What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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

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

PostTue Aug 22, 2017 10:47 am

All Ashore (1953) from Columbia is one of those MGM-like color musicals that abounded in the 1950s. It's the story of three (of course) sailors on shore leave on Catalina Island. Mickey Rooney plays a dope name Moby Dickerson (get it?) who is used by sharpies played by Dick Haymes and Ray McDonald. Interesting tunes (no hits) and gorgeous scenery help. The gals are played by Peggy Ryan (as Gay Night no less), Jodi Lawrance, and Barbara Bates. A pleasant summer film. Avalon/Catalina in 1953 looked pretty much as it did (as I remember) when I was there in 1981. Final film for McDonald and Ryan.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostTue Aug 22, 2017 5:15 pm

For the first Technicolor feature produced by his organization, Rank went to his WHV production arm; this was the group that did movies on sacred subjects. The subject was George Frideric Handel and how he came to write his Messiah. The movie was The Great Mr. Handel (1942).

The best parts of this movie (aside from Handel's music) is the cinematography. Two men are credited: Claude Friese-Greene, who had more experience with color camera work than anyone else in Britain -- he and his father had developed Biocolor, which was never commercially successful. This turned out to be his last movie. His co-cinematographer was Jack Cardiff, whose painterly vision is very apparent here. The whole thing looks like a series of paintings from the era. The music, being Handel's, is beautiful. The story, of how Handel (played by Wilfred Lawson), grown unfashionable, continues on, supported only by Elizabeth Allan as Mrs. Cibber and his faithful servant, played by Hay Petrie, is adequate to the task.

Were these the only considerations, this would be a fine movie. Unfortunately, while Mr. Lawson's performance is great (he plays Handel as someone who has not quite grown used to speaking English; his language is that of the orchestra) and Hay Petrie speaks his lines as he always does, which is why he was such a successful character actor, the other performers talk as if they are amateurs reading their parts off the script for the first time. Given the long and successful careers of many of these actors, this is an annoying puzzlement.

A talking movie, alas, is more than pictures and score. The dialogue is the glue that holds the pieces together and tells the story. The failure here, leaves the movie-goer looking at a beautiful and sometimes very interesting effort (when it is just Lawson and Petrie, or when Handel's music is being performed -- although none of the actors are very good at faking their playing of instruments), but ridiculously dull at other moments. The result is a movie that is definitely worth watching, but not more than once.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostWed Aug 23, 2017 6:49 am

His Girl Friday (1940) is famous for its fast-paced, overlapping dialog and for the performances of Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. I had forgotten how many references there were to "Reds" (as opposed to Fascists) and the long joke tinged with racist words. Howard Hawks apparently hit upon the idea of casting Hildy as a woman by accident when a reading of "The Front Page" at a symposium used a woman to read the part. Jean Arthur was Hawks' first choice but she turned it down, possibly because she had just finished Only Angels Have Wings with Hawks and Grant. Others who were considered or who turned it down include Irene Dunne, Joan Crawford, Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, and Margaret Sullavan. Quite the list. As written, the role was subordinate to Grant's Walter Burns. But Hawks allowed the actors to improvise and shrewd Russell, stinging from being so far down on the "want list," hired a gag writer so she could beef up her part. The rest, as they say, is history.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 3:24 am

My very next Louis de Funès picture had to be "Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob" (1973) after the brief discussions that have ensued here. I must say that it was not the story I was expecting and as such I was presently surprised. But, not too surprised on another front as it was another farce based on mistaken identities and a whole series of unfortunate events compounding on top of each other which form the basis of most of M. de Funès pictures.

I liked this picture a lot as it was not quite as silly of some of his other comedies of the 1960's which were at a bit of a basic level. This film had a whole series of quite funny gags especially where M. de Funès, unaware of the basic tenets of Judasim, started to give the sign of the cross whilst in the guise of a Rabbi. I am sure neither side of the fence would have found this offensive - and would have been guffawing as much as I was.

Whilst at times my life has shades of Victor Meldrew hanging over it, I don't think I have quite got to the stage of frenetic upheaval as displayed in the common, everyday occurrences M. de Funès seems to be 'blessed' with. My compliments must therefore go to the writers who can dream up such a plethora of confusion and mayhem as surrounds M. de Funès' existence.

