What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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

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

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 5:28 am

It was DIsney night on TCM, so it was time for a viewing of Kidnapped (1960), directed by Robert Stevenson, screenplay by Robert Stevenson, from the novel by Robert Stevenson -- the other one. When I was young enough to be fuzzy on such details, I concluded that he used the shorter version of his name for movie projects, but "Robert Louis Stevenson" for books, because... well, because. This was something I planned to do, and even had a pseudonym planned for such projects I envisioned in which I would wind up wearing many hats; I would be modest about proclaiming my immense achievements and good looks.

In any case, there is something about this fine version that, typically for many Disney live-action movies, always bothered me: they seemed more filmed stories than people living an exciting adventure, and the jokes in the comedies seemed planned and forced. Looking at this movie, I wonder how much of that sense of non-involvement is caused by the back-projection work, and the shots of James MacArthur and Peter Finch looking over the same bit of heather-decorated rocks -- at two different locations. It's not to say that MacArthur isn't ok as the young Balfour, that FInlay Currie isn't the Scottish laird as he seemed born to be, and certainly Peter Finch gives one of his most entertaining performances in a career in which he seemed defined by a sort of bland creepiness. It's just there's something about the Disney live-action movies which proclaimed their artificiality to me.

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

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 12:48 pm

Strictly Dynamite (1934) has Jimmy Durante as a radio comic who hires a poet to write some fresh new material. The comic's name is Moxie, which is repeated so much I had a terrible thirst by the end.

My idea of a dream cast: Lupe Velez, Franklin Pangborn, Sterling Holloway, Tom Kennedy and Eugene Pallette. Plus the Mills Brothers singing Swing It, Sister!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 4:34 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:Strictly Dynamite (1934) has Jimmy Durante as a radio comic who hires a poet to write some fresh new material. The comic's name is Moxie, which is repeated so much I had a terrible thirst by the end.

My idea of a dream cast: Lupe Velez, Franklin Pangborn, Sterling Holloway, Tom Kennedy and Eugene Pallette. Plus the Mills Brothers singing Swing It, Sister!


Take a swig of the stuff and you'll never thirst again!

Bob
He was deeply moved, for the whisky had been generously measured.

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

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 7:01 pm

It's another B western from a Zane Grey novel; Grey's The Dude Ranger became Roll Along, Cowboy (1937) for singing cowboy Smith Bellew. Stanley Fields (in Wallace Beery mode) and he collect their pay in the form of a mortgage on Ruth Robinson's ranch. When they get there, they discover her pretty daughter, Cecillia Parker, her crippled son, Wally Albright, and a severe lack of cash, thanks to shenanigans by crooked lawyer Bill Elliott and equally crooked banker, Lloyd Ingraham.

Quicker than you can say "Aw!" they are working to fix the situation, amidst musical interludes. Bellew started as a singer; his first appearance in the movies was as a singer in a Vitaphone short in Leo Reisman's band.His rangy looks, Texas accent and decent delivery got him a gig as a singing cowboy, but while adequate to the role, he doesn't add much to this movie, directed by Gus Meins (who was better known for directing lesser Hal Roach shorts). The songs are ok, and Miss Parker looks at him adoringly while he warbles. She would do better at MGM as Andy Hardy's older sister.

It seems to have had all the interesting complications one finds in Grey's novels cut out.

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

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 7:35 pm

Longtime lurker; first-time poster.

My principals are simple; I will watch anything from 1934 or earlier. In the case of Manhattan Parade (1931), I'm clearly going to have to rethink those principles. Charles Butterworth is usually a favorite of mine, but in this case he helped neither plot (the domestic drama or the satire of Broadway excess).

