What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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wich2

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

PostThu Jul 12, 2018 10:24 am

Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:... include Edgar Bergen (I can never NOT watch his lips move)...


That's probably why he did more work on the wireless than he did in films?


...where, in his own show - Fred Astaire danced!

It's a funny world...

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

PostThu Jul 12, 2018 1:24 pm

drednm wrote:My favorite line is from Mowbray as the three guys are sitting at a bar and taking credit for Landis' success. He spits at Joslyn (who plays a gossip columnist), "Why you ink stinking word slinger!"


Mowbray is a favorite of mine- I wonder why I've never seen him in a lead? (THE DEVIL WITH HITLER barely counts). Even Alan Joslyn got a lead.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jul 12, 2018 4:25 pm

He's the lead in The Night Life of the Gods.
“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jul 12, 2018 4:50 pm

The Red Rope: (1937) Bob Steele is about to be married to Lois January, but Lew Meehan and his gang of outlaws have the ranch blockaded. Only fighting preacher Forrest Taylor (who has the best role in the movie) is willing to defy them. Bob can't figure out why, so he decides he'll tackle the whole gang on his lonesome.

When Republic began backing Bob Steele's B westerns and his father left for Monogram, Bob was on his own, and it was good and bad. The writing averaged a lot better than the scripts his father turned out -- this one was by George H. Plympton from a story by Johnston McCulley, and you can't have better cinematic pulp than that! Likewise, the production values were better.

On the other hand, the stories were no longer written to show off Bob's athletic and acrobatic skills. In this one, he doesn't mount his horse eccentrically, he doesn't punch anyone until forty-six minutes into the movie, and the big fight at the end has the good guys riding in to save him!

B Westerns had their stars, just as surely as the major studios did, and the best of them were star vehicles, written to the strengths of their stars. This one may be a good B Western, but it is a generic B Western, that any youngish actor who could ride a horse could lead. As glad as I am to see Bob Steele in a Western, I'd prefer to see him in a Bob Steele Western, and this isn't one.

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

PostThu Jul 12, 2018 7:44 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:He's the lead in The Night Life of the Gods.


Ah yes- in his slender youth. He's also nicely featured in THE MIDNIGHT CLUB.

I've never seen more than clips of Night Life.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jul 13, 2018 1:33 pm

Not having seen Victor Saville's film of SOUTH RIDING (1938) for a long time, I thought it was worth another go. Set in a fictitious Yorkshire county, it tells of the machinations by local government councillors regarding the need to rehouse folk living in appalling, insanitary slum conditions, and the schemes of a couple of the said 'gentlemen' to take financial advantage of it. Businessman Milton Rosmer and respectable chapel-goer Edmund Gwenn who is in trouble, (having got a local girl pregnant!) are the schemers.

Different viewpoints are presented by local conservative gentleman Ralph Richardson (who is in financial trouble trying to maintain a huge household in addition to wife Ann Todd's mental home fees and daughter Glynis Johns's intended fee-paying school). His plans are busted when his best hunting horse is killed just before being sold and we gradually realise how deeply he is in Queer Street whilst struggling to maintain the family seat. John Clements plays a consumptive socialist councillor who consents to support Gwenn and Rosmer if it will result in the slums being done away with. Marie Lohr plays another traditionalist, but with a good heart, and Edna Best is the new schoolteacher who comes to realise that children need good living conditions if they are to develop.

Though consistently watchable, SOUTH RIDING comes over as rather too short for its content, so one feels that some of the film is rather hurried, as indeed is the ending. I wondered too, if this had been slightly abridged, as my BFI Viewing Copies Catalogue lists running times of 84 and 85 minutes, with Denis Gifford's British Film Catalogue giving 91m. One reason for my uncertainty was that some of the scenes of the slum dwellings seemed briefer than I remembered.

SOUTH RIDING has been adapted twice for television, once in 1974, and then in 2011, which may have allowed the story to breathe a little more. As it stands, it is a solid, decently entertaining and fair-minded drama which could perhaps have had a little more punch and social content to it, although one might say similar with regard to THE GRAPES OF WRATH which also changed when adapted for the screen. Political elements in films were often quite tricky, as one still had to make the film appeal to a wide audience.

