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RELEASES! Wuthering Heights (2011) | BASIC CLASSICS! Sunrise (1927)

March 29, 2012

At last, we can enjoy a British vision of  Emily Brönte’s masterpiece. Experimental, sensual, different, controvert, original, boring, bizarre… We can put so many adjectives… But, to do it, we must watch it! Advertisement: This is not a faithful adaptation, it is a possibility of regenerating concepts from the novel, an essay of Wuthering Heights that it will give us a polemic (and interesting) conversation.

Moreover, I dare to recommend a silent movie, one of my favorite movies ever, Sunrise, a visual poem signed by Murnau in Hollywood that it is considered a masterpiece of the silent period, simple and beautiful at the same time, unique…

RELEASES! Wuthering Heights (2011)

What can we say about this immortal story? A volcanic passion written by a solitary woman in a desolate place, one of the superb chapters in British Literature History… What makes this  new adaptation interesting? It is directed by a woman, Andrea Arnold, with not much budget, with a radical and different point of view and (like always) it is British!

Wuthering Heights [Cumbres borrascosas]-2011 Directed by Andrea Arnold

Screenplay: Olivia Hetreed (Novel: Emily Brönte)
Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Nichola Burley, Oliver Milburn
Genre: Romance | Drama

Length: 128 min.

Synopsis: A poor boy of unknown origins is rescued from poverty and taken in by the Earnshaw family where he develops an intense relationship with his young foster sister, Cathy.IMDb

Theatrical Trailer (VO):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoOuB9PAVug

The Guardian has written:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/sep/06/wuthering-heights-review

BASIC CLASSICS! Sunrise (1927)

April starts in Filmoteca Española with a selection of the main films of the history of the Cinema, so we can watch Sunrise this Sunday, a film that represents the degree of stylization that got silent movies before the advent of sound. It is a nice story (not much original) but narrated with the style of a genius, composing planes with a delicious taste, being so interesting and amazing at the same time. If you want to start watching silent movies, this is an ideal election. I love this film!

Cine Doré (Filmoteca Española), Santa Isabel 3 [Metro: Antón Martín]
Sala 1. VO. English intertitles-Spanish subtitles. Sunday, 17:30. Price: 2’5 €. (2 € reduced)

Sunrise [Amanecer]-1927  Directed by Friedrich W. Murnau

Screenplay: Carl Mayer
Cast: George O’Brien, Jane Gaynor, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston
Genre: Silent cinema | Romance Drama

Length: 94 min.

Synopsis: A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife.IMDb

Theatrical Trailer (VO):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFJtblnLX1s

The Guardian has written (Pamela Hutchinson chooses her favorite movies):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/nov/16/my-favourite-film-sunrise

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16 comments

  1. I wouldn’t put my hand of the fire for this new adaptation of Wuthering Highs. In this one…Heatcliff is black…Yes, I know we are in other times, but, even so, for me it’s difficult to find a version better than the classic one with Merle Oberon and Lawrence Oliver. And even more, having seen what I have seen in the Jane Eyre’s one…

    I am a huge fan of silent cinema…but I must admit that I haven’t watched Sunrise (and I think I am not going to watch this one this time, because Cine Doré is far from my home, and in addition, I am going to be out of Madrid this Eastern, most likely). But this is a must, if you can go, don’t miss. I am not a huge fan of Murnau, who has not been a lucky filmaker (he did only about twenty filmes, but most of them are now lost, he died very young)…but he is not only one of the masters of silent cinema, but just one of the masters of cinema…The films which have survived till our days are masterpieces: Nosferatu, Symphony of Horror, The Last Laugh, Sunrise, Taboo…In adition, this one Sunrise, has a script by one of the great script writers of the silent era, Carl Mayer, who wrote, togheter with Hans Jannowitz another silent masterpiece, and one of the best films ever, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari.

    If you live near, do not miss the opportunity.

    Happy Holidays!


  2. In addition, Janet Gaynor, one of the great actresses of the 30’s, was the model for the Snow White character in the Disney film.

    Nice hollidays!


