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  1. 9 points
    One of my greatest gripes in this world is just how LITTLE there is out there about Universal Studios founder, Carl Laemmle. Not only did he start one of the biggest movie studios in the world, but he won a Supreme Court case against Thomas Edison, and saved hundreds of Jewish families from Europe during WWII by signing affidavits for them, and setting them up with homes and jobs in the United States. Still - outside of this forum, of course - so few people have ever heard of him! Last year I got the opportunity to be a part of Carl Laemmle, a documentary feature about his life, and it's FINALLY OUT! It's honestly really well done, and I promise I'm not just saying that because I'm in it It's playing at festivals around the country (and a few international screenings as well,) with more dates to be added. Below I talk a bit more about the movie and show the film's trailer. Hope you all find a city near you to watch it, and would love to know what you think!
  2. 7 points
    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter got some dates wrong.
  3. 7 points
    The Last Wagon (1956) - 7/10 CinemaScope western with Richard Widmark as "Comanche Todd", an accused murderer journeying with a wagon train to the next big town, where he'll be hanged. However, the caravan makes the mistake of entering the "Apache valley of death", and after most of the travelers are killed by hostile natives, it falls to Widmark to help the few young survivors complete their journey. Featuring Felicia Farr, Susan Kohner, Nick Adams, Tommy Rettig, Stephanie Griffin, Ray Stricklyn, Carl Benton Reid, Douglas Kennedy, Timothy Carey, and James Drury. The real star here is the gorgeous Sedona, Arizona locations, shot with an eye for scenic grandeur by cinematographer Wilfrid Cline.
  4. 7 points
    Donen also gave the best acceptance speech ever at the Academy Awards. On February 10, 1998, he received an honorary Oscar "in appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation." He proved the old saying: "Once a hoofer, always a hoofer."
  5. 6 points
    Reruns of Friends.
  6. 6 points
    One of the great directors has left us. His legacy includes so many great and beloved films, including the very enjoyable Bedazzled, which he produced and directed. Of his musical films, I'm particularly fond of Damn Yankees and The Pajama Game, on which he collaborated with George Abbott. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/feb/23/stanley-donen-director-singin-in-the-rain-dies
  7. 6 points
    The Burglar (1957) - 7/10 Low-budget crime drama with Dan Duryea as the leader of a small gang of thieves who steal a valuable necklace. While they lay low and wait for the heat to die down, they start coming apart at the seams, not the least of which is due to the presence of Duryea's surrogate little sister Jayne Mansfield. Also featuring Martha Vickers, Peter Capell, Mickey Shaughnessy, and Stewart Bradley. This was shot in '55 but languished on the shelf until Mansfield's star started to rise and it finally saw release. I liked it, despite its many rough edges. First-time director Paul Wendkos shows a lot of inventiveness, and the script is more sexually frank than most at the time.
  8. 6 points
    I figured somebody must have said something bad about Hot Spell.
  9. 6 points
    I guess when somebody does what they enjoy, becomes a master at their craft , and ends up by being loved and respected by audiences and professionals alike, passing away at 94 should be a celebration of their life and not of sadness. When I was a kid, I loved all kinds of movies, except one...musicals. Why? I don't know msybe I just never saw any I liked. One day, when I was about 14 or 15 that all changed when stumbled into the world of Stanley Donen. I had gone to a double feature and in order to see the film I came for had to sit through SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. I was awestruck at how enjoyable and fun a really good musical could be. That started my life-long love of musicals. By now, I've seen all of his films, some many times, but each time I see one again, I remember that day I first saw SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS and how that started it all for me. Thank you Stanly Donen!
