What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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

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

PostSat Apr 15, 2017 6:28 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Jackie (2016) is a long and boring account of Jackie just after JFK's murder. Natalie Portman gives a good performance but the film defeats her in every way. Portrayals of JFK and RFK are hilariously bad and we are treated to her long walks and intellectual sparring with a priest (spare us) and an unnamed journalist (it's supposed to be Theodore H. White but he's never named) at Hyannis Port (filmed someplace in Maryland). I really doubt the real lady was a shallow as she's presented in this film. Here, Jackie is obsessed with clothes and culture and interior decoration (probably partly true) but rather distant from her husband, children, and the events unfolding around her. She's depicted as a self-absorbed heroine for the selfie generation.


Pretty well sums it up Ed. It seems that modern day film-makers wish to make an over-long film about one particular incident in a life, rather than give us an over-all biography. The assassination of JFK was a dreadful incident - but we have seen so many films now about this event that we have probably been over-saturated. It seems to me that Jackie O's life would have been a for more interesting story if we had been allowed glimpses before JFK and then after with her subsequent marriage to Aristotle Onassis. Instead, we are presented with someone who seemed completely vacuous and merely a clothes-horse. I am sure she was neither.


Gosh ... my wife and I watched it last week and we both enjoyed it. It wasn't perfect or even great, but it was quite good ... within the restrictions of its ambitions.

If you watch it expecting it to be The Life Story of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, you're going to be completely disappointed because that's not at all what it sets out to be.

It's a snapshot of a very short period of her life: the immediate aftermath of the president's death. She was thrust unexpectedly into a horrendous spot, with time pressures and a nation's -- even the entire world's -- expectations piled on her shoulders alone. She was bitter and enraged, but channelled those feelings into a steely resolve to both honour the president and force the world to face what "they" had done.

What you guys saw as a shallow obsession over appearance, we saw as a lone woman's defiant determination to make sure every detail of every part of the funeral was perfect in meeting those two ambitions, despite all opposition and all attempts to either smother her or "pity" her. She didn't want their pity. She didn't want anything focused on herself: she wanted the entire focus to be on the fact that brutal forces had murdered a good president.

I would be really interested to hear from some of the women on this board: what was their take on this movie?

Jim


Just watched this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7XabXENChE&t=74s

Had never seen it before that I can remember. Superb.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Apr 15, 2017 6:40 pm

Research scientist Hugh Williams has just gone through a nasty divorce and has buried himself in his masculine research lab with Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne -- playing Caldecott & Chalmers under different names -- when in pops orphaned Joan Greenwood. Although he inveigles against the female of the species, Williams falls in love with the mute beauty whom he finds to be A Girl in a Million (1946). They get married and all is perfect, except that Williams wishes his wife could speak. Then she does and the point of the movie comes through.

This effort by Sidney and Muriel Box starts out in a manner that looks completely ordinary, eked out with with the starring character actors to bring in the audience, but takes an abrupt turn and has some pointed comments to make on the battle of the sexes. Take a look at the conductor during the scene at the orchestra. That Muir Matheson, who seems to have conducted every British music score for a quarter of a century.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Apr 15, 2017 8:25 pm

Thrill of a Romance (1945) is a creaky and sanitized MGM puffball in glorious color. Esther Williams lives with her ditzy aunt and uncle and meets a rich man (Carleton Young) and they soon marry. On their honeymoon's opening he races off to DC to close a "bid deal." She eventually meets war hero Van Johnson and teaches him to swim. They fall in love but she's still waiting for her husband to return. Meanwhile Lauritz Melchior is staying at the same hotel and sings incessantly, but when he stops singing and complains about his diet, Tommy Dorsey's band starts up. It's a very noisy hotel. The film is so sanitized that even after Esther demands an annulment from her absent husband, we learn that his divorce from his previously unmentioned wife has never gone through, so the marriage is illegal as well as unconsumated. Esther is twice the virgin we thought she was. Frances Gifford, Thurston Hall, Ethel Griffies, Buddy Rich, Vince Barnett, Billy House, Donald Curtis are at the hotel (along with a nauseating bellboy who sings); Spring Byington and Henry Travers get stuck at home being ditzy. Film is pretty and totally empty yet ranked #8 at the 1945 box office.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Apr 16, 2017 2:49 am

