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WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » August 27th, 2013, 8:51 pm

Yesterday, I watched "Summer Stock."

I know nobody considers it one of the great MGM musicals. In fact, I thought the songs were pretty forgettable. The comic relief was very good. Phil Silvers nearly stole the movie, I thought. But I loved Eddie Bracken as the hapless fiancee. With hayfever. The real surprise was seeing that Ray Collins could do comedy. The scene in which Bracken proposes to Garland, and Collins keeps himself between the two "lovers" is hilarious.

Gene Kelly had a great sequence: when he dances with the creak in the floorboard and a discarded sheet of newspaper. It was a magical moment, worthy of a better movie.

And Judy Garland's "Get Happy" is outstanding. Of course, it seems like it was edited in from some other movie, almost as if MGM realized the movie was X minutes short and inserted this number which was totally different from everything else in style and tone. Still, "Summer Stock" is amusing.

MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » August 27th, 2013, 8:57 pm

Today I watched "It Started With Eve" (1941) directed by Henry Koster.

I think this is my favorite Deanna Durbin movie. Where has this been all my life? It is a terrific screwball comedy. I have never enjoyed Bob Cummings in a movie so much. It was a delight to watch him when he realized he was in (yet another) jam. I had practically forgotten how good Charles Laughton could be in comedy. Here he is both very funny and touching, as the gruff patriarch. (He brings a depth to this character that I don't think Charles Coburn would reach.)

I guess this movie was designed to let Durbin be more "grown-up." (She gets pinched by Cummings and kisses him, and she takes a drink.) I was less impressed by that than by her wonderful gift for comedy. Her timing was impeccable, and the chemistry she had with Cummings and Laughton was a delight.

Given that the whole movie turns on deception, this felt very much like a Billy Wilder movie to me. Ah, probably the makers of "It Started With Eve" saw "Midnight" first.

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » August 28th, 2013, 7:03 am

I really enjoyed your reviews of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt and Summer Stock, Mike. I love that creak number in Summer Stock, it's one of Gene's finest. And Get Happy? who cares that it's inserted? I could watch it over and over, and have.

As for Reasonable Doubt, you make me want to watch it again. I always thought it was kind of weak, but now that you mention how different it is from other noir films, I feel like giving it another try. Thanks.

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » August 28th, 2013, 9:07 am

MikeBSG wrote:Today I watched "It Started With Eve" (1941) directed by Henry Koster.

I think this is my favorite Deanna Durbin movie. Where has this been all my life? It is a terrific screwball comedy. I have never enjoyed Bob Cummings in a movie so much. It was a delight to watch him when he realized he was in (yet another) jam. I had practically forgotten how good Charles Laughton could be in comedy. Here he is both very funny and touching, as the gruff patriarch. (He brings a depth to this character that I don't think Charles Coburn would reach.)

I guess this movie was designed to let Durbin be more "grown-up." (She gets pinched by Cummings and kisses him, and she takes a drink.) I was less impressed by that than by her wonderful gift for comedy. Her timing was impeccable, and the chemistry she had with Cummings and Laughton was a delight.

Given that the whole movie turns on deception, this felt very much like a Billy Wilder movie to me. Ah, probably the makers of "It Started With Eve" saw "Midnight" first.


I concur Mike. It Started with Eve is a gem of movie. I must organize a movie night to show this film to my pals. I've seen it twice or thrice. This is also my fave Durbin movie, followed by 1st Love and His Butler's Sister.

RedRiver
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » August 28th, 2013, 12:38 pm

Was Mr. Charles Laughton ever less than perfect? I heard a story (I have NO IDEA if it's true) about Laughton on radio. Somebody said he could simply read the phone book and be entertaining. So he did!

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Rita Hayworth » August 28th, 2013, 3:08 pm

RedRiver wrote:Was Mr. Charles Laughton ever less than perfect? I heard a story (I have NO IDEA if it's true) about Laughton on radio. Somebody said he could simply read the phone book and be entertaining. So he did!


Red River,

He was perfect on Radio - and matter of fact my late Grandfather has several of his recordings on records and I had my brother convert it to tape and he's was delightfully wonderful and believe I had no problems understanding him - and I'm deaf and hard of hearing. I wished he did more radio in his great career that he had.

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CineMaven
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby CineMaven » August 31st, 2013, 7:13 am

Mike, Feaito and Red...I'm going to go with you on Charles Laughton. I just saw "RUGGLES FROM RED GAP" a couple of Saturday nights ago and found him to be so charming and poignant, that I find I have to re-evaluate all the dastardly thoughts I had about him garnered from those dastardly men he's played. ( "Island of Lost Souls" "Mutiny on the Bounty." ) He's a great actor.

