921 Moonrise

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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swo17
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921 Moonrise

#1 Post by swo17 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:36 pm

Moonrise

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A small-town fable about violence and redemption, Moonrise is the final triumph of Frank Borzage, one of Hollywood's most neglected masters. Stigmatized from infancy by the fate of his criminal father, young Danny (Dane Clark) is bruised and bullied until one night, in a fit of rage, he kills his most persistent tormenter. As the police close in around him, Danny makes a desperate bid for the love of the dead man's fiancée (Gail Russell), a schoolteacher who sees the wounded soul behind his aggression. With this postwar comeback, Borzage recaptured the inspiration that had animated his long and audacious early career, marrying the lyrical force of his romantic sensibility with the psychological anguish of film noir in a stunning vindication of faith in the power of love.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New conversation between author Hervé Dumont (Frank Borzage: The Life and Films of a Hollywood Romantic) and film historian Peter Cowie
• PLUS: An essay by critic Philip Kemp

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Finch
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#2 Post by Finch » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:19 pm

My favourite announcement of this month!

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whaleallright
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#3 Post by whaleallright » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:29 pm

This is an extraordinarily beautiful and powerful film. My film professor in college, a Borzage cultist, showed this to us and I was blown away. Regardless of the paucity of extras (though if you're going to interview someone about Borzage, Dumont is who you should interview), the real event is that this is available at all in what I presume will be an excellent copy.

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#4 Post by Rupert Pupkin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:33 pm

oh such sweet news ! another movie with Gail Russell (I fell in love with her when I saw her in The Univited (such a great video essay by the way!)
F.Brozage's movies are so moving - "Lucky Star", etc... and "fortunately" I've never seen this movie... I'm glad to discover it... (expecting that it will be perhaps darker than F.Brozage earlier movie I will prepare a full stock of kleenex TM) So this will be a direct pre-order...

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#5 Post by TIVOLI » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:18 am

Thank you, thank you, Criterion. An extraordinary film, a masterpiece.

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domino harvey
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#6 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:27 am

I'll be the first voice of dissent. I know many people I respect love this movie, but I don't get out of it whatever they got. I think this is an awful movie and I hated the mishmash of tones and lousy performances (save Allyn Joslyn). Bad Girl is a masterpiece. This is something else. The cult built around this movie in the last couple years is inexplicable, and I wonder if it being widely available will feed or quell its elevated placement after it no longer is a film fetish object like Out 1 et al

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#7 Post by jegharfangetmigenmyg » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:28 am

I haven't seen Borzage's later work, but I always wondered why Criterion didn't release any of his classic silents. In my opinion his work at Fox is up there with Murnau's Sunrise, and it's a shame that his films are still somewhat neglected. I'm usually not into heavy melodramas at all, but – and I believe Scorsese mentioned this as well – there's a complete lack of irony in his films, they are very pure, and they get to me every time. Of course Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell also help accomplish this. The end of Street Angel didn't work for me, but I was blown away by both 7th Heaven, Lucky Star and even Lazybones. The River has got to be one of those lost masterpieces. Even the version with stills and text added in place of the missing footage was amazing. I bought the French Carlotta blu-rays last month just before they went OOP (I believe that Lucky Star is the only one still in print, for those interested).

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#8 Post by HitchcockLang » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:13 am

With those bare special features, I'm surprised this retails for $39.95. Seems more like a The Uninvited or I Married a Witch. Has Criterion retired the 29.95 price for slimmer blus?

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#9 Post by KJones77 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:40 pm

HitchcockLang wrote:With those bare special features, I'm surprised this retails for $39.95. Seems more like a The Uninvited or I Married a Witch. Has Criterion retired the 29.95 price for slimmer blus?
Thinking the same.

I know it doesn't say, "More!" like some releases do when they haven't listed the full features yet, but does anyone know why this one would be so barebones?

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swo17
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#10 Post by swo17 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:49 pm

The Dumont/Cowie conversation is 27 hours long.

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zedz
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#11 Post by zedz » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:41 pm

swo17 wrote:The Dumont/Cowie conversation is 27 hours long.
But 13 of those hours are Cowie's complete cocktail recipes, which makes this a must-buy.

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whaleallright
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#12 Post by whaleallright » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:17 pm

domino harvey wrote:The cult built around this movie in the last couple years is inexplicable, and I wonder if it being widely available will feed or quell its elevated placement after it no longer is a film fetish object like Out 1 et al
the hyperbole of "inexplicable" aside (surely you can at least grasp why some appreciate this film, even if you dislike it), are there really many more people who like this film in the past few years than liked it, say, 20 or 40 years ago? My professor, a Borzage "cultist" since the '70s, showed it to his classes in the '90s, and some time in between those years, Dave Kehr wrote the following:
Frank Borzage's last masterpiece (1948) and one of his best-known films, although in many ways it's atypical of his work. Made on a middling budget for Republic Pictures—the studio of serials and cowboys—the film adopts a rich and elaborate expressionist style; with its shadows and tension-racked frames, it resembles no other film in the Borzage canon. The social conflicts that plagued Borzage's spiritually attuned lovers in earlier films here become psychological ones, as a young man (Dane Clark) fights to overcome his “bad blood”—his father was a convicted killer. Still, the Borzagian principle of transcendence applies, expressed through a complex mise-en-scene centered on circular camera movements. The earlier, disappointing Smiling Through (1941)—with its image of a blocking, ever-present past—seems a rough draft for this final achievement.

