What is the last film you watched? (2018)

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What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jan 01, 2018 11:25 am

This is a continuation of the thread devoted to sound films watched in 2017. Starting January 1, please post new entries here. The older thread will be locked in a few days.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jan 01, 2018 2:20 pm

The Fake 1953.A so so UK thriller with not one but two parachuted in American stars
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jan 01, 2018 2:30 pm

2018 already? Well, let's start the year off by considering The Girl Who Forgot (1940). While daddy Basil Radford and Mummy Jeanne de Cassalis are flying off to Baghdad -- presumably to meet Naunton Wayne -- daughter Elizabeth Allan cracks under the pressure of exams and finds herself with amnesia. She is palmed off by Enid Stamp-Taylor as Muriel Aked's daughter, lest she steal fiance Ralph Michael.

It may have worked well enough as a novel,but I find it as all very unlikely -- except the idea that anyone batty enough to marry Basil Radford would be happy to fly off to Baghdad for several months, forgetting the existence of a daughter. Everyone performs their roles well enough, and Miss Aked is quite amusing as a gradgrinding sort of raiser of funds in the name of good works, but the large number of coincidences and unlikely unlikable personalities that fool everyone but the audience wore out their welcome quickly.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jan 01, 2018 2:57 pm

A surprisingly good British TV movie I found on YT is Pat and Margaret (1994) about two women who end up at one of those TV shows where they spring something on you. Margaret (Julie Walters) is a sleek and pretentious TV star in America who thinks she's on the show to hawk her book; Pat (Victoria Wood) is a dumpy fast-food worker who lives on the edge of poverty. She's in the audience. They are sisters who haven't seen each other in nearly three decades. Unlikely? Sure. But as the story unfolds you get caught up in the mystery of WHY they have lived separate lives. Lots of familiar faces. Celia Imrie is the PA, Thora Hird is a domineering old lady, Anne Reid is the TV host. Shirley Stelfox is Vera. Duncan Preston is the lav cleaner. Deborah Grant is the journalist. Gets better as it goes along and the two women realize they share many secrets.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 4:51 am

A rarity from director Raoul Walsh, THE YELLOW TICKET (1931) somewhat from a rather inadequate copy / upload, but had a good many points of interest, particularly in its fine cast.

Set in Czarist Russia, 1913/14, the film starts off interestingly enough in its dealings with the Russian treatment of the country's Jews (although in an early scene, it is suggested that the treatment is due to religious rather than racial causes). Elissa Landi plays a Jewish schoolteacher determined to see her father, who has been unjustly imprisoned. She finds she can only travel to St Petersburg by obtaining a pass (the 'Yellow Ticket' of the title) which is only available to prostitutes. She does this, only (SPOILER) to find that her father has been murdered in prison. On leaving and trying to rebuild her life she falls in with English journalist Laurence Olivier (who doesn't appear until nearly half an hour) and helps him in his reporting the iniquities of the Russian Government and Secret Police.

In this she falls foul of Police Chief Lionel Barrymore, on leave from MGM to play a particularly odious and brutal swine, although he is careless enough to show Landi his poorly protected collection of assassination attempt souvenirs in addition to inadvertently allowing her to overhear his evil plans.

What started out as strong drama (the prison scenes are strongly reminiscent of METROPOLIS and I think includes a clip from Walsh's earlier THE RED DANCE*) ends up more of a melodrama-cum-romance and includes one absurd-sounding moment when Barrymore's henchman Edwin Maxwell phones the airport** saying that he is the Secret Police! An interesting film whose appreciation is hampered by its condition. Watch out for a brief, serious bit by Mischa Auer at the beginning.

*looking up stills online, I would appear to be correct.
**the 'plane Landi and Olivier escape in looked too modern for 1914 - can anyone confirm this??
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 7:19 am

Last night, TCM was showing a bunch of 1960s caper films, so I recorded an old friend to watch early this morning: Gambit (1966) -- Michael Caine's first Hollywood movie, starring Shirley MacLaine, but with plenty of support for the new Limey, with Ronald Neame directing and Herbert Lom as the billionaire whose priceless statue they are trying to steal.

Ah, for the days when you could check in at the air line desk, be told your plane was leaving in fifteen minutes, and not be fashed!

