#741: Where'd You Go, Bernadette / Dietrich-Von Sternberg #3 - Shanghai Express
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It's directed by richard link later he of boyhood and the before trilogy critical response to the film has been pretty negative this week on the show. We'll tell you why that's wrong. Cate blanchett have something to do with that plus nineteen thirty two's shanghai express. It's the third film marlene dietrich joseph on sternberg marathon all all that more richard linklater josh ahead on film spotting <hes> <music>. This episode is brought to you by it. Chapter to only in theaters on september sips witness the end of it it chapter to the terrifying conclusion to the highest grossing horror film of all time brings the second half of stephen king's groundbreaking novel to the screen twenty seven years after the losers club defeated the evil clown pennywise it has returned to terrorize the town of dairy once again as kids begin to mysteriously seriously disappeared from their hometown. The now adult losers are called back to derry to fulfil their blood of requiring them to face their darkest fears in an attempt to destroy them murderers pennywise once and for all but the losers club will quickly come to find that penny wise is more dangerous than ever the incredible cast is led by jessica chastain james mcavoy avoi- and bill hader you know this is the movie everyone will be talking about so don't miss the musi epoch event of the year and experienced the terror of it it chapter or two rated r. under seventeen not admitted without parent in theaters september sixth welcome to film spotting last week we left marlene dietrich wandering into the moroccan desert desert the victim of a doomed love affair with gary cooper. At least that's how we cynically read the ending of that film josh this week we find dietrich's slightly better off on a train bound for shanghai in nineteen thirty. Two's shanghai expressed the third film in our dietrich von sternberg marathon. I'm glad dietrich made it out of the desert and i'm also glad cooper stayed the first though where are all those positive reviews for where you go bernadette. We've got you covered. She disappeared d- bernadette what she didn't just banish my gear virga. Josh neither of us read maria semple bestselling book. Where'd you go bernadette when it was released in twenty twelve nor did we catch up with it before seeing in sitting down here to review richard linklater's adaptation asian starring cate blanchett as a once brilliant architect living in seattle who adores her fifteen year old daughter be is disconnected from but still loves her tech mogul husband elgin and and loathes pretty much everyone else. She's forced to encounter as longtime listeners. Now we disagree on the issue of doing literary homework. Your excuse is his time while i wouldn't have picked up those pages even if i mysteriously disappeared on a weeks long journey with nothing to occupy me but simple story analyzing the choices that produce recent adaptation is fun and critically stimulating but i fear i'm doing the film a disservice by watching it i through the lens of the source material now i haven't consumed enough criticism schism of linklaters version to suggest that this inevitability is what's preventing more reviewers from embracing it but i've picked up on at least two bowled departures. I the novels form is a pistole larry with be reading and commenting on correspondence emails transcripts memos and other documents second. The title question isn't isn't rhetorical or metaphorical burnitz. Whereabouts are truly a mystery would be playing the role of detective looking for clues to determine where her mother vanished to just a few days as before the family was set to depart for and arca abandoning the epistolary structure seems pretty straightforward. Reading words on a page can be thrilling on the page not so much on the screen. The choice also paves the way for bernadette to become an active player in her story in fact the dominant player in her story making it an attractive vehicle for a season striking performer like blanchet blink later doesn't bother holding viewers in suspense about where bernadette went not only is that secret revealed to the audience in a flash forward forward that if i recall correctly might be the opening shot of the movie it was in the trailer josh with my book before movie position firmly established. I'm of course not going going to ask you to speculate whether a more faithful adaptation by link later or anyone else would have been a more or less satisfying one but i will ask you of linklaters decision to spoil the surprised made where'd you go bernadette the movie a satisfying one and if that decision offers any insight into why the filmmaker best known for the talkie before trilogy and trickier fair. You're like slacker. Waking life and a scanner darkly was drawn to the book in the first place to be clear i off about why do like to read books beforehand. It's not so that i can use his faithfulness as any sort of critical criteria. I'm not too worried about. It's just an excuse to read and often classic that i never got to or a novel that people offset is really good so i don't know how much it might have changed. My experience of this film. I my guess is to wiley glacier. Did that is what you mentioned mentioned one thing then you get cate blanchet and your movie and you're gonna get casting a teen actor and you're gonna make it about her. <hes> and i'm glad he did that because because she's probably the best thing in this movie also i think he wants to emphasize the obvious metaphorical quality of the title and that is not only really i imagine what the book was about shirt even if it was framed as a mystery even literal it's more of an exploration of this woman at this point point in her life and that's the sort of thing so many linklater films have been interested in particularly family dynamics. You could say but absolutely absolutely relationships of any kind the dynamics of close often complicated <hes> troubled relationships whether these are the the subject of his personal films. You wanna use that term or even in some of his other films that maybe are adapting as the cases here material of other people. I think that's something that that he is interested in exploring in his cinema and so why not get right to it and i was happy for that i do think you know some of the the whole antica contrivance. It feels like a contrivance in this telling of the story in this movie. I don't think those sorts of plot points are this movie strength. I can understand why this hasn't gotten rave reviews indefinitely issues here and we can maybe spend some time on them but i think in the areas areas that link later has always been good at and has always been a strength of his films. I think that's where where'd you go. Burn it out really shines. I think there are moments. It's of rough muff. Honest truth is that the character that burned at has to face that her family has to face about about her and <hes> we talk about this a little bit. Maybe they could face more about themselves. I want as as the men who are on the other side of this story. I i think we should spend some time on how the movie treats. Our husbands are to get really like. Billy credit move caught up his great. I think he gets off a little easy but <hes> yeah. I think those are all the things that link glitters interested in by putting them at the forefront. I think it allows this movie to be as good as it is which is pretty good well redemption for richard linklater than all these negative reviews and maybe that's even a little bit harsh. I looked at rotten tomatoes and i think it was at a forty two which religious means eight percent under half football critics gave it a not positive review. Give negative to be on the side of trying to push that towards a fresh rating from -solutely and i don't know if us adding adding our reviews is going to be enough to overcome that eight percent but we are in his corner here even if we're not overly enthusiastic it's not like i'm suggesting this movie is even his top top ten but i do think it's worth talking about for sure and worth seeing and i think you do recognize linklaters hand in multiple ways you mentioned it beyond the shades of boyhood and not only from the relationships but the mother child dynamic specifically in that movie the central question of this film bernadette whether an artist as talented as bernadette who truly does see the world in a unique way can go through life without creating. That's fundamentally what this is about and if you think back on so many of his films discovering or rediscovering your voice is what drives so many of those movies and i'll even jump ahead can't really spoil anything especially as i said link later kind of spoils foils at the beginning but there's a wonderful touch over the end credits of this movie made me think about a point you brought up with book smart which also has a great end credit sequence where we see them. I think they're in like the bathroom of the school the high school kids and they're getting condoms that are filled with water rolling them like their water balloons and it's in slow motion. It actually does even those just this end of film film kind of amusing diversion it actually does add to our experience of the movie in our understanding of these characters and at the very end of this movie we do you actually see the process of something being created which makes total sense based on the film but also based on it being a film directed by link later of course movie this is focused on the creative process is going to follow through and actually show us that process in action and going back to my question about kind of why make the movie what what would have drawn him to this material. I wonder if that connection for him the personal in for him beyond the other things we've mentioned was the challenge of taking speaking simples description of bernadette s- brilliant architecture and taking it from the page and actually bringing it to life. It's one thing and there's a certain art required in describing architecture. That's brilliant and the choices. A brilliant architect makes on the page. You have to have a certain skill to do that that and conjure the images in the reader's mind but link later says you know what i'm going to take a stab at actually designing those elements and show them to the audience. I love that touch. Yeah yeah the production design. You'll notice they're living in this enormous mansion. That's dilapidated. It's a sign of her disinterest. In pursuing her craft she bought it with great intentions <hes> and just has not been able to move herself to follow through on that but there are these craft touches on the walls. You'll i'll see books that have been somehow touched to the wall with the pages fanned out and there's another touch like that. That's escaping me right now but you see that craft in the background in