* * * *

Coming home from my weekly Friday night jaunt in Greenwich Village, I pass the IFC movie theatre at my West 4th Street train station and saw this on the marquee:

Image

Did I have too much to drink? Nope... ( this time ) I'm seeing what I'm seeing.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » August 31st, 2013, 9:21 am

Ha! It is a pretty surreal combination there....

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CineMaven
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby CineMaven » August 31st, 2013, 10:22 am

HA! I did a double-take as I stumbled along my way.

* * * * * *

IF there are any native New Yorkers in 'da house, here is an article from my friend's blog ( "Brian Camp's Film & Anime Blog" ) about going to the movies on 42nd Street back in the 70's during 42nd Street's wonderfully seedy days.

Image

If you click on the photo above, this should bring back memories for those who remember it when.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

RedRiver
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » August 31st, 2013, 3:38 pm

What a stimulating way to live. Give me marginally seedy over plastic any day! In my town we have 12 movie screens. And they're all in one theater!

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Uncle Stevie
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Uncle Stevie » September 1st, 2013, 1:47 am

I was taken by "Dancing Lady - 1933 starring Joan Crawford age 27 and dancing and swimming and in a gym. She was very nimble and this was way before her dramatic acting. Her co-star was Clark Gable who acted like the Clark Gable we expect. I enjoyed the movie and the unexpected Joan Crawford. Also in the movie were Franchot Tone and the three Stooges.
Uncle Stevie


"Great Marriages Are Made In Heaven,
So Is Thunder and Lightning"

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CineMaven
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby CineMaven » September 1st, 2013, 10:12 am

RedRiver wrote:What a stimulating way to live. Give me marginally seedy over plastic any day! In my town we have 12 movie screens. And they're all in one theater!


Put her there pal! Put her there!! :)
"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?

Postby CineMaven » September 2nd, 2013, 9:05 pm

The last movie I saw on TCM, was this afternoon:

“PITFALL” ( 1948 ) Dick Powell - Lizabeth Scott - Jane Wyatt - Raymond Burr - Directed by Andre deToth

Image Image Image Image
Sympathetic adulterer..................Can she pick ‘em?............... It’s not you, it’s him......................Creepy

“O what a tangled web we weave,
When first we...
buy Lizabeth Scott a drink.”

I like this taut tense quiet drama and how it plays out. What happens outside his marriage comes crashing in to his suburban home like a tsunami. DICK POWELL plays John Forbes, your average, postwar, 9-to-5, Everyman. He’s a hero to his son, a good provider to his wife, but his life is in a rut. Then Lizabeth Scott falls into his lap.

Image
Always watching...he's just a guy who can't take "NO"

RAYMOND BURR is Mac the private investigator on Lizabeth Scott’s case and he’s developed a hankering for her, to put it mildly. Basically he’s a one-track minded, terminator, obsessed with Scott beyond all rhyme and reason. He’s having that relationship with her all by himself. Scott wants no part of this hulking brute. Any girl would take her ten foot pole and vault as far away from him as possible. Visiting her in the shop wear she models clothes, Mac has free rein to sit and watch her model for him as long as his cash holds out. All perfectly legal. All perfectly “eeeewww.”

I like Powell as Forbes. Yes, lying by omission is still lying. He gets caught up in a web of his own making, but I feel sorry for him. It’s not that he doesn’t love his wife. He’s frustrated, bored with the routine and predictability of his own life. He didn't look for it; doesn't initiate it. Yes, he could have said no...but c'mon. He takes inventory of the items Mona Stevens ( LIZABETH SCOTT ) has received from her ex-boyfriend, who’s serving time for embezzling funds to keep Mona in clover. As Forbes visits Mona, he really is strictly business. He warms up to her when he sees she’s not a bad egg; nor is she a femme fatale, in the strictest sense of the word. She just got caught up in something herself:

He was just too much in love with me. He wanted to do thngs for me and he didn’t have the money. So he went out and got some...I liked him mostly because he was nice to me. Very few men are. That means a lot.” - ( RULE #1 - TELL THE HERO YOUR TALE OF WOE )


I know some feel Lizabeth Scott is stiff and glacial. But I like her, and find her warm and friendly here. She uses her husky, smoky voice to good advantage here. She’s not being calculating. Her vulnerability draws you in. John stops being officious and drops his defenses:

I guess i’m a little out of practice. I never quoted anything but statistics. I’m a little unsure of myself whenever I crawl out of my briefcase.”

