What is the last film you watched? (2018)

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:26 am

Freighters of Destiny (1932): Frederick Burton has been running the freight line for years, plagued by bandiits. When he is killed in a raid and the goods stolen, son Tom Keene tries to get money to carry on, but can't.. It's all part of Michael Harris' plot to get the franchise for himself. Only pretty Barbara Kent is pulling for him.

RKO was the single Hollywood Major (which meant it owned production facilities, distributors and a theater chain) to maintain a B Western franchise through the 1950s. They were cheap to produce and had a steady market until B movie cowboys Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy moved to the small screen and destroyed the Saturday Morning Matinee.

This western has some fine photography by Ted McCord, is an early example of the Singing Cowboy genre -- nothing outrageous, just fellows spending some leisure time making music -- and if everyone seems to be a lot neater and cleaner than you'd expect after a day raising dust on the back of a horse..... well, that's the movies for you.

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Last edited by boblipton on Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:28 am

Today’s theater movie with my cousin was an honest-to-G-d matinee, the 8:15 AM showing of of Incredibles 2 (2018) at the nabe. A very good movie, and I didn’t guess who did it, although I spotted the red herring for the #2 food dye it contained. Nothing groundbreaking here, just good stuff, well done. I should note one thing that I thought especially well done: set design. It’s clearly set in 1964 or 1965. The architecture matches because it’s 1960’s and back. It never falls into that trap of making an entire city of one instant. When you get around to seeing it, watch the buildings as Elastigirl pursues the runaway train through the neighborhoods.

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:36 pm

For a master class in how good acting can save a badly-written character, watch what Rhonda Fleming does in The Killer Is Loose (1956), a Budd Boetticher crime drama starring her along with Joseph Cotten and Wendell Corey and the younger, pre-"Skipper" Alan Hale.

Corey's a meek-looking psychopath who breaks out of prison, bent on revenge. Cotten had killed Corey's wife by accident while taking down Corey, so the latter wants an eye for an eye, or rather, a wife for a wife: he's going to elude a police dragnet and kill Fleming, who plays Cotten's spouse.

Corey is pretty good: his shy, fumbling manner has gotten him bullied for his entire life, but he retains the manner as his core personality even after snapping mentally. There is great, great, great!!! shot of his old Army sergeant holding a bottle of milk in front of him while confronting Corey, who is off-screen: Corey blasts one bullet that simultaneously shatters the bottle and the sergeant's chest, and then Corey shuffles away mumbling in bewilderment, "What else could I do?"

Cotten is Cotten, doing a decent job as always, and not inflicting his forced smile on us much. Hale is given a semi-comic one-dimensional role as a fat cop/detective who is always eating.

Fleming's role is written as a stupid, shallow shrew, constantly whining about the life of a cop's wife, idiotically demanding to be taken to the beach while Cotten struggles to stash her away in a hiding-space, and with un-credible stupidity going back to her staked-out house via bus and a walk in the rain at night. I can hardly think of any actress who could make such a character sympathetic, let alone likable, but Fleming manages it, and with aplomb.

I think a key factor is her patrician demeanour. She gives off the impression of being a rich aristocrat in real life who has no patience for actorly "nonsense". The atmosphere she carries around with her -- I want to emphasize that I'm not implying she's snobbish or aloof or condescending -- elevates the rather brainless behaviour and whining of the character.

Although Cotten refers to her twice as a redhead, her hair is very definitely bleached blonde in this film. In the scene where she rides the bus, that blonde hair is coiffed so that she looks exactly like Marilyn Monroe. The patrician eyes stop her from exuding MM's sultry allure, but the hair colour, hair style, and makeup really make me suspect the resemblance was intentional.

When the movie was over, my wife suggested it was "good, but too slow-moving". The next morning, while we rehashed it, she complained it was so fast-moving, she couldn't remember parts of it. That's not typical of her, so I have to think Boetticher did a great job of pacing: it's too fast and too slow at the same time!

Jim

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:20 pm

After the morning's TCM oater and a movie in the theater, it's back to Bob Steele with Smokey Smith (1935). Bob and his folks are on their way somewhere. While Bob is off checking out a water hole, a gang kill his folks and steal their wagon. Bob tries to pursue them, but they shoot his horse and he has to walk into town. He vows his vengeance and soon comes across the gang, led by George Hayes, who wants to steal enough money to send his daughter, Mary Kornman, back east. But there's something odd in the relationship among the outlaws, and when Bob comes across Warner Richmond, trying to rape Miss Kornman, Bob rescues her, and soon finds out the true story.

