What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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earlytalkiebuffRob

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

PostMon Jun 19, 2017 2:36 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:Spunky Sally O'Neill stars in Girl of the Port (1930) (a.k.a. Firewalker), playing a tart Irish maid with a heart of gold who turns up in Fiji looking for work in bar run by half-caste white supremicist (!) McEwan (Mitchell Lewis) but finds love with a shell-shocked First World War veteran, Jim (Reginald Sharland), who supposedly just wanted to find a neglected corner of the world in which to drink himself to death.

Everything is played way over the top, which might explain why director Bert Glennon went back to being a cinematographer shortly afterward (doing stellar work for John Ford), but it gives the film some verve that keeps you glued through its stagey proceedings. Bayonne, NJ-born O'Neill doesn't sound particularly Irish, but she's brash (has anyone seen her in The Brat? Based on the title alone I can see her as the perfect fit for the role) and I got a kick out of how she kept calling Jim "Bozo". As the baddie, Lewis is a few steps shy of Simon Legree, but his repeated toasts to white supremacy and racial purity are a bit of a jolt. Sharland gets to ham it up every time he sees fire and crumples like a rag doll, thanks to an unfortunate encounter with a flamethrower in the war. Unsurprisingly, he'd be relegated to uncredited bit parts within a year.

So, not quite Golden Dawn bad, but if you're looking for something in the same vein...


Any chance this will be made available? Have been a Bert Glennon fan for decades but have only seen PARADISE ISLAND (1930) out of his director's works...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jun 19, 2017 3:00 pm

Was so excited about finding THE VIKING (1931) online that I made the mistake of watching it when I was a bit sleepy. An odd mix of drama (a jealousy triangle with a pretty girl at the centre) and semi-documentary about a seal-hunting expedition, the film is notorious for its genuine tragedy when the ship of the title blew up with multiple loss of life. I must admit to being startled when explorer Sir Wilfred Grenfell said something about 'Providence' having a hand in the disaster.

Some viewers may well be distressed at the slaughter scenes, although these are done in longshot, and it is not clear whether the seals were killed for their meat as well as their skins. Spectacularly shot, though let down a little by the melodramatics, but a film which will need a re-watching when less whiffled.

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD (1951) was spoiled by a (to me) rather muffled soundtrack which made this dialogue-filled movie hard to follow at times. A farmer is severely injured after a riding accident, whilst his wife is having an affair with an American visitor. Further complication arise when his family invite the daughter to their imposing pile in the country. Attractively shot, but difficult to evaluate with this confusing problem. An early Hammer - Exclusive film.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jun 19, 2017 6:00 pm

Somewhere in England (1940) is a Home Guard training camp, where youngsters and veterans from apparently, the War of the Roses are undergoing basic training. The oldsters include drill sergeant Harry Korris and recruit Frank Randle. They spend much of the film doing bits of their stage acts, including an extended stretch towards the end when Randle recreates one of his "Happy Hiker" routines. They sing some mildly bawdy songs, including one written by fellow Northern favorite George Formby. There is a bit of a "serious" subplot in which youngster Harry Kemble is accused of theft, but that is handwaved away by the end. The whole things ends with a patriotic chorus number.

It would be reasonable to write this one off as simply another quick quota quickie of no value and leave it at that, but I am reminded of some of the Judy Canova and "Weaver Brothers & Elviry" comedies from Republic in the same era. Republic Pictures is best remembered for its great number of well-produced B westerns, starring Roy Rogers and John Wayne, but their hillbilly comedies were wildly popular in their rural audiences. While in England, George Formby Jr. and Gracie Fields can be cited as the top-end of the Lancaster Lads and Lasses, and are still fondly remembered, movies like these were more typical examples of the genre. Republic produced a John Ford western and his final Oscar winner, The Quiet Man, but that's not what we remember it for. The same can be said of the producers of quota quickies, the British equivalents.

This movie, although not a particularly brilliant piece of cinema, nonetheless preserves some stage bits that were very popular in their time.... even if, like many a Republic western, it never played at a movie palace in the big city.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostMon Jun 19, 2017 6:18 pm

boblipton wrote: I am reminded of some of the Judy Canova and "Weaver Brothers & Elviry" comedies from Republic in the same era [...] their hillbilly comedies were wildly popular in their rural audiences.

Bob


Bob, you've summed up why I enjoy watching Republic's Grand Ole Opry (1940), with Roy Acuff, Uncle Dave Macon, and sure enough, the Weaver Brothers & Elviry. This one likely never played Radio City Music Hall, but it preserves entertainment very popular in its day. Taken on its own unpretentious terms, like Somewhere in England (which I now want to catch), it still has something of worth to offer.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Jun 20, 2017 12:30 pm

THE PHANTOM OF THE CONVENT (1934) is a very nice find indeed, and fortunately is complete with English subtitles. Three holidaymakers are lost in the woods, with one almost getting killed (an 'accident'?). The couple I assumed were husband and wife / lovers are in fact wife and best friend who indeed are in love. A mysterious fellow in monk's robes appears with his dog, 'Shadow', and leads them to an old convent where they might seek shelter and food. The three are welcomed in, but the monk and his dog has disappeared...

