Thursday, 2 January 2014

Art deco in vintage sci fi films

Although, heavily influenced by the prevailing art style of the respectful decades of their production, these movies are still incredible, when measured by the imagination and craftsmanship of their creators: German "Meropolis"(1927), Russian "Aelita:Queen of Mars"(1927) and British "The shape of things to come"(1936).

Other old sci fi films

These vintage sci fi movies are not on my "A" list, but in general, they were produced rather good for their time. One is a Russian "Planeta burg" from 1965, with some nice footage, cool robot (influenced by Robby the robot from Forbidden planet) and hardware designed, but also with some poor dinosaurs (people in rubber suits).
The other is "The first men in the Moon" after the novel by H.G.Wells. Some nice scenes and design, but something was missing to make this a great movie.
At last, there's also one film after the Wells's novel: "War of the worlds". In order to update it to the present time, the movie makers eliminated the Victorian feeling and the atmosphere that the original novel had. Spielberg tried to fix that flaw it in his remake, but rather unsuccessfully.

In 1968 "Planeta Burg"was butchered, by the new editing, adding some illogical scenes of some hippy-looking women standing beside the sea of the Venus. Supposedly they were the inhabitants of the planet. The movie as such, was "prepared" for the American audience and renamed into Voyage to the "Planet of Prehistoric Women". If you are intrigued, you can see the rubbish here.

Sci Fi trash movies

After seeing Forbidden planet I was hungry for more good sci fi. But good sci fi films were scarce at the time. They were creeping into the theatres in Zagreb at a painfully slow pace for my taste. So, I went to see whatever was showing.
Among the trashy stuff a couple of films stood out because of design and the special effects, which were rather good:
"First Spaceship on Venus" (German: "Der schweigende Stern") was an East German/Polish science fiction film directed by Kurt Maetzig in 1960 and loosely based on the "The Astronauts" by Stanislaw Lem. Supposedly Stanislaw hated the movie.
Japanese "The Mysterians" from 1957 had an interesting giant destroyer robot and some space crafts designed after the rocket ships from Dan Dare comic.

Is it me or the famous R2D2 looks a bit like the robot from "First spaceship on Venus"?

"First Spaceship on Venus" (German: "Der schweigende Stern", Polish: "Milcząca Gwiazda") is a 1960 East German/Polish science fiction film directed by Kurt Maetzig and based on the "The Astronauts" by Stanisła

Time for a gag

Here is one of my gag cartoons:

Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper was most certainly one of the best cowboy - actors of his time (from 30's to late 50's). He was very good in Vera Cruz, but Burt Lancaster, who played a "lovable" villain, stole Gary's spot light. It happened so many times in quite a few good movies, that the villain gains the audience's sympaty.
Spanish actress Sara Montiel, in the promotional photograph on the left, was a great star in Europe and a marvellous singer. Her best-selling song was the main theme from the movie "La violetera". Both movie and the song were immensely popular in ex Yugoslavia, at the time. Especially among the female audience, of course. Sara passed away in 2013.

Good old war movies

Personally, I prefer the war movies with a strong antiwar message. Like All quiet on the western front (Im Westen nichts Neues (1930)), based on Erich Maria Remarque's novel, or Kubrick's Paths of glory, with excellent Kirk Douglas as Col. Dax.
On the other hand there's an old war movie that I like, promoting patriotism and heroism, but what was understandable, considering the times when it was produced. A charming role by Gary Cooper playing a real Great war hero.