What is the last film you watched? (2018)

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:33 am

boblipton wrote:It turned out that the theme behind the current series of Japanese movies being shown at the Museum of Modern Art is that the cinematographer of all of them is Kazuo Miyagawa, who, the promo claims, is the greatest Japanese cinematographer ever. As a result, I've seen most of the movies already -- Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu, , fellows you might have heard of. His career. Movies on which he held the job stretched from 1938 through 1989, so likely you've seen his work.

Shin Heike monogatari aka Tales of the Taira Clan (1955) has two sets of Emperors! Pirates! Samurai battling berserk Buddhist warrior monks! Courtly intrigue! Imperial bastards! Pirates! in spectacular Daiei Color (that's how the credit reads) directed by Kenji Mizoguchi!

Hot dog! Or whatever the Japanese say. It's one of those sprawling historical epics set in 12th Century Japan, when every clan had its own funny hat, and samurai were struggling to become respectable as the oldest son of the leader of the Taira clan discovers he may actually be the son of an earlier emperor .... or maybe a crazy warrior monk, it's hard to tell the difference. It's an expert mixture of Book-of-the-Month Epic, so much so that I half expected to see a credit for James Clavell or James Michener, but given that the Japanese actually invented the novel, it's hardly surprising they would try something like this, given they had Mizoguchi working for them -- it's based on a novel published in 1950. Kazuo Miyagawa's colorcamerawork is dazzling and constantly moving about, but given the sumptuous costumes and sets -- it looks like they used every scrap of silk in Japan for this one -- it's well done.

Did I mention the pirates?

Bob
Yes, you did mention the pirates, but not the women. Were there none in this film, which already sounds like the ultimate macho movie of all time?

Jim

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

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:22 am

You can’t judge a movie by its cover, DVD cover that is. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that the Japanese movie House (1977), is a non-stop horror show since there is some weird creature on the cover of the Criterion offering.

If fact, that’s just what I did and so I delayed watching it for some time. But, it’s not like that at all. In fact nothing much scary happens for the first half of the film., unless you think watching some coming of age situations for Japanese girls is frightening. (I don’t.)

The seven girls are planning their summer vacations, but the plans fall apart and they all go together to a house in the country and that’s where the weirdness begins.

In a DVD supplement the director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi and his daughter explain how he asked her for story ideas, what she would like to see. Several of these were incorporated, resulting in a film which, on release, was more appealing to children than to adults or critics. Its reputation has grown since then.

I found this fantasy/ghost/horror/comic amalgam wonderfully entertaining. I loved the characters, the music, everything*. I will be watching it again.

https://www.criterion.com/films/27523-h ... tocomplete" target="_blank" target="_blank

*There is some brief female nudity in case anyone is thinking of watching it with a child.

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

Unread post by silentfilm » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:52 am

Saw Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (1951) in a theater. It's a very cynical film about the press manipulating reality starring Kirk Douglas. Douglas is great, as is Jan Sterling as the victim's wife who really doesn't want to see him rescued. The film did poor box-office, and the public didn't like seeing a movie about a dishonest newspaper writer. (But these days, Douglas' actions almost seem quaint compared to some news websites and networks.) There are a few laughs in the film, but it is a pretty grim satire.

There was a nice "in-joke" in the film, as the tourist who is an insurance salesman works for Pacific All-Risk, which is the same company that Edward G. Robinson works for in Double Indemnity (1944).


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

Unread post by wingate » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:23 pm

The Last Coupon 1932,a comedy with Leslie Fuller.Very much a film of its time.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:49 pm

silentfilm wrote:Saw Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (1951) in a theater. It's a very cynical film about the press manipulating reality starring Kirk Douglas. Douglas is great, as is Jan Sterling as the victim's wife who really doesn't want to see him rescued. The film did poor box-office, and the public didn't like seeing a movie about a dishonest newspaper writer. (But these days, Douglas' actions almost seem quaint compared to some news websites and networks.) There are a few laughs in the film, but it is a pretty grim satire.