the production design that reminds you. That's a crucial part of her or was at one point and i think you nail in terms of link later clearly wanting to focus on the metaphorical side and not the literal side of this question question but then of course the filmmaker i think you associate with hanging out and observing behavior and going back to boyhood trying to find magic in the every day day is going to abandon the suspense say forget any contrivance no matter how skilled i am with it. I'm not even going to go down that path. It's as if link glaister understands that it's not where you ended up but what brought you there and what you do when you get there that really matters. I think that's what matters in this film so you you mentioned boyhood twice and i sense that one reason. This isn't being as embraced. I mean it's not nearly the undertaking the magic boyhood was but it also does not have blue hoods tone even though it's considering some of the same relationship questions and that was probably one of the clear failings for me is that that it it was very broadly comic in some instances and then it would shift to something much more serious. There wasn't quite the control of tone and maybe maybe it makes sense that he's not working with his own material there to other screenwriters credited on this in addition to him so in addition to it being an adaptation and it made me think think about halfway through and i swear even though he's probably my favorite working filmmaker. I don't do this a lot. I don't often say you know who should be making this <hes> but there was that shift in mellon collie howley and just enough humor that i thought this might have been an adaptation wes anderson could have handled the relationship dynamics <hes> the way it considers depression russian and seriously considers it and of course the talking so i thought you know that sort of whatever that wests aesthetic attic is in terms of tone. If it had been applied here i think it might have been a little better fit now. That being said there are two scenes where linklater winkler brings in his own tone and has complete control of it and they're the ones that really rescued the movie for me and one is the confrontation she has with her neighbour played by kristen wig who has been bickering with her passive aggressively back and forth for much of the film and this comes to a head at one point her daughter be played by emma nelson is also also in the car and they just let loose at each other in a way all the upper class niceties fall aside blanchet goes does it. She's trying to restrain her anger kristen wig. Let's go this surface nice neighborliness that she's had and they just let each other have it and it's a wakeup wakeup call sent in both directions at once and i felt that that had again the rawness and the honesty that did recognize from his movies the other one the other thing. I want to make sure we talk about is more formerly of a piece with some other things that linklater has done because it's an extended parallel sequence and we heard a bit of it at the top top of the show where bernadette is confiding with a colleague played by laurence fishburne at the same time that billie crops elgin is talking to a therapist bringing his concerns about bernadette to her and we go back and forth between the two of them and again it gets right into the dirty messy -ness of their relationship it it allows for two powerhouse acting opportunities and blanchet of course kills it. There is very good as well. This is kind of where i said i wish he took on a little as elgin a little culpability for his part in their relationship but that going back and forth between them <hes> what it really did for let me also as nicely set up the ending which i hope we can get to in a little bit but i thought those two sequences stood out to me as maybe the most linkletter moments in the movie and they were so good. They carried me through a lot of it. Yeah we really had a very similar experience watching this film because that knock down drag out seen in the street was a key one for me and one where i realized that i was really in sync with this movie and it's a moment where be definitely gets the final word of admonishment with audrey. She's defending her mom and we're definitely definitely on her side and probably on bernadette side for most of that battle but there's a lot of truth in what audrey says even if we do most of the time throughout throughout this movie see her as obnoxious and ridiculous and bernadette despite her cynicism and the misanthrope he that we do see her. She knows audrey is right in those moments. Take knowledge is that she's right. That's what stinks her. We see almost handles it well. She almost see her trying so hard. That's a great see you know it really is and i think bernadette could have been plagued by blanchet and depicted more by link later as someone who's just smug and self righteous instill have been a lot of fun to watch. Maybe maybe someone along the lines of jack nicholson in as good as it gets. I'm not a fan of that film anymore but there's a certain allure and watching him kind of be this ego centric monster that that he is but link later and we should acknowledge writing the film here i think one of those cases where on his own but also after some other people were involved vince powell mohan john halligan linklaters just truthful and allows for shades to these characters and i think you see it as well in another scene with judy greer the the one where there is an intervention scene and in that moment the thing i was constantly aware of is that everything judy greer's character saying as the therapist is correct. Everything elgin is saying is correct and everything bernadette is saying at times is wrong and the opposite is true for each of them as well throughout that sequence because because link later for trays it is if all of their perspectives are valid and all of these things can be true at once and as slight as this film may be overall. There aren't a lot lot of films especially comedies that are as broad as one that also do give us that much truth in those moments. It's interesting that you mentioned the intervention scene but don't don't mention the other two people in it because i do like what you're talking about on that scene but then it also is very revealing of the way the book was a hindrance to to linkletter i think because there is elgin's personal assistant who is for some inexplicable reason also a mother at their kids school and you get the impression this assist like a really high society schools so you're already you're wondering why is she his assistant if she's some rich neighbor and there's also we're not even gonna get into the f._b._i. Plot i hope because these are examples of they must be elements from the book to some degree yeah that are dragged in and and those people there's as an f._b._i. Agent and that assistant in this intervention and the moment blanche at herself even says why are you here. It's meant to be played for laughs but it also shows yeah why. Why is she here. It's a it's a really obvious instance of the book getting in its way. It's one of those instances where even if we had not known this was an adaptation. We knew nothing about it and just went on into it. You would say oh. This must be adapted from a book because otherwise this would now. I agree with that overall assessment though i will point out that the way that character is at least portrayed allows for some complexity in shades as well in so far as she someone who clearly despises bernadette and there's really no reason that she should be there but at the same time she is actually actually this capable assistant who admires her boss and the movie at least sets of the understand why she would really wanna work for him and kind of serve him and she's she's good at it so i'm i'm just saying a broader kind of dumber. Comedy would have just set her up as an object of scorn for bernadette and the movie. Just it goes a little bit deeper. Okay okay. I do want to go back to cut up real quick. I had mentioned to sam over slack how much i really enjoyed his performance in this film and that's rare because despite my love for almost famous i'm not a big fan of krupp overall. It's rare that i can think of any movie. I've watch right. Come away really thinking man. Billy credit just nailed it and sam as he usually does nailed it with the word. He used to describe him. He said yeah. I'm with you. He tends to be a bit severe. There's not much fun to his character and i'd say that there's a little more fun to elgin here and there's a little less severity though he's still a little bit of tight and he's overly serious but there is a humble charisma to him mm-hmm and maybe we don't see josh the culpability that you fully wanted to see but i definitely sensed especially in that scene with greer. I really think the performance it's brings this out a sense of regret or low yeah a sadness that really comes through where you do understand that he isn't out to fix bernadette just because it makes his life easier in a way but because he wants his wife back he wants to have that connection with her again and he wants her to be vital and fulfilled so i sent a little more i suppose remorse in him maybe than you did and i love how delicately the scenes with him and nelson the daughter are handled later after bernadette leaves where they're not completely overwrought with tension though it's there but they're also not overly touchy feely really i think about the moment where he calls her buzz. Because of course they call her be so that's a little nickname but we've only heard in the moment i was thinking. I've only ever heard burnett her mother. Call her that he's never said that and she snaps at him and says don't you dare call me that. That's something mom calls me so i think again shades and complexity and a lot of these family exchanges the i'm glad the movie spends time with just the two of them to show that they have a very different dynamic and in that way i guess it's sort of backing into his culpability instead of just showing that the reason they have such a different dynamic is because he hasn't been around as much he hasn't been as attentive and i agree it's completely in the performance the word that came to mind to me during that scene with greer the therapist is sorrow. You can see the sorrow under vase about this entire situation. <hes> i think uh-huh maybe plot wise and narrative -ly for me it positions him a little bit as not having much responsibility and becoming the rescuer and i know practically practically he sort of has to the other thing. I do like about his character though you mentioning that he can be severe unscreened. He's playful at work. Yes and i think that's that's crucial because it shows us that this is something as much as architecture used to be for bernadette. This work with microsoft is for him <music> end so that's helpful for what i wanted to get to about the ending