Note: checking out one or two points in the story, it seems that the Richardson character dies in book, although not in the film!
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SOUTH RIDING provides interesting contrast with a 1976 TV drama, BILL BRAND, which features a young Labour Party MP (Jack Shepherd) who finds it difficult, if not impossible to put his beliefs into practice. I am two-thirds of the way through this series, so will write more fully later...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jul 13, 2018 3:29 pm

I never even saw this movie, made independently in 1987, but for some reason, it's always stuck in my head as the epitome of one kind of 80s independent cinema, often funded by PBS for its American Playhouse series:



Regional "real people" dramas about farming and small towns and growing up and one last chance at love.

And then there was this kind of independent film:



Stranger Than Paradise is the film that made Jim Jarmusch's name as an American independent filmmaker in 1984, and to some extent redefined what independent films were, soon followed by others that represented new talents with quirkily personal styles like the Coen Brothers (Blood Simple in 1984) and Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies and Videotape in 1989). Shot in black and white on short ends from Wim Wenders' The State of Things, it's a movie that willfully refuses to be about anything except attitude. The story is about a Hungarian born hipster in a tiny New Jersey apartment (musician John Lurie), his near-doppelganger pal (Richard Edson), who is distinguished mainly by being goofily friendly where Lurie is sullen, and Eva (Eszter Balint), a cousin from Hungary who appears on Lurie's doorstep one day, and is mainly notable for her devotion to Screaming Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" ("Skrimmin Chay Hawkins, he's my main man," she explains at one point).

There were movies that tried to capture the hipness of Downtown culture in New York in the 80s (Desperately Seeking Susan, Liquid Sky, etc.) and there were always sex and drugs and decadence in the background if not indeed, the foreground (Liquid Sky has a trans main performer and involves seeing aliens through drugs, or something like that). The first thing that struck me, reseeing it after 30 years, is how there was just none of that here. Lurie and Edson could be Bowery Boys for all their interest in anything other than making a little money gambling, certainly not any sort of Downtown scene. Eventually it becomes a road movie, but even then they seem incapable of raising their horizons above their most basic interests. They are truly kin to Beavis and Butthead, who drove to Niagara Falls only to marvel at all the urinals in the men's room flushing in sync. Only Eva seems to take modest interest in what's around her—acquiring a hat at one point—though since the men never notice it, she never talks about it. (There's nothing like sex in this picture, even though Edson clearly would like to date Eva, if he had any idea how to ask a girl out.)

Okay, so a black and white movie about the most closed-off, uninvolved characters in movie history. Why did anyone ever want to see this thing? Because of the sheer absurdism of it all, a movie so resolutely about nothingness that when they get to Cleveland (and there's a joke in itself—a road movie that goes to Cleveland) and go to look at Lake Erie, it's so snowy out that the audience literally sees nothing, just pure white. Look at the thoroughly acted scenes in Stacking, like a story you'd read in English class with neat story points, and then the nothingess of Jarmusch's film starts to get hilarious, even bracing—its willful refusal to pander to ordinary drama circa 1984 on any level.

But I was curious how my kids would react to it. Honestly, I was prepared for walkouts, I suspected you had to be there in 1984, but they both enjoyed it. Older one said he could see how it was influential, especially on mumblecore. I'm not entirely sure what that is, but I guess I get the idea from that statement. Younger one, less hipster, said he hated the first part in which nothing happens in New York, but once they hit the road for Cleveland and Florida, he thought it was funnier. It's on Filmstruck, where the version does full justice to both of its shades, black and white.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jul 13, 2018 3:40 pm

There's always one shot in every Jarmusch movie that makes me go "Wow. I'm glad I saw that." My opinion of each movie as a whole is how much annoyance he puts me through to get to that one shot.

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

PostFri Jul 13, 2018 4:53 pm

FrankFay wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:He's the lead in The Night Life of the Gods.


Ah yes- in his slender youth. He's also nicely featured in THE MIDNIGHT CLUB.


