What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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Daveismyhero
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by Daveismyhero » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:41 am

Hello all,

Over the weekend I watched Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and Point Break (1991).
I am not a purist, I am a funist!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by odinthor » Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:22 am

A second viewing of Her Majesty, Love (1931). While I didn't actually dislike it on my first viewing of some time ago, on that occasion it left me rather cold. I wanted the Marilyn Miller of Sally--i.e., dancing (and I don't mean a ballroom tango). This time, I let the film live in its own world; and indeed I liked it much better (though still with certain reservations; for instance, I would have liked our leading lady to have been someone more hard-edged--think how it would have been with, say, Marlene Dietrich). The following, and any discussion of same, amounts to a spoiler; those who want to remain virginal and unspoiled should look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land. I'm not sure what we are to understand from the ending status of things. Yes, certainly, Boy and Girl are together again; but the line about "Baroness von Schwarzdorf" seems to present certain ambiguities, perhaps due to my ignorance about retention of titles. Does Girl remain "Baroness von Schwarzdorf" even if she and the Baron v.S. are divorced (I didn't think it worked that way)? If the answer to this question is, as I think it is, "no,", or better yet "no, dahling," isn't the implication either that our Boy and Girl are awaiting the death of the Baron (might be a long wait; he appears to be presented as being in his 50s), or that they are going to have an affair while she's married to the Baron, or some combination thereof?--whew, seems a bit edgy considering the American ethos of the time! Maybe Mr. and Mrs. American Viewer were just supposed to chuckle, "Oh, those wild Europeans!" as they left the theater...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by entredeuxguerres » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:01 pm

odinthor wrote:...Yes, certainly, Boy and Girl are together again; but the line about "Baroness von Schwarzdorf" seems to present certain ambiguities, perhaps due to my ignorance about retention of titles. Does Girl remain "Baroness von Schwarzdorf" even if she and the Baron v.S. are divorced (I didn't think it worked that way)?...
Although I've misplaced my Almanach de Gotha, I'm pretty sure it does work this way. Until, at least, the lady remarries; after that, I don't know what the protocol would be. It was by the same tradition that Mae Murray earned the status to marry "king" John Gilbert in The Merry Widow (1925). And I know that Amelita Galli-Curci retained the surname of her first husband, the Marchese Curci, even after her divorce & remarriage.

But had Marlene replaced Marilyn, I'm quite sure this picture would NOT be one of my great favorites.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by odinthor » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:18 pm

entredeuxguerres wrote:
odinthor wrote:...Yes, certainly, Boy and Girl are together again; but the line about "Baroness von Schwarzdorf" seems to present certain ambiguities, perhaps due to my ignorance about retention of titles. Does Girl remain "Baroness von Schwarzdorf" even if she and the Baron v.S. are divorced (I didn't think it worked that way)?...
Although I've misplaced my Almanach de Gotha, I'm pretty sure it does work this way. Until, at least, the lady remarries; after that, I don't know what the protocol would be. It was by the same tradition that Mae Murray earned the status to marry "king" John Gilbert in The Merry Widow (1925). And I know that Amelita Galli-Curci retained the surname of her first husband, the Marchese Curci, even after her divorce & remarriage.

But had Marlene replaced Marilyn, I'm quite sure this picture would NOT be one of my great favorites.
Hmmm. Interesting about the titles--thanks!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by BGM » Wed Dec 23, 2015 10:53 am

I just finished watching(over several days) the 1968 Russian version of War and Peace directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. Truly a massive production and at 6 hours quite an experience. Wow! is all I can say about some of the scenes,direction and performances....Someday I hope to watch this in the widescreen version which is now available.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:12 am

Have recently been watching early Hitchcock. Last night I indulged Margaret and myself with both the silent and the sound versions of "Blackmail" (1929). Fascinating to see and feel the differences between the two. Stars are John Longden and Anny Ondra (in the sound version her voice was voiced-over by actress Joan Barry because Ondra had a rather thick German accent). Others in the cast are Sara Allgood, Charles Paton, Cyril Richard, and the wonderful Donald Calthrop as the blackmailer. He could be so-o slimy. Interesting that two different actresses played the local gossip during the knife scene, one in the silent, one in the sound version: Phyllis Konstam and Phyllis Monkman. Great film!! Silent is as good as sound is as good as silent is as good as... Silent version, by the way, is found on a German DVD release of both films. I watched the sound version, though, from a British PAL release DVD that is so pristine it's like watching a first release.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by entredeuxguerres » Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:39 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:...Silent version, by the way, is found on a German DVD release of both films...
Maybe you wouldn't mind loaning that one to TCM, so that the next time it's announced that the silent version will be shown, they won't (as happened a couple of years ago) have to run the sound version instead. (Though the latter is so good, it's a little hard to believe the silent would be an improvement.)