There's a lot of switching around of roles in director Robert Bradbury's usual stock company. Perennial villain Earl Dwire plays the kindly sheriff and the acting is particularly good, which I attribute to Hayes' influence. Before he got stuck playing "Gabby" for fifteen years on the big screen and the Howdy Doody show, he had been a successful stage actor, and had retired until the Crash had wiped out his investments. The weakest performance is by Miss Kornman.

There's also a big finale, in which about forty men fight a small battle, including a cavalry charge. There is some striking cinematography by William Nobles, who is held responsible for the high quality of work at Republic at Wikipedia, but about whom I can find little hard data other than 176 movies he lensed, starting in 1917. He retired in 1943, and seems to be another of the many talented craftsmen that no one knows much about because he worked in the unremarked Bs.

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

Unread post by MaryGH » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:55 pm

West of Cimarron 1941

The Civil War has ended, and the Three Mesquiteers - former soldiers - return home to Texas. Stony (Tom Tyler), Tucson (Bob Steele) and Lullaby (Rufe Davis) discover that their friend Captain Hawks (Roy Barcroft) is behind the whole carpetbagger gang and find themselves aiding the bushwackers, who are really the ranch owners. Lullaby disguises himself as a scarecrow in a crop field to throw off the enemy. This version from Alpha Video is a rich chocolate brown-hued print.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:00 pm

MaryGH wrote:West of Cimarron 1941

The Civil War has ended, and the Three Mesquiteers - former soldiers - return home to Texas. Stony (Tom Tyler), Tucson (Bob Steele) and Lullaby (Rufe Davis) discover that their friend Captain Hawks (Roy Barcroft) is behind the whole carpetbagger gang and find themselves aiding the bushwackers, who are really the ranch owners. Lullaby disguises himself as a scarecrow in a crop field to throw off the enemy. This version from Alpha Video is a rich chocolate brown-hued print.
Fun? Awful? Anything noteworthy?

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

Unread post by MaryGH » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:22 am

boblipton wrote:
MaryGH wrote:West of Cimarron 1941

The Civil War has ended, and the Three Mesquiteers - former soldiers - return home to Texas. Stony (Tom Tyler), Tucson (Bob Steele) and Lullaby (Rufe Davis) discover that their friend Captain Hawks (Roy Barcroft) is behind the whole carpetbagger gang and find themselves aiding the bushwackers, who are really the ranch owners. Lullaby disguises himself as a scarecrow in a crop field to throw off the enemy. This version from Alpha Video is a rich chocolate brown-hued print.
Fun? Awful? Anything noteworthy?

Bob
I like it, there is a scene where Rufe and a friend dress in blackface and pretend to sell watermelon to their friends Stony and Tucson in jail so they can break out (sharp tool hidden in one of the watermelons).

If that sort of thing doesn't bother you then I recommend seeing it.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:26 am

I'm a sucker for any 1960s espionage-related title, so I was curious about TCM's airing of The Double Man (1967), with Yul Brynner as a CIA operative investigating his son's death as the result of a skiing "accident" in the Tyrolean Alps. It's a mystery why a guy like Brynner's character doesn't smell a conspiracy sooner, but such are the requirements of the plot, with the big twist revealed by the title. Lovely scenery and a young Britt Ekland provide some pleasing visuals, and familiar faces like Clive Revill, Anton Diffring and, as Brynner's cranky boss back in D.C., Lloyd Nolan smooth over the mechanical storyline.

Director Franklin J. Schaffner had already done splashy studio fare like The Best Man and The War Lord, but his real career highlights were just around the corner with Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon and Yes, Giorgio.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:09 pm

An enormous cast (mainly unfamiliar to me) supported Paul Hartmann in the Nazi movie BISMARCK (1940), which was apparently extremely popular at the time. What killed it for me was the inordinate quantity of dialogue in the film which meant that one was reading the damn thing rather than watching it. German audiences, and those with a knowledge of the politics involved would hopefully find this film more involving, whereas I found it terribly stuffy, only coming to life with the odd blast of music when there was a march-past, and during the all-too-brief battle scenes although there is the odd interesting scene and moment amongst the rest of the film..