As is Allyn Joslyn in Dangerous Blondes (1943). Makes you wish they'd pegged him as more than just a character actor.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jul 13, 2018 8:07 pm

The Woman Racket (1930) is an early MGM talkie filmed in 1929. It's a crime drama notable as the feature-film talkie debut of Blanche Sweet, who had returned from England, where she filmed her final silent film (The Woman in White). She had made one Vitaphone short at Warners before tackling this feature at MGM. Interestingly, Photoplay had run a squib about MGM's interest in shooting Anna Christie as a talkie and Blanche Sweet was rumored to be in line to star in the remake of her 1923 film. Sweet is very very good and pulls out all the stops as the speakeasy hostess who gets in over her head. She even sings "He's Good Enough for Me" atop a piano. The film is sunk, however by only so-so performances by Tom Moore as her cop husband and John Miljan as the snarky club owner. The film was apparently also released as a silent. There are also a couple of obvious sound issues. In any case, the film apparently didn't do much at the box office and Sweet obviously didn't get another crack as playing Anna Christie.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jul 14, 2018 1:37 pm

boblipton wrote:There's always one shot in every Jarmusch movie that makes me go "Wow. I'm glad I saw that." My opinion of each movie as a whole is how much annoyance he puts me through to get to that one shot.

Bob


With films such as STRANGER THAN PARADISE there was the social element of seeing such films, usually at the same cinema. For a while, the Hornpipe / Rendezvous in Portsmouth showed a mixture of foreign / independent / classic cinema, which one often just turned up to as with a regular club, often knowing little or nothing about the film itself. In addition, I was a volunteer there for a while, either taking tickets, selling programmes (LITTLE DORRIT) or behind the bar, and on one occasion acting as assistant projectionist. One usually got to see the films for nothing, either on other nights, or the same evening if collecting tickets, so one would sometimes get to see a film one would otherwise not have gone to...

And if you would like to know, STRANGER THAN PARADISE did not do much for me, although I did like DOWN BY LAW at the time...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jul 14, 2018 2:29 pm

I just rewatched Dead Man, which I thought Jarmusch's strongest film to date then, and still think it his best now. It has a similar "nothing conventionally plot-like is happening" structure and perverse comic tone, but the Stalker-Apocalypse Now-Letter That Was Never Sent picture of the West, as an industrialized hellscape giving way to lawless savagery and finally to Native American pagan religion, seemed novel in a genre where doing something new is very rare.

For that reason I wondered if Stranger Than Paradise would hold up at all— to make one comparison, I find it tough to watch Blood Simple now, because I know how much better the Coens have gotten at the same kind of thing over the years. (Also gotten much better: Frances McDormand.) But it does. I agree that there was a little bit of being in the club when it came out-- either you got it or you didn't.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jul 14, 2018 5:17 pm

Fighting Hero 1934

Standard Tom Tyler western in story, with J P McGowan playing Morales, leader of a gang. Like I wrote in my blog about this film, Tom's clothes are very similar to the ones he first donned early on in his career, the dark button-down shirt being the most noticeable. He doesn't have a riding partner in this movie like he has in others.

"Trouble? Trouble is my middle name."

I'm surprised he hasn't included the lip rouge for this one. :o
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Jul 15, 2018 7:18 am

The Phantom of Hollywood (1974) is an MGM TV movie that has been remastered for DVD. Why? How much money did they waste on this crappy movie? Ridiculous story has a "phantom" living on a back lot at Worldwide (aka MGM) pictures. They've sold off the lot and are about to demolish the still-standing sets, so the phantom get mad and starts killing people.

I suppose in 1974 (still pre-VHS?) people were interested in seeing clips from The Philadelphia Story and Mutiny on the Bounty. They may even have thrilled at the mention of Joan Crawford and John Gilbert. But that's as far as the thrill goes in this mess. Even the star lineup is pretty lame. Broderick Crawford and John Ireland plays cops, Peter Lawford is the studio boss, Peter Haskell is the PR guy, Skye Aubrey is the damsel in distress, Jackie Coogan is the smoking film editor, Billy Halop is the studio engineer, Regis Toomey is the gate guard, etc. There's a pathetically bad "premiere" to celebrate the sale of the property, with Corinne Calvet and Kent Taylor walking the red carpet under a suspended canopy thing decorated with balloons.

