What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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boblipton
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:35 pm

odinthor wrote:La Grande Illusion (1937). Featuring Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay, Marcel Dalio, Erich von Stroheim, and Dita Parlo. Acclaimed film which I viewed for the first time with high expectations, and which to my surprise gets a resounding “meh” from me, followed by a well-executed Gallic shrug. I suspect that aspects of it appeal to native French in a way that doesn’t come across tellingly to foreign-borns (which is a frustrating thought as I am a longtime Francophile!); and yet reviewers of all nations are found to be enthusiastic. An IMDB reviewer promises that one’s estimation of it will increase upon repeated viewings. Perhaps! One problem may be that the show’s attitude and way of going about things was fresh and striking for 1937, but then inspired others to deploy the same strategies and tactics more effectively in later movies. Jean Gabin walks his way through the proceedings in a way which some might read as manly restraint, others as opaque and unempathetic. Pierre Fresnay inhabits his role gratifyingly; but the writing leaves him with actions which are out of proportion to any motivations presented. Erich von Stroheim brings a doubly unexpected gentleness to his role, and in my estimation comes off best here. The screenplay shows good ideas carried out with varying amounts of skill, as if sometimes the writers lost interest in properly developing a thread of the plot. Camera work is competent without being memorable. For an anti-war film, go to All Quiet on the Western Front; for a P.O.W. film, hie thee to The Great Escape (a show which doubtless owes much to this film). My estimation of La Grande Illusion may increase upon repeated viewings; but alas I do not think there will be repeated viewings.
Odinthor, do you enjoy Robert Altman's movies? If so, can you see why Altman once said that "Rules of the Game taught me the rules of the game"?

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? (2017)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:42 pm

Because it won best picture at the Oscars, I decided to have a look at "Moonlight" (2016). Apart from the name and the fact that it featured Afro-Americans in the cast, I knew nothing much about the picture. Now having spent just over two hours looking at it - and I must say that I really had to force myself to sit through to the end of it, the first word that comes into my mind to desrcibe the film is "sloppy".

To begin with, there is no main title. The picture just starts and aimlessly meanders along for the first two reels with basically nothing there to establish anything in our minds as to where the story is going or who the characters are. These first two reels were made even the harder for me to understand as everyone was talking in what I believe is known as "jive talk", a dialect I have great difficulty in deciphering.

As we eventually get into the picture - say after about three quarters of an hour of staring at the screen trying to keep our eyes open, we do get some inkling of who the characters are and none of them are particularly nice, in fact they are mostly quite horrid. The story is documenting the life of a boy as he is growing up and becoming a man in the latter part of the picture. His mother is a non-caring, drug addict - need I say more? He is befriended by an older man who tries to care for him - but he is a drug dealer. At school the boy is bullied - so one can say that the whole theme of the picture is monotonously depressing.

From absolutely nothing much in the storyline, we reach a sort of climax - homosexuality comes into it. This lasts for a few minutes and then we go back to tedium until the film just dies out in a whimper.

The photography is woeful. The director and cameraman appear to have learned their craft from the "aim and shoot" style of home movies. There is one scene where everything is out of focus until somebody eventually appears in the foreground in focus - where was the focus-puller? What is even worse is the employment of a hand-held camera with the resultant wobbly effect. The editing is non-existent, scenes linger on after the action has stopped - even if a few seconds were cut out it could mount up and reduce the fatigue a viewer has to endure.

I keep asking myself - what was all this supposed to be about? What was the director trying to tell me? I'm afraid I was completely lost and found it all rather meaningless.

There are no whitefellahs in the film, it is all blackfellahs - so I thought it must have been in some segregated area? Also, why was the main character in the end wearing a metal clasp over his teeth?

It may be just me, but I could not make head nor tail of this picture and think that the only reason it won best picture was a political decision by the Academy to try and placate the anger shown last year by the lack of Afro-Americans in the nomination lists. It would be frightful to think that anyone seriously could contend that this picture was worthy of any merit whatsoever.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by drednm » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:51 pm

Donald Binks wrote:Because it won best picture at the Oscars, I decided to have a look at "Moonlight" (2016). Apart from the name and the fact that it featured Afro-Americans in the cast, I knew nothing much about the picture. Now having spent just over two hours looking at it - and I must say that I really had to force myself to sit through to the end of it, the first word that comes into my mind to desrcibe the film is "sloppy".

