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 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 12:14 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

I can't believe the idiot I find myself to be sometimes. It wasn't untill I viewed Criterion's recent 'The 49th Parallel' for the first time that I put 1+1 together. THIS is the 1941 film originally listed as the Academy Award nominee for 'Best Picture' and Winner of the Oscar for Best Screenplay by Emeric Pressberger, Directed by Michael Powell that in The US was called 'The Invaders'. I didn't realize it. The Chandos release of Ralph Vaughn Williams suite (Vaughn Williams vol.2) well, I didn't read the booklet! I had to 'google' 49th Parallel to find out it was known in 1941 as 'The Invaders'. I'd no idea. HOWEVER, that said, I found this film so INCREDIBLY EXCITING and exquisitly written by Pressberger and Directed by Powell that after returning it to Netflix, I went out to BUY the film! It is a propaganda film (for the still neutral United States) and a loving tribute to Canada. The score is terrific and I couldn't understand the ommission of a nomination for Ralph Vaughn Williams here; in any event an excellent score.
I was amazed at the seemingly effortless but sensational performances by Laurence Olivier as a French Canadian (who's got some great lines) Raymond Massey towards the end as an awol Canadian Soldier. And even Leslie Howard in a rather strange characterization. There are echos (you have to strain a bit to see them) of 'Brokeback Mountain' with the Leslie Howard scenes near the end. He's living in a tee-pee alone, with two cowboys sharing a separate tee-pee in the same spot used in the film of 'Brokeback Mountain', in Banff, Alberta. There are even scenes in Canmore and 'The Three Sisters' mountain and the Lake Louise areas that would be utilized many years later for another film of two cowboys sharing not a tee-pee but a tent. The black and white cinematography is outstanding as well and I was surprised to see Freddie Young's name listed as the d.p! This was all in all a superb film and now it's my favorite of Director Michael Powell. (You've probably never seen Nazi's in a film that you'll HATE as much as the Nazi's portrayed in THIS film are!)

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 2:06 PM   
 By:   Timmer   (Member)

Ahhhhh it is indeed a great film, I absolutely love it!

So many fantastic moments in this film, my favourite being the German ( farm workers? ) not joining in on the Nazi salute and, of course, the great scene with Massey on the train.

I believe many of those involved in the film including the actors and composer RVW gave their services for free.

 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 2:24 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Not to mention Howard as a pipe-smoking anthropologist in a tepee, researching Native American archaeology whilst the Nazis try to convert him to racial theories.

Olivier's accent was ridiculed by critics who didn't realise that French-Canadians really do speak that way. Apart from some Calgary footage and additional photography, I don't think many of the participants saw much of Canada.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 2:29 PM   
 By:   crazyunclerolo   (Member)

I'm surprised to hear anyone call this film their favorite Powell! Montana Dave, what about THE RED SHOES, BLACK NARCISSUS, I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING, and THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, just to name a few?

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 2:37 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

I didn't say it was his BEST. The word BEST is used in the sentence '..it was nominated for BEST PICTURE' (It WAS nominated for Best Picture.) I said it was my 'Favorite' of his now. And I've loved all his others particularly 'Black Narcissus' and 'Stairway to Heaven'. (Did he do that one?) But after viewing 'The 49th Parallel' it's now my FAVORITE. I don't mean to diminish any of your feelings for any of his other films...

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   IloveJerry   (Member)

I just rented this, haven't seen it before. Should have know it would be good, Black Narcisis is one of my favorite films.

This is one of those movies for directors, like Seven samauri or Citizen Kane. The storyline, dialogue, acting and cinematography are textbook examples of fine craftmanship. I sat there playing back scene after scene because they were done so well. Its so rare

A topic like this never comes up. I'm curious what would you say are the finest films?

Besides the Lean, Kubrick, Kurisowa, Huston films, those are obvious.



 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 4:09 PM   
 By:   'Lenny Bruce' Marshall   (Member)

Along with CITIZEN KANE the best film of the decade.

And it IS Powell's best film ; which is saying a lot!

Looked at now it doesn't come across as "propaganda". Instead, it is a moving allegory of the battle of freedom loving people versus dictators and hatemongers.
Or, as a parable of WWII.

There are only two scores pre-1945 that I love:
LOST HORIZON & 49TH PARALLEL.

If you have never seen it,prepared to be thrilled and moved. If you don't get chills watching the opening titles with the majestic Canadian Rockies and the music of RVW, you need a blood transfusion>

bruce marshall

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 5:27 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Back in the 80's, a young Canadian neighbor in my building in Hollywood told me she was visiting a friend of hers who was staying with a relative of hers, "a TV actor from the fifties." When I asked if she knew his name, she said, "Raymond Massey." The upshot was that when I finally saw the tape I'd made of 49th PARALLEL off of Z Channel, it was at Mr. Massey's home. He hadn't seen it for many years. I remember his delight when Olivier came on: "Larry -- the best of all of us!" Happily, this became the first of many Massey movie nights for the next couple of years, until Ray passed away...

