What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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

PostFri Jul 28, 2017 5:30 pm

Michael Powell must have been gaining a reputation for directing movies efficiently by the time he made The Love Test. He had already been trusted with directing Leslie Banks and Ian Hunter when he was lent to Fox English unit for this pleasant programmer.

When Gilbert Davis comes down with the hiccoughs, he must resign as head of the project to develop a fireproof celluloid. He recommends as his replacement the best chemist working under him, Judy Gunn. This does not please David Hutcheson, who makes some Male Chauvinist Pig remarks and order Louis Hayward to distract her by courting her. Of course, they fall in love, and of course Hutcheson decides to cut Hayward out after he has warmed up the cold fish.

It sounds almost modern in its discussion of men, does it not? Well, it falls into the all-too-neat routines of romantic comedy, but it certainly didn't hurt Louis Hayward's career. The movie, which turned up in the early 1990s times in at barely more than an hour. It seems a totally unremarkable film, and probably didn't add much to Powell's reputation at the time.... except as a man who could get a decent film done on budget. That's never a bad thing.

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

PostFri Jul 28, 2017 7:58 pm

The Sunshine Boys (1996) update probably looked good on paper and it has some funny moments, but the updating of the story doesn't make much sense. In the Neil Simon original, Lewis & Clark were old Vaudeville stars decades after their career. In this version, they are (apparently) nightclub stars who did some TV, but saying they were a team for 23 years makes it look like they didn't start out until they were 40. The story needs the Vaudeville backstory.

Peter Falk is badly made up and overacts his Walter Matthau impression. Woody Allen plays a subdued version of himself and doesn't try to channel George Burns. Allen wins. Sarah Jessica Parker doesn't have the right dynamic for a struggling agent saddled with Uncle Willie, and changing the character from a nephew (Richard Benjamin) to a niece, adds nothing. Still, there are some good lines and some good NEW lines .

For the next incarnation, I'd like to see them go back to the original story and bring on Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. They missed their big chance for The Sunshine Girls with Bea Arthur's death. She would have made a great Matthau.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Jul 28, 2017 11:11 pm

Caught up tonight with KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (2016), which I'd missed theatrically last year. Wow, what a really amazing, inventive, film with a truly imaginative story and incredible blend of artistic animation using puppets, models and CGI seamlessly blended together! The involving fantasy-adventure coming-of-age story combines Japanese tradition, folklore, and horror elements in such an engaging way it's impossible to take your eyes from the screen and all but impossible to predict what will come next. This complex, nuanced character study is not a film for small children. It's definitely for adults and maybe a mature age 11-12 and up, especially those with some familiarity watching Japanese films. The ending comes quickly and abruptly, but works overall, if perhaps a small letdown from all that came before.

Picture and sound quality are excellent, but the 3-D starts out great and gradually seems to almost fade away into 2-D for later scenes.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Jul 29, 2017 5:17 pm

Clifford Mollinson has been kicked out of football (the British variety) because he kicked a fan by accident. A couple of years later, he finds himself in Highbury with a ticket for a French lottery. He uses it to pay a bar bill to Gordon Harker, then discovers it is the winning ticket -- fourteen thousand pounds, and only Joan Wyndham to help him recover it.

I was struck that The Lucky Number (1932), directed by Anthony Asquith, looked like a Hitchcock comedy -- if Hitchcock ever directed a sentimental musical comedy. Part of the reason is the dark cinematography, a lot of it shot around Highbury after dark, by German cameraman Gunther Krampf and Hitchcock camera operator Derick Williams. It's far too silly for Hitchcock, whose comedies tended towards the lugubrious, but charming for all of that. For Arsenal fans, there is a closing montage of a game with several of the current players on the field. Joe Hayman also has a funny turn as a very Jewish pawn broker named MacDonald.

