What is the last film you watched? (2016)

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by silentfilm » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:55 am

This last weekend, Nitratevillain Jim Reid screened New York Confidential (1955). It stars Broderick Crawford as a mostly unlikable boss of the "Syndicate" in New York. When a rival gang pulls off an unauthorized "hit", he transfers Richard Conte from the Chicago "office" to pull a hit of his own. He finds that Conte is loyal, so Crawford makes Conte his bodyguard/right-hand man. Daughter Anne Bancroft just want to live a normal life. She can't convince Crawford to stop giving her 'blood-money" stuff, and controlling her life. When a corrupt oil-deal falls apart, the mob "board" votes for another hit, which turns out really badly.

It is a well-made film, but difficult to like. Crawford is extremely unlikable as the mob-boss, but he plays by the mob rules. He's also definitely a momma's boy, although his mother wants him out of organized crime. Conte is the nominal anti-hero of the film. He finds Bancroft, but keeps her secret safe as long as he can. He is also principled enough to withstand the many temptations thrown at him. This is pretty violent for a 1955 movie. Conte's hit on the rival gang is quite suspenseful. Bancroft is utterly charming as the daughter trying to escape.

This film is definitely worth watching, but it certainly isn't a feel-good film!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by Daveismyhero » Mon Sep 12, 2016 1:10 pm

I tried to watch the original version of Casino Royale (1967), but I just couldn't finish it. The scenery was beautiful, but I gave up 60 minutes into it.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:39 pm

boblipton wrote:...
Those Calloways Brian Keith wants to make a sanctuary for migrating geese; some outsiders want to turn the town into a setting for hunters. A good cast, some beautiful New England fall scenery and a great Max Steiner score combine to make something truly superior, but I have this uneasy feeling about the pacing; it's as if everyone is reading their lines after the other person in the scene has finished his lines. It's a problem that a lot of Disney live movies developed in the following decades....

I think I may have figured out my issue with the pacing of Those Calloways and many of the unfunny Disney live-action comedies of the 1960s through the 1980s. Pacing comedy is an art and time has to be allotted for the laughs to die down so the next gag can be seen. Jack Lemmon said that when they played Mister Roberts in theaters, a lot of jokes were inaudible because the audience was laughing at the previous joke; and when, in Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder gave him a pair of maracas for the scene in which he tell Tony Curtis he has gotten engaged to Joe E. Brown, he used those maracas to punctuate the jokes.

Well, I think that Those Calloways and many of the Disney movies simply allows too much time for the jokes. I don't think those jokes as as funny as they intended, and that causes the disconcerting pace.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:23 am

I watched "The Shadow" (1933), a British production starring Henry Kendall, Felix Aylmer, Elizabeth Allan, Jeanne Stuart, Cyril Raymond, and others. If you like shows with so many red herrings you can't find the big fish, here it is. You know from the beginning who's guilty, but it's still a hoot getting to the ending. I was waiting for sliding panels and secret passageways, but they never came. Instead, this was played straight as an arrow except for Henry Kendall. That's what made it fun. You just want to see the bugger turn into a bugger. This is very early fifties American television in Britain in the thirties. Better done, too, as the characters are old time Brit. Okay, most youngsters today will not stand for Kendall. So what!! I'm not a youngster... Kendall plays the silly-ass Englishman of early twentieth century...

After that I watched "Arizona" (1940) with Jean Arthur, William Holden, Paul Harvey, Warren William, Regis Toomey, Edgar Buchanan, Porter Hall, and others. I watched this about twenty five to thirty years ago and thought it was overblown and dull. Upon second viewing I find it a really decent Western, but about 35-40 minutes too long. It simply needed some editing. It's actually very good. The story is pat, but the acting is wonderful. How can you lose with Jean Arthur? She's about as good as it gets! I guess she was practicing her Shane a long way back, nearly fifteen years, or reprising her Calamity Jane, or... What I find even more interesting is the fact that Holden and she are a love pair here. Arthur was 18 years older than Holden, but she certainly didn't look it. Most in those days wouldn't have cared if the man were that much older, but a woman...? Interesting, too, to see Warren William in the film. He was married to a lady 17 years his senior... Must be the Arizona cactus...keeps the ladies young, huh?

