The Legend of 1900


Jul 11, 2001
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In the movie, didn't they show the character remove a locking pin that held the piano in place?

That at least seemed believable to me.
 

Bob Godfrey

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You're quite right to expect believability, guys. I have the same problem whenever I'm watching any of these so-called fantasy films. Mary Poppins, for instance. Now, the Edwardian room sets and costumes are pretty accurate, but there's no historical evidence to suggest that the average London chimney sweep had balletic skills or could speak in strange foreign tongues. And it's been proved many times that no way can you escape the pull of gravity with an ordinary unpowered umbrella. Things like that spoil my enjoyment of the whole film.
 
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Kyle Johnstone

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Yeah, boy, that phoney Dick Van Dyke and his cinematic lies!

I mean, have you ever tried driving your car off a cliff, or across the sea?

Hah!
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Hi David, yes, the piano had a "brake" on each wheel. However, at least to me, the film suggested that these brakes were no different than the brakes used on modern stage pianos - not strong enough to hold such a beast if the floor were to tilt. AND the piano bench would not have been attached to the piano nor would it glide in perfect unison with it like a musical zamboni.
quote:

I mean, have you ever tried driving your car off a cliff, or across the sea?
Oh, you mean you haven't? It's always worked perfectly well for me ~ maybe my car just likes me.
happy.gif


I suppose one clue to the film is in the title -"legend"- so one cannot expect too much believability here. I guess I was expecting more from 1900 than "Mary Poppins" or "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". However, even if comparing 1900 to these greats as fantasy, it pales (IMHO). I LOVE "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty"!​
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,

Yes, it was a "legend". I'd not bet that one could light a cigarette in the fashion depicted during the scene with Jelly Roll Morton, but it created a neat scene. It was perhaps slightly more believable than Jack and Rose getting into that (crated) Renault without any assistance. But I have a weakness for the film as the Virginian exteriors resembled the Mauretania and her sister, and I loved the scrapyard scenes (but not the "scrapping"). And I believe Pruitt Taylor Vince's "eyes" are the result of a medical condition. I was not distracted by them at all.

Best,
Eric
 
May 27, 2007
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Did I hear Chitty Chitty <font color="ffffff">Bang, <font color="ffffff">Bang. I saw this movie. It reminded me of Orlando with Tilda Swinton. Which was also a 1928 Novel By Viginia Woolfe. Orlando too calls for the ability to suspend reality
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>and the vessel was clearly based on lusitania or Mauritania...

It reminded me, strongly, of the cancelled Italian four stackers Andrea Doria and Caio Duilio as well as the Mauretania and Lusitania.

>And it's been proved many times that no way can you escape the pull of gravity with an ordinary unpowered umbrella.

You can. The secret is in the frumpy black hat~ used in tandem with an umbrella, it gives you the 'lift' needed to overcome gravity. Just be sure that the hat is pinned down, lest it come free in flight like a DC10 cargo door and send you earthward.

>but there's no historical evidence to suggest that the average London chimney sweep had balletic skills or could speak in strange foreign tongues.

I was watching a gritty documentary about an orphaned boy in London who, after being expelled from an orphanage, and being SOLD, ran away and fell in with a gang overseen by at least two adult career criminals. As appalled as I was by the conditions shown ~ some of which literally moved me to tears, and made me want to DO SOMETHING~ I was truly surprised by the overall quality, not to mention quantity, of the musical talent present among the squalor. There was one segment, luckily captured by the film crew, in which service people, hawkers, flower sellers, nannies, spontaneously burst into song and dance while passing through an upper class neighborhood that literally altered my previously held views about the class system and working conditions. So, given what I now know to be true, I must respectfully say that there might have more talent among the London chimney sweeps than previously suspected.

>with Jelly Roll Morton

Pretty funny. In 1938 or '39, he recorded a set for the Library of Congress, in which he explained that when he was getting started in New Orleans "If a man played piano, he was branded for life...with the femininity stamp. Now, I didn't want that, so..." He then proceeded to perform a song he wrote, roughly contemporary to this film, successfully meant to convey to hardcore New Orleans clubgoers that he wasn't gay. It was what I heard in my head when Jelly Roll appeared in the film, and it made me snicker... use a search engine or a file swapping site to find "Winin' Boy Blues" (be sure it is the Library of Congress version)for a rather, shall we say, realistic musical look at 1900.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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Jim, I also saw that documentary. I was struck that--with all that natural, brilliant talent--these poor unfortunates could not improve their lots in life.

