What is the last film you watched? (2019)

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Jim Roots
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:39 am

drednm wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:02 pm
In 1967 Ken Russell was working a lot in TV. There was a Brit series called Omnibus that started in 1967 and Russell made several films for this series. I caught one called Dante's Inferno in which Russell takes a look at the the pre-raphaeliite brotherhood in a film centering on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, played by Oliver Reed. Russell's provocative in-your-face visual style mixes up the imagery and sound to create an exciting mishmash that uses everything from silent movie sequences to anachronistic music like "Ain't She Sweet." Judith Paris is excellent as the sickly Elizabeth Siddal, and Russell makes the most of some location shooting in the Lake District and Oxford (including Exeter College). Quite a stunning film, all in black and white.
Calling Stephen Cooke! Can you verify that this is the same series called Omnibus that I vaguely recall ran on the CBC in the late 60s? Or am I thinking of a Fletcher Markle series by the same name?

Jim

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by drednm » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:25 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:39 am
drednm wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:02 pm
In 1967 Ken Russell was working a lot in TV. There was a Brit series called Omnibus that started in 1967 and Russell made several films for this series. I caught one called Dante's Inferno in which Russell takes a look at the the pre-raphaeliite brotherhood in a film centering on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, played by Oliver Reed. Russell's provocative in-your-face visual style mixes up the imagery and sound to create an exciting mishmash that uses everything from silent movie sequences to anachronistic music like "Ain't She Sweet." Judith Paris is excellent as the sickly Elizabeth Siddal, and Russell makes the most of some location shooting in the Lake District and Oxford (including Exeter College). Quite a stunning film, all in black and white.
Calling Stephen Cooke! Can you verify that this is the same series called Omnibus that I vaguely recall ran on the CBC in the late 60s? Or am I thinking of a Fletcher Markle series by the same name?

Jim
Not sure if there is any real connection. The American series ran from 19520-61; The British series ran from 1967-03!

Ken Russell made 5 films for the series. Two were documentaries. The others were Dante's Inferno with Oliver Reed as Rossetti, Dance of the Seven Veils with Christopher Gable as Richard Strauss, and Song of Summer with Max Adrian as Frederick Delius. Striking work all done just around the time he broke through with Women in Love in 1969.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:08 pm

It's back from the IFC where we saw the Best Animated Shorts Nomination (plus three others) show, my cousin and me. Last year's show had me mildly concerned; one of the nominees was Garden Party (2017), a CGI effort, in which a roving camera wanders around a house, looking at all the frogs. It might have been reality for all I could tell and that's what's disturbing. If animation is indistinguishable from reality, does it have any particular artistic value? Does it not simply reduce the category to a sub-category of special effects, a technical Oscar like glass painting or green-screen technician? William Demille used to teach a course on title writing and, yes, there are still titles used in the body of a movie, but there's no Oscar for Best Title Writing, just as color cinematography and black and white cinematography no longer have separate categories. Now they're simple choices made on the basis of taste and money.

It seems to me that unless animation tells stories that live action cannot, or tells them better, then it is a dying branch of movie-making, and let's not bother. It will appeal nostalgically to a smaller and smaller group of people, considering themes that appeal to the very old until some day some one will say "Why are we bothering?" and drag out the woolsack to make room for a comfortable chair for the Chancellor.

An odd position, you say, for this community? Not really. I'm talking about the state of modern animation and future animation, not old animation. My vision is not fixed steadily on the past. Sometimes I like to look forward to the windshield and see where we're going.

With that in mind, this year's selection:

Bao: A middle-aged couple are eating dumplings. He shoves them into his mouth and leaves. SHe eats more gracefully... until it cries out, develops limbs and becomes a child.

It's a charming effort, but it raises issues of the middle-aged and elderly. Also, it's a little too slick to appeal to me; the film makers know where they are going every frame, and I felt manipulated rather than touched.

Late Afternoon: An elderly lady is sitting while a young woman packs the house's furnishings. As the lady sips tea, she remembers being a child at the beach, a young woman in love, and a young mother with her own child at the beach.

If animation is at risk of dying out as an art form because there is no story it can tell that cannot be told in a realistic fashion, then sure the themes it will adopt will be those that appeal to a shrinking, aging population. Such themes include fear of senility, aging out of your home and life.... in short the themes of this movie.

On the other hand, this offers the story in a pleasant impressionist manner.

Weekends offers a surrealistic point-of-view movie as a small boy spends the weekdays with his mother, who is studying to be an accountant, and the weekends with his father, who has cool samurai swords and plays video games with his son. These sequences are interspersed with dream sequences of flying. Each parent tries to move on with life, which causes the protagonist some alarm, but in the end, nothing much happens and life goes on.

