What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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Jim Roots

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

PostFri Nov 03, 2017 4:50 pm

Following on the heels of a spate of reviews of films about ladies, I feel almost guilty about posting a review about a man's man's film, namely, Underworld USA (1961).

Yep, it's another Sam Fuller epic about a tough lone-wolf who defies the world in order to execute his own manly-man moral code. Cliff Robertson watches his petty-hoodlum Dad get beaten to death by four less-petty-hoodlums, only one of whom he is able to see and recognize (the others are shadows on a wall). When that one hood goes to jail for an unrelated crime, Cliffie sets out deliberately to end up in the same jail. Since he was 14 at the time, that means 18 years of juvie, reform school, minor criminal acts, and finally a five-year stretch. He gets the hood to name the other three killers just before dying, then sets out deliberately to end up working for one of them so he can eliminate each of them.

I had a lot of mixed feelings about this movie. It's good, it's down and dirty, it's a template for Scorcese's Goodfellas in some ways and a template for Godard's Breathless in other ways, and Robertson is surprisingly effective, especially when he sneers incredulously at his girlfriend when she tells him she wants to have his babies. He's not a nice guy, being fixated on revenge to the exclusion of all traits of humanity.

Yet, the film fails on some level, and I'm not sure which one. Fuller may have brushed up against organized crime in his real life, but his understanding of how it works seems superficial. He collected the lumber but the house he built with it looks like Buster Keaton's in One Week. It's just not credible, either in Robertson's 18-year obsession or in the swift ease with which he gains access to and trust from the top four bosses of organized crime plus their cold-as-steel professional hitman.

A film can be good and at the same time disappointing. Like this one.

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

PostSat Nov 04, 2017 5:06 pm

John Barrymore in Counselor-At-Law (1933). Barrymore, always the consummate actor, in his usual striking, engaging, and technically proficient performance . . . but the movie! Directed by William Wyler, I had a preconceived notion of something memorable about to be witnessed, but the movie doesn't age well, and I seriously doubt that it was well-received in 1933, because it creaks with all the hackneyed tropes of early talkies: women's voices all sound like Minnie Mouse (and the men not much better), static camerawork throughout, the entire story told through dialogue, talk, talk, talk, talk, much so fast that you can't understand what they are saying. Zero action. The story is non-engaging, and I was fighting nodding off while suffering through it.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Nov 04, 2017 7:52 pm

Caged (1950) offers a trove of terrific performances by a cast of actresses in a serious film about women in prison ... before it became a sort of exploitation film joke. Eleanor Parker earned a best actress nomination in the famous 1950 race that saw her as a non-starter as Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson squared off with Anne Baxter tagging along. They all canceled each other out and Judy Holliday won. But Caged also boasted a deliciously evil performance by Hope Emerson (also Oscar nominated) as the sadistic matron, Agnes Moorehead as the earnest warden, Betty Garde and Lee Patrick as the queen bees, and Jan Sterling, Ellen Corby, Gertrude Michael, Sheila MacRae, Nita Talbot, Olive Deering, and the marvelous Gertrude Hoffman as the sly lifer. Also Jane Darwell, Edith Evanson, Grace Hayes among the matron, Queenie Smith as Parker's mother, and Grayce Hampton as a do-gooder. Any film that opens with line "Pile out, you tramps! It's the end of the line! as the wagon drives up to the prison gates, just has to be good!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Nov 05, 2017 8:11 am

Everyone in the apartment gets up early, because Hitler is arriving in Rome to seal the Axis Pact with Mussolini and everyone in Rome must turn out for such A Special Day (1977), except mama, Sophia Loren. She tries to to do her chores in a desultory fashion, but when the myna escapes, she goes to the new neighbor's apartment and meets Marcello Mastroianni -- a blacklisted homosexual broadcaster.