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by bobfells » Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:10 pm

The BFI seems to be getting quite a number of British films from the 30s and 40s out on DVD, and the effect is to rewrite the history of British films. It used to be the UK films of the 30s could be summed up with a handful of Hitchcock, a couple of Kordas, and possibly Leslie Howard's SCARLET PIMPERNEL and PYGMALION. But in just the last few years quite a few unsung titles have made their way into general circulation. I wrote about Q PLANES (1939) a few months back, and THE GHOUL (1933), both in great looking prints. Last night I watched SHE SHALL HAVE MUSIC (1935), a musical spotlighting Jack Hylton and his Orchestra. It's tempting to call it a low budget KING OF JAZZ in b/w but in fairness this movie attempts no parallels and is content to be about 80 minutes of escapist fun with no pretensions to be anything else.

Hylton was perhaps the most popular bandleader in the UK at the time but his venue was the theater, not the dance halls. He started in the early 20s and disbanded in 1940 but kept producing shows and leading the bands playing in those shows. He hired some talented arrangers and when he visited the US in 1936 he brought back Fletcher Henderson to work for him. On the screen he's a likeable presence who seems at ease in front of the camera. He sang too but not as the main attraction, same with his piano playing.

The leading lady in SHE SHALL HAVE MUSIC is American singer/dancer June Clyde who was very popular on the British stage in the 30s. She was married to director Thornton Freedland. The musical numbers are in generous supply and the pacing never slows down for plot intrusions. There's a romantic subplot and various forms of comedy but it all goes jauntily along. No classic, this film is a gem of escapist entertain that makes a virtue of being unpretentious. My only complaint is the print quality - this ain't no original camera negative - and the fact that splices were not electronically removed. We both see and hear them throughout.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:49 pm

What is it with some modern pictures/ I find a lot of them incomprehensible. Take "Jason Bourne" (2016) I looked at yesterday. The "warm up" reels explained virtually nothing, nor was the central character drawn out as to what he was up to. We were just whisked from city to city in the wink of an eye and made to fathom out what was supposed to be happening as best we could. I floundered.

Background noise, sound effects and loud music often drown out the dialogue so one has a further misfortune in not being able to decipher the dialogue. It doesn't help either when actors who mumble are employed.

So, what was good about this picture? Well it was boys' own action all the way. Explosions, shoot-outs, mad driving with the necessary chases, lots of things being wrecked and all that sort of thing.

It all seems to have something to do with the CIA - and they seem to be able to operate in any country they choose. Absolute nonsense of course as the head of the CIA would be extradited and made to stand his trial in the country where laws were so flagrantly broken.

We are asked I think, at times, to suspend disbelief far too often. How is it that someone can find themselves in a strange city, get in a car and then instantly drive it around at 150 kmh? I even have difficulty navigating my way in familiar territory at times (within speed limits). Has technology yet advanced to the state where a murky still from CCTV footage can be blown up and an out of focus head in the rear can suddenly be brought into crystal clear focus? Do police often chase criminals in crowded places with their guns drawn? Do car chases ensue where Innocent drivers' cars are just knocked out of the way and destroyed? I don''t think so!

Should I be asking these questions or should I just accept it on the basis "oh, it;s only a movie!". No, I think that one should question it all as the people who put these pictures out there do so with some degree of contempt for the audience believing them to be morons who will just accept all that they see.

My reaction when the film had finished was "what the blazes was all that about?"
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by Donald Binks » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:55 pm

bobfells wrote:The BFI seems to be getting quite a number of British films from the 30s and 40s out on DVD, and the effect is to rewrite the history of British films. It used to be the UK films of the 30s could be summed up with a handful of Hitchcock, a couple of Kordas, and possibly Leslie Howard's SCARLET PIMPERNEL and PYGMALION. But in just the last few years quite a few unsung titles have made their way into general circulation. I wrote about Q PLANES (1939) a few months back, and THE GHOUL (1933), both in great looking prints. Last night I watched SHE SHALL HAVE MUSIC (1935), a musical spotlighting Jack Hylton and his Orchestra. It's tempting to call it a low budget KING OF JAZZ in b/w but in fairness this movie attempts no parallels and is content to be about 80 minutes of escapist fun with no pretensions to be anything else.
Bob, I think you will find a lot of revues of British pictures on these pages that have recently come to light through the auspices of the BFI and other institutions. I know I have come across dozens of interesting and obscure titles that have been in mothballs for donkeys' years.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:38 pm

