FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Francis Ford Coppola |||
Francis Ford Coppola

Coppola is an amazing talent whose inspiration and influence spans many generations. Virtually the link between the studio system of yesteryear and the independent minded filmmaker of the modern age, Coppola became the first major film director to emerge from a university degree program in filmmaking, thus legitimizing a now common route for many future filmmakers.

This Academy Award winner continues to enjoy an enormous critical and popular success due in large part to Coppola’s ability to break down an epic saga of crime and the struggle for power into the basic story of a father and his sons, punctuating the prevalent theme throughout Coppola’s oeuvre: the importance of family in today’s world. His personal portrait mixed tender moments with harsh brutality and redefined the genre of gangster films.

This intense, yet unassuming thriller has an impact that touches the viewer on a personal level and raises the question of privacy and security in a world of technology – thirty years ago! Coppola’s then virtually unknown cast is a roster of inevitable superstars, including Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, and Robert Duvall. This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Sound lost out to Coppola’s other great effort of the year, The Godfather: Part II.

Coppola's masterful Vietnam War-updating of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" was the first major motion picture about the infamous “conflict”. This colossal epic was shot on location in the Philippines over the course of more than a year and contains some of the most extraordinary combat footage ever filmed. Unforgettable battle sequences and sterling performances from every cast member (including Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, Scott Glenn, and Martin Sheen) mark this Academy Award-winning drama as a must-see for any true film fanatic.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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TCM Classic Film Festival Day 3: Good Old Classics

By CarrieSpecht

April 27th, 2010

I started the day off at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and a new print of John Huston's "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Both Angelica and Danny Huston were there to talk about the film, their father, and even their grandfather Walter, who received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this film. Even better than that... Robert Osborne moderated the discussion.

TCM Classic Film Festival Day 3: Good Old Classics

The print itself was simply gorgeous, luscious even. It was so nice to see a film in Black and White with such clarity and detail I actually found myself discovering new details previously missed on a TV screen with an over worked print. If “Treasure” shows again anywhere, I encourage you to go see it. It’s worth it. Later I stopped in at the Roosevelt to catch a piece of the panel, “The Greatest Movies Ever Sold”. However I didn’t stay long. Although it was full of some very informative and experienced people it reminded me too much of my film school days. And I decided my time was better spent watching Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last” with a live orchestra at the Egyptian, introduced by Leonard Maltin and Lloyd’s granddaughter.

Not only was it great to see a silent film presented the way it was originally intended, but I also had a great conversation with some enthusiastic film students from USC and Santa Monica’s Art Institute in line on the way in. At my seat I was flanked by a local couple that had come into Hollywood just for that screening, and on my right was a lady from Pennsylvania (my dad’s home state!) spending her vacation days with TCM. It’s true what they say; Lloyd really was just as good as Chaplin and Keaton, and a victim of his own refusal to allow his films to be shown on TV until the early 70’s. As his granddaughter said, “He didn’t like commercials and that was many years before TCM. Thank goodness we now have TCM”.

The last show of the day for me was the presentation of Banned Cartoons hosted by Donald Bogle. Bogle is an engaging speaker who is the authority on African American images in film (he co-hosted TCM’s special focus on the topic a while back). I have to say it was an enlightening evening to see what depictions were considered acceptable by the entertainment world in another day and age. If TCM ever re-airs “Race & Hollywood: Black Images on Film” you should try and catch it. Or check out Bogle in person should he come to speak in your area.

The best highlight of my day was running into Tony Curtis and his wife at the Bar at the Roosevelt. He’s just such a doll up close and in person. The discussion before “The Sweet Smell of Success” just didn’t do him justice. So if you have the time be sure to stop by Curtis’ book signing Sunday, or any time he has one anywhere. You won’t be disappointed.