Archive for February, 2007

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Ode to the Tale of the Over-Coddled (The Work Considered Second Best)

February 28, 2007

“The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873. Their splendor lasted throughout all the years that saw their midland town spread and darken into a city.” – The Narrator

The magnificence of Orson Welles began in 1941 with a film (in and of which he starred, wrote, produced, and directed) about America’s own Kubla Khan; a man who bore the name Charles Foster Kane. A film tender, radiant, and poignantly beautiful was Citizen Kane. An exciting piece of artwork that took the toll of 150, 000 dollars upon the company of Radio-Keith-Orpheum. But no matter was the commercial failure of Kane, for it opened the gate to the new standard; the one of avant-garde beauty.

Following the beauty of one, The Iconoclast (we will call him) crafted the beauty of another; the story of the well-to-doers, who fell from their grace with the evolution of society and industry (the low and poetic dialect of Welles pushed the tale forward with a delightful narration). The second film was as beautiful as the first, but this was something society could not and cannot see.

How ignorant that the film known as The Magnificent Ambersons, is overlooked by the society of now. How truly sad that so much poison can seep into the cracks of the mainstream Hollywood, while this film goes unnoticed by the so-called lovers of art. It’s an exceptionally odd act to portray a man’s first film as the greatest ever made, and not give mention of his equally incredible second.

I can truly say, of The Iconoclast’s film, that it exceeded my hopeful expectations and expanded my thoughts on what I considered “the best films of all time”. I also say that it’s quality was on par with the greatest aesthetics I’ve ever known. A tender, lyrical, yet topsy turvy illustration of a defining era of America. I find it necessary to hereby rate this among my top films and top works of art, thus granting it a place in my heart and ever-expanding mind.

From myself and all the others, who know: To Orson Welles, The Iconoclast, we salute.

Kyle W. Sutton

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Behind the Eyes of A Sphinx

February 3, 2007

Greta Garbo by Clarence Bull

Here we speak of a woman named Greta Gustafsson. The Swedish Sphinx, they called her under another name. She came from Stockholm and captured the eyes of the entire world. They, at first, did not know her voice, but soon fell in love with it when she ordered a whiskey.

She was a woman of strength. She persevered through silence and sound, felt love and loss at it’s worst, and shaped the dreams of audiences everywhere. After a life in front of cameras she quickly changed, spending her latter days strolling up and down the streets of 5th Avenue and buying antiques for her spacious New York apartment. Then a life of near seclusion followed. Hidden by her fear of overzealous fans and selfless mobs always hounding her. Setting herself apart from those, who without shame, photographed her from atop great high-rises as if she were an oddity. Her life was puzzling in ways that many cannot understand.

Those who knew her called her a woman of great humor. But, behind that humor you saw something of pain in her eyes. On the film rolls you saw a woman, often crying for help. “What is this pain?” you asked yourself. It had to be true, if it resonated so on the screen. You wanted to push through the walls of the screen and protect her from the world that was troubling her.

You wanted to hold Anna Christie in your arms, in spite of the profession she held, of which her new-found beau and absentee father disapproved. You wanted to tell Grusinskaya, the Russian ballerina, that Baron Geigern was dead. You wanted to save her the pain of wondering why he would never make it to the train. You wanted to give Christina, queen of Sweden, a bit of comfort after the loss of Antonio, for whom she gave her crown away. You then feel guilt. If only you could have grabbed Anna Karenina before she took her own life, you could have told her that Vronsky still had feelings for her. And you’d tell Marguerite Gautier that Armand, wherever he was, still loved her.

You wanted to bring yourself to tears. You felt all these things. It made you realize that someone who could bring about such a selection of feelings, could possibly have been the greatest actress in all of the world. And that’s what she was. She was Garbo.

Kyle W. Sutton