zaterdag 8 oktober 2011

Stories behind some movies

Going back in time
One of the things I love about movies, is that you can go back in time. The first showing of a short film was in 1895 and even though a lot of movies didn't survive, a lot of them did over the years. The beauty of such movies is the glimps you can get from that period. For me it's not just history, but also the way movies were made. When I watch The Secret of Delft (1917) I see the way that actors used to act in a theatric way. Grand gestures and a lot mimic in their faces. You get information from intertitles, or you can read lips. And in this same movie one of the actors, Anne Bos, did her own stunts. She was tied to the wing of a mill that made her go upside down several times. In case it wasn't clear yet, this movie is Dutch. The wind mill might haven given that away, but also the secret of Delft itself. Because it's a story about the delft-ware, which is one of the export products of the Netherlands.
So it says something about the time. Also because Anne Bos did her own stunts. That doesn't just mean that she's an amazing actrice, but it also shows a sense of female empowerment. And seeing it in the time of the First World War and next to the suffragettes, I think it can say a lot about that time period.  This is one of the oldest movies I have seen, but I never really dug deeper into her background. Not untill I got the assignment for one of my classes. That is how I found out that movies and the stars in them can say a lot about how a movie was made, the period it was made in and the history surrounding it.

Like The Secret of Delft, there is another movie that I saw way too late in my oppinion. That movie is Singin' in the Rain (1952). I think I first saw this movie, about two or three years ago. My parents had mentioned it, but I never knew what it was about. And when I watched it, I completely fell in love with it. I'm a total sucker for musicals, so that's a big plus. But it's also about a very important change in the movie industry, namely the talkies. That's what they called the first movies that had sound (read: dialogue) in them. The dialogue could actually be heard, instead of just being read in the intertitles. In a way it shows the history of making movies and the problems they face when talkies entered. This movie didn't just focus on this big event and used songs, it was also really fun with great songs and a good storyline.  Great names such as Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Conner also made this a wonderful movie.

Rebel Without a Cause
Writing about movies through time that mean a lot to me, I also have to name this one. Like the others before, Rebel Without a Cause (1955) is a gem in the entire movie history if you ask me. Truth be told, I really wanted to see James Dean in a movie. The first time I ever heard this name was in an episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, where Sabrina's crush, Harvey, dresses up as James Dean for Halloween. This immediatly got my attention, but, again, I didn't see this movie until I started my bachelor. I came across this movie, and his name, in a college about film history and I finally decided to by the movie. What I saw when I watched it was a total surprise. I figured if guys would have him as an idol, he would probably bad-ass. And with a movie title like that, who could think anything different. But the first look I got from him was as a troubled teenage boy, who can't stand to see his parents fight over everything and I was just sold. I fell in love with him right away. His performance was touching. This may be because of my lack of knowledge, but I figured that in that time, if you were a rebel, you would stand up to your parents, smoke and race through the streets. Which also happened. But in this movie he showed a beautiful side about how hard it is to be a teenage boy with the troubles of that time (just after the Second World War). It made me want to see more of him an to my great dissappointment I found out he only played in two other movies: East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956). James Dean appeared in several tv series, but he never even got to see the premiere of his last movie. He died at the age of 24 in a car accident, but lived on as an icon.

There is a lot more to these movies that I outlined above. I might go deeper into them in an other blog, but for now I will just leave whoever reads this with these wonderful titles and a glimps in the wonderful stories that lie behind them.

p.s. I do not own any of this pictures. I found them online.