To begin with, there is no main title. The picture just starts and aimlessly meanders along for the first two reels with basically nothing there to establish anything in our minds as to where the story is going or who the characters are. These first two reels were made even the harder for me to understand as everyone was talking in what I believe is known as "jive talk", a dialect I have great difficulty in deciphering.

As we eventually get into the picture - say after about three quarters of an hour of staring at the screen trying to keep our eyes open, we do get some inkling of who the characters are and none of them are particularly nice, in fact they are mostly quite horrid. The story is documenting the life of a boy as he is growing up and becoming a man in the latter part of the picture. His mother is a non-caring, drug addict - need I say more? He is befriended by an older man who tries to care for him - but he is a drug dealer. At school the boy is bullied - so one can say that the whole theme of the picture is monotonously depressing.

From absolutely nothing much in the storyline, we reach a sort of climax - homosexuality comes into it. This lasts for a few minutes and then we go back to tedium until the film just dies out in a whimper.

The photography is woeful. The director and cameraman appear to have learned their craft from the "aim and shoot" style of home movies. There is one scene where everything is out of focus until somebody eventually appears in the foreground in focus - where was the focus-puller? What is even worse is the employment of a hand-held camera with the resultant wobbly effect. The editing is non-existent, scenes linger on after the action has stopped - even if a few seconds were cut out it could mount up and reduce the fatigue a viewer has to endure.

I keep asking myself - what was all this supposed to be about? What was the director trying to tell me? I'm afraid I was completely lost and found it all rather meaningless.

There are no whitefellahs in the film, it is all blackfellahs - so I thought it must have been in some segregated area? Also, why was the main character in the end wearing a metal clasp over his teeth?

It may be just me, but I could not make head nor tail of this picture and think that the only reason it won best picture was a political decision by the Academy to try and placate the anger shown last year by the lack of Afro-Americans in the nomination lists. It would be frightful to think that anyone seriously could contend that this picture was worthy of any merit whatsoever.
Pretty much what I thought. I did, however, think Andre Holland as the old Kevin, was excellent.

The new ranked voting system, which I found a detailed explanation of, also contributes to wins like these unless a film gets more than 50% of first place votes. If not, then the tabulating becomes a CPA's dream of number games.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by odinthor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:24 pm

boblipton wrote:
odinthor wrote:La Grande Illusion (1937). Featuring Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay, Marcel Dalio, Erich von Stroheim, and Dita Parlo. Acclaimed film which I viewed for the first time with high expectations, and which to my surprise gets a resounding “meh” from me, followed by a well-executed Gallic shrug. [...blah, blah, blah...] My estimation of La Grande Illusion may increase upon repeated viewings; but alas I do not think there will be repeated viewings.
Odinthor, do you enjoy Robert Altman's movies? If so, can you see why Altman once said that "Rules of the Game taught me the rules of the game"?

Bob
Enjoy Altman? I find him irritating, unfortunately, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:38 pm

I took a break from British Quota Quickies to take a look at a British Programmer: Our Fighting Navy (1937).

If you want a well-produced, slightly stodgy British movie, you can go to producer Herbert Wilcox with a sense of assurance. For this movie he imported three slightly over-ripe American stars: Richard Greene, as the handsome young naval lieutenant; H.B. Warner as the stiff-upper-lip British consul; and Noah Beery as El Presidente del Republica Bannannania, herein called "Bianco". Sheila Terry is Warner's daughter and the love interest.

It all starts with an attempted coup. Beery is dining with Wilcox at the consulate, while Greene is escorting Miss Terry from the local British cruiser. The last two are arrested and held by the rebels in varying degrees danger. Finally, the British ship begins a duel with the rebel's ship and are, of course, victorious.

