What is the last film you watched? (2018)

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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 4:57 am

boblipton wrote:I have concluded that watching Old Mother Riley movies, like eating live frogs, should best be done first thing in the morning, to ensure that nothing worse will happen in your day. Unfortunately, by the time I noticed the availability for viewing of Old Mother Riley, Detective (1943), I had been up for some time, and it clashed with my dictum of getting unpleasant tasks out of the way as soon as possible.

In this one, Lancashire lad Arthur Lucan, who impersonated Old Mother Riley in drag, with his wife, Kitty McShane, playing his daughter, gets involved in tracking down black marketeers, His Majesty's police and spies being unable to do it on their own. There was clearly some money spent on this movie. Miss McShane introduces two songs, and there is a goodly amount of location shooting. Nonetheless the usual process shots, looping and other means of keeping production costs down are both obvious and destructive of any comedy.

It is true that the Old Mother Riley movies were enormously popular. Lucan had been voted the second most popular British screen personality in 1941, and he would appear as the character 17 times on the screen, with another movie planned when he collapsed on stage and died. Nonetheless, even with my old-fashioned taste for slapstick, I find the character, series and this movie irritating. The character screeches, and never ceases her stream of malapropisms; there is nothing to put me on the character's side except the writer-mandated inevitable success. The routine may have once been popular, but its time has long gone, and the lack of anything worthwhile in this film other than that outdated shtick should consign it to the trash heap.

Bob


Will have to check this out as the only copy I had (think it was 'grey market') was of such poor visual quality that it was almost impossible to follow. I suspect, however, that the shades of contemporary cinema managers would disagree with the 'trash heap' epithet, as such films were often of the type which kept the audiences coming in. They were aimed at a combination of youngsters and those who had done a long and tedious day's work in factories, shops and mines and who would have been looking for a piece of footle to relax with. And one would have watched them with several hundred other folk. Rubbish they may be, but it is a good thing that such fare should remain available for us to watch.

And one has to remember that it was often the 'Carry On' and 'Confessions' films which kept cinemas afloat in later years, and dreadful as many of them may be, it was also the TV spin-offs which kept closure at bay and even brought older patrons back to cinemas for more of what they saw on 'the telly'.

Oddly enough, as a very young fan of series such as 'Meet the Wife', I thought a film of that series would be attractive, and it was only a couple of years later that the flood commenced with TIL DEATH US DO PART in 1968. If only I'd thought to write and suggest...*

*there were a few early spin-offs from 'Life With the Lyons', 'The Grove Family', and 'The Larkins' (INN FOR TROUBLE), but it wasn't 'til a decade later that we had a great rash of them.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 5:03 am

Donald Binks wrote:If anyone was in any doubt as to the standard of picture I watch, they need have no problems in ascertaining my level when I disclose that last night I watched "Paddington 2" (2018)... ...Whilst the film is perhaps a complete lot of rot, it probably does confirm my belief that toys - especially Teddy Bears come alive at night when we humans are well away in the Land of Nod....


I can confirm this as objective truth considering the fact that things mysteriously move or disappear in my household at night. Of course the carpet still requires shampooing and other tasks remain undone, but perhaps they are considerate of the noise involved and content themselves with consuming any tasty treats and alcohol that is to hand...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 5:10 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
boblipton wrote:I have concluded that watching Old Mother Riley movies, like eating live frogs, should best be done first thing in the morning, to ensure that nothing worse will happen in your day. Unfortunately, by the time I noticed the availability for viewing of Old Mother Riley, Detective (1943), I had been up for some time, and it clashed with my dictum of getting unpleasant tasks out of the way as soon as possible.

In this one, Lancashire lad Arthur Lucan, who impersonated Old Mother Riley in drag, with his wife, Kitty McShane, playing his daughter, gets involved in tracking down black marketeers, His Majesty's police and spies being unable to do it on their own. There was clearly some money spent on this movie. Miss McShane introduces two songs, and there is a goodly amount of location shooting. Nonetheless the usual process shots, looping and other means of keeping production costs down are both obvious and destructive of any comedy.

It is true that the Old Mother Riley movies were enormously popular. Lucan had been voted the second most popular British screen personality in 1941, and he would appear as the character 17 times on the screen, with another movie planned when he collapsed on stage and died. Nonetheless, even with my old-fashioned taste for slapstick, I find the character, series and this movie irritating. The character screeches, and never ceases her stream of malapropisms; there is nothing to put me on the character's side except the writer-mandated inevitable success. The routine may have once been popular, but its time has long gone, and the lack of anything worthwhile in this film other than that outdated shtick should consign it to the trash heap.

