What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 3:59 pm

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.
greta


Oh thanks for making me remember this.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 4:07 pm

The Late Edwina Black (1951) (UK original release Obsessed) starring David Farrar and Geraldine Fitzgerald.

Edwina Black has just died, possibly mysterious circumstances. Her death is a disguised blessing for all concerned, particularly her widower Gregory (David Farrar) and her nurse/companion Elizabeth (Geraldine Fitzgerald). No surprise that Gregory and Elizabeth are lovers. The local doctor, due to the unexpected death arranges an autopsy. The result come back revealing that Edwina's body is full of arsenic.

Inspector Martin (a droll Roland Culver) is the determined gumshoe trying to get to the bottom of the case and his beady eyes focus on Gregory and Elizabeth. He sets out to trap them hoping that they will implicate themselves. Another red herring is discovered that the housekeeper Ellen (Jean Cadell) it is revealed has good reason for wishing Edwina ill/dead. Two travel tickets and a guidebook to Italy are found in Elizabeth's possession. How does she explain that away?

Martin proceeds to drop seemingly innocuous but loaded observations into the ears of the three suspects, hoping to provoke doubts and foster mutual suspicion. This works so well that they are soon apparently falling over themselves to incriminate each other. Martin has to try to untangle the stories to come up with a coherent picture of what actually happened.

The film was betrayed by its origin as a stage play. The film was stagey and pretty predictable (I predicted correctly) and ended up being pretty dull. I did love the haunted wind chimes.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 4:13 pm

Flaming Gold (1932) is one of those dramas of two oil wildcatters and one woman with a wicked past -- think Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and Hedy Lamar, and even if the three of them never appeared in anything exactly like that, you've got the idea. As a Pre-Code B movie starring William Boyd, Pat O'Brien & Mae Clarke, it's got some good actors for the era, but its short length and undoubtedly small budget limited the visual fireworks to an oil fire in the background and some good reaction shots by Boyd when he begins to suspect hanky-panky between his business partner, Mr. O'Brien and his wife, Mae Clarke.

I've seen Miss Clarke in most of her high-profile roles during this period. She has never bettered her short dialogue with Pat O'Brien that sets up the final confrontation in the movie.

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

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 4:39 pm

Fresh from watching the epic Silent Film, The Devine Lady (1929) I decided to watch That Hamilton Woman (1941) which most claim is the better of the two stories. In spite of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Oliver playing the leads, I personally found this equally big production to pale when comparing the quality of the story told within the two films.
Alexander Korda's film skips over the beginning that the Silent used to explain the story, and Sir William Hamilton (Alan Mobray) plays the jealous senior citizen husband, a role much different from the Silent. In the Silent, it was Sir Hamilton who explains to Emma that this was to be a loveless marriage he proposed and he supported Emma relationship in every way concerning Admiral Nelson. In addition, only in the Silent Film do we watch Admiral Nelson's refuse to stay at a party hosted for him by the King and Queen of England because they refused to allow the 'true savior of England', Emma Lady Hamilton from attending. A major scene was completely eliminated?
In the Silent film, it's Emma who at first puts a flower over her lips when Nelson attempts to Kiss Emma. In the 1941 picture, It's Nelson's fist that prevents Emma from kissing his lips. Which scene would you prefer? Comparing the carefully done battle scenes at sea, I think the Silent is the better of the two.
If this is the only version you've seen, I encourage you to carefully watch The Devine Lady. If you don't care for Silent Pictures, I should tell you that this is a hybrid film, incorporating voices, singing, the sounds of fighting including swords and cannon fire with only the spoken words illustrated with titles to insure you understand the story.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 5:41 pm

Jim Roots wrote:some kind of architectural marvel


Reminded of the Bob Hope quip that Elke Sommer's parents won the Nobel Prize for Architecture.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 7:57 pm

I have some issues with the set-up of Shadow of the Law (1930). William Powell is convicted of murdering a man by shoving him out a window; it was self-defense, when the man's lover, played by Natalie Moorhead, rushed into Powell's apartment, followed by the man, who attacked her. Powell defends her and, in the struggle, the man goes out the window. The woman flees. However, the woman's apartment is in the same building; the elevator operator had seen the man in her apartment; people had heard them fighting for some time before they wound up in Powell's apartment.

