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)

PostMon Jan 15, 2018 3:58 pm

Didn't any of you guys bother to read the review of 1941 that I posted in the 2017 thread only 3 or so months ago?
Jim


But of course! It was overpowering. So much so, that what you are witnessing is delayed reaction...
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jan 15, 2018 7:25 pm

I shared with Christopher Robin that wonderful world that was inhabited by Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and Heffalunp and am still inclined towards referring to elephants as "Heffalumps". Perhaps that I am now (nearly) an adult, I can have all that world slightly shattered by learning of how Christopher Robin grew up and what his parents were really like.

A.A. Milne saw some pretty frightful action during the Great War and it left its mark indelibly etched. He was prone to nightmares and "attacks" during the day. For a long time he was fairly remote from his son Christopher Robin, until such time as the boy - who was appreciative of what his father was going through - led him into his world. Thus the father, who was a playright and poet, managed to write two novels concerning the toy animals Chistopher Robin had in his collection. They took off with the a public who were also trying to put the trials and tribulations of war behind them.

The mother was of that breed who considered children an irritation that one went through mainly because it was the done thing and an accepted hazard one put up with in marriage. It was such an interuption to one's social life. She was rather remote from poor Christopher Robin and thought nothing of leaving home in order to have a spot of fun in town - leaving him in the hands of his Nanny.

"Goodbye Christopher Robin" (2017) documents what Christopher Robin had to put up with whilst he was growing up. Yes, he did find that his father became closer to him through the stories, but he was terribly exploited in order to sell the books.

The film is a biography of the family and gives a good background to everything. At the same time it looks lovingly upon the stories and how much enjoyment they have given to the world. We extend from the Great War through to 1940 when Christopher Robin is all growed up and off to war himself. He resents his past and this did stay with him for the rest of his life.

This is a nice film that is mostly warm-hearted, nostalgic and sentimental. A.A. Milne is portrayed by Domhnall Gleeson who doesn't look too unlike him. Christopher Robin is portrayed as a young lad by Will Tilston - who one can't help but like - and as a young man by Alex Lawther.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jan 15, 2018 8:40 pm

A very funny Brit film, Kill or Cure (1962) on YT has Terry-Thomas as a bungling private detective who gets called to a health farm to investigate a death. But the deaths keep happening. He teams up with a staff member (Eric Sykes) to find out who the killer is. Co-stars include Dennis Price as the doctor, Lionel Jeffries as the inspector, Moira Redmond as the secretary, Katya Douglas as a nurse, and Ronnie Barker, Patricia Hayes, Hazel Terry, Peter Butterworth, Derren Nesbitt, and the wonderful Anna Russell in her only feature film appearance. Russell made a concert and recording career out of spoofing Wagner's 20-hour Ring Cycle in 30 minutes. I remember these recordings fondly.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon Jan 15, 2018 8:56 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote: But the miniature work and special effects are amazing for their day


Yes- that amusement park miniature is a thing of beauty
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 16, 2018 5:39 am

Eli Wallach steals horses from the army's herds. The army steals horses from everyone else. David Opatoshu sells horses he knows he doesn't have so his sister can have a dowry and make a good marriage; and hot revolutionary Jane Birkin wears a white lace dress to walk to a secret meeting in a muddy field -- I suppose the servants will clean it. Abraham Polonsky's Romance of a Horsethief (1971) doesn't seem to me a story so much as a slice of life, and its contradictory absurdities less funny than the sort of disorganized thinking that comes with the Us-Against-Them mentality, reflected in the set design and trying to sneak a stolen horse out of a brothel by having Lainie Kazan expose her decolletage to Yul Brynner.

This absurd and old-fashioned comedy about Cossacks and Jews might have been a minor success if played by the Yiddisher Bund in Warsaw in 1935 ( my grandfather's second wife would have had fun in the Lainie Kazan role), or on 2nd Avenue in New York. By 1971, if the audience wanted to see something about Jews in Tsarist Russia, they could see Fiddler on the Roof, which was a lot more approachable

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

PostTue Jan 16, 2018 7:23 am

drednm wrote:A very funny Brit film, Kill or Cure (1962) on YT has Terry-Thomas, Eric Sykes, Dennis Price as the doctor, Lionel Jeffries as the inspector, Moira Redmond as the secretary, Katya Douglas as a nurse, and Ronnie Barker, Patricia Hayes, Hazel Terry, Peter Butterworth, Derren Nesbitt, and the wonderful Anna Russell in her only feature film appearance.

