WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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feaito

Post by feaito »

Two nights ago I watched the pre-release version of "My Darling Clementine" (1946) and I simply loved it. I could not stop making connections with "Gunfight at OK Corral" (1957) and remembering the title tune by Frankie Laine, although I feel that the 1946 John Ford film is superior. On the other hand, my wife, who watched both films liked better the 1957 technicolor film, especially because she thought that Douglas and Lancaster were more charismatic in the title roles.

I just loved Linda Darnell's performance as the fiery Chihuahua; What a woman! Such a spitfire! She looked like a reincarnation of sultry Lupe Vélez and this role predated her potrayal of the tempestuous Amber in "Forever Amber" (1947). Fonda played an endearing, likeable Wyatt Earp and Victor Mature impressed me favorably with a good performance. Walter Brennan's truly superb in an unusual nasty role. Great actor! Cathy Downs resembled so much Julia Adams in this movie. I want to watch the general release version to see the differences.
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silentscreen
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Post by silentscreen »

feaito wrote:Well, today, after almost 10 years I revisited "Elizabeth" (1998), this time on the small screen. It has many similarities with "Elizabeth the Golden Age" (2007), but as Chris said I feel that in the latter more attention was paid to (very) stylized visuals than in the former. On the other hand, I feel that the story was more gripping and suspenseful in the former. There are sequences in the 1998 film that are hard to take (for me). It was really hard to stand unscathed during the burning at the stake sequence of the beginning.

Like most of people violence affects me: films set during WWI/WWII for example. But when the films depict the Religious Wars of the XIVth-XVIIth Centuries, and especially if it showcases the Spanish Inquisition, torture in front of priests or burning of people in "Autos de Fé" (I don't know how to say it in English), I'm extremely disturbed and utterly moved and affected by it. I simply cannot stand them since I was small child.

Coming back to "Elizabeth", I would describe the film as "how a lively young woman becomes a living effigy for the sake of preserving a throne and saving a country". The whole film plays like a lesson of how to restrain your innermost passions. Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush are impressive. I'd have to say that perhaps it's a better movie than "Elizabeth the Golden Age" and that it's more human in a way. Maybe, "Elizabeth the Golden Age" is colder in its approach to its subject, paying more attention to visuals and style. I'm not a critic, but that's what I felt.
Fernando, I totally agree with your summation! I just watched "Elizabeth, the Golden Age." Although the older movie is harsher, I enjoyed it more, because it gave a greater depth to Elizabeth's personality. The Mary, Queen of Scots character didn't really work for me in the new movie either. The settings were breathtaking, but less time focused on the people themselves, with perhaps the exception of Elizabeth's lady -in -waiting favorite, Bess. More time was spent on visual style and the events surronding the history of the time the movie took place. But I suppose it depends on what's important to you .
"Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things." Carole Lombard
feaito

Post by feaito »

Great minds think alike my dear Brenda :wink:
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silentscreen
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Post by silentscreen »

:D So I've been told!
"Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things." Carole Lombard
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Last night I watched Ann Vickers truly a precode picture. I was anxious to watch more films with Irene Dunne. I liked the story, Irene's Ann seems to nice to make the decisions she makes. She gets pregnant by a man who wishes to marry her, once he is out of sight he forgets about her and takes up with someone else. Knowing that he would marry her but doesn't want to, she decides on an abortion and carries on with her career. Once the abortion has been performed she misses her child and further along in her career she becomes pregnant by a married man a judge played by Walter Houston. She has his son and loses her job as director of a prison when the father gets sent to jail.

The subject matter of the film is bound to have made it censorable in some states. Never is the danger of the procedure touched on, which surprised me. What is now a routine operation long ago was hazardous.

I hope the subject matter of the film hasn't offended anyone, if so please say and I'll remove it :)
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

Ann Vickers is actually a bit of a misfire as the script shortens and simplifies incredibly Sinclair Lewis' novel. The best part of the novel shows the sordid conditions of a women's prison in the South: nearly all gone in the film. But, Irene Dunne and Walter Huston are absolutely perfect as the leads. They look as if they are literaly lifted from the page. :)
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Bogie
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Post by Bogie »

OK don't laugh but this morning I watched Howard the Duck. It's a great little cult favourite of mine. I wish it would be out on DVD but since it's literally the biggest bomb attached to Lucas' name he has nixed any official release.

