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I just got through watching "Cat on a hot tin Roof" which I hadn't seen in a very long time and I had forgotten several things about it. One of which was the fact that it only spans one day. I think Tennesee Williams used that technique allot and it seems to be very effective to me.
I mean I can't think of a single movie like THAT that I didn't like.
Lion in Winter.
Street Car named desire
12 Angry Men
Hunt for Red October
Wizard of OZ
Well, some of these may have been more than one day but close. But I liked all of these and I just can't think of any that I didn't like. So it seems to me, for dramas anyway, thats the way to go.
Can anyone think of more good ones like that and explain what the trick is? Or proove me wrong if you like. It just seems they are all really good and I cant seem to figure out (as compared to movies that span a much longer period that it). I suppose its the intensity.
My question for you, Janet, is if you think you could come up with a story that spans a 24 hour period?
There are several factors, in my view, that play into making the ones you listed.
A. Dramatic tension and having enough of it because you are severely limiting yourself in a time frame. All the ones you listed have that. Strict comedies couldn't really do this. There are variables, sure, but the format seems to lend itself to drama more than comedy.
B.Of the ones you listed, good acting helps. Though, I will never praise anything Keanu Reeves was in for the acting. So, I discount Speed here.
Was Lion in the Winter set over a 24 hour period? Seems it took longer to unfold.
I think you're right. Lion in Winter does take place over more than one day but close. She's let out of the tower for just one day wasn't she?
It seems to me there has to be an occasion or an event that causes the movie to just take place over that short of a period. Action films do it allot too. Sometimes the build up is a few days but the main action of the film is just one day.
1. Commando 2. Terminator 1
My script isnt a drama or action film but it only takes place over one week. Kind of like Dirty Dancing and West Side story. Actually thats somewhat standard for musicals I think. Your "My fair lady" doesnt span that much time either.
1. Chorus Line
2. All that Jazz
3. Mamma Mia
5. State Fair
I guess Im just saying that it seems to me that the more you can condense your time frame the better and besides the intense drama or action unfolding I think there must be an occasion. Im not a BIG drama fan but the ones I really like just took place over a short period of time.
1. In the Heat of the Night
2. Glass Managerie
3. Time to Kill
4. Reap the Wind (that may be wrong Ill look it up)
5. Anatomy of a murder
See, trials or criminal investigations are occasions that span a short time but allows for intense action or drama. But so do weddings, funerals, Birthdays, festivals, contests, programs, election days etc. As a matter of fact wasn't it Elenor's birthday in "Lion in Winter"?
Oh my goodness. One of the best ACTION films took place over one day, Christmas eve.
WAIT UNTIL DARK with Audrey Hepburn. It's been awhile since I've seen it but I believe it is only one day. It is also one location (int and ext.) This is the tension and low cost that I think many filmmakers who do ultra low budget horror are trying to achieve when they do a film based on one location and one day.
"Wait until Dark" IS a perfect example. You not only have
the fear and intensity of something we all fear, someone breaking into our house while we are still there, but also the woman's disability which makes her more vulnerable and makes us even more sympathetic.
Rear Window kind of did that too, with Jimmie Stewart in the wheel chair. But it wasn't as good as "Wait until Dark". See? One day , or a few days and one location makes good movies. Less is best. Of course you have to get the right combination of everything else to make it work.
It's the Dramatic Unities. Goes back to the origins of drama thousands of years ago. Unities of Time, Place, and Action.
Rebel Without a Cuase
Wow, it has been so...long since I saw "Rebel without
a cause" and I always get it mixed up in my memory with his other one . You know "East of Eden" , Steinbeck wasn't it?
Anyway, I think you're right. It was just 24 hours or close to. And didnt it win a couple of oscars? I adored Sal Mineo (spelling , Im not sure) in that and then Sand Pebbles. He was so cute and died so young just like James Dean. He was something like 24 wasnt he? Hey, who wrote that anyway?
American Graffiti is another really good example. It was pretty low budget and won some academys too didnt it?
And yes it did last just one day.