As a fan of British comedy, that's what I'd call a dream cast.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue Jan 16, 2018 6:02 pm

Looking at Naruse and Ozu movies, you get a clear idea of the relaxed yet focused way a Japanese family drama should be set up. Kon Ichikawa violates all those conceptions in Watashi Wa Nisai (Being Two Isn't Easy (1962)), with his parents all at sea and quarreling and his grandmother loving and autocratic, kind and cruel. The cinematic world of Naruse and Ozu had rules, and woe betide the mortal who did not bend before them, and stay bent. In Ichikawa's world -- in this movie, at any rate -- there are no rules, just chaos and trying to snatch some sense and happiness out of being the parent of a toddler --- or, indeed, of being a toddler.

That's in the world world of this movie. Ichikawa is certainly much more sentimental than his elder film makers, with his moon that becomes a cartoon banana and then a boat. I'm not as fond of it, but I wouldn't argue with you if you asserted it was a matter of taste.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 17, 2018 5:11 am

I must give very high marks to 1 2005 miniseries of Dickens' Bleak House, despite it's odd structure of 30-minutes episodes. Probably my favorite Dickens novel, I vaguely remember writing a paper on t in grad school, the story skewers England's legal system while presenting a good murder mystery. And being a Dickens, story, it's full of oddball characters. And being a BBC production, it's full of terrific actors. Chief among them are Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock and Anna Maxwell Martin as Esther. Charles Dance makes for a delightfully evil Tulkinghorn, but the show is nearly stolen by Phil Davis as Smallweed. I also much liked Burn Gorman as Mr. Guppy. Others in the huge cast were Pauline Collins, Denis Lawson, Alun Armstrong, Patrick Kennedy, Anne Reid, Carey Mulligan, Nathaniel Parker, Timothy West, and Hugo Speer. This production was nominated for tons of awards. Well done on all levels.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 17, 2018 11:09 am

Thanks to a Fathom Events showing, Margaret and I were able to go yesterday to see a 70th anniversary showing of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) with Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett, Barton MacLane, John Huston, Alfonso Bedoya, and others. The picture was absolutely pristine and looked as if we were watching fresh rushes! I'd forgotten how really great the cinematography was for this film. Ted D. McCord was in charge of all that, and the film was made much in Tampico, Mexico and surrounding areas and in California. When the budget ran over $3,000,000 the production was halted in Mexico and brought back to America. I've seen this film several times before, but I can now say first hand that seeing it on the big screen is a far more satisfying experience for feeling the grit of the characters and their situations. Margaret said that she'd never remembered having seen the film all the way through in one continuous viewing. She was extremely impressed with the film, especially Humphrey Bogart's performance. As usual, so was I. This story of greed never gets old. We're planning on going to the February 21st showing of "The Philadelphia Story" (1940), too. As many times as we've seen it together, we possibly could quote it, but it'll be a first for us seeing it on the large theater screen.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed Jan 17, 2018 1:26 pm

Yet another British second feature, INNOCENT MEETING (1958) could be described as director Godfrey Grayson's LE JOUR SE LEVE, in that there are a few plot similarities.

The film opens with young tearaway Sean Lynch holding up a small shop and making a total mess of things. Within a twinkling he is on the run from several cop cars and is holed up in his seedy flat. While the police are waiting reinforcements the film goes back a year to when he is put on probation (Ian Fleming as the kindly officer) and finds himself falling for classical music-lover Beth Rogan, who is more than a few notches socially above him. Her father (Raymond Huntley) gives him a start as a textile designer in his factory and all seems to be going well. Unfortunately Huntley's wallet goes missing (he has actually left it at home) and when he calls the police in, Lynch's record is revealed and he is unfairly dismissed. Desperate to marry the girl, he sees only one way out...