Anyway, Powell winds up in prison, escapes, makes his way down south and reestablishes himself under a different name, and the story continues on its melodramatic way, lent some sense by Powell's typically intelligent air. It's not great, despite a script co-written by by John Farrow.

It's directed by Louis Gasnier. Gasnier may be remembered only for the hideous Reefer Madness, but he had a long and fine career, entering films alongside Max Linder and directing the landmark serial The Perils of Pauline. If this mediocre melodrama points to why his career was on the downslide, perhaps it reflects more a change in taste and attendant carefulness in production than failure on his part.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 04, 2018 9:12 pm

boblipton wrote:I have some issues with the set-up of Against the Law (1930).


That should be Shadow of the Law The somewhat gruesome twist at the end was memorable,
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 5:36 am

FrankFay wrote:
boblipton wrote:I have some issues with the set-up of Against the Law (1930). [/q
That should be Shadow of the Law The somewhat gruesome twist at the end was memorable,


Thanks. Fixed. Yes, it was a great finale, but again, abbreviated in order not to mute its impact.

I think the point I was trying to make is despite the depths to which he would soon sink, Gasnier was capable of directing, even at this stage. When the guards are searching the prisoners is a great sequence.

There are lots of directors who fell down in the talkies. Some managed to struggle back, like Dwan. Some made a partial recovery, like Roy Williams Neill, some shrugged their shoulders and kept on grinding, like Beaudine and some just gave up and retired, like Gasnier.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 6:32 am

Crooked House (2017) is based on a 1949 novel by Agatha Christie and is a deliciously evil story of a dysfunctional rich family of a Greek immigrant (a "near midget") who has been poisoned. Set in an English manor house, we get the usual collection of strange relatives: an American trophy wife from Las Vegas, a drunken actress daughter, a scheming granddaughter, two sons who have failed at everything, another reclusive son with a limp, a young snoop of a granddaughter, and a regal sister-in-law. Into this menagerie comes a young detective who once knew the granddaughter in Cairo. The amily gets weirder, the deeper the detective dig. Quelle surprise! Not a Marple or a Poirot, this story lacks that kind of singularly interesting sleuth, but it makes up for it in other ways. Cast includes Glenn Close as Lady Edith, Max Irons as the sleuth, Gillian Anderson as the drunken actress, Julian Sands and Christian McKay as the older sons, Christina Hendricks as the Vegas dancer, Terence Stamp as a Scotland Yard chief, and Stefanie Martini as the older granddaughter. Julian Fellowes was one of the writers.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 6:51 am

It's well over half a century since I first saw The Dark Corner (1946) and the latest viewing revealed the usual mixture of nice points and blunders. The central mystery is very nicely tangled, and Clifton Webb, William Bendix and Mark Stevens are very good. Lucille Ball is fine with her physical acting, but her line reading of snappy patter is poor. It took me a bit of time to figure out where Stevens' office was, but I finally decided it was probably in Queensborough Plaza.

As usual, Hathaway's direction of the poor and mordant sections are telling.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:51 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 8:03 am

