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View Full Version : Conan The Barbarian (1982): The work of art that was never recognized as such.



third person
05-28-2012, 08:17 AM
I'm pushing 30 but have never seen Conan The Barbarian until last week. All of a sudden I'm obsessed with it. Yeah, it's hammy and corny, but for the most part it's an amazing presentation what with the amazing score by Basil Poledouris and the many scenes acted out in complete silence—which in my opinion were well executed by ol' Ah-nold. The major fault in this movie, in my opinion, lay in the editing dept. Had this film a runtime of say three plus hours I think it could have been expanded enough that the many plotholes (like the witch, really what was up with her?) could have been filled. It would have been nice to know Thulsa Doom's past and motivations. The 2011 remake, horrible as it was, at least presented the antag's reason for being how he was.

Of course even if the final cut had been solid the who's who of the critic world still would have panned it cause Fantasy, for some reason, is always scoffed at. Sad, really...I think this forgotten movie was pretty damned good and inspired more people than one would think. I know I sure as shit saw a TON of things from the last 20 years that need to give credit to CTB.

So what're your thoughts on this film?

*edited title because this post was written while drunk and "opera" isn't the word I meant to use, hehe*

thothguard51
05-28-2012, 08:20 AM
Crom.... No one says it like the Arnold.

GingerGunlock
05-28-2012, 08:46 AM
I have a love and delight for the orignal Conan the Barbarian.

Really, for me, the non sequitors rather made the movie, at times. The witch portion, the lines that people occasionally drop ("a few years ago, they were just another snake cult"), the camel getting punched.

retromovie
05-28-2012, 12:05 PM
'(so) I cry for him.' One of the best movies of the era.

Mac H.
05-28-2012, 01:29 PM
I assume you've seen 'Conan - The Musical': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBGOQ7SsJrw

Well worth watching if you haven't. My favourite, though, is "Terminator 2 - The Opera" :


What does it mean to be human? I do not care.
Taking orders from a boy who's only ten.
But I'd give anything to kill someone again...

I'm stuck with this woman, protecting her son ..
Kinder and gentler I gave them my vow.
The T-1000 has all of the fun.
Now when I shoot, they don't die they go 'Ow'.

..
What is the point of a killing machine that cannot kill?
Go ahead Conner and lower me into the steel.

This idiot believes that I'm his friend.
But I'd give anything to kill someone again.


Mac

Manuel Royal
05-28-2012, 04:49 PM
Basil Poledouris wrote one of the great movie scores for Conan. And, really, the movie looked damn good. No CGI; just great sets and hundreds of extras on a modest budget.

I think the editing is fine; it's Conan's movie, not Thalsa Doom's, so we really learn all we need to know about the antagonist. And the director, John Milius, even cut out his own cameo (in which he was a vendor of fine grilled lizards on a stick) for the sake of pacing.

Conan knocking out a camel was stolen from Blazing Saddles, but it's still funny.

defcon6000
05-28-2012, 07:51 PM
Love this movie! One of my favorite Arnold flicks. The music, the fight scenes, all of it very well done. Not a fan of the sequel, which had all the cheesiness and none of the epicness, and the remake doesn't interest me at all.

LOG
05-29-2012, 01:16 AM
I did not like the movie, it's a very poor representation of Conan as he was imagined by Howard.
The only thing besides the original that I ever thought capture even a fragment of Conan were the books by Robert Jordan, and even those have definite differences.

bearilou
05-29-2012, 01:16 AM
Such sweet wonderful memories of Conan the Barbarian. That was my coming-of-age movie.

I felt betrayed when they made the remake, even if it was pretty, pretty Jason Momoa.

Zoombie
05-29-2012, 03:24 AM
I fucking love that movie and it's soundtrack.

dclary
05-29-2012, 05:23 AM
A great movie. I purposefully did not watch the weak remake, because if Arnold's own sequels could not match the brilliance of the first, how could anyone else's?

BTW: Yet another movie in which an evil James Earl Jones claims parenthood of an epic heroic figure. The man knew his wheelhouse.

shawkins
05-29-2012, 05:49 AM
I loved it the first time I saw it and love it to this day. CGI has bled a lot of the awesome out of movies, IMO.

I think it would have been better if they hadn't let Oliver Stone fuck around with the script. I can't actually prove it, but I strongly suspect that all of the Conan/Thulsa Doom daddy issues were injected by Stone. Yeah, sure, the Apocalypse Now script (also Milius) had some of the same undertones, but it never got whiny. A couple spots of Conan were whiny. They're buried deep, but they exist. No doubt in my mind that that's Oliver Stone at work.