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:31 pm

Image
Dennis Scott at the organ.

The Music Box, Chicago's beloved 1930 atmospheric style neighborhood theater (today an arthouse), has been putting on a Christmas show for 32 years, they say, and it has been alternating White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life for the week before Christmas for much of that time. (Tomorrow, The Hateful Eight starts in 70mm.) It's a Wonderful Life screenings are fairly straightforward as I recall, but White Christmas is part of a big peppy, slightly campy Christmas show complete with Dennis Scott at the organ, carolers, singalong, a special guest from the North Pole (Admiral Byrd? Ooh, I have no idea who it might be!), and people waving their jingle bells whenever that term (or sleigh bells, or ring-ding-dingaling or anything else) comes up. It's a lot of fun and a good way to get in instant Christmas spirits.

So I'd never seen White Christmas— WHAT? you cry, well, we all have something everyone's seen but us— and I worried my kids might find it strictly from squaresville, which of course it is, but this is Curtiz directing a script by Norman Krasna, Melvin Frank and Norman Panama and starring the most natural film personality quite possibly ever, Der Bingle, so it's casually assured entertainment that lands like a flying ace. The musical numbers are in on their own joke— most of them are self-referential to showbiz and tend to be self-mocking besides— and even when the movie seems like it isn't, Bing gives us a look to let us know that he finds it as strange as we do. One is genuinely alarming— a number devoted to minstrel shows thankfully doesn't have any blackface, but instead goes full psychedelic— but others are not only witty but triumphs of lysergic Technicolor, including "Choreography" (which sends up modern dance), while Rosemary Clooney's nightclub number, in which she gets a black dress and four chorus boys (one of them George Chakiris), is her greatest, certainly hottest, moment ever on screen. And then, when the wisp of a let's-put-on-a-show plot is about to run out of gas, they nail a It's a Wonderful Life ending almost out of nowhere (certainly a bit nonsensically, but who cares).

We've lost a couple of relatives of late, including my wife's mother this past year, so one reason I wanted to take the kids this year was a sense that this version of the American Christmas— the White bread Christmas of the 1950s and 1960s, which my in-laws represented for me, in which performers like Bing and Danny Kaye were part of the still-current culture in my childhood— was fading for good from the scene, leaving only movies. It might be politically incorrect to want this for some, this truly is a White Christmas with but one black person (a railroad bartender) in it (on the other hand, Russian Jews are well represented at this Christmas), but I figured I could wallow in that sanitized postwar culture for two hours without too much damage to my diverse 2015 life. So we enjoyed it, I went back to the world of my childhood for a couple of hours... and then we got Thai food and I hoped, in some way, that my kids had had a little taste of the Christmas I grew up with, such as it was, to add to all their other cultural inputs, like this we just saw a week ago.

And oh, thank God, that minstrel number wasn't in blackface.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by entredeuxguerres » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:57 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:...So I'd never seen White Christmas— WHAT? you cry, well, we all have something everyone's seen but us— and I worried my kids might find it strictly from squaresville, which of course it is...
I've never seen more of it than the clips shown when it's being discussed on TV. But squaresville is exactly where I presumed it was set. Are you sure Tony Bennett isn't in it? My living epitome of "square."

Tomorrow is going to be the most beautiful Christmas I've experienced in many decades--an absolutely BROWN one. Thank you, Baby Jesus.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by busby1959 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:59 pm

Couldn't agree with you more, Mike - I look forward to Rosie Clooney singing "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" each and every Christmas.
On to A CHRISTMAS CAROL - God bless us, every one!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:10 pm

I've reached the point where I can only sit through one Christmas Carol each Christmas. The hiphop stage comedy one (linked above) was it for this year; last year we listened to Lionel Barrymore on radio in Oaxaca on Christmas morning; the year before that, it was the Goodman stage production, so we haven't watched Alistair Sim in about 4 years now.

