What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Dec 09, 2017 1:33 pm

boblipton wrote:Muriel Pavlow quarrels with husband Michael Craig and walks out.... and goes to the movies. After a while, she goes to phone home, but is an Eyewitness (1956) to Donald Sinden * and Nigel Stock robbing the theater's safe. They chase her into traffic, where she is hit by a car. "Good enough," says Stock. "Nonsense," says sociopathic Sinden. "We'd best go to the hospital and if she isn't already dead, smother her with a pillow. It will be jolly" -- or words to that effect.

It's a movie that is watchable to the end, but more because of what it attempts to do than because of what it succeeds in. The script shows some nice gender reversal in the relationship between Miss Pavlow and Mr. Craig for the era, and it's shot so dark for much of its length that the actual key events, of Mr. Sinden being menacing can't be seen -- only his calmly and rationally insane voice. It's a lovely idea, but doesn't quite work for a motion picture, alas.

Bob

*My apologies for barging onto Binky's patch, but he's probably busy looking at Louis de Funes flicks.


Caught up with this last night, too. Good start and finish, but a bit uneven inbetween, and with rather too much comic stuff. And that hospital was certainly lax on the security front! In addition, there's plenty of spot-the-supporting-actor about the film, with George Woodbridge, Nicholas Parsons, Leslie Dwyer, Allan Cuthbertson, John Stuart, Richard Wattis, and the chap at the police station I couldn't put a name to. Guess Sam Kydd must have been unwell that week...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Dec 09, 2017 1:58 pm

Was pleased to catch up with BABBITT (1934) at last, although I've not yet read the novel on which it was based. Guy Kibbee is ideally cast as the upstanding businessman and lodge member who gets suckered into a shady deal and becomes the victim of a lady blackmailer, proving 'there's mo fool...' once again. Amusing and watchable, though not as good as one would have liked. Aline MacMahon gives good value as his patient and very likeable wife, and there is good support, too, from Alan Hale as his lawyer and the reliable Berton Churchill as a fellow lodge member. Odd that we don't see more of Minna Gombell as Babbitt's friend's nagging wife, as she disappears from the film after she has (SPOILER) been shot, though her character is still alive. For some reason, Hattie McDaniel gets no credit, despite having quite a sizeable role as the Babbitts' maid.

Another Children's Film Foundation outing, THE SECRET CAVE (1953, revised 1972) is a very mild affair. The opening credit of 'An English village 1927' is belied by the vehicles and clothes, so one wonders why they bothered. The plot concerns the accidental discovery of a stream's source and how its diversion causes problems between two villages. Add a nasty miller who bullies his apprentice, and you have a nicely shot, but rather wet little film. Apparently based on a Thomas Hardy story, there is a whiff of Ealing / Group 3 and Marcel Pagnol, but as a whole there isn't too much life to it. The only cast name familiar to me was Johnny Morris (playing the village baker) who is the same fellow who hosted BBC-TV's 'Animal Magic' between 1962 and 1983.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Dec 09, 2017 3:53 pm

It wasn't the Children's Film & Television Foundation yet, but the division of the Rank Organization that produced The Case of the Missing Scene (1951) would evolve into it.

Noel Johnson and assistant Ivor Bowyer are off to the Norfolk marshland to shoot movies of nesting and hatching bitterns. Meanwhile, London crook Tony Quinn is trying to get Peter Butterworth to shoot the birds with guns so he can ship the stuffed animals abroad to collectors. They clash, amidst some nice nature photography and film studio scenes. I certainly enjoyed the nature photography; it's no wonder that director Don Chaffey wound up directing for Disney in the 1960s and 1970s, but there isn't much zest in Peter Butterworth's clumsiness. Since I enjoyed his turn as the Meddling Monk in Doctor Who and he appeared in numerous Carry On Films, I can only conclude he's more interested in birds than belly laughs.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Dec 09, 2017 4:16 pm

I was thoroughly charmed by the film Kedi. It is a documentary that, more or less, tracks the lives of 7 street cats and the humans who care for them in Istanbul. Beautifully filmed it is both touching to see how these people care for the various streetwise kittys, nd how much wisdom they glean from life in general. It was a lovely diversion. If you are fond of cats, you will enjoy this sweet film.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Dec 09, 2017 8:52 pm

