What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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rudyfan

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

PostMon Oct 30, 2017 3:17 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Jeeves and Wooster is a British TV series that ran for four seasons starting in 1990. It stars Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster. ........ I don't see any British films based on these characters (but there may be some). .


There was an earlier TV series (1960's?) with Ian Carmichael as Bertie and Dennis Price as Jeeves. I thought it to be a whole lot better than the Fry/Laurie combination.


I have longed to see the Dennis Price Jeeves.

I adore the Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry Jeeves and Wooster. They're so well done. High production values and high on laffs. Always worth a repeat viewing as far as I'm concerned.

Nothing beats the novels.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Oct 30, 2017 3:28 pm

rudyfan wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Jeeves and Wooster is a British TV series that ran for four seasons starting in 1990. It stars Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster. ........ I don't see any British films based on these characters (but there may be some). .


There was an earlier TV series (1960's?) with Ian Carmichael as Bertie and Dennis Price as Jeeves. I thought it to be a whole lot better than the Fry/Laurie combination.


I have longed to see the Dennis Price Jeeves.

I adore the Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry Jeeves and Wooster. They're so well done. High production values and high on laffs. Always worth a repeat viewing as far as I'm concerned.

Nothing beats the novels.


I thought the third season jumped the shark.

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

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 5:09 am

In Get Cracking (1943) George Formby joins the Home Guard and vows to defend Minor Wallop in Lancashire from the enemy -- Major Wallop in Lancashire. This quickly evolves into the usual mix of stage routines, musical interludes provided by George and some actual bits of plots that the director, Marcel Varnel, lets leak through to the audience when he isn't running comedy bits past them. It was his specialty, after all.

Anyone familiar with the 1960s British TV comedy "Dad's Army" will recognize what is going on here, and will be thoroughly pleased with the rough mixture of silliness and seriousness. Everyone takes what is going on very seriously, except for E.V.H.Emmett, who narrates the beginning of the movies in mock-solemn tones; the erratic nature of supplies for the home guard and presence of evacuees hints at the self-proclaimed tough-minded nature of the Lancashire lads and lassies that Our George represented.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 6:08 am

A couple of years ago, Hard Case Crime publishers produced the first release of a novel Sam Fuller wrote in exile but never published in his lifetime. Brainquake, as it was evocatively entitled, was pure Sam Fuller: a noir potboiler twisted into something offbeat by Fuller's peculiar sensibility. I'm using the word "peculiar" in both of its definitions: (1) strange; (2) characteristic of that person only.

It was his last novel, but certainly not his first. He wrote, many years earlier, another noir potboiler called The Dark Page, which achieved its own small renown among aficionados and Fuller fans. In 1952, it was made into a little film called Scandal Sheet (which is even more of a Fuller title than that of the novel).

Scandal Sheet is a hell of a good film! Broderick Crawford as a sleazy newspaper editor accidentally kills his long-estranged wife when she threatens to expose him. His hotshot reporter, an unrecognizably young and handsome John Derek (had Bo even been born yet?), enthusiastically chases down the story under Brod's understandably nervous eye: both of them are looking for a circulation boost, but Brod knows too well his own circulation will be stopped by a noose if John gets the goods on him.

The old Brod makes excellent use of his innate ability to sweat like an ice cube in an oven. (Tasty Tidbit: So do I!) Donna Reed is okay as the society columnist in love with John but not with his sleazeball mentality or methodology. Derek is the live-wire presence he's called upon to be, despite Leonard Maltin's claim that he is miscast.

As per Fuller formula, there are some great scenes with "little people", especially the akly losers on skid row and a really nicely-done contrast between two "Lonely Hearts" individuals who hook up on the spot during a dance: she's desperate to be adoringly in love with someone, anyone, while he's keeping up a front of love-at-first-sight because he wants the prize of a bed with a built-in television. (We don't get a good look at that piece of furniture, but it appears to have the TV built into the headrest, which makes no sense if you want to watch TV in bed.)

Highly recommended.

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

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 6:56 pm

"The Old Dark House" (1932) has to be viewed as one of the first of its kind. Perhaps it's closest predecessor might have been "The Cat and the Canary" (1927). Nevertheless, even though a similar theme has featured in countless pictures since, the 'original' still plays and in the new restoration, plays marvelously well.

James Whale, the director, was a master in creating atmosphere. Here he delivers it in bucket loads. We shiver, not so much in fright, but in feeling the cold biting wind and the torrential rain. We experience the draughts in the cavernous and dreary house and shudder at the magnification of shadows afforded by the low light of solitary candles.

