Hello everyone! It has been a while since the last edition of the vault, so what better thing to do than to write volume 6 right now!? This volume is going to be a little different from the previous five, however. This time around I will be including video clips to go along with each of my selections.
1.) Gettysburg (1993)
Gettysburg, a film by Ronald F. Maxwell, is one of my favorite historical films. It is based off the civil war novel Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. The film is beautifully shot, and, along with the soundtrack (one of my personal favorites), really is able to create an atmosphere which grabs your attention and keeps you watching. This is important to note because the film is very long. It is over four hours in length (four hours fourteen minutes to be exact, and the extended edition is around seventeen minutes longer than that!). Don’t let the length of the film deter you, however. I can assure you that this four hour film feels like a two hour film. It goes by so quickly each time you watch it. As the name implies, much of the film focuses on the battle of Gettysburg, but the first half of the film does feature some other battles preceding Gettysburg. It is a fine film, and one which I believe everyone should watch at least once.
2.) In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Winner of the 1967 academy award for Best Picture, this film crime film really packs a punch even today. It tells the story of a black detective stuck in the Deep South who somehow helps solve a murder case. It has several tense moments during its run-time, and always keeps you guessing until the final moments. For anyone who is interested in crime films, or detective stories, this film is for you. It is a good example of how to bring pieces of evidence together so that the audience becomes another detective in the story trying to figure out whodunit.
3.) The Mirror (1975)
Andrei Tarkovsky is one of my favorite filmmakers. I have already included his 1972 film Solaris on a previous edition of the Vault. The Mirror, one of his most difficult films to get into, was my first foray into his films. I remember being completely confused by it. In fact, I still am. I mean this, however, in a good way. Each time I have viewed this film I have liked it more and more. It is essentially a collection of fragments like that of a dream, or of a stream of memories. There really isn’t much of a plot either. The film also switches between color, black & white, and sepia toned footage; seemingly at random. It also jumps around in time too. The result is both frustrating and brilliant. This film ranks among those that showed me that there is more than one way to make a film. The film is beautiful to look at, and challenging to understand. Tarkovsky, however, never made a film for no reason. This film is clearly very autobiographical, (Tarkovsky’s father narrates parts of the film with his poetry, and his Mother appears in the film as well). Don’t expect to understand the film, but be sure to give it a viewing.
4.) The Sword in the Stone (1963)
I had to include at least one lighthearted film in this edition, and this would be it! This is without a doubt my favorite animated film. It is the perfect example of early Walt Disney animated features. It has catchy songs, old fashioned animation styles, and a classic story: King Arthur. I wish they would make animated films like this again. I am personally done with these computer animated films. I want these older style, hand-drawn, films back! I can dream, can’t I?