Here's an odd one. Saturday Island (1952) borders on being a kid's adventure movie with Linda Darnell and Tab Hunter marooned on a Pacific Isle after their WW II vessel is sunk. What follows is an uneasy mix of whimsy and drama as they adjust to their island life. He's a naive kid and she's an older officer (and a doctor by training). Eventually they fall in love and seem at peace until a plane crashes and they save the pilot (Donald Gray). While two's company, three's definitely a crowd when the pilot recovers and starts to pursue Darnell. While he's a wiz at hunting and building things, she eventually learns to weave clothing from plant fibers (a bit of a stretch) and even dye them. Beautiful color photography (filmed on Jamaica it seems) is a big plus. Also known as Island of Desire.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Dec 10, 2017 2:01 pm

rudyfan wrote:I was thoroughly charmed by the film Kedi. It is a documentary that, more or less, tracks the lives of 7 street cats and the humans who care for them in Istanbul. Beautifully filmed it is both touching to see how these people care for the various streetwise kittys, nd how much wisdom they glean from life in general. It was a lovely diversion. If you are fond of cats, you will enjoy this sweet film.


Thanks for the tip, rudyfan. As a cat person, I'm sure it will be right up my street!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Dec 10, 2017 3:26 pm

As we came out of the theater, my cousin asked what I thought about I, Tonya (2017). "It's like Star 80, but about morons." "Star 80 was about morons," he said. "Yeah, well, these people aren't that bright. Frankly, I'm surprised, they all didn't kneecap themselves."

Maybe that sour mood about this black comedy is why I didn't enjoy Traitor Spy (1939] in which various detectives/spies, including suave Romily Lunge and beautiful Tamara Desni are trying to solve a complicated mystery around what they are calling "the Torso Murder." It all starts when Bruce Cabot steals.... well, he steals the Maguffin, really. The Germans want it, the British want it back, but it's still the Maguffin and only the fact that the movie was released during the War meant it wasn't intended for catching tigers in the Scottish Highlands. There are some scenes that strain credulity, like the way that everyone shows up, entirely by coincidence so far as I can tell, at the same tiny night club, which offers a very dramatic confrontation.

In the end, the film switches gears several times, so that what story the film makers wanted to tell, what conclusion they wished to offer, remains murky. The movie viewer may know what happened, but the people in the film themselves may still be looking for the Maguffin.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Dec 11, 2017 11:04 am

West of Broadway seems like a very minor MGM film from 1931 that was assigned to the struggling John Gilbert. He plays a wealthy but ailing WW I vet whose fiancee (Madge Evans) announces on his return that she's marrying someone else. He goes on a bender and hooks up with a call girl (Lois Moran) whom he marries that very night. Next morning he's ready to pay for his drunken folly, but she insists on holding him to the marriage. He flees to his rancho in Arizona with pal El Brendel. But when they get there, Moran is already there. The two spar and cowpoke Ralph Bellamy falls for Moran. Everyone is good, the rancho decor is stunning, but the film doesn't come together in its brief 66 minutes. Oddballest scene is of El Brendel and Willie Fung exchanging belly rubs. Co-stars Hedda Hopper, John Miljan, Ruth Rennick, Gwen Lee, and Kane Richmond.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Dec 11, 2017 1:08 pm

Two more with the Rascals: SHRIMPS FOR A DAY (1934) has the Gang (with less memorable replacements) as inmates of an orphanage run by the priceless Clarence Wilson. Taken to a party given by a wealthy family, the wife finds am Aladdin-type lamp which renders them as children. A lively song number by Olive Brasco (the wife, whose real-life brothers play the other 'shrimps') who was 16 or 17 at the time, which perhaps explains he talent with a tune. Some chuckles, but not one of their better ones. Followed by LAZY DAYS (1929) which spends too much time with Farina and his friend loafing around and drawling and would probably come over as offensive nowadays. Eventually the rest turn up, and there is a bit of a plot about a baby show which Joe Cobb has a cunning plan about. Mary Ann and Wheezer help the fun somewhat, and there is some amusing kitten business, but this is also a rather weak entry.

A much-maligned film which I'd not seen for a long time, THE GREAT MR HANDEL (1942) has weathered the years better than many better-received films, and was most enjoyable in my view. There is a religious thread which runs through the film (the contributions of Wilfrid Lawson* and Norman Walker ensuring this), which is understandable, as the last third of the film is devoted to the composition of his 'Messiah'. The remainder of the film covers his reaction to bigotry (although he has German origins, he has chosen to become English), his contempt for fools and his financial woes, partly due to the odious Prince of Wales. Some of the colour is variable in this copy, but it is an enjoyable, civilised piece of film-making, with a fine central performance, and good support from Hay Petrie as his long-suffering servant. A liking for Handel's music is probably necessary for enjoyment, and the film is a pleasure to listen to as well as watch.