The middle part of INNOCENT MEETING is rather protracted and unconvincing at times, but the opening and closing sections are quite watchable for this kind of thing. Yet another from the Danzigers who knew the market they were aiming at, but with a bit more thoughtfulness in the content than usual. And as is usual, the location work is a useful record of a bygone England.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostThu Jan 18, 2018 1:31 pm

An early film from cult director Samuel Fuller, the intriguing-sounding THE BARON OF ARIZONA (1950) was based on the life of a real-life swindler, James Addison Reavis, who, according to the film, created an elaborate series of forgeries, with great skill, patience and expense in order to settle false land rights onto a young girl, whom he marries in order to bring his scheme to fruition.

Vincent Price stars as the hard-working, but thoroughly unscrupulous fellow, who finds he has bitten off more than he can chew when the proper landowners decide not to meet his demands. The first section is remarkable in its exposition of the fellow's scheme, which includes becoming a member for three years of a monastic order where various documents are being kept. He is also a bit of a lady-killer, showing no scruples when he proposes to Sofia (Ellen Drew) to further his plot.

Unusually talky for a Fuller film, THE BARON OF ARIZONA is nonetheless an absorbing piece of storytelling and shows pleasing detail, although some horrid process shots let the film down in a couple of places. The film is told in flashback, by Reed Hadley, playing the forgery expert* who sought to expose Reavis, on the occasion of Arizona's achieving statehood in 1912. Oddly, one gets the feeling that Reavis is supposed to have died, when he lived another two years. Nicely put together, and with a fine performance from Price, the film has been preserved by the Museum of Modern Art.

*I've looked up John Griff, and the title of the book featured in the film and can find nothing so far, so this may be a fabrication as well!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 8:51 am

The first sound version of Hindle Wakes (1931) is more concerned with the issues of the play than the famous visual extravaganza that the 1927 silent version directed by Maurice Elvey was. Nonetheless, it is carefully and beautifully shot by Mutz Greenbaum, with much side-lighting to make it all look modern and dramatic, and the credits are offered as woven on a loom. There are many wild shots to permit a moving camera, and a rapid pace of cutting when people are speaking to each other. Nor, despite the fact that the sound on the copy I viewed was not very good, was the foley work neglected. All in all, it was a topnotch effort from Victor Saville (who has sometimes been credited with the flair for Elvey's silent version; Saville was credited as a writer), even if the ending has been changed to soften the consequences for the parties involved.

I have seen four or five versions of this play, and find this one strangely unfocused. Norman McKinnel's Nat Jefcote is rote, rather than moral, and John Stuart's Alan Jefcote... well, he's just an ass. Belle Chrystall, as the center of this storm, is fine, but it's never clear that, despite her big speech at the end, she's just a woman who has played her hand as well as she could, seen she is going to lose, and dropped out before she lost even more. Her willingness to get on with her life may be sensible, but compared with other versions of this story about how changing times and the rising ability of women to support themselves by their own efforts may change their choices, does it make it admirable?

In the end, Hindle Wakes remains a drama of its own time and place, shocking and, indeed important for that moment. I have my doubts about its universality. Neither does this version help sustain it.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 9:23 am

boblipton wrote:In the end, Hindle Wakes remains a drama of its own time and place, shocking and, indeed important for that moment. I have my doubts about its universality. Neither does this version help sustain it.

I watched this back in 2013, reviewed it here just a bit, but, looking back, came to the same conclusions nearly exactly. I still think the silent version is better, but this one is interesting historically. Indeed, it's movies like this one that I think should be shown in Social Studies type classes in high school to inform the historicity of particular decades. This IS that kind of film, although I think it informs of the 1920's, rather than the '30's, where The Great Depression, even in England, changed the social structures of business in many ways.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 9:29 am

The Dunkirk-O-Rama continues with a homefront side of the story in Their Finest (2017), an appealing comic drama about the effort to make a film that will lift everyone's spirits after the evacuation from France. Gemma Arterton (who I mostly remembered from playing "Strawberry Fields" in the 007 entry Quantum of Solace, although she's done better work elsewhere) is a young Welsh woman who gets a job adding the woman's perspective to propaganda films, eventually getting tagged to the screenwriting team on a film about two plucky Southend sisters who took their father's boat to assist at Dunkirk. The film is a loving ode to the heyday of 1940s British filmmaking, with a Hungarian studio executive seemingly inspired by Korda and the great Bill Nighy as a faded matinee idol resisting his descent into character roles, plus not enough scenes of Richard E. Grant as a put-upon ministry of propaganda official.