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 8:03 am

I revisited an old favorite from the "Theater in America" series, Uncommon Women and Others which aired in 1979. Written by Wendy Wasserstein, this apparently played off Broadway all those years ago. Story looks at a group of restless women at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. as they examine their lives as educated women from a "seven sisters" college. Each faces the uncertainties of life after school as well as being among the last to experience the "gracious living" attitudes of an old-school school. Cast is headed my Meryl Streep and includes Swoosie Kurtz, Jill Eikenberry and several lesser-known actresses, notably Alma Cuervo and Anna Levine and Josephine Nichols as the house mother, Mrs. Plum. As the women gather for a reunion luncheon 8 years after graduation, they look back at their college years with more than a touch of wistfulness. Bitingly funny. They sing a song, "Saving Ourselves for Yale." Lyrics

Mildred, Maude and Mabel
Were sitting at a table
Down at the Taft Hotel
Working on a plan to
Catch themselves a man to
Brighten their lives a spell.
For twenty years and then some
They'd been showin' men some
Tricks that made their motors fail,
But though they'd all had squeezes
From lots of PhD'ses
They're saving themselves for Yale.

Bool Boola
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 12:58 pm

Took me mum to see The Darkest Hour (2017) last night, featuring Gary Oldman in an astonishing performance (and astonishing makeup) as Winston Churchill. Loved the look and feel of the film as well as the performances (one of my fave current actors, Australian Ben Mendelssohn, ably plays King George VI), and considering the deathly importance of the events taking place, the film contains several moments of humour that actors like Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas carry off with aplomb. Lily James (Baby Driver) is also a delight as Churchill's put-upon secretary Elizabeth Layton, so much so that you can forgive the fact that in real life, Layton didn't become his secretary until after Dunkirk (which is when the film ends).

In fact, you could watch The Darkest Hour as a prequel to watching Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, and follow that up with another film from last year, Churchill, with Brian Cox as the beleaguered PM on the eve of the Normandy invasion.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 1:05 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:A rarity from director Raoul Walsh, THE YELLOW TICKET (1931) somewhat from a rather inadequate copy / upload, but had a good many points of interest, particularly in its fine cast.

Set in Czarist Russia, 1913/14, the film starts off interestingly enough in its dealings with the Russian treatment of the country's Jews (although in an early scene, it is suggested that the treatment is due to religious rather than racial causes). Elissa Landi plays a Jewish schoolteacher determined to see her father, who has been unjustly imprisoned. She finds she can only travel to St Petersburg by obtaining a pass (the 'Yellow Ticket' of the title) which is only available to prostitutes. She does this, only (SPOILER) to find that her father has been murdered in prison. On leaving and trying to rebuild her life she falls in with English journalist Laurence Olivier ()who doesn't appear until nearly half an hour) and helps him in his reporting the iniquities of the Russian Government and Secret Police.

In this she falls foul of Police Chief Lionel Barrymore, on leave from MGM to play a particularly odious and brutal swine, although he is careless enough to show Landi his poorly protected collection of assassination attempt souvenirs in addition to inadvertently allowing her to overhear his evil plans.

What started out as strong drama (the prison scenes are strongly reminiscent of METROPOLIS and I think includes a clip from Walsh's earlier THE RED DANCE) ends up more of a melodrama-cum-romance and includes one absurd-sounding moment when Barrymore's henchman Edwin Maxwell phones the airport* saying that he is the Secret Police! An interesting film whose appreciation is hampered by its condition. Watch out for a brief, serious bit by Mischa Auer at the beginning.

*the 'plane Landi and Olivier escape in looked too modern for 1914 - can anyone confirm this??


"The Yellow TIcket" seems to have been a popular trope in movies and other popular culture as what was apparently considered a particularly lurid abuse in Tzarist Russia. I got interested in this topic and did some research on it a couple weeks ago after watching this version.

There was a 1914 Broadway version with John Barrymore as Julian Rolfe, so since this is the name of the Olivier character, i'm assuming this is pretty much the same plot. I have a novelization of this . There is also a 1918 film with Fannie Ward, Milton Sills, and Warner Oland also with the character Julian Rolfe. I don't know if this exists. In 1916 Clara Kimball Young released The Yellow Passport, in which she's a Jewish woman needing to travel to pursue her musical studies and has to take the dreaded yellow ticket, but otherwise seems unrelated to the play. This films seems to be lost.

Two European films also have their titles translated as "The Yellow Ticket" but are different plots, though still using the same trope. In the 1918 German film Der gelbe Schein, Pola Negri is a Jewish medical student who not only has to get the yellow ticket to travel, but is forced to live in a brothel while she's in medical school by day. This firm is fortunately widely available and is quite good. Also extant is Zemlya v plenu (1928) from the Soviet Union, interestingly. I guess it was ok to show abuses of the former regime. Anna Sten is the star. This has a completely different plot in which a young wife is forced to work for a nobleman which causes tension with her husband and she ends up having to leave, thus ends up with the yellow ticket. It's not clear from the plot synopsis whether she is Jewish or not, she's named Maria so probably not.

