What is the last film you watched? (2018)

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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat May 19, 2018 1:39 pm

For a good deal of its running time, WHISTLING IN THE DARK (1933) a gangster comedy, which starts off as a straight drama, is very funny indeed. Edward Arnold is the leader of a gang of hoods anxious to put the silence on a beer baron (Joseph Cawthorn) who is resisting attempts at extortion and queering their pitch something rotten. Enter crime writer and milquetoast Ernest Truex (in a Charles Ruggles-type part) and bride-to-be Una Merkel, whose car has broken down.

On realising that Truex is an expert (!) on crime he forcibly enlists the poor fellow's help in disposing of this difficult brewer, with the aid of John Miljan, C Henry Gordon, Nat Pendleton and a few players I couldn't put names to. The wheeze is to put cyanide in the old chap's toothpaste when he is travelling en route by train.

The film reminded me of later works such as A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER (1938), although I found this one much funnier. Saying that, I saw the later film a long time ago and might well react differently now.

I found that the fun flagged somewhat when Arnold was offscreen for part of the film, as his performance was a skillful blend of the menacing and comic, and some of the business between Truex and Merkel around the midway mark became a little trying. Their attempts at obtaining help in the most convoluted ways imaginable bring the film back to comic life. There is a nice bit, too, from Marcelle Corday as a silent maid. Directed by Elliott Nugent (who was to show a talent for the comedy thriller with THE CAT AND THE CANARY) and (according to IMDb) an uncredited Charles Reisner.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSat May 19, 2018 6:53 pm

My bridge partner and I sat east-west when the hands were running north-south, culminating in the last hand, when they bid game and we set them one -- but he revoked, so we had to give back a trick, giving them a top. For that, I missed the first two movies at the Museum of Modern Art today, but I did get there in time to see The Mad Game (1933).

Spencer Tracy is an amiable prohibition beer baron who likes to get his picture in the paper. particularly when pal Claire Trevor is writing the story. However, the end of Prohibition is in sight and while he's happy to retire, right-hand man J. Carroll Naish thinks there are plenty of other swell rackets to get into, like kidnapping, which Tracy won't stand for; he's a businessman. So Naish arranges for Tracy to wind up in prison for five years -- and tries to kill him on the way there -- and sets up a snatching ring. Tracy is let out to hunt them down, with plastic surgery so no one will recognize him, while matters get really nasty.

It's a thoroughly competent programmer from Fox in this period, with some nice Pre-Code touches and great performances by Claire Trevor and Matt McHugh and Ralph Morgan in support -- even if the lines didn't always make sense. Tracy is fine in the early scenes, although I was distracted by his make-up after his "plastic surgery", which looked like his prosthetics from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Irving Cummings' direction is, as always, impeccable, although given the straitened circumstances of the studio, no money was wasted on the production.

Cummings was one of those directors who could turn his hand to anything and turn out a fine movie, from spectacles like The Johnstown Flood to Shirley Temple vehicles to reshooting most of In Old Arizona after a jackrabbit had put Raoul Walsh out of commission. If he's not well remembered these days, I think it's because critics and film scholars like to be able to identify an auteur easily and Cummings suited his methods to the movie, rather than the other way around. Foolish man!

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 11:08 am

My cousin and I saw Deadpool 2 this morning. If you enjoy potty-mouthed humor with unending violence, which is to say, if you enjoyed its predecessor, you’ll enjoy this. I thought it was competently made for what it was. My cousin chose it rather than seeing Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Mary Steenbergen, so don’t blame me for this one.

Now, on to MOMA and two very early Hawks films.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 11:29 am

boblipton wrote:My cousin and I saw Deadpool 2 this morning. If you enjoy potty-mouthed humor with unending violence, which is to say, if you enjoyed its predecessor, you’ll enjoy this. I thought it was competently made for what it was. My cousin chose it rather than seeing Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Mary Steenbergen, so don’t blame me for this one.

Now, on to MOMA and two very early Hawks films.