According to IMDb, the story is loosely based on the life of Ealing Studios screenwriter Diana Morgan (also Welsh) who worked on the superb Went the Day Well, but often went uncredited.

The scenes of the cast splashing around in a tank at Pinewood reminded of my Middlesex-born father-in-law's tale of visiting the studio back in 1957 with some fellow students during the filming of the Charles Crichton action drama Floods of Fear, where he got a kiss on the forehead from star Anne Heywood (Violent Playground, The Fox) and saw fading matinee idol Howard Keel being rather cranky.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 2:18 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:
boblipton wrote:In the end, Hindle Wakes remains a drama of its own time and place, shocking and, indeed important for that moment. I have my doubts about its universality. Neither does this version help sustain it.

I watched this back in 2013, reviewed it here just a bit, but, looking back, came to the same conclusions nearly exactly. I still think the silent version is better, but this one is interesting historically. Indeed, it's movies like this one that I think should be shown in Social Studies type classes in high school to inform the historicity of particular decades. This IS that kind of film, although I think it informs of the 1920's, rather than the '30's, where The Great Depression, even in England, changed the social structures of business in many ways.


Have either of you seen Arthur Crabtree's filming of a couple of decades later, which struck me and my late partner as being rather better than its reputation would suggest. And is the first version (1918) lying around anywhere?
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 3:52 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:
boblipton wrote:In the end, Hindle Wakes remains a drama of its own time and place, shocking and, indeed important for that moment. I have my doubts about its universality. Neither does this version help sustain it.

I watched this back in 2013, reviewed it here just a bit, but, looking back, came to the same conclusions nearly exactly. I still think the silent version is better, but this one is interesting historically. Indeed, it's movies like this one that I think should be shown in Social Studies type classes in high school to inform the historicity of particular decades. This IS that kind of film, although I think it informs of the 1920's, rather than the '30's, where The Great Depression, even in England, changed the social structures of business in many ways.


Have either of you seen Arthur Crabtree's filming of a couple of decades later, which struck me and my late partner as being rather better than its reputation would suggest. And is the first version (1918) lying around anywhere?

No, I've not seen the 1952 version. I didn't even realize that there was a later version. I would certainly wish, though, that the 1918 version might still be around. Not only was it also directed by Maurice Elvey, as was the 1927 version, but it has Dolly Tree in it. She went on to design all the clothes worn by Mae West. Interesting lady, Dolly Tree.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 4:03 pm

One can be excused for thinking that Gordon Harker appeared in every British film made in the 1930's. How many times have I put one on only to be confronted by his bonce popping up? Here he was again in a nice little comedy produced by Herbert Wilcox in 1937 called "Millions".

The story is that Harker is a self-made millionaire businessman, his 'refained' accent barely disguising his Cockney origins. He has a secretary (Queenie Leonard) what speaks like him. He is in constant rivalry with another businessman (Frank Pettingell). To boot he has a wastral son (Richard Hearne) who invents schemes whereby he is employed doing something or other in order to receive his allowance. He is assisted by his butler Parsons (Jack Hobbs). Their latest idea for the job is that of a composer of music although the dimwit is incapable of writing or playing a note. To complicate matters further, said son is in love with his father's business rival's daughter (Jane Carr).

The plot is rather similar to other mix-ups that have appeared on the screen in one guise or another, but this one is virtually carried alone by Harker who, with his vast experience gained over appearing in every British film of the period, shows a certain flair for comedy apart from the fact that he is attempting to speak with marbles in his mouth. Richard Hearne is making a very early appearance and gets a chance in one scene to do a bit of acrobatics and in another his "Mr. Pastry" character makes a vague appearance.

