The 1001 Movies Podcast
Episode 56: The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

"I told you he was a spirit. If you're his friend, you can talk to him whenever you want. Just close your eyes and call him... It's me, Ana... It's me, Ana..."

Hailed by some as the single best movie to ever come out of Spain, The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) is the directorial debut of Victor Erice.  Inspired by James Whale's Frankenstein (1931), this isn't a horror movie, but rather the story of the imagination and curiosity of a little girl in a tiny Castilian village in the early 1940's.

Deliberately paced and beautifully photographed, The Spirit of the Beehive was the debut of child actress Ana Torrent, who is now a household name in Spain and works extensively in film and television.  Despite the film's critical success, Erice has only made three movies since, including one in 2016.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_56_The_Spirit_of_the_Beehive_1973.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 55: Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)

Although he's primarily known for dark films like The Seventh Seal (1957) and Persona (1966), Ingmar Bergman skyrocketed to fame with Smiles of Summer Night (1955), a surprising quaint little farce in the nature of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Featuring a leading cast used in previous films (most notably Gunnar Bjornstrand and Eva Dahlbeck), Bergman's script explores the sexuality of a myriad of people from different social sets; of course, since this was made in 1955, the sexuality is conveyed in subtext beneath some clever dialogue and witty repartee, which is really where all the fun is in this film.  Bergman would go on to win an award for Best Poetic Humor at the Cannes Film Festival, and Swedish cinema hasn't been the same since.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page. 

Direct download: Episode_55_Smiles_of_a_Summer_Night_1955.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 54: Day for Night (1973)

"What is a film director?  A man who's asked questions about everything.  Sometimes he knows the answers."

Day for Night (1973) is probably popular in the history of cinema for creating a rift between two founders of the French New Wave, Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.  Truffaut was accused by Godard (and others) of selling out with this film, presumably by catering to the masses and also lying about his own personal life in the script.

Either way you look at it, Day for Night is not a love letter to cinema, but the procedure of creating cinema.  Told in a documentary style, it depicts the drama among the cast and crew of a typical (and not very good) movie.  It is Truffaut's comical commentary on his professional world, and remains, at its very least, a delightful little trifle of a movie.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_54_Day_for_Night_1973.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 53: Le jour se leve (1939)

"You're the type women fall in love with...I'm the type that interests them."

Poetic realism, which was embraced by a number of European directors in the 1930's and 1940's, is by definition an exercise in anguish; these stories often involved love triangles, backstabbing, and an ending that inevitably would spiral into tragedy.  In other words, not your typical Hollywood fare of the time.

Marcel Carne's Le jour se leve (1939) is the epitome of poetic realism, although nowadays it's most likely known for being one of the first films (if not the first film) to exercise the flashback method of storytelling.  A man has shot a man to death in an apartment stairway.  As the facts behind the murder unfold, we learn that the murderer is not the evil man he seems, and the victim may have deserved it.  Either way, it's not going to end well.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_53_Le_jour_se_leve_1939.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 52: Django Unchained (2012)

"Kill white people and get paid for it?  What's not to like?"

For those of you that were waiting for us to cover a film that's a little more "contemporary", wait no more!  We present a discussion on Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (2012), a story about slavery, revenge, and everything in between.

By 2012, Tarantino had grown from the new darling of independent features to a Hollywood behemoth, so far from the roots he planted with Reservoir Dogs (1992).  From Pulp Fiction (1994) to The Hateful Eight (2015), his films have delighted millions, but some have questioned whether or not he has taken his glorification of violence too far.  That still doesn't preclude Django Unchained from being one of his most popular masterpieces.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_52_Django_Unchained_2012.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 51: The Rapture (1991)

"Instead of doing heroin, you're doing God."

What does it take to get into heaven?  Do you need to go to church every Sunday?  Or do you just need to be a good person?  And what if you're a good person that, according to the rules set forth in the Bible, happens to be a huger sinner?  Are the two mutually exclusive?  Director and screenwriter Michael Tolkin tackles these questions (and much more) in The Rapture (1991), starring Mimi Rogers and David Duchovny.

Tolkin's contributions to movies have been scant at best: he previously wrote the screenplay for Gleaming the Cube (1989) and would later director his second and (to date) last film, The New Age (1994) Ironically, The Rapture remains a steadfastly strong film, although its popularity has dwindled in the 25 years since its release.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

 

Direct download: Episode_51_The_Rapture_1991.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 50: Jezebel (1938)

"I'm thinkin' of a woman called Jezebel who did evil in the sight of God!"

