What is the last film you watched? (2017)

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 am

"Song of Scheherazade" (1947) is the type of picture that isn't made any more. One can easily answer that statement with "Thank Goodness", but maybe that is a bit harsh in that there must be something in it that is worth looking at? Trouble is one has to search pretty damn hard to find it. I suppose to me the one thing attractive is that there is a small smattering of the music of Ripsyer-Korsetsoff. Other than that, it appears to be a tragic waste of Technicolor film stock.

I have no idea what type of picture this was supposed to be? Was it supposed to be a musical? If so, there is very little music in it. Was it supposed to be a comedy? There's a lot of stupidity in it, but I don't think this was actually intended. Was it a drama? Well, hardly.

The story is ludicrous and downright silly. The characters are overblown and equally silly. The dialogue is excruciating - yet - for some inexplicable reason one can't fall asleep, it's as if the alluring Technicolor has hypnotised the viewer.

Perhaps Yvonne de Carlo also has some sort of allure but she like some of the other characters are completely unbelievable. Even her dancing scenes - when she is allowed to do some, are a bit of a shambles.

Brian Donlevy struts around in a role that Yul Brynner would have loved, Jean-Pierre Aumont does his best to eke out a leading man with the tripe he has to deal with and Eve Arden, bless her, is pretty much herself.

This mess was mis-directed by Walter Reisch who also has to take responsibility for writing it! It was put out by Universal and I would love to know whether it made any money for them?
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:38 am

boblipton wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:! (I was a very nice boy in 1968.)

Jim

My, how you've changed.

Bob
For the better, right? Right???

Jim

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:59 am

Another bit of a stinker I sat through was "Old Spanish Customers" a British film from 1932. I thought it might have been better than what it was due to the participation of two Lanes - Lupino as director, and Wallace as actor. Perhaps if they had reversed their jobs things would have been better?

The main protagonist in this very forced comedy is a comedian by the name of Leslie Fuller, someone I had not heard of. I thought he may have been a music hall turn (Vaudeville) but it appears he made his name as part of concert party shows during the Great War.

I am not going to bother to write about the story other than to say that Mr. Fuller ends up in Spain and is mistaken for a bullfighter. This requires most of the cast to play the part of "foreigners" and most of them do that atrociously - obviously none of them had ever heard a Spaniard trying to get out English.

Whilst looking at this picture I was reminded of the Pantomime shows that are part of the British Yuletide festivities. This was reinforced by Mr. Fuller appearing in drag at one stage in order to put across a number.

To me the main requirement of a comedy picture is for it to be funny. This one wasn't particularly. I only managed one or two titters - and they were only slightly audible.

The female glamour is supplied by Binnie Barnes and there is a character called "A Small Boy" on the cast list.

The print I saw was in excellent condition - as have been a number of the old British pictures I have lately been wading through.
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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 Daniel Eagan » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:26 am

boblipton wrote: Not Jackie so much, alas.

Bob


He is an old man, but I give him a lot of slack for what he's done in his career. I still found it amusing, and Tong directed him carefully. It's like Armour of God from a professor's POV.

Did like the Bollywood number.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:52 pm

Derek Farr shows up at La Scala in the closings days of the Second World War and noodles around on the piano. He reminisces about Russian-born Marta Lamarr and how, when he was a reporter, he got her out of jail, proposed to her, and she disappeared. Some time later, his wanderings bring him to Teheran (1946), where she has become an adventuress. Something odd is going on, so he investigates, and...

This post-war British Italian production looks like someone had seen late-war programmers like The Mask of Dimtros and said "I can do that too!" Unfortunately, they lacked a novel by Eric Ambler and the wonderful eccentric character actors that Jean Negulesco directed. Only Manning Whiley as the satanically-bearded and elegant villain and John Slater as the Russian military attache -- with the on-the-nose name "Soviesky" offer any flair; nor is there any sense of tension brought to this nominal thriller, just people wandering around, doing things. Cinematographer Ubaldo Arata offers some nice film noir camera work, but this limp effort didn't do anything worthwhile for anyone's career --- or for its audience.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by drednm » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:29 pm

boblipton wrote:David Farr shows up at La Scala in the closings days of the Second World War and noodles around on the piano. He reminisces about Russian-born Marta Lamarr and how, when he was a reporter, he got her out of jail, proposed to her, and she disappeared. Some time later, his wanderings bring him to Teheran (1946), where she has become an adventuress. Something odd is going on, so he investigates, and...