  10. 6 points
    Crime Wave (1953) Masterpiece of L.A. Location Noir The first time I saw Crime Wave I saw something done so well that it became a favorite, it was that memorable. Crime Wave not only has some spectacular on location day and night cinematography but it also has a interesting and compelling story with both the leads and character actors to do it justice. Directed by André De Toth (Pitfall (1948)). The film's screenplay was written by Cane Wilbur from an adaptation by Bernard Gordon and Richard Wormser of Criminal's Mark, a story by John and Ward Hawkins. The films cinematography was by Bert Glennon (Red Light (1949), and the music was by David Buttolph. The film stars Sterling Hayden as toothpick chewing hard boiled Det. Lt. Sims. Gene Nelson (who also appeared in Transitional "Tail Fin" Noir 20,000 Eyes (1961)) as ex con Steve Lacey. Phyllis Kirk (House Of Wax (1953)) as his wife Ellen Lacey. Charles Bronson (Death Wish (1974)) as Ben Hastings, four Classic Film Noir vet Jay Novello as Dr. Otto Hessler, Ned Young as Gat Morgan, James Bell as Daniel O'Keefe, Dub Taylor as the Doris Day loving gas station attendant Gus Snider, Fritz Feld as Jess the bandaged man at City Hall. Hank Worden, made a living from Westerns and was memorable as quite a character from many John Ford/John Wayne Westerns usually playing an off the wall "not quite right in the head" hombre. He was in Film Noir appearing mostly in bit parts, Undercurrent (1946), High Wall (1947), Cover Up (1949), and Neo Noir Hammett (1982). In Crime Wave he is Sweeney, Steve's seemingly speech impediment challenged boss, at the Grand Central aircraft repair company. Worden's last role was in Twin Peaks TV Series (1990–1991). Timothy Carey, plays a more modern Worden contemporary, crazy grinning prototypical beatnik Johnny Haslett he's the scary type with a perpetual leer that explodes into a ___ eating grin, completely 180 from the loveable Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver) of six years later. This is a great late period quickly paced Noir shot in crisp Black and White that hits on all cylinders. The acting by the cast is riveting. A must film for any Film Noir collection. The use of The City Of Angels circa 1953 for both exterior and (in the case of City Hall) interior shots make it highly valuable as a time capsule of what used to be. We get Glendale, Burbank, Chinatown, the Gas Works, Owl Drugs and Union Station to boot. After watching these on location Films Noir, The Naked City (1948) New York City, Call Northside 777 (1948), Chicago, The Third Man (1949) Vienna, Act Of Violence (1949) Los Angeles, Night And The City (1950) London, Crime Wave (1953) Los Angeles, Rififi (1955) Paris, Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Los Angeles , The Lineup (1958) San Francisco, Two Men In Manhattan (1959) New York City, it's harder to believe the old backlot sets. They just can't substitute for reality. This is jarringly displayed in 1965's The Money Trap where the location shoots and what looks like a NYC street set filling in for a Los Angeles ghetto set look as if they are parts of two different movies. Bunker Hill Hollywood's seedy ready made ghetto location was being demolished in the 60's. Anyway watch Crime Wave for the various vignettes of suspects being booked, the dispatch room, the Chinatown dive flop where Timothy Carey uses a box top for an ersatz lamp shade with a drop cord plug, class. All this attention to the details by De Toth and crew makes this film something special. Included on the Warner DVD is a not to miss commentary track by Eddie Muller and James Ellroy. 10/10 Fuller review with some screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster pages
  11. 6 points
    Dodge City (1939) Grade "A" Technicolor Warner Brothers western which the studio used to introduce Errol Flynn to the genre. Flynn was concerned that with his accent audiences wouldn't accept him as a cowboy. He needed have worried, for the film would be one of the biggest box office hits of its year, and the studio would periodically cast the actor in seven other westerns over the next decade. Michael Curtiz is in peak form, this being the kind of large scale film he loved to direct. While the story is ordinary and cliche ridden (a two fisted cattleman becomes sheriff of the wild and woolley Dodge City to bring peace to its streets) everything is presented on a big scale. The film begins with a race between a stagecoach and a train, well shot by Curtiz and beautifully edited. It's an exciting opening to the film. There will