(kr) wrote: Arguable the best film of 87, now almost forgotten. Another fine film with von Sydow, that even with it's highly rated record the film hasn't done well in people memories, which is a shame.
(br) wrote: I heard quite early on that Peter O'Toole acted magnificently in the same role in two films - one was The Lion In Winter, the other Becket. But although both were nominated for Best Picture (and Best Actor for him), I firmly think that Becket is an inferior epic. The main reason for this is because, from beginning to end, it seems to drag on and on, drably and even colorlessly. I got tired of watching Henry II's childish antics turn dangerous towards the end, although the homosexuality between him and Becket was subtly hinted. I found the performances wanting vitality, too dramatic, and (in O'Toole's case) quite predictable. Even the counterpart roles from The Lion in Winter, most notably Pamela Brown's Eleanor, were too emotionally played. The lines (even "Thank God, madam, he gave you breasts - an asset from which I derived not the slightest benefit ") were not witty enough. Having said that, the score was quite good, and Burton's performance was alright (better than O'Toole's in any case). Between this and The Lion In Winter, the latter is infinitely better. Overall I would rate this 3 out of 5 stars.
(us) wrote: This is not so much a review as an attack. And even then, the attack is not a hostile one. I'm not one to attack a movie without what I feel is a worthy reason. The only movies that even come to mind that I've attacked in writing are Bad Boys II and the recent Sex and the City movie, though that extends to the show as well. Personally, I found Bad Boys II offensive on nearly every conceivable level, so I attacked it. I despise the shameless embrace of materialism in Sex and the City. I think that show at one time was a satire, but just got too lazy to make the effort at cleverness, and instead wallowed gleefully it its shallow pool. Those attacks were hostile. My reason for Attacking London After Midnight is not so much an attack on the film in and of itself, but an attack on the "reconstruction" of the film - the only way to see it today. The film opened to mixed reviews, yet was director Tod Brownings and Lon Chaney's most financially successful work. But then the only remaining print of the film was destroyed by fire in 1967. It's now on the AFI's lost films list, and has garnered something of an illustrious reputation and following. There are rumors that another print, fully intact exists, but this reconstruction is the only version available. It was reported as "the closest to the original version we'll see." Maybe that is so, maybe the rumors of an intact print are just that. Although many are grateful that this reconstruction exists to give them a glimpse at a lost film, when it comes down to it, this version is nothing that cannot be matched looking at a google image search, playing ominous music on windows media player, and reading from a transcript. What I'm trying to say is that this is nothing but an only kind of slick 45 minute power point presentation. It consists entirely of still photographs, panned and zoomed upon with intermittent title cards. Now, while I think this is a fairly ambitious and interesting attempt at a reconstruction, it's nevertheless just a summary from someone else's point of view, Rick Schmidlin's. He famously reconstructed Greed and Touch of Evil, and he did win an award for London After Midnight. It's my opinion though that while this is an admirable attempt, its also a misguided attempt. It's simply a curiosity project for those who have been waiting patiently to hear of a found copy of a movie that was by most accounts only mediocre. I can't make that judgement, because I still haven't seen the movie, just an elaborate photo summary of it. Now this is not to say that still images cannot make films (lets face it, its just still images flickered through light 24 times a second), and I would direct you to my impressions of La Jetee. But La Jetee's style was Chris Marker's intent for his film, but it wasn't Tod Browning's intent for London After Midnight. Browning had his own style, and moved and shot with his camera in particular ways for particular reasons. By reducing his direction to static images removes him from director and replaces him as set photographer. In a way, it's almost a rape of the directors work. Not intentional, of course, though. My "attack" is this: this reconstruction brings me no closer to having seen the film. I only have an idea of how it went. Sure I know a bit more about it and how it looked than before, but its just tantamount to preview research. Hence, no rating. Not zero stars, simply no rating, because, simply, I never got to see the real movie. Was it a waste of 45 minutes? My time, yes. Your time? Depends on your predilections, I suppose. Maybe this is not so much an attack then as a warning or disclaimer akin to those found on hazardous products. If you expect a real view of a lost film, you're likely to be annoyed that you only get to glimpse through archives, and be left sour. That might not be good for your health.