What is the last film you watched? (2018)

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

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

PostSat Apr 07, 2018 7:34 pm

Sometimes one tends to think that celluloid would have been better used making collars rather than used as film. Such thoughts entered my head when watching "The Greatest Showman" (2017).

I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to sit through this. Imagine my surprise then when it turned out to be a musical - or what is termed a "musical" these days as my idea of actual music would be more in tune with such toe-tapping, able to be whistled airs such as those which came from "The Desert Song" or "No, No, Nanette", to name but a couple of my treats. But then, what do I know? I am an old fogey and there are millions of young things out there who think that this musical was the best thing since sliced bread.

To my mind the whole thing was a let down. It was banal, badly written and hardly encaptured the life of one Phineas Taylor Barnum whose life I am sure would have been far more interesting and complicated than the rather glib aspects of it presented in this photoplay. What's more, I find it totally incongrous to have twenty-first century lyrics and "music" flung at me when I am supposed to be adjusting to life in the nineteenth century. Then again, I suppose we cannot get script-writers these days who can do a bit of research and find out how people actually spoke (more eloqently) in days past.

Hugh Jackman, whom I like incidentally, does his level best with what he has been given - but even he cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Zac Efron is there to get bums on seats undoubtedly and Rebecca Ferguson - who is supposed to be opera great, Jenny Lind, doesn't give us any operatic airs at all - instead she contributes to the general tweet, whistle, plunk and boom.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Apr 07, 2018 11:31 pm

You know of course that her voice was dubbed by a real singer.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Apr 08, 2018 4:02 am

boblipton wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:In the same street as the down to earth, suburban, domestic bliss portrayed on the screen from the writings of Sir Noel Coward, is J.B. Priestley's "Laburnum Grove" (1936). This was a very successful play on both sides of the Atlantic with the lead taken by Edmund Gwenn from 1933 who, luckily, was also cast in the film.

We firstly spend some time with scenes which introduce us to all the characters of the house in sedate Laburnum Grove in London's northern suburbs. There are the husband and wife of the house - the aforesaid Edmund Gwenn and his wife, Katie Johnson whom Nitratevillains will remember with affection from "The Ladykillers". Then there is Edmund's sister - Ethel Coleridge, who plays the usual sour puss. Her husband is Sir Cedric Hardwicke in an early role out of kilter somewhat with his later characterisations as he plays for comedy as an itinerant layabout. Victoria Hopper is Edmund's daughter and she is engaged to Francis James who gets cold feet later on. It is an excellent assembly.

After we ascertain whom we like and dislike, we come to the plot and it is one based on the foibles often found in human nature. It would seem that Edmund is being put upon by family members. He is seen as the font of all money - so he decides to play a trick on his conniving relatives by alluding to the fact that he may not be all that they seem to think he is. Far from being a respectable, quiet suburban gent - he may be just the opposite.

This is a gentle comedy marvelously and cleverly written and performed par excellence particularly by Edmund Gwenn whose cherubic features and easy grin belie what may really be going on in his mind. Sir Cedric also gives value for money and Ethel Coleridge lends a sufficient amount of dourness without going over the top.

Whilst the activity is mainly housebound, we occasionally get to some outdoor scenes and one of them may be of particular note in that it portrays "Stoll's Picture House" - both inside and out.

The direction is by Carol Reed in his early days.


Since I first saw Last Holiday, I''ve been anxious to see anything by Priestley, and Reed's direction makes it even more tempting. I'm ever so envious.

Good to have you back.

Bob


It's available on one of the Ealing Rarities sets, which have four films on two discs and usually sell for around £5 or £6 in the UK. You need to be able to play Region 2, though. I saw LABURNUM GROVE many years ago at the NFT in London, and enjoyed it very much, although I'd forgotten the bit about the 'confession' being a trick to fool his sponging relatives.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Apr 08, 2018 4:08 am

Donald Binks wrote:Sometimes one tends to think that celluloid would have been better used making collars rather than used as film. Such thoughts entered my head when watching "The Greatest Showman" (2017).