*When telling a work colleague about Lawson's fondness for the bottle, he asked if the film featured the 'Music for the Royal Fire-Water'...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Dec 11, 2017 2:35 pm

Franco Zefferelli puts a real late 1960s Youth Church spin on a High Medieval world in Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1973), complete with kids living in a commune with a score by Donovan. This life of St. Francis of Assisi, works by contrasting the beauties of the natural world with what we used to call slobwork on 47th Street: the quality of the work didn't matter, so much as the quantity of of the precious. The 1960s vibes with the canny Church politicians muttering in the background about how Francis will bring the poor back to the Church makes it believable; and any movie that has the real Innocent III in it -- by whom I mean Alec Guinness -- is worth seeing by my standards.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Dec 12, 2017 6:52 am

Perhaps if I had noticed some time before the halfway mark that The Legend of Hercules (2014) was directed by Renny Harlin, I would have stopped watching or never have begun. However, I did not, so I continued through to the end, watching its video game, slo-mo violent/pornographic visuals and anachronistically blaspheming story line.

That's what I get for noticing that my contemporary movie-viewing was up in 2014 and trying to catch up on what I had missed.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Dec 12, 2017 3:21 pm

Found the first Thelma Todd - ZaSu Pitts film, LET'S DO THINGS (1931) last night. The two pals work selling sheet music in this one, Todd being surrounded by nearly every chap to hand and Pitts singing off-key. Pitts also has a rather dubious boyfriend who is more interested in the contents of their ice-box than her charms. However he knows a doctor, and this interests Thelma....

A bit of a shaky start is followed by an amusing (in parts) nightclub scene, not all of which works. There also seems to be a jump cut in the scene with the dancing girls before the 'doctor' (an osteopath) decides to 'cure' their back problems. A good few laughs and nice moments, but one feels this could have been a bit better...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Dec 12, 2017 3:32 pm

The latest Bollywood flick I've seen is Fukrey Returns (2017), a sequel to to the 2014 Fukrey in which four college-bound buddies get mixed up with Richa Chadha, a local underworld operator, and beat her through sheer dumb luck. In this one, she's just out of prison, owes her political patron big and is bearing down on the four youngsters for payback.

I haven't seen the original, but this one is far too elaborate, with half a dozen characters' back stories to be investigated and advanced and new ones to be introduced, Miss Chadha to be redeemed and. of course, several dance numbers. The dance numbers seem pretty good to me, but if the four college buddies are elaborated from the earlier movies, then they were sketches of idiots. Here, they are well-executed idiots, with only their travails to make them attractive.... and that doesn't work for me.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Dec 12, 2017 4:28 pm

When Mandy Miller breaks her mother's treasured china dog, she comes down with a brainstorm and runs away in hopes of a :working vacation in Kent without telling anyone. What she gets is Adventures in the Hopfields (1954).

Having seen half a dozen of these Children's Film Foundation movies, I thought I knew what to expect: some great scenic photography and some heavy-handed moralizing about how good children should behave -- as decreed by people who no longer remembered being children, had no children themselves, or who believed the lies their children told them. What I found was a very well told story directed by John Guillerman with a frequently subjective camera that evoked very nicely the fears and simple moral narratives of children. If it gets heavy-handed at the end with a melodramatic rescue from a burning mill, at least the evil-doers are ambiguously repentant -- they never expected anyone to get hurt, really, they were just having a bit of a laugh.

I doubt the moralisers will be very pleased with this movie. However, I was.

Finally, a note: as some of you are aware, besides my contributions to the "what is the last film you watched" threads on the talky and silent boards for the last eighteen months, I have been reviewing movies for the IMDb for almost sixteen year -- more than 4000 of them. Over the last week, the IMDb has changed the way they have been displaying reviews and as of today, they no longer seem to be accepting new reviews from me. I hope this is a temporary glitch, but regardless, I will continue to inflict my *ahem* idiosyncratic opinions on movies of all ages on my long-suffering fellow Nitratevillains. I will, however, be posting reviews of short subjects here more frequently. Sorry about that.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Dec 12, 2017 8:24 pm

boblipton wrote:When Mandy Miller breaks her mother's treasured china dog, she comes down with a brainstorm and runs away in hopes of a :working vacation in Kent without telling anyone. What she gets is Adventures in the Hopfields (1954).

Having seen half a dozen of these Children's Film Foundation movies, I thought I knew what to expect: some great scenic photography and some heavy-handed moralizing about how good children should behave -- as decreed by people who no longer remembered being children, had no children themselves, or who believed the lies their children told them. What I found was a very well told story directed by John Guillerman with a frequently subjective camera that evoked very nicely the fears and simple moral narratives of children. If it gets heavy-handed at the end with a melodramatic rescue from a burning mill, at least the evil-doers are ambiguously repentant -- they never expected anyone to get hurt, really, they were just having a bit of a laugh.