One feels that the film doesn't stick to the one theme at times as we branch off in different tracks that seem to have no purpose whatsoever - like the Turkish Baths sequence. Otherwise it does provide the occasional smirk.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 4:16 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:
boblipton wrote:In the end, Hindle Wakes remains a drama of its own time and place, shocking and, indeed important for that moment. I have my doubts about its universality. Neither does this version help sustain it.

I watched this back in 2013, reviewed it here just a bit, but, looking back, came to the same conclusions nearly exactly. I still think the silent version is better, but this one is interesting historically. Indeed, it's movies like this one that I think should be shown in Social Studies type classes in high school to inform the historicity of particular decades. This IS that kind of film, although I think it informs of the 1920's, rather than the '30's, where The Great Depression, even in England, changed the social structures of business in many ways.


Have either of you seen Arthur Crabtree's filming of a couple of decades later, which struck me and my late partner as being rather better than its reputation would suggest. And is the first version (1918) lying around anywhere?


Nope. An off-off Broadway version in the late 1970s. The 1927 silent. A recorded one with Donald Pleasance and I think one other live.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 4:41 pm

"Night Flight" (1933) is not for audiences not au fait with the era. This film is set in the days of intrepid aviators who went up in open cockpits on bi-planes strung together for the most part with paper and wire, far-removed from today's world where aeroplanes now fly themselves by virtue of a computer. Wireless too was in its early days, static and the weather causing havoc with reception.

We open with a scene in a hospital in Santiago, Chile. A young boy is suffering from Infantile Paralysis and urgently needs serum. Arrangements are made for it to be sent by aeroplane from Rio de Janiero.

We then are taken to the operations centre of an airmail company in Buenos Aires who are just in the throes of launching flying at night in order to tighten schedules and so gain contracts. John Barrymore is the ruthless head of the outfit where maintaining schedules and punctuality are more important to him than his airmen.

I would presume that in the early days of aviation, pilots were able to follow the railway lines. At night, they wouldn't be able to see them and so wouldn't know where the blazes they were. These were brave men indeed who were prepared to take the risk of flying almost blind and relying on the very basic of instruments in order to try and navigate. As we are in South America there were other hazards, such as the Andes Mountains, over which they could not fly. Instead they had to go around them or through narrow passes.

Clark Gable is one the pilots. It is not a very large role for most of the time he is suited up in the cockpit of an aeroplane - forced to write down messages to his wireless operator (Leslie Fenton) as it would be impossible to speak to him due to the noise. Another of the pilots is Robert Montgomery who gets a bit of a bigger role and actually plays with other cast members.

Lionel Barrymore is an inspector who has something to do with management although it isn't made abundantly clear exactly what his role is. Due to the fact that he is constantly suffering from a skin allergy, his scratching himself manages to account for Lionel Barrymore's overuse of mannerisms on occasions.

Helen Hayes plays the wife of one of the pilots - who ends up going through a storm and is thought lost. She has the best part, able to convey the necessary for someone faced with the prospect of losing her man. Myrna Loy is in a lesser role, also as a pilot's wife.

The picture is very competantly directed by Clarence Brown who relies more on the photographical aspect rather than dialogue. Although one can tell when rear projection is used, it is done sparingly. Model photography is well done and the aerial shots have impact. There are also some very pleasing artistic shots of clouds and mountain scenery together with a number of side wipe scene changes. To add to the stark realsim, none of the male stars appear to be wearing make-up, thus bringing out the grittyness.

Put together with a complimentary musical score by Herbert Stothart and a wonderful main title sequence where a sign-writing aeroplane is seen doing the final "T" on "Night Flight". The cast is introduced a la the Warner Bros., via a series of vignettes. All in all we have a film that is a good story, a good drama and at times, quite exciting.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 5:01 pm

Another of the girl trying to get into pictures stories is "What Price Hollywood" put out by R.K.O. - Pathe in 1932. It stars Constance Bennett as a young waitress plying her trade at the "Brown Derby" where she is "discovered" by film director Lowell Sherman. Soon she is a big star and marries a wealthy polo playboy (Neil Hamilton) and makes wonderful pictures for studio chief Gregory Ratoff.

