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Elmo Lewis

FILM: 1941

24 posts in this topic

The Premise: The thrill of watching a train wreck, multiplied by ten.

The Best: The middle section -from the riot at the U.S.O. to Wild Bill Kelso landing in L.A.- when the movie's pace finally picks up, all the off-putting setups from the 90 minutes start to pay off, and the movie seems to be going somewhere.

The Worst: It doesn't really go anywhere and it's not charming enough for the audience not to care.

The Music: Aside from the catchy march, which revitalizes the scenes with a very hungover Belushi, there's a lovely, all-out 1940's Hollywood theme when Bobby picks up a marooned Donna from the tank he's finally commanding. Genius.

The Image: The merry-go-round falling off its axis and rolling towards the sea. Who doesn't enjoy seeing that?

The Scene: The choreographed chase at the USO to Williams' "Swing Swing Swing".

The Line: If I recall correctly, there's some random guys shooting at the sky towards the end of the movie. One of them says, "Who are we shooting?", and the other replies, "I don't know, let's just destroy them". The whole movie in a nutshell.

The Character: This an ensemble movie where none of the characters are likeable and/or belong in the same movie. However, Robert Stack makes the cut for being the very charismatic voice of reason. The other greats (Mifune, Robert Lee, Slim Pickens) don't seem to have been told what they are doing.

The Geek Thrill: A rare self-referential Spielberg retreads Duel and Jaws. James Caan is in it.

The Audience: Only for die-hard fans of the modern, cartoony Simpsons episodes or sociopaths with a bloated id.

The Hidden Value: Seeing Spielberg do what he almost never does: bringing somebody's vision to the screen while sticking to the technical aspects of the movie. Also, his only movie with toilet humor, a puerile sex drive, and a sense of irresponsibility we would never again see in his opus.

The Spot On Review: "The movie finally reduces itself to an assault on our eyes and ears, a nonstop series of climaxes, screams, explosions, double-takes, sight gags, and ethnic jokes that's finally just not very funny." Roger Ebert.

EDIT: Check Richard's post below for corrections on two aspects I got wrong here.

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It's the precursor of Temple Of Doom, which would follow a similar style.

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TOD is better though, because of the smaller cast. But both films wanna trow everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink at the audience, and move things along as fast as possible.

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It's not a merry-go-round getting blown off of its axis, it's a ferris wheel. There's a big difference.

The line goes "What are you shoting at?". The reply is "I dunno, whatever they're shooting at" The line you are probably thinking about is "We'll follow the signal to Los Angeles, and blow the shit out of something big", which is as funny as "You can take the Third Reich, and shove it up your ass!"

The production design, the excellent photography from William A. Fraker, and the sfx are all first class. Also, to truly appreciate the sound, watch the film with the original mono mix (on first release, the film was not in stereo).

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It's the worst Spielberg film I've ever seen. But the music is great.

Sorry. mate, that "honour" belongs to either "The Color Purple", or "Hook".

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Great cast, good story, beautifully shot, good score. Spielberg's only film with a female lead....

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Great cast, good story, beautifully shot, good score. Spielberg's only film with a female lead....

Sugarland Express, anyone?

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It's the worst Spielberg film I've ever seen. But the music is great.

Sorry. mate, that "honour" belongs to either "The Color Purple", or "Hook".

Definitely it belongs to Always.

Just rewatched it, first time since the premiere. OMG, I didn't remember it was that horrible.

The music is great.

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It's not a merry-go-round getting blown off of its axis, it's a ferris wheel. There's a big difference.

The line goes "What are you shoting at?". The reply is "I dunno, whatever they're shooting at" The line you are probably thinking about is "We'll follow the signal to Los Angeles, and blow the shit out of something big", which is as funny as "You can take the Third Reich, and shove it up your ass!"

The production design, the excellent photography from William A. Fraker, and the sfx are all first class. Also, to truly appreciate the sound, watch the film with the original mono mix (on first release, the film was not in stereo).

Thank you. I got lost in translation in the first mistake. The second one might the first indication of a serious memory issue in my head. You got it right -- it was the line I was thinking of, and I still think it represents the movie very well.

Is the cinematography that good, though? The DVD transfer is beyond ugly.

