536 The Thin Red Line

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cdnchris
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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#176 Post by cdnchris » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:29 am


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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#177 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:06 pm

Spent much of my weekend watching this and soaking in the extras. I was a bit underwhelmed by the outtakes, save the one with Ben Chaplin and Clooney talking about the impending divorce. The commentary was quite informative and gave a good picture of what the technical aspects were without turning it into techno-babble.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#178 Post by bdsweeney » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:17 pm

What I felt from watching the outtakes was just how much the original script must have been that of a 'traditional' narrative. Without any context in which to place the outtake scenes, they had little emotional resonance while watching.

What struck me was just how 'ordinary' they were, like they could have been taken from any typical Hollywood-made war film. It makes you consider just how much Malick's films are shaped by editing (as is commented on in the enjoyable series of interviews with the film's editors).

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#179 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:12 am

Exactly. It also made me more and more glad that it's just the theatrical version that we got. This being the 2nd or 3rd time I've seen it all back to front, it's a bit leaner than I'd probably give it credit for previously. Probably because I have a better understanding the role nature plays in the story.

But if I can get back to the outtakes, I am disappointed only Rourke's performance was included out of everyone that was cut from the film. Don't get me wrong, it's very good for what it is. But I would have been more interested in some of the others, especially Martin Sheen's stuff. What makes Badlands so good and a bit bittersweet for me, is that if Malick had been a bit more prolific and done more work, him and Martin would have had the kind of working relationship that De Niro and Scorsese (to use the most obvious example) had.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#180 Post by MyNameCriterionForum » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:24 am

Considering the number of actors left out of the film, I've always thought the finished film has at least two performances that are poor -- or at least somehow "wrong". Oddly enough it's not the celebrity walk-ons like Travolta or Clooney that make me wince, as they're smug enough to appear briefly as officers and then disappear, so it works.

The first performance that bothers me is the fellow that looks like Ben Affleck wounded and stranded under fire out in the field, whom Penn finally crawls out to to deliver morphine. I won't say the acting here is inaccurate as I'm sure I'd scream mother like a baby if I were shot, but compared to the acting in the rest of the film, it's pretty over the top and annoying.

The second performance that irks me is, much as I hate to say it, John Savage. This may not be a problem of performance as much as Malick's direction of the actor. I don't know if Malick wrote the "We're just dirt" lines, or encouraged Savage to improvise them, but it's a bit too literal in my opnion (especially as he, you know, picks up some... dirt... and lets it fall through his fingers, ugh). And as Savage's character becomes more and more unhinged, it only reminds me of many of his other roles (The Deer Hunter, obviously, for a start, and even his crazed torturer in The New World -- though the latter works very well, I think).

Neither of these damage the film much - I think it's far too expansive a tapestry for one or two threads to unravel the whole - but I can't think of any such intances in Malick's first two films, which are nearly perfect in every way. However, The New World has what is without a doubt the most cringe-worthy moment in his career: The scenes with Rebecca's nanny/tutor. Again, probably an accurate depiction, but just way too cloying and BBC for my tastes.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#181 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:44 am

After watching the editor's segment and listening to the commentary, I was highly curious as to what the beam mentioned throughout looked like and how one actually plays it. And just now, I found this video of the man who played the instrument for the score and sound design of the picture, Francisco Lupica.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#182 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:28 pm

Yeah, it's also known as the Blaster Beam. Jerry Goldsmith famously used it for his fantastic Stark Trek: The Motion Picture score. It has a haunting and oddly mechanized quality to it.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#183 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:35 pm

It seems like it's difficult to play the Beam without looking like an idiot.

KLONG KLONG BLAM KLONG BLAMMMM

"It's just a real rich sound..."