Needless to say there are rum goings-on in the establishment, including a tale of another monk who coveted a friend's wife, and whose cell has been sealed up for a long time. To say more would perhaps spoil the pleasure of this genuinely creepy and atmospheric tale which reminded me a little of VAMPYR and WHITE ZOMBIE. Unlike later horror entries which have lashings of visceral details, the details here are small, brief, and extremely effective. Directed by Fernando de Fuentes, and despite a worn copy, a genuinely frightening movie.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Jun 21, 2017 7:43 am

Dean Thompson wrote:
boblipton wrote: I am reminded of some of the Judy Canova and "Weaver Brothers & Elviry" comedies from Republic in the same era [...] their hillbilly comedies were wildly popular in their rural audiences.

Bob


Bob, you've summed up why I enjoy watching Republic's Grand Ole Opry (1940), with Roy Acuff, Uncle Dave Macon, and sure enough, the Weaver Brothers & Elviry. This one likely never played Radio City Music Hall, but it preserves entertainment very popular in its day. Taken on its own unpretentious terms, like Somewhere in England (which I now want to catch), it still has something of worth to offer.



First, thanks for the kind words.

The issue with reviewing these old movies is bearing in mind that a review has to take a split approach: not only to consider the movie on its cinematic merits, but also bearing in mind that it was meant for another audience.

The other thing I try to consider in these reviews is the overall impact at the time. Our learned commentators hold the British Quota Quicky is low esteem. In fact, so low are they ranked, that it has long been impossible to see them. This results in the sort of vicious cycle in which no one shows them because they are believed to be bad movies, and they are held to be bad movies because no one shows them. We are left with fourth-hand opinions that are useless, like the Kracauer model of German cinema -- which has finally been challenged in Nitrateville.

I thought the same should be done for British Quota Quickies. This thought occurred to me last year, when some discussion of the origins of the Ealing comedies cause me to think about it. It seemed as if British film production was a vast sea of crap, out of which eight individuals were able to create great pictures. It's an insane model, and my investigation shows a large British industry producing, largely, the equivalent of programmers and Bs intended for a market that Hollywood was not covering, with occasional challenges -- like RKO, Universal, Columbia, Republic, Monogram and, yes, the other dire producers of Gower Gulch. Like these producers, the Quota Quicky producers did not say "Let's make some crap." They set out to make a commercial product and budgeted it so they could turn a profit.... just as MGM, Paramount, Fox & Warners tried to do.

Bob
“Oh, yeah, I’ve been there. Pretty cool place. The people who live there? They love it. They’re nuts.”

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

PostWed Jun 21, 2017 5:10 pm

After dinner I usually try to work my way through stacks of unwatched Blu-rays in my basement theatre (see http://www.blu-ray.com/community/galler ... Blu-Velvet" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank ), or re-watch an old favorite, but last night I was in the mood for a 1930s musical and the only one currently on Blu-ray is 42ND STREET, which I watched not too long ago. As a result I had to resort to going through DVDs I hadn't seen in some time, something I tend to avoid when projecting onto a big screen because they generally look too soft. I settled on one of the later (and less-regarded) titles in the old Busby Berkeley volume 2 box set, and picked HOLLYWOOD HOTEL (1937), which I'm sure I watched at least once but had virtually no recollection of it except that I'd found it vaguely disappointing after Berkeley's classics of 1932-1934. I'm very much glad I decided to revisit this, as without such high expectations I now found it highly entertaining throughout, even ranking fairly close to his best works, just different from the trademark fantasy numbers he's best known for. It's often unfairly dismissed and deserves to be better known.

HOLLYWOOD HOTEL is a fun if fairly routine story about the struggles of a Hollywood hopeful, a self-centered star, and some mistaken identity. Film buffs should find it an entertaining celebration of the movie industry and the Hollywood myth, with plenty of topical in-jokes. But what really makes this worth watching is the music, especially a couple of great sequences featuring Benny Goodman and his famous orchestra at their height doing "Hooray for Hollywood" at the beginning and his iconic "Sing, Sing, Sing" a bit later on. The Raymond Paige orchestra also gets its own specialty number with a rousing jazz/swing version of "Ochi Chornia" ("Dark Eyes"). Busby Berkeley for whatever reason is not allowed to stage his memorable outrageously elaborate production numbers, but he does a fantastic job lighting, shooting, and editing all the song performances and love duets (notably a cute one in a fountain pond and another in a drive-in café) in a somewhat more subdued but very polished Hollywood style. It gives a more "realistic" if studio-bound feeling compared with the surreal impossible stage fantasies synonymous with Berkeley, perhaps what audiences preferred by the last quarter of the decade. The film does not feel long at 109 minutes. Dick Powell is in fine form, not too over-the-top yet getting into the spirit along with Lola Lane having great fun hamming it up and her sister Rosemary playing a down-to-earth waitress who is her double. Glenda Farrell as always is excellent but underutilized, and Hugh Herbert gets just enough screen time as the ditzy father of Lola Lane. Ted Healy is tolerable as a wannabe agent who takes on Powell. We even get Edgar Kennedy being his inimitable self as a diner owner who is boss to Powell and Healy. Fans of 1930s musicals and especially movies about movies should definitely find a copy of this DVD (though I hope HOLLYWOOD HOTEL will eventually make it to the Warner Archive Blu-ray collection). The song "Hooray for Hollywood" alone epitomizes its enthusiastic and lovingly cynical appreciation of classic studio moviemaking.

