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Harry Lime -> THE EMPIRE HALL OF FAME (17/8/2008 2:20:18 PM)


#01 Chinatown (1974, Polanski)

#02 The Apartment (1960, Wilder)

#03 Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (1927, Murnau)

#04 Rear Window (1954, Hitchcock)

#05 Singin' In The Rain (1952, Donen)

#06 F for Fake (1974, Welles)

#07 Grave of the Fireflies (1988, Takahata)

#08 if.... (1968, Anderson)

#09 The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Dreyer)
#10 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004)

#11 M (Lang, 1931)

#12 Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952)

#13 Das Boot (Petersen, 1982)

#14 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Dominik, 2007)

#15 Jaws (Spielberg, 1976)

#16 Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock, 1943)

Theme Hall of Fames - Inductees
Shorts - Wallace and Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (Park, 1993)
Xmas - Die Hard (McTiernan, 1988)
Halloween Horror - The Thing (Carpenter, 1982)
Shorts II - Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century (Jones, 1953),

Other nominees:

12 Angry Men,  
A Matter Of Life And Death,  
Aguirre, Wrath of God;  
All About Eve,  
All The President's Men,  
An Actor's Revenge,  
An American in Paris 
An American Werewolf in London,  
Annie Hall,  
Ascenseur pour l'echafaud,  
Au Revoir Les Enfants  
Back To The Future,  
Bad Boys II  
Bad Day At Black Rock,  
Before Sunrise,  
Bigger Than Life  
Blade Runner,  
Bonnie and Clyde 
Breaking News,  
Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia  
Chimes at Midnight,  
Chloe in the Afternoon;  
Chungking Express  
Citizen Kane,  
City Lights,  
City of God  
Cleo From 5 to 7  
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind,  
Come And See,  
Dancer in the Dark,  
Das Boot 
Days Of Heaven,  
Deep Red  
Det Sjunde Inseglet,  
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie  
Distant Voices, Still Lives;  
Double Life of Veronique  
Dr. Strangelove,  
Drunken Master,  
Fanny & Alexander;  
Far From Heaven  
Groundhog Day,  
Heavenly Creatures,  
His n Hers
Hour of the Wolf  
How Green Was My Valley,  
Infernal Affairs,  
It Happened One Night,  
Japanese Story  
Jules et Jim,  
Kind Hearts And Coronets,  
LA Confidential,  
La Strada,  
Last Night;  
Lawrence of Arabia,  
Le Boucher  
Les Quatre Cent Coups,  
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner  
Love Me Tonight,  
Marketa Lazarova 
Mean Streets,  
Millenium Actress,  
Modern Times  
Mr Arkadin,  
Mulholland Dr.,  
My Little Eye  
My Neighbour Totoro  
My Winnipeg,  
New York, New York;  
Once in a Lifetime,  
Once Upon A Time In America,  
Out of the Blue;  
Peppermint Candy,  
Punishment Park
Requiem for a Village 
Return Of The Pink Panther,  
Sans Soleil,  
Sansho The Bailiff,  
Session 9  
Seven Men From Now,  
Seven Samurai,  
Sons of the Desert  
South Park: BIgger, Longer and Uncut  
The Butcher Boy
The Cooler,  
The Court Jester,  
The Exorcist  
The Fall,  
The Fallen Idol
The Fly (1986)  
The Fog (1980)  
The French Connection  
The General,  
The Haunting (1963)  
The Host,  
The Hour Glass Sanatorium
The Innocents;  
The Invisible Man (1933)  
The Killer,  
The Last Picture Show 
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance  
The Music Box 
The Parallax View,  
The Penalty 
The Princess Bride,  
The Prophecy,  
The Quiet Man, 
The Room,  
The Searchers,  
The Shining,  
The Shout
The Sun  
The Thin Man,  
The Thing (1982)  
The Third Man,  
The Wicker Man,  
There Will Be Blood,  
Three Colours: Blue,  
To Be Or Not To Be,  
To Kill A Mockingbird,  
Tunes of Glory
Ugetsu Monogatari,  
United 93 
Until The End Of The World,  
When the Wind Blows,  
Whisper of the Heart
Wise Blood 

Harry Lime -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (17/8/2008 2:32:17 PM)

Nominated by Bezerker (essay required)
Other nominees: All About Eve, Back To The Future, Brazil, Citizen Kane, City Lights, Nosferatu, The Searchers, Seven Samurai, Stalker, Vertigo and The Wicker Man.

