What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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westegg
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by westegg » Thu May 10, 2018 5:51 am

Just watched THE POST, which now becomes a permanent double feature with ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN, as an overall history experience. I could precede them both with 1776, but that's another story. :)

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu May 10, 2018 6:04 am

The Mouthpiece (1932) offers one of Warren William's very best performances as a lawyer on the make for money and for broads. Based on the notorious lawyer William Fallon, William's character is sleazy but with a streak of goodness in him (not sure about Fallon). Interesting ending leaves the viewer with a will he or won't he situation. Excellent support from Aline MacMahon as his devoted assistant and less so from Sidney Fox as the babe in the woods. The usual Warners faces show up, including Guy Kibbee, John Wray, Berton Churchill, Morgan Wallace, Walter Walker, Charles Lane, Ralph Ince, William Janney, Noel Francis, Jack LaRue. Look for Paulette Goddard as a blonde party girl.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Richard P. May » Thu May 10, 2018 8:41 am

THE THREE MUSKETEERS (Fox 1939) I have known about this picture for years, but never had an opportunity to see it. It has surfaced on FXM On Demand, and is available for about another month. Starring Don Ameche as D'Artagnan, and the Ritz Brothers as the musketeers, it sort of has to be seen to be believed. It is billed as a "Musical Version of Alexandre Dumas novel". The songs are pretty catchy, with Ameche being very energetic, and in fine voice. A number of character and supporting players of the period, including John Carradine, turn up.
The quality of the picture and sound are good. One of the best things about it is its running time of 74 minutes.
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Jim Roots
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Thu May 10, 2018 10:58 am

Richard P. May wrote:THE THREE MUSKETEERS (Fox 1939) I have known about this picture for years, but never had an opportunity to see it. It has surfaced on FXM On Demand, and is available for about another month. Starring Don Ameche as D'Artagnan, and the Ritz Brothers as the musketeers, it sort of has to be seen to be believed. It is billed as a "Musical Version of Alexandre Dumas novel". The songs are pretty catchy, with Ameche being very energetic, and in fine voice. A number of character and supporting players of the period, including John Carradine, turn up.
The quality of the picture and sound are good. One of the best things about it is its running time of 74 minutes.
That's the version that has been available on DVD for many years, although it can be quite difficult to find. It's about the only film in which the Ritz Brothers can amuse almost any viewer, so there's that to recommend it.

There's a thread about it somewhere on this board.

Jim

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

Unread post by boblipton » Thu May 10, 2018 4:42 pm

Le Dernier Milliardaire aka The Last Billionaire (1934) When the Kingdom of Casanario goes broke, the Queen and ministers offer to marry Princess Renee Saint-Cyr to billionaire Max Dearly. He demands a complete reorganization of the Kingdom with himself in charge, to which they agree. However, when he gets clunked on the head, he goes goofy and orders all hats thrown into the sea, everyone to wear short pants, and the ministers to run around on all fours, barking like dogs. To top things off, the Princess is in love with Jose Noguero, the leader of the palace band.

Rene Clair's silly comedy might be viewed as a variation on Duck Soup, with a liberal amount of satire on absolute monarchy and fascism thrown in. I suspect that Woody Allen might have taken it as a model when he was writing Take the Money and Run, with its mixture of fake documentary and zaniness. Although it lacks the sympathetic charm of his other early sound films like Sous Les Toits de Paris and A Nous La Liberte, his handling of a straight farce is, as always, impeccable.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Thu May 10, 2018 6:51 pm

Nadare aka Avalanche (1937) Hideo Saeki wants to divorce meek, uninteresting Noboru Kiritachi so he can be with Ranko Edogawa; not for him the antiquated hypocrisy of pretending to monogamy while keeping a mistress. He knows what he knows and must be true to himself. His father tells him that a man has responsibilities, and knowing things is not the same thing as understanding them.

Naruse's drama has definite Brechtian overtones, in which thoughts and ideas are at war with systems. Like many a Brecht piece, it is all about ideas and talk talk talk, and this movie shows that Naruse has gone full talkie mode. He tries to disguise this with a lot of moving shots, in which two people hold long, philosophical conversations while walking along a street or through a forest, but he doesn't succeed with his unlikable characters doing selfish things. Many directors who were talented in the silent era, when confronted with sound, floundered, and here Naruse, despite his efforts to keep things moving, doesn't succeed.