The most familiar names in the cast would be Lil Dagover as the Queen Eugenie and Otto Gebuhr, in a brief bit as one of the rival Kings, but despite the odd interesting moment and a sometimes mobile camera it comes over as a film which just doesn't translate well for non-German-speaking audiences. At times it had the look and feel of Carol Reed's THE YOUNG MR PITT (1942), but that film was far more watchable. And the gentleman ringing the bell in the early assembly scenes was amusingly reminiscent of 'Mr Pastry'...

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:48 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:An enormous cast (mainly unfamiliar to me) supported Paul Hartmann in the Nazi movie BISMARCK (1940), which was apparently extremely popular at the time.
Only in Germany, surely?

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

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:52 am

The idea behind Devotion (1931) -- that Ann Harding, who loves Leslie Howard absolutely, can put on glasses, a bad wig and a stage accent, and be totally unrecognizable to everyone but Robert Williams, and work in Howard's house as nurse to his motherless son for months -- is ridiculous. I write this as someone who once sat opposite my father in a bus station, where he was to pick me up, and neither of us recognized the other for almost half an hour.

It's one of those sentimental movies that RKO made in the early 1930s, based upon some novel or play about upper-class Londoners, that consistently lost money. Looking at it almost ninety years later, I can see why the audiences stayed away in droves. It is arch, coy, obviously calculated and insincere. Mr. Howard remains eyeless in Gaza until he gets drunk with Miss Harding in her proper persona (i.e., in an evening gown), whereupon he loves her, too, and his wife turns up. Whereupon Miss Harding suffers nobly. It wouldn't be an Ann Harding picture unless Miss Harding suffers in a noble manner. That Man might wind up in the White House, but Miss Harding will suffer!

Naturally, I loved it. Not because I am so enamored of piffle or wish Miss Harding to suffer -- why couldn't the top brass at RKO have given Dorothy Lee a vacation and cast Miss Harding in a Wheeler & Woolsey picture as a change of pace? -- but because Miss Harding can noodge someone into drinking a cup of bouillon at 2AM so charmingly; Mr. Howard can toss a salad like a headwaiter in love; and Mr. Williams can be so cynical and so charming at the same time. Howard Hawks was once asked what made a great movie. He replied "Three great scenes and no bad ones." This movie may have a plot that didn't excite the audience at the time and looks even more foolish today, but it meets those criteria, thanks to those actors.

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

Unread post by drednm » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:59 am

Watched Dutchman (1966), which someone had mentioned in connection to The Incident (1967). Very bizarre 60-minute allegory about sexual and political guises and the facades we all hide behind. Al Freeman, Jr. plays a young man on a subway. He spots a young woman in a striped mini-dress outfit on the deserted platform. Next minute, she's approaching him where he sits. She's a wild thing, chomping on an apple, and she comes on to him. At first he's wary, but eventually he warms to the idea, But as he does, her speech becomes more abusive and racially charged. After she finishes a long harangue about his phoniness, he explodes in a rage against world, revealing all his repressed anger and true self. Based on a short play by LeRoi Jones The subway car is interesting. It's brightly lit and has several whirling ceiling fans. People appear here and there in the car but they barely move. I suppose Knight as Lula is some sort of Eve figure, all temptation and apples, to Freeman's Everyman. Very interesting and well acted by Freeman and Knight.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by FrankFay » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:58 am

Watched BERKELEY SQUARE (1933) & was pleasantly drowsing: up to just past the mid point the movie had been a nice blend of romance and wit, with a touch of the supernatural, all a bit slowly paced. THEN, Leslie Howard, who I've seldom regarded as dramatic, begins to slowly but surely scorch the screen with a delivery of such concentrated acid regarding the "Filthy little cesspool" of the 18th C. he's trapped in. At that point Heather Angel's performance wakes up too- or maybe I just started noting her. Anyhow, it was a neat and well put together film with a top cast - and even a plum role for Olaf Hyten.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:50 am