Harry Lime -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (17/8/2008 2:32:29 PM)

Nominated by Elab49 (awaiting essay)
Other nominees: Annie Hall, Blade Runner, Jules et Jim, Love Me Tonight, Millenium Actress, The Parallax View, The Princess Bride, Sansho The Bailiff, Seven Men From Now, La Strada, Trainspotting.

Harry Lime -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (12/9/2008 7:44:09 PM)

Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (1927, F.W. Murnau)


Nominated by TheManWithNoShame (awaiting essay)
Other nominees: Amadeus, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The General, Heavenly Creatures, How Green Was My Valley, Kind Hearts And Coronets, LA Confidential, Les Quatre Cent Coups, Det Sjunde Inseglet, The Thin Man, The Third Man.

Harry Lime -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (10/3/2009 8:20:29 AM)


Nominated by homersimpson_esq
Other nominees: Aliens, Breaking News, Come And See, Goodfellas, A Matter Of Life And Death, Pickpocket, Return Of The Pink Panther, Satantango, The Shining, To Kill A Mockingbird, Three Colours: Blue.


(1954 [1 August] / 112 mins / Colour) Director: Alfred Hitchcock


James Stewart

Grace Kelly


Thelma Ritter


Raymond Burr


Essay   Cahiers Du Cinéma critic André Bazin said of Hitchcock that he was just a technician doing craftsmanlike work. To what extent is this criticism true of Rear Window?   There is no doubt that insofar as the technology of the day allowed, Hitchcock was a pioneer of technology – the George Lucas of his day. However what sets him apart from that behemoth of technological achievement is the warmth, texture and emotional complexity that he brought to his films. I intend to loosely divide this study of Rear Window into two halves; the technical prowess and the creativity. I will also look at how the latter informs and enhances the former. Rear Window is, on the surface a simple film whose story unfolds in a natural manner. The tension is derived from the simplicity, the apparent absolute honesty of what is on screen – we see what Jeff sees, we know what he knows (with a notable exception). But as with so many seemingly simplistic scenarios, there is a lie to that candour – a depth of ideology and ability that seeps into the fabric of the film with such finesse that it is difficult to pinpoint it.

Such is the skill of Alfred Hitchcock that he allows the audience to enjoy the film absolutely, without concern for other considerations, on many levels. It is entirely and believably possible to enjoy the film on a purely adrenaline-fuelled level, rising to the thrill of the mystery, the intrigue of the neighbours, the growing tension, and the taut, hand-over-mouth finale. There is no room to think of any deeper considerations, but to enjoy it for the timeless thrill-ride that it remains. Simultaneously, one can take the time to look at more  of the spider-web delicacy and strength of the technical innovation on show. One can look to appreciate the single-set, almost single-camera-location approach Hitchcock took as a starting challenge. Being able to discretely and absolutely enjoy and appreciate and ultimately love the film in this multilevel manner is what will form the basis of this essay.   I will start with that most apparent of technical achievements. The camera never leaves Jeff's apartment, not once. Let me say that again: in the film's two hour running time not once does the location change. It barely moves around the room either – it swivels around the room, zooms in, peers over the balcony, pans across the backlot, but there are no crazy angles, no dolly shots, no crash zooms, nothing that overtly says, "look at this shot, isn't it great?”. Rear Window is more an exercise in quietly saying, 'hey, shh, watch this…' and letting the achievement be a slow realisation. What is below the surface of this simplicity is the level of preparation and planning. The careful placing of Jeff's neighbours, their activities, are all carefully choreographed so that the roving camera, taking the place of Jeff's point of view, sees things going on, makes assumptions, forms opinions: all this without a word needing to be spoken, relying solely on the mise en scene.

What does this achieve? By seeing Jeff's neighbours in this manner we are not only introduced to them, but are so through Jeff's eyes, his trapped viewpoint. We only see his limited view. Certainly a more traditional portrayal might, one supposes, have some sort of montage of the various neighbours as they busy themselves in their lives. This would remove not only the biased viewpoint which serves to enhance the paranoia and voyeurism present throughout the film but could conceivably arm the audience with more information than is necessary, effectively negating any tension otherwise present. The visual limitation allows the tension to build more naturally. What one cannot see is infinitely more frustrating than what one can. This is why, as just one example, psychological horror films are consistently more highly regarded for longer than the more graphic examples of the genre that leave little or nothing to the imagination. Not being able to cut to a different angle when the characters move out of sight is testing, but brilliantly so.   Bernard Herrmann is most closely associated with Alfred Hitchcock. Vertigo, Psycho – these are recognisable, eternal themes that immediately evoke the films they accompany. With Rear Window Hitchcock's experimentalism extends to the aural tapestry. 'Aural tapestry' is often used and has become somewhat of a cliché, yet if ever that hackneyed phrase was to be accurately applied, then it is here.

