I’ve Always Loved You(Tube)

Part one of SEVENTH HEAVEN. The whole thing’s on YouTube.

Part one of A FAREWELL TO ARMS. Ditto.

Of course, watching movies on YouTube is a horrible way to experience “cinema”, far worse than watching them on your phone, even. But I guess if you live in an out-of-the-way place, have no limbs, and no money, but do have a broadband connection, it might be your only chance to see this stuff. And you should definitely see it.

Better if you just sample the films, get excited, and then track down decent copies though. Even films that haven’t been released on DVD are easy enough to find, usually. You just have to ask around.

Part one of LITTLE MAN, WHAT NOW? Don’t be put off by the odd title. This, the first film in Borzage’s German trilogy, uses pre-code license in an entirely non-salacious, mature fashion, and tells a moving story of survival and love, shot through with Borzage’s particular sense of spirituality.

THE SHINING HOUR, which I’m about to sit down and watch on DVD. Joan Crawford, who is so excellent in –

MANNEQUIN. If you were going to commit the blasphemy of watching an entire Borzage movie on YouTube, this one might be as good as any. It’s not as visually sumptious as SEVENTH HEAVEN or A FAREWELL TO ARMS (few things are) but it has a great story and characters and performances (especially performances) and manages to be so smart and sophisticated it almost feels pre-code.

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16 Responses to “I’ve Always Loved You(Tube)”

  1. Fellow Cheapskates-You can download a better quality “Farewell to Arms” totally legally (it’s in the public domain) from

    http://www.archive.org/details/farewell_to_arms

    Ok it’s the cut version-no sex but still also all those beautiful shots. I think it was my first Borzage but it certainly blew my mind.

    Lots of good stuff at the the Internet Archive including King Vidor’s Daily Bread (looking forward to Vidor Week someday….)

  2. Thanks for that!

    A Vidor week starts to look even more tempting now that I find I can download his uber-rare documentary work. We shall see…

  3. Vidor is unbelievably underrated today. In his time he was seen as among the two or three greatest film-makers, today masterpieces like ”The Big Parade”, ”The Crowd” despite being among the most famous and influential silent films is scandalously absent on Home Video. ”Hallelujah” is thankfully out on a good transfer DVD as is ”The Champ” and ”Street Scene”. ”The Fountainhead” was part of a Gary Cooper boxset recently. Great in spite of itself and a big influence on Antonioni’s ”La Notte” in the whole sick eros thing(and Antonioni parodied the final elevator up the building in the opening credits). There are many Vidors I haven’t seen, his ”Northwest Passage”, ”The Stranger’s Return” and I would love to see a good version of ”Bird of Paradise”.

    One of Vidor’s documentaries is ”The Metaphor”. From what I read it’s about Vidor’s association with the great painter Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth wrote Vidor a letter saying that ”The Big Parade” was the single greatest influence on his art and that started a friendship between the two giants.

  4. Bird of Paradise is incredible to look at. It might be virtually kitsch in terms of content, but just an amazing visual experience.

    Yes, The Metaphor is one I hope to grab.

    Vidor’s prowess with composition, which helps make him a great director of drama, also makes his comedies striking. Although in terms of performance and gags, The Patsy and Show People don’t really compare to Keaton, in terms of composition there’s a valid comparison to be made, I think. And Marion Davies was pretty funny.

  5. All that is clear to me in the version I saw is Dolores Del Rio…Welles fell in love with her when he saw that and of course later had an affair with her in the 40s. She’s amazing. Joel McCrea isn’t bad either.

    Vidor at his best is a real painter of moving images. He painted too for real, off camera. Consider the magnificence of cinema that is the ball scene of ”War and Peace”. Vidor was a real personal film-maker. Ready to give up salaries, mortgage his house to make the film he wanted. His house served as the base for what became the DGA in the 30s. A real pathbreaker.

    ”Street Scene” is really stunning regarding the composition. It’s based on a play and Vidor doesn’t open it up and he uses limited settings but he transforms it through his use of camera set-ups and incredible tracking shots putting the nails on the coffin of the myth that early sound films were static theatrical pieces. And the cutting and camera angles is amazing. It’s among the most creative theatrical adaptations I have ever seen.

  6. To js thanks for the link. But I have to say, ”A Farewell To Arms” without the sex is like ”Last Tango In Paris” without the sex or ”Raging Bull” without the boxing scenes.

  7. Worse, it’d be like Last Tango without the boxing! Oh, you haven’t seen that version? Tsk.

    But you’re right, the film has to be pre-code to attain the kind of tentative grasp on coherence it has. I don’t think it could be clear enough with cuts, it’s quite a complex work.

    Still, it’s a tough choice if you have to pick between complete cut with poor picture, and short version with better pic. I suggest everybody obtain a DVD of the complete version!

  8. Who can forget Maria Schneider telling Jean-Pierre Leaud “I coulda been a contender” ?

  9. Not that I liked the film, but … for me the best part about the Zeffirelli ”
    Jane Eyre” (spit twice) was the presence of Maria Schneider as the mad wife in the attic.

    It put me in mind of an old notion about Zeffirelli’s being a Mario Bava *manque* …

  10. Zeffirelli hasn’t the camera style to pull that off. But I also loved that casting. Schneider IS the madwoman in the attic of European cinema. She has an interesting turn in Blier’s Les Acteurs, the last thing I saw her in, basically recounting her deranged life story.

  11. Thank you for that clip from “Seventh Heaven,” a film which I had only known by reputation. It’s gorgeous. The look and feel of it remind me, among other things, of 19th century stage melodramas about alcoholism — only performed with much more conviction than I ever imagined.

    Arthur S. was talking about “amour fou,” right? Well, part of me was shocked by the *in media res* violence to be found here. “Fou,” certainly.

    It almost made me forget about my notion — occurring to someone mostly ignorant of this film’s plot — of the woman with the mascara saying to the priest “You actually think she’s my *sister*? HAH HAH HAH!!”

  12. Yeah, Seventh Heaven is stunning, a real sister film to Sunrise. And Street Angel is equally amazing. Giant sets, with swooping camera movements, heartfelt melodrama that exceeds any reasonable level of emotion. Just breathtaking. Borzage’s later work is like Lang’s later films compared to his silent epics, smaller-scale and less obviously groundbreaking, but equally brilliant underneath.

  13. I liked Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre, especially Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane and William Hurt as Rochester.

  14. I enjoy Hurt in it. I thought she was a bit too low-affect, although I like her generally. And I love her album.

    Maria Schneider as the madwoman in the attic — perfect!

  15. I’m fond of Charlotte Gainsbourg ‘s album too.
    I thought she was good in Haynes’ I’m Not There.

  16. Yes, and impressive in lots of things — Merci La Vie was the first thing I saw her in. Anouk Grinberg is awesome in that (very flawed) film, but Gainsbourg holds her own.

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