There was a nice "in-joke" in the film, as the tourist who is an insurance salesman works for Pacific All-Risk, which is the same company that Edward G. Robinson works for in Double Indemnity (1944).

I saw this one at London's NFT a long time ago, and one could have thrown a brick with little chance of hitting anyone. Very fine movie.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:46 pm

Donald Binks wrote:"Brandy for the Parson" (1952) is one of those little British films that seems to have been made when no-one was looking. It's a nice little comedy about a young couple James Donald and Jean Lodge who have their yachting holiday interrupted by Kenneth More who is smuggling some brandy in from France. It's a nice excuse to introduce some escapades and with them a host of character players. Amongst these, most prominent is Charles Hawtrey, who was still a few years off from Carrying On; Reginald Beckwith as a Scout Master; Michael Trubshawe as an accommodating farmer; Arthur Wontner as a Major and Frank Tickle as a vicar.

It does not quite get up to the Ealing standard and this may be because although James Donald knew his lines, he was a bit wooden in their delivery. Kenneth More's appearances are welcomed, but because he is still a second fiddle, he disappears all too often.
The production company (if that's the right term), Group 3, was aimed at producing indigenous films with location shooting and regional atmosphere and themes. Many of them are interesting and pleasant, though usually produced on a low budget, and I recall several of them [YOU'RE ONLY YOUNG TWICE! (1952), TIME, GENTLEMEN PLEASE! (1952), THE ANGEL WHO PAWNED HER HARP (1953)] being shown on daytime tv in the 1970s. It seems that this honourable effort lost nearly £500,000, with problems including poor distribution owing to distributors being reluctant to book such modest films. As Donald has pointed out, films such as BRANDY FOR THE PARSON featured actors who would become better known as well as some of the more established ones. In addition, Group 3 was a training ground for directors and other technicians who would go on to bigger things. Some of them have been marketed on DVD as 'Long Lost Comedy Classics', which could lead to disappointment for some buyers. Long Unseen, yes. Classics, no, but I have a few in my libt=rary, and would have had more if shop customers hadn't wanted them...

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:00 pm

Luxury Liner (1933) is one of those multi-plot movies set in a location where people of all ranks of life mingle: a sort of Grand Hotel on water, although the movie based on Vicki Baum's novel would not come out until the fall of that year. George Brent is a doctor who takes over as ship's doctor because he is in pursuit of his wife, who has run off with millionaire Frank Morgan, who already has an eye for opera singer Verree Teasdale. Meanwhile, Alice White wants to wheedle her way up from third class to first, and is the conduit for news that Morgan is buying shares in a company.

It's fun to see actors out of their stereotypical roles, including the always wonderful C. Aubrey Smith as a cynical busted millionaire, fresh out of prison, who's on his way to America, traveling in steerage "because they don't have fourth class." However the plots are pure melodrama and the film shows signs of having been cut severely to bring it down to second feature length. This was director Lothar Mendes' last film for Paramount on his contract, and although he did very well for himself, winding up directing The Man Who Could Work Miracles for Korda, there's little doubt in my mind it's because of his lack of success in Hollywood.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:06 pm

The Floating Dutchman (1952) is a swift and straightforward crime thriller, adapted from a novel by Nicholas Bentley. When a corpse turns up in the Thames, it turns out to be the eponymous Dutchman. Scotland Yard figures it links to Sidney Tafter, a nightclub owner and suspected jewel thief, so they send in Dermot Walsh undercover to join his gang, which he does in jig time, while romancing hostess Mary Germaine.