You might wish to see this out of a sense of completeness, nonetheless. Not only is Naruse coming back into focus these days as a talented and worthy director, but his First Assistant Director is on this movie is Ishiro Honda, better known as the director of Godzilla and the frequent A.D. of Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa is only the Third Assistant Director of this movie.

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

Unread post by drednm » Fri May 11, 2018 7:22 pm

In the "what a cast" department, Malaya (1949) caught my eye. Can't believe I'd never even heard of it. MGM WWII story about getting rubber out of Malaya during the war teams Spencer Tracy as a convict and Jimmy Stewart as an adventurer who make a deal with the government to smuggle rubber out of Malaya under the noses of the Japanese. They need the help of a local saloon owner (Sydney Greenstreet) who has a good relationship with the local Japanese commander. They have to strike deals with three local rubber plantation owners and offer them gold bars (smuggled into the country) in exchange for the rubber. What could go wrong? There's also Valentina Cortese as a chanteuse with an eye for Tracy, John Hodiak as the Federal agent, Lionel Barrymore as a newspaper editor who gets Stewart involved, and Gilbert Roland as an island rogue.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sat May 12, 2018 7:48 am

Gordon Harker is the skipper of a barge boat on which his elderly relatives lounge as he travels up and down the Thames. Graham Moffatt is the first mate and young David Hannaford, the grandson of an old friend of Harker's, is The Second Mate (1950).

Harker is playing a closed game, however. There have been jewel robberies at some of the Great Houses along the river, and the thieves have not been gentle. The police have not been able to figure out who has been doing the jobs, because they have recruited Harker to transport the loot ... who is working with the other barge owners to turn them over to the police.

It's a fine little family second feature from John Baxter, with a nice mix of thrills and humor, and some very nice camera work. The shots of London and the upper reaches of the Thames from the middle of the river are quite good, and the pacing of the movie seems quite leisurely. Alas, the print I saw was not as good as one might wish, and the night scenes were printed too dark to be outstanding.

Harker was slowing down in his movie involvement by this stage in his career, but he was in his middle sixties. He would only make half a dozen more movies by 1959, and then give up the big screen. Moffatt himself would semi-retire to run a pub, although he would return to acting occasionally until his early death at the age of 45 in 1965.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sat May 12, 2018 8:09 am

Gordon Harker... no, I mean Gordon Scott.... swings by on a vine to rescue Yolanda Donlan (wit'out huh Nu Juisey acksint), Betta St. John, Wilfred Hyde-White (as a character named "Doodles"), George Coulouris (who wanders through the trackless jungle in shirt, tie and jacket) and Peter Arne from a wrecked plane in Tarzan and the Lost Safari (1957). None of the cast left England and no animals were harmed in making this film, although Gordon Scott had his leg torn open by a lion. There are some nice second-unit shots of wild animals for this first Tarzan movie shot in color, but the difference in cinematography shows badly.

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

Unread post by wich2 » Sat May 12, 2018 11:48 am

That one's weak, still suffering from "Weissmulleritis."

But Scott's next two, GREATEST ADVENTURE and THE MAGNIFICENT, are location-shot, Burroughs-faithful gems!

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

Unread post by drednm » Sun May 13, 2018 6:14 am

On Such a Night (1956) is a British short film (37 minutes) about the Glyndebourne Opera House in rural Sussex, UK. A traveling American (David Knight) is off to see the Dales when he's caught up in a trainful of be-gowned and top-hatted Brits who seem to be going to the same location. They all get off the train at Lewes (pronounced Lewis) so he follows them to a stately home that turns out to be the Glyndebourne Opera House. A grand lady (Marie Lohr) and her daughter (Josephine Griffin) take him in hand and he goes off to see his first opera. From there the film shows snippets of Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro" and the guests wandering the grounds during the 90-minute interval. The American is taken with the daughter and the performance. and the music races through his head next day while he wanders the Dales. Directed by Anthony Asquith and filmed in vivid (and I mean vivid) Eastmancolor. A fascinating glimpse into a world long gone.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun May 13, 2018 6:28 am

