WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

Today I watched "Valkyre" (2008) directed by Bryan Singer.

I thought this movie (which should have been right up my alley) was so-so. Bill Nighy was terrific as an overcautious conspirator, but I guess I couldn't warm to Tom Cruise as Stauffenberg. He was too much the movie hero.

I have never seen "The Usual Suspects." The only Singer films I've seen have been this one and "Superman Returns," and I have to say that both have just left me cold. They haven't been bad movies, but they simply fail to connect with me.

I think G. W. Pabst made a film about the July 20th Conspiracy back in the mid-50s. Has anyone seen it? Was it ever shown in the United States?
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I've never seen Valkyre, I just couldn't believe that Cruise would do Stauffenberg justice. I haven't heard of the Pabst film.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
RedRiver
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by RedRiver »

I'm not sure I've heard of the July 20th conspiracy. What is that? As for Singer films, I like USUAL SUSPECTS a lot. And didn't he do the first X-Men movie? That was pretty good.
MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

The July 20th Conspiracy was the bomb attempt on Hitler's life on July 20th 1944. The conspirators were mostly German army officers and conservative politicians. Other German opposition movements during the Nazi era were the White Rose (college students) and the Red Orchestra (Germans who sympathized with the Soviet Union.) There is an excellent German film, "The White Rose" from 1983. A more recent film, "Sophie Scholl" focuses on a member of the White Rose. It is an okay film, but I find it too narrowly focused and much prefer the 1983 film.
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CineMaven
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by CineMaven »

FOR DIFFERENT REASONS...AND ALL INTERESTING:

Hi there! I figure with the impending Hurricane Sandy barrelling down on New York City, I might as well hunker down and do some writing:

If you click onto each photo, you can read and see some interesting writing and editing.

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DIAHANN CARROLL: Not a career filled with top “A” film projects, but she had Broadway and television success. And she was a successful nightclub singer as well. Never falling into stereotyped roles, she had class, bearing and style. If you’re curious at all about this beautiful actress click on her photo and read a good thorough article on WHERE she gets this from. Karen Noske has a website that covers all manner of style, fashion and biographical material: MOVIE STAR MAKEOVER. I remember seeing Ms. Carroll on tv when I was a teenager, in “JULIA”; this was earth-shattering to me as a kid. See, real life is one thing...but the images coming back to me on the medium I was addicted to, was another thing. When she appeared in “DYNASTY” it was an ‘A-HA’ moment for me. Well of course she could match Joan Collins champagne glass to champagne glass. She WOULD be rich and classy. I admit, I keep forgetting about Diahann Carroll b’cuz she didn’t have a strong film career; but when I’m reminded of her ( “Claudine” and the fantastic - “Eve’s Bayou” ) she is my ‘ oasis. ’

( Do check out the "Movie Star Makeover" website. It's not boringly wordy, it's heavy in photographs...and it's a great read covering some of your favorites. Here are some of my faves including my 1960's favorite: Paula Prentiss: )

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Please click on the fotos above if you have the chance.

JOAN CRAWFORD: In this enterprising YouTube video, some enterprising editor put together brief clips of almost-every Joan Crawford movie from the 20’s - 70’s. It was so interesting to see Joan in one fell swoop; how she changed with the times. She had different looks ( my favorite is...yes...those shoulder-padded 40’s ) and flipping through that Rolodex of roles, she had a pretty good run. There’s a clip of her running her fingers over William Haines’ lips in the 20’s, that was pretty racy. Energetic flapper ( 20’s ), shopgirl (30’s ), business woman (40’s ), harridan/gargoyle ( 50’s); I know I’m generalizing with those personas...but her career is pretty amazing as an actor and being a working woman, a working mom.

I just watched her stand toe-to-toe with Walter Huston in "RAIN" and boy, I gotta tell ya...