Big Silent Fan wrote:Fresh from watching the epic Silent Film, The Devine Lady (1929) I decided to watch That Hamilton Woman (1941) which most claim is the better of the two stories. In spite of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Oliver playing the leads, I personally found this equally big production to pale when comparing the quality of the story told within the two films.
Alexander Korda's film skips over the beginning that the Silent used to explain the story, and Sir William Hamilton (Alan Mobray) plays the jealous senior citizen husband, a role much different from the Silent. In the Silent, it was Sir Hamilton who explains to Emma that this was to be a loveless marriage he proposed and he supported Emma relationship in every way concerning Admiral Nelson. In addition, only in the Silent Film do we watch Admiral Nelson's refuse to stay at a party hosted for him by the King and Queen of England because they refused to allow the 'true savior of England', Emma Lady Hamilton from attending. A major scene was completely eliminated?
In the Silent film, it's Emma who at first puts a flower over her lips when Nelson attempts to Kiss Emma. In the 1941 picture, It's Nelson's fist that prevents Emma from kissing his lips. Which scene would you prefer? Comparing the carefully done battle scenes at sea, I think the Silent is the better of the two.
If this is the only version you've seen, I encourage you to carefully watch The Devine Lady. If you don't care for Silent Pictures, I should tell you that this is a hybrid film, incorporating voices, singing, the sounds of fighting including swords and cannon fire with only the spoken words illustrated with titles to insure you understand the story.


Not to nitpick, but the title is spelled The Divine Lady.

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

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 8:06 am

Daniel Eagan wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:some kind of architectural marvel


Reminded of the Bob Hope quip that Elke Sommer's parents won the Nobel Prize for Architecture.


Mansfield's are pushed so far apart, they're like turn signals on a 1955 Chevy. If you were walking behind her, you'd be watching them to see which way she's going to turn at an intersection.

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

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 8:49 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Big Silent Fan wrote:Fresh from watching the epic Silent Film, The Devine Lady (1929) I decided to watch That Hamilton Woman (1941) which most claim is the better of the two stories. In spite of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Oliver playing the leads, I personally found this equally big production to pale when comparing the quality of the story told within the two films.
Alexander Korda's film skips over the beginning that the Silent used to explain the story, and Sir William Hamilton (Alan Mobray) plays the jealous senior citizen husband, a role much different from the Silent. In the Silent, it was Sir Hamilton who explains to Emma that this was to be a loveless marriage he proposed and he supported Emma relationship in every way concerning Admiral Nelson. In addition, only in the Silent Film do we watch Admiral Nelson's refuse to stay at a party hosted for him by the King and Queen of England because they refused to allow the 'true savior of England', Emma Lady Hamilton from attending. A major scene was completely eliminated?
In the Silent film, it's Emma who at first puts a flower over her lips when Nelson attempts to Kiss Emma. In the 1941 picture, It's Nelson's fist that prevents Emma from kissing his lips. Which scene would you prefer? Comparing the carefully done battle scenes at sea, I think the Silent is the better of the two.
If this is the only version you've seen, I encourage you to carefully watch The Devine Lady. If you don't care for Silent Pictures, I should tell you that this is a hybrid film, incorporating voices, singing, the sounds of fighting including swords and cannon fire with only the spoken words illustrated with titles to insure you understand the story.


Not to nitpick, but the title is spelled The Divine Lady.

Jim


I thought it was a film about Andy Devine's wife.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 2:06 pm

Backlash (1947) is a lightweight noir from 20th Century Fox's B division -- competent players, no major stars, Eugene Forde directing, with a nicely tangled plot. John Eldredge is dead and the obvious suspects are his wife, Jean Rogers, and his business partner, Robert Shayne. His doctor reports he's been dosed with poison a couple of times, but he has not reported it at Eldredge's insistence, and Shayne owed him a lot of money. But there are some complicating factors and as cops Richard Benedict and Larry Blake follow the clues, the district attorney takes an interest. Is that actually Eldredge's corpse?

Fox would shut down B production the next year -- Sol Wurtzel, the division head, was almost universally despised as a vulgarian, and only the fact that his movies always made money kept him in business. However, the long post-war downturn in movie-going was starting, and Wurtzel would retire in 1948.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 2:44 pm

Rowan ("Mr. Bean") Atkinson changed masks the year before last by playing Georges Simonen's famous detective "Maigret" in two ITV television films. He didn't get too good a critique and I think the reason for that was, that like me, most reviewers probably found it a bit hard to take the adjustment from seeing Mr. Atkinson dive from robust comedy into high drama. Last year another two films were produced and I think that reviewers and I have got used to Mr. Atkinson settling nicely into the role.

