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Wednesday, 01 April 2020


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I'll try again to persuade the kids to watch this. I loved it when I saw it during my Uni days.

If we're recommending old movies (and I realise that's not what we're doing) then do watch Leon if you haven't before.

There are also more ‘fun facts’ associated with the movie than most...

I remember really enjoying it when it came out, and also more recently. Another movie, Dazed and Confused, was closer to my personal experience in high school, and also featured some young stars who went on to do big things later.

I’m seem to recall reading that the royalties for the music cost more than the production did.

Great film.

[As I read the Wikipedia article, the production cost was $777,000, of which $90,000 was licensing for the music. Most rights holders agreed to a flat fee; the only refusal was from RCA, which owned Elvis's hits.

After the film opened, Universal heard of its enthusiastic initial reception in Los Angeles and New York, where it was in its initial limited release, and decided to invest an additional $500,000 in promotion, making the total cost of the movie $1,277,000. --Mike]

Always thought this a piece of fluff, may have to give it a look see now. Still don't see it beating The Last Picture Show though... Also remember Lucas saying (after the phenom success of Star Wars) that he was going to embark on making a series of "small, highly intense, personal films." Somehow, despite my best efforts- I've managed to miss each and every one of those!

Personally, been catching up on Film Noir, from the classics to B plots like the incorrigible Wicked Woman and Guns, Girls and Gangsters..

A similar movie, with bicycles instead of cars is "Breaking Away"

We have been watching a lot of movies on the Movies! channel over the air.

All of these have been very good comedies:
"Adam's Rib"
"Bringing up Baby"
"The Man who Came to Dinner" (1942)

While you’re revisiting, it is my firm conviction that everyone should see “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” at least once per decade. Maybe twice. It restoreth the soul.

You are no doubt also aware that the license plate on John Milner's (Paul LeMat) car is "THX-138'', and that THX 1138, a film from 1971, was George Lucas’s directorial debut.

George Lucas invented the soundtrack driven movie w/ American Graffiti. I read once he got the clearing rights by making a most-favored-nation clause giving everyone the same fee of $2000. The album continues to be a best seller, I think. I'd even suggest he invented the Summer Blockbuster, predating Jaws by 2 years.

I think the final scene in the dawn hours was 2nd unit directed and shot by the great, late Haskel Wexler, in the true run and gun sense. IMDB doesn't agree. Maybe I'm mistaken.

One fascinating thing about the movie is how it seemed to depict a long lost time, invoking a milleu just ~12 years in the past. Imagine trying to depict a comparable distance time-wise now by setting during the period before Barack Obama's first term. What would look so vastly different from now? What music would seem so long gone? As the saying goes, nostalgia ain't what it used to be.


Old movies. All of Mr. Wong, Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan. And yes, I know what is wrong with them. They could not be made like that today. Started on the WWII era Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathbone. Taking a break with classic Doctor Who, then classic movies.

Wonderful movie. In 2018 American Cinematographer did a piece on the photography.
Worth a look.
Haskell Wexler started as a tv news photographer which I find very cool.

I was probably in junior high when this movie came out. I need to go watch it again after 40ish years.

The movie is based on Lucas' home town of Modesto, CA, about 10 miles from where I grew up. In my high school days, we all cruised McHenry Avenue, which also inspired the film. Of course my parents were Lucas' contemporaries and no doubt were cruising McHenry about the same time he was.

In a similar genre, "Diner." There was a line in the voice-over as the credits rolled that for some reason sent me into a paroxysm of laughter. No one else laughed. My wife moved away from me. Same thing happened at the end of "Spinal Tap." Both were totally stupid lines said with sincerity and naivete.

No one for "Animal House?"

I love old movies, and I'm a huge Turner Classic Movie fan. The great thing about TCM is that you only need a 'center-channel' speaker: They're all in mono !


If you're interested in old movies, see if you can find a movie from the sixties called "Putney Swope," directed perfectly by Robert Downey, SR! You would enjoy it more than most because it destroys the advertising business. No, it carves the business up and feeds it to cannibals.

If it doesn't put a smile on your face, nothing will.


I am indulging in "Noir" movies. One of the best is "Out of the Past" with Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. The director was the Frenchman Jacques Tourneur. I really enjoy the black and white medium of these films where the lighting is incredible. Another good one is "Nightmare Alley" with Tyrone Power. Of course there's the classic "Double Indemnity" by Billy Wilder. Next on my list will be the 1962 film "Cape Fear" which I'm not sure if it can be considered "Noir" in a strict sense.

This film plays completely differently to a non-American audience, of course: it's a glimpse into an alien universe. So, yes, it's a good film, possibly a great film, but it doesn't have the emotional/reminiscence power over us that it has over Americans.

I have sometimes wondered if the same isn'y true of Franks' 'The Americans'? I have a copy, and yes I can see the quality, but of course it isn't *my people* that the photos are of, and that lessens their impact (on me). Perhaps it's because I don't feel the identification with either the photos or the film, or maybe I'm just not familiar with the context. As with American Graffiti, so much of the background in The Americans is just alien. What would impact on me would be streets of terraced houses in an old industrial city in the north of England, of course: and I imagine that would be equally alien to Americans. Here's an example: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2018/sep/17/denis-thorpe-a-view-from-the-north-in-pictures#img-2

[Curious; I dearly love photographers like James Ravilious and one of my favorite movies, to which I'm very loyal, is "Local Hero." --Mike]

Movies are for sissies, the unwashed masses are waiting for Mike's regular book reviews of his huge photo books collection.

This has always been one of my favourite movies, even though I was 3 1/2" months old when it was released. It inspired in me a life-long love of hot rods and 50s (and 60's) cars. I did my own cruisin' with friends when I was in my 20s. I can no longer afford the muscle cars, but the movie still has a place in my heart, and my movie collection.

I am binge watching movies so I am taking notes. This morning I rented “Il Sorpasso” and later on a terrible movie with Charlotte Rampling. I couldn’t finish it. I mentioned this before, so bear with me, check “Seduced and Abandoned”, a 1963 B&W film by Pietro Germi. Very funny and I see some Cartier-Bresson light in there.

For those wishing that Harrison Ford had never gone into the fantasy film genre, "Regarding Henry" is the movie you are looking for.

Holy Cow Mike,
American Graffiti, a long forgotten moment from my misspent youth! Suddenly felling nostalgic, I will have to go find it and watch it.

My wife and I have been streaming movies on Amazon Prime but what we have really enjoyed has been the almost endless number of British TV series titles available from Brit Box and Acorn through Prime. We particularly like the detective shows which are much better done than those done in the USA. The acting is better, the writing is better, the sets are better and the whole experience enjoyable.

American Graffiti has long been a favorite. I'm almost a contemporary, was car-crazy during high school, but in East Coast suburbia we didn't indulge in Friday night Main Street cruises. I have to disagree with your statement:

I would have loved it if he'd gone on to a string of similarly excellent naturalistic movies about real people and real life in the real world.

because I think that after he put everything together into American Graffiti and moved on to ILM he no longer had a personal life that would be recognized by most of America.

P.S: I also love Local Hero, even though haven't I pent time in that country. Scots blood, I guess.

This was, lucky for me, the America I grew up in. I was raised in the East Bay of SF. Cruising, just like in the movie was a weekly event.

I miss it dearly. We were so innocent.

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