Bob


Will have to check this out as the only copy I had (think it was 'grey market') was of such poor visual quality that it was almost impossible to follow. I suspect, however, that the shades of contemporary cinema managers would disagree with the 'trash heap' epithet, as such films were often of the type which kept the audiences coming in. They were aimed at a combination of youngsters and those who had done a long and tedious day's work in factories, shops and mines and who would have been looking for a piece of footle to relax with. And one would have watched them with several hundred other folk. Rubbish they may be, but it is a good thing that such fare should remain available for us to watch.

And one has to remember that it was often the 'Carry On' and 'Confessions' films which kept cinemas afloat in later years, and dreadful as many of them may be, it was also the TV spin-offs which kept closure at bay and even brought older patrons back to cinemas for more of what they saw on 'the telly'.

Oddly enough, as a very young fan of series such as 'Meet the Wife', I thought a film of that series would be attractive, and it was only a couple of years later that the flood commenced with TIL DEATH US DO PART in 1968. If only I'd thought to write and suggest...*

*there were a few early spin-offs from 'Life With the Lyons', 'The Grove Family', and 'The Larkins' (INN FOR TROUBLE), but it wasn't 'til a decade later that we had a great rash of them.


I'm aware of these facts. I hope that when you watch the movie, that you enjoy it. I'm afraid that my ability to enjoy such poorly executed fare ended many decades ago.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 5:21 am

Being St Patrick's Day yesterday, I watched an odd little film, THE WORKHOUSE WARD (1950-59??), from a play by Lady Gregory and featuring three of Dublin's Abbey Players. A widow woman travels to the local workhouse to bring her brother home, who is in the invalid ward. He has been busy bickering with an old neighbour, but friendship seems to appear when the lady turns up and the old grumpies decide that they both want to go! Sometimes a bit hard to follow owing to the speed of their gabbling, but with a stronger middle part.

Followed this with an early talkie I'd wanted to see for a long time, THE HOLE IN THE WALL (1929) which is of chief interest in casting together Edward G Robinson, Claudette Colbert and Donald Meek. Robinson and Meek are part of a con-artist gang who work with a phoney medium. When she is killed in a subway accident, Colbert ends up taking her place as she has a score to settle...

A bit hard to follow at times owing to a poor copy / upload, THE HOLE IN THE WALL boasts some striking sets and the odd spot of imaginative shooting (the scenes in the train, although they are rather let down by the crash) but is essentially a theatrical piece. However, I shall wait to see a better copy as this one was pretty rough visually, although the soundtrack wasn't too difficult to cope with. The credits of Robert Florey and George Folsey made me suspect that the film was shot at Paramount's Astoria studio, rather than Hollywood...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 5:32 am

boblipton wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
boblipton wrote:I have concluded that watching Old Mother Riley movies, like eating live frogs, should best be done first thing in the morning, to ensure that nothing worse will happen in your day. Unfortunately, by the time I noticed the availability for viewing of Old Mother Riley, Detective (1943), I had been up for some time, and it clashed with my dictum of getting unpleasant tasks out of the way as soon as possible.

In this one, Lancashire lad Arthur Lucan, who impersonated Old Mother Riley in drag, with his wife, Kitty McShane, playing his daughter, gets involved in tracking down black marketeers, His Majesty's police and spies being unable to do it on their own. There was clearly some money spent on this movie. Miss McShane introduces two songs, and there is a goodly amount of location shooting. Nonetheless the usual process shots, looping and other means of keeping production costs down are both obvious and destructive of any comedy.

It is true that the Old Mother Riley movies were enormously popular. Lucan had been voted the second most popular British screen personality in 1941, and he would appear as the character 17 times on the screen, with another movie planned when he collapsed on stage and died. Nonetheless, even with my old-fashioned taste for slapstick, I find the character, series and this movie irritating. The character screeches, and never ceases her stream of malapropisms; there is nothing to put me on the character's side except the writer-mandated inevitable success. The routine may have once been popular, but its time has long gone, and the lack of anything worthwhile in this film other than that outdated shtick should consign it to the trash heap.