There is no original dramatic score – the tension is entirely derived from the scenes themselves. Instead, the sounds from the neighbours fills the film – the piano music from the pianist as it echoes his various fortunes, the radio of Miss Torso, the chatter of the neighbours to his left, the alarm clock of the couple immediately opposite. These are far more prevalent than might otherwise have been because of an unseasonably warm summer, forcing windows open and neighbours onto the balcony. What this does most effectively is further solidify the reality of the location, the mundane nature of existence, the to-ing and fro-ing of life and love.   From these simply technical achievements, the extent of which cannot be understated, is taken a story which unfolds as a commentary on love in its many forms. Indeed, each of the neighbours can be seen as typifying a different aspect of love. The pianist has unrequited love, his outlet being his music; Miss Lonely Hearts is just that, alone in life and love. The newlyweds are representative of new love, with all that that implies. The couple sleeping on the balcony are old love, familiar, together. Thorwald and his wife are love gone wrong. Miss Torso is a lustful, assumed sexually rapacious, form of love. All of these look onto Jeff, who struggles with a dilemma that on the surface does not seem a dilemma. Should he marry Lisa, played with effortless charm by Grace Kelly, perhaps the most naturally beautiful woman to have graced (pun unintended) the silver screen, or not? Yet this seeming "no brainer” is tempered by the apparent fundamental difference – she is a society gal, used to fine living; he is an adventure photographer, used to living hand to mouth in stark, extreme conditions.

Where do their disparate lives meet, other than mutual attraction? This dilemma then is looked on by the various outlooks on love, and Jeff in turn looks back at them, seeing perhaps a reflection in one of them. It is through the events of the film, in Jeff sending out Lisa to put herself in danger that he not only sees her in a new light, but that she in turn gains a taste of the excitement which, ironically, put Jeff in the leg cast in the first place. When Lisa puts on Mrs Thorwald's wedding ring as proof to show Jeff it is far more than a case of 'we've caught a murderer', but an implied proposal, one to which Jeff is more open.   While mild curiosity is strong in the early part of the film, the genuine heart-stopping tension comes when Lisa goes over to Thorwald's flat to deliver the reaction-baiting note. There are moments when, against all expectations, one physically talks to the screen to encourage Lisa to get out of there. As illogical as that is it is a symptom of the tautness of the scene. Jeff's inability to communicate with Lisa as she decides to invade Thorwald's flat for evidence becomes the audience's inability to communicate with her. This direct transmission of emotion is only possible through the skill of storytelling involved thus far. This cannot be entirely due to the technical proficiency, but the ability to effectively and efficiently put that technology to use within an engrossing and involving story. The best use of technology is not that which shows off that technology, but that which integrates it most effectively with the implicit narrative drama. It is here that Rear Window excels. But as technology dies without narrative quality, it is also true that narrative quality is undeniably enhanced through effective technological efficiency.

By limiting one aspect of the film and proving effective at technological control the story is improved through the telling of it.   So is Bazin's indictment of Hitchcock's work true as far as Rear Window is concerned? As far as this writer is concerned, categorically no. The technical achievements that Hitchcock wrought in his film career are many and plentiful – Vertigo's agoraphobia-inducing dolly-zoom, Psycho's shower scene, North By Northwest's Mt Rushmore-set finale, Rope's apparently single-take entirety, The Birds' effects shots, to name but a few – but the narrative drama over which these achievements are carefully and considerately laid is already strong and sure. This is, I fear, where much modern film-making falls far short of the mark. As technological advancements become ever more accessible, it becomes a short-hand for quality to make up for poor story, acting, or both. To use a crude analogy, a pig wearing lipstick is still a pig. Used properly, on worthy films (and by 'worthy' I do not imply some higher moral purpose, but merely a film of appropriate quality) technology is a major asset – used poorly it gives advancement a bad name. Hitchcock's ability was in melding the two seamlessly into films of quality and thrills, and for this he should be applauded.      

