The Cobweb (1955)

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feaito

Post by feaito »

MissGoddess wrote:I have never yet seen The Oscar, but it may be the most "panned" movie I've ever heard of. Was it really so awful?
At least I enjoyed the gorgeously stunning Elke Sommer!! :lol:
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And the winner is...

Post by benwhowell »

"The Oscar" was "awfully" good...like "Valley Of The Dolls."
It has some of the most strange dialogue too...

"Are you a tourist or a native?"
"Take one from column A and two from column B. You get an egg roll either way."

"Will you stop beating on my ears! I've had it up to here with all this bring-down!"

The brilliant "SCTV" did a spoof of the movie...called "The Nobel." Too bad it isn't posted on YouTube.
However, I did find this great clip from "The Oscar Levant Show-"with guest Fred Astaire-
[youtube][/youtube]
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

Thank you, Ben, for that YouTube clip! It's so cool that we can watch them right inside the body of the posting!

I love Oscar Levant and have been meaning to get around to reading his biography one day. Sometimes he was the best thing in the movies he appeared, never failing to find an apporpriately ascerbic quip to bring reality to the proceedings. I think it was particularly hilarious to watch Joan Crawford's non-reactions to his asides in Humoresque.

I would love to see Oscar's show cleaned up and presented on dvd, he seems a natural for that kind of intimate format. Sort of like he's inviting you into his living room for a cocktail party in which some interesting friends drop by.

Elke is very pretty, Fernando. I actually went to a party at her home, I think it was in the Hollywood Hills, several years ago. She was very gracious and reminds me a little bit of my mother.
feaito

Post by feaito »

MissGoddess wrote:Elke is very pretty, Fernando. I actually went to a party at her home, I think it was in the Hollywood Hills, several years ago. She was very gracious and reminds me a little bit of my mother.
Really? How lucky you are April. Did you meet anybody else from the movie business there? What an incredible experience!
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sugarpuss
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Post by sugarpuss »

I love any kinds of posts dealing with Oscar Levant. I found The Cobweb fairly boring which is a shame, since it has Lauren Bacall and Gloria Grahame in it. I wound up getting distracted halfway through and FF'ed for Oscar's parts though.

Minnelli offered him the small part of Mr. Capp, since at the time, Oscar wasn't doing very much. Not only is it his final film appearance, but it's the only movie where he doesn't play a piano, mainly because he couldn't trust himself to play one. He also wrote most of his own dialogue, just as he did in his other movies. It was Oscar's idea for his character to have a mother fixation. The scene where he's singing about his mother and having water poured over him was so horrifying to his wife, June Gale, she refused to attend a revival screening of the film 30 years later.

At the time of filming, Oscar was a mess. He had been in and out of various sanatoriums and addicted to Demerol, in addition to pulling out of concerts due his crippling stage fright and having trouble with higher ups in the music world. The book I have on him, "A Talent on Genius", is fantastic. It's filled with all kinds of interesting stories and facts (the behind-the-scenes info on "Humoresque" is hilarious), but I found myself depressed for a few days after reading it.

MissG, all the episodes of "The Oscar Levant Show" are GONE. With the exception of the Fred Astaire episode (His agent made a copy to see how Fred came across on tv) and one with Hedda Hopper, all the other programs were taped over by cooking shows, traffic reports, etc. At the time, no one knew how special his show really was, plus how was anyone to know that future generations would want to see it?

I've seen "Shock Treatment". It was a good movie, but there were some unpleasant things that happened in my real life the same day I watched it, so I can't watch it now. What I remember though, is when Lauren Bacall became unhinged at the end. She mentions in her autobiography that she didn't like it at all because she thought it was trashy!

Ben, the SCTV spoof of "The Oscar" is hilarious (I grew up with that show, being so close to Canada), but when I first saw it, I had no idea what they were spoofing. Once I read a full length review at some site covering bad movies, I loved it even more. I'd kill to see the movie though, since Joseph Cotten is in it.

Forgive the length of this post. When it comes to Oscar Levant, I could talk all day long.
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Post by moira finnie »

Forgive the length of this post. When it comes to Oscar Levant, I could talk all day long. ~Sugarpuss
Please, write away, it's delightful. I'd forgotten how funny SCTV's parody of The Oscar was too.
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

>>>MissG, all the episodes of "The Oscar Levant Show" are GONE. With the exception of the Fred Astaire episode (His agent made a copy to see how Fred came across on tv) and one with Hedda Hopper, all the other programs were taped over by cooking shows, traffic reports, etc. At the time, no one knew how special his show really was, plus how was anyone to know that future generations would want to see it? <<<

That really shocked me...I never heard of taping over anyone's show, especially if the show had guests the calliber of Fred Astaire. Good grief, talk about a waste! It's criminal, that's what it is.

That book you mention, Sugar, "A Talent For Genius" is the one I was meaning to get. But if it's as sad as you say I may wait, I just can see myself going into mourning over this dead comic and musical genius. Poor old Oscar, sometimes the funniest people who give us all so much laughter, are the saddest.

If anyone tells me one day that Jimmy Durante was a manic depressive I'll just die, that's what I'll do.
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Wiping and re-recording was a common practice in the early days of television, and is probably still practiced now.

ABC will never live down having taped over most of Ernie Kovacs' programs. What's left is hardly representative of the best of Ernie. A crying shame.
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Rusty
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Post by Rusty »

Hello,

My favorite "what were they thinking?" movie. You know, The Cobweb plot would have easily translated into the Western genre.

In fact, maybe Minnelli wanted to make a Western, but a lot of Westerns were produced around the time of Cobweb's release. Maybe, the suits at MGM said to Vincente Minnelli, "go ahead...make your Western, but make a story about psychoanalysis..." Psychoanalysis was a popular subject around the time The Cobweb (1955) was released.

Let's see, Cobweb as a Western...
Richard Widmark as former fastest gun...now, only wanting to go straight...picked to clean up the town.
Gloria Grahame as Widmark's wife...former good time girl...still hankerin' for a taste of the high life.
Charles Boyer as all-powerful landowner...THE LAW in these here parts.
Lillian Gish as corrupt town sheriff and Boyer's toadie.
Lauren Bacall as schoolmarm...unwilling target of Boyer's affections.
John Kerr as stable lad...wanabee gunslinger...borderline homicidal maniac.
Oscar Levant as troubadour and Tommy Rettig as kid who gets to say "pa" a lot.
Mcguffin drapes as...uh, drapes.

Rusty
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May the farce be with you...

Post by benwhowell »

Excellent deconstruction, Rusty! I'd love to read what you could do with Irwin Allen's "The Story Of Mankind." It already seems to "exploit" every known genre...and some unknown ones...
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