The late 1930's were quite a popular time for dramas about Southern belles.  Bette Davis had just come off winning an Academy Award for Dangerous (1935) when she jokingly passed on the role for Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), Jack Warner offered her the lead role in Jezebel (1938).

The film is the story of Julie Marsden, a New Orleans debutante who is shunned when she dares to wear a red dress to a ball.  For me, the film succeeds not as a drama, but as a showcase for Bette Davis, who seems to take so many more chances that her costars.  Jezebel would earn her a second Academy Award.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_50_Jezebel_1938.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 49: The Unknown (1927)

"No one will get her...no one but me!"

Filmmaker Tod Browning and actor Lon Chaney were a professional match made in heaven.  With part of his youth spent in the circus, Browning's stories centered mostly about the freaks and lowlifes of criminal society.  Chaney, who had thrilled thousands with The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) was known as "The Man of a Thousand Faces", and his abilities uniquely matched the needs of Browning's bizarre little scripts.

The Unknown (1927) was one of several collaborations between Browning and Chaney and, aside from being the film that began Joan Crawford's road to stardom, it's also a film that remains deeply murderously morbid to this day.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_49_The_Unknown_1927.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 48: Stagecoach (1939)

"If there's anything I don't like, it's driving a stagecoach through Apache country."

It just doesn't get more American than John Ford.  Starting his career during the silent film era, Ford soon became the father of the American Western, from silent epics like The Iron Horse (1924) to classics like The Searchers (1956).

Stagecoach (1939) is the first film Ford made starring John Wayne, and it was a partnership that would last throughout both men's careers.  Although Stagecoach is a Western at heart, it's also a fascinating little character study, plucking several seemingly unrelated and different people and having them interact.  Thomas Mitchell won an Oscar for his portrayal of the drunken Doc Boone.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_48_Stagecoach_1939.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 47: Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

"Why must fireflies die so young?"

Long before Studio Ghibli put itself on the map with Spirited Away (2001), the production company's co-founder, Isao Takahata, made a little animated film called Grave of the Fireflies (1988), a simple but remarkably depressing story about two sibling children struggling to survive after their Japanese town is firebombed.

Often overlooked for some of Studio Ghibli's other productions, Grave of the Fireflies delivers an emotional gut punch that is surprising effective for an animated feature.  Bring tissues.  You have been warned.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_47_Grave_of_the_Fireflies_1988.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 46: Ace in the Hole (1951)

"It's a good story today.  Tomorrow, they'll wrap a fish in it."

Billy Wilder is one of Hollywood's most popular classic directors, and many of his films continue to amuse and thrill audiences to this day.  Ace in the Hole (1951) was a bit of a departure for Wilder, with an unsympathetic protagonist (played brilliantly by Kirk Douglas) and a tragic ending that's a far cry from Wilder's Some Like it Hot (1959).

Ace in the Hole is about blind ambition and how far some would go for fame and fortune, as well as crossing the line without knowing it until it's too late.  The film bombed on its release, but is now regarded as one of Wilder's most influential films.

 

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_46_Ace_in_the_Hole_1951.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 45: The Golden Coach (1953)

"At the end of the second act, when Colombine goes, driven away by her masters, there is a tradition you seem not to know.  The comedians bow to her."

Known primarily for his films like Grand Illusion (1937) and Rules of the Game (1939), Jean Renoir left France in the 1940's to make movies in Hollywood.  Europe eventually drew him back, however, and in the 1950's he made a trio of films which were later called his "Stage and Spectacle" trilogy by some.  The first of these was The Golden Coach (1953).

A fable about wealth and opulence when it's injected with humility in the form of a charming actress named Camilla (played by Anna Magnani), The Golden Coach is not widely known as one of Renoir's best films, but this doesn't lessen the fact that it's a delightful little drama peppered with sweet comedy.  It is indeed a surprising little gem.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_45_The_Golden_Coach_1953.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 44: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

"Goodness is something to be chosen.  When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man."

Stanley Kubrick dropped his plans for making an epic biopic about the life of Napoleon Bonaparte to make Clockwork Orange (1971), based on the novel by Anthony Burgess.  Today it remains one of Kubrick's most infamous films, with images rarely seen in popular cinema, but nevertheless stunned critics and audiences alike with its artful prose and cinematography that has since become a Kubrick trademark.