MELVYN DOUGLAS:

He’s alright. I kind of tolerate him to get to the leading ladies that I like. He’s doable. But then something JaxxXxxon wrote piqued my interest:
[u][color=#BF0000]Jack[/color][/u] [u][color=#BF0000]Favell[/color][/u] wrote:Whenever there's a question about Melvyn Douglas and why he was a star I pull out this very enjoyable article. It made me realize I like him better than I think I do. :D

Well she hasn’t steered me wrong yet so I read the article by Danusha V. Goska:
...Douglas’s suavity moved me because he looked like he knew. He looked like he knew what he was doing. He looked like he knew himself. He looked like he knew what the rules were and he knew how to make things go the way he wanted by following or bending those rules as he saw fit. He looked like he knew what it is about women that most men so insistently don’t know.
? :shock: ? :shock: ? :shock: ?

On my subway ride home I read the entire article. Twice. By the time I got to my subway stop, my takeaway from this article...my thoughts are:

I AM NOW IN LOVE WITH MELVYN DOUGLAS.

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Melvyn Douglas as a carrier of an erotic charge, though new to me, had plenty of company in the ’20s and ’30s. William Powell, who played Nick Charles in the Thin Man series, George Brent, who often starred opposite Bette Davis, most memorably in Dark Victory, and Herbert Marshall also played men who seemed born middle-aged, but whom heroines often chose over fare more obviously appealing in our day. In Victory, Davis turned down Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan for George Brent, after all. -Danusha V. Goska.
What the heck?!!!! Seduced by good writing...yet again!! You’ve got to read the whole article. She really breaks down his appeal and why he has “IT.”

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Now I have my sights set on Melvyn Douglas.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com
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CineMaven
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by CineMaven »

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BEAUTY...IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com
feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by feaito »

Super-interesting articles, media and beautiful pictures.....Thanks for posting them Theresa.
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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by Rita Hayworth »

feaito wrote:Super-interesting articles, media and beautiful pictures.....Thanks for posting them Theresa.
Goes double for me.
RedRiver
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by RedRiver »

BEAUTY...IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Especially...in The Twilight Zone. My favorite episode!
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CineMaven
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by CineMaven »

Thank you Feaito. Haven't seen your name around much. I'm glad you found some of the info interesting.
I shocked myself falling hard for Melvyn Douglas now. (( :shock: ))

Yes Red River...I really liked that episode too.

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But take heed, there is always room for one more...

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...And that might be for you!
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com
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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by Rita Hayworth »

RedRiver wrote:BEAUTY...IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Especially...in The Twilight Zone. My favorite episode!
Me too! ...
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Bogie
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by Bogie »

I saw Valkryie myself and was bored to tears. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for it. "shrug" Cruise didn't fit his part very well I thought so if there was really one made in the '50s on this subject matter i'd love to know what it's called and hope it's subtitled.

Anywho I promised westerns for my next post but I forgot a couple movies from the '30s that I had to watch first so here we go:

Speak Easily (1932)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0023498/

plot summary
Naive, bookish Professor Post (of Potts College) inherits a huge amount of money and decides that now he can afford to go out and enjoy life. He falls for a dancer in a bad stage show, and with his new money decides to buy the show and take it to Broadway. Will the Professor prove too nice to succeed in show business? Or will he triumph over bill-collectors, critics, and sexy vamp Eleanor Espere?
This was a pretty good film starring Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante and I enjoyed just about every minute of it. I know that Keaton was more suited to the silents like many of his contemporaries the talkies basically killed the momentum of his career but this movie has a charm to it that makes it highly watchable. It doesn't hurt that the supporting cast were all very good in their roles especially Thelma Todd as the vampy Eleanor Espere. The humor which doesn't always work was still quite good when it was working and the stage show finale was madcap to the hilt.

One could believe Keaton in his role as Post, a guy that's totally naive, bookish and wouldn't last a minute in the real world. He had a clear voice too which most of his cohorts didn't have when making the transition to sound although you can tell that some of the physical comedy timing especially in the finale were better suited for the silents. Keaton's T.Z. Post character is offset by the energetic craziness of Jimmy Durante's show runner James. Durante in every movie i've seen has this craziness to him that made him a virtual cartoon character fit for the WB cartoons. The combination of Keaton and Durante works though as they played off each other fairly well.