As usual there is a good supporting cast including Henri Guybet, Suzy Delair and Renzo Montagnani with the whole thing directed by Gérard Oury
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 3:26 am

"Play Girl" (1932) was a fairly basic satisfactory luvvy-dubby type picture with Winnie Lightner as a wise-cracking departmental store sales assistant. Loretta Young is also working at the same store. Both are friends and go on dates. Loretta meets up with an insistent suitor - Norman Foster, and marries him. She didn't find out beforehand though, that he made his money by playing the gee-gees. This revelation causes the marriage to go on the rocks just as she is with child. So, the script then called for her to go back the gee gees herself - and she makes a go of it. Meanwhile Winnie has been seeing Guy Kibbee and she ends up marrying him. Hubby eventually comes back to Loretta and everything ends happily. Nothing much in it to write home about other than perhaps a glimpse into working and domestic life as it was in the early '30's.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 3:28 am

I thought I had seen all of Sir Norman Wisdom's pictures at the "Kinema", Albert Park when they came on during the Saturday afternoon matinees, but looking at "There was a Crooked Man" (1960) I didn't have any recollection of any of the scenes and suspect this one slipped through the net. It is actually a cut above most of his other pictures - which relied a little too heavily on the slapstick, this one is a little more sophisticated.

Norman has ditched his cloth-capped idiot type character for a Trilby headed more urbane young man, although he is still scratching around for a quid. He gets in with a lot of crooks due to the need to eat and utilises his wartime experience blowing things up, to do the same to jewelry stores etc., Naturally his exploits land him in the jug where he finds contentment. He has room and board and is charged with looking after the Governor's garden.

His sentence completed, he is sent off to a job 'oop norf" in a town just about as grim as it can get. He is though befriended by the station master (Reginald Beckworth) who gives him board. The whole town is run by Andrew Cruickshank and Norman finds out that he is a crook and so works up a scheme to turn the tables and thus enable the townsfolk to gain some benefit for a change. This gives Norman a chance to find yet another character as he impersonates an American General with a Southern accent.

The story has plausibility in patches but is mainly hokum and this hokum stretches to the point of ridiculousness in places and thus has the tendency to spoil what could have been quite an excellent film. I found myself generally amused here and there, but not to the level of guffawing. I also didn't at first recognise a very young Alfred Marks as the leader of a gang of crooks.
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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)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 3:52 am

I would like to shout Marie Dressler's name from the rooftops for she deserves it; her name being nearly forgotten today. In my humble opinion she was one of the finest actresses to grace the screen. She not only had a voice - which most actors/actresses think sufficient - she was able to act with every ounce of her very ample proportions. Her face gave catalogue to every conceivable expression imaginable - a boon to comedy, but, she was equally at home to drama. It was therefore in this latter context I had the pleasure of seeing her in "Emma" (1932).

They say that a successful drama owes its success to having someone die during the proceedings. In "Emma" we have three meet their demise.

(Spoiler alert)

It is the story of a loyal housekeeper who stays with a family for nearly 40 years, seeing the children grow up. (Richard Cromwell, Myrna Loy, Barbara Kent, Kathryn Crawford and George Meeker). She looks after them as if her own after their mother dies. Eventually the master of the house (Jean Hersholt) marries her to placate loneliness as he puts it, but he too passes on soon after the honeymoon. Some of the children have resented the marriage and have Emma charged with murdering their father - but the family solicitor helps defend her from the awful charge.

This a very sentimental story which would have been made mawkish in less capable hands. Ms. Dressler gives a performance that is absolutely remarkable and a joy to watch in every moment she is on the screen. Cleverly, some scenes have been added in, which allow Ms. Dressler to give full vent to her comedic talents. These are hilariously funny and help break up the very strong dramatics of the piece. One of the sons is an aviator and he takes Ms. Dressler 'for a ride' in an early aeroplane simulator. Priceless.

Because Ms. Dressler is so strong in this film and makes it her own - she virtually overshadows everyone else, but I think that merely shows how good they were too, in that they were able to work in with her and make the whole work shine, and shine it does.