The Warner DVD looks pretty amazing, so good that it's frustrating how much better the textures and glistening light effects could really pop to life if it ever got a good Blu-ray (knowing how incredibly crisp and clear the Blu-rays of 42ND STREET and THE JAZZ SINGER look compared to their already quite good DVD versions). The whole 1930s Busby Berkeley catalog needs an HD upgrade as soon as possible. By comparison I also watched the moderately diverting 1936 Charlie McCarthy Vitaphone short DOUBLE TALK on the same disc, and it had nice contrast but looked very soft, more like I'm used to DVDs typically looking. Perhaps it was from an old SD transfer and the main feature had been downscaled from an HD transfer, but HOLLYWOOD HOTEL was drastically sharper, and from the back of the room might even pass for a Blu-ray that was just a touch on the soft side.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Jun 21, 2017 7:28 pm

Deluge (1933), the Kino-restored disaster film, is certainly an odd film. Civilization is wiped out in the first 18 minutes of the film and then we're into the post-apocalypse where women seem to be the most precious commodity. Among the survivors are Sidney Blackmer as a smart lawyer who gets separated from his wife (Lois Wilson) and kids, Peggy Shannon as an independent type, a gang of thugs right out of The Walking Dead, and a ragtag settlement in the mountains where some survivors are sort of rebuilding a ratty town. Interesting film, and the ending is actually quite good.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Jun 22, 2017 3:25 pm

Celia (1949) is Hy Hazell. an out-of-work actress. She is inveigled by Bruce Lester, a private investigator, into an undercover job. It seems that Elsie Wagstaff has married John Bailey and has cut off communications with her niece and nephews, who are worried that Bailey intends nefarious doings. As the movie goes on, the audience discovers that this is indeed the case; in cooperation with Lockwood West, Bailey intends to drug the old woman and throw her off the balcony, having told the gossips in the village that his wife walks in her sleep. Can Miss Hazell and Mr. Lester save the old woman?

This is a perfectly decent thriller bookended by some light-hearted banter If not exactly a world-beater, it is a perfectly pleasant time-waster for anyone who likes a bit of chills in a country home.

Bob
“Oh, yeah, I’ve been there. Pretty cool place. The people who live there? They love it. They’re nuts.”

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

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 3:44 pm

Bruce Bairnsfather sends his old campaigner out looking for a better 'ole for the Second World War in Old Bill and Son (1940), under the direction of Ian Dalyrimple. After John Mills, playing Young Bill, joins up when war is declared, Old Bill, played by Morland Graham tries to get in. He's told he's too old, but a series of senior officers were junior officers in the last fight, so he winds up on the front in France, scrounging and getting into trouble in this service comedy.

This was a good effort at the time it was released -- in March of 1940, when the fighting, so far as the British were concerned, was on the Eastern Front, and a failed campaign in Norway. The French were still waiting in the Maginot Line, facing the Siegfried Line. It would take another couple of months before the Germans launched their blitzkrieg, took Belgium and the real war began, so far as British history was concerned, at Dunkirk.

As a result this looks like a very peculiar view of the Second World War, like Jan de Hartog's Ergens in Nederland (1940). Like many a movie made for the moment, its moment has passed.

Bob
“Oh, yeah, I’ve been there. Pretty cool place. The people who live there? They love it. They’re nuts.”

That we do. And that we are.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 4:07 pm

LOOSER THAN LOOSE (1930) has Charley Chase engaged (in peculiar fashion) to Thelma Todd. No sooner has Charley brought the ring out than his boss rings saying he has to take an Important Client out for a Good Time with a brace of loose ladies. To pacify Thelma, he agrees that she be one of the ladies, and so the confusion begins, with customer Billy Gilbert deciding he wants her rather than ditzy Dorothy Jordan. Lively and amusing, with Edgar Kennedy for added value. This one also has the Roach idea (as in ANOTHER FINE MESS) two young lovelies reading out the credits.

From 1931, THE PANIC IS ON, has Charley as a hard-up husband to be who needs to make $50,000 to impress future pa-in-law. Alas, he can't even pay landlady Margaret Mann's rent, and in addition, his new book, on self-confidence, causes even more trouble than its worth. Further problems arise in the form of big-time crook Billy Gilbert and his henchmen. Nice to get the chance to see such rare and amusing items.