The first production in the new series was "Maigret: Night at the Crossroads". (2017) Firstly, one has to acknowledge the lavish production values and the wonderful recreation of 1950's Paris - which was surprisingly obtained by photographing in Budapest. Secondly, one has to take in Mr. Atkinson's portrayal of the detective. His is a darker, more brooding man, not given to much humour, somewhat intellectual and with a softness around his perimeter. For me it seems to work as it adds gravitas to the stories being presented.

In this film, we are taken outside Paris, and involved with diamond smugglers, a strange couple living in a house in the middle of nowhere opposite a motor garage where strange goings on are occuring. There's a murder of course, but a few characters are not who they seem and the audience is lead in a wild goose chase at times as we get to see the famous detective quietly go about his business of solving who did what and why. It's an involved story in a long film, but nowhere does it lag, nor does one get bored with it. There always seems to be something happening - another twist, another line of enquiry.

Having said that I think Mr. Atkinson is more than adequate in his portrayal, the overall product would be nothing unless he was given a competent cast to accompany him, and I am happy to say that he is.

Image

The second film was "Maigret in Montmartre" (2017) and as the title suggests, is set in one of the more seedier parts of Paris. We centre around a rather tatty night club. One of the artistes is murdered, but not before we are introduced to a whole series of interesting characters - an aged Countess who has fallen on bad times, a rather dubious doctor and a rent boy who is just managing to get by. It's a tangled web, and Maigret has very little to go on, all presented in a good story that we find interesting and intriguing as all the parts of the puzzle gradually get put together.

The good thing about these films is that they have been made in the good old time-honoured way, there is no stamp of a wayward director wishing to make a name for himself. The focus is on the story and the characters. This and an ability to throw in a considerable amount of atmosphere together with a fine attention to detail are what makes the films stand out as quality product.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 4:43 pm

boblipton wrote:
FrankFay wrote:
boblipton wrote:I have some issues with the set-up of Against the Law (1930). [/q
That should be Shadow of the Law The somewhat gruesome twist at the end was memorable,


Thanks. Fixed. Yes, it was a great finale, but again, abbreviated in order not to mute its impact.

I think the point I was trying to make is despite the depths to which he would soon sin, Gasnier was capable of directng, evening at this stage. When the guards are searching the prisoners is a great sequence.

There are lots of directors who fell down in the talkies. Some managed to struggle back, like Dwan. Some made a partial recovery, like Roy Williams Neill, some shrugged their shoulders and kept on grinding, like Beaudine and some just gave up and retired, like Gasnier.

Bob


Oh yes- it wasn't a great film but the direction was good solid work.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 5:54 pm

Spoiler alert for this whole review.

I was sure that i had seen The Beast with Five Fingers about 40 years ago, but it wasn't until most of the way through the film that i recognized anything. Directed by Robert Florey, it's an inconsistent film, with some really good parts and other parts that are unmemorable or downright annoying. On the plus side, the sets and cinematography are grand and atmospheric, the music is first class, Victor Francen is in fine form and J. Carrol Naish is ever the reliable professional. Best of all is Peter Lorre in full out loony mode, giving a remarkable performance despite having to wrestle with a disembodied hand. On the minus side are the leads, Robert Alda and Andrea King, who are curiously off-putting. Plus her hair is one of those hideous 40s up-do's which looks like small loaves of bread stuck on her head. The "heirs" are such jerks that one is quite annoyed at their not being killed off. The ending "gag" is also seriously annoying, ending the film on a sour note. I'm of two minds about the hand. The idea is great and the special effects well done. However, actually seeing it crawling around is more funny than scary, especially when it is in attack mode. Kudos the the self-control and professionalism of Peter Lorre for being able to do this with a straight face. It's definitely worth seeing, if only to see Lorre. As for the hand, ymmv.

