Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Ceremony (1963): YOU ALL NEED TO GO WATCH IT IMMEDIATELY AND/OR BEFORE MAY 1ST!

{Pay no attention to the poster's taglines; they are wholly inaccurate.}

So, today, I made the horrible discovery that half of my Netflix queue is expiring on the first of May. Literally half. Some of these movies have been on the queue since I started Netflix in 2010. It's all the movies that I keep "meaning to see." Unfortunately, it's also all the movies that are not available LITERALLY anywhere else in the world (a few, like this one, have been recently made available for MOD. BUT STILL).

Dozens of low-budget/independent movies from the '40s, '50s, and '60s are just disappearing forever. And, it's affecting every genre, year, studio, director, even country of origin. And, for some strange reason, every Vincent Price movie is going away. I know this, because I happen to have every Vincent Price movie on my queue.

I have managed to narrow it down to 35 essential films. But, I'm just not sure that I'll be able to watch them all in a day and a half.

Actual sadness. Possible tears. Probable need to re-evaluate my life.

I'm not even joking. When I discovered this, this afternoon, I began to uncontrollably/unintentionally-quietly-under-my-breath sing Marius and Cossette's part of "One Day More" (despite the fact that I've always hated their characters). It just fit:

I did not live until today.
How can I live when we are parted?
Tomorrow you'll be worlds away
And yet with you, my world has started!

Will we ever meet again?
I was born to be with you.


So, yeah. I am a normal, mentally well-developed, social 19-year-old female.

I JUST REALLY LOVE MY NETFLIX.

Anyway, at the top of the essential 35, was this actual perfection of a movie.

The Ceremony was produced and directed by its star -- the master of being beautiful and sad at the same time -- Laurence Harvey.


Now, I quite like Laurence Harvey. But, he seems to be a very divisive person in the classic film world: people either love him or hate him, to borrow the colloquialism.

Part of my reason for loving him is probably built on sheer relief that he's not Lawrence Tierney. When I was younger, I used to always confuse the two names. This was terrible because I have lived in absolute terror of Tierney since I saw Born to Kill. I was ten. I had just seen Laura and LOVED IT. And, my library had a little film noir section that had Born to Kill in it, so I checked it out. And then I watched it. And then, IT WAS NOT LIKE LAURA. Ten-year-old Millie thought that film noir meant a brilliantly filmed detective story with a happy ending.

That is not the definition of film noir, I was to discover sadly.

Anyway, to recap, I adore Laurence Harvey for several reasons: 1) He is not Lawrence Tierney; 2) He is a brilliant actor; 3) He is quite beautiful and sad; 4) He is so perfectly "conflicted"; 5) He is an awesome Columbo villain.

All of these shining attributes (minus the final one, obviously) are on full display in The Ceremony.



It's a very odd movie. And the only real review I could find of it online described it as "pretentious." And, I totally get that. But, it's also perfect.

The cast (and crew) is mind-bogglingly great and diverse. Sarah Miles, Robert Walker Jr, John Ireland, Noah Purcell --- AND ROSS MARTIN. (Plus, so many others from many different countries.)



I did not know that Mr. Ross Martin was going to be in this, and I almost screamed when I saw him smiling evilly, walking down a hallway with a mustache on. It was genuinely exciting.

He did not disappoint. As the main antagonist, he is fascinating and frightening.

"And I'm Javert. Do not forget my name!"

Another great piece of this movie is its cinematography. It was unique and definitely interesting. I think it elevated an already good film. Some of the framing choices were particularly poetic.

{I would insert a particularly poetic screenshot, but all of the ones I took seem to be devastatingly spoilerific.}

And there were like 500 close-ups of Laurence Harvey being sad and beautiful. So, good work, director Lawrence Harvey and cinematographer Oswald Morris!



The film is about Laurence Harvey on death-row in a Tangiers (I believe) prison. His brother is Robert Walker Jr. and his girlfriend is Sarah Miles. They are plotting his escape, but Ross Martin is determined to execute him.

This movie has a message. I'm not quite sure what the message is, and maybe that's purposeful. If it wasn't, I still think that there is value in the actual output.

The movie was brilliantly acted, well-put-together, and genuinely interesting. It made me engage and think.

It did not follow cliches. At times, this made it feel a bit surreal. At other times, it made it feel fresh and realistic.

!SPOILER ALERT! 

The ending scene goes into that surreal freshness; as does the scene when he escapes and the three of them fall into a fit of laughter.

!END SPOILER ALERT!

Overall, I absolutely recommend The Ceremony. And, you really need to watch it before Wednesday. And then you need to come back and tell me what you thought.