Bob


Sounds like you would have been better off with Fonda, Keaton, Steenburgen, and Bergen.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 2:38 pm

boblipton wrote:My bridge partner and I sat east-west when the hands were running north-south, culminating in the last hand, when they bid game and we set them one -- but he revoked, so we had to give back a trick, giving them a top. For that, I missed the first two movies at the Museum of Modern Art today, but I did get there in time to see The Mad Game (1933).

Spencer Tracy is an amiable prohibition beer baron who likes to get his picture in the paper. particularly when pal Claire Trevor is writing the story. However, the end of Prohibition is in sight and while he's happy to retire, right-hand man J. Carroll Naish thinks there are plenty of other swell rackets to get into, like kidnapping, which Tracy won't stand for; he's a businessman. So Naish arranges for Tracy to wind up in prison for five years -- and tries to kill him on the way there -- and sets up a snatching ring. Tracy is let out to hunt them down, with plastic surgery so no one will recognize him, while matters get really nasty.

It's a thoroughly competent programmer from Fox in this period, with some nice Pre-Code touches and great performances by Claire Trevor and Matt McHugh and Ralph Morgan in support -- even if the lines didn't always make sense. Tracy is fine in the early scenes, although I was distracted by his make-up after his "plastic surgery", which looked like his prosthetics from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Irving Cummings' direction is, as always, impeccable, although given the straitened circumstances of the studio, no money was wasted on the production.

Cummings was one of those directors who could turn his hand to anything and turn out a fine movie, from spectacles like The Johnstown Flood to Shirley Temple vehicles to reshooting most of In Old Arizona after a jackrabbit had put Raoul Walsh out of commission. If he's not well remembered these days, I think it's because critics and film scholars like to be able to identify an auteur easily and Cummings suited his methods to the movie, rather than the other way around. Foolish man!

Bob


Having seen a few Cummings films recently (BROKEN HEARTS OF BROADWAY [1923], BEHIND THAT CURTAIN [1929], THE CISCO KID [1931]) I'm inclined to agree with Bob. I'm sure there is a book out there which could be written on his work. There are a good many directors out there whose film-making was a job of work which kept the studios ticking over and meant they could feed their families and the cat. Much as I admire the late Andrew Sarris's writings, it would be foolish to overlook these journeymen, as there are no doubt treats in store for those prepared to look hard enough beyond the Hawkses, Fullers, Ulmers, Boettichers and Walshes of Hollywood (excellent fellows though they were), a good few of whom were not taken too seriously at the time. Out of curiosity, what were the two films you missed?
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 2:49 pm

[tcm][/tcm]
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
boblipton wrote:My bridge partner and I sat east-west when the hands were running north-south, culminating in the last hand, when they bid game and we set them one -- but he revoked, so we had to give back a trick, giving them a top. For that, I missed the first two movies at the Museum of Modern Art today, but I did get there in time to see The Mad Game (1933).

Spencer Tracy is an amiable prohibition beer baron who likes to get his picture in the paper. particularly when pal Claire Trevor is writing the story. However, the end of Prohibition is in sight and while he's happy to retire, right-hand man J. Carroll Naish thinks there are plenty of other swell rackets to get into, like kidnapping, which Tracy won't stand for; he's a businessman. So Naish arranges for Tracy to wind up in prison for five years -- and tries to kill him on the way there -- and sets up a snatching ring. Tracy is let out to hunt them down, with plastic surgery so no one will recognize him, while matters get really nasty.

It's a thoroughly competent programmer from Fox in this period, with some nice Pre-Code touches and great performances by Claire Trevor and Matt McHugh and Ralph Morgan in support -- even if the lines didn't always make sense. Tracy is fine in the early scenes, although I was distracted by his make-up after his "plastic surgery", which looked like his prosthetics from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Irving Cummings' direction is, as always, impeccable, although given the straitened circumstances of the studio, no money was wasted on the production.