Bob


Will have to check this out as the only copy I had (think it was 'grey market') was of such poor visual quality that it was almost impossible to follow. I suspect, however, that the shades of contemporary cinema managers would disagree with the 'trash heap' epithet, as such films were often of the type which kept the audiences coming in. They were aimed at a combination of youngsters and those who had done a long and tedious day's work in factories, shops and mines and who would have been looking for a piece of footle to relax with. And one would have watched them with several hundred other folk. Rubbish they may be, but it is a good thing that such fare should remain available for us to watch.

And one has to remember that it was often the 'Carry On' and 'Confessions' films which kept cinemas afloat in later years, and dreadful as many of them may be, it was also the TV spin-offs which kept closure at bay and even brought older patrons back to cinemas for more of what they saw on 'the telly'.

Oddly enough, as a very young fan of series such as 'Meet the Wife', I thought a film of that series would be attractive, and it was only a couple of years later that the flood commenced with TIL DEATH US DO PART in 1968. If only I'd thought to write and suggest...*

*there were a few early spin-offs from 'Life With the Lyons', 'The Grove Family', and 'The Larkins' (INN FOR TROUBLE), but it wasn't 'til a decade later that we had a great rash of them.


I'm aware of these facts. I hope that when you watch the movie, that you enjoy it. I'm afraid that my ability to enjoy such poorly executed fare ended many decades ago.

Bob


Didn't doubt that at all. I was just offering a defence of the recent re-availability of titles which may seem like just so much junk... And as so far I don't think there is a monograph on Maclean Rogers (who surely also warrants a medal), I had better earmark that a retirement project...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 7:22 am

For these reasons, let us speak no more of this matter.

Bob[/quote]

One more tidbit--I read somewhere that Mr. Lucan's grave was for years left overgrown. Maybe it's better maintained now, but what's striking is the marker (and I wildly paraphrase) that goes on about "as long as there is the laughter of children. Mother O'Reilly will be forever cherished."

Sic transit fame!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 8:01 am

Naked Alibi (1954) is a gritty noir with vicious cop Sterling Hayden fired for stalking and harassing a suspect (Gene Barry) in the murder of three cops. After he's fired, the teams up with a private eye to continue the harassment. Gene Barry, a local pieman. Barry tells his wife he's getting away for a bit and absconds to Bordertown where he meets up with local floozy Gloria Grahame and lives it up as a party animal. Of course Hayden follows him. One of the highlights is Grahame singing (dubbed) a sultry "Ace in the Hole."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 8:09 am

Watched a half-way decent "B" from Chesterfield called "Circumstantial Evidence" (1935) with Chick Chandler, Shirley Grey, Arthur Vinton, Claude King, Dorothy Revier, and others. Actually, the "others" were fun to try to spot. Some, like Lafe McKee as a jury foreman were easy, but I just barely saw Barbara Bedford as a secretary. Robert Elliott, though not listed, was easy: he's always a tough cop or a newspaper editor; here he's the tough cop. Anyway, the film was gripping, though the topic was presented in a premise that couldn't, wouldn't, or shouldn't happen in a million years. A man goes to prison for murder on circumstantial evidence; he's sentenced to death and dies. Chandler, ever the crusading newspaperman, decides to plan a ruse with another in the film and "kill" the other; be sentenced to death on circumstantial evidence. The idea is to show that the death penalty is NOT a good verdict for circumstantial evidence cases in case they are found to be incorrect later. But...the "other" really does get shot! Chandler IS convicted; IS sentenced to death... Interesting ending, to say the least. Good film. Unfortunately, trying to find a really great print is not going to be easy. This one is one of the four films on one of the "Mystery Classics" DVDs that are a large series of mostly "B" films from poverty row producers. The condition of some of the films is not necessarily very good. This was watchable, but the sound at times had artifacts literally clanging in it! Oh, well, a fine film for what it was. Just play along in your head with the plot. If Chick Chandler wishes to put himself in such a position, let him. I don't think too many would...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 3:03 pm

A Face In The Crowd (1957) with Andy Griffith. I finally saw it today, after a few times in the past of starting to watch it then giving up for no real reason. Andy was very good, of course. All I've ever seen him in was his show. To see him as some rotten, lying, horn dog character was very interesting to see. And he was very intense. Good actor! Good movie.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 3:15 pm

I took a break from binge-watching Eight out of Ten Cats Does Countdown to look at Return to Glennascaul (1953), a short film shot during breaks from Orson Welles' Othello. Mr. Welles picks up a stranded motorist who proceeds to tell him a quick creepy-crawly about the time he had picked up two ladies to drive home, had left his cigarette case, and had returned to find the place deserted.

