Essay Question: Unseen Classics

OFCS members answer the question:

What classic film(s) have you never seen? Why not?

Answers after the jump.

David Cornelius, eFilmCritic:

I’m destined to never see Gone with the Wind in its entirety. Oh, I’ve started several times, only to fall fast asleep every with every viewing. Something about those Tarleton boys, I guess.

Rob Gonsalves, eFilmCritic:

More than I care to admit, count, or list. You’ve heard of They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They, with its ever-changing list of 1000 essential films? Yeah, I haven’t seen all of ’em. Not even close. In fact, I’ve only seen eight of the top ten films on that list. The taste of shame, it is bitter on my tongue.

“Why not?” Time (lack thereof). Life (gets in the way). If I had nothing to worry about except watching movies all day, I would gleefully do so. I like to think this makes me appreciate all the more the occasional slivers of time I can carve out for non-current films. My twenties were seemingly all about kicking back and watching flicks. My thirties have largely been about Taking Care of Business. Perhaps my forties will improve in this regard, or perhaps I will learn how to manage my time more efficiently. In brief, it’s not because I don’t want to see awesome films.

Phil Hall, Film Threat:

One classic film that I’ve never seen and would love to experience in the groundbreaking 1952 film This is Cinerama, which was responsible for reconfiguring film projection into widescreen proportions. The film has never been made available for home viewing, and it can only be seen at a few venues that are still capable of presenting the production in its triple-screen set-up.

A.J. Hakari, Passport Cinema:

Gone with the Wind is the one I’m most embarrassed to have never seen; as someone who sat through the Air Bud series several times over, this hurts doubly so. But other viewing commitments and a pretty daunting length have kept me from sitting down and watching it, end to end.

Roderick Heath, Ferdy on Films:

There’s a lot of “classic” films that I haven’t managed to notch up yet – too much of Douglas Sirk’s work, of Von Sternberg and Samuel Fuller and John Cassavettes and Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Chantal Akerman and really the list goes on and on. I’d say a couple of the most painful and egregious ones I’ve not yet encountered would include Wilder’s Double Indemnity and Murnau’s Sunrise. The reason for all my lacks is the same, and can be attributed to my living in a fairly small and out-of-the-way town: lack of immediate availability. I’ve never seen them come on free-to-air or cable television or in a video store when I had the money. Fortunately, the many resources for the film lover on the internet has allowed me to plug a lot of these gaps. But one can live without other people’s classics: it can encourage you to look more closely at what you can find.

Dan Lybarger, eFilmCritic:

Believe it or not, I had not seen Wes Craven’s 1984 original version of A Nightmare on Elm Street until the Sunday before I endured the current remake.

It’s even more pathetic when you consider that my first professional assignment was Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.

Although movies have taken up a disproportionate part of my life, I grew up in a town where the only indoor theater closed for good around 1980. We had a drive-in outside of town, but if I wanted to see a film, I had no choice but to go with my parents. For some reason, they were unwilling to watch horror movies. As a result, there were a series of horror films that came out during my youth that I had no chance of seeing even though several of my peers raved about them.

I didn’t see Alien, Halloween and Friday the 13th until well into my adulthood. I’m a huge fan of the first two films of that trio, but time has not been kind to the third one. I saw it after I’d seen Scream, and it managed to embody every cliché that Neve Campbell, Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven made fun of in that film. It also doesn’t help that no one in that film, even the normally terrific Kevin Bacon, seems to be able to act.

Having finally seen the original Nightmare, I’d have to say it’s remarkably effective. It’s so effective that the folks behind the remake copied some sequences shot-for-shot, but to diminishing returns.

Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat:

I’ve actually spent the last six or seven years catching up on many of the classics I’d never seen. I held off seeing many of them until I could find good, restored copies on DVD, so that I could finally see these films under the best possible circumstances. However, one mega-classic has long been available in pristine DVD condition and I’ve yet to tackle it: Gone With the Wind. Part of my reason for avoiding it is the length; I rarely have the time to sit down and watch a four-hour movie in one stretch. Another reason is that the film (and many of its individual moments) are so iconic that, at some level, I feel as though I’ve already seen it. I certainly do plan to rectify this situation at some point, but I think that will take place once I’ve exhausted many of the other classics on my list that I still have to get to.

Felix Vasquez, Cinema Crazed:

I consider myself a hardcore film buff, but there are just a plethora of classic films I’ve never seen. Films from Fellini, from Kurosawa, from Errol Morris, from Eastwood, from Bernardo Bertolucci, from Bergman and the list literally can go on. I’m not against watching them I just do not have the time or resources to track them down. However before the time is up I intend to school myself on the basics and finally catch up to the rest of the film community. I’ve seen hundreds of classics, cult classics, and obscure films, but from those directors I’m still considerably in the dark since I live in a city that’s not the most culturally enhanced. I intend to stop that soon enough.

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