I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to sit through this. Imagine my surprise then when it turned out to be a musical - or what is termed a "musical" these days as my idea of actual music would be more in tune with such toe-tapping, able to be whistled airs such as those which came from "The Desert Song" or "No, No, Nanette", to name but a couple of my treats. But then, what do I know? I am an old fogey and there are millions of young things out there who think that this musical was the best thing since sliced bread.

To my mind the whole thing was a let down. It was banal, badly written and hardly encaptured the life of one Phineas Taylor Barnum whose life I am sure would have been far more interesting and complicated than the rather glib aspects of it presented in this photoplay. What's more, I find it totally incongrous to have twenty-first century lyrics and "music" flung at me when I am supposed to be adjusting to life in the nineteenth century. Then again, I suppose we cannot get script-writers these days who can do a bit of research and find out how people actually spoke (more eloqently) in days past.

Hugh Jackman, whom I like incidentally, does his level best with what he has been given - but even he cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Zac Efron is there to get bums on seats undoubtedly and Rebecca Ferguson - who is supposed to be opera great, Jenny Lind, doesn't give us any operatic airs at all - instead she contributes to the general tweet, whistle, plunk and boom.


Reactions will depend on one's experience of musicals. A friend went to see THE GREATEST SHOWMAN in company and was very impressed with it, bit it is a case of 'horses for courses', or something like that...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Apr 08, 2018 5:00 am

A very fortunate find (although a copy of variable quality), MOBY DICK (1930), is a much maligned film due in main to the liberties taken with a 'classic' novel, which include giving Captain Ahab a girlfriend (in the shape of Joan Bennett, playing Father Mapple's daughter) and a brother whom I don't think was in the book. For some reason, the 'Pequod' doesn't appear in the film, unless I am mistaken.

The film, the second John Barrymore version, starts with his as a lookout man, before he loses his leg to the whale, and may well annoy purists, although it would be extremely difficult to condense such a long novel into something under ninety minutes. Barrymore is good value here, and some of the hunting sequences are very effective, as are the scenes of his leg being cauterised and the agony of trying to use his new peg-leg when the stump hasn't healed properly.

The film was originally shown using the Magnascope lens, which would have been used for the most spectacular sequences. I've found a reference to a 2016 screening of OLD IRONSIDES (1926), which was an attempt to recreate the original experience. Hopefully this will be used for some of the other extant films which have never been seen in this fashion since their original showings. Back to MOBY DICK, and one can happily say that it was an enjoyable experience, with atmospheric sets and a good feel for the small whaling town. I would have liked a bit more of Father Mapple, as he was cut off in full flow early on when Barrymore enters the church, and was amused to see that he made good friends with a St Bernard, who alas never appears with the presumably hoped-for keg of brandy!

Note: at one point, Barrymore utters a reference to 'brothels' which was presumably not noted by the censor.

Came bang up to date with a cinema showing of FINDING YOUR FEET (2018), which was advertised as a 'feel-good' film despite having a good deal of very sad content amongst the humour. Imelda Staunton plays Sandra, the middle aged wife of a bigwig in the Police Force whose thirty-five year marriage has made her into a stuffy, conservative-minded frump and a bit of a snob to boot. On the old fart's retirement she discovers that he has a mistress, so flees the nest to stay with her sister, (Celia Imrie), a free spirit, whom she hasn't seen in ten years and who has remained basically unchanged since their Greenham Common* days in the early 1980s. Imrie is a woman who has known tragedy when younger, but lets nothing stop her enjoyment of life despite living on a poor housing estate in a state of cheerful disorder.

Sandra, has the slow job of finding herself with the aid of Charlie (Timothy Spall) whose wife has had Alzheimer's for five years (he has sold their house to pay for the 'care' and lives on a barge), their friend Ted (David Hayman) who is still suffering from his failed marriage and loyal friend Jackie, who seems to be rivalling Liz Taylor in her trail of husbands. All are people who have lost someone / something and find they need to adapt in order to continue living. The other thing they have in common is a dance class, which helps to bring them together and to move on.