Early in the film I noted the rather timely theme of Winnie Lightner's work-life balance. Probably it would have been too much to ask of a 1930s movie to explore this in greater depth.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 7:38 pm

I have been a bit of a fan of Bill Nighy. I like his lay-back approach to acting. He makes it look so effortless. One feels that he is really a Chartered Accountant most of the time and just wanders into a film studio when he has a bit of time off. So saying I came across "The Limehouse Golem" (2016) into which he has wandered as a detective trying to track down a Jack the Ripper type individual as per the film's title. We are back in the 1880's and despite some degree of similarity to films with a similar theme, this one nevertheless has sufficient intrigue to sustain one through to the end. It manages to wander off in a few different directions, dangling some red herrings here and there, thus making the guessing of the identity of the fiend rather difficult - and it comes therefore as somewhat of a surprise.

The cast is scattered with a number of faces familiar to me - as I watch a lot of British TV dramas as well as films. Amongst these would be Eddie Marsan as the Manager of a Music Hall And Daniel Mays as a constable assigned to Bill Nighy.

Two of the main characters in the story are a music hall legend - Douglas Booth, who appears in drag - and a rag-tag girl who becomes a big star on the stage - Olivia Cooke.

It is a nice rendering of the period - the Brits are so good at doing this. One gets to feel the grime and soot of the era. Plus it gives us a glimpse into the seedier life of the Music Hall as it was then.

This is a good whodunit with old themes presented in a new and offbeat manner. It sustained my interest and I quite liked it (apart from a bit of the gore which is necessary apparently in pictures 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 Sep 13, 2017 5:26 am

"Mad Love" (1935) is a good name for a mad film. I first saw this picture when I was much, much younger and it terrified me. All these years later, it still comes over as a disturbing film to have to sit through.

I suppose too the thought of having hands transplanted would have seemed like something akin to "Frankenstein" back on the original viewing, but today such miracles have actually occurred and I daresay it won't be too long before Igor's successors will be carting brains into operating theatres as a matter of course for transplants.

The story is that of the "Hands of Orlac" a novel by Maurice Renard from 1920 and first made into a film in Austria starring Conrad Veidt in 1924. It was also the title of a later film of the same story made in 1960.

A concert pianist is in a train crash and his hands are severely damaged. A surgeon offers to graft on the hands of a guillotined murderer. The pianist thinks that his hands are changing his personality and that he is developing murderous instincts.

In the book and the silent film the concentration is more on the psychological aspects whereas in this film, the role of the doctor is enlarged and that of the pianist reduced. This film also brings in another element. The Doctor is in secret love with the pianist's wife who is the star in a Theatre Macabre he visits nightly in order to see her perform. He cannot restrain his love and when the opportunity comes to help the pianist, he takes it as his chance to finally secure the poor woman.

Peter Lorre had everything going for him in the sinister department. Having his hair shorn off for his role of Doctor Gogol and together with those big googly eyes combined with that voice of his, he would give anyone the creeps. He milks this ability for all its worth in this picture.

In the reduced role of the pianist comes Colin Clive who looks somewhat dissipated. As his wife and the object of the crazed doctor's affections is Frances Drake who just manages to be somewhat effective.

In order to reduce the horror of it all, M.G.M. has tried to introduce some humour. Part of this is by way of Ted Healey as a wise-cracking American newspaper reporter and May Beatty as the Doctor's housekeeper, prone to abuse a bottle or five of cognac.

It's really Lorre's picture and is a good essay on how an actor can take a part and make it his own. I can't imagine anyone else at the time being as equally effective.

It's not a picture for everyone, but if watching a person slowly becoming insane is your thing, then this is 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 Sep 13, 2017 5:58 am

From South Korea comes "Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned" (2016) which is I suppose coming under the heading of "fantasy drama"? The story had some similarity to me to the short story by H.G. Wells - "The Accelerator" but only slightly. Basically it's about some children who play together. They find this strange glowing egg in a stream in a cave. It breaks and some of them get caught in a time warp. A little girl who was one in the company remains in the current world - the other children are presumed missing or dead. Later one of the boys comes back and catches up with the little girl - but he has aged and is now in his 20's. The little girl tries to prove who he is, but he is seen as a child molester and a murderer by the locals.