Cummings was one of those directors who could turn his hand to anything and turn out a fine movie, from spectacles like The Johnstown Flood to Shirley Temple vehicles to reshooting most of In Old Arizona after a jackrabbit had put Raoul Walsh out of commission. If he's not well remembered these days, I think it's because critics and film scholars like to be able to identify an auteur easily and Cummings suited his methods to the movie, rather than the other way around. Foolish man!

Bob


Having seen a few Cummings films recently (BROKEN HEARTS OF BROADWAY [1923], BEHIND THAT CURTAIN [1929], THE CISCO KID [1931]) I'm inclined to agree with Bob. I'm sure there is a book out there which could be written on his work. There are a good many directors out there whose film-making was a job of work which kept the studios ticking over and meant they could feed their families and the cat. Much as I admire the late Andrew Sarris's writings, it would be foolish to overlook these journeymen, as there are no doubt treats in store for those prepared to look hard enough beyond the Hawkses, Fullers, Ulmers, Boettichers and Walshes of Hollywood (excellent fellows though they were), a good few of whom were not taken too seriously at the time. Out of curiosity, what were the two films you missed?


Jess McGrath just covered them in the WHAT WAS THE LAST SILENT MOVIE YOU SAW thread. A couple of Mary Astor films directed by Cummings.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 3:13 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Having seen a few Cummings films recently (BROKEN HEARTS OF BROADWAY [1923], BEHIND THAT CURTAIN [1929], THE CISCO KID [1931]) I'm inclined to agree with Bob. I'm sure there is a book out there which could be written on his work. There are a good many directors out there whose film-making was a job of work which kept the studios ticking over and meant they could feed their families and the cat. Much as I admire the late Andrew Sarris's writings, it would be foolish to overlook these journeymen, as there are no doubt treats in store for those prepared to look hard enough beyond the Hawkses, Fullers, Ulmers, Boettichers and Walshes of Hollywood (excellent fellows though they were), a good few of whom were not taken too seriously at the time. Out of curiosity, what were the two films you missed?


I thought BEHIND THAT DOOR was a pretty awful film to sit through, but it was technically well mad, so I'll ascribe the deadness to someone telling him "Keep it SLOW, Irving, so people will understand."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 6:38 pm

"Tomorrow at Ten" (1963) is another of those nicely packaged little mysteries that once seemed to form a staple part of English film-making before "cop shows" came out in abundance. This one is about a kidnapping and how a put-upon police inspector only has a certain amount of time to find the culprit before a bomb goes off.

It's full of the required level of suspense which would have some of those in the audience gnawing at their nails. John Gregson slips quietly and effortlessly into the role of the police inspector and the Sherrif of Nottingham (Alan Wheatley) is not too far removed from his more remembered role as the head honcho at Scotland Yard. Robert Shaw is the despicable villain and the rest of the cast are well-known faces who get about whatever it is they have to do quite competantly.

Tightly written and directed (by Lance Comfort) it does all that it needs to.
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 6:47 pm

Staying in England I came across a very early vehicle for Michael Crawford in "Two Left Feet" (1965). It's basically a coming of age story featuring Mr. Crawford as a rather late adolescent still to be skilled in the ways of the flesh and all that sort of thing. If one divorces oneself from the story as such, then it is a rather good look at life as it was in the early to middle "swinging sixties". To my mind it was a sort of time capsule giving one a look back at those times.

Roy Baker directs a well co-ordinated and matched cast, amongst them Nyree Dawn Porter and David Hemmings. Bernard Lee plays Mr. Crawford's wise and sage father and there is a delightful scene at a rollicking party in which the typical Uncle (Michael Ripper) is the life of the bash and has everyone engaging in party games. Quite a hoot.
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"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 7:03 pm

Over the pond now to America and a more recent effort - "The Vanishing of Sidney Hall" (2017). I didn't know what to make of this picture when it started - very slowly. So it took a while for me to get the gist of it and work out what was happening. Perhaps some tighter editing would have helped in the beginning and thus cut down an excessive running time - turning 119 minutes into an acceptable 90 minutes? I digress though. Another point from this picture, going against the grain for me, is the constant changing of period. If this is well done and understandable - fine, but in a lot of pictures it takes dimwits like me a little time to absorb what is going on.