The one I could watch every year is Miracle on 34th Street, and I've seen Remember the Night more years than not in the last half dozen.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by odinthor » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:52 pm

Pondering what would be the perfect Christmas movie to watch, by a Lockean chain of ideas (Christmas presents > tying a ribbon > neckties) I decided on Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972). I esteem this film more every time I watch it (and I'm up to about the sixth viewing now). The actors are fully immersed in their roles. The dialog is trim, purposeful, and clever. The viewer is skillfully and enjoyably manipulated by the plot, the director, the cinematographer. The background music is perhaps unremarkable; but it is competent and unobtrusive. A very fine late work by Hitchcock.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:06 am

Didn't watch any Holiday related material, but...

Merry Christmas, all!! Last night I watched "Hearts in Bondage" (1936) with James Dunn, Mae Clarke, David Manners, Charlotte Henry, Henry B. Walthall, Fritz Lieber, and a host of other fine character actors in this Republic release about the Moniter and the Merrimac battle ironclads from the Civil War. Directed well by Lew Ayres, it's a decent little film, nothing special, but a good little 72 minutes. After that I watched Tom Brokaw talk about "The Greatest Generation" to a very special audience. Well worth the watch. Great evening! After Brokaw was finished, Robert Dole asked him how many copies he'd sold. Dole had been one of the inspirations. Dole's an old man, but he's still kickin'. Brokaw's now 75, and he's got cancer, but he's kickin' nonetheless...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by entredeuxguerres » Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:51 am

R Michael Pyle wrote: ...Last night I watched "Hearts in Bondage" (1936) with James Dunn, Mae Clarke, David Manners, Charlotte Henry, Henry B. Walthall, Fritz Lieber, and a host of other fine character actors in this Republic release about the Moniter and the Merrimac battle ironclads from the Civil War...
That epic battle, in a few hours changing the course of naval history, transforms à la Hollywood into a story of "hearts in bondage"? Amazing creativity!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:32 am

entredeuxguerres wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote: ...Last night I watched "Hearts in Bondage" (1936) with James Dunn, Mae Clarke, David Manners, Charlotte Henry, Henry B. Walthall, Fritz Lieber, and a host of other fine character actors in this Republic release about the Moniter and the Merrimac battle ironclads from the Civil War...
That epic battle, in a few hours changing the course of naval history, transforms à la Hollywood into a story of "hearts in bondage"? Amazing creativity!
Yes, Virginia, there really is...

Ahm, while we're at it, let's define "creativity", a god-like word, if ever there was one... :lol:

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:04 pm

Margaret and I went to see the new "Star Wars, Episode VII, The Force Awakens" (2015). It's fabulous moviemaking!! If all of them had been like this one... Yes, it copies the first one. Well, it's also the most successful film of all time so far... I can definitely see why. Thoroughly, utterly enjoyable!

Coda: The previews before the show had two very, very, very loud Marvel Comics trailers that are both coming in May...this is NOT - repeat NOT - like the "Star Wars" we just finished watching. 'Nuff said.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:48 pm

I just saw David Russell's Joy. Halfway through I noticed he had a lot of shots of Jennifer Lawrence just looking into the camera. I eventually figured it out: it was pure Kuleshov Effect work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuleshov_Effect" target="_blank" target="_blank

To sum up, Kuleshov had Mouskojine look blank. He then cut in pictures of a baby, a pretty girl and some food; viewers reported that Mouskojine was emoting furiously with affection, lust and hunger. Others had made use of this before, but because of the high esteem the Soviet film makers were held in, good old Lev got the credit.

It's not unknown in the social sciences. The Sapir-Whorf was never mentioned by either Sapir or Whorf, and had earlier been noted by Alexander von Humboldt.

Anyway, I think that Ms. Lawrence's face is perfectly symmetrical and, as made up in the film, a perfect blank slate for the audience to project emotions on.

