What is the last film you watched? (2018)

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:15 pm

SKYWAY, a 1932 outing from Monogram, is a rather mundane affair, in which a blowhard, quick-tempered aviator falls for a banker's daughter who wants him to settle down. Familiar faces include Tom Dugan as his pal, Claude Gillingwater as her dad, and a brief bit at the beginning from Jack Pennick. Sub-plot is about a pal who has an idea for airmail delivery which is put into action when fellow worker Jed Prouty pinches a wad of money and tries to pass on the blame. Not much here...

A second ghostly Harry Carey appears in BEYOND TOMORROW (1940), produced by Lee Garmes. He is joined by Charles Winniger and the delightful C Aubrey Smith as three business partners who end up having Richard Carlson and Jean Parker as guests on Christmas Eve. Friendship and romance blossoms until tragedy strikes when (SPOILER) the three gentlemen are killed in a plane crash. However, their spirits are still around, and of particular use when Carlson is being led astray by a man-hungry singer.

Although not entirely successful, and perhaps rather sugary at times, BEYOND TOMORROW is a generally pleasing fantasy, with Carey (a real old sourpuss) and Smith in very good form and a nice cameo from Rod La Rocque as the singer's oily agent. Carlson is in good voice, too, although the song he warbles at the radio station was rather regrettable... Directed by A Edward Sutherland, another old-timer...

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

Unread post by drednm » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:39 pm

The Strange Woman (1946) stars Hedy Lamarr as a low-born Bangor, Maine lass who connives and lies her way into marriage with the town's wealthy mercantile giant (Gene Lockhart) even though she really wants his son (Louis Hayward). After Lockhart dies off, however, she loses interest in Hayward when George Sanders wanders into town. He's engaged to her best friend (Hillary Brooke), but she just can't help herself. It seems the men just drop like flies whenever Lamarr takes a brief interest in them. Based on a novel by Ben Ames Williams (who also brought us "Leave Her to Heaven"), this is an old-fashioned, plot-heavy story produced by Lamarr after she left MGM. It was a hit though it suffers now from low production values. Lamarr and Brooke are beautiful and Hayward and Sanders suffer mightily. Bangor's waterfront (on the Penobscot River) is called the "Devil's Half Acre" though I never heard that term in all the years I lived in Bangor. It's a rare chance for Lamarr to not play a glamour puss or biblical figure ... and she's quite good, though they never explain the non-Maine accent.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:25 am

I've been watching all of the "Topper" films again - backwards - beginning with the 1941 "Topper Returns" with Joan Blondell, Roland Young, and all the others, especially Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson. Last night was the second of the three, "Topper Takes a Trip", which really showcases the talents of Roland Young to perfection. Of course, along with more laughs are Constance Bennett, Billie Burke, Verree Teasdale, Franklin Pangborn, Alan Mowbray, Alexander D'Arcy, and others. Great to re-visit these. They were very special when released, and though we've come a long way in the world of on-screen fantasy, these are plentifully funny! I think they offer a lot, though I can see youngsters thinking them beyond the pale... Too bad; I love them! Still have the original to go, "Topper" (1937) with Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Billie Burke, and all the rest. Can't wait...

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

Unread post by oldposterho » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:47 pm

24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters had an obvious attraction for me not to mention that it helps to explain the whole Mondo/limited edition screen print movie poster craze that is going on. The first half hour gives a generally good review of the history of 'traditional' movie posters then dives into the custom poster craze. Informative and entertaining, certainly for film and poster buffs, and I suspect that even civilians might find it mildly worthwhile. Lots of pretty colors if nothing else.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:15 pm

Based* on a poem, BAREFOOT BOY (1938) is of interest chiefly for being directed by Karl Brown. It tells of the rivalry between a country lad and his spoilt friend / relative who comes to stay with them after his father (Ralph Morgan) is released from jail. Morgan, and his wife Claire Windsor, are given star billing, but neither of them are given a lot to do. Much of the rest of the plot concerns a 'haunted' house and two ne'er-do-wells who are responsible for Morgan's imprisonment and who still have the booty several years later, hidden under the dusty floorboards.