There are a couple problems with the movie as some of the jokes are rather cliche and well Howard is a little man in a duck suit.....Another problem is that the humor and story element isn't what you'd expect if you read Steve Gerber's comics. I think it would've done a bit better if Gerber was allowed some creative input.

It's good fun but not a great movie.
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

Yesterday, I watched a great documentary written,directed & narrated by John Huston: The Battle of San Pietro (1945). John followed the 5th Army in Italy during WWII after their landing in Sicily. In 1943, the Army was caught in a cul-de-sac near the small town of San Pietro, on the way to Rome. Huston filmed the front line battles that raged in this rugged area of Italy. It gives an idea of the battles: basically chaos! The earth is shaken like by earthquakes, shells are exploding everywhere, snipers are shooting.....men just throw themselves in holes to protect themselves. He doesn't shy away from the numerous bodybags in use for this bloody battle, nor the fate of the poor Italian peasants who come back to a city in rubbles to pick up their deads, their crops ruined....
This is really great film making with a superb commentary spoken by Huston himself. His melodious voice is very similar to that of his father, Walter Huston. The film didn't please the Army officers at the time. it had to be re-cut. It's not at all a propaganda film: no heroics at all there. But a real feel of what life was a simple soldier on the front line.
Huston made another documentary I heard about and have never seen: Let There Be Light (1950) where he follows the fate of shell-shocked soldiers in a military hospital. This film proved so disturbing to the US Army that it was hidden until 1980......
Worth investigating. It's in the box set: Treasures from American Film Archives. :wink:
Synnove
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Post by Synnove »

I saw Assasination of the Tsar yesterday at a Russian film festival. It was made during the last year of the Soviet union, and deals mainly with the murder of Nickolai II, seen through the eyes of a modern day schitzophrenic who thinks he did the shooting. Interestingly, he projects physical manifestations of the man who actually did it. For instance, he periodically suffers stomach pains during the time of year when the real assasin died of a bleeding ulcer.

His chats with the phychologist are intercut with a dramatization of the assasination, which corresponds in detail with the available documentation of what actually happened that night.

The main character is played my Malcolm McDowell. It's an interesting casting choice. He has clearly been dubbed. I think he is pretty good in the role, although the dubbing leaves something to be desired. I wonder what made him interested in the part, and if the film-makers wanted him there in order to make the film more accessible to western audiences?

We so seldom get to see what kind of film-making is being done in Russia. Even though we live geographically close, it's a shut off area. Of course, most of the movies that get imported here are American, or British. Only a fraction of the output of movies in other countries are made available to us. There are some Russian films made in the past few years that I would like to see, but they are not even available with English subtitles. I'm thinking of buying them anyway though.

I'm grateful to the film festival for translating and screening this, and many other fascinating movies from Russia.
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Yesterday I got to see a great film Death Takes a Holiday. The title is enough to recommend the film to me. It is an elegant film. A brief synopsis, a Duke and his friends are holidaying on the Italian Riviera when Death decides he needs a three day vacation and picks the Duke's group as his chance to mingle with the real world. He chooses to arrive as Prince Sirki a guest who Death knows will never show up, only the Duke knows of Death's true identity. Death wants to know what it feels like to have blood flowing through his veins and feel something of human emotions. What he didn't reckon with is falling for the beautiful Grazia.

I like the blend of humour in this film as Death mixes amongst the holiday party, spooking them and charming them in equal measure. The film is adapted from a play, it's a terrific example of good talkies could be once they got into their stride. Good script, good cast, good direction, marvellous film :D

Frederick March is quickly making his way up my list of favorite actors. If Frederick March is what death is like, what are we afraid of. That is the lasting thought of the film, Death is frightening because we've made him so, he's really quite welcoming and not as bad as we perceive.