Directed by Clarence Brown from a story by Frances Marion, this is a film that deserves to be up there with all the other "classics".
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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)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 4:24 am

Donald Binks wrote:I would like to shout Marie Dressler's name from the rooftops for she deserves it; her name being nearly forgotten today. In my humble opinion she was one of the finest actresses to grace the screen. She not only had a voice - which most actors/actresses think sufficient - she was able to act with every ounce of her very ample proportions. Her face gave catalogue to every conceivable expression imaginable - a boon to comedy, but, she was equally at home to drama. It was therefore in this latter context I had the pleasure of seeing her in "Emma" (1932).

They say that a successful drama owes its success to having someone die during the proceedings. In "Emma" we have three meet their demise.

(Spoiler alert)

It is the story of a loyal housekeeper who stays with a family for nearly 40 years, seeing the children grow up. (Richard Cromwell, Myrna Loy, Barbara Kent, Kathryn Crawford and George Meeker). She looks after them as if her own after their mother dies. Eventually the master of the house (Jean Hersholt) marries her to placate loneliness as he puts it, but he too passes on soon after the honeymoon. Some of the children have resented the marriage and have Emma charged with murdering their father - but the family solicitor helps defend her from the awful charge.

This a very sentimental story which would have been made mawkish in less capable hands. Ms. Dressler gives a performance that is absolutely remarkable and a joy to watch in every moment she is on the screen. Cleverly, some scenes have been added in, which allow Ms. Dressler to give full vent to her comedic talents. These are hilariously funny and help break up the very strong dramatics of the piece. One of the sons is an aviator and he takes Ms. Dressler 'for a ride' in an early aeroplane simulator. Priceless.

Because Ms. Dressler is so strong in this film and makes it her own - she virtually overshadows everyone else, but I think that merely shows how good they were too, in that they were able to work in with her and make the whole work shine, and shine it does.

Directed by Clarence Brown from a story by Frances Marion, this is a film that deserves to be up there with all the other "classics".


Sentiment seems now restricted to cartoons. Dressler won an Oscar nomination for this film. She had already won for Min and Bill, in which she is wondrous. As her name dims with time, even film buffs have forgotten what a fine dramatic actress she was. She nearly steals Anna Christie from Greta Garbo.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 4:51 am

Candles at nine 1944.Jessie Matthews last starring film and sadly not very good
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 12:53 pm

The Ambassador (1984) is a rambling story about an American diplomat trying to ease tensions in the Middle East when his wife gets caught (on camera) having an affair. The incident becomes politicized when the man she's having the affair with turns out not to be who she thinks he is. It's no surprise that the film is still quite timely. Robert Mitchum, Ellen Burstyn, and Rock Hudson in his last feature film appearance.

On the other end of the spectrum is For the Love of Mike (1932), an over-the-top comedy with a few songs that stars Bobby Howes as a private secretary caught up in a week-end house party where someone is stealing stuff. It gets really frantic when the private detective (Arthur Riscoe) arrives. Howes mugs his way through, sings, does acrobatics, and imitates a chimp in the course of the proceedings. Wylie Watson provides a surprise by playing a singing vicar who leads the company in a rousing "Sing, Brother, Sing" number. Renee Macready, Viola Tree, Jimmy Godden, Hal Gordon, Syd Crossley, and Monty Banks (who also directs) co-star.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 4:18 pm

Rainbow's End (1935) is one of those randomly named B westerns that people went to see because it starred Hoot Gibson. It's not one of his best.

Hoot quarrels with his father, Oscar Apfel, and goes on a toot with buddy Charles Hill. When they wake up and climb off the freight train, they are in a random cattle town, where June Gale hires him to work on the ranch of her father, John Elliott. However, Apfel's crooked partner, Warner Richmond, has been driving out the small ranchers by means fair and foul. So when Hoot winds up as top hand, he sets out to fix things, quarreling with Miss Gale along the way.