By the way, i remember Uncommon Women and Others, which i enjoyed on its first airing. I think Streep was one of the secondary character, it was before her real stardom (as was Julia).

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 2:20 pm

greta de groat wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:A rarity from director Raoul Walsh, THE YELLOW TICKET (1931) somewhat from a rather inadequate copy / upload, but had a good many points of interest, particularly in its fine cast.

Set in Czarist Russia, 1913/14, the film starts off interestingly enough in its dealings with the Russian treatment of the country's Jews (although in an early scene, it is suggested that the treatment is due to religious rather than racial causes). Elissa Landi plays a Jewish schoolteacher determined to see her father, who has been unjustly imprisoned. She finds she can only travel to St Petersburg by obtaining a pass (the 'Yellow Ticket' of the title) which is only available to prostitutes. She does this, only (SPOILER) to find that her father has been murdered in prison. On leaving and trying to rebuild her life she falls in with English journalist Laurence Olivier ()who doesn't appear until nearly half an hour) and helps him in his reporting the iniquities of the Russian Government and Secret Police.

In this she falls foul of Police Chief Lionel Barrymore, on leave from MGM to play a particularly odious and brutal swine, although he is careless enough to show Landi his poorly protected collection of assassination attempt souvenirs in addition to inadvertently allowing her to overhear his evil plans.

What started out as strong drama (the prison scenes are strongly reminiscent of METROPOLIS and I think includes a clip from Walsh's earlier THE RED DANCE) ends up more of a melodrama-cum-romance and includes one absurd-sounding moment when Barrymore's henchman Edwin Maxwell phones the airport* saying that he is the Secret Police! An interesting film whose appreciation is hampered by its condition. Watch out for a brief, serious bit by Mischa Auer at the beginning.

*the 'plane Landi and Olivier escape in looked too modern for 1914 - can anyone confirm this??


"The Yellow TIcket" seems to have been a popular trope in movies and other popular culture as what was apparently considered a particularly lurid abuse in Tzarist Russia. I got interested in this topic and did some research on it a couple weeks ago after watching this version.

There was a 1914 Broadway version with John Barrymore as Julian Rolfe, so since this is the name of the Olivier character, i'm assuming this is pretty much the same plot. I have a novelization of this . There is also a 1918 film with Fannie Ward, Milton Sills, and Warner Oland also with the character Julian Rolfe. I don't know if this exists. In 1916 Clara Kimball Young released The Yellow Passport, in which she's a Jewish woman needing to travel to pursue her musical studies and has to take the dreaded yellow ticket, but otherwise seems unrelated to the play. This films seems to be lost.

Two European films also have their titles translated as "The Yellow Ticket" but are different plots, though still using the same trope. In the 1918 German film Der gelbe Schein, Pola Negri is a Jewish medical student who not only has to get the yellow ticket to travel, but is forced to live in a brothel while she's in medical school by day. This firm is fortunately widely available and is quite good. Also extant is Zemlya v plenu (1928) from the Soviet Union, interestingly. I guess it was ok to show abuses of the former regime. Anna Sten is the star. This has a completely different plot in which a young wife is forced to work for a nobleman which causes tension with her husband and she ends up having to leave, thus ends up with the yellow ticket. It's not clear from the plot synopsis whether she is Jewish or not, she's named Maria so probably not.

By the way, i remember Uncommon Women and Others, which i enjoyed on its first airing. I think Streep was one of the secondary character, it was before her real stardom (as was Julia).

greta


I noticed the Negri film on Youtube when checking if Walsh's movie was still online. Never heard of it, but will give it a whirl. And Elissa Landi's character is named Marya in THE YELLOW TICKET. If not a Jewish name, perhaps some children were given less Jewish-sounding names in order to make them less liable to persecution.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 2:49 pm

Also extant is Zemlya v plenu (1928) from the Soviet Union, interestingly. I guess it was ok to show abuses of the former regime. Anna Sten is the star. This has a completely different plot in which a young wife is forced to work for a nobleman which causes tension with her husband and she ends up having to leave, thus ends up with the yellow ticket. It's not clear from the plot synopsis whether she is Jewish or not, she's named Maria so probably not.


This is Fedor Ozep's Earth in Chains, I think The Yellow Ticket was just a title attached to it in foreign release as there's really no reason it fits the story at hand (but gave it a salacious sound at the box office, I guess).