In The Lady Has Plans, Paulette Goddard is being posted to Lisbon, to assist ace newsman Ray Milland. Meanwhile, a gang of crooks have stolen some secret plans, tattooed them in invisible ink on Margaret Hayes' back, and attempted to convince everyone that Miss Hayes is Miss Goddard. This fiendish plan fails, so when Paulette gets to Lisbon, everyone thinks she is Miss Hayes, including spy masters Albert Dekker, Roland Young(!) and Cecil Kellaway(?). Miss Goddard gets off a few wise cracks. Mr. Milland slugs Miss Hayes and the whole thing looks like someone wanted to make Sidney Lanfield eat crow. I understand Buddy De Sylva was busy at this point trying to bring Preston Sturges to heel. He might have spent his time better on this production.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by wich2 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:13 pm

>THE GHOUL (1933) ... great looking print<

To invoke the old Billy Everson line, "...but lousy movie!"

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by wingate » Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:56 am

Amphitriton which tells

the story of the assassination of Heydrich.Good but not as good as Operation Daybreak.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:05 am

Do you mean Anthropoid, Wingate?

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by drednm » Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:20 am

Ambitious and sprawling, Fame Is the Spur (1947) tells the story of a poor Manchester boy who becomes a political radical fighting against the parasitic landed gentry and factory/mine owners. As he becomes successful he learns he has to compromise his beliefs. Which will be more important to him, his beliefs or success? Fascinating story with many parallels to today's world of politics (some things never change) ultimately harmed by the time-hopping episodic nature of the story, but Michael Redgrave is flawless (as usual) as Hamer Radshaw, the silver-tongued politician. Also good are Rosamund John as his suffragette wife, Bernard Miles the unscrupulous businessman, and Marjorie Fielding as the aged activist. Others include David Tomlinson, Carla Lehmann, Guy Verney, and Wylie Watson. There was an 8-part miniseries in 1982, probably a better format for the story.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:32 am

Last night I watched two wonderful dramas, the first because I'm trying to re-acquaint myself with a good portion of the oeuvre of Ann Dvorak, the second because I've not seen a few Bette Davis films that I wish to see. So - first I watched "Heat Lightning" (1934) with Aline MacMahon, Ann Dvorak, Preston Foster, Lyle Talbot, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Ruth Donnelly, Jane Darwell, Edgar Kennedy, and many others. This film was made a year before the stage release of "The Petrified Forest" and two years before that production reached film - also at Warners. The reason I mention that at all is that this is basically a precursor - so similar it's almost unbelievable - and in many respects it's better. In some it's not. There's no Bogie. Instead we have Preston Foster - and Lyle Talbot thrown in for good measure, and he's good in this part. We don't have Bette Davis. Instead we have the lead, Aline MacMahon, and she's dynamite!! We also have her kid sister, played by Ann Dvorak, and her part's one of the super Pre-Code parts of the 30's, albeit rather small. But her final scene is rather memorable. MacMahon didn't get to star in many pictures, but when she did she knew how to keep an audience glued. She just didn't have the glamour of the other stars. Too bad, because she could act circles around most of them! Nice to re-visit this one. It's inspired me to dig out other MacMahon performances of note.

