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WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 14th, 2013, 12:34 pm

I haven't watched very many movies over the school holidays, I managed Dead End, with Libby's friend giggling because I was watching a black and white movie. I like Sylvia Sidney, she broke out of the mould that some of the 30s actresses were shoehorned into, she's gamine but tough too and I loved her in this. Joel McCrea too, I'm not sure it's Bogie's best role but I can see where it took him. I would have preferred to have seen George Raft in the role, if only for the fact that I think he has more chemistry with younger actors, not really knocking Bogie though, he was good, as always and he went on to be far better.

I ended up watching The Great Escape with Joe, he started watching it with Chris but Chris had to go out so I ended up watching it for the umpteenth time but the first with Joe, he really enjoyed it, I enjoyed imparting some of the history of the prison break and discovering that he has the same Achilles heel with this movie, the death of Colin. He cheered up with Steve McQueen on the motorbike.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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movieman1957
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby movieman1957 » October 14th, 2013, 12:53 pm

Glad you're back on here. I/We have missed you.
Chris

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Rita Hayworth » October 14th, 2013, 1:18 pm

Same here too ... CCFan! ... I love Great Escape too!!! :)

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » October 14th, 2013, 2:07 pm

Make that 3 of us who are happy to see you, Alison! :D

I start choking up when Angus Lennie goes, and then cry sporadically throughout the movie, especially with Donald Pleasance, who gives such a moving performance. Most of all when the crawl appears on the screen at the end, "This film is dedicated to the 50."

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » October 14th, 2013, 3:39 pm

Ali, again, great to see you back at SSO.

Re. "The Silver Cord". Wendy. Excellent write-up.You are always so dead-on in what you write and I always agree in what you say...I am glad that my recommendation was of your & Tess's liking. Tess you have made excellent questions to WEN. I'll also be waiting for her answers.

Last but not least, I have to thank once more Moira, who in the first place shared this film years ago with me, when I had the chance of watching it for the first time. I remember that I had read a contemporary review in a 1933 vintage magazine -in Spanish- and I was intrigued & eager to watch it.

Irene Dunne and Frances Dee are both EXCELLENT in this timeless movie about possessive motherhood; Laura Hope Crews in the role of her career, so different from what I had seen in GWTW or Camille...

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Rita Hayworth » October 14th, 2013, 4:56 pm

Yesterday ... I recorded Maggie Smith's performance of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and I was curious about this movie and I was stunned by her performance in this film that landed her an Oscar as the best actress in 1970. Her portrayal as Miss Brodie is amazing and I enjoyed it so much I was in awe by it.

It was on TCM ...

I just finished watching it and believe me this is one of the better Maggie Smith's movie that I watched ... and I would call it a masterpiece of drama, romance, and comedy and rightly so. The secondary cast led by Pamela Franklin who played Sandy was outstanding too. I enjoyed the movie more than I did 15-20 years ago ... and having watched many Maggie Smith's movies in my lifetime ... this performance that helped her to win the BEST ACTRESS AWARD in 1970 - is worth watching again.

And, an excellent film ... I may add here ...

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » October 14th, 2013, 7:21 pm

you could see Dunne's "thoughtfulness." You could see her thinking in this film

To me, that's the definition of acting. The difference between creating something real and simply playing to the audience. If you pay close attention, you should have some idea what's going to be said before the line is even spoken. It's that way in real life. IF...you're paying attention!

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » October 14th, 2013, 7:28 pm

Again I'll underline FACES. Not the Cassavetes film. The expressive features in close-up, beaming down at us from the big screen. That's what makes actors and movie stars; in some cases, both. Faces tell us much of what we need to know. Players of Irene Dunne's generation grew up in the silent era. This technique was all they had!

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » October 15th, 2013, 9:10 pm

Today I watched "Bright Young Things" (2003) directed by Stephen Fry.

I really liked this movie, which is based on Evelyn Waugh's novel "Vile Bodies." It deals with the upper class party set of the 1930s, and it is the rare contemporary (okay, 10 years old now) movie that deals with the Thirties with the speed and intricate plotting of a Thirties movie itself. At times, "Bright Young Things" has the zip and snap of a classic screwball comedy, although it is in color and there are things here that the censorship then would never allow.

The movie isn't all fun and games, but it does a very good job of blending the serious in with the hysterically funny so there are no abrupt shifts in tone.

I was really impressed that Fry directed this. "Bright Young Things" is a very accomplished film. Fry clearly is talented as a director. I don't know if he's had any more chances than this.

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby CineMaven » October 16th, 2013, 7:33 am

HEY ALISON!

Very nice seeing you here again. :D
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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » October 16th, 2013, 8:39 am

I've had that one stuck in my queue at Netflix for ages, Mike, while I pushed other movies that folks were talking about up ahead of it. I see now I should have watched it.

