Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Monday, November 27, 2017

The Exclamation Point Makes the Difference


What's the point of this post?  The point is the point which is not the point you may think it is...




Self-portrait in the crowd, at the Moulin Roug...
Toulouse-Lautrec self-portrait in the crowd, at the Moulin Rouge, Art Institute of Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

           In my post for the Remakes Blogfest,  I had mentioned that Baz Luhrmann's version of The Great Gatsby was my favorite remake while I hated the director's 2001 film Moulin Rouge!.  Many have said that this is a love it or hate it sort of film and I can vouch from my own experience that I can see why the film would create such separate camps.  The music sequences are colorful and dazzling and well performed, but the story did not grab me.  I also found the characters to be annoying.  I'll likely give the film a third chance someday--someday when I'm in a strange mood, stranger than normal. 

           My reaction to that film made me hesitant to watch the 1952 film Moulin Rouge after I'd saved it from TCM for later viewing.  Since my wife had also hated the Luhrmann film of the same name except with an exclamation point, she always declined to watch the earlier version for fear that it might be like the other film.   Since I was sure that the film without the exciting punctuation mark would be different I waited until one night that I was watching movies alone to check it out.


Moulin Rouge (1952 film)
Moulin Rouge (1952 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

           Worth every award for which it won or was nominated, Moulin Rouge is a feast for the eyes as the story of artist Toulouse-Lautrec (played by Jose Ferrer) unfolds in come-to-life artwork that made him famous while telling the story of the amazing but sad life that he led.    A stellar cast includes an interesting portrayal of a cafe singer done by Zsa Zsa Gabor--I'd thought she only did game shows and variety show appearances.

            For me this film was an introduction to a famous French artist with whom I was familiar.  His artwork is prevalent having often been reproduced on items easily found in places like Target, Pier One Import, or the like. In other words I basically knew his style and some of his specific works without being intimately familiar with any of his works.  Many of his more famous paintings are recreated cinematically in the film. 

          Life stories whether exactly true or not are a film genre that I enjoy.  Moulin Rouge fits nicely into what I'd want to see in any biopic.   I'd highly recommend this film to anyone who might enjoy such a film as I have described without going into too many details.  This is one of those films that hit me with an impact that I'm still thinking about it--and it's been nearly a month since I watched it.

          If I haven't forgotten a film a day or so after I've seen it then that must mean something to me.  Odd how that works sometimes.

         What film have you seen that left such an impact on you that you continued to think about it for a long time after you'd seen it?    Have you seen this 1952 version of Moulin Rouge?    Care to hazard a guess as to what my Battle of the Bands song will be this coming Friday December 1st?  






35 comments:

  1. I always enjoyed musical films suchas Carousel and Oklahoma could sit and watch them many times over. A good post Lee and made interesting reading.
    Happy week.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, those old traditional musicals are so good. Carousel is one of my all time favorites.

      Lee

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  2. Lee,

    I have not seen this vintage film or the remake, but I'm open to see the 1952 Moulin Rouge. I checked with Netflix and Amazon Prime to see if it's available (at no extra cost since we subscribe to these streaming services) but it's not. Right off, I can't think of any movie that I've seen that's had the kind of impact that you mentioned. I would imagine your BoTB will feature a song from Moulin Rouge and since I'm not familiar with it the flick I'm not sure what your song you'll pick. I will be by to check it out, though. Have a good week, my friend!

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    1. Cathy, Moulin Rouge! (with an exclamation) is not a remake of the 1952 film, but it has the same setting and a few of the same characters. The earlier film is so much better than the latter--at least in my opinion. Good deduction in regard to my next BOTB song.

      Lee

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  3. I've not seen the original although I saw just enough of the remake to dislike it very strongly. At least three exclamation points strong.
    Sign of a good film when you're still thinking about it weeks later.

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    1. Alex, I forget a lot of good films, but I guess they just didn't resonate with me like the ones that I remember strongly.

