Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Horizontal viewing—The grim reaper

A very theatrical Liz Taylor and Noel Coward 
in the 1968 film Boom!

It's Halloween, so I thought my horizontal viewing theme ought to showcase films about the Grim Reaper of Death. This is actually a vertical viewing and horizontal viewing combo— meaning there are some remakes of the same story, and some riffs on a theme. Forget those silly zombie or chainsaw films, these reels will make you think.

The Seventh Seal  This 1957 film by the legendary Ingmar Bergman tells the story of a man who seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague. It's beautifully done, in that cool Bergman way.

Death Takes a Holiday is a delightful romantic drama made in 1934, and based on the mystical, post-WWI era Italian play, La Morte in Vacanza by Alberto Casella. It stars Fredric March, Evelyn Venable and Guy Standing. "Death" decided to take a vacation, so he becomes a mortal to see what he is missing. What makes us human? What brings us joy and happiness in our lifetime? Death falls for the gal, and complications ensue.

Meet Joe Black is the 1998 remake (of the remake Death Takes a Holiday.) 

Brad Pitt portrays a quirky Angel of Death, and Anthony Hopkins is his victim, and Claire Forlani as the love interest. Well done.

Boom! made in 1968 stars a brilliant Elizabeth Taylor,  Richard Burton, and Noel Coward as the Angel of Death. This film is an awesomely theatrical interpretation of Tennessee Williams' The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. It's set on a remote Greek island and Liz and Dick are in top form. It's campy, it's gritty, it's vulgar, and it most certainly booms!

Happy Halloween!

Click on "vertical viewing" label below for other vertical viewing suggestions!
Or click to read my vertical viewing posts of 

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