i really liked this movie's portrait of marriage how it eventually gets to it and when we think about marriage judge in films a lot of times are romances in general. It's that this person has to what complete the other person right. They're gonna make them happy just by who they are are and there's there's sort of like there's nothing outside of those two people when in reality and what this film i really emphasizes is that it's more more to be a cheerleader of the other person to support them. Give them the space and the opportunity to be their best selves whatever that might mean so for him it. His work at microsoft is good. Maybe he led it. He gave it too much space himself but also for bernadette without this creative outlet without him supporting her to to be able to be mentally in the space to pursue that she can't live she we see that like she just can't live of and they find this space together at the end where that becomes kind of the point of their marriage obviously be their child is a is a they talk about her <unk> as a miracle and i was gonna say project but it's somewhere in between she. She's this miracle that bernadette and he created together some they can work on together. It gives them as much meaning in their lives and it's a shared thing but they also have those things individually and so their jobs are to let each other pursue those and be encourages pursuit. That was just that was very it's hard. This isn't an it gets a little mawkish at points but also as inspirational bits. Yes and i think that was one for me. That really really registered yeah. It did with me as well. I think you said it very well and it kinda ties in with some of the things we've been discussing and may discuss more. We're here in a little bit with this dietrich von sternberg marathon which is how do you engage in a romance. How do you truly partner with someone but retain your individuality -ality. This movie suggests that that's the only way you should go about it that that whole idea of completing someone suggests that without the other person you're incomplete and the reality the is both of these people could lead vital fulfilled lives on their own. They're better when they're together. I think ideally make that clear. Are you going to call me out for the fact that i'm being so positive about this movie and i didn't even want to review it and he didn't wanna see it. That's just your to revoke my link. Your re regular killer. Anxiety show is true so i kind of tossed that aside now i almost had my link later card revoked and i will admit you mentioned that it does get to a point. Maybe a little bit mawkish. I didn't really feel that. I was definitely more on the i suppose inspirational or just plain moving side and i admit i might be a sucker for this material right now. As i imagine you might be as well literally today as recording my oldest son holden started his senior year of high school he started his first job and he drove himself die school changes big chains right and i'm i'm already every day thinking about a year from now and him not being there so those conversations and those concerns that we see in the way bernadette one of the factors clearly leading to this kind of breakdown or this crisis that she's experiencing is the potential the very real potential that be is going to leave so that already in school board winkler subtle yeah. That'll really did resonate with me and look you know. One of our goals are on the show is never to spend a lot of effort trying to tell people how to spend their money but if you're like me and you like link later but were planning to stay away from this one the trailer just didn't do anything for you or you have seen the negative reviews and decided to stay away. Maybe don't completely right off one of the best filmmakers we have working today yeah and don't expect boyhood either say and let me let me just speculate to that point that may be still a good chunk of reviewers are not in the same place as where where this movie exactly explores you and i aren't exactly but we are in middle life and we know plenty of women in middle life and a lot of of the struggles things that burned is dealing with are familiar to me. I don't know them intimately enough to say exactly how truthful the movie gets it or how right it gets it but they're very familiar and <hes> that made the wrestling with these things really resonate with me and this brings us full circle your opening question. Why would link later make this swale. He's ten. Maybe fifteen years older than us so he definitely you know he has known people who've already been through this stage of life. Maybe that's one reason he wanted to tackle call. This material is is that this this is something he knows well to some degree also the story. The book resonated with him and it was an opportunity to explore it. Will that ending that you like so much much is really straight out of boylan and there are probably other moment visual in lincoln eventually. Usually it's straight out of where'd you go. Bernadette is currently out in wide release police. If you see it and agree or disagree with our thoughts you can email us feedback at film spotting dot net cate blanchett is not eligible for the film spotting poll asking who is the decade gate defining actress of the two thousand ten will revisit the criteria and reveal the winter when we come back plus the third film in our marlene dietrich joseph on sternberg marathon shanghai express stay with us baby. Even though i only <music> only maybe they only who things that so your first choice maybe <music> so kona an hour with no you know <music> grateful to have gravitas movies back on the show as a sponsor gravitas connects audiences to global artists in thousands of movies on demand and it all comes at the cost of just a single rental. It's also all ad free. You can indulge in the vast catalogue of hollywood gems groundbreaking documentaries and they have an acclaimed named l._g._b._t._q. Collection gravitas movies is available everywhere you watch and on all your favorite streaming devices that l._g._b._t._q. Collection is something that really we stood out to me. Surveying gravitas movies in addition not a genre that we spend a lot of time here on the show discussing but there are a lot of fans out there also they have one of the largest indie horror collections on demand. They currently feature katie holmes toil debut all we had colin hanks. All things must pass being evil from academy the award winning director daniel young and producer johnny knoxville. It's all for only four ninety nine a month and it's available across platforms smart t._v.'s apple devices android devices roku amazon fire comcast xfinity and gravitas movies dot com. If you are thinking of heading over there maybe taking advantage of the film spotting free trial here to movies that i picked out that i can't recommend 'cause i haven't seen them but josh i wanna see them. The documentary film inside the edge which offers an unprecedented glimpse into the world of elite blackjack players as they take on casinos for millions and my generation i remember when this came out wanting to see it it stars michael caine narrating and more than that he's starring in the documentary because it's all about nineteen sixties swinging london and it tells that story through the lens of michael cain through his own experiences through the movies of the time through archival footage of the time so he is mingling his story sorry of living through that generation with the larger narrative of that time inside the edge and my generation available right now over at gravitas movies dot com <hes> subscribe now on your streaming device or you can do it at gravitas movies dot com and you'll receive your first month free with the coupon code film spotty again one month free when you use use code feld spotting you see the world through time. Malkovich's is after about fifteen minutes. I didn't say mazing imagine seeing that trailer back in ninety nine. John cusak catherine keener virtually unrecognizable cameron diaz and that insane concept a screenplay by credit in in the trailer for charlie kaufman not familiar name back in ninety nine. It was his first feature now of course josh you're very familiar with spike jones because you were really dissecting the music videos of the beastie boys weezer and the notorious b. I g the first two yes okay but did you know they were directed by. Someone named spike jones. Oh he was yeah. I mean that was like a music video star. You're while you were so has a long time ago time ago adam here. We are twenty years later. Josh isn't as hip but being i'm john. Malkovich is in the conversation as one of the best films of that great movie year nineteen ninety nine okay so now i'll show you how out of it i was not on my top ten list being john malkovich list out. This is the first film i think in this series where i might really really be reconsidering how i missed the boat and that's not to say i didn't like it. I remember enjoying it quite a bit <hes> but yet didn't have in my top ten so maybe i don't know we'll see what they beat. Maybe i'll have a very good reason for that atom. What poorly made sequel did you like better than being john malkovich that you put in your top ten being john malkovich's it was fantastic fantastic of course the club as we're singing the praises of being john malkovich and how it deserves to be highly ranked on any list of the best films and ninety nine the vehicle club a few weeks ago got it right or certainly close to write. I haven't completely ranked ninety nine list yet. They did their top twenty five. I think we linked to it in our show notes. It's when we i mentioned it about a month ago and we will do that again. If you are curious to seek it out they had being john malkovich as the number one the best film another year and we should do that. We we should get the end of this series is offer our as we often do and we do year-by-year yeah. Top fives is top five then what we would have been and our top five now we should we rank those. Do you have a top ten from ninety nine. No you don't know the first year i ever published a top ten was two thousand and one thousand awesome so right after that but i'm way ahead of you at least on the re ranking them now. I've started my private list letterbox of my favorite twenty. Five or thirty movies still have some work to do. We saw some movies to rewatch. I think yeah when the series is over. We definitely need to do that. The series we're talking about is our nine from ninety nine series. You can see the full line of the reviews views at film spotting dot net slash nine from ninety nine being john. Malkovich was a listener vote. The only listener vote in the nine films. We selected the other ones. We've talked about so far. The matrix the six cents and what am i missing josh my number one of ninety nine the blair witch project and so far we have revisited those and discovered that we still like all of those