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

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 6:58 pm

Anne Nagel tells her grandfather, Harry Davenport, that it's time she gets married, but she wants a husband who wants to marry her, not her grandfather's mattress business. So she moves to Chicago and gets a job as a Saleslady (1938). Soon she meets on-the-make Weldon Heyburn, who proposes, but before she can tell him about the family fortune, he starts the usual guff about the man of the family making the money. Soon they are living fairly well, with everything bought on credit, until the crunch comes, and then....

It's a cheap but mildly ambitious effort from Monogram, and pretty good in the acting department, as you might expert with Miss Nagel and Mr. Davenport. Unhappily, while Mr. Heyburn is good looking, he's one of those actors who substitutes an emphatic delivery for emotion, and it grows tiresome after a bit. The result remains watchable through the end, thanks to a fine supporting cast, but rarely more than that.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat May 05, 2018 6:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 7:48 pm

greta de groat wrote:Spoiler alert for this whole review.

I was sure that i had seen The Beast with Five Fingers about 40 years ago, but it wasn't until most of the way through the film that i recognized anything. Directed by Robert Florey, it's an inconsistent film, with some really good parts and other parts that are unmemorable or downright annoying. On the plus side, the sets and cinematography are grand and atmospheric, the music is first class, Victor Francen is in fine form and J. Carrol Naish is ever the reliable professional. Best of all is Peter Lorre in full out loony mode, giving a remarkable performance despite having to wrestle with a disembodied hand. On the minus side are the leads, Robert Alda and Andrea King, who are curiously off-putting. Plus her hair is one of those hideous 40s up-do's which looks like small loaves of bread stuck on her head. The "heirs" are such jerks that one is quite annoyed at their not being killed off. The ending "gag" is also seriously annoying, ending the film on a sour note. I'm of two minds about the hand. The idea is great and the special effects well done. However, actually seeing it crawling around is more funny than scary, especially when it is in attack mode. Kudos the the self-control and professionalism of Peter Lorre for being able to do this with a straight face. It's definitely worth seeing, if only to see Lorre. As for the hand, ymmv.

greta


The movie is memorable for a musical aspect- the playing of the hand is by Ervin Nyiregyhazi - this link gives a capsule of his bizarre story: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/books ... man-t.html Here he is recorded very late in life- like a great mansion dropping to pieces & inhabited by specters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1mwQt4m-Gg
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 10:04 pm

FrankFay wrote:
greta de groat wrote:Spoiler alert for this whole review.

I was sure that i had seen The Beast with Five Fingers about 40 years ago, but it wasn't until most of the way through the film that i recognized anything. Directed by Robert Florey, it's an inconsistent film, with some really good parts and other parts that are unmemorable or downright annoying. On the plus side, the sets and cinematography are grand and atmospheric, the music is first class, Victor Francen is in fine form and J. Carrol Naish is ever the reliable professional. Best of all is Peter Lorre in full out loony mode, giving a remarkable performance despite having to wrestle with a disembodied hand. On the minus side are the leads, Robert Alda and Andrea King, who are curiously off-putting. Plus her hair is one of those hideous 40s up-do's which looks like small loaves of bread stuck on her head. The "heirs" are such jerks that one is quite annoyed at their not being killed off. The ending "gag" is also seriously annoying, ending the film on a sour note. I'm of two minds about the hand. The idea is great and the special effects well done. However, actually seeing it crawling around is more funny than scary, especially when it is in attack mode. Kudos the the self-control and professionalism of Peter Lorre for being able to do this with a straight face. It's definitely worth seeing, if only to see Lorre. As for the hand, ymmv.

greta


The movie is memorable for a musical aspect- the playing of the hand is by Ervin Nyiregyhazi - this link gives a capsule of his bizarre story: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/books ... man-t.html" target="_blank Here he is recorded very late in life- like a great mansion dropping to pieces & inhabited by specters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1mwQt4m-Gg" target="_blank


Thanks for the link, i didn't know about him. Sounds like just the sort of weirdo appropos of this film.