Despite a rather rough copy and an intrusive, over-emphatic music score, I MET A MURDERER (1940) is a watchable early outing for James Mason. He plays a struggling, unsuccessful farmer, easy-going and kind, married to a nagging, discontented wife who insists they keep her useless brother on at the farm, despite various mess-ups. In an act of frustration and spite, the wife shoots his beloved dog, and Mason does the natural thing and disposes of her.

The body is soon discovered (partly due to a very young Esma Cannon), an Mason scarpers. His attempts to find work are scuppered by the awkward question of why he quit the farm, but he soon falls in with crime author Pamela Kellino, who is on a caravanning holiday...

Moody, almost French in tone, I MET A MURDERER has a good feel for the English countryside, as well as a very sympathetic killer in Mason. He would soon marry his co-star, who was wed to director Roy at the time. Well worth a look.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Apr 16, 2017 2:59 am

drednm wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7XabXENChE&t=74s" target="_blank

Had never seen it before that I can remember. Superb.


Yes, I've watched it too. Interesting for me was how the current White House is virtually new from 1948 (only the outside walls remain from the original building). Jackie O showed she was quite a knowledgeable person as well as a gracious host.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Apr 16, 2017 3:29 am

How marvelous it was for me to sit and watch a Flanagan and Allen picture I had never seen. The elusive blighter was "Theatre Royal" (1943) brought out to bring a bit of cheer to the poor blitzed Britishers - and I am sure it did.

This picture is toned down quite a bit from the usual shenanigans when Bud and Ches were on the Crazy Gang Bandwagon - in fact this film actually has a proper story and Bud and Ches playing believable characters - well, nearly believable.

Ches is a theatre owner down on his luck. He has unfortunately fallen for a ham actress who makes him put on plays that no-one wishes to look at. He is broke and is about to dismiss his staff and sell out to a rival producer. This is where Bud comes in. He is the props man and spokesman for all the very loyal staff who wish to stay on and do anything they can to help Ches out.

Finlay Currie then waltzes in. He is no longer a Scotsman but a rich American who wants to put on a show he thinks is successful. There are some wonderful scenes when he visits Ches at home involving a lot of furniture that is moved about.

Anyway, you can most probably guess where all this is heading as I am sure you are ahead of me already. Yes, you are right. There is enough talent among the theatre workers to stage a show themselves - and Ches even doffs his manager's hat to do a couple of turns with his old mate Bud.

The show is a success, the theatre is saved and Bud is made assistant manager with Ches.

Probably made on a show-string budget, this film nevertheless plays very well. Bud's personality holds everything together and the songs the pair sing together exude charm and sentiment in huge doses - just what their audiences probably required at the time - and the songs still warm the heart. There is still the wonderful wordplay that was so evident in all of their films - some it a tad corny, but all of it exceptionally clever if you ask me. Some of the scenes are even slightly risque - but, of course it is all in the minds of the audience if they get it. (The Lord Chamberlain must have sneezed a few times whilst looking at the script).

There are muted references to Anglo-American co-operation - but nothing outlandishly overt as if to be propaganda.

A good cast of supporting players helps it all along and at the end of it, you will feel good, so it has done its job.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Apr 16, 2017 11:58 am

drednm wrote:The film is so sanitized that even after Esther demands an annulment from her absent husband, we learn that his divorce from his previously unmentioned wife has never gone through, so the marriage is illegal as well as unconsummated. Esther is twice the virgin we thought she was.


Well done, sir!
:lol:

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

PostMon Apr 17, 2017 3:14 am

THEY KNEW MR KNIGHT (1946), from Dorothy Whipple's (great name!) novel is another of Norman Walker's movies to boast a semi-religious theme. It tells of a normal family, living in a decent house (with a maid!), but having undercurrents of discontent. On a business trip, the father (Mervyn Johns - very good) comes to the rescue of businessman Alfred Drayton, who seems kindly inclined towards him and his family.