It's written and directed by Welles' old mentor from the Gate Theater, Hilton Edwards, and is mostly interesting for its associations. It's an exercise in atmosphere, maintained by being shot in night and in the rain, by a score that consists of a harp, and straightforward performances. Fans of Mr. Welles will want to see it, of course, but while it's certainly fine, it telegraphs its message early on.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 5:38 pm

In Flight of the Doves (1971), siblings Jack Wild and Helen Raye run away from their cruel uncle/guardian, William Rushton, to seek refuge with their grandmother, Dorothy Maguire. At the same time, a relative has died and left them an income of $10,000 a year. The secondary heir is Ron Moody, a hammy actor given to elaborate makeup. The two children go on a junior bildungsroman across Ireland, pursued by their greedy elders and the Garda.

In broad outline, it looks a lot like the sort of live-action movie that the Disney company was making at the time, but with a better budget, director Ralph Nelson turns out a much more visually interesting film. Unlike the Disney product of the era, it's not shot on studio stages, but very clearly in location in Ireland, and benefits immensely from that. If the rather standard 1970s score by Roy Budd is a bit annoying, and the performances are occasionally a little too broad, it's still a solid children's story with some beautiful visuals.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Mar 18, 2018 7:50 pm

I'd never heard of this film, or if I had, I'd blotted it out. The Kings of the Sun (1963) tells the bizarre tale of the Mayans being attacked from the west and fleeing across the sea (the Gulf of Mexico) and landing in a strange new world (Texas) where they quickly build a ziggurat and an irrigation ditch for their crops. But they are not alone. A local Indian clan decides they are likely to be problem so the chief (Yul Brynner) goes for a closer look. He gets captured so the high priest (Richard Basehart) decrees he should be sacrificed to ensure a good crops. But the wishy washy king (George Chakiris) wants to do away with the human sacrifice bit. Chakiris and Brynner then become rivals for a Mayan maiden (Shirley Anne Field) but forget their feud when the Westerners show up of the horizon (literally). The two groups band together to defeat the marauders but at a great cost. Odd casting to say the least had Chakiris a last-minute replacement for Anthony Quinn. Field in a black wig looks about as Mayan as I do. The NY Times accused of Basehart (in his massive gray wig) of looking like Maria Ouspenskaya. It's interesting and Brynner turns in an excellent performance, but it just never looks or feels right.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Mar 19, 2018 12:03 pm

Deathtrap (1982) is a screen adaption of a wonderfully witty play. Director Sidney Lumet and writer Jay Presson Allen opened up the play at the beginning and the end, but the bulk of the middle is just a whodunit (or who's-going-to-do-it) with five characters. Michael Caine plays a washed-up mystery playwright who decides that murdering an up-and-coming playright (Christopher Reeve) is the best path to career success. Dyan Cannon plays his loving but nervous wife. (She was unjustly nominated for a Razzie for her performance). Irene Worth plays a psychic neighbor, Helga ten Dorp, who seems to always show up unexpectedly and ruin everyone's murderous plans. I can't say anymore other than the murders become the victims, and vice-versa.

Sidney Lumet's film is mostly filmed in one country home and the surrounding grounds, but he uses camera movement and and interesting cuts to keep the film interesting. The Warner Archive BluRay has absolutely beautiful colors, that contrast with the dark motives of the main characters. The producers bought rights to the play with a condition much like Arsenic and Old Lace where they could not produce the film until after the play had been running for four years. However, after four years, the play was still running strong, so the film actually uses the Music Box Theater in New York for some beginning and ending scenes with the sets of the actual play.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Mar 19, 2018 1:40 pm

A very pleasing find in a very nice copy (aside from some cropping) was THE CISCO KID (1931), the first sequel to IN OLD ARIZONA (1929). Warner Baxter again plays the noble bandit, and Edmund Lowe the cavalry sergeant who is on his trail. Both sides are in trios (with Chris [Chris-Pin] Martin as one of Baxter's sidekicks) so allowing for a fair bit of interplay. Throw in Conchita Montenegro as his alluring lady love and Nora Lane as the nice widow-woman facing homelessness and you have a handsomely shot (by Barney McGill) and entertaining piece of nonsense whose plot was perhaps less familiar in 1931.