OK, I've now FINALLY got my thoughts together on The Silver Cord.
What a wonderfully written review JaxXxon. And I don't say that only because you liked a film I liked. One of the things we talked about when we watched the film together, was you saying you could see Dunne's "thoughtfulness." You could see her thinking in this film. As a former actress yourself, would you speak a little about that?


Well, as an actress, it's waaaay harder than it looks when Irene Dunne does it. :D

When we watched the movie, I was struck by how competent Dunne was, how little artifice she had in this film. Her B.S. detector was set pretty high. I think because she had no artifice herself, she was unable to play the game the mother's way, as Frances Dee seemed to be doing all along, that is until she got dumped. I felt such a connection to Dunne here, you could see her weighing what the mother said, and responding in a sensible manner, straightforward, which the mother really couldn't combat. She was very strong in her own self, and thus able to withstand the mother's veiled attacks. If she hadn't known herself so well, been as secure in her knowledge, she would have had more trouble. Most women I know are unsure about their own abilities. The mother pretty much relied on that. It was so refreshing to see a woman who WAS sure, knew that she was right. We have a tendency to back down when faced with strong opposition, because we doubt ourselves first, then others. Her conviction was wonderful. Her career was important and I loved that she didn't have any 1930's guilt about it. You know, she saw through all of them, not just the mother, but Joel McCrea too. It would have been so easy to stay with mom. He would have been crazy to let Dunne go, but Crews was always there to enable him in his laziness. Dunne was willing to drop the whole thing if he had caved, and that was the right thing to do. That's the most unusual thing I've ever seen in a classic film. No MGM gloss here, no 'love is more important than a career' or one's pride. You can't build a relationship if one person's feelings and happiness is being subverted and undermined.

What was your favorite moment in the movie?


I liked the ending. I really liked it when Laura Hope Crews gave her own history, told her viewpoint and how she got to be the way she was. It made her character more understandable, more sympathetic, even when she was still making them all miserable. Someone wrote this play from experience, I can tell you! I know people exactly like her.

I also liked it when they came into the house and Laura Hope Crews wouldn't let them sleep together. Again, very shocking to us, to see this natural want in our stars. We're so used to seeing sanitized versions of life in classic film.

I found Dunne particularly modern in her playing this role. She doesn't really read 30's to me. What would you think of Hepburn, Harding or Shearer playing the Dunne part? How about 1930's Constance or Crawford or Davis or deHavilland or Colbert or Sylvia Sidney? Remember, they'd have to be believable as a "Lady Scientist" in Heidelberg, too.


They're all good solid actresses who would have given their spin on the story. I honestly think Dunne was the best for the role because she dialed down the glamour, dialed down the suffering. The modernity you speak of is that she simply spoke as a real person... she didn't TRY or push at all. She really felt like a real person to me. It's so modern, it's shocking. No apologies for working, for being stronger than the man. I loved it! Colbert, Shearer, Bennett would have been good, but too glamourous, kind of 'it's all about me and my suffering', They are smart, but couldn't have reigned it in like Dunne did, be matter of fact about it, as if it were no big deal. This character was not angry, and I think some of these actresses would have been too angry and strident or too soft and mellow. Colbert or Bennett as a scientist? I don't know.... Harding - scientist yes, but fun loving woman? Not really. Sydney too soft, I think she'd feel the mother's slings and arrows too much. Crawford might have had a good relationship with McCrea, but she's a bit arch at this point. I think Dunne walks a perfect line, she brings smarts and strength, but also a great feminine rapport with McCrea...she's very real here, something I've never said about Dunne before. Natural, not arch. She doesn't seem like she's acting at all. That's the key to the whole thing. Without that femininity and relaxed excitement at being with McCrea, the character would seem cold and harsh. She really carries off the role in a very nonchalant way. I'm now a fan.

What did you think of how Joel McCrea handled his role...big strong tall handsome fellow becoming infantilized by his Mother.


I thought he was perfect, because he was likable, just as natural as Dunne, but I could also see that his mother played on his natural laziness, rather than controlling him in a more overt way. He's never seen any other family relationships, so it seems natural for his mom to kiss him in bed. HE doesn't impart any meaning to it, so others shouldn't either. No matter that his mom actually feels a little different about him. He's got the right amount of dumb blindness for the role. He was just easily swayed, that's all. Like a lot of nice men. I loved him in this, because it would have been very easy to believe him, that there was nothing wrong with this symbiotic relationship... just because he didn't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there, though.

And of Eric Linden, who was excellent.