  3. Haven’t seen that movie either…
    As to Wuthering Heights, well, let’s give it a chance… I saw once Hamlet’s character played by almost a midget and I liked it. He managed to make the audience overlook his…”short”coming by a brilliant performance!!!
    Rosa, don’t let distances prevent you from going to the cinema or to the theatre. You will not regret it!


  4. You are rigth. There was a version -a theatrical one- of Macbeth,directed by Orson Welles, I think I remember, in which all the characters were black. Of course, it was not set in Scotland, but in a Caribbean island. And everybody said it was good.

    You are rigth, but, most likely, I am not going to be in Madrid. And you see, when you are unemployed, you don’t have a lot of money to spend in cinema and transport (which, in Madrid, are not cheap at all). I’ll try to get the film from the library.

    Nice weekend.


  5. Thinking in Wuthering Heights’ version, I believe that there is a very important difference between to betray the original spirit of the movie and to include a transgression. Obviously, that Heathcliff was choosen like a black man it is a very transgressed election (that can be original or irritating). However, there is something special in this version because the director has emphasized the sensorial aspects, I mean to elements like the sounds of the wind, the movements of the insects, the colors of the fields or the changing forms of the clouds… why? Because, probably, this elements were basic in Brönte sisters, isolated in her hut and living alone with his brothers.
    We must admire her brave and courage with a so atypical formula (and so far away from great audiences).


  6. Did anybody see this particular version?


  7. I hope can go to watch it on Monday (Mondays are the Spectator Day in Cinemas that show original versions). I am very interested, it is a remarkable recommendation in Cuadernos de Cine (DdC), my prefered Spanish cinema magazine.


  8. I like your picture Antonio! Is it that you have seen Hugo? I am going to try to see this version soon. Try you too, because the fun is to comment about films we watch!!!!!!!!! Night night


  9. Last night I saw ‘Sunrise’ and ‘A place in the sun’. It was funny because there is a very crucial scene on a boat in both films! Dickens was right that coincidence is a common phenomenon!

    I liked “Sunrise” in spite of the fact that I don´t particularly like silent movies. The actor is very good, you can really understand the way he feels and his intentions when he is to kill his wife. However, I cannot reach to understand so sudden a change of mind. He was determined to kill her and run away with the woman of the city, but suddenly, and I don´t know why, he repents -recalling the priest´s words at the wedding-, asks for forgiveness, which is granted wrapped in hugs and kisses by a happy wife in tears -that feared more to lose a husband than her own life-, and takes her to the city, for a second honeymoon. More than half a film is set in the city, showing how much fun the happy couple has, where I was expecting the woman of the city to appear.., but she didn´t. But the end! Oh dear, that was really impressive! So, the husband, having regretted the adultery and believing her wife dead, almost kills the woman of the city! As if he was blaming her! How typical of proud people…, blaming others for one´s mistakes and sins.

    As to the very handsome male character in “A place in the sun”, he was also very, very stupid -not a “pícaro” at all-. Don´t you agree that everything he does in the film is silly? First of all, he breaks the rule of the factory, everything goes wrong from then on, but, darling, if you muck the situation up, you have to try to solve it! So, how does he solve it? Doing the clumsiest and careless move ever! Come on!!! How stupid!!! If he had decided to drown the girl, just do it, but be smart!!! He left behind too many witnesses, too many evidences… It was obvious that he was going to be the main suspect. So, ok, if you are arrested, you go to court, you have to defend yourself. He didn´t literally kill her, true, but come on, he didn´t make it believable! I would have said: “look, it is true that I didn´t love her anymore and that I was determined to leave her and go with my much much prettier and richer Liz Taylor, but I wouldn´t ever kill a person, it was an accident” -a bit of sobbing here-. “I tried to save her, but my foot was tangled” -actually, when demonstrating the facts on the rowboat, one of his feet was tangled with the rope!-, “so I couldn´t swim to her and when I did, it was too late”. The jury might have believed him!!!! The very night the girl was drowned, if I´d been him, I would have called the police myself, with the dead girl in my arms -after having let her die-, telling that it had been an accident! Instead, he ran away! Very stupid to think no one would find the body! Honestly, how stupid. He is the most stupid “almost” killer I´ve ever come across in a film.


