled her as a little girl in Fly Away Home - about the geese. That led me to look up a few other gals who were all around at about the same time, and within a few years of age of each other. I looked them up on IMDB, but that is not very informational. What do you know about:

* Anna Chlumsky - My Girl
* Mae Whitman - Hope Floats & many others
* Thora Birch - Alaska, and Paradise.

I imagine their disappearance puts them all in college or something, but do you know any more? Each of them were fine little actresses between 10 and 14 years of age, then they vanished.

Anne
Anne


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jdb1

Postby jdb1 » May 29th, 2007, 8:44 am

"Purple Heart" was on over the weekend - I don't remember which cable channel it was on. This film deals with the experience of being a prisoner of war, a subject that was not touched upon very often by wartime Hollywood.

It's a really excellent film, very touching and inspiring, and I find it far more emotionally difficult to watch than I do "The Grapes of Wrath."

It's the only film in which I really like Dana Andrews, an actor I don't much care for.

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knitwit45
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Postby knitwit45 » May 29th, 2007, 9:28 am

Has anyone ever seen "The Captive Heart" with Michael Redgrave? It is the best POW movie I have ever watched. I purchased a rather miserable copy of it from Amazon last year. It is shown infrequently on the History Channel, and if you ever spot it, watch it!
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The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
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