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The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

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The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Old 07-01-13, 02:52 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by ntnon
A good film - and it looked like Fairbanks did his own climbing and stunts, and he's fast at climbing... I really enjoyed it.
Douglas Fairbanks has become one of my favorite actors. He has that amazing grin, and always seems to be having a good time. Whether it's a period film like Robin Hood, or something contemporary like The Matrimaniac, if you see a tree, you know that he's probably going to climb it.

Last edited by ororama; 07-01-13 at 03:02 AM.
Old 07-01-13, 05:49 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by ororama
The restoration was amazing. I've often seen references to the difficulty of restoring movies shot in Eastmancolor, and have seen the Panorama DVD of Carmen Comes Home (the first Japanese color film, shot in Fujicolor per Wikipedia, Eastmancolor per IMBD) which literally and figuratively pales in comparison to the restoration of Gate of Hell. I love the brilliant colors of Technicolor, but the more subtle shades in Gate of Hell were amazing. I had seen Gate of Hell as part of a samurai triple bill (Carnegie Hall Cinema or Thalia?) about 30 years ago, but was much better able to appreciate it this time.



The only movies that he directed that I've seen have been Tiger On Beat and Aces Go Places 5. I haven't seen too many Shaw Brothers movies, although I am slowly catching up. Looking forward to getting to know him in the future.
I first saw GATE OF HELL about 39 years ago at either the Carnegie Hall Cinema or the Regency. (I'm remembering it as the Carnegie Hall Cinema, but it was the same season that a Japanese film festival was running at the Regency.) I have a VHS copy that looks like it was made directly from an unrestored film print, which might have been exactly how it looked in the theater. I'm quite sure the DVD looks better than even the print I saw in the theater. (Nobody was showing "restored" prints back then.)

Also, I went back and edited my post on GATE OF HELL. I looked up the film in Donald Richie's book and learned that there were two other color Japanese movies made between CARMEN COMES HOME (which I've also seen) and GATE OF HELL.

Re: Lau Kar Leung. You've seen two of his lesser films. Check out the following:
8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER
THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN
HEROES OF THE EAST
SHAOLIN MANTIS
DIRTY HO
LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA
MY YOUNG AUNTIE
CHALLENGE OF THE MASTERS
EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN

Rather prosaic titles for such un-prosaic films.

Oh, and here's a shot from CARMEN COMES HOME:

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 07-01-13 at 05:54 AM.
Old 07-01-13, 09:37 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by Trevor
I didn't get to the TV much at all in June, house hunting and DVD reorganizing took up most of my free time. But what I did watch I very much enjoyed.
"House hunting"? Good for you. (But I will say DVD reorganizing may be a waste of time if you're moving soon. )

I didn't watch much that qualified. Partly because I wasn't really in a movie watching mood this month. Partly because I was reading some stuff in my to-read stacks. Partly because I opted to sleep instead of watch stuff. Maybe next time.
Old 07-01-13, 10:35 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

I realize everyone is still finalizing their lists, but the preliminary results can be seen here in this Google Docs spreadsheet. If you would, let me know if you make any changes to your list that would affect your viewing total or your number of check marks.

Because counting isn't uniform, some of the lists may appear inflated to others and in reverse, some lists may seem unnecessarily truncated. Still, I feel pretty confident that BobO'Link's 122 views are probably tops. The next highest is konekonoir, who lists 62 movies, 32 TV and 13 shorts for a combined total of 107 (without converting for time).

Undeadcow stands with 36 check marks, five more than Doc Moonlight. I was kind of disappointed that only nine of the thirty-four of us even attempted the checklist, but I understand some participants are only interested in one genre or theme, and others don't use checklists in any challenges.

Ash Ketchum was the Discussion Thread's most prolific commenter, with 34 posts spanning from the creation of this thread through the end of the challenge at midnight last night. (His 35th post came in this morning.) ntnon (29), shadokitty (28), The Man with the Golden Doujinshi (21) and LGJ765 (20) also helped keep the conversation lively this year.

ntnon has a section in his or her list that I really dig, placing the viewed content in a timeline. I think I might steal that idea for my 2014 list!