I doubt the moralisers will be very pleased with this movie. However, I was.

Finally, a note: as some of you are aware, besides my contributions to the "what is the last film you watched" threads on the talky and silent boards for the last eighteen months, I have been reviewing movies for the IMDb for almost sixteen year -- more than 4000 of them. Over the last week, the IMDb has changed the way they have been displaying reviews and as of today, they no longer seem to be accepting new reviews from me. I hope this is a temporary glitch, but regardless, I will continue to inflict my *ahem* idiosyncratic opinions on movies of all ages on my long-suffering fellow Nitratevillains. I will, however, be posting reviews of short subjects here more frequently. Sorry about that.

Bob


Try again. They got rid of the button and now there's only a link to review a film. A box opens. Just did one.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Dec 12, 2017 10:17 pm

boblipton wrote:Finally, a note: as some of you are aware, besides my contributions to the "what is the last film you watched" threads on the talky and silent boards for the last eighteen months, I have been reviewing movies for the IMDb for almost sixteen year -- more than 4000 of them. Over the last week, the IMDb has changed the way they have been displaying reviews and as of today, they no longer seem to be accepting new reviews from me. I hope this is a temporary glitch, but regardless, I will continue to inflict my *ahem* idiosyncratic opinions on movies of all ages on my long-suffering fellow Nitratevillains. I will, however, be posting reviews of short subjects here more frequently. Sorry about that.


They now order reviews by “helpfulness” rather that chronologically by latest, so that necessarily places the newest reviews last. So if you decide to review, for example, “Casablanca” your review would need to get 396 “helpful” votes from readers to be listed first, or at least 73 just to make it to the bottom of the first page. Reviews for obscure or lesser-reviewed titles wouldn't face the same challenge, of course.

Unlike their parent Amazon, imdb doesn't give review readers a choice of sorting methods as far as I can see.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Dec 13, 2017 5:49 am

Paul Penna wrote:
boblipton wrote:Finally, a note: as some of you are aware, besides my contributions to the "what is the last film you watched" threads on the talky and silent boards for the last eighteen months, I have been reviewing movies for the IMDb for almost sixteen year -- more than 4000 of them. Over the last week, the IMDb has changed the way they have been displaying reviews and as of today, they no longer seem to be accepting new reviews from me. I hope this is a temporary glitch, but regardless, I will continue to inflict my *ahem* idiosyncratic opinions on movies of all ages on my long-suffering fellow Nitratevillains. I will, however, be posting reviews of short subjects here more frequently. Sorry about that.


They now order reviews by “helpfulness” rather that chronologically by latest, so that necessarily places the newest reviews last. So if you decide to review, for example, “Casablanca” your review would need to get 396 “helpful” votes from readers to be listed first, or at least 73 just to make it to the bottom of the first page. Reviews for obscure or lesser-reviewed titles wouldn't face the same challenge, of course.

Unlike their parent Amazon, imdb doesn't give review readers a choice of sorting methods as far as I can see.


At least anyone can still post a review on IMDb. I've been banned from reviewing anything on Amazon, even purchases, because I supposedly violated their policy. Of course no one on Amazon can tell me exactly what this violation was. My guess is someone along the way complained about a bad review. This makes Amazon reviews totally worthless as far as I am concerned since they reviews are "selected" and "approved" by Amazon.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Dec 13, 2017 6:23 am

drednm wrote:
boblipton wrote:When Mandy Miller breaks her mother's treasured china dog, she comes down with a brainstorm and runs away in hopes of a :working vacation in Kent without telling anyone. What she gets is Adventures in the Hopfields (1954).

Having seen half a dozen of these Children's Film Foundation movies, I thought I knew what to expect: some great scenic photography and some heavy-handed moralizing about how good children should behave -- as decreed by people who no longer remembered being children, had no children themselves, or who believed the lies their children told them. What I found was a very well told story directed by John Guillerman with a frequently subjective camera that evoked very nicely the fears and simple moral narratives of children. If it gets heavy-handed at the end with a melodramatic rescue from a burning mill, at least the evil-doers are ambiguously repentant -- they never expected anyone to get hurt, really, they were just having a bit of a laugh.

I doubt the moralisers will be very pleased with this movie. However, I was.

