The best day in months...

Discussion of programming on TCM.

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Hollis
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The best day in months...

Post by Hollis »

Good early morning all...

Is anyone as excited as I am about today's daytime lineup? It's the best I've seen in months, and not a clunker among them. To wit: "Arsenic and Old Lace," "Brief Encounter," "Since You Went Away," "Sorry, Wrong Number," "Pork Chop Hill," "The Train" and "In Which We Serve." There are those times when I fell no guilt whatsoever about spending the day on the sofa and just watching old movies. I hope some of you get the chance to see at least some of today's selections! Have a great weekend!

As always,

Hollis
klondike

Post by klondike »

I'm particularly excited to watch The Train again!
To me it's the apex of the Lancaster/Frankenheimer collaboration, and an underappreciated breakthrough in the evolution of Lancaster's acting.
As you are drawn into the rich, almost-abrasive texture of this clockwork espionage adventure, banish from your memory Burt's gusto-drenched performances in Vera Cruz, Elmer Gantry, and The Rainmaker; this is Lancaster driven inward, a man smoldering with a deep, cold, rock-like purpose.
John Frankenheimer's direction is right on the money, reveling in the taut, submerged tension, and the story ain't no slacker, either.
Not to be missed!
Hollis
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Post by Hollis »

Good morning sir,,

I hadn't thought of the film in that regard, but that's because I'm not the student of the movies that you are. You're right however that it does seem to delve deeply into an introspection on Burt's part as he comes around from at first resisting the effort to save the artwork to a point where he's willing to give his life "for the honor of France." (Talk about a contradiction in terms, but that's another story. Something about eating horses and snails and laughing at Jerry Lewis amongst other things rubs me the wrong way.) You illustrate perfectly why I'm so enamored of this site - someone taking the time to express themselves intelligently and enlighten a fellow film lover. I don't know that I'll ever be able to view a movie on the same level as you can, but obtaining your insights, even after the fact, takes me a long way toward becoming something more than a totally passive watcher of films. Thanks again for your point of view. They're always valuable and never dismissed.

As always,

Hollis
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Rusty
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Post by Rusty »

Hello,

Mrs. Kinross (Celia Johnson) after dinner toast to fighting sailors is simply one of the best couple of minutes in any movie. I don't know why the scene makes me emotional, but I've choked up the three times I've heard Celia Johnson's words. Oh yeah...the movie is In Which We Serve (1942).

Rusty
benwhowell
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"...the Lucinda River..."

Post by benwhowell »

Another great "driven inward" performance (as put so eloquently by Mr. Klondike) from Burt Lancaster is in "The Swimmer-"Frank and Eleanor Perry's (virtually ignored) adaptation of John Cheever's short story about middle class "mores."
I've read that Lancaster gained 20 lbs. of muscle weight to play this middle-aged "golden boy" living the American dream. One day he decides to "swim across the county" using his neighbor's swimming pools, the community swimming pool, etc. After "encounters" with various friends/neighbors we see Lancaster realizing that his American dream is actually a nightmare...with a powerful, heartbreaking conclusion that will leave you overwhelmed.
Handsome Johnny Eck
klondike

Re: "...the Lucinda River..."

Post by klondike »

benwhowell wrote: > . . . One day he decides to "swim across the county" using his neighbor's swimming pools, the community swimming pool, etc. After "encounters" with various friends/neighbors we see Lancaster realizing that his American dream is actually a nightmare...with a powerful, heartbreaking conclusion that will leave you overwhelmed.
Wow, Ben . . . you know, I went to a great deal of trouble back about 12 years or so ago, to track down "The Swimmer" on VHS, on the recommendation of a friend who cautioned me to see it, but only if I had an entire afternoon or evening in which to contemplate it . . so I did just exactly that.
And found myself unable to concentrate on anything to any degree for about the next 3 or 4 days . .
Seldom have I ever experienced so bittersweet a catharsis from having seen a movie on the "small" screen . .
Even now, I remain very impressed by my one viewing of The Swimmer . . and somewhere in the rear recesses of my mind, still deeply affected, and a little disturbed . . making it very hard for me to recommend this movie to practically anyone.
I wonder how John Cheever would have felt about my reactions?
Hmmmmm . . .
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vallo
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Post by vallo »

I agree Ben, While Lancaster was great in his robust films of the 40's & 50's. He loved to go against type. and through those kind of roles he shows his better side of his acting ability. Roles like The Swimmer, Come Back Little Sheba, Twilight's Last Gleaming and my favorite "Atlantic City",where he play's Lou an Ex-mob loser who has been a body guard for Grace a mobsters wife for 40yrs.

The Train is the film that he made two years before losing an Oscar to Paul Scofield (A Man for All Seasons) who plays Col. von Waldheim in the film.


vallo
"We're all forgotten sooner or later. But not films. That's all the memorial we should need or hope for."
-Burt Lancaster
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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

Mrs. Kinross (Celia Johnson) after dinner toast to fighting sailors is simply one of the best couple of minutes in any movie. I don't know why the scene makes me emotional, but I've choked up the three times I've heard Celia Johnson's words. Oh yeah...the movie is In Which We Serve (1942). ~Rusty
Hi Rusty,
"Extraordinary how potent cheap music is"~ Noel Coward.