The first thing I noticed was the extra sepia wash on this late Technicolor production. At first I thought it had been shot in black and white, until I noticed that reds showed up, in dark oxblood. Clearly this was an attempt to emulate the look of b&w films from the era. The movie itself was slow and rewarding, a pair of character studies, demonstrating once again what accomplished actors the pair were. I found it intensely rewarding.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Nov 05, 2017 1:26 pm

Actually watched an up-to-date film - in a cinema, no less! As folk here doubtless know, VICTORIA AND ABDUL (2017) is about the friendship between the elderly Queen and a young Indian sent to escort a special commemorative coin / medal to England. The film is concerned with the treatment accorded to the young man and his colleague as well as the opposition Victoria encounters from her subjects, staff and family. There is a warning at the beginning about offensive racial language, but it is more the attitudes of the others which will cause upset as there is no or little use of the insulting epithets which were common in this country until recently, and which can still be heard, although he is referred to as 'coloured' at one point.

Judi Dench, whom no British film seems to be complete without (unless it is Maggie Smith) is watchable throughout, and supported by a good many well-known names and faces (Michael Gambon, Eddie Izzard), and the film has a good many effective moments as well as the odd spot which feels anachronistic. Based on real-life events, although I have no idea if anything had been fabricated. And the dear Queen seems very modern indeed in her reaction to the Moslem religion, unlike everyone else in the picture. It would be interesting to know if the foolish waste shown at the banquet (when the Queen has finished, everybody's plate is whisked away, whether empty or not) still goes on, as I seem to recall the broadcater Jeremy Paxman encountering the same thing quite recently. One only hopes any leftovers went to feed the local wildlife...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Nov 05, 2017 1:33 pm

One of the things I enjoyed about Roger Zelazny's well-written revenge dramas was the unspoken attitude of his characters. "Yes," they would seem to say, "I'm a god. Who isn't?" This gave them the opportunity to behave in ways appropriate to gods to anyone who have read much mythology, id est, completely and casually inappropriately.

That was the fun in today's theater movie with my cousin, Thor: Ragnarok (2017) in which there is more of Thor's Smothers-Brothers relationship with Loki, mixed feelings with the Hulk ("It's fine, I know him from work"). It's well put together, breezy and the set pieces of rock-em-sock-em robots are not too onerous: the well-oiled Marvel Movie machine at work.

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

PostMon Nov 06, 2017 8:53 am

My Girl Tisa (1948) is an interesting film about immigrants in New York City in the early 1900s when Teddy Roosevelt was president. Plot follows an ambitious young man (Sam Wanamaker in his film debut) born in the old country, who came to the US as a baby. He epitomizes the go-get-them type of young American, one bursting with energy and ambition and embracing the new technical marvels of the age. There's also a newcomer named Tisa (Lilli Palmer) who works several menial jobs and saves with a "broker" to bring her father to the US. The "broker" (Hugo Haas) is basically a crook who bilks the naive newcomers out of their pennies. The young folk work for a bombastic garment make (Akim Tamiroff) who squeezes the life out of every penny he earns but is basically a nice guy. They live in a boarding house run by a gussied-up live wire (Stella Adler in a rare film appearance), also from the old country. Of course Tisa gets bilked and the crook sets her up to be deported. The finale includes Sidney Blackmer as Roosevelt in a gigantic New York parade. Directed by Elliott Nugent, this is a charming and nostalgic look at the country we once were. High marks to all involved. Cast also include Alan Hale, Gale Robbins, John Qualen, John Banner, Sid Tomack, Benny Baker, and Fritz Feld as a dance instructor.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Nov 06, 2017 9:45 am

boblipton wrote: the well-oiled Marvel Movie machine at work.

Bob


Did not understand the teaser at the closing credits, did you?
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Nov 06, 2017 10:28 am

Daniel Eagan wrote:
boblipton wrote: the well-oiled Marvel Movie machine at work.

Bob


Did not understand the teaser at the closing credits, did you?


Guardians of the Galaxy reference.

