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Member Lists

Great looking
List creator: ALittlefield
Created on: September 11, 2005 - 3:17 PM PDT
Description: Sometimes it just's good cinematography, other times it's set or costume design, and occasionally it's special effects. Or a combination of all of the above. In any event, here's some films with particularly striking visuals.(1 from each director only).

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Intolerance (1916)
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Not Rated
  Looking for something ambitous to follow THE BIRTH OF A NATION, DW Griffith decided to stitch together 4 stories set in different time periods, requiring huge sets and hundreds of extras. Still impressive, but a flop in its day.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Restored Authorized Edition) (1919)
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  Wild, expressionistic imagery, from weird shadows to slanted buildings, still influential, as the last film on this list shows.
The Scarlet Empress (Criterion Collection) (1934)
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Not Rated
  Josef Von Sternberg went all out in this tale of Catherine the Great that displays cavernous rooms filled with theatening demonic statues and a crazed eye popping massive feast scene.
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
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Not Rated
  Given free reign after the enormous success of Frankenstein, James Whale created a dark fairy tale land and an amazing mad scientist lab.
Top Hat (1935)
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Not Rated
  Depression era audiences escaped into art deco fantasy lands in the Astaire Rogers films; this one features a Venice with water you can swim in!
Gone with the Wind (Disc 1 of 2) (1939)
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  Stunning technicolor; the burning of Atlanta is still an amazing spectacle. Perfect costuming and sets too!
The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary Special Edition) (1939)
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  Amazingly, Victor Fleming is credited with directing this and GWTW in the same year! (George Cukor also had a hand in both). Color and B&W mesh wonderfully.
Citizen Kane (1941)
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  Orson Welles always gave a lot of credit to cinematograper Greg Toland, who helped him create memorable crane shots and perfectly displayed deep focus shots.
Double Indemnity (1944)
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  My personal favorite noir film gives us deep, dark shadows that hang over the doomed characters.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
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  A bright, brassy beautiful film; the "Gotta Dance" sequence bursts with color and activity.
Psycho (Special Edition) (1960)
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  Mostly drab sets and costumes, and yet Hitchcock stuns us with camera placement and editing.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
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  No one could fill the Cinemascope screen better than David Lean; the shots of the seemingly infinite sparkling sand are both lovely and foreboding.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
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  Flawless sets and effects combine to hypnotic effect. All of Kubrick's films look great, but this is the most captivating.
The Wild Bunch (1969)
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  Peckinpah proved here that brutal violence could indeed be beautiful when it's shot and edited right.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
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  I saw this when I was 8, and I mesmerized right from the moment the first ship streaked across the screen; Lucas truly created a believeable alternate universe.
Manhattan (1979)
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  Wonderful, sweeping black and white shots of New York at its best.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
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  Viet Nam as a wild LSD fueled fever dream; the helicopter attack never fails to make my heart pound.
Raging Bull (Collector's Edition) (1980)
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  Scorsase's masterpiece has an odd contradiction at its core; there's gorgeous, black and white photography of an utterly brutal and repulsive human being.
Blade Runner (Director's Cut) (1982)
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  Another great view of the future that features amazing(and yet plausible) cityscapes.
Brazil (Criterion Collection) (1985)
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  Terry Gilliam's alternate earth is both futuristic and retro and has odd visual delights in each frame.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Vista Series) (Fullscreen) (1988)
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  Humans and cartoons interact as never before, and it works right away; features a wildly creative (and hillarious)trip to Toon Town.
The Killer (1989)
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Not Rated
  The Peckinpah influence is clear, but John Woo's excellent choreography of violence and stunning use of slo mo has a resonance all its own.
Do the Right Thing (Criterion Collection) (1989)
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  Set on the hottest day of the year in New York, the viewer can almost feel the heat as it glows on screen.
Ran (1985)
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  Akira Kurosawa's last great film is jaw dropping in its gorgeousness; no one directs a period battle scene like Kurosawa.
Schindler's List (1993)
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  The wise choice to make this film B & W gave it a heighened sense of realism, while also allowing Spielberg to use subtle moments of color to heighten the sadness.
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
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  The Coen brothers play with period piece sets and costumes while adding nice surreal touches;unfortunately the film disappoints in the story department.
Pleasantville (1998)
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  Never before had color and black and white been mixed in such a striking way; a black and white tree that suddenly bursts into colored flame is unforgettable.
Dark City (1998)
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  Released before the Matrix, and with a simular story line, this is actually the better film in terms of both story and visuals; the look of it combines classic noir with Metropolis.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
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  All of the LOTR films are great looking, but I give this one the nod for its memorable setting for(and build up to) the battle of Helm's deep. And, of course, the lovable Ents!
The Saddest Music in the World (2003)
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  Guy Maddin makes films that don't quite look like any other; set in the 1930's, it copies the style of the era, but exaggerates it (such as soft focus purposely overdone to the point of a soft blur); and when he switches to color in a few scenes it's amazing! There's a shot of golden beer filled glass legs that's absolutely terrific!

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