      Lee

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  4. Jose Ferrer made that character come alive for me and though I saw that original movie over a year ago, it still haunts my mind. Loved it! Have no desire to see the remake. Good post.⚘⚘

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    1. Eve, Ferrer does such a wonderful job in this film, but he's been good in everything I've seen him in. I'm looking forward to seeing it again and convincing my wife to watch it with me. I think she'd like this film better than the Luhrmann film.

      Lee

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  5. My all-time favorite film, The Inner Circle (1991), based on the memoirs of Stalin's film projectionist, has haunted me since I first saw it back in '96. The final scene in particular, depicting the crushing mob scene at Stalin's funeral, and the ending lines, give me goosebumps. I'm also haunted by the ending of L'Aveu (The Confession), a 1970 French-Italian film based on Czechoslavakia's show trials, and ending with the brutal crushing of the Prague Spring.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, I'm not familiar with the film you mentioned though it sounds like something that would interest me. I like it when a film leaves me with goosebumps and makes me tingly when I think back on it.

      Lee

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  6. I don't think I'd like any remake of the original Moulin Rouge.Jose Ferrer's performance was the best! In fact, now that you've got me thinking about it, I'm going to see that film again. Thanks.

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    1. C.Lee, I'd see no reason to remake the Ferrer film as it would serve little purpose to do so.

      Lee

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  7. I admit, I have not seen Moulin Rouge version you reviewed. I was not taken with Kidman’s version. Thank you for mentioning it. Last night I watched Clint Eastwood’s Heart Break Ridge. It was good. The last movie that made me think and spin might have been Ida, or Lucy. I really liked the Gran Torino too. Happy Monday :)

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    1. Erika, I was thinking I'd seen the Eastwood film then upon reading the description of it on Wiki I realized that I don't remember seeing this one. I should put this one on my to see list.

      Lucy was a very freaky film that kind of stuck with me for some days after I watched it. That's a good one.

      Lee

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  8. Have to say I am a bit of an idiot on films. I liked Stallone's Judge Dredd.

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    1. CW, Stallone has done some good stuff and I like him. The other night we watched a Jason Statham film called Homefront and I was surprised to see that Stallone had written the screenplay. A pretty good action film.

      Lee

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  9. I like life story films too. Can't say they are all worth it to watch though. I felt the same ambiguity for the remake of Stephen King's IT. With the emphatic exclamation point. I wasn't impressed with the original mini-series. The movie remake was better crafted - the clown was extremely well done - but not as scary/exciting as I'd hoped.

    I've seen a lot of movies that stayed with me. Last of the Mohicans and Braveheart are two of the most memorable. Just writing the titles makes me want to put in the DVDs again.

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    1. Dolorah, if I learn something new or gain a certain insight about a historical figure I figure a biopic was worth a watch. The other night we watched a film about Woodrow Wilson and it was rather long and tedious--fitting I guess for that president. My wife and I both agreed that we were glad we watched it, but we wouldn't want to watch it again.

      I've got the Braveheart DVD and it's been years since we watched it. That's one I'd like to see again.

      Lee

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  10. LEE, I did start to watch the 2001 remake of MOULIN ROUGE! once but lost interest maybe 1/4th or 1/3rd of the way in and turned it off.

    I would be mildly interested in seeing the 1952 original.

    I could undoubtedly name a number of movies that had me thinking about them for some time after the first viewing. But none that I could name would come even remotely close to the impact that [Link> 'KOYAANISQATSI', "the Eddie Van Halen of art films", had on me in 1983. That was a rather mind-boggling experience I had been unprepared for and in some ways it really changed the way I looked at the world.

    To this day, it remains my all-time favorite film, which I watch about once a year. And for days or weeks afterwards, it still affects the way I see things around me.

    There have been many imitations of it since '83, but I consider KOYANNISQATSI one of the finest works of art ever created by man.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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    1. STMcC, I think you might enjoy Moulin Rouge sans exclamation point. The story is well told and explores an interesting aspect of how a person is not blinded by love, but blinded by distancing himself from being loved. Jose Ferrer is stellar in his depiction of Toulouse-Lautrec. Believe me, the 1952 film is nothing like the nutty film by Luhrmann.