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

PostMon Nov 06, 2017 11:52 am

drednm wrote:My Girl Tisa ... Stella Adller in a rare film appearance


And me old teacher's pretty dang good - she knew from the Lower East Side!

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

PostMon Nov 06, 2017 12:42 pm

wich2 wrote:
drednm wrote:My Girl Tisa ... Stella Adller in a rare film appearance


And me old teacher's pretty dang good - she knew from the Lower East Side!

-Craig


She was terrific!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Nov 06, 2017 1:50 pm

Despite an upload which tended to'stick' frequently, THE LARGE ROPE (1953) was quite an enjoyable, if predictable, crime drama set in a small English village, and had echoes of Fritz Lang's FURY to name just one possible influence.

Donald Houston is fresh out of jail with a chip on his shoulder and not much time for anybody. Returning home he finds hostility everywhere in addition to the fact that the 'friend' (Peter Byrne) who got him sent down is about to marry his girl (Susan Shaw) to whom he has written nothing in all the three years he has been banged up.

Before the wedding can take place, the local trollop (Vanda Godsell), who is married to a miserable old git (Robert Brown), is found strangled... Katie Johnson has an effective role as the sort of old lady you don't mess with, and there is the briefest of cameos from Esma Cannon.

There are also a few other well-known names in the cast which I failed to spot, including Edward Judd and Margot Bryant (Minnie Caldwell in 'Coronation Street'), but possibly the most interesting connection is the presence of Byrne (who played 'Andy Crawford' in 'Dixon of Dock Green' and the fact that the co-writer was Ted Willis, the creator of that series. Entertaining, despite an irritating tendency for the picture to 'stick' frequently.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 2:15 pm

William Wellman's OTHER MEN'S WOMEN (1931) is a four-sided love triangle, with Grant Withers as a train driver given to sniffing around pretty well anything in skirts. Invited to dinner by colleague Regis Toomey on his and Mary Astor's anniversary, the inevitable (in this type of film) happens, causing no end of complications and drama. One does wonder why the women go for such a bumptious heel as he seems to have no loyalty, switching his affections to pretty hash-slinger Joan Blondell at the drop of a hat. The ladies come off best in this drama, although there is an early scene-stealing performance by James Cagney, and support from J Farrell MacDonald as 'Peg-Leg'.

The copy here is very crisp indeed, remarkable for such a little-shown movie, and the film benefits from the atmospheric stockyard scenes which add life to the film, and compensate for some of the rather obvious plot turns.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 3:58 pm

Based on a novel by Compton McKenzie, Carnival (1946) is about Sally Gray, a girl from an unhappy home who joins the corps de ballet and entrances all the men: Michael Wilding, an artist, Michael Clarke, his best friend, and Bernard Miles, who marries her and takes her and her crippled sister, Hazel Court, to his dark Cornwall farm. The movie is full of actors giving fine performances, but it suffers from a problem frequent to the era, of being cut down, both in terms of what can be shown in detail in a movie, as opposed to a movie, and what would pass a censor. As a result, it becomes a movie of incidents, in which Miss Gray's character often seems to be uncertain as to what she actually wants -- which is, I believe a major point of the story --and in seeming inconsistencies in Miss Gray's character. In the end, it all ties together, although the viewer may lack the patience to assemble the jigsaw offered.

Even so, the production values, the location shooting and the performances offered will serve to make this worthwhile, particularly for those anxious to see what Miss Gray had to offer after an absence of five years from the screen.

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

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 4:15 pm

If one is in the mood to watch a rather dysfunctional family (dis)grace the screen, you should go no further than "The Glass Castle" (2017). At the head of this family one finds the father (Woody Harrelson) as a drunken dreamer. He has it in mind to one day build his own home which he calls "The Glass Castle", but, in the meantime, the family is asked to put up with a series of squats and other dilapidated digs. His wife (Naomi Watts) is basically living in cloud-cuckoo land, most times oblivious to the fact of the circumstances she finds herself in. Being an artist, I suppose this helps.