films very much the next two we have on tap could be interesting after malkovich can't wait to rewatch the kubrick is shotton and we're gonna see if we're going to ruin the streak some american beauty action and then wait. It gets better one that did make my top time phantom mammoths. Oh that's when it's going to get really good. I can't wait honestly can't wait to revisit that film and try to see it through a josh larssen's is so it's it's a great experience as a beautiful place to be adam. You're going to enjoy it. That's not coming now until december. That's when we are going to discuss that right before we get to the latest first star wars entry so again nine from ninety nine. If you wanna follow along visit the website click on lists at the top or film spotting dot net slash nine from ninety nine and get ready. Do your homework don't read the book being john malkovich but watch the movie in advance of our discussion next week in addition to malka tras we will also also wrap up our dietrich von sternberg marathon with nineteen thirty. Four is the scarlet empress. I don't know alcatraz a joke. Oh yeah from the movie okay see i haven't seen it son and so just wanted to make sure it's one of my favorite bits and the movement goes to charlie sheen's house and he calls him alcatraz and he calls him machine yeah yeah. That's probably why it didn't make my top ten. I love the film though i've only seen it once i think and yet if that really did stick with me so back to the beira sorry i apologize for about films putting dot net slash marathons think this is the first time in a long time maybe ever that we've actually gone through a marathon in four weeks. We haven't even had any distractions. Just nods jinx us it could happen it could happen but we're going to get to that final film the scarlet empress and the marathon awards awards our favorite film our favorite performance detroit will get anything. She might be a candidate. We might have to design a category just to award someone who isn't dietrich and we always need names for these awards now sam just throughout a few ideas. I think one of these must be a joke in reference to you josh in particular particular helen's you loved gary cooper's performances. Tom brown the tom brown's. He's just trying to provoke could be just call them. The bland's that wasn't even depri- now and how folks the folks the inappropriate cowpox we have the rear guards which if you've seen morocco and know the end which we spent a lot of time time on that reference comes through the can't help it's that will become even clearer if it's not clear already when we get to our discussion of shanghai express in a moment and there's a final one he threw through in the moths which we both have to confess. We don't completely get. Maybe sam watched ahead. Maybe it's a reference to all of the those gauzy z. curtains or whatever we see that i think are supposed to keep the moths out in shanghai in at least these do they have amps or wherever they are moth problem in shanghai. I don't know i don't know what sam's going for but all of the smarter listener does all of those also would make good band names so well done sam though i'm not sure we're going to pick any of those for our dietrich von sternberg marathon awards. Please give some suggestions feedback at film spotting dot net. We did not want to miss an opportunity to acknowledge the passing of peter fonda. I still feel bad. The rutger hauer wasn't acknowledge on the show. This is about a month ago delivers. Maybe the best cinematic monologue dying monologue ever certainly the best in science fiction at the end of blade runner and definitely a big loss and now peter fonda died here on august sixteenth. He was seventy nine years old of course son henry brother of jane father of bridget. Everyone's going to associate him. First and foremost with nineteen sixty nine's easy rider. He co wrote that movie and was the co star. We did review it pre josh josh pre larsen as part of our new hollywood marathon back in two thousand nine. Fonda was later oscar-nominated ninety eight for his performance in gyulay's gold kind of a comeback act for him and he delivered a memorable turn in soderbergh's the limy in ninety nine not part of our nine from ninety nine series but certainly could be now. I was relieved little disappointed but mostly relieved to go to larsen on film dot com and discover that you did give a positive rating too easy rider. Ed not seem to be overly enamored with it. I think it just got a mere three stars out of four from a josh larsen but yes we saw some comments comments pop up here and there on twitter obviously most people being gracious in the wake of peter fonda passing but some people questioning whether or not the easy rider truly was this hallmark of cinema that some people make it out to be whether or not it truly is. I suppose a good film and yes it really really is. I don't think it's just a movie that's notable for the way it was made in what it meant to the new hollywood and establishing that back in nineteen sixty eight i i genuinely loved the movie. Yeah i mean so three out of four star rating. What does that mean. I mean it's to me. I think it's reputation. You're right is more as a time capsule movie movie but i think what's interesting about. It is how it's it's thoughts on time and then saw the time ahead of time that was coming and found us performance captures a lot of that easy riders movie that i came to very late because fonda actually i showed up on my radar with you lease gold. I think that was a time you know late nineties. I might have been in college. I'm not sure but you know just keeping track of the current cinema may be more than the older stuff and the and you leave gold was getting a lot of attention his performance itself and and saw that was really impressed by it and then became aware of his legacy eventually made my way too easy rider but if you have not seen much of fonda stuff that's definitely the place to start. I mean easy riders where it was interesting to think about this in terms of once upon a time in hollywood because there's that that that line at one point where somebody throws out dennis hopper as an insult and the easily could have substituted peter fonda right i think he was as emblematic <hes> <hes> at that time of the new hollywood and new creative voices that were kinda pushing their way and interestingly even though as you noted though he was also from hollywood royalty for sure if you have seen easy rider and want to dive deeper into the filmography peter fonda or if you decide to start on this journey and get past easy rider our our friends scott tobias from the next picture show is a big fan of fondest directing debut nineteen seventy-one the hired hand. He describes the movie as an acid western. Of course it is it is twenty thirteen a._v. Club recommendation he wrote at the time the film may be dated relic but it's a relic bit looks beautiful under the light they'll most zygmunt who did mccabe and mrs miller lawyer and close encounters the third kind and deliverance the dp on those films is the cinematographer who did the hired hand and no murray did a writer for the new york times with seven great peter fonda movies that are available to stream so in addition to easy rider you can watch you lease gold and the limy he also suggested roger korman's the wild angels from nineteen sixty sixty six and the quote low ambition seventies thrillers dirty mary crazy larry and race with the devil will link to scots and those pieces in the notes for the show speaking speaking of scott and once upon a time in hollywood that is the film that scott genevieve husky keith phipps and tasha robinson although tasha was offered this episode they discuss once on spending time in hollywood. I'm the next picture show. It's part two of their hollywood endings pairing. Previously they talked about hal ashby's shampoo from nineteen seventy. Five live just finished today the once upon a time in hollywood episode really good stuff their plans coming up ahead here. They're going to pare the new documentary american factory. Sorry this is about a chinese owned factory in rustbelt ohio with barbara coppell's landmark one thousand nine hundred seventy six harlan county u._s._a. Adam is this this is disappearing that you you through your weight around and decide on said you guys. It seems like it right except definitely not the case because until i read this earlier today i i didn't know that such a movie as american factory even existed and the fact that they're pairing it with one of my favorite documentaries ever harlan county a u._s._a. I can't wait to watch this film and to listen to these episodes. America factory did debut on netflix just earlier this week. Maybe i was too busy going down the the david fincher minehunter season two rabbit hole. I did notice that there was anything else on net flicks but american factory is one. I'm definitely going to have on the radar more info at next picture show dot net and you can listen to that show wherever you get your podcast of course massacre theater is a regular part of the show where we perform a scene from a movie and you get a chance winning films putting t-shirt in case you missed it. Here's a bit of last week's massacre yes but if we all have rests donahue moments in a library three and a half years ago. I'm not sure i don't know if you look at me. Look at me well. The substitution of the name which i thought might actually be a little bit of a hint for people a few other comments. I made prefacing our performance. If you wanna call it that they didn't seem to help a dearth of entry so far. I said anyone anyone who entered would be my friend for life. A few people were excited about that prospect. Josh all have you now. That didn't bring a flood of maybe not entering scared. They're like baby win. I'm gonna have to hang out with add on yeah all the time email all the time retract that we'll get more entry okay so i take it back doc. The seventeen of you who've entered were friends for life. There's no escape but everybody else. You're safe if you enter. I really do hope you recognize. Recognize the scene because here's the it's a movie i adore. I don't know how much of a hint that is but if you're a long-time listener the show you know that this is a film that i appreciate the eight all out of proportion compared to most of you recognized it. You can email us feedback at films. Spotting dot net the deadline. Is this coming monday. The twenty six we will select the winner randomly from all the correct entries and announce it on next week show get in there. Get them out to sunny. There's a bunch of stuff that you're going to have to get over being scared of scares. Don't want to get your fingers. It's time for some poll results some results to a deeply flawed film spotting full question to be exact. You heard jennifer lawrence. They're skinning and gutting a squirrel. Thanks for the audio salmon. A memorable early scene from