I don't know if JennandTheCats will even see this comment since she hasn't participated in the discussion thread, but I wanted to make note that her first ever post on this forum was her list for this year's Historical Appreciation Challenge. It's always exciting to have newcomers and I hope she enjoyed the challenge and is taking well to the forum.

Lastly, a special shoutout to shadokitty for being so into this challenge as to go back to school to pursue a degree in anthropology! That's very cool and I wish you the best with that.

So, those are your preliminary end-of-challenge stats. I want to thank everyone who participated and gave helpful feedback throughout the challenge - including that pre-challenge slog over rules changes. I was hopeful that if we got that out of the way up front that the challenge itself would go smoothly and I feel like that's what happened.

Now is the part where I invite any and all feedback. What did you enjoy this year? Did you learn anything exciting? Find any new favorites? What would you like to see happen next year? What do you get out of this challenge and what would you like to get out of it? Do you have any thoughts about the checklist? For the 3/4 of you who didn't bother with it, is there anything I could do to tempt you into giving it a go next year?
Old 07-01-13, 11:00 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Thanks for a fun challenge Travis. While I didn't get in as many movies as I would have liked, I really enjoyed the documentaries I watched. Documentaries happen to be one of my favorite genres.
Old 07-01-13, 11:23 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by shadokitty
Thanks for a fun challenge Travis. While I didn't get in as many movies as I would have liked, I really enjoyed the documentaries I watched. Documentaries happen to be one of my favorite genres.
This brings up one more question I wanted to run by you guys. This year, instead of having a Documentary sub-section, I set it so that you could watch either a doc or a work of fiction for any of the checklist items. My thought was that it would help streamline the checklist, while allowing participants to choose to watch whatever ratio of fiction : nonfiction they wanted. How did that go for you? Would you rather see Documentaries be a subsection on their own again? If so, what suggestions for specific types of docs would you suggest?
Old 07-01-13, 11:55 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Ah, I tried to watch Lincoln on Saturday but it wasn't that interesting and no one else was paying attention so I had to swap it out. I'm disappointed I didn't get more war and Westerns in, but at least I finally saw Django Unchained and Argo!

In Argo, I couldn't help thinking that they could have
Spoiler:
just slipped past all the security if they'd just shaved off the huge caterpillars on their lips, but I suppose they wouldn't have matched their passport pictures.
Old 07-01-13, 12:32 PM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by davidh777
Ah, I tried to watch Lincoln on Saturday but it wasn't that interesting and no one else was paying attention so I had to swap it out. [/spoiler]
This is why you needed to see LINCOLN in a theater, where it would be harder to just stop in the middle and walk out. The first third or so was a tough slog for me, but once they got to the vote in Congress, all the pieces fell into place and you can see why we went through that whole process of showing Lincoln's team (led by James Spader!) wheedling and wheeling and dealing. It all made sense once the amendment went through. And I realized how necessary it was to see all that. I may not love the film (the way I did DJANGO) but I admire and respect it.
Old 07-01-13, 12:39 PM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
This is why you needed to see LINCOLN in a theater, where it would be harder to just stop in the middle and walk out. The first third or so was a tough slog for me, but once they got to the vote in Congress, all the pieces fell into place and you can see why we went through that whole process of showing Lincoln's team (led by James Spader!) wheedling and wheeling and dealing. It all made sense once the amendment went through. And I realized how necessary it was to see all that. I may not love the film (the way I did DJANGO) but I admire and respect it.
Yeah, and on a warm summer Saturday night, it just wasn't flying with the family. I myself could have watched more, but my personal viewing time is so limited that it wasn't worth it to pursue any further. I did appreciate DDL's portrayal in the first 20 minutes.

