The April 2013 TCM Schedule

Discussion of programming on TCM.

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moira finnie
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

Post by moira finnie »

JackFavell wrote:I got that impression too, Christy, that they were getting ready to place her in a visiting role on TCM more often.

She's entitled to her opinion on tapping and such, but really, you can't compare anyone to Gene Kelly, he's such a controlled dancer who always seemed to be self aware, thus every motion of every part of his body was in the right place at the right time. Watch his arms and hands sometime when he dances, it's amazing how consistent and perfect his arm movements are. I can't think of anyone who dances as well with their upper body as Gene, and that includes even Fred Astaire.
You know, I may be crazy, but I've always thought that some of Kelly's dancing style that you described owed more than a bit to Irish Step Dancing in which the upper torso is so often kept rigid. And I also wonder if step dancing had its origin in the Irish love of horses and a desire to replicate their swiftness and control--but what do I know? I have read that Kelly was trained in clog dancing as a youth and he may have been affected by the tap style of George M. Cohan and Bill Robinson, both of whom had enormous control (though Robinson was far more fluid a dancer than Cohan, whose dances have been described and reportedly quite well translated by James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy--though no one could ever accuse Cagney of not using his hands!)
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

Post by JackFavell »

That all makes sense to me, Moira, I can almost see a little of Bill Robinson in Kelly, it doesn't hurt that the two men are very much alike physically.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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JackFavell wrote:That all makes sense to me, Moira, I can almost see a little of Bill Robinson in Kelly, it doesn't hurt that the two men are very much alike physically.
Though I always have the impression that Robinson was quite a bit taller than Gene.
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As mentioned earlier in this thread, So Proudly We Hail (1943), was aired last night as part of the women in war theme being explored with Cher and Robert Osborne on Friday night. I hadn't seen it in some time, but found that the real pleasure I took in the movie derived from the secondary players in this movie.

I like the very talented Claudette Colbert a good deal and Paulette Goddard can be a charming minx, but the romances both were saddled with in this movie dragged a bit for me, though it's possible the Production Code may have been a factor. I kept thinking, if anything, these nurses on board that ship in the Pacific might be pretty leery of feeling a deep emotion for guys they barely knew. I suspect that a few moments of shared intimacy might have been on the agenda for some of them, though fear of losing someone and getting hurt would have complicated things in the real world--but hey, who watches movies for realism? Not me. The formulaic need to fall in love under wartime circumstances, the George Reeves and Sonny Tufts' rather hollow characters, and the fact that both leading ladies sported beautifully buffed, perfect glistening manicures on Corregidor kind of bothered me. But how nice that there were evidently no bugs in the jungle, though dysentery and malaria were mentioned.

SPOILER ALERT

Good thing that the movie had such a good Veronica Lake performance as the edgy, bitter young nurse determined to get revenge on the Japanese after the Pearl Harbor attack killed her fiance. This and her truncated role as an emotionally fragile woman in Slattery's Hurricane (1949) make me think that she might have been capable of more than being a stylish foil for Alan Ladd or a kittenish sorceress in Rene Clair's I Married a Witch (1942)--though didn't she look awfully glamorous as she approached the Japanese with a grenade inside her coveralls?
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Veronica Lake

While she didn't have a character with too many lines to play, the serenely beautiful Barbara Britton as Rosemary, the young nurse who meets her fate with Ted Hecht (the philosophical Filipino surgeon), really was lovely, though I suspect that the screenwriters wrestled with the idea of having the impressionable nurse and appealing doctor strike romantic sparks, despite the fear of miscegenation at the time. Britton would be more than merely pretty again in Borzage's 1944 film, Till We Meet Again. I felt that her doomed innocence was foreshadowed early on in "So Proudly..." by the effectively played parting scene given depth by her mother's (Elsa Janssen) sorrowful realism as she sent her daughter off to be a nurse.
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Barbara Britton

It was also a pleasure to see character actresses Dorothy Adams and Ann Doran given strong parts to play for once. Ann Doran's remarks about what she had witnessed in Nanking being especially haunting as she refused to ignore hard realities to come. She made me tear up when she slipped a letter to her mother to one of the nurses being evacuated.
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Ann Doran facing facts (and expressing genuine fear).

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I bet Dorothy Adams (above) was really relieved to play someone other than a nervous maid for once!

After seeing this movie, I wanted to know what happened to the 77 real nurses who were left behind on Corregidor and found a couple of interesting links, one of which indicates that the last surviving woman of this siege and captivity, Mildred Dalton Manning, died less than one month ago at the age of 98.

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The real angels of Corregidor being liberated in 1945.

Mildred Dalton Manning Obituary

The Angels of Bataan and Corregidor: 70 Years Later

WWII Museum Info on Angels of Bataan

We Band of Angels by Elizabeth Norman (a book about the real life nurses based on interviews with survivors)
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

Post by JackFavell »