Jackie fighting on stilts; Jackie running up a down escalator;Jackie fighting ten men armed only with a step ladder; Jackie tripping over his stilts-pants legs; running up and down buildings from a straight overhead shot, showing you this doesn't have the usual thrill-comedy safety set-up; fighting underwater, stealing breaths from the other guy's aqualungs with a shark right there. First Strike (1996) turned me into an instantaneous Jackie Chan fan twenty years ago, with his compelling mix of litheness, clumsiness and no camera fakery * in an astonishing proof of the fact that classic slapstick is still possible, so long as you hang around to watch the clips of the botched takes at the end. Include the one when he reaches up to touch the freaking shark.

It showed up on AMC last night, so I taped it and watched it again and found it just as delightful as I had twenty years ago.

Bob



* He said in interviews he saw these things in Hollywood movies and they couldn't figure out how they did them, so they had to shoot them honestly.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Sun May 13, 2018 8:00 am

boblipton wrote:Jackie fighting on stilts; Jackie running up a down escalator;Jackie fighting ten men armed only with a step ladder; Jackie tripping over his stilts-pants legs; running up and down buildings from a straight overhead shot, showing you this doesn't have the usual thrill-comedy safety set-up; fighting underwater, stealing breaths from the other guy's aqualungs with a shark right there. First Strike (1996) turned me into an instantaneous Jackie Chan fan twenty years ago, with his compelling mix of litheness, clumsiness and no camera fakery * in an astonishing proof of the fact that classic slapstick is still possible, so long as you hang around to watch the clips of the botched takes at the end. Include the one when he reaches up to touch the freaking shark.

It showed up on AMC last night, so I taped it and watched it again and found it just as delightful as I had twenty years ago.

Bob



* He said in interviews he saw these things in Hollywood movies and they couldn't figure out how they did them, so they had to shoot them honestly.
And yet Leonard Maltin didn't see fit to include it in his guide. Tsk.

Jim

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sun May 13, 2018 12:14 pm

Before next week's onslaught of early summer movies releasing a week early so they don't have to compete with Solo begins, there's nothing particularly new for Mother's day, so my cousin and I went to see Yoake Tsugeru Rû No Uta aka Lu Over the Wall (2017). It's an anime film about Kai, a gloomy middle-schooler who loves music, but whose father and grandfather are against it. They live in a town where the only industries are fishing and umbrella making, because the mermaids cursed the village long ago. Through a long and rambling story, Kai gets involved with a couple of other pre-teens in forming a band, a mermaid known as Lu and... well, it's a weird, complicated fantasy story.

There are several issues with this feature, and it's hard to say whether it's an issue with the film makers or the people who did the American release. Some of the anime fantasies I've seen over the last few years have had a very elaborate magical thesis, and when the denouement comes along, there was is no foreshadowing in the movie... or was there? Was the escape clause the good guys used to avoid their evil fate just invented at the last minute, or was it mentioned in the original Japanese version about 15 minutes in and the translator botched the job? Or am I going to be lectured that if I had read the 4300-volume manga that the movie is based on, like I should have, I would have seen it was mentioned twice?

I think the translators did a fair job of foreshadowing. I must admit that I was distracted by the use of at least three completely different style of animation used in the movie, depending on whether it was the workaday world, when the mermaid was present, or when some major magic was operating. It's a fair and reasonable way of doing things, like different lighting for different eras in a film, but it was a lot to absorb.

In the end, though, one goes to a story film for a story, and a story is about people changing, and that's what happens here: the selfish pre-teens stop being so selfish, the older people open up about their own issues and the need for the youngsters to live their own lives and so forth. It's just that this is a weird movie. And in the end, I think that is a good thing.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun May 13, 2018 1:51 pm

boblipton wrote:Gordon Harker is the skipper of a barge boat on which his elderly relatives lounge as he travels up and down the Thames. Graham Moffatt is the first mate and young David Hannaford, the grandson of an old friend of Harker's, is The Second Mate (1950).