later be such familiar incidents as a cattle stampede, a massive saloon brawl, an angry crowd taking the law into its own hands and a shootout on a train. But all are presented in such lavish style that you can forgive the familiarity of it all. The saloon brawl, in particular, is on such a lavish scale (and, remember, in vibrant Technicolor) that it must be ranked as a classic of its kind. In fact, the studio would use clips from this brawl to include in a number of their other westerns over the years. It must have been a massive casting call for stunt men, with crashing tables and chairs, in a free for all brawl that must last the better part of five screen minutes (I didn't time it). Ironically hero Flynn is no where to be seen in this sequence. Curtiz has a field day here, as do the stunt men. The supporting cast is an impressive one, headed by Olivia de Havilland. As per some of their previous films together Errol and Olivia do not get off to a good start in this one. But we know it will be a matter of time before the Flynn charm will work its magic upon her. The two actors do, in fact, share a charming sequence in which they stop to rest in the grass after going horseback riding together. The chemistry between the two actors is potent, Flynn indulges in some charming Irish blarney and it's the kind of light hearted romantic scene that audiences then expected of the pair. The rest of the cast features Bruce Cabot and Victor Jory among the bad guys that run the town, Frank McHugh as a newspaper editor who will hire Olivia as an assistant (Flynn has a now politically incorrect moment when he tells Olivia she should be home sewing buttons on some man's shirt instead), a disappointingly wasted Ann Sheridan as a dance hall girl, along with Alan Hale and "Big Boy" Guinn Williams as Flynn sidekicks, the first of three westerns in which they would be so cast. Alan Hale, in particular, has a great scene stealing performance in this film, with an abundance of humour mixed in. One of the highlight scenes has Hale, as a "reformed" man speaking before a temperance league of the town's women while the sounds of the film's big saloon brawl can be heard next door through the wall. When the wall finally breaks down, as the fight invades the temperance meeting, the "reformed" Hale lets out an excited holler and eagerly joins in the fisticuffs. This is an undemanding fantasy Hollywood western, with Flynn always looking perfect in beautifully costumed clothes. The actor is still convincing as a man of action, however, and it is clear from this film that he knew how to ride a horse. Bottom line: if unexceptional, Dodge City is still a fun film. SPOILER ALERT: Perhaps the screenwriters were running out of ideas when it came to the film's climax set aboard a train. Good guys Flynn and Hale are taking prisoner bad guy Victor Jory to another town for justice there when chief villain Bruce Cabot shows up to get Jory back. There's a shootout, a fire starts and Cabot and Jory leap on a pair of horses brought by other gang members riding alongside the train outside to make an escape. This is where it gets dumb. The bad guys on their horses ride in the same direction that the train is travelling! This gives Flynn and Hale the opportunity to shoot them off their horses (which they do)! A suggestion to future bad guys: the next time you're going to escape by horse from a train ride the animals in the opposite direction from which the train is travelling. That way the good guys won't have the chance to blow you out of your saddles! "I can't believe these dummies are riding along with the train. Target practice time!" 3 out of 4
  12. 6 points
    Well, Stanley Donen may be the last major figure of the Arthur Freed MGM musical unit to die. A fine dancer and director himself, he sublimated his own career and ego to make possible those legendary musicals by Gene Kelly. Stanley Donen will never get the credit that he deserves for " On the Town", "Singin' in the Rain "or "It's Always Fair Weather". But as he went on in his career to prove that he was, indeed, a major force in those Gene Kelly accomplishments and in the MGM Freed unit, he showed a profound skill and diversity in his Cinema. One of the most interesting Freed Unit musicals there ever was, wasn't produced at MGM. Stanley Donen and producer Roger Edens took the Freed unit to Paramount to make "Funny Face" because Fred Astaire wanted Audrey Hepburn and that's where Audrey was. Actually they took everyone to Paris, even Kay Thompson. LOL Gene Kelly has the reputation, and rightfully so, