10.11.2007

Top Tens!

Why go to the theater when you can watch these great movies online? The eclectic List Universe has compiled a list of the Top 10 Movies available online. I suspect that most of these are now in the public domain. I'd show some of these great flicks to my video class... if they weren't trapped outside the Great Firewall of China! Classics like these are hard to find here, and having them just beyond my reach is torture for cinephiles like me.

Here are some other lists chock full o' good information:

From the list of Top 10 Art Thefts of the 20th Century:

In 1961, Charles Wrightsman, the oil-rich American collector, bought Goya’s “Portrait of the Duke of Wellington” for $392,000 and planned to take it to the United States. There was such a public outrage that the British government raised the necessary matching sum. Less than three weeks after its triumphal hanging in the National Gallery, it was stolen. The thief demanded a ransom of the same amount and said he was going to devote it to charity.

In 1965, the thief sent a claim ticket to London’s Daily Mirror and the painting was picked up by police in a railway baggage office. The thief, an unemployed bus driver named Kempton Bunton, gave himself up six weeks later. He had planned to use the money to buy TV licenses for the poor, serving three months in jail for his offense.

From the list of Top 10 Bizarre Artworks:

Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp. It is one of the pieces which he called readymades (also known as found art), because he made use of an already existing object—in this case a urinal, which he titled Fountain and signed R. Mutt. Marcel Duchamp had arrived in the United States less than two years previous to the “creation” of Fountain, and had become involved with Dada, an anti-rational, anti-art cultural movement, in New York City.

Like the use of the word “Dada” for the art movement, the meaning (if any) and intention of the signature “R. Mutt” is difficult to pin down precisely. Mutt and Jeff was a popular contemporary comic strip. It is not clear whether Duchamp had in mind the German “armut” (meaning poverty), but he did state that the initial “R” stood for “Richard”, which is slang in French for “moneybags”. It is also suggested that R. Mutt is a play off R. Mott, the company that produced the Paris sewer pipes.

From the list of Top 10 Expensive Artworks Found Accidentally:

In 1820, a Greek peasant named Yorgos was digging in his field on the island of Milos when he unearthed several carved blocks of stone. He burrowed deeper and found four statues - three figures of Hermes and one of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Three weeks later, the Choiseul archeological expedition arrived by ship, purchased the Aphrodite, and took it to France. Louis XVIII gave it the name Venus de Milo and presented it to the Louvre where it became one of the most famous works of art in history.

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