WHAT IS AN “OVERLOOKED” FILM? ^ When I heard “Patton” was going to be screened at “Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival,” I thought to myself, how can a film that won Academy Awards for “Best Picture,” “Best Script,” “Best Director” (Frank Schaffner), “Best Actor” (George C. Scott), “Best Art Direction,” “Best Editing” and “Best Sound” be considered overlooked?
Ebert said, “The short answer is, if I love a film enough, I can devise a reason why it is overlooked. At least one of these films has not yet even been released; therefore, it has been overlooked by distributors. Another is famous and has won Academy Awards, but it was filmed in 70mm – an overlooked format.”
That movie is “Patton” (1970) and it is here because of its overlooked format (filmed in 70mm). I imagine Mr. Ebert will find other creative ways in the future to consider a favorite film overlooked. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day this event is called simply: “Roger Ebert’s Film Festival.” That’s what it is when it comes right down to it anyway, and that’s just fine with me. Ebert’s selection of movies this year is overall better than last year. I hope this trend continues.
What follows now is my take on Roger Ebert’s review of each movie presented. Will the Critic Doctor agree with Roger on every film he presents at the “Virginia Theater?” Below is the first review. Read on….
PATTON ^ (1970) ^ By Herb Kane ^ CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) ^ * * * * * (out of 5 stars) ^ It was magnificent! I’m talking about the opening scene in “Patton.” An American flag fills the “Virginia Theater’s” huge 70mm movie screen. The crystal clear image was larger than life and when we watch George Patton (George C. Scott) step out on the stage to address his troops, he is dwarfed by the huge screen-sized flag in background. Ebert said, “That scene is one of the icons of American cinema.” He’s right. More people probably more familiar with this image than the movie itself.
Ebert said in his review, “‘Patton’ is not a war film so much as the story of a personality who has found the right role to play.”
I was fortunate to not have seen “Patton” since I was a kid, so it was like a new movie to me. George C. Scott’s Oscar winning performance was amazing. He became George Patton – period. A modern-day warrior who would do anything to win a battle and say anything to reach his goals – which often got him in trouble.
In the movie, George Patton expresses is his love for war: “I love it, God help me, I do love it more than my life.”
The movie was released during the days of the Vietnam war, and many critics declared this movie an anti-war film. Ebert disagrees with fellow critics and said, “It was nothing of the kind. It was a hardline glorification of the military ethic, personified by a man whose flaws and eccentricities marginalized him in peace-time, but found the ideal theater to battle.”
“Patton” is a genuine classic and the “Virginia Theater” in Urbana, IL was the ideal theater to watch this battle take place. In a time of September 11, a larger than life image of our countries red, white and blue flag couldn’t be more appropriate. Thanks, Roger, for bringing this film to the festival!
Get the whole story in part three of THUMBATHON: ROGER EBERT’S OVERLOOKED FILM FESTIVAL>>>
Posted on May 5, 2002 in Festivals by Herb Kane
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