It is a strange tale, very novel, and told without all that much resorting to special effects such as C.G.I. It's quite intriguing really and the performances by the children involved are first-rate. In fact the whole thing is put together very well involving some very nice photography. It has a good, tight script and a degree of logic that makes a lot of it seem plausible.

This is a very clever film and deserves a look.
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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 Sep 13, 2017 7:37 am

We saw "Viceroy's House" (2017) with Gillian Anderson, Hugh Bonneville, Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Denzil Smith, Neeraj Kabi, Tanveer Ghani, and so many others. An attempt at a near, but not quite, epic portrayal of partition at the end of Raj India in 1947 when Dickie Mountbatten became the last Viceroy of India and was put in place to end the rule of 300 years of British over-lordship. His job was to leave India to itself, but in peace. What he just didn't quite get was that the Sikhs, the Hindus, and the Muslim populations were seeking a form of absolution in the guise of power, and that the only way was to set up a separate Pakistan from India. What Mountbatten also didn't know was that years earlier Churchill and others had already "divided" India on a map so that the ports where valuable oil was could be got for countries - especially Britain! - without the interference or control of The Soviet Union. Remember, this was just at the near conclusion and then the end of WWII. The partition as we know it today is divided into two, and it is basically the map drawn up by Churchill and gang. The film is a tad talkie, but does a fine job nevertheless. Bonneville as Mountbatten is always forcing Lord Grantham upon us, and one critic makes note that the character (Mountbatten) is slightly wooden because of it, but that Mountbatten was also a rather wooden character, and was probably a lot like the person portrayed as Mountbatten by Bonneville. Manish Dayal as Bonneville's Indian assistant and Huma Qureshi as one of the ladies in assistance to Lady Mountbatten play characters whose love affair becomes a major part of the plot. It is extremely well-handled, sensitive, involving because of much intrigue in its development, and its near tragedy. Some might consider it a weakness of the film, but it actually is very involving, and I think its integral part possibly much more probable than gainsayers might imagine. One thing is for certain. I've always thought that Sophia Loren was as beautiful an actress as ever there was in film. Her equal is Huma Qureshi who is simply stunning! It was well worth the 106 minutes of running time. Recommended!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 9:35 am

Last night watched "Woman on the Run" (1950) with Ann Sheridan, Dennis O'Keefe, Robert Keith, John Qualen, Frank Jenks, and others. Directed by Norman Foster, this is a really good thriller/film-noir/crime drama, and there are even a couple of tropes that it is obvious that Hitchcock must have seen to use in his carnival scenes the following year in "Strangers on a Train" (1951). Sheridan's husband, played by Ross Elliott, witnesses a murder of a coming-up-witness-against-the-mob, and is put on the defensive because he sees that the murderer saw him see it! He goes on the run. We learn that he and Sheridan, though co-habiting and married still, nevertheless are fairly estranged. Nevertheless, through the very intrepid intervention of a police sergeant, Robert Keith, she is forced to try to communicate with the on-the-run husband. She now also is introduced to Dennis O'Keefe, a journalist who wants an exclusive story - so he says... The two of them try to outwit even the stick-like-glue police to try to find her husband. But now another complication is introduced - and rather late in the film - and Ann Sheridan is not aware of it! - and we as the audience are put on the pins-and-needle carpet... Very exciting denouement, if not a trifle quick in its finale, but the finale itself is satisfying. Nice show. My only criticism is that Sheridan is almost too subtle in her portrayal. Still, very enjoyable.