The problems with this movie, aside from its flag-waving corniness is that it is all over too quickly. Once the British guns start to shoot, it's all settled but the order to send out the boats to pick up the survivors. The cooperation of the British Navy (they supplied the HMS Royal Oak to stand in for the rebels' ship; it was sunk about six weeks into World War Two) may have been impelled by the nascent British rearmament, as a plea for more funds to build ships.

It received a very early airing on US television, in May of 1940. The title song "Red, White and Blue" indicates that it may have been intended for export before completed. Other than that, it's been difficult to find, mostly because no one relly cared.... nor should they, particularly.
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:57 pm

drednm wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:Because it won best picture at the Oscars, I decided to have a look at "Moonlight" (2016). .
Pretty much what I thought..
Thanks Ed. It's good to know that I am not alone in some of my opinions. I sometimes think that I wallow in the world of the incomprehensible which seems to be the norm regarding modern pictures. :D
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:00 pm

Some little time back I discovered the brilliant French farceur Louis de Funès who could be termed the Gallic equivalent of Frank Morgan. I last wrote in this forum about him concerning the film "Oscar" (1967) during which he managed to suffer apoplexy a number of times. Since then I have sought his films out and have managed to now get my grubbies on quite a number. First off the pile was the delightful if somewhat zany "Ah! Les Belles Bacchantes" ("Peek-A-Boo") (1954) which was photographed in Agfa colour.

There is really no category into which this film neatly fits. It is quite a strange film in a way as it is framed within what could have been termed a claustrophobic setting - just inside a theatre with a number of stage acts performed – but it was realised so well this feeling was discounted completely. The theatre is probably in one of the outer Arondisments of Paris and is putting on Variety or Burlesque in that singers and dancers are interspersed with young maidens who are very lightly clad. An added bonus for gentlemen of the day would have been the generous presentations of that part of the female anatomy normally obscured from view by a brassiere. Due to this feature I am sure that the film would not have got a guernsey allowing it to be shown in Australia. (We did have a cinema in Melbourne in the '50's and '60's called the "Savoy" which catered for the raincoat brigade by showing "Continental" pictures - but none would have been as blatant as this film).

Louis de Funès plays a defective detective "who is informed that "naked women" are dancing in a revue at a local variety theatre. Being the guardian of public morals that he is, he decides to stroll on down there and check it out for himself." The role is actually one of the lesser ones in the picture, but nevertheless Messieur de Funès makes his presence known by a number of eccentric mannerisms some of which are completely dotty, but at the same time extremely funny. Of course rather than be shocked at what he sees, he seems to be enjoying himself immensely and due to the illness of one of the cast members actually joins the show. I know, far-fetched, but a wonderful ploy enhancing the comedy.

We see the director of the show at rehearsals in fits of exasperation - because a number of things are going wrong continuously. A plumber is installing taps (faucets) and has brought along his jealous wife. Then there are a number of acts - some of which are very mirth provoking. One, concerning doors on bathing boxes is a throwback to the wonderful timing and precision inherent in silent comedy films.

I enjoyed this picture very much. Tinges of the Goons and Monty Python mixed with a bit of Basil Fawlty in a way that only the French can do so well.
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"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:27 am

I would love to hate Richard Gere. He's too good-looking, and knows it. The problem is that I always enjoy his performances. His star-making turn was in American Gigolo, where the montage in which he makes himself beautiful using name brands began the 1980s.

Yet, he takes his craft seriously, flew to Japan to work with Kurosawa, and has excelled in a wide variety of roles. So when I realized that he was working with Lasse Hallstrom in Hachi: a Dog's Tale (2009), I steeled myself to watch it. I love most of Hallstrom's films, but every once in a while, his weird losers just repel me. He's the Babe Ruth of the movies: the Home Run King, who is struck out more often than anyone else.

Well, they don't strike out in this one. I smiled and leaked tears when the film maker thought I should. The three dogs who play Hachi at various ages are handsome creatures With Joan Allen and Jason Alexander.