Has animation entered its anecdotage? That period of long, rambling discourses that seem to start out well and pertinently, continue with some interesting-seeming details and then after a white, end with nothing at all being different? Because that's what happens here. This is quite unlike being in a phone conversation with my great-aunt Esther, who would keep you on the phone for hours. Every forty-five minutes like clockwork, she would say "You know what I mean?" When you replied "Yes, Esther" to prove you hadn't hung up on her, she would switch from that interminable story to a different endless one.

Perhaps this short might have some value to kids whose parents are going through a divorce, wondering if the world will ever move on. However, the program at the IFC where I saw this notes "Not suitable for children under 8". So much for that thought.

Animal Behavior The National Film Board of Canada hasn't shown up much in the last couple of years of Oscar noteworthies, and so it's good to see them back again with this traditional "funny animal" cartoon. A bulldog is a therapist leading a group session that includes a preying mantis, a leech. a pig, a bird and a cat. A new group member appears, an ape with anger issues who's in denial. they all have their obsessive behavior, actions that are typical of their species, but expressed in popular psychobabble.

It has some serious points to make about anthropomorphism and self-obsession, but mostly it's very funny. That's the thing about the NFB, they're interested in making good short subjects.... that appeal to people. Assuming that you consider me a person, and aren't more worried about pigs, leeches, and so forth.

One Small Step: A young girl dreams of becoming an astronaut and landing on the moon. Her father, a cobbler, makes her boots that look like part of an astronaut's space suit, and over the years, silently fixes her footwear as she struggles to make the grade.

With this nominee for the Best Short Animated Film Oscar, I am caught by the obvious disqualification if animation is to mean anything; there is no reason this could not have been a live-action film. Animation has always been a tremendously expensive form of cinema, and even if megaflops are cheaper than manhours, this is quite obviously one that could have been done in a studio.

On the other hand, it appeals to that other nostalgic art, that of pantomime, of silent cinema, in which actions speak louder than words, and so many things need not be said; they must be done. In this department, this is a perfect movie.

Wishing Box: A pirate finds a small chest out of which his pet monkey can pull whatever he wants, which is bananas. How to get the eager-to-please simian to understand that the picture he draws is a gold coin, not an orange?

When we speak of animation, we're generally using a high-toned term for what we used to call the cartoons when I were a lad, and this is a cartoon.... and a darned funny one. These days, with their efforts to prove that animation is a serious art form, animators are apt to confuse the solemn with the sincere, ignore the healing power of laughter. I think that anything that can make me laugh in these troubled times is to be celebrated.

Unfortunately, the Academy doesn't agree with me. This was one of the short in the Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts show that wasn't nominated.

Chik-Chirik aka Tweet-Tweet: A small bird flies into a clothes line, where it encounters a pair of feet. Over the years, it follows the feet as they grow up.

Fans of silent movies may know shorts like Amor Pedestre, in which only the feet of the players are seen, as they go through their courtship and subsequent comedy. This animated short from Russia plays with the same idea. It is utterly charming, and amusing and chilling as theactress, whose feet we see, changes abruptly, again and again, as does the nature of the line she dances on, while the small bird chirps encouragingly.

It's all very symbolic, although if the symbols are meant to stand for anything specific -- the soul, the universe, a good friend -- I can't tell what it is. Sometimes we need to accept that something is charming and let it stand at that. A deep pool may be beautiful, but put your hand in it and its beauty vanishes. Take your hand out and the beauty will return.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:37 pm

Looking for a still to use on a projected website, a friend (not a fan of 'old' movies) started to watch John Ford and Lamar Trotti's lyrical and moving YOUNG MR LINCOLN (1939). Although she seemed to be enjoying it, she had to get some shuteye, so I watched the rest of the movie. So as not to disturb her I had the sound down somewhat, which rather lessened the effect, but LINCOLN remains a firm favourite, despite the odd bit which doesn't work.

A beautifully observed and episodic film, with a great deal to recommend, so long as one doesn't worry about historical accuracy, I guess the film is now too well known to need to give any further detail, and most folk on Nitrateville will know it well enough. It also seems to me to have some of the best examples of humorous content in a Ford movie, from the pie-judging, through to the tug-of-war, and not forgetting Francis Ford's town drunk and layabout with his perfectly timed hiccup in reply to Donald Meek's questioning ("under the influence of an alcoholic beverage"). His use of faces, such as Harold Goodwin's Jeremiah Carter in the lynching scene, is often superb. A film which is still rewarding forty-six years after my first viewing of it.