Next up I watched "In This Our Life" (1942) with Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, George Brent, Dennis Morgan, Charles Coburn, Frank Craven, Billie Burke, and many other fine Warners actors and actresses of the 40's. This was directed by John Huston, too; and just as he did in his son's "The Maltese Falcon", Walter Huston appears in a cameo role here as a bartender. This meller is Davis' picture from start to finish, even though all the other cast members have superb parts. Davis tears up the screen with her performance as Stanley Timberlake. There are a number of characterizations that are people with little heart, with a dignity that is utterly narcissistic. Charles Coburn plays Davis' uncle - but his love of his niece is far, far more than familial love... I'm surprised the Code let the part pass through as it's written here! Billie Burke playing an unlikable character???? Yep, and she's good! If you like those 40's cars, you'll like this one for that alone. By the way, when you see George Brent's automobile, see if you haven't seen it a couple of times before in a couple of good Bogart films - such as "High Sierra" and "The Big Shot". Guess they used them over and over, just like the actors and actresses... I'd watch this film again soon. It's really a perfect Davis picture - everything she could sink her teeth into as an actress, including her characters opposite her...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:28 pm

wingate wrote:Amphitriton which tells

the story of the assassination of Heydrich.Good but not as good as Operation Daybreak.
Oddly enough some reviews failed to mention HANGMEN ALSO DIE, which one could argue is better-known than OPERATION DAYBREAK.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by MaryGH » Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:17 pm

Deadwood Pass (1933), with Tom Tyler, Alice Dahl, Edmund Cobb, Hal Taliaferro, Slim Whitaker

Tom is on the trail of the Hawk who just broke prison - but can he catch up to him and uncover the stolen loot?

Love how Tom picks up Slim Whitaker - who is physically much larger than Tom - and slings him over his back like a sack of potatoes.

Cameo appearance by J P McGowan (someone shot the director!).

Carlotta Monti (yes, W C Field's live-in gal for 14 years) has a small role in this film.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:00 pm

An intriguing-looking semi-musical, WIR NIMMT DIE LIEBE ERNST (WHO TAKES LOVE SERIOUSLY?) (1931) had the added bonus of English subtitles, so seemed ideal for last night's viewing. Alas the subtitles were severely out of synch, but that did not over-detract from a stylish piece of film-making, although there was some confusion at times. Max Hansen and Otto Wallburg play a couple of small-time con-artists who get rumbled by the police. After a fairly madcap chase, Hansen hides in the bedroom of Jenny Jugo, who is summarily evicted by her grumpy landlady. The film follows their fortunes and clashes with the Law, ending up at a fairground where Hansen proceeds to attempt to fix the beauty contest. I'd hardly heard of this one, as few German films from this period have (until recently) been available, aside from the Langs and Pabsts. WIR NIMMT is presented here in a very nice copy, and is enjoyably piquant (Jugo's frequent undressing, a police chase through a public lavatory) in its details. Without fuller understanding, the content is rather slight, but the film is very nicely done, with some attractive crowd work and exteriors.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:28 pm

Image

If you're Carol Reed and you don't have Graham Greene (but you do have Trevor Howard of The Third Man and Ralph Richardson of The Fallen Idol), what's the next best thing you can do? Adapt a Joseph Conrad novel, and the result is a film nearly as fine, Outcast of the Islands.

Howard is Willems, a weak-willed character who was the beneficiary of the kindness of the trader Lingard (Richardson), who has carefully cultivated trade with a remote tribe and brought them peace and prosperity. When Willems has to hightail it out of Singapore, Lingard deposits him at the trading post near the tribe, in the care of Almayer (Robert Morley) and his wife Wendy Hiller, who live there (Almayer is Lingard's agent).

It's pretty easy to see where it's going—Howard is going to fall for the native girl (Kerima) and betray his benefactor. So it's too easy to see that, and the story takes a more complex and nuanced route, as Willems disintegrates mentally— but it's as often when he tries to do something right as something wrong that he brings disaster. In all, it's quite a powerful exploration of the theme of how quickly and completely someone without the comforts and amusements of civilization can come completely unraveled, seemingly exactly halfway between the White Shadows in the South Seas sort of romance and Apocalypse Now. Howard, in his earlier, less hard-drinking days, is excellent and hardbitten in many of the films of the period, but this must be his best performance; his final scene bellowing at the god-like Lingard settling his fate is a clash of the titans.

Handsomely shot by Ted Scaife (Curse of the Demon, The Dirty Dozen) and John Wilcox, with Freddie Francis as their assistant (a dozen years later Francis would be directing The Skull with Wilcox as cinematographer), and crisply and cleverly edited by Bert Bates, the film is quite ingenious at combining what must be 2nd unit footage and some process work— Howard has a relationship with an orphan boat which appears not to include them ever actually in the same shot together; but their interaction, when they may never have actually met, is cleverly created through editing.