Not that Earth in Chains is that great a title either, for a pretty good movie.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 3:39 pm

It's Christopher Lee in The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968). His sinister plan this time is to inoculate ten women with snake venom so when they osculate with men, the men will go blind and die. His targets are ten world leaders, including Richard Greene as Nayland Smith. Smith gets kissed and blinded, and makes his way to Fu's stronghold, someplace in Latin America, where a revolution/orgy is taking place, because the governor is busy playing chess.

After that, the tightly-knit plot begins to break down.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 6:15 pm

I say it's not a great movie. You say Oh, Yeah? (1929) James Gleason and Robert Armstrong are a couple of boomers -- itinerant railroad men who hop from one line to another. They wind up operating out of a switching yard in the middle of nowhere where Zasu Pitts and Patricia Caron run the commissary and pay roll and everything that doesn't require too much muscle, and they all wind up intending to settle down. When one of the workers wins big in a crap game, gets his money stolen, and beaten unconscious, fingers get pointed at Armstrong.

Director Tay Garnett and D.P. Arthur Miller try their hardest, but they shoot a lot of this outdoors and the sound rigs aren't up to it. Neither is the slow-and-dumb characterization of Armstrong very interesting. On the plus side, there are a couple of tracking shots early on, plenty of contemporary railroad slang in the dialogue, and the final sequence, which is shot half wild, permits some movement with undercranking that makes it genuinely interesting. On the whole, though, it has aged very poorly.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 7:25 pm

Just finished THE MYSTERIOUS AIRMAN, a 10 chapter 1928 Weiss Brothers serial. Good fun.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 7:42 pm

Jack Oakie is The Sap from Syracuse (1930). He's a construction worker from midstate New York who inherits some money and decides to take a first-class voyage to Europe. His pals send telegrams and gifts that convince everyone on board he is actually a bigwig engineer. When brunette Ginger Rogers meets him, she thinks him the answer to her problem. She is convinced her guardian, Granville Bates, has stopped work on her mine in Macedonia so he can swindle her out of it. It takes the love-struck Oakie most of the movie to figure out why everyone keeps wanting to ask him engineering questions.

Because it's only Rogers' second feature, she's basically in starlet mode, speaking (and singing in her duet with Oakie) in a baby-doll voice. Oakie is only slightly blustery in this movie. He's more of a light comedian here, and pleasant enough, but the movie, while amusing, never rises out of programmer status. Still, the leads, as well as support George Barbier and Greek Chorus Betty Starbuck and Verree Teasdale keep things moving along.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 02, 2018 9:58 pm

After thoroughly enjoying the Whistler series, i decided to try another series this summer and recorded 3 Boston Blackie films. The first i watched was Boston Blackie goes Hollywood and thankfully i don't remember the second, but they were so ghastly that i was tempted to delete the third one without watching. After all, i wasn't sure if i would encounter any more horrors like Chester Morris and George E Stone in blackface AND drag, something that once seen is not easily unseen.

I never got around to deleting the third film, Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion, and so a couple nights ago i gave it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised to find it not as egregiously stupid as the other two. It had an interesting pair of villains (Lynn Merrick and Steve Cochran), Morris only put blackface on briefly, and Stone and the idiot police detectives didn't get too much footage. Plot still didn't make much sense but that goes with the territory. Overall i was pleased that it was a reasonably entertaining programmer.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 9:05 am

greta de groat wrote:After thoroughly enjoying the Whistler series, i decided to try another series this summer and recorded 3 Boston Blackie films. The first i watched was Boston Blackie goes Hollywood and thankfully i don't remember the second, but they were so ghastly that i was tempted to delete the third one without watching. After all, i wasn't sure if i would encounter any more horrors like Chester Morris and George E Stone in blackface AND drag, something that once seen is not easily unseen.

I never got around to deleting the third film, Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion, and so a couple nights ago i gave it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised to find it not as egregiously stupid as the other two. It had an interesting pair of villains (Lynn Merrick and Steve Cochran), Morris only put blackface on briefly, and Stone and the idiot police detectives didn't get too much footage. Plot still didn't make much sense but that goes with the territory. Overall i was pleased that it was a reasonably entertaining programmer.

I watched a slew of these when TCM ran a string of them last year, and found them to be amusing time-wasters, at least Morris and Stone can act like they're having fun making these things, even if some of the humour hasn't dated particularly well.