Harker is playing a closed game, however. There have been jewel robberies at some of the Great Houses along the river, and the thieves have not been gentle. The police have not been able to figure out who has been doing the jobs, because they have recruited Harker to transport the loot ... who is working with the other barge owners to turn them over to the police.

It's a fine little family second feature from John Baxter, with a nice mix of thrills and humor, and some very nice camera work. The shots of London and the upper reaches of the Thames from the middle of the river are quite good, and the pacing of the movie seems quite leisurely. Alas, the print I saw was not as good as one might wish, and the night scenes were printed too dark to be outstanding.

Harker was slowing down in his movie involvement by this stage in his career, but he was in his middle sixties. He would only make half a dozen more movies by 1959, and then give up the big screen. Moffatt himself would semi-retire to run a pub, although he would return to acting occasionally until his early death at the age of 45 in 1965.

Bob
According to Geoff Brown in his 1989 book on Baxter, 'The Common Touch', there was no print of THE SECOND MATE at the National Film Archive in Britain. Whether this situation has changed, I don't know, and cannot recall if it was scheduled for showing in the Baxter season. As such, a very rare film, which is my choice for tonight's viewing...

Harker also made BEAUTY AND THE BARGE in 1937, and in the previous year Moffatt co-starred with Will Hay in the very enjoyable WINDBAG THE SAILOR in which Hay plays an ex-barge skipper who is tricked into taking command of a rust-bucket due to be scuttled for the salvage money...

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

Unread post by drednm » Sun May 13, 2018 2:25 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
boblipton wrote:Gordon Harker is the skipper of a barge boat on which his elderly relatives lounge as he travels up and down the Thames. Graham Moffatt is the first mate and young David Hannaford, the grandson of an old friend of Harker's, is The Second Mate (1950).

Harker is playing a closed game, however. There have been jewel robberies at some of the Great Houses along the river, and the thieves have not been gentle. The police have not been able to figure out who has been doing the jobs, because they have recruited Harker to transport the loot ... who is working with the other barge owners to turn them over to the police.

It's a fine little family second feature from John Baxter, with a nice mix of thrills and humor, and some very nice camera work. The shots of London and the upper reaches of the Thames from the middle of the river are quite good, and the pacing of the movie seems quite leisurely. Alas, the print I saw was not as good as one might wish, and the night scenes were printed too dark to be outstanding.

Harker was slowing down in his movie involvement by this stage in his career, but he was in his middle sixties. He would only make half a dozen more movies by 1959, and then give up the big screen. Moffatt himself would semi-retire to run a pub, although he would return to acting occasionally until his early death at the age of 45 in 1965.

Bob
According to Geoff Brown in his 1989 book on Baxter, 'The Common Touch', there was no print of THE SECOND MATE at the National Film Archive in Britain. Whether this situation has changed, I don't know, and cannot recall if it was scheduled for showing in the Baxter season. As such, a very rare film, which is my choice for tonight's viewing...

Harker also made BEAUTY AND THE BARGE in 1937, and in the previous year Moffatt co-starred with Will Hay in the very enjoyable WINDBAG THE SAILOR in which Hay plays an ex-barge skipper who is tricked into taking command of a rust-bucket due to be scuttled for the salvage money...
BFI has a 16mm safety stock copy
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by drednm » Mon May 14, 2018 7:13 am

Kill Me Tomorrow is a 1957 British quota quicky that features Pat O'Brien as a boozy reporter who's never gotten over the death of his wife in a car crash he caused while drunk. Now his little son (who lives with granny) needs an operation to save his life. O'Brien uses his connections to get involved with diamond smugglers because he's desperate for money for the operation. Basically, he blackmails the head honcho (George Coulouris) for the money in exchange for taking the blame for the murder of a crusading newspaper editor. It's a neat excahnge until the wily cops decide that O'brien could not possibly have committed the killing. Clever plot is undone by O'Brien's odd casting (he's way too old for the part) and some oddly comic interludes that feature Tommy Steele as a rock n roll singer in a coffee bar and the deliciously kookie April Olrich as the bombastic showgirl Bella Braganza. Co-stars include Lois Maxwell, Ian Wilson, Robert Brown, and Wensley Pithey. Steele sing some monstrosity entitled "Rock with a Caveman."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon May 14, 2018 2:10 pm

Gave up on THE SECOND MATE (print was hard to watch), settling instead for SENSATION HUNTERS (1933) a lively pre-Code with Arline Judge as a would-be cabaret singer and Preston Foster as the businessman who falls for her. The film starts with Judge on a cruise ship en route for Panama, where she has to avoid the attentions of a good many sex pests. There is also a good deal of snobbery regarding the other artistes when they turn up on board, with plenty of double standards on show.