Johns's factory is facing being sold out and so Drayton offers advice and a loan. The family's 'upward' movement is, however marked by several flaws, including the younger daughter's growing snobbishness. Contrasted with this is Johns's mother and brother, the latter of whom is seen as shiftless, despite his honesty and attempts to find work. When Johns's factory is in more difficulties, Drayton advises him to invest in shares, which after a spectacular rise, fall just as spectacularly, leading to further trouble and bringing Drayton's real character to the surface.

There is an element of humbug which occurs at times. For example, Drayton gives a speech about the value of money at the son's school (his old alma mater) prize-giving, to the horror of the headmaster, forgetting that the fees have to come from somewhere. However the themes of over-ambition and contentment, together with the criticism of the idea of 'easy money' (the daughter marries a chinless wonder old enough to be her father) come over well enough. Watch out for a young Joan Greenwood as the other, would-be author daughter, in an early role. Generally absorbing slice of human interest.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Apr 17, 2017 6:50 am

drednm wrote:Thrill of a Romance (1945) is a creaky and sanitized MGM puffball in glorious color... It's a very noisy hotel. The film is so sanitized that even after Esther demands an annulment from her absent husband, we learn that his divorce from his previously unmentioned wife has never gone through, so the marriage is illegal as well as unconsumated. Esther is twice the virgin we thought she was...Film is pretty and totally empty yet ranked #8 at the 1945 box office.


This is one of my FAVORITE movies! I know it is fluff, but that's what makes it great, and Williams and Johnson have such great chemistry it is no wonder they made several other movies together, albeit none as great as this one. The whole thing just exudes leisure and excess and escape.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Apr 17, 2017 6:33 pm

My father's father came over from Lithuania shortly before the First World War broke out. He told me "I speak seven lengwitches, Robertil, but Anglisch the bast!" So, despite the claims that the Charlie Chan series is racist, I don't find it so; given that Charlie Chan is an internationally acclaimed detective and always the smartest man in the room, that his sons seem like typical American teenagers, I find the Charlie Chan movies agreeable B detectives thrillers.

In Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise, the whole thing starts when an old friend from Scotland Yard shows up. He's been tracking a strangler aboard a cruise, and asks for Charlie's help. When Charlie (played by Sidney Toler) goes in to ask his chief if he can help, the British 'tec is strangled...and the trails of red herrings leads Charlie and No.2 Son (played by Victor Sen Young) on the ship heading to San Francisco.

The Charlie Chan series was a reliable moneymaker for 20th Century-Fox, and this one has a wealth of fine character actors: Marjorie Weaver, Lionel Atwill, Leo G. Carroll and Cora Witherspoon are among the suspects; the trail is tangled and there are several false reveals that kept me guessing until the end.

Unfortunately, this is not a topnotch mystery, because it plays false to the rules of the game: the solution depends on information and a witness who are not supplied until the last reel. However, despite that cheat, it is a typically amusing Charlie Chan from a period when Fox produced the best Bs in the business.

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

PostMon Apr 17, 2017 7:29 pm

Sid ("What a performance!") Fields was like a shooting star in the echelons of British comedy performances, for while he had come through from the hard slog of Music Hall, he only hit the big time in 1943 on the stage in the West End, then making only three films before his premature death at the age of 45 in 1950.

His best remembered film is the Techicolored "London Town" made in 1946 in which he is partnered with his long-time straight man Jerry Desmonde. We can thank this film for preserving two of Fields' stage turns - "The Golfer" and "The Photographer".

In "The Laughing Cavalier" made in 1949, Sid finds himself in the English republic of the 1640's stuck with the amazing moniker "Sidcup Buttermeadow" - but then the whole film is made of strange names such as "Murdercasket" and "Judge Gorebucket".