It all moves ahead at a good clip thanks to a script and direction by Vernon Sewell, and there is a bit of excitement towards the end. One peculiarity are a couple of character names, doubtless borrowed from the novel: Miss Germain's character is named Rose Reid... and Tafter's chief henchman is called Snow White. Given Bentley's sideline in cartooning -- he is best known for his illustrations to T.S. Elliot's OLD POSSUM'S BOOK OF PRACTICAL CATS, this was probably a theme of his.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:46 pm

The original stage version of No, Nannette (1940) was a flop in its Chicago try-outs until its producer (who did not sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees to finance the show; he had sold the contract five years earlier) called in Irving Cesar and Vincent Youmans to write "I Want to Be Happy" and "Tea for Two". The meringue tunes fit the nonsense plot and it became a hit. So when Herbert Wilcoxon got his hands on the property to film it as a vehicle for Anna Neagle for RKO, he felt free to dump its Code-problematic plot about scandal in Atlantic City for a bit of nonsense.

Roland Young is married to Helen Broderick, who owns all the bonds, but he keeps offering to help out predatory young women; Miss Neagle keeps getting him out of jams, which gets her pursued by how producer Victor Mature and artist Richard Carlson in a comedy that is way more forced than funny. There are plenty of comics in the supporting cast, including Billy Gilbert, Zasu Pitts, Eve Arden and Torben Meyer, but none of them get much of a chance to distinguish themselves. Wilcoxon's directorial eye is all on Miss Neagle, and while she is, as always, lovely, charming and very Irish in her singing -- which always surprises me, given that she was as English as they came -- the movie suited neither her, the contemporary audience, nor me.

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

Unread post by drednm » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:54 am

boblipton wrote:The original stage version of No, Nannette (1940) was a flop in its Chicago try-outs until its producer (who did not sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees to finance the show; he had sold the contract five years earlier) called in Irving Cesar and Vincent Youmans to write "I Want to Be Happy" and "Tea for Two". The meringue tunes fit the nonsense plot and it became a hit. So when Herbert Wilcoxon got his hands on the property to film it as a vehicle for Anna Neagle for RKO, he felt free to dump its Code-problematic plot about scandal in Atlantic City for a bit of nonsense.

Roland Young is married to Helen Broderick, who owns all the bonds, but he keeps offering to help out predatory young women; Miss Neagle keeps getting him out of jams, which gets her pursued by how producer Victor Mature and artist Richard Carlson in a comedy that is way more forced than funny. There are plenty of comics in the supporting cast, including Billy Gilbert, Zasu Pitts, Eve Arden and Torben Meyer, but none of them get much of a chance to distinguish themselves. Wilcoxon's directorial eye is all on Miss Neagle, and while she is, as always, lovely, charming and very Irish in her singing -- which always surprises me, given that she was as English as they came -- the movie suited neither her, the contemporary audience, nor me.

Bob
No, No, Bob.... The title is No, No, Nanette. This bit of fluff was certainly durable. The original Broadway show was a hit. The first film version took in about $840,000 according to Crafton. The Vitaphone disks survive. Neagle's 1940 version was one of a few Hollywood films she made. In 1950 Doris remade it again as Tea for Two. In 1970 it was a hit again on Broadway with beloved old-timers like Ruby Keller and Patsy Kelly. There was probably a TV version in the 1950s....
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:16 am

drednm wrote:
boblipton wrote:The original stage version of No, Nannette (1940) was a flop in its Chicago try-outs until its producer (who did not sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees to finance the show; he had sold the contract five years earlier) called in Irving Cesar and Vincent Youmans to write "I Want to Be Happy" and "Tea for Two". The meringue tunes fit the nonsense plot and it became a hit. So when Herbert Wilcoxon got his hands on the property to film it as a vehicle for Anna Neagle for RKO, he felt free to dump its Code-problematic plot about scandal in Atlantic City for a bit of nonsense.

Roland Young is married to Helen Broderick, who owns all the bonds, but he keeps offering to help out predatory young women; Miss Neagle keeps getting him out of jams, which gets her pursued by how producer Victor Mature and artist Richard Carlson in a comedy that is way more forced than funny. There are plenty of comics in the supporting cast, including Billy Gilbert, Zasu Pitts, Eve Arden and Torben Meyer, but none of them get much of a chance to distinguish themselves. Wilcoxon's directorial eye is all on Miss Neagle, and while she is, as always, lovely, charming and very Irish in her singing -- which always surprises me, given that she was as English as they came -- the movie suited neither her, the contemporary audience, nor me.