Some of the early shots have a striking fluidity which may be McGill's contribution rather than director Irving Cummings, but like Shakespeare and Bacon, this doesn't detract from the enjoyment of this brief and rarely-seen feature which I managed to find almost by accident..
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Mar 19, 2018 2:39 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:A very pleasing find in a very nice copy (aside from some cropping) was THE CISCO KID (1931), the first sequel to IN OLD ARIZONA (1929). Warner Baxter again plays the noble bandit, and Edmund Lowe the cavalry sergeant who is on his trail. Both sides are in trios (with Chris [Chris-Pin] Martin as one of Baxter's sidekicks) so allowing for a fair bit of interplay. Throw in Conchita Montenegro as his alluring lady love and Nora Lane as the nice widow-woman facing homelessness and you have a handsomely shot (by Barney McGill) and entertaining piece of nonsense whose plot was perhaps less familiar in 1931.

Some of the early shots have a striking fluidity which may be McGill's contribution rather than director Irving Cummings, but like Shakespeare and Bacon, this doesn't detract from the enjoyment of this brief and rarely-seen feature which I managed to find almost by accident..

I've always like "The Cisco Kid" a great deal. The original, "In Old Arizona", always has sound problems that won't go away, no matter how good the print. There was, actually, a "middle" film, although the character is called The Arizona Kid in an eponymous film (1930). I've never been able to find a good print, but the story's pretty decent. With a very young Carole Lombard (Carol in those days!), it's fun to watch. Too bad all the prints available (all bootlegs, no doubt) stink. But I think "The Cisco Kid" is a fine follow-up to "In Old Arizona". Baxter followed up again in "The Return of the Cisco Kid" in 1939, but it's pretty stagnant. The follow-ups after the last Baxter starring vehicle with Cesar Romero (who was also in the last Baxter portrayal of the Kid) later are actually pretty fun, too, although the budgets for those were obviously much less.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Mar 19, 2018 3:26 pm

A good way to wind up my old friend Dennis Casey is to start talking about the old Irish politicians in New York City. This will set him off into a red-faced rant about them sitting around the club house, getting plastered on Guinness and Bushmill and practicing their brogues to charm his elderly relatives. He will then give an impersonation, which will sound like every character in Kathleen Mouvourneen (1930)... ending with his singing, in a fine tenor, the song whose title this movie borrows.

That's what this 1930 movie from Tiffany-Stahl is like: every last hackneyed sentimental idea of the Irish, without a hint of self-aware humor in it, as Sally O'Neill (with a stage Irish accent covering her usual Bayonne voice), coming over from Ireland to marry her plumber lover, only to be courted by every last Tammany politician who spots her in her white party dress.

It's an ambitious, creaky musical from te dawn of the sound era, and doesn't wear well for these cynical times, but if you've got a sentimental streak wider than the fields of the Emerald Isle -- or have drunk enough Guinness and Bushmill, sure and you'll wind up in happy tears, like Dennis always does.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Mar 19, 2018 3:48 pm

Trying to get around some of my cinematic blind spots, I finally watched my first Eric Rohmer film, My Night at Maud's (1969) which took a while to click with me, but after some initial discussion of Pascal and Catholicism by male stars Jean-Louis Trintignant and Antoine Vitez, the film drew me in once we get to the home of Maud, played by the fascinating Francoise Fabian, and the conversation took a more personal turn. The addition of the luminous Marie-Christine Barrault as the object of Trintignant's adoration didn't hurt either. I can see why this is cited as a main influence on Richard Linklater's chatty trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

And because I was in the thrall of some sort of existential ennui on the weekend, I also took my first crack at Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte (1961) where poor Marcello Mastroianni has to choose between wife Jeanne Moreau and his future boss's daughter, Monica Vitti. Decisions, decisions...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Mar 19, 2018 4:43 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:
And because I was in the thrall of some sort of existential ennui on the weekend, I also took my first crack at Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte (1961) where poor Marcello Mastroianni has to choose between wife Jeanne Moreau and his future boss's daughter, Monica Vitti. Decisions, decisions...


Saw this years ago. My takeaway--young women who do not know how to walk in high heels need to see this film as an instructional course. I found nothing else memorable aside from Monica Vitti's oddly occupying herself by sliding her compact across the floor, presumably to alleviate boredom. Looks like she wasn't getting much out of the movie either.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Mar 20, 2018 10:53 am

greta de groat wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:And because I was in the thrall of some sort of existential ennui on the weekend, I also took my first crack at Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte (1961) where poor Marcello Mastroianni has to choose between wife Jeanne Moreau and his future boss's daughter, Monica Vitti. Decisions, decisions...