Having said all that, John Milius is, well, John Milius. I'll note without comment that the scene at the end with all of Thulsa Doom's prehistoric hippie cultists walking around with torches around is pretty much an exact copy of scenes from the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. I'm totally right about this. Go on, watch TotW and read a couple of Milius interviews. I'll wait.

I go back and forth on my opinion about Arnold. Obviously he's accomplished a lot. You have to respect that. Still, whenever I hear him talk he comes across as kind of dumb. Have you listened to the commentary track? There's a bunch of spots where Milius--somewhat insane, but literate--is providing insights about all the Nazi influences that colored his creative vision of scene X. Then Ahnuld interrupts him to say something like "my ahms ah huge in zis vun, yah?"

No one writes music about swords like Basil Poledouris.

Mako/SubotaiTheArcher was one of Milius' surfing buddies. You can hear this clearly when they buy the black lotus dope. ("Chew slowly--it's the good stuff!") I thought he acquitted himself reasonably well.

It's got a great look, and I sincerely love it to this day. I may go up and watch it in a minute. However, in recent decades I've concluded that this is one of those movies best enjoyed when either the sound off entirely, or perhaps dubbed in a language you don't understand.

Sandahl Bergman totally kicks the chain when they're sneaking in to kidnap the princess. Why didn't anyone notice that? I feel robbed.

Zoombie
05-29-2012, 07:32 AM
I've always had a soft spot for Arnold...but he's a great example of a situational actor.

Take Arnold, give him a good script and a good director, you get things like Conan, Terminator, Terminator 2, The Last Action Hero.

Take away the script and director and you get...well...Junior.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhh

Now, a non-situational actor can be dropped into anything and be the best thing in it. Like Sir Michal Cain or Liam Neeson.

third person
05-29-2012, 12:43 PM
I've always had a soft spot for Arnold...but he's a great example of a situational actor.

Take Arnold, give him a good script and a good director, you get things like Conan, Terminator, Terminator 2, The Last Action Hero.

Take away the script and director and you get...well...Junior.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhh

Now, a non-situational actor can be dropped into anything and be the best thing in it. Like Sir Michal Cain or Liam Neeson.

You forgot to mention Twins as an example of one of his good movies :P

Mr Flibble
05-29-2012, 12:55 PM
Oh man, I love this movie!

Son watched it for the first time the other day. It was like a rite of passage. Also, he said I was 'just like Valeria'. :D

Do you want to live forever?

Though my fave part is the prayer to Crom: and if you do not listen then the hell with you!

Stacia Kane
05-29-2012, 03:01 PM
OMG. This is one of my favorite movies EVER. I remember seeing it the first time when I was eight and being completely blown away, and watching it every time it was on. I still love it more than anything. I don't see the witch as a plot hole, just as worldbuilding and another "adventure," you know? And yeah, I don't really care about Thulsa's backstory; I think his character is just fine as it is.

(And I *totally* wanted to be just like Valeria when I grew up!)

I have the soundtrack. It's amazing. For a while one of the songs was my ringtone. :)

But no matter how pleasurable it is to look at Jason Momoa, I'm just not interested in the remake.

(Apparently Schwarzenegger kept the original Conan sword in the Governor's office when he was there. I read an interview once where he let the interviewer pick it up. I was so insanely jealous!)

Ken
05-29-2012, 03:22 PM
... cool flick. Glad others feel similar. Have been ashamed to admit I like the movie, especially among intellectuals like yourselves. Didn't think you'd go for such, but would poke fun instead. Pleasant surprise.

Jcomp
05-29-2012, 06:06 PM
I'm partial to Conan the Musical (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBGOQ7SsJrw)....

Stacia Kane
05-29-2012, 10:01 PM
... cool flick. Glad others feel similar. Have been ashamed to admit I like the movie, especially among intellectuals like yourselves. Didn't think you'd go for such, but would poke fun instead. Pleasant surprise.


Anyone who would make fun of you for loving a totally kick-ass movie like Conan isn't worth your time. You should ignore them and their pretentious opinions.

Seriously.

(For that matter, anyone who would make fun of you for anything you love because they think it isn't "high brow" or whatever enough isn't worth your time.)

Pterofan
05-29-2012, 10:29 PM
The Conan soundtrack is one of my favorites to write to.

Basil Poledouris also did the soundtrack to Robocop, more good writing music.

"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women." Best line ever.

CrastersBabies
05-30-2012, 12:48 AM
Conan is awesome. I still listen to the soundtrack and I still cry when you know who dies.

shawkins
05-30-2012, 12:52 AM
Sandahl Bergman totally kicks the chain when they're sneaking in to kidnap the princess. Why didn't anyone notice that? I feel robbed.