OUR GANG FOLLIES OF 1938 (1937) comes over as a very weak entry in the series, with the Gang's show suggesting rather greater financial resources than one would expect, together with a good deal of very unfunny stuff showing the decline in the series once Mary Ann, Wheezer, Miss Crabtree and others had left the series. The main pleasures are the ever-lively Darla Hood, plus a Scottish number ('Loch Lomond') led by a Miss Annie Ross, who is the same Annie Ross who is still with us over eighty years later and whose first film appearance this is. Another plus is Brandon Thomas, reprising his role as Barnaby from BABES IN TOYLAND. Otherwise rather a chore to sit through.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:19 pm

boblipton wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:39 am
Sleeping Car (1933): Ivor Novello is a conductor with a girl at every stop of the Orient Express. When he spots Madeleine Carrol; in Vienna, he decides to add her to his collection. Being a good iceberg blonde, she resists. However, when she is given two weeks to get out of France for having too many speeding tickets, she decides to take advantage of a loophole by wedding a Frenchman. Novello gets the job, but insists there be no funny business.

Unfortunately, there isn't that much in the way of funny business in the movie once that takes place, about two-thirds of the way through the movie. Director Anatole Litvak was never noteworthy for his comedies, even if he was a key talent in drama. As his first full English production -- an earlier movie had been co-produced by Gaumont-British -- it seems more of a movie he was assigned to than he wanted to make.

The leads are good, but there isn't much to the matter. Novello seems to have been on the downslide as a movie star; he is billed after Miss Carroll in the credits. Novello would make one more movie the following year and then return to the stage, where he would prosper for many years.

Bob
Seems very fair comment on this admittedly rare but in some ways disappointing picture. From the first shots, one has a good deal of visual style, but the film loses its way once the plot gets going, and not sure whether the fault lies in the writing or the playing. It reminded me a little of THE LUCKY NUMBER (1932), which was an enjoyable and in my view much more successful attempt at a Clair-like comedy, but this felt rather flat and tiresome to me, although one enjoyed a nice bit by Ivor Barnard, and the presence of Kay Hammond was most welcome, adding some life to the proceedings... Perhaps it would have worked better if made in Germany or France.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:26 pm

The Gay Amigo(1949): The Cisco Kid and Pancho (Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carillo) are spotted where some bandits are headed over the border. With them marked as the evil-doers, Sergeant Joe Sawyer is assigned to them while they investigate the matter on their own and Renaldo romances Armida.

It's fun to watch Renaldo subvert normal expectations with his sly and canny interpretation of a Mexican. American B westerns were rarely as cut-and-dried in their stereotypical assumptions, although their short lengths rarely gave them a chance to play with them unless it was central to the movie. Since that was the point of the Cisco Kid, like Charlie Chan, it just slipped by the audience. As usual, Cisco is a good-hearted fellow, not looking for trouble, although it continually finds him. Well, it's a living in the movies. If Pancho is not so bright, well, he's amiable enough.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by silentfilm » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:24 pm

Saw two great movies in theaters this weekend. Green Book (2018) is a very funny and touching tale of race relations between an African-American concert pianist and an Italian bouncer who becomes his driver and bodyguard during a concert tour of the deep South in 1962. The screenplay re-arranges a few occurrences from when they actually happened, but the performances of Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are perfect. It's definitely one of my favorite films from last year.

The Dallas Video Fest was screening films from women directors, and I was able to catch The Hitch-Hiker (1953), directed by Ida Lupino. Two men, Edmund O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy, are on a fishing weekend to Baja California in northwest Mexico when they pick up a hitchhiker, William Tallman. It turns out that he is a psychopathic murderer. He holds them at gunpoint and forces them to drive him across the desert for several days so that he can catch a ferry to the mainland of Mexico. Lupino never lets up on the suspense, and the film constantly reminds us of how close the men are to death. When the Mexican characters are talking, we do not get subtitles as to what they are saying, whether it is Mexican policemen or civilians unaware of the danger. This also increases the tension. My only misgiving is that the films' climax wraps up quickly, and the surviving characters don't even get a chance to reflect on their last few days. If Lupino could do such a good job with this claustrophobic film about three men, she could probably do a good job directing a film about just about anything. (It was a DCP from Kino, and is available on BluRay from them.)