Alternately funny, touching and sad, FINDING YOUR FEET will probably echo more with middle-aged folk like myself and the ladies I went to the show with (at 61, I was easily 'the baby'), and even elicited a round of applause at the end. Certainly a film of several moods, which doubtless brought a few tears to other folks' eyes if mine were anything to go by and benefited from solid ensemble playing from a very likeable cast as well as being very funny in places.

*the site of a missile base in Berkshire (England) which attracted large numbers of female protesters who camped there for a total of nineteen years from 1981 to 2000. The 'Greenham Common women' attracted a good deal of adverse publicity in the conservative British press at the time, which tended to depict them as dirty and eccentric 'hippy-types'.
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Apr 08, 2018 5:19 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
boblipton wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:In the same street as the down to earth, suburban, domestic bliss portrayed on the screen from the writings of Sir Noel Coward, is J.B. Priestley's "Laburnum Grove" (1936). This was a very successful play on both sides of the Atlantic with the lead taken by Edmund Gwenn from 1933 who, luckily, was also cast in the film.

We firstly spend some time with scenes which introduce us to all the characters of the house in sedate Laburnum Grove in London's northern suburbs. There are the husband and wife of the house - the aforesaid Edmund Gwenn and his wife, Katie Johnson whom Nitratevillains will remember with affection from "The Ladykillers". Then there is Edmund's sister - Ethel Coleridge, who plays the usual sour puss. Her husband is Sir Cedric Hardwicke in an early role out of kilter somewhat with his later characterisations as he plays for comedy as an itinerant layabout. Victoria Hopper is Edmund's daughter and she is engaged to Francis James who gets cold feet later on. It is an excellent assembly.

After we ascertain whom we like and dislike, we come to the plot and it is one based on the foibles often found in human nature. It would seem that Edmund is being put upon by family members. He is seen as the font of all money - so he decides to play a trick on his conniving relatives by alluding to the fact that he may not be all that they seem to think he is. Far from being a respectable, quiet suburban gent - he may be just the opposite.

This is a gentle comedy marvelously and cleverly written and performed par excellence particularly by Edmund Gwenn whose cherubic features and easy grin belie what may really be going on in his mind. Sir Cedric also gives value for money and Ethel Coleridge lends a sufficient amount of dourness without going over the top.

Whilst the activity is mainly housebound, we occasionally get to some outdoor scenes and one of them may be of particular note in that it portrays "Stoll's Picture House" - both inside and out.

The direction is by Carol Reed in his early days.


Since I first saw Last Holiday, I''ve been anxious to see anything by Priestley, and Reed's direction makes it even more tempting. I'm ever so envious.

Good to have you back.

Bob


It's available on one of the Ealing Rarities sets, which have four films on two discs and usually sell for around £5 or £6 in the UK. You need to be able to play Region 2, though. I saw LABURNUM GROVE many years ago at the NFT in London, and enjoyed it very much, although I'd forgotten the bit about the 'confession' being a trick to fool his sponging relatives.


Terrific! Nicely done by all. A surprise to see a "young" Katie Johnson.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Apr 09, 2018 10:55 am


Reactions will depend on one's experience of musicals. A friend went to see THE GREATEST SHOWMAN in company and was very impressed with it, bit it is a case of 'horses for courses', or something like that...[/quote]


Not sure if this was news in Australia, but The Greatest Showman was a sleeper hit in the USA, surprising everyone, becoming quite the story as it racked up big boxoffice despite meh reviews. I haven't seen it yet, but will try and view it objectively.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Apr 09, 2018 12:32 pm

westegg wrote:Not sure if this was news in Australia, but The Greatest Showman was a sleeper hit in the USA, surprising everyone, becoming quite the story as it racked up big boxoffice despite meh reviews. I haven't seen it yet, but will try and view it objectively.

If you throw out any hope of seeing anything vaguely resembling the life of P.T. Barnum, it's not a bad little show. It's so rare to see a modern musical on the big screen these days, this one shows a few signs of life (I was quite taken by the performance of pop singer Zendaya). I wonder how long it'll be before Hamilton makes its way to the big screen? Or Book of Mormon, for that matter?
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Apr 09, 2018 3:58 pm

I quite liked THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. I found it to be a well done, stylized and stylish show. That it was not filmed as a lumbering version of an A&E Biography does not bother me.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Apr 10, 2018 12:28 pm

boblipton wrote:When Ann Bell arrives at her hotel room in Sicily to meet up with her married lover, she finds that her friend, who was supposed to check in for her, has checked in as her and been shot dead. It soon occurs to the protagonist that she was the target of the killer.