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#13 Post by Rupert Pupkin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:28 pm

domino harvey wrote:I'll be the first voice of dissent. I know many people I respect love this movie, but I don't get out of it whatever they got. I think this is an awful movie and I hated the mishmash of tones and lousy performances (save Allyn Joslyn). Bad Girl is a masterpiece. This is something else. The cult built around this movie in the last couple years is inexplicable, and I wonder if it being widely available will feed or quell its elevated placement after it no longer is a film fetish object like Out 1 et al
Ok I saw it. I only knew F.Borzage silent movies (some) - which F.Borzage non-silence movie would you recommend ? Do you think that F.Borzage "lost the touch" when he stoped "silence-movies" ?
You are right there's a lot of flaws; improbable "plot" (you can't sense the threat -
SpoilerShow
I even wonder if I've really seen that there has been really a crime - like I thought I did see - and that the guy has just disappeared...
- then the movie "jump" into the relationship with Gail Russell (they were not suddenly in love) - like if there's missing a part of the movie. But this "bad edit" - deliberate or unfortunate - can give to this movie a dream-nightmare-like structure.
bad cast choice for the doomed "bad" guy. He's not likeable/"loveable". He doesn't seem very "expressive". But after all, that's one of the main point of the whole story.
Since I've the video-essay for The Univited I'm in love with Gail Russell and I learn how she was "uncomfortable" when acting... I can't tell, it's just like Gene Tierney. She's absolutely stunning in this movie and there's this look in the eyes which says a lot more than the whole main character (Dane Clark).
It doesn't have the long unavoidable threatened of the superb "They Live By Night" - we can not feel it.

But there's an incredible photography. And some stunning short scenes which worth this movie to be seen and buy. The opening 5 minutes are amazing and some cineast could take a whole movie to get such tension and trying to demonstrate the same thing. How he sum-up the childhood in less than 10 minutes with some striking visual composition
SpoilerShow
the puppet hanging over the bed of the children is a "hanged-man" pupper
. The next 5 minutes are as good and sum up in a poetic/impressionist way (the use of shadows!) what could have sum up the point of "In Cold Blood" (which is flawless contrary to "Moonrise")- I was totally hooked. Sometimes I was thinking about some early black & white Tarkovsky or the opening of Orson Welles "Othello" (for the use of shadows)
There's a lot of poetic and powerful scenes (the one where is is discussing about "the bad and good", the poor-cute animal chase...etc...) makes me think about the photography of The Night Of The Hunter.
The main problem in my humble opinion is the plot, the editing, the coherence of the narrative- but it has a striking power with some powerful scenes (and there's a lot - which is not bad after all for a movie which last less than 90 minutes) - where we found the poignant force of F.Borzage earlier's movies and the poetic I know and love from his movies "Lucky Star", "Bad Girl", etc...

Thus, for these moments of pure cinema grace, and Gail Rusell :oops: I loved this movie. The irony is that this movie seems to be as cursed and doomed as what F.Borzage tried to show.
From a "cinema" point of view, this movie has some powerful, poetic force - but the counterpoint is that this poetic, poignant, romantic and doomed funeral dirge is plagued by an "erratic" narrative. The most striking parts are the one without dialogue. (I'm sorry if I can't explain it better but I'm French and it's difficult sometimes to speak clearly what I have in mind)
Last edited by Rupert Pupkin on Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mungo
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#14 Post by Mungo » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:44 pm

Isn't Bad Girl (the film Domino recommended) itself a talkie?

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whaleallright
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#15 Post by whaleallright » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:18 pm

Rupert Pupkin wrote:From a "cinema" point of view, these movies has some powerful, poetic force - but the counterpoint is that this poetic, poignant, romantic and doomed funeral dirge is plagued by an "erratic" narrative.
I think this is a fair assessment! In some ways it's like Night of the Hunter, a film whose remarkable, jaw-dropping poetic effusions sit side-by-side with some clumsy expository scenes, and an abrupt and poorly realized conclusion. I think that "erratic" quality is one thing that make these "cult" films, in that one seems either to be able to forgive (or even learn to appreciate) the clumsier aspects or to find them fatal—with not a lot of folks falling in the middle. I love Moonrise while I only like Hunter, but that might be because the latter doesn't need champions too badly at this point, while the former—until now, I suppose—has been pretty obscure.

FWIW you are much clearer and more expressive in your second language than many here are in their first.

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#16 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:11 pm


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tenia
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#17 Post by tenia » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:33 am

Considering its MSRP is the regular one, I expected the extra to be a tad longer than this.

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Randall Maysin
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Re: 921 Moonrise

#18 Post by Randall Maysin » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:53 am

Is more Borzage supposed to be coming? I don't think Criterion would have gone all the way to Switzerland for one 17 minute interview.

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#19 Post by david hare » Thu May 10, 2018 9:48 pm

My Review of this masterpiece and the glorious new 4K. Yes a really wasted opportunity on the bonus front, but it's worth it for the transfer alone.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 9909642657" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: 921 Moonrise

#20 Post by swo17 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:26 am

Image

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