Documentary about Rear Window, made by students at the University of Central Florida. (Approx 9-10mins.) Click the image to play. [url=][image][/image][/url]    

Alfred Hitchcock - Mini-bio
  Alfred Hitchcock was born on 13 August 1899 in Leystonstone, London. The son of a greengrocer, the young Alfred was raised as a Catholic, went to a school run by Jesuits, and got a job with the Henley Telegraph and Cable Company in 1915. It was around this time that his interest in films first developed. He started his life in film as a title an set designer. Fate stepped in as the director of a film he was working on (Always Tell Your Wife, 1923) fell ill, and the young Hitchcock stepped in. Suitably impressed, studio heads gave him other directing work. Hitchcock continued to rise in provenance, directing 62 films, some of a lesser quality, but a great deal more masterpieces. (excerpted from  

Hitchcock Quotes   Ÿ  "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” Ÿ  "Drama is life with the dull bits left out.” Ÿ  "I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella (1937), the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.”  

Hitchcock's salary for Rear Window:
$150,000 + 10% of the profits +film negative ownership  

Rear Window Trivia:
  Ÿ  The size of the set necessitated excavation of the soundstage floor. Thus Jeff's apartment was actually at street level. Ÿ  The love affair between war photographer Robert Capa and actress Ingrid Bergman is believed to be Alfred Hitchcock's inspiration for the film's romantic aspect. 

Quotes: Ÿ  "A woman never goes anywhere but the hospital without packing makeup, clothes, and jewelry.” Ÿ  "Intelligence. Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence.” Ÿ  "Nobody ever invented a polite word for a killin' yet.” Ÿ  [regarding Jeff's telephoto lens]       Mind if I use that portable keyhole?”  

Other Critical Appraisals
  Roger Ebert   The hero of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" is trapped in a wheelchair, and we're trapped, too--trapped inside his point of view, inside his lack of freedom and his limited options. When he passes his long days and nights by shamelessly maintaining a secret watch on his neighbours, we share his obsession. It's wrong, we know, to spy on others, but after all, aren't we always voyeurs when we go to the movies? Here's a film about a man who does on the screen what we do in the audience--look through a lens at the private lives of strangers.   The man is a famous photographer named L.B. Jeffries--"Jeff" to his fiancée. He's played by James Stewart as a man of action who has been laid up with a broken leg and a heavy cast that runs all the way up to his hip. He never leaves his apartment and has only two regular visitors. One is his visiting nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), who predicts trouble ("the New York State sentence for a Peeping Tom is six months in the workhouse"). The other is his fiancée, Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly), an elegant model and dress designer, who despairs of ever getting him to commit himself. He would rather look at the lives of others than live inside his own skin, and Stella lectures him, "What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change."   Jeff's apartment window shares a courtyard with many other windows (all built on a single set by Hitchcock), and as the days pass he becomes familiar with some of the other tenants. There is Miss Lonelyhearts, who throws dinner parties for imaginary gentleman callers; and Miss Torso, who throws drinks parties for several guys at a time; and a couple who lower their beloved little dog in a basket to the garden, and a composer who fears his career is going nowhere. And there is Thorvald (Raymond Burr), a man with a wife who spends all her days in bed and makes life miserable for him. One day the wife is no longer to be seen, and by piecing together several clues (a saw, a suitcase, a newly dug spot in Thorvald's courtyard garden), Jeff begins to suspect that a murder has taken place. The way he determines this illustrates the method of the movie.

Rarely has any film so boldly presented its methods in plain view. Jeff sits in his wheelchair, holding a camera with a telephoto lens, and looks first here and then there, like a movie camera would. What he sees, we see. What conclusions he draws, we draw--all without words, because the pictures add up to a montage of suspicion.   In the earliest days of cinema, the Russian director Kuleshov performed a famous experiment in which he juxtaposed identical shots of a man's face with other shots. When the man was matched with food, audiences said the man looked hungry, and so on. The shots were neutral. The montage gave them meaning. "Rear Window" (1954) is like a feature-length demonstration of the same principle, in which the shots assembled in Jeff's mind add up to murder.   I sometimes fancy that various archetypal situations circled tirelessly in Hitchcock's mind, like whales in a tank at the zoo.

One of them was fascination of voyeurism--of watching people who do not know they are being watched. Another, famously, was the notion of an innocent man wrongly accused. And many of his films illustrate male impotence or indifference in the face of cool blond beauty. Much is said of Hitchcock's blonds (Kim Novak, Eva Marie Saint, Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren), but observe that they are not erotic playmates so much as puzzles or threats. Lisa, the Kelly character, has a hopeless love for Jeff, who keeps her at arm's length with descriptions of his lifestyle; a fashion model wouldn't hold up in the desert or jungle, he tells her.   But perhaps his real reason for keeping her away is fear of impotence, symbolized by the leg cast, and we are reminded of the strikingly similar relationship between Scotty, the Stewart character in "Vertigo," and the fashion illustrator played by Barbara Bel Geddes. She, too, loves him. He keeps his distance. She sympathizes with his vertigo, as Kelly nurses the broken leg. Both observe his voyeuristic obsessions. In "Vertigo," Scotty falls in love with a woman he has spied upon but never spoken to. In "Rear Window," he is in love with the occupation of photography, and becomes completely absorbed in reconstructing the images he has seen through his lens.