boblipton wrote:Today’s theater movie with my cousin was an honest-to-G-d matinee, the 8:15 AM showing of of Incredibles 2 (2018) at the nabe. A very good movie, and I didn’t guess who did it, although I spotted the red herring for the #2 food dye it contained. Nothing groundbreaking here, just good stuff, well done. I should note one thing that I thought especially well done: set design. It’s clearly set in 1964 or 1965. The architecture matches because it’s 1960’s and back. It never falls into that trap of making an entire city of one instant. When you get around to seeing it, watch the buildings as Elastigirl pursues the runaway train through the neighborhoods.
I went from the (mostly) sublime to the ridiculous yesterday, starting with Incredibles 2, which I enjoyed quite a bit, even if I put it a notch below the original. I probably spent more time engaged by the design elements than the plot, looking at how much care went into buildings, cars and "props" (loved seeing an old Philco set in the motel room, for example), although I did enjoy Violet dealing with her teen angst issues and the many surprises of baby Jack-Jack. Wish there had been more of the Edith Head-inspired Edna (voiced by writer/director Brad Bird), but I guess she served her purpose here. I actually did figure out the red herring early on, but it was probably just a lucky guess as much as anything.

For the ridiculous, thank TCM's airing of From Hell It Came (1957), which I probably read about in a Medved Golden Turkey book decades ago, but finally saw for all its retro weirdness and camp, perfectly suited to a 75-minute running time with a goofy rubber tree monster running amok and dumping its prey in a pool of quicksand. How this lumbering oak is able to sneak up on anyone is anyone's guess, but it's fun watching the cast doing its able best to make it seem terrifying. One of the best bad movies I could imagine.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:58 pm

No Man's Range (1935): There aren't many mysteries in this Bob Steele western -- just a question of how to untangle them. Bob's new to the valley to see the stepfather never seen, who's told him he can half the ranch, only to find that there's a range war on, with Roberta Gale being squeezed out by the man Bob has just shot in a crooked poker game, claiming to be his stepfather.... but Steve Clark has someone gagged in his basement and has hired Bob, despite knowing who Bob is. Meanwhile the sheriff is looking for Bob. Not that Bob believes anyone, except Miss Gale: what a man won't do for a pretty face!

It's an interesting story, but director Robert Bradbury's unit isn't the one to carry it off -- he's much better as an action director, and the action doesn't start to take off until the last quarter hour. George Hayes, who seems to have been acting as dialogue director for the Steele pictures when around, seems to have left the unit -- he wouldn't work with Steele again until 1940 -- and the lack of acting chops shows. As a result, this one remains watchable, but by no means one of Steele's best.

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

Unread post by drednm » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:00 am

Say It with Flowers (1934) provides a record of three great stars of the British Music Hall when they join a benefit performance for an ailing flower seller (Mary Clare). She needs to go to the country for a month to escape London's poisonous air, but alas and her and hubby have no money. First section of the film depicts London's sturdy working class of men and women who sell everything you can think of in stalls. They are a joyful lot of self-reliant people who keep up a jocular spirit with their own lingo (a Jack the Ripper is a kipper, etc.) When Kate falls ill, the gang gathers to put on a benefit so she can go to the seaside. Already "old timers" in 1934, three Music Hall legends appear. Charles Coborn (born in 1850) does his famous "Man Who Broke the Bank in Monte Carlo" number in English and in gibberish French as a sing along. Then there's Marie Kendall (grandmother of the ever-elegant Kay Kendall) who sings a couple songs, including "Just Like the Ivy." Finally, there's Florrie Forde, who sings a medley of songs she made famous, including famous WW I songs, "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly," "A Lassie from Lancashire," "Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy," "Down at the Old Bull and Bush," and "Oh Oh Antonio." Of course the audience songs in on the punch lines to these songs and that's the point. Rousing songs, all. Forde appeared as herself in one other film and as an actress in My Old Dutch (1934) with Betty Balfour.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:32 am

There's plenty of story, action and acting in the randomly named Tombstone Terror (1935). Bob Steele returns to his father's ranch, whence he had left under a cloud -- he had taken the blame for his identical twin's sins (also played by Steele) and comes back to find his father sick and his brother letting the place go to pot while he gamvles, drinks and gets involved in running stolen cattle with Earl Dwire. While the brother is in town, the prodigal son promises to buckle down and gets engaged to Kay McCoy. The rest of the movie is sorting things out, with a couple of good fistfights (slightly marred by soundman Herb Eicke's belief that a blow to someone's head sounds like a slapstick), and a high-speed cattle dive during the final fight.

