24 Apr 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 2. Weekday "ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Special BL- “ARGH!” – “King of Kings” – Review


In 1961, King of Kings was panned, cynically perceived as commercial sacrilege. Cooler heads have since prevailed and its stature has risen tremendously in the years since, even among Christians. “It’s just a cash in,” they once said…

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23 Apr 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 5. Wednesday BL-"ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Special BL- “ARGH!” – “King of Kings” – Review


King of Kings

USA, 1961, Samuel Bronston Productions/MGM

Directed by Nicholas Ray

In 1961, King of Kings was panned, cynically perceived as commercial sacrilege. Cooler heads have since prevailed and its stature has risen tremendously in the years since, even among Christians. “It’s just a cash in,” they once said. Indeed, the battle scenes, the casting of Barabbas and Judas as revolutionaries, and Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils would support that assumption but King of Kings is much more than that. If it is loose with scripture, so what? The Passion of the Christ (2004) takes the scant number of verses (straightforward and unspecific verses) about the scourging and crucifixion and turns them into the most fetishistically rendered violence in screen history. Samuel Bronston might have been fiscally motivated to make the movie but it can’t help but be elevated by the artists (Nicholas Ray and Philip Yordan – previously paired on the epochal western Johnny Guitar.) Rather than giving us another thoughtless devotional, King of KingsJesus remains a transgressive figure, outside of and irreconcilable with our society past and present.

It’s true that Jesus almost seems like one character among many, a supporting player in his own film, but what’s important is the presence and the idea of a Christ figure. The coolness of Jeffrey Hunter’s performance makes it difficult to simply identify with Jesus. It’s a thin and occasionally uneasy line between the iconic and the tangible; something out of reach yet very real. The key character (but not the central one) is the Roman general Lucius – alienated from Rome, disenchanted with his place, wondering what his purpose is in the hostile territory of Judea. This character witnesses Jesus, finds something in him, but nevertheless isn’t a follower and it is in this that all of the power of the film is collected. Lucius sees a vital, powerful new way, a reordering of society on purer, greater principles, but simply cannot accept it – old allegiances, socio-cultural conflict, commerce, politics, and human nature, in other words the world, forbid it. Christianity in King of Kings is a permanent sub-culture. What I find in the ending isn’t a sense of complete victory, as other Christ films conclude, but simply a group of people abandoned to their work in the world. Far from heralding the great rise of Christendom, the apostles and the gospel seem destined to become lost in the mainstream. The ideas are adapted and the roles are assumed but the revolution is lost.

– Jonas Erickson

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06 Apr 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 5. Wednesday BL-"ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , ,

Wednesday BL- “ARGH!” – “Street Angel”


Street Angel
USA, 1928, Fox Film Corporation
Directed by Frank Borzage

We often hear of how German Expressionism “invaded” American cinema in the late silent period but the fascination within it lies less in shadows and fog than in American naturalism. After all, cinema had long been expressive, going back to Mary Pickford and Henry Walthall’s anguished cries on the mountain in Ramona (1910). For his final masterpieces City Girl (1928/1930) and Tabu (1931), F.W. Murnau embraced the unadorned world that had always been at the heart of his work, even in Nosferatu, a goal facilitated by America’s superior feeling for naturalistic performances. Mise-en-scene had been rescued from the obvious methods of Dr. Caligari.

Murnau’s sojourn in America profoundly affected many of our finest, not in the least John Ford and King Vidor but also the woefully forgotten Frank Borzage, cinematic poet of love and redemption. Street Angel is marked by the gloominess attributed to German Expressionism but these are not the scenes we keep with us.

The power of the film lies where Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell find love, struggle against the world, lose each other, and discover anew the essence that drew them together, all rendered in environments rich in sunlight, foliage, the warmth of the home, and the presence of God.

The blocking of their parting, the choreography of the long, lonely tracking shot through the crowd (after 83 years still one of the most beautifully executed takes in all cinema), and the simple efficacy of point-of-view in the church, carefully cutting between Gaynor, Farrell, and the painting – all examples of pure cinema, all examples of an art form at its peak.

- Jonas Erickson

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06 Apr 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 2. Weekday "ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , ,

Wednesday BL- “ARGH!” – “Street Angel”


Street Angel
USA, 1928, Fox Film Corporation
Directed by
Frank Borzage

We often hear of how German Expressionism “invaded” American cinema in the late silent period but the fascination within it lies less in shadows and fog than in American naturalism. After all, cinema had long been expressive…

Click HERE to continue!

Continue Reading...
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