Bob
No, No, Bob.... The title is No, No, Nanette. This bit of fluff was certainly durable. The original Broadway show was a hit. The first film version took in about $840,000 according to Crafton. The Vitaphone disks survive. Neagle's 1940 version was one of a few Hollywood films she made. In 1950 Doris remade it again as Tea for Two. In 1970 it was a hit again on Broadway with beloved old-timers like Ruby Keller and Patsy Kelly. There was probably a TV version in the 1950s....
... a hit soundtrack album in the 1960s, a short-lived TV show in the 1970s which will be revived in 2020 with half of the original cast, a parody Broadway show by Mel Brooks in the 1980s, a film of the parody show in the 1990s, a re-purposed streamed soundtrack by Dr. Dre in 2015, a vampire version two years ago, a documentary last year...

Jim

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

Unread post by AlonzoChurch » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:57 am

Billie Gets Her Man(1948) takes Billie Burke to the last stop of a number of comedians -- the Columbia Short subject, and works quite well anyway. Ms. Burke plays, for the umpteenth time, "that silly woman", but, as the pro she was, does it well. And the movie makers accommodate her by allowing er to set the dizzy tone and drive the action, but exempting her from the custard pies, falls, collisions with doors and floors, and sound effects enhanced violence. The result, is a fun 20 minutes -- Burke rolling through a movie happily untouched by the consequences of her daffiness is a great conceit. Emil Sitka does a great job as the Billie's former beau, and recipient of all the abuse.

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

Unread post by FrankFay » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:28 pm

LAST HOLIDAY(1950) Alec Guinness is given a death sentence, so on borrowed time - and equipped with posh second hand clothes- he goes to a stuffy resort and achieves success primarily through being a man of mystery who speaks plainly and takes chances. Even if you haven't seen this old art house chestnut you can guess the direction of the story, but the picture is attractively made. It is also nicely stuffed with British character actors playing a variety of "types". There's a particularly plummy actor in an unbilled role which must have surprised audiences, and for trivia fans there's David McCallum's violinist father, as a violinist. Story by J. B. Priestly. Direction by Henry Cass, but Ray Elton who did the cinematography is probably responsible for the look.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:35 pm

FrankFay wrote:LAST HOLIDAY(1950) Alec Guinness is given a death sentence, so on borrowed time - and equipped with posh second hand clothes- he goes to a stuffy resort and achieves success primarily through being a man of mystery who speaks plainly and takes chances. Even if you haven't seen this old art house chestnut you can guess the direction of the story, but the picture is attractively made. It is also nicely stuffed with British character actors playing a variety of "types". There's a particularly plummy actor in an unbilled role which must have surprised audiences, and for trivia fans there's David McCallum's violinist father, as a violinist. Story by J. B. Priestly. Direction by Henry Cass, but Ray Elton who did the cinematography is probably responsible for the look.
One of my favorites.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:40 pm

Marked Men aka Desert Escape (1940): when there's a prison break, the escaping cons carry Warren Hull away with them. They are recaptured, but he is not, and they blame the death of a guard on him. Hull makes his way to Tempe Arizona where, along with screen dog Grey Shadow (in his film debut), he goes to work for John Wilson and his daughter, Isabel Jewel. But bad luck pursues him. the marshall recognizes him and he is about to turn himself in, when the cons, who have escaped again, turn up in Tempe and rob the bank, killing a man. Hull is assumed to be part of their gang, and flees, making his way into the desert to track them down and prove his innocence.

