Lost in the Movies: THE ARCHIVE Chapter 3: Tying Up Loose Ends (November - December 2008)

THE ARCHIVE Chapter 3: Tying Up Loose Ends (November - December 2008)

As the leaves fell and the weather cooled in the wake of an exciting election, I settled back into cinema for its own sake, although quite a few of my subjects remained political. Resuming where I'd left off in mid-October, I covered Twin Peaks' second season and the last decade of D.W. Griffith's career; at the same time, I reviewed auteurist, genre, and cartoon classics (sometimes all three at once). As the year ended, I was able to slow down and loosen up my approach, tackling both ambitious round-ups and impulsive capsules.

Subjects include several silent comedies, a trio of political thrillers, a meta-analysis of The Magnificent Ambersons' aesthetic decline, a collection of every Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers dance sequence, and my first year-end tribute to favorite pieces by other bloggers.

The polemical The Way We Weren't: Art Under Bush, my highlight for this period, offers a thorough account of how I perceived the passing zeitgeist at this time.


The Magnificent Ambersons
With the election over, I returned to classic film reviews, starting with the eerie way that (forced) form echoes content in Orson Welles' mutilated masterpiece

Three Little Pigs
Disney's unexpected aesthetic weirdness (and its more expected ideological bent) animate an early cartoon classic

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - America
Griffith attempts a Birth of a Nation approach to the American Revolution

Twin Peaks: May the Giant Be With You
On my first re-visit, I was surprised to discover I didn't really like the season 2 premiere anymore (since then, I've seesawed - usually ranking it below other Lynch but above other Peaks)

Dear Brigitte
Jimmy Stewart and his math genius son live on a houseboat where the boy builds a mid-sixties computer and is rewarded with a trip to meet his idol, Brigitte Bardot playing herself (not making this up, I swear)

X does not mark the spot
Oscars for each letter of the alphabet

The silent Ben-Hur, with some surprising differences from the '59 version I grew up with

The Killing
Stanley Kubrick shines in early outing (a film I'd cover several times on the site, usually in conjunction with The Asphalt Jungle)

Free-form Fairly Tales - A Tex Avery Trio
Avery's ultra-modern riffs on the classic fairy tales: A Bear's Tale updates Goldilocks, Red Hot Riding Hood modernizes Little Red Riding Hood, and Wolf Blitz puts Three Little Pigs on a World War II footing

Twin Peaks: Coma
Despite misgivings about the previous episode, I was totally on board again for episode 9, captured by its unique, almost understated charms (though there's still a surprising number of big moments)

The Naked Spur
My first Anthony Mann western

The Trip
Roger Corman's LSD trip spurred some musings on the unique nature of the sixties zeitgeist

Quantum of Solace
Scattershot thoughts on a James Bond movie

Twin Peaks: The Man Behind Glass
We finally meet the mysterious Harold in episode 10

Twin Peaks: Laura's Secret Diary
Messy writer's room and ambitious young director make for uneven episode 11 with some very sharp visual moments

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - Sally of the Sawdust
D.W. & W.C. team up for a silent comedy/melodrama

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - The Battle of the Sexes
Griffith embraces a modern vibe with his Roaring Twenties tale

Twin Peaks: The Orchid's Curse
Underrated episode 12 closes with a dual climax at One Eyed Jack's and Harold's home

Twin Peaks: Demons
Lesli Linka Glatter's best episode, the best non-Lynch of season 2, episode 13 has a ton of great character moments and offers Al Strobel a juicy steak of a scene to bite into

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - Abraham Lincoln
Griffith attempts to create the anti-Birth of a Nation (or as close as he could come to that) with his first talkie

Twin Peaks: Lonely Souls
And then...the killer's reveal.

The Freshman & The Kid Brother
Two Harold Lloyd comedies reveal the angle he takes to distinguish himself from Chaplin and Keaton (as well as what they have in common)

Seven Chances
Buster Keaton builds to one of his craziest climaxes

Twin Peaks: Drive With a Dead Girl
With a jarring return to form after Lynch's penultimate episode, episode 15 experiments with showing the killer's point of view more than the detective's

Twin Peaks: Arbitrary Law
Mixed feelings about how the Laura Palmer mystery concludes in episode 16

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - The Struggle
Raw, virtually forgotten Griffith talkie - his last movie - took me by surprise

November Overlook
Highlights from November 2008


Apropos of Nothing
A simple YouTube clip - maybe my favorite sequence of all time

Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
In-depth biography of a slimy political operative

Apropos of Something
Another clip - when I stumbled across this one while channel-surfing at the turn of the millennium I had absolutely no context for what I was seeing

A young Sergei Eisenstein's breakthrough feature

Twin Peaks: Beyond Life and Death
Skipping most of the post-mystery episodes to cover the season 2 finale

The Parallax View
This seventies political thriller packs a dozen different movies into one

The Conversation
Francis Ford Coppola's spare, paranoid follow-up to The Godfather

Enemy of the State
Tony Scott's thriller tips its hat to the seventies but has a very nineties cast and a very zeroes story

Shine On You Crazy Diamonds...
My illustrated picks for a favorite actresses meme making the rounds at the time

Gus Van Sant's biopic of the gay rights trailblazer

Walt Disney On the Front Lines
A collection stuffed with Disney's World War II propaganda cartoons

THE AUTEURS - D.W. Griffith
Concluding the Griffith series

The Way We Weren't: Art Under Bush
Newsweek collected many perspectives on "the ways artists responded to the Bush era" and I found most of it pretty risible. This was my response.

A Quick One - Australia
I wasn't crazy about this Baz Luhrman epic

A Quick One - Behind the scenes of Reflections in a Golden Eye
Fascinating peek at life on a John Huston set

A Quick One - 1969
How the eighties see the sixties (a topic I returned to several times)

A Quick One - The Mortal Storm
Hollywood - or at least a few within it - take on the Nazis as they roll across Europe

A Quick One - The Country Girl
I'd heard a bit about this film (mostly for Grace Kelly's role) but was unprepared for how amazing Bing Crosby is

A Quick One - The Wicker Man
"Horror/musical/comedy" only begins to scratch the surface

A Quick One - Fire in the Sky
They cast the kid from E.T. in perhaps the most terrifying alien encounter in cinema history (albeit not as the abductee himself)

Some Came Running & Kiss Me Deadly
Two fifties films (or, in different ways, forties/fifties/sixties films) examined side by side

Astaire and Rogers
Every Astaire-Rogers dance sequence, for study and enjoyment

December Overlook
Highlights of December 2008

The Dancing Image in 2008
Finishing off 2008 with a full round-up of highlights - and favorite pieces by other bloggers

(I covered this period on Episode 3 of my Patreon podcast)

Next: Restless Hibernation (January - March 2009)
(in which, my big projects complete, I flit around for a new focus or approach)

Previous: Engaging with the Election (October - November 2008)

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