He wants what he can spy at a distance, not what he can hold in his arms.   Stewart is an interesting choice to play these characters. In the 1930s and 1940s he played in light comedy, romances, crime stories and Westerns, almost always as a character we liked. After the war, he revealed a dark side in the fantasy scenes of Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," and Hitchcock exploited that side, distant and cold, in "Rope," "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Vertigo" and "Rear Window." To understand the curious impact of these roles, consider Tom Hanks, whose everyman appeal is often compared to Jimmy Stewart's. What would it feel like to see him in a bizarre and twisted light? In "Rear Window," Jeff is not a moralist, a policeman or a do-gooder, but a man who likes to look. There are crucial moments in the film where he is clearly required to act, and he delays, not because he doesn't care what happens, but because he forgets he can be an active player; he is absorbed in a passive role. Significantly, at the end, when he is in danger in his own apartment, his weapon is his camera's flashgun; he hopes to blind or dazzle his enemy, and as the man's eyesight gradually returns, it is through a blood-red dissolve that suggests passion expressed through the eyes.   Kelly is cool and elegant here, and has some scenes where we feel her real hurt. She likes to wear beautiful dresses, make great entrances, spoil Jeff with champagne and catered dinners. He doesn't notice or doesn't like her attention, because it presumes a relationship he wants to elude. There is one shot, partly a point-of-view close-up, in which she leans over him to kiss him, and the camera succumbs to her sexuality even if Jeff doesn't; it's as if she's begging the audience to end its obsession with what Jeff is watching, and consider instead what he should be drinking in with his eyes--her beauty.  

The remote-control suspense scenes in "Rear Window" are Hitchcock at his most diabolical, creating dangerous situations and then letting Lisa and Stella linger in them through Jeff's carelessness or inaction. He stays in his wheelchair. They venture out into danger--Kelly even entering the apartment of the suspected wife killer. He watches. We see danger approaching. We, and he, cannot move, cannot sound the alarm.   This level of danger and suspense is so far elevated above the cheap thrills of the modern slasher films that "Rear Window," intended as entertainment in 1954, is now revealed as art. Hitchcock long ago explained the difference between surprise and suspense. A bomb under a table goes off, and that's surprise. We know the bomb is under the table but not when it will go off, and that's suspense. Modern slasher films depend on danger that leaps unexpectedly out of the shadows. Surprise. And surprise that quickly dissipates, giving us a momentary rush but not satisfaction. "Rear Window" lovingly invests in suspense all through the film, banking it in our memory, so that when the final payoff arrives, the whole film has been the thriller equivalent of foreplay.   

Empire (Kim Newman)   A news photographer, a restless man of action, is confined to his apartment and a wheelchair by a broken leg. He spends weeks looking out of his window at people who live in the apartments across the courtyard. Afraid of committing to his high-class girlfriend, he takes refuge in the petty lives of the semi-strangers who are his neighbours. The camera stays with the leading man inside his flat, and supporting characters appear only in long-shot, joys and miseries glimpsed and half-understood.
Sounds like an art movie, doesn't it?

Depending on the degree of wry comedy or domestic tragedy, it could be a delicate French comedy, an Italian neo-realist masterpiece or a despairing slice of Swedish miserabilism. All the hallmarks are there: a technical gimmick (staying on one set throughout), thematic complexity (a voyeur whose involvement in human stick figures is exactly that of a cinema audience), an unconventional mode of narrative (the hero and his few visitors discuss the stories they observe, like a chatty group at a hard-to-follow movie).

But one of the neighbours is a murderer. And the director is Alfred Hitchcock. The rotund Englishman was already well-established in America, but this was the first of a run of huge hits or true masterpieces that would last ten years. Having won long-sought independence from a contract with tyrannical producer David O. Selznick (the murderer of Rear Window is made up to look like Selznick), Hitch was declaring himself an auteur. Well before the craze for possessory credits, the title card boldly announces "Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window". So it's a thriller, with big Hollywood stars.