Saw this years ago. My takeaway--young women who do not know how to walk in high heels need to see this film as an instructional course. I found nothing else memorable aside from Monica Vitti's oddly occupying herself by sliding her compact across the floor, presumably to alleviate boredom. Looks like she wasn't getting much out of the movie either.

On the plus side, I could just stare at Jeanne Moreau wandering aimlessly around Milan in a floral print dress for hours on end, so there's that going for it.

Out of personal interest, it was fun scanning the frame for Italian scooters anytime the characters were out in traffic. More Vespas than Lambrettas, I noticed (and probably no one else has).
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Mar 20, 2018 1:40 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:A very pleasing find in a very nice copy (aside from some cropping) was THE CISCO KID (1931), the first sequel to IN OLD ARIZONA (1929). Warner Baxter again plays the noble bandit, and Edmund Lowe the cavalry sergeant who is on his trail. Both sides are in trios (with Chris [Chris-Pin] Martin as one of Baxter's sidekicks) so allowing for a fair bit of interplay. Throw in Conchita Montenegro as his alluring lady love and Nora Lane as the nice widow-woman facing homelessness and you have a handsomely shot (by Barney McGill) and entertaining piece of nonsense whose plot was perhaps less familiar in 1931.

Some of the early shots have a striking fluidity which may be McGill's contribution rather than director Irving Cummings, but like Shakespeare and Bacon, this doesn't detract from the enjoyment of this brief and rarely-seen feature which I managed to find almost by accident..

I've always like "The Cisco Kid" a great deal. The original, "In Old Arizona", always has sound problems that won't go away, no matter how good the print. There was, actually, a "middle" film, although the character is called The Arizona Kid in an eponymous film (1930). I've never been able to find a good print, but the story's pretty decent. With a very young Carole Lombard (Carol in those days!), it's fun to watch. Too bad all the prints available (all bootlegs, no doubt) stink. But I think "The Cisco Kid" is a fine follow-up to "In Old Arizona". Baxter followed up again in "The Return of the Cisco Kid" in 1939, but it's pretty stagnant. The follow-ups after the last Baxter starring vehicle with Cesar Romero (who was also in the last Baxter portrayal of the Kid) later are actually pretty fun, too, although the budgets for those were obviously much less.


Thanks for the update on THE ARIZONA KID, which I didn't know was extant. Perhaps the better copies (and negative) were casualties of the Fox fire in 1937...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Mar 20, 2018 2:02 pm

Another rarity from RKO was SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE (1929) which has author Richard Dix accepting a $5,000 bet (perhaps £50,000 in today's money) that he can't spend twenty-four hours in a spooky old house and write a novel, to boot. Before leaving, he falls for a glamorous journalist*...

Upon arriving, he is told he has the only key to the place, but before long, a string of very dodgy characters find their way to the place with highly confusing and increasingly ridiculous results (SPOILERS WITHHELD)... From Earl Derr Biggers's novel (also adapted by George M Cohan), this is a very talky, but at times amusing spoof of the 'old dark house' sub-genre, and is also an influence on SEVEN FOOTPRINTS TO SATAN in one of its twists.

*Mary, played by Miriam Seegar, inspires Dix's remark, "Mary [didn't catch a word here] - the sweetest name in the world.", which echoes Cohan's song 'Mary's a Grand Old Name'...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Mar 20, 2018 6:30 pm

When Haru No Yume (1960) aka Spring Dreams begins with a poor sweet-potato seller collapsing in the house of a rich industrialist, and his self-obsessed family acting their worst around him, you can't help but think this is going to be a Japanese version of Boudu Sauvé des Eaux . Indeed, for a long time it proceeds that way, and it's clear that Keisuke Kinoshita had begun his movie with Renoir's as a ground plan. However, his center-of-the-storm is Chishu Ryu, not that marvelous monster Michel Simon, so in the end the story flows differently. Story is, after all, about how characters behave and change in situations, and this movie's Christ-figure is nothing at all like Renoir's.

