What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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R Michael Pyle

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

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 2:15 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:After watching A NIGHT IN MONTMARTRE (1931), I turned to my copy of David Quinlan's 'British Sound Films' and was astonished to see a rating of just 1 out of 6! Perhaps he hadn't actually seen the film, as I found it rather an entertaining piece, with attractive art design and some nice camerawork to boot. Hugh Williams plays a penniless artist who owes money to his foul, blackmailer of a landlord (Franklin Dyall), who has threatened to write to his father about his money troubles and is of course implicated when the swine gets his just desserts a few minutes later. An attractive cast (Heather Angel, Kay Hammond*, Austin Trevor etc.) boost the rather silly story, which gets pottier when Williams's father (Horace Hodges), who happens to be an amateur detective on the side, turns up. The main setting is a cabaret / night club with rather seedy lodgings above.

Taken from a play co-written by Miles Malleson, A NIGHT IN MONTMARTRE is an agreeable, lightweight mystery with elements of comedy and a nice performance from Kay Hammond as a permanently sozzled young lady of easy virtue. I noticed Binnie Barnes in the cast list, and presume she is the one who does a high-kicking song in her stockings....

*the English actress, not to be confused with the one who played Mary Todd in Griffith's ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930)

I'm surprised by Quinlan's low rating also. I watched this two years ago and reviewed it here as follows:
" "A Night in Montmartre" (1931). I'll begin by saying that the IMDb lists the film without the article at the beginning, but the film definitely has the article 'A' before 'Night' on its credits. This one stars Horace Hodges, Hugh Williams, Franklin Dyall, Heather Angel (in only her second film - and the reason I bought the DVD in the first place), Kay Hammond, Austin Trevor, Arthur Hambling, Reginald Purdell, and Binnie Barnes (in only her third film, second feature). This is a fine little mystery, and though there are red herring after red herring, you'll never figure this one out! We aren't given the nuts and bolts to figure it out until the last moments, and that's just great! Horace Hodges doesn't appear until about two thirds of the film in, and then he acts a great deal like a detective in a twenties play, with the bumbling Englishman's humor on top. A decade later this character would probably have been played by Nigel Bruce. Hodges is the father of Hugh Williams, an artist who's having some success, but who suddenly is confronted by a dead body in his room. He and Heather Angel remove the body, but he's accused eventually anyway. For the record, he didn't do it, but I'll make you watch the film to find out who did. It's well worth your time if you love early English mystery films. Hugh Williams was a fine leading man in many early British talkies. Heather Angel is a dear in this one, as she always was. Here she has a chance to be a tad more expressive than in many later films. Her very early films show a great deal of talent - a talent which I feel was rather wasted later. I thought Franklin Dyall was probably the guilty one from the beginning, before I watched the film, but was I wrong! Cinematography in this film is gorgeous! Many scenes are works of art - makes the film watchable from this point of view alone."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 3:47 pm

Impelled by the comments here, I just looked at A Night in Montmartre and find myself in pleased agreement with my fellow Nitratevillains. While by no means a great movie, it is a pleasant comedy-mystery with some nice set design and fine, lively camerawork by Sydney Blythe. Although I can find no proof with a brief Internet search, I strongly suspect that the Horace Hodges character, a blustery, dithery but kind-hearted and intelligent fellow, was originally written for Miles Malleson by the play's co-author, Miles Malleson.

Given the wealth of formerly unavailable films over the last twenty years and the realization that they actually did some good work that film critics didn't care for ten years after their appearance, it should come as no surprise to find another to add to the list. While it's true that director Leslie Hiscott was almost always competent, but never seems to have been brilliant, the fact that this falls into that category should come as no surprise; yet somehow, it always does. Odd, that.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 7:33 pm

In Love on Wheels Jack Hulbert meets Leonora Corbett, loses Leonora Corbett and in the end, finds her again in a bright, silly little plot which involves many eccentric dances. Although Hulbert has been described as Britain's (poor) answer to Fred Astaire, the two had little in common. Astaire was a serious dancer who invented much of classical movie dancing and reshaped the form; Hulbert was a comedian and eccentric dancer who shaped his dances to fit current ideas. Aside from the fact that they were the most famous dancers in their era and milieus, they had little in common.