Stopover Forever (1964) is supposed to be a mystery in which understandably distraught Miss Bell wanders about and eventually solves her mystery, combined with an investigation into the psychology of panic. Cursed, as it is, with her offering her character's hysterical ramblings and nonsensical plans, I found it thoroughly annoying, despite cinematographer William Jordan's fine camerawork of Sicily and Miss Bell's occasional disrobings into bikini underwear. I kept wondering why she would hide herself in her room, imagine the killer lurking there, and never think of going to the police for help. Yes, I'm aware that people in the movies never ask the police for help, but the thought never even occurs to her, even to be instantly dismissed.

At 56 minutes, I found it dull and the characters annoying, despite the interesting set-up.

Bob


Must admit I'm in almost total agreement here on STOP-OVER FOREVER. Aside from the scenes on Bell's drunken friend Charlie's boat towards the end, the film was a very wearying experience, despite the nice crisp copy and the occasional bit of cheesecake. It was also absurd to have girl killed at the beginning wearing a nice white towel as there wasn't a spot of blood to be seen anywhere. The voice-over business got rather annoying, as did the meandering plotting and the 'Who's the villain?' element of the whole thing. The 'surprise twist' at the end was rather hurriedly done, too, adding a touch of vagueness to the proceedings...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Apr 10, 2018 5:24 pm

The Crosby Murder Case is a late and shakily Pre-Code murder mystery that talks a better game than it shows. A shady doctor is shot and run over, so inspector Alan Dinehart rounds up the usual suspects, including Wynne Gibson, the doctor's mistress, suddenly taking ship to Europe; Onslow Stevens, Miss Gibson's old lover; and some potentially interesting actors, including Edward van Sloan, William Collier Sr., Edward Wray, J. Farrel MacDonald... and then director Edward L. Marin proceeds to move things along at a glacial pace, pulls clues out after announcing the murderer.

the Pre-Code touches are limited to our first glimpse of Miss Gibson, when she is dressed in her slip, but after that. there's far more implied than frankly stated. Given the lack of a well-constructed mystery and no salacious or frank amusements, this one looks like they tried to fix it for the small-town theaters without being asked, and butchered it in the process.

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

PostTue Apr 10, 2018 8:14 pm

Despite its title, Chicken Wagon Family (1939) wasn't very good. Jane Withers plays the daughter in a family of Cajun (I guess) peddlers in Louisiana. After daddy (Leo Carrillo) steals the family money and loses it in a poker game, they decide to relocate to New York City. Wouldn't anyone? When they arrive in the city in they mule-hauled chicken wagon, they realize they have nowhere to live or shelter the mules. A kindly cop lets them use an abandoned fire station. Mama's old beau runs a used furniture store just down the street (of course) and they cajole furnishings out of him. He's still in love mama (Spring Byington). The older daughter (Marjorie Weaver) falls for the cop (Kane Richmond). Jane runs around fixing everything and taking care of everyone. But there's a happy ending after daddy forges a check to buy 300 bath tubs to re-sell through the beau's (Hobart Cavanaugh) store. I liked the mules the best.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Apr 10, 2018 8:24 pm

drednm wrote:Despite its title, Chicken Wagon Family (1939) wasn't very good. .....


I could not help but release a hearty guffaw at your thought that such a title would premise a good picture! :D
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Apr 11, 2018 4:35 am

Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Despite its title, Chicken Wagon Family (1939) wasn't very good. .....


I could not help but release a hearty guffaw at your thought that such a title would premise a good picture! :D


I believen Ed is suggesting that whatever cinematic excellence is suggested by the title is not not to be found in the movie. Except among the mules.

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

PostWed Apr 11, 2018 5:24 am

boblipton wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Despite its title, Chicken Wagon Family (1939) wasn't very good. .....