If you look at the synopsis - "Sidney Hall finds accidental success and unexpected love at an early age, then disappears without a trace," you would be inclined to think, "Well, there's nothing much in all that is there?" To a degree you'd be correct, but the scriptwriter has defied the odds and made something out of it all, which despite the at-times murkiness through which the viewer has to make some headway, there evolves a story that does manage to get one's attention.

I am often fascinated by lives depicted on the screen. How people manage to get themselves in all manner of absolute messes - and this is no exception. So I suppose there is the morbid fasciantion angle which sells this picture.

The cast, as per usual in modern pictures, is full of names I have never heard of - but that doesn't matter if they have done a good job - and for the most part, in this, they have. Logan Lerman with a nice bit of alliteration is Sidney Hall and the director is Shawn Christensen.

In summary I can say it is one of the few moderns I have been able to watch right through to the end recently. So it mustn't have been too bad.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 7:27 pm

Moved to Proper Forum
Last edited by boblipton on Mon May 21, 2018 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostSun May 20, 2018 8:17 pm

Shadowlands (1993) is a long but satisfying love story, the unlikely teaming of scholar/writer C.S. Lewis who taught at Magdalen (pronounced Maudlin) College, Oxford, with the American poet Joy Davidman Gresham. As played by Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger we get a story that is intelligent and believable. Directed by Richard Attenborough. The film makes great use of Oxford locations, which I remember well from my time there as a graduate student.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon May 21, 2018 8:23 am

FILMWORKER (2018) A new documentary covering the career of Leon Vitali, long-time associate and major "get it done" person with director Stanley Kubrick. Very well done by Director Tony Zierra and producer Elizabeth Yoffe. This covers Vitali's career as an actor, then working for many years almost around the clock with Kubrick. Much to learn about working habits of both men. Lots of good interviews and quality clips.
I found it personally interesting having had many phone conversations with Leon when I was handling the Turner library, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lolita.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon May 21, 2018 8:24 am

After years of admiring their spectacularly lurid posters I decided to dip my toe into Japanese nun-sploitation films with 1974's School of the Holy Beast and was definitely surprised. While it has the expected amount of typical fetish action the story is unexpectedly, dare I say, literate. Concerning a young gal who joins the nunnery for less-than-spiritual reasons, it rather presciently takes on some of the issues that were to later become such a problem for the church, from randy nuns to even randier priests. It's fascinating to see one culture's take on another, even if it is behind a rather creepy veneer of sexploitation.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostMon May 21, 2018 5:16 pm

I Fidanzati aka The Fiancees (1963): Carlo Cabrini gets a chance for a big promotion. The catch is he'll have to move to Sicily for eighteen months. He's worried about his decrepit father, and his fiancee, Anna Canzi is sulky. When he arrives in Sicily, he finds it foreign and oddly noisy and the people strange and greedy and annoying, but as time goes on, he begins to grow accustomed to its rhythms and his strange dreams the lack of a letter from Miss Canzi. Then a letter arrives....

Ermanno Olmi's ultimately very romantic movie is, when you come down to it, standard studio fare. There were hundreds, if not thousands of movies like it made and still being made. Even so, Olmi's script leaves the outcome in doubt through the end and the cinematography by Lamberto Caimi offers us Sicily first as a terrible and alien landscape that grows warm and home-like is a very seductive fashion. It's a well-told tale.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue May 22, 2018 6:29 am

Jim Roots wrote:
boblipton wrote:First Strike (1996) turned me into an instantaneous Jackie Chan fan twenty years ago, with his compelling mix of litheness, clumsiness and no camera fakery in an astonishing proof of the fact that classic slapstick is still possible, so long as you hang around to watch the clips of the botched takes at the end. Include the one when he reaches up to touch the freaking shark.