As if the foregoing was not enough to set the scenario, we have a beautiful story crafted from a novel by J.B. Priestly. It sets up everything in the beginning - where it should do, and allows each character to further the plot. The chill is often mixed with light humour to give light and shade to the whole.

Then we come to the characters themselves. A few are normal - such as Melvyn Douglas, Lilian Bond, Raymond Massey, Charles Laughton and Gloria Stuart - travellers who seek shelter from a dreadful storm at a dismal house stranded in the middle of Wales. It is though the inhabitants of the house who are a strange collection of souls. Ernest Thesiger must take the prize for being able to combine the arch-sinister with a heavy dollop of high camp. He is a treat in all his scenes and the clarity of the restoration highlights the fact that he must have very rarely visited the dentist. Eva Moore, who plays his sister must go down as the most unwelcoming host ever. She doesn't seem to like people - or anything else for that matter. She is also a treat. Boris Karloff makes another of his mute appearances, again made-up to look frightening. The fact that he is inclined to get drunk and become a raging menace only adds in more fun. Then we have the minor roles of the 102 year old Sir Roderick - played by a woman - Elspeth Dudgeon, and Saul, the mad man, played by Brember Wills in a performance which must be equal to that of Dwight Frye as a lunatic.

This is a fun picture throughout. Charles Laughton becomes the focal point of contrasting characters. His jovial Yorkshireman is set wonderfully against the dour, ill-humoured Ernest Thesiger and Eva Moore. There is even room for a bit of love interest too for Melvyn Douglas and Lilian Bond to play around with.

The new restoration brings the picture to a point where we can now probably see it better than original audiences saw it. It is stunningly clear and the sound too is as clear as a bell. Hopefully, it will play to new audiences who will be just as delighted as I was.
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"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 7:19 pm

Usually I find these "mockumentary" type films to be made by people who don't have the means or the thought processes to make a "proper picture". Some of them are really awful, but one that wasn't too bad, and was perhaps a trifle amusing was "King of the Belgians" (2016). It tells the tale of King Nicholas III of Belgium being stuck in Turkey. He can't get home by normal means. The Turkish secret service also want to keep him in Turkey until such time as a storm clears and aeroplanes can take to the skies once again. However the King wants to leave, and enlisting the aid of a documentary film-maker, who by chance is filming constantly, he leaves with his small entourage on a mad-cap adventure through the Balkans. This film therefore chronicles that journey.

If you find the fact that a King, in order to cross a border incognito, has to dress in drag, disguised as a member of a female choir in national costume in their bus - then this is for you. But this is only one of the many strange encounters that conjure up a degree of hilarity.

Far-fetched? Yes, but it is not in bad taste. The King (Peter Van den Begin) is not made to be laughable, instead he is just someone who has found himself in unusual circumstances which he tries to make the best of - with the best dignity he can summon up. He travels with Press Secretary (Lucie Debay), Valet (Titus De Voogdt), Protocol Officer (Bruno Georis), documentary film-maker (Pieter van der Houwen) and meets up with a former Serbian terrorist (Goran Radakovic), a bare-footed Mayor (Pavel Doytchev) amongst an assortment of other odd-bods.

The film is mostly in English, with dollops of French and Flemish interspersed. It doesn't matter if you are not too hot on French or Flemish, as what is going on is not too hard to make out.

I wouldn't know how to categorise this picture, but I found it a novel little work that was quite entertaining.
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Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 7:36 pm

I have heard Nitratevillains talking of Tod Slaughter - and I thought I must see a picture with anybody by that name in it!

I came across "Never too Late to Mend" (1937) - and, by crikey, I was instantly transported back to high Victorian melodrama - even the well-worn 'villain theme' was there!

The picture starts out as a relatively normal drama, then gradually works it way up to an all stops out old style melodrama with a number of all the old cliches thrown in for good measure. It's fun, well, to those of us who might have seen the old melodrama thrashed out on the stage by some Amateur Group putting on a fun show - otherwise, to many, it would prove an excruciating experience, having to watch a bevy of ham actors belting out arcane lines with the last word in each sentence preceded by a "dramatic pause".

I'll give it to Tod Slaughter though - he is a magnificent villain and he gives it all he's got - even to the extent of the maniacal laughter and the twirling of the moustache.