Not to be confused with the earlier movie, HOLLYWOOD PARTY (1937) is a highly politically incorrect musical MGM short featuring Charley Chase as a Fu Manchu lookalike and Elissa Landi as your hosts as well as a good many folk in Chinese costumes. Anna May Wong and Leon Erroll are here too, as well as a bunch of blink-and-you-miss-'em stars. An interesting example of what was deemed acceptable back then, and shot in blazing Technicolor.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 5:31 pm

In The Betrayal (1957), Philip Friend was a Prisoner of War. During an escape attempt, some one told the Germans, and four of his fellow escapees were killed; Friend was blinded. After working for more than a decade with the War Crimes commission in a failed attempt to track down the traitor, the case is closed and Friend gets a job. One day, while visiting a fashion salon -- his perfumer-employer has worked out a cross-promotion deal with them -- he hears the voice he has been hunting for a decade and a half. With the aid of dress model Diana Decker, he goes searching for the man.

the idea of a blind man hunting an evil doer was popular in this era -- Edward Arnold had played a blind detective for MGM in a few movies in the early 1940s, and 23 Paces to Baker Street, from a novel by Philip MacDonald, had been filmed the previous year. What makes this movie interesting is that fact that while Friend is hunting his man, that man is hunting for him.

It's an engaging movie, if a tad slow-paced, with some interesting camera work by Jimmy Wilson. I think that Miss Decker is not very engaging in her part -- her voice and deferential manner started to annoy me quickly. However, while that may have been the reason her career never hit the heights, it doesn't stop this movie.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 8:45 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:Spunky Sally O'Neill stars in Girl of the Port (1930) (a.k.a. Firewalker), playing a tart Irish maid with a heart of gold who turns up in Fiji looking for work in bar run by half-caste white supremicist (!) McEwan (Mitchell Lewis) but finds love with a shell-shocked First World War veteran, Jim (Reginald Sharland), who supposedly just wanted to find a neglected corner of the world in which to drink himself to death.

Everything is played way over the top, which might explain why director Bert Glennon went back to being a cinematographer shortly afterward (doing stellar work for John Ford), but it gives the film some verve that keeps you glued through its stagey proceedings. Bayonne, NJ-born O'Neill doesn't sound particularly Irish, but she's brash (has anyone seen her in The Brat? Based on the title alone I can see her as the perfect fit for the role) and I got a kick out of how she kept calling Jim "Bozo". As the baddie, Lewis is a few steps shy of Simon Legree, but his repeated toasts to white supremacy and racial purity are a bit of a jolt. Sharland gets to ham it up every time he sees fire and crumples like a rag doll, thanks to an unfortunate encounter with a flamethrower in the war. Unsurprisingly, he'd be relegated to uncredited bit parts within a year.

So, not quite Golden Dawn bad, but if you're looking for something in the same vein...

I saw this years ago on channel 7 Chicago as part of the C&C package. Not a bad film, but yes, it contains the racist line uttered by O'Neil after a tourist sees Sharland survive the firewalking : Tourist: "A white man!" O'Neil: "The whiteist man of you all!" That old C&C print is probably somewhere in the bowels of channel 7.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Jun 24, 2017 4:59 am

Adventure (1945) is a post-war romantic drama with a very dark soul. Filmed in 1945 after Clark Gable was freed from military service and released in late December, the film was a solid hit (despite stories that say otherwise) and ballyhooed under the tagline "Gable's back and Garson's got him." Greer Garson was probably MGM's top female star of the mid-1940s (along with Judy Garland) and she and Gable make a surprisingly good team in this story of a merchant marine boatswain in San Francisco with pal Mudgin (Thomas Mitchell) who, after a night of boozing and brawling, thinks he's lost his soul. The pair go into a library to read up on it and run into starchy Garson the librarian. Gable rants about book knowledge and the library as a tomb of knowledge but is attracted to Garson. When her breezy pal Joan Blondell comes along, he spirits them off to lunch. An unlikely romance ensues.

The plot almost seems like two stories mashed together and is not your typical film romance. But the 4 stars are each astonishingly good. Gable is in top form, grumbling and raging at a world he doesn't understand, while Garson tries to hold on to a pre-war world that no longer exists. War changes things and life must change also. The film was ranked by Variety as the #7 box-office hit of 1946, earning more than $6M worldwide and made a nice profit for MGM.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Jun 24, 2017 5:44 am

Gong Fu Yu Jia (2017; aka Kung Fu Yoga) was a bit of a disappointment to me, even if it was Stanley Tong's return to directing Jackie Chan after a dozen years. Mr. Chan has become an international star, and so his producers can afford to spend a lot of money on production values, such as flying the cast to Iceland for location shooting, and wrecking Lamborghinis in the Emirate States; Mr. Chan is also slightly older than I am, so he cannot do the amazing, funny, real life stunts that made his movies such a treat. Oh, he does more than in his American flicks, but the fast pace of cutting, shooting his character from behind and some very obvious undercranking, as well as watching his younger cast do the stuff he used to, saddens me.

Anyway, the production values and Mr. Chan as a clothes horse make this a watchable movie, as China's Greatest Archaeologist, Professor Chan, is caught up in a hunt for treasure/artifacts from fifteen hundred years ago, involving Indian ranis and a huge pink diamond. There is a funny comic sequence in which the good guys wander through a market where fakirs are performing, and various members of the cast do Jackie-style gags with cobras and the Indian Rope Trick. Not Jackie so much, alas.