And yet Leonard Maltin didn't see fit to include it in his guide. Tsk.

If ever there was a body of film overdue for restoration/HD release it's the films of Jackie Chan. The handful of Hong Kong-made/produced titles that emerged on these shores were butchered by Miramax for theatres (cutting several minutes out of most of them, including the Stephen Chow cameo in 1999's Gorgeous), and butchered even further for home video when several titles shot in Panavision were reduced to 16X9 for home monitors. I purchased a Miramax blu-ray containing four Jackie Chan titles (there's another that includes six), and out of the four, only Armour of God (which was released in North America as a sequel to its own sequel, Operation Condor, re-titled Operation Condor II: Armour of the Gods) keeps its aspect ratio, since it was shot in 1.85:1. But loses nine minutes of footage in the process, of course.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue May 22, 2018 1:44 pm

Donald Binks wrote:"Tomorrow at Ten" (1963) is another of those nicely packaged little mysteries that once seemed to form a staple part of English film-making before "cop shows" came out in abundance. This one is about a kidnapping and how a put-upon police inspector only has a certain amount of time to find the culprit before a bomb goes off.

It's full of the required level of suspense which would have some of those in the audience gnawing at their nails. John Gregson slips quietly and effortlessly into the role of the police inspector and the Sherrif of Nottingham (Alan Wheatley) is not too far removed from his more remembered role as the head honcho at Scotland Yard. Robert Shaw is the despicable villain and the rest of the cast are well-known faces who get about whatever it is they have to do quite competantly.

Tightly written and directed (by Lance Comfort) it does all that it needs to.


Fortunately the dvd of this film has an illustration of the golliwog containing the bomb, otherwise one might not be prepared for this non-PC aspect of the film...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue May 22, 2018 1:56 pm

Found an intriguing-looking film the other day, THE AFFAIRS OF CAPPY RICKS (1937) which seemed almost interminable despite a short running time. Walter Brennan plays an old sea-dog who returns home to find home, family and business in disorder - at least to his old-fashioned outlook. He therefore schemes to teach the lot of them a lesson by taking them out on his yacht and making out that there is a fire on board, landing them on a desert island...

A decent situation is spoiled here by an over-talkative script and characters who are more tiresome than amusing. Perhaps an acquaintance with the books would have helped, as we are introduced to them in a bit of a rush and one takes a while to work out the relationships between them. Comes over as rather too bland to be entertaining...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue May 22, 2018 3:25 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:"Tomorrow at Ten" (1963) is another of those nicely packaged little mysteries that once seemed to form a staple part of English film-making before "cop shows" came out in abundance. This one is about a kidnapping and how a put-upon police inspector only has a certain amount of time to find the culprit before a bomb goes off.

Fortunately the dvd of this film has an illustration of the golliwog containing the bomb, otherwise one might not be prepared for this non-PC aspect of the film...

Weirdly, the original posters for the film feature an illustration where the doll isn't recognizable as a golliwog (one actually looks like a golliwog in whiteface).
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue May 22, 2018 4:06 pm

You could be forgiven for thinking that an outbreak of lunacy had occurred at my house as you saw me pottering about singing,

"Wha' a marf, wha' a marf,
Blimey wha' a marf 'ee's got.
Nah a short-sighted fellah,
When 'ee saw Jim's marf,
'ee took it for a cellar,
and 'ee shot the lot,
right into 'is marf, no joke,
nah, Jim poor soul's got a tummy full of coal,
and 'ee corfs up lumps of coke!"

Yes, folks, that's what became of me after I used to listen to Tommy Steele on the wireless back in the nontoon foofties.

The young Mr. Steele was a cockney rocker with a Luna Park grin, a shock of fair hair and a generally pleasing personality. Such as it was, it seemed natural that the men with cigars would have popped him into pictures in order to secure more of the folding stuff. One of his more popular pictures then was "Tommy the Toreador" (1959) - probably due to the fact that it was photographed in Technicolor. It's not too bad a picture for the sort of thing it is. It rollicks along, is amusing and has some good songs and dancing interspersed.