What would be a rather run of the mill picture save for the glamouressness of Ms. Bennett is the performance put in by Mr. Sherman. He plays the role of a film director who is in a constant state of inebriation. He could have gone completely overboard, but he manages to display a light touch with which he imbues sardonic wit and gracious charm. As we move further along into the picture the character takes on darker overtones and he subtly makes the transition from light comedy to serious drama as his alcoholism worsens. There are not too many who could have brought all of this off so beautifully and it is such a pity that Mr. Sherman was taken from us only two years after this picture at a relatively early age due to pneumonia.

Directed by George Cukor, the film is an affectionate look at old time Hollywood and passes ninety minutes pleasingly.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 5:21 pm

"Playing Around" (1930) was a vehicle of First National - Vitaphone Pictures which showed off all of Alice White's talents admirably. She acts as well as sings. She is an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary apartment with her ordinary father (Richard Carlyle). To cap it off, she has a very ordinary boyfriend (William Bakewell). So it is no wonder she finds Chester Morris an attractive proposition. She meets him when boyfriend takes her to a night club he can't afford. They are just about to leave when he finds he can't afford anything on the menu - that is when she decides to enter a "nice legs" competition the club is holding - she wins and is noticed by Chester. Soon she is gallivanting around in his roadster being taken to "nice places".

Up until this time we are all being taken for a ride, for there is something sinister about Chester - and he does something really awful. In the end the hapless boyfriend comes good and all live happily every after - 'cept Chester.

I like the way the film opens with pirates on the screen. What is this film all about? Then we pan back and we find that we are seeing a stage act inside a night club. Very effective. Alice White gets to sing "You Learn About Love Every Day." There also two other musical numbers - "You're My Captain Kidd" and "That's the Lowdown on the Lowdown." Plus there's a reprise by a male vocalist of "You Learn About Love Every Day." as Exit music after "The End" title.

It's a typical moralistic story of the period but is ably photographed and directed. It has excellent fluidity for a film of the period and is still quite watchable.
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 7:51 pm

Donald Binks wrote:"Playing Around" (1930) was a vehicle of First National - Vitaphone Pictures which showed off all of Alice White's talents admirably. She acts as well as sings. She is an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary apartment with her ordinary father (Richard Carlyle). To cap it off, she has a very ordinary boyfriend (William Bakewell). So it is no wonder she finds Chester Morris an attractive proposition. She meets him when boyfriend takes her to a night club he can't afford. They are just about to leave when he finds he can't afford anything on the menu - that is when she decides to enter a "nice legs" competition the club is holding - she wins and is noticed by Chester. Soon she is gallivanting around in his roadster being taken to "nice places".

Up until this time we are all being taken for a ride, for there is something sinister about Chester - and he does something really awful. In the end the hapless boyfriend comes good and all live happily every after - 'cept Chester.

I like the way the film opens with pirates on the screen. What is this film all about? Then we pan back and we find that we are seeing a stage act inside a night club. Very effective. Alice White gets to sing "You Learn About Love Every Day." There also two other musical numbers - "You're My Captain Kidd" and "That's the Lowdown on the Lowdown." Plus there's a reprise by a male vocalist of "You Learn About Love Every Day." as Exit music after "The End" title.

It's a typical moralistic story of the period but is ably photographed and directed. It has excellent fluidity for a film of the period and is still quite watchable.


Alice White was never going to do Shakespeare, but she was perfect for what she did do.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostFri Jan 19, 2018 8:03 pm

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) is a wow. It offers award-worthy performances by Frances McDormand as a tough woman who wants some answers, and Sam Rockwell as a vicious cop. The films swerves in unexpected ways and keeps the viewer wondering what'll happen next. It may have swerved in the wrong direction a few times, but for the most part, it's a terrific film ... and there are no superheroes or boring CGI crap. I wasn't crazy about the casting of Abbie Cornish (a Welsh-born actress), but Woody Harrelson is quite good as the police chief. Then there's Lucas Hedges (again) as the son, Peter Dinklage, Zeljko Ivanek (I thought it was Richard Jenkins), Sandy Martin as the old mama, John Hawkes, and some actors unknown to me. McDormand gets to spew a few speeches. The one aimed at the sanctimonious priest is just about perfect. Not always pleasant, but a must-see.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 20, 2018 5:47 am

