FilmJerk Favorites

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

||| David Lean |||
David Lean

Honored with the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1990, Lean’s body of work (ranging from the intimate film to the grandiose epic) demonstrates an obsessive cultivation of craft and a fastidious concern with detail that has become the very definition of quality British cinema.

Adapted from Noel Coward’s one-act play, Lean takes a potentially boring story of middle-age flirtation and tenderly creates one of the most enduring and poignant romance films ever made. Brilliantly underplayed, two happily married strangers meet by chance in a railway station and fall desperately in love, but never physically express the undercurrent of passion that exists between them, even during their final gut wrenching separation – if your heart doesn’t ache, you’re just not human!

Demonstrating moments of intimacy through gigantic display, Lean sets up the greatness of Pip’s expectations with the magnitude of his frightful encounters; one with an escaped convict, whose emerge into the frame reminds us what it’s like to be a child in a world of oversized, menacing adults, and another with the meeting of mad Miss Havisham, in all her gothic splendor.

Peter O'Toole made an enigmatic and lasting impression in his debut role as British officer T.E. Lawrence, who helped Arab rebels fight the Turks in WWI, and Omar Sharif has perhaps the greatest cinematic intro of all time as he magically appears through the ghostly waves of the desert heat, achieving Lean’s compulsive drive to create the perfectly composed shot. Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jose Ferrer, and Claude Rains round out this incredibly talented and magnetically charged cast.

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.