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

PostSat Jul 29, 2017 7:50 pm

"The Man Who Finally Died" (1963) is a mystery drama that narrowly misses being a run of the mill entertainment. It achieves some degree of superiority in that (a) it is set in Germany (big deal) (b) it has an intriguing plot where we are guessing from the get go (c) it comes to fruition with an interesting twist and (d) it has some good actors in it. That is not to say that there are some elements in it which could have been better. At times, in the first few reels it is a bit hard to follow and we, the audience, have quite a few questions which we want answered pretty quickly.

Stanley Baker is the lead and plays in his usually non-smiling, acerbic style. He is though quite effective. Peter Cushing is a doctor who is mysterious and seemingly a villain (what else would he play?) and Eric Portman is a rather aggressive and callous policeman. To even things up we have Mai Zetterling and Georgina Ward loitering around for glamour purposes. Those who are observant will notice Brian Wilde - before he became part of some well-loved television series.
Last edited by Donald Binks on Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Jul 29, 2017 8:04 pm

"The Kiss Before the Mirror" (1933) attracted me because it was directed by James Whale. I wanted to see if he had left his mark. He had. The opening scene is very reminiscent of a scene in "Frankenstein" where there is a hill in silhouette against the sky and someone walking down it. Apart from that there are momentary glimpses of his style.

Those who are used to the comedic Frank Morgan will be in for a shock for in this he is playing it very straight indeed - and very well too I might add.

The story is rather trite and old-fashioned for today's audiences, bound up in what was once considered right and proper. That aside, it is still an effective drama and I found it very watchable.

We are in Vienna between the wars. A man (Paul Lucas) has shot his Missus (Gloria Stuart) for being unfaithful. The paramour involved is Walter Pidgeon in a small part. Lucas' friend (Frank Morgan) is a barrister and is to defend him against a charge of murder, but, he sees in the case, a similarity in his own life. Is his own wife (Nancy Carroll) being unfaithful to him?

One makes allowances for the period of time and even so, the film moves briskly with a tight script. It is very well photographed and I liked the sweeping scenes where the camera is dollied between rooms for instance. The courtroom scene is very effective and dramatic and Frank Morgan proves himself the equal of Lionel Barrymore in heroic speech-making.

As Frank Morgan's clerk, Charley Grapewin lends a small presence of a comedy nature - but nothing too overt such as to spoil the overall dramatic intent of the picture.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Jul 29, 2017 8:11 pm

"Wakefield" (2016) is about a husband (Bryan Cranston) who starts to go to work one day but finds himself in the garage attic where he decides to stay for months on end watching the goings on in his household. Nothing much to go on here and that is evidenced in what comes out in the film. In a way it is somewhat reminiscent of "Rear Window" in essence but doesn't go even halfway towards meeting that picture's overall effect. This picture becomes boring and rather tedious after a while and we give up caring what happens.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Jul 29, 2017 8:20 pm

My friend Louis de Funes, whom I now consider to be part of the family after watching so many of his films in the past few months, was teamed up with Gerard Oury in "Le Corniaud" in 1963. ("The Sucker")

"In this Franco-Italian gangster parody, a shop-keeper on his way to an Italian holiday suffers a crash which totals his car. The culprit can only compensate his ruined trip by driving an American friend's imported Cadillac from Naples to Bordeaux, but as it happens to be filled with such contraband as stolen money, jewelry and drugs, the involuntary and unwitting companions in crime soon attract all but recreational attention from the "milieu"."

Another very contrived plot, but an excuse for many comedic scenes, some of which work and some of which are a little bit yawn invoking. M.Oury is supposed to be a funny man as good as M. de Funes - well maybe the French can see something more in him than I can? To me he was just so-so and more of a straight man to M. de Funes usual tom-foolery.