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Thank you. I got lost in translation in the first mistake. The second one might the first indication of a serious memory issue in my head.

Is the cinematography that good, though? The DVD transfer is beyond ugly.

Just admit that you have never seen the film, and have no idea what you are talking about!

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Definitely it belongs to Always.

Just rewatched it, first time since the premiere. OMG, I didn't remember it was that horrible.

The music is great.

Yes, it is spielberg's worst movie. Luckily, I never think of the film when listening to the score. They have nothing to do with each other. Always proves that Williams is a more consistent talent than Spielberg.

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Thank you. I got lost in translation in the first mistake. The second one might the first indication of a serious memory issue in my head.

Is the cinematography that good, though? The DVD transfer is beyond ugly.

Just admit that you have never seen the film, and have no idea what you are talking about!

Right. I should have simply stated that the cinematography sucks because the DVD looks ugly.

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Great cast, good story, beautifully shot, good score. Spielberg's only film with a female lead....

Hmm, I agree, but it's also a giant hand-wringing, P.C., Guardian-reading, mess of a movie that doesn't have the guts to honour its source material. It welshes on the lesbian theme, and the violence is almost cartoon-like. It's a film that says "sorry for what happened to all you brothers and sisters over the years, and to make up for it, hear's some nice Quincey Jones tunes". Let's face it: a white Jew is probably not the right person to make a film about the systematic abuse of black people, but, then again, I can understand why the producers thought that Spielberg might be the perfect choice. If he had shot "TCP" after "Schindler's List", maybe he would have understood the underlying themes a lot better.

"TCP" is a film that has one hand holding an olive branch, and the other holding a clutch of Oscar nominations, and we all know what happened there, don't we..?

In a grown-up world, there really is no place for a film like "TCP".

Thank you. I got lost in translation in the first mistake. The second one might the first indication of a serious memory issue in my head.

Is the cinematography that good, though? The DVD transfer is beyond ugly.

Just admit that you have never seen the film, and have no idea what you are talking about!

Right. I should have simply stated that the cinematography sucks because the DVD looks ugly.

Elmo, it's SUPPOSED to look ugly! If you truly watch it, you'll notice that everything was shot through smoke, or some kind of filter. The picture (and sound) was purposefully degraded to create a 40s feel. The only thing that gives its 70s origin away, is the fact that it's in Panavision... "1941" is a great film, and an underrated masterpiece, that was made 30 years too soon. No wonder it's called "Spielberg's forgotten film".

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Let's face it: a white Jew is probably not the right person to make a film about the systematic abuse of black people

:huh:

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Let's face it: a white Jew is probably not the right person to make a film about the systematic abuse of black people

:huh:

Perhaps it you had read on, your point may have been answered...or not...

Spike Lee would have been a good choice for "TCP", but he was too young, and also untried.

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Elmo, it's SUPPOSED to look ugly! If you truly watch it, you'll notice that everything was shot through smoke, or some kind of filter. The picture (and sound) was purposefully degraded to create a 40s feel. The only thing that gives its 70s origin away, is the fact that it's in Panavision... "1941" is a great film, and an underrated masterpiece, that was made 30 years too soon. No wonder it's called "Spielberg's forgotten film".

The broad daylight, outdoor scenes (like the one in the airbase or at Mr Douglas' backyard) look as thought they were filmed through a stocking. If that's the DP's intended look, then him and I have strong disagreements on how to convey a 1940's look. In the 1940's, films were mostly in black and white and pictures were vibrant with colors.

It really just looks like a bad transfer from deteriorated film.

BTW...

it's also a giant hand-wringing, P.C., Guardian-reading, mess of a movie

What 'Guardian'?

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The Guardian is a British newspaper. Their readership are supposedly mainly treehugging-feminist liberal democrats.

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Ideology notwithstanding, The Guardian is one of the best newspapers in the world, second only in my mind to the New York Times (and second to none when it comes to online journalism). In a sad age for journalistic values, it is one the last places where one can out its faith on.

To call its readers to vacant PC-seekers (or, as RIchard put it "giant hand-wringing", comparing them to a "gutless" movie) boggles my mind. I wanted to believe he was referring to a different Guardian.

In my mind, the comparison is akin to calling all John Williams fans suckers for the Stanley and Iris sound.

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