The Poison Pen

My Top 5 Films about … Films

Posted in Oddiments by thepoisonpen on November 23, 2011

Being a sick girl for many years meant I spent more than few hours entertaing myself the only way you can, by getting yourself a tesco dvd subscription and watching copious amounts of movies. So herein lies my top 5 films about films! To celluloid purists this is not aimed at being the definitive sacrificial top 5 to end all top 5’s but purely based on the films that I have personally loved over the years. Everyone loves a top 5 right? So lets begin…

5. Cecil B. Demented

I saw this film a few years ago, and coming from John Waters knew it would be worth a watch (not to mention a residual intolerable girl crush on Stephn Dorf from the 90’s) . The film centres around Dorf’s title character who along with a bunch of misfit movie extremists work to capture famous actress Melanie Griffith and force her to star in their guerrilla movie. The namesake of the film being Cecil B. Demille, creator of all films grandeur during his many years with Paramount from the 1920’s. It’s spoofy and fun and hard not to like.

4. Play it Again Sam

The only film in this list not about actually making a film, but rather living vicariously through one: Casablanca. Woody Allen stars as Allan a recently divorced film critic who goes through a series of messy dating sagas all the while getting tips from the spectre of his alter ego, Mr. Humphrey Bogart. It’s got some brilliant scenes, it’s funny and I particularly loved the decor in Allan’s San Franciso apartment. This started out on Broadway and I think it translates really well to to the screen.

3. Ed Wood

Everyone’s seen Ed Wood right? The fact it was filmed in black and white endears it to me more, coupled with my love for all things Lugosi. Historically there’s a few facts and figures that are at war with each other like Ed’s true relationship with people like Bela, but who knows. For now it makes a brilliant entry into Tim Burton’s early 90’s arsenal. Not to mention Martin Landeu won the best supporting actor Oscar for playing the aging and antagonistic Lugosi.

2. Living in Oblivion

Living in Oblivion switches between black and white and colour cinematography, and is far more of a quieter black comedy than the trailer suggests. Steve Buscemi plays the brilliant an angsty director who’s attempted to make his movie are thwarted at every turn. I really need to watch this again, my copy lies somewhere in a pile of  old scribbled on vhs from my years of video+ all the good late night movies. Does video+ still event exist?

1. Sunset Boulevard

Directed by Billy Wilder Sunset Boulevard is the Hollywood film to end all Hollywood films. It’s my own personal favourite movie of all time, telling the tale of aging silent film actress Norma Desmond played superbly as artifice by Gloria Swanson – herself one of the most famous silent stars of her time. Desmond lives reclusively in her dilapidated grandiose mansion with old Eric Von Stroheim as her doting butler. The film is genius on so many levels, particularly in hindsight. An intricate story which also interweaves other Hollywood gentries taken straight from their hey day in the 1920’s: Cecil B. Demille, to Buster Keaton and Hedda Hopper, the notorious and much feared queen of the gossip columns.

I could write about this film all day, and for me, it’s one of the best films ever conceived and constructed to end all Hollywood films.


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