Plays a little like a Children's Film Foundation entry, but rather flat, on the whole, with a very entertaining performance by Marcia Mae Jones as the tomboy sister of the girl BAREFOOT BOY is keen on ...

*according to IMDb only the title is used!

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:21 am

Mike Gebert wrote:Somebody here wrote something that made me buy a three-DVD set of lesser-known Ealing comedies— Passport to Pimlico, The Titfield Thunderbolt and Hue & Cry— of which I had only seen the first. I felt like watching one but the easiest sell was the one I'd already seen, because I was able to tell Younger Son that Mike Myers had wanted Paramount to buy its rights so he could remake its central premise as Wayne's World 2.

An unexploded bomb is being dug out in the working class neighborhood of Pimlico when it goes off, revealing a hidden chamber and some medieval treasure... including a document establishing that the neighborhood is in fact a grant to the Duke of Burgundy and thus, not part of England. The neighbors who live within the area start taking advantage of their status as non-Britons— such as by keeping the pub open after closing time— but then as black marketers start selling openly in the area, Whitehall tries to isolate them, they form a government to retaliate by instituting passport controls on the Tube, and so on.

It starts out a bit creaky—the print in this version is not that good and the cockney slang was often unintelligible to us— and I was worried it would go wrong afoot and offer a heavyhanded moral against wanting too much freedom from the wise central authority of the Establishment, or possibly the reverse (that a tiny little hamlet could exist in the postwar world free of serious thoughts about geopolitics and industrial infrastructure). In fact, once the premise kicks in this is a magical little film; screenwriter T.E.B. Clarke takes us through the various ramifications of independence and the work of self-government with a deft hand that nevertheless reflects reality as it must have been happening not far away, in say Germany, where the collapse of local authority and the rise of black markets were everyday reality. This atones for the fact that Henry Cornelius' direction is creaky and doesn't get as much out of the character actors as he might have. Lots of familiar non-stars, including Stanley Holloway, Hermione Baddeley, Raymond Huntley and Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne as Whitehall.

Fun facts: actually filmed in Lambeth, and after fixing up the vacant field where much of the movie is set, the moviemakers had to wreck it again so it would continue to qualify for rebuilding funds—a notion as funny as any in the film.
Is it captioned? If so, can you give us a link to this 3-film set?

Thanks.

Jim

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

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:54 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:Somebody here wrote something that made me buy a three-DVD set of lesser-known Ealing comedies— Passport to Pimlico, The Titfield Thunderbolt and Hue & Cry— of which I had only seen the first. I felt like watching one but the easiest sell was the one I'd already seen, because I was able to tell Younger Son that Mike Myers had wanted Paramount to buy its rights so he could remake its central premise as Wayne's World 2.
Is it captioned? If so, can you give us a link to this 3-film set?
There was a Canadian comedy that was inspired by Passport to Pimlico, the Nova Scotia-shot Buried on Sunday, written and directed by Paul Donovan, about a small island community that decides to assert its sovereignty when they lose their fishing rights, thanks to an ancient treaty and their sudden acquisition of an aging Russian nuclear sub. Fun film with a lot of familiar Canadian character actors (Louis Del Grande, Maury Chaykin) and a starring role for Paul "Due South" Gross.

I think it might have had a VHS release, but is otherwise difficult to see. At least you can still find copies of Donovan's New World Pictures-distributed post-apocalyptic satire Def-Con 4.
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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 Jun 28, 2018 9:20 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:Somebody here wrote something that made me buy a three-DVD set of lesser-known Ealing comedies— Passport to Pimlico, The Titfield Thunderbolt and Hue & Cry— of which I had only seen the first. I felt like watching one but the easiest sell was the one I'd already seen, because I was able to tell Younger Son that Mike Myers had wanted Paramount to buy its rights so he could remake its central premise as Wayne's World 2.
Is it captioned? If so, can you give us a link to this 3-film set?
There was a Canadian comedy that was inspired by Passport to Pimlico, the Nova Scotia-shot Buried on Sunday, written and directed by Paul Donovan, about a small island community that decides to assert its sovereignty when they lose their fishing rights, thanks to an ancient treaty and their sudden acquisition of an aging Russian nuclear sub. Fun film with a lot of familiar Canadian character actors (Louis Del Grande, Maury Chaykin) and a starring role for Paul "Due South" Gross.