Haven't seen BB Goes Hollywood, thanks for the warning about that one, but I can recommend Meet Boston Blackie, if only for the fact that it's the only other feature that recognizably includes Freaks' Schlitze the Pinhead, even if it's only a blink-or-you'll-miss-it appearance. (Supposedly Schlitze is in Island of Lost Souls, but I don't think I've spotted him among the manimals yet.)
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 9:16 am

boblipton wrote:Last night, TCM was showing a bunch of 1960s caper films, so I recorded an old friend to watch early this morning: Gambit (1966) -- Michael Caine's first Hollywood movie, starring Shirley MacLaine, but with plenty of support for the new Limey, with Ronald Neame directing and Herbert Lom as the billionaire whose priceless statue they are trying to steal.

Ah, for the days when you could check in at the air line desk, be told your plane was leaving in fifteen minutes, and not be fashed!

Watched this last night for the first time in years, effortlessly charming and Caine and MacLaine have great chemistry together (and reportedly remained lifelong friends). I also remembered the ad campaign where they said you could give away the ending, just don't give away the beginning, a funny twist on the whole "No one will be admitted during the last 20 minutes of this film" gimmick, which makes no sense to moviegoers these days. I wonder when continuous showings finally came to a halt, certainly it was over by the time my moviegoing started in the early '70s.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 10:04 am

boblipton wrote:I say it's not a great movie. You say Oh, Yeah? (1929) James Gleason and Robert Armstrong are a couple of boomers -- itinerant railroad men who hop from one line to another. They wind up operating out of a switching yard in the middle of nowhere where Zasu Pitts and Patricia Caron run the commissary and pay roll and everything that doesn't require too much muscle, and they all wind up intending to settle down. When one of the workers wins big in a crap game, gets his money stolen, and beaten unconscious, fingers get pointed at Armstrong.

Director Tay Garnett and D.P. Arthur Miller try their hardest, but they shoot a lot of this outdoors and the sound rigs aren't up to it. Neither is the slow-and-dumb characterization of Armstrong very interesting. On the plus side, there are a couple of tracking shots early on, plenty of contemporary railroad slang in the dialogue, and the final sequence, which is shot half wild, permits some movement with undercranking that makes it genuinely interesting. On the whole, though, it has aged very poorly.

Bob


Until fairly recently, I didn't even know whether OH, YEAH? was still with us. Considering its small-studio source and relative obscurity (aside from cultists such as Andrew Sarris) I found the quality acceptable and the dialogue reasonably comprehensible. Until such films are deemed worthy of a full-scale restoration (if such a thing is possible) one has to be grateful for availability even on this level. I found it enjoyable as a sort of pale copy of a Hawks movie, and perhaps Armstrong was influenced by his role in A GIRL IN EVERY PORT (1928) here.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 10:09 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:
boblipton wrote:Last night, TCM was showing a bunch of 1960s caper films, so I recorded an old friend to watch early this morning: Gambit (1966) -- Michael Caine's first Hollywood movie, starring Shirley MacLaine, but with plenty of support for the new Limey, with Ronald Neame directing and Herbert Lom as the billionaire whose priceless statue they are trying to steal.

Ah, for the days when you could check in at the air line desk, be told your plane was leaving in fifteen minutes, and not be fashed!

Watched this last night for the first time in years, effortlessly charming and Caine and MacLaine have great chemistry together (and reportedly remained lifelong friends). I also remembered the ad campaign where they said you could give away the ending, just don't give away the beginning, a funny twist on the whole "No one will be admitted during the last 20 minutes of this film" gimmick, which makes no sense to moviegoers these days. I wonder when continuous showings finally came to a halt, certainly it was over by the time my moviegoing started in the early '70s.

Image


I certainly recall (before I knew better) bumbling into showings of 2OO1 (which I had seen before) and O LUCKY MAN around 1973/74 around the half-way mark. Can't recall whether I saw the whole film properly, though - suspect I did. This dreadful habit was (I think) cured when I started travelling to London and Southampton to see films, particularly to the National Film Theatre where one had separate shows by then...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 10:29 am

My appreciation of ARIZONA (1931) was affected by my inability to get the film on full screen in the correct format, so was a bit like watching from the middle row in the balcony. There was also a few minutes missing at the end of the picture, though I suspect not a lot.

These things aside, ARIZONA (based on a play) is a pretty agreeable piece of nonsense. A young John Wayne plays a West Point cadet and football player who ditches longtime girlfriend Laura La Plante (the fool!) when he explains he will be posted to Arizona and won't be able to see her as often as he would like. In a fit of pique, La Plante marries his stuffy brother, played by Forrest Stanley in order to be within Wayne's reach. Further complications arise in the form of La Plante's sister (June Clyde) who ends up marrying Wayne and a Mexican Spitfire type played in lively fashion by Nena Quartaro...