This post-war British Italian production looks like someone had seen late-war programmers like The Mask of Dimtros and said "I can do that too!" Unfortunately, they lacked a novel by Eric Ambler and the wonderful eccentric character actors that Jean Negulesco directed. Only Manning Whiley as the satanically-bearded and elegant villain and John Slater as the Russian military attache -- with the on-the-nose name "Soviesky" offer any flair; nor is there any sense of tension brought to this nominal thriller, just people wandering around, doing things. Cinematographer Ubaldo Arata offers some nice film noir camera work, but this limp effort didn't do anything worthwhile for anyone's career --- or for its audience.

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:08 pm

For a bit of highbrow entertainment I took "It Happened at the World's Fair" (1963) off the pile for a look. Reason two to do so was that it was about a World's Fair (which have since been renamed "Expo" so that no-one will know what they are). A bit of nostalgia for me because I actually went to one - in Brussels in 1958. I saw the "Sputnik", colour television and a device called a "picture 'phone" - where you could actually see the person on the 'phone to whom you were speaking. I remember my mother saying "What if you were in the bath?" Another reason for watching was that the film was photographed in Seattle and having been there a few times I thought I would enjoy seeing familiar landmarks. Of course this is not to discount the star of the film - Pelvis Ressly who made a few agreeable pictures for the young back in the '60's.

The story was cute and involved a little Chinese girl who was innocently placed in the charge of Pelvis and his mate by her uncle after they had all just met. (A lot has changed in this world in just over 50 years). This gives an excuse for us to visit the Seattle World's Fair - although we don't really get to see all that much of the exhibits or pavilions. We do however get a ride on the lift up to the top of the Space Needle. Thrills.

There is love interest of course - why wouldn't there be in a Pelvis picture? It's all done very properly as back then big pop stars were still gentlemen and even wore a collar and tie.

This is all good mind-numbing fun. Ideal for a rainy day when you can't be bothered doing anything and you have switched your brain off. Pelvis sings a few songs in the picture and thankfully they are more of the ballad type rather than the raucous rock and roll variety.

Gary Lockwood features as the side-kick, Joan O'Brien is the object of affection, Vicky Tiu is the little Chinese girl and Kurt Russell, in an early screen appearance, features as a young lad who kicks Pelvis in the shins.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:23 pm

"A Cure for Wellness" (2016) would be one modern day picture that I have thoroughly enjoyed. It kept me guessing right through until eventually the penny clicked and I could work out what was actually the raison d'etre in this dramatic thriller.

Usually pictures which feature a labyrinthine storyline leave me totally confused, but this one does that one thing that is often lacking - it provides explanation and the reason why certain things are happening. It does this cleverly because it doesn't take away an audience's guesswork instead it leaves them on the edge of their seat in anticipation. That sort of experience doesn't quite happen all that often.

The plot - "An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa's treatments are not what they seem."

Dane DeHaan is the young executive, Jason Isaacs is the mysterious head of the Sanitarium and Mia Goth is a strange patient whilst Gore Verbinski directed it. (what a marvelous name for a director of horror pictures!)

The picture is labelled as being in the "drama, fantasy, horror" genre - but I would put it in the thriller genre myself. There is not all that much of what I would call horror in it. One sees more horror in comedy films these days.