Although it was popular (snagging Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing), the film had its fair share of controversy, and until Kubrick's death had a self-imposed ban in the United Kingdom.  Today it is held up as one of the greatest works of 1970's cinema, and for obvious reasons.

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_44_A_Clockwork_Orange_1971.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Episode 43: Vampyr (1932)

"Accounts from many ages and lands tell of terrible demons called vampires.  Under the bright light of the full moon, they rise from their graves to suck the blood of children and young adults and thus prolong their shadowy existence."

Just after Dracula (1931) haunted American theaters, a Danish filmmaker named Carl Theodor Dreyer was testing the waters of European horror with Vampyr (1932), a simple tale with a paradoxical hallucinogenic plot that some argue topped Dreyer's previous masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928).

Vampyr is the story of a girl who is bitten by the titular monster and her family's efforts to cure her of the resulting disease, but it is told in such a way that viewers are challenged to figure out if what they are seeing is actually part of the plot, or a fever dream on the part of the protagonist.  Watching it is an experience not to be forgotten, and second viewings can be even better; even if one were to criticize its simplistic story, it still stands alone 84 years later as a bizarre work of art and an outstanding early contribution to the horror genre.

Have a comment or a question for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_43_Vampyr_1932.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Episode 42: Le samourai (1967)

"He's a lone wolf."

"He's a wounded wolf; now there will be a trail.  He must be disposed of quickly."

French director Jean-Pierre Melville may not be known to modern audiences, but in France in the 1960's he was a true popular and independent filmmaker, two things that could paradoxically spell success for a director at that time and place.

"Le samourai" (1967) features nary a samurai (nor anything else Japanese, for that matter).  It's about a hitman named Jef who finds himself the target of a client after completing a job for him.  A thriller with obvious neorealist influences, it's a tight portrait of a lonely professional with bare necessities...and a twist ending!

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_42_Le_samourai_1967.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Episode 41: To Be or Not to Be (1942)

"The named a brandy after Napoleon, they made a herring out of Bismarck, and the Fuhrer is going to end up as a piece of cheese!"

Ernst Lubitsch was one of Hollywood's biggest imports in the 1930's and 1940's, directing comedies starring Hollywood names like Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo and The Shop Around the Corner (1940) with James Stewart.  He titillated the censors with films about sex...without scripts that hardly mentioned sex at all?

As Europe became embroiled in World War II, Lubitsch made To Be or Not to Be (1942), a film that would poke fun at another taboo: Adolf Hitler.  Audiences and critics at the time hated it, but through the years it's become Lubitsch's most popular film, earning cult status with a script filled with innuendos and dark humor and fantastic performances by Jack Benny and Carole Lombard.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_41_To_Be_or_Not_to_Be_1942.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Episode 40: The Battle of Algiers (1965)

"It's hard to start a revolution.  Even harder to continue it.  And hardest of all to win it.  But, it's only afterwards, when we have won, that the true difficulties begin.  In short, Ali, there's still much to do."

In our post-9/11 world, it's difficult to understand a culture that would be willing to kill innocent people for its cause, and to sympathize with it is downright impossible.  It's confounding that someone made a film in the 1960's about Muslim nationalists that is unbelievably sympathetic to their cause...and, more importantly, makes the viewer feel the same.

"The Battle of Algiers" (1965) was directed by Gillo Pontecorvo at a time when Algeria was occupied by France, and the citizens of Algiers found themselves resorting to terrorism to fight for independence.  It's depressing, shocking, and jaw-dropping...to say the least.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_40_The_Battle_of_Algiers_1965.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Episode 39: Amarcord (1973)

Enough can't be said about the life and films of Federico Fellini.  One of the greatest filmmakers of all time, his movies merge bizarrely between the autobiographical and the surreal.  He was taunted by both women and fascism, and both of these were expressed in Amarcord (1973) his most autobiographical of all his films.

Amarcord is the picaresque (and picturesque) story of a year in the life of the tiny Italian town of Rimini, Fellini's birthplace and his home throughout his youth.  Although none of the events or characters depicted in the film directly reflect anything in reality, they are the result of a 52-year-old man's jumbled memories of many years before.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_39_Amarcord_1973.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Episode 38: The Conversation (1974)

The 1970's were good for Francis Ford Coppola.  In 1972 he made movie history with The Godfather, followed it with the sequel two years later, and closed the decade with his bleak outlook on Vietnam with Apocalypse Now.