It's an okay little picture, mostly interesting for location shooting in the Arizona desert. It's surprising to realize through the poor prints and ludicrous credits of Jack Greenhaigh -- Reefer Madness and Robot Monster were two of the best remembered of the almost 200 features that he shot -- that there were tremendous reserves of technical ability in Hollywood. Although he worked in the Bs for his entire career, Greenhaigh was a respected craftsman and for many years held the record for being the youngest member of the American Society of Cinematographers.

As for the director of this movie, Sam Newfield, a lot of people thought of him as a hack. Well, maybe. However, he turned out over 200 movies in 30 years behind the megaphone, and made money and careers for a lot of people. In a field of commercial art, that's worth at least as much as someone who turns out beautiful movies that the critics love and no one pays to see. This one was bright, quick, decently acted, and kept me watching, unlike many a well-regarded work of art.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri May 04, 2018 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by FrankFay » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:31 am

boblipton wrote:
It's an okay little picture, mostly interesting for location shooting in the Arizona desert. It's surprising to realize through the poor prints and ludicrous credits of Jack Greenhaigh -- Reefer Madness and Robot Monster were two of the best remembered of the almost 200 features that he shot -- that there were tremendous reserves of technical ability in Hollywood. Although he worked in the Bs for his entire career, Greenhaigh was a respected craftsman and for many years held the record for being the youngest member of the American Society of Cinematographers.
Competence often goes unremarked- people seldom mention that a third rate picture at least has decent lighting and everyone properly in focus.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:26 am

Hercules (1983): Visually, this Golan-Globus production shows the era it was produced in. The costumes have a real disco-era vibe, the music sounds electronic and the sound effects like those cheap key-ring gadgets that produced the same four sound effects. Starring Lou Ferrigno, who finally gets to show what an accomplished actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:33 am

Michael Balcon certainly pulled out all the stops for his production of Chu Chin Chow (1934). Originally conceived by Oscar Ashe as a combination of Christmas pantomime and operetta, based on the success of Kismet, it had become the West End's biggest wartime hit, as soldiers on leave flocked to see it -- with the censors reading the mail to and from their girlfriends, I imagine some of them felt the closest they could come to discussing what their plans would be "Get some tickets for the show and a hotel room since it will be too late to return home after. Bert said he and his girl had a great time."

In any case, the show not only played for over 2,000 performances, it toured for decades. The movie had to compete with that, so director Walter Forde had enormous sets built. Cinematographer Mutz Greenbaum keeps his camera moving constantly, and a great cast, including George Robey as Ali Baba, Fritz Kortner, Anna May Wong, Francis L. Sullivan, and Frank Cochrane reprising his role of "the Cobbler" from the original stage show, keep things hopping.

There are lots of complaints about British musicals, but considering MGM was about to enter on a series of stolid and very successful operettas starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy the following year, this lively example of the genre is a lot of fun.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri May 04, 2018 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:01 pm

Genevieve was one of the first things I reviewed in the Old Movies in HD thread, in the very first post in fact. It's a sprightly Technicolor comedy about an early auto race, the progenitor of the Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines subgenre (not as cartoonish, but clearly the model), great fun for the old old cars (though sobering to realize that a 1903 car was younger than a '57 Chevy is now) and the scenes of postwar Britain, which are all very nice on the VCI blu-ray. But I remembered at the time that I found some of the humor a bit sour and cruel. (It was written by William Rose, who also wrote a very dark comedy indeed, The Ladykillers, before returning to Hollywood for things like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.)

This time, prepared for the idea that the two rivals in the movie are kind of nasty to begin with, I took it more in stride, knowing that it ends with a lovely scene of appreciating what you have and the pleasure it offers, rather than trying to outdo the other fellow. Anyway, a charming film, and how the main characters feel about cars, I feel about British Technicolor films like this.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by wich2 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:30 pm

...and with a charming cameo by one of the best film Holmes ever, Arthur Wontner!