With that in mind, we can look at this movie on its own terms and find it a success. Hulbert dances very well and does his comedy bits, whether they be with stooge Gordon Harker or opponent Edmund Gwenn very amusingly. His choreography is of the leg show or music hall variety. Whether Hulbert is devising store windows in which shapely chorines model stockings, Miss Corbett is playing piano for and reforming a club of sentimental burglars or Harker is being chased through a department store in a variety of costumes assembled from the store's departments, there are a lot of laughs here and enough of plot to keep the audience happy until the end.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 12:58 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:After watching A NIGHT IN MONTMARTRE (1931), I turned to my copy of David Quinlan's 'British Sound Films' and was astonished to see a rating of just 1 out of 6! Perhaps he hadn't actually seen the film, as I found it rather an entertaining piece, with attractive art design and some nice camerawork to boot. Hugh Williams plays a penniless artist who owes money to his foul, blackmailer of a landlord (Franklin Dyall), who has threatened to write to his father about his money troubles and is of course implicated when the swine gets his just desserts a few minutes later. An attractive cast (Heather Angel, Kay Hammond*, Austin Trevor etc.) boost the rather silly story, which gets pottier when Williams's father (Horace Hodges), who happens to be an amateur detective on the side, turns up. The main setting is a cabaret / night club with rather seedy lodgings above.

Taken from a play co-written by Miles Malleson, A NIGHT IN MONTMARTRE is an agreeable, lightweight mystery with elements of comedy and a nice performance from Kay Hammond as a permanently sozzled young lady of easy virtue. I noticed Binnie Barnes in the cast list, and presume she is the one who does a high-kicking song in her stockings....

*the English actress, not to be confused with the one who played Mary Todd in Griffith's ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930)

I'm surprised by Quinlan's low rating also. I watched this two years ago and reviewed it here as follows:
" "A Night in Montmartre" (1931). I'll begin by saying that the IMDb lists the film without the article at the beginning, but the film definitely has the article 'A' before 'Night' on its credits. This one stars Horace Hodges, Hugh Williams, Franklin Dyall, Heather Angel (in only her second film - and the reason I bought the DVD in the first place), Kay Hammond, Austin Trevor, Arthur Hambling, Reginald Purdell, and Binnie Barnes (in only her third film, second feature). This is a fine little mystery, and though there are red herring after red herring, you'll never figure this one out! We aren't given the nuts and bolts to figure it out until the last moments, and that's just great! Horace Hodges doesn't appear until about two thirds of the film in, and then he acts a great deal like a detective in a twenties play, with the bumbling Englishman's humor on top. A decade later this character would probably have been played by Nigel Bruce. Hodges is the father of Hugh Williams, an artist who's having some success, but who suddenly is confronted by a dead body in his room. He and Heather Angel remove the body, but he's accused eventually anyway. For the record, he didn't do it, but I'll make you watch the film to find out who did. It's well worth your time if you love early English mystery films. Hugh Williams was a fine leading man in many early British talkies. Heather Angel is a dear in this one, as she always was. Here she has a chance to be a tad more expressive than in many later films. Her very early films show a great deal of talent - a talent which I feel was rather wasted later. I thought Franklin Dyall was probably the guilty one from the beginning, before I watched the film, but was I wrong! Cinematography in this film is gorgeous! Many scenes are works of art - makes the film watchable from this point of view alone."


I had a look for any other write-ups and was pleased to find Michael Pyle's review and that it was favourable also. I suspect that a lot of these films were difficult to see when Quinlan first started to watch films, and that it is likely his write-ups are second-hand. Fair enough if one hasn't seen it, but for goodness' sake say so!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 1:17 pm

Victor Saville's THE FAITHFUL HEART (1932) is one of the best films I have seen in a while and seems undeservedly neglected. Starting in 1900, it tells of a merchant seaman on leave in Southampton (England) who takes a fancy to a barmaid, and pursues her until she weakens. After their brief affair, he is called to another ship, but promises to keep in touch. In the meantime the South African war breaks out, and he serves in that, followed some years later by the Great War. Working out what to do now the war is over (and he is also a V.C.) he is interrupted by a young woman who resembles the barmaid (who died in childbirth) to an extraordinary degree...