At one point they show Lawford watching the "dailies" of a nostalgia piece made up of film clips. Among the clips is the chariot scene from Ben-Hur complete with roaring crowd noises. Oh yes, and Jack Cassidy pays the head of the "stills" department, which is down in a cellar somewhere, and they aged him to 70-something.

The scenes of demolishing the sets is very strange. The sets have stood for 40 years, yet when the bulldozers hit them, they crumple and fall like cardboard. I thought maybe MGM had built the film around the real-life destruction of real sets, but these looked pretty flimsy and fake.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Jul 15, 2018 8:37 am

Watched what even the Brits consider a "B", but it has gained a super reputation over the years, and for good reason. It's superb in every way! "Operation Diplomat" (1953) stars skeletal Guy Rolfe, Lisa Daniely, Patricia Dainton, Sydney Tafler, Ballard Berkeley, and many others in a show that leaves you wondering for the whole show, "What the heck's going on!?" Rolfe is a doctor who is abducted in the first scene and taken to operate on a man. "You'll see why we can't talk about this the minute you see him!", he's told in the ambulance that takes him to his destination. Well, he doesn't quite get it, even when finished with the operation. Things get tough when a murder occurs, and there's the doc again. Then another murder, and there's the doc again. The police are a tad suspicious... Do you think so?!!! Anyway, WHAT'S GOING ON??? Not until the very end do we really find out critical details, and even then the "diplomat", so to speak, is never really revealed to us... An amazing film, with glorious photography. A noir style in all ways. Directed by John Guillerman. If you like great mystery stories, this is it!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Jul 15, 2018 11:48 am

When I decided to see this week’s Marvel Cinematic Universe release, I was shocked to find there was none. Fortunately, there was last week’s Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), although it was directed by Peyton Reed, a director of modern comedies of no depth whatsoever, like, oh, Down With Love, a burlesque of Michael Gordon’s late 1950s romcoms which seemed to spend much of its length mocking Rock Hudson for playing straight men and Gordon for actually trying to fill a widescreen frame in interesting ways... you know, irony for people who think the word means “coincidence.”

Anyway, he directed the first Antman movie and given a fine cast that included Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas, he was able to get by, even as he ignored the obvious symbolic pointers in the Antman character.

Anyway, if you enjoyed the first one, you’ll enjoy the second one. Laurence Fishburne and far too little of Michelle Pfeiffer are added for whatever reason. It’s always good to see them, particularly Miss Pfeiffer.

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

PostSun Jul 15, 2018 12:43 pm

My blu-ray of The King of Jazz (1930) arrived on Friday, so it was perfect viewing for a drizzly Saturday afternoon. The disc is of course eye-popping, and loved the extras, like the Lantz cartoons and the featurettes on the films history and importance.

Also so glad to know that the importance of the Scots, Dutch, Spanish and Hungarians in the development of jazz music is finally getting some recognition. Why Ken Burns was so asleep at the wheel on this in his so-called history of jazz I'll never know.

Also passed some time upon awakening at 6 a.m. by watching Kill or Cure (1962), a British comedy with MGM distribution (like the aforementioned Postman's Knock), with the King of Cads, Terry-Thomas, as a private eye investigating the murder of his dowager client (a wonderful surprise to see the great musical comedian Anna Russell in a one-scene cameo, her only feature film role apparently) at a rural health resort. It has one of those "they don't make 'em like that anymore" kind of casts with Eric Sykes as the resort director who gets in on the crime solving, Lionel Jeffries as the Inspector and one of "The Two Ronnies" Barker as his assistant, Dennis Price as a likely suspect, and the Carry On gang's Peter Butterworth as the resort's mixologist (he makes health drinks instead of cocktails). Director George Pollock is probably best known for making those Mrs. Marple whodunit comedies, and this is about on the same level, with added slapstick.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Jul 15, 2018 1:14 pm

Black Heat (1976): It's another cheap programmer for Al Adamson as a couple of cops go after an international dope ring. With a post-Motown chick-boom soundtrack being run out of a hotel where the women guests are recruited for criminal activities, some of it is shot in Vegas for that gritty-but-luxurious feel that people felt appealed to the 1970s, and some in a pink-walled pool hall.