I enjoyed the film, although my cousin, with whom I saw it, reported a case of Harry Cohn Ass about twenty minutes before we left during the early credits.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:03 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:Have recently been watching early Hitchcock. Last night I indulged Margaret and myself with both the silent and the sound versions of "Blackmail" (1929). Fascinating to see and feel the differences between the two. Stars are John Longden and Anny Ondra (in the sound version her voice was voiced-over by actress Joan Barry because Ondra had a rather thick German accent). Others in the cast are Sara Allgood, Charles Paton, Cyril Richard, and the wonderful Donald Calthrop as the blackmailer. He could be so-o slimy. Interesting that two different actresses played the local gossip during the knife scene, one in the silent, one in the sound version: Phyllis Konstam and Phyllis Monkman. Great film!! Silent is as good as sound is as good as silent is as good as... Silent version, by the way, is found on a German DVD release of both films. I watched the sound version, though, from a British PAL release DVD that is so pristine it's like watching a first release.
Thanks for that bit of info as I'm still waiting to see the silent BLACKMAIL. It was shown at the film theatre in Chichester (about 20 miles away from me) a few years back, but the timings were such as that I'd have missed the last train.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by drednm » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:12 am

Following It's a Wonderful Life, I watched Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962) in which we learn Magoo's first name.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by wingate » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:37 am

I watched White Christmas and was truly appalled at the sight of Vera Ellen.She was suffering from anorexia and her legs looked like matchstick.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:14 pm

Familiar, but still fun, is LAUGHTER IN PARADISE (1951) [Studio Canal] in which deceased japester Hugh Griffith promises £50,000 to each of his relatives (Fay Compton, Alastair Sim, Guy Middleton and George Cole) if they succeed in certain allotted tasks. In the process, all four learn something valuable. If one was in a pretentious mood, one could call this Mario Zampi's INTOLERANCE, as the four stories unfold, with some overlapping. A reliable cast includes Ronald Adam [a bad-tempered bank manager], Joyce Grenfell [Sim's long-standing fiancee, 'Fluffy'], John Laurie, Eleanor Summerfield, A E Matthews and even a few seconds of Audrey Hepburn.

There was a reworking of this idea about twenty years after, called SOME WILL, SOME WON'T, but I have yet to see that one...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by greta de groat » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:28 pm

I was rather surprised that i haven't seen anyone mention Behind Stone Walls (1932) on this forum, given our interest in silent film stars. This one has Priscilla Dean in a leading role, i'd only seen her in bits in talkies. She's still a tough character, but here she's an out and out villainess as a wife who gets her stepson to take the rap for a murder she commits. Also starring Eddie Nugent, Ann Christy, Robert Elliott, Robert Ellis, and George Chesebro. It was reasonably entertaining, on youTube in not too bad a print except that it was missing the title and credits.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by entredeuxguerres » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:55 pm

entredeuxguerres wrote:
Scott Eckhardt wrote:I watched a not-bad YouTube download of the 1932 Universal picture NIGHT WORLD. Boris Karloff, George Raft and, in a terrific performance, Mae Clarke. I also must mention that Hedda Hopper plays possibly the most hateful mother ever put on the screen. All this and some snappy early Busby Berkeley choreography in just under an hour. Why hasn't this ever been released on an official DVD?
I regard every performance of Mae as terrific, but somehow I've missed this one; hasn't made it to TCM that I know. Not thrilled to see bland Lew Ayers top-billed, but having Dorothy Revier in the cast is some compensation. Will try to get it from one of my grey-marketeers, and if I can, I won't give a fig for any official release....
Located a copy; just hope it's not the same YT download, but no way to ascertain that until I watch it.
I just did...finally...but I suspect it's identical to the YT download--copied, it appears, from an old VHS tape, and missing my almost-favorite part of any Universal picture, the monoplane-circling-the-globe trademark. (But at least Universal's current, color, logo hasn't been anachronistically imposed, as is commonly done on "official" releases!)

Anyway, to be brief, I loved it. Not only was Mae terrific, but this is the only picture (I think!) in which she's shown she could dance--simple steps, for sure, but the real thing, and certainly fancier footwork than she displayed in Waterloo Bridge. Dorothy Revier was a treat, as always, Lew Ayers more engaging than I'd anticipated, and wonder of wonders, by some magic of make-up, Dorothy Peterson, the quintessential "haggard matron," was made to look pretty damned attractive.

But is this not one of the several pictures made in or shortly after 1932 that reveals a touch of the Grand Hotel effect? I mean, "parallel stories," like that of Clarence Muse's character, or that giddy blonde bozo (Helene Chadwick?).