Afterwards, watched "Flight" (1929) with Jack Holt, Ralph Graves, Lila Lee, and others. It's been a while since I've watched this. It holds up beautifully. Yes, it's an early talkie, and it has some technological "faults", but not nearly as many as most of the films released that year. This one is directed by Frank Capra, and it's the second of a trilogy of films the duo of stars (Holt and Graves) made about transportation that have a lasting reputation. The other two are the silent "Submarine" (1928) and the soundie that succeeds this one, "Dirigible" (1931). The duo made many films together, however, and Ralph Graves also was a writer of others that Jack Holt was in. "Flight" is in the vein of "Wings", and nearly, but not quite, as good. Still, as I said, it holds up very well. About a man who joins the Marine Air Corps (Graves), but doesn't earn his wings. He becomes a mechanic for Holt (an instructor and flyer in the Marine Air Corps) and eventually saves Holt's life by flying out of Nicaragua during troubles with a vice-lord in very rugged territory. Much more in-between (and at the end), including romance, of course - a very sticky, messy one - with problems between Graves and Holt over Lila Lee. Really enjoyed seeing this again; and will probably re-visit it sometime in the future even again. For the record, fantastic aerialistics with the old-time planes! Well worth seeking out.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 10:12 am

Frenzy/Latin Quarter 1945.A rather strange thriller
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 1:36 pm

Donald Binks wrote:I have been a bit of a fan of Bill Nighy. I like his lay-back approach to acting. He makes it look so effortless. One feels that he is really a Chartered Accountant most of the time and just wanders into a film studio when he has a bit of time off. So saying I came across "The Limehouse Golem" (2016) into which he has wandered as a detective trying to track down a Jack the Ripper type individual as per the film's title. We are back in the 1880's and despite some degree of similarity to films with a similar theme, this one nevertheless has sufficient intrigue to sustain one through to the end. It manages to wander off in a few different directions, dangling some red herrings here and there, thus making the guessing of the identity of the fiend rather difficult - and it comes therefore as somewhat of a surprise.

The cast is scattered with a number of faces familiar to me - as I watch a lot of British TV dramas as well as films. Amongst these would be Eddie Marsan as the Manager of a Music Hall And Daniel Mays as a constable assigned to Bill Nighy.

Two of the main characters in the story are a music hall legend - Douglas Booth, who appears in drag - and a rag-tag girl who becomes a big star on the stage - Olivia Cooke.

It is a nice rendering of the period - the Brits are so good at doing this. One gets to feel the grime and soot of the era. Plus it gives us a glimpse into the seedier life of the Music Hall as it was then.

This is a good whodunit with old themes presented in a new and offbeat manner. It sustained my interest and I quite liked it (apart from a bit of the gore which is necessary apparently in pictures today).


Thanks for the recommendation. Yes, as a piece of atmosphere, it is quite wonderful. It's interesting to see Douglas Booth as Dan Leno, whom I have seen in a An Obstinate Cork (1902), as well as the portrayal of Gissing, Marx and a couple of of other actual people.

Bob
He was deeply moved, for the whisky had been generously measured.

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

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:18 pm

I really need to see this Limehouse Golem movie, I hope it's readily available (Netflix, maybe?). Love that cast!

Also, kudos for the PDQ Bach quote in your .sig, Bob. His music is perfect for dancing, if one of your legs is shorter than the other.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:23 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:I really need to see this Limehouse Golem movie, I hope it's readily available (Netflix, maybe?). Love that cast!

Also, kudos for the PDQ Bach quote in your .sig, Bob. His music is perfect for dancing, if one of your legs is shorter than the other.


Well, as Virgil Fox said of one of his big daddy's pieces, "When I play this, I dance."

Bob
He was deeply moved, for the whisky had been generously measured.

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

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:41 pm

Although it does little to disguise the fact that it is derived from a stage play "Whistling in the Dark" (1933) is nevertheless a very entertaining little piece of nonsense.

Ernest Truex who was forever cast as a miniature milquetoast (he was only 5'3"), and his fiancee (Una Merkel) are in a motor car that breaks down outside a house owned by a big-time gangster (Edward Arnold). During a welcoming drink, Mr. Truex goes on about criminals and lets loose that he is a crime writer and can work out the way to commit the perfect murder. Mr. Arnold is all ears, and imprisons the hapless pair in order for Mr. Truex to come up with a scheme - as he wants to bump someone off.

