Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): 'Neath the Marquee Moon 1976 - 1980 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 23

Sunday, October 23, 2011

'Neath the Marquee Moon 1976 - 1980 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 23


Twenty-third chapter in "32 Days of Movies", an audiovisual tour through 366 films
(2015 update: included Vimeo embed after the jump)
'Neath the Marquee Moon

A decadent chapter for a decadent decade, but whereas disco, leisure suits, and cocaine excess dominated late seventies pop culture, these clips have a bit more class. Okay, coke features a couple times, but so do lush color (and even lusher black-and-white), artfully nightmarish imagery, and killer music. There's an otherworldly feel to today's selections, from the blue lasers of a final concert to the surreal, almost lunar landscapes of two different warzones to the Manhattan skyline twinkling like an earthbound Milky Way...indeed the (original, thank you) scene with an actual alien may be the least far-out of all. Though we only see the Moon once (or twice, if you want to be clever about it), it seems to exert a tidal pull on the zeitgeist, at least as represented here.

(continued below, along with NSFW & spoiler warnings)


Not all is luxurious and spacey, however, and one actor appears three times as if to remind us of this fact, albeit reconfirming, roundabout, the chapter's larger-than-life feel. Three times: once just to party, embodying the seventies vibe a half-century ahead of schedule; again withdrawn and moody, coming home yet left behind; and finally with battered grandeur, beaten to a pulp yet unbeaten, mocking himself and his opponent in equal measure. We begin with a fresh-faced young man, and end, after a cut from one Golgotha to another, with a bruised visage grinning triumphantly in defeat. Defeat? Smells like victory to me...


NSFW: violence 6:20 - 7:05

I have covered today's films here, here, herehere, here, here, and here.





Visit the Video Gallery for a complete list of the chapters so far.

2 comments:

Shubhajit said...

As promised I'm back to posting comments at this terrific series of yours. Today there's popular festival called Diwali (the 'festival of lights'). Since I'm not a religious person by nature, I use occasions like these to relax :)

Here's what I've seen belonging to the current montage of some of most exceptional films.

1900 - what a mammoth movie this was. Though I liked it alright, I didn't like it as much as I'd wanted to before I'd begun watching it.

Annie Hall - My favourite Woody Allen movie. Interestingly, I'd first seen this movie way back when I was in school, and didn't think much of it then. Later when I again watched it (while I was doing my graduation in mechanical engineering), I absolutely fell in love with it, and in turn, Woody Allen's cinema - especially the ones he acted in.

The Deer Hunter - Elegiac and disturbing war drama. Since I watched it long back, the part I remember most about it is the Russian Roulette scene.

Apocalypse Now - Unlike most people, I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, leave alone placing it on the same pedestal as Godfather I & II. However, it was sure a distressing & magnetic watch - right from the "Vietnam, shit!" opening to the bizarre finale.

Manhattan - I love this one nearly as much as I love Annie Hall. And what glorious photography!

Raging Bulls - Yet another stupendous achievement for Scorsese, and yet another stellar performance by De Niro. Boy, the kind of movies De Niro acted in during the 70's, and the kind of breathtaking performances he gave one after the another during this decade, easily makes him one of the greatest actors of all time.

Okay, two questions for you:

1. Who would you rank as the most quintessential New York filmmaker - Scorsese, Woody, or the dark horse, Lumet?

2. Both De Niro & Nicholson acted in a plethora of some of the most iconic American films, and they both were immensely powerful actors. The thing, who do you prefer more?

Joel Bocko said...

1. Tough because it is asks, in a sense, which is the quintessential New York the gritty, street-level NYC or the intellectual, more bourgeois city? Certainly over time, the latter has gained the upper hand (there wasn't much of Scorseseworld left when I lived in the city, heck even Little Italy has shrunk to a bit 3 city blocks catering exclusively to tourists). I'll cheat though and say Allen because more of his films are centered around the city than Scorsese, even though that's not quite what you were asking. :)

2. Good question. I love De Niro and have about a million of his movies (right now I'm working on compiling stats for the series so that when a picture-post directory goes up, day after the last chapter, it'll have statistics on all this stuff at the bottom). But ultimately I might give Nicholson the edge just because, much as I love subtle, intense acting a part of me goes more than anything else for the over-the-top, larger-than-life something Nicholson could certainly do with Cuckoo's Nest & The Shining. Plus he could do the more subtle, low-key with The Passenger (wish I owned that) & Chinatown. Very versatile, and a pity he's basically phoned it in for so long now; De Niro's the same way though, at least Nicholson had The Departed, while I suspect De Niro hasn't had a really good movie in a decade or more.

As for the rest:

1900 is just so gorgeous to look at. I know what you're talking about, it's a bit of a mess but I find that somewhat easy to forgie.

Deer Hunter - I originally had that scene in here but once I cut the section down to its present length and gave it a chapter name/theme, the violence just seemed to stick out like a sore thumb so I turned to a quieter scene that made a better but less drastic counterpoint to the other stuff, and flowed better with the material.