Fans of Gibson enjoy his movies for his easy-going charm, his self-deprecating humor, and nice stunt riding. There's not much of any of that, despite Hoot --in long shot -- winning a prize saddle in the opening sequence. The cast is amiable and capable, but this one is a bit too generic, except for Mr. Apfel, who shows some real comic anger in his sequences.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 6:07 pm

For his first venture into features, J. Arthur Rank's organization produced Turn of the Tide (1935) from Leo Walmsey's novel Three Fevers. He assembled a cast that would become distinguished, and some fine behind-the-camera talent, including cinematographer Franz Planer.

The story is a complicated one about two competing families of fishers. There's a lot of location shooting around Whitby, and Planer took advantage for a telling mix of shots of the unforgiving sea, rustic bypaths and some strong portrait photography; the best shots are still shots of people, singly, and in three-shots that are typically rough and beautiful.

Watching this, I was reminded of Michael Powell's breakthrough movie, The Edge of the World; although this one has a more conventional series of plot points, the rough, wild beauty and real world problems of its cast make this a startlingly fine movie.

Rank was so annoyed at the studio facilities at Elstree, he built Pinewood. Here was a man who understood that in order to compete, he had to offer the best product he could.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 6:13 am

Sigmund Romberg wrote a lot of music in a lot of idioms and produced some real standards, like "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise"" (although the story goes that when his wife said he had written "One Alone", Mrs. Oscar Hammerstein II replied "No, my husband wrote "One Alone". Your husband wrote "Deedle, deedle dee.""

In any case, although he did a lot of different stuff, he's best remembered for a bunch of muscular Viennese-style operettas he wrote in the 1920s. One of them was The Desert Song, which was transferred to the screne in 1929, and in 1943. I looked at the latter this morning, with Dennis Morgan as the unlikely lead and Rifs riding their horses around the same desert mountains that cowboys used on other days, under the leadership of the always very Irish Dennis Morgan. THe absurdities made it hard to take seriously, even for a musical. Still, it's highly competently done.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 6:59 am

I watched something few people have ever seen, especially nowadays. I watched "Gun Moll" (1938) (aka "Gang Smashers") with Nina Mae McKinney, Laurence Criner, Monte Hawley, Mantan Moreland, Reginald Fenderson, and others. Know the actors, or the actress? Some of the cream-of-the-crop black actors and actresses of the 1920's, 30's, and 40's. You might know Mantan Moreland from his recurring stints in Charlie Chan films as Birmingham Brown. He was a top draw comic in Monogram Pictures films. Anyway, films such as this one were made to show basically in black-only film houses to minority patrons, mostly black. This film takes place in 1930's Harlem, New York. About a night club owner who's also in charge of a rising "protection agency". Of course, the idea was, as you've seen in countless gangster films of the era, the owner or proprietor of a store pays "protection money", probably monthly, or he or she could wind up with a pineapple thrown through the front window - or worse, could wind up dead (if not from the explosion). One of the night club owner's employees is Nina Mae, and she's a singer in the joint. All the while - and that means nearly every minute of the film! - there's music playing in the joint, in the background - somewhere - and it's not revolting at all, but really, really good, and it keeps the picture jumpin' jive at all times. Nina Mae sings, of course, though, unfortunately, she only sings the same song! Turns out she's more than a singer in the joint, though... But that's givin' away TMI... Lefty shows up, too (Monte Hawley)... By the end the gang's been smashed and the fade-out on the back of a country-style wagon is with a kiss. Best part of this whole thing - and it's quite, quite good for a "B" made by Million Dollar Productions - is a tap dance routine by Bo Jinkins. He's incredible, absolutely a knockout! This all-black feature is well worth seeking out, and it's available through Alpha Video for a song.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 5:45 pm

"Le Gendarme et les Gendarmettes" (1982) was made towards the end of Louis de Funès life and after a number of other "Gendarme" pictures. I daresay the thought was that if one of the "Gendarme" pictures made good box office - we should keep on making 'em. They should have stopped whilst they were ahead. This picture isn't very funny and is instead, very silly, still, I suppose even someone as good as Louis de Funès usually is has to make the occasional stinker.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 5:49 pm

Hoot Gibson has a pretty good B Western in Lucky Terror (1936). He's just moseying along on the trail, when a man pokes a gun in his ribs, and tells him they're switching hats and horses. Then the man's horse goes loco and pulls him over a cliff. Hoot ambles on a bit further and finds a stuck medicine show and hooks up with it as a trick shooter. All too soon, he's on trial for murder of the first man and involved in a gold mine.