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by drednm » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:58 am

That Night in Rio (1941) is a Technicolor remake of Folies Bergere de Paris (1935) in which a nightclub entertainer (Don Ameche) is a dead ringer for a local millionaire (Maurice Chevalier starred in the 1935 version). This was said to be Ameche's favorite film role and he sure gets a lot of screen time between the two roles, despite second billing under Alice Faye as the wife. Best of all is Carmen Miranda as the fiery nightclub girlfriend (Merle Oberon and Ann Sothern has the 1935 roles). Miranda gets to sing "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)" and "Chica Chica Boom Chic" in glorious and gaudy Technicolor. Twentieth Century Fox liked this vehicle so much, they remade it again in 1951 as On the Riviera with Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, and Corinne Calvet. Three film versions in 16 years. Is this some sort of record?
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:10 am

Night Beat (1931): Harry Cording's mob is too well connected for DA Walter McGrail to put down. When gangster Jack Mulhall moves into town, McGrail has him brought to his office. Soon they're laughing and reminiscing; McGrail had saved his life during the War. He offers Mulhall a badge to fight fire with gunfire. Mulhall's mob thinks it's a swell idea.

Director George B. Seitz takes Scott Darling's script and pretty much runs riot with it, with lots of shooting, admiring references to Mussolini and overt police corruption. William Wellman was getting away with it at Warners, so this Poverty Row production does the same, albeit a little more coyly. It's a decent effort, even though the mob continues to be very WASPy; the only obvious Italian is a guy running a French laundry.


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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:00 pm

boblipton wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:10 am
Night Beat (1931): Harry Cording's mob is too well connected for DA Walter McGrail to put down. When gangster Jack Mulhall moves into town, McGrail has him brought to his office. Soon they're laughing and reminiscing; McGrail had saved his life during the War. He offers Mulhall a badge to fight fire with gunfire. Mulhall's mob thinks it's a swell idea.

Director George B. Seitz takes Scott Darling's script and pretty much runs riot with it, with lots of shooting, admiring references to Mussolini and overt police corruption. William Wellman was getting away with it at Warners, so this Poverty Row production does the same, albeit a little more coyly. It's a decent effort, even though the mob continues to be very WASPy; the only obvious Italian is a guy running a French laundry.


Bob
What was the Chinese guy doing? Running a Mexican restaurant?

Jim

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:43 pm

drednm wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:58 am
That Night in Rio (1941) is a Technicolor remake of Folies Bergere de Paris (1935) in which a nightclub entertainer (Don Ameche) is a dead ringer for a local millionaire (Maurice Chevalier starred in the 1935 version). This was said to be Ameche's favorite film role and he sure gets a lot of screen time between the two roles, despite second billing under Alice Faye as the wife. Best of all is Carmen Miranda as the fiery nightclub girlfriend (Merle Oberon and Ann Sothern has the 1935 roles). Miranda gets to sing "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)" and "Chica Chica Boom Chic" in glorious and gaudy Technicolor. Twentieth Century Fox liked this vehicle so much, they remade it again in 1951 as On the Riviera with Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, and Corinne Calvet. Three film versions in 16 years. Is this some sort of record?
It depends how you use the term 'remake'. When I first saw MANPOWER (1941), I felt it had the feeling of a Howard Hawks movie, but this was before I had watched TIGER SHARK (1932). A similar plot was used by SLIM, in 1937, and one writer on IMDb declared that the basic situation had been used by Warners no less than twenty times. Similarly when I watched BORDERTOWN (1935) I had a feeling of deja vu, until I twigged that THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1940 - Mr Walsh again!) had similarities.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by drednm » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:04 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:43 pm
drednm wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:58 am
That Night in Rio (1941) is a Technicolor remake of Folies Bergere de Paris (1935) in which a nightclub entertainer (Don Ameche) is a dead ringer for a local millionaire (Maurice Chevalier starred in the 1935 version). This was said to be Ameche's favorite film role and he sure gets a lot of screen time between the two roles, despite second billing under Alice Faye as the wife. Best of all is Carmen Miranda as the fiery nightclub girlfriend (Merle Oberon and Ann Sothern has the 1935 roles). Miranda gets to sing "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)" and "Chica Chica Boom Chic" in glorious and gaudy Technicolor. Twentieth Century Fox liked this vehicle so much, they remade it again in 1951 as On the Riviera with Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, and Corinne Calvet. Three film versions in 16 years. Is this some sort of record?
It depends how you use the term 'remake'. When I first saw MANPOWER (1941), I felt it had the feeling of a Howard Hawks movie, but this was before I had watched TIGER SHARK (1932). A similar plot was used by SLIM, in 1937, and one writer on IMDb declared that the basic situation had been used by Warners no less than twenty times. Similarly when I watched BORDERTOWN (1935) I had a feeling of deja vu, until I twigged that THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1940 - Mr Walsh again!) had similarities.
My three films are all based on the same original play but exist in three wildly different musical settings ... but I see your point.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:01 pm