This picture plays OK, but is given up to too many side-tracks which slow it down and de-emphasise the comedy. Had it had a concentration on the main theme it would have been a world-beater.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 1:08 am

Speaking of de Funes;Have you seen La Grande Vadrouill or "The Great Stroll"; originally released in the United States as Don't Look Now... We're Being Shot At! (1966). To those of you who have seen the British sitcom 'Allo 'Allo this may be the French original :wink: ( ordinary French people try to help RAF pilots return home) .
Maybe not a masterpiece, but quite enjoyable .
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 1:11 am

sherry wrote:Speaking of de Funes;Have you seen La Grande Vadrouill or "The Great Stroll"; originally released in the United States as Don't Look Now... We're Being Shot At! (1966). To those of you who have seen the British sitcom 'Allo 'Allo this may be the French original :wink: ( ordinary French people try to help RAF pilots return home) .
Maybe not a masterpiece, but quite enjoyable .


It's in the pile - I ain't got to it as yet! But shall look forward to it.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 6:20 am

Richard Curtis says:

If you write a story about a soldier going AWOL and kidnapping a pregnant woman and finally shooting her in the head, it's called searingly realistic, even though it's never happened in the history of mankind. Whereas if you write about two people falling in love, which happens about a million times a day all over the world, for some reason or another, you're accused of writing something unrealistic and sentimental.




As for me, I am very fond of romantic comedies, because they are comedies and romantic. Even so, I have to admit it's been a weak couple of decades in the genre, so much so that the competent The Big Sick with its Abie's-Irish-Rose plot and a few good jokes and great performances (by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) is being hailed as some sort of masterpiece. Don't get me wrong. I thought it very good, but there seems to be only two points on the "rocks or sux" continuum these days.

Anyway, before heading off this morning to see Atomic Blonde with my cousin, I took a look at a couple of romantic comedies I've seen before. Beauty and the Boss (1932) is based on one of the translations of The Church Mouse, produced during Warner's "snappy patter" phase, and by G-d, does the patter ever snap. Warren Williams is fine, Marian Marsh is competent, and Charles Butterworth has some of the best lines which work in his befuddled fashion. However, the speed with which the dialogue moves merely emphasized the place it would end. I enjoyed it, but mostly for the Miss Marsh's first scene and for Mr. Butterworth.

The other was of much more recent vintage -- or as another, maple-syrup-producing cousin would have it, "arborage" -- and it's 2006's Hitch. Yes, you know that Will Smith is going to end up with man-shy Eva Mendes, but there is a nice point of characterization: Smith starts out looking a lot like a sociopath in his chosen profession of helping men score with women. It's never quite clear if he is a minor-grade sociopath until te end, albeit one with professional ethics.

Of course, in the conception of romantic comedy, it's almost impossible for the lead to be both a clown and romantic; that's usually left to the second banana, played here by Kevin James. I like Kevin James in several of his roles, even though it's often hard for him in his leading roles. Here, as a doofus in love with the implausibly rich Amber Valletta, he gets some nicely performed pratfalls and permits Smith to be very charming in a psychopathic way. Director Andy Tennant manages a very engaging comedy, with enough gags to impel me to watch this again. Higher praise I cannot think of.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 8:19 am

Finally caught up with the remarkable Hard Eight (1996), the first feature film by Paul Thomas Anderson. It's a gritty mystery about a mysterious middle-aged man (Philip Baker Hall) who approaches a destitute younger man (John C. Reilly) and offers to buy him coffee and cigarettes. This odd opening sends warning signals of all kinds, but as the men talk over coffee, the older man offers to take the younger guy to Las Vegas (it might have been Reno) and teach him some gambling tricks. Character study follows their tricking the casinos out of small perks (perqs?) while never making enough to gain unwanted attention. Things go well until a waitress/hooker (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a big-time gambler (Samuel L. Jackson) show up. Philip Seymour Hoffman has a showy cameo as an over-the-top gambler shooting craps. Deadpan actor Philip Baker Hall is extraordinary in the starring role.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 3:05 pm

I used to think that the quintessential 1970s movie was The Omega Man, for the combination of Charlton Heston as The Last Literate Square on Earth and the hippie gang of zombie mutants whatever under Manson-like cult leader Anthony Zerbe; if it seems like a weaponized All in the Family, know that the romance in the picture is between Heston and sexy-Afro'd black chick Rosalind Cash.