Visually, this movie is striking for the set design and colors. It begins with subdued colors, taupes and beiges and grey-painted walls, all shot head-on so that everything is neat and symmetric and dead. As the movie proceeds and actual emotions begin to make themselves felt, pinks begin to intrude and shapes comes to disturb that dead symmetry. The story is rarely surprising, but it is well performed and always wonderfully watchable.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Mar 20, 2018 7:51 pm

Downsizing. How do I wash off the stench? Yet another 90-minute movie packed into 135 minutes. It wasn't funny. It wasn't sci-fi. It wasn't rom-com. It wasn't satire. What it was was bad. The only interesting bit happened off screen: the guy whose head exploded because they didn't take his teeth out before they shrank him. I kept praying for a cat or a snake to put these people out of their miseries.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Mar 21, 2018 3:01 pm

While in helLA doing research I finally got to see the UCLA version of Ingagi (1930) from a hideous transfer. It's definitely the post-cuts version but happily does still include the Tortadillo sequence so it's got that going for it. It picks up at the end of reel 4 and does actually include some of the reel 8 stuff in a heavily butchered sequence, but you do still get a hint of the ape/woman lechery although I think you'd have to know what originally transpired to make heads or tails out of it.

It's nice to know some original reel 8 sound might still be salvageable should the LoC try to put something together. (I finally got my sound discs of reels 1 - 7 off to them, so their silent print might one day be somewhat complete, as I believe they have the full 8 reels, which quite possibly might be from the original release, but I don't know for sure.)

Quite pleased to at least partially check this infamous film off the list.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Mar 22, 2018 7:00 am

oldposterho wrote:While in helLA doing research I finally got to see the UCLA version of Ingagi (1930) from a hideous transfer. It's definitely the post-cuts version but happily does still include the Tortadillo sequence so it's got that going for it. It picks up at the end of reel 4 and does actually include some of the reel 8 stuff in a heavily butchered sequence, but you do still get a hint of the ape/woman lechery although I think you'd have to know what originally transpired to make heads or tails out of it.

It's nice to know some original reel 8 sound might still be salvageable should the LoC try to put something together. (I finally got my sound discs of reels 1 - 7 off to them, so their silent print might one day be somewhat complete, as I believe they have the full 8 reels, which quite possibly might be from the original release, but I don't know for sure.)

Quite pleased to at least partially check this infamous film off the list.

Reading the original Variety review from 1930, the last two lines in particular are telling: "Passed by the censors here. The suggestiveness of the gorilla scenes most effective draw." Other non-PC lines include: "The ape women are seen completely naked, but shadowed in a clearing, with the camera's vision obstructed by thickets. They are not as black as expected for the jungle." The "ape women" spoken of are not gorillas, but black people who are under the "rule" of the gorilla!! The review is available online from the IMDb in the 'Original Reviews' button on the side.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Mar 22, 2018 7:27 am

Caught a somewhat obscure Pre-Code Columbia, East of 5th Avenue (1933), recording the adventures of a group of boarding house residents. It's melodrama, with occasional comedy overtones and globs and globs of sentiment. Wallace Ford is the annoying young man who is a gambler who can't stop. Dorothy Tree is the girl he knocked up, and Mary Carlisle is conniving trollop he married. Stir in elderly couple Walter Connoly (nice performance) and Louise Carter, a subplot about a bogus hair restorer remedy, an annoying unpublished poet, and you have one of those slice of life movies that attempted to transfer the Grand Hotel approach to a different setting. It isn't bad -- but one of the things that eludes me about certain early 30s movies is why icky, unpleasant men of the Norman Foster ilk (Wallace Ford in this case) are supposed to be desirable marriage partners.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Mar 22, 2018 11:19 am

The Black Hand Gang 1930.Wee Georgie Wood,then aged 36 romancing a young girl who must have been about 10.Well that how they did it back then.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Mar 22, 2018 7:28 pm

1957 was the year of Helen Morgan although she had died in 1941. Warners was planning a Helen Morgan biopic and Polly Bergen had won an Emmy for a Playhouse 90 version of the singer's life. Bergen would have been a good choice and had appeared in about 10 movies since 1950, including the 3D rodeo movie Arena. But Warners gave the juicy role to Ann Blyth and promptly dubbed her singing voice with Gogi Grant's. Blyth was quite good in the role, but the dubbed singing was not a good idea. Anyway, Bergen's TV version is now on YT in a lousy (par for the course for 50s TV relics) grainy copy. Sketchy story traces Morgan's rise to the top in smoky speakeasys to working on Broadway with George White and Flo Ziegfeld (her movies are never mentioned). Bergen perches on a piano and belts out several of Morgan's standards. Despite the sketchy story and lousy print, it's still a good story. Bergen is terrific. Sylvia Sidney plays her mother, Hoagy Carmichael her mentor, Ronnie Burns (remember him?) plays a husband, Reginald Denny plays George White, Benay Venuta plays Texas Guinan.
Last edited by drednm on Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Mar 23, 2018 12:28 pm