In the same year as TROUBLE IN PARADISE, Herbert Marshall gives an impressive performance here, as does Edna Best, who plays 'Blackie' the barmaid and their daughter. Complications arise as Marshall is due to marry a spoilt society woman (daughter of a wealthy and pompous M.P.), who resents the presence of the daughter who also represents Marshall's lost love. Despite one or two slips (Marshall's ship in 1900 is clearly the same one as in 1919/20, and there is the odd unconvincing backdrop), Saville's film is an engrossing and touching drama with a nice feel for dockside life and the pub. Other interesting elements are the fact that Marshall is called 'illegitimate' [prefiguring BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST in 1941] and he admits to being an unbeliever, something unusual in films unless as a prelude to conversion. THE FAITHFUL HEART is on BFI Player, but deserves to be issued on dvd. A superb film,
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 2:45 pm

The Common Round: I don't understand the meaning of the title of this 3-reel short subject, but it emphasizes the values of old-fashioned British public school philosophy: trust in God and stick it out. George Zucco is the headmaster who tells his boys that. Twenty years later, one of them is at a medical mission in darkest Africa, surrounding by natives who are wavering from the Christian God and modern medicine in the face of an unseen witch doctor. He sticks it out, hoping that help will come. The other is trying to get those supplies through amidst a snarl of bureaucratic red tape.

It has certainly not aged well, but it's interesting that the headmaster is played by George Zucco and the missionary is played by Torin Thatcher, a couple of actors who specialized, in later years, in playing villains in horror movies.

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

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 6:17 pm

Roger Livesey has developed a new super-charger for airplanes and his boss hopes for a contract with the RAF. When Livesey finds that someone has been rifling his files, he tells spymaster Felix Aylmar, who knows about everything. He already has a spy of his own on site. In the meantime, his test pilot, Barry Barnes, is carrying on an affair with Livesey's wife, Joan Marion. Plot complications pop up, including a blackmailer in this top-of-the-line story about Spies of the Air (1940).

It's not just that director David MacDonald has topnotch actors in front of the camera, including Basil Radford. Cinematographer Bryan Langley keeps the camera moving, and collaborates with editor David Lean to produce an exciting first three minutes of the movie. There's nothing here that is particularly novel, but it's all put together in a brilliant manner.

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

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 7:04 pm

boblipton wrote:The Common Round: I don't understand the meaning of the title of this 3-reel short subject


It's from a hymn, and evolved into a proverb. The full quote is "The common round, the daily task / Will furnish all we ought to ask." It just means going about your normal daily routine without fuss. A rough equivalent might be 'The Usual Errands'.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Mar 15, 2017 8:03 pm

Tawny Pipit (1944) is a charming and understated ode to the British during wartime. It celebrates the common virtues and sense of fair play that the Brits assume define them. Story centers on a pair of rare nesting birds in the English countryside and how a small village rallies round the birds to fend off the encroachments of government, greedy thieves, and even the war itself. The birds are likened to foreigners who have been welcomed in England over the years. Low-key story has a gentle humor and sense of time and place. Nicely done. Cast with no big stars shines. Niall MacGinnis plays the bombardier on the mend from war wounds, Rosamund John his girlfriend, Bernard Miles the aged colonel, Jean Gillie a local land girl, Wylie Watson an unwilling thief, Katie Johnson a local landlady and with John Salew, Marjorie Rhodes, and Lucie Mannheim as a celebrated Russian sniper. Filmed on location in Gloucestershire.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Mar 16, 2017 6:16 am

Brooksie wrote:
boblipton wrote:The Common Round: I don't understand the meaning of the title of this 3-reel short subject


It's from a hymn, and evolved into a proverb. The full quote is "The common round, the daily task / Will furnish all we ought to ask." It just means going about your normal daily routine without fuss. A rough equivalent might be 'The Usual Errands'.


Carry on, then.