debra granik winter's bone from twenty ten lawrence was oscar nominated for that performance twenty ten of course the first year of the decade and as we come to the end of this decade there's a lot of talk about the films the performances and the actors that defined the last ten years here so a couple of weeks back. We asked you who is the decade. Defining actress of the two thousand ten's anytime a poll question like this one requires is that we explain our criteria. It's probably a question we shouldn't have asked of course we will never actually follow this advice yeah. Maybe let's try it august. Maybe once on put fun. Is that judge so that criteria that sam and i'm not throwing him under the bus. This is just a fact. I think sam alone came up with this was his way of wiggling down the option. He spent a lot of time on this. I mean really this is like a jekyll and hyde thing following him on slack going back and forth sustained commercial and critical success success throughout the decade and the two thousand ten had to be the first decade of that sustained commercial and critical success which is why planet exactly is not eligible okay so the options we gave you were amy adams jessica chastain jennifer lawrence scarlett johansson lupita yongbo kristen stewart emma stone stone or you could go other hundred come out chechen well in a sign that perhaps this is not as deeply flawed as we thought other is in last place with three percent lupita young after that with four percent kristen stewart at seven percents scarlett johansson nine percent emma stone eleven percent the top three here with twelve percent of the vote jessica chest pain that i'd jump up to twenty five percent of the vote for amy adams but winning is jennifer lawrence with twenty nine percent a lot of good feedback here. We'll see how much we can get to jake scuba bush in washington d._c. Says i saw the note in the phones putting newsletter to vote for the decade defining actress and it got me thinking we can quantify that pretty easily hall shake math breath. It's always about the math josh your favorite sam laid out specific parameters so i did the following i took each actresses five highest rated movies on metacritic and average them. I took took each actresses five highest domestic grossing movies according to the numbers dot com and average them. I converted those two numbers to the same scale and he explains what what that means. I'm going to avoid that for now so i can keep you engaged josh and sorry what are still doing the show jake average those numbers so that they were both on a scale of one one hundred giving him a composite decade dominant score tada a simple metric to tell you who defined the decade and here are the results for the options in our poll according to jake's formula the algorithm inputted. I want you to actually go in opposite order here. Let's do it like we do. The poll results because this is a pretty surprising top finisher think so build up the suspense little josh okay so in last place according to this algorithm is kristen stewart forty seven point eight eight. I don't even skittles. I guess she got emma stone. Fifty one point two jessica chastain fifty one point three amy adams fifty three jennifer lawrence fifty eight then. There's the jump here in these scores that i don't understand scarlett johansson seventy point four but winning the decade dominance algorithm is is lupita younger with seventy one about that so having hardly listen to anything you sad. I'm guessing this is just a star skewing right well. Jake does acknowledge that. Does that does include her. Completely unrecognisable turns in the force awakens the last jedi. That's helping her box office number but hey she has the credit so you know maybe we could do a little a bit more parsing of the numbers here and see how it comes out. We will not go through all of the entries here josh again indifference to keeping you awake but jake says i was also curious to see if anyone you left off could beat those numbers so let's just go with some of the ones who would have emerged ahead of the people we did list elizabeth olsen sixty three point to being a lot of marvel movies obviously really helped that zoe saldana same sixty two point two re larson fifty seven point three also same same d._c. Ridley fifty six and a half star wars tessa thompson fifty five and a half the c._u. Gal gadot fifty point one d. c. and will end here. My beloved michelle williams forty nine point six so she would have only finished just ahead of kristen stewart in our poll options anyway. Jake says i could go on with this forever ever in religion. I hope you do start podcast. Josh is going to subscribe to it. I think j just did my taxes good he could but he says i've already spent way what do much time on it can't find anyone else that comes close to lupita. I hope you enjoyed this. I enjoyed it immensely suited sam. Thank you for all your hard work. Let's hear for will christie hope. He doesn't drag math into this. It's uncanny how well jennifer lawrence's career syncs up with the basically arbitrary trey framework of this poll. She burst onto the scene. In twenty ten with winter's bone was a major headliner and made some pretty solid choices for the first half of the decade followed by more questionable choices and in a couple of really bad movies in the second half as the decade draws to a close. Her star has faded a bit but i feel like she's poised for a comeback and that feels like a parallel to the decade in america as well. We were just hitting their stride of the obama years in two thousand ten. The economy was recovering from the housing crisis and optimism was pretty high as it looked like maybe we were leaving behind some of the darker aspects of our cultural passed then there were some questionable choices some really bad moments in the second half of the decade and now i'm hoping we're poised for a comeback as a nation. Only only time will tell jay law gets my vote. Wow yeah only jay law can save us. Apparently apparently andreas mcgreal writes in no math here but definitely some processes of elimination after considering all of them. My vote must go to jalen not for being the best actress that would be the atoms not for being my favorite that would jessica chastain not forgiving the best performance in the best of the movies they have played in the two thousand ten's that would be loopy dongo but defining the twenty ten means that you have to look at the movies they each have done during the decade and jennifer lawrence is setting the bar the highest so she gets my vote. Here's brady larson larson with an e fellow norwegian. I agree that jay law probably define defined the decade but in terms of quality. I'm giving my praise to greta gerwig who gave three oscar worthy performances this decade france twentieth century women mistress america and then wrote francis high and went on to write and direct the best film of two thousand seventeen and lady bird and with little women coming out soon she may finally close the decade with an oscar winning film under her belt l. Let j. law define. The twenty tonnes greta gerwig owned them love it love it. I really am a big fan of that. Pick their brady and curiously looking back back at jake's math. Greta did not make the cut out of the twenty five actresses. He ran the numbers on she didn't make the cut might be in a larger spreadsheet josh that he can send probably jake albrecht in watertown. Connecticut says the question is in best but most decade defining it for good or bad. The two thousand ten's has been fined by the dominance of superhero movies in general and marvel movie specifically scarlett johansson is not the most talented of those listed but she is the decade defining actress as the main female component of the marvel universe ironman to uh-huh vendors captain america winter soldier avengers age of altron civil war avengers infinity war and endgame. She even pops briefly and thor ragnarok. This one's from x. l. alexander. I balk at scarlett johansson being allowed. If natalie portman is not because both had notable roles back in the ninety s both had commercial and prestige hits in the two thousands so so my pictures other natalie portman portman kicked off the two thousand tonnes by winning best actress for black swan which remains a ferocious fearless performance in a film that easily could have devolved into camp with the wrong lead. She entered the m._c._i. When it was still on the ground floor but didn't let that suck up all her energy as a performer she did a stoner comedy with david gordon green and a couple of terrence alex tone poems. She was brilliant bad ass in one of the decade's most complex scifi films annihilation and a train wreck pop shantou's inbox locks which somehow wolf together the concurrent two thousand ten's themes of celebrity narcissism and mass shootings and in two thousand sixteen her jackie kennedy wandered despairingly through the white house in blood spattered chanel perfectly capturing the hopeless horror so many of us felt at that moment in the wake of a very different presidential catastrophe and i believe portman differs from those that made the cut in one other definitive way. She stepped behind the camera to write and direct twenty fifteen a tale of love and darkness granted. The film was little seen but in a decade that has made a pivotal turn toward encouraging and enabling women to make films it feels right to honor an actress who seemingly brushed off the superhero franchise to make a film herself. Let's hope lucy in the sky. Guy coming in october is a worthy cherry on top of portland's definitive decade so as i mentioned a ton of great feedback here in brief summary josh jamie says melissa mccarthy deserves to be part of this conversation jackie f says she had to write in viola. Davis danny cox was surprised not to see carey mulligan. Not mention in jordan mellon in toronto says it has to be amy adams. No other actress has her arrange hirsi for selectivity roles or her plot. It's six oscar nominations. Thirteen years is quite a feat indeed. It is finally though will close with kevin white here in carol stream illinois who says i like kristen stewart for this her transition from from that blank stare monotonous star of the twilight series to cesar winning s._a._s. muse an indie film sinophile approved screencrush is the decade in film personified. Just just as we've seen directors of our favourite film school indie hits fine mainstream success directing comic book movies and star wars sequels the lines between popcorn trash and the kinds of movies sin files get excited for talk about have all but disappeared. I'm old enough to remember when everyone thought steward her. Sparkling vampire co-star were thought to be two of the worse actors of all time and now they're considered by many to be among the best of their generation. If anyone on this underscores the way films managed to become both franchise dependent and still surprising and vital. I