I suppose it's good to have films such as these as a record of past entertainments even though they would not really play today.
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Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Nov 01, 2017 2:11 am

If "Operation Bullshine" (1959) bears a resemblance to a whole run of other pictures from the 50's and the 60's, then don't be surprised, because such comedies where being churned out due to their popularity. It might stand out slightly though as it was photographed in Technicolor, a bit of a rarity for British pictures.

This is mainly a vehicle for Sir Donald Sinden when he was in his young roue period. There is a bit of twist though, for while he is "entangled" with a few young fillies, he is actually married in this picture.

The action takes place during wartime on an Ack-Ack Gun base, where a (women's) A.T.S. unit is established as well as a regular (men's) Army unit. The Officer Commanding is none other than Naunton Wayne sans Basil Radford. He looks much the same as he always did - only he has grey hair. His way of doing comedy is much the same as always too. Sir Donald is one of his officers - and his wife (Barbara Murray) is transferred to the base, which was a bit of a no-no. Anyways, they try and keep the fact a secret - so one filly (Carole Lesley) makes a play. Ronald Shiner appears as Sir Donald's batman although he doesn't get to do all that much, which is probably a relief - but what he does do is funny enough. Fabia Drake manages to be forbidding as the woman's Commanding Officer and the Unit's Sgt. Merrifield (Barbara Hicks) is a bit of a hoot. The rest of the cast are a bevvy of familiar faces. We have Daniel Massey as an Instructor. One of his pupils is Peter Jones who does a brand of twisted language on a par with Stanley Unwin. John Cairney gets to sing a couple of songs.

Today this picture would be considered politically incorrect as it displays the A.T.S., as not being an important and integral part of Britain's war effort - but merely a mob of attractive women to poke fun at. Bearing this in mind, and allowing for the time in which the picture is made, there are some amusing bits in it.
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Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Nov 01, 2017 10:59 am

The Gay Dog (1954) is a pleasant British comedy/drama about a working class guy (Wilfred Pickles) who has a greyhound he races. But because the dog is always the favorite, he never wins much as the owner. He and a pal (John Blythe) who's also romancing his daughter (Petula Clark) come up with a ruse to pretend the dog is ill so people will bet on others dogs. I don't understand this British betting scheme at all, but whatever. Clark gets to sing a song. Also with Megs Jenkins as the Mrs., William Russell as the vicar's son, Cyril Raymond as the vicar, Vi Kaley as a neighbor, Margaret Barton as the vicar's daughter, and Harold Goodwin as a snarky relative.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Nov 01, 2017 1:33 pm

After some forty years or so, finally got to watch Raoul Walsh's THE COCK-EYED WORLD (1929), the first sequel to WHAT PRICE GLORY. Much derided in some quarters for slowness, the film is admittedly rather top-heavy with dialogue, but to me it didn't drag, even though it was quite long, at over 110 minutes.

More knockabout than plot, and lacking (aside from a few scenes) the serious edge of GLORY, THE COCK-EYED WORLD has Marine Sergeants Flagg (Victor McLaglen) and Quirt (Edmund Lowe) fighting over various dames in Russia, New York and South America, to sometimes amusing effect, as well as the odd reference to the previous movie. The film is also rather sexy in parts, as one would expect from the talents involved, and there is amusing support from Lily Damita as a cute senorita.

And of course there is El Brendel here cast as a babe magnet or whatever the term was then, and presented to intermittently amusing effect. Most of the film is the build-up, with comedy, music and songs, to the brief flurry of action near the end. Contrary to what one might be led to expect, there is quite a bit of fluid camerawork (Arthur Edeson) and the film doesn't have the static feel that one gets in some smaller-scale outings from lower-end studios. More than just a historical curio, THE COCK-EYED WORLD is fun for those who can take it and is interesting for its huge popularity at the time.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Nov 01, 2017 5:01 pm

Maudie (2016) is one of those films I wanted to see in the theater but never got around to before it was gone. Pity. Now that I have, I hope it shows up in revival. Not only does it feature Sally Hawkins in an amazing transformation into arthritic Maud Lewis, the arthritic Nova Scotian artist, Ethan Hawks in a real job of acting as her miserable husband -- a work of fiction for the movie, but it also shows the world of beauty that inspired her work, in what is probably the best movie about painting since 2014's Mr. Turner.

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

PostWed Nov 01, 2017 6:18 pm

Was Ida Lupino really 14 when she shot Her First Affaire (1932)? She certainly looked it, but it's her first credited screen role, and it seems unlikely she would be entrusted with a lead like that, even with her familial connections.