I have to admit I didnt watch it when it first came out because I was kind of sick of ALL of the 50's imitation going on at that time. I graduated from highschool that year and it seemed like every one was making fun of THAT time period.
But later I did and I really liked it. I guess I just always thought Happy days was a spin off of it so it was just silly. But it really wasnt.
God's Little Acre
Are also ones I really liked that I think were just a (one day movie) or close. These three were pretty highly praised, low budget and awarded too , I believe. It just seems to me like the thing to do. If possible of course.
Sorry it wasn't "Reap the Wind" it was ....
Inherit the Wind
Also a couple more I think were just one day(or close) and did pretty well.
Guess who's Coming to Dinner
Member of the Wedding
I'm so glad you asked who wrote Rebel Without a Cause! His name is Stewart Stern and he is my mentor (and a teacher from film school)! The most wonderful man.
It's been such an honor these last years to hear about his writing of Rebel Without a Cause and all the stories about filming it.
Actually, for the early 1950's that piece was extremely different than anything else . I mean the theme
is kind of run of the mill NOW. You know troubled teen, teenage click and gang pressure etc etc. But it sure in the heck wasn't then.
Good grief HE had to have been the one that started it because I dont recall anything remotely like THAT before it. This is exciting. His name is familiar. Ill have to go see what else he wrote. Dont tell me unless I dont come back.
He did do some wonderful things. I saw all of these but
its been a very long time.
The Ugly American
Thunder in the Sun
and of course Sybil (I saw several times)
Thank you for reminding me of him. Im always looking for really good older movies that I havent seen in a while . Im pretty sure I can order them from Amazon if I cant rent them some where.
I just cant stand very many NEW movies these days because they are so.....heartless and shallow. They simply just don't write them like they use to. And definitely not like Stern did. Besides, I adore Paul Newman, Marlon Brando and Tony Curtis (they don't make actors like those anymore either). So I will find them. Thank you again, you have made my day.
Blackboard Jungle was released the same year as Rebel Without a Cause. Both were post WWII releases and the theme of alienation was first beginning to be explored in mainstream cinema.
Though in B pics, it was there since the 30's. Though, as opposed to aimless alienation, in the 30's and 40's the popular theme was for the youth to get mixed up in a life of crime.
Youth culture become more popular in the 50's thus the reason the themes came more to the front. Just think of the style of actors who became popular at that time and it illistrates the point (Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Montgomery Cliff etc.)
I really liked Blackboard Jungle too. And....I dont think it covered a really long period of time either. However, I dont recall any romance in it and Rebel without a cause definitely had one. I love romances.
Phone Booth comes to mind. Someone has already mentioned that great acting helps.
Phone Booth has the dramatic impact to it as well.
PHONEBOOTH! That was the one I first thought of, aside from my first one and I couldnt for the life of me think of the name. Too obvious I guess.
Thank you, thats another perfect example and its both a drama and action thriller.
Did anyone mention "Breakfast Club?" There are flashbacks so that may not count. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I do believe it is only one day.
Sorry. I didn't like Breakfast Club. So for me. That one may be proof that condensing the time frame doesn't nessesarily make a good story...better.
Im not sure why I didn't except maybe it was simply the cast . I think the premise was good. Saturday detension hall and all of the different highschool types thrown together in close quarters for one day. But the cast pretty much consisted of well known offspring didn't it?
Anyway Im really not crazy about Molly Ringwald. I didnt like Sixteen Candles either and I think for the same reason. You know. Privledged spoiled brat movies. Sorry. But yes, it was definitely 24 hours.
Lest we forget the 1995 Johnny Depp movie Nick of Time
I was on vacation so I didn't see your references to Stewart. He did write some amazing things. I love Rachel, Rachel.
I also remembered that Ferris Bhuler's Day Off is less than one day. It's from 7:00AM until 6:00PM.
Arsenic and Old Lace....Classic...
See? Every single one is good.
DANA, That IS A CLASSIC and REALLY , REALLY GOOD. I havent seen it in years. I think Ill go find it some where. Maybe the Library will have it. Thank you so much.
I just saw Shoot Em Up and that was an adrenaline rush. I was glued to my tv!!!
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