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

PostFri Jan 05, 2018 10:34 pm

Years ago, in my teens, long before I was a food writer, I read a cute mystery novel called Someone Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe. A few years later, my future wife, but not I, watched a movie based on it, called Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, made in 1978 with George Segal and Jacqueline Bisset as the divorced, bickering but also amusing couple, a 70s Nick and Nora, and Robert Morley as the imperious foodie for whom she works, a sort of mix of all the famous food figures of the period— Beard, Claiborne, Cyril Ray, whomever— crossed with Sydney Greenstreet's magazine editor in Christmas in Connecticut. He has received the news from the doctor that he must stop eating. Chefs suddenly start being killed off in the manner of their famous dishes. Is he the chef of these crimes, or is red herring on the menu?

It's a fun movie, lots of bright lines written by Peter Stone, who did the book for 1776; Bisset is lovely, Segal well used for twinkly charm, Morley magnificent as a magnifico, and lots of familiar faces ranging from Jean Reno to Peter Sallis (voice of Wallace in Wallace and Gromet, who just passed away). The picture of the food world is fun for being before the American food revival, so very French, lots of elaborate Bocuse platters and pigeons en croute and brigade kitchens, though some things are eternal-- there's a nice bit by Joss Ackland as the hack running the Buckingham Palace kitchen in the manner of hotel chefs who haven't touched a whisk in 20 years.

Warner Archive put out the disc, but if you are hoping for handsome cinematography of the European locations and sights ranging from restaurants like Lucas Carton and the Tour d'Argent to the fish market in Venice, unfortunately the film itself looks terrible—not just the hazy cinematography of the day, but indistinct, low-contrast, bluish. Few things looked great in theaters in the late 70s, but can it really have looked this poor? And can the sound have been so muddy in the mix, or is somehow this all that survives? I'm not sure, but I wish it better served its worldly pleasures visually, to go with the breeziness of a plot set in the dining stars of the day.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 06, 2018 6:45 am

Caught the current Lady Bird, which features strong performances from a bunch of actors. Saoirse Ronan stars as a clueless teenager in a catholic high school in Sacramento in 2002. Story centers of her coming of age as well as her difficult relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) as she's about to graduate and go off to college. You know your in for a wry comedy when the film is preceded by a quote from Joan Didion: "Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento." Anyway, Roman and Metcalf are excellent. Tracy Letts plays the father, Beanie Feldstein the best friend, Lois Smith (in her final role) a very wise nun, and Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet (accent marks omitted) as the boy friends.

There's a bit about driving in Sacramento, which mirrors one of Didion's novels (I've forgotten which one) where the female protagonist escapes her humdrum life by driving California's highways.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 06, 2018 8:41 am

When Walter Byron claims to be the man Evalyn Knapp was waiting for on a street corner on order to get her out of a charge for prostitution, they may wind up only Slightly Married (1932), but there is the usual ruckus when a rich young man weds a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. The leads have a great deal of chemistry to enliven this poverty row second feature, but the script loses its way about the half-way mark, uncertain what to do when they realize they love each other, but they have their pride -- and Byron won't come into his own money for a couple of years.

Nor is this the sort of material that director Richard Thorpe is particularly good with. There is some real talent in supporting roles, including Jason Robards Sr. as Byron's friend who tries to move in when Byron leaves, and Marie Prevost comes in towards the end to try to buffer the plot and offer some comedy, but after the first twenty minutes, the movie loses steam and never recovers.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 06, 2018 11:36 am

drednm wrote:Caught the current Lady Bird, which features strong performances from a bunch of actors. Saoirse Ronan stars as a clueless teenager in a catholic high school in Sacramento in 2002. Story centers of her coming of age as well as her difficult relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) as she's about to graduate and go off to college. You know your in for a wry comedy when the film is preceded by a quote from Joan Didion: "Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento." Anyway, Roman and Metcalf are excellent. Tracy Letts plays the father, Beanie Feldstein the best friend, Lois Smith (in her final role) a very wise nun, and Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet (accent marks omitted) as the boy friends.

There's a bit about driving in Sacramento, which mirrors one of Didion's novels (I've forgotten which one) where the female protagonist escapes her humdrum life by driving California's highways.