George Curzon writes trashy novels in which beautiful women defy conventions and have grand times doing so. Miss Lupino, newly engaged to Arnold Riches, has a passion for his writing and breaks into his home, where she decides that the two of them -- Curzon and she -- are in love. Diana Napier, Curzon's wife, is encouraged by Helen Haye to give her husband some room to play so he will come back to her.

It's a fun and fast movie, directed by Allan Dwan during his British sojourn, and there are several bright comic performances, including Harry Tate as a blustery major and Roland Culver -- who would develop into a fine, low-key dramatic actor in the 1940s -- as a drunk toff. While very much a piece of its time, this movie, with its short length, its notable actors in early roles and good humor, is still very much worth watching.

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

PostThu Nov 02, 2017 4:56 am

The Man in the Glass Booth (1975) is a disturbing but powerful film. Maximilian Schell stars as Arthur Goldman, a seemingly deranged Jewish millionaire who lives in a New York tower filled with art treasures. He has a devoted assistant, Charlie Cohn (Lawrence Pressman) who caters to Goldman's every unpredictable whim. Goldman unleashes a veritable verbal tweet storm on every subject that arises, yet no one is prepared when a team of agents storms the tower and whisks Goldman off to Israel to face trial as a Nazi war criminal. For his own protection, he's placed in a glass (bullet proof) booth during the trial. He argues and debates and taunts the string of witnesses who all identify him as the notorious Dorff, a concentration camp monster who killed thousands. But there's one major problem....

Schell turns in a mesmerizing and superb performance. Pressman repeats his stage role and is also very good. Lois Nettleton plays the Jewish prosecutor and Luther Adler the lead judge. The cat-and-mouse game between Schell and Nettleton is fascinating. A few others I recognized: Lloyd Bochner, Connie Sawyer, Berry Kroeger, Robert H. Harris.

Disturbing and powerful.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Nov 02, 2017 9:52 am

I was in the mood for early Mitchum last night, so I put in "The Big Steal" (1949) with Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Patric Knowles, Ramon Novarro, and the old Swede/Norwegian, John Qualen (here not so nice and quaint!). Great noir style film with moody Mitchum, a softer (compared to "Out of the Past") but still tough and simultaneously more romantic Jane Greer, a slam-bam pugilistic William Bendix, and, surprise of surprises, a bad-guy-Patric Knowles, still very nicely groomed and good-looking thirteen years after playing the other brother of Errol Flynn in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1936), but here anything but the kind of individual with whom you'd want to keep company. The chase scenes throughout the film in those 1947-8-9 automobiles are fabulous, and it is so obvious how bad the springs were in the cars of those days as they bounce and bound around corners and even in the straightaways at fast speeds. The film is made even more inviting by the location shooting. It was shot in Veracruz, Mexico, Tehuacán, Mexico, Mexico City, and a few scenes on the Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi, California and a few others at the famous Iverson Ranch just inside Los Angeles. Directed by Don Siegel, this was one of his first. Holds up to perfection! Good to see Ramon Novarro getting a decent part again, too. He's a Mexican cop - imagine that - José Ramón Gil Samaniego, born in Durango, Mexico.

Afterwards, watched "Illegal" (1955) with Edward G. Robinson, Nina Foch, Hugh Marlowe, Jayne Mansfield (in her first film, though second released), Albert Dekker, Howard St. John, Ellen Corby, and so many more actors you'd recognize from 50's and 60's TV, just one after the other. This is really a fine, well-crafted and acted film, a good "recovery" film for Eddie G. - he wasn't blacklisted, but he was certainly, during this time, grey-listed by HUAC. This is a re-make (the third time, actually) of "The Mouthpiece" (1932) which had originally starred Warren William. Robinson goes from DA who is so intent on convicting - and good at it - that he puts an innocent man to death and truly regrets it. The innocent man, by the way, is played by none other than DeForest Kelley, "Doc" in "Star Trek". Robinson then quits, becomes a ruthless mouthpiece, and eventually becomes entangled with a mobster, all which leads to - well, you can guess or watch the film. I really liked this film, as I had not seen it for probably as much as 25 years. The acting is first rate, the writing crisp, the directing and editing quite good, in my opinion. Robinson made some interesting films in 1955, this one and "Tight Spot" with Ginger Rogers and Brian Keith, "Hell on Frisco Bay" with Alan Ladd, and "A Bullet for Joey" with George Raft.

