Monday, January 24, 2011

All Quiet On The Western Front

It's been nearly a week since I began this endeavor, and I'm almost positive that not a single pair of eyes besides my own has seen what I've written. Where are the legions of readers I imagined? Where are my raving fans? There's not been one soul to laud my efforts. It's been all quiet on the western front.

But enough with my pity party. Tonight I indulged in The Bridge on the River Kwai and half a box of double-stuffed oreos (this challenge is going to do a real number on my figure...) and had myself a marvelous time.
There's something so honest, so real, about these older films made before the time of CGIs and fancy special effects. There's also this warm, triumphant feeling I get when I finally see an old movie that I've heard about my whole life, but have never gotten around to seeing. I fell in love with this one...not surprising, considering how highly it's still regarded despite the expansive slew of war movies made in the half-century since its production.

But anyway, on to my next subject. I like to move fast.
In my lit class, we discussed this theory that no book is original; that all works of literature borrow elements from other books. I think this same idea can be applied to movies. Watching this film, I recognized parts of it that have lent themselves to other films over the 54 years since its production. I wonder if filmmakers took some of these intentionally, or if some of the story elements are just so deeply woven into pop culture that their origin was long forgotten:

1.) At the opening of the film, Colonel Saito points out that the prison camp in which he traps the British soldiers has no fences or barbed wire because it is the only oasis in the forest for many miles.
In Holes (2003), the snarling Mr. Sir informs the juvenile delinquants under his authority that Camp Greenlake has no fences or winres and that running away is pointless because it is the only oasis for miles around in the hot desert.

2.) Colonel Saito lends his name to the antagonist in Inception... I couldn't help but notice an uncanny resemblance between Sessue Hayakawa and Ken Watanabe, who play Colonel Saito and Mr. Saito respectively. And not just because they're both irritable middle-aged Asian men.

3.) "The Oven" in the prison camp where Nicholson is placed feels an awful lot like "The Box" in Cool Hand Luke (1967)and the solitary punishment cell of the same name in The Shawshank Redemption(1994). Basically an exploitation of a primal human fear: dark, suffocating, endless confinement.

4.) The tense captive-captor meal between Saito and Nicholson seemed so familiar that I can hardly just choose one movie as my example. Remember Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)'s pirate-princess dinner? It went a little bit like that.

5.) "All you need is love." Nuff said.
And the couple running to dive into the shallow ocean brought up repressed memories of The Notebook and a sappy, romantic beach-frolicking scene.

You get the point...I had so many more clever ones but my eyes are hardly staying open...movies are stealing far too much sleep from me!! Perhaps we'll play this game another day.
I should have known better than to stay up so late just to watch a movie (it's half past midnight already!), but I thought watching The Bridge on the River Kwai would be the perfect way to ring in the arrival of ten more phenomenal films to be named tomorrow by the Academy (in just T minus five hours)...I'll barely be able to sleep!

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