-Millie

7 comments:

kate gabrielle said...

oh millie, can I be a complete sap and just say how much I LOVE your writing and how giddy I get when I see that you wrote a blog post?? It's pathetic but seriously seeing the tweet for this post on twitter made my night and then actually reading it made my week. I LOVE YOU

of course then your news about netflix kind of ruined my life. But that's not your fault, the blame lies entirely with netflix (and the copyright overlords who seem to be hellbent on not letting classic film fans actually see classic films.) ALSO you might not believe this since I'm one of those people who falls into the not-fond-of-laurence-harvey camp (although that's mostly because of Darling and the fact that Dirk Bogarde was just so amazing in that that everyone else - except Julie Christie who is equally amazing- paled in comparison) but I have The Ceremony at the top of my queue!! It's seriously in the number one spot. argh! Now I need to watch it like immediately!!!! And of course this just happens to be literally the busiest week of my entire life so I will just have to forgo sleep now.

ALSO how do you find out when things are expiring?? I'm going to go google this now so you don't actually need to answer.

Millie said...

Not to annoyingly mimic your comment, but seeing a comment from you on a post I've written legitimately makes my week! :-D

I know! IT'S ACTUAL TERRIBLE NEWS. I stomach dropped like when an airplane takes off, but not in a good. I mean, I enjoy it on the airplane. I DID NOT ENJOY IT WHEN I SAW MY QUEUE.

I actually was 99.9% sure that you did not like him. My review actually originally included this line:

"For every Millie who adores him, there is a Kate who really doesn't like him."

But, then I suddenly couldn't remember if it was you who didn't like him or not. So, I went to S&T and looked at your LH tag. And all it came up with was Summer and Smoke. And you really didn't say anything negative about him. So, then it psyched me out and I deleted that line from my post. HAHAHAHA.

Yeah.

I take this much care with every sentence I publish. ;-D

You need to go watch it. Sleep has been clinically proven to be unnecessary. So, go.

Well, if you go to Netflix and then look at your queue, there should be a red expiration date on the far right of an entry. I'm pretty sure they only go up the week before something expires though. So, that's kinda stupid. I looked at my queue today and it was all red-lettered. AND IT WAS SCARY.

kate gabrielle said...

OH MY GOSH I AM GOING TO CRY. My queue is riddled with red too :( It looks like almost EVERY SINGLE MOVIE IN MY QUEUE?? Even not that old ones like Matilda?!!? Seriously the only things that are staying seem to be documentaries on dinosaurs and tv shows. THAT IS IT!!!!

Basically me looking at my queue just now was exactly like the office scene where michael realizes toby came back to work at dunder mifflin. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think we [meaning nonfleshies with access to netflix] should all make lists of which expiring movies we want to watch, then we can cross-reference that with our dvd collections. That way we can efficiently narrow it down to only movies that we literally will NOT be able to access at all. I mean my heart is in a million pieces because Young and Innocent is expiring (what did I do with the belt?!) BUT I have it on dvd so I'm more sad about the fact that I have to put out effort to insert the dvd instead of just pressing buttons on my remote.

Also I was 99.9% sure I was going to get a mention in the LH love/hate section, lol!! Too bad our twitter mention archive isn't labeled so we can cross-reference that way. I'm pretty sure most of my movie star hatred has been revealed there instead of on my blog since I'm a coward and am scared of mean psycho fans leaving mean psycho comments (hello casey's donna reed stalker, haha!)

Ok this comment is probably not even going to get published because it is so long. Sorry!!! ;D

kate gabrielle said...

YESSS it was published! Victory!

Millie said...

I KNOW! For me, it's all movies/tv shows that I could access elsewhere easily. NETFLIX! *shakes fist*

ohmygosh. EXACTLY.

Ooooh. Excellent idea. Like, the Dirk Doctor movies (the last two) are on my essentials, but I know that you have them -- so I wasn't AS worried about those.

Gosh. Taking the effort can be painful. I was thinking the same thing about Crossplot. I HAVE it on DVD, but that would mean getting out of bed and going to the DVD shelf.

Hahaha. I think this was the first post in forever that didn't mention you somehow. (My Dr. Zhivago post mentioned you every other word.)

Oh my gosh. I think a searchable Twitter archive would be the funniest thing ever. We had so many opinions about things at like 5am in 2009.

Yeah, that's understandable. I'm not brave; it's just that I'm not threatening enough to have psycho stalkers.

THIS COMMENT IS EVEN LONGER.

Someday, I'll look back at this post and be amazed at how many comments it got and then I'll realize that it's us having a convo. ;-D

kate gabrielle said...

Basically all I took away from this is that you actually want to watch two Dirk Bogarde movies. I WILL SEND THEM TO YOU IMMEDIATELY!!!!

Millie said...

I was just looking at this post and was amazed at how many comments it got. PSYCH.

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