Mr. Steele is a sailor on a ship captained by martinet, Noel Purcell. He gets shore leave in Espana and somehow or other ends up as a bullfighter. The type of thing that has happened to many a tourist. Along the way Janet Munro is thrown in as an object of affection, Sid James is of course a shady entrepreneur - the film is worth watching just to see Mr. James engaged in a song and dance number. (I wonder how they talked him into doing it?). As well as Sid, there is Bernard Cribbins supplying more from the humour department. Also popping in for cameos are Eric Sykes and Kenneth Williams - the latter as a rather effete British Consul.

The songs are "Tommy the Toreador", "Take a Ride", "Little White Bull" (a big hit in its day), "Singing Time", "Where's the Birdie" and "Amanda". Directed by John Paddy Carstairs who was on a conveyor belt at one time churning out films like this.

A good watch for a bleak, rainy day.
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostTue May 22, 2018 4:29 pm

Sid James must have made a lot of films as well as appearing a lot with Tony Hancock, for not only was he in the above, but he also appears in "Time Gentlemen Please" (1952).

"Because of its high productivity and "almost" 100 per cent employment, the village of Little Heyhoe, England is expecting a visit from the Prime Minister. The "almost" is because of Dan Dance (Eddie Byrne), an old rogue who would rather drink and philosophise than work. The Village Council are determined to have a perfect record so they connive to have the old man put into the alms-house which has been unoccupied for many years, where he must abide by rules laid down 400 years ago. A new Vicar arrives and discovers that, because of the circumstances created by the Council, Dan Dance is entitled to 6,000 pounds a year at the expense of the village."

Eddie Byrne was an Irish actor accustomed to character roles, this being the only film in which he had a starring role. Playing the part of the old man required him to be made-up quite considerably as he was only 40 at the time. That being so, he plays the role quite convincingly.

Imagination was rife in English films of this time and the plots of them were steeped in strange and mysterious things - "Passport to Pimlico" comes to mind as another wonderful invention. This is a well-crafted comedy that essentially pokes fun at those who think they ought to be in charge for Dan Dance would run rings around the pretentious Narks who wish to make his life a misery. He has parts of his brain he hasn't yet used. It is a laid back film, somewhat laconic and in places quite subtle. The characters jump into life with vivacity and no-one disappoints. In essence it's a delightful picture of a type that is hardly, if ever made these days.

As well as Mr. Byne and Mr. James, there is the usual one-in, all-in approach given to the casting for a number of familiar faces adorn the screen - among them Dame Thora Hird in one of her early appearances. Directed by Lewis Gilbert who went in later for a complete change of direction when he took on some of the James Bond films.
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"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 5:17 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Found an intriguing-looking film the other day, THE AFFAIRS OF CAPPY RICKS (1937) which seemed almost interminable despite a short running time. Walter Brennan plays an old sea-dog who returns home to find home, family and business in disorder - at least to his old-fashioned outlook. He therefore schemes to teach the lot of them a lesson by taking them out on his yacht and making out that there is a fire on board, landing them on a desert island...

A decent situation is spoiled here by an over-talkative script and characters who are more tiresome than amusing. Perhaps an acquaintance with the books would have helped, as we are introduced to them in a bit of a rush and one takes a while to work out the relationships between them. Comes over as rather too bland to be entertaining...


Sounds like they did a better job of it in Gilligan's Island.