      Lee

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  11. Biographies are a favourite genre for me as well, but I'm not a big fan of musicals, except when it comes to Gene Kelly. I haven't seen Moulin Rouge! or Moulin Rouge, but the original version sounds good, based on your description. Two films that left a lasting impression on me are The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now. Both were devastating and I couldn't get them out of my mind for a long time.

    Are you featuring a song from Moulin Rouge for your next battle? Looking forward to it!

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    1. Debbie D, the 1952 Moulin Rouge is not a musical though because much of it takes place in the famed night club there are a couple of musical numbers.

      Apocalypse Now is one of my all-time favorites. Recently I bought the 3 disc release (at a very good price) of the set that includes the original film plus Redux and Hearts of Darkness. My wife and I watched the original again just the other night. Great film--and better than the Redux version.

      I think my clues for the BOTB song are pretty obvious. You've got the general idea.

      Lee

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  12. Movies that stick with me are those with a message, and if that movie also has music, I'll watch it over and over. The Broadway musical South Pacific is one of those special stories.

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    1. Patricia, South Pacific is a wonderful film. I need to get it on DVD since I only have the video and probably soon won't be able to play it.

      Lee

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  13. I love My Fair Lady, though that may be because it was the first live, professional theatre experience I ever had. Richard Chamberlain played Henry Higgins. Loved it! And then watched the movie and loved that, too!

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    1. M, My Fair Lady is a wonderful film that is run on TCM fairly regularly. It's long, but it's good. I'm sure seeing it live had a big impact on your later opinion of the musical.

      Lee

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  14. I have seen Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge and hated it!
    So I know where your coming from haven't seen the earlier movie maybe I should

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    1. Jo-Anne, the 1952 movie is a traditional style movie about the life of a real person. It's more about the art and the artist than some crazy film trying to be artsy.

      Lee

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  15. We ate at the Moulin Rouge when I was on that high school trip to London and Paris.

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  16. JoJo, that sounds like quite a memorable experience. I'd imagine that Moulin Rouge is much more tourist oriented these days and not the cutting edge place it was in its earlier days.

    Lee

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  17. I did not like Moulin Rouge of the exclamation point. Nothing against musicals, grew up on them, love many of them still. Haven't watched the 1952 film, might want to now...A film that has stayed with me? Again several, but right now Gone with the Wind is top of mind. Jaws as well, if scary films count :) In fact, Jaws should have been on my Remakes post, the film was much better than the book. It's rare that a film's better than the novel, at least for me personally, prefer books to films most times.

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    1. Nilanjana, any film can count if it's relevant to you. I can think of a few scary films that impacted me. Gone With The Wind is an excellent film--one of my wife's favorites. Sadly I think GWTW has been falling out of favor with many in more recent generations for being politically incorrect in many ways. Many people watch films now and judge them according to their personal standards and what is considered to be "proper"--it's really too bad since we need to understand the past before we start passing judgement on it and even then judgement is kind of absurd since we can't change the past.

      Lee

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    2. That is indeed a terrible shame - great films/books falling out of circulation because of false/weird notions of 'un-pc-ness' GWTW is true to its period. History is what it is, can't change the past around just because it feels uncomfortable now. Similar ideas going around where I come from too - some people bent upon writing the unpleasantness out of our national history. Very naive and dangerous imo.

      I love both the book and the film, have watched/read more than once.

      Best always,
      Nilanjana.

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  18. I have seen neither version Arlee tho will look out the Jose Ferrer one ... we have a couple of specialist movie shops taht are bound to have it. I wouldn't have like to have seen Kidman in it I don't think.. Right now I can't think of any film that's made a huge impact on me ..

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    1. Susan S, Jose Ferrer was such a great actor. I've only "discovered" him within the past year--I didn't realize that he had actually made so many good movies.

      Lee

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Lee