 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 6:18 PM   
 By:   Guenther K   (Member)

There is NO such thing as Powell's best film wink

He did so many... like Hitch, Wilder or Ford.

If you see a "best films/director book" and Powell isn't listed it's a good indicator the book is utter rubbish.

Why didn't RVW get an Oscar nomination? Well back in those days there were hardly any for British composers... Easdale deservedly won for the RED SHOES. Walton got a nom or two, but he lost to Easdale (understandably) or Friedhofer (not so, but just my opinion). RVW wasn't even nominated for Scott of the Antarctic in 1948 either.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 6:27 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

A wonderful film, Montana Dave, and a great score. I've always loved Vaughan Williams' stately main theme.




.....Back in the 80's, a young Canadian neighbor in my building in Hollywood told me she was visiting a friend of hers who was staying with a relative of hers, "a TV actor from the fifties." When I asked if she knew his name, she said, "Raymond Massey." The upshot was that when I finally saw the tape I'd made of 49th PARALLEL off of Z Channel, it was at Mr. Massey's home. He hadn't seen it for many years. I remember his delight when Olivier came on: "Larry -- the best of all of us!" Happily, this became the first of many Massey movie nights for the next couple of years, until Ray passed away.....

How lucky for you, Preston. Massey was always such a thoughtful and interesting performer, and, usually, sadly underrated considering his long time and impressive credits in the business. I'll bet he was a nice man, too, and probably modest about his accomplishments.





.....with two cowboys sharing a separate tee-pee in the same spot used in the film of 'Brokeback Mountain', in Banff, Alberta.....

Well, Montana Dave, if you are talking about BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, you must mean "two cowboys sharing a pee-pee....." smile

.....Or am I allowed to say that? smile


 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 6:54 PM   
 By:   'Lenny Bruce' Marshall   (Member)

There is NO such thing as Powell's best film wink

He did so many... like Hitch, Wilder or Ford.

If you see a "best films/director book" and Powell isn't listed it's a good indicator the book is utter rubbish.

Why didn't RVW get an Oscar nomination? Well back in those days there were hardly any for British composers... Easdale deservedly won for the RED SHOES. Walton got a nom or two, but he lost to Easdale (understandably) or Friedhofer (not so, but just my opinion). RVW wasn't even nominated for Scott of the Antarctic in 1948 either.


One thing I never quite got was the screenplay Oscar it won. It was something like "best original screen story" or something like that. Another film won for "best screenplay".

Maybe Manderley can'splain it>


brm

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 8:44 PM   
 By:   The_Mark_of_Score-O   (Member)

Apparently, Miklós Rózsa was the first choice of Powell and Pressburger (a fellow Hungarian, who'd become a good firend of Rózsa's) to score the film, but was unavailable since he decided to stay in America after accompanying Alexander Korda's THIEF OF BAGHDAD company to Hollywood in 1940.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 8:44 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Thanks, Mandereley. Ray's friendship was one of the joys and saving graces of my life.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 2, 2007 - 10:29 PM   
 By:   ryankeaveney   (Member)

Best quote of the Canadian national anthem in a film score. Ever!

Ryan

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2007 - 4:54 AM   
 By:   The_Mark_of_Score-O   (Member)

Best quote of the Canadian national anthem in a film score. Ever!

The anthem used in 1941 is not the one Canada uses now.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2007 - 5:26 AM   
 By:   crazyunclerolo   (Member)

I didn't say it was his BEST. The word BEST is used in the sentence '..it was nominated for BEST PICTURE' (It WAS nominated for Best Picture.) I said it was my 'Favorite' of his now. And I've loved all his others particularly 'Black Narcissus' and 'Stairway to Heaven'. (Did he do that one?) But after viewing 'The 49th Parallel' it's now my FAVORITE. I don't mean to diminish any of your feelings for any of his other films...

I was correcting my post to reflect that you said "favorite" rather than "best" while you were still composing your response, Dave. I can't argue with anybody picking a favorite, but I just wondered whether you'd seen those other films. Powell developed so much as a filmmaker after he did 49TH PARALLEL, with his groundbreaking use of color cinematography, to name just one aspect of his art. I like 49TH PARALLEL quite a bit myself, but it's limited by the mandate Powell was given to make a propaganda film. I thought that it was important for others reading this thread who've had no exposure to Powell's films that they might want to try some of those others, too.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2007 - 12:07 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Ahhhhh it is indeed a great film, I absolutely love it!