Jim
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 5:32 am

Her Favorite Husband (1950) aka The Taming of Dorothy is a British comedy based on an Italian farce play. It stars Jean Kent (looking a lot like Lana Turner) as Dorothy, a Brit married to an Italian bank teller (Robert Beatty) and living a boring life in Naples. Just as her parents (Margaret Rutherford, Gordon Harker) descend on them for a visit and full of complaints about all things Italian, the local thug discovers he is a dead ringer for the bank teller. He and his bumbling gang plan a hold-up and kidnapping. As the story goes on, the two men get confused for each other with the wrong one "taming" Dorothy. Once she realizes the excitement she has been missing, there's no going back. Good cast works well though the story gets needlessly complicated by an escaped convict (Danny Green) and a maid (Rona Anderson). Maybe best of all are Max Adrian as a sly Italian lawyer and Tamara Lees as the American moll. Not a classic, but a solid cast keeps it moving and funny.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 5:52 am

The Middle Course (1961): You wouldn't think that a 59-minute second feature could be padded, but this one about Vincent Ball, a Canadian flyer whose plane is shot down in Alsace during the Second World War and leads the complacent villagers in fighting the Germans, who have been leaving them alone, is boringly so.

Mostly it's about people telling others things, again and again. "Tell us why we should!" "Listen to me and I'll tell you." "Who are you?" "Tell them who I am." "Go back to the house. I am ordering you to go back to the house, do you understand?" Over and over again, with British actors doing generic French accents. Over and over again, interspersed, occasionally, with shots of men dressed in Wehrmacht uniform tramping across a meadow, presumably headed towards the village to retrieve Mr. Ball.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 8:41 am

Donald Binks wrote:The young Mr. Steele was a cockney rocker with a Luna Park grin, a shock of fair hair and a generally pleasing personality. Such as it was, it seemed natural that the men with cigars would have popped him into pictures in order to secure more of the folding stuff. One of his more popular pictures then was "Tommy the Toreador" (1959) - probably due to the fact that it was photographed in Technicolor. It's not too bad a picture for the sort of thing it is. It rollicks along, is amusing and has some good songs and dancing interspersed.

I love these sorts of films, but find that whenever they occasionally pop up on TCM, they get replaced by something else for the Canadian version of TCM due to rights issues (as part of the Commonwealth, most UK films were released here at the time via the British-owned Odeon theatre chain, while independent distributors handled them in the U.S.). A film with Steele, Sid James, Bernard Cribbins et al sounds like my idea of a fun Pom-com.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 10:11 am

With my better half off on an overnight work trip, took advantage of some solo viewing time to finally catch the horror-western Bone Tomahawk (2015), essentially an updating of The Searchers, replacing the Comanche with flesh-eating, cave-dwelling "troglodytes". This time out, it's Kurt Russell back in western mode leading a small posse to rescue his kidnapped deputy and the wife of ranch foreman Patrick Wilson, who won't let a broken leg stop him from joining the mission. Matthew Fox turns out to be the Ethan of the gang, with a burning hatred of Native Americans and a fashion sense that verges on dandy-ish, while Richard Jenkins is assistant deputy Chicory, seemingly dim-witted, but often wiser than he seems when circumstances call for it.

The script is frequently witty, the violence is extreme, and the cinematography is gorgeous (not sure where exactly in California this was shot, maybe Lone Pine?). There's also great chemistry among the cast, with familiar faces like David Arquette, Sid Haig and Fred Melamed giving lots of flavour to the secondary characters. Lili Simmons (Banshee, Ray Donovan) is terrific as Wilson's educated and capable wife Samantha, it's too bad she has to be gone for so much of the film (amazingly completed in 21 days, not bad for a 132 minute period western).
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 1:38 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Found an intriguing-looking film the other day, THE AFFAIRS OF CAPPY RICKS (1937) which seemed almost interminable despite a short running time. Walter Brennan plays an old sea-dog who returns home to find home, family and business in disorder - at least to his old-fashioned outlook. He therefore schemes to teach the lot of them a lesson by taking them out on his yacht and making out that there is a fire on board, landing them on a desert island...

A decent situation is spoiled here by an over-talkative script and characters who are more tiresome than amusing. Perhaps an acquaintance with the books would have helped, as we are introduced to them in a bit of a rush and one takes a while to work out the relationships between them. Comes over as rather too bland to be entertaining...


Sounds like they did a better job of it in Gilligan's Island.