A very nice copy of this Columbia rarity, which is good fun, despite (or because of) being rather silly. Unfortunately the film cut off before I found out what happened at the end, although one could see in which direction it was going as La Plante declares her love for Stanley despite his coming across as a bit of a Boring Old Fart (hope for us all!) although a nice enough fellow. Worth a look, particularly if one can iron out the aforesaid problems...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 10:44 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
boblipton wrote:I say it's not a great movie. You say Oh, Yeah? (1929) James Gleason and Robert Armstrong are a couple of boomers -- itinerant railroad men who hop from one line to another. They wind up operating out of a switching yard in the middle of nowhere where Zasu Pitts and Patricia Caron run the commissary and pay roll and everything that doesn't require too much muscle, and they all wind up intending to settle down. When one of the workers wins big in a crap game, gets his money stolen, and beaten unconscious, fingers get pointed at Armstrong.

Director Tay Garnett and D.P. Arthur Miller try their hardest, but they shoot a lot of this outdoors and the sound rigs aren't up to it. Neither is the slow-and-dumb characterization of Armstrong very interesting. On the plus side, there are a couple of tracking shots early on, plenty of contemporary railroad slang in the dialogue, and the final sequence, which is shot half wild, permits some movement with undercranking that makes it genuinely interesting. On the whole, though, it has aged very poorly.

Bob


Until fairly recently, I didn't even know whether OH, YEAH? was still with us. Considering its small-studio source and relative obscurity (aside from cultists such as Andrew Sarris) I found the quality acceptable and the dialogue reasonably comprehensible. Until such films are deemed worthy of a full-scale restoration (if such a thing is possible) one has to be grateful for availability even on this level. I found it enjoyable as a sort of pale copy of a Hawks movie, and perhaps Armstrong was influenced by his role in A GIRL IN EVERY PORT (1928) here.



I enjoy everything -- even the Old Mother Riley stuff. It's my take on obsessive-compulsive disorder. But let us not confuse our insanity with excellence. I'm pleased to have seen Oh, Yeah?, with another fine performance by Zasu Pitts and an eh! one by Gleason. It shows Garnett trying to get that camera moving when it was tough. But between technical problems and that unengaging characterization by Armstrong, it's just not very good. We do a disservice to our friends here and the art form we love by claiming it's all great.

Bob
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boblipton

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 8:08 pm

Honey (1930) Skeets Gallagher and sister Nancy Carroll need money, so they rent out their southern plantation to Jobyna Howland, who drags along her daughter, Lilian Roth, Stanley Smith (whom she wants Lilian to marry) and Harry Green to watch her jewelry. She insists on white servants, so in comes upstairs maid Zasu Pitts and her daughter Mitzi Green. The butler and cook have been tossed in jail for drunk and disorderly, so Gallagher and Carroll pretend to be servants.

It's an erratically produced musical comedy. Miss Carroll is always beautiful and charming, particularly when she is pretending to be Irish for no particular reason; Gallagher is at his best at the very beginning, when he is angry and annoying; Miss Howland plays her role in a manner that suggests an evil May Robson and has the best lines; Miss Pitts & Mr. Green, the two surest comic performers, could have been cut out of the movie without a loss; Mitzi Green is continually annoying and absolutely necessary to the plot; and the best musical number is a "darkie revival" chorus led by an uncredited Louise Beavers! -- although Lilian Roth gets in a hot verse.

Usually when watching movies this old I am able to compartmentalize my reactions -- how it might appeal to a contemporary audience in one of Paramount's big-city Whites-Only movie palaces, how it might strike modern audiences, kept carefully separate. Between the actors switching registers (not only Carroll and Gallagher, but Roth, from lady to her more raucous, stagey character), I was absolutely whipsawed.

I will tell you one thing: Louise Beavers could sing!

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat May 05, 2018 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Dean Thompson

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 8:22 pm

boblipton wrote:
I will tell you one thing: Louise Beavers could sing!

Bob


I had wondered about that for years: her one verse in the "Abraham" number in Holiday Inn gives the impression that she's holding back a great deal but that she's a most gifted singer in her own right.
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greta de groat

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 03, 2018 10:26 pm

Thanks for the tip on Meet Boston Blackie, i'll look out for it.

s.w.a.c. wrote:
Haven't seen BB Goes Hollywood, thanks for the warning about that one...


I started with that one on the assumption that Boston Blackie would go to Hollywood. Wrong, it's Boston Blackie goes to a random undistinguished LA hotel for the whole movie. It could have been set in Cleveland or Peoria.