Though I agree heartily about the supporting players Ann Doran, Dorothy Adams (yay, she's actually a competent level headed woman in this movie!) Barbara Britton and Veronica Lake, what really charmed me this time through were the performances of George Reeves and Sonny Tufts. I was quite surprised, since I didn't remember either one from this movie that I saw so long ago. I thought they were both quite good, even if the story wasn't the best when they were onscreen. I thought Paulette was sensational and of course, Colbert was the rock solid base of the picture. Ann Doran got me too in that letter scene.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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JackFavell wrote:...what really charmed me this time through were the performances of George Reeves and Sonny Tufts. I was quite surprised, since I didn't remember either one from this movie that I saw so long ago. I thought they were both quite good, even if the story wasn't the best when they were onscreen.
I liked George Reeves in particular, he was personable and almost had some individuality. Still, I kept wishing that he could have more weight. I wanted him to be believable as a former chemistry professor turned medic in the Army, but the poor guy could barely get a light shone on his face, much less some kind of character development (other than thinking Claudette was keen). I hope you noticed how Colbert and Goddard both had love scenes in which the guy's mug was in deep shadow while their lovely visage was lovingly lit! It was kind of noticeable since such scenes popped up on the boat and in foxholes in combat for each of them. I wonder if this was part of the competition they allegedly felt toward one another? The cinematography of Charles Lang was gorgeously lit throughout the film, with tons of beautiful chiaroscuro and "eye of God" shots that reinforced the sense of helpless chaos in the movie.

I can't help myself but I never believe Sonny Tufts in anything. I always feel that he was waaay over his poor head in just about every movie, even the ones where he plays alleged bad guys like 1949's The Crooked Way, where he's okay. That being said, I know that So Proudly We Hail made the guy a bit of a star...at least for awhile.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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The We Bands as Angels ... Book by Elisabeth Norman is an excellent book on Nurses in World War II. I highly recommend this book and its extremely well written about the hardship of Nurses back in World War II. I have a friend that had a copy of it and I was very impressed of how well Elisabeth put it altogether.

Great recap of that movie Moira ... I enjoyed reading it.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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moirafinnie wrote: I liked George Reeves in particular, he was personable and almost had some individuality. Still, I kept wishing that he could have more weight. I wanted him to be believable as a former chemistry professor turned medic in the Army, but the poor guy could barely get a light shone on his face, much less some kind of character development (other than thinking Claudette was keen).
I enjoyed your lovely post about So Proudly We Hail, and felt the same way about adorable George Reeves, whom I've always felt "keen" about since Superman. I will never forget when I saw Gone With The Wind in re-release with my mother, and how surprised I was at seeing George Reeves without his indestructible power suit.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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It's so good to hear applause for Barbara Britton--to me, one of the dearest people on the screen.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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I honestly didn't know who Sonny Tufts was in this film. I thought his face was familiar, but he looks a lot like Joe Sawyer who I'm very keen on. I spent a while thinking he was terrible, but then all that gum chewing and stammering kind of got to me and I ended up liking him a lot as a representation of every big shouldered soldier boy from back home.

You are certainly right about the gorgeous cinematography. Lordy, I think that's what really kept me watching, and it made every performance seem better. Yeah, the poor guys were in shadows all the time, but think of all those women in male oriented movies who got the short end of the stick for years... photographed from behind their lovely hair. Women should be so lucky in this day and age to get the Colbert and Goddard treatment. :D
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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Thank you Ms Finnie, for spotlighting So Proudly We Hail. I have become a true fan of this film over the years, and must say that I completely agree with you about how well this film highlights the "side players". (though I do confess this is a favorite film for me w/ Ms Colbert as well)

And the scene you mentioned w/ Veronica Lake is to me one of the most HAUNTING movie death scenes (for a war film, especially.. but really just about any other genre too) that I can ever recall. So perfectly played And you are spot on about her appearance.. she is utterly beautiful.. and yet so TRAGIC.. all at the same time. And yet (huge spoiler alert) I also get a sense of the heroic.. her sacrifice SAVES them all.. very inspiring. Oh man.. I get all wooshy eyed, just thinking of it again)

I chatted with a few folks over this film a month or so ago on the TCM site and one of the things I recall (after watching it again recently) was that it brought to mind for me what a great pairing this movie would make with They Were Expendable. Because THAT film sort of ends.. where this one takes off. (this could be Sandy's (Donna Reed's) story.. after the end of TWE (sorry.. another spoiler moment here) When the Duke and Bobby Montgomery are forced to leave on that airplane.. and poor Duke is left wondering WHERE she is.. and what will happen to her... This whole movie (SPWH) could be HER story too)

I hope to watch them together that way someday.. just to see if I still feel that way.. (and because they are both such fine films, ha.. I would love to see them again, anytime)

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. Thanks again, for bring this film up for a chat here.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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Rohanaka, those two films would make a great pair to be shown together!
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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Ro, I actually had a sentence in my post which I deleted, about TWE and Sandy. When I first watched the film TWE, I didn't realize what they were saying about Sandy being stuck in Corregidor... I didn't know much WWII history. So each time I see it now, it's even more resonant...I always wonder if Sandy is one of the casualties though.. it makes me afraid for her... I don't think they ever find one another again, but I bet not a day goes by that he doesn't think about her, no matter how his life turned out after.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

Post by moira finnie »

Ro, I also love Three Came Home (1950) for the dramatic performance given by Colbert. I think that So Proudly We Hail and that movie go together very well. I was particularly impressed by Colbert's scenes with Sessue Hayakawa in that film. Have you seen Three Came Home (1950) and what did you think of it?
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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TCH is a fantastic movie, one of Colbert's best.
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Re: The April 2013 TCM Schedule

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I always liked "Three Came Home" because it's a good story and Claudette is terrific in a role that is not very glamorous. Though the hair never looks ragged she lets herself look worn and down but never out.

All the women show strength. Of course they would in a movie but I just think it's well done. Colbert and Hayakawa do well together.
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