I could not help but release a hearty guffaw at your thought that such a title would premise a good picture! :D


I believen Ed is suggesting that whatever cinematic excellence is suggested by the title is not not to be found in the movie. Except among the mules.

Bob


Are you implying that the mules and the chickens... ???

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

PostWed Apr 11, 2018 1:25 pm

How about this for a splendid bit of history?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OypBztoyCSk" target="_blank" target="_blank

and this too...

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

PostWed Apr 11, 2018 1:40 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Despite its title, Chicken Wagon Family (1939) wasn't very good. .....


I could not help but release a hearty guffaw at your thought that such a title would premise a good picture! :D


Will definitely have to add this to my 'must see' list...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Apr 11, 2018 4:25 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Despite its title, Chicken Wagon Family (1939) wasn't very good. .....


I could not help but release a hearty guffaw at your thought that such a title would premise a good picture! :D


Will definitely have to add this to my 'must see' list...


Much as I have fond memories of Josephine the Lady Plumber, I I get the feeling that Jane Withers was no threat to Shirley Temple.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Apr 12, 2018 1:43 am

Tonight I watched Phantom Thread. I had been wanting to see it for weeks but decided to wait until it was available at Red Box. I had read more about this one than any other Best Picture nominee and everything I read about it... well, I don't think any one review, positive or negative, about either character was wrong. Honestly, by the end of the movie I couldn't get out of my head how much the two main characters were made for each other. Not entirely a good thing.

Also saw The Shape of Water a while ago. I can see why it won Best Picture. A little more than crude here and there, but still a pretty decent movie overall.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Apr 12, 2018 8:17 am

Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Despite its title, Chicken Wagon Family (1939) wasn't very good. .....


I could not help but release a hearty guffaw at your thought that such a title would premise a good picture! :D


Maybe you guys would like the story better when done by Orson Welles and the Mercury company, with guest star Burgess Meredith!

(Alas, it's one of the transcriptions still lost...)
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Apr 12, 2018 9:28 am

Still shocking after all these years, Out of the Blue (1980) is directed by and stars Dennis Hopper as an ex-con boozer who returns to his family after a 5-year stretch for broadsiding a loaded school bus. His wife (Sharon Farrell) is a junkie who works as a waitress and seems to have been unfaithful while hubby has been cooling it. They have a young teen daughter (Linda Manz) who is clearly in trouble and getting no help from the schools or the social welfare agencies. There is no blue-sky happy ending for these broken people. Manz, unforgettable as Richard Gere's "sister" in Days of Heaven, turns in another raw, powerhouse performance as young Cebe. She's just plain remarkable. The ending is a total surprise and seems quite apt. Don Gordon plays another boozer loser and Raymond Burr shows up as a kindly but ineffective judge (at least I think he was a judge).
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Apr 12, 2018 2:38 pm

wich2 wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:
drednm wrote:Despite its title, Chicken Wagon Family (1939) wasn't very good. .....


I could not help but release a hearty guffaw at your thought that such a title would premise a good picture! :D


Maybe you guys would like the story better when done by Orson Welles and the Mercury company, with guest star Burgess Meredith!

(Alas, it's one of the transcriptions still lost...)


Only if Joseph Cotton played the mule.

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

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 8:21 am

Francis the Talking Mule would have improved things.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 10:55 am

I had read Herman Wouk's novel 50 years ago, so I watched the 1964 film version of Youngblood Hawke with James Franciscus as a Kentucky coal-truck driver and Mildred Dunnock as his mountain mama with a yen for litigation. Very much a story of its time, Youngblood is a writer at night who scores a publishing deal and goes off to a very glitzy, glam, and empty New York City where he is signed up on the spot and becomes a cause celebre. He's whisked off to a snooty party by his editor (Suzanne Pleshette) where he's scooped up by predatory females (Eva Gabor, Genevieve Page) and tangles with an acerbic book critic (Edward Andrews). Suzy also nets him an "attic apartment" with a fab view of the city's skyline. But Page soon moves into into a Sutton Place high rise where he churns out novels that looks like volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica.