I thought he was excellent too. I know I've seen him in something else and was surprised at how good he was there too. His name sticks in my mind for some reason. He was caught, like Lew Ayres in Holiday. He didn't have the strength as the younger to fight his mother. Again, it was easier for him to acquiesce to her will than to try to fight it... when mental comfort is at stake, people do some terrible things. I felt that McCrea had been away from home more, and was able to bring balance into his life that Linden didn't have. He was weak, we see so many playing this type of role in the thirties, but Linden was terrific at it. I see him as a dedicated actor, who brought some sickening reality to the role. Reminds me of the character I saw Rick Lenz play in Ladies of the Corridor years later, of a boy caught in a web by his invalid mother, who literally blackmails him with some innuendo about his sexuality to keep him with her always. Jane Wyatt played the mother and she was downright evil. Maybe Eric Linden became Norman Bates later on. :D

And as perfect as I agree Laura Hope Crews was, is there another who you might think could play it? Boland, Lucile Watson, Bainter,


Now on this I have no qualms about saying that Crews WAS this role. Her personal quirks and actresses bag of tricks are made for this role. Her supposed weakness, which belies strength, her spells, and then the depth behind it, the menace and manipulation, it all comes from within this actress. She's perfect and I daresay the role was tailored to her. Of course I'm a big fan of all the actresses you named, so they might too have been able to play the role, but I can't picture anyone being as sincere in her phoniness as Crews.

And also... ( puff! puff! ) relative to nothing...would you please speak about Fay Bainter? Guess I want folks to read more of your thoughts. Or maybe it's just my own silly selfishness in wanting to read it. Go and give Lily a good long walk ( Lilaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! I miss her puppy breath! ) Have the cool air clear your mind and come back and write what you think.


As for Fay Bainter, I just love her. She's one of the best actresses we ever had without showboating in any way. She's so contained. so gentle within herself. She draws my eye in every movie. I love her quietness. When we sat together, watching that scene from Quality Street that I told you about, I wonder if you had the same feeling I had watching Bainter? She just gets to me, on a subliminal level. She's totally invested inside her characters, whether she's a shy spinster, or a mom, or a faded belle, or a raving lunatic sister who would burn her house down rather than see anyone happy. She's an internal actress, something of a mystery to me. She has a spiritual way of acting, how she achieves her roles I have no idea, there's something mystic in her identification with her characters, as if she weren't trying at all to play them, but bringing something forth of her own self. There is actually something sensuous about Bainter, I know it sounds weird, but she seems in touch sometimes with a world we don't really see, to be able to touch it and feel it in ways we can't really understand but which feel true.

I read a review of Bainter on stage from 1918 when she first became a Broadway star that sums up her appeal and her presence perfectly:

"A very rare personality, this! She has no particular striking beauty, perhaps, and no great single talent; but she has a freshness of feeling and a daintiness of charm that surround her like an atmosphere and win their way by an almost instant magic throughout the audience. With no voice to speak of, Miss Bainter sings the purest music; with no great virtuosity in dancing, she somehow manages to set the dance rhythms leaping in every pulse; and with no considerable equipment in the technique of acting she conveys the effect of the subtlest comedy and the most ingenuous, stirring romance."


Now if I had been Bainter, I would have hated this review! but it captures the more ethereal qualities of her acting perfectly.

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » October 16th, 2013, 9:35 am

Wow Wendy! I read your post thoroughly and you are dead-on in all you say. Your insights and reviews are out of this world. Keep the good work! I'd like to be present at a screening of "The Silver Cord" with you delivering the intro :D

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » October 16th, 2013, 9:52 am

:oops: :oops: You are too nice, Fer! I'm just glad I got to finally see the movie. :D

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » October 16th, 2013, 11:00 am

a very good job of blending the serious in with the hysterically funny

I love when that happens, Mike. That's my favorite type of movie, though I haven't seen BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS. Woody Allen does this well. Even Neil Simon from time to time. And Mr. Charles Chaplin practically defined the concept. The story gets so sad, so tender, you almost forget it's a comedy!

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby CineMaven » October 16th, 2013, 12:52 pm

Thanxx for answering my questions Wren, and expounding on your thoughts on "The Silver Cord." You write as thoughtfully as the actresses you admire, play their scenes.

Jack Favell previously wrote:Fay Bainter - Fay is such a gentle presence, unless of course she's burning down your house! I love her quiet, ladylike and feminine demeanor. One of a kind. We never notice when she's there, we only notice when she's NOT.

I bitched and moaned about "Quality Street" when it was on TCM last week, and you ( mercifully :oops: ) didn't make me watch it. But you did point out a touching Fay Bainter scene in the movie, where she gives her wedding gown to Hepburn. I see the light even more clearly about Bainter's talents and your forthright description of her is lovely. I enjoyed reading ( and re-reading ) your review.

RICK LENZ???!!! Oh man, he was my Jimmy Stewart of the 70's. Next to Timothy Bottoms, he was my second favorite character in "The Paper Chase." And you bring him up...

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