Only Coppola purists seem to remember The Conversation (1974), a suspense thriller starring Gene Hackman as Harry Caul, a paranoid loner of a surveillance man who hears more than he bargains for when he tapes a conversation between a cheating wife and her lover.  The film would go on to be nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Sound.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_38_The_Conversation_1974.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Episode 37: Sleeper (1973)

"I'm not really the heroic type.  I was beat up by Quakers."

Before the scandal that almost ruined his career and before he wrote and directed enough films to fill a library, Woody Allen was (next to Mel Brooks) the king of American comedy cinema.

Sleeper, his sardonic take on the evolution of lifestyles and politics in the distant, has all the trademarks that made Allen so popular: his self-deprecating and sardonic wit, slapstick, and common co-star Diane Keaton.  It's a hilarious look at the early career of one of the most prolific American directors.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

 

Direct download: Episode_37_Sleeper_1973.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 36: Ariel (1988)

"What shall we do now?"  "Let's get married and have a child."  "I already have a child."  "That's good.  We'll spare some time."  ""Are you always so self-confident?"  "This is the first time."

You've probably never heard of Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki, but if you enjoy the dry, black humor of directors like David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino, you're in for a treat.

Kaurismaki made films about the struggle of blue collar workers, usually in industrial cities like Helsinki and La Havre.  Ariel is his second in his "proletariat trilogy", preceded by Shadows in Paradise (1986) and followed by The Match Factory Girl (1990).  All three films are available in a set on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

 

Direct download: Episode_36_Ariel_1988.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 35: Captain Blood (1935)

"It's a truly royal clemency we're granted, my friends...one well worthy of King James.  He spares us the mercifully quick extinction of the hangman's rope...and gives us the slow death of slavery.  He grants us our lives in exchange for living death.  Faith, it's an uncertain world entirely."

Before Errol Flynn became a household name as a handsome and swashbuckling Hollywood star, Warner Brothers rolled the dice and cast him, an unknown actor from Tasmania, in Captain Blood, its answer to the up-and-coming craze of pirate pictures among audiences at the time.

Flynn instantly became a Hollywood darling opposite the already popular Olivia de Havilland, and the two would have the beginnings of a wonderful career together.  Flynn's life and popularity were short-lived, however, when his wild lifestyle caught up with him at a relatively young age.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

 

Direct download: Episode_35_Captain_Blood_1935.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 34: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

"I thought we'd be together only in death."

Danny Boyle's film about a poor teen from Mumbai who wins big on India's version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire won the hearts of viewers everywhere, and it was released just in time to be nominated and snag a number of Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Featuring a yet-unknown Dev Patel, the film is a love story and a drama wrapped up and presented to Western audiences as a Bollywood fairy tale.  Boyle walked away with an Oscar, proving to his critics that he could do more than make movies about drug addicts and zombies.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

 

 

 

Direct download: Episode_34_Slumdog_Millionaire_2008.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 33: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

"I'm afraid to close my eyes, I'm afraid to open them."

The term "viral marketing" wasn't known in 1999 in the months before The Blair Witch Project premiered, but it practically invented the process.  With a rumor mill that began at the Cannes Film Festival, a creepy website, and stories that the film was actual found footage discovered in the woods after the disappearances of three hapless film students, it was destined for greatness.

The film began the "found footage" craze, and founded a sub-genre that is generally frowned upon today as lazy and cheap.  Nevertheless, props should be given to the film for its influence on horror and the effect it still has on audiences who dare to watch it in the dark.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @1001MoviesPC, and look for the podcast's Facebook page.

Direct download: Episode_33_The_Blair_Witch_Project_1999.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Episode 32: The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1965)

Based on the novel of the same name by Johan Daisne, Andre Delvaux's The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1965) is quite possibly Belgium's most critically acclaimed film.  the first of Delvaux's short directorial career, it's a story of obsession, anxiety, and loneliness, all couched in the facade of a psychological thriller.

Delvaux would go on to make a handful of films (including Un soir, un train [1968], also based on a book by Daisne) until the late 1980's, although none would bring him as much acclaim as The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short.  He died in 2002.

Have a question or comment for the host?  Email Sean at 1001moviespodcast@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter via @1001MoviesPC.

Direct download: Episode_32_The_Man_Who_Had_His_Hair_Cut_Short_1965.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01pm CDT

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