4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.
Welcome to a special Ides of March edition of 4 Shots From 4 Films. These 4 shots are taken from 4 diverse films about the Roman Empire (which, of course, was a direct result of events that occurred long ago on the Ides of March).
4 Shots From 4 Films
Cleopatra (1963, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964, dir by Anthony Mann)
Here’s how it works. Earlier today, I put on a blindfold and then I randomly groped through my DVD collection until I had managed to pull out ten movies. I then promptly stubbed my big toe on the coffee table, fell down to the floor, and spent about 15 minutes cursing and crying. Because, seriously, it hurt! Anyway, I then took off the blindfold and looked over the 10 movies I had randomly selected. Two of them — Dracula A.D. 1972 and A Blade in the Dark — were movies that I had already reviewed on this site. So I put them back and I replaced them with two movies of my own choosing — in this case, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Between now and next Sunday (March 27th), people will hopefully vote in this poll. On Sunday, I will watch and review whichever movie has received the most votes. Even if that movie turns out to be Incubus. *shudder* (Have I mentioned how much I love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?)
Now, of course, there’s always the possibility that no one will vote in this poll and I’ll end up looking silly. Those are the risks you take when you set up an online poll. However, I have a backup plan. If nobody votes, I will just spend every day next week shopping for purses at Northpark Mall and then blogging about it. And by that, I mean blogging every single little detail. So, it’s a win-win for me.
Anyway, here’s the list of the 10 films:
1) Barbarella— From 1968, Jane Fonda plays Barbarella who flies around space while getting molested by …. well, everyone. Directed by Roger Vadim.
2) Barry Lyndon — From 1975, this best picture nominee is director Stanley Kubrick’s legendary recreation of 18th-century Europe and the rogues who live there.
3) Caligula — Yes, that Caligula. From 1979, it’s time for decadence, blood, and nudity in the Roman Empire. Starring Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, John Gielgud, John Steiner, and Theresa Ann Savoy.
4) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — Oh my God, I love this movie. Jim Carrey breaks up with Kate Winslet and deals with the pain by getting his mind erased by Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, and an amazingly creepy Elijah Wood.
5) Incubus — From 1969, this low-budget supernatural thriller not only stars a young William Shatner but it also features the entire cast speaking in Esperanto. For. The. Entire. Movie.
6) Inland Empire — If you want to give Lisa nightmares, you can vote for David Lynch’s disturbing 3-hour film about lost identity, sexual repression, human trafficking, and talking rabbits.
7) Kiss Me Deadly — From 1955, this Robert Aldrich-directed cult classic features hard-boiled P.I. Mike Hammer and a host of others chasing after a mysterious glowing box and accidentally destroying the world in the process.
8 ) Mandingo — From 1975, this infamous little film is a look at slavery, incest, and rheumatism in the pre-Civil War South. Starring James Mason, Ken Norton, Perry King, and Susan George. Supposedly a really offensive movie, one I haven’t sat down and watched yet.
9) Sunset Boulevard — From 1950, hack screenwriter William Holden ends up the kept man of psychotic former screen goddess Gloria Swanson. Directed by Billy Wilder.
10) The Unbearable Lightness of Being — From 1988, Philip L. Kaufman’s adaptation of Milan Kundera’s classic novel (one of my favorite books, by the way) features Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, and Lena Olin having sex and dealing with ennui. After I first saw this movie, I insisted on wearing a hat just like Lena Olin did.
Everyone, except for me, is eligible to vote. Vote as often as you want. The poll is now open until Sunday, March 27th.
(Edit: Voting is now closed but check below for the results! — Lisa)
I can’t believe I haven’t featured the trailer from the infamous Caligula yet. There’s actually several trailers to choose from as this film was released in so many different versions. I’m going with this one because Bob Guccione’s pompous voice over manages to be amusing, annoying, and yet oddly charming.
One of the lesser known facts about Caligula is that, while Caligula was being filmed, Italian director Joe D’Amato decided to get in on all the publicity by making his own low-budget rip-off, this one co-starring his frequent muse Laura Gemser (who had previously starred in the Black Emanuelle series and would later design the goblin costumes in Troll 2). With all the drama around the production of Caligula, Caligula: The Untold Story actually ended up being released first.
I don’t really love this trailer, to be honest. It’s actually a bit dull and it doesn’t even allow us to hear the guy with the glasses go, “Oh my Godddddddddd!” But I’m including it anyway because how can you not include Troll 2? Plus, I also rewatched the documentary Best Worst Movie a few days ago so I’ve got Troll 2 on the mind.
Now, this is a trailer! It’s interesting that Troll 2 is a bizarre and busy film with a boring trailer whereas the original Troll is a boring film with a bizarre and busy trailer. Also, listen carefully to the trailer’s narrator because you don’t want to miss the prophetic Harry Potter reference…
“El Topo is bloody…El Topo is sexual…” It’s also widely cited as being the first midnight cult film. It’s also one that I’ve been meaning to review on this site for a while. However, until then, here’s the trailer. (By the way, some might debate whether El Topo should be included here. What they’re forgetting is that a good deal of the 70s Grindhouse fare were actually misunderstood art films. Plus, El Topo did play almost exclusively in grindhouse theaters until John Lennon saw it and declared it his favorite film of all time.)
When the infamous epic Caligula was first released back in 1979, a disco version of Caligula’s love theme — We Are One — was also released as a promotional gimmick. If you’ve sat through the behind-the-scenes footage on the Caligula Imperial Edition DVD, this song has probably been forever branded on your brain.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
This song is so over-the-top, so blatantly exploitive, so insidiously catchy, and so totally inappropriate for the film it was written for that it simply cannot be ignored. To me, this song represents everything that makes the Grindhouse great.
(As well, I hope whoever was playing bass got paid extra…)
While we’re on the subject, I’m also going to include the opening credits of Caligula because I’ve always liked the use of Profokiev’s Romeo and Juliet.
(I also love the fact that the screenplay is credited as being adapted from a script by Gore Vidal yet no one is given credit for doing the adapting, the editing is credited to “the production,” and director Tinto Brass is credited with “principal photography.”)