Both of these are on a new two-film release DVD from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Nov 02, 2017 2:39 pm

Sam Fuller did the whole hog bit for The Crimson Kimono (1959) -- wrote it, produced it, and directed it. The result is a Sam Fuller film.

Somewhat boldly for the time, he tackled interracial romance, only not the expected black-white version; instead, it's the less-examined Asian-white version. Pally cops (they, er, share an apartment, but with separate bedrooms) Glenn Corbett -- he's the white guy, in case you've forgotten him -- and James Shigeta (he's the other race) both investigate the murder of a Jayne Mansfield clone showgirl and both subsequently fall in love with one of the links, a white woman (Victoria Shaw). Naturally they clash over her. The big surprise is who wins her heart ... but then, this is a Sam Fuller film.

Like I said, this was bold in its day, especially for the closing shot. Fuller manages to give some complexity to the two men, especially Shigeta's character, that makes up for the irritating shallowness of the two main women. Shaw's acting is pretty much limited to smiling radiantly, which suggests she grew up idolizing Norma Shearer. The other major female character is a painter played by Anna Lee whose drinking is beyond absurd and undermines the gritty realism Fuller is striving for. Lee drinks whiskey straight from the bottle without pausing for breath, as if it's a bottle of Sprite. Anybody trying that is going to topple over and die like Dylan Thomas from "massive insult to the brain". Yet it's all an affectionate joke to the characters around her, and they don't even have the excuse of being frat boys in Florida.

I found the film worthy but it didn't inspire great interest in me. After it was over I turned to the World Series, which was a lot more entertaining and which had its own particular noir aspects.

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

PostThu Nov 02, 2017 4:47 pm

The Blue Bird 1940.Beautiful colour but not à patch on Wizard of La.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Nov 02, 2017 4:48 pm

Having finally looked at it, I am firmly of the opinion that New York Nights (1929) does not deserve the bad reputation it has. Norma Talmadge's voice is fine. Her performance in this remind me of Clara Bow, and director Lewis Milestone throws a costume party for the demi-mondaine that strikes me as something that human beings out for a good time with the rough crowd might go to -- free food and booze, and the neighbors call the cops at 2AM instead of lightning storms setting the dirigible on fire a la DeMille.

The story is a little flat and predictable for 1929: showgirl Talmadge throws out songwriter-husband Gilbert Roland after he turns up drunk one time too many and takes up with visiting Chicago hood John Wray, who's crazy for her, but she can't help loving the big sap of a hubby.

There's lots of good stuff, from a proto-noir lighting and some nice moving shots by cameraman Ray June, some fine editing by Hal Kern and good acting all around. So why the lack of interest? I think Miss Talmadge was in her mid-thirties, thought that film-making was getting too complicated, she wasn't getting any younger, and she didn't need the money. She and her sister Constance owned a big chunk of San Diego, after all.

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

PostThu Nov 02, 2017 8:01 pm

City of Fear (1959) is a low-budget noirish affair with Vince Edwards a prison escapee who has stolen what he thinks is a canister of heroin. He plans to cash it in and live the good life in another country. But it's really a canister of radioactive cobalt-60 the prison was using in experiments (another film altogether) on prisoners. The cops then have to race to find him before the mayor announces the danger and panics the city (Los Angeles). A special squad of "agents" with geiger counters comb the city looking for traces (ha ha) of Edwards and his known cohorts. Even though the canister is sealed, it's still leaking radiation and could make people sick or dead. Edwards was an interesting actor in the late 50s, before TV turned him into a bore. As he was in Murder by Contract in 1958, he's got almost a Cagney-esque edginess going for him. Good support from Lyle Talbot as the police chief, John Archer as Richards, Joseph Mell as the snarky shoe salesman, Steven Ritch as the science cop, and Kathie Browne as the shoe girl. Then there's Sherwood Price as the hood. He'd obviously seen that Richard Widmark film far too many times.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 6:33 am