Steele does a good job playing two characters, mostly by moving differently, drawing on silent movie techniques, and doubtless relying on George Hayes, who seems to have acted as dialogue director while with Robert Bradbury's unit. It was Hayes' last movie with the unit, and he's in full Gabby mode (although his character is called 'Soupy'). His next western would be with Tim McCoy and after that, it would be Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers, the most famous of the western sidekicks.

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

Unread post by aldiboronti » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:18 pm

New Moon,1930, with Lawrence Tibbett and the Tennessee Nightingale, Grace Moore. This is a film version of the original Broadway musical which ran from 1928 to 1929. For some insane reason known only to MGM the scene was changed from New Orleans to Czarist Russia, the New Moon becoming the name of the ship transporting our hero and heroine thereto. A heady shipboard romance takes place between Moore and Tibbett, she a Princess, he a lowly Lieutenant in the Army. This being precode it's hinted that the romance is fully consummated, the hint coming in the form of a sly comment from the wonderful Roland Young, uncle of the Princess. He is fully aware that the Princess and Lieutenant are in her stateroom alone and when asked by his overbearing wife whether the Princess is in bed yet he slyly answers, "She will be soon."

When the ship docks Tibbett finds to his shock that the Princess is engaged and about to be married to the Governor, played to perfection by a suave Adolphe Menjou. (The supporting cast is one of the delights of the film.) To cut a long story short, Lieutenant rashly continues to pursue Princess, Governor, scenting the way the wind lies, has him posted to a remote outpost, our undaunted heroine now pursues him and after some ado they are reunited, secretly married, and even the cynical Governor salutes them with a raised glass and a smile as they ride triumphantly into the fort singing fit to bust.

Of course it's the voices of Tibbett and Moore and the music of Romberg and Hammerstein that combine to make this such a treat, with Wanting You and Lover Come Back To Me being the highlights for me.

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

Unread post by drednm » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:04 pm

The Return of the Soldier (1982/85) is a chilling story by Rebecca West about a shell-shocked WW I captain (Alan Bates) who is returned to his country estate at the insistence of his manipulative wife (Julie Christie). The kicker is that he does not even remember her! Mentally, he's wiped out the last 20 years and only remembers his love for a socially inferior woman (Glenda Jackson) who is married and lives quietly in a small town. The grasping Christie cannot stand losing her husband (and her social position) and bullies his mousey cousin (Ann-Marget), who lives in the household as a sort of companion, to intercede between the captain and the woman. She assumes he will "snap out of it" and return to her, but she gets more and more bitter as she witnesses this love that he never had for her. For a 1918 novel, this story is quite modern and not very melodramatic. The four stars are all terrific and ably abetted by Ian Holm as the doctor and Frank Finlay as Jackson's husband. Beautifully photographed. Costumes by the underrated Shirley Russell. Legal issues (the funding was a mess) kept this from being released in the US until 1985.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:43 am

Jim Roots wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:An enormous cast (mainly unfamiliar to me) supported Paul Hartmann in the Nazi movie BISMARCK (1940), which was apparently extremely popular at the time.
Only in Germany, surely?

Jim
Of course, that's what I should have written. Doubt if it would have turned up at the local Odeon, unless as a support for 'Old Mother Riley'...

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:49 am

aldiboronti wrote:New Moon,1930, with Lawrence Tibbett and the Tennessee Nightingale, Grace Moore. This is a film version of the original Broadway musical which ran from 1928 to 1929. For some insane reason known only to MGM the scene was changed from New Orleans to Czarist Russia, the New Moon becoming the name of the ship transporting our hero and heroine thereto. A heady shipboard romance takes place between Moore and Tibbett, she a Princess, he a lowly Lieutenant in the Army. This being precode it's hinted that the romance is fully consummated, the hint coming in the form of a sly comment from the wonderful Roland Young, uncle of the Princess. He is fully aware that the Princess and Lieutenant are in her stateroom alone and when asked by his overbearing wife whether the Princess is in bed yet he slyly answers, "She will be soon."

When the ship docks Tibbett finds to his shock that the Princess is engaged and about to be married to the Governor, played to perfection by a suave Adolphe Menjou. (The supporting cast is one of the delights of the film.) To cut a long story short, Lieutenant rashly continues to pursue Princess, Governor, scenting the way the wind lies, has him posted to a remote outpost, our undaunted heroine now pursues him and after some ado they are reunited, secretly married, and even the cynical Governor salutes them with a raised glass and a smile as they ride triumphantly into the fort singing fit to bust.

