Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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sinemadelisikiz
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:36 pm
Location: CA

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggest

#76 Post by sinemadelisikiz » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:15 am

1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
2. The Cranes are Flying
3. Make Way for Tomorrow
4. Dial M for Murder
5. City Girl
6. Holiday
7. Detective Story
8. The Crucified Lovers
9. Baby Doll
10. Waterloo Bridge
11. The Matchmaker
12. The Moon is Blue
13. Killer Joe
14. His Girl Friday
15. Stage Door
16. The Magician (Bergman)
17. Pandora’s Box
18. The Girls
19. Sabrina (Wilder)
20. The Shop Around the Corner

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bottled spider
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggest

#77 Post by bottled spider » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:29 am

The Birthday Party (Friedkin, 1968). Also applicable to the 24 hrs project. For my taste, a more successful adaptation than Donner's The Caretaker (The Guest). Friedkin just seems to have had an instinct for how a movie can be confined mostly to one room and still be cinematic, against Donner's sometimes superficial and counterproductive opening of the play. And he has a good sense of colour. Since Pinter is slow paced and frustrates the normal expectations and satisfactions of dialogue and plot, a little visual pleasure is welcome relief ("sugaring the pill").

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A man stayed-put
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggest

#78 Post by A man stayed-put » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:23 am

Detective Story.
This forum comes through again with a great recommendation (particularly Domino’s championing of it). Gripping and expertly played by a wonderful ensemble (despite living legend status Douglas still feels underrated, he's fantastic here) I found myself forgiving it a few plot points that stretch credulity. Although I am interested if the major twist, if it can be called that, almost spoiled the film for anyone else? It’s such a huge coincidence none of the characters seem to buy it either.

Random observations (vague spoilers)-
The deep focus photography, through doors and windows works beautifully to open the film up and there’s an interesting tripling effect going on for much of the film- floors of the station, planes of vision, alignment of actors in the frame (one sequence with three concurrent phone calls stands out).
SpoilerShow
Between this and Ace in the Hole, Douglas must have had a special clause in his contract in 51 that dictated he exit his pictures face first.
Lee Grant is superb in this, her debut. She'd only make three more pictures in the 50's. Fuck HUAC.
SpoilerShow
There's a great bit of foreshadowing around the half hour mark when McLeod casually removes his gun from his holster and pockets it when going to speak to 'Charlie'.

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Red Screamer
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:34 pm
Location: Tativille, IA

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#79 Post by Red Screamer » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:15 pm

Angels in America (Mike Nichols, 2003)
Uneven, often brilliant. I don’t know if any staging could do justice to the word-drunk poetics and mixed surrealism on Kushner’s page (I'd only ever read it before this), but it’s too good of a play not to get somewhere with this kind of cast. Shenkman, Kirk, and Wright are perfect; Pacino is great and unpredictable, overacting and understated at the same time, never even touching the beats you’d expect him to; Streep is great in exactly the way you think she’d be, and isn’t any less moving for it (though I'm with knives, the multiple characters gimmick would work better on stage); Mary Louise Parker nails an impossible character but her regular scene partner, Patrick Wilson—miscast as Joe, too superficial—is a dud.

The sentimental music sucks, the visual effects never find the right balance of tacky and visionary, and, worst of all, Thompson’s angel completely misfires and the production’s entire conception of her is so confused that her flat-footed performance probably couldn’t be helped. But the heart of the play, at least without a believable Joe, is in the sparring between Belize/Roy and Prior/Louis and when it goes there (as well as the dizzying Cocteau dream sequence) it soars. Worth seeing, but I'd recommend reading the play first.

Not I (Samuel Beckett & Anthony Page, 1973)
Not much to say about this hypnotizing film of Beckett's short play except watch it.

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#80 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:36 pm

Well I’ve just seen Dutchman and I doubt if I’ve ever seen a more intense limited character chamber piece. While this is a film about social engagement across racial lines, Freeman is a tempered presence to comfortably convey any audience surrogate to the situation he finds himself forced into - and this kind of menace isn’t specific in an era of fears around sexualized weaponry. This feels like Pinter on steroids, and the claustrophobic intimacy we’re forced into with Knight’s unpredictable histrionic nightmare-personified is so entrancing and anxiety-provoking it reaches new levels for this idea. The medium of film is used well to push us into physical traps to signify the psychological ones. Knight gives one of the best, loudest performances I’ve ever seen in my life, and I recognize the hyperbole but it simply is. She uses her skills at exhibiting sexuality to exploit our own arousal levels throughout her seesawing insanity, and that’s not an easy thing to do to both excite and terrorize interchangeably. Actresses have tried to do this tirelessly over the years but never has one perf struck the polar extremes so masterfully so that we reach our breaking point right with Freeman after being helplessly seduced against our will. The characters remain mysteries in a daring authentic act so that all we get is our own psyches flaring up in a flood of provocative social discomfort. This isn’t my favorite film that is a theatre adaptation but it’s one of the best uses of the medium to capture the strengths of a theatre adaptation, and certainly the best social horror. This is 54 minutes but if it had been a minute longer my heart may have exploded.

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domino harvey
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Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#81 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:42 pm

Never prouder of one of my students than when he remembered/realized that Masculin feminin quoted the film after our screening!

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Theatre Adaptations Genre Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#82 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:07 pm

Sweet Bird of Youth is yet another great Tennessee Williams adaptation that doesn't hold back on the perversity. This one is particularly revealing, from the incredibly descriptive drug use to grimy characterization and brutal behavior, refreshing coming from Brooks who played things pretty safe in his prior adaptation (though it's hard not to imagine what Kazan would have done with it, having directed the initial Broadway run, on top of the best film version of Williams' tonal brand via wild exhibitionism). The Broadway cast members are great, and Knight is fantastic in her early face-off with her father, though Begley steals the show as the two-faced patriarchal community leader who is capable of transitioning from pleasantly composed to violently erratic like a bolt of lightning.

The thematic use of the 'public' is well-established as a deceptively "safe" space where Newman can be valued, Cristian morals can be upheld, Begley and his family can thrive, Page can succeed, etc. -or maybe it is safe, but not in the way intended. This is an area where lies can hide, and dreams can come true only in the facade of the mind's misperception of the public's place on a pedestal. The truth is the disease that physically scarred Knight and figuratively scarred her family, Begley's harmful individualism masked as ideological collectivism in family values, and the depressing fatalism that marks Newman and Page. The detailed orchestration of the brilliant mechanics in the play build to a very satisfying final act. Particularly the gesture of Newman encouraging Page to take the phone presents a stripped-down, uncomfortable reflection of perhaps every 'altruistic' act of support- helping another to serve oneself. This would all feel too simple if it weren't for the clear audacity in showing a far more complex reading on the actions we make than our sugarcoating selfless preaching indicates. Williams frequently calls humanity on its hypocrisy and falsehoods in exposing systemic functioning as stained with poisonous ingredients, but here it's done in the subtlest of expressions.

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