A ripping yarn told well that will grip you to your seat.
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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 drednm » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:54 pm

Wow. Having watched A Free Soul (1931) again, I can see how badly they eviscerated the story for the 1953 remake. Why did they even bother? William Powell had basically nothing to do (ditto Gig Young). The original had major roles for Norma Shearer, Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard and they were all excellent. The 1953 remake turned into a bland love story with only a few sparks. Rather than sparks, the original has full-scale pyrotechnics even if Shearer poses a bit too much.
Barrymore is excellent.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:15 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8koVaD5LZN0" target="_blank

(Let's see if that plays while you read this review)

One of the comic themes of post-War England was the suddenly impoverished nobility trying to deal with their crumbling stately homes -- bad drains was a common trope. in Castle in the Air (1952), David Tomlinson is the Earl of Locharne, whose house is haunted, not only by a ghost played by Patricia Dainton, but by holidayers dissatisfied by the poor conditions, neighbors who resent his poaching, a bureaucrat from the Coal Board who wants to requisition the place for convalescing miners, an American millionairess (played by Barbara Kelly) who wants to buy the place, and Margaret Rutherford, who insists he is rightful King of Scotland. Can his manager, Helen Cherry, get him out of debt and get him to notice she's been in love with him for years?

It's based on a stage show, and whatever subtext may have existed at some point has been rubbed out. Still, the director is Henry Cass, who directed one of my favorite non-Ealing comedies, Last Holiday, so he knows how to direct for laughs. If some of the lines come out a trifle fast for emotional weight, this is not the first movie from a stage play I've seen that happen in. The cast handles the comedy very well, even if some of the characterizations are a bit standard. I expect you'll have a good time watching this.

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

Unread post by drednm » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:22 am

Watched Bullitt (1968) and enjoyed it. I really don't think I'd ever seen it before even though the film is nearly 50 years old! I thought Robert Vaughn as the would-be politician willing to use his "witness" for his own political gain was appropriately oily (and contemporary). Steve McQueen was good. I never spotted Joanna Cassidy or Suzanne Somers. Oh well.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:28 pm

Another Tiffany outing from 1930, JUST LIKE HEAVEN (1930) is slightly reminiscent of the Borzage-Gaynor-Farrell movie, being set in a small French town. David Newell has the lead, as a balloon-seller whose pitch is pilfered by a travelling dog circus, peopled by dancer Anita Louise, Gaston Glass and Thomas Jefferson (no, not THAT one). As is usual, there is a little friction at first, as well as the fact that local loose woman Yola d'Avril has the hots for Newell. d'Avril's nasty schemes make things even worse, as she steals from the troupe's trunk, unintentionally causing the death of an elderly performer. Louise's shock results in Newell's offer of help...

Further complications arise with one of the troupe's jealousy arising from this as well as the discovery that Newell has artistic ambitions, and it seems odd that the old chap's death is almost forgotten in just a few weeks. Rather slight, but by no means a chore to sit through, this is an early work from Roy William Neill. As well as d'Avril, there is a boisterous turn from Mathilde Comont as the cafe proprietor.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:29 pm

TCM showed Last of the Pagans (1935), one of those Romances of the South Seas that MGM liked to offer its patrons every year or so. This one is based on Herman Melville's Typee, which I was spared in college and never got around to reading on my own.

I'll take a moment to speculate that the reason Melville was so adaptable to the movies was that at the heart of his boring, obsessively-detailed novels, there was always a good adventure yarn. Screenwriter John Farrow has whittled this one down to a Rousseau-style Romance of the Noble Savage. The Polynesian lovers are played by Mala, who was an Inuit, and Lotus Long, who hailed from exotic Atlantic City. Richard Thorpe, beginning his long career for Metro, got good performances out of the leads, who speak in what I guess is a Polynesian language, extensively subtitled. They undergo courtship, traders who kidnap Mala to work in a collapsing guano mine, and a big storm. Will true love be denied?

While the screenplay is hobbled by the Production Code, the photography is superlative, shot by location specialist Clyde de Vinna. If you can turn your ears off, you'll see a fine little silent film here, with some spectacular views.

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

Unread post by drednm » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:38 pm

boblipton wrote:TCM showed Last of the Pagans (1935), one of those Romances of the South Seas that MGM liked to offer its patrons every year or so. This one is based on Herman Melville's Typee, which I was spared in college and never got around to reading on my own.

I'll take a moment to speculate that the reason Melville was so adaptable to the movies was that at the heart of his boring, obsessively-detailed novels, there was always a good adventure yarn. Screenwriter John Farrow has whittled this one down to a Rousseau-style Romance of the Noble Savage. The Polynesian lovers are played by Mala, who was an Inuit, and Lotus Long, who hailed from exotic Atlantic City. Richard Thorpe, beginning his long career for Metro, got good performances out of the leads, who speak in what I guess is a Polynesian language, extensively subtitled. They undergo courtship, traders who kidnap Mala to work in a collapsing guano mine, and a big storm. Will true love be denied?