But, true, Morris and Stone look like they are having more fun than the audience.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 3:05 am

I quite enjoyed "Berlin Express" put out by Radio Pictures in 1948. Because in some ways it is not dissimilar, it would make a good double bill with "The Third Man".

We start off in Paris, glamourous as ever. A group of Europeans are boarding an American Forces train taking them to Frankfurt (Main) in occupied Germany. They are all on some type of mission or another. The main players are Robert Coote as the Englishman, Roman Toporow as the Russian, Charles Korvin as the Frenchman, Robert Ryan as the American and Paul Lukas and Peter von Zerneck as a couple of Germans. Merle Oberon is in the group too as a secretary. She is supposed to be French - but she speaks German? Is she a spy?

The beginning is done with a narration which is newsreel like in a fashion and sorts out who everyone is and sets up the scenes to follow. We then board the train with everyone else and find that there is to be some big shot travelling also. Our excitement is stoked a bit as we move along, and then we reach a bit of high drama which causes us to change our minds about what we though was going on.

Without going on any more about what happens and so spoil it for you, suffice it is to say the main gist of the picture is about the allies trying to end the occupation and to unite Germany into a new nation. There is one "good" German the allies want to have speak at a meeting set up to prepare the way. They have to put up though with opposition from ex-Nazis who want to set up things for themselves and they are trying their best to sabotage this meeting.

There is plenty of atmosphere provided, mainly by the use of foreign languages from time to time. There are no subtitles as all this talk is ancilliary and one doesn't really have to understand it to get a grasp on what is going on. There are also exterior scenes photographed in Frankfurt (Main) and Berlin bringing home the absolute devastation Germany brought upon herself by prosecuting the war.

I liked the way this picture moved and didn't lag anywhere. It was full of surprises and all that intrigue and spy type stuff. I suppose it also carried an anti-war message and that it would be a good idea if nations could forget their differences and try and co-operate.

Competently directed by Jacques Tourneur and with an excellent ensemble cast, this film is a good testament to a difficult and interesting period in history.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 5:12 am

The Love Race (1931) is one of those manic British comedies with music that takes place (mostly) at a party. Here, Stanley Lupino, son of an industrialist, goes against daddy's wishes and visits the competitor's house so he can see his girlfriend (Dorothy Boyd) and his pal Bobbie (Jack Hobbs). All manner of zany things happen, especially after a stranger (Dorothy Bartlam) shows up to returns a valise with the same initials on it as Lupino's They got them mixed up at Victoria Station. When daddy shows up, Lupino has to think quick as to why he at the house, so he claims the stranger is his wife. Then when the competitor's Mrs. (Florence Vie) shows up with a new husband (Wallace Lupino), all hell breaks loose. There's a nice lively musical number, "Dancing the Blues Away," that involves the whole house party (including Ida Lupino in her first film).

This is based on a play by Lupino, and directed by Lupino Lane, who makes a cameo appearance at the car race. Silly but breezy and funny. Frank Perfitt plays the daddy, Arty Ash plays Eustace, and Doris Rogers is the spinster (her film debut also).
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 1:54 pm

boblipton wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
boblipton wrote:I say it's not a great movie. You say Oh, Yeah? (1929) James Gleason and Robert Armstrong are a couple of boomers -- itinerant railroad men who hop from one line to another. They wind up operating out of a switching yard in the middle of nowhere where Zasu Pitts and Patricia Caron run the commissary and pay roll and everything that doesn't require too much muscle, and they all wind up intending to settle down. When one of the workers wins big in a crap game, gets his money stolen, and beaten unconscious, fingers get pointed at Armstrong.

Director Tay Garnett and D.P. Arthur Miller try their hardest, but they shoot a lot of this outdoors and the sound rigs aren't up to it. Neither is the slow-and-dumb characterization of Armstrong very interesting. On the plus side, there are a couple of tracking shots early on, plenty of contemporary railroad slang in the dialogue, and the final sequence, which is shot half wild, permits some movement with undercranking that makes it genuinely interesting. On the whole, though, it has aged very poorly.

Bob


Until fairly recently, I didn't even know whether OH, YEAH? was still with us. Considering its small-studio source and relative obscurity (aside from cultists such as Andrew Sarris) I found the quality acceptable and the dialogue reasonably comprehensible. Until such films are deemed worthy of a full-scale restoration (if such a thing is possible) one has to be grateful for availability even on this level. I found it enjoyable as a sort of pale copy of a Hawks movie, and perhaps Armstrong was influenced by his role in A GIRL IN EVERY PORT (1928) here.