Sid is a barrowman and comes a cropper with the thugs employed by the usurper Cromwell where anyone having fun is frowned upon. His plight is pitied by Nell Gwynn who is managing a public house. This is Margaret Lockward playing a role that was not in her usual gamut. She by the way is seeing Robin Hood (well, Richard Greene) who is in the service of Cromwell and turns out to be a bit of a rotter. Anyway, what happens is that Jerry Desmonde in the guise of Colonel Lovelace, is loyal to the rightful King, Charles II and Sid somehow or other is trusted to deliver an important letter which will go towards restoring the King to his throne. We all know that perhaps Sid is not probably the best person to entrust such an important task, however that would have destroyed the essence of the picture which makes good use of placing a number of amusing obstacles in his way.

We probably don't get a chance to see Sid Fields at his best - as he was remembered from his stage performances, for he only utters his byline "What a Performance!" once, and there are only a couple of brief interludes where he can display the campiness of his character which was part of his stage skits, however the film is fast paced and has enough happening along the way for our attention not to lag.

The dialogue is interesting in that some effort has been made to utilise the English of the times. It is all "thee, thou and thy" and the usage of the older speech is a valid excuse for having some fun with wordage.

Probably the last couple of reels are the best in that the action has removed to a castle and there is a drawbridge to play around with as well as secret passages and a bed that disappears into a wall. The castle also has an obligatory ghost, delightfully played by Irene Handl.

The cast also includes Miles Malleson, Claude Hulbert, Edmund Willard, Mary Clare and Peter Bull and directed by Walter Forde.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Apr 17, 2017 7:48 pm

Saw Fences (2016) which blew Moonlight right out of the water. Not a big fan of Denzel Washington but he's terrific in this film which he also directed. Viola Davis as the wife is good but toward the end has a great scene. I also liked Stephen Henderson as Bono. August Wilson's story transcends race, time, and place.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 12:48 pm

No decision should ever be made without consulting women, who are each and every one wiser than any man. White men are evil, particularly those who are successful; if they have packed on some extra weight, they are vicious. Only people who live in the back of beyond and shoot anyone who shows up are possessed of true virtue. These are the accepted assumptions of modern people, who make technological constructs costing tens of millions of dollars about this, like The Lost City of Z (2016).

My cousin and I saw this Sunday, and I have spent the last couple of days being annoyed. I went to see a movie set in the years 1910-1924. I saw a movie about 2017 characters. Perhaps this is always the way of movies; maybe it's not just the hair style that gives away the fact that a movie set in 1478 was actually made in, say 1948. Likely as I grow older and more disjoint from this world, I see the anachronisms more clearly: not just the devices, but the attitudes.

Anyway, it's based on Percy Fawcett, British Major, surveyor and general nut, and his expeditions to Amazonia. It's a hagiography.

Apparently the farmers who lived and worked near where the crew shot this wrote to the papers complaining about the noise, the explosions and gunfire from where the crew was shooting. That's just like farmers, always putting their interests ahead of movies made by White men explaining how bad White men are.

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

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 1:15 pm

boblipton wrote:Anyway, it's based on Percy Fawcett, British Major, surveyor and general nut, and his expeditions to Amazonia. It's a hagiography.


I am bewildered by the positive reviews for this movie. Turns out the source book got Fawcett, in real life a liar and cheat who thought natives were irredeemable savages, wrong anyway.

Director chose to shoot in Colombia because Brazil wasn't photogenic enough. His next production will be a sci-fi movie.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 1:37 pm

Daniel Eagan wrote:
boblipton wrote:Anyway, it's based on Percy Fawcett, British Major, surveyor and general nut, and his expeditions to Amazonia. It's a hagiography.


I am bewildered by the positive reviews for this movie. Turns out the source book got Fawcett, in real life a liar and cheat who thought natives were irredeemable savages, wrong anyway.

Director chose to shoot in Colombia because Brazil wasn't photogenic enough. His next production will be a sci-fi movie.



No reason to be bewildered. It's anti-white male, pro-primtive and feminist, and you get to watch Western Civilization blow itself up in WWI. What more could you do to please the critics?

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

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 1:46 pm

Based on a story by Pushkin, DER POSTMEISTER (1940) is a handsomely mounted drama from Nazi Germany with the feel of a work by Max Ophuls. Starring Heinrich George as the official in charge of a staging-post, it tells the story of how his beautiful daughter was seduced and betrayed by a cavalry officer who promised marriage but treated her like dirt.