I watched "Beauty for the Asking" (1939) with Lucille Ball, Patric Knowles, Donald Woods, Frieda Inescort, Inez Courtney, and a host of other ladies. This drama/romance is really just a piece of froth directed efficiently by Glenn Tryon, something trying to get Lucy out there into the limelight. She'd made the "Annabel" series the year before, but she was still bouncing, not footing. This one is actually pretty decent, though the reality of it couldn't exist. They say truth is stranger than fiction. Well, the premise for this one is almost beyond either. Nevertheless, worth a watch to see Lucy spurned by Knowles for a wealthy older woman (Inescort, made to look older throughout, too) whom he marries, only to become a highly successful businesswoman with a cold-cream formula that really works wonders for the skin, etc. She does this with the help of Donald Woods. Though we're expecting a relationship to follow - and it sort-of does - look out! Back comes Knowles and Lucy still loves him. Oh, oh, oh... The ending isn't really contrived, just had to happen this way. Pleasing, not boring, but, "Will anyone watch this six months from now? Who cares?," asks the producer, "as long as the dough pops through the register." Like I said, pleasant, easy to watch; nice looking people; story's got angles which keep you awake - and we have foresight in our hindsight - Lucy's gonna give the masses what they want twelve years later in spades. Nice to see her here chop-chopping her way... This is a new one from Warner Archive Collection.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 7:21 am

boblipton wrote:Having finally looked at it, I am firmly of the opinion that New York Nights (1929) does not deserve the bad reputation it has. Norma Talmadge's voice is fine. Her performance in this remind me of Clara Bow, and director Lewis Milestone throws a costume party for the demi-mondaine that strikes me as something that human beings out for a good time with the rough crowd might go to -- free food and booze, and the neighbors call the cops at 2AM instead of lightning storms setting the dirigible on fire a la DeMille.

The story is a little flat and predictable for 1929: showgirl Talmadge throws out songwriter-husband Gilbert Roland after he turns up drunk one time too many and takes up with visiting Chicago hood John Wray, who's crazy for her, but she can't help loving the big sap of a hubby.

There's lots of good stuff, from a proto-noir lighting and some nice moving shots by cameraman Ray June, some fine editing by Hal Kern and good acting all around. So why the lack of interest? I think Miss Talmadge was in her mid-thirties, thought that film-making was getting too complicated, she wasn't getting any younger, and she didn't need the money. She and her sister Constance owned a big chunk of San Diego, after all.

Bob


I've always liked this film. I wonder if Al Jolson's cameo at the party exists?
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greta de groat

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

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 9:29 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:I watched "Beauty for the Asking" (1939) with Lucille Ball, Patric Knowles, Donald Woods, Frieda Inescort, Inez Courtney, and a host of other ladies. This drama/romance is really just a piece of froth directed efficiently by Glenn Tryon, something trying to get Lucy out there into the limelight. She'd made the "Annabel" series the year before, but she was still bouncing, not footing. This one is actually pretty decent, though the reality of it couldn't exist. They say truth is stranger than fiction. Well, the premise for this one is almost beyond either. Nevertheless, worth a watch to see Lucy spurned by Knowles for a wealthy older woman (Inescort, made to look older throughout, too) whom he marries, only to become a highly successful businesswoman with a cold-cream formula that really works wonders for the skin, etc. She does this with the help of Donald Woods. Though we're expecting a relationship to follow - and it sort-of does - look out! Back comes Knowles and Lucy still loves him. Oh, oh, oh... The ending isn't really contrived, just had to happen this way. Pleasing, not boring, but, "Will anyone watch this six months from now? Who cares?," asks the producer, "as long as the dough pops through the register." Like I said, pleasant, easy to watch; nice looking people; story's got angles which keep you awake - and we have foresight in our hindsight - Lucy's gonna give the masses what they want twelve years later in spades. Nice to see her here chop-chopping her way... This is a new one from Warner Archive Collection.


Thanks, i'd forgotten the name of this one, which i saw years ago and was surprised and pleased by the unusual plot twists. I'm surprised i'ts not better known. You go, girls!

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

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 10:02 am

greta de groat wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:I watched "Beauty for the Asking" (1939) with Lucille Ball, Patric Knowles, Donald Woods, Frieda Inescort, Inez Courtney, and a host of other ladies. This drama/romance is really just a piece of froth directed efficiently by Glenn Tryon, something trying to get Lucy out there into the limelight. She'd made the "Annabel" series the year before, but she was still bouncing, not footing. This one is actually pretty decent, though the reality of it couldn't exist. They say truth is stranger than fiction. Well, the premise for this one is almost beyond either. Nevertheless, worth a watch to see Lucy spurned by Knowles for a wealthy older woman (Inescort, made to look older throughout, too) whom he marries, only to become a highly successful businesswoman with a cold-cream formula that really works wonders for the skin, etc. She does this with the help of Donald Woods. Though we're expecting a relationship to follow - and it sort-of does - look out! Back comes Knowles and Lucy still loves him. Oh, oh, oh... The ending isn't really contrived, just had to happen this way. Pleasing, not boring, but, "Will anyone watch this six months from now? Who cares?," asks the producer, "as long as the dough pops through the register." Like I said, pleasant, easy to watch; nice looking people; story's got angles which keep you awake - and we have foresight in our hindsight - Lucy's gonna give the masses what they want twelve years later in spades. Nice to see her here chop-chopping her way... This is a new one from Warner Archive Collection.