Finally, a note: as some of you are aware, besides my contributions to the "what is the last film you watched" threads on the talky and silent boards for the last eighteen months, I have been reviewing movies for the IMDb for almost sixteen year -- more than 4000 of them. Over the last week, the IMDb has changed the way they have been displaying reviews and as of today, they no longer seem to be accepting new reviews from me. I hope this is a temporary glitch, but regardless, I will continue to inflict my *ahem* idiosyncratic opinions on movies of all ages on my long-suffering fellow Nitratevillains. I will, however, be posting reviews of short subjects here more frequently. Sorry about that.

Bob


Try again. They got rid of the button and now there's only a link to review a film. A box opens. Just did one.



Thanks. Given my setup, I couldn't see it and it took me your assurance and ten minutes of poking around before I could. Why do people insist on fixing things that ain't broke?!

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Dec 13, 2017 6:31 am

I saw Victoria & Abdul, which others have mentioned here. Enjoyable film with a terrific performance from Judi Dench.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Dec 13, 2017 6:38 am

Paul Penna wrote:
boblipton wrote:Finally, a note: as some of you are aware, besides my contributions to the "what is the last film you watched" threads on the talky and silent boards for the last eighteen months, I have been reviewing movies for the IMDb for almost sixteen year -- more than 4000 of them. Over the last week, the IMDb has changed the way they have been displaying reviews and as of today, they no longer seem to be accepting new reviews from me. I hope this is a temporary glitch, but regardless, I will continue to inflict my *ahem* idiosyncratic opinions on movies of all ages on my long-suffering fellow Nitratevillains. I will, however, be posting reviews of short subjects here more frequently. Sorry about that.


They now order reviews by “helpfulness” rather that chronologically by latest, so that necessarily places the newest reviews last. So if you decide to review, for example, “Casablanca” your review would need to get 396 “helpful” votes from readers to be listed first, or at least 73 just to make it to the bottom of the first page. Reviews for obscure or lesser-reviewed titles wouldn't face the same challenge, of course.

Unlike their parent Amazon, imdb doesn't give review readers a choice of sorting methods as far as I can see.





Most of my reviews are for obscure titles. Many are one of two reviews -- the other being a contemporary review someone from, if I recall correctly, Chicago, has been copying from the trades from the early 1910s. thanks to the Eye Institute and Our Ben, I have been reviewing stuff that not only doesn't have another review -- it doesn't even have five votes.... yet.

I think these reviews are of some value, which is why I continue to offer them. My thanks to Ed, whose advice got me to spend ten minutes monkeying with the computer and getting it to work.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Dec 13, 2017 7:28 am

boblipton wrote:
Paul Penna wrote:
boblipton wrote:Finally, a note: as some of you are aware, besides my contributions to the "what is the last film you watched" threads on the talky and silent boards for the last eighteen months, I have been reviewing movies for the IMDb for almost sixteen year -- more than 4000 of them. Over the last week, the IMDb has changed the way they have been displaying reviews and as of today, they no longer seem to be accepting new reviews from me. I hope this is a temporary glitch, but regardless, I will continue to inflict my *ahem* idiosyncratic opinions on movies of all ages on my long-suffering fellow Nitratevillains. I will, however, be posting reviews of short subjects here more frequently. Sorry about that.


They now order reviews by “helpfulness” rather that chronologically by latest, so that necessarily places the newest reviews last. So if you decide to review, for example, “Casablanca” your review would need to get 396 “helpful” votes from readers to be listed first, or at least 73 just to make it to the bottom of the first page. Reviews for obscure or lesser-reviewed titles wouldn't face the same challenge, of course.

Unlike their parent Amazon, imdb doesn't give review readers a choice of sorting methods as far as I can see.





Most of my reviews are for obscure titles. Many are one of two reviews -- the other being a contemporary review someone from, if I recall correctly, Chicago, has been copying from the trades from the early 1910s. thanks to the Eye Institute and Our Ben, I have been reviewing stuff that not only doesn't have another review -- it doesn't even have five votes.... yet.

I think these reviews are of some value, which is why I continue to offer them. My thanks to Ed, whose advice got me to spend ten minutes monkeying with the computer and getting it to work.

Bob


Amazing, Bob, that you have 4,000 reviews! I have 863.... I think it's especially important to have reviews of the obscure silent features and shorts.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Dec 13, 2017 7:46 am

drednm wrote:
boblipton wrote:[quote="Paul Penna"

They now order reviews by “helpfulness” rather that chronologically by latest, so that necessarily places the newest reviews last. So if you decide to review, for example, “Casablanca” your review would need to get 396 “helpful” votes from readers to be listed first, or at least 73 just to make it to the bottom of the first page. Reviews for obscure or lesser-reviewed titles wouldn't face the same challenge, of course.