While the screenplay is hobbled by the Production Code, the photography is superlative, shot by location specialist Clyde de Vinna. If you can turn your ears off, you'll see a fine little silent film here, with some spectacular views.

Bob
Melville boring? He's not even THAT exciting!
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:01 pm

Somewhere in Civvies (1943) has Frank Randle and stooges operating under the direction of Quota Quicky specialist Maclean Rogers. The plot, for what it is -- mainly a method for getting from one comedy skit to another -- has Frank and chief stooge Gus Aubrey being invalided out of the army, going into the home decorating business, and finally conducting a brass band in a medley with a collapsing stage -- I saw some of the gags here in one of the P.D.Q. concerts of Professor Peter Schickele. There is also a subplot in which Frank is due to inherit fifty thousand pounds, but the secondary heir is trying to have him declared insane; also, Frank's niece, played by Nancy O'Neil, wants to marry her young man.

As seems to be typical, all these problems are handwaved away before the big production number is more than begun. It's an excuse for Frank and stooges to perform some of their rude, destructive stage skits, with the venue opened up only slightly for the movie screen.

As with the other Frank Randle picture I've seen -- Somewhere in England (1940) -- it's strictly B material meant to capture the stage performance of Northern favorite Randle, meant to play local cinemas in the North, and of no more importance to World Cinema than the "Weaver Brothers & Elviry" comedies produced by Republic Pictures for their rural audiences in the U.S. However, as a record of the comedy material that was popular once you got out of the major cities, it is well done.

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:06 am

Quaint little comedy on YT called Bachelor of Hearts (1958) that follows a German exchange student's adventures at Cambridge University where he gets involved in a school club and a pretty girl. Hardy Kruger stars with Sylvia Syms. Gorgeous color photography of Cambridge, the River Cam, etc. It all looked very familiar. I made a couple trips there while I did a term of graduate study at Oxford in 1985.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:54 am

boblipton wrote:Somewhere in Civvies (1943) has Frank Randle and stooges operating under the direction of Quota Quicky specialist Maclean Rogers. The plot, for what it is -- mainly a method for getting from one comedy skit to another -- has Frank and chief stooge Gus Aubrey being invalided out of the army, going into the home decorating business, and finally conducting a brass band in a medley with a collapsing stage -- I saw some of the gags here in one of the P.D.Q. concerts of Professor Peter Schickele. There is also a subplot in which Frank is due to inherit fifty thousand pounds, but the secondary heir is trying to have him declared insane; also, Frank's niece, played by Nancy O'Neil, wants to marry her young man.

As seems to be typical, all these problems are handwaved away before the big production number is more than begun. It's an excuse for Frank and stooges to perform some of their rude, destructive stage skits, with the venue opened up only slightly for the movie screen.

As with the other Frank Randle picture I've seen -- Somewhere in England (1940) -- it's strictly B material meant to capture the stage performance of Northern favorite Randle, meant to play local cinemas in the North, and of no more importance to World Cinema than the "Weaver Brothers & Elviry" comedies produced by Republic Pictures for their rural audiences in the U.S. However, as a record of the comedy material that was popular once you got out of the major cities, it is well done.

Bob
I watched this one last night and found some of it irresistibly funny. Some of the plot gaps could perhaps be explained by the fact that SOMEWHERE IN CIVVIES was cut by some 25 minutes for reissue, although the principle seems to have been along the lines of to trim five minutes off each reel. Randle and Co are happy to throw in any joke or gag that comes to hand, as well as a sequence in a mental hospital which is rather non-PC today. Rogers's method seems to be 'keep it going and throw in anything' and Suzette Tarri (as 'Mrs Spam') has the memorable comment "...there's plenty of fish in the sea, but me bait's not quite so fresh as it was." So far, the best Randle I've seen...