This movie is based on the story of Hachiko, a dog owned by a Japanese professor, who waited for him every day when his train brought him home from the university. Even after the professor had collapsed and died, the dog waited every day until his own death nine years later. Hachiko became a symbol of loyalty and inspired the revival of his breed, the Akita -- there were only thirty of them left. I don't know how many there are now, but more.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:48 am

Image
My son Myles with the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya Station, Tokyo, last April.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:46 pm

Watching the English-language version of Rex Ingram's BAROUD (1932), I had a better time than some folk had. It was a slightly odd copy, seeming too short for such a film, and with a rather basic end title-card. This could be due to a re-issue, as the gentleman with the gong appeared at the start of the picture.

Set (and shot) in Morocco, the main concerns of BAROUD (which means a tribal war) are the attempts of a villainous chief (Andrews Engelmann) to marry the daughter of another (the lovely Rosita Garcia), as well as do the dirty on everyone who gets in his way. There is also a romantic sub-plot with two officers (Ingram himself and Pierre Batcheff) falling out (almost) when one falls in love with the other's sister (Garcia), causing a brief bit of religious / cultural friction. There is also a blonde singer (Laura Salerni, in what appears to be her only film) to attract the brother, although oddly the cultural clash does not arise in this case, being a touch of the double-standards.

Despite a somewhat wobbly plot, BAROUD emerges as a most entertaining yarn, with plenty of local colour (and quite a bit of humour from Garcia's feisty maid) if one doesn't worry too much about the odd unevenness, and is certainly good to look at. Engelmann is suitably beastly as he was in Ingram's THE THREE PASSIONS, and another actor from the same film (whom I have been unable to put a name to, but sports a remarkable hooter which must have given Mr Durante some uneasy nights) plays a very enthusiastic fellow soldier. By no means faultless, BAROUD does make one regret Ingram's retirement from the screen after this movie, and indeed is one of the better swansongs I have seen from any director of his stature.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:49 pm

People of my generation first met Fred MacMurray as the genial, somewhat laissez-faire (he was a rich capitalist in real life, after all) father on TV's My Three Sons. The role was perfect for him, especially at that age of his life (I believe he was 52 when it started and 64 when it ended): he was the cardigan-wearing, pipe-smoking, tie-wearing, practically unconscious Dad to end all Dads of the era ... more realistic than Robert Young, far more detached than Don DeFoe, not nearly as passionate as Hugh Beaumont, etc.

Plus, he played essentially the same role in a few Disney family films, most of them having to do with flubber. In these, he was not only the absent-minded Dad, he was also the absent-minded Professor. Couldn't have been more fitting.

These roles could have been played as a buffoon, an "Al Bundy" for the 1960s, but MacMurray was too good an actor. You knew he cared even when his mind seemed to be miles away, and that his gentle, slow but steady pace would save the day.

Most of us watching him then had no idea he was actually at the tail-end of a very, very long film career during which he had worked on a startling number of films through 5 decades. And that, while he did play a lot of comedy roles during that career, he had really made his impact as a dirty cheat in two films: Double Indemnity (1944) and The Apartment (1960).

It was the latter film I watched the other day. Good film, and I loved that NYC apartment! MacMurray, however, disturbed me, and not just because he played a heel. I realized I had always disliked him in serious roles, whether he was the villain or not.

He played these characters with the same smug half-smile permanently ironed into his face ... the same smug half-smile he later used throughout the Disney films and My Three Sons. The little grin suited those TV roles: it was a Dad grin. Seen in earlier films, worn throughout the entire movie regardless of whether it was appropriate or not, it made him a most irritating presence.

He was a good actor in the sense of being capable of subtlety and playing against type. But that grin! To me, he's like Norma Shearer with her perennial "Aren't I ADORABLE???!!" radiant smile, which she would have used even if she had been playing Joan of Arc for Dreyer.