Thanks, i'd forgotten the name of this one, which i saw years ago and was surprised and pleased by the unusual plot twists. I'm surprised i'ts not better known. You go, girls!

greta

Interesting you should say, "You go, girls!" The last few nights my wife and I have watched "The Law in Her Hands" and "Here Comes Carter" with Glenda Farrell and both of them have men taking all working women out of circulation by marrying them to have babies and their (THE MAN'S) way forever - "as it should be"... Both Margaret and I kept thinking - especially about the first one - "You mean to tell me that Farrell would work seven long years to become a lawyer just to give it up in a few short seconds because "that's the way it should be"? Evidently, what we think is far removed from PC today was just hunky-dory before WWII. I was born in '48, so I'm nearly 70, but these films and a few others recently, as much as I've seen these same sentiments over the years in hundreds of early films, even floored me. Glad to see Lucy go out on her own and make it in this one. I always enjoyed Pauline Frederick in "Smouldering Fires" because she showed a side that Hollywood generally considered "not quite right, not quite normal" for 1925. But then, I like anybody who has the guts to persevere and make it on their own, male or female or dog or broccoli, as long as it's done with integrity and some moral fiber.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 10:10 am

drednm wrote:
boblipton wrote:Having finally looked at it, I am firmly of the opinion that New York Nights (1929) does not deserve the bad reputation it has. Norma Talmadge's voice is fine. Her performance in this remind me of Clara Bow, and director Lewis Milestone throws a costume party for the demi-mondaine that strikes me as something that human beings out for a good time with the rough crowd might go to -- free food and booze, and the neighbors call the cops at 2AM instead of lightning storms setting the dirigible on fire a la DeMille.

The story is a little flat and predictable for 1929: showgirl Talmadge throws out songwriter-husband Gilbert Roland after he turns up drunk one time too many and takes up with visiting Chicago hood John Wray, who's crazy for her, but she can't help loving the big sap of a hubby.

There's lots of good stuff, from a proto-noir lighting and some nice moving shots by cameraman Ray June, some fine editing by Hal Kern and good acting all around. So why the lack of interest? I think Miss Talmadge was in her mid-thirties, thought that film-making was getting too complicated, she wasn't getting any younger, and she didn't need the money. She and her sister Constance owned a big chunk of San Diego, after all.

Bob


I've always liked this film. I wonder if Al Jolson's cameo at the party exists?

I like this film, too. I re-watched it again late last year and found it has a lot more going for it than early critics ever gave it credit for.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 10:33 am

Hurlyburly (1998) is almost all talk. The main characters do very little but talk. The talk is often very sharp, witty, funny. The actors are all terrific; the characters are not. These drug-fueled people are all distinctly unlikable, yet in the hands of these actors, they are at least watchable. Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Meg Ryan, Garry Shandling, Chazz Palminteri, and Anna Paquin all seem just about perfect for their imperfect characters.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 10:36 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:
greta de groat wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:I watched "Beauty for the Asking" (1939) with Lucille Ball, Patric Knowles, Donald Woods, Frieda Inescort, Inez Courtney, and a host of other ladies. This drama/romance is really just a piece of froth directed efficiently by Glenn Tryon, something trying to get Lucy out there into the limelight. She'd made the "Annabel" series the year before, but she was still bouncing, not footing. This one is actually pretty decent, though the reality of it couldn't exist. They say truth is stranger than fiction. Well, the premise for this one is almost beyond either. Nevertheless, worth a watch to see Lucy spurned by Knowles for a wealthy older woman (Inescort, made to look older throughout, too) whom he marries, only to become a highly successful businesswoman with a cold-cream formula that really works wonders for the skin, etc. She does this with the help of Donald Woods. Though we're expecting a relationship to follow - and it sort-of does - look out! Back comes Knowles and Lucy still loves him. Oh, oh, oh... The ending isn't really contrived, just had to happen this way. Pleasing, not boring, but, "Will anyone watch this six months from now? Who cares?," asks the producer, "as long as the dough pops through the register." Like I said, pleasant, easy to watch; nice looking people; story's got angles which keep you awake - and we have foresight in our hindsight - Lucy's gonna give the masses what they want twelve years later in spades. Nice to see her here chop-chopping her way... This is a new one from Warner Archive Collection.