drednm wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:04 pm
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:43 pm
drednm wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:58 am
That Night in Rio (1941) is a Technicolor remake of Folies Bergere de Paris (1935) in which a nightclub entertainer (Don Ameche) is a dead ringer for a local millionaire (Maurice Chevalier starred in the 1935 version). This was said to be Ameche's favorite film role and he sure gets a lot of screen time between the two roles, despite second billing under Alice Faye as the wife. Best of all is Carmen Miranda as the fiery nightclub girlfriend (Merle Oberon and Ann Sothern has the 1935 roles). Miranda gets to sing "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)" and "Chica Chica Boom Chic" in glorious and gaudy Technicolor. Twentieth Century Fox liked this vehicle so much, they remade it again in 1951 as On the Riviera with Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, and Corinne Calvet. Three film versions in 16 years. Is this some sort of record?
It depends how you use the term 'remake'. When I first saw MANPOWER (1941), I felt it had the feeling of a Howard Hawks movie, but this was before I had watched TIGER SHARK (1932). A similar plot was used by SLIM, in 1937, and one writer on IMDb declared that the basic situation had been used by Warners no less than twenty times. Similarly when I watched BORDERTOWN (1935) I had a feeling of deja vu, until I twigged that THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1940 - Mr Walsh again!) had similarities.
My three films are all based on the same original play but exist in three wildly different musical settings ... but I see your point.
Another plot the Warners frequently reused was The Butter and Egg Man, making it five times under different names in 1928, '32,'35,'37 & '40 and using it for the plot of a Tedford production, Take It From Me (1937), not to mention that it's the basis for Mel Brooks' The Producers and its musical remake!

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:35 pm

Charlie Chan in Panama (1940): We don't see Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan until ten minutes into this entry in Fox' long-running B series. First we are treated to a group taking a plane to the Canal Zone, talking about how it is a city of spies. As a result, when we see Lieutenant Chan of the Honolulu Police selling hats under an assumed name to one of the plane's passengers, exchanging recognition codes, we know we're in a spy thriller. When the buyer drops dead, we're happy to see familiar territory.

The pleasures of the old Charlie Chan series are many. Victor Sen Yung plays one of the great detective's innumerable offspring. Charlie speaks in proverbs. And, of course, there's the pleasure of the many character actors: Lionel Atwill and Jean Rogers and Mary Nash are near the top of the credits. Further down, we get Chris-Pin Martin and Kane Richmond. Even the uncredited payers include interesting names like Franklyn Farnum and Edward Gargan. That's because Charlie Chan pictures were a sure money-maker for Fox, and they spent their money cannily.

People nowadays think that the Charlie Chan series were an exercise in racism. I see them as just the opposite. Charlie is world-famous in the pictures, always the smartest man in the room, and his kids are thoroughly Americanized. How less racist can you be?

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by drednm » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:21 pm

Tweaking White Woman (1933), which starred Charles Laughton and Carole Lombard, to create Island of Lost Men (1939) makes for some drastic changes to to main plot. Now we have Anna May Wong as "China Lily" the saloon singer who runs off with a half-caste villain who seems to run a rubber plantation (though it's never quite clear) somewhere in the middle of a jungle. The villain gives us J. Carrol Naish in a rare starring role. Naish holds a group of men wanted by the police as virtual prisoners, since they are surrounded by the dangerous jungle and natives he calls pigs. The men bide their time but when Broderick Crawford blows in everything seems to go bad. It also turns out Wong is the daughter of a businessman Naish is hiding upriver after having bilked him of a fortune. Mostly half-baked but the florid acting keeps you watching. Anthony Quinn, Eric Blore, Ernest Truex, William Haade, and Rudolf Forster are among the "lost men." Wong gets to sing.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:56 pm

Bill Robinson dances -- including his famous dance on triangular steps -- Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle perform. That's most of a good movie there, and for the approximately half of Harlem Is Heaven, when the movie is pure musical presentation, it's a fine movie. Unfortunately, the other half of the movie is nowhere near as good.

Anise Boyer needs a job. She gets one at the night club run by James Baskett. His money comes from policy, with various sidelines including stock swindles. He explains to Miss Boyer that he is very generous with loyal people, and he defines that as those who never say no to him. Soon enough, she wants to say no, but needs one of two men to do so: either Robinson, or Henri Wessell.