Thelma Todd was MARVELOUS as Espere, a down on her luck speakeasy girl who worms her way into the show once Post has put the show on Broadway and tries to worm her way into getting his money as well to comedic effect. She'd vamp her way onto him but he'd be totally clueless as to the situation at hand. The best part of their interplay was the extended scene of Post at her place and they get totally drunk with Post trying to get Espere out of the apartment even though it's hers! There were other funny bits like when she first introduces herself to Post and James and at the end she strips down to her undergarments to show she has "it" and they both fall over to comedic effect.

The only weak link in the main cast was Post's love interest Pansey Peets played by Ruth Selwyn. You can tell her character is supposed to be a kindly sort and Post becomes immediately smitten by her but you don't get the sense that she really loves him the way he loves her and so that part is a bit hard to believe as her relationship to post is more of a big sister looking out for her younger brother type thing but at least her character wasn't out and out bad and it did lead to a nice punchline at the end of the movie so it's not all bad :)

One last shout out before I give my rating but Sidney Toler as the harried director of the stage show was just FUNNY! His facial expressions and worry over his show being ruined when Post finds himself making a mess of the show was hilarious and helped to really amp up the madcap surreality of it all.

The movie is pretty fun and while some of the humor doesn't totally work it's still pretty funny. I would give this about 2 out of 4 stars.

P.S. during the "getting drunk" scene I could swear that Jim Parsons (Sheldon on Big Bang Theory) looked a LOT like Keaton and could probably pull that off at least visually.


The Spellbinder (1939)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031961/

Plot Summary
Jed Marlowe is a brilliant, scheming, unscrupulous criminal lawyer whose specialty is defending criminals he knows are guilty but gets them off through loop-holes or bribery. Then his daughter, misled by her father's courtroom performance, but unaware of his back-room tactics, marries the killer her father has just unjustly saved from the electric chair. What's a poor father to do?
Ehhhhh......

Well this movie could've been better but then again maybe not. The whole plot strains credibility to the point that I almost couldn't get into the film. Luckily Lee Tracy saved this from being a total train wreck as he gave a very solid performance as Jed Marlowe. His fast talking, quick thinking lawyer without scruples act was very convincing though for the life of me I can't figure how he was supposed to be a protagonist as the things that he did and said makes it very hard to like him. I mean they show him getting one criminal off by paying off actors to portray the killer's mother and family fer cryin' out loud! There is also the not so subtle hint that he's got a court official bribed so that he can find out the jury's decision before the verdict is rendered. Be that as it may Tracy has enough charm and charisma that I did enjoy following his antics and seeing him having to fight back when he knows FOR DAMN SURE that one of his clients killed someone.

Sadly for the rest of the cast they were quite poor to me with the exception of Patric Knowles as Dixon who tells Marlowe beforehand that he's going to murder his bookkeeper. Knowles goes toe to toe with Tracy and does well enough on his own but the rest of the cast are just paint by numbers and Barbara Read who plays Tracy's daughter is at times a bit unbearable to watch. i also found it weird how often Tracy kissed her on the lips considering she's supposed to play his daughter!

Anywho this movie does have a nice twist towards the end which I don't want to spoil but suffice it to say it made the last third of the movie more interesting than the rest. Again, it's very hard to believe what you're seeing on the screen especially in the courtroom scenes. There's one part where the prosecutor puts a doctor on the stand and it's clear he has no frickin' clue what's going on! How in the world could they bring in someone so clueless and easily intimidated!?

This gets 1 1/2 stars mainly for Tracy and the plot twist towards the end.
MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

The Pabst film was made in 1955 and its German title is literally translated into English as "It Happened on the 20th of July," but the film is usually known by the title "The Jackboot Mutiny." It doesn't seem to be especially highly regarded. Pabst's "The Last Ten Days" (of Hitler) which was made around the same time, seems to have a better reputation. I don't know if either film is easily available with English subtitles.
MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

Today I watched "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (2010), a documentary by Werner Herzog about cave paintings that were discovered in France in 1994.

It was a very interesting film, deserving of all the praise it has received. It must have been very impressive in 3-D. Even flat and at home, the images are very powerful.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Theresa, Melvyn Douglas, I recently watched him in Sea of Grass with Tracy and Hepburn, he hadn't been my favourite in screwball comedies but I did like him in this drama. I like your photos of him though.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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