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#184 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:10 am

True, but it sounds better as an instrument when it's not played so frantically like in that video you just shared with us.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#185 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:39 pm

"It's just a real rich sound..."
He's right. If you click the link in my post above, you can hear how rich and vibrant are its tones.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#186 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:46 pm

I know, I was just amused by the video (as well as the 70s corniness of the Cosmic Beam Experience). The V-Ger flyover is pretty astounding and I like its naturalistic evolution on the Thin Red Line soundtrack, where it sounds less like some kids twanging a cyclone fence and more...whatever it's supposed to sound like. On the subject of the soundtrack, what's the track that plays over the scene where Colonel Tall tells Taros to send all of his men to attack the Japanese barrack? It's this sort of throbbing, pulsing piece, with the entire string section playing several notes over and over again. It was incredible.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#187 Post by trombone dixie » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:48 pm

When the soldiers first get on the beach I'm noticing some off coloring on their faces. It makes them look like they have huge birthmarks on their faces. Anyone else noticing this on their copy?

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#188 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:58 am

I still haven't had time to sit down with the film yet (though I have spent an inordinate amount of time caressing the box lovingly!), so do not know if any of this material turns up in the extras, but I did run across an excellent piece in Peter Biskind's book of various essays, Gods and Monsters, that reveals what was occurring during the eighteen year wilderness period between the two films. The original producers Robert Geisler and John Roberdeau spending most of the time edging the filmmaker towards direction, with Thin Red Line being one of a number of different projects taking place at the same time, also including a possible adaptation of Tartuffe, The White Hotel (apparently a 'Freudian analysis of a woman who dies in a concentration camp'), The English-Speaker ("based upon Dr Josef Breuer's well known nineteenth-century case study of Anna O., a hysteric" and described in the essay as "The Exorcist meets Dostoevksy"), and a number of drafts of an adaptation of Sansho The Bailiff (turned down for direction by Peter Brook and Bergman before Andrzej Wajda showed interesting in directing it, to the extent that Malick and the producers apparently flew to Poland and workshopped it with him.)

There is also an interesting story in the section detailing how the relationship between the producers and directors crumbled during the making of Thin Red Line which mentions an incident where: "Another source says that Giesler and Roberdeau were asked to give Adrien Brody, an actor they had recommended, a copy of Il Posto, a film that Malick wanted him to see. Instead they arranged a screening and a dinner at the Royalton Hotel in New York. Malick was reportedly "furious" that they had improved on his instruction".

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#189 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:58 am

That particular piece is available online.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#190 Post by antnield » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:40 am

Michael Atkinson on the film and disc from this month's Sight & Sound.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#191 Post by GaryC » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:46 am

colinr0380 wrote:The White Hotel (apparently a 'Freudian analysis of a woman who dies in a concentration camp'),
From the novel by D.M. Thomas, a Booker Prize shortlistee in 1981 and a novel which caused something of a stir in its time - part poem, part pastiche Freudian case study, part narrative. Thomas, then known mainly as a poet, has since fallen out of favour. Some people found The White Hotel and subsequent novels misogynist. I only read one other, Ararat - long time ago, but I remember not liking it much.

My 80s paperback copy says "Soon to be a Major Film" but it has never happened. Barbra Streisand was attached at one time I believe, so were David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini at another time, as well as Malick. I can see why this would be a tough novel to film - not just for its experimental form, but also for the fact that any adaptation which was at all faithful to the original would get a surefire NC-17 rating.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#192 Post by MyNameCriterionForum » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:08 pm

GaryC wrote:
colinr0380 wrote:The White Hotel (apparently a 'Freudian analysis of a woman who dies in a concentration camp')
My 80s paperback copy says "Soon to be a Major Film" but it has never happened. Barbra Streisand was attached at one time I believe, so were David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini at another time, as well as Malick.
Brittany Murphy too?

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#193 Post by Damien » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:51 am

There are some drastics changes noticeable here. The famous shot of the "rosy fingered dawn" has lost nearly all of its pinkness and looks like an almost neutral white-greyish picture of the clouds. You really have to reconsider all the meaning of the shot.