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

PostThu Mar 16, 2017 2:13 pm

boblipton wrote:The Common Round: I don't understand the meaning of the title of this 3-reel short subject, but this short subject emphasizes the values of old-fashioned British public school philosophy: trust in God and stick it out. George Zucco is the headmaster who tells his boys that. Twenty years later, one of them is at a medical mission in darkest Africa, surrounding by natives who are wavering from the Christian God and modern medicine in the face of an unseen witch doctor. He sticks it out, hoping that help will come. The other is trying to get those supplies through in the face of bureaucratic red tape.

It has certainly not aged well, but it's interesting that the headmaster is played by George Zucco and the missionary is played by Torin Thatcher, a couple of actors who specialized, in later years, in playing villains in horror movies.

Bob


Sounds interesting so will probably pop it on tonight...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Mar 16, 2017 2:22 pm

Victor Saville again, with SUNSHINE SUSIE (1931), a film I had been after seeing for some forty years. Unfortunately the copy on view is far from good, blurry in places and with variable sound, together with going out of sync - a fault which made some of it hard to follow. A pity, since this English version of DIE PRIVATSEKRETARIN looks like very good bubbly fun. A German girl (Renate Muller) arrives in Vienna, looking for success and works her way into the bank where Jack Hulbert and Owen Nares work. Very sprightly, and clearly influenced by Clair and perhaps Lubitsch, the general effect is almost ruined by the presentation here. I persevered as I'd wanted to see it for so long, but it was a bit of a mixed blessing...

There was a remake in 1953, which is on YT, so I may investigate that, too...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Mar 16, 2017 7:11 pm

A Night in Montmartre (1931) is a perfectly decent early British talkie with several good performances. The set designs are excellent and the whole film as a slightly unfinished feel which seems appropriate to the story. Kay Hammond probably comes off best, but Hugh Williams is always good and Horace Hodges was in a world by himself. Heather Angel has a thankless part, but Binnie Barnes has fun. I also liked John Deverell as Henri the no-talent painter. Some sections were hard to understand but overall an enjoyable hour.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Mar 17, 2017 4:58 am

The monthly Disney Night on TCM continues --Yay! -- with Follow Me, Boys! (1966), Fred Murray gives up life on the road with a band for a brunette Vera Miles and founding a local Boy Scout troop. Although it becomes episodic, it's a kind-hearted paean to Scouting. Based on a book by MacKinlay Cantor; with Charlie Ruggles, Lillian Gish and Kurt Russell -- it must do some interesting things to Bacon Numbers.

Bob
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

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

PostFri Mar 17, 2017 1:48 pm

More for the Quota with THE HORNET'S NEST (1955), a lightweight comedy crime caper. The action starts late at night with two dear old ladies (in the Katie Johnson style) spotting something funny in the street. Turns out there's been a jewel robbery, and £20,000 of the stuff is missing owing to the thieves being spotted. Meanwhile models June Thorburn and Marla Landi have been turfed out of their lodgings and end up in a rather scruffy-looking barge, the 'Hornet's Nest' of the title. As well as the crooks (led by Alexander Gauge) being after the swag, there is a touch of romance in the form of a junk dealer and a sea-scout leader as well as the two pussies keeping up a Greek chorus on the dotty happenings. Quite pleasant, if rather slight, the charm of the ladies and the elderly sisters keep things agreeable for an innocent hour.

THE COMMON ROUND (1936) is of interest chiefly as a product of J Arthur Rank and Lady Yule's Religious Film Society, although not being in Gifford or Quinlan, it was presumably intended for church audiences. George Zucco plays a zealous headmaster at a boys' 'prep' school, whose motto of 'Stick it out' inspires two of his pupils, Twenty years later, one is a missionary working against the trials of sickness and fever as well as the influence of the local witch-doctor. He also rails against the natives, blaming them (rather patronisingly) for their predicament. Meanwhile, unbeknown to him, his old chum is involved in getting medical supplies through, against varying degrees of adversity. Hesitant and unconvincing, it does offer a rare sympathetic role for George Zucco, and is nevertheless interesting as propaganda. Hopefully some of the other films from this organisation will turn up, although JOHN WESLEY (1952) is out there also...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Mar 17, 2017 6:13 pm