Play It As It Lays?

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

PostSat Jan 06, 2018 11:51 am

Jim Roots wrote:
drednm wrote:Caught the current Lady Bird, which features strong performances from a bunch of actors. Saoirse Ronan stars as a clueless teenager in a catholic high school in Sacramento in 2002. Story centers of her coming of age as well as her difficult relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) as she's about to graduate and go off to college. You know your in for a wry comedy when the film is preceded by a quote from Joan Didion: "Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento." Anyway, Roman and Metcalf are excellent. Tracy Letts plays the father, Beanie Feldstein the best friend, Lois Smith (in her final role) a very wise nun, and Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet (accent marks omitted) as the boy friends.

There's a bit about driving in Sacramento, which mirrors one of Didion's novels (I've forgotten which one) where the female protagonist escapes her humdrum life by driving California's highways.


Play It As It Lays?

Jim


May be.... I've forgotten all my literature.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 pm

Somehow i had never crossed paths with Secrets of the French Police. The title suggested a somewhat salacious detective film, but instead it was a bizarre mish mash of what appeared to be two or three different scripts pasted together as a police procedural. That or something Michael Palin and Terry Jones might have put together as an extended dream sequence, only played straight. Plot elements included Frank Morgan as a debonair police detective, a thief, his girlfriend the flower seller (Gwili Andre) who is kidnapped and hypnotized into thinking she is Anastasia (wearing a remarkably transparent dress, i must say). Her kidnapper (Gregory Ratoff) has a Russian accent and fake chinese makup and an inexplicable sideline in turning people into statues. He has a screaming dead cat in a jar of formaldahyde in his basement. None of this is explained or explored in any way, it's just there. And he has a nifty murder technology--causing cars to run off the road by projecting a picture (with sound) of oncoming traffic onto a fake billboard. This ran only about an hour so maybe there were major cuts? Rochelle Hudson is billed in the middle of the pack but has little more than a walk on. Directed by Eddie Sutherland but i don't think it was supposed to be funny.

Is there a back story to this?

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

PostSun Jan 07, 2018 4:20 am

greta de groat wrote:
Is there a back story to this?

greta


Looking at the credits, this was based on a series of articles in Hearst's "American Weekly" - possibly the script writers grabbed various unrelated juicy bits & slapped them together. Here is an article on the writer- sounds fascinating: https://firebirdfeathers.com/2016/09/12 ... olden-age/
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Jan 07, 2018 8:33 am

Well, before we left for our winter home in the sun (yeah, usually 60° to 70°F, but presently with wind chills in the single digits!! And I left my regular home on a day when the wind chill was -28°...), I decided to buy a region free blu-ray player. Anyway, last night I finally watched a blu-ray - and what a pleasure this one was. I've never before seen "The Old Dark House" (1932) from a print that was light and bright enough to be watchable and even completely comprehensible because of how dim it was. This print looks as if it were made this morning. The film is so enjoyable, besides. It's ostensibly a horror drama with comedy fused in ways that are seamless. But director James Whale (director of "Frankenstein" the year before) has in reality turned out an unwinding lampoon of all the horror tropes playing those years, beginning with silent stereotypes both German and American, things such as "The Bat" (1926) and "The Cat and the Canary" (1927) - lighting and scenery and creepy women in the house - "Frankenstein" (1931) itself - especially make-up - and all the "old-dark-house" films made on the cheap in 1930-1-2. The make-up used for several of the characters in "The Old Dark House" was done by Otto Lederer and Jack Pierce, the latter of whom not only did Boris Karloff here, but had been the make-up man for Karloff in the prior year's "Frankenstein". In many ways, it is the make-up that is the star of "The Old Dark House". It's also hilariously dark to find Elspeth Dudgeon playing the 102 year old - FATHER, Sir Roderick Femm - of Horace, Rebecca, and Saul Femm (played respectively by Ernest Thesiger, Eva Moore, and Brember Wills). What's even more bizarre is to realize that Elspeth Dudgeon was billed in the credits as JOHN Dudgeon! And Horace Femm - Ernest Thesiger - is ever so - well, what he was, gay - his tendencies not overt, but nevertheless a violet among the cacti. And his sister Rebecca - Eva Moore - no shrinking violet, rather an alley rat - steals the show, frankly, with a performance so fun to watch that you nearly wish to cheer her on. She's just so awful she's funny. And the stars: well, where to begin: there's Raymond Massey, there's Melvyn Douglas, there's Gloria Stuart (remember the 88-year-old old lady in "Titanic"; well, she also was in "The Invisible Man" in 1933), there's Lilian Bond, there's Charles Laughton (best actor in the lot!), and, of course, Boris Karloff - who doesn't utter a word(!), and who ACTS with hands and eyes and body speech that is a wonder to behold, matching Laughton for laurels, but whose make-up is as good as anything he ever had, including "Frankenstein" or "The Mummy". Rather than give away the plot, read the title and figure it all out. This new print is glorious. The film is finally fun to watch and not have to wonder just what happened because you couldn't quite make it out in the dark. Things may have been done in the dark (in the movie), but it was shot beautifully by Arthur Edeson, and there are shadows enough to reach around the world, let alone the corner in the corner. Oh, and the mirror shots about half-way through...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Jan 07, 2018 8:38 am