While I wouldn't say that there was anything "cheap" about this particular work of Noel Coward's homage to his friend Lord Mountbatten and the British Navy and their loved ones, this movie certainly demonstrates the author's understanding of the power of simple human moments writ large on the screen, (or in song or on stage). Celia Johnson's delicate, heartfelt but nuanced speech in that scene remains one of the golden moments from In Which We Serve. Another that gets me is when the three women are squabbling and fussing during the bombing. Still one more is the goodbye of Coward to his men.

Nice to see you around the oasis, Rust.

Hey Hollis,
Thanks for the heads up about today's programming, especially The Train. I love the French actors such as Suzanne Flon as the French curator, Michel Simon as the old train engineer and Jeanne Moreau as the hôtelier who pop up to support Burt Lancaster in that one. And what an antagonist Paul Scofield makes! Too bad I'm at work while all this is on! Easy on the French, though buddy--even if we think they're lunkheads sometimes, (yikes, imagine how we seem to them?). You're talking about one branch of my family's mother country, and ours in a sense, since our Revolution may not have succeeded without French help. Hope you caught Pres. Sarkozy at the UN this week, (though please forgive me for injecting a political note). It's great to see you posting so often of late.

moira
benwhowell
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Lou Pascal

Post by benwhowell »

Vallo, I almost forgot about "Atlantic City." Lancaster in top form (as an actor and physically, I might add!) in his late '60's. A great "breakthrough" performance from Susan Sarandon too.
Excellent companion piece with "The Swimmer."
Could this be what became of Ned Merrill?
Handsome Johnny Eck
benwhowell
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Among The Path To Eden...

Post by benwhowell »

klondike, great call on "The Swimmer" being more effective on the small screen. I totally agree. I think the Perry's theatrical features are better experienced on the small screen...raw and intimate portraits of American life...love and pain and the whole damn thing.
"David And Lisa," "Ladybug, Ladybug," "Last Summer," "Diary Of A Mad Housewife," "Play It As It Lays" and "Man On A Swing-"a terrific suspense movie about the murder of a young girl with Cliff Robertson as the police chief on the case and a tour -de- force from Joel Grey as a clarivoyant...
The Perrys also did the BEST adaptations of Truman Capote's stories on TV and in the theatrical feature "Trilogy." (Second only to Richard Brooks' "In Cold Blood.")
As for "Mommie Dearest..."well, that's a whole 'nother topic...
Almost forgot about "Rancho Deluxe."
I love Joe Spinell (as Mr. Colson) talking about the "poor people" of Montana's addiction to trucks-
"...And there's a sickness here worse than alcohol and dope. It is the pickup truck debt! And there's no cure in sight."
Handsome Johnny Eck
Hollis
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Post by Hollis »

Good morning Moira,

Thanks for such kind words. It's my considered opinion that had the French not been at odds with the English during our fight for independence, the Marquis de Lafayette would never have set foot on American soil. In other words, they acted out of expediency, not altruism. What set me off against them was that back in 1991, during the first Gulf war, they put American lives at increased risk by refusing permission to overfly French airspace, and did so while a member of NATO to boot. Sort of defeats the purpose of an alliance or a coalition, doesn't it? And after all we'd done for them in both World Wars and in French IndoChina as well! Of course they have shared Catherine Deneuve and Louis Malle with the world, haven't they? I guess we'll call it even! Sorry for singing the "apolitical blues" so early in the day. If it seems that I've posted with a little more frequency lately, it's only due to the type of responses exhibited earlier in this thread. Someone always seems to have something to say that gives me pause to think, not an easy task!

As always,

Hollis
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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

Hollis wrote:Good morning Moira,

Thanks for such kind words. It's my considered opinion that had the French not been at odds with the English during our fight for independence, the Marquis de Lafayette would never have set foot on American soil. In other words, they acted out of expediency, not altruism. What set me off against them was that back in 1991, during the first Gulf war, they put American lives at increased risk by refusing permission to overfly French airspace, and did so while a member of NATO to boot. Sort of defeats the purpose of an alliance or a coalition, doesn't it? And after all we'd done for them in both World Wars and in French IndoChina as well! Of course they have shared Catherine Deneuve and Louis Malle with the world, haven't they? I guess we'll call it even! Sorry for singing the "apolitical blues" so early in the day. If it seems that I've posted with a little more frequency lately, it's only due to the type of responses exhibited earlier in this thread. Someone always seems to have something to say that gives me pause to think, not an easy task!

As always,

Hollis
Hollis,
I understand completely. I think we'll both like the French despite themselves at times! Keep posting dude, look at all the friendly & stimulating discussion you provoke. moira
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Moraldo Rubini
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Re: Among The Path To Eden...

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

benwhowell wrote:klondike, great call on "The Swimmer" being more effective on the small screen. I totally agree. I think the Perry's theatrical features are better experienced on the small screen...raw and intimate portraits of American life...love and pain and the whole damn thing.
That might be an interesting topic for a whole new thread. I've always tried -- whenever possible -- to see movies for the first time on a big screen, as the director intended. I prefer watching DVDs of movies that I've already seen. But some movies are better on the television monitor. The African Queen is my choice for the boob tube, as it's more difficult to discern the toy boat going down a mock-up river from the "real thing". The whole shooting the rapids segment on the big screen requires a major suspension of disbelief to get the theatrical audience through it. On TV it looks swell.
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