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

Unread post by Wm. Charles Morrow » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:26 am

The other day I revisited The Phantom President, a musical curio of 1932 with one claim to fame: its star is George M. Cohan, the stage legend who hated making movies and therefore made very few. This happens to be his only surviving talkie, as Gambling, made two years later, was scarcely released and appears to be lost—or rather, based on the exceedingly poor reviews it received, deliberately exiled.

Anyhow, The Phantom President was made at Paramount, seems to have had a decent budget, and supplied the star with good support, including Claudette Colbert as his leading lady, Jimmy Durante as his boisterous sidekick, and reliable character actors such as George Barbier, Sidney Toler, etc., for plot exposition. This was one of those quirky musicals made after the initial early talkie wave (i.e. the clunky ones) yet before the second wave (i.e. Busby Berkeley and his imitators). Director Norman Taurog incorporates some clever ideas, such as a wall of presidential portraits which comes to life and addresses the viewer, or a lovers’ lane sequence where birds and frogs sing to our lead couple. Also, as Cohan plays a dual role, there are some well-handled double exposure visual effects which enable his two personae to converse with each other.

And yet, for all that, the result is curiously flat. I think the problem is Cohan. There’s nothing wrong with his performance, in fact he’s perfectly fine, but the camera doesn’t “like” him the way it likes a real movie star or an effective character actor. He somewhat resembles William Demarest, and at one point while watching this movie it occurred to me that it would have been genuinely fun to see Demarest in the role, but Cohan is dull. We have to assume he was one of those stage legends, like Fanny Brice or Marilyn Miller, whose vaunted charisma just couldn’t be captured by motion picture cameras.

Claudette Colbert struggles valiantly to appear romantically interested in Cohan, but they have zero chemistry. Jimmy Durante, always best in small doses, is a bit much but steals the show anyhow. He does his usual shtick—malaprops, pratfalls, big takes, etc.—and while I can’t say anything he does is truly funny, he does inject some much-needed energy into the proceedings. The songs by Rodgers & Hart are unmemorable. This movie was a notorious flop in ’32, which is why no attempt was made at a follow-up.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:42 am

Last year, Michael Pyle thought Radio Cab Murder (1954)... well, he noted he had watched it and went on to talk about other British programmers. I was disappointed there were no radio cabs murdered, although one was bunged up -- the one Jimmy Hanley is driving while tailing a bank robber. This brings him to the attention of Scotland Yard. Soon enough, his record as an ex-con safe breaker comes to light, and while his boss and the Yard are fine with it, it's clear a gang of bank robbers are trying to get him fired so he'll go back on the crook. Everyone agrees and his boss pretends to fire him, which sets the other drivers threatening strike.

It's a good story and well acted, but there isn't that much to it as a movie. D.P. Geoffrey Faithfull, whose career began with Hepworth and who would continue as lighting cameraman into the 1970s, shoots efficiently but dully under the direction of Vernon Sewell.

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

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:07 am

boblipton wrote:Last year, Michael Pyle thought Radio Cab Murder (1954)... well, he noted he had watched it and went on to talk about other British programmers. I was disappointed there were no radio cabs murdered, although one was bunged up -- the one Jimmy Hanley is driving while tailing a bank robber. This brings him to the attention of Scotland Yard. Soon enough, his record as an ex-con safe breaker comes to light, and while his boss and the Yard are fine with it, it's clear a gang of bank robbers are trying to get him fired so he'll go back on the crook. Everyone agrees and his boss pretends to fire him, which sets the other drivers threatening strike.

It's a good story and well acted, but there isn't that much to it as a movie. D.P. Geoffrey Faithfull, whose career began with Hepworth and who would continue as lighting cameraman into the 1970s, shoots efficiently but dully under the direction of Vernon Sewell.

Bob
Still say, as I said last year, "The films are much better than most of the 50's "B" tripe produced in America!"