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

PostSat Jun 24, 2017 2:51 pm

A triple-bill of Charley Chase started with THE NICKEL NURSER (1932) with Charley as a money-conscious young fellow hired to teach the Todd sisters about economy. The fun starts when Thelma is mistaken for the maid and the other sisters continue the deception, maid more difficult by the real maid's thick Garbo-like accent. Some rather racy moments liven up this entry, which has Billy Gilbert as a jealous butler.

LUNCHEON AT TWELVE (1933) has Chase as an out-of-work fellow having trouble with his dustbins. Finding a job (and a girlfriend) he turns up in his best three-piece only to discover his job is as a painter, working for Billy Gilbert. More chaos ensues at a luncheon party hosted by the splendid Gale Henry, whose last film this was.

In NURSE TO YOU (1935), Charley thinks he has less than six months to live, so decides to give his misery-guts of a boss (the always-welcome Clarence Wilson) a piece of his mind. Of course there is a muck-up at Doctor Billy Gilbert's office...
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In THUNDERING TENORS (1931) Charley is first assumed to be a serious musician, then a butler with ideas about place-setting during a rather pretentious dinner party. In addition to helping a guest lose an important part of her dress, he also manages to swallow a fish bone. A lively piece of work from Lena Malena as a 'hands-on' doctor peps things up considerably with her providing most of the rather risque laughs here.
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 12:43 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:Spunky Sally O'Neill stars in Girl of the Port (1930) (a.k.a. Firewalker), playing a tart Irish maid with a heart of gold who turns up in Fiji looking for work in bar run by half-caste white supremicist (!) McEwan (Mitchell Lewis) but finds love with a shell-shocked First World War veteran, Jim (Reginald Sharland), who supposedly just wanted to find a neglected corner of the world in which to drink himself to death.

Everything is played way over the top, which might explain why director Bert Glennon went back to being a cinematographer shortly afterward (doing stellar work for John Ford), but it gives the film some verve that keeps you glued through its stagey proceedings. Bayonne, NJ-born O'Neill doesn't sound particularly Irish, but she's brash (has anyone seen her in The Brat? Based on the title alone I can see her as the perfect fit for the role) and I got a kick out of how she kept calling Jim "Bozo". As the baddie, Lewis is a few steps shy of Simon Legree, but his repeated toasts to white supremacy and racial purity are a bit of a jolt. Sharland gets to ham it up every time he sees fire and crumples like a rag doll, thanks to an unfortunate encounter with a flamethrower in the war. Unsurprisingly, he'd be relegated to uncredited bit parts within a year.

So, not quite Golden Dawn bad, but if you're looking for something in the same vein...


I recorded this on the strength of seeing that Duke Kahanamoku was in the cast, and despite annoying lines he had a bigger part than i expected. But for the rest? Boggle. "Don't go mixin' up love and gratitude, 'cuz they ain't no more alike than champagne and Ovaltine." I just lost it, i've still got the giggles.

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

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 8:00 am

Was it ever possible to be more cool than Steve McQueen? Unlike, say, Marlon Brando or Sean Connery (I'm talking 1960s heroes here), he was so cool, he didn't have to care about projecting coolness. He just was.

Like everybody else who was alive in 1968, I saw Bullitt in the theatres on its initial release because of the famous car chase, a landmark of filmmaking that should not be blamed for inspiring the Fast & Furious franchise. By now, of course, we've seen so many great car chases that the granddaddy of them all has lost a lot of its impact; it's still a great one, though, and you can really appreciate it if you have a good knowledge of film history.

Bullitt is a series of terrific scenes, well-acted and well-directed, linked together in a story that doesn't make much sense, doesn't cohere, and is far too ambiguous and unresolved. Although my wife complained that the first half-hour almost put her to sleep, I found the film engrossing from start to finish. As mentioned above, each scene is excellent in itself, and that's enough to keep most viewers interested (I would hope).

From my 1968 viewing, I remembered only a few things other than the car chase. Robert Vaughn was still The Man From UNCLE, and I was upset to find him playing a sleazy bad guy instead of a good, clean, super-agent. I also remembered the scene where McQueen bangs on a newspaper box in order to steal a copy; I had found that shocking at the time. Imagine, a policeman stealing a five-cent newspaper! How awful! (I was a very nice boy in 1968.)

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

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 10:58 am

Jim Roots wrote:Was it ever possible to be more cool than Steve McQueen? Unlike, say, Marlon Brando or Sean Connery (I'm talking 1960s heroes here), he was so cool, he didn't have to care about projecting coolness. He just was.

Like everybody else who was alive in 1968, I saw Bullitt in the theatres on its initial release because of the famous car chase, a landmark of filmmaking that should not be blamed for inspiring the Fast & Furious franchise. By now, of course, we've seen so many great car chases that the granddaddy of them all has lost a lot of its impact; it's still a great one, though, and you can really appreciate it if you have a good knowledge of film history.