drednm wrote:1957 was the year of Helen Morgan although she had died in 1941. Warners was planning a Helen Morgan biopic and Polly Bergen had won an Emmy for a Playhouse 90 version of the singer's life. Bergen would have been a good choice and had appeared in about 10 movies since 1950, including the 3D rodeo movie Arena. But Warners gave the juicy role to Ann Blyth and promptly dubber her singing voice with Gogi Grant's. Blyth was quite good in the role, but the dubbed singing was not a good idea. Anyway, Bergen's TV version is now on YT in a lousy (par for the course for 50s TV relics) grainy copy. Sketchy story traces Morgan's rise to the top in smoky speakeasys to working on Broadway with George White and Flo Ziegfeld (her movies are never mentioned). Bergen perches on a piano and belts out several of Morgan's standards. Despite the sketchy story and lousy print, it's still a good story. Bergen is terrific. Sylvia Sidney plays her mother, Hoagy Carmichael her mentor, Ronnie Burns (remember him?) plays a husband, Reginald Denny plays George White, Benay Venuta plays Texas Guinan.


Yes, the Playhouse 90 version is infinitely superior to the WB film. Even more impressive, Bergen and company did it all live (the last Playhouse 90 production to do so.)

The main issue with both renditions is that so many people (Morgan's lovers and husbands, etc.) were still alive and both productions feared libel cases. The TV version opted to change names but keep most of the relationships simplified but essentially truthful.

Warners chose to throw everything out the window and create a new story out of whole cloth. Yes, most show-biz biopics of the era (Love Me or Leave Me, The Eddie Cantor Story, etc. ) play fast and loose with the truth, but this one is a lulu.

Pity because Ann Blyth is pretty good in the title role. Regarding her dubbing - the saddest thing is that Blyth was an accomplished singer on her own and her voice was a closer match to Morgan than either Bergen or Grant.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Mar 23, 2018 12:45 pm

Harlett O'Dowd wrote:
drednm wrote:1957 was the year of Helen Morgan although she had died in 1941. Warners was planning a Helen Morgan biopic and Polly Bergen had won an Emmy for a Playhouse 90 version of the singer's life. Bergen would have been a good choice and had appeared in about 10 movies since 1950, including the 3D rodeo movie Arena. But Warners gave the juicy role to Ann Blyth and promptly dubber her singing voice with Gogi Grant's. Blyth was quite good in the role, but the dubbed singing was not a good idea. Anyway, Bergen's TV version is now on YT in a lousy (par for the course for 50s TV relics) grainy copy. Sketchy story traces Morgan's rise to the top in smoky speakeasys to working on Broadway with George White and Flo Ziegfeld (her movies are never mentioned). Bergen perches on a piano and belts out several of Morgan's standards. Despite the sketchy story and lousy print, it's still a good story. Bergen is terrific. Sylvia Sidney plays her mother, Hoagy Carmichael her mentor, Ronnie Burns (remember him?) plays a husband, Reginald Denny plays George White, Benay Venuta plays Texas Guinan.


Yes, the Playhouse 90 version is infinitely superior to the WB film. Even more impressive, Bergen and company did it all live (the last Playhouse 90 production to do so.)

The main issue with both renditions is that so many people (Morgan's lovers and husbands, etc.) were still alive and both productions feared libel cases. The TV version opted to change names but keep most of the relationships simplified but essentially truthful.

Warners chose to throw everything out the window and create a new story out of whole cloth. Yes, most show-biz biopics of the era (Love Me or Leave Me, The Eddie Cantor Story, etc. ) play fast and loose with the truth, but this one is a lulu.

Pity because Ann Blyth is pretty good in the title role. Regarding her dubbing - the saddest thing is that Blyth was an accomplished singer on her own and her voice was a closer match to Morgan than either Bergen or Grant.


Glad I finally got to see it. Quite astonishing for a live production. The "story" was credited to Morgan's mother, Lulu Morgan, who also had a motive for cleaning up things (unless the censors were watching this one closely).
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