It's a nice little comedy played well and we get to see Nat Pendleton again as the perennial criminal's assistant as well as John Miljan and others who have popped up as villains of one sort or another.

I learned something from the film too. I didn't know that if someone has ripped your 'phone out, you can connect the wires up to a wireless and make a 'phone call that way?

The film was re-made for TV in 1938 and again with Red Skelton in 1941. There is also a film of the same title being made this year.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:45 pm

I have long thought David Farrar was more distinguished for being tall, dark, handsome and having a mellifluous voice, but he shows some real ability in Night Without Stars (1951). He's almost blind because of a wartime injury, and living in depressed exile in southern France, when he runs into Nadia Gray. She's engaged to be married, but when he goes to confront the fiance, he finds a corpse... then the corpse vanishes, as does a cafe.

It's written by Winston Graham from his novel -- he's better known for writing the Poldark series -- and well directed by Anthony Pelissier in his short but distinguished career in the movies. While at times it seems as if the symbolic meanings of things stick through the plot -- blindness being a metaphor for this and that -- it winds up being a highly satisfying piece of cinema.

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

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:50 pm

I watched "Mindhorn" (2016) essentially because Essie Davis ("Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries) was in it. The film is basically an el cheapo, instantly forgettable lump of old cobblers. It was financed by the Isle of Man because a lot of the film takes place there - but I don't think it will increase Manxian tourism.

The story is that of a washed-up actor who had come to prominence 30 years previously playing a cop who had solved a lot of crimes. He is called in by the Manx police because a lunatic criminal they are chasing says he is the only person he will speak to. A lot more could have been made of the film, but it just lacks lustre completely and one ends up counting the leaves and petals in the ceiling rose.
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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)

PostThu Sep 14, 2017 8:03 am

Watched a "B" Western by all standards, though this was pretty much a standard "A" picture from Columbia Pictures in 1933 standards: "The California Trail" (1933) with Buck Jones and Helen Mack. Others in the film include Luis Alberni, George Humbert, Charles Stevens, and Carmen Laroux. Interesting seeing Alberni as a very wicked baddie when movie viewers of today will remember him nearly exclusively as a head waiter or hotel manager(!) from so, so many films. Good to see Charles Stevens get a major role with lots of speaking. He was Geronimo's grandson in real life, and he was a very close friend of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. He appeared in well over 200 films and nearly all of Fairbanks, Sr.'s. Whereas he is usually cast as a villain, here he's a very good guy.

This one takes place in 1838 California and has a wicked (Alberni) Commandant of Spanish troops and his nasty brother, the mayor (Humbert) trying to steal land from poor peasant landholders by starving them to death or out of the country. Buck Jones is Santa Fe Stewart, "the Yankee bandit", as he gets to be known, and who has come into the country with food for the people. He's the wagon leader for Don Marco Ramirez who dies early on in an Indian massacre actually finagled by Alberni. Alberni then has Jones set up as the killer, and you can figure out the rest.

Good early Western, if not a tad wooden in many respects. Directed by Lambert Hillyer; I was expecting a better finished product, but what is here is still quite good. Picture quality is as though it were released yesterday - nearly perfect! Great DVD from Sony.

As a coda I'd like to say that most today probably don't even know who Buck Jones is/was. He became as popular as Tom Mix, and until the TV Hopalong Cassidy series took over the movies of the same - with William Boyd - and became equally as popular, Jones was the most popular Western star of his time. He died in 1942 in the infamous night club fire at the Boston Coconut Grove - going back and back to save victims until he became one. [As an aside, 3 outstanding books about Jones were written by the Western genre expert Buck Rainey. Although they are biographical, one could almost say they were hagiographical!]
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Sep 14, 2017 9:14 am

