Essay Question (Dec. 4, 2014)

Several years ago, the OFCS produced a weekly essay question that would give our members the opportunity to answer various questions about film, film criticism and personal opinions about the medium. We have decided to restart that feature and have begun a bi-weekly essay question.

Essay Question #2: What historically significant film have you never seen, and what’s been taking you so long?

Question Submitted by: William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

Responses

William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline
I’ve never met a film critic who claims they’ve seen everything, and I am no exception. There’s always something wonderful I haven’t seen yet, and I kind of like it that way. I’d hate to think I’ve seen everything worth seeing. That’s what rainy days are for.

But of all the things I haven’t seen, the one I get the most flack for is probably ‘The Deer Hunter.’ I really don’t have any excuse. A friend even gave me a copy for my birthday. I guess too much of the film has been spoiled for me over the years to make me excited to watch how it all plays out, because I already know. But I’ll get to it one day, if only to finally finish filling out my John Cazale scorecard.

Edwin Davies @ A Mighty Fine Blog
Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) is the one that leaps to mind as being a film that I should have seen, based on its own qualities and my personal preferences. It’s widely hailed as a masterpiece, has a fascinating story both in front of and behind the camera, and the only reason why I haven’t watched it yet is that it feels like a film I should watch in a cinema. I could watch it at home, but I can’t help but feel that I would be doing it a disservice.

Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder
I’ll avoid listing foreign films because the list would just be too lengthy. As far as American cinema goes, it’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH. That’s surprising even to me because I’m a huge fan of both John Ford and John Steinbeck. Then again, the novel has eluded me too, and that may be the underlying reason I’ve avoided the film. I want to read the book first!

John Gilpatrick @ JohnLikesMovies.com
I’m an Antonioni virgin. I don’t have a great excuse–I guess I’ve always been unclear about where to start–but I look forward to rectifying this when L’Avventura comes out on Criterion Blu-Ray later this month.

Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit
There’s a lot of movies that, were I to acknowledge I’ve never seen them, my critic card would be taken from me. However, I’ll answer. The top contenders that I’ve yet to experience: Citizen Kane, The Godfather: Part 2, Return of the Jedi/Empire Strikes Back (working on that).

As to why I’ve yet to watch them, mostly time. With reviews to write, work, and a living I feel if I’m not planning to devote 100% to the experience I’ll miss something and then not be able to accurately judge. I’ll get to them soon, I swear!

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight
Stanley Kubrick is easily my favorite director in film history. His output has always been mentally challenging, politically inspired and cinematically engaging. Apart from the films that are understandable to miss, including his earliest work (Fear and Desire and his documentaries), his final studio effort before shifting into a self-made, independent auteur with Lolita, is my blind spot.

Spartacus is notorious for being the film that soured him on artistic cooperation, not because he wasn’t a terrific filmmaker, but because his views on film and how it should be delivered weren’t in sync with those of his star Kirk Douglas who had made the film his passion project. After Spartacus, a critical, commercial and Academy success, Kubrick vowed never to work without full control over his projects. His future output features some of the most legendary films ever made, making his decision a meaningful one.

Perhaps because of this, Spartacus has never felt like a film I absolutely had to see. I hope to one day rectify this and pick up both this and Fear and Desire to cap off my Kubrick experience (that and perhaps re-watch Barry Lyndon, since I seem to be in the minority of not revering that film); However, when that day will be I cannot say.

Marty Mapes @ Movie Habit
I started to watch Robert Altman’s NASHVILLE once, on VHS, after college, when I was bored. The 160-minute running time was daunting and I didn’t know what I was supposed to be getting out of the dated, faded film. So I wisely turned it off after a few minutes.

Now that I have a little more patience, and a better idea of who Altman was, I’m looking forward to seeing his country-music epic. After awards season, when there aren’t a ton of great new movies coming out, we sometimes pick a director and watch their entire output over the course of weeks or months (in Altman’s case, that’s 37 feature films!) So I’m saving NASHVILLE for our “Altman period.” I’ll see it eventually.

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight
For some inexplicable reason I have never seen or been able to muster up some spare time to check out John Ford’s “Young Mr. Lincoln” from 1939. It is the fictionalized biopic of the nation’s 16th USA president and features a youngish future Oscar-winning Henry Fonda in the title role as the idealistic lawyer juggling his cases and pursuing his romantic courtships.

There is no particular reason for the procrastination of viewing “Young Mr. Lincoln” per se but it is a chance to witness filmmaker Ford’s venture into historical political drama especially when moviegoers mainly identify him with another film genre in the world of western cinema.

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria
Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones. Although Mr. Poitier is on my top favourite actors of all time this film has been really difficult to find here reason why I haven’t seen it yet.

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies
The temptation here is to make my confession into a disguised brag. For example, I could say I’ve never seen “The Seashell and the Clergyman,” which might actually show an impressive breadth of knowledge since most people have never even heard of “The Seashell and the Clergyman.” Instead, I’ll answer honestly with a significant film classic squarely in my chosen genre that I’m legitimately ashamed not to have seen yet: “Last Year at Marienbad.” My only excuse is that the film was historically difficult to find on home video in North America, but as to why I didn’t watch it when Criterion released an edition in 2009, I can’t say. I simply did not make it a priority. Now, I’m not correcting the oversight right away just so I’ll have something to savor in the future.

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