drednm wrote:Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) is a wow. It offers award-worthy performances by Frances McDormand as a tough woman who wants some answers, and Sam Rockwell as a vicious cop. The films swerves in unexpected ways and keeps the viewer wondering what'll happen next. It may have swerved in the wrong direction a few times, but for the most part, it's a terrific film ... and there are no superheroes or boring CGI crap. I wasn't crazy about the casting of Abbie Cornish (a Welsh-born actress), but Woody Harrelson is quite good as the police chief. Then there's Lucas Hedges (again) as the son, Peter Dinklage, Zeljko Ivanek (I thought it was Richard Jenkins), Sandy Martin as the old mama, John Hawkes, and some actors unknown to me. McDormand gets to spew a few speeches. The one aimed at the sanctimonious priest is just about perfect. Not always pleasant, but a must-see.


I reviewed this in the 2017 thread and agree completely. McDormand is a treasure of the profession.

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

PostSat Jan 20, 2018 3:36 pm

Tell me that Alice Faye is going to be in a picture and I'll be sure to watch it. So saying is how I came by "The Great American Broadcast" (1941). In it she is partnered with Jack Oakie and John Payne. The former I sometimes find irritating and the latter never seemed to rate over the ordinary. Anyway a beefy Oakie has invented the wireless and it takes Payne to tell him how to sell it.

They start off with a rather primitive set up, broadcasting from the roof of a building in order to gain the height neeeded for an aerial. It's pouring rain though - but the show must go on. Ms. Faye is of course the vocal talent. She is also Oakie's fiancee but things are developing between her and Payne.

One thing leads to another - both with the wireless and Ms. Faye's affections. It isn't too long before Oakie is running a posh broadcasting station.... Perhaps at this point I should also add in Cesar Romero, a rich buddy of Payne who is doing all the financing and also eying off Ms. Faye. Well, Ms. Faye decides to wed Payne and there is a falling out between him and the other two. This falling out eventually causes Payne to leave for South America. He did have a vision though of one day being able to broadcast coast to coast and Oakie eventually stumbles on a way to do it - via the long distance telephone lines. So, in the end we see the first national hook-up and Oakie getting Payne back so that everything can end happily.

This is the story of how broadcasting started - Hollywood style, and in between all the wandering away from the actual; we do get some idea of how it all started.

Jack Oakie is somehwat muted down which makes him less irritating. Ms Faye gets to sing and generally look presentable and all the others hang around doing whatever it is they need to do in order to make an interesting and entertaining picture. Also of interest are the support acts which are "broadcast" - such as "The Ink Spots", the madcap Wiere Brothers and a dance act (on the wireless?) - the Nicholas Brothers.
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 20, 2018 3:59 pm

There has been an excellent series on British TV not all that long back dramatising the "Miss Marple" series of books written by Agatha Christie - but before all that there were a series of pictures where the glorious Dame Margaret Rutherford had a go at it. I haven't seen any of them in a while and last night was a good opportunity to bung one on. Not a bad idea seeing the alternatives on broadcast television were the tennis or the cricket. Next they will have us watching paint dry.

"Murder She Said" (1961) was probably only meant to be on the first half of a programme and has been given a rather light treatment. A treat in the cast is James Robertson Justice being his usual disagreeable self. Also in the cast is Australian actor Charles ("Bud") Tingwell. Stringer Davis, Dame Margaret's husband is in the picture as well as a few familiar faces such as Thorley Waters, Joan Hickson (who played the first "Miss Marple" in the TV series of which I spoke), Peter Butterworth and Richard Briers.

It's a run of the mill murder mystery, with a touch of light-heartedness. There is a young boy in it who is frightfully precocious and I am sure that many in an audience would share my thought that a good kick in the backside would not have gone astray. Without Dame Margaret and Mr. Justice "doing their thing" it would have been totally bland.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 20, 2018 4:10 pm

"Tschick" ("Goodbye Berlin") (2016) takes it's name from the nickname of an adolescent Russian student (Anand Batbileg) at a school in Germany. He makes friends with another student (Tristan Göbel) and it is from this other student's viewpoint that the narrative evolves. Both of them seem to have issues with their parents and so during a term break, the Russian boy steals a car and they attempt to go to Wallachia in it. There are adventures along the way.