We are back in the 1960's and 1970's as we float from those times to the present in a narrative described to us by the daughter Jeanette (Brie Larson). In the modern day scenes we find that she has done quite well for herself and is engaged to a mover and shaker in Wall Street. She has tried to move away from her background, but it always comes back to haunt her in way way or another.

This is a good essay of life as it was for some back fifty years ago - not everyone was driving around in a Cadillac, sending their offspring to private schools and swanning around in a large house with a swimming pool. Early on we are charmed by the simple homespun philosophy of the father and we gravitate towards actually liking him, then, as the film progresses, we see the darker side to his character, brought on by his alcoholism and we realise that all we had seen previously of him was just an illusion.

One feels a great deal of sympathy for the children who have to put up with all that is going on around them. There is one scene in particular where they are on the verge of starving. They implore their father to go out and buy some food. He goes out - but of course ends up spending what he has on drink. Still, out of hardships such as these, there emerges a breed that tend to survive well.

Although one would not credit it, this is actually all based on a true story - the real people are shown at the end credits. Probably because of this and attending to the maxim that truth is stranger than fiction - we have a good story, which apart from some general confusion at times where wonders exactly which time zone one is in, is all quite entertaining - in a perverse way.

All the characters are made believable and Mr. Harrelson gives a sterling performance. It is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 5:03 pm

Sir Donald Sinden again, and he is again the youthful roue in "The Captain's Table" (1959) which starred John Gregson, the dramatic actor who appeared in comedies. We are on a passenger liner, a bit of an old rust-bucket, with a crew who are mostly on the take. Mr. Gregson, fresh off cargo steamers is taking on his first posting as Captain of the old tub. The ship is being run by the Chief Purser (Richard Wattis) to his own advantage assisted my most of the ship's crew who share in the proceeds. Sir Donald is the First Officer and as such makes sure that he looks after the female passengers (who are in their 20's). Mr. Gregson has his own steward, delightfully played by Reginald Beckwith when he was allowed to get away with being as camp as a row of tents. The passengers allow for a diversity in eccentrics. We have Maurice Denham blowing the occasional gasket as a Major who is friends with the ship's owner - a position he forces down everyone's neck; Miles Malleson as a Canon desperately trying to stay away from matters ecclesiastical; Lionel Murton as an author who never seems to get past the first line of a new book; Bill Kerr as a redneck Aussie with June Jago as his long-suffering Missus; Peggy Cummins as the no-nonsense type female - a pre-requisite in such films as these; Nadia Gray as an amateur nymphomaniac and Joan Sims as a young filly not quite attractive, but with a millionaire father and as such, of obvious interest to Sir Donald.

These films seem to run to some type of formula with the comedy being drawn out mostly from the characterisations of those involved. Needless to say it is the persona involved in supplying these roles which make the film so enjoyable. In fact, the great fun in watching British comedies of the post-war period is to spot how many familiar faces pop up. As well as the above-named, the screen is also graced with appearances by John Le Mesurier, James Hayter and Nicholas Phipps.

The Orient Line is given an opening credit, which was very game of them - wanting an association with the goings-on in this picture - and there are quite a few goings-on I can tell you. Whilst not a laugh a minute, it does cause a constant smirk to rise to the dial and one stays with this sense of amusement throughout.

Capably directed by Jack Lee it has the added advantage of being photographed in Technicolor.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Nov 07, 2017 5:27 pm

For a horse of an entirely different colour, I picked out a Charlie Chan offering (I have a whole host of 'em to get through). I last made acquaintance with Mr. Chan when the pictures were shown on television more than forty years back. No doubt they will not get another screening due to them being thought of now as a bit racist.

This time around it was "Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo" (1937) which rather surprised me in that there were large sections of dialogue given in French sans sub-titles, which indicated the producers thought their audience were intelligent. A nice thought.

