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 Post subject: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:46 pm 
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Damned Dirty Admin
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Directed by: Ralph Nelson
Production year: 1967
Starring: Charlton Heston, Maximilian Schell, Leslie Nielsen


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Plot:

Lionel Evans is the director of a well-respected symphony orchestra touring European concert halls in 1944. In the midst of one concert, the city where they are playing is attacked by German troops, and as Evans and his musicians try to escape, they are captured by Nazi soldiers led by Col. Arndt. Evans and the orchestra are taken to a castle where they are to bide their time before being executed; but it turns out that Arndt's superior, Gen. Schiller, is a classical music buff. Schiller commands Evans and his symphony to prepare a special concert for the Nazis, but Evans realizes that the moment the concert is over, he and his musicians will be killed.

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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:42 am 
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Prince Judah
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I noted that there hasn't been a response post to this film thread yet, so I figured I may as well 'inaugurate' it. (could this be evidence that this is one of Chuck's most obscure films? - it may be).
I first watched this almost 3 years ago, when I finally acquired a DVD-R version; this DVD-R looks like a copy of a TV broadcast and is smudgy - quite poor by DVD picture standards. But, it's still a watchable film, even in that state.

The Wikipedia article on this describes it as an "epic war film" but its setting is actually small: most of the film takes place in this one location, where a group comprising an orchestra is being held by the Nazis during WW2. Heston plays the director / conductor of the orchestra; he plays it like an arrogant s.o.b., almost an egomaniac, similar to some of his roles during that decade. Maximilian Schell plays the German general in charge. Leslie Nielsen underplays it as the main member of the orchestra and a sort-of 'sounding board' for Heston's character.

There's a familiar set-up to the Nazi villains here: Schell plays the less-sadistic villain, a general who appreciates classical music; his villainy is tempered by his more sophisticated, cultured side. The 2nd-in-command, however, is a Nazi colonel (played by Anton Diffring) who can't wait to shoot Jews or anyone who is not a Nazi; he just chomps at the bit as his general commander restrains him from committing mass murder. That's the set-up and it provides ample tension - it's a question of whether the more sadistic villain will be held back by the more civilized villain.

The story does add on another layer - the arrogance of Heston's character makes him able to relate to and communicate with the villains. It becomes apparent that the personality of Heston's character is similar to Schell's; that's what may keep the prisoners alive, if nothing else. To be clear, Heston's character does not like Nazis and despises an approach of senseless killing, but his arrogance becomes a tool (a counterpoint?), a way of keeping the bullets at bay; and there may be some irony there, as well.

As expected, if one appreciates classical music, one will find some nice strains to listen to in this one. I've read posts elsewhere by people who wrote that they grew to appreciate such music more after seeing this film.


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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:28 am 
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Thanks for inaugurating the thread :lol: It looks like an interesting movie. I really want to see it, mostly for Heston of course, but also for Leslie Nielsen.

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You know, McKay, you're a bigger fool than I thought you were. And to tell you the truth, that just didn't seem possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:22 pm 
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Michelangelo

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A clip of Counterpoint 1967: Una tumba al amanecer (it is a Spain version)
According to the contributor's comment of this clip, Heston's character was "conducting Brahms sym N 1 fourth movement".



:popcorn: :applause: :cheers:


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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:03 am 
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Michelangelo

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The author of The Film of Cheston Heston, Jeff Rovin, worte:
Quote:
Counterpoint is a good film, with fine performances by Heston and Schell. Heston is properly eccentric and egomaniacal in his role, stiff-necked and adamant. He is devoid of kindness, and even his heroic stand at the end is precipitated by honor and indefatigable arrogance, as much as concern for his musicians.

:cheers:


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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:45 am 
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Prince Judah
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Hey, Rovin and I had very similar descriptions for Heston's character in this one (I don't have Rovin's book so wouldn't know otherwise); I called him almost an egomaniac and Rovin wrote "egomaniacal" - LOL.

I find that somewhat interesting and curiously satisfying.


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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:30 am 
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Soylent Corp. Lackey

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Newspaper ad from The Milwaukee Journal - January, 1968.


Attachments:
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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:05 pm 
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I was pretty shocked when I browsed Ebay and saw a release for this movie on DVD! Apparently it has been released in Spain and has an English audio track.

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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:52 pm 
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Michelangelo

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Its DVD version (Region 2, Janpanses) was released recently.

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language: English, Japanese

:cheers:


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 Post subject: Re: Counterpoint
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:13 pm 
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Michelangelo

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I watched Counterpoint(1968) last weekend. :applause: After I watched it, I re-read some pages related to the preparation and productions of Couterpoints in Heston's Journal and his 'In the Arena'

In his Jounral, p264
Quote:
January 13 (1967)
I had a brute of a day, shooting from nine till after sever on the Brahms. As I suspected, Ralph (the director) 'did' need to cover me conducting all of it, and from several angles, too. It's a damn good thing I went ahead and learned it. Of course they can't possibly stay with the orchestra throughout the movement, with two other scenes to cover during the music. Also of course, there's no way to tell before editing 'when' they will be cutting back. Therefore you cover it all.


The clip contents some of Heston's conducting performance.
The 'background' music is part of the Brahms Second Symphony.

CHfan2010 wrote:
A clip of Counterpoint 1967: Una tumba al amanecer (it is a Spain version)
According to the contributor's comment of this clip, Heston's character was "conducting Brahms sym N 1 fourth movement".



:popcorn: :applause: :cheers:


:cheers:


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