Jim


Will have to check out Gilligan as cannot be sure if I saw it on first showing. Have been told I liked 'Mr Ed', but have no recollection of that, though I did become a fan of Leon Ames...
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 4:23 pm

Some of the old stars just light up the screen whenever they appear and one such is Jimmy Cagney. A picture he appears in is aptly named - "Something to Sing About" (1937). This is one of those films in which Mr. Cagney has put aside his machine gun and hard-boiled gangster persona in order to don evening clothes and appear somewhat sophisticated as essentially a song and dance man. He is a very popular bandleader in New York who gets an invitation from Hollywood to appear in a picture. He has a sweetheart he has to leave behind though and she gets jealous because of rumours circulating from the studio. Mr. Cagney is a sure-fire success in pictures and becomes a huge star - will he meet up again with his sweetheart in New York?

This is the type of picture I like because it takes its audience away from the hum-drum ordinary world and deposits them in a wonderful paradise of make-believe - where everything is awfully nice - and it does it all in a very entertaining way. Some might say that the storyline borrows a little from that of "A Star is Born". If so, then this is a more lighthearted rendition.

Evelyn Daw, who plays the sweetheart was only ever in two pictures. She retired from the screen after getting married. Had she stayed around I am sure she would have continued on with a very successful career.

William Frawley is in the picture playing William Frawley - he always seemed to play similar roles in all his pictures? Also reporting for duty are Dwight Frye and Richard Tucker.

The picture was made by "Grand National" an outfit that had only been in operation a year before they secured Mr. Cagney after his contract with the Warner Bros. had run out. He must have cost them plenty as the whole company went under a couple of years later.

Even if you are not like me and wallow in silly pictures like these, then you should watch it just to see Mr. Cagney dance. He is a bobby dazzler!
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"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 4:42 pm

A war-time thriller of sorts is "The Small Back Room" (1949) ("Hour of Glory" in America) put out by that impressive team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. To overly summerise, it's about an expert who is fond of the contents of a bottle having to diffuse a new type of bomb the dastardly Hun has come up with.

Some might say that this film is a bit physcological in its manner, but I wouldn't know too much about all that type of stuff. I suppose they mean that the film tries to convey a bit more to it other than what we see happening on the screen. It tries to get into the thought process. Well, I suppose that could be true.

David Farrar plays the hero. He has a gammy leg. He's working with a Professor (Milton Rosmer) and has a sweetheart in the form of Kathleen Byron. The picture is bogged down a bit with the romantic angle interupting the thriller part - where he gets to the bomb, but, I daresay when making a picture you have to try and appeal to all tastes.

Leslie Banks, moustached, plays the military head honcho. Other familiar faces include Michael Gough, Cyril Cusack, Sam Kydd, Geoffrey Keen and (oh! no! not again!) Sidney James.

It found it a good thriller type picture bogged down in patches by trying to do the romantic thing as well.
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"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2018)

PostWed May 23, 2018 4:59 pm

I put on Richard Dix in "Seven Keys to Baldpate" (1929) mainly because the title intrigued me - wondering how you could unlock someone's bald bonce? Usually I find Mr. Dix a bit wooden in his appearances but I must say that I quite enjoyed this picture all round. It was quite clever and everyone seemed to be having a jolly good time. It wasn't until after I had watched it that I read up on it and then saw that the story has been done a number of times, this being the first talkie version. Naturally my curiosity has been baited and I must seek out the other versions to see what they are like. However, at the moment, I can only judge on this one.

For an early talkie I found that it moved quite well and had a degree of fluidity, even though it wasn't taken too far away from its original stage setting. Although bordering close to farce at times it managed to bring itself up before descending quite to that level and the concluding scenes therefore came as a bit of a shock and made the whole shebang a very enjoyable piece of entertainment.

Apart from Mr. Dix, the other people in the film consist of names that have long ago become part of the dust heap of the ages.One of these other characters that stood out for me was Carleton Macy as Police Chief Kennedy who turned in an excellent performance.

An old play that can still entertain.
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Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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