Jim

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:14 pm

Jim Roots wrote:People of my generation first met Fred MacMurray as the genial, somewhat laissez-faire ...
Jim
A wonderful summing up of Mr. MacMurray, Jim. I had a strong sense of nostalgia as you reminded me of "My Three Sons" and "Flubber" - which I too grew up with.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:59 pm

It's the day before the opening of the show in Paris, and star Florence Desmond wants specialty dancer Douglas Fairbanks Junior to come to her home that night. Fairbanks says no. He is in love with his dance partner and his wife, Dolores Del Rio. The show's backer talks Fairbanks into doing so, and Dolores goes off with showgirl Googie Wither. A mysterious stranger visits Desmond and demands money. She throws it at him and he stoops to pick it up. The next morning, Fairbanks and Del Rio meet in their apartment, and realize nothing has happened. It is at that point that the police arrive and arrest Miss Del Rio. Miss Desmond has been murdered with Miss Del Rio's prop knife and she is Accused (1936).

The first half of this movie is pretty good, with a typically over-the-top British production number and a gypsy/Apache dance faked by Fairbanks and Del Rio. It was produced in England, with a large American component; not just the leads, but director Thornton Freeland, who was spending a few years directing in Blighty, and the script is co-written by Zoe Akins. Although the performances are fine, liberties are taken with French jurisprudence and the usual startling coincidences and uncaring flics. However, the fine performances makes this watchable, if not terribly good by the final clinch.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Dean Thompson » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:15 pm

Jim Roots wrote: To me, he's like Norma Shearer with her perennial "Aren't I ADORABLE???!!" radiant smile, which she would have used even if she had been playing Joan of Arc for Dreyer.
As much as I love (and often defend) Shearer, that image of her smiling radiantly while being barbecued is just hysterical. Thanks for the laugh!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by drednm » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:11 am

Rules Don't Apply (2016) was a most enjoyable film with Warren Beatty in top form as the reclusive and bizarre Howard Hughes. Set in 1964 when a faux biography was published, the film actually flashes back to 1959 for most of its story about a wannabe starlet and a new employee (Lilly Collins, Alden Ehrenreich), two naive 50s types making their way in Hollywood. The ever-present Hughes looms large as he manipulates all around him in his descent into paranoia and xenophobia.

Beautiful production with 1959 views of Los Angeles and Las Vegas (and lots of old cars) is also very funny as Hughes wheels out of control yet grips tightly to the reins of his empire. Lots of familiar faces with Annette Bening, Candice Bergen, Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, Oliver Platt, Steve Coogan, Martin Sheen, Amy Madigan, Ed Harris, and Alec Baldwin.

Not the kind of film that would have found an audience in theaters, it'll probably do quite well in the home video market. And Beatty, who also wrote, directed, and produced, is excellent. The title refers to a song the starlet has written (and sings). Also interesting to see Hughes (a la Norma Desmond), always watching his great film, Hell's Angels.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:23 pm

Associations with the 'dirty raincoat brigade' and the dubious reputation of 'exploitation' movies might put people off watching CHILD BRIDE (1938 / 1941 / 1943). There seems also some confusion as to when the film was made, since the girl (Shirley Mills) was between 12 and 17, depending on which dates one picks, and so it is not clear as to how old / underage she was at the time of filming. Nevertheless the film has several points of interest and at least is not dull.

CHILD BRIDE is set in a mountain community where the local teacher is campaigning against the practice of early marriages for girls who are unprepared for the strain of child-bearing and raising a family. Many of the locals are against this woman (though not a dwarf and a simpleton, who are presented as perhaps a result of indiscriminate breeding) and decide to teach her a lesson, which is fortunately interrupted and thwarted.

After watching the girl, Jennie, taking a nude dip (in the most notorious scene), one of the locals (a moonshiner and a bully to boot) takes a shine to her, and (have deliberately omitted the plot motive) manages to blackmail her mother into allowing her to marry him. In a rather hasty finish (SPOILER), the marriage turns out to be illegal as child weddings have just been outlawed in the area, but it's a bit too late for the unsavorury fellow, as he has just been plugged in a rather confusing scene. Oddly, when the teacher's fiance tells her about the new law they just fall into each other's arms, forgetting that poor Jennie is in imminent danger of being deflowered.