Hoot performs some fancy riding and there is plenty of clowning to go with the snarling about serious stuff. Lona Andre is the love interest, and Charles Hill is the orotund and lazy medicine show proprietor. Additional comics are Frank Yaconelli as the show's Italian dogsbody and Charles King as Hoot's drunken lawyer. Hoot wanders through with his mildly befuddled, mildly amused air, hoping that things will turn out all right, and eventually, they do. His fans will not be disappointed.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 6:04 pm

You just can't go past the stars of the Golden Days of Hollywood can you? I mean, where are the Jimmy Cagneys today when you need 'em? This man was so versatile, he could try his hand at anything - and come out with a rose between his teeth. In "Jimmy the Gent" (1934) he is the little fellah with a big mouth that never shuts up. He is a rackateer in that he matches up heirs and heiresses to intestate estates. His sidekick is naturally Allen Jenkins who managed to side-kick just about anyone who played a nefarious character on screen. Usually he can be a bit painful, but he foils well here with Cagney in charge.

Cagney's business is in direct competition to an outfit headed by Alan Dinehart. He is an overt sophisticate who sits his clients down to tea and biscuits elegantly served. There is one scene in which Cagney receives this treatment. His character is a trifle rough round the edges and thus the scene is quite hilarious. In fact, Cagney is trying to better himself throughout the picture and his attempts are a cause for laughs.

Dinehart employs Bette Davis during her blonde period as his No. 1 agent. She used to work for Cagney but they had a falling out - he is though, trying to win her back.

As per usual in the Warner Bros. product, the picture moves at a furious pace and our attention is never diverted for a minute. The script is brilliant and the lines are delivered in brilliant repartee as well. The supporting cast is wonderfully helpful and Michael Curtiz has managed to keep everything superbly in control.

The plots are intriguing and the final twists at the end give a very good and satisfying finish.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 6:15 pm

The furious pace of the Warners movies in this period can, I believe, be attributed to Darryl F. Zanuck as chief of production. Between the short length of most of their features -- to get an extra show in every day and some of the fastest motormouths in the business, they zip right along.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 7:44 pm

I think it was Michael Palin who wanted to make a movie in which he ran over someone with a steamroller and Charles Crichton who wanted to make a movie in which the principals got away to South America home free. It doesn't apply to Against the Wind (1948), which is an Ealing movie, not a comedy, yet shows the care and excellence that Michael Balcon applied to the movies he produced.

It starts out at a spy training center in England, run by a seemingly amiable John Robertson Justice. The four top "students" with which this movie concerns itself are Robert Beatyy, Simone Signoret, Jack Warner and Gordon Jackson. Beatty, a priest, is sent out earlier. When a rescue is needed, the others follow. However, things go wrong and matters become messy.

All of the actors go about things as stoically as they can, but their characters' emotions keep leaking through. The movie keeps throwing up tense moments, some of which are solved heroically, some tragically and some comically. It's a first class movie in all departments, even if the subject has grown commonplace in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 8:23 pm

My Old Dutch (1934) is a sentimental story about a working-class couple (they seem to be buskers) who marry and raise a son who goes off to war. Episodic narrative keeps skipping again in leaps and bounds, but there's enough detail to keep you watching. Part os this is due to the excellent performances of Betty Balfour and Michael Hogan as the Hawkinses. Best friend Ernie (who loses the girl) hangs around as a boarder and helps raise the kid. Ernie is played by Gordon Harker, who gets star billing with Balfour despite having a decidedly supporting role. Mickey Brantford and Glennis Lorimer play the kid and his girlfriend grown up. Finlay Currie and Felix Aylmer also appear, as does Florrie Forde as Aunt Bertha. She was a big Music Hall star. Possibly the most unusual thing in the film is the family's trip to the flickers in 1915 where they watch My Old Dutch starring Florence Turner and Albert Chevalier (who wrote the song all this is based on). The scenes in the silent film are scenes we've just seen re-enacted by Balfour et al. This may also prove to be the only existing footage of the 1915 classic. The film was also shot in 1926 with May McAvoy and Pat O'Malley in the USA.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSat Aug 26, 2017 8:20 am