But I have a new candidate now: Freebie and the Bean, a sort of 1974 comedy action thing by the semi-mysterious Richard Rush, who made Psych-Out for Roger Corman, won Peter O'Toole an Oscar nomination for The Stunt Man (inspired by his work with stuntman Chuck Bail on this film), and otherwise was one of those people who seemed known to all the critics, though it's hard to know exactly what for.

James Caan and Alan Arkin are buddy cops, Caan's called Freebie because he shakes the world down for small graft, Arkin is Bean because he's Mexican-born (though even in 1974, Arkin doesn't speak with a We don't need no steenkin' badges accent). They have a good relationship based on a mutual love of Dirty Harryesque abuse of Constitutional principles and suspects, though Bean finds Caan's love of wildly cartoonish car chases to be a bit stressful. They have word that a big time mobster (Jack Kruschen of The Apartment fame) is going to get bumped off; since they've been digging through his garbage looking for evidence against him for 14 months, they want to keep him alive long enough to nail him, so they start dogging his every move, in a manner not too far removed from Harpo tailing Edgar Kennedy in Duck Soup. Along the way...

Look, trying to describe everything that happens in this movie would just make you think that I fell asleep during one movie and woke up during another. There's a gritty, grimy view of a San Francisco that seems to be made up mainly of adult bookstores. There are three elaborate chase sequences which rival this year's Baby Driver, or maybe Airplane!, for sheer self-amused goofiness with an action budget. There's a cynical 70s view of the world that makes Easy Rider seem optimistic, and some rather sour psychosexual stuff about homosexuals (reminiscent of Rush's last film, the big dud The Color of Night), and a grim ending, and another ending that seems to be tacked on to lighten the previous one, and there's Loretta Swit of M*A*S*H third-billed in a part so small you suspect more of it was cut in the editing room, and a whole sequence about Bean suspecting his wife (Valerie Harper of Rhoda) of infidelity that seems way out of left field, and lots of character actors of deeply plain visages who could never get cast today (Mike Kellin, Paul Koslo, etc.)

It is a mess. And my son and I laughed wildly through most of it. If the last reel or two was lost, it would be considered one of the great comedies of the 70s, tragically incomplete. Warner put it out on VOD, which makes Laszlo Kovacs' cinematography look ten times better than any print in theaters ever did, I'm sure.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 3:37 pm

Mike Gebert wrote: Freebie and the Bean, a sort of 1974 comedy action thing ....


Gad! I remember seeing this at the pictures! And, I remember it for all the wrong reasons! It was the first in now a long line of American pictures where I found the dialogue totally incomprehensible. :D
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 5:34 pm

I revisited "Love Happy" (1949). It has been so long since I have last seen it, it was if I was looking at it for the first time for the most part - it was only when the roof top chase scenes started towards the end that I had recollections.

This film starring the Marx Brothers you would think would be a sure-fire winner and filled with laughter provoking scenes. Unfortunately it isn't and I think that the reasons can be thus:- Groucho is only a periphery character and doesn't actually join his brothers in any nonsense, he is merely a narrator; the supporting cast does nothing to lift the picture from the level of mediocre or second rate; and lastly, the brothers were getting on, they were in their sixties.

I found that I was most of the time, sitting there waiting for Chico and Harpo to do their solo musical interludes. I was not disappointed in this department. Chico in this picture was at his best and presented a delightful accompaniment to Leon Belasco on violin with "Gypsy Love Song", he also came back later and played part of the Chopin "Polanaise in A flat major". Harpo also gave a few renditions - "Happy Birthday" and "Old Folks at Home (Swanee River). The other music in the picture is instantly forgettable. The title song "Love Happy" might be the best but "Willow Weep for Me" and particularly "Who Stole the Jam?" are dreadful.

The plot is the usual nonsense, but a lot of the time it falls flat. Ilona Massey as a villainess cannot make up he mind whether she is imitating Garbo or Gloria Swanson; Raymond Burr is still pre Perry Mason as a wooden heavy; Eric Blore pops on screen and then in a flash is gone; same with Marilyn Monroe; Paul Valentine is rather insipid and Vera-Ellen does her best but fails dismally.