Another interesting point— at perhaps the last moment in history when you could get away with this, the Kordas billed Kerima as their native island girl discovery. Well, she's no more native than Dorothy Lamour, clearly European, and later they tried to pass her off as at least Algerian. But eventually someone asked her husband— one Guy Hamilton, an assistant director on this film— and it turns out she was French, and part of the reason her whole performance is done with flashes of her dark eyes is that if she'd opened her mouth, it would have given the game away. Anyway, she apparently lives to this day on Mallorca, widowed just a few months ago after being married to Hamilton since the 1970s.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:54 am

TCM has shown a trio of movies by E.A. Dupont made in the 1950s, just before his death in 1955. They show someone who, perhaps frustrated by the cheap B projects by independent producers he had to take at this point, was not operating at his best.

Return to Treasure Island is a straightforward although modernized version of the R.L. Stevensonson book. Two hundred years after the events in the book, Porter Hall shows up at the Benbow Inn to talk Dawn Addams as Jamie Hawkins into going with the original map to Treasure Island, where Tab Hunter has been marooned. It's not particularly well done, and the print has a lot of problems with its color components.

The Neanderthal Man also hits Stevenson territory as Mad Scientist Robert Shayne comes up with a serum that converts house cats in saber-toothed tigers, and his housekeeper and him into hairy, long-nailed Neaderthals with bad teeth. There's a good deal of angry overacting in the beginning, which is off-putting, so that by the time people calm down, I had largely lost interest.

The Steel Lady (1953) is the best of the bunch, as Rod Cameron, John Dehner, Tab Hunter and Richard Erdman play some adventurers who go after some lost jewels in a forbidden zone in North Africa, then try to get out in an abandoned German tank. Floyd Crosby's beautiful black-and-white photography make this visually fine, along with the fine acting by the core companny, With John Abbott as an Arab Sheik.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by Dan Oliver » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:10 pm

I DVR'd a couple of the Dupont films and watched one -- Problem Girls. Hoo-boy. His direction wasn't bad considering how quickly and cheaply the film must've been shot, but that script! As usual, Aubrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen crank out dialogue that sounds like they've never heard actual human beings speak English. There was a certain amount of camp value to be found, but even at 71 minutes it turned into a bit of a slog.
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:35 pm

If there's one Japanese film produced before Kurosawa became a director, that all loyal Nitratevillians are aware of, it's Kenji Mizoguchi's Genroku Chûshingura (The 47 Ronin ) (1941). I first saw it some time in the 1970s, but I have not looked at it for twenty or twenty-five years. This weekend, TCM broadcast it. Given that I spent the weekend with a terrible sore throat, cough and general malaise, I could not give it the concentration that it demanded until this evening.

It's clearly a beautifully mounted production of the Japanese flag-waver, funded in part by the Japanese government. Mizoguchi attempts to open it up with a huge set that requires a large number of long shots, as well as a gracefully moving camera under the helm of Kohei Sugiyama (perhaps better remembered for his work on Gate of Hell). That said, it's clear to me why it was not a box office hit; all the action sequences take place offscreen. In terms of suspense, that's not a bad thing; as Hitchcock noted, suspense is waiting for the bomb to explode, not the explosion -- something modern film makers might do well to learn. The final, mass suicide of the ronin is calmly and brilliantly staged -- again, off camera, except for one.

One goes to these big movies for the big scene. All too frequently, they're disappointments. The dead-guy-on-a-horse scene in El Cid doesn't work for me. The calm, stoic manner in which everyone does his duty works here, as do the occasional emotional outbursts to vary the tempo.

It's not a short movie. It was released in two parts and lasts over two hundred minutes; the print was good, although there were occasional flaws and it could use a super-duper restoration. Still, it's great. If you haven't seen it already, give yourself a treat. In fact, if you haven't seen it recently, you'll enjoy looking at it again.