He diversified his monies and builds a shopping plaza and his own Trump Tower so he can publish his own books and lose the publishing leeches. While the tycoons (Lee Bowman, Don Porter) fight over him, he's being devoured by Page while Suzy watches. Youngblood ventures into playwrighting and churns out a snappy play for Mary Astor at her Nassau compound. But the devouring women follow him there. How's a fellla to write?

He gets his comeuppance after about 2 hours, but mountain mama saves the day with her various litigations. Supposedly thinly disguised story of Thomas Wolfe. Warren Beatty bailed from the Youngblood role; Richard Chamberlain wanted it. Co-stars Werner Klemperer, John Emery, Mark Miller, Kent Smith, Hayden Rorke, John Dehner, and an annoying blonde airhead Diane Sayer (no not Sawyer).

During the 140 minutes, it's hard to keep count of how many times Fanciscus' Kentucky accent comes and goes.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 12:05 pm

When I was a young brat and not yet a full-blown SOB, I read Richard McKenna’s novel The Sand Pebbles when it was first released in paperback in the mid-1960s. It was long and slow but it gradually absorbed my interest and I finished it with surprised satisfaction. It still sits prominently in the front row of one of my bookshelves (a fact which also surprises me, since I have never singled it out for special placement anywhere in the shelves … it just keeps turning up in the front row).

Robert Wise’s production of The Sand Pebbles (1966) is exactly like the book: long and slow but it gradually absorbed my interest and I finished it with surprised satisfaction.

Steve McQueen, looking really skinny and small, is a gunboat engineer who has some problems with accepted authority, which means it isn’t a far stretch from his standard character. In this case, “accepted authority” includes not only the American marine corps but the Chinese coolie system they and other imperialist powers are using in 1926 China to keep that country divided. Richard Attenborough is the only sailor who befriends McQueen, and he ends up triggering trouble when he falls for a Chinese-American beauty. Candice Bergen, an idealistic schoolteacher, does the same with Stevie.

If Francis Ford Coppola didn’t see and obsess over this film when it first came out, then its many parallels to Apocalypse Now must be charitably described as “coincidental”. Some shots are just too similar: the American gunboat slowly chugging up a river as hundreds of half-naked “natives” stand up in sampans radiating passive hostility, several scenes in which other half-naked “savages” race down to the waterfront to throw firesticks at the passing boat, and even a stone-and-wood compound where a deluded fat bald renegade white American man spews incomprehensible anti-imperialist nonsense until he gets killed. (Oops, spoiler. Sorry!) Both films, of course, used the river-journey metaphor as an allusion to the Vietnam War and why the USA should get the hell out of there, where they weren’t wanted in the first place.

The reason I liked the book, besides McKenna’s good style, is that it told a story, following it steadily through loops and circles and diversions, in a believable way, and it was an uncommon setting. The film, again, is just the same.

By today’s standards, its anti-imperialism message is subdued, though not unarticulated. In 1966, though, it was daring and controversial. For me, it was effective: it made me wonder why on earth any “Great Power” ever bothers to try to conquer and hold any other country. Whether immediately or in the long run, it just never is going to succeed in holding onto it.

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

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 3:19 pm

Harry Beaumont does his usual fine job of directing and gets a sterling performance out of Edmund Lowe (an entertaining fellow, but one occasionally given to offering ham as the main course, instead of as a side) for The Girl on the Front Page (1936); despite some problems with the script, it remains highly watchable throughout.

Gloria Stuart father, a newspaper publisher, dies at his desk, and Gloria and mother Spring Byington return from Europe to find Lowe the managing editor with right of first refusal for purchase of the paper; neither can he be fired, and he doesn't like society dames interfering with his paper. So Miss Stuart puts on a pair of glasses and gets a job on the paper and gets hazed.

That's the first forty minutes, and it proceeds like a rocket, not quite at the screwball level, but offering us some glimpses of the horrors that reporters really see. Then, at the halfway mark, the second plot, about chiseling and blackmailing servants comes into play, and suddenly the actors begin doing things that are totally out of character -- usually because it seems very funny for them to do so. Unfortunately, the script doesn't really cover these shifts, or perhaps editor Philip Cahn nodded, or perhaps the copy I saw was incomplete; there were a couple of jump cuts that led into plot changes.