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

Unread post by FrankFay » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:50 pm

Wm. Charles Morrow wrote:The other day I revisited The Phantom President, a musical curio of 1932 with one claim to fame: its star is George M. Cohan, the stage legend who hated making movies and therefore made very few. This happens to be his only surviving talkie, as Gambling, made two years later, was scarcely released and appears to be lost—or rather, based on the exceedingly poor reviews it received, deliberately exiled.
.
Cohand DID wish to make more talkies, but making this one had been such a trying experience for the studio - and the rest of the cast- that they decided not to repeat it. I believe word got around to the rest of the studios. Seems similar to how Frank Fay's movie career died, even when he was still a stage success.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:37 pm

Two movies with my cousin today. First up was Beirut (2018). In 1972, up-and-coming diplomat John Hamm watches as his wife gets killed while on assignment in Beirut. Ten years later, he making a living as a labor negotiator in New England when he gets called back to negotiate the release of a high-ranking spy buddy -- they want only him. It's a fine bit of Spy-Who-Came-in-From-the-Cold with a Chinatown air to it, and if you're the sort of movie buff who loves ruin porn -- which I am not -- it's quite striking. Rosamund Pike is fine as Hamm's handler; she works a lot more than someone of her caliber normally does at this stage of her career. Either her agent isn't working as hard as he should, or she likes working.

The Cat Returns (2002) is definitely second-rank Studio Ghibli. When teen-aged Haru saves a cat from being run over, it stand on its hind legs, bows, and thanks her. That night, the cat's father, the king of cats, appears with his entourage and announces a series of rewards, ending with marriage to his son.

Based on an idea by Miyazaki, it had a great start, but then, instead of piling mystery on mystery, with some sense of deep magic behind it all (like the incomparable Spirited Away) it all became an absurd series of Dr.-Seuss-like absurdities, random details piled on to stretch out the movie. Visually the movie was as good as anything that Ghibli did. However, Anne Hathaway's voicing of Haru, the lead character, is way too mature and certain for the role.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat May 26, 2018 6:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
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Rick Lanham
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:26 pm

Two French films:

Plein Soleil/Purple Noon (1960) was confusing to me at first. A rich man’s son is browsing around Europe with a hanger-on and a girlfriend. The hanger-on has promised the father to return the son to San Francisco for a reward. No one seemed particularly American, so I thought there must be another San Francisco in Italy or thereabouts. This turned out to be wrong.

The hanger-on is played by Alain Delon who thinks he’s been cheated out of some easy dough because the son won’t cooperate. He makes other plans.

I spotted a key moment in the film rather easily and waited for things to proceed. Lots of twists and turns were ahead. A very enjoyable crime thriller; lovely photography, direction and acting. The film is based upon The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith who also wrote Strangers on a Train.

//
Believe it or not, I’d never seen Les Diaboliques/Diabolique (1955). I knew about a key scene in the film but that did not spoil it for me. I won’t spoil anything for anyone and will only say that it is essential viewing.
//

In both cases I was watching Criterion versions which have extras such as an interview with Patricia Highsmith, adding greatly to the appreciation of the films.

Rick
“The past is never dead. It's not even past” - Faulkner.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:34 pm

When Preston Foster spots Alan Curtis as a mannequin in a store window, he threatens him with exposure as an ex-con unless he steals the Christmas receipts and turns them over to him. Instead, Curtis takes the money and hides out with wife Ann Rutherford, with the cops and Foster after him ... and police captain Joe Sawyer's son, Jimmy Moss, barging into the apartment every minute.

