Dead End [1937] wallpaper

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1920 x 1080 wallpaper of William Wyler‘s big screen interpretation of Dead End, featuring Humphrey Bogart.

The Public Enemy [1931] wallpapers

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Thought I would follow up yesterday’s Scarface post with a couple of 1920×1080 wallpapers for another great pre-code prohibition gangster story, “The Public Enemy” starring the legendary James Cagney in one of his most iconic roles. 3 are very similar, but I couldn’t make up my mind which one I preferred.

Scarface [1932] and its X motif

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3 1920x1080 wallpapers

 

Howard Hawks’ Scarface is one of the quintessential classic gangster movies. A story of relentless hunger for power and wealth, carried out with violence, laughs and balls that could only come from a pre-code film. Scarface, helped in no small part by Paul Muni‘s portrayal of the maniacal Tony Camonte, has to be one of the most influential movies in cinema history.

A great little artistic flourish that Hawks integrated into the set design is the “X” insignia visible when a body lies cold by the hand of Scarface Camonte . Whether the X is a signature of sorts – the bodies signed with an X to match Tony’s scar – or just a literal representation of a killer “X-ing” his victim is up for debate. Perhaps its a nod to journalistic practices at the time which used an X to show where a body lay in photographs. Whatever the reason, it’s a unique feature that has since been imitated and copied in countless other films. Here are a collection of stills which show the technique in effect. If you are planning to see this film any time soon, bear in mind some pretty big spoilers lie ahead.

First, the most important X of all. Tony’s scar:

Tony pays a visit to a victim in hospital, as the mark of death is cast as a shadow on the wall

Another victim of Camonte’s reign of terror lies under the crossed shadow of an undertaker’s sign.

A neon X sits high on a wall as Tony’s crew take out a rival’s car.

One of my favourites. 7 people are lined up against a wall in a representation of the infamous St Valentine’s day massacre. The camera pans up and we see 7 x’s in the roof struts


A beam of light forms a perfect cross on a body.

Here the X is used as a foreshadowing device. No killing takes place in this scene but the ominous X of light clearly shows Gaffney is a marked man.

Gaffney’s cards are marked, in more ways than one. After crossing off a strike on his scorecard, he is in turn crossed off in a bowling alley.

In a dancehall scene, Tony’s sister is the only girl with crossed straps on her back. Another foreshadowing X .

A desk-fan is strategically placed in the background as Tony takes down boss Johnny Lovo.


Two for one in this scene (a visual double-cross?) as Scarface takes down his own henchman Guino.

As Tony’s sister takes a bullet deflected by his shutters, a fallen lamp in the background provides the familiar motif.

I’ll leave you with the trailer, which again is pretty full of spoilers and should be avoided if you plan on watching this great film.

“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” wallpaper

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As I acquired James Stewart’s autograph yesterday, I felt like revisiting a Jimmy classic. It’s hard to pick a single highlight with such a fantastic list of films – Harvey, Rear Window, Vertigo, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Philadelphia Story – but I finally chose another great Stewart-Capra collaboration, Mr. Smith goes to Washington. I admit I was also drawn to this particular film as it features one of my favourite classic comedy actresses – the beautiful Jean Arthur, who I fell in love with when I saw Billy Wilder’s “A Foreign Affair”.

Here’s a 1920×1080 wallpaper, click for full size.

UPDATED: realised I uploaded the wrong version. Doh. Corrected with this more symmetrical one.

HD wallpapers for classic films #1

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Click here for the entire list

It’s pretty easy to find a nice high-res wallpaper for the latest blockbuster. Unfortunately fans of older, classic, or more obscure cinema are woefully under-served in this department. So, in the first of what I hope will be an ongoing feature, I have made some high-resolution wallpapers for some classic film, using only shots from the DVD’s themselves and Gimp’s own tools.

As you are about to see, I’m no graphic designer, but I enjoyed making them and learning to use Gimp, and beggars can’t be choosers!

At the moment they are tailored for my 1080p TV screen, so they are all 1920×1080. If you would like one in a smaller resolution or non-widescreen aspect ratio, please let me know in a comment below the post and I’ll try to accommodate. Would also welcome any requests for the next round of pictures.

Please let me know what you think if you decide to use any of these! Click the image for full 1920×1080 resolution.

Hadaka no shima [1960]

First up is Kaneto Shindô’s Hadaka no Shima (aka Naked Island). I have made two wallpapers here because in my mind it’s one of the greatest pieces of film ever made and deserves more recognition.

Metropolis [1927]

Next up are 2 slightly different wallpapers for the epic masterpiece Metropolis by Fritz Lang.

M [1931]

Another Fritz Lang masterpiece now – M – the director’s first talkie.

Nosferatu [1922]

Murnau’s creepy and incredibly influential retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Nosferatu.

The Third Man [1949]

Finally Carol Reed’s fantastic noir tale The Third Man –  If only I could embed the zither score into the image!

I know they are basic, but hopefully fans of these movies now have another option to spruce up their desktop. I am currently working on another 5 to add so check back frequently for more, or better yet – subscribe and get mailed as soon as I post!

Update:

Seven Samurai [1954] by coolathlon

Many thanks to reader and whatthemovie fellow coolathlon for contributing a wallpaper for Kurosawa’s seminal Samurai action epic, Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai). Looks great coolathlon! Click for full 1920×1080. Coolathlon can be contacted on twitter and his profile on whatthemovie .

A-Z of under-appreciated film

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Movie lists are ten-a-penny online. When you read a lot of them though, you realise that the vast majority fall back on obvious and staple choices. My aim here is to create an A-Z of films that are perhaps undervalued, unknown, or just not the “obvious” choices. I am not saying that all of these films are “alternative” – in fact many could be considered quite mainstream – but I hope to highlight some films which may not be widely known, while still being important/interesting films in their own right. There are undoubtedly other films that should make the list, however for now I am concentrating on the films I actually own. I’ll divide the list up into 3 sections to avoid fatigue. On with the show!

A La Antena (2007)

A love letter to the silent films of the early masters – Lang, Murnau, Dreyer, Méliès et al. Using contemporary effects to create stunning expressionistic visuals, a brilliant concept and an engaging poetic story make this my first choice. Some knowledge of the aforementioned directors and era is useful in appreciating the feel of the movie, but by no means a prerequisite. A beautifully different film.

Honorable mentions : Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (1926) , Ansatsu (1964) , Altered States (1980), Andrey Rublyov (1966), Amarcord (1973), Amores perros (2000)

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Classic Review : Angels with Dirty Faces [1938]

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In the late 30s, gangster movies had begun to run their course. Catholic communities imposed restrictive moral production codes on movies, to prevent gangsters being portrayed as underworld heroes and figures to admire and respect. On the Hollywood studio lots, crime was no longer paying. Cue “Angels with Dirty Faces” as somewhat of a renaissance of the genre.

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