In 1954 they didn't come bigger than James Stewart, a real-life ageing juvenile who had surprised fans by becoming an authentic war hero and showing real depth in It's A Wonderful Life (1946) and a run of outstanding Westerns. Grace Kelly, a few years away from transformation into a genuine princess, was so beautiful and blonde she could only be convincingly cast as a fashion model. Rear Window is a murder story with big stars from a famous studio director. All of which doesn't mean it's not an art movie.

The first third contains not a mention of crime, as L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries (Stewart) grumbles at enforced confinement and tries to worm his way out of engagement to Lisa Fremont (Kelly). She wants him to remain permanently crippled (as he sees it) by switching from photographing wars and disasters to a life of moneyed ease shooting fashion spreads. Stella (the marvellous Ritter), a sour but funny nurse, comes every day and gossips with Jeff about the neighbours as if they were keeping up to date with a soap opera.

All the characters around the courtyard keep Jeff thinking about love, sex and marriage. "Miss Torso" jives in underwear and fends off wolfish young men while "Miss Lonelyhearts" prepares romantic candlelight meals she eats alone. Newlyweds pull down the blinds and spend the whole film having sex. A middle-aged couple sleep on the fire escape because of the New York heatwave, their dog a substitute child. A songwriter struggles with a melody, getting drunk or elated as a hit ("Lisa") coalesces. And weary jewellery salesman Lars Thorwald (Burr) is nagged by his shrew of a wife.

One night as Jeff dozes and watches, Thorwald struggles out with his sample case. The next morning, his wife is gone. In his apartment, Thorwald wraps used knives and saws for disposal. The dog digs at Thorwald's floral border, and Jeff notices some zinnias have shrunk. The dog is killed. Keen to switch the subject from marriage, Jeff tells Lisa he thinks Thorwald has murdered his wife and Stella fills in the gruesome details. Scenarist John Michael Hayes, like original author Cornell Woolrich, is a master of the horrid hint: the problem has been disposed of "in sections", the deed would have had to be done in the bathroom, under the zinnias is buried something "in a hatbox".

It is a measure of Hitch's genius that the murder story doesn't completely take over. At a crucial point, Jeff and Lisa are distracted from snoopy sleuthing when Miss Lonelyhearts seems on the point of suicide only to be dissuaded by the songwriter's piano-playing. When Thorwald realises he is being watched and comes to Jeff's flat, he is not a fiend in human form but a pitiably trapped little man who has found no relief in escape from his intolerable marriage, who has no money to pay off a blackmailer, and is puzzled that anyone would care about him and what he has done.

Rear Window ends with all stories resolved: the song is finished, Miss Torso welcomes home her tubby soldier boyfriend, the couple have a new puppy, Miss Lonelyhearts is with the songwriter and Thorwald's apartment is being redecorated. But Hitchcock doesn't let up: Jeff now has two broken legs and is asleep in domesticity with Lisa, who still thinks of taming him; and the sex-happy honeymooners are starting the whole cycle again, the wife having turned into a nag.  

Harry Lime -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (14/4/2009 10:56:29 PM)


Singin' In The Rain (1952, Stanley Donen)


Nominated by Harry Lime (awaiting essay)

Other nominees: All The President's Men, The Court Jester, Days Of Heaven, Dr. Strangelove, Hamlet, Infernal Affairs, Moolaade, Mulholland Dr., Once Upon A Time In America, To Be Or Not To Be, Until The End Of The World.

Funkyrae -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (4/1/2010 11:02:48 AM)


F for Fake (1974, Welles


Nominated by TheManWithNoShame (Awaiting essay)

Other nominees: Ascenseur pour l’echafaud, Before Sunrise, The Cooler, It Happened One Night, The Killer, Network, The Quiet Man, There Will Be Blood, 12 Angry Men, Ugetsu Monogatari, When the Wind Blows.

homersimpson_esq -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (11/4/2010 4:16:52 PM)


Grave of the Fireflies (1988, Takahata)


Nominated by Funkyrae

Grave of the Fireflies

We hear the words "powerful," "moving," "touching," and "great" bandied around in film reviews all too often. Rarely are they actually deserved, but Grave of the Fireflies deserves all those adjectives and more. Even Roger Ebert, not exactly known as someone to give anything a good review called Grave of the Fireflies "one of the greatest war movies ever made," and without any exaggeration, that's a precisely accurate review.

Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most painful and emotionally affecting films that you’re ever likely to see. Grave may be an animation but that doesn’t mean it’s just for children, in fact that it’s animation gives it a startling beauty that would not have been created otherwise. The innocence of the animation giving a harsh contrast with the painful experiences of the central characters. Grave of the Fireflies doesn’t flinch from showing human failings and the effects upon children caught in the fringes of war.