Things don't improve much in Panama (a nice scene setting shot) where the troupe have to put up with the obnoxious attentions of the clients, where they are expected to be kissed and pawed about by anyone who can pay to get in. The leader of the troupe (Juanita Hansen) turns out to be a bully behind the scenes, dealing brutally with one of the girls who has taken to the bottle. The plot then takes an even further downward turn...

If Dorothy Arzner had ended up at Monogram, this would not have done he discredit, as this is a sympathetic study of working women coping with all the rubbish that life and people throw at them. Marion Burns gives a good account of herself as Judge's roommate, and the film is an interesting example of what could be done on a slim budget, although there are pre-echoes of parts of director Charles Vidor's GILDA. Watch out for Walter Brennan as a skinny waiter, and a brief bit from Jack Pennick as Burns's sailor ex-husband.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue May 15, 2018 2:18 pm

NIGHT LIFE IN RENO (1931) has betrayed wife Virginia Valli hot-footing it to the divorce capital when hubby Jameson Thomas is caught with a blonde. Oily divorce lawyer Clarence Wilson is only too happy to oblige, and his scruples don't prevent him from taking on Thomas's case for a reconciliation!

Whilst waiting for the divorce to go through, flirty blonde Dorothy Christy shows Valli a bit of life, partly in the shape of permanently sozzled Arthur Houseman, who has a jealous wife on the warpath. Sometimes a bit long-winded, and with a dramatic twist near the end, NIGHT LIFE IN RENO moves along quite well and is worth seeing for the delightful Christy and the reliable Clarence Wilson in a scene-stealing performance...

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed May 16, 2018 5:24 pm

What with Solidarity going on in Poland and it being directed by a Pole -- and Robespierre being played by Wojciech Pszoniak, all frozen intellect, the opinion in France on Danton (1983) became a political marker. One thing for sure, it's epic film making, and Gerard Depardieu gives the performance his all. Great big scenes, and despite a Czech cinematographer, that camera is that cool, sardonic French one that Feuillade loved to make use of.

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

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri May 18, 2018 6:22 am

I watched "The Famous Ferguson Case" (1932) with Joan Blondell, Grant Mitchell, Tom Brown, Adrienne Dore, Vivienne Osborne, Kenneth Thomson, Leslie Fenton, and a host of secondary characters played by a who's who of character film actors and actresses of their day in smaller rôles. Everybody from Claire McDowell and Russell Simpson to Clarence Wilson, Leon Ames, and Walter Miller fill out the rest, and that's just a sampling!

This one's about yellow journalism, and it's a hard-hitting film about the issue. Not as good as the film the year before, "Five Star Final" with Edward G. Robinson, nevertheless this one makes its point very well with some well-crafted scenes, a few of them wrenching, especially near the end. It's a tad talky, and that's been a complaint since it was released, but it really deserves a resurfacing, and this one from Warner Archive Collection [recently] is a good thing. Recommended. One thing to note: Blondell doesn't show up until about 15 or 20 minutes into the film, and then she's not as much a leading character as part of a very fine ensemble acting troupe.

I've never been much of a fan of Tom Brown. He and Richard Cromwell always seem like boys rather than men. That makes me sound quite prejudiced, but that's the way I see them. Kind of like the way I've always seen Leonardo diCaprio until I saw him in "The Revenant", a film where he became a man in my eyes.

I could watch Blondell read the phone book. I've got her in 44 films, 9 alone from 1932, so it's obvious I have some kind of appreciation. Miss her kind of actress today...