I think it might have had a VHS release, but is otherwise difficult to see. At least you can still find copies of Donovan's New World Pictures-distributed post-apocalyptic satire Def-Con 4.
Wow, Louis Del Grande! Now there's a name from the Canadian film/TV past! Not just the entertaining TV series Seeing Things (surely due for a CBC reboot????) but also for getting his head exploded in David Cronenberg's Scanners!

Jim

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:16 am

Boom Town (1940) is an MGM film that sprawls like an Edna Ferber story and stars Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy (in their third and last teaming) as on-again, off-again oil wildcatters who both love the same woman: Claudette Colbert. Story folllows their rivalries and partnerships, their ups and downs in the oil business over a 10-year period. Along for the ride are Hedy Lamarr as a spoiler and Frank Morgan as comic relief. Story idea came from Gable who wanted something different after Gone with the Wind, and he liked this story since he had worked in the oil fields of Ohio as a kid. Myrna Loy and Rita Hayworth were the early picks for the female roles, but MGM saw this rare chance to snag Colbert for a re-teaming with Gable after she refused to re-up her Paramount contract.

The film was a big hit at the box office and won Oscar nominations for B&W cinematography and for special effects. The oil rig fire scene is quite spectacular although, overall, there's a big reliance on rear-screen projection and painfully obvious stunt doubles for Gable and Tracy. Tracy was reportedly sullen over his billing below Gable (although he was billed over Colbert) for the third time. It's telling that none of these people ever worked together again. Anyway, it's a highly entertaining film.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:06 pm

Boom Town was my introduction to both Tracy and Gable, when I saw it in Junior High when CBC-TV consistently ran WB and MGM titles as their late night movies. I still have some VHS off-air recordings from that period, it was a great introduction to the classics, and I really loved the Errol Flynn movies as the best example of 1940s Hollywood at its most entertaining (certainly for a 12 year old kid). I haven't returned to Boom Town since then, but I've certainly enjoyed more Tracy and Gable performances, I should give it another watch, if my TCM signal ever gets fixed.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:54 pm

Trail of Terror (1935): Bob Steele is in prison. He breaks out and falls in with Forrest Taylor. They had pulled a big score a year ago, but the money is missing, and they're looking for another score. Fortunately, they have an in: Charles French is the local sheriff and his son, Frank Lyman Jr., is one of their number.

Bob Steele as a bad man? Oh, no! It must have been tough for the audience to accept their clean-cut young hero, in the midst of this mare's nest of conflicting loyalties -- French has a pretty daughter, Beth Marion, and Bob and she get on like a house on fire, but he also seems pretty familiar with Nancy Deshon, the bar maid at the local watering hole who seems to be familiar with the bad guys. To add to the confusion, the Bradbury-Steele unit regular, Lloyd Ingraham, is credited as "Floyd Ingraham."

It's a pretty good story, and for those ladies in the audience looking for some beefcake, Bob strips down to trunks for a wrestling match.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:49 pm

Cavalry (1936): In the aftermath of the Civil War, Bob Steele is promoted to Captain and sent by President Lincoln on a secret mission out west: there are rumors that a telegraph line is to be sabotaged and a group of Southerners is planning to start an independent nation, inciting te Indians to fight the US as a buffer. Investigate and stop them!

Steele's first movie for Republic makes clear use of the larger budgets and better facilities that Herbert Yates had for his B westerns. The sets are better, allowing cameraman Bert Longenecker to move his camera back for a better field of vision; there are more extras to fill out the crowds and action scenes (even though only Earl Dwire seems too have come over from the old stock company that Bob and his father, writer-director Robert Bradbury had). For his earlier pictures, Steele might have a crowd of a dozen people in one bar scene, and perhaps thirty men on horseback for the big final scene. Here, we have a couple of dozen people in a wagon train, a town scene with fifteen or twenty, and the big final scene.

It's not all gravy, though. The opening sequence has Bob leading a blinded Confederate general back to his plantation where the loyal ex-slaves have just seen his brother off; they wept and sang sad songs at his departure, like he would be coming back to lynch them all if they did not. Neither, despite a pretty good script, do we get to see Bob Steele do much in the way of personal action. It's well into the movie before he gets into a fist fight, and otherwise, he spends a lot of time talking .... not what one looks at a B movie for.