Thanks, i'd forgotten the name of this one, which i saw years ago and was surprised and pleased by the unusual plot twists. I'm surprised i'ts not better known. You go, girls!

greta

Interesting you should say, "You go, girls!" The last few nights my wife and I have watched "The Law in Her Hands" and "Here Comes Carter" with Glenda Farrell and both of them have men taking all working women out of circulation by marrying them to have babies and their (THE MAN'S) way forever - "as it should be"... Both Margaret and I kept thinking - especially about the first one - "You mean to tell me that Farrell would work seven long years to become a lawyer just to give it up in a few short seconds because "that's the way it should be"? Evidently, what we think is far removed from PC today was just hunky-dory before WWII. I was born in '48, so I'm nearly 70, but these films and a few others recently, as much as I've seen these same sentiments over the years in hundreds of early films, even floored me. Glad to see Lucy go out on her own and make it in this one. I always enjoyed Pauline Frederick in "Smouldering Fires" because she showed a side that Hollywood generally considered "not quite right, not quite normal" for 1925. But then, I like anybody who has the guts to persevere and make it on their own, male or female or dog or broccoli, as long as it's done with integrity and some moral fiber.


Within my lifetime i remember that a big excuse for paying women less and not promoting them was that they would just get married and leave the workforce so it wasn't worth investing in their careers. And you can see how the movies showed that as the normal and desired behavior. My own father always said that he'd never have a working wife because it would make him look like he couldn't support his own family, and assured me that i'd never be able to support myself. So i love the rare movie where a woman not only has a successful career, but doesn't subscribe to the notion that she must get and keep a man at any cost.

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

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 11:37 am

Watched GAY PURR-EE from 1962. A charming UPA animated feature featuring the voices of Judy Garland, Robert Goulet, Red Buttons and Hermione Gingold. The cute story, illustrated with animation backgrounds reminiscent of the old masters and the fine voices singing agreeable songs charmed me as a ten year old when I first saw it in the theater, and holds up rather well today.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 11:39 am

Scott Eckhardt wrote:Watched GAY PURR-EE from 1962. A charming UPA animated feature featuring the voices of Judy Garland, Robert Goulet, Red Buttons and Hermione Gingold. The cute story, illustrated with animation backgrounds reminiscent of the old masters and the fine voices singing agreeable songs charmed me as a ten year old when I first saw it in the theater, and holds up rather well today.


There was a recent interesting discussion on the Cartoon Research site about this feature.

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

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 2:08 pm

Thanks, Bob, for directing me to that article. I hadn't thought about this film in ages, and suddenly, I saw it pop up to stream on Amazon. A beautiful, restored wide-screen print that looks sparkling new.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 3:19 pm

Scott Eckhardt wrote:Watched GAY PURR-EE from 1962... holds up rather well today.


I didn't think it held up at all - Chuck Jones didn't have the sensibilities for feature length animation, it was all way too cartoony in the 6-minute Bugs Bunny sense. I don't remember how it was in this film specifically but at the end of his career his timing was way off.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 3:29 pm

BAD GIRL (1931), directed by Frank Borzage, is a little different from what I expected, possibly due to its source material. After a clever opening scene, we see Sally Eilers as a shop worker promoted to modelling clothes, and having to rebuff the advances of every would-be wolf within sight. Out with pal Minna Gombell she encounters serious-minded, cynical and ambitious radio repairman James Dunn, and romance blossoms between the seemingly mismatched pair.

Although the basic situation is one which Borzage worked (with variations) umpteen times, the treatment here is more down-to-earth, with some telling details in the tenement where Eilers lives as well as the slob of a brother who treats her like dirt. BAD GIRL is certainly different in tone from such films as SEVENTH HEAVEN and STREET ANGEL, both in its realistic, sometimes sordid atmosphere, as well as the way matter-of-fact problems such as pregnancy and poverty can put strain on some marriages. Interesting, too, is the lack of music, apart from source music and that at the end of the film. Reminiscent in some ways to Griffith's THE STRUGGLE, BAD GIRL is certainly worth watching, though a little uncomfortable at times.
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