What this film shows me is that there are a lot of children out there who need parental support, love and direction. In that way they may perhaps not become juvenile delinquents as that is the only term that can be used to describe the two culprits in this picture. It is not a view of the world I particularly want to see, but I will occasionally watch a picture such as this so as I may be enlightened on what is happening out there in the real world.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 20, 2018 4:17 pm

Occasionally I will put on a picture thinking it is about something and then find that it is nothing of the kind. "Miss Sloane" (2016) is one such picture. I tried to make head or tail of it, but even watching it right to the end, I am still no wiser as to what it was really all about. I can only say that this picture is one that will only appeal to those Americans who are completely au fait with their political system and understand how all this lobbying business works - I feel, with some degree of uncertainty, that this is what this picture is essentially about. So saying, I could not say I enjoyed looking at it and therefore will not say anything more.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 20, 2018 4:54 pm

All races now seem to be featured players in motion pictures - and playing parts that would not once have been thought possible. There have been so many prejudices in place and it is good to see a film showing how these obnoxious practices have been broken down. "Hidden Figures" (2016) portrays the story of three African-American women who worked for the N.A.S.A. space programme as human computers back in the 1960's when John Glenn was about to be launched into space in a rocketship. They are highly educated, smart, no nonsense woman thankfully with a sense of humour. How they put up with the treatment they are given one does not know - but above all they maintain their dignity. An example of this is where one of them hasn't a lavatory she can use available in the building in which she is working. She has to walk or run half a mile or so to another building when nature calls. A situation impossible to imagine.

The boss (Kevin Costner) of the programme is a man married to his work and he has little time for people who cannot offer him their services 25 hours a day, 9 days a week. In the beginning he is oblivious to any problems that one of the girls (Taraji P. Henson) sent to him has, but as she impresses him more and more with her brilliance, he warms to her and does something to make a start on turning around prejudices. His assistant (Jim Parsons) is a prig of a person who tries over and over to keep the woman in her place. In the end he thankfully gets his come uppance.

Another of the women (Octavia Spencer) has been trying to attain the post of "Supervisor" with the appropriate pay grade even though she has actually been doing the job for some time. When an I.B.M. computer system is installed, she is the only one with enough brains to be able to work it - much to the surprise of everyone. She too, slowly and with patient perservence, gets accepted.

The last in the trio (Janelle Monáe) wants to be an engineer, but she lacks one qualification deemed necessary. The school which can give her the requirment is segregated and she cannot attend so she swots up on law and finally wins a court case overturning her barring.

This film has all the necessary ingredients to make it a good picture which is thoroughly enjoyable to watch. It has a central story which introduces us to three heroines whose side we are on from the word "Go". It runs parallel to another story - and that is the space race and getting a man in a rocketship off the ground and into orbit. The picture even has time for a bit of love interest. every base is covered. What's more it is all a true story about three courageous women - Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson.
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat Jan 20, 2018 6:17 pm

I was looking forward to a pleasant musical comedy directed by Monty Banks and storring Bobby Howes, but For the Love of Mike (1932), this movie turned into a mess. Bobby is is love with lovely Constance Shotter, whose guardian has had her sign a power of attorney, but she's had second thoughts -- this is a movie in which everyone has second thoughts, but no first thoughts -- and wants him to steal it back so she can destroy it. Meanwhile, the guardian has hired private enquiry agent Arthur Riscoe because money has been disappearing in the midst of the perpetual house party he has been throwing. Arthur stays up late, guarding a safe, and when Bobby comes down to break in, there's a foofaraw, but they went to the same school.

The first half is pretty good, thanks to some interesting camera work by Claude Friese-Greene, who shoots a dance number by Bobby and Constance with a nice series of moving shots; it's very advanced movie choreography for the era. The second half, though, is all canned gags, carried on at an increasingly hectic pace to cover its essential emptiness. The performers are all competent performers, but they aren't given anything individually interesting to do. It's another early British talkie that has aged very poorly.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat May 05, 2018 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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