Hilde Krahl plays the striking-looking daughter with intensity, and the settings are well-chosen and evocative, with an astonishing moment when a dancer whips her top off. Even if Britain had been at peace with Germany, I very much doubt if this scene would have survived. A mixture of romance and tragedy (the soldier relating the tale fell in love with the girl after she had been ill-treated), effectively told and moving.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 3:52 pm

In The Show Goes On (1936), Anna Neagle, Leslie Banks and Tullio Carminati are the Three Maxims, a first-rate act in a third-rate circus. Fortune, however, beckons with a contract for a Parisian theater. At this point Banks asks Carminati to propose to Anna for him; when she turns him down, he turns surly, thinking the two are in love; he drops Carminati into the net during rehearsal, and they work without a net when there's an audience.

It's certainly a pleasure to see Miss Neagle in white tights, but there's nothing to do with the circus in her performance. She is miscast, but who can blame her producer and director, Herbert Wilcox, whom she would marry seven years later. It's a love letter to her, and who can blame the smitten fellow? Her co-leads are fine and the production certainly puts a lot of money on the screen with a lot of extras in the theater scenes.

Whoever the uncredited acrobats were that filled in for the leads on the trapeze, they did a good job, as did Freddie Young, the great cinematographer, in the long shots -- alas, the print I looked at was not sharp to determine if the close-ups were of equal quality, but I'm sure they were.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 6:20 pm

I see Freddie Frinton once a year on New Year's Eve, for SBS here in Oz each year screens the half hour comedy skit "Dinner for One" which he made in Germany in the mid 1960's. In it he plays a white-wigged, doddery old butler. Imagine then my surprise when I looked at his one and only big screen picture "Trouble in the Air" made in 1948. My brain being in gear at the time made me surmise that this character was one that he had knocked around a bit over the years, particularly on the stage and this was confirmed when I read that he had more or less done the plot of the film in a stage show at the Liverpool Empire in 1949.

Prior to his New Year's Eve appearances I had previously seen Frinton in a TV series called "Meet the Wife" back in the early '60's, where he partnered Thora Hird, but I digress.

"Trouble in the Air" although featuring Jimmy Edwards who was an R.A.F., pilot during the war (hence the large handle-bar moustache) has nothing to do with aeroplanes, rather "the air" connotation is in reference to his character - a man from the B.B.C., who does broadcasts from rural England. He happens upon a hard up local squire (Malcolm Russell) who leads a team of bell-ringers, whom he is to broadcast.

A side story has the squire on the way to being cheated on a sale of land for a price well below it's value and of course his butler (Frinton) comes to the rescue.

Jimmy Edwards D.F.C., I saw on stage back in 1966 - his was the last show at the old "Tiv" in Melbourne. Prior to that I had seen him on T.V. as the headmaster in "Whack - O!" and heard him on the wireless as Mr. Glum in "Take it From Here". Whatever he was in, he was always mostly the same person.

Not a particularly good film in that the comedy is forced at times and the script is altogether weak. To my mind this is essentially a show that would have had them in stitches if it could have been performed on stage where the performers could time their deliveries according to the audience's responses. On film, it all falls rather flat. One might garner enough out of it to raise the occasional smirk.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 8:07 pm

boblipton wrote:In The Show Goes On (1936), Anna Neagle, Leslie Banks and Tullio Carminati are the Three Maxims, a first-rate act in a third-rate circus. Fortune, however, beckons with a contract for a Parisian theater. At this point Banks asks Carminati to propose to Anna for him; when she turns him down, he turns surly, thinking the two are in love; he drops Carminati into the net during rehearsal, and they work without a net when there's an audience.

It's certainly a pleasure to see Miss Neagle in white tights, but there's nothing to do with the circus in her performance. She is miscast, but who can blame her producer and director, Herbert Wilcox, whom she would marry seven years later. It's a love letter to her, and who can blame the smitten fellow? Her co-leads are fine and the production certainly puts a lot of money on the screen with a lot of extras in the theater scenes.