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:50 pm

William Wellman directed "Heroes for Sale" in 1934 and managed to scrape through a few scenes about drug addiction before the code got a hold of subjects such as these and buried them; but the film is not about drug addiction alone. It is a wide ranging film touching on a number of social issues and problems which were very red and raw during the early 1930's when the world was in the throes of a depression.

It is virtually the saga of one man - Richard Bathtubmess - from the Great War through to when Franklin Roosevelt becomes president of the United States.

Richard, poor fellow, just cannot seem to make a go of anything and always comes off second best. His life is that of someone who is continually usurped by others or he is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is a hero in the Great War - but the kudos goes to someone else. He loses his job because he has become addicted to morphine as a result of a serious war injury. He finally makes a go of something, marries and has a child only to find everything goes to pieces through no fault of his own. Yet through it all, he is a man of high principle, dignity and moral fortitude.

This film could be a very depressing interlude for audiences going through the depression if it were not for something in the text of it which is uplifting. There is a sparkling of optimism set starkly against the gloom.

Wellman I think recognised Barthelmess as an actor who was very able to convey intensity when required. He comes over very well in this and shows that he was still quite capable of displaying fine acting technique if he was given suitable roles. To me this is one of his best talking picture appearances.

Loretta Young makes a brief appearance as Barthelmess' wife, Aline McMahon plays the sympathetic female, Charley Grapewin is serving in a free meal dispensary, Robert Barrat is a red menace, Berton Churchill plays his usual blustering businessman type, Grant Mitchell is a model employer and in the rest of the cast is James Murray who has a very minor speaking part.

The ending is perhaps a little overt in its message.

Surprisingly this film gets through it all in 76 minutes whereas today we would be looking at about three hours minimum.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2017)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:10 am

Man Hunt (1933) is one of those Young Adult movies that RKO tried out in the middle of the 1930s. Here, instead of Ann Shirley, they use Junior Durkin and Charlotte Henry, under the direction of Irving Cummings, with Dorothy Davenport (as "Mrs. Wallace Reid") as Junior's mother.

A year earlier, Edward Le Saint had stolen half a million dollar's worth of jewels from his employer and fled to the town in which this movie is set, taking his daughter, Charlotte Henry, with him. Now crooked investigator has shown up. In the meantime, Junior Durkin has been fired from yet another job because he is so busy playing detective. He meets Miss Henry and soon they are trying to figure out what is going on.

Although Miss Henry's performance is good, Durkin's is not that interesting; also the pair of them are rather clueless as to what is going on until the deus-ex-machina denouement. Message: stop daydreaming, kids. Buckle down to your jobs and leave the adults to do the real work.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:38 am

A man is killed at that most dangerous place in the world: a theater; in Murder at the Windmill (aka Murder at the Burlesque: 1949). Movie stalwart Detective Inspector Garry Marsh shows up with comic-relief sergeant Jon Pertwee to investigate. This involves recreating the show, during which the front-row victim was offed.

The Windmill, for those of you who haven't seen Mrs. Henderson Presents, was the London music hall that included tableaux vivantes to get around British law that forbade nudity on the stage -- unless the performer didn't move. Alas, the film producers didn't offer much more than the sort of semi-revealing costumes that I saw at Radio City Music Hall as a child. Neither was I terribly impressed by the mystery aspect. I spotted the killer early on, but found no clue leading to the detection until the final revelation.

Still, there are some good, if not particularly memorable revue numbers, and the performers are pretty young women. There is also one particularly funny bit in which a comic, used to a large, appreciative audience, is forced to go through his routine for two tired, stony-faced detectives. Although it's strictly a B movie, it's a very pleasant, bright time-waster.

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:35 am

Lippy and Dreddy trashed the novels of Mr. Herman Melville recently. I suppose Binky and Stinker would agree with their opinion, and I seem to recall even Lady Freddy once slagged Melville over the tea and crumpets. Only SWAKy hasn't spoken up yet ... probably too busy fishing and drinking Moosehead to trouble himself with reading great novels.

So it's up to me to defend the maligned. Melville's best work is truly great: Moby Dick, Bartleby the Scrivener, Redburn, White-Jacket, Pierre, Billy Budd. Where he gets tedious and, all right, boring is in his South Seas droners such as Typee and Omoo and anything else with a baffling one-word title.