It's a good script for a Pre-Code, but as often happens in movies made with Black performers for the Black movie theaters -- the term was 'Race Films' -- the line readings are poor. Even the performers who would do well for themselves in Hollywood films (Robinson, of course, and Baskett would win an Oscar for Song of the South) sound like they're reading their lines off the script. It's money and time; no time for rehearsals, no money for retakes. Even so, when Robinson is dancing, I'm forced to agree that Harlem is indeed heaven.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:25 pm

Along Came Love (1936): Irene Hervey spots Charles Starrett and realizes he's her dream man. She pursues him, but he's so busy studying to be a pediatrician he doesn't see her, until he suddenly falls in love with her.

That's the way this movie starts, and that's how it goes on. It has eccentric characters, good performers (H.B.Warner, Doris Kenyon, Ferdinand Gottschalk), funny situations..... but every time a plot point comes up that blocks the inevitable happy ending of all romantic comedies, it takes about two minutes to solve it, because everyone is so gosh-darned nice. There's no dramatic tension at all. You can't make a story without some dramatic tension, some problem to be solved, and while they are offered up, every time it looks like something needs to be done, some one does something swell and the problem goes away. Once realized that (after about ten minutes), there was nothing of further interest in the story.

Miss Hervey tries to play this like a naive Ginger Rogers and Mr. Starrett.... well, he simply seems to have done what the director said at the moment.

Bob
Film lovers are sick people.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by maliejandra » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:06 am

boblipton wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:01 pm
drednm wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:58 am
That Night in Rio (1941) is a Technicolor remake of Folies Bergere de Paris (1935) in which a nightclub entertainer (Don Ameche) is a dead ringer for a local millionaire (Maurice Chevalier starred in the 1935 version)... Twentieth Century Fox liked this vehicle so much, they remade it again in 1951 as On the Riviera with Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, and Corinne Calvet. Three film versions in 16 years. Is this some sort of record?
Another plot the Warners frequently reused was The Butter and Egg Man, making it five times under different names in 1928, '32,'35,'37 & '40 and using it for the plot of a Tedford production, Take It From Me (1937), not to mention that it's the basis for Mel Brooks' The Producers and its musical remake!

Bob
What about Seven Keys to Baldpate made in 1916, 1917, 1925, 1929, 1935, & 1947?

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:22 am

The Silent Passenger (1935): Mary Newland is running away with Leslie Perrins, but is having second thoughts. By the time her husband, John Loder, shows up. she's thoroughly disenchanted. Loder assaults Perrins, gets his tickets for the Channel train and demands Mary's letters. When they're disembarking in France, he hasn't got a key for the big trunk he says isn't theirs. When it is opened, Perrins' body is inside. Good thing Peter Haddon, aka Lord Peter Wimsey is there.

It's a well-written short mystery. That's hardly surprising, because Dorothy Sayers wrote an original story for this, her sole original venture into screenwriting. I do have some issues with the casting. Buntner is too old, and too much the trained butler, and Haddon, although he makes a good stab at Wimsey, lacks the character's diffidence. I have long thought that he should have been played by someone like Claude Hulbert, or some other silly-ass British comedian; in one novel, he's said to look like Ralph Lynn.

Casting aside, it's a good quota quicky. the lack of other original stories indicates that Miss Sayers didn't enjoy the experience much. She was moving out of detective fiction anyway, into plays and more academic writing.

Bob
Film lovers are sick people.
-- Francois Truffaut

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:24 am

boblipton wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:22 am
The Silent Passenger (1935): Good thing Peter Haddon, aka Lord Peter Wimsey is there.

It's a well-written short mystery.
If I'm not mistaken, this is the earliest attempt on screen of Lord Peter Wimsey. I love this film. The train scenes are Hitchcockian to the point they out-Hitchcock Hitchcock! Especially the nearly last scene...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:34 am

Saw "Green Book" (2018) yesterday. It's everything people have said here and more. So far, my favorite of last year's films by a long shot. Thought Christian Bale was great as Dick Cheney in "Vice", but Viggo Mortensen was superlative in this one, too! So was Mayershala Ali, of whom I know nothing except he has made haste to the plunder.

I remember too well the days portrayed in this film. Being born in the late '40's and living through the '60's, this one reminded me all too well of what we were, what we've become, and how far we have to go. It's good to be alive, but we all need to be alive with some dignity.

(now I step down from the soapbox; after all, it's only a cardboard 5"x7"x2" used up box of dishwashing detergent)

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:45 pm

Pretty well anything from Michael Powell is an attraction for me, but SOMETHING ALWAYS HAPPENS (1934) was only of moderate interest. Ne'er'do-well Ian Hunter befriends an orphan ragamuffin, and having gambled away a goodly sum is on the hunt for lodgings. The delightful Muriel George is on hand as a seemingly businesslike landlady who is slowly softened up while Hunter seeks his fortune, stealing the film in the process..

