Wednesday, January 24, 2007

January 24th Log

2006, Kirby Dick, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

You really have to applaud any film that chooses to examine and ultimately criticize the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), a “secret” group of raters that serve what they consider to be “the best interest of American parents and the filmmaker”. Kirby Dick’s documentary film delves deeper into the mindset of the crazy system with a film that is entertaining and yet equally infuriating and important. The film is at it’s best when discussing the unusual tendencies of the MPAA system (such as a preference for violence over sex, and hetero over homo sex). There are some great interviews with filmmakers sharing their frustrating experiences with the ratings system. This Film is Not Yet Rated is less effective when Dick involves a private detective to investigate and reveal the members of the MPAA. This is less intriguing filmmaking, yet I like Dick’s intention, which is strictly to stick it to the MPAA in any way he can. Because of this, the investigation portion works, but the film should mostly be seen for it’s more insightful and interrogating aspect.

1947, Preston Sturges, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

While not the masterpiece of the prime of Preston Sturges or Harold Lloyd’s career, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock marks a fitting statement for them both. It is especially significant for Lloyd who was enticed out of a 10-year retirement by Sturges to revisit Lloyd’s beloved character from his classic silent comedy The Freshman. Sturges wrote the film for Lloyd to return to acting and in many ways it is a reflection on his career, and more specifically from the perspective of an older man. The film blends trademark Lloyd humor with a sense of compassionate and regret. This marked Sturges first directed film outside Paramount Studios, where he was named ‘Prince of Paramount’ and became Hollywood’s first writer-director of the sound era. His run at Paramount is one of the most remarkable in the history of filmmaking and paved the way for comedy, but Sturges did make some memorable films outside of Paramount. Though competed in 1947, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock was unfortunately never released until 1950 and that version was heavily edited by producer Howard Hawks. Sturges original vision has since been restored and with it a film with some magic and beauty that make it a memorable farewell for Harold Lloyd’s career.


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