The saving features are the times when Harpo and Chico appear - perhaps if the picture could be cut down to just their scenes? No? Perhaps not.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 6:12 pm

Louis de Funés is teamed up with Bourvil and the director of his best pictures Gérard Oury for his outing in "La Grande Vadrouille" (1966) (The Great Stroll). As this picture is about RAF airmen who have bailed out of their shot down aeroplane and thus parachuted into wartime Paris it is fitting that the picture has also engaged the services of one Terry-Thomas.

Louis de Funés finds himself able to fume competently at the Paris Opera orchestra, as he is their conductor, Bourvil meanwhile is a house-painter. Both, through no fault of their own become mixed up with a trio of R.A.F. airmen and embark on an adventure with them as they try to escape to non-occupied France.

Terry-Thomas is in his element in this and is splendid as the "typical" airman of the time - complete with giant moustache (which he has to trim of course lest it stand out in the crowd). He also has the ability to parlez vous le Francais at times although most of his dialogue is in English with French sub-titles. He teams well with the other two comedians and some of their scenes together are absolutely hilarious. In fact the film is quite a laugh riot right through.

There are many farcical situations and the German occupiers are put down at every available opportunity. This is a non-stop romp of the very enjoyable kind and pure entertainment from start to finish.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 11:06 pm

Gad! I remember seeing this at the pictures! And, I remember it for all the wrong reasons! It was the first in now a long line of American pictures where I found the dialogue totally incomprehensible. :D


It plays like Olivier's Henry V now.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jul 31, 2017 6:09 am

I saw Dunkirk this weekend. While it was a technically impressive film, I failed to connect with it on an emotional level, so while I liked it I didn't love it. It is less than two hours but covers a lot of ground in that time, focusing on the soldiers on the beach, the civilians racing to their rescue, and a few flyers. It doesn't glorify the war in the least and often focuses on the negative consequences of it, including the demises of people trying to do heroic deeds and the desperate measures men will go to to save their own lives. It is told from a detached perspective which is why I had a hard time becoming emotionally invested in the characters.

I wanted to see this movie mainly because of the exciting way it was depicted in Connie Willis' book Blackout and I have to say that the book's telling is far superior.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jul 31, 2017 10:07 am

Bloodhounds on Broadway (1952) is another musical produced by George Jessel, this one starring Mitzi Gaynor as a Georgia hick who meets up with Damon Runyon types and goes to New York with them where she becomes a nightclub star. The same old Runyon characters headed by small-time crook Scott Brady, whose in trouble with the government for tax evasion. He's got a jealous girlfriend (Marguerite Chapman) who gonna squeal on him if he doesn't ditch Gaynor. A couple of bright production numbers spark this one, plus there's a nice turn by former child star Mitzi Green as a brash doll in the Runyon manner. It's her final film appearance.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jul 31, 2017 2:12 pm

Donald Binks wrote:"The Man Who Finally Died" (1963) is a mystery drama that narrowly misses being a run of the mill entertainment. It achieves some degree of superiority in that (a) it is set in Germany (big deal) (b) it has an intriguing plot where we are guessing from the get go (c) it comes to fruition with an interesting twist and (d) it has some good actors in it. That is not to say that there are some elements in it which could have been better. At times, in the first few reels it is a bit hard to follow and we, the audience, have quite a few questions which we want answered pretty quickly.

Stanley Baxter is the lead and plays in his usually non-smiling, acerbic style. He is though quite effective. Peter Cushing is a doctor who is mysterious and seemingly a villain (what else would he play?) and Eric Portman is a rather aggressive and callous policeman. To even things up we have Mai Zetterling and Georgina Ward loitering around for glamour purposes. Those who are observant will notice Brian Wilde - before he became part of some well-loved television series.