I was pleased that Jason discovered the soundtrack on Amazon, and I was ecstatic to find that one could get both the DVD and Soundtrack for only $33 and free shipping! (Yes, Bob, I know what you're going to say....)

Kyrila
 

Bob Godfrey

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I know the film you mean, Jim. To me, it's a perfect evocation of the London of my youth, when all us Cockney sparrers would burst into song and enjoy a good knees-up at every opportunity. And we're not ashamed to admit that we had to pick a pocket or two as part of the steep learning curve on the way to careers as tax inspectors and real estate agents. I hope you noticed that the screenplay delivers a wonderful line that perfectly sums up the Hollywood ethos: "In this life, one thing counts. In the bank, large amounts."
 
May 27, 2007
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quote:

I must respectfully say that there might have more talent among the London chimney sweeps than previously suspected.
Charles Chaplin was a cockney and look what he did with his Life.

quote:

"In this life, one thing counts. In the bank, large amounts."
Hear, Hear. I concur with that. Oh by the way. <font color="ff6000">HAPPY THANKSGIVING
 

Jim Kalafus

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>"In this life, one thing counts. In the bank, large amounts."

Oh yes, and if you sometimes do come by the occasional black eye, you can always cover one while 'e blacks the other one, but you don't dare cry.

>I was struck that--with all that natural, brilliant talent--these poor unfortunates could not improve their lots in life.

The class system rears its ugly head. Why, the amount of practice, atop inate talent, it takes to have every charwoman in a block of slum dwellings simultaneously open their front door, lean their heads out, sing a single line of a verse and then simultaneously slam the doors shut, all in perfect unison, amazes me. But, at the same time saddens me, for it is rare to see examples of such...joie de vivre demonstrated by members of the titled class, who with their eduction, unlimited funds, and social connections COULD simultaneously pop their heads out of a far better grade of door, yet never do! One represents the shame of talent squandered due to laxck of options, while the other defines the tragedy of talent squandered by lack of initiative!



Yes, that documentary taught me a lot about London street life that I previously did not know~ in fact, made me feel 'at one' with England in a way that, previously, only the wry sophisticated wit and subtle humor of Benny Hill did. It's like I consider myself at home. Yet, at the same time questions arose, vis a vis the killing of a woman ON CAMERA by her career criminal husband. I mean, verite is verite, but the film makers showed a lack of responsibility there, IMHO.

>Charles Chaplin was a cockney and look what he did with his Life

True enough...the poor man tried, but I think it is safe to say that he was certainly no Dick Van Dyke in the talent department.

>And we're not ashamed to admit that we had to pick a pocket or two

Well, understood. When every night you say a prayer "will they change the bill of fare?" and still all you ever get is gruel, morality then becomes a luxury.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
 

Jim Kalafus

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>I mean, have you ever tried driving your car off a cliff, or across the sea?

Well, YES! many times, in fact. Back when "Chitty" came out,one of my older cousins was 'gifted,' if that term may be used in this context, with the quarter-scale Chitty For Kids, available at high-end toy stores everywhere. NO BOY WOULD BE CAUGHT DEAD IN THAT CAR, and so "Chitty" went unused until a few years later when I inherited the curst thing. NO BOY WOULD BE CAUGHT DEAD IN THAT CAR! But, by then, we had left the city for the tranquil rural life, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang spent the summer of 1972 rolling down hills into trees (Occupied) and rolled off of cliffs(Unoccupied)and plowed into by the COOL vehicles one WANTED to roll downhill in (Dump trucks, etc) Chitty probably survived into 1973, at which point all bodywork was removed and the frame became the basis of a fairly durable go-cart.
 

Bob Godfrey

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I should own up at this point to not really being a Cockney. But then neither was Charlie Chaplin. We were both born south of the river, he in Walworth and me in Battersea. But us Sarf Lunduners is just as common as them wot was born wivin the sarnd o' Bow Bells. If you ever meet anybody born between the outbreak of war in 1939 and 1961 who claims to be a Cockney, denounce that person as the imposter (s)he clearly is. During that period the bells remained silent at the church of St Mary le Bow.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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I believe Dick Van Dyke's depiction of a cockney chimney sweep (in 'Mary Poppins) deserves the pick as the worst attempt at an English accent in cinematic history...

At least he kept his yank accent in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Speaking of chimney sweeps- How many men did it take to scrub the inside of Olympic., Lusitania, Mauritania or Aquitania's quartet of funnels?
 
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Kyle Johnstone

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I've seen that documentary... I think it won several prestigious awards.