KEY LARGO (WB 1948) : The recent hurricanes in that region, as well as a reference to the island in a book my wife was reading, brought up an interest in revisiting this movie. Our library had a BluRay on hand, so we watched it last night. This, along with several other WB films of that period, hold up remarkably well. KEY LARGO is from a play by Maxwell Anderson, and much of it could be performed on stage. It is mostly a one room set, with each character having his/her high point.
Under John Huston's direction all are engrossing. Claire Trevor received the Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance as Edward G. Robinson's girl friend.
It gets a little hokey in the last 20 minutes or so, with a shoot out on a boat, but all the bad guys are wiped out, and the good guy (Humphrey Bogart) goes home with a smile on his face.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Sep 14, 2017 10:20 am

Impromptu (1991) looks and feels like a lush Ivory/Merchant film but it's not. Wicked and sly comedy examines the romance of George Sand (Judy Davis) and Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant). Most of the action takes place at a country estate and n Paris. Sand is trying to extricate from a series of affairs and pursues headlong the indifferent and sickly Chopin. A further complication comes from Marie D'Agoult (Bernadette Peters) who befriends Sand but tries to win Chopin for herself. Among the circle of friends, we also meet a dour Franz Liszt (Julian Sands), Alfred De Musset (Mandy Patinkin), and Eugene Delacroix (Ralph Brown) who act as a Greek chorus for much of the film and delight in taunting Chopin (whom they deride as the Polish corpse). Emma Thompson plays the bored country duchess, and Anna Massey shows up as Sand's old mother. One of a small handful of films directed by James Lapine. The three women turn in blazing performances.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Sep 14, 2017 3:35 pm

In The Hideout (1956), Dermot Walsh is an insurance investigator in London about to fly out to London. He picks up Rona Anderson's case by accident and discovers it contains eight thousand pounds. He returns it to her and her brother, Ronald Howard, and finds himself in the midst of a plot involving smuggled, anthrax-laden furs and several armed thugs, all of whom want their money.

It's a fine example of what a one-hour second feature is supposed to offer: lots of plot, lots of action, and some good photography. Here, it's shots of London's Docklands -- now gone beneath Canary Wharf -- just the place where night time shooting and cinematic life is cheap. There's no stretching of any points and the characters are no more than sketches, but at this length, it's what one hopes for and, for once, gets.

Bob
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He was deeply moved, for the whisky had been generously measured.

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

PostThu Sep 14, 2017 4:49 pm

Jack Hoxie had quite a career as a movie cowboy in the silents, but he had been off the screen for three years when he made Gold (1932). He's partners in a gold claim with whiny drunkard Lafe McKee, who sells out to Hooper Atchley (boo! Hiss!) and promptly gets shot, and his corpse robbed. Naturally, his daughter, Alice Day, thinks Jack has done it, so it's up to Dynamite the Wonder Horse to prove Jack's innocence, so he can get on to his next movie. A horse has to think of his future.

It's a thoroughly mediocre effort, despite the efforts of director Otto Brower to get a few interesting camera angles in. Hoxie looks every inch the cowboy star, but he can't act in the talkies for beans, and after his contract with Larry Darmour ran out the following year, he went touring in a live show and then retired to a ranch. Miss Day gave up the movies entirely. Brower would keep working and gain a reputation as a western director with some style, but never quite hit the big time.

Bob
He was deeply moved, for the whisky had been generously measured.

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

PostFri Sep 15, 2017 6:24 am

Watched another Buck Jones Western, "The Deadline" (1931). Co-starring Loretta Sayers, G. Raymond Nye, Robert Ellis, and Edward LeSaint, this is one of the best "B" Westerns I've ever watched. Although Robert Ellis isn't the best actor in the basket, the plot, timing, photography, and all the other actors and actresses make this one special. Directed by Lambert Hillyer, this one has Buck as a man just released on parole for a crime he didn't even commit. He's a hothead, so he has to watch his step, or else... His girl, Loretta Sayers, still has faith in the fact he wasn't guilty, and, seemingly, even if he was, well, he served his time... Robert Ellis has other plans... He also thinks he can get Loretta Sayers for himself. There is a shootout scene from a bank robbery nearly foiled that is about as realistic as it gets. Exceedingly well done for such an early sound film!! Another reviewer has pegged this film as "moody"; I think that description is apt. Would watch this one again soon. This is a DVD from Sony Choice and the contents look pristine. Would never know this film is over 85 years old! Very highly recommended for Western film fans.