Then I watched one of my other favorite actors in Arrowsmith. Ronald Colman plays Martin Arrowsmith a research scientist who decides to change his career and becomes a country Doctor to support the woman he loves. After a couple of years he goes back to research science, after finding a cure for black leg, a condition that afflicts cows.

Back at the laboratory Arrowsmith feels that he has made another mistake, he fears he is a worse scientist than Doctor. Then he discovers a cure, the firm he works for publicises it before he has completed all the research. They then discover that someone at the Pasteur Institute has just patented the cure. Arrowsmith has a chance to prove himself when the Bubonic Plague hits the West Indies. His devoted wife goes with him and succumbs to the plague whilst he is away helping the sick in another part of the Island.

The ending could be quite sad as Arrowsmith has lost his wife and two of his mentors. He sees it as a new start and a chance to set up his own laboratory with a collegue were he can do the research he wants, without having to play politics.

Ronald Colman had the most successful transition to talkies. No wonder he has a lovely speaking voice and a pleasing presence. He is so good at playing men of honour.

His wife was played very ably by Helen Hayes but my eyes were on Myrna Loy in one of her earliest screen appearances.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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mrsl
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Post by mrsl »

I agree about Death takes a Holiday, as it was an interesting and intriguing little piece, March will never be a favorite of mine, but as I said before, I do grant him his acting talents because they are considerable.

Arrowsmith I had totally forgotten until reading your synopsis, then I recalled how touching it was. This kind of movie however, really makes use of Colmans' voice. In almost every serious movie he made, there is a scene where he talks, and talks, and talks. It's not boring, just funny how that particular item always happens, whether he's talking about death, illness, love, hate, etc., in fact, I'm sure he covers all of it. Good movie for a somber evening.

Anne
Anne


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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Annharding is the big fan but she's lent me many films so I can become better acquainted with Ronald Colman. Arrowsmith is close to being my favorite Colman film that title still belongs to A Tale Of Two Cities and from his silent movies The Winning of Barbara Worth.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Hollis
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Post by Hollis »

Bogie,

You're not alone in your appreciation of "Howard the Duck" but I wasn't aware that it was a full length feature. I remember it as a 30 minute animated series that my son and I used to watch years ago. Is it available on DVD?

Thanks, and as always,

Hollis
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Bogie
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Post by Bogie »

Hollis wrote:Bogie,

You're not alone in your appreciation of "Howard the Duck" but I wasn't aware that it was a full length feature. I remember it as a 30 minute animated series that my son and I used to watch years ago. Is it available on DVD?

Thanks, and as always,

Hollis
It was a full length real life action movie with Lea Thompson and Jeffrey Jones. As I said I wish there was an official release on DVD but the only thing official is the VHS. You CAN find a bootleg DVD copy at places like sell.com.
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I continued with my precode movies with Topaze made in 1933. Topaze is the name of an unworldly school professor conned by a businessman into using his name (he had a book about chemistry to his name) to promote a healthy water drink. The businessman sets Topaze up in a laboratory and lets him work on a formula for a health drink which he then sells and promotes as such, only it is tap water. As well as the wealthy businessman, his mistress and a politician are also in on the con. Also in on the con is a scientist cum blackmailer. Topaze's ambition is to win the 'palms' for outstanding work in science. When he finds out the truth about the water he goes out on the town (some trick photography gives it an unreal feeling). Coco the mistress is worried about Topaze but he returns and a delegation turns up and awards him the precious 'palms' he had always wanted. The irony isn't wasted on him. The temptation with the plot would be for Topaze to go to the police and put an end to the racket. Instead he gets wise and becomes something of the businessman himself succedding in the end in getting a third share of the businessman's empire.

The film is delightful because of Topaze's niavety played with great style by John Barrymore. He fluffs his time as a schoolmaster, his pupils have scant regard for him. He meets the businessman at a time when the businessman is looking for a fool to front his deception. Topaze's innocence is delightful when he hasn't understood Coco's relationship to the businessman. I haven't seen Barrymore in a role were he hasn't been full of himself before.

Coco herself is wonderfully portrayed by Myrna Loy on the threshold of stardom. The film revolves around her, her relationship with the businessman and her growing relationship with Topaze.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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