Saturday, November 01, 2008

King Vidor

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1982 of film director King Vidor. He directed his first film in 1913 and his last in 1959, a long career.

Senses of Cinema has an article which closes this way:
In his lifetime, he was acclaimed and attended retrospectives of his work, but his reputation is not as high as it once was. Maybe that's because his films are both too simple and too sophisticated for easy digestion. In his autobiography, A Tree is a Tree (1953), he states his case in a nutshell:
I believe that every one of us knows that his major job on earth is to make some contribution, no matter how small, to this inexorable movement of human progress. The march of man, as I see it, is not from the cradle to the grave. It is instead, from the animal or physical to the spiritual. The airplane, the atom bomb, radio, radar, television are all evidences of the urge to overcome the limitations of the physical in favor of the freedom of the spirit. Man, whether he is conscious of it or not, knows deep inside that he has a definite upward mission to perform during the time of his life span. He knows that the purpose of his life cannot be stated in terms of ultimate oblivion.
FilmReference.com has an overview.

The Crowd (1928 silent) trailer:



Slant Magazine has named it one of the 100 essential films and calls it a "masterpiece". SFGate says that of "the silent films acclaimed as masterpieces" this one deserves the title: "It's as good as people say, and it's worth seeing now." Here are some discussion questions for The Crowd and a few links to other resources. The Crowd is one of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. The Cinema Styles blog has an article. Another Old Movie Blog also has posted an article.

Bird of Paradise (1932):

The New York Times review says, "King Vidor has produced a languid film with many beautifully photographed scenes" but adds that "it takes more than lovely scenes to make a really satisfactory entertainment".

Our Daily Bread (1934):

The New York Times has a review.

Stella Dallas (1937), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Alan Hale, Sr.:
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11. Stella Dallas, like The Crowd, is listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

The Citadel (1938) part 1:

part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13

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