Bob
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:49 pm

Dan Oliver wrote:I DVR'd a couple of the Dupont films and watched one -- Problem Girls. Hoo-boy. His direction wasn't bad considering how quickly and cheaply the film must've been shot, but that script! As usual, Aubrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen crank out dialogue that sounds like they've never heard actual human beings speak English. There was a certain amount of camp value to be found, but even at 71 minutes it turned into a bit of a slog.
I didn't record that one because my list shows I've seen it and the surrounding information didn't make it sound particularly worth looking at again. As for the writers, I checked, and they co-wrote one of my favorite bad swashbucklers, At Sword's Point, about the kids of the Musketeers, with Maureen O'Hara particularly harried about being Claire, Daughter of Athos. Yeech.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by drednm » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:26 pm

Seven in Darkness (1969) harks back to the days when TV networks still produced scripted shows and had a stable adult audience. At the dawn of made-for-TV movies (which lengthened many an acting career) this one is supposedly the first one for ABC TV. A small plane crashes in the wilderness and the only survivors are all blind. They decide to walk out of the wilderness to find help, mostly because a snow storm is a-comin' so out they trek (against all logic). Tension runs high as two guys jockey for leadership of the gang. One is a war veteran (Sean Garrison) who has a questionable record; the other is a pushy snot (Barry Nelson) who just likes being in charge. There's a whiny old guy (Milton Berle) who's still having anger issues over being blind. There's a nice lady who's been blind all her life (Dina Merrill) and another older guy (Arthur O'Connell) who is also nice. There's a singer (Lesley Ann Warren) with a guitar (yes she sings), and an annoying young blind couple expecting a baby (Alejandro Rey and Tippy Walker). Cheesy sets don't help much, not do the endless close-ups of the brave cast blinking into the nothingness. It's one of those movies where you feel quite justified in yelling DIE, DIE at various cast members. Barry Nelson (never liked him) is especially repulsive, especially when whimpering.
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Daveismyhero
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by Daveismyhero » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:56 pm

I am slowly working my way through the old Universal classic monster films, and I recently watched Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula's Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939) and the Wolf Man (1941). Son of Frankenstein was my favorite of the bunch, and I really enjoyed Bela Lugosi as Ygor.
I am not a purist, I am a funist!

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:24 pm

A decidedly peculiar British - Indian co-production, KARMA (1933) would definitely benefit from a better print, as the quality here is decidedly uneven. Two young lovers wish to marry (one even converses with a squirrel!) and combine forces to bring 'progress' to the Indian district where they live. The girls father agrees to this, hoping to put the kybosh on their plans. Somehow a tiger hunt, a cobra attack and various displays are dragged in as well as a 'holy man', played by Abraham Sofaer. Unfortunately the condition of this copy renders the film very confusing in places, with some dialogue being unintelligible. Other parts are very clear, and some of the voices used are very high-toned indeed. The film was shot in India, with post-production over here in England. There is a spot of interest at the end when the snake charmer turns up, handling the cobras with no fear at all. KARMA is also known for its kissing scenes, something not permitted in regular Indian movies. Not without some interest, KARMA is rather heavy-going and and hard to follow at times, although, as I've indicated, a better copy might clear things up.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by wich2 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:36 pm

>Son of Frankenstein was my favorite of the bunch, and I really enjoyed Bela Lugosi as Ygor.<

Most fans agree that it's one of Bela's better turns onscreen. And so did he, saying later in life:

"Gott, he vas CUUTE!"

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:09 am

I've been watching a series of mysteries that I bought from Alpha for less than $3 each. My wife and I love good mystery films, so I decided to get 16 of them on the cheap to see what was what. In some respects I got what I paid for, but some of them are gems anyway. So far, so good as to the watch-ability - Alpha quality can be tenuous - at the very best...