Of course it's the voices of Tibbett and Moore and the music of Romberg and Hammerstein that combine to make this such a treat, with Wanting You and Lover Come Back To Me being the highlights for me.
I saw this (then) rare film back in 1980 and was likewise well pleased with the entertainment provided. The MacDonald-Eddy film had elbowed it out of circulation, and indeed at one time I imagined it was a lost film. The rarity was perhaps one reason it was ignored or dismissed by film historians (had they actually seen it?), the authors little dreaming that one day they would have to eat their words.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:06 am

A kind of companion piece / follow-up to I DREAM OF JEANNIE (1952), the Allan Dwan-directed SWEETHEARTS ON PARADE (1953) is one of those nostalgic pieces of smal-town Americana, popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

Mother and daughter Lucille Norman and Eileen Christy are often mistaken for sisters (not surprising really as they were born six years apart). Christy's father left the scene years ago, and Norman has built up a respectable reputation as a music teacher, with the intention of marrying the local dull-as-ditchwater doctor (whose son has yearnings for Christy). Of course, the old rogue turns up in the shape of Ray Middleton, owner and lead singer of a somewhat enormous travelling medicine / minstrel show, one which one would have thought would have to sell a lot of bottles of the stuff to make ends meet. Middleton's sidekick, Bill Shirley understandably fancies the daughter on first sight, and thus thickens a plot which has its fair share of misunderstandings...

SWEETHEARTS ON PARADE suffers somewhat from the very variable condition of the Trucolor in the copy I watched, but is reasonably entertaining, if slight and predictable. One of the reasons for its non-availability would presumably be the amount of blackface in the film, but one either takes it or leaves it. Estelita Rodriguez has a lively part as the girl who fancies Middleton, and the film is reasonably interesting as an example of a type of movie that has long disappeared, and though by no means an neglected masterpiece, will pas a pleasant hour and a quarter... There were a couple of splices int he copy on YT, so I don't know what's missing...

THE DAY I MET CARUSO (1956) is one of three shows Frank Borzage made for 'Screen Directors Playhouse' and tells of the ten-year-old daughter of a Quaker family, travelling alone to New York. Wandering into his compartment, there is a rather precocious discussion between the girl, who criticises his lavish lifestyle, and the singer who feels she is being a little too severe on him, so entertains her with refreshments, cards and song (the real thing), although they appear not to be disturbed despite his giving a free concert which must have been heard all the way down the carriage. A pleasant little show, along familiar lines, but would you have guessed the director if you hadn't been told?

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:16 am

I've sat through Blade Runner (1982) three times, seeking and failing to find any reason to care about it -- certainly not in the manner of its fervent cult following. When Blade Runner 2049 came out last year, I wasn't looking forward to it. But the reviews were positive, so I decided to take a chance.

Well, it's essentially the same film in every respect. The plot is murky, the storyline hopscotches over an unending string of unanswered questions ("How did he get to that place?" etc.), none of the characters have any appeal, Ridley Scott's obsession with darkness and teeny tiny unreadable print on the screen make the thing an eyesore and the credits impossible to decipher, and it's absurdly overlong at nearly three hours. The visuals -- what you can barely make out in the dark -- are spectacular and completely unconvincing as a "realistic" imagining of the future (especially a future only 30 years ahead of us).

If you want impressive CGI comic-book illustrations to look at, or rather, squint at, then this film will satisfy you. For the rest of it ... well, I know coherence and plausibility are not the interest of either the filmmakers or the main audience here, so if you're a volunteer in that audience, go ahead and enjoy heck out of it.

Jim

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

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:24 am

A first I thought Denver and Rio Grande (1952) was an Allied Artists production: overblown script about the building of the titular railroad, Edmond O'Brien in the lead.... but no, it was a Paramount production, one of their A Westerns that seem overblown, despite an appealing cast, including Dean Jagger, personal favorite Zasu Pitts, Sterling Hayden (at the start of his "I'll say the line, but don't expect me to care" phase) and a spectacular railroad crash that used two actual engines. Ka-boom! Cute ingenue Kasey Rogers is spying for bad-guy Hayden (for a competing line) because she thinks D&RG people killed her brother, but she and O'Brien keep making goo-goo eyes at each other when they think the other isn't looking.