A touch of the Malaprops here, as it was Stanley Baker, not Baxter. Perhaps the latter would have been a bit of an improvement, as well as saving a bit of money by having Mr Baxter play everybody in the cast...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jul 31, 2017 2:15 pm

boblipton wrote:Clifford Mollinson has been kicked out of football (the British variety) because he kicked a fan by accident. A couple of years later, he finds himself in Highbury with a ticket for a French lottery. He uses it to pay a bar bill to Gordon Harker, then discovers it is the winning ticket -- fourteen thousand pounds, and only Joan Wyndham to help him recover it.

I was struck that The Lucky Number (1932), directed by Anthony Asquith, looked like a Hitchcock comedy -- if Hitchcock ever directed a sentimental musical comedy. Part of the reason is the dark cinematography, a lot of it shot around Highbury after dark, by German cameraman Gunther Krampf and Hitchcock camera operator Derick Williams. It's far too silly for Hitchcock, whose comedies tended towards the lugubrious, but charming for all of that. For Arsenal fans, there is a closing montage of a game with several of the current players on the field. Joe Hayman also has a funny turn as a very Jewish pawn broker named MacDonald.

Bob


I remember when this came out on videocassette a friend loathed it. I caught up a few years later when I ended up with the film after he died. I found it a very pleasing film, rather like a small scale Rene Clair.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jul 31, 2017 3:07 pm

I was speaking with my cigar-smoking buddy about John Ford/John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara movies -- we always watch The Quiet Man on Saint Patrick's Day. "Why does Wayne bother to tame her," he asked, "When he's going to have to do it all over again the next movie?"

I've never been able to convince him of it, but I think the journey can be more fun than the destination. That's the thought that occurred to me when I looked at Tôkyô boshoku (1957) this morning and saw Ozu's stock company running through variations on their unhappy yet loyal relationships to each other: Chishû Ryû as the father who tried his best and failed; Setsuko Hara as the seemingly obedient daughter, and so forth; the middle class home; the little bar around the office. It's all there and all as familiar as the nail's level view -- a bent-down nail, because the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.

We're told that Ozu is very Japanese and I wouldn't understand, but I find his world very familiar, even if everyone speaks Japanese. Growing up, I didn't understand Yiddish -- I still don't -- but my parents and uncles and aunts did and held conversation in it when they didn't want us to understand. Sometimes the discussions would escalate to shouting, and when I would ask what was going on, I would be told "You wouldn't understand." I understood they were unhappy, and for a child, there's nothing more frightening.

So that's what Ozu seems like to me: the same people, the same problems, the same language so I wouldn't understand -- but with subtitles. With the same cast, just like my family. As Wayne said to Howard Hawks, this time, can I play the drunk?

Bob
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Donald Binks

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

PostMon Jul 31, 2017 3:33 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:"The Man Who Finally Died" (1963) is a mystery drama that narrowly misses being a run of the mill entertainment. It achieves some degree of superiority in that (a) it is set in Germany (big deal) (b) it has an intriguing plot where we are guessing from the get go (c) it comes to fruition with an interesting twist and (d) it has some good actors in it. That is not to say that there are some elements in it which could have been better. At times, in the first few reels it is a bit hard to follow and we, the audience, have quite a few questions which we want answered pretty quickly.

Stanley Baxter is the lead and plays in his usually non-smiling, acerbic style. He is though quite effective. Peter Cushing is a doctor who is mysterious and seemingly a villain (what else would he play?) and Eric Portman is a rather aggressive and callous policeman. To even things up we have Mai Zetterling and Georgina Ward loitering around for glamour purposes. Those who are observant will notice Brian Wilde - before he became part of some well-loved television series.


A touch of the Malaprops here, as it was Stanley Baker, not Baxter. Perhaps the latter would have been a bit of an improvement, as well as saving a bit of money by having Mr Baxter play everybody in the cast...


Like Uncle Bob, I occasionally make deliberate mistakes in order to see if anyone is paying attention. :D (Thanks Rob for pointing this out).
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jul 31, 2017 5:08 pm

boblipton wrote:I was speaking with my cigar-smoking buddy about John Ford/John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara movies -- we always watch The Quiet Man on Saint Patrick's Day. "Why does Wayne bother to tame her," he asked, "When he's going to have to do it all over again the next movie?"