Somebody asked me what "kicked the chain" meant--I guess it wasn't very clear, sorry. I meant it literally, not as a figure of speech.

When they were sneaking in to rescue the princess she was slipping over a wall. This was during the part where all you could hear was the orgy music, shortly before the part where Rexor goes "You..." when he sees Conan (I love that bit). As she was slipping over the wall her foot hit a chain dangling from the ceiling. It would have been really loud, not thief-y at all. That always bugged me.

Milius originally intended the movie to be the first part of a trilogy. But he had a falling out with the producers or something, and somebody else did Conan the Destroyer. But a couple years ago it looked like they were gearing up to do an actual sequel with Milius involved. It was going to be called King Conan, Crown of Iron. At one point I tracked down the screenplay, but I've since lost track of it. Anybody have any idea where I could get a copy?

retromovie
05-30-2012, 11:53 AM
[QUOTE=shawkins;7313509] When they were sneaking in to rescue the princess she was slipping over a wall. This was during the part where all you could hear was the orgy music, shortly before the part where Rexor goes "You..." when he sees Conan (I love that bit). As she was slipping over the wall her foot hit a chain dangling from the ceiling. It would have been really loud, not thief-y at all. That always bugged me.

Maybe all the folks at the orgy were too occupied...apart from that, her movements are really nice, almost a ballet, she played a great role. The actual sequel that was made is truly one of the most appalling things ever committed to celluloid, it's bad in every possible way.

bearilou
05-30-2012, 02:57 PM
[QUOTE=shawkins;7313509] The actual sequel that was made is truly one of the most appalling things ever committed to celluloid, it's bad in every possible way.

In my world, my Conan!happy place, that sequel doesn't exist.

retromovie
05-30-2012, 11:51 PM
[QUOTE=retromovie;7314690]

In my world, my Conan!happy place, that sequel doesn't exist.
So you're in that hole in the ground where he finds the sword.:D

Jamesaritchie
05-31-2012, 01:30 AM
[QUOTE=shawkins;7313509] As she was slipping over the wall her foot hit a chain dangling from the ceiling. It would have been really loud, not thief-y at all. That always bugged me.



Nah, a foot against a chain like that would have made hardly any noise. Certainly not enough to hear from that far away.

I loved the movie to death, and I've probably watched it fifty times.

third person
05-31-2012, 11:19 PM
The Conan soundtrack is one of my favorites to write to.

Basil Poledouris also did the soundtrack to Robocop, more good writing music.

"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women." Best line ever.

I seriously count the score as one of the best works of music ever created. And I know my classical.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K7qIkEKaek "The Gift Of Fury", from a powerful silent scene when Doom kills his mother, is just stunning :D

third person
05-31-2012, 11:21 PM
Milius originally intended the movie to be the first part of a trilogy. But he had a falling out with the producers or something, and somebody else did Conan the Destroyer. But a couple years ago it looked like they were gearing up to do an actual sequel with Milius involved. It was going to be called King Conan, Crown of Iron. At one point I tracked down the screenplay, but I've since lost track of it. Anybody have any idea where I could get a copy?

5 Things You Might Not Know About John Milius' 'Conan The Barbarian' (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/5-things-you-might-not-know-about-john-milius-conan-the-barbarian-20120514)

thekingsguard
06-07-2012, 10:52 AM
It's an underrated classic for sure - it's not as obscure as you'd think though. Prior to the Lord of the Rings movies, it was the most successful and popular high fantasy film ever made.

Dodge
08-24-2012, 04:23 AM
I'm pretty damn late on this thread but I got to chime in on this. I was lucky enough to see Conan when in the movie theater. I was 12 years old and this movie ROCKED! To this day this movie still holds a special place in my flesh and my steel by CROM!

Conan the Barbarian was a compilation of several of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories; such as The Thing In The Crypt and The Tower of the Elephant, etc. - put together quite well I might add onto the silver screen.

The romance between Arnold and Sandahl Bergman was also spot on. She played the perfect role as Conan's better-half-thief.

When the remake of Conan came out starring Jason Momoa... what a pile of crap. No. Really. Nuf said about that.

Anyway... Conan the Barbarian... a real feast of legend, blood, and sorcery.

What is best in life? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PQ6335puOc

onesecondglance
08-24-2012, 12:11 PM
Anyone who would make fun of you for loving a totally kick-ass movie like Conan isn't worth your time. You should ignore them and their pretentious opinions.

Seriously.

(For that matter, anyone who would make fun of you for anything you love because they think it isn't "high brow" or whatever enough isn't worth your time.)

I only dropped by this thread to add my name to the Conan / Schwarzenegger fan list, but now I'm considering putting Stacia's quote in my sig line. :)