Whoever the uncredited acrobats were that filled in for the leads on the trapeze, they did a good job, as did Freddie Young, the great cinematographer, in the long shots -- alas, the print I looked at was not sharp to determine if the close-ups were of equal quality, but I'm sure they were.


I remember liking this when I watched it a few years back.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 1:20 am

Rogue One. Thought it interesting seeing Diego Luna and Donnie Yen in a Star Wars movie. After a while I said out loud "This movie isn't ending!" Shortly after, the story and plot, and point began making sense. Started out all right, then got better. Was good but not great. The ending made me watch the last couple of scenes over a few times.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 4:23 am

SPOILER ALERT

In Yama No Oto (1954; aka Sound of the Mountain) So Yamamura is the grieving observer of the failure of his children's marriages. His daughter has left her husband and brought home two children; and his son is cheating on Setsuko Hara with a mistress and a girl friend. He comes to realize that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

Mikio Naruse is sometimes viewed as a backup to Ozu. It is true they had much the same career path, becoming directors in the late silent era, directing a wide variety of movies in the 1930s , but becoming known for women's movies in the 1950s. However, while Ozu's movies documented endurance, Naruse was more concerned with the tragedy of failure, its roots and effects. His camera work is less stylized -- or perhaps, to my eye, more western. In the face of a changing Japan, his characters do not apologize and endure; they weep and change.

What makes this movie particularly telling is that the characters at the heart of this tragedy -- the son and daughter-in-law -- are not the focus of this movie. It's Yamamura who is the movie's focus and he who learns he is the cause of the tragedy. In the end, we are offered hope for the children; they will live and perhaps be happy again; for Yamamura there is nothing but exile from life.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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boblipton

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

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 10:21 am

In Action for Slander (1937), Clive Brook is going through a rough patch. His wife, Ann Todd, is leaving him because he has been having an affair with a fellow officer's wife. He is at a shooting party and, playing poker in the evening, he picks up a great hand and bets to the tune of five hundred pounds. The other player who has stayed in accuses him of cheating, and the officer whose wife Brook is having an affair with accuses him of cheating. His friends advise him not to bring suit for slander, but a year later, the accusation has gotten out. At this point, Miss Todd returns and talks him into bringing suit at last.

It's the sort of society drama that Alexander Korda was producing at this point. It has a great cast, including Francis L. Sullivan and Felix Aylmer as the opposing barristers. There are some good lines offered under the direction of Tim Whelan and Clive Brook is a world-class glarer, the equal of Anita Garvin; Miss Todd plays her usual long-suffering English rose. It's a very good movie of its type, yet the inherent triviality and (to this American) the emphasis on the importance of society's opinion and the insanity of British libel law makes it seem like a storm in a teacup.

Bob
To remain ignorant of what occurred before before you were born is to remain forever a child.
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Jonathan

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

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 10:41 am

Sorry, repeated post.
Last edited by Jonathan on Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jonathan

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

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 10:43 am

And again! For some reason, my edits ended up as duplicates...
Last edited by Jonathan on Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jonathan

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

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 10:49 am

Donald Binks wrote:Sid ("What a performance!") Fields was like a shooting star in the echelons of British comedy performances, for while he had come through from the hard slog of Music Hall, he only hit the big time in 1943 on the stage in the West End, then making only three films before his premature death at the age of 45 in 1950.

His best remembered film is the Techicolored "London Town" made in 1946 in which he is partnered with his long-time straight man Jerry Desmonde. We can thank this film for preserving two of Fields' stage turns - "The Golfer" and "The Photographer".

In "The Laughing Cavalier" made in 1949, Sid finds himself in the English republic of the 1640's stuck with the amazing moniker "Sidcup Buttermeadow" - but then the whole film is made of strange names such as "Murdercasket" and "Judge Gorebucket"

As a young boy, this film - known as Cardboard Cavalier here in the UK - was just about my top favourite, though I only saw it once. And, thanks to BBC's Genome site, I know the exact date (7 April 1969). I remember discussing and laughing about it at length the following morning with several schoolfriends - interesting that we seven and eight year-olds evidently were all allowed to stay up until 10pm to watch the end. It was indeed those final sequences that we mainly recounted, delighting in the castle gadgetry and the ghost.