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

Unread post by boblipton » Fri May 18, 2018 7:18 am

Innocent Meeting (1959): Sean Lynch is on probation, assigned to Ian Fleming, when he meets Beth Rogan in a music shop. Soon, they are getting on like a house on fire and she gets him a job as a design apprentice in her father's fabric factory. When his wallet turns up missing, however, he's accused and let go and winds up holding off the police with a gun.

This second feature is full of well-meaning intentions about the need to give youngsters a chance lest they tread an evil path, but it falls too quickly into melodramatic claptrap, abetted by a score that uses Tschaikovsky as its major theme. Alas, Mr. Lynch offers a sullen, almost whiny performance, Miss Rogan is a perky nullity, Mr. Fleming is well meaning but droning and ineffectual.... and makes the message of the film look futile. Nicholas Roeg is the camera operator for Jimmy Wilson as the cinematographer, and together they don't offer anything more interesting than shots lifted from 1930s crime dramas. Like far too many of the Danziger Brothers' productions, it takes what had worked in the past, offers it anew and results in a something utterly forgettable.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Fri May 18, 2018 2:37 pm

Watched Leo Carillo in BEFORE MORNING (1933) of which more later. MARY STEVENS, M.D. (1933) is graced by Kay Francis, Glenda Farrell AND Thelma Todd in a decently watchable Warners outing which has a few similarities with THE CITADEL. After a scene with Francis delivering a baby much to the horror of the father, she and Lyle Talbot graduate from medical school, setting up practice in the same building. They both have different ways of dealing with struggle. Francis's is to work hard (she is now a paediatrician) but Talbot's is to fall into the arms of local bigwig's daughter Todd. After they marry, Talbot's morals go down the tubes as he now cares more for money, fancy cars (a Duesenberg) and drink as well as various shady dealings. After a near-disaster in the operating theatre, and a brush with the law he tries to break with his family, but is tricked into believing Todd is pregnant. Meanwhile Francis actually IS pregnant, but goes away to have the baby...

Directed by Lloyd Bacon, this is a reasonably absorbing drama with a dash of soapsuds (and a Bronx cheer) and is a nice example of a film which shows the problems professional women had even when clearly capable and qualified. The three ladies are always welcome, even though Miss Todd has little to do and Farrell has a fairly straight role as Francis's assistant and confidante.

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Fri May 18, 2018 7:04 pm

On Thursday night I held our town's film appreciation group film night at my house. We have been a dormant group for a while due to my renovations. Anyway we kicked off our new season with the new, restored version of "King of Jazz" (1930). I had seen this at a cinema presentation about 18 months back and am now pleased to have my very own copy.

Everyone managed to stay awake right to the end and all were astonished at how wonderful the film looked for such an old picture.

There were a few giggles at one or two of the funny bits, and the singing was appreciated. "Good to actually hear proper singing instead of shouting". - "You could actually understand all the lyrics" - I think the reference was to John Boles' good diction.

"Marvelous how they got away with just using the red and green" - a comment on the two-colour Technicolor. "Lovely, and pastel, wasn't it?"

As for the music - "That wasn't jazz?" This was a comment expressed by quite a few. It would seem that jazz has, over the years, evolved into Heinz 57 varieties and that what was called "Jazz" in the 1920's has now gone down in history as a rather sedate forerunner.

The big hit of the evening I think was the Paul Whiteman look-a-like who did a rather frenetic Charleston.

This was a good film to have started off our group get-togethers again and next month we are to show "Oberst Redl" (1985) at the request of one of the attendees.
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Donald Binks

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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? (2018)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Fri May 18, 2018 7:24 pm

In case you are wondering where I have been? No? Well none to worry. The fact is, I lost my dear little dog. He was my best friend for 15 years and I have not been in the mood for writing for a few weeks, but, the show must go on....

Where do I start? - A film that I had heard a bit about but had never had the opportunity to see was "The Vagabond Lover" (1929). The gramophone record of the song of the same name by Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees I had of course heard countless times.

Not surprisingly, the film stars Rudy Vallee, he of the nasily voice - who gets to sing in the film but equally surprisingly, the title song is only used as a backing to the main title.