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by drednm » Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:14 am

The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956) is an odd bio of songwriters Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson, a trio who created some of the great American songs of the 20th century. Here they are played by Gordon MacRae, Ernest Borgnine, and Dan Dailey. Expectedly not accurate, but there are certainly a lot of great old songs. MacRae belts out f few songs in typical 50s style. Best part of the film is provided by Sheree North (yes she's dubbed) who dances a terrific "Black Bottom" number as well as a "Birth of the Blues" number with Jacques d'Amboise. Low points include a terrible impersonation of Al Jolson singing "Sonny Boy" and a phony production number from Sunnyside Up (1929). Co-stars include Murvyn Vye, Larry Keating, Roxanne Arlen (as the no-talent floozy), Phyllis Avery, Tommy Noonan, and Ann B. Davis as a Louella/Hedda character.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:32 pm

drednm wrote:The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956) is an odd bio of songwriters Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson, a trio who created some of the great American songs of the 20th century. Here they are played by Gordon MacRae, Ernest Borgnine, and Dan Dailey. Expectedly not accurate, but there are certainly a lot of great old songs. MacRae belts out f few songs in typical 50s style. Best part of the film is provided by Sheree North (yes she's dubbed) who dances a terrific "Black Bottom" number as well as a "Birth of the Blues" number with Jacques d'Amboise. Low points include a terrible impersonation of Al Jolson singing "Sonny Boy" and a phony production number from Sunnyside Up (1929). Co-stars include Murvyn Vye, Larry Keating, Roxanne Arlen (as the no-talent floozy), Phyllis Avery, Tommy Noonan, and Ann B. Davis as a Louella/Hedda character.
I've only seen this film on b/w tv, and have very vague memories of it. No recollection at all of the 'reconstruction' of SUNNYSIDE UP. Curious for a film by a veteran who actually worked with Jolson and made a number of early musicals. Perhaps by then, and having left WB, he had less control over his work. With some exceptions, there is less of a Curtiz 'feel' to films after, say, YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN and THE BREAKING POINT...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by entredeuxguerres » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:53 pm

Because it was mentioned in another thread, I watched a picture I wouldn't otherwise have re-visited, owing to a vaguely disagreeable memory of it, though I hadn't seen it in over a decade: DeMille's Dynamite (1929). I'm SOOO glad I did, because I'd completely forgotten that it provides my favorite performance of one of my favorite silent actresses, Julia Faye, who usually played un-credited roles even in her "biggest" pictures, like The Affairs of Anatol (1921). (What, was DeMille trying to shield himself from charges of "favoritism"?) Eight years after the latter film, Julia looked much prettier than I've ever seen her before. Except in this picture, moreover, I've never heard her light, high-pitched, but very pretty & delicate voice--somehow, her usually rather earthy roles had prepared me to expect a huskier sound, and there was no trace at all of her alleged Southern accent--instead, it was Northeast "cultured."

My "disagreeable memory" is the result of this film's two-part setting: the first, the gay life of the godless rich in Gotham (and that part I love), the second, a backwoods coal-mining town, supposedly only a 2-hr drive from Manhattan (is that possible?). This second part is made even more unpalatable to me by its degeneration into a "disaster movie" (that's where the dynamite comes in), with some of the screwiest writing and deplorable acting to be found in any DeMille film--in fact, one could easily mistake the ending for a parody, except that I'm quite sure Jeanie Macpherson wasn't aiming for a comic effect.

I also like Kay Johnson immensely, and in this picture she reveals a beautiful singing voice, not too surprising considering her beautiful speaking voice; her first motion picture, but she acted with the grace & poise of a veteran. Conrad Nagle I usually like, but about Charles Bickford I always have mixed feelings: he's a fine & unforgettable actor, but his bull-in-a-china-shop persona (here, going full-throttle) tends to weary me.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:50 am

My sister-in-law is a member of SAG, and so right now she's voting on the SAG best of the year. She gets sent several movies to view so that she can vote on them. Last night she showed us "The Big Short" (2015) with Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, and many others. This is about the 2008 collapse of the housing market because of incredible corruption and just plain old fashioned stupidity at the higher banking level. All I can say is, "WOW!" This won't be for everybody by any extent, but it's truly memorable as a film, and Steve Carell in particular is simply Academy Award!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:59 am

A few days ago I wrote about seeing White Christmas in its annual showing at Chicago's Music Box, and we happened to watch another film that used to play over Christmas every year at another arthouse venue, Facets— Marcel Carne's 1945 Children of Paradise.