I wasn't terribly impressed. It looked like a DeMille Western epic from the 1930s, but without the mythic characters, and in it's too visually perfect, too clean, shot on site in the clean air of Colorado by former cameraman Byron Haskins and ace Technicolor specialist Ray Rennahan, meant to show off the the bright, accurate colors of fresh paint and clean clothes and green leaves that Technicolor could bring to the screen, like a mid-30s Warner Brothers short. I'm more interested in story and character than sheer spectacle, and the story and characters here are standard, while the spectacle (train crash aside) had all been done before. That leaves the outdoor photography around the tracks, and while the natural scenery is frequently beautiful, an hour and a half is pretty long for a travelogue. Despite the talent and effort, it winds up a pompous, overblown B Western.

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

Unread post by greta de groat » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:02 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote: THE DAY I MET CARUSO (1956) is one of three shows Frank Borzage made for 'Screen Directors Playhouse' and tells of the ten-year-old daughter of a Quaker family, travelling alone to New York. Wandering into his compartment, there is a rather precocious discussion between the girl, who criticises his lavish lifestyle, and the singer who feels she is being a little too severe on him, so entertains her with refreshments, cards and song (the real thing), although they appear not to be disturbed despite his giving a free concert which must have been heard all the way down the carriage. A pleasant little show, along familiar lines, but would you have guessed the director if you hadn't been told?
I thought i recognized this title--they showed a clip of this at the Gala when Lotfi Mansouri retired as General Director of the San Francisco Opera in 2001. Everyone had a good laugh about it--it was his only acting credit--but good to know that it wasn't half bad. I had no idea that Borzage was associated with it.

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

Unread post by FrankFay » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:16 pm

greta de groat wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote: THE DAY I MET CARUSO (1956) is one of three shows Frank Borzage made for 'Screen Directors Playhouse' and tells of the ten-year-old daughter of a Quaker family, travelling alone to New York. Wandering into his compartment, there is a rather precocious discussion between the girl, who criticises his lavish lifestyle, and the singer who feels she is being a little too severe on him, so entertains her with refreshments, cards and song (the real thing), although they appear not to be disturbed despite his giving a free concert which must have been heard all the way down the carriage. A pleasant little show, along familiar lines, but would you have guessed the director if you hadn't been told?
I thought i recognized this title--they showed a clip of this at the Gala when Lotfi Mansouri retired as General Director of the San Francisco Opera in 2001. Everyone had a good laugh about it--it was his only acting credit--but good to know that it wasn't half bad. I had no idea that Borzage was associated with it.

greta
Based on a Readers Digest story from 1955, which turns up in some of their old anthologies. I recall that Caruso teaches the girl how to play Solitaire, and keeps breaking off the song to tell her that she's doing it wrong.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:42 pm

Big Calibre (1935) Bob Steele's father is murdered by WIlliam Quinn with a mysterious fuming poison. Quin also steals $60,000 in cash. Steele and sidekick John Elliott go looking for Quinn and a year later, wind up in Gladstone. There, Quinn (wearing a grotesque disguise) in cooperation with Forest Taylor have just murdered Peggy Campbell's father and stolen the mortgage money. When Bob spots her robbing the mail truck and then falling off her horse, he goes to get her some water, only to discover that she has stolen his his horse and he is thrown in jail for robbing the mail and the murder.

It's not one of the better westerns that Steele's father, Robert Bradbury directed him in. Compared to the ones with George Hayes in the company, the line readings are pretty poor; Bob and his leading lady believe each other far too readily under the circumstances, even if it is a one-hour B western, and the action in the movie is limited to the last ten minutes. Although Steele does ride his horse down what looks to be a very steep mountainside at speed, I strongly suspect it was achieved by cameraman William Hyer adjusting the camera tripod and having Steele ride his horse over flat ground.

In fact, the most interesting part of the movie is at a dance just before the action ending, when Si Jenks has a sizable bit, calling dances and mugging, and there is a bit of pie-throwing. In short, this one looks like it was thrown together hastily to fill a hole in the release schedule. While it will probably be satisfactory to fans of Bob Steele, it won't win him any.