I watched "Dishonored Lady" (1947) with Hedy Lamarr and Dennis O'Keefe. Also in the film are John Loder, William Lundigan, Morris Carnovsky, Natalie Schafer, Paul Cavanaugh, Douglass Dumbrille, Margaret Hamilton, and others. It's an extremely interesting film, but it's very, very disjointed, and the beginning is a mess when thought about in perspective with the rest of the film. Being made in 1947, it must also be remembered that a lady who has a possible nymphomania could only be represented by implication and not by actual mention of the problem. That implication is certainly there, but confusing, and seems unrelated to lots of the plot. We're not sure if this is a mystery, as it's labeled, or a psychological study, or just a social story, or some kind of psychiatric case, or just a love story. That's the problem with the film. Nevertheless, it's well acted and very engaging anyway. Hedy Lamarr is simply gorgeous! Worth the watch, but you won't miss any sleep if you happen to miss it, either. On one of the "Mystery Classic" DVDs, of which there is a long series. And they're cheap - but the quality of pictures varies considerably. This one was pretty good, very watchable, good sound, etc.
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boblipton

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

PostSat Aug 26, 2017 1:36 pm

This week's Bollywood movie is A Gentleman (2017): Five years ago, Sidharth Malhotra was a top spy for a super-secret covert operations group. However, he was growing weary of the morally questionable life under a commander who has, unknown to him, gone rogue. When ordered to grab some code from an American programmer, he does so, and watches in horror as his fellow spies kill the guy. He escapes and assumes the identity of the American. Now he is living his dream of la vida non-loco in Miami, with a big house and an SUV. He is about to propose to Jacqueline Fernandez, when he discovers she thinks him utterly boring and so does not. In the meantime, his boss discovers where he is and sends agents to recover the code and kill him.

Sound a bit like The Big Hit? It's a good premise for an action comedy, but there is something off with this version. It's almost two hours long and by the time we get up to the present day, half the movie has gone by, with a lot left to go. There's nothing overtly wrong with any individual scene, but it feels like it's half again as long as it should be, even with the obligatory Bollywood dance numbers.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 4:06 am

One of the few fruits (apart from to his bank balance and plenty of material for later books) of P G Wodehouse's stay in Hollywood was THOSE THREE FRENCH GIRLS (1930), which has Reginald Denny as a top-hatted Englishman saving the girls of the title from an avaricious and bad-tempered landlord. Soon, all four are in the pokey, to be joined by visiting Yanks, Cliff Edwards and Ed Brophy. The three ladies are played by Fifi D'Orsay, Yola d'Avril and Sandra Ravel, and the sextet team up pretty quickly. After an attempt to send a telegram to Denny's uncle (George Grossmith) fails, they manage to escape and land themselves on the old boy. Uncle is a bit of a roue, to say the least and convinces D'Orsay that Denny's intentions are far from honourable...

Not as funny as one would hope, this is nevertheless a pleasant hour or so. Watch for an early Peter Gawthorne as the butler and an amusing bit from Roscoe Ates who (like Edwards) was often over-used by MGM around 1930). Uncle has bought the girls a fashion salon, and Ates's eves are ever-roving. His wife grumbles "You never look at me like that!" to which he replies "You never look like that!"
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 5:13 am

Strangler's Web (1965) is a juicy little thriller that runs only 55 minutes yet is packed with several fine acting turns and neat story. Norma Brent is strangled in the park one night and her sort-of boyfriend is arrested when he's found hovering over her body and holding the cord that done her in. An attorney with a so-so reputation (John Stratton) is hired the day his wife leaves him. He believes the story the accused tells him and starts tracking down the various people involved. These include a reclusive actor (Griffith Jones), the victim's dead friend's daughter (Pauline Boty), and a mysterious CPA (Maurice Hedley). The friend's daughter is an oddly cheerful young thing who owns a discoteque (the dance scene is hysterically awful) and drives badly. The actor has been disfigured and lives in reclusive elegance with his shrewish ward (Pauline Munro). The CPA is a dodgy old thing who never answers a question straight. Things start to come together when the attorney visits Brighton and gets some information from a bemused clerk (Rosamund Greenwood). Very enjoyable.
Ed Lorusso
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 6:13 am

I know I've seen it before, but it was another film I didn't recall, so this morning I looked at Jimmy the Gent (1934) with a fine cast, including Jimmy Cagney, Bette Davis and Alan Dinehart, under the direction of Michael Curtiz. Awful script. Alice White has a small but uproarious role.