Even these problems, it's a fine cast and I had a good time sitting through it.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 5:36 pm

Mae Clarke works as a secretary to divorce lawyer John Halliday. When her apartment mate Una Merkel smells gas, Miss Clarke finds that the pregnant woman in the next apartment, who has been abandoned by her husband has tried to kill herself. Miss Clarke smashes the window and summons an ambulance. Doctor Lew Ayres shows up and they soon fall in love, but he's years from being able to marry, and she's seen too much of failed marriage, so they part in The Impatient Virgin (1932).

It's a depressing soap opera for the Depression, and everyone hits the right notes. Director James Whale seems to have been trying for a British stiff-upper-lip attitude among the characters, but it offers an air of anomie and helplessness, as does the decision to have DP Arthur Edeson run a lot of traveling shots right through walls in a god-like and uncaring fashion. Perhaps it's that dispassionate attitude that made this movie less than compelling; if the characters viewed their own lives as machines to be run for optimal living, regardless of how they felt, how can the audience invest anything more than a vague pity in these poor fool?

Bob
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Apr 14, 2018 8:24 am

The Avenging Rider (1943) When a Pal of Tim Holt and Cliff Edwards is killed and bullion from his gold mine stolen, Tim and Cliff are jailed for it. They escape and go in pursuit of the murderers, with only pieces of a torn-up five of Spades as a clue, in a background of a town where a gambling house is facing off some bluenoses who want it shut down.

This is one of the half dozen B Westerns that Holt shot for RKO as placeholders for RKO to keep his series going while he enlisted for the Second World War and won some well-deserved medals.Cliff Edwards offers some card tricks and sings the unlikely "Minnie the Mountain Moocher."

It was directed by Sam Nelson, whose last directorial effort this was. He returned to a career as assistant director, where he worked on such movies as Spartacus and A Member of the Wedding, so it's unlikely he missed the top spot.

It's not the best of the Holt Bs, but like all of them, always watchable.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
New and vigorous impulses seem to me to be at work in it,[the cinema] and doubtless before long it will drop all slavish copying of the stage and strike out along fresh paths. -- Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Apr 14, 2018 10:22 am

Don't Drink the Water (1994) is a funny farce about an American family stranded at the American embassy of an unnamed Communist country after the father (Woody Allen) is caught taking pictures of the wrong thing. Frenzied pace and flying one-liners make up for a comedy stuck in a Cold War time warp. The material could easily have been updated to today's political climate. Anyway, Allen with wife and daughter (Julie Kavner and Mayim Bialik) move into the embassy which is being "manned" by the inept and dopey son (Michael J. Fox) of the ambassador. Also in residence is a loony priest (Dom DeLuise), an assistant underling (Edward Herrmann) who gets clouted and thinks he's the Wright Brothers (both of them), and a touchy chef (Austin Pendleton) who serves meals made up from a Chopped basket. Into this madhouse comes a visiting Emir and his stable of wives. Allen and Kavner are terrific as the New Jersey nudges who move in a take over the embassy. The 1969 film starred Jackie Gleason and Estelle Parsons, and Allen's original Broadway play from 1966 play had starred Lou Jacobi and Kay Medford.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Apr 14, 2018 1:05 pm

boblipton wrote:When a Pal of Tim Holt and Cliff Edwards is killed and bullion from his gold mine stolen, Tim and Cliff are jailed for it. They escape and go in pursuit of the murderers, with only pieces of a torn-up five of Spades as a clue, in a background of a town where a gambling house is facing off some bluenoses who want it shut down.

This is one of the half dozen B Westerns that Holt shot for RKO as placeholders for RKO to keep his series going while he enlisted for the Second World War and won some well-deserved medals.Cliff Edwards offers some card tricks and sings the unlikely "Minnie the Mountain Moocher."

It was directed by Sam Nelson, whose last directorial effort this was. He returned to a career as assistant director, where he worked on such movies as [bSpartacus[/b] and A Member of the Wedding, so it's unlikely he missed the top spot.

It's not the best of the Holt Bs, but like all of them, always watchable.

Bob


You forgot to mention the title, which is presumably THE AVENGING RIDER (1943)
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