It's the second sound remake of Tod Browning's Outside the Law, with all the Browning insanity stripped away to reveal a straightforward crime drama with a gooey center around obnoxious kid actor Moss. Without the Browning insanity, all the dangling sexuality and yearning just leads nowhere, with the story stripped to its bare minimum as motivations become obscure and people make life-changing decisions rather easily. Definitely not a story that fit the strictures of the Production Code and a director like Jean Yarborough.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by drednm » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:43 pm

Girls Town (1959) reminds one of the classic Mickey Rooney/Spencer Tracy film of the 1930s with its tale of a troubled youth and kindly clergy. In the 50s version we have Mamie Van Doren as Silver Morgan, accused of pushing her date over a cliff to his death. Although she has alibis of being at a petting party, she is sent to Girls Town because she broke parole for a previous conviction of slugging a teacher. One there she clashes with kindly Mother Veronica (Maggie Hayes) and a clique of bad girls headed by Gloria Talbott. After Silver sneaks out one night to go to a nightclub to catch Jimmy Parlow (Paul Anka) sing, she is convicted by the Girls Town court and made to wash the dance floor on her hands and knees.

Meanwhile, back in town, the group's speed-demon (Mel Torme) recognizes the killer's scarf worn by Mary Lee (Elinor Donahue) who is Silver's sister when she orders a cheese sandwich as the local eatery. He kidnaps her and forces her to ride with him in a race against a rival group. The idea is to speed down a roadway and never touch the steering wheel. After the rival's car crashes, Mary Lee wants to tell the cops, but Mel threatens to take her to Tijuana if she blabs.

Back at Girls Town, Silver hears about Mary Lee's plight and kneels in prayer before "Saint Whatever Your Name Is" which encourages the bad girls to join her in saving Mary Lee from all that Mexican food. Story ends in a big rumble with the Girls Town girls winning the fight.

Van Doren is actually pretty good in this as she spits out insults at everyone and she gets to sing the title song, but the story lets her down. Bizarre casting of Mel Torme certainly does not help. But the film also casts gossip queen Sheilah Graham as a tough nun, and Charles Chaplin, Jr. and Harold Lloyd, Jr. as punks. The Platters also appear as back-up singers to Anka. Oh and the nun drive around in an Edsel station wagon.
Last edited by drednm on Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jim Roots
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:29 am

drednm wrote:Girls Town (1959) reminds one of the classic Mickey Rooney/Spencer Tracy film of the 1930s with its tale of a troubled youth and kindly clergy. In the 50s version we have Mamie Van Doren as Silver Morgan, accused of pushing her date over a cliff to his death. Although she has alibis of being at a petting party, she is sent to Girls Town because she broke parole for a previous conviction of slugging a teacher. One there she clashes with kindly Mother Veronica (Maggie Hayes) and a clique of bad girls headed by Gloria Talbott. After Silver sneaks out one night to go to a nightclub to catch Jimmy Parlow (Paul Anka) sing, she is convicted by the Girls Town court and made to wash the dance floor on her hands and knees.

Meanwhile, back in town, the group's speed-demon (Mel Torme) recognizes the killer's scarf worn by Mary Lee (Elinor Donahue) who is Silver's sister when she orders a cheese sandwich as the local eatery. He kidnaps her and forces her to ride with him in a race against a rival group. The idea is to speed down a roadway and never touch the steering wheel. After the rival's car crashes, Mary Lee wants to tell the cops, but Mel threatens to take her to Tijuana if she blabs.

Back at Girls Town, Silver hears about Mary Lee's plight and kneels in prayer before "Saint Whatever Your Name Is" which encourages the bad girls to join her in saving Mary Lee from all that Mexican food. Story ends in a big rumble with the Girls Town girls winning the fight.

Van Doren is actually pretty good in this as she spits out insults at everyone and she gets to sing the title song, but the story lets her down. Bizarre casting of Mel Torme certainly does not help. But the film also casts gossip queen Sheilah Graham as a tough nun, and Charles Chaplin, Jr. and Harold Lloyd, Jr. as punks. The Platters also appear as back-up singer to Anka. Oh and the nun drive around in an Edsel station wagon.
It certainly sounds very ... very ... uhhh ... interesting.

It also shows that "stunt casting" is not a new concept in the movies.

Jim

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

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:04 am

Didn't know there was such a thing as an Edsel station wagon! I remember when the Edsel itself came out in '58, but I guess even my longer term memory is failing about all the different models. Oh, I am SO lucky!

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