Screened Out: Monday, June 4th

Discussion of programming on TCM.

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Lzcutter
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Screened Out: Monday, June 4th

Post by Lzcutter »

I know it's a controversial idea (just check the board at TCM City to see how many are responding) for a month long series but I have to say that I enjoyed this evening's line-up very much.

Due to family stuff, came late to The Monster but really liked what I was able to see.

Exit Smiling was wonderful. After suffering through the horrible, 40 year old public domain soundtrack to He Who Gets Slapped last night, I was worried. I didn't realize until the end credits that this film had been rescored as part of the TCM Young Film Composer Contest. Wonderful score. And Beatrice Lilly was terrific. I must watch more films with her because she was great. Loved Franklin Pangborn.

Broadway Melody of 1929. A revolution in its day. I was surprised that the co-host/author didn't make a bigger deal about the relationship between the two quasi-sisters. They weren't really sisters, just grew up together and Hank was always looking after Queenie.

Loved the scene with the costume designer, the ermine coat and the two other financiers of the Revue.

Tivo'd Billy Haines because it was getting late and I want to watch it when I'm not so tired.

Kudos to TCM for stretching the envelope again. Last year they gave us Race in Film. This year, Screened Out.

I look forward to next year.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

Lynn,
Thanks for starting this thread focusing on the TCM theme of the depiction of gays in classic films. Here's the main reason that I'd like the outraged folks to put down their torches, cudgels and pitchforks as they threaten to abandon all hope for TCM:

Most of the people being featured in this month's theme have a little thing called Talent. As is often the case with TCM's features, they've enabled me to discover a couple of performers whose film work was previously largely unknown to me:
Johnny Arthur & Beatrice Lillie.

The Monster (1925) appealed to me primarily as a Lon Chaney vehicle initially. Though I often find myself fidgeting when viewing Chaney's often unrelentingly grim and humorless sado-masochistic themed films, (sorry Chaney fans), this one held my attention long enough, due to the odd little rhythm of this horror-comedy and the sprite-like presence of Johnny Arthur.

Arthur was the real reason to watch this movie, as far as I was concerned. The guy was great. Gay, straight, neutered, I don't care--he was funny and endearing as the "little guy" with the gumption, (albeit, sometimes delusional), to take on the world! As Robert Osborne and his guest, author Richard Barrios, mentioned, he seems to have faded to the background and become much less flamboyant once talkies and the production code came into place. In this Thursday's Laurel & Hardy feature on TCM at 10:30 AM EDT, Our Relations (1936), I see that Mr. Arthur is way down in the cast list. That seems a shame, since he obviously had some real flair for comedy. Here's a link to a site that gives some more info about Mr. Arthur's long career. It's interesting that by 1925, when The Monster was made, Mr. Arthur was already into his forties, and had been appearing on the stage since the turn of the century!

Beatrice Lillie was a familiar name to me since I'd heard and read about her legendary humor from older individuals who'd seen her on stage, but had only seen her film work in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and On Approval (1948) prior to last night's airing of Exit Smiling (1926). While this film was included in last night's lineup primarily to show the always fun work of Franklin Pangborn, this silent movie, and most of all, Ms. Lillie, were delightful. I found it a little odd that there was no mention in the part of the host's intro that I saw last night of Beatrice Lillie's gender-bending and very funny impersonation of a villain, within the context of a stage melodrama put on by the troupe. Though I guess it didn't fit neatly into the ostensible reason for showing this movie, which was simply to highlight the presence of gay characters in classic movies, it's nice that the fluidity of Lillie's talent is on display for the first time in a silent movie on TCM.

Starring as the put-upon dog's body of a traveling repertory company with a crush on Jack Pickford, Lillie demonstrated her comedic skills as a hugely appealing figure with dramatic ambition, smarts and a foolhardy courage. When I came across an amusing article on TCM's site, see here, about the movie that indicated that she didn't care for her film work at all, I was disappointed since this experience probably discouraged her from making more movies, leaving us with only a handful of about seven flicks to appreciate her work in today. I hope that TCM will show Exit Smiling soon again.
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Post by traceyk »

Hi-
I have Exit Smiling on the dvr--planning to watch it later. Beatrice Lillie is one of those people you read about a lot, but rarely ever see in the movies. From descriptions, it sounds like her show was hilarious. She used to sing "There Are Faeries in the Bottom of my Garden," and I read that someone (Noel Coward maybe?) said he'd love to sing that song, but was afraid it would come out, "There Are Faeries in the Garden of my Bottom..."
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. "~~Wilde
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Post by mongoII »