Afterwards, watched the 8 minute short "The Cowboy and the Girl" with Ray Mayer and his wife Edith Evans (no, not that one). This is on the DVD "Vitaphone Varieties: 1928-1929", volume 3. Fun little short with piano playing Mayer also making a few comedic remarks, and his wife singing a couple of jazz age songs. He's in a cowboy outfit. Except for the way he constantly looks down and back as though looking at someone or something, this one plays pretty straightforwardly for such a very early sound entry.
Last edited by R Michael Pyle on Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Sep 15, 2017 6:31 am

The Mayer-Evans shorts are among the highlights of the restorations of the Vitaphone Project.

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

PostFri Sep 15, 2017 5:20 pm

At first I thought I was looking at a Disney live-action movie. There were the bright colors and David Tomlinson in a bowler hat (looking unaccountably like Donald O'Connor). But, no, Made in Heaven (1952) was a J. Arthur Rank film directed by the reliable Paddy Carstairs. Tomlinson is married to Petula Clark and living with his folks, and waiting for their house to be built. It's a fairly idyllic situation in which they're up to be awarded a flitch of bacon at the local fair for being a happily married couple, when in comes the home's new maid from Hungary, Sonja Ziemann, who is very familiar with all the men. For some reason, the lietmotif for the dark-haired beauty is "Aupres de ma Blonde."

In other words, it's the sort of happy mish-mosh that in the US would be produced by Joe Pasternak for a wholesome, family-friendly effort. In the US, there would be a role for S.Z. Sakall. Here, the equivalent role is taken by A.E. Matthews as Tomlinson's grandfather. It's minor and nonsense and forgettable and kills eighty minutes well enough.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
He was deeply moved, for the whisky had been generously measured.

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

PostFri Sep 15, 2017 6:10 pm

Tom Keene plays Tom Keene in Hong Kong Nights (1935). He is an American agent of some description, sent to Macao to pursue suspected gunrunner Cornelius Keefe. He falls in with Wera Engels, who is dumping Keefe, because he is keeping secrets from her.

He is nominally aided by Warren Hymer who, like most of his movie roles, is of no use to anyone. He spends a lot of his time cracking eggs. Although it's interesting, I suppose, to see Keene in a lead role which does not include a horse, this movie looks as if it is a three-reeler that the producer, exploitation specialist Walter Futter, expanded by means of news reel footage from Hong Kong that he picked up on the cheap and had his unnamed editor cut into the movie. There is a sequence in which several of the principals talk in the middle of a polo match that is very poorly paced.

Tetsui Komai is present because, presumably, they needed an actor who matched his general description. Tom London is there. I suppose Keene told him he had a leading role and London showed up thinking it would be a western.

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

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 5:47 pm

Ronald Shiner was a regular on Saturday afternoon matinees at the "Kinema" in Albert Park, but he wasn't ranked all that highly when we also were treated to the likes of George Formby, Will Hay, Arthur Askey and the early "Carry-Ons". He always came over, to me at any rate, as a rather common man who had just come out of prison. His comedy too was always a bit forced.

In "Keep it Clean" (1956) Mr. Shiner is working for an advertising agency. He has a love-hate relationship with his boss - James Hayter (who was one of those actors who just kept on going and going). He also has a brother-in-law (Colin Gordon) who has invented a wonder vacuum cleaner which Mr. Shiner thinks he can earn a quid on by marketing it. There follows a whole series of unfortunate events which involve, a rich advertising account with a prim and proper maiden Aunt type (Jean Cadell) in charge of it, her rather attractive niece (Ursula Howells), a window-cleaner (Benny Lee), a burlesque show and of course some chorus girls one of whom is afforded the opportunity to warble a bit (Tonia Bern).