Off it goes into the limbo of "stuff I may catch up with someday."
Old 07-01-13, 10:17 PM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Certainly not my most successful challenge. I just added one more film to my list for a total of seven. I started strong and even did some fact checking. I knew a big project at work would eat up my time starting around mid-month but I discovered that a lot of the preliminary work hadn't been done so it took up much more time than I anticipated. Then as soon as that was pretty much complete I had to go on a trip to help take care of some family business. I didn't even have time to keep up with the discussion. I do want to thank Travis for hosting the challenge which I really enjoyed when I had a chance to participate. I will be back next year!
Old 07-02-13, 07:34 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by Travis S. McClain

Undeadcow stands with 36 check marks, five more than Doc Moonlight. I was kind of disappointed that only nine of the thirty-four of us even attempted the checklist, but I understand some participants are only interested in one genre or theme, and others don't use checklists in any challenges.
I have finalized my list and have a final total of 34 check marks. Congratulations, undeadcow.
Old 07-02-13, 08:05 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

I didn't do the checklist, but I added a personal tally.

I had made a mistake in my counting (two entries marked #19), so I just went back and changed it. So now I have 31 entries for the month, an average of just over one a day.

The majority of what I saw was not first time viewings. I was pleased with my choices, although I didn't get much viewed from my list of priorities, which were all pretty demanding. (E.g., the 9-hour trilogy, THE HUMAN CONDITION) I started a few things that I just didn't finish.

The best first-time viewing would have to be the 1938 version of MARIE ANTOINETTE, which I wrote about in an earlier post. SONG WITHOUT END (1960), about Franz Liszt was another one. Plus, the anime episodes of "Rose of Versailles." Considering the prevalence of samurai, western and kung fu films on my list, it's surprising that the best of the bunch would all be non-action historical dramas set in Europe.

The decades I saw the most entries from were the 1990s (8) and the 1970s (7). Very unusual for me, esp. the '90s. The fewest were the 1930s and '40s (one each), which are usually much better represented in my challenges, esp. the Historical. I didn't get to watch anything prior to the 1930s.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 07-02-13 at 10:23 AM.
Old 07-02-13, 10:03 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

I totally concur with Ash Ketchem about seeing Lincoln in a theater. I went with my friends to see it in November and we were all enthralled. It was a lot funnier than we had expected, and part of what helped us stay engaged was being with a great audience - reverent enough to be quiet, but enthused enough to laugh at the jokes. There's something about the scale of the thing that I think benefits from the big screen, too. I had the sense when it was over that I was glad I had caught that screening because I had my doubts how it would play at home.
Old 07-02-13, 10:08 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

It's too bad the challenge is over, as H2 and the Military Channel are airing some good civil war specials this week, due to the anniversary of Gettysburg.
Old 07-02-13, 10:18 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by shadokitty
It's too bad the challenge is over, as H2 and the Military Channel are airing some good civil war specials this week, due to the anniversary of Gettysburg.
Now that's the talk of someone that likes his challenges. Now you should start to DVR the stuff and keep it around till next year.
Old 07-02-13, 10:45 AM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by shadokitty
It's too bad the challenge is over, as H2 and the Military Channel are airing some good civil war specials this week, due to the anniversary of Gettysburg.
The challenge lives on, as long as we remember it.
Old 07-02-13, 02:35 PM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
Now that's the talk of someone that likes his challenges. Now you should start to DVR the stuff and keep it around till next year.
Some time ago, I began to organize my DVR content by genre. This was done primarily so I'd have an easier time finding things when a particular challenge came up. Surely I'm not the only one who does this.
Old 07-06-13, 11:02 PM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

I really had a blast with this challenge: albeit I was all over the place in terms of subgenres. And being a biased towards music, I watched quite a bit of it during the end of the month.

Highlights of the challenge were

Chasing Ice - between the simply amazing cinematography (and a truly jaw dropping sequence caught on camera) and the story of National Geographic photographer James Balog, I was transfixed to this movie.

Senna - autobiography of Ayrton Senna - great racing footage and a story about a famous Formula Five driver that I had not entirely knew before seeing the movie.

All Quiet on the Western Front - aside from some slight stilted acting, the overall ending and impression of the film was powerful.

Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius - while it was extremely interesting bio, I was surprised it didn't go into any of infamous 300,000 nudie photographs he took with a stereoscopic (3D) camera

'Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood' was far more fascinating than the actual film.

Kar Wai Wong's The Grandmaster - three words: wow, wow and wow

20 Feet From Stardom so far the best doc film of 2013 next to
Stories We Tell

Saint of 9/11 had me in tears

Chariots of the Gods - while the UFO theories are a bit out of date and veer towards sheer wackiness, this felt like an hour and half 'In Search of...' episode, which in my book is a good thing. The film's music score sounded a lot like 'Cannibal Holocaust's

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp has Powell & Pressburger ever made a bad movie? okay, that rhetorical.

while I didn't watch these back to back, one would get a great dearth of Nazi history from BBC's Auschwitz: The Nazis & The 'Final Solution' and then to follow it up with Hitler's Children which puts an emotional punch to the viewer as a bookend to what was established in the former.
Old 07-07-13, 01:07 PM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

I had so much more stuff I wanted to watch for this challenge, but I'm now firmly in the midst of the Sci-Fi challenge (for which I have about five years worth of viewing material, if I count up all the TV series and kaiju/tokusatsu/sentai movies) and then August for the Animation challenge. At least in August I'll be able to continue watching "Rose of Versailles" and "Rurouni Kenshin," two anime series I started during the Historical Challenge.

Other stuff I wanted to watch for this challenge:
GRANDMASTER, Wong Kar Wai's take on Ip Man, cited above by Giles
IP MAN 2
LUST FOR LIFE, biopic about Vincent Van Gogh
CENTER STAGE, biopic about Chinese actress Ruan Lingyu
THE YAKUZA PAPERS, five-film series about the rise of certain yakuza gangs in Japan in the postwar era
THE HUMAN CONDITION, 9-hour trilogy about postwar Japan
Two more films based on the story of the 47 Ronin
QUEEN CHRISTINA, with Greta Garbo
LITTLE WOMEN-- several different versions, including an anime series
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
JAPAN'S LONGEST DAY
+ 3 gifts from my nephews over the years:
TIGERLAND
PURPLE BUTTERFLY
AMERICAN GANGSTER
Old 07-07-13, 03:42 PM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
I had so much more stuff I wanted to watch for this challenge, but I'm now firmly in the midst of the Sci-Fi challenge (for which I have about five years worth of viewing material, if I count up all the TV series and kaiju/tokusatsu/sentai movies) and then August for the Animation challenge. At least in August I'll be able to continue watching "Rose of Versailles" and "Rurouni Kenshin," two anime series I started during the Historical Challenge.

Other stuff I wanted to watch for this challenge:
GRANDMASTER, Wong Kar Wai's take on Ip Man, cited above by Giles
IP MAN 2
LUST FOR LIFE, biopic about Vincent Van Gogh
CENTER STAGE, biopic about Chinese actress Ruan Lingyu
THE YAKUZA PAPERS, five-film series about the rise of certain yakuza gangs in Japan in the postwar era
THE HUMAN CONDITION, 9-hour trilogy about postwar Japan
Two more films based on the story of the 47 Ronin
QUEEN CHRISTINA, with Greta Garbo
LITTLE WOMEN-- several different versions, including an anime series
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
JAPAN'S LONGEST DAY
+ 3 gifts from my nephews over the years:
TIGERLAND
PURPLE BUTTERFLY
AMERICAN GANGSTER
I didn't care for IP Man 2. It seemed to suffer from sequalitus.
The Human Condition was good but you definitely have to be in the mood for it.
Old 07-07-13, 05:29 PM
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Re: The Fourth Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge...Now with More Appreciation!

Originally Posted by The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
The Human Condition was good but you definitely have to be in the mood for it.
That's the problem with a lot of stuff I wanted to watch for this challenge: long running times and few days when I have both time and energy to devote to them.

But I'm happy I got to see seven Japanese period pieces and the Marie Antoinette films, as well as a few worthy westerns.

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