The main gist of the plot, before it became hackneyed, was of a band struggling to get heard. In this they play a rouse masquerading as another outfit - and trick some rich old bird into the bargain. Thankfully the old duck is played by Marie Dressler who embroils the part with all her usual mannerisms and comical playfulness. She has a daughter - Sally Blane, who is there to be the object of Mr. Vallee's affections. Naturally the plot contains complications and convolutions making the love-match try to persevere through a winding road of obstacles.

Charles Sellon turns up as a Chief of Police. He like the audience, is determined to find out exactly what is going on and is welcomed for doing so.

In essence the whole story is rather twee and silly, but one is easily taken in by it and distracted by the frequent musical numbers. If you are like me, then you will enjoy these pleasant interludes.

The print I looked at was rather good and the sound quality such that all the sound came over quite distinctly.

Mr. Vallee appeared like a fish out of water in his first acting role - but I suppose everyone has to start somewhere - although as the years progressed he didn't seem to get much past first base in his thespian appearances.
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? (2018)

Unread post by FrankFay » Fri May 18, 2018 7:47 pm

Donald Binks wrote: Mr. Vallee appeared like a fish out of water in his first acting role - but I suppose everyone has to start somewhere - although as the years progressed he didn't seem to get much past first base in his thespian appearances.
Vallee wisely realized that he could succeed if he played his stiffness for laughs, such as in THE PALM BEACH STORY. There he's funny- and even a bit charming, though reportedly he was a control freak and pain in the ass off camera. In a profession with powerful egos Vallee's occupied a particularly lofty stratum.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by drednm » Fri May 18, 2018 7:53 pm

Donald Binks wrote:In case you are wondering where I have been? No? Well none to worry. The fact is, I lost my dear little dog. He was my best friend for 15 years and I have not been in the mood for writing for a few weeks, but, the show must go on....

Where do I start? - A film that I had heard a bit about but had never had the opportunity to see was "The Vagabond Lover" (1929). The gramophone record of the song of the same name by Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees I had of course heard countless times.

Not surprisingly, the film stars Rudy Vallee, he of the nasily voice - who gets to sing in the film but equally surprisingly, the title song is only used as a backing to the main title.

The main gist of the plot, before it became hackneyed, was of a band struggling to get heard. In this they play a rouse masquerading as another outfit - and trick some rich old bird into the bargain. Thankfully the old duck is played by Marie Dressler who embroils the part with all her usual mannerisms and comical playfulness. She has a daughter - Sally Blane, who is there to be the object of Mr. Vallee's affections. Naturally the plot contains complications and convolutions making the love-match try to persevere through a winding road of obstacles.

Charles Sellon turns up as a Chief of Police. He like the audience, is determined to find out exactly what is going on and is welcomed for doing so.

In essence the whole story is rather twee and silly, but one is easily taken in by it and distracted by the frequent musical numbers. If you are like me, then you will enjoy these pleasant interludes.

The print I looked at was rather good and the sound quality such that all the sound came over quite distinctly.

Mr. Vallee appeared like a fish out of water in his first acting role - but I suppose everyone has to start somewhere - although as the years progressed he didn't seem to get much past first base in his thespian appearances.
Vallee was (he's forgotten now) and icon in Maine, having been (briefly) a student at the University of Maine before ending up at Yale. Vallee is credited with making "The Maine Stein Song" a national hit. I actually heard it again a few nights ago in The Thin Man (1934). Vallee is buried in Westbrook, Maine, where he grew up (he was born in Vermont). Some sites say Vallee graduated from UMaine, but he did not; he graduated from Yale.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri May 18, 2018 10:17 pm

Vallee wisely realized that he could succeed if he played his stiffness for laughs, such as in THE PALM BEACH STORY. There he's funny- and even a bit charming, though reportedly he was a control freak and pain in the ass off camera. In a profession with powerful egos Vallee's occupied a particularly lofty stratum.
Frank Sinatra thought he was absurdly stuck up— upon passing through a room full of photos of Vallee at his house, he muttered, "You'd never guess who lived here"— and note the mention of Vallee in his famous letter to the pop star George Michael. Gore Vidal said that he and Orson Welles would sit in a booth at Chasen's and read passages from one of Vallee's multiple autobiographies to each other.