This seems to have been so discouraging that after appearing in it, Russ Tamblyn didn't show up in another movie for six years. He had been in some awful dreck over the years -- he ha an Oscar nomination for Peyton Place-- but some things discourage a man.

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

PostSun Jul 15, 2018 1:58 pm

A splendid print (camera by George Schneiderman) offset a slightly rambling plot in John Ford* and Dudley Nichols's early gangster film BORN RECKLESS (1930). Edmund Lowe plays the gang chief whose doings are unsuspected by his spaghetti-loving parents, played by Paul Porcasi and Ferike Boros, who had a similar role in LITTLE CAESAR. However, the Law cuts in and he and his two palsares given the chance to clear their slates by taking up their call-up papers as it is 1917 and America has just entered the War. This interlude is rather more Fordian than the rest of the picture, with a generous dose of rough-house slapstick and the presence of regular Jack Pennick, who sadly slips out for the rest of the film.

The remainder concerns the murder of Lowe's brother-in-law and his intervention in a child kidnapping as well as a shock shoot-out with onetime buddy Warren Hymer, which leads to a slightly vague fade-out. There is also some effective and bitter satire when Lowe is assured by the portly Guardian of the Law that he is envious of the three new recruits. This is underlined when Lowe returns and says there is something his dead buddy would like him to have, throwing his medals at the man. Some uneven back-projection is compensated for by some excellent backdrops in this noisy, but full-of interest-film which is a very fortunate survivor from the Fox studios. Writing is based on a screenplay by Donald Henderson Clarke, from his novel 'Louis Beretti.

*Wikipedia lists a certain Andrew Bennison as co-director, something for further research...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ43qiPI4t4" target="_blank
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Jul 15, 2018 7:40 pm

Inspired by the Tab Hunter thread and concluding that I had never knowingly sought out a Tab Hunter film I took a gander at 1958's Gunman's Walk and was totally surprised. This was so completely off my radar as to be non-existent, how this has escaped the general conventional wisdom of The History of Westerns™ is a bit of a mystery.

It is a very intelligent movie featuring thought provoking contemplations about the changing landscape of the wild west and the folks who inhabit it, while, at the same time, it is also a mirror of the evolving mythos of the western film and is a spiritual godfather of the revisionist westerns of the '60s. Tab is as unpleasant to watch as Duke Wayne in The Searchers and just as racist. While it is a little too talky, it is exploring issues that seem well ahead of its time. It is soooo close to being a great film, I wonder if the Production Code impacted its production, or maybe just that little bit missing from director Phil Karlson?

Well worth a visit.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jul 16, 2018 5:35 am

The Sand Pebbles (1966) is a long film (a tad over 3 hours), an absorbing fictional look at a US gun boat in 1926 China. The colonial era is coming to an end and China is in turmoil with the rise of Chiang Kai-Shek. There's also Russia in the background stirring things up with the hope of "saving" China (for itself). The film poses a sort of story set against this backdrop with Steve McQueen giving a superb performance as the dim-but-basically-good engineer assigned to a small gun boat under the command of starchy Richard Crenna. McQueen meets a shy teacher from Vermont (Candice Bergen) who works at a mission in the remote interior. There stories become more entwined as the film progresses. Two major subplots feature outstanding performances by Mako as the coolie McQueen befriends and teaches and by Richard Attenborough as the boat-mate who falls in love with a Chinese woman (Emmanuelle Arsan). Also notable are Simon Oakland as the bullish Stawski, Larry Gates as the idealistic missionary, and Ford Rainey as Harris. Also Barney Phillips, Gavin MacLeod, Beulah Quo, James Hong, Charles Robinson, and Joe Di Reda (the uncle of a childhood friend). Outstanding film.