Moira, I often wondered who the whiner was who played Darla Hood's dad in "Our Gang". He use to whine to his wife while calling her 'mama'.
He was very good indeed.
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A Peeling Lady

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

Lady Peel (aka Beatrice Lillie) was far better known for her stage work, especially revues and her work with Noel Coward. She performed ditties of double-entendre that parodied the musical styles of her previous generation. She also played the medium in High Spirits, Hugh Martin's (Meet Me in St. Louis) musical version of Noel Coward's Blythe Spirits. She was once known as "The Funniest Woman in the World". Because she did little film/television work, she is now becoming a distant memory. I'm betting most only know her from Thoroughly Modern Millie. Unfortunately, she had Alzheimer's and ended her years imprisoned by the disease.
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

I recorded the three silents, but haven't had a chance to watch yet. I did see the intros and outros and glad to see we are getting some perspective.

Sign of the Cross coming up tomorrow, is quite a humorus take on Christianity (I don't know that I need an intro on that one! :P ). It's almost in the same league as Reefer Madness, Maniac, and other exploitation type films.
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Post by sandykaypax »

I caught the last 45 minutes or so of Exit Smiling. I tuned in just to see Bea Lillie. She was wonderful! A skilled actress and comedienne, it seemed obvious to me why she was such a big success on the stage. She had perfect timing, wit, and a winning personality. I WISH that she had done more film!

It was interesting to see Franklin Pangborn in an early role, too. He always makes me laugh.

I fell asleep partway into The Broadway Melody. I've seen it before, and I still think that Bessie Love is the best thing about that film.

Looking forward to Wonder Bar tonight!

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Post by sandykaypax »

Aaaargh! I fell asleep and didn't record Wonder Bar! Did anyone see it?

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Post by SSO Admins »

sandykaypax wrote:Aaaargh! I fell asleep and didn't record Wonder Bar! Did anyone see it?

Sandy K
I didnt but i recorded it. Do you need a copy?
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Post by SSO Admins »

Argh. Nevermind. I messed up the DVR and didn't get it.

I was set to tape that, Our Betters, Queen Christina, and The Sport Parade and missed all of them.

I may have Sign of the Cross somewhere though -- the problem I have is knowing what i already have. If I can find it i'm willing to send you a copy though.
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Post by mongoII »

I tried to watch "Our Betters" and found it slow moving and boring.
Couldn't believe that the actress Violet Kemble Cooper who played the elite Minnie is the same actress who played Basil Rathbone's cruel sister in "David Copperfield".
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Not part of the Screened Out series, but still worthy of a look, is the Sundance channels showing of Open City (1945) this Friday. This film deals with the Italian resistance movement and their fight against the Nazis.

Of interest are the Nazis themselves which are portayed as homosexual. One of their top agents is a lesbian who bribes a girl with a fur coat to reveal an underground leaders whereabouts. While these ideas are laughable (Nazis exterminated gays with the Poles, Jews, and criminals), the rest of the film is a deeply moving work that I return to again and again.
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Well, it's midnight here in TX and I am still recording shows (till 3am)! Hopefully I will be able to stay awake at work tomorrow.

I have been watching the films and think tonights showing has been pretty good. Most of these I had not seen before. Does anyone have any comments about a particular film?

Ladies They Talk About was a real hoot. RO was right, their prison looks more like a day spa!
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Post by moira finnie »

Ladies They Talk About was a real hoot. RO was right, their prison looks more like a day spa!~Mr. Arkadin
I agree, Ark. Tonight's batch of films was quite entertaining as well as illustrative of the theme. I loved the cockatoo on Ruth Donnelly's shoulder in Ladies They Talk About. What was supposed to be so ominous about that or did I misinterpret the scene when she's called over by the other matron to break up a dispute by bringing on the "parrot" (sic)?

Man, I bet ol' Ruth lost her "cushy" civil service job when they found out that Stanwyck got the impression of one of her "Apostle" keys via a bar of soap...Loved the fact that Lillian Roth sang "If I could be with you an hour tonight" to a picture of Joe E. Brown. Seriously, you know you're in prison when Mr. Brown starts lookin' good to you as a potential dream date!

I'll try to put my thoughts about the phenomenal Caged into words in the next few days. I just looked in on the TCM board and found that some of the posters felt that it was small potatoes. That 57 year old movie seems pretty dang harrowing to me still. Guess I'm a wimp.
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Post by Lzcutter »

Moira,

I, too, am still putting my thoughts together about Caged (which I loved).

But I wanted to say in the mid-1980s I had the good fortune to see a campy hysterically funny play here in Los Angeles (where it had a long run) Women Behind Bars with the wonderful Lu Leonard as the Matron.

Every time I saw Hope Emerson I thought of Lu.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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