Studio Ghibli films seem to have a rather divided audience. A split between those that love and those that hate. However, although produced by Studio Ghibli, Grave is not a product of Hayao Miyazaki which shows. This is not My Neighbour Totoro (although it was on a double bill with it on opening), Grave was directed by Isao Takahata, the director of Kiki’s Delivery Service, which shows with the minute attention to detail but brace yourself, Grave of the Fireflies is deeply tragic and emotionally unsparing with the tale of two children surviving through the face of adversity and slowly becoming prey to a whole host of human weaknesses including prejudice and distrust but without ever resorting to ham-fisted melodrama or clumsy catastrophe.

Watching Grave of the Fireflies you could get an suggestion that the film is really some kind of Anti-American propaganda. An accusation that has been levelled at it several times, which really isn’t the case at all. Although the children are victim to the hardships brought on during the Second World War not only do you never see an American in it and indeed they are hardly mentioned. If anything, Grave of the Fireflies serves as a metaphor for Japan during the war: fighting a losing battle, yet too proud to admit defeat or accept help.
Correspondingly, Grave is also a denunciation of, for want of a better word, pride; the story is based on a semi-autobiographical novel written by a man who survived the war but whose younger sister died of starvation while under his protection. Looking at in this respect, Grave may have been some kind of catharsis, harshly depicting the result of Seita's refusal to seek help or become a thief to obtain food, and finally allowing his grief to devour and penalize him - something that never happened to the real person - for that decision. Images aside, the enemy is very much the human weaknesses that come from and even create war: pride, the mistrust that falls upon two young children trying to live on their own, and the discrimination levelled against a healthy young man who doesn't want to fight. Not so far removed from the discrimination levelled against the Conscientious Objectors of old.

Grave of the Fireflies is, above all, an Anti-War film. Despite not actually seeing a battle, or an army the tragic effects are far felt and are visible on the countryside even though it is far removed from the war front. Grave of the Fireflies humanises the civilian population of Japan during the war. Something not often seen in any film and never done quite so well; more importantly, it humanises in a beautiful, painful and realistic – yet understated manner. Grave of the Fireflies is almost too painful to watch yet difficult to stop watching. Mesmerising and tragic, painful and realistic yet still an animation. In fact anyone who believes that animation can’t tell a realistic story should be made to watch Grave of the Fireflies.

The animation is a masterpiece. It’s fluid and realistic but also extremely subdued. Further watches of Grave (if you can manage it) give a new appreciation of animation as even the mundane acts take on a level of beauty that elevates it to art. Taking the time to really study the animation brings quite a few surprises. The old fashioned style of artwork is typical Ghibli and breathtaking in its simplicity and quality.

Lastly, the acting and score. Setsuko in particular is one of the most convincing pieces of child acting seen. She is neither too cute, nor articulate. People with younger siblings or children will know a Setsuko in their lives and will identify with her character. The orchestral score provides a hugely emotional undertone without being cheesy or encouraging responses. A perfect score to an emotional film.
Grave of the Fireflies is an immensely touching and extremely painful film to watch. Unlike many others it doesn’t pull on heartstrings by force or dialogue. It IS a tearjerker but not with any cheesiness that could be expected from other sources. Grave of the Fireflies is honest, heartfelt, direct and thought provoking but not exclusive or for film fans only. It’s a film for all, just one that needs to come with a warning.

Other nominees: Aguirre, Wrath of God; Audition; Chloe in the Afternoon; Distant Voices, Still Lives; Fanny & Alexander; The Innocents; Last Night; New York, New York; Out of the Blue; Rififi; Sans Soleil

homersimpson_esq -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (26/8/2010 1:18:33 PM)


if.... (Anderson, 1968)


Nominated by paul_ie86

Other nominees:

Airplane!, An Actor's Revenge, An American Werewolf in London, Bad Day At Black Rock, Chimes at Midnight, Dancer in the Dark, Drunken Master, Lawrence of Arabia, Limelight, Mr Arkadin, My Winnipeg

homersimpson_esq -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (26/8/2010 1:20:30 PM)


The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928)


Nominated by Professor_Moriarty

Other nominees: The Fall, Groundhog Day, Halloween, The Host, Mean Streets, Naked, Once in a Lifetime, Peppermint Candy, Primer, The Prophecy, The Sun

elab49 -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (20/5/2011 10:30:29 AM)


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004)