McQueen got ht only Oscar nomination for this film but lost to Paul Scofield for A Man for All Seasons. Others that year were Richard Burton for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Michael Caine for Alfie, and Alan Arkin for The Russians Are Coming. A tough call.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jul 16, 2018 8:31 am

I watched two films that could be the focus of interesting feminist deconstruction, and for all I know, may already have been so.

I won’t insult classic film fans by assuming you need to be told the storyline of My Man Godfrey (1936). So let’s get to the point. Putting aside the somewhat desultory (and rather fantastical) attempt to preach solutions to the economic problems of the Great Depression, the film enjoys portraying its four women characters as asinine idiots who are easily turned into mush by a firmly-in-control Perfect Man. As William Powell plays the Perfect Man, we won’t question his power to affect them.

Carole Lombard is a shallow idiot who deliberately over-dramatizes everything out of infatuation for him, only becoming a sensible take-charge human being when she faces losing him. Gail Patrick is her evil sister, who plots against Powell as an expression of her malleable passion for him; she is abruptly and way too easily thrust into repentance by his reproaches. Alice Brady is the airheaded, motor-mouthed mother who melts under his respectful attention. Jean Dixon is the supposedly hardheaded maid/cook reduced to bitter tears by her infatuation. They are all silly toys for a smoothie boy.

I first saw My Man Godfrey about 40 years ago, already well-aware of its reputation, and found it slightly disappointing in that it wasn’t a Marx Brothers laff-riot (after all, Morrie Ryskind wrote it); it’s just an enjoyable bit of amusing wine with pretensions. My new viewing simply confirmed these impressions.

Would you like to see Raymond Burr as a blond? Then watch Crime of Passion (1957), a Barbara Stanwyck vehicle in which Burr’s hair seems to have been powdered slightly in an effort to make him look old enough to be on the verge of retirement, but which the black-and-white film stock rendered as blond. In any case, he looks odd: he was so dark in his natural colouring that blonding him makes him look like the alien leader in human form in an Ed Wood movie.

Stanwyck hardly ever gave a performance in which she didn’t pull out all the acting chops, and Crime of Passion is no exception. She starts out as a single working woman who rejects marriage as a surrendering of independence and self-respect. At least, that’s what she tells cop Sterling Hayden (and, being Stanwyck, is totally convincing about it). Naturally, she ends up marrying him, and discovers marriage is exactly what she said it is.

Where the feminist analysis might come in handy is in determining whether marriage twists her mind into a psychopathic ambition to clear out the human obstacles to her husband’s career ascent, or whether she consciously channels her frustrations into manipulating others. Her progression, like her plan to push Hayden up the cop ladder, is muddled at times. This muddling keeps our attention: we’re trying to figure out just what it is she is attempting to pull off, and how. It effectively if unintentionally squeezes up the tension, making this a satisfying little study in homicidal housewifery.

Hayden was an odd choice for a subservient, unambitious cop. Off-screen he was a notorious pain in the butt, a Hollywood Rebel. On-screen, he specialized in tough and aggressive hard-asses, making the most of his height (6'5") and powerful physique and dangerous-bad-man charisma. (And his blond gorgeousness. All us blond guys are gorgeous. Well, maybe not Raymond Burr…) He was also often an effective performer: here, he gradually convinces us that his apparent lack of drive is instead an intense loyalty to “the team”, to which every cop must adhere. When he does find himself in a position where authority is needed, he’s a fast-thinking leader directing the team with no self-doubt.

Good little film.

Jim
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boblipton

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

PostMon Jul 16, 2018 5:20 pm

Patterns of Attraction (2014) is a romantic comedy is about young Black professionals and their ability to commit. The major players are skilled and attractive -- Paula Jai Parker, Omar Gooding, Trae Ireland, Tatiana Mariesa and Tiffany Haddish among them. The dialogue is realistic and well delivered and the characters are believable -- the guys are relucant to commit, the women want a monogamous relationship.

