Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Rectified an enormous gap in my cinematic education and watched King Vidor's The Crowd. It's one of the most beautiful and moving films I've ever seen--I can't describe what it was like to come upon it whole like that. The famous shots--the swooping crane shot of the endless checkerboard of office desks that Wilder borrowed for The Apartment--the terrifying echo-y halls of the hospital as Johnny searches for his wife who's just given birth--Johnny moving against the crowd--were as cool as you'd think, but just as exciting is all the location imagery; there is a shot looking up at a building on a double-decker bus that just took my breath away. This was 1928...it's amazing to see New York in 1928 like this. There was almost an element of time travel in the experience of watching it, due to its cinematic innovation and the influence it wielded on later films flowing backward. The movie's all in the most creamy delicious black and white and even the acting and the actors' looks feel modern--sort of amazing for a silent film. Very pre-Hayes code. Completely modern, really. Universal, heartbreaking, wise about all the things we're all still dealing with.

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