Unlike their parent Amazon, imdb doesn't give review readers a choice of sorting methods as far as I can see.





Most of my reviews are for obscure titles. Many are one of two reviews -- the other being a contemporary review someone from, if I recall correctly, Chicago, has been copying from the trades from the early 1910s. thanks to the Eye Institute and Our Ben, I have been reviewing stuff that not only doesn't have another review -- it doesn't even have five votes.... yet.

I think these reviews are of some value, which is why I continue to offer them. My thanks to Ed, whose advice got me to spend ten minutes monkeying with the computer and getting it to work.

Bob


Amazing, Bob, that you have 4,000 reviews! I have 863.... I think it's especially important to have reviews of the obscure silent features and shorts.[/quote]

4375, to be exact. I have been posting them since February of 2002, so that averages out to a touch fewer than one a day, which is less impressive.

I generally don't post my reviews of new American movies, since those are generally well covered;the foreign stuff, yes. I also posted the review of Allen's Wonder Wheel, since the negative reviews mostly said they hated him and he owed them money and so forth; I like a movie review to talk about the movie and then maybe about the arc of some key player's career. Shouldn't someone have noted the dismantling of Chaplin's father-in-law?

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Dec 13, 2017 1:51 pm

Yet another CFF outing, ADVENTURE IN THE HOPFIELDS* (1954, revised 1972) has Mandy Miller accidentally breaking her Mum's china dog (a wedding present) which has only just been repaired. Although it was an accident waiting to happen, Mandy determines to earn enough money to have it fixed by joining her friends hop-picking in Kent. Of course there's trouble along the way with worried parents as well as concerned adults as well as a couple of ragamuffins out to cause trouble. Add an unsafe windmill which Mandy decides to bed down in and you have a lively little film which jogs along quite nicely. Other well-known faces include Mona Washbourne and Dandy Nichols, as well as Melvyn Hayes as one of the young villains. Directed by John Guillermin, who went on to bigger things as well as MISS ROBIN HOOD, which this film has the odd passing resemblance to.

Thelma and ZaSu again in WAR MAMAS (1931). directed by Marshall Neilan of all people. Starts off amusingly enough, but gets rather bogged down in the capturing Germans scene, where the girls show them how to play strip poker, but unfortunately retain their own clothes...

*Interesting to compare this with George Orwell's piece on hop=picking in 1931 as well as his 1935 novel 'A Clergyman's Daughter'...
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Dec 13, 2017 4:23 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Found the first Thelma Todd - ZaSu Pitts film, LET'S DO THINGS (1931) last night. The two pals work selling sheet music in this one, Todd being surrounded by nearly every chap to hand and Pitts singing off-key. Pitts also has a rather dubious boyfriend who is more interested in the contents of their ice-box than her charms. However he knows a doctor, and this interests Thelma....

A bit of a shaky start is followed by an amusing (in parts) nightclub scene, not all of which works. There also seems to be a jump cut in the scene with the dancing girls before the 'doctor' (an osteopath) decides to 'cure' their back problems. A good few laughs and nice moments, but one feels this could have been a bit better...

Saw this one at Cinefest a number of years ago, and it went over well with the crowd, as I recall. The bit about the osteopath was especially funny to me personally, as my grandfather was an osteopath in the 1910s-1920s (went to a school in Chicago to learn, practiced there, took a brief sabbatical during the First World War to fly barrage balloons over Lake Michigan), when it was a relatively new practice, and treated as quack medicine by some (including his later brother-in-law, who was in the pharmaceutical biz).
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 5:38 am

boblipton wrote:When Mandy Miller breaks her mother's treasured china dog, she comes down with a brainstorm and runs away in hopes of a :working vacation in Kent without telling anyone. What she gets is Adventures in the Hopfields (1954).

Having seen half a dozen of these Children's Film Foundation movies, I thought I knew what to expect: some great scenic photography and some heavy-handed moralizing about how good children should behave -- as decreed by people who no longer remembered being children, had no children themselves, or who believed the lies their children told them. What I found was a very well told story directed by John Guillerman with a frequently subjective camera that evoked very nicely the fears and simple moral narratives of children. If it gets heavy-handed at the end with a melodramatic rescue from a burning mill, at least the evil-doers are ambiguously repentant -- they never expected anyone to get hurt, really, they were just having a bit of a laugh.

I doubt the moralisers will be very pleased with this movie. However, I was.

