Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

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

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Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostSun Oct 29, 2017 10:06 pm

I like the catty, sleazy early parts of Gilda, and my son's eyes kind of boggled at the barely hidden intimations of bisexuality ("I may need both my little friends tonight"). What was a complete surprise to me was the third act (SPOILER) in which Macready vanishes (but you know he isn't dead) and turns out to be a Hitler type with dreams of world domination through... control of the bauxite supply, or some damn thing. It's just odd, that what plays out perfectly fine for 2/3 as a sleazy nightclub story feels the need to turn into Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon in the third act. And it was curious that I could remember so many parts well and yet that was like an entirely new movie to me.
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greta de groat

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Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostMon Oct 30, 2017 10:05 am

Mike Gebert wrote:I like the catty, sleazy early parts of Gilda, and my son's eyes kind of boggled at the barely hidden intimations of bisexuality ("I may need both my little friends tonight"). What was a complete surprise to me was the third act (SPOILER) in which Macready vanishes (but you know he isn't dead) and turns out to be a Hitler type with dreams of world domination through... control of the bauxite supply, or some damn thing. It's just odd, that what plays out perfectly fine for 2/3 as a sleazy nightclub story feels the need to turn into Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon in the third act. And it was curious that I could remember so many parts well and yet that was like an entirely new movie to me.


Tungsten was the Maguffin. I don't remember why. Yes, the unlikely bromance between the slimeballs (unlikely because i couldn't imagine either sticking their neck out for anyone) had the makings of an interesting movie, but it all kind of went downhill after Rita showed up. And after all the tiresome meanness between them for the whole movie, (SPOILER) for them to just end up as a couple mixed up kids that all the good guys were rooting for bothered me a lot more than the weird skulduggery. Besides, who was it that dispatched him with the "little friend"? I didn't quite catch that.

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s.w.a.c.

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Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostMon Oct 30, 2017 1:54 pm

greta de groat wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:I like the catty, sleazy early parts of Gilda, and my son's eyes kind of boggled at the barely hidden intimations of bisexuality ("I may need both my little friends tonight"). What was a complete surprise to me was the third act (SPOILER) in which Macready vanishes (but you know he isn't dead) and turns out to be a Hitler type with dreams of world domination through... control of the bauxite supply, or some damn thing. It's just odd, that what plays out perfectly fine for 2/3 as a sleazy nightclub story feels the need to turn into Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon in the third act. And it was curious that I could remember so many parts well and yet that was like an entirely new movie to me.

Tungsten was the Maguffin. I don't remember why. Yes, the unlikely bromance between the slimeballs (unlikely because i couldn't imagine either sticking their neck out for anyone) had the makings of an interesting movie, but it all kind of went downhill after Rita showed up. And after all the tiresome meanness between them for the whole movie, (SPOILER) for them to just end up as a couple mixed up kids that all the good guys were rooting for bothered me a lot more than the weird skulduggery. Besides, who was it that dispatched him with the "little friend"? I didn't quite catch that.

Comedian Greg Proops has his podcast Film Club, which is essentially his recorded intros and outros from screenings at the Cinefamily, and his entry on Gilda is marked by a pretty good Macready impression, and some insights into all the double entendres.

And that reminded me that Lenny Bruce does an impression of Macready as well, in his bit about the kid getting hooked on sniffing model airplane glue. Who knew Macready was so popular with comedians?
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostMon Oct 30, 2017 2:14 pm

That's funny, it sounds like Bob & Ray's bit about the George Brent impersonator, but Macready does have a pretty distinctive voice and I can think of a few lines I could quote from him including the "both my little friends" one, though admittedly they come from only two movies (who can name the other?)