That said, there is one person Vallee expressed humble gratitude to, and that was Preston Sturges. In one of the autobiographies—or maybe all of them— he thanks Sturges for all of his later career. He says Sturges saw him in some silly late 30s musical comedy— probably Second Fiddle— and realized he could be a great deadpan comedian. The Palm Beach Story gave him new life as a comic player, and led to his being cast in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying 20 years later. Anyway, he's not forgotten at my house, since those are two of my favorite films.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri May 18, 2018 10:41 pm

If you asked me to name an early 70s film worth seeing after the obvious canon of Godfather-Chinatown-Dog Day Afternoon etc., the odds are pretty good that it would be Emperor of the North (1973), directed by Robert Aldrich. Initially entitled Emperor of the North Pole until, reportedly, families wanting to see a Santa Claus movie turned up, it stars Lee Marvin as a Depression Era hobo riding the rails, who acquires, unwillingly, a protege in the form of young braggart Keith Carradine; his nemesis is Ernest Borgnine, a sadistic freight train conductor who doesn't have a problem with killing hobos in the process of not letting anybody ride his #19 for free. Marvin decides to prove it can be done; Carradine tags along to learn from the great man.

It's an existential challenge, like Marvin and Mifune in Hell in the Pacific, but the film has a picaresque tone to it that keeps it from being too grim, like a Depression era version of Duel or something. What I like best is that it's a blue collar adventure—there's basically nobody in it who isn't grimy with rail soot, and it's full of unlovely 1970s character actor faces like the inevitable Matt Clark, Malcolm Atterbury, Liam Dunn, Charles Tyner, Vic Tayback, Sid Haig, and even Elisha Cook Jr. (There's virtually no female presence in the movie, except for a couple of memorably sardonic erotic moments.) This being the 70s, the filmmaking is sometimes done with a trowel—a scene supposedly set in fog just looks like someone lubed the lens, and the Muzak score by Frank DeVol is sometimes aggressively awful. On the other hand, those really are the stars climbing around on moving trains much of the time, which counts for a lot in realism. It's a film of its era that wears well, and bears rewatching once a decade or so.
“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? (2018)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sat May 19, 2018 1:13 pm

Donald Binks wrote:In case you are wondering where I have been? No? Well none to worry. The fact is, I lost my dear little dog. He was my best friend for 15 years and I have not been in the mood for writing for a few weeks, but, the show must go on....

Where do I start? - A film that I had heard a bit about but had never had the opportunity to see was "The Vagabond Lover" (1929). The gramophone record of the song of the same name by Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees I had of course heard countless times.

Not surprisingly, the film stars Rudy Vallee, he of the nasily voice - who gets to sing in the film but equally surprisingly, the title song is only used as a backing to the main title.

The main gist of the plot, before it became hackneyed, was of a band struggling to get heard. In this they play a rouse masquerading as another outfit - and trick some rich old bird into the bargain. Thankfully the old duck is played by Marie Dressler who embroils the part with all her usual mannerisms and comical playfulness. She has a daughter - Sally Blane, who is there to be the object of Mr. Vallee's affections. Naturally the plot contains complications and convolutions making the love-match try to persevere through a winding road of obstacles.

Charles Sellon turns up as a Chief of Police. He like the audience, is determined to find out exactly what is going on and is welcomed for doing so.

In essence the whole story is rather twee and silly, but one is easily taken in by it and distracted by the frequent musical numbers. If you are like me, then you will enjoy these pleasant interludes.

The print I looked at was rather good and the sound quality such that all the sound came over quite distinctly.

Mr. Vallee appeared like a fish out of water in his first acting role - but I suppose everyone has to start somewhere - although as the years progressed he didn't seem to get much past first base in his thespian appearances.
Nice to see a reasonably positive comment on this film, which has had a pretty rough press in some of the books on early sound films. I watched it a few years back (having been intrigued with it for a while) and found it agreeably amusing, and yes, silly - but intentionally so. Also pleased to see Miss Dressler on good form.
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Sat May 19, 2018 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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