Last night was particularly decent. I watched a Jack La Rue starring vehicle, "Take the Stand" (1934) (this was just a little over a year after his huge splash in "The Story of Temple Drake"), starring La Rue, Thelma Todd, Gail Patrick, Russell Hopton, Berton Churchill, Vince Barnett, Leslie Fenton, Sheila Terry, Paul Hurst, DeWitt Jennings, Bradley Page, Richard Tucker, Oscar Apfel, Jason Robards, Sr., and others. This was produced by the cheapie/indie company, Liberty Pictures, a distributor/producer that came up with 20 pictures over a period of nine years. Directed by Phil Rosen, this one concerns a rather ruthless newspaper reporter who's a syndicated columnist, but who also has the facts, and that makes him doubly dangerous. Sometimes he anticipates what coulda/woulda/shoulda happen(ed), too, and this makes him nasty. Several people, all at one time, wish to sue him, so-o-o-o-o...when he finally gets murdered, the question is, of course, who, how, when, why - all the interrogatives... I enjoyed this film for what it was, and the cast was simply stellar. Thelma's sure easy to look at, but Gail Patrick's no slouch, either. It's the second night in a row I've watched Berton Churchill, but then that doesn't surprise me too much: he was the busiest character actor in Hollywood during the 1932-34 period according to "Films in Review" in 1990 - not extra or small bit actor, but "character actor" per se. I only recently finished Christina Rice's biography of actress Ann Dvorak who was married to Leslie Fenton, so it was nice to see Fenton (not only an actor, but a director, too) get a major part in this to see what he could do. Definitely recommended for those who love lots of wonderful character actors/actresses all at one time in a fast-paced mystery - and for a price that doesn't cost an arm and a leg...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by drednm » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:32 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:I've been watching a series of mysteries that I bought from Alpha for less than $3 each. My wife and I love good mystery films, so I decided to get 16 of them on the cheap to see what was what. In some respects I got what I paid for, but some of them are gems anyway. So far, so good as to the watch-ability - Alpha quality can be tenuous - at the very best...

Last night was particularly decent. I watched a Jack La Rue starring vehicle, "Take the Stand" (1934) (this was just a little over a year after his huge splash in "The Story of Temple Drake"), starring La Rue, Thelma Todd, Gail Patrick, Russell Hopton, Berton Churchill, Vince Barnett, Leslie Fenton, Sheila Terry, Paul Hurst, DeWitt Jennings, Bradley Page, Richard Tucker, Oscar Apfel, Jason Robards, Sr., and others. This was produced by the cheapie/indie company, Liberty Pictures, a distributor/producer that came up with 20 pictures over a period of nine years. Directed by Phil Rosen, this one concerns a rather ruthless newspaper reporter who's a syndicated columnist, but who also has the facts, and that makes him doubly dangerous. Sometimes he anticipates what coulda/woulda/shoulda happen(ed), too, and this makes him nasty. Several people, all at one time, wish to sue him, so-o-o-o-o...when he finally gets murdered, the question is, of course, who, how, when, why - all the interrogatives... I enjoyed this film for what it was, and the cast was simply stellar. Thelma's sure easy to look at, but Gail Patrick's no slouch, either. It's the second night in a row I've watched Berton Churchill, but then that doesn't surprise me too much: he was the busiest character actor in Hollywood during the 1932-34 period according to "Films in Review" in 1990 - not extra or small bit actor, but "character actor" per se. I only recently finished Christina Rice's biography of actress Ann Dvorak who was married to Leslie Fenton, so it was nice to see Fenton (not only an actor, but a director, too) get a major part in this to see what he could do. Definitely recommended for those who love lots of wonderful character actors/actresses all at one time in a fast-paced mystery - and for a price that doesn't cost an arm and a leg...
Sometimes those minor mystery films are better than the big-name ones.
Ed Lorusso
Writer/Historian
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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:57 pm

There are quite a few well-known names in INSIDE THE LINES (1930), such as Mischa Auer, Montagu Love and Ivan Simpson, but they didn't come over well partly due to the rough sound on this copy. A WWI spy yarn starting in 1914 with our two lovers (Ralph Forbes, Betty Compson) parting when war is declared. Pretty soon, Compson is doing the dirty (surely not!), although one has one's suspicions...

The second feature directed by effects-man Roy Pomeroy was to be his penultimate one. With the poor sound here, it is perhaps unfair to pass judgement on this one, but I confess I found it both confusing in places, but mainly downright tedious. Although the film occasionally comes to life slightly, this is one of the talkiest films I have sat through, the very windiness of the script and acting being contrasted with an almost total lack of action. This made it very hard to care what is going on and a very tough film to sit through. Taken from a tv print, this looks the kind of thing bought in as filler before the majors started selling their films off.