Aside from one or two scenes which ramble rather, CHILD BRIDE is quite watchable, with a semi-professional cast of folk whom I failed to recognise. As drama, it decidedly overripe and fruity, with a barnstormingly powerful scene when the father returns home drunk in a thunderstorm, but it is not just a curio or something to be dismissed as trash.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Changsham » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:26 pm

Recently watched the excellent limited edition BFI's Blu-ray disc set of Werner Herzog's NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE 1979 the homage remake of MURNAU's NOSFERATU. This IMO is one of the best vampire films along with the original NOSFERATU ever made. Would also be perhaps the most satisfying remake of a silent film ever made. The disc includes both the international English version as well as the German version. On points I would say the German version is slightly better due to the more natural use of language despite the English subtitles.
Though this film was filmed on a low budget Herzog extracts the maximum amount of slow burn creepiness and atmosphere. Filmed entirely in real locations and with no studio shots. There are occasional goofs and lighting problems as usually seen in low budget films. However this does not detract from the stunning visuals and superb acting particularly from Klaus Kinski as Dracula. Unlike the cold reptilian predator Orlock in the original, Kinski plays the vampire as a more fragile human figure. He is a dark lonely self loathing tormented creature hungering for love and unable to control his blood lust.
The soundtrack is excellent with its seamless use of German electronic rock and classical music. This might sound like like an odd combination but works perfectly for this film. Dialogue is sparse in both versions leaving mostly the visuals and music to generate the atmosphere as in the best silent tradition. Two memorable scenes in particular are the travelling bridging scenes. The journey to Transylvania that set up Harker's meeting with Dracula and Dracula's sea journey to Wismar. These are quite spectacular and build up the plots key moments suspense brilliantly. The BFI Bluray quality is quite good and I believe this is the best home video transfer on the market.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:21 pm

The Sweet Devil (1938) is Jean Gillie, who perhaps can be described in this movie as a sort of brunette English musical-comedy Marie Windsor. She does two dances, sings a duet with Bobby Howes and incites a pie fight at a reception for a Latin American vice president in this cut-glass farce that was produced by musical comedy star Jack Buchanan.

I know my reviews usually include a brief synopsis of whatever movie I'm reviewing, but with British cut-glass farces, there's never really much of a plot, just a situation and comedy routines, and that's what's on view here with many a snide reply and a constable to whom everything is explained, which only confuses him.

The affair is directed by René Guissart , a multi-continental cinematographer who likewise directed about thirty movies in three countries in the 1930s. He lets the performers and script have their heads and the result is a very funny little movie.

Bob
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drednm
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by drednm » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:06 pm

Came upon a film version of the radio and TV series The Goldbergs (1950) produced by Paramount about a year after the TV series launched. I sort of remember the series but really only recall the "Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Bloom" bit and the old ladies hanging out their windows and gossiping across the alley, which was parodied on other shows. Gertrude Berg was a big star on radio and early TV and also a writer. She wrote this film version which has the family expecting an old boyfriend of Molly's (Berg) who has become a rich businessman in Indiana (out west). When he shows up, he has a surprise: a young fiancee (Barbara Rush in her film debut). Always the kibitzer, Molly arranges for young Rush to accompany her to a music appreciation class, where Rush instantly falls for the teacher (Peter Hansen). There's also a young widow living next door to the Goldbergs who would make a better wife for her old friend (Eduard Franz). How will it all end?

The series had a long and varied life on radio from 1929 to 1946 in various formats, lengths, and time slots. In 1949 in became a TV series and endured a rocky run. The McCarthy Era raised its ugly head and blacklisted co-star Philip Loeb. Berg refused to fire him from the series so CBS canceled it in 1951. NBC grabbed the show but refused to have Loeb. She relented and the show went on, though she continued to pay Loeb his salary until he committed suicide in 1955. The show then ran on the Dumont Network and first-run syndication until 1957. Berg won an Emmy as best TV actress.

Berg is pretty much the whole show in the movie version (probably on radio and TV also). She was a whirlwind of talent as an actress and writer. She also owned the show. There was also a Broadway play in 1948 written by Berg. At the end of the decade she won a Tony Award for the play "A Majority of One."

