July 7, 2008

Throw me a line

It's been more than 20 years since I read Leon Uris' Exodus, but I remember it as being an all-time great novel.

Unfortunately, it has been just 20 hours since I finished watching the Otto Preminger movie version, and I remember it as being very very long. And extremely terrible.

Apparently, movie makers in the 1960s hadn't quite mastered the concepts of editing (three and a half hours!?!?) or sound engineering (I don't know where the microphones were positioned during all of the indoor scenes, but my best guess was near a vacuum cleaner).

Or special effects. In one scene, a bomb explodes outside a prison wall, and the resulting hole is a perfect rectangle.

Or dialogue, for that matter. I might be off by a word or two here, but I swear to Oprah H. Winfrey that Paul Newman, as Ari, actually said this to Eva Marie Saint, as Kitty: "A year is a long time in the life of a beautiful woman." Well, yeah, no wonder he swept her off her feet.

I really think I'm giving them a fair shot, but other than Chinatown and The Graduate, and maybe the Wizard of Oz, which was waaay ahead of its time, I have yet to see a movie from before 1976 that didn't absolutely stink on ice.

Correct me if I'm wrong.


bugs said...

what was the movie that dad thought was great that also was terrible when he actually watched it again? i'm picturing the cover, but can't remember. anyway, do you even know what a vacuum cleaner sounds like? your descriptions, however, made me laugh out loud.
xoxoxo welcome back to me! did you miss the obnoxious snarky comments?

Your escalator operator said...

Sure did miss you and your comments. It's good to have you back.
1) The movie Dad was talking about was Ben Hur, which also must have seemed like a good idea at the time -- in fact it won 11 Oscars. Watch it now and explain to me how it won 11 Oscars.
2) I vacuumed last night, sucka.

bugs said...

you vacuumed what?!
ben hur. you're a genius. you could not pay me to sit through that black and white nonsense.

Loree said...

I'm sure Rob would be more than willing to identify some good old movies for you. It seems like every time I come downstairs he's watching some old-ass movie that looks incredibly boring and terrible.

Your escalator operator said...

L - If Bricken can suggest an old-ass movie that doesn't suck, I'm all ears.
B - I think Ben Hur was in color, but I get the idea.

bugs said...

really? then the color was so bad it looked black and white. how's that?!

JBhumitra said...

stalag 17 is old, and a great movie. and rear window and north by northwest - any hitchcock. and so many others i cant think of now - i used to love the channel AMC (American Movie Classics). I had big crushes on William Holden, Paul Newman and Cary Grant, and would rush home after school to see them in the films.

I like your use of the phrase "extremely terrible." It made me laugh because it reminded me of the phrase "extraordinarily disappointing" - which is how Raj described the seals at Sea World for swimming around ignoring us rather than competing with each other for the fish we dangled overhead. the sea lions, on the other hand, were very interactive. so much so that we spent $25 on fish!