We're told that Ozu is very Japanese and I wouldn't understand, but I find his world very familiar, even if everyone speaks Japanese. Growing up, I didn't understand Yiddish -- I still don't -- but my parents and uncles and aunts did and held conversation in it when they didn't want us to understand. Sometimes the discussions would escalate to shouting, and when I would ask what was going on, I would be told "You wouldn't understand." I understood they were unhappy, and for a child, there's nothing more frightening.

Bob


Your statement equally sums up the latest film I saw, LITTlE FRIEND (1934). There is no language barrier in the film, instead you have whispered conversations, shouting behind closed doors, and the growing realization of a child that the adults she trusts are lying to her and to each other. Nova Pilbeam is brilliant and heartbreaking. I'd heard for years that this was an excellent film and it didn't disappoint, though I totally did not buy the ending. Watched on YouTube.

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

PostTue Aug 01, 2017 2:02 pm

A double-bill of cheapies started with the Chesterfield production of FORGOTTEN (1933) an interesting-sounding story about the head of a Jewish family who is shunted out of his home and business by an ungrateful family. His daughter, (June Clyde) who has been seeing a sick relative returns to see what they've done to the unfortunate fellow, and with the aid of inventor boyfriend Buster Collier Jr, set him back up on his feet again. Leon Ames (as Leon Wycoff) plays one of the sons and Natalie Moorhead helps things along as the unpleasant daughter-in-law.

FORGOTTEN took a little getting into, as I wasn't quite sure of the relations between the characters at first, and is very talky. The second half came over as more interesting and watchable, but it seemed the sort of film which promised more than it gave.

AN OLD SPANISH CUSTOM (1935) was a better title than THE INVADER, a curio Buster Keaton made over here in England, and a film with a dire reputation. Adrian Brunel (perhaps the producers wanted Luis Bunuel) directed the decidedly odd cast of Lupita Tovar, Esme Percy, Lyn Harding, Hilda Moreno, Webster Booth (yes, THE one) as well as co-photography by Eugen Schufftan. Buster plays a rich sap who is drawn into a plot by Tovar and Percy to make Harding jealous in order to get rid of the fellow. This film is uneven, to put it mildly, and seems to have been improvised rather than written or directed. Odd moments amuse, but one has the feeling of confusion and uncertainty all round. A rather surreal experience, and fortunately not too long...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Aug 01, 2017 3:11 pm

Mistress of Atlantis (1932). You know you're in for some kind of a treat with Bridget Helm (Metropolis) starring and G. W. Pabst directing.

"Two soldiers searching the Sahara for the entrance to the lost world of Atlantis are captured by soldiers from the ancient civilization, taken before Antinea, their beautiful queen, who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is . . . . "

I won't spoil it for those of you that haven't yet seen this extraordinary hybrid that fuses silent movie film technique with minimal yet memorable dialogue and an outstanding score by Wolfgang Zeller. Add in eccentric sets, elaborate costumes, and an eerie similarity in some ways to She, and you get a stirring, visually striking immersion into the type of classic filmmaking that is practiced no longer.

You can see Mistress of Atlantis anytime for free here. Hook up an inexpensive HDMI cable from your computer to your big flat screen and see it in grand style:
https://ffilms.org/the-mistress-of-atlantis-1932/" target="_blank
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Aug 01, 2017 4:39 pm

Looking at Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947), I am struck by what a horrid old lady Chôko Iida is. Logically I can't blame her. She is not used to children when she has semi-orphan Hôhi Aoki dumped on her, for no clear reason. She scolds the boy for being a boy and for being so stubborn in denying he ate some dried persimmons. When it turns out he didn't (although I think the fellow who claimed he did it might have simply been trying to get the kid out of trouble), she is upset with him because he won't accept her apology. He does not act in the formal manner and rhythms of the adults she is used to and this irritates her.