Still, it's a good story and it's good to see Bob get a good budget, despite a few tropes that have aged disgracefully.

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

Unread post by drednm » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:57 am

A Small Circle of Friends (1980) is a rambling story about three college freshmen who meet at Harvard in 1967. Three "babes in the woods" change with the times as the Vietnam War rages on. They become politically active with Leo (Brad Davis) becoming an outright radical. While his life spirals off into become a member of the underground, the other two (Karen Allen, Jameson Parker) settle into normal lives. The story is told in flashbacks after Allen and Parker meet by chance in 1980. Since the story spans a few years, the actors wear (obvious) wigs to show the passage of time and changing fashions of the day. OK film is too long for its own good. Shelley Long, John Friedrich, Craig Richard Nelson, Nan Martin, Daniel Stern, Harry Caesar are among the familiar faces. Music ranges from Johnny Mathis to the Mamas and the Papas.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:47 am

Gearing up for this weekend's release of Sicario: Day of the Soldado, I re-watched the original Sicario directed by Denis Villeneuve, pre-Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Still incredibly gripping in its depiction of the bloody cross-border war on drugs, the film loses some of its visual splendour on the small screen, but Roger Deakins' camera work still pulls you into this shadowy world, with terrific performances by Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro.

Neither Blunt nor Villeneuve are back for the sequel, directed by Stefano Sollima, who made the mob drama Suburra and is also the son of Italian spaghetti western and crime drama vet Sergio Sollima, so there's a certain pedigree in effect there. And Taylor Sheridan, who wrote the original as well as the engaging crime dramas Hell or High Water and Wind River, is back on board as well, so I have hopes it will be a worthy follow-up.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:53 am

Border Phantom (1937) Entomologist Frank Ball is bughunting near the Mexican border. He tells his niece, Harley Wood, to take a message in to sheriff Horace Murphy. As Miss Wood goes to her horse, she hears and shot and rushes back to find her uncle dead. Soon she finds herself in jail under suspicion of murder. Can wandering cowboy Bob Steele and comic sidekick Don Barclay untangle the mystery?

Bob Steele's westerns were a lot slicker now that they were being financed and released by Republic Pictures, and there's little doubt that director S. Roy Luby, whose other job was editor knew how to order the set-ups for under-rated cameraman Jack Greenhaigh efficiently. The problem is with the script by Fred Myton, who had been writing silents and B movies since 1916. Steele was an action star, whose athletic and acrobatic movements had been well served by direction under his father, Robert Bradbury. In this one, he has to spend most of his time talking. He doesn't even get into a fistfight with anyone until 51 minutes into the movie, and then all the action shots are chopped up by cross-cutting.

Myton's script also uses standard tropes: dumb cops, mysterious Orientals who dress in traditional Chinese garb in the middle of the American desert... with changes of costumes the whole movie could have been shifted to an urban setting with little loss. While the actors give good performances, and that's good, that's not what's supposed to distinguish westerns; good westerns, even B westerns, require open vistas, horses, action and more of the culture that makes the West different from downtown than a comic sidekick wearing chaps.

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

Unread post by Henry Nicolella » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:03 am

MOON OVER MOROCCO (aka FIVE CURSED GENTLEMEN) is a 1931 thriller directed by Julien Duvivier and based on a 1913 novel. It was filmed in Morocco and there’s so much footage devoted to the people, customs, etc. that it seems like a travelogue at times.
Five Frenchmen vacationing in Morocco run into trouble when one of them touches the veil of a Muslim woman. Her father, a sorcerer, curses them and predicts they will all die before the next full moon and gives the order of their demises as well. Soon after, the first one, horsing around on a balcony, falls into the ocean. The second one, a stunt pilot, is killed in an air crash. The next one falls victim to bandits. The remaining two begin to fear the curse is really working and begin searching for the witch doctor.
Aisle seat detectives will figure out what’s going on long before the hero, the last man scheduled to die. The great Harry Baur provides some comic relief as a wealthy plantation owner -and father of the heroine-who scoffs at the curse. There’s some suspense and occasional bizarre imagery to provide a spooky atmosphere but Duvivier doesn’t seem to be taking it all very seriously. The rooftop chase at the climax is almost slapstick.
Duviver shot a German version of the film as well (starring Anton Walbrook) and the novel was also the basis of a 1920 film. The story is very similar to a play titled CAPE SMOKE (based on the book “The Man Between”) which was turned into the 1929 film BLACK MAGIC with Josephine Dunn, Henry B. Walthall and Sheldon Lewis (playing the witch doctor).