  10. It’s the Moon, from Meliés’ A trip to the Moon. Altough Meliés was a pioneer of cinema, at the end of his life, everybody had forgotten him and his films, and he had to sell things in a railway station in order to make a living. I understood that the film Hugo’s Invention is about that.

    Sad as it is this case, unfortunately, is not unique. Mayer, who wrote the script of Sunrise, the other film commented here, had a similar life. He was one of the main script writters during the silent era, but he was only about ten years in the cinema bussiness( Janowitz, who wrote with him the script of Caligari, lasted even less). Then, first the talkies arrived, and then, the Nazis, and, because he was Jew, he had to run away to Englad, in where he died poor, ill and forgotten by everybody. And he had a very sad life, when he was fifteen, his father killed himself (because he gambled, and because he ruined himself)and he had to leave the school to work in order to support his siblings. He had to figth in IWW, and he came back home devasted by things he lived and saw.

    I leave you with this interesting link that I have found about his life:

    http://www.kinodelirio.com/justo-una-imagen/carl-mayer-imagenes-de-un-guionista/

    Last night, I saw several Meliés ‘films, A trip to the Moon, The man with the rubber head, Segundo de Chomón’s The Electric Hotel, and several more. They are incredibly naïve, but also very funny. And, if you consider that this films are about a hundred years old, they are pretty well done.


  11. I meant, that those films.

    Murnau’s case is similar to Manckeiwicz’s one (which I comment in the post of Cleopatra), and many others. By the middle of the twenties, the studios in Holliwood saw that, during those years, in Europe, particullary, in Germany, the films were more innovative and artistic than in USA, and several american studios tryed to import some talent from the continent. Several european directors and actors arrived then to Holliwood. Murnau was considered one of the best directors of those times, and he was hired by the Fox Studios to do several films: this one, Sunrise, City Girl, Four Devils (this one, is considered today lost). Sadly, it didn’t last. Murnau was very dissapointed when he saw that the studio altered heavily his films to made them more palatable to American audiences, and to adapt them to the “talkies”, which started to appear them, and were the end of the carreers of many directors and stars, who couldn’t adapt to the new times, because their way of working, or because their ugly voices or their strong accents. He tryed to do a new film by their own, Taboo, and he died suddenly and very young in a car accident, in 1931. Just imagine the films that he could have done with sound, like could have done Paul Leni, another German emigrée who also died very young and when the talkies are coming on. Just imagine the filmes that Meliés’ and Chomon could have done with the special effects of our days.

    Perhaps, they were lucky, because when many of the europeans returned to their homelands, in the thirties, very soon had to leave them again because of the Nazis.


  12. Well, I read the critic of the new Wuthering Highs version that Antonio puts in the link…and I don’t know if I want to see a version of this film in which you can hear the grass growing and Heatcliff says “Fuck you, bitches!”, or something like that.

    I have just seen Murnau’s Sunrise. You can do it, legally and for free in this link:

    http://archive.org/details/sunriseASongOfTwoHumans1922

    Although the copy is not very good and I don’t like very much the soundtrack that they had put in it (which uses, by the way, some parts from the one of The Man who Laughs).

    Did I like it? Well, I must confess that I am a bit disappointed, perhaps because I expected much of the film. Although Mayer was a very good writer, the story it’s a bit old-fashioned even for the twenties. For not mentioning the acting, exaggerated even for a silent film (just look the gestures of the wanton woman from the city, they are just hilarious…). Indeed Janet Gaynor is the strongest of the lot, though the blond wig that she wears (quite out of the point) recalled me Maria’s hairdo in Metropolis. The boy looked surprisingly modern for a film of the twenties. The contrast that they make between the country and the city is very overstated, and dated even for those days. But what we have entirely here is the astonishing ability of Murnau for making even of the simplest image a visual poem. The film is redeemed of being soapy and slushy because of the great deal of sensibility and delicacy that he displays in all the scenes, and the wise balance of comical elements (seriously, during the scenes with the Venus sculpture and the little pig I was almost crying of laugh), sentimental and dramatical ones.
    If you don’t like, or you are not familiarized with silent films, this one is not probably the best election, but if you like them, you must not leave it out.

