John J. Puccio
Teacher, English and Film Study, retired. Classical Music Editor, $ensible Sound magazine. Review Editor, DVDTOWN.com. Member, Online Film Critics Society (www.ofcs.org). Bright, quiet, loyal, dependable. Easily trained. Will fetch. Make offer. Home theater: Sony KDL-40XBR6 widescreen HD television, Toshiba HD-A35 HD-DVD player, Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player, Onkyo TX-SR705 A/V receiver, 7.1 Boston Acoustics Reference Series speakers with Energy e:XL subwoofer, Harmony One universal remote, Monster Cable speaker wire and interconnects. Primary target: The ICBM missile complex at Lapuda. My earliest recollection of motion pictures having a profound and moving impact on me was in about 1951 or 52 when my dad took me to see "All Quiet on the Western Front," the 1930 film in rerelease. I remember the lobby was filled with display memorabilia--World War I uniforms, rifles, a small cannon of some sort--fascinating stuff to an eight-year-old kid. I loved the movie, I loved the action, I loved the main character, and I was totally shocked and shaken when at the end he was killed! This was the hero. Heroes didn't die. Not in the movies. Not anywhere. It wasn't for another day or two that the second revelation sunk in. The hero was a German. Understand, I saw this film only seven or eight years after the Second World War, and the Germans had been our enemies. When my friends and I played army men, the bad guys were always Germans or Japanese. (Never mind that I was Italian; the Italians, as far as I was concerned, had never even been in WWII, let alone fought against us.) Anyway, "All Quiet's" hero, Paul Baumer, was a German, yet I was totally sympathetic toward him. It wouldn't be for another few years that I would recognize the significance in my life of books and literature in quite the same way as I had by then learned the value of movies. And they were lessons I would never forget. I tend to wonder sometimes if I'd be teaching English and Film today if it weren't for that hand reaching out to the butterfly. Sweet, touching, funny, exciting, romantic, unforgettable, and ofttimes monumentally poignant images make good films what they are, different and precious for everyone who watches them.
Some favorite films: Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Godfather I & II, The Third Man, 2001, Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, Dr. Strangelove, Snow White, Fantasia, Pinocchio, A Night at the Opera, Some Like It Hot, To Kill a Mockingbird, M. Hulot's Holiday, Psycho, Cabaret, Day for Night, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, The Music Man, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Haunting (1963), The Uninvited, True Lies, Contact, Moonstruck, Cool Hand Luke, Alien, Dark City, Devil in a Blue Dress, My Fair Lady, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Singin' in the Rain, Stardust, Pan's Labyrinth, and about a thousand more. Not-so-guilty pleasures: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Ghost Breakers, Them! John
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