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

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:15 am

boblipton wrote:Border Phantom (1937) Entomologist Frank Ball is bughunting near the Mexican border.
Wait, is this a prequel to Sicario? ;-)
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:19 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:
boblipton wrote:Border Phantom (1937) Entomologist Frank Ball is bughunting near the Mexican border.
Wait, is this a prequel to Sicario? ;-)
Either that or Starship Troopers.

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

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:46 am

boblipton wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:
boblipton wrote:Border Phantom (1937) Entomologist Frank Ball is bughunting near the Mexican border.
Wait, is this a prequel to Sicario? ;-)
Either that or Starship Troopers.
Or Aliens. "It's a bughunt, man, a bughunt!"
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:17 pm

Law of the West (1932): Ed Brady is a cattle rustler whose son opened fire and was gunned down by Hank Bell's men. To gain his vengeance, Brady kidnaps Bell's son, so he can beat him every day, grow up into Bob Steele and be shot down by his own father as part of his gang; Bell is now a lawman, and will stay one until he catches up with Brady.

It's what we call a refrigerator movie in my family, the sort of film that draws you in while you're in the theater, having a fine time. Then you go home, open the refrigerator to get a drink of ice water. You pause and say "Isn't that vengeance a little slow? Would he have the patience to wait all that time? Nah!"

However, while I was watching it, I was having a fine time, and that's good enough for me. I did wonder why, when Brady had Steele stripped to the waist so he could be tied to the tree for a whipping, he didn't go through with it. This was a pre-code movie, and even under the Production Code, there were some major examples of that sadistic homo-erotic trope; it would be a favorite plot point in Alan Ladd movies. They probably considered it, but since this was going to be a children's matinee movie and writer-director Robert Bradbury was Bob Steele's father, they probably laughed uneasily about father-son relationships and dropped the idea.

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

Unread post by MaryGH » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:10 pm

A Rider of the Plains (1931)

After a long workday including bringing home work (reports) this movie was perfect to unwind to.

Classic Tom Tyler and Ted Adams as the Pastor, and little Andy Shuford as Tom's pal Sandy, plus a good dose of human interest which is prevalent in most Trem Carr Tom Tyler films.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by drednm » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:49 am

Sunset (1988) is a Blake Edwards film that tells a murder story with Tom Mix and Wyatt Earp as the main characters in 1929 Hollywood. It's one of those films that is probably more enjoyable the LESS you know about 1929 Hollywood, Mix, or Earp. Bruce Willis smirks his way through the film as Mix while Garner brings his usual easy charm to Earp. The trouble starts right off in that Mix and Earp are played by actors who are way too young. Mix would have been 49 and Earp 80; Willis and Garner are nowhere near those ages. Yes it is true that Mix and Earp knew each other and that Earp did work as a technical advisor on Western films. The film has Mix preening about in outrageously decorated cars and wearing gaudy cowboy outfits while Earp wears basic black. They are recognized everywhere they go. OK, Mix maybe, but Earp?

Edwards throws in bit and pieces of Hollywood history and passing references to many stars of the day. At one point, the vicious studio head Alperin (Malcolm McDowell) makes a warning to Mix that "Fox and Chaplin" are toying with talkies. By 1929 all the studios were making talkies; Chaplin was not. The Chaplin reference gets really weird when you realize that Alperin (almost an anagram for Chaplin) is loosely based on Chaplin. Alperin is a sadistic character who brutalizes his wife and has murdered and raped women. I have no idea if Edwards had any connection to Chaplin or why he chose Chaplin as his model. Alperin had been a silent film clown known as the "Happy Hobo."