All these pictures work on a simple procedure. A bit of an introduction to describe where Mr. Chan is, a murder is then committed, Mr. Chan is invited to assist, a number of red herrings are displayed to confuse the audience, Mr. Chan solves the riddle, the end. Come to think of it, this procedure is still quite evident in many crime shows that are with us today.

This was Warner Oland's final Charlie Chan film and unfortunately we have to put up with the annoying No. 1 son (Keye Luke) in it. Harold Huber, who seemed to appear as a Frenchman in a lot of pictures appears in this as the Chief of the Monte Carlo police. There are two murders in this and there is a plot involving stolen bonds worth a million dollars. Imagine! Sidney Blackmer and Edward Raquello appear as squabbling businessmen, Kay Linaker appears as the wife of one of them - was she involved with the theft of the bonds? George Lynn is one of the businessman's secretary - there is something fishy about him. Then there are Virginia Field and Robert Kent - what are they up to?

For a "B' picture, these films are quite entertaining. One likes the constant pearls of wisdom that drop out of Charlie Chan's mouth and the little bits of comedy (no, not that of No. 1 son) such as the taxi and driver (Louis Mercier) in this outing.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Nov 08, 2017 6:09 am

The NY Times review for Fools (1970) blares, "Although the performances are all bad, there is nothing with which the cast could, even if they wanted, be good." That about sums up this terrible film about an "aging" actor (he's 50) and a young wife trying to escape a domineering husband. Jason Robards and Katharine Ross play the couple who find love among San Francisco's squalid and seedy urban settings. The director emphasizes each scene by showing a sign of some kind (No Trespassing or Push Button to End War, etc.) even though the signs say nothing. The sensitive lovers are bombarded by ugliness while they speak nonsense, recite poems, and wonder about wonder. Aside from the urban nightmare and the husband, there are belligerent hippies on drug trips, moronic FBI agents bursting into the wrong apartment, and possibly worst of all (only possibly) an eavesdrop on a psychiatrist and his nymphomaniac patient. Mako plays the psychiatrist and had his name removed from the credits. All of these scenes are ugly and all of them are incredibly badly acted. To add insult to injury there's a vapid hippy trippy music score with lyrics that will make you want to puke.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Nov 09, 2017 7:11 am

Believe you me Dancing Sweeties (1930) may be the Saturday Night Fever of early talkies. Grant Withers plays a dance-crazed, cup-winning young man who lives to hit the dance floor with his snappy partner Jazzbo (Edna Murphy). Then one night, dance-floor rival (Eddie Phillips) shows up with a brunette cutie (Sue Carol). He steals her away and they dance off into the waning strains of "The Kiss Waltz." The young dopes get roped into the "public marriage" that highlights the night of dance. While they cope with marriage and hideous in-laws on both sides, their glad rags fall to tatters as their marriage goes to shreds. Can they save their marriage? More importantly, will they ever win another loving cup? Not bad, but the opening credits scene is highlighted by a close-up of some fantastic dancing feet and it's the best thing in the film. We briefly see the dark-haired woman dancer (and she appears later in the film as well), but I've no idea who she is.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Nov 09, 2017 4:32 pm

Googie Withers has just cut a big deal in Sweden, but British monetary regulations so limit the amount of money that British subjects can take out of the country that she cannot pay her hotel bill. Her enormously wealthy ex-husband, John McCallum, is also in Sweden, but the same regulations have him locked out of his hotel room and flat broke. Well, that's Traveller's Joy (1950).

It's based on a popular stage play of the era, and like many another, it's a brittle affair, full of sniggering sexual innuendo and money worries, an attempt to update the frenetic sex farce of the Pre-Code era that evolves into Screwball comedy in the 1930s. It's supported by the charm of Miss Withers and also by a wonderful supporting role by Yolande Donlan, who manages to talk about Topic A (as Preston Sturges used to call it) while displaying an untidy wad of banknotes which she acquired by only doing what she feels like doing at the moment.