The humour is broad and at times quite forced. It was fun though to see Mr. Shiner impersonating a toff - it did provide a relief from his usual Cockney accent.

Because of all that is happening one thinks that there is too much being crammed in to the picture and some scenes - away from the main story - appear to have been added purely for the purpose of shoving in some more gags.

Not a picture to immediately bring forth a chorus of guffaws, it may though raise the occasional smirk.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 6:26 pm

"Lonely Road" (1936) (Known in America as "Scotland Yard Commands") features Clive Brook as an ex-Navy Commander who harbours memories of a bad incident he was involved in during the war. He is well off and quite urbane and drives a natty little roadster - which in the opening of the film he operates whilst intoxicated. He ends up in the sand at the seaside and manages to witness a smuggling operation going on. He is hit over the head - and the rest of the film is taken up with him assisting Scotland Yard in catching the villains.

A lot of the story and plot in this film is absolute tripe and full of coincidences and sheer silliness - but we go along with it, because for the most part it is all quite well done and so, entertaining.

In his travels Clive Brook meets Victoria Hopper - she is the sister of the man who drove the lorry and who the police are after. She is a taxi-dancer at a Hop in Leeds. Being from Leeds one would expect a Yorkshire accent, but no, she talks freightfullay nacelay. Naturally, Mr. Brook becomes enamoured of her - and the picture goes along in this direction as well.

It is a compliment to the acting abilities of the cast and the direction of James Flood that despite some degree of ludicrousness, they got away with such an entertaining picture.
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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)

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 7:35 pm

Murder with Mirrors (1985) now takes the prize for being the worst film based on a work by Agatha Christie. Helen Hayes as Miss Marple (!) visiting her old friend (Bette Davis) who may be being poisoned at her English country estate, which doubles as a "home" for juvenile delinquents. John Mills plays Davis' loving husband who works with a famed psychologist (Anton Rodgers) on programs for the boys. Tim Roth (looking about 15) is one of the volatile youths. Dotothy Tutin plays Davis' mousey daughter. Frances de la Tour plays the ominous nurse. Leo McKern provides a spark to this soggy mess as the inspector. Hayes looks great at age 85 and moves lithely, but she's so wrong for the part. She and Davis don't even bother attempting English accents. At one point Hayes is on a stage where the delinquents put on shows. She gives forth with the "Out damned spot" bit for no reason at all. It's something Margaret Rutherford in her quirky way could have made work. Hayes has no quirk in her. She's just plain boring. Davis is skeletal in her post-stroke period. On top of all this, the story, as rendered for this TV movie, is terrible.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Sep 17, 2017 6:39 am

drednm wrote:Murder with Mirrors (1985) now takes the prize for being the worst film based on a work by Agatha Christie. Helen Hayes as Miss Marple (!) visiting her old friend (Bette Davis) who may be being poisoned at her English country estate, which doubles as a "home" for juvenile delinquents. John Mills plays Davis' loving husband who works with a famed psychologist (Anton Rodgers) on programs for the boys. Tim Roth (looking about 15) is one of the volatile youths. Dotothy Tutin plays Davis' mousey daughter. Frances de la Tour plays the ominous nurse. Leo McKern provides a spark to this soggy mess as the inspector. Hayes looks great at age 85 and moves lithely, but she's so wrong for the part. She and Davis don't even bother attempting English accents. At one point Hayes is on a stage where the delinquents put on shows. She gives forth with the "Out damned spot" bit for no reason at all. It's something Margaret Rutherford in her quirky way could have made work. Hayes has no quirk in her. She's just plain boring. Davis is skeletal in her post-stroke period. On top of all this, the story, as rendered for this TV movie, is terrible.

Utterly, totally agree with your assessment!
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