it's kristen stewart and if that argument doesn't convince you just i just know that later this year we'll see her onscreen playing both gene seeburg and one of charlie's angels which i think we both saw that trailer. Josh is possible before bernadette dan we did unfortunately that's the odds in a nutshell kevin concludes as far as i'm concerned again so much great feedback and for what turned got to be a film spotting trademark deeply flawed poll question. It provoked a lot of good responses. I even forgot josh one more. Someone named sam not van hauge. Roden voted voted for mira sorvino so we're all over the place surprise actress other from the twenty okay. Let's get to this week's poll question which is not as deeply flawed. It may not be as fun either but we will see when we get the feedback. We're looking ahead a couple of weeks to our fall movie preview that show will post the same weekend of the toronto. I know international film festival the weekend that event kicks off. It's the unofficial gateway to the fall movie season and the final craze sprint to the end of the movie ear so we're asking you simply which film playing this year's tiff. Are you most looking forward to a bunch of options here. Let's start with a beautiful day in the neighborhood. This is mr rogers bio-pic bio-pic stars. Tom hanks directed by marielle heller. She made diary of a teenage girl. Can you ever forgive me then. There's joe rabbit. This is tyco. Y._t._d.'s anti hate satire starring white t himself as hitler joker of course stars walking phoenix knives out which is ryan johnson's whodunnit his follow up to the last jedi did i there's also the laundromat which starts meryl streep as a widow who gets caught up in a money laundering scheme. Oh it's directed by steven soderbergh. The lighthouse is the new one one from robert eggers of the witch. It stars robert pattinson and willem defoe. There's also noah baumbach the marriage story this has adam driver and scarlett johansson as a couple whose marriage is falling apart. Parasite is bong jun. Ho's pound the or winning film about class warfare in south korea and just a couple more here for your portrait of a lady eighty on fire. This is salinas kiama. She made girlhood and tomboy who won the screenwriting prize at cannes for the film. It's about a painter living on the isolated island of brittany and and then uncut gems comes from the safti brothers who made good time adam sandler. How about this is the star think robert pattinson was their star in good time i and now they're moving on to adam sandler interesting now. If those options all seventeen of them don't appeal to you you could go other something that we haven't mentioned aren't aren't about to mention but how about craig brewer who made two movies that early film spotting hosts adored hustle and flow and black snake moan but then follow that up with pretty poor remake of footloose. He's got dolemite is my name coming out starring eddie murphy eddie murphy back yeah. I'm excited or you could maybe be excited for christian bale and matt damon james mangold ford versus ferrari so josh you are walking into the multiplex. All of these movies are playing. Thanks but this is my test and this really as i applied it while you were talking. I realized that it changes my answer. You're walking in all. These movies are playing. You can only go see one of them and and all the other ones you will never see you will see the chance again. Okay you can only see one well influenced by seen recent trailers for some of these guys and boy joker trailer is really strong but i gotta say and i've liked some of his films enough. Todd phillips has director. It just doesn't seem seem like a match so i was leaning that way but i don't think i'm going to do it. It might have it might have to be knives out. I mean if you're going to just say you can't see any of them right ever. It might be nice out. Knives out was going to be my choice though stiff competition with joe joe rabbit just to see what taika y._t._d. Actually does with movie where he's playing hitler. Of course the safdie brothers film is one. I'm really curious about an parasite fan of bong jun ho and it did win the palm door but if i could only see one i realized this is how much i'm enthralled by intrigued by walking phoenix. You're going to go. I i don't want to miss and it's not even because i have a certain infatuation with that character or the mythology behind in the way he's doing his trailer. He is going to do with it and and from what i've seen in the trailer that just makes me even more curious. Yeah i understand. I am going joker but i like your ryan johnson choice as well. We'd love to hear your picks. You can vote now in the poll at film spotting dot net if you leave a comment and we hope you do please let us know where you're listening from and be thinking about your questions about about the fall movie season. We'll get to that list in a couple of weeks. When a doctor i haven't seen you in a long time haven't changed a tall dr james aladdin. Have i remind me calling you almost all aboard the dietrich von sternberg marathon. It's the third movie in our lineup dietrich there with clive brook in nineteen thirty two's shanghai express dietrich plays shanghai lily who is a cortisone on the rail line travelling from peking to shanghai along for the ride is another cortisone hu faye played by anna may wong and just by chance the doctor on board is her former lover dietrich's former lover donald duck harvey r._v. Their relationship we find out ended five years earlier when lily than madeleine played a trick on him as a way of testing his love. This movie was the highest grossing in film of nineteen thirty. Two the big commercial success of the dietrich von sternberg collaboration nominated for best picture von sternberg nominated for best director and league arms won the oscar for best cinematography. I have a feeling we both might be in support of that choice without even knowing who the other nominees were as we do. We're gonna start start off this discussion with our friend. In south bend indiana the great professor nathaniel myers going into this week's film. I had been thinking a lot about your discussion of morocco geico and the various ways that film seemed to underserved at star and director thanks in part to the underwhelming co-star into a narrative that maybe didn't earn its grand grand final gesture both to the diminishment of dietrich's otherwise strong willed character and in spite of all its visual splendor. I think it's possible to feel that shanghai express rests commits similar sins with sometimes clumsy dialogue about the relationship of love and faith and a slightly awkward late film tonal shift from romantic melodrama almost playful tale of pursuit to say nothing of its oriental ism and use of yellow face all of these elements. Could i suppose takeaway from yet another other widely bewitching performance from dietrich as well as from what is perhaps on sternberg at his best all frames within frames and tracking shots down corridors shadows that was in light and protracted dissolves however i also found myself swayed by film scholar homemade king in her fantastic interview include you didn't criterion set who urges us not to deny this film's problem areas but also not to hold the film to the standards of realism urging us instead to look at it as has fiction quote which it is pure baroque mannerist candy confection artifice and then from there think about what the film is doing so so for instance. Amy may wong's character. Yes exhibits certain problematic racial stereotypes but she's also a formidable figure in her own right one one of two women in the film along with dietrich's shanghai lily who's force of will will not be bent to that of men. I would say that at least in this specific regard shanghai express feels dust like the anti morocco so i'm interested in hearing the experience you both had with the film did you also also finds certain areas of weakness today at all impede your enjoyment of shanghai express or did you find yourself acknowledging those problems spots but then appreciating dietrich dietrich von sternberg quote candy confection artifice nonetheless. Thanks guys thank you as always nathaniel. Absolutely i think anyone watching this film was going to recognize nuys the problematic elements but for me. I don't know about you josh. They definitely weren't a distraction here and it's something that i was talking about a little bit with our producer sam on slack earlier today he adored this movie five stars out of five rushed today on letterbox and i think he really nailed it. He said that maybe because because it seemed to come more from the racist slash flawed characters than from the film itself and i think there is some truth to that but also beyond just being a product of its time i i agree with what nathaniel mention that von sternberg is so uninterested in reality actual geopolitics revolution in china that you really really do have shanghai expressed through his ostentatious lens all of these films. We've seen so far have been rooted in fantasy. You take the exotic settings right morocco china in a here. The train itself becomes its own world with his own set of rules not unlike the blue angel with those expressionistic touches and like the trained club is another world an escape from school and from more traditional societal institutions. I think even just looking at dietrich in the way she dresses in all of these films. She comes out of another galaxy. Gotta todd i really do so. She's more exotic just in her appearance than any of these locations shins but to cut to the chase here. I definitely think this the best film of the marathon so far and the argument i'm going to go with. Let's see if it works on you. Josh is that this is the movie where we finally achieve steve balance artistic balance and storytelling balance both the blue angel and morocco we felt were rewarding and they had moments of brilliance <music> but there was something a little bit lopsided in both in the blue angel no matter how much we disagreed a little bit but no matter how much we do don't pity wrath the professor at the end of the film dietrich's. Lola is basically fem fatale. We never really understand what's motivating her feelings for him and von sternberg is focused more on the madness that she she provokes in wrath and his fall despite that it was dietrich who eclipsed von sternberg for us is the artist. We couldn't wait to see more from in the marathon you go to morocco their filmmaking elements. I think are definitely more sophisticated than we see in the blue angel but dietrich again shine brightest despite being hobbled by a script and a performance by gary cooper that never really stoked any romantic passion and here dietrich's. Amy is the one at the end who subordinates herself to the man and makes the ultimate sacrifice resigns herself to a life following him and that brings us to shanghai express nathaniel said it