Finally, a note: as some of you are aware, besides my contributions to the "what is the last film you watched" threads on the talky and silent boards for the last eighteen months, I have been reviewing movies for the IMDb for almost sixteen year -- more than 4000 of them. Over the last week, the IMDb has changed the way they have been displaying reviews and as of today, they no longer seem to be accepting new reviews from me. I hope this is a temporary glitch, but regardless, I will continue to inflict my *ahem* idiosyncratic opinions on movies of all ages on my long-suffering fellow Nitratevillains. I will, however, be posting reviews of short subjects here more frequently. Sorry about that.

Bob


Delightful film. Such a weird concept of London families rushing to the hopfields to harvest them and call it a vacation ... as seen on advertisements in the film's opening scene. Besides Mona Washbourne, other familiar faces included Harold Lang as Sam Hines, Dandy Nichols as mean old Mrs. Harris, and Hilda Fenemore as the kid's mum. Fenemore is familiar as the head charwoman in the TV series "Are You Being Served?" Jane Asher was one of the kids. I also found it interesting that the two nasty boys were Gypsies. Europeans have a "thing" about Gypsies and they are almost always bad.

Anyway, I found this article on the film and thought it interesting: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... h-bin.html
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 8:17 am

In the last couple of days have watched a couple of oddballs, but I enjoyed them both very much. First up was "Ladies of the Jury" (1932) with Edna May Oliver, Jill Esmond, Ken Murray, Roscoe Ates, Kitty Kelly, Cora Witherspoon, Robert McWade, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, and so many others. This is so off-the-wall for an audience of today as to be confounding, and though Edna May in a leading rôle could go overboard, she's an absolute delight in this one. Oh, and this one is basically a precursor to 1957's "12 Angry Men", although this one is definitely and only comedy, even though the suspect is charged with murder. Edna May Oliver must convince the other 11 jurors (6 men and 5 more women) that Jill Esmond is innocent. Thoroughly beyond any law court as far as probability or possibility is concerned, nevertheless the antics of Edna May are so winning (and innocent by any standards!) that watching - at least for me - was an utter delight. By the way, you won't even recognize Cora Witherspoon as one of the lady jurors by the way she's dressed. Her sexuality would have definitely been a topic of great conversation in 1932. I love her in all her films, and even I didn't realize it was Witherspoon until quite a way into the show! The only character who seems off-kilter for the film is Ken Murray as a real estate broker, one of the jurors. He's too far over-the-top. Jill Esmond has basically little to do except play a French lady whose American husband has been killed. She'd made a splash the year before in Hitchcock's "The Skin Game", and she followed up with "State's Attorney" and "Thirteen Women" the same year she made this. She was into her second year of marriage with Lawrence Olivier, too. The juror whose face stands out most in the film is Guinn Williams, only topped by Oliver herself who steals a scene just by being in it. This was directed, by the way, by Lowell Sherman, which is the main reason why I was interested in it. I'd be curious what his reaction was to trying to direct his leading lady! This is on DVD from Warner Archive Collection, and note that its condition is not always pristine by any means, but it's still most watchable.

Also watched "Smart Woman" (1931) with Mary Astor, Robert Ames, John Halliday, Edward Everett Horton, Noel Francis, and others. Definitely Pre-Code material, but the ending is simply ridiculous. Ames is married to Astor, but has been carrying on with Francis while Astor has been in France (evidently for some time) visiting her mother. She's devoted to Ames, but returns to find out about the affair, which has become so serious, evidently, that Ames wants a divorce. Astor accedes to the request and tells Ames that she's been carrying on with Halliday - not true - but uses Halliday as a ruse to get her back together with Ames. It works in the end, after a lot of Pre-Code nonsense - and it IS nonsense - but it's fun to watch anyway because of Astor. She could out act and around most performers, and I looked at Margaret at one point and said, "She's far better as an actress than Norma Shearer who might have played a part like this ("The Women"?)." Anyway, good way to kill a little over an hour and see an early talkie with Mary Astor. No relation, by the way, to the later film by the same name in 1948 with Joan Bennett and Brian Aherne. This one is also available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 8:56 am

I had never heard of Blackmail—not the Hitchcock but Warner Bros., 1939, directed by H.C. Potter, with Edward G. Robinson as a man who specializes in fighting oil fires; but long before, he'd escaped from a chain gang after a false accusation of robbery, and the entrance of blackmailer Gene Lockhart into his life sends him back to prison and puts the oil well he's drilling into Lockhart's hands. Will he prove his innocence and set things right?