It so happened, by coincidence, that at the same time Lippy and Dreddy were doing their worst, I was watching Billly Budd, Peter Ustinov's 1962 auteur take on a magnificent sea story by Melville. Ustinov co-wrote and directed it, and gave himself a plumb role as the ship's Captain Vere. He did it all with uncharacteristic seriousness. The result is a fine and quite intense film about good and evil (Melville's theme) and about justice and law (Ustinov's theme).

Two weeks ago I watched a dark-haired, mature Terence Stamp portraying an immoral cad and bounder of the British Army in Far From the Madding Crowd. This week I watched a blond, incredibly young and immature-looking Terence Stamp portraying a moral standard-bearer of the British Navy in his film debut. You couldn't find a more complete contrast in characters despite their sharing in the British military of previous centuries. As a blond youth, he was the dream cabin-boy of any gay naval captain; it was a little hard not to think of a gay subtext to this film.

His was certainly an interesting performance. At first, it was almost impossible to believe such a pure-innocent foundling with no education (he signs his contract with an awkward left-handed "X") could spout such common-sense wisdom and hold his own under the verbal spears of his fellow sea-dogs. But he grows on you, and you come to accept the character's mythological combination of naivete and insight.

He's the symbol of good, and Robert Ryan is Master-at-Arms Claggart as the symbol of evil. Ryan apparently considered this the role of his dreams, and he's pretty good in it.

Everyone's performance, however, has moments when the actor seems at a loss for direction and/or confidence. This includes Ustinov himself. All of the characters have their moments of doubt and uncertainty, which is one of the emotional factors that make the movie so intense to watch; the problem is that it is the actors rather than the characters who hesitate in their reactions. Yet the performances are all excellent in spite of these brief episodes of clumsiness.

Worth seeing, even for Lippy and Dreddy.

Rootsy

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

Unread post by greta de groat » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:44 am

Jim Roots wrote:Lippy and Dreddy trashed the novels of Mr. Herman Melville recently. I suppose Binky and Stinker would agree with their opinion, and I seem to recall even Lady Freddy once slagged Melville over the tea and crumpets. Only SWAKy hasn't spoken up yet ... probably too busy fishing and drinking Moosehead to trouble himself with reading great novels.

So it's up to me to defend the maligned. Melville's best work is truly great: Moby Dick, Bartleby the Scrivener, Redburn, White-Jacket, Pierre, Billy Budd. Where he gets tedious and, all right, boring is in his South Seas droners such as Typee and Omoo and anything else with a baffling one-word title.

It so happened, by coincidence, that at the same time Lippy and Dreddy were doing their worst, I was watching Billly Budd, Peter Ustinov's 1962 auteur take on a magnificent sea story by Melville. Ustinov co-wrote and directed it, and gave himself a plumb role as the ship's Captain Vere. He did it all with uncharacteristic seriousness. The result is a fine and quite intense film about good and evil (Melville's theme) and about justice and law (Ustinov's theme).

Two weeks ago I watched a dark-haired, mature Terence Stamp portraying an immoral cad and bounder of the British Army in Far From the Madding Crowd. This week I watched a blond, incredibly young and immature-looking Terence Stamp portraying a moral standard-bearer of the British Navy in his film debut. You couldn't find a more complete contrast in characters despite their sharing in the British military of previous centuries. As a blond youth, he was the dream cabin-boy of any gay naval captain; it was a little hard not to think of a gay subtext to this film.

His was certainly an interesting performance. At first, it was almost impossible to believe such a pure-innocent foundling with no education (he signs his contract with an awkward left-handed "X") could spout such common-sense wisdom and hold his own under the verbal spears of his fellow sea-dogs. But he grows on you, and you come to accept the character's mythological combination of naivete and insight.

He's the symbol of good, and Robert Ryan is Master-at-Arms Claggart as the symbol of evil. Ryan apparently considered this the role of his dreams, and he's pretty good in it.

Everyone's performance, however, has moments when the actor seems at a loss for direction and/or confidence. This includes Ustinov himself. All of the characters have their moments of doubt and uncertainty, which is one of the emotional factors that make the movie so intense to watch; the problem is that it is the actors rather than the characters who hesitate in their reactions. Yet the performances are all excellent in spite of these brief episodes of clumsiness.