    He really didn’t love the city woman, he is just dazzled, María, he loved her wife, but he has forgotten that and had to remembered that. In silent film, things usually happens like this, because it makes things easier. In The Cabinet of Dr Caligari there is a similar scene, in which one of the characters is about to kill the girl, and, suddenly, he realizes he is in love with her and kidnap her instead of killing her. In fact, Mayer has been criticized some times because they said that he always wrote the same story with small variations.

    I haven’t seen A place in the sun, so I can not say what I think about it.


  13. You are such a critic, Rosa! I am amazed about your review. I wish I knew as much about films as you do! I have seen lots of films all my life, since I was little, but I was just content by watching them and finding out whether I liked them or not, with no feedback or further research… But, as with everything else, the more information you have, the better analysis you will give. When I commented on Sunrise I tried to take into account certain aspects, but I couldn´t have done a comparison with other films of the time as you have, because, simply, I don´t know. When you say that Murnau made a visual poem, what do you exactly mean? For example, I don´t usually like long scenes in which, apparently, nothing happens, but on this occasion I did like it when the wife is waiting for the husband to go aboard. She knows things are not well, but she is happy about the prospective trip, ignorant of his former intentions… I thought that her performance was really good! Do you refer to those scenes by the “visual poem”?

    I´ve just watched another film with Liz Taylor, “Butterfield 8”. I´ve liked it very much. She plays a very different role from the one in “A place in the sun”, but of course she is such a versatile actress… I don´t know whether she is the best actress ever, probably not, but with her beauty, quite honestly, she makes the films worth watching. It also happens to Paul Newman, don´t you agree? The handsomest couple on screen!

    Night!

    P.s. Not sure if I want to watch Wuthering Heights either. Although I saw the one with Laurence Olivier a long time ago -I remember nothing-, I want to read the book first.


  14. Well, you flatter me, María. I haven’t seen as much as you think, and certainly, not as much as I want. But you don’t need to be an expert to know if you like a film, if it is good, or bad. You said it, you liked Sunrise in spite your relative ignorance of silent films, and it’s just because it’s a well done film. It was that in the twenties, and it is now.
    You said it very well! This is something that we have in silent cinema, and we almost lost with talkies. A visual poem is when you are seeing something on the screen in which, apparently, nothing happens, but you feel you can understand the characters, and also, it’s a beautiful image. Murnau could change his style not only in his different films, but also in the same films, and always he retained this particular feature. The scene in the cottage, with the desserted table, in which all is prepared to dinner, but nobody comes, for one. The husband, roaming and musing lonely close to the river…I’ts very curious that silent filmakers already copy the same scenes one to the others, or put very similar scenes in their filmes…There is a shot in Sunrise, with the boat arriving to the bank of the river, which recalled me strongly a similar scene in Dreyer’s Vampyr (surely, Dreyer knew Sunrise). In Nosferatu, we have also an important scene in which a ship is involved. The dog jumps into the water and tryes to help the heroine, we have something very similar in The Man who Laughs, the man humiliating himself full of repentance at the feet of the woman, we have this in The Student of Prague… Nothing new under the sun. Perhaps because most of this fims and secenes have something to do with some litterary origin. As Javier Memba said, in cinema, what is not litterature, is plumbery.

    You mentioned Liz Taylor and Paul Newman. They were the handsomest couple in film history indeed! Paul Newman was the most beautiful human being that I have ever seen in a film! I have seen films that I dislike and are not good just to see him! Altough I feel that he and Liz Taylor had the same problem, already noticed by some critics in their times: they were too much handsome to be taken seriously. Paul Newman also said once, I think, that he felt his looks were a problem to him. And it’s a pity, because the were actually good actors, and could have been typecasted, wich is common with actors who are just the opposite, or not handsome at all or with very odd looks. Think about Peter Lorre.

    I don’t know if Liz was the best actress ever. I don’t think so, but indeed she had been one of the greats.


  15. It is true that you don´t need to be an expert to like something, but a deeper understanding will enable us to have a better picture of what we have in front of us, it be a song, a painting, a film, a book…, and thus, endow our personal tastes with some foundations.

    I think it will take me a long while to watch another silent movie, but I will have in mind your recommendations!


  16. Did anybody already watch this Wuthering Heights version? Can anybody provide some critic?



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