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 7:02 am

boblipton wrote:I know I've seen it before, but it was another film I didn't recall, so this morning I looked at Jimmy the Gent (1934) with a fine cast, including Jimmy Cagney, Bette Davis and Alan Dinehart, under the direction of Michael Curtiz. Awful script. Alice White has a small but uproarious role.

Bob

It's Jimmy's haircut I remember most in that film. Today's buzz cuts look just about the same. Because of the haircut, you could probably get those who won't watch black and white to watch this. They'll just think you don't have a color TV set yet. C'mon, Dad, everybody else's Dad does!
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R Michael Pyle

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

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 7:03 am

I watched "Nancy Drew, Reporter" (1939) a totally sophomoric film acted 110% by great performers. I know, the Caroline Keene writers (there were more than 20 ghost writers who wrote under that name for a syndicate!) wrote the novels for young girls, and the movies supposedly made from some of these novels were predominately for teen aged girls. I suppose youngsters today would still enjoy a good amount of this. I found it far too dated for my taste in far too many ways. I'm sure I'm far too dated, too. Stars Bonita Granville in the eponymous rôle, with John Litel, Frankie Thomas, Dickie Jones, Thomas E. Jackson, and Mary Lee in the other main parts. Look for a young Joan Leslie in a couple of scenes. Enough. It's on a "Mystery Classics" DVD with 3 other much better films.

Hey, at least I didn't turn it off. Better than a lot of crash/bang slop today I can't watch for over 10 minutes - and the acting was professional.
Last edited by R Michael Pyle on Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 7:55 am

On vacation last week, I gave up watching my beloved Blue Jays blow another 5-run lead and started channel-surfing. Came across a rather amusing film which I can't identify by name. No doubt someone on this board will be able to call it for me.

It's apparently a recent film. Mutant fire-spewing giant spiders emerge from the LA underground and wreak the usual 8-legged-freak mayhem. The only people able to fight them are a Hollywood movie crew; their action hero, "Red Rocket", utilizes his special-effects jet-pack to defeat these "lavalantulas" and save the day.

Some pretty funny stuff in it. I saw, I think, the last 30 minutes or so.

Jim
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R Michael Pyle

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

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 8:04 am

Jim, sounds to me as if you were watching CNN on-hand reporting in the L.A. area going toward Burbank. Bad outbreak according to Snake Fritzer. Other channels were too busy showing ads to get there in time.
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Jim Roots

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

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 8:04 am

Say, whatever became of Sherlock Holmes, anyway? You know, that smart guy from Victorian England who could tell your entire life story simply by looking at your clothes and hands. I know you kids have never heard of him, but I can't be the only old fart who wonders what happened to "the world's greatest detective".

Well, Bill Condon is here to answer the question with his 2015 film, Mr. Holmes.

Ian McKellen plays our hero as a 93-year-old codger who retired 35 years ago to tend bees in Suffolk. That's right, folks: he has survived into 1947, which must boggle the mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his own afterlife.

Holmes is struggling with memory loss as he tries to remember and understand his last case, the one that put him into retirement. At the same time, he is anxious to pass on his skills, methods, and bee-keeping to a young boy, the son of his housekeeper.

As you may expect, this is an acting tour de force by McKellen, but it is much more than that. Condon has built a reputation for strong storytelling and excellent character development, and he does not disappoint here. There is a bit of fancy-pants camera angling (mostly shooting straight down from overhead) that Condon hurriedly aborts through some rapid editing cuts, both of which were unnecessary from a man who is a very good straightforward director.

Those of us, such as Binky, who find today's films lacking in coherent story sense would enjoy this very much. So would anyone who likes darned good films.

Jim
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