One way that I enjoy passing the time is through a good movie. It’s particularly keen when a remake is made because it allows us to see a notable difference in cinema styles, director concepts, plot design and character development.
Take “The Fly” for instance. The original movie with Vincent Price had a dark sepia-like quality to it. By sepia-like quality I’m referring to the dark, rich dripping feel that the characters (most notably from Vincent) brought. It may not have been film-noir, but it felt similar. It also had distinctive rights and wrongs put in situations where grey decisions had to be made and the overall plot was focused on the question of where the soul lies. At what point, when a man is part beast, does the soul no longer exist? It also had some underpinning ideas on mercy killing, love, death and the macabre. Grey.
The more recent remake with Jeff Goldblum also had a dark quality to it, but it was more in the lighting and effects. Some camera angles also presented the overbearing nature of beastly instinct over the meek and gentle scientist. It was a much more classic and less sophisticated “Frankenstein” story. Science goes out of control and trying to act like God comes at a mortal price. In my opinion it was more gore than plot, though still fun in its own right.
Well – it turns out that our friends over at archive.org have been accumulating some very good full-length feature films over the years. Although neither version of “The Fly” is available in public domain, there are still some fantastic gems and some notable clods are available for our enjoyment. It only costs the resources to download and burn to DVD.
Note for techno-phobes: Some of these titles you’ll recognize on the WalMart discount $2 DVD shelf. That $2 gets you $0.20 in packaging and DVD and saves you the hassle of downloading and burning it yourself.
- Rodger Corman’s “The Little Shop of Horrors” starring Jack Nicholson in his film debut.
- Stanley Kramer’s “Cyrano De Bergerac” starring Jose Ferrer.
- Dozens of Charlie Chaplain’s works including the iconic film “The Tramp“
- Howard Hank’s “His Girl Friday” starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.
- H. Bruce Humberstone’s “Happy Go Lucky” starring David Niven, Vera-Ellen and Cesar Romero
- Gregory La Cava’s Frank-Capra-Like film “My Man Godfrey“.
- Even Nicholas Webster’s notoriously bad “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians“… It’s so terrible, it’s funny.
There are over 1300 to choose from. Obviously, there’s no way to go through all of them in any reasonable amount of time, so I suggest you browse through and search for topics, genres and actors you like and try those first.