Although Radio Times billed it as "the famous British comedy film" and it was shown on primetime BBC1, it's odd that it wasn't repeated - as I well remember. I plagued my mother for years with complaints and queries about why the BBC wouldn't re-show it and I think I even wrote a letter to them, also asking why we didn't see many more Sid Field comedies! I hadn't seen London Town, which wouldn't have suited me anyway at that time.

Alas, by the time Cardboard Cavalier did receive more BBC screenings in the 1990s, I was in my thirties and found it almost completely unfunny (in contrast to Will Hay's films which still make me laugh). I did think of trying it again on YouTube - but perhaps it's best just to keep the memory of the naïve merriment it induced one April evening almost half-a-century ago. (I sound like a Robert Youngson narration...)
Last edited by Jonathan on Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 12:38 pm

Re CARDBOARD CAVALIER, I seem to recall it being shown on Southern ITV sometime in the early to mid-seventies, and probably on a Saturday morning. I was either still at school, or only recently in the world of work, but I do recall liking it at the time. Whether I would still, I have yet to find out...
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 12:59 pm

A promising comedy short, SECOND-HAND KISSES (1931) had the splendid Louise Fazenda and James Finlayson as a couple getting married but each having a two-legged secret. Much of the film is taken with the goings-on when they end up taking in all the kids from the local children's home. Aside from the odd moment and some amusing exchanges between Fazenda and traffic cop Tiny Sandford, this one is particularly tiresome and unfunny, although the last gag (reminiscent of HELPMATES) is quite amusing.

Silly, but much more entertaining, was SWEETIE (1929), which has showgirl Nancy Carroll being disappointed when footballer student Stanley Smith chooses the team instead of elopement. How to get her revenge? Of course sweet Nancy discovers she has inherited the college and can do her damnedest to put a spoke in his wheel. Next door is an academy for young ladies, where tomboy Helen Kane is chasing the boys, in particular dopey Stuart Erwin. Throw in a slim Jack Oakie as Carroll's pal, and you have a pleasant, lively, tuneful and daffy musical comedy, complete with the usual two pairs (one serious, one silly) of lovers, as well as the Big Match finale. The British headmaster (who dances as well) is played by William Austin, who payed the silly-ass ("I say, how perfectly ripping!" Englishman in COUNTY HOSPITAL). Directed by Frank Tuttle.
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boblipton

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

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 5:37 pm

In proof of the assertion that it takes more than Angel's Flight, the Bradbury Building and that shipyard where Alan Ladd got his in This Gun for Hire, I offer The Indestructible Man (1956). The corpse of Lon Chaney Jr. is resurrected by Robert Shayne (with Joe Flynn's assistance) and he rampages around, with a voice-over telling us what we are seeing. Credit the fortunately unique Jack Polloxfen as director/producer.

Bob
To remain ignorant of what occurred before before you were born is to remain forever a child.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 8:28 pm

I watched "The Mad Doctor of Market Street" (Universal 1942) the other day. Worth taking a look at. Una Merkel top billed over Lionel Atwill. Joseph Lewis directed. Noble Johnson has a sizable role in it. Claire Dodd around ten years after her Warner Brother ingenue days is also in it.
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greta de groat

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

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 9:13 pm

Because it had Walter Huston and Kay Francis, i watched Always in my Heart (1942). Huston gets out of jail just when ex-wife is about to remarry a rich guy who her kids don't like, and they don't know their father is alive. Incredibly manipulative, cliched and predictable, i was way ahead of every bit of the plot. Plus Huston is a musician who has written the familiar Always in my Heart, which i hope to never hear again after all the repetitions in this film, including some lengthy ones by his dog-whistle soprano daughter and a group of comic harmonica players. Huston and Kay Francis manage to give some dignity to their parts, and Una O'Connor is a pro, but the film is wholly unworthy of them.

greta (still with the Always in my Heart earworm)
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