Bullitt is a series of terrific scenes, well-acted and well-directed, linked together in a story that doesn't make much sense, doesn't cohere, and is far too ambiguous and unresolved. Although my wife complained that the first half-hour almost put her to sleep, I found the film engrossing from start to finish. As mentioned above, each scene is excellent in itself, and that's enough to keep most viewers interested (I would hope).

From my 1968 viewing, I remembered only a few things other than the car chase. Robert Vaughn was still The Man From UNCLE, and I was upset to find him playing a sleazy bad guy instead of a good, clean, super-agent. I also remembered the scene where McQueen bangs on a newspaper box in order to steal a copy; I had found that shocking at the time. Imagine, a policeman stealing a five-cent newspaper! How awful! (I was a very nice boy in 1968.)

Jim


Never seen it.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 11:38 am

Rough Night (2017) is a comedy about what happens when uptight political candidate Scarlett Johansssen goes for a bachelorette party in Miami Beach with her college clique. Comedies about the things that go wrong during such outing and the resecuring of bonds has become its own genre, what with the repetitive Hangover movies -- my suggested tag line of "It all happens again, in a different place, though" ... well, I never heard back from the producers -- and Paul Feig's Bridesmaids. And so we are treated to the standard comedic tropes: the drugs; the worried fiancé; the dead stripper, and so forth.

The trouble is that although the situations are humorous, only Kate McKinnon as the Aussie Pippa does anything we haven't seen in earlier movies of this type and does it very well. Scarlett Johansson is fine as the worried woman about to be married, but she, like the others at the party, offer performances more dramatic than funny.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 11:50 am

Gaudi Afternoon (2001) is a delightful comedy mystery set in Barcelona amid the architecture of Antoni Gaudi whereby Judy Davis plays an American translator who gets sucked into a family squabble for some quick cash. She's supposed to find this woman's husband, but no one is what they seem to be, identities are confused, and there's also a magician and a Dean Martin song. Davis and the architecture are fascinating.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 2:19 pm

drednm wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:Was it ever possible to be more cool than Steve McQueen? Unlike, say, Marlon Brando or Sean Connery (I'm talking 1960s heroes here), he was so cool, he didn't have to care about projecting coolness. He just was.

Like everybody else who was alive in 1968, I saw Bullitt in the theatres on its initial release because of the famous car chase, a landmark of filmmaking that should not be blamed for inspiring the Fast & Furious franchise. By now, of course, we've seen so many great car chases that the granddaddy of them all has lost a lot of its impact; it's still a great one, though, and you can really appreciate it if you have a good knowledge of film history.

Bullitt is a series of terrific scenes, well-acted and well-directed, linked together in a story that doesn't make much sense, doesn't cohere, and is far too ambiguous and unresolved. Although my wife complained that the first half-hour almost put her to sleep, I found the film engrossing from start to finish. As mentioned above, each scene is excellent in itself, and that's enough to keep most viewers interested (I would hope).

From my 1968 viewing, I remembered only a few things other than the car chase. Robert Vaughn was still The Man From UNCLE, and I was upset to find him playing a sleazy bad guy instead of a good, clean, super-agent. I also remembered the scene where McQueen bangs on a newspaper box in order to steal a copy; I had found that shocking at the time. Imagine, a policeman stealing a five-cent newspaper! How awful! (I was a very nice boy in 1968.)

Jim


Never seen it.


So you weren't alive in 1968. Go see it now!

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

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 2:23 pm

Jim Roots wrote:! (I was a very nice boy in 1968.)

Jim



My, how you've changed.

Bob
“Oh, yeah, I’ve been there. Pretty cool place. The people who live there? They love it. They’re nuts.”

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

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 3:42 pm

When convalescing RAF pilot Niall MacGinnis and his nurse, Rosamund John, are out bird watching in rural Gloucestershire, they spot a Tawny Pipit (1944) -- not just one, but only the second nesting pair in English history. They rouse the entire village to protect these visitors in a wartime paean to British kindliness and back-country values.

Bernard Miles and Charles Saunders co-direct from a script of their own devising. Miles also acts in heavy make up as a wheel-chair bound military man. It's a well-told story, but very heavy-handed in its subtextual message, as the local Church choir sings a composition about the birds, and later regales a visiting Soviet sniper with "The Internationale", in a sequence in which Miles gives her his old machine gun and Land Girl Jean Gillie wonders if she would be as good a shot were the old Land of Hope and Glory invaded. I can't help but compare this to the sort of movie that Ealing would become famous for; this comes off as beating the matter to death, with few of the oddly endearing eccentrics that Ealing would use to make its central theme clear. Still, it's watchable throughout with some good performances.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 7:51 pm

The Girl Who Had Everything (1953) claims to be a remake of A Free Soul (1931) but I guess I don't remember the earlier film all that well. This MGM film offers Elizabeth Taylor as a willful girl who dumps dull Gig Young in order to take up with suave gangster Fernando Lamas, who happens to be a client of her father's (William Powell in his final film for the studio). Although a nice looking production, the plug gets pulled really fast and the film has a rushed ending and runs only 69 minutes (the original version ran 93 minutes). Less is not always more.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 9:35 pm

In the last week or so I had a major botheration in the computer department when the machine that serves as my lifeblood in matters of world-wide communications, decided to seriously malfunction to a point where it went completely on the blink - to use a technical term. Turns out a mouse, seeking somewhere warm to kip down for the night, had crawled into the "box", and then not being able to get back out, had expired. In the meantime "Mickey" had decided to urinate successfully on the motherboard and hard disk drive so as to render both of them basically useless.