Some action takes place in a bordello where Greta Garbo and Mae West lookalikes saunter by (West was not in Hollywood in 1929) and the guys are told that could have a Janet Gaynor or even the Gish sisters. The IMDb cast list shows actors playing Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert, Oliver Hardy, Thelma Todd, and James Cagney (also not in Hollywood in 1929) but I never saw them.

Most bizarre is a scene of the first Academy Awards at the Roosevelt Hotel. This is shown as a huge, glitzy affair with Hollywood searchlights and hordes of fans mobbing the entrance as the stars arrive. It was actually a low-key affair, possibly even a brunch. Here's where Alperin dons his Happy Hobo outfit and does some acrobatic tricks for the audience while shootings occur outside the ballroom on a staircase.

The plot has Mix and Earp racing about in snappy cars, riding horses across the range, and even flying a plane. Earp died in 1929 before the first Oscar was handed out. Also troubling is the character of Alperin's wife (Patricia Hodge) who's made up to look as much like Edwards' wife (Julie Andrews) as possible. A few user reviews on IMDb even think it was Andrews. Whether Andrews was ever attached to this mess, I have no idea.

This does not strike me as a loving homage to silent films or old Hollywood. So much of the film seems like a bitter pill of memory. It concentrates a lot of Hollywood scandals in the Alperin/Chaplin character. There's reference to a shooting that ruins the careers of several actress (Taylor), rape charges that could ruin Mix's career (Arbuckle), and a murder aboard a yacht (Ince) all blamed on the Alperin/Chaplin character.

The film was a huge bomb but won an Oscar nomination for costume design.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:46 am

The Rider of the Law (1935) Si Jenks is appointed town marshal of Apache City, Arizona because he needs the money and all the previous ones have been killed by a bank-robbing family. The next stage brings in Bob Steele -- wearing a suit, a fedora and spectacles. Si offers to rent him a cabin, so Bob mounts a horse backwards, and rides to the cabin. There he finds two of the robbers. They fight, and in the confusion, the robbers shoot each other.

I was very pleased with the confusion and physical comedy of this B western. Director Robert Bradbury, working from a script by Jack Natteford, shows that his stock company can do pretty well; even Earl Dwire, as the brother of the bank robbers and a barber with his razor over Steele's throat, is a lot funnier than one would guess he could be. Contrary to what people might think, he was not a Gower Gulch cowboy, but a longtime stage actor who had sarted out in a stock company with Oliver Morosco.

The comedy disappears in the second half of the movie as the plot takes over. That's often the case with many a comedy, ut it's a good story, with a fine action sequence to end the film, just as one wants in a western.

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? (2018)

Unread post by drednm » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:46 am

The Garment Jungle (1957) is a gritty drama about a garment business run by Lee J. Cobb that is caught between a protection racket run by Richard Boone and the ILGWU. Seems that Cobb has been paying for "protection" for years and has staunchly blocked the union organizers, led by Robert Loggia. Things come to a head when Cobb's rather prissy son (Kerwin Mathews) comes home from Europe and announcing he wants to join the business. Cobb tells him it's too rough a business, and the rest of the plot goes on to prove just that. Director Robert Aldrich was fired by Harry Cohn and replaced with Vincent Sherman because Aldrich refused to "tone it down." What with murders, kidnapping threats, extortion, and brutal beatings, it's certainly gritty. All the main stars are good although Mathews seems miscast. There's also Gia Scala as a widow, Valerie French as Cobb's girl friend, Adam Williams and Wesley Addy (cast against type) as thugs, Joseph Wiseman, Harold J. Stone, Celia Lovsky, Willis Bouchey, Sid Melton, and Betsy Jones-Moreland and Joanna Barnes in bits. Does the "garment district" still exist?
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:11 am

When I started watching the trailer for Won't You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary about Mister Rogers, I thought, who needs to see a documentary about Mister Rogers? By the end of the trailer, I was all, "I want to see this now!"

