Great Early Movies by Film Greats
Everybody has to get their break somewhere, and famous Hollywood directors are the same. Here are some examples of early films by Spielberg, Lucas and other legendary directors.
George Lucas – THX 1138
George Lucas has gotten a bad reputation in recent times – The terrible Star wars prequels, endless tinkering with the original trilogy, the toy factory that has been writing his scripts in recent times and Indiana Jones 4. There was a time, however, when Lucas was a challenging and interesting director with things to say and a talent for obscure Sci-Fi.
THX 1138 is a mature sci-fi film examining themes of political control and intrusion in our lives, and the pharmaceutical treatment of emotions. Starring Robert Duvall, essentially this is a classic 70s sci-fi escape movie in the vein of Logan’s Run. It shows that Lucas is a talented and creative filmmaker, who sadly has lost his way.
Werner Herzog – Aguirre, Wrath of God
Werner Herzog is a unique, quirky director, and is crazy. However his work is full of wonder as he hopes to capture the “ecstatic truth” in life and death. Having recently starred in Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise, he is now back into the public eye, but has been quietly releasing films for the last 50 years. Some of his early films are his greatest, with Aguirre, wrath of god being an early triumph.
Aguirre, starring Klaus Kinski, follows a group of Spanish Conquistadors into the amazon rainforest, where they descend into madness. It could even be said that spiritually Aguirre has a lot in common with Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, with the madness of the jungle and strength of a man taking over from the governing power. It is also one of the most beautiful films ever seen with great shots of the amazon jungle, all shot fantastically by cinematographer Thomas Mauch.
Here is the English trailer, but it is recommended to see the film in it's original German, as the performances are phenomenal.
Steven Spielberg – Duel
Before Jaws, Spielberg was a director on the fringe on the scene, directing for TV and Independent productions. After Jaws, he became the biggest director on the planet and changed the movie business forever by creating the blockbuster. Duel is his early TV movie which paved the way for Jaws, using the same first person perspective for the antagonist, in this case not a shark but a mysterious truck on the freeway.
The truck is a silent antagonist, stalking us silently all across the country, for no real reason. We are it’s prey and it is going to kill us. It really is a prototype for jaws, and while no a perfect film, it is definitely worth a shot.
Christopher Nolan -Following
Christopher Nolan can apparently do no wrong. After a string of hits and masterminding the Dark Knight Trilogy, he is the biggest director in Hollywood whilst remaining the darling of geeks everywhere. That is no mean feat. Most people would probably point to Memento, his cleverly edited Guy Pearce starring story of amnesia. Before that, there was Following. Coming in at a short 69 minutes and shot in black and white, this quirky low budget debut has a struggling writer following criminals to gain inspiration. Except there is a twist….