Theatre Royal (1943): Flanagan and Allen were a British two-act. Americans may think of Abbot & Costello, except for this pair, at least, the comic's name comes first and the straight man's second. This one has enough of a plot to make sense: Allen is a theater manager and Flanagan is a stage hand. Allen's girl friend has been talking him into producing high-class stuff that involves her wandering around a swamp, picking dandelions. No one wants to see this, but fortunately Allen's loyal staff is willing to back him in one last try, hoping his girl friend doesn't talk him into another expensive flop.

This is all being masterminded by Owen Reynolds, who was tossed out by Allen's father for stealing. Along comes Finlay Currie, sporting an American accent, who wishes to hire the theater...

Although not as fast-paced as the Crazy Gang comedies the two had last appeared in, this is a pleasant bit of wartime fluff for the British home market. Flanagan and Allen take a break from their routines to sing a pleasant song or three and it's good to see Mr. Currie in this sort of a role -- Americans are so used to seeing him being the Old & Noble Scottish Laird, that it's a pleasant change to see him doing something a bit different.

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

PostFri Mar 17, 2017 6:26 pm

boblipton wrote:[i] Flanagan and Allen ...
Bob


Talking of inconsequential matters, of which oft times I am found guilty. I have it stuck in my mind a particular film in which Bud is desirous of meeting someone at a railway station. He says something of the nature "Meet me at His Majesty's annoyed."
"Where?"
"His Majesty's annoyed - King's Cross! Oi!
"Oi"
Now, why does that stick in my mind and I can't remember whereabouts I left my car keys!
Ah! The mysteries of life. :D
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Mar 17, 2017 6:29 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
boblipton wrote:[i] Flanagan and Allen ...
Bob


Talking of inconsequential matters, of which oft times I am found guilty. I have it stuck in my mind a particular film in which Bud is desirous of meeting someone at a railway station. He says something of the nature "Meet me at His Majesty's annoyed."
"Where?"
"His Majesty's annoyed - King's Cross! Oi!
"Oi"
Now, why does that stick in my mind and I can't remember whereabouts I left my car keys!
Ah! The mysteries of life. :D


I know that my memory capacity seems to be largely filled with the name of my grandmother's parakeet ("Blue Boy") and similarly important facts that I have no capacity left for trivia like what I wrote that six-figure check for.

Bob
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

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

PostFri Mar 17, 2017 7:26 pm

Sing As We Go! (1934) may be Gracie Fields' best film, although I missed a fair share of dialog because of that Manchester (?) accent. Fields plays a mill worker out of work because the factory can't compete any more (it makes woolen goods), so she bicycles over to Blackpool for a job in a small hotel. That lasts about 2 days and much of the film follows her through a series of lousy jobs. Along the way she makes some friends and is chased by a persistent cop. She also sings a lot. She has so much exuberance, it's hard not to like her but the film almost needs subtitles in English ... proper English. Familiar faces include John Loder, Dorothy Hyson, Stanley Holloway, Margaret Yarde, Maire O'Neill, Frank Pettingell, Norman Walker. I kept expecting George Formby to jump out from behind a Blackpool concession stand. From a Brit DVD and worth the money.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Mar 17, 2017 9:23 pm

drednm wrote:Sing As We Go! (1934) may be Gracie Fields' best film, although I missed a fair share of dialog because of that Manchester (?) accent.


She was actually known as "the Lancashire Lassie", and has that dialect.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 5:26 am

Just looked at The Incredible Journey (1963) on TCM's monthly Disney night. For those of you who don't know about it, this is a very pleasant little movie about how two dogs and a cat find their owners after they have moved a thousand miles or so. Nice critters and I wish I had Tommy Tweed's beard.

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

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 6:55 am

Michael Balcon was ever the ambitious producer. In 1934, he decided to make a movie that would play overseas, so he hired a couple of American stars, Constance Cummings and Douglas Montgomery and made a movie about an escaped Prisoner of War falling in love with a poor German girl in Everything is Thunder. Given the cast and the setting, he hoped this would play in the U.S. and perhaps even Germany.