It's interesting as a story about someone who looked at the medium of television as it was offered to children, and literally decided to do the opposite. Fred Rogers had such an intuitive sense of how to accept children and talk one on one to them, deeply informed by his training as a minister, and much of the movie is about that ability and faith being put to the test by the worst events of the times he lived through—starting with one show in 1968 where Daniel Tiger asks Lady Aberlin about a word that he's heard the adults using a lot... "assassination." (If you don't choke up during that part, I don't want to know you.)

The question inevitably comes up, was Fred Rogers, TV producer and star, really Mister Rogers? We kind of get an answer to that. Yes, certainly, he was the warm and decent fellow, and certainly he was also a tough cookie who kept his show running the way he wanted it for 30+ years. There are hints, not explored as much as they could have been, that he was crankier and angrier later in life (looking at where television had gone could certainly do that to you), and his relationships with his actual sons are not really explored; I also noted the significant absence of Betty Aberlin, who was Lady Aberlin for 30 years but also a Broadway performer (and recently appeared in some of Kevin Smith's films) among the talking heads. Is there a story there? Who knows?

There's a moment in the film that talks about how when François Clemmons, who played Officer Clemmons (a deliberate choice by Rogers to use a black performer to play the policeman in the mid-60s), was seen socializing in a New York gay bar, Rogers told him he couldn't go back for the good of the show. A number of reviews have ended the story there— aha! closet anti-gay bigot!— but that's not the point of Clemmons' story. He says that even though Rogers said that, he was also the first authority figure in his life who had ever accepted him for who he was... that Rogers was, in a real sense, his substitute father, too. The first man who said, as he did to so many children, "I like you the way you are."
“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 drednm » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:25 am

Mike Gebert wrote:When I started watching the trailer for Won't You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary about Mister Rogers, I thought, who needs to see a documentary about Mister Rogers? By the end of the trailer, I was all, "I want to see this now!"

It's interesting as a story about someone who looked at the medium of television as it was offered to children, and literally decided to do the opposite. Fred Rogers had such an intuitive sense of how to accept children and talk one on one to them, deeply informed by his training as a minister, and much of the movie is about that ability and faith being put to the test by the worst events of the times he lived through—starting with one show in 1968 where Daniel Tiger asks Lady Aberlin about a word that he's heard the adults using a lot... "assassination." (If you don't choke up during that part, I don't want to know you.)

The question inevitably comes up, was Fred Rogers, TV producer and star, really Mister Rogers? We kind of get an answer to that. Yes, certainly, he was the warm and decent fellow, and certainly he was also a tough cookie who kept his show running the way he wanted it for 30+ years. There are hints, not explored as much as they could have been, that he was crankier and angrier later in life (looking at where television had gone could certainly do that to you), and his relationships with his actual sons are not really explored; I also noted the significant absence of Betty Aberlin, who was Lady Aberlin for 30 years but also a Broadway performer (and recently appeared in some of Kevin Smith's films) among the talking heads. Is there a story there? Who knows?

There's a moment in the film that talks about how when François Clemmons, who played Officer Clemmons (a deliberate choice by Rogers to use a black performer to play the policeman in the mid-60s), was seen socializing in a New York gay bar, Rogers told him he couldn't go back for the good of the show. A number of reviews have ended the story there— aha! closet anti-gay bigot!— but that's not the point of Clemmons' story. He says that even though Rogers said that, he was also the first authority figure in his life who had ever accepted him for who he was... that Rogers was, in a real sense, his substitute father, too. The first man who said, as he did to so many children, "I like you the way you are."
He's well after my time, but I fondly remember Miss Frances (Horwich) of Ding Dong School.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:04 pm

I haven't yet seen the Mr. Rogers documentary, but today's movie with my cousin was another documentary -- Three Identical Strangers (2018). It begins in 1980, when a new student at an upstate college is greeted by returning students. How was your summer? Good to see you! He thinks it's weird until one guy stares at him. "Were you adopted? What's your birthday?" It turns out he has an unknown identical twin. When the story hits the newspaper another one pops up. They bond. Everything is wonderful, except that each set of parents is outraged. Why weren't they told? They would have adopted all three!

At this point I was starting to lose interest, as it looks like it was turning into a story about lawsuits and people declaring what they would have done versus a powerful and well-meaning charity's understandable policy -- people may want to adopt a baby, but who needs the tsuris and expense of three? However, the story took a turn with a interview with an investigative reporter and a report of identical twins being deliberately separated for cold-blooded study... and by the end the trail had led to a powerful Jewish charity and an archive in Yale that's sealed for almost half a century more.

