Edgar Allan Woolf

Edgar Allan Woolf

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Ziegfeld Follies Review


Good
Who knew they made clip shows into movies? Ziegfeld Follies is two hours of skits, songs, dances, and jokes from the dying days of vaudeville, brought to us by a who's-who of yesteryear performers. The film opens, believe it or not, with a deceased Florenz Ziegfeld, looking down from heaven, dreaming about his perfect variety show. What follows is that dream, put to film.

With a tagline like "The Greatest Production Since The Birth Of Motion Pictures," you get a little something like the unmanageable monstrosity that Follies ultimately becomes. Structured as a series of unrelated vignettes, directed by different people (not to mention that screenwriting credit list), it's ultimately just a jumble of parts that add up to less than a whole movie.

Continue reading: Ziegfeld Follies Review

Freaks Review


Good
It's one of the most controversial movies of it or any era, and it stands as possibly the only film ever quoted by Lyle Lovett in another movie.

That famous quote is, of course, "One of us! One of us!" (Lyle ommitted the "Gooble gobble" that precedes it.) The movie is Freaks, Tod Browning's bizarre 1932 film that takes place behind the scenes at a circus freakshow.

Continue reading: Freaks Review

The Wizard Of Oz Review


Essential
The Wizard of Oz is a classic film from an era when American studios were confident and breaking ground (within the discipline imposed by the Hays Office). Stuffed with now-amiliar tropes -- the yellow brick road, the wicked witch, the emerald city -- and a supply of often-quoted lines, famous songs, and gags, the film is probably as entertaining now as it was in 1939.

Oz was groundbreaking in a number of ways, most obviously in its visual impact. Movies in color had been made for a while, but most films in 1939 were still in black and white, so the gimmick of beginning in B&W and shifting to Technicolor was very effective. Some of the special effects were advanced at the time (and are still one of the movie's strengths). One of the most famous sequences, the tornado which sweeps across the farm fields, was created by filming a windsock being blown around by electric fans. It's more realistic and believable than the computer-generated tornadoes in the movie Twister, made 57 years later. That's progress.

Continue reading: The Wizard Of Oz Review

Edgar Allan Woolf

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