I kept having the feeling I shouldn't be enjoying the movie anywhere as much as I should and still do, but its well-greased mechanisms appeal to my sense of construction.
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Nov 09, 2017 6:39 pm

I knew the story of A Lady to Love (1930) first from the musical version, The Most Happy Feller with its great Frank Loesser score. Later, I saw the straight remake, They Knew What They Wanted (1940) with Carole Lombard's best straight dramatic role. This version, directed by Victor Sjostrom, is very primitive. Oh, Vilma Banky, despite the claims that her sound acting was always bad, is quite good, although she's best in the sequences in which she says nothing or spends her time mumbling her lines; Edward G. Robinson's portrayal is so stereotypical that it seems almost comical for most of the movie, until the finale, when he plays it big and is very affecting; still, I thought it would have been better played by Henry Armetta -- until I realized that Armetta was still playing bit roles under a different name at this point.

It's Robert Ames as Buck, the casual trouble-maker in this triangle, who is infuriating in this movie. He doesn't start any of the trouble. He doesn't care. He wanders in and out, and Ames plays him as a completely uninvolved drifter, which is completely appropriate, so why does everyone invest so much in him? Yes, he's good in an unkempt way, but there's nothing about him that looks particularly noteworthy. We're supposed to imagine that Miss Banky has talked herself into marrying the man in the photograph, and he's simply taking advantage of the situation, but he's played as not even being a particular heel for sleeping with her, nor a good guy for leaving.

So what are we left with? A bit of a curiosity, with the MGM staff still learning how to handle the sound equipment and a fine final two or three minutes from Robinson. It's not enough to make it a good movie, but since it's Edward G. Robinson, it's worth looking at once.

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

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 7:24 am

[quote="drednm"]The NY Times review for Fools (1970) blares, "Although the performances are all bad, there is nothing with which the cast could, even if they wanted, be good."

Never saw the film but I recall when it was new-- saw either a clip or a tv commercial for it, and even as a kid it looked like touchy-feely twaddle of the most pretentious order. Almost a parody of fuzzy '70s vibes during the prevailing cultural shift.

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

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 9:50 am

westegg wrote:
drednm wrote:The NY Times review for Fools (1970) blares, "Although the performances are all bad, there is nothing with which the cast could, even if they wanted, be good."

Never saw the film but I recall when it was new-- saw either a clip or a tv commercial for it, and even as a kid it looked like touchy-feely twaddle of the most pretentious order. Almost a parody of fuzzy '70s vibes during the prevailing cultural shift.

:roll:


It was a "message" movie. Terrible on every level.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 10:32 am

Fools is one of those things I only knew because it had a BOMB in Leonard Maltin's TV Movies. Sounds like someone saw Petulia and Easy Rider and said, why can't they be the same movie? With a little Thousand Clowns thrown in.

I looked it up to see what else there was written about it and found Roger Ebert, who called it the worst movie of the year:

By now you should be getting the idea that "Fools" is the most cynically "idealistic" exploitation movie in some time. It is for life and love, against fascism and firearms in private hands. It also has countless songs trying to out-banal each other during at least seven Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interludes. "Fools" sets a new Semi-OLI ground speed record. When in doubt, throw in a song and a sunset. Right?

On top of all this, we get dialog so inept that I will provide a free ticket to "The Vengeance of She" (the next time it plays town) to the first person who can convince me that any two English-speaking human beings ever talked remotely like these characters at any time during the present century.


That last part hints at the flaws originating with the screenplay, which is by one Robert Rudelson, an actor and writer whose career seems to have ended entirely with this debacle. His previous writing credit was on a picture called Vixen, directed by the legendary softcore pornmeister Russ Meyer. Meyer's next film after one, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, was of course written by... Roger Ebert.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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boblipton

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

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 10:49 am

Well, now I’ve got to see it, preferably in glorious stereophonic sound !