Despite this I was less than thrilled. This is essentially a show in which everyone talks constantly and there is little physical motion. Almost every scene is set in a room in which people are talking -- sometimes this is varied by having people talk on the telephone -- and there is no sense of place -- it could be in any large city. So there is little physical motion, which, while it probably reflects the lack of advancement in the relationships, makes for a visually dull motion picture, despite the handsome people, costumes and sets. Director Grayson Stroud tries to compensate for this by frequent cuts, usually shifting from a medium close=up of one person in a conversation to the other. In addition, everyone is calm at all time. While it is clear that these are deeply felt issues, there is no sense any real emotional change, just a weary acceptance of an inevitable situation.

While I find the situations, dialogue and performances quite good, the dull handling of this movie as more than a series of conversations leaves me dissatisfied with it as more than a recorded series of conversations.

Bob
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boblipton

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

PostMon Jul 16, 2018 6:59 pm

I'm used to seeing Stanley Holloway as a large, rambunctious Cockney in support in lots of movies from the 1940s, '50s and '60s. It's a shock to see him as a large, rambunctious Irish Vicar of Bray (1937) in County Wicklow -- the original of the old drinking song was somewhere in Berkshire. In this one, he's very happy in his parish and annoyed to be called away to be tutor to the elder son of Charles I. He charms the prince with his easy-going ways and soon gets sent back to his parish in disgrace, just in time to avoid the start of the Civil War -- but still has to blarney his way past Cromwell to keep his head and his vicarage. Then, when the Restoration takes place, he has to talk fast to keep his place.... and his young friend is condemned to death for supporting the Protectorate.

It was the last film that Henry Edwards directed for producer Julius Hagen.

Hagen and Edwards had founded Twickenham Studios in 1927 and quickly found a profitable niche producing quota quickies for American studios to play along with their imports. In the early 1930s, however, Hagen started raising the quality of his productions and when he backed Korda for The Private Life of Henry VIII, he saw the enormous profits to be made overseas. So he cut production of the quota quickies and by 1935 he was out of that end of the business, producing better quality films.

It was a big mistake! His American partners had no interest in importing his works, and the better integrated British companies like Beaumont and BIP froze him out. In 1937, Hagen was forced into bankruptcy, his studio taken over, and Edwards went back to being an actor.

This movie managed a London premiere in May of 1937, but general distribution had to wait until the end of the year, when John Maxwell's integrated company, Associated British, took it on. I'm sure they got it cheap and made money on it. It's not a great picture, but it's fun to have Holloway in the lead, slipping a few over his betters and singing a few antique-sounding songs. It was back to the ranks of supporting actors on stage and screen for him after this, although he was always a lot of fun for the audience.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jul 17, 2018 6:41 am

Watched "Port of Escape" (1956) with Googie Withers, John McCallum, Bill Kerr, Joan Hickson, Wendy Danielli, and others. This is a nicely tense Brit thriller where Bill Kerr is an American soldier on leave, suffering both from amnesia and what would have been known as severe shell shock in 1956, PTSS today. His Australian friend, John McCallum, is on shore leave with him. They go into a bar, create a ruckus, and this leads to a fight with a knife outside where McCallum kills another in self-defense. Of course, he can't prove it was self-defense, and there are witnesses who see it differently, and now McCallum and Kerr have to run. They end up on a boat in a port with two sisters, Googie Withers and Wendy Danielli, and a maid, Joan Hickson. It isn't the definition of kidnapping, but it's close when the men enter the boat. The entire movie now revolves around what to do. In the interim, Withers falls for McCallum. Sounds ridiculous, but this one plays very well. The ending is quite bitter-sweet, but you'll have to watch to find out why.

I've always been a fan of Googie Withers, from my first encounting her character in "The Lady Vanishes" (1938), directed by Hitchcock, to "Pink Strings and Sealing Wax" (1945), "It Always Rains on Sundays" (1947), "The Loves of Joanna Godden" (1947), and into the 80's with parts in things like "Northanger Abbey" (1987). She gave us well over fifty years of great acting! I'm also a huge fan of Joan Hickson. Always have thought her Miss Marple was the incarnation of the character as written.

