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Old 21-08-2006, 09:56   #1
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Road Movies

Hawks' superb Red River (1948) unfolds during a film-length cattle-drive. The road/trail/journey metaphor gives the film its structure.

Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957) is about an elderly professor who reviews his life as he travels to collect an award from his old university. It's one of the greatest works of world cinema and it's structured around a long road-trip.

Hitchcock's North By Northwest's title describes the rough direction of the journey undertaken by Cary Grant in the movie. It opens in New York City and concludes with the phallic image of a train heading from Rapid City, South Dakota.

The essence of The Guns of Navarone's drama is developed out of the trip from England to Navarone that takes up most of the film's running time.

Hopper's Easy Rider (1969) takes the journey motif into the counter-culture and made millions of dollars. A whole genre of road movies was spawned in its wake.

Spielberg's Duel (1971) takes place almost exclusively on the road, as a large pollution-spewing truck inexplicably attacks Dennis Weaver's Every Man. It's a virtuoso exploration of a single idea, and the embodiment of Spielberg's notion of High Concept cinema.

Bunuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) is a collection of surreal sketches (cooked up in restaurants and scribbled on napkins by the director and screenwriter Carriere, apparently), but the sketches are linked together by the image of the complacent characters walking down an unexplained country road.

Mallick's Badlands (1973) has Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen commit senseless acts of murder in a beautiful landscape. The film influenced similarly-themed (though inferior) films from directors like Tony Scott and Oliver Stone.

Herzog's Fitzcarraldo (1982) focuses on the title character's efforts to bring great opera to the jungle. The film encapsulates a journey, but the film's own production became vastly more entertaining than the script, brilliantly captured by Les Blank's gripping documentary. Much of the film's imagery was borrowed from Coppola's Apocalypse Now, which had in turn utilised Conrad's Heart of Darkness - that prototype for many literary and filmic journeys into the dark side of the human soul.

Let's develop the theme of the "road movie", in all of its manifestations. The films can involve literal journeys in cars (Thelma & Louise), or more metaphorical treatments of the theme (Apocalypse Now).
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Old 21-08-2006, 13:24   #2
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Other genuine Road Movies include

-Vanishing Point
-Two Lane Blacktop
-Dirty Mary Crazy Larry
-Race With the Devil
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Apocalypse Now, Badlands, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Duel, Easy Rider, Fitzcarraldo, North by Northwest, Race with the Devil, Red River, The Guns of Navarone', Thelma & Louise, Two lane Blacktop, Vanishing Point, Wild Strawberries

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