Sheer hokum and aimed at 12-year-olds of all ages— Guinn Williams looks after his old boss's wife Ruth Hussey with ne'er a stray thought of his own— and scenes of a sped-up Robinson outrunning bullets are comical. But the Warners' professionalism shows all the more in routine product like this, and I was easily swept up in Robinson's plight, and the injustice of it all! Robinson gives it his all, Lockhart cackles with evil glee, and whoever wrote the climax next to a burning well deserves a $10 a week raise. Robinson would get his revenge on Lockhart two years later in the considerably more respectable The Sea Wolf, but this spent 81 minutes just fine.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 12:47 pm

Came across a cheapie, COMMON LAW WIFE (1963) [not to be confused with Russ Meyer's COMMON LAW CABIN] and decided to give it a whirl. The pre-credits sequence features wealthy 'Shugfoot Rainey' (!) (George Edgley) who reminded me a little of George C Scott (only grumpier - watch and see!) throwing out his mistress of five years (Anne MacAdams) in favour of his younger blood niece (Lacey Kelly), who has been a stripper and is on her way, complete with 'Lolita' sunglasses. To be fair to him, he does offer her money, but whether that is enough to buy a home and live on, we don't really know, although he does come across as a complete and utter pill to live with.

It seems like everyone in this Texas town seems related as the local (married) sheriff has been lusting after 'Baby Doll' for years as has the fat slob of a moonshiner who lives by the swamp. Not only that, the Old Goat's only attraction to his mercenary relative is his money (although we see his mansion from the outside we see little aside from a very spartan living room) and the fact that he seems to drink several gallons of liquor a day despite doctor's orders. MacAdams then finds that as a common-law wife she is legally as good as married to the miserable git. This part of the film then stops dead wile we watch what Baby Doll is getting up to.

Even considering the audience this is aimed at, COMMON LAW WIFE is very carelessly put together, with sudden jumps in the narrative, what looks like poor continuity, and some very awkward staging. The jazzy score is rather distracting at times, although it is effectively used in the final (SPOILER) 'ride to hell' after poor Shug has keeled over from drinking moonshine (unnecessarily, one would have thought) laced with cyanide!

Of interest mainly as an example of its kind, COMMON LAW WIFE does contain a few amusing moments and (presumably unintentionally) does have a certain documentary value.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 12:51 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Found the first Thelma Todd - ZaSu Pitts film, LET'S DO THINGS (1931) last night. The two pals work selling sheet music in this one, Todd being surrounded by nearly every chap to hand and Pitts singing off-key. Pitts also has a rather dubious boyfriend who is more interested in the contents of their ice-box than her charms. However he knows a doctor, and this interests Thelma....

A bit of a shaky start is followed by an amusing (in parts) nightclub scene, not all of which works. There also seems to be a jump cut in the scene with the dancing girls before the 'doctor' (an osteopath) decides to 'cure' their back problems. A good few laughs and nice moments, but one feels this could have been a bit better...

Saw this one at Cinefest a number of years ago, and it went over well with the crowd, as I recall. The bit about the osteopath was especially funny to me personally, as my grandfather was an osteopath in the 1910s-1920s (went to a school in Chicago to learn, practiced there, took a brief sabbatical during the First World War to fly barrage balloons over Lake Michigan), when it was a relatively new practice, and treated as quack medicine by some (including his later brother-in-law, who was in the pharmaceutical biz).


Of course there is a world of difference between watching such a movie on the small screen and in a theatre with an audience. I did have the advantage of my cat on my lap though, which has sometimes resulted in my watching more than I intended as one does not wish to move the dear little thing...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 4:21 pm

Borrowed Wives (1930) has Rex Lease in need of a wife. If he's married by midnight, his wife collects $800,000. Fortunately, he's supposed to marry Vera Reynolds, but for some reason, can't. So he pretends to be married to Nita Martan, who's Sam Hardy's secretary and cop Paul Hurst's girl friend, and they all wind up by coincidence in an Old Dark House, along with a mountain lion, from which the ladies occasionally disappear. The house, not the lion.

It's supposed to be a comedy-thriller, and given director Frank Strayer and Miss Reynolds' silent career, you'd think they would have something, but the mediocre script by Scott Darling, the slow pacing by actors in dialogue and a glue-like farcical door-slamming sequence convince me that it's still early days for sound pictures. Where the silent personnel would be comfortable miming things at a leisurely pace and undercranking hard, to make the actions dance, now they're slowing down the actions to give the audience a chance to laugh... and there isn't much to laugh at.

It's a pity, because Strayer, at least, would figure it out and wind up directing the Blondie series at Columbia for some high-speed slapstick humor, Here, though, it's pretty much a misfire.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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