her will simply won't be bent for a man even one she loves dearly which doesn't just make her a more complex feminist character imax or more complex character period area and it makes the central romance conflict between her and doc so compelling i think so shanghai express elevates dietrich's character without reducing clive brooke as dr harvey but we also see von stromberg's craft elevated. I saw your two word review on letterbox josh. You asked if it was peak doc dietrich. I think rhetorically in this marathon anyway this peak dietrich merging with for reasons. I'm sure will detail peak von sternberg each artist and their respective styles come together to create something distinct and really dazzling well. That's why i'm going to probably disagree with your take aac while loving the film just as much. I think what's so crazy about this movie is it's so far out of balance like it's to the point where story almost doesn't even matter and yeah i take. I take your point that von sternberg for reasons we will get into how he is crafting her persona but for me. This is is just her completely shifting all the balance around her je. She's just in a positive way a black hole for everything else in this this movie with his help of course <hes> but this is the first time i realized thinking about all the chemistry talk about gary cooper. That didn't even really matter because here ear. I agree with you. I think that clive brook is a better presence in this film but i don't know that she has more chemistry with him her chemistries with at the camera and what has happened here is she has and this isn't exactly there. Were they did another film between these two so we're not filed yeah. We're not falling this step by step by step but this is where she has exactly coming to her own again with von sternberg help and assistance and him wanting the same thing where dietrich is always just gonna play dietrich at this point. I mean it doesn't really matter who she's opposite. I think if we had gotten this dietrich in morocco oh we might have even been less bothered by gary cooper because she would have just swallowed him up in black hole. <hes> this ability to perform i can think of very few other stars who are so aware in their actual performance in what they're doing on the screen of their star status and so that every time she lets a little smile go after a great line. It's for us every time. She spins with a flourish to get to a different place on the screen. It's for us yes when she lights a cigarette. It's for us. She is not in rhythm with the subtle about ed. I'm probably making it sound too over the top. It's not over the these are very very small gestures that she's making but i guess the difference i would say about it is that it's not in rhythm with the other person on the screen really it's not in reaction the action to them in the way we traditionally think about <hes> two person scenes. It's all for the camera and for us and that's all to the good. I'm not not making a clearly and i think we've seen it through all three. We've just seen it built and building and that here is where von sternberg comes in and the cinematography which you mentioned engine. They are creating these spaces. They are fantasy. Spaces almost runways it. It doesn't matter who else is in the scene because at some point the only light we're going to get is the soft circle that she steps into their providing that for her and again. It's just excluding. It's throwing the whole thing out of balance. What's in a way that's delirious because it's excluding anyone else on the screen any narrative we thought we had and it's all about this one small moment and it's about her doing wayne donald. Since i saw you lack much mostly seven routine couple of years in india address match up and i went back to england grow alan then i was assigned to a scientific expedition manchuria had been rather lonesome dock icons. How is the active life of interest exciting. I suppose support you mean women. It was difficult to find someone to take place. Could you try very hard not particularly. I didn't want to be hurt again. Always a bit selfish. Stop thinking of your own head. I got except go to coach. I was the only one left me without how to work purely because i indulged in woman's trick to make you agenda. I wanted to be certain that june of instead taste. I suffered quite a bit and at probably deserved it so we're seeing basically the same thing just coming coming at it from a different model. Perhaps because all counter with a moment where you absolutely see just how much von sternberg and dietrich rick are in sync with each other here and where you really see the artistic match and it's an early shot in the film i think it's just after the train has gotten atten rolling and we are getting another tracking shot kind of like the one that opens with but this time it's going past the doors the cabins that the people are in so we're seeing seeing some of the different faces who were going to populate this movie and the camera doesn't get to the end of those tracks and stop on marlene dietrich. The camera gets get to the end of those tracks and i mean the tracks that the camera is on of course and it stopping. It's coming to a stop just as dietrich doc is rounding the corner <hes> and appearing emerging into the frame almost out of silhouette into the light. Everyone else is shot the exact same way and she is is captured just in this gracefulness as she walks into the frame like the timing and the choreography of that is just such a wonder the lighting's not for the set no it's for her. It is every human the film is about her gives her those mope -solutely yeah i'm not trying to discredit him at all and as long as we're sharing credit let's talk about the costume designer because travis benton <hes> i probably should have looked into this sooner but he he has worked with von sternberg and dietrich on almost all their films not on the blue angel <hes> and thus you said the designs he puts her in here. I think you know costume. Has we talked about the top patten the tuxedo in morocco it prevents new <hes> to their filmmaking but the things she gets to wear here are absolutely at another level oh and probably the one she wears. That book ends the movie. The first time we are at the train station is it's black dress but it's just adorned with these plumbing mean factors that are coming up her arms all around her neck and then this skullcap essentially that's made of the same feathers but they're kinda pasted down so it's tight all to showcase so her face will come out of those feathers that we noticed that so it's it's at once mesmerizing and unlike anything you've ever seen but also not distracting from her at the same time and that's got to be a feat of designed to pull that off and then he gives her other ones. I think about that for line coach. She shows up at one point again more than you've ever seen. Yes all around her head but it does the same thing. There's a softness of the for allows the <hes> she's quite a bit thinner here from the other films notably so and so she has sharper features some of that is that her eyebrows are these thin pencil lines at this point so there is a sharpness tour and i think again the softness of that costume design highlights her face so travis benton. Is you know another creative element another partner in creating this persona of who we think of as marlene dietrich yeah without a doubt now i'm going to go to a moment that doesn't rely so much on the costuming but maybe is is the standout single shot single frame in this film and it's that moment where it almost seems like she goes into a confessional and she just has had an exchange with dr harvey and they've had some truths shared between them and she now goes behind the closed doors and she kind of reveals her true self health in this moment the camera close up head on and the way she is lit is almost as if this glow from heaven is coming down only on her and and there is this issue of religion god that comes up in the movie almost like this is a moment. I think prefacing one later. We don't ever see her actually pray right but it is jessica. Yeah we see your tri in close but in this moment she puts her hands together and we see her actually trembling in the shot in a way that it occurred to me watching this movie that despite how amazing dietrich has been throughout all of these films so many different levels to her performance and the way she can just own the frame this. I think is the most vulnerable we've ever seen her. This is a new dietrich. We get in that moment. There are flickers of in morocco like my favorite scene where we see her drop everything and rush out of her engagement dinner where she is almost lost control of herself but that's different than the type of true vulnerability. She shows and that scene so i feel like we're getting new parts of on sternberg in the film stretching out a little bit. We're getting new parts of dietrich doc as well so i just loved that vulnerability. I love the rain. She shows here because she still plays this character similar to the way she played others where there's something cavalier about her something as much as she is wounded and feels love she also manages to stay above the fray a little bit but here you really see how wounded she is in a way. I don't think p._c. And the other movies yeah and she she does have that cool and detached demeanor that we've seen before but this brings us to sort of a non dietrich element of the film that we can talk about but it's related to her performance if you think about another instance where she lets that facade drop that coolness and that detached nature drop it has to do with with anna may wong's character who say there's a point where here we get into a little bit of a plot where the train is held hostage by rebels also one of them who's on the train character chang played by warner oland and at one point he makes an advance on lily and she rebuffs rebuffs. It manages to get out of the room. It's very frightening sequence but she manages to get out of the room and she notices that hu fei is being dragged in dan as her substitute and she kind of loses it at that moment in a way she hasn't before that detached demeanor drops and there's a ferocity rhapsody knew her and you get a sense that she knows exactly what she just escape or sherry a._b._c. had faced it more in her past. She also seems to understand stan that this is something that who say has maybe experienced and so yeah i wanted to bring it up as a note of performance about dietrich but also to give us a chance to talk about wong who was at this point already a rare non white movie star in hollywood and in some ways <hes> is given not much is given a stereotypical part but i think gives the second best performance in the film by making a lot of it. There's a moment of revenge. She has gone chang. The character played by i warner oland and the movie interestingly also takes the time to sit and