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:16 pm

I'd never heard of Paula (1952), a weepy from Columbia starring Loretta Young as a distraught woman who runs over a kid one night while on her way to a party. An old truck driver takes the kid to the hospital, but she flees rather than follow them. The kid comes too just long enough to see her sparkly necklace. While the cops try to track down the hit-and-run driver whom the old trucker declared to be a drunken society woman, Young lurks around the hospital later on and finds the kid has been brain damaged and cannot talk or write. Luckily, he's an orphan, so she talks a doctor and her husband into having the kid moved into her spacious home where he housekeeper can wait on him hand and foot while she rehabilitates his speech and other cognitive disabilities. Eventually she wears the ugly necklace again and the kid remembers her. While the cops take months to track down a green 1951 Ford in Smalltown, USA, the old trucker finds her, and after he and Young have a tussle on a staircase, the kid goes tumbling down the stairs. Will all this work against their adoption proceedings? Alexander Knox plays the kindly gynecologist, Kent Smith the husband, Will Wright the old trucker.
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Unread post by Mbakkel2 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:20 am

Yesterday I watched one of the emotionally most gripping films of the 1950's. No folks, it was neither "A Streetcar Named Desire", "A Place in the Sun" nor other of the overrated films which have been praised by critics. I am pretty sure that you haven't heard about this forgotten masterpiece: "Chicago Calling".

The Austrian-born director, John Reinhardt, made in 1949 a noir called "Open Secret" about Neo-Nazism in post-war USA. In 1951 he directed this film.

Dan Duryea was perfectly cast. With his weary appearance he seemed at home in the more shabby quarters of San Francisco. Duryea's character, William Cannon, manages to involve the viewers in his despair. We identify ourselves with him and want him to succeed.

Dan Duryea once said that "Chicago Calling" was his favorite among his films, partly because it had made his wife cry. The end of the film made me cry too.

In "Chicago Calling" Duryea was cast against type. In most of his films he played ruthless gangsters or cynical newspaper men. I read that Duryea was married for 35 years to his wife, had two sons with her and devoted himself to active membership in the local parent-teacher association and as Scout Master of a Boy Scout troop. In "Chicago Calling" Duryea for once was allowed to play a person resembling himself. Therefore he is very convincing.

Is suspense always related to crime films? No, Harold Lloyd revealed that a silent comedy like "Safety Last" could feature lots of suspense. "Chicago Calling" is erroneously labeled as a noir, but is more a drama reminiscent of the 1948 neorealist film "The Bicycle Thieves". Both films include a man and a boy in desperate search for a special item.

The suspense is based on whether William Cannon can raise $ 53 dollar to pay the telephone company so his telephone can be re-connected. The next morning, between 9 and 10, he is expected to receive a phone call from his wife about the result of his daughter's operation. She was badly injuried in a car accident outside Chicago.

The problem is that William hasn't got the money. How shall he get it? William was once an aspiring photographer, but now he can't hold a job or quit drinking. His wife left him and took their little daughter with her.

The mission to find $ 53 teaches William a lesson. He was irresponsible and up to no good. Now William must prove that he is able to straighten up himself and that he can do something constructive. He is, after all, not a bad person and he adores his little daughter.

A little boy named Bobby seems to come to his rescue in more than one way (as it turns out at the end of the film). It looks as if Bobby was sent by Destiny.

I compared the touching friendship between William and Bobby (an orphan raised by his abusive sister) with the relationship between Chris and Robbie in the 1952 British film "Hunted".

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:34 am

drednm wrote:I'd never heard of Paula (1952), a weepy from Columbia starring Loretta Young as a distraught woman who runs over a kid one night while on her way to a party. An old truck driver takes the kid to the hospital, but she flees rather than follow them. The kid comes too just long enough to see her sparkly necklace. While the cops try to track down the hit-and-run driver whom the old trucker declared to be a drunken society woman, Young lurks around the hospital later on and finds the kid has been brain damaged and cannot talk or write. Luckily, he's an orphan, so she talks a doctor and her husband into having the kid moved into her spacious home where he housekeeper can wait on him hand and foot while she rehabilitates his speech and other cognitive disabilities. Eventually she wears the ugly necklace again and the kid remembers her. While the cops take months to track down a green 1951 Ford in Smalltown, USA, the old trucker finds her, and after he and Young have a tussle on a staircase, the kid goes tumbling down the stairs. Will all this work against their adoption proceedings? Alexander Knox plays the kindly gynecologist, Kent Smith the husband, Will Wright the old trucker.
Sounds like a really preposterous movie!

Jim

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