It's not a Christmas film, but it's somehow fitting all the same, as it's a well-appointed historical drama that feels like nostalgia for a lost time, or a couple of them-- the theatrical world of the 1820s and the "cinema of quality" of the 1940s. It's about a (fictitious) beautiful woman, Garance, played by Arletty, courtesan, actress and finally society mistress, and four men (all inspired by historical figures) who love her but, like the blind men describing an elephant, only see part of her: LeMaitre, a vain, lovably roguish "Great Actor," Lacenaire, a nihilistic gangster, the Count de Montray, an aristocrat for whom wealth and position equal thuggish authoritarianism, and most famously, Deburau, a brilliant, unworldly pantomime artist who pines after her.

Jean-Louis Barrault's ethereal Deburau is the most memorable of the men and it is perhaps no surprise that the word "Chaplinesque" occasionally gets thrown around, but watching it for the first time in years after seeing so many Chaplin films, the parallels are even more striking and an entire analogy to the early days of cinema appears. (Even as the irony is that Barrault's long face and big eyes make him look like Keaton in long shots.) His theater is a pantomime one because in post-revolutionary Paris, theater for the commoners (the children of "Paradise," the cheap seats in the very high balconies) is not allowed speech that might foment revolution, but the owner of the theater mounts a spirited defense at one point of how the silent theater is more powerful than the tired old legitimate houses mounting dead classics. And while Deburau's father practices a sort of crude slapstick rooted in stock types, we see that Deburau himself is an artist who draws on the real people around him in Paris, and the two extended scenes of pantomime we see are both situations that could have come directly from Keystone-Mutual-era Chaplin, in which Deburau is, in effect, a little Tramp with a playful attitude toward the world: one is a park scene in which he meets a pretty girl and a larger rival, and another is a society ball which he attempts to crash.

I'm curious why director Marcel Carné and his screenwriter Jacques Prevert saw silent film as a truer form of expression than the classical theater (though Lemaitre eventually plays Othello to great acclaim); neither had a silent film career to speak of (Carné was just beginning his career as an assistant then; as a poet Prevert didn't enter screenwriting until the sound era); at the least they seemed to associate it more with a time when movies had the common touch and were for the people... an art for the children of Paradise.
“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir

Richard P. May
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by Richard P. May » Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:35 am

I recently read the second volume of Simon Callow's biography of Orson Welles, "Hello, America (2006)". It went extensively into the making, editing and release of "The Magnificent Ambersons", which made me curious to see it after many years.
First, to the library, and took out a DVD. It turned out to be a television remake based on Welles full original script. Performances and direction were so bad I only got about 1/2 hour into it.
Yesterday evening I discovered that I have a copy of the movie sitting on a shelf and forgotten, so that was my evening's entertainment. I don't need to go into any detail, as anybody interested probably knows the film better than me. I can see why it didn't connect with the audiences of 1941, and why Welles and RKO parted company soon after. This is not to say it wouldn't have possibly been more acceptable to audiences of a more recent vintage.
I distinctly felt that the happy ending was tacked on.
I am glad I saw it.
Dick May

Scott Eckhardt
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2015)

Unread post by Scott Eckhardt » Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:59 pm

entredeuxguerres wrote:
entredeuxguerres wrote:
Scott Eckhardt wrote:I watched a not-bad YouTube download of the 1932 Universal picture NIGHT WORLD.

I just did...finally...but I suspect it's identical to the YT download--copied, it appears, from an old VHS tape, and missing my almost-favorite part of any Universal picture, the monoplane-circling-the-globe trademark. (But at least Universal's current, color, logo hasn't been anachronistically imposed, as is commonly done on "official" releases!)

Anyway, to be brief, I loved it. Not only was Mae terrific, but this is the only picture (I think!) in which she's shown she could dance--simple steps, for sure, but the real thing, and certainly fancier footwork than she displayed in Waterloo Bridge. Dorothy Revier was a treat, as always, Lew Ayers more engaging than I'd anticipated, and wonder of wonders, by some magic of make-up, Dorothy Peterson, the quintessential "haggard matron," was made to look pretty damned attractive.

But is this not one of the several pictures made in or shortly after 1932 that reveals a touch of the Grand Hotel effect? I mean, "parallel stories," like that of Clarence Muse's character, or that giddy blonde bozo (Helene Chadwick?).
Yes, with it's parallel stories, this does seem to be an attempt to create a similar atmosphere to GH. Did you notice the costumes worn in the musical sequence were the same ones worn in the "Happy Feet" number in KING OF JAZZ?

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