I enjoy everything -- even the Old Mother Riley stuff. It's my take on obsessive-compulsive disorder. But let us not confuse our insanity with excellence. I'm pleased to have seen Oh, Yeah?, with another fine performance by Zasu Pitts and an eh! one by Gleason. It shows Garnett trying to get that camera moving when it was tough. But between technical problems and that unengaging characterization by Armstrong, it's just not very good. We do a disservice to our friends here and the art form we love by claiming it's all great.

Bob


Hope I didn't give the impression of having that high an opinion of OH, YEAH!, (I reviewed it October 11th 2015), just that I found the film pretty good fun and more than just a curiosity / director's footnote.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 3:12 pm

I bought what was probably the world's last retail store copy of The Jayne Mansfield Collection last month, and watched its three films this past week.

Mansfield was slagged throughout her career for so obviously copying everything Marilyn Monroe did. She bleached and styled her hair a la MM, she took the same kind of roles as MM, she attempted the same brand of musical comedies as MM, she moved into more dramatic roles a la MM. It wasn't just the copycat strategy that provoked sneers, it was the fact that JM couldn't match MM in any respect other than bust measurement. Those musical numbers? JM was dubbed by Connie Francis; MM had a sweet singing voice. The dance numbers? JM couldn't dance, MM was one of the great sexy dancers of all time. The va-va-voom walk? JM tortured it, whereas MM moved with unflappable grace and naturalness. The acting? Well, MM's dramatic aspirations were met with derision in her lifetime, but since her death she has been generally recognized as a genuinely skilful actress, while JM's performances continue to be dismissed as amateurish.

It's pretty much all deserved. JM isn't totally hopeless as an actress; Mariska Hargitay comes by her acting skills genetically. And as JM liked to remind us during her lifetime, she went to three universities and three acting schools before she ever bleached her hair for the first time.

Frank Tashlin handled The Girl Can't Help It (1956) and Will Success Spoil Rock Hudson? (1957), which means your enjoyment of these two movies will be in large part determined by how much you enjoy Frank Tashlin movies. The former is full of great 1950s early rock'n'roll performances, including a rare Eddie Cochrane "20 Flight Rock" kinemascope and a couple/three chartbusters by a strangely subdued Little Richard; it is considered the greatest '50s rock movie ever made, because it was filmed at the very moment rock was being born. The latter film has a lot of jabs at advertising and early television; the gibes at TV will not resonate with anyone under the age of 50 nowadays, but us oldtimers will recognize exactly what Tashlin was going on about.

JM doesn't do anything more in these two films than play the caricature of a Hollywood sex symbol. Much grist for the mills of those who continue to denounce her as nothing more than a particularly vulgar MM wannabe.

I found the ending of Will Success Spoil Rock Hudson? to be subversive. Tony Randall actually does succeed, by hook and by crook, and gets to enjoy it to the full. No remorse. No last-minute revelation that the reward wasn't worth it.

The third film, directed by Raoul Walsh, The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1959), casts JM in an odd kind of hybrid role. This is the one in which she fakes song-and-dance numbers and attempts to play it straight opposite Kenneth More's carry-on-Englishman lead. So, you find her doing nothing to strut her figure or play-up her sexiness; but she's dressed in her usual wincingly-tight corset with her breasts jutting out at right angles to one another in some kind of architectural marvel. She's called upon to do more actual acting than in the two Tashlin films combined; if she isn't going to win an Oscar for the results, she nevertheless doesn't embarrass herself.

Sheriff is a good film. It is enjoyable to watch the writers put More's stop-this-gunfighting-nonsense practical Limey into standard Western situations and then see how they use his consistent Englishness to resolve each situation. Good fun.

Jim
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boblipton

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 3:44 pm

I was surprised to see a Jessie Matthews movie in which she was second billed. Still, Gene Gerrard was Out of the Blue's (1931) director and co-star and it was her first talkie -- she had been in a couple of silents when she was about fifteen.

Jessie is the stay-at-home daughter of a decayed and decaying Stately Home of England, in love with Gene Gerrard's voice on the radio. Of course, he shows up, engaged to her sister, Kay Hammond -- no one is quite sure how. Of course they fall in love over a song. When her father shows him the gate, like he does to Fred Groves, who wants to develop the property, she blows up, tired of endless aristocratic poverty and goes to work for a living.

It's developed from a stage play and while it's clear that the show was about Miss Matthews' character, Mr. Gerrard is given all the canned witticisms and stage bits. The result is a decent light comedy with a couple of musical interludes that clearly spotlight Miss Matthews for the film. Plus a brief bit by Binnie Barnes as a Spanish senorita.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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