Now, armed with a new, super-duper machine with a whole lot of gimelauts and didgerthingers, I am back again to sally forth on a discourse pertaining to a whole wide range of motion pictures. Did you all miss me? (Waits, for response - not a sausage - but continues anyway).

First off on the backlog is 1933's "Another Language" given the treatment my M.G.M.

I thought when it started off that it would be another one of these ho hum romantic type pictures - well it was essentially, but it did have some saving graces in that there was a hideous family lurking around. The story is that newly-weds - Robert Montgomery and Helen Hayes (first time I think I can recall seeing her in her younger days) have just returned back to New York after having eloped to Europe. Robby unfortunately has excess baggage in the form of a family who virtually dictate what he should and should not do. Helen rebels and of course that puts the fly in the ointment. Mother, (Louise Closser Hale) constantly feigns illness in order to gain sympathy and Father,(Henry Travers) is rather an ineffectual chap who would have been a lot happier in life had he not married. Adding to the assortment are Minor Watson, Irene Cattell, Willard Robertson, Hal K. Dawson, Maidel Turner as various aunts and uncles. Included also is Margaret Hamilton who is making her first credited appearance in a role that is far removed from evil witchery.

The script is clever and absorbing and one can easily ascertain that it is derived from a stage play. The performances of the leads tend to add lustre to the whole otherwise it would be fairly dull.

An interesting plot ploy is having one of Miss Haye's young relatives - John Beal - fall for her.

If you can stand seeing something that may make you recoil in horror by seeing mirrored images of one's own relatives staring back down at one from the screen, then you may enjoy this picture.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 10:06 pm

"A United Kingdom" (2016) delicately handles a once very sensitive subject; that of a black man marrying a white girl. In this case he is a Prince from Bechuanaland who has fallen in love with an English typiste. Of course everyone is dead set against the marriage - from both sides. The Prince's uncle has been Regent of the British Protectorate, grooming his nephew to one day be King - and now he does this! The girl's parents are also appalled - but they are really only worried about what all their friends might think. The British Government is also up in arms. Such a thing just cannot happen. It's not done.

It's 1947, and everyone thought a lot differently back then. You just could not do things that were against the accepted conventions - but these two did, made a success of it all and proved everyone who pooh-poohed their union as utter nincompoops.

The Prince is played convincingly by David Oyelowo who gives the man great dignity, whilst Rosamund Pike playing his wife brings out the fighting spirit of the woman.

This film gives us an insight in to a blight in history and one that is probably not widely known. It is a blot on the reputation of the British Empire and the people who were running it after the war. The fellow at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office looking after the affairs of Bechawanaland comes across as a supercilious snob and is played by Jack Davenport showing a great ability to look down his nose at everyone. There is one delightful scene in the picture where he turns up at a parade ground function - dressed up in a white uniform with one of those silly hats on with the feathers in it. The place is supposed to be full of "natives", but no-one shows up. One felt like cheering.

I found this to be quite an interesting story. It was sad in so many ways, but at the same time it was exhilarating because in the end "the little people" win out. The film has obviously taken a few short cuts here and there, but it has adequately and masterfully told the story.

Bechuanaland finally achieved independence in the 1960's and became the Republic of Botswana. The Prince became the first President and his son also served in the role.
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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)

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 10:31 pm

Why did I watch "Who's Minding the Mint?" (1967). Well, I remembered the name of the film from the murky depths of my memory - for what reason I know not and when I saw a DVD of the film lurking about, I made a grab for it in a moment of reckless abandon.

America made some great comedy films - particularly so in the silent era. There were also some great efforts made in the early talkie era with the Marx Bros, and the Great Man - but, after a while the broad comedy started to become less subtle. In fact it came over announced with a sledgehammer. Comedy also went into another direction with the invention of this thing called "the situation comedy" producing in the end such things as "Seinfeld" which to me is about as funny as a cry for help. But, I digress (as per usual).

"The Mint" comes over in the sledgehammer category. A perfectly good idea has been "worked over" by a team of writers - probably having no idea what each other has written - coming up with a final product which lays everything on so thick it's a wonder the audience can move about amongst all the treacle. The characters are over-written and become even more than caricatures and, the plot - which could have stuck to sensible ideas - has become completely and utterly ludicrous, so much so that the audience would, in their right minds, deride it.