Bob
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

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

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 1:34 pm

A WARM CORNER (1930) marked stage comic Leslie Henson's talkie debut under the direction of Victor Saville. A fast-paced, convoluted farce it tells of Corn-Plaster King Henson's Henson's meeting with old school chum Arthur Wellesley, who is trying to extricate his nephew from a supposed gold-digger (Heather Thatcher). Unbeknown to Uncle, the pair are already married, but need to raise the wind to pay their hotel bill as the old man won't oblige unless the nephew proposes to Henson's daughter Peggy, played by a young Belle Chrystall. At the same time, Henson is nudged into making a pass for Thatcher despite being still married! Time for a spot of light blackmail...

Henson's style of humour is, I should say, an acquired taste, and some of his mannerisms can be a little irritating (the eye-popping and convolutions in eating an oyster), but on the whole, he is amusing here, although outshone by Heather Thatcher in a lively, mischief-filled performance. The scene at luncheon (nods to Lubitsch?) where Henson is attempting to ensure that his wife doesn't realise that he has been attempting mischief is rather well done. And of particular note is Toni Bruce as ex-barmaid, and now 'Lady Bayswater' (is this a fake title or just through her dead husband?) who is doing a little bit of matchmaking. Though the film was not that clever an upload, there is enough fun here if one doesn't mind the goings-on of the idle and foolish rich, and as a period piece it has a good deal of interest.
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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boblipton

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

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 5:18 pm

Michael Reece takes over as the ambitious constable in A Case for PC 49 (1951), in a Hammer film derived from the BBC film. Fashion model Christine Norden gets a threatening letter from an old boyfriend, so Reece gets sent in to guard her in plain clothes and witnesses his death .... or does he? Reece's girlfriend, Joy Shelton, has her doubts, and pursues the case, and opens a can of worms.

For the first half of the movie, it seems like it's half silly and half stupid, but there are enough bits to let the viewer know that something else is going on, and there's a pretty good twist two-thirds of the way through. Although PC 49 is a kind-hearted lummox, and clearly incompetent to be more than a beat bobby, Miss Shelton makes a pretty good tec at the end. The final confrontation also has some fine noirish cinematography by Walter J. Harvey, It's never more than a second feature, but it's a satisfying example, with lots of plot and good camerawork -- although whoever chose the stock music didn't think too hard about the choices.

Bob
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

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boblipton

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

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 6:54 pm

I've spent the past few weeks rereading Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey mysteries and noted someone in them saying he looked like Ralph Lynn -- I pictured him as Claude Hulbert myself. So when Mr. Lynn showed up In the Soup (1936) I took an opportunity to look at him in the movie version of this farce.

Mr. Lynn is a very unsuccessful barrister, without a penny to his name, living in an expensive flat with a full staff. On the other hand, he has a trust that he will come into on his fortieth birthday, if he is unmarried, and his uncle, Morton Selten, is on his way back from India to sign the papers. On the other hand, he has a wife in the very pretty Judy Gunn, the servants have walked out because they haven't been paid, the gas has been turned off..... oh, let it stand that the usual complications ensue.

This is farce, after all, and Mr. Lynn was one of the Aldwych farceurs, as a result, even though the goings-on may seem pretty stupid to a modern audience, no one can take exception with the way the cast handles the various silly situations, with speed, grace and the bright seriousness that such goings-on require to make them funny. The butt of the jokes are the characters who make them, and if anyone objects to people who are being fools getting their own come-uppances, they had better stick to knock-knock jokes.

