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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Vertigo


In late June of last year I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

As a puzzle focused on movie posters, some of the chosen films or versions of their posters featured on it are not necessarily top notch. None of this can be said about the amazing poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic psychological thriller, Vertigo. The great designer Saul Bass produced a wide array of promotional images for this Hitchcock masterpiece, but the above one sheet version has become one of the most famous and striking posters in film history.

However, Vertigo is much more than a great marketing campaign. The film was worked on by some of the legends of the art form, and it shows. Although the movie’s reputation had gained steadily over the years as film lovers continued to see it over and over, a dramatic million dollar restoration and re-release of Vertigo in 1996 allowed even larger numbers of people to fully appreciate the beauty of Hitchcock and company’s work on it. Despite mixed reviews on its initial release in 1958, it has become one of the standard members of any compiled list of the finest films ever made, and actually replaced the legendary Citizen Kane at the top of Sight & Sound’s 2012 critics list.

Join me below, and we’ll discuss this amazing poster and film. Oh, by the way, there will be enormous spoilers for the movie after the break, so if you haven’t seen Vertigo yet I’d recommend you go take care of that momentous lapse in judgement first and then come back and finish reading this article.
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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Rear Window


In late June of last year I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

I want to mention two things before we proceed beyond the break to a discussion of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 suspense film Rear Window. First of all, I should let you know that discussion will necessarily include some spoilers for the movie, so if you haven’t seen it I would recommend that you go rectify that situation (it’s available for rent through iTunes) and then come back to read the rest of this article. It’s an immensely engaging and electrifying movie that any film buff should have under his or her belt.

Secondly, I have to say that the version of the poster for Rear Window included in the puzzle which is the inspiration for this entire series is pretty far from my favorite.
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May 20: Happy Birthday Cher and James Stewart


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Cherilyn Sarkisian, universally known as Cher, turns 71 today.  A successful singer and actress for over 50 years, she began her career when she dropped out of high school at 16.  She met singer and songwriter Sonny Bono shortly thereafter; she had her first hits both as half of Sonny & Cher (“I Got You Babe”) and as a solo performer (“Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”) before she turned 20.

Cher’s singing career has ebbed and flowed, as you’d expect given its longevity.  She had a trio of #1 hits in the early seventies, and after a dry spell, came back with several Top Ten singles in the late eighties.  After another slow period, she came back in 1998 with a huge hit that brought her her only Grammy.

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Best Actor Oscars Bracket Game: Clark Gable vs James Stewart


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There have been some truly legendary and some sadly under appreciated performers to be named Best Actor at the yearly Oscars party. Which is which? With the 87th annual Academy Awards ceremony approaching later this month, we here at LeBlog thought we’d start up another of our popular bracket contests to throw a little attention at some of these great performances. There are only 16 available slots in these things, while there have been 86 Best Actor designees so far, leaving 70 acting greats on the outside looking in from the beginning. That’s some pretty brutal math. I tried to represent the entire history of the award by including at least two actors from each of the last eight decades and pairing those up in the first round. That will almost certainly result in some stunning early exits, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.
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Juror #8: Henry Fonda (Part 2)


In part 1 of this article, I detailed Henry Fonda’s early life and film career through the end of the 1950s. After six years away from film, Fonda had come back in a big way with “Mister Roberts,” which had opened the door for some high-profile projects, including “War and Peace,” Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man,” and our personal favorite here, “12 Angry Men.” Unfortunately, a couple of box office disappointments and at least one unfathomable creative dud had left Fonda licking his wounds and retreating to the television western “The Deputy.” As he would prove, however, Fonda still had the prestige, popularity, and talent to hold a strong place in the industry.

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