I recall there was another around that time, involving a female Cockney street urchin, motherless and abandoned by her alcoholic father, she was picked up by a "professor" for some sort of "charity" scheme he had going with another of his old cronies. For some reason they were fixated on Spanish weather reports...
 

Jim Kalafus

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Oh yes, Kyle...I remember that. When I saw it, I was struck by how anachronistic it seemed...the film makers were NOT AT ALL disturbed by the premise of the experiment in social engineering they were documenting. The poor woman is stripped of her heritage and any form of identity-through-community, and instead ends up articulate but basically stifled. AND sounding a lot like Marni Nixon when called upon to sing. So, from today's perspective it works better as a period piece depicting the mores of the era in which it was filmed, than it does as a documentary per se. To me, "Ethic cleansing" is just as repellent in its 'gentle' forms as it in its more brutal ones, and I do wish that the docu of which you spoke would be 'updated' with editorial comment relevant to 2007, since it borders on advocating Eugenics!

I watched a VERY disturbing docu this morning, about a novice nun so annoying that the other nuns actually give in to one of the seven deadly sins (Malice) and sing a song about how annoying she is. She is farmed out to a family as a nanny, and not only turns the children into unruly brats who create public disturbances while wearing loud, androgynous, outfits, BUT ALSO steals the fiance of another woman. It gets worse...fearing that she is about to fail as a nun, she returns to the convent where the other nuns, instead of counceling her to make a retreat, therin to pray for strength and guidance, advise her to step back into tempation's path. Which she does, and soon she 'falls' and marries the fiance. Here is where it goes from bad to indefensible. The father of the family is anti-Nazi, and wants to flee. SOMEONE within the family tips the Nazis off, and they are waiting at the family gates to thwart the attempt. SOMEHOW the Nazis trace the fleeing family to the ex-novice's former convent (who-o-who, I wonder, keeps tipping them off?) from where, (after the diabling of a Nazi staff car leads to the probable dissolution of the order and the imprisonment, after S.S. interrogation, of the nuns) we see some rare footage of this she demon leading the WHOLE FAMILY into S.S. hands as they flee over the Alps from Austria INTO GERMANY! It all left me chilled in a way that few documentaries ever have, although I'll admit that the rare prewar technicolor footage was quite stunning.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>the worst attempt at an English accent in cinematic history...

Worse, in its own way, than even Yoko Ono's attempt at a generic brogue on John and her duet "Luck of the Irish!"

One could, and probably should, write a book or article about accent-misfires. The "if you asks me, 'angin's too good for the Ripper!" Hollywood take on what a working class English accent sounds like regardless of city (I've seen it pop up in films set in Wales) must be just as atrocious, to English ears, as the various dreadful attempts to render New York accents over the years are to mine.

The King and Grand Sachem of Bad Accents is Al Pacino. Scarface is this close // to being the Cuban accented equivalent of Amos n Andy's downscale brothers JamUp 'n' Honey, while Carlito's Way is even worse! But, let us not sell his 'Fiery Scotsman' in "Revolution" short. (Favorite moments in that film center on Nastassia Kinski as a Wealthy English Lass who joins the rebellion. Facing the wounded, post battle, Pacino, she says "You fought. You fought." Later, facing Pacino the deserter, she says "You fled. You fled." 8 years into the war, she meets Pacino's son, who is now post pubescent, and says "You've grown. Oh, and you've got a gun." And Annie Lennox as the personification of Revolutionary Spirit was an interesting choice as well.)

Speaking of horrid accents- check out Marisa Tomei as a Cubana, opposite another Cubana Acting Legend (Angelica Huston) in The Perez Family. Her accent is not QUITE as Frito-Bandito as Natalie Wood in West Side Story, but it is in the ballpark and the dialogue is far worse playing, as she does, what publicity releases in un-P.C. times would have called "One Hot Tamale."

Give Rosemary Clooney's Trilogy of Terror (Come On-A-My House, Botch-a-me, and the unearthly creation that is Mambo Italiano) a play....

And give Irish Yoko a listen...
 
Feb 14, 2011
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.."And give Irish Yoko a listen"


Do I have to? I find Yoko's singing voice to be mildly disturbing...

In Dec 1968 on the Rolling Stones 'Rock & Roll circus' tv special, there was a jam between John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mitch mitchell....and Yoko Ono...

She had a bag over her head for most of 'Yer Blues', but took over lead vocals on an instrumental number.....Her vocals made the shrieking she demon from 'The Last Voyage' sound melodic..


Its odd- in the Beatlmaniac community, some assert if you like the Beatles, you HAVE TO like Yoko Ono..
 

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