acknowledge the significance of the trauma. She suffered for sure hand and that really surprised me because it could have been a lot less of that. It could have been just basically it could have been only about lily what lily escaped <hes> but they give more attention to phase experience dan that to the film's credit and definitely to wong's performance. I had not seen anime wong long in anything previously so certainly was aware of her. <hes> and yeah just fascinated to see how good she wasn't as part yeah wanna talk a little bit more about some of von sternberg artistic flourishes because one that really stands out. I've got two or three dimension is i suppose what would constitute as the action scene in the film. It's when the train is stopped in the soldiers overtake it and rather than it being this flurry of action and it really being about the cutting and the activity. It's totally fitting. The von sternberg instead makes it way more poetic in the way we see the soldiers overtaking the train is as they're jumping onto it from a distance indi- and they're just completely silhouetted in black. There's just a light behind them and it becomes instantly a little bit creepy and ominous but again not really necessarily suspenseful and very yeah very theatrical for sure the dissolves in this area or something. I don't remember him employing as much in the other films <music> are employing to such length that here the dissolves are so slow that we get something. I don't really recall seeing in a lot of other films period which is he managed to create new images out of the dissolves in other words. It's not just about the transition is not just about a smooth transition or suggesting a passage such of time or whatever affect you might be traditionally going forward with the dissolve but in the expanse of the dissolve the transfer to the new image an an actual new images created and the key one that i would point to is an early one in the film where we are seeing the corridor of the train and the dissolve all this cutting to a shot from believe it's on the tracks with chinese soldiers on the sides of the track and he overlays them in such a way that then looks looks like the chinese soldiers are standing on the sides of the train corridor instead of just on the tracks there actually incited which is actually kind of suggestive of what is eventually going to happen and i remember not too long ago. I think it was last year. Watching david leans brief encounter another train centric movie for the first time and and seen the very same thing where a new image would be credited the dissolves and thinking wow this must be some sort of landmark technique and here we are that was forty five if you're more than a decade earlier and von sternberg is already employing <hes> this it's a real magic trick and yeah it's beautiful. It is now the framing as as well and the way frames are employed within the camera frame. I think is also really notable here and you notice it probably even before this but where it really stuck out to me was in the introduction scene not to each character but the introduction of the relationship between doc and lily where the camera is if i recall correctly outside the train and it's looking in on them straight on and they're both standing next to each other and there's the frame of the window that is cutting them in half. They're both framed by their windows but then they're cut in half they're separated and you realize though that there probably inhabiting the exact ax same space but somehow the frame cutting them in half does keep them at a distance suggests that there is this divide between them and you look at so many frames teams in this movie not just those different train cars that we see where it almost becomes like us looking through windows at them but i can't believe i'm going to use this word here here. I don't think it's probably ever been uttered. In film spotting history. The frames are often bifurcated so that it does just like in that instance it separates the characters and draws attention to the construction of these spaces and i think it then also draws our attention to the construction that is whatever is separating reading these people class. They're standing in society their race perhaps they're all artificial construct and he is constantly making us aware of that through through the use of those frames yeah you would think you know this being the first film we've seen the first out of the three that didn't involve any sort of cl- nightclub atmosphere or theater atmosphere that that element might have been lost but in a lot of ways he doubled down on it without the actual theater yeah absolutely and i a._m. Hesitant here enclosing to suggest that this film somehow is truly an apotheosis of all of their work or their collaborations together because there's a few other films that we haven't seen yet and we're not going to get to as part of this marathon but i do think having watched three films we can safely say that von von sternberg is obsessed with the utter irrationality of love and i do think shanghai express is the most complete i suppose exploration of that irrationality i won't go into a full rehash of the other two films but we talked about wrath in the blue angel almost not having a choice but to go after lola gives up everything everything to go after her and in morocco. It's the opposite it's a me who almost acts like she's under a spell and just can't leave tom alone and has to be with him. I'm she can't perform. She can't eat and runs out of that dinner as i mentioned and wrath starting as a professor right he's an academic. He's a man who relies on his head. Not his is hard and we get here. The doctor who is a man of science who is a man of intellect to believes only what he sees and that's paired paired against not only lily but the missionary carmichael who believes has faith despite not being able to see what he believes in. I don't think it's probably by accident. That carmichael is always wearing glasses in the movie and that dr harvey almost gets punished by being blinded. He's not being von. Sternberg isn't being too subtle subtle. They're probably with those suggestions but that exchange. They have doc in lily where she says. Will you never learn to believe without proof. This is another little all tests of hers. It's happening in the scene and he says i believe you madeline and when she hands him the telegram the proves actually his faith was founded. She calls him out on it. Says when i needed your faith faith before you withheld it and now when i don't need it and don't deserve it you give it to me so again examples of sacrificing for love and in the other films by making that sacrifice we discovered that these two people who are in love can't really exist together as individuals someone is always going to have to subjugate themselves to the other and i think here in shanghai express it suggests an evolution of that while people who treat romance and love as a game team first and foremost i think is also a recurring motif and she's not always at dietrich is not always on one end of that equation talked about morocco how she's more mouths than cat <hes> but certainly she still likes playing that game and you get the sense in any of these movies if some if some of the pretenses you watch them just wanting in some of those pretenses to drop and things might work out for them but they just can't resist playoff game. You're right shanghai express a big hit here in this film spotting spotting marathon again five stars by san hog run and he has the best taste of any of us. Sorry josh if you get a chance to see it. We would love to hear your thoughts probably not available as we have lamented throughout this marathon not available really on streaming you can check it out if you do have the criterion box set of on sternberg and dietrich films or i know josh you have been watching these movies as well as other films funding listeners sam included getting them from your local library about that little inter library loan easy enough delivered via the shanghai express all the way to the chicago suburbs again feedback phone spotting dot net if you have any comments about shanghai express or the marathon or any other comments about the show because josh that is it for this week indeed it is but there's plenty more over at film spotting dot net in our show archives. You can find and reviews interviews and top five's going back to two thousand five. You can also vote in the current films spotting poll. We wanna know which film that's plain september's toronto international international film festival. You're most looking forward to if you wanna film spotting t shirt or any other films spotting merch you can find it at film spotting dot net slash shop. If you want to subscribe to the weekly films body newsletter do that at film spotting dot net slash newsletter and come talk to us on facebook and on twitter you can find adamant film spotting and you can find me at larson unfil- out in limited release this weekend opening here in chicago after the wedding. This is writer director bart licks remake of the two thousand six susanne and beer film stars julianne moore my beloved michelle williams and billie credit very good as we mentioned in. Where'd you go bernadette. The peanut butter falcon also out starring shiloh above dakota johnson bruce dern and john hawkes about a down on his crab fisherman who embarks on a journey to get a young man with down syndrome to professional wrestling school in rural north north carolina in wide release angel has fallen on caged now. It's not actually it's just angel has fallen. We can only hope it could work. Gerard butler's secret service agent. Mike banning is framed for the attempted assassination of the president there you go over. Come idle couldn't be improved by just addie. Addi literally on caged a basketball coach for luckily agrees to coach cross country. Okay maybe not that right. There may be something missing from that plot description description sorry ready or not also out eccentric inlaws force in new bride to take part in a terrifying game. Now come on ready here on page way better how long i am. I gonna milk this joke. We will see next week on the show. As we mentioned the scarlet empress the final film in our dietrich sturbridge marathon and our nine from ninety nine review of being being john malkovich film spotting is produced by golden joe too so and sam van haugen without salmon golden toe. This show wouldn't go our production. Assistant is andy mitchell. Thanks also to can description. Send the listeners of the film spotting advisory board and special. Thanks to everyone at w._b._z. Chicago more information is available at w._b._z. Dot org are music. This week is bilingual. May from the new album other girls more information is at lillie mae music dot com for films spotting. Josh larsen and i met him. Thanks for listening this. This conversation can serve no purpose anymore by birth <music>.