This film is one of several in the set from Renown Pictures, "Renown Pictures Crime Collection", Volume 4, and this appears on disc 2 with others. PAL. Great set!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jul 17, 2018 7:29 pm

The Devil Plays (1931) is an interesting, low-budge murder mystery from Chesterfield/Universal with Jameson Thomas as a writer of thrillers who gets invited to a weekend party where a murder occurs. Some of the actors come off well; others don't. As with most of these affairs, there's the annoying and stupid cop (Lew Kelly), some badly delivered lines, and loud footfalls. Florence Britton (not familiar with her) appeared by special arrangement with Goldwyn Company for some reason. Lillian Rich is gracious and Carmelita Geraghty is a fun tramp. Several of the men looked alike to me so it was confusing. Thomas Jackson is good as the detective. There's also Richard Tucker, Jack Trent, Dorothy Christy, Robert Ellis. There's an odd scene in a rathskeller tea room filled with old biddies who nearly drown out the actors. An interesting if creaky film, directed by Richard Thorpe.
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Rick Lanham

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

PostTue Jul 17, 2018 8:03 pm

[possible spoilers]

Jean Arthur is an average (?) working girl in Washington DC during WWII. The city is crowded with people from all over the nation coming to participate in the war effort. She decides to sub-let half of her apartment in The More the Merrier (1943).

Charles Coburn forces his way in, despite the fact that she wanted a female renter. Then Charles sub-lets his part to Sgt. Joel McCrea! Charles is supposed to leave in a couple of days anyway, but he becomes cupid for the two glamorous stars.

Jean already was engaged, but he's a pill so Joel fairly easily takes the intended's place. Misunderstandings galore, Jean's terrific acting and a steamy scene on the porch add up to a lot of fun.

The three stars and the director, George Stevens, make this a **** movie. Oh, and I think Coburn won a best supporting Oscar™.

Rick
Last edited by Rick Lanham on Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jul 18, 2018 5:11 am

The first of Murray Lerner's musical-fesitval films, Festival (1967), is a black-and-white recording of the Newport Folk Festival from 1963 through 1966. I found it an enthusiastic collection of clips, with many well-remembered and important artists. However, given the movie's insistence on giving almost every branch of music that might appear at Newport over three years some time, the only message offered is "Folk music is a large and diverse branch of music". Am I so out of touch that I think this obvious to anyone who would spend a couple of hours watching this?

I was frustrated by the fact that Lerner gave multiple sets to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez (both easily available elsewhere), while Mississippi John Hurt got at 12 seconds to sing a bit of "Candy Man".

Maybe Ken Burns will get his hands on the out-takes. There's a good 12-hour PBS documentary in there.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jul 18, 2018 2:03 pm

Rick Lanham wrote:[possible spoilers]

Jean Arthur is an average (?) working girl in Washington DC during WWII. The city is crowded with people from all over the nation coming to participate in the war effort. She decides to sub-let half of her apartment in The More the Merrier (1943).

Charles Coburn forces his way in, despite the fact that she wanted a female renter. Then Charles sub-lets his part to Sgt. Joel McCrea! Charles is supposed to leave in a couple of days anyway, but he becomes cupid for the two glamorous stars.

Jean already was engaged, but he's a pill so Joel fairly easily takes the intended's place. Misunderstandings galore, Jean's terrific acting and a steamy scene on the porch add up to a lot of fun.

The three stars and the director, George Stevens, make this a **** movie. Oh, and I think Coburn won a best supporting Oscar™.


Rick


Certainly felt that Coburn was the best thing in the film, which I found rather disappointing. After thirty years I still remember a bit of business with a coffee-pot and his dressing-gown. This may be due to it being the final film in a day which featured GIANT and DUEL IN THE SUN, so may have overdone it a touch!
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jul 19, 2018 9:55 am

I recently watched High Society (1956), to get a little Sinatra fix (since I haven't seen too many of his films). I didn't realize it was a remake of The Philadelphia Story going in, but picked up on it rather quickly. I greatly prefer The Philadelpia Story, but High Society was definitely worth a watch and it was good to see Grace Kelly.
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