Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Thing #322: Oh So Quiet

In honor of Oscar season, Turner Classic Movies has been running past award winners almost nonstop. And I, also in honor of Oscar season, have been watching a lot of them. I like to have a movie on in the background when I'm home writing, so it's been nice to have stuff like Lawrence of Arabia keeping me company instead of my usual train-wreck go-tos like The Day After Tomorrow and War of the Worlds (I seriously love me some bad disaster movies, ESPECIALLY if they star crazy people). Today, I watched Wings. This was significant for two reasons. First of all, Wings was the first-ever Best Picture Oscar winner, and second, it's silent (and has nothing to do with the bland '90s tv show starring Crystal Bernard). Other than having watched about three minutes of The Phantom of the Opera once just to verify that Andrew Lloyd Webber did indeed rip off the organ cadences, I'd never seen a silent film. So what better way to get started than the only one ever honored with an Oscar? I really liked it (despite not getting much done while it was on- having to read the dialog takes a fair bit of concentration). It centers around a couple torn apart by World War I, both of whom are dead by the end (it seems like I just spoiled it for you, but you sort of figure that out in the first five minutes). One of my very favorite things about it was a portly Army character who constantly touts his American flag tattoo, which we only ever see in blurry close ups of him flexing his muscles, which ripple unrealistically every single time. TCM followed Wings with the silent film Sunrise, the creepy story of a guy who kills one lover and attempts to redeem himself by protecting another (who I think was a relative of the first). For chits and giggles, we put on Bjork's Medulla as a replacement soundtrack. There's nothing like watching an old movie star drown another old movie star to the beat of Icelandic a capella beatboxing.

2 comments:

Krista said...

I watched the silent "Phantom of the Opera" with some friends a few years ago... they used little cards to show what was going on, and they would say things like "--Oh No!", with a lot of dashes, so we kept imagining that the dashes were bleeped out curses. Those silent movie stars...

Kathleen said...

I think ALW ripped off a Pink Floyd song to get the organ music...