Good luck is not far ahead when he encounters the owner of a Bentley he has a sales commission for. The owner is the spoilt daughter (Nancy O'Neil) of a garage magnate played by the usually reliable Peter Gawthorne. Hunter knows nothing of this relationship and, rejected by Gawthorne, finds himself working for the rival company instead.

It's interesting to note that whilst Hunter declines help from his gambling cronies, he is not above wheedling the same from his new landlady. I must admit I found most of the comedy in this outing rather heartless, with some rather unfunny situations as well as the main characters seeing nothing wrong in coughing up the equivalent of about £650 on lunch at George Zucco's restaurant. The 'humour' found in swindling ones fellows out of money and trying to outdo the 'competition' struck a very sour note with me. Although I spotted George Zucco in an uncredited, but showy part, I failed to notice Naughton Wayne, although his role was quite brief.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:30 pm

Blake of Scotland Yard (1937) is the dire feature version of what I imagine is an equally dire serial. Ralph Byrd has invented a "death ray" that can blow up battleships more than a hundred miles away. He wants to give it to all the members of the League of Nations, which he imagines will bring world peace, but a criminal gang has stolen it and plans to sell it to a foreign power. Byrd goes searching through the dives of Paris under the direction of his uncle, Herbert Rawlinson, the eponymous Blake etc., instead of releasing the blueprints or building another.

The group of criminals is led by the Scorpion, a stooped figure in a slouch hat and cape who holds a lobster claw over his face as a disguise. This goes on for 70 minutes without much happening except a badly executed Apache dance or two.

How does the death ray work? It doesn't matter, because it's a Maguffin. A Maguffin derives from a story that Alfred Hitchcock liked to tell. A man gets on a train with a contraption, which he stows in the overhead rack. "What's that?" asks a fellow passenger. "It's a Maguffin." "What's a Maguffin?" "It's a device for trapping tigers in the Scottish Highlands." "There are no tigers in the Scottish Highlands." "Then that's never a Maguffin."

Maybe it was Hitchcock writer Angus McPhail who told the story, but in the movies a Maguffin is something people want desperately. It sets the plot in motion. It doesn't really matter what it is. Hitchcock liked Maguffins, from the secret plans in The Thirty Steps to whatever it was that James Mason stole in North By Northwest. Film makers still use Maguffins. Remember the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Whenever the briefcase was opened, a light illuminated the face of the actor looking into the case. What was in the case? A light bulb.

Which is more than you get in this badly written, poorly executed, worse-printed movie.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:18 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:34 am
Saw "Green Book" (2018) yesterday. It's everything people have said here and more. So far, my favorite of last year's films by a long shot. Thought Christian Bale was great as Dick Cheney in "Vice", but Viggo Mortensen was superlative in this one, too! So was Mayershala Ali, of whom I know nothing except he has made haste to the plunder.

I remember too well the days portrayed in this film. Being born in the late '40's and living through the '60's, this one reminded me all too well of what we were, what we've become, and how far we have to go. It's good to be alive, but we all need to be alive with some dignity.

(now I step down from the soapbox; after all, it's only a cardboard 5"x7"x2" used up box of dishwashing detergent)
I'm impressed that at your age you're still trim enough to stand on an empty soapbox without crashing through it.

Jim

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:57 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:18 pm
R Michael Pyle wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:34 am
Saw "Green Book" (2018) yesterday. It's everything people have said here and more. So far, my favorite of last year's films by a long shot. Thought Christian Bale was great as Dick Cheney in "Vice", but Viggo Mortensen was superlative in this one, too! So was Mayershala Ali, of whom I know nothing except he has made haste to the plunder.

I remember too well the days portrayed in this film. Being born in the late '40's and living through the '60's, this one reminded me all too well of what we were, what we've become, and how far we have to go. It's good to be alive, but we all need to be alive with some dignity.

(now I step down from the soapbox; after all, it's only a cardboard 5"x7"x2" used up box of dishwashing detergent)
I'm impressed that at your age you're still trim enough to stand on an empty soapbox without crashing through it.

Jim
I'm still [relatively] trim, but I didn't say that I didn't crash through the soapbox... :roll:

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:51 pm

Dr. Christian Meets the Women (1940): I'm sure he'd met some of them before, but in this installment in the series, Jean Hersholt finds his peaceful town invaded by Rod La Rocque. Rod is a huckster of health and fitness. He comes in, sweeps the matrons off their feet, promising them beauty, if they'll only eat raw spinach and lemon for breakfast while he sneaks off to his room to eat pie.