Unfortunately, this movie did not work out as he had hoped. I attribute it to a schmaltzy story and lack of any distinction other than its stars. This production looks like something that John Stahl might have done at Universal. Neither do the stars offer any particular chemistry in this effort.

Balcon would keep on trying to crack the American market. He would succeed with Hitchcock ... and lose Hitchcock to Hollywood. It would take greater American familiarity with Britain, gained during the Second World War, and a lighter touch for the Ealing comedies to break into the American market: movies that were successful because they were distinctively British... and funny... and were better movies, too.

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

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 9:58 am

boblipton wrote:In Love on Wheels Jack Hulbert meets Leonora Corbett, loses Leonora Corbett and in the end, finds her again in a bright, silly little plot which involves many eccentric dances. Although Hulbert has been described as Britain's (poor) answer to Fred Astaire, the two had little in common. Astaire was a serious dancer who invented much of classical movie dancing and reshaped the form; Hulbert was a comedian and eccentric dancer who shaped his dances to fit current ideas. Aside from the fact that they were the most famous dancers in their era and milieus, they had little in common.

With that in mind, we can look at this movie on its own terms and find it a success. Hulbert dances very well and does his comedy bits, whether they be with stooge Gordon Harker or opponent Edmund Gwenn very amusingly. His choreography is of the leg show or music hall variety. Whether Hulbert or devising store windows in which shapely chorines model stockings, Miss Corbett is playing piano for and reforming a club of sentimental burglars or Harker is being chased through a department store in a variety of costumes assembled from the store's departments, there are a lot of laughs here and enough of plot to keep the audience happy until the end.

Bob


Not the grandfather of Daniel Day-Lewis
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Mike Gebert

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

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 10:15 am

Grandfather of Daniel Day-Lewis


I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out you meant Michael Balcon and not Gordon Harker or Jack Hulbert.
“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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drednm

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

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 10:31 am

boblipton wrote:Michael Balcon was ever the ambitious producer. In 1934, he decided to make a movie that would play overseas, so he hired a couple of American stars, Constance Cummings and Douglas Montgomery and made a movie about an escaped Prisoner of War falling in love with a poor German girl in Everything is Thunder. Given the cast and the setting, he hoped this would play in the U.S. and perhaps even Germany.

Unfortunately, this movie did not work out as he had hoped. I attribute it to a schmaltzy story and lack of any distinction other than its stars. This production looks like something that John Stahl might have done at Universal. Neither do the stars offer any particular chemistry in this effort.

Balcon would keep on trying to crack the American market. He would succeed with Hitchcock ... and lose Hitchcock to Hollywood. It would take greater American familiarity with Britain, gained during the Second World War, and a lighter touch for the Ealing comedies to break into the American market: movies that were successful because they were distinctively British... and funny... and were better movies, too.

Bob


Grandfather of Daniel Day-Lewis.
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http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Lorusso/e/ ... 203&sr=8-1
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drednm

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

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 10:32 am

Mike Gebert wrote:
Grandfather of Daniel Day-Lewis


I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out you meant Michael Balcon and not Gordon Harker or Jack Hulbert.


Like oops..... :D
Ed Lorusso
Writer/Historian
-------------
http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Lorusso/e/ ... 203&sr=8-1
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Mar 18, 2017 2:21 pm

A downright peculiar movie, ST JORGEN'S DAY (1930) is a Russian anti-clerical piece which offers a lot of surprises. As with THE GHOST THAT NEVER RETURNS (1930), I was expecting a silent, but this is a hybrid, with talking sequences introducing the main characters as well as cropping up all through the film. It was also a bit disorientating as one wondered where all this religion was occurring in 1930 Russia. Initially I wondered if it was set a few years earlier, but the clothes and cars count against that, so one must assume it is a nearby country still influenced by the Church.