greta de groat wrote:Somehow i had never crossed paths with Secrets of the French Police. The title suggested a somewhat salacious detective film, but instead it was a bizarre mish mash of what appeared to be two or three different scripts pasted together as a police procedural. That or something Michael Palin and Terry Jones might have put together as an extended dream sequence, only played straight. Plot elements included Frank Morgan as a debonair police detective, a thief, his girlfriend the flower seller (Gwili Andre) who is kidnapped and hypnotized into thinking she is Anastasia (wearing a remarkably transparent dress, i must say). Her kidnapper (Gregory Ratoff) has a Russian accent and fake chinese makup and an inexplicable sideline in turning people into statues. He has a screaming dead cat in a jar of formaldahyde in his basement. None of this is explained or explored in any way, it's just there. And he has a nifty murder technology--causing cars to run off the road by projecting a picture (with sound) of oncoming traffic onto a fake billboard. This ran only about an hour so maybe there were major cuts? Rochelle Hudson is billed in the middle of the pack but has little more than a walk on. Directed by Eddie Sutherland but i don't think it was supposed to be funny.

Is there a back story to this?

greta


Greta,
This film appeared on Volume 10 of the "Forbidden Hollywood" DVD series. I had watched it a couple of times before, but it had been a long time until this DVD. I remember first seeing it on TV back about 1972 in Indianapolis and actually liking it; but upon seeing it again on the DVD I found it confounding. What is amazing to me is that the original release print is supposedly only 58 minutes long, so... I am with you as far as being left as though in some cloud that needs to clear.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun Jan 07, 2018 8:57 am

Priscilla Dean married District Attorney Robert Elliott months after his first wife died giving birth. That son, Eddie Nugent, thinks she is his mother. When her lover, Robert Ellis, tells her he wants to end the affair, she shoots him. Nugent walks in moments later, tells her to leave, and is trying to make it appear that a burglar shot Keene, when butler George Cheseboro walks in and calls the police. Eddie refuses to peach on his mother and is condemned to a life Behind Stone Walls (1932). Meanwhile, Cheseboro discovers letters Miss Dean has written to Keene....

There are a few plot holes in this Poverty Row shorty, but the story is basically sound, and visually well directed by Frank Strayer. The same cannot be said about the line readings. Miss Dean is particularly wooden in her early scenes, everyone is wooden and Cheseboro's sides seem to have been punctuated at random. It pretty much put paid to Miss Dean's attempted comeback. She had been off the screen since 1927, before making three talkies in 1931 and 1932; this was the third. I'm not sure how she spent the rest of her life, but she lived well into her 90s. I hope they were good years.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat May 05, 2018 6:52 am, edited 3 times in total.
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