It's a fine performance of oblivious comedy mixed with a dash of uncaring evil. Naturally Dr. Christian objects that the one-size-fits-all plan is risky. He's joined in this objection by Edgar Kennedy. Lelah Tyler, Kennedy's wife, is putting up La Rocque, which means Kennedy must put up with him, his inedible diet and La Rocque's invasion. Kennedy does his slow burn very slowly in this one.

All in all, it's a well-made programmer with some wise old pros in front of and behind the camera: a good way to spend an hour.

Bob
Film lovers are sick people.
-- Francois Truffaut

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:21 pm

Dangerous Holiday (1937): 13-year-old Ronald Sinclair is a violin prodigy. His records brings in $2000 a week, his concerts sell out, and he's being paid a quarter of a million dollars to appear in a movie. Of course, he has expenses. His stepmother takes 30%, his aunts take another 30% and his agent gets 10%. After paying the government its 30%, he can do whatever he likes with what's left. It's a good thing he has no free time. So he goes on a walk. Along the way he meets some nice people like pleasant hood Big Boy Williams and courting couple Lynne Roberts and William Bakewell. No one knows who he is and his leeches.... I mean his concerned family thinks he has been kidnapped.

It's a fine little comedy directed by Nick Barrows, and Master Sinclair gives an amiable performance, while the professionals around him -- including Hedda Hopper, Franklin Pangborn (as a hotel clerk, naturally) and Grady Sutton offer their support.

Sinclair was born in New Zealand in 1924. appeared in about ten movies through 1942. He served in the US Army during the Second World War. After that, he stayed in the movies as an editor, working through 1992, specializing in dialogue editing. He was married to one woman from 1961 through his death in 1992, proving that some people's lives have nice second acts.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:48 am

Some days I think I should retitle this thread "Movies in Crumby Prints". Anyway, let's consider Under Western Stars (1938).

Roy Rogers runs for congress and wins the hand of Carol Hughes on the platform of free water for ranchers. Miss Hughe's father, John Usher, owns the local water rights and the ranches are parched. Naturally there are several songs, comedy provided by Smiley Burnette and Trigger; Trigger is uncredited.

It's a pleasant enough movie for Roy's first starring role. It was originally written for Gene Autry. He, however, was in a contract dispute with Republic Pictures, so they shoved Mr. Rogers into the slot and the movie was successful. Apparently the dispute came fairly far into production. Autry had already co-written one song, "Listen to the Rhythm of the Range", sung by Rogers. Another song, "Dust", a serious ballad, was nominated for Best Song.

It is directed by Joseph Kane, a specialist in the B Western field. Like many efficient directors, he started in the editing booth. He directed movies through 1958, went over to directing TV westerns, and died in 1975, aged 81, the same year his last of almost 120 movies was released.

Bob
Film lovers are sick people.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by drednm » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:07 am

The Parallax View (1972) gives us a post-JFK era of conspiracy plots run amok. Here we have a US Senator assassinated in Seattle. Within the next few years, all the people who witnessed the killing die under vaguely suspicious circumstances. Paula Prentiss plays the reporter who interviewed the senator just before his killing. A few years later she approaches Warren Beatty, an investigative reporter, to tell him her theories on these deaths and alarmed that she could be next. She is. This launches Beatty into a shadowy world of hired assassins and something called the Parallax Corporation, which hires these contractors. Eventually he gets hired on as a contractor, but it's impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Creepy and very well done by Alan J. Pakula. Co-stars include Hume Cronyn, Jim Davis, Kenneth Mars, Walter McGinn, and Bill McKinney. Nearly 50 years old, this film still seems relevant.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2019)

Unread post by rodney4130 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:15 am

Inner Sanctum (1948)

This is the story of a guy who kills his girlfriend, dumps her on a train and then hides out in a small town that's trapped due to flooding. He takes refuge in a boarding house full of weird characters (and Mary Beth Hughes), eventually discovering that the obnoxious teen he's boarding with saw him dump the body.

Directed by Lew Landers, who had helmed enough briskly paced B-films (He did some Boston Blackie and Whistler films for Columbia, plus The Vanishing Shadow serial) that he could do something like this in his sleep, this is actually a pretty good movie and a decent way to spend an hour. Plus, it stars Mary Beth Hughes, who IMO is the sexiest of the 40's B starlets.

It's in the PD. You can find it everywhere. The one I watched was obtained from one of the torrent sites a few years back. But it's also on Amazon Prime and YouTube.

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