ST JORGEN'S DAY is quite tricky to describe, having several plot threads drawing the satire together. For starters, we have a group of Roman Catholic clerics who are fond of cigars and seem to have fathered many children openly, a pair of petty crooks, and the glamorous daughter of the chief cleric. In addition there are the cathedral staff who are chiefly concerned with exploiting the Saint's Day by selling vast quantities of fake relics and 'miracle' water and a crooked election of a 'bride' for the saint which attracts a huge dowry. Add to that a film in progress, a 'miracle' recovery, and the appearance of St Jorgen in person - perhaps!

If this sounds confusing, it's because this dotty film is eccentric to an extreme degree. I don't know if there was much of a showing in the West when the film was made as it's anti-clericalism is quite extreme. In addition, there is a very scathing view of those gullible enough to fall for some of the money-making schemes which turn the festival into more of a carnival. As well as Bunuel, one is reminded of Lindsay Anderson and O DREAMLAND and BRITANNIA HOSPITAL in its mercilessness. Although it will need another viewing to take in all that was going on, I did feel that some of the film was rather overdone in its attempts to make various points about corruption in one class and gullibility in another. It's certainly a one-off and holds the attention while one is trying to figure out what is happening in places. Luckily, also, there are English subtitles, as there is a good deal of ironic and humorous contrast between what some of the church officials are saying they did as against what they actually say and do. Good to have the chance to see such a bizarre and amusing work.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Mar 19, 2017 5:44 am

Perhaps Terence Fisher was not the best man to put in charge of CHILDREN GALORE (1954), although it may well have seemed entertaining in its day. The title is slightly misleading as it follows what happens when the local Lord and Lady of the Manor of a small English village decide to leave and build a cottage which is to be given to the couple with the most grandchildren at the time of completion.

Most of the film is taken up with the rather tiresome business of families trying to catch up with one another or point out that 'out of wedlock' doesn't count. The cottage is actually intended for Eddie Byrne and Marjorie Rhodes, whose house / cottage has been condemned. In the meantime the local blacksmith and wife (June Thorburn again) who have married in secret, are hoping for a new start.

CHILDREN GALORE was written in part by John and Emery Bonnett, a husband and wife team who collaborated on a number of crime novels from the 1930s onward. I found there was really very little to entertain here as there was hardly any plot aside from the two main situations and there was an over-abundance of dialogue. Looking the film up in Quinlan's 'British Sound Films', he compares it to the work of Group 3 which flourished briefly in the 1950s. Having seen and re-seen a number of these in recent years, I am inclined to agree, although I find the Group 3 output more interesting on the whole. Despite its brief running time, CHILDREN GALORE did not come off for me, although the derivative title should have perhaps acted as a warning!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Mar 19, 2017 5:50 am

drednm wrote:
boblipton wrote:Michael Balcon was ever the ambitious producer. In 1934, he decided to make a movie that would play overseas, so he hired a couple of American stars, Constance Cummings and Douglas Montgomery and made a movie about an escaped Prisoner of War falling in love with a poor German girl in Everything is Thunder. Given the cast and the setting, he hoped this would play in the U.S. and perhaps even Germany.

Unfortunately, this movie did not work out as he had hoped. I attribute it to a schmaltzy story and lack of any distinction other than its stars. This production looks like something that John Stahl might have done at Universal. Neither do the stars offer any particular chemistry in this effort.

Balcon would keep on trying to crack the American market. He would succeed with Hitchcock ... and lose Hitchcock to Hollywood. It would take greater American familiarity with Britain, gained during the Second World War, and a lighter touch for the Ealing comedies to break into the American market: movies that were successful because they were distinctively British... and funny... and were better movies, too.

Bob


Grandfather of Daniel Day-Lewis.


Well, some one was bound to be.

Bob
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

-- Werner Herzog
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boblipton

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

PostSun Mar 19, 2017 7:05 am

I'm still clearing up the latest batch of TCM's Disney Night. There seem to be mostly the True-Life Adventures. While items like Jungle Cat, with its view of the Amazonian rain forest (with an emphasis on a couple of jaguars and their kittens) are to my taste, the more story-oriented ones like Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar are not so interesting. Cougars that curl up with bears strike me as improbable; the lion may lie down with the lamb, but only one of them is getting up.

Bob
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

-- Werner Herzog
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