Anyway, co-stars in the film include Eli Mintz as David, Larry Robinson and Arlene McQuade as the kids, David Opatoshu as the accountant, Betty Walker as a neighbor, Sarah Krohner as Elka, Josephine Whittell as Mrs. Van Nest, and Phyllis Kennedy as an adult student. A time capsule, yes, but one that preserves an important slice of America as it used to be.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:24 pm

Directed by Tim Whelan, IT'S A BOY! (1933) is a breezy farce with Edward Everett Horton as a bridegroom faced with a possible discretion from his past in the shape of Albert Burdon. An experienced cast (Alfred Drayton, Robertson Hare, Leslie Henson, and, in particular, Heather Thatcher) pull together this 'Charley's Aunt' style play in several different directions.

Will Horton manage to get married is the main question, and the whoppers and confusions fly about, in addition to a couple of drag acts as well as a plot with an author of spicy fiction who is about to be revealed (by publisher Finlay Currie) as a lady. Reasonably funny, IT'S A BOY! is fast-paced and entertaining in its arrangement of confusions and convolutions as well as a selection of risque moments. Thatcher, in particular, is good value as the author who is involved several times in the various twists in the plot. Lively and likeable.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:06 pm

boblipton wrote:The Sweet Devil (1938) is Jean Gillie
She would be diabolical, but not sweet, in Monogram's excellent Decoy.
“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

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:01 pm

In Nothing Venture, Patric Curwen is writing an adventure story for boys, when the Artemus Boys come into his garden and ask what they are to do this time. He sends them to a Norman tower, where some one takes a shot at some one, Terry Randal's horse bolts and Michael Aldredge rescues them. Then they all go off on an adventure which involves mysterious spies, a horse race and a ray which can knock planes out of the sky -- with occasional mild asides to the audience about the subject at hand.

Quite clearly, this was meant to be the sort of adventure story for boys that appeared in magazines for the period, in which adults put children into deadly danger with never a second thought, and the boys cleverly figure out things to thwart the baddy. Compared to movies like Hue and Cry, which came out the same year, it is very silly, and not in a good sense. While it must have pleased its audience at the time, except for the cinematography of rural Sussex, it has not aged particularly well.

this was the second of three movies starring the Artemus Boys. Aside from these, they seem to have vanished from history. At least, there's nothing else about them on Google.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:16 pm

Charlie Chaplin used to preface some of his films with the title "A story with a smile, perhaps a tear", and the same could be utilised at the commencement of the Swedish picture "En man som heter Ove" ("A Man Called Ove") (2015).

We have had any amount of "grumpy old men" gracing the screen both large and small. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matheau played the role broadly and Victor Meldew ("One Foot in the Grave") was more a victim of the comedy of errors routine. In "A Man Called Ove" the treatment is more gentle and perhaps a little more subtle.

Ove, is a man forced into early retirement and has been recently widowed. Hls life follows a set routine and he is of the type that will take on a supervisory capacity without necessarily having the authority to do so. Most people he encounters are idiots and he doesn't encourage familiarity. He misses his wife and wishes to join her and thus contemplates suicide. The scenes of him attempting to carry out the endeavour are rich in black humour - he dresses in a suit, collar and tie and even takes a broken rope back to the hardware store for a refund as it did not fulfill it its promise of being suitable for all purposes.

Other characters slowly come into Ove's life and his hard exterior gradually melts. Being with him on this journey is a very enjoyable experience as we who are growing old (disgracefully) can empathise with a lot of what is portrayed.

Unobtrusively the film manages to insert flashbacks which give the biographical details of Ove's life. We see him as a child, a teenager and a young man courting his future wife. Later we see scenes from his married life together with some tragic circumstances. We get to understand how Ove has become as he is and we sympathise readily.

This film has it all - a good story (based on the book of the same name), a good script, fine actors (especially Rolf Lassgård who plays the older Ove), a wonderful balance between comedy and drama. As well as all that it is photographed and edited superbly too.

It ends well too, not as one has expected, but it is all quite logical.