Worth seeing, even for Lippy and Dreddy.

Rootsy
Count me among the Moby Dick lovers. I have never read Billy Budd but, surprisingly, it makes an outstanding opera, one of the few 20th century works that i really like. It's been a long time since i've seen the film, i'll have to check it out again.

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

Unread post by wich2 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:47 pm

MOBY DICK can be a chore (as a friend said, by the time you're done, you feel YOU'VE shipped out on the Pequod!), but it has its rep for a reason.

And BARTLEBY is surprisingly "modern," even today.

-Craig

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

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:36 pm

Jim Roots wrote:Only SWAKy hasn't spoken up yet ... probably too busy fishing and drinking Moosehead to trouble himself with reading great novels.
Hey, I only drink craft beer! I was off getting my growler filled at my local, Good Robot Brewing Co., conveniently located 5 minutes from my back door. (One of two craft breweries 5 minutes from my back door. Gotta love this neighbourhood.)

Melville's fine, but I'm more of a Jack London kind of guy.
Twinkletoes wrote:Oh, ya big blister!

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:40 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote: Melville's fine, but I'm more of a Jack London kind of guy.
I'm still on "John and Betty, with Spot the dog" (I stole it from a two year old).
Regards from
Donald Binks

"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 s.w.a.c. » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:47 pm

boblipton wrote:Man Hunt (1933) is one of those Young Adult movies that RKO tried out in the middle of the 1930s. Here, insteaad of Ann Shirley, they use Junior Durkin and Charlotte Henry, under the direction of Irving Cummings, with Dorothy Davenport (as "Mrs. Wallace Reid") as Junior's mother.
This is also my last film watched, and it was fairly lackluster even for an RKO programmer. Durkin's character is painfully dimwitted, to the point of frustration. Which is too bad because I remember enjoying his turn as Huckleberry Finn in the 1930 version of Tom Sawyer with Jackie Coogan. I see he also played the titular Huckleberry Finn in the follow-up film, but I haven't come across that version yet.

Tragically, he was killed at age 19, in the same car accident that killed Coogan's father and one-eyed, no-legged (!) western director Robert J. Horner.
Twinkletoes wrote:Oh, ya big blister!

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

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:49 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:Melville's fine, but I'm more of a Jack London kind of guy.
I'm still on "John and Betty, with Spot the dog" (I stole it from a two year old).
I figured you'd be up to Dot & the Kangaroo and The Magic Pudding by now!
Twinkletoes wrote:Oh, ya big blister!

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

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:06 am

I also am a Melville aficionado, but Typee and Omoo are my favorites! I once (good god, it's been literally 50 years ago) took a course in Melville, and I had to read all the novels, and some of his epic "Clarel", but Omoo was my favorite then and still remains so to this day.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:47 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:Melville's fine, but I'm more of a Jack London kind of guy.
I'm still on "John and Betty, with Spot the dog" (I stole it from a two year old).
I figured you'd be up to Dot & the Kangaroo and The Magic Pudding by now!

Those three-year-olds are tough!

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:36 pm

Remember that movie you saw when you were a kid, and loved it? Loved it! Best movie ever! You told all your friends about it, the great music, the cool characters, the gear cars? You talked about it for years, for decades, and then it turned up again, so you dragged your family to see a cool movie that was done right. And as you sat through it for the second time, you wondered "What happened to the movie I saw when I was a kid? This is nothing at all like it! The lines are stupid, the music is lame and the actors are gargoyles! What happened to it?"

Baby Driver (2017) is that movie. It's not the movie you saw, it's the movie you remembered. It's got great music and great cars that dance, and actors who behave like Steve MacQueen, and Kevin Spacey shoots the really bad guys -- not the bank robbers, those are the heroes, but the really bad guys, and says "I was i love once." Edgar Wright -- whom I know from the movies he directed Simon Pegg in -- has directed a gangster-car-chase-teen-love movie that offers a big F*** Y** to Justin Lin, Guy Ritchie and those other jerks who fooled you. Yeah. This is the movie you remembered.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

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