Great Movies marred by supporting story/cast

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DeeF, Oct 21, 2002.

  1. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,683
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've just posted to a different thread about Westerns, saying that I think The Searchers is hurt by its supporting story, the romance between Vera Miles and Jeffrey Hunter. I recognize the need for this story, in that it provides the time-frame (8 years) for the main story. But somehow, Ford and the screenwriter don't really seem to care about these extra scenes -- they're directed very flatly.

    This got me wondering about other films that have this problem, and I thought of one -- Vertigo. All the scenes with Barbara Bel Geddes seem poorly written and directed, even though very necessary to get out all the exposition.

    Any other ideas?
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,355
    Likes Received:
    6,602
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Dee,
    It's perfectly fine for you to express the opinion that the supporting story in "The Searchers" didn't work very well, but IMO your view is in the minority since the film is held in such high regard by film historians and critics alike. Also, the same can be said about "Vertigo".




    Crawdaddy
     
  3. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,683
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, I know it's OK to express my opinion. I know that these movies are held in high regard by most everyone, including myself. Is there a problem?
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,355
    Likes Received:
    6,602
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert

    Why does it have to be a problem? I'm just saying that picking two films that are so highly regarded for this type of discussion might not work as well as picking two lesser films that could have been considered great, if it wasn't for the supporting storyline being poorly presented, written, and acted.



    Crawdaddy
     
  5. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,683
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, I picked two films as I thought of them. Both movies are heralded as great, but it was not always so. Both were considered failures in their initial runs. While I see what's great about both of these movies, I also see flaws which seem to give clues as to why their greatness was overlooked in the first place.

    Also, these movies might be familiar to more people here.

    Still, I don't understand what I've done wrong.
     
  6. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Messages:
    3,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    CJ
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,355
    Likes Received:
    6,602
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Dee,
    As stated, it was just a suggestion. No need to respond to this post unless you want to take it offline with a private message. Please continue your discussion.




    Crawdaddy
     
  8. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,683
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't know if this fits, even under my own definition for this discussion, but I recently watched the musical A Star is Born on DVD, in its restored condition. The restoration, done in the 80s, was generally conceded to bring this hitherto "lost" film back to life, to give it sense and sweep.

    And yet, I find the movie overlong, with plenty of scenes that seem to be simple connectors, joining one important scene to another, with shots of walking, getting out of cars, etc., and to me these warrant editing. Most of the film is perfectly great, but these extra pieces conspire to wear me down. Apparently, it was originally edited (by the studio) from the roadshow presentation, so it could be presented more often, i.e., it was a better length, shorter overall. And the pieces that have been restored to the movie do make it more coherent. But I see plenty of problems with the current movie, mostly having to do with Judy's other life and relationships leading up to the main one with James Mason.
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ruined is probably not correct, but the side romance that briefly intrudes in The Bridge on the River Kwai is a notable example of an addition that detracts from the film. There are many, many films in this category.

    In my opinion, there are some great films that overcome these side issues. Others don’t. That is one of the things that separates great from the merely good.
     
  10. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,172
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Caine Mutiny is great, except for the irrelevant and boring love story about the oh-so-bland minor supporting characters.
     
  11. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,683
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, I've always thought this about The Caine Mutiny. The character of the Princeton man (played by some actor I can't remember) -- isn't this supposed to be Wouk himself? So, one can surmise that he put his own romance into the movie!

    The Caine Mutiny is actually better as The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, a play which came a bit earlier, I think.

    This is a perfect example of what I was thinking of, a great movie marred only by a minor character or story, but not enough to ruin the movie.
     
  12. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Willard gettin' some nookie and a poly-sci lecture at the plantation in "Apocalypse Now Redux".
     
  13. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well I agree with Rich regarding Redux, though I don't think it had anything to do with the performances. Rather it was just superfluous subplot that destroys the film's pacing.
    Of course, Redux is not AN as we know and love it, nor is it intended to be. So AN itself was not ruined by those scenes (luckily). [​IMG]
    Depending on the position you credit them with I think the Jake Lloyd and Jar-Jar performances greatly damaged what might have been a good film. Anakin might be the focus of the overall story, but he's also probably not the "lead" in TPM. That would seem to be Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to me. But then Jar-Jar is almost a main character too.
    Gladiator I thought was held down by Phoenix in particular but also some of the other supporting cast. Now I think JP is a very good actor normally, just not with what they did with his role in this film.
     
  14. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,683
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Both your examples, Seth, Phantom Menace and Gladiator, are movies which are ruined (to me) by other problems worse than a not-very-good supporting story. Phantom is ruined by incoherence, and pseudo-religious overtones (along with bad writing and some very odd FX choices). Gladiator is ruined by overly-applied editing -- too many shots, too many cuts, not enough focus on the faces and our inherent human interest in faces.

    Please understand, these are my opinions.

    I haven't seen Redux, so I can't comment on the value of its re-editing. But can't we pre-suppose that this movie is now what its creator intended? So, this is what Apocalypse Now really is, and as such, should be the basis for our criticisms (even if I can't make any).
     
  15. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 13, 2001
    Messages:
    8,172
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lew Crippen said:
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,355
    Likes Received:
    6,602
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Dome,
    It's when William Holden's character originally escaped from the prison camp and was impersonating an officer while being attended to by a pretty nurse.
     
  17. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 13, 2001
    Messages:
    8,172
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That wasn't romance! That was William Holden on "vacation"! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2000
    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    110
    I would think there are numerous movies that are brought down a bit by gratuitous romance subplots. Doesn't necessarily ruin the movies but they might not needed for the story being told. For example, while I like Uma Thurman in general, when I saw Gattaca I sometimes wondered to myself why she was in the movie except to be a love interest for Ethan Hawke. Still a very good movie, though.
     
  19. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Die Hard would be truely, truely a much better film if it hadn't been for the idiotic police chief. He almost sinks the film for me. If it weren't for the great plot and the amazing battle of wits between Willis and Rickman, it would have defiantely been a lesser film.
     
  20. Evan Case

    Evan Case Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2000
    Messages:
    1,113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm still not sure why most of the post-Duck Soup Marx Bros. films had to take a pause from the wackiness to have two tangentally related and barely interesting characters fall in love through song or purple prose (this is especially true when the Bros. take it upon themselves to help get the pair together). The early '30s comic anarchist versions of their characters would never allow for a "serious" love story to prosper to the end.
    I like The Searchers a whole hell of a lot, but I'm not very fond of the dim-witted fellow (his name escapes me at the moment). Doesn't ruin the film, but it does help to keep it out of my personal Top 5 or so westerns.
    I think Canada Lee's role in Lifeboat is a bit troublesome, too. The idea of making one the survivors black isn't the problem, but how it's treated is. Most of the time, Lee is relegated to background (quite a feat for such a small boat) and is only really brought forward for some uncomfortable moments: "You mean I get to vote too?"; the others bringing up his pickpocketing past as if it was the most natural thing in the world for someone of his color; etc. Only at the very end does his character gain any depth at all, when he discusses his family with (I think) the shipping baron. I still like the film, but I don't think that portion holds up at all (to say nothing of the anti-German propaganda [understandable given the world situation, however]).
    Evan
     

Share This Page