Who’s drawing out whom?

Image
The beginning - getting to know you.

I think Mona offers John a life raft out of his sea of boredom. She lets him have a ride on her ill-gotten gains of a boat, and he gets a brief glimpse of how the other half lives and a respite from his ordinary existence. Maybe she thinks John's a nice guy, and if he lets her keep the boat...he could keep her too. Nahhhh, I'm a romantic not a cynic. I think they recognize the loneliness in each other and bond. She invites him to a home-cooked meal where one thing leads to another...

GUILT - THE GREAT MOTIVATOR

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Sue knows something's bothering Johnny, but he can't tell her.

Maybe moguls got JANE WYATT confused with Jane Wyman due the similarity of their last names so Wyatt didn’t get all the meaty roles Wyman was offered. But she’s a good solid actress ( I love her voice ) and shows that here in “Pitfall” as Sue Forbes, John’s wife. Sue is pretty and competent and has a sense of humor; maybe it’s that she humors her husband as wives do. She seems like a true partner in that marriage; someone who can go to a PTA meeting or country club, and is probably a good bridge partner. The Wife usually is a thankless role in movies, but not in Wyatt’s capable hands. And as Sue, she’s not too busy for her husband...which gets a lot of movie wives in trouble. Yes he strays, but we can see there’s nothing really wrong with Sue. ( He’s bored with himself. Hmmm...what would Mary Haines' mother tell him? )

John has to break it off with Mona...especially after she finds out he is married. Yeah, he neglects to mention that bit of information.

Image
Ending what should not have begun.

JOHN: “I’ve done something I’m terribly ashamed of. I’d like to make it up to you.”

MONA: “Well if you think I’m going to stand in competition with a wife and child...even I’ve got more sense than that.”

JOHN: “What’s going to happen to you?”

MONA: “What do you care, really. Honestly Johnny, aren’t you a little relieved to get out of it this easily. This is the set up Johnny. This is the kind of girl you’ve always dreamed about. I’m going to let you off without an angle. I could be nasty. But I’m not going to be.”

JOHN: “Why?”

MONA: “I don’t know. But I’m not going to be...what happens to men like you, Johnny? If I had a nice home like you did Johnny, I wouldn’t take a chance with it for anything in the world.”

JOHN: “I’ll do anything I can.”

MONA: “Will you really? Alright. Then go home. Stay there.”

JOHN: “Alright. If that’s the way you want it.”

MONA: “If that’s the way I want it? Have you got any other ideas?”

It’s a clean break. A sad one. Hurtful. And John just may get away “scott”-free. He’s learned his lesson and is now back in the fold, content with what he has at home. Uhmmm...not so fast.

BLACKMAIL MAKES STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

The conflict between Mack and John is an interesting dynamic and Forbes is in a pickle. They both like Mona. One offers his protection, the other - his obsession. Now if we follow the letter of the law, Forbes has no right to Mona; he’s married. And from 1947 to 1962, there was probably an Order of Protection against any characters Burr played who attended the Laird Cregar School of Big Bad Guys. If pounding John to a pulp won’t keep him away from Mona, Mac decides to create a human heat-seeking missile of revenge by planting Iago-type taunts in the mind of Mona’s ex, Smiley, ( Byron Barr. ) And Smiley heads straight to John’s house.

CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST

Things come to a head which forces John to finally tell the truth. The guy keeps getting drawn in to Mona's damsel-in-distress siren call. John in concert with Mona to protect his family from knowing about their affair, unleashes dire consequences. John's conscience is killing him, so he confesses to his wife. Sue's response:

Conscience? You make it sound like a dirty word. You worrying about your filthy little conscience...you’re not going to the police. You lied once. It came to you easily enough then. You’ve got to lie now. I mean this Johnny, if you drag this family through the dirt I’ll never forgive you!”

The movie ends on a realistic bittersweet note. Not everything's tied up in a neat M-G-M bow. Where would Smiley be if he hadn't embezzled? Where would Mac be if he took "NO" for an answer? Where would Mona be if she didn't precipitate this affair? And John...it all lies at his feet. What you try to sweep under the rug may turn around and bite you on the ankles.

Besides, Ann Doran as the Secretary looks like she's a little sweet on John Forbes...
"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?

Postby CineMaven » September 2nd, 2013, 9:57 pm

...Here's the original thread:

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=953
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » September 3rd, 2013, 6:27 am

Oh SNAP! I haven't watched it yet! I can't wait to read this review, your first line is a killer... :D Will watch today!


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