So many fantastic moments in this film, my favourite being the German ( farm workers? ) not joining in on the Nazi salute and, of course, the great scene with Massey on the train.

I believe many of those involved in the film including the actors and composer RVW gave their services for free.



Wasn't that great? I forget the name of that Religious Sect that was living in Canada, but it was so...life embracing and gentle. The 15 year old Glynnis Johns played the farm girl, but I forget the name of the 'leader' of the Religious Sect who was compassionate and slow to anger, he gave a powerful, understated performance as well. I enjoyed (near the end, in The Canadian Rockies at the Town's celebration) of the Canaian Mountie addressing the massed celebrants to 'Don't leave the area the escaped Nazis are amongst us - Look at the person beside you.... The the close-ups of the Native Americans (the Indians on horseback,silent,probing the faces of the crowd). It was all too exciting for THIS first time viewer! My all time films are an ecclectic mix, but tend to have a Social or Political theme to them. This film was just incredibly 'FREEDOM LOVING' and an unapologetic letter of love to the generous and spirited peoples of Canada.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2007 - 12:16 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

I just rented this, haven't seen it before. Should have know it would be good, Black Narcisis is one of my favorite films.

This is one of those movies for directors, like Seven samauri or Citizen Kane. The storyline, dialogue, acting and cinematography are textbook examples of fine craftmanship. I sat there playing back scene after scene because they were done so well. Its so rare

A topic like this never comes up. I'm curious what would you say are the finest films?

Besides the Lean, Kubrick, Kurisowa, Huston films, those are obvious.





I was enthralled by it's black & white cinematography as well, particularly in the scenes set around Banff and Lake Louise and Canmore/'The Three Sisters' Mountain. This must have been Freddie Young's (Fred Young) first films. I'd no idea he's started out so far back. I'd seen his name I think in 'Ivanhoe' back from I don't know, early 1950's? But he's certainly known for his works of 'Doctor Zhivago','Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Ryan's Daughter'. His work here is exemplory!

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2007 - 12:21 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Back in the 80's, a young Canadian neighbor in my building in Hollywood told me she was visiting a friend of hers who was staying with a relative of hers, "a TV actor from the fifties." When I asked if she knew his name, she said, "Raymond Massey." The upshot was that when I finally saw the tape I'd made of 49th PARALLEL off of Z Channel, it was at Mr. Massey's home. He hadn't seen it for many years. I remember his delight when Olivier came on: "Larry -- the best of all of us!" Happily, this became the first of many Massey movie nights for the next couple of years, until Ray passed away...

Thanks so much for this enlightening story! I have seen only a small handful of films starring Raymond Massey :'East of Eden', 'The Fountainhead', 'Arsenic and Old Lace', and this one is his most 'relaxed', certainly the most 'accessable' and admirable, even his voice sounded 'friendly and warm'. If he's done nothing else other than this his scenes in this film, it would have been fine. He was an underrated actor I think.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2007 - 12:30 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

A wonderful film, Montana Dave, and a great score. I've always loved Vaughan Williams' stately main theme.




.....Back in the 80's, a young Canadian neighbor in my building in Hollywood told me she was visiting a friend of hers who was staying with a relative of hers, "a TV actor from the fifties." When I asked if she knew his name, she said, "Raymond Massey." The upshot was that when I finally saw the tape I'd made of 49th PARALLEL off of Z Channel, it was at Mr. Massey's home. He hadn't seen it for many years. I remember his delight when Olivier came on: "Larry -- the best of all of us!" Happily, this became the first of many Massey movie nights for the next couple of years, until Ray passed away.....

How lucky for you, Preston. Massey was always such a thoughtful and interesting performer, and, usually, sadly underrated considering his long time and impressive credits in the business. I'll bet he was a nice man, too, and probably modest about his accomplishments.





.....with two cowboys sharing a separate tee-pee in the same spot used in the film of 'Brokeback Mountain', in Banff, Alberta.....

Well, Montana Dave, if you are talking about BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, you must mean "two cowboys sharing a pee-pee....." smile

.....Or am I allowed to say that? smile




Good ole' Manderley always up for extra innings! Leslie Howard's character was strange then and seems strange now. It's a FINE character who (eventually) show's the audience his true worth as a Human Being. But you have to admit that a man who's up there (not at the time, but in later years 'Brokeback Country') who's taking along a Picasso and a Matisse for his Tee-Pee, and has along Two Cowboys who are sharing another Tee-Pee.... well. I'm sure I'm inserting modern reflections into all this, but even at the time 63 years ago, the Howard character must have seemed 'unusual', no? I really DID enjoy the way Howard got in some licks 'literally and figuratively' on The Nazi at the end of that scene: I'm sure the audiences of the time must have cheered!

 
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