Jim Hutton as the main character in the film probably comes across as the only actor who is not trying to slice the most amount of ham. Everyone else is over the top. Among this motley crew are Dorothy Provine as a stupid blonde (weren't they all?), Milton Berle - who once appeared on television I understand, Bob Denver - who was once marooned on an island but unfortunately found his way back to civilisation, Joey Bishop - who befriended a pack of rats, Walter Brennan - who I remember from "Lassie" and who's voice used to annoy me and Jack Gilford who I believe was good on the stage - perhaps not so good in pictures? Anyway all these people get in on the act of helping out our hero print up some money to be used for their own purposes - using the facilities of the U.S. Mint where our hero works. I should also mention Victor Buono who is not sure who he is and has an accent to prove it - he - wait for it - is charged with building a miniature boat to sail the sewers! I mean, who could dream up this rubbish?

I think this film is probably an example as what passed for an entertaining picture back in the late 60's. Well who would have known back then? Everyone was too busy sticking flowers in their hair, playing with beads and smoking a very strange tobacco.
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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)

PostMon Jun 26, 2017 3:00 am

I'm putting "The Man and the Moment" (1929) in the talking picture section because it is one of those pictures otherwise known as a talking silent or a silent talkie. I think it must have been awfully annoying and confusing to audiences of the time as they would have had no idea what they were getting and would have found, like me, that the continual shifting backwards and forwards from one form to the other quite jarring. Quite frankly I would have preferred this picture to have remained silent throughout with just the orchestra lending some appropriate airs.

Rod La Rocque and Billie Dove, two big names in silent pictures star in this rather silly romance. It starts off rather idiotically and gradually improves - or one just gets used to it. Rod is a millionaire playboy, who is doing nothing much on a huge yacht in the company of a lot of layabout freeloaders in amongst whom is a gold-digger - Gwen Lee and her dilettante brother, Robert Schable. Gwen is sure she is going to marry Rod and Robert is sure he will be assured of a steady income if she does. Their plans though are thrown amuck when Billie literally drops in on them all when the sea-plane she is piloting suddenly falls from the sky in their vicinity.

One thing leads to another as it does in these things and Rod and Billie decide to marry each other for the sake of convenience. However this platonic arrangement goes awry when Rod falls in love.

A lot of business goes on before husband and wife can settle down and get on with wedded bliss and there is a marvelous scene in a night club or some such, where everyone is doing the foxtrot to "Varsity Rag" (I think it was) next to a huge water tank with a glass wall where Billie decides to take a dip. The film reaches a climax at this point in a rather spectacular scene which I won't divulge the details of as it would spoil things.

As I said, the film works better when it is silent as Rod speaks his lines in the "What-is-this-thing-called, - love?" fashion and thus tends to spoil all the good work he has done whilst inaudible. Billie meanwhile seems a little more relaxed with the microphone bobbing about.

Another bizarre touch is the fact that the producers seem to have planned the film around utilising every sound effect they could possibly press on to the sound track. One gets to hear motor launches, motor cars and their klaxon horns, aeroplanes, telephones ringing and door knockers clacking. The poor orchestra doing their best on the rest of the sound track has a lot to contend with.

This film is a recent discovery having been thought lost for donkey's years. Some bits of the dialogue sequences are still in someone's attic and title cards have been inserted here and there to make up for the loss.

It's an interesting curiosity of a film, but nothing out of the ordinary.
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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)

PostMon Jun 26, 2017 3:28 am

One actor I would liked to have seen on the stage would have been George Arliss but unfortunately he decided to go off and join the Choir Invisible just a couple of years before the stork with me on board was searching for my parent's chimney.

Mr. Arliss is the commensurate actor and in his films he is at the height of his career. This is in no way better demonstrated than with his dual appearance in a nice little bit of froth and bubble entitled "His Lordship" which he made in his native England in 1936. (Known to American audiences as "Man of Affairs")

To give a performance as two not dissimilar characters - even though they may by way of the script be twin brothers - and make them convincing as different entities to audiences is a difficult feat and of course Mr. Arliss is deftly able to do it, and he does it all with a degree of subtlety and nuance.

There are some clever sequences where Mr. Arliss appears on screen with himself. Obviously it is effected by way of back projection, but the way in which it is all done is such that it looks very real and natural.

The film starts off close to Sordid Arabia somewhere where Rudolph Valentino's brother (A Sheikh) is murdered. The dirty devil what did it tries to put the blame on to an Englishman. However said Englishman runs into a remittance man in the person of Mr. Arliss who despite looking like a bit of a no-hoper, actually has a bit of a clue and offers to help him out.

Anyway, the scene then shifts back to old Blighty and the "no-good" brother is staying with the "good" brother. The latter is a fuddy-duddy and a sheep short in the top paddock. As such he is ideal to be working in the Foreign Office. This is Mr. Arliss' other character.

Naturally you are now running ahead of me in the story department and would know already that the "no-good" brother sorts out all the difficulties that ensue whilst the old fuddy-duddy is proved basically useless.

Like a lot of films that rely on the appearance of the big star appearing in them, this flounders around in the first few scenes until Mr. Arliss decides to wander in.

I won't mention the rest of the cast as none of the names are known these days - and probably weren't all that well known in 1936 for that matter. It's also sad that the mention of the name George Arliss is likely to receive a vacant stare these days as well.

This is a very entertaining picture and well worth spending ninety minutes with.
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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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