I get it, even though she mistreats the boy and he runs away. She resents him for this too. then he is brought back and she becomes grandmotherly, although she constantly asks for him to praise her good behavior. When his father comes to collect him, she decides to go adopt a child.

Ozu directed this movie six years after his previous one -- he had been drafted in the interim and the sort of movie he would direct was this sort of small-scale character study. Unfortunately, the implied character change in Miss Lida strikes me as implausible. I think it may have seemed that way to Ozu. The final shot, where presumably she will look for an adoptive son, of of a statue with a bunch of youngsters lolling around, smoking cigarettes and other such anti-social behavior. It's a plea for people to help out these children. Only, please, not the old lady in this movie.

It's far too sentimental a movie for the usually clear-eyed Ozu. Perhaps this was the movie he had to direct in order to be approved for work by the occupying American forces. In any case, his work in his chosen genre would quickly become marvelous.

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

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 8:01 am

Whipsaw (1935) stars Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy in a drama about a gang of thieves, some pearls, and an undercover cop (Tracy) who pretends to be a crook. Elaborate sting has Tracy latching on to Loy to find the gang that stole a set of 4 big pearls. Of course Loy is trying to go straight and was not involved in the actual robbery. Trouble is there's a rival gang that wants the pearls. What where are they? Who has them?

Loy ad Tracy make for a good team but only made a few films together. Supporting cast is rather blah with most of the crooks played by lesser-known actors. But there's John Qualen, excellent as the small-town hick who takes in Loy and Tracy while they're on the lam. Robert Warwick disappears early on but he's the owner of the pearls. Harvey Stephens plays Dexter, Irene Franklin plays the beauty shop owner, and Lillian Leighton plays Aunt Jane a la Jane Darwell.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 7:27 pm

Young and Beautiful (1934) is one of those hodge-podge efforts that makes you wonder if it was planned so much as grew. The main plot concerns movie publicity man William Haines -- he appeared for two movies for Mascot this year, for no clear reason -- promotes girlfriend Judith Allen into a star, but she leaves him over the constant work and pointless publicity work. This state of affairs is interrupted by some musical numbers. In the first, the WAMPAS babies get to dance with men in masks representing then-hot stars, and in the second, Shaw and Lee (yay!) wander by with a piano and Ted Weems' old vocalist sits down and kicks over a chorus show. This soon vanishes to resume the story.

Perhaps this movie was begun before the Production Code bore down and the interludes were added to bring it up to Feature length. The individual bits are pretty good, although the line readings are a bit weak.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Aug 03, 2017 6:00 am

I watched "Framed for Murder" which is the re-release title for the originally titled "I Hate Women" (1934). This one stars Wallace Ford, June Clyde, Fuzzy Knight, Bradley Page, and a host of others, including, if you look far enough down in the cast, Cecilia Parker, Barbara Rogers, and Eleanor Hunt. I mention these because I must admit that by the time I got to the end, I actually wasn't sure which murdered the man, the husband of June Clyde, the lady who was framed for murder. The show's fun to watch - up to a point - but it's incredibly badly constructed, and when the ending just suddenly happens and it's all talk and no show of whodunit, I couldn't figure out who they were talking about. Wallace Ford's fine as the lead male. June Clyde's even better as the framed woman. Bradley Page is the no-good newspaper reporter whom all the other reporters can't stand - and with good reason. I thought somehow he'd be guilty, but... Oh, well, if you're easily entertained for about 70 minutes, this is decent. But it's also a mess in some ways. Still, believe it or not, I'd recommend it. Released by Alpha for $3.99. Can't beat that, especially if you're as Scottish as I am... Wally hates women, yeah...and the Pope's not Catholic and bears don't... Who comes up with these titles? Oh, by the way, let me back up for a second: think about this: by the end of the film Wally loves June, and it was June's husband who was killed. Boy, that was quick - on her side! Naw, she didn't do it, but I can't give you a spoiler, 'cause as I said, I'm not sure who did it for what reason... Still want to watch it? Go ahead...
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