You can easily see this difference in the beaver stills.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#194 Post by stwrt » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:09 pm

The dawn's fingers still look rosy to me. The Blu-Ray PQ is easily one of the best in the Criterion collection.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#195 Post by htom » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:03 pm

The particular shot where Tall says "Rosy-fingered dawn" isn't one of those on the DVDBeaver page review. I agree with stwrt that even the first dawn shot that is used there shows better rosiness in the Blu-ray screenshot nonetheless.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#196 Post by Damien » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:42 am

I chose the beaver still as an example, obviously it is not the dawn shot. Nonetheless the phenomenon is quite the same with the cloud more greyish than expected when you have the DVD in mind. I compared the shot with two diferent players connected to the projector.

It is a shot that gets quite a bit of attention in the books or reviews concerning Malick, and the photographs usually accentuate the color.

All this concurs to surprise me regarding this particular shot. No complaint about the transfer in general.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#197 Post by Wes Moynihan » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:48 am

If anyone cares, a UK Blu is scheduled for May. As I can't play Criterion discs this may be my only option for now...

UK Thin Red Line Blu

Jeez, I hope Fox at least changes the artwork to something more in keeping with the film...

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#198 Post by knives » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:15 am

I managed to watch this last weekend, now my favorite of the Malick's, and the one thing that's been particularly bugging me is the first corpse they see(the one without legs). I'm mostly just wondering if that's Rourke or someone else. It is just sticking to my mind like glue.
The really striking aspect that makes me love the film though is how subdued all of the war stuff is. By not making this an anti-war film explicitly it makes the nastiness of the situation more prominent. Not to tease such an obviously inferior film too much, but in comparison Saving Private Ryan's opening scene in it's attempt to by so frightening and anti-war allowed an entertaining joy to blossom in comparison. As I think Zedz said a few pages back the reason I found this to be so powerful is probably because Malick is treating the world as being bigger than this fight. It's like that William Blake poem.
An other thing that I feel gained the film some weight is how marginalized the stars are. In most films the grunts are just cannon fodder and you don't have to feel anything for them. It's a thrill to see them die, but here that thrill is lost because it's a familiar face that is the unknown. You don't need to give Adrien Brody any lines to make whatever danger may come terrifying. It's all the better to make the extras the leads.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#199 Post by FrauBlucher » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:16 am

I watched this a few days back. This is the second time seeing it. The first, when it had it's theatrical release. At that time I wasn't receptive to it, as I was not receptive to Mallick's filmmaking style. That has since changed big time for me. There is so much depth and soul in this film. I felt like I was watching an opera. Mallick combines, in all his films, the macro world of nature and the micro world of man and how insignificant some things are in the overall scheme of time and extistence. Only Mallick, can take a film based on war and make you feel the pain and horror and yet show you beauty surrounding these men that are in unenviable, life threatening positions and not lose the impact the environment or the conflict are displaying.

It's so cool to see many of these actors looking so young and raw back then. Many have gone on to have solid careers. I was amazed by Nolte, channeling his inner George C Scott. One of Nolte's finest performances. Jim Caviezel was also brilliant. The only nitpicky thing I can say is 'Travolta'. I felt it back then and feel the same now. He just didn't fit for me. But other than this, it is a great film by a great director.

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Re: 536 The Thin Red Line

#200 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu May 22, 2014 8:08 am

Nolte absolutely saves the Travolta scene from being a mess. His internal monologue combined with his outward sycophancy set the tone for his character.

It hasn't been mentioned yet, but I really love Hans Zimmer's score. I remember being on a LiveJournal group devoted to film scores and one user in particular who otherwise hates his work said that The Thin Red Line was one of the best he'd ever heard, if not his favorite. I love most of his other work but agree that it's his finest hour. It has scale, depth but no bombast at all. It's asking questions of the story, and not really telling us how to feel.

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