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:55 am

I watched "Cheating Blondes" (1933) with Thelma Todd, Ralf Harolde, Inez Courtney, Milton Wallis, Mae Busch, and others. This is very contrived, though still quite enjoyable, involving two twin sisters (played by Thelma Todd) and the problems both get into, the one being married and pregnant when she has a dancing/singing/entertaining contract that forbids being married, let alone being pregnant, the other who's involved in a murder - or is she? It's pretty well done overall, and it gave Thelma Todd a good chance to prove she had leading material in her bones. Larry Darmour produced this [on the cheap], but that doesn't make it bad. Darmour may have been part of Poverty Row, but he produced a lot of really decent pictures. This is really pretty decent. Ralf Harolde plays an extremely unctuous - nay, oily - newspaper reporter who does at least get his in the end (not prison or death, but what he deserves anyway), although he's not a crud per se as he usually was in so many pictures, just an overwrought, egotistical, narcissistic busybody. Thelma's certainly worth the watch, and she's a really fine actress, though both of her characters here combined only add up to one challenging part. Still, for such a predictable plot, it's a fun watch. I was intrigued by watching Mae Busch - one of Hollywood's wild ones - because she looked tired, although her character needed some of that; but it didn't appear to take much make-up to create the aura of weariness. By the way, possibly the most interesting character of all (to a film buff) was the character played by Milton Wallis. He only appeared in this film alone according to the IMDb, but this little (less than 5' tall) guy has enormous charisma in every scene in which he appears. And, no, he didn't commit the murder...

Next up I watched a pretty good John Wayne "B" from 1934, "Randy Rides Alone" (1934), a film where the beginning is dynamite, but where the film plays out to anti-climactic predictability beginning with this outstanding beginning. Still, I'm a Wayne fan from way back, and this one was quite satisfying, especially George 'Gabby' Hayes who, here, plays two parts, one a good guy and one a bad guy, a really bad guy, too - all in black!! - although both of the characters are the same man - the bad guy... This one has Alberta Vaughn as the love interest, a lady who has about as much chemistry as an actress as two negatives trying to attract. She's not a bad actress, necessarily, just not anything charismatic at all. The other interest in this film is Yakima Canutt as 'Gabby' Hayes' assistant in crime, and he's as bad as it gets - character-wise. The guy probably did most of the stunts for all the others in the film, and that includes John Wayne - who he taught how to throw a punch on film - and it's been said that in many of these films you can watch him chase himself in some of the horseback chase scenes! Just for the record: the beginning of the film has Wayne riding alone down to a small valley town's saloon at the bottom of a rocky ravine area; getting to the bottom, tying up his horse; walking into the place and finding all of the patrons lying dead all over the place... Oh, and for the record, too, here comes the sheriff (played by none other than Earl Dwire who usually played all the bad guys wrapped into one in most of his many "B" Westerns) and his posse and they arrest Wayne for the murders! That's just how it begins... And then...

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Re: What is the last film you watched? (2016)

Unread post by drednm » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:15 am

Three Kids and a Queen (1935) is a Runyonesque story about a miserly old woman (May Robson) who dotes on her dog to the consternation of her slimy nephew. While riding in her carriage thru the park one day, a car hits the carriage and she is dumped on the road where some tenement kids find her. They bring her back to their squalid apartment and nurse her back to health. While recuperating the nephew declares that she has been kidnapped, which sets in motion several subplots. Robson is superb as the old lady who hasn't been photographed in 50 years (making in hard to locate her) and whose eccentricities may get her declared insane. Also among the film's delights are major roles for two great character actors: Henry Armetta as Tony and Herman Bing as his neighbor. Tony has collected a ragtag collection of orphans, the kids who find the old lady. Frankie Darro, Charlotte Henry, Billy Benedict, and Billy Burrud are the kids. Robson's character is likely patterned after the infamous Hetty Green. Also in the cast John Miljan, Hedda Hopper, Hale Hamilton, Ward Bond, Noel Madison, Tom Dugan, Spencer Charters, Lillian Harmer, Henry Kolker, and Irving Pichel.
Ed Lorusso
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