Nominated by Paul_ie86
Other nominees: A Canterbury Tale, Bringing Up Baby, La Grande Illusion, Kings of the Road, Miller's Crossing, Moulin Rouge!, Rashomon, Sebastiane, Some Like It Hot, The Thing, Les Vampires

elab49 -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (20/5/2011 7:07:53 PM)

Inductee #11

M (Fritz Lang, 1931)


Nominated by TRM (awaiting essay)

Also nominated: Bad Boys II (Bay, 2003), Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (Peckinpah, 1974), City of God (Meirelles/Lund, 2002), Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Bunuel, 1972), Double Life of Veronique (Kieslowski, 1991), Far From Heaven (Haynes, 2002), Head-On (Akin, 2004), Japanese Story (Brooks, 2003), Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Richardson, 1962), South Park: BIgger, Longer and Uncut (Parker, 1999), Sons of the Desert (Seiter, 1933).

elab49 -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (20/5/2011 7:10:40 PM)

Inductee #12

Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952)


Nominated by Rawlinson (awaiting essay)

Also nominated: 3-Iron (Kim, 2004), Au Revoir Les Enfants (Malle, 1987), Bigger Than Life (Ray, 1956), Le Boucher (Chabrol, 1970), Chungking Express (Wong, 1994), Cleo From 5 to 7 (Varda, 1962), The French Connection (Friedkin, 1971), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, 1962), Modern Times (Chaplin, 1936), My Neighbour Totoro (Miyazaki, 1988), Se7en (Fincher, 1995)

Rebenectomy -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (16/11/2011 8:19:17 PM)

Inductee #13

Das Boot (Petersen, 1982)


Nominated by Matty_b

Also Nominated: An American in Paris, The Penalty, Wise Blood, Marketa Lazavora, Underground, United 93, Downfall, Requiem for a Village, The Last Picture Show, The Music Box, The Room

Rebenectomy -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (16/11/2011 8:27:20 PM)

Inductee #14

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Dominik, 2007)


Nominated by MovieAddict247

Also Nominated: The Butcher Boy, Eureka, The Fallen Idol, His 'n' Hers, The Hour Glass Sanatorium, Moju, Punishment Park, The Shout, Tunes of Glory, Whisper of the Heart

Rebenectomy -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (16/11/2011 8:58:39 PM)

Theme Hall of Fame 1 - Shorts

Winner - Wallace and Gromit in The Wrong Trousers


Nominated By: GimliTheDwarf

Other Nominees: A Game of Stones, Begone Dull Care, The Cat Concerto, The Grandmother, Hedgehog in the Fog, Peter and the Wolf, Rejected, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Used, Vincent, Whistle and I'll Come To You

Rebenectomy -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (4/2/2012 9:59:53 AM)

Theme Hall of Fame - Xmas

Winner - Die Hard (McTiernan, 1988)


Nominated by: TRM

Other Nominees: A Xmas Story, Black Xmas, The Dead, Eyes Wide Shut, Ginger and Fred, Gremlins, The Muppet Xmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Xmas, The Proposition, Scrooged, The Snowman, Tokyo Godfathers.

Rebenectomy -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (22/3/2012 10:49:25 PM)

Theme Hall of Fame - Halloween Horror

Winner - The Thing (Carpenter, 1982)


Nominated by Matty_b

Also Nominated: Deep Red (Argento, 1975), The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973), The Fly (Cronenberg, 1986), The Fog (Carpenter, 1980), The Haunting (Wise, 1963), Hour of the Wolf (Bergman, 1968), The Invisible Man (Whale, 1933), My Little Eye (Evans, 2002), Possession (Zulawski, 1981), Session 9 (Anderson, 2001), Suspiria (Argento, 1977), The Thing (Carpenter, 1982)

Rebenectomy -> RE: The Empire Hall Of Fame (22/4/2012 4:12:40 PM)

Theme Hall of Fame - Shorts II: Get Shortier

Winner - Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century (Jones, 1953),


Nominated by Rhubarb

Also Nominated: Alma (Blass, 2009), Le Ballon Rouge (Lamorisse, 1956) , Blitz Wolf (Avery, 1942), Un Chien Andalou (Bunuel/Dali, 1929), For The Birds (Eggleston, 2000), Forklift Driver Klaus (Prehn/Wagner 2000), Gertie the Dinosaur (McCay, 1914) , Malice in Wonderland (Collins, 1982), Menilmontant (Kirsanoff, 1926), Scenes from the Suburbs (Jonze 2011), Six Shooter (McDonagh, 2004)

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