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Dan Oliver

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Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 9:07 am

That would be Paths of Glory.
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Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 1:33 pm

greta de groat wrote:I remembered seeing Gilda in my teens, and not being impressed much one way or the other about it. At this point i thought i'd give it another look and expected to like it a good deal more. Unfortunately i found it quite disappointing. While it's not unusual for a noir to have characters who are all jerks, i at least expect them to be interesting or compelling jerks. Hayworth spends a lot of time interacting with her hair and acting like spiteful five year old. Admittedly Glenn Ford looks better than i've seen him look before, which isn't saying a lot. He can't even wear clothes well (which could plausibly be purposeful, since one of servants keeps calling him a peasant, but somehow i don't think it is). His character is both smug and creepy, and he's as spiteful as she is. George Macready as her mysterious husband is more interesting, or at least less annoying. The ending is mystifying and unsatisfactory. I know this film has a huge reputation but it wasn't appealing to me.

To get the bad taste out of my mouth, i followed it up with Ladies of the Jury, which was utterly ridiculous but unpretentious and modestly entertaining.

greta


Have not seen LADIES OF THE JURY anywhere and would like to find a copy. I, too did not enjoy GILDA as mush as I'd hoped. Perhaps its appeal is more to those who saw it on first release.
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Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostTue Oct 31, 2017 1:40 pm

It shows occasionally on TCM.

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Re: Classics I Haven't Seen In a Long Time

PostWed Nov 01, 2017 7:32 pm

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MAD LOVE

I know I've seen Mad Love (1935), the Karl Freund remake of The Hands of Orlac, at least twice. This version reconfigures the story to make Peter Lorre's Dr. Gogol, the doctor who gives the pianist Orlac (Colin Clive) the hands of a murderer, the protagonist, by making him a nut job obsessed with Orlac's wife (Frances Drake). I've seen it—but my memories of it are what I've read about it, that one of Freund's cinematographers, Gregg Toland, borrows elements from it for Citizen Kane, making the older Kane a lookalike for the eggy bald head of Dr. Gogol (and throwing in a parrot to boot, as this film has one). Beyond that, I had no real sense of what the film was actually like.

The odd thing about MGM in the Thalberg days was that it was the most saccharine, the most schoolmarmish of studios—then every once in a while its dark side would come out and be more disturbing than any other studio. Universal's monsters would ultimately make cuddly model kits and plush toys, but no one made toys for the kiddies out of Freaks, or The Devil Doll, or The Unknown. Dr. Gogol is, ostensibly, a benefactor of mankind, fixing up the crippled and disfigured, yet there are clear intimations that there's something perverse in his talent for surgery, from his constant attendance at Grand Guignol watching the object of his mad love getting tortured night after night, to the nightmarish disguise he makes out of orthopedic equipment at one point— a plain influence on Guillermo de Toro, for one, in his use of period surgical props and imagery in Hellboy.

Lorre, in his first American film (after his English debut in The Man Who Knew Too Much), is wonderful— menacing, obsessive, poignant; his mad love is such a deep and pathetic thing that the problems of everyone else in the picture, even the guy with a new set of killer hands, pale in comparison. At this moment, the scenes where he presses himself on Drake play like expressionist versions of the Harvey Weinstein story— a parody of desire with a sexless eggheaded cartoon of a man trying to force himself, absurdly yet frighteningly, on a woman.

The weirdly comic tone of the screenplay, the absurdities to which all but Gogol in the film are oblivious, is perfectly matched by Freund's visually inventive direction, reflected not only in the sets, which find ways to work expressionist visuals into the Parisian setting, but in movement— Gogol's shadow will precede him into a room by several lines of dialogue, and there's a wonderful moment where Ted Healy, as the comic relief, moves past an expressionist backdrop, and his comic movements seem wildly out of place—and then Lorre lumbers into the shot in full Jannings act-with-your-back mode, and the kinetic contrast between the two is as sublime as if it were Bugs Bunny and the big red furry Thing with tennis shoes in Hair-Raising Hare. Of course, you know what celebrity "played" the mad scientist in that cartoon:

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“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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