Bob
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
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drednm

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

PostSat Nov 11, 2017 5:57 am

The ads blared, "A Killer Strikes in a World of Women!" Death Goes to School (1953) is a minor murder mystery set in a struggling girls' school in rural England. Miss Cooper was very unpopular, and it seems each female teacher had a motive for strangling the nasty woman. Flashbacks fill in the story as each teacher is interviewed by a kindly Scottish inspector (Gordon Jackson). Each teacher also has a secret. Modest production is entertaining but sets off no fireworks. Barbara Murray (a favorite of mine) stars as the teacher whose scarf was used to kill Miss Cooper. But her shoe size rules her out as the murderer. Cast includes Sam Kydd as the assistant inspector, Jane Aird as the head mistress, Beatrice Varley, Anne Butchart, Jeanne Matto as the teachers.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Nov 11, 2017 6:53 am

For the past few weeks I have been following a quite lavish series on the television about the young Queen Victoria, and today, why a DVD floated across to me of the dear old Queen at the end of her life. It documents her relationship late in her life with a servant from the Raj. The title of this epic was "Victoria and Abdul". (2017).

Over the years we have seen quite a lot of Her late Majesty, popping up hither and thither - there was, not all that long ago, that picture "Her Majesty Mrs. Brown" with Sir Billy Connolly as the dour Scotsman and Dame Judi Dench as the monarch. This film explored the relationship between the two as eyebrows have been raised over the last century for reason that it may not have been an entirely platonic friendship. Now this latest picture has Dame Judi back again to explore another man who was supposedly looming large in the Queen's life.

The one thing that we have learned over the past couple of decades or so is that Queen Victoria wasn't the stern, strait-laced old biddy that we had all come to associate with the expression "not amused". Apparently she was just the opposite. Quite a merry old soul who enjoyed a bit of a laugh. She was also quite a modern lass in some respects. She took showers instead of baths and was one of the first in Britain to have a telephone installed. If she had lived a bit longer, who knows, she may have gone up in an aeroplane. She was also very interested in her peoples and took a keen interest in the quarter of the Earth over which she reigned. India, being the jewel in the Crown of the Empire, was of particular fascination for her, and towards the end of her life she did indeed take to eating curries, learning Urdu and building a Durbar in "Osborne House", her home on the Isle of Wight.

So, the premise of this film, that she had a close relationship with some Indian servants has a strong ring of truth to it, but this film, methinks, does show a tendency to wander off on a road of its own, at times galloping past what might have been actuality. I suppose one could say it has been "Sissi-fied" to some extent - where everything is an over romanticism, with all seriousness gobbled up by comedic effect. Having said that, if one is prepared to let a whole lot of codswallop employed at times, float over one's head, and just take the picture as some type of Ruritanian adventure, then all is not lost. And, there are some extremely funny moments such as Queen Victoria on learning of a fruit called a "mango" asking her Chief of the Household to get her one. "But, they are peculiar to India Ma'am". - "Well, I'm the Empress of India, have one sent over."

Dame Judi manages to paint a very good picture of Queen Victoria in her characterisation and she does so without destroying the late Queen's dignity or memory, she enhances it. Ali Fazal, tall, dark and handsome makes a matinee idol out of Abdul the servant. He is a go-getter of course, going from prison clerk to virtually the Queen's companion - playing his popularity with the Queen up for all it's worth. The other Indian servant - Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) has been contrasted. His glass is half-empty. He hates all things British, is miserable and complaining and finally succumbs to the English weather.

All the British - the Queen's household, and the politicians are all racists and are to a man, against the Queen having anything to do with the heathens. As in all good films from the U.K., they are all played by a team of accomplished players. Tim Pigott-Smith is wonderfully continually harassed as the Chief of the Household - Ponsonby, Sir Michael Gambon is the aghast Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, Eddie Izzard manages to look not too unlike H.R.H. the then Prince of Wales, Paul Higgins is the frightfully snobbish Scottish Dr. Reid and Simon Callow makes a surprising appearance as Puccini of all people.

This is a lavish production - the interiors of the palaces are superb as are all the uniforms. It is capably directed by Stephen Frears but is a film aimed at being popular entertainment rather than a lesson in historical fact. But, in the long run, who can blame the producers for that?
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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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