I'm a great fan of the ability of movies to tell a story, but I have rarely seen a documentary that told such a heart-breaking and disturbing factual story. I thought myself inured to the cruelty of people, but I left the theater asking how could these people, of all people, have thought to have done these things? It's also an investigation into the character of three people, the question of nature versus nurture, and the issue of free will. Quite simply, it's one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.

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 Jul 01, 2018 2:21 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:When I started watching the trailer for Won't You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary about Mister Rogers, I thought, who needs to see a documentary about Mister Rogers? By the end of the trailer, I was all, "I want to see this now!"

It's interesting as a story about someone who looked at the medium of television as it was offered to children, and literally decided to do the opposite. Fred Rogers had such an intuitive sense of how to accept children and talk one on one to them, deeply informed by his training as a minister, and much of the movie is about that ability and faith being put to the test by the worst events of the times he lived through—starting with one show in 1968 where Daniel Tiger asks Lady Aberlin about a word that he's heard the adults using a lot... "assassination." (If you don't choke up during that part, I don't want to know you.)

The question inevitably comes up, was Fred Rogers, TV producer and star, really Mister Rogers? We kind of get an answer to that. Yes, certainly, he was the warm and decent fellow, and certainly he was also a tough cookie who kept his show running the way he wanted it for 30+ years. There are hints, not explored as much as they could have been, that he was crankier and angrier later in life (looking at where television had gone could certainly do that to you), and his relationships with his actual sons are not really explored; I also noted the significant absence of Betty Aberlin, who was Lady Aberlin for 30 years but also a Broadway performer (and recently appeared in some of Kevin Smith's films) among the talking heads. Is there a story there? Who knows?

There's a moment in the film that talks about how when François Clemmons, who played Officer Clemmons (a deliberate choice by Rogers to use a black performer to play the policeman in the mid-60s), was seen socializing in a New York gay bar, Rogers told him he couldn't go back for the good of the show. A number of reviews have ended the story there— aha! closet anti-gay bigot!— but that's not the point of Clemmons' story. He says that even though Rogers said that, he was also the first authority figure in his life who had ever accepted him for who he was... that Rogers was, in a real sense, his substitute father, too. The first man who said, as he did to so many children, "I like you the way you are."
This sounds interesting, although I had not heard of 'Mister Rogers'. I will check, bit I don't know if his show was ever shown on British TV, and if not why ('unsuitable'?, too many US imports?) why this would have been the case.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:59 pm

The Gun Ranger: When a mistrial is declared and Ernie Adams is freed, Ranger Bob Steele is fed up. Every time he brings in a law breaker, he walks free on a technicality. He resigns and announced he is going after Adams as a private citizen, and no one can stop him. However there are mysteries within mysteries and he soon discovers the phony outfit just over the hill is central to the goings-on.

This looks like the last film that Robert Bradbury directed Bob Steele in before the contract was sold to Republic Pictures, which wound up distributing it the following year. It's not a particularly enthralling effort for the father-son pairing. Steele doesn't get to do much in the way of his wonted acrobatics, and by the time "the boss" shows up masked halfway through, it's pretty clear what's going on. The rest is a matter of people explaining what they've been doing and a final gun battle. The following year, Republic would begin to bankroll the pictures and the production values would begin to pick up. Inthe meantime, this one looks like a meiocre placeholder for the usually delightful Steele.

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? (2018)

Unread post by oldposterho » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:31 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:This sounds interesting, although I had not heard of 'Mister Rogers'. I will check, bit I don't know if his show was ever shown on British TV, and if not why ('unsuitable'?, too many US imports?) why this would have been the case.
Mister Rogers (and his show) is a beloved part of the childhood of a lot of 'Merican kids of a certain age (and beyond via reruns) and was aimed at the real early part of childhood so was outgrown rather quickly.

How it could it be seen as unsuitable anywhere is beyond the pale as gentle kindness poured from every electron. Not sure I want to see the docu, I prefer my memory of Fred Rogers as it is.

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