This is one of the finest of the modern films I have seen for quite some while, from the pile I have been wading through. Immensely enjoyable.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:42 pm

boblipton wrote:If you've got a spare hour to waste on a British quota quickie, then The Man Without a Face (1935) might be a movie for you.
The principals are bit overwrought. Cyril Chosack (who?) is falsely convicted of murder, but escapes from a train wreck, leaving what he believes is a thoroughly scarred dead man to take his place. He flees with his girl friend, Carol Coombe, encounter Mr. Marriott, and set up housekeeping. However, a newspaper story reveals that the man he thought was dead has survived, thoroughly scarred and amnesiac, scheduled to hang in his stead. Can Mr. Chosack allow him to hang in his place?
Finally was able to see this on YouTube even if TNT said it wasn't available. It was a terrific little story about conscience, but they never fully explained the happy ending when Chosack's character was freed?

An answer to prayer?

I guess it's up to the viewer to imagine what happened?

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by drednm » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:22 am

An odd British thriller, supposedly based on a novel by George Sanders, The Unholy Four is pretty mild but has good performances by William Sylvester and Paul Carpenter. Paulette Goddard is toplined but has little to do but wear really ugly clothes and pose in an even uglier house. Sylvester returns home after going missing in Portugal four years earlier. Possibly one of his pals tried to kill him? Within an hour of his return, one of the pals is killed. Hmmmm. Film is sort of famous for the shapeshifting kitchen in which major appliances are rearranged from one scene to another and for the Sanders novel, which was apparently ghostwritten.
Last edited by drednm on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:38 pm

Courtesy of BFI Player, THE GREAT BARRIER (1937) is a British Western set and filmed in Canada (in parts, I suspect) with the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway as its theme. A sort of pocket De Mille, it is still an entertaining yarn, with Richard Arlen and Barry MacKay in the leads, one a gambler, the other a weak-willed fellow with an eye for the ladies, but not much sense. Lili Palmer is the sexy, but venal saloon-girl, MacKay fancies, and the bosses are played by J Farrell MacDonald and the gravel-voiced Roy Emerton, whose daughter Arlen falls for.

Similarities with UNION PACIFIC (1939) and NORTHWEST PASSAGE (1940) abound, as well as THE IRON HORSE (1924), and if a little uneven, there is plenty of spectacle and rough stuff to keep one interested. The barrier of the title is the Canadian Rockies, which provide the obstacle to the successful completion of the railroad. There is also a touch of historical content, and interestingly enough, Frank McGlynn Sr plays the Canadian Prime Minister as a break from Abe Lincoln.

The film boasts multiple credits on direction, music and camerawork, which might suggest some of it was filmed simultaneously at different locations. A lovely, clear copy, too!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:13 pm

Green Fingers (1947): After osteopath Felix Aylmer cures his injured foot, Robert Beatty decides that's what he wants to be. When his landlord's daughter, Carol Raye, is told by doctors that she will never walk again, Beatty cures her -- months before he has completed his training. He quarrels with Aylmer and sets up practice without completing his training, and gets involved with Nova Pilbeam -- although he has married Miss Raye. Melodrama ensues.

For its first half, this movie looks like a tract for osteopathy and the gifted amateur. Once the melodrama begins, though, it becomes a much more standard sort of movie. There are some interesting bits; Beatty's curing of Miss Raye harks back to The Miracle Man. The actors are very good in their pig-headed portrayals, particularly Beatty and Miss Pilbeam, near the end of her career. She would retire the following year, following her second marriage.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:40 pm

William Sylvester, then Robert Beatty... I look forward to films of Leonard Rossiter and Margaret Tyzack soon.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Paul Penna » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:33 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:William Sylvester, then Robert Beatty... I look forward to films of Leonard Rossiter and Margaret Tyzack soon.
Too easy; go for Douglas Rain.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:27 am

Well, we know where you can hear, if again not see, him:



He plays Creon and has an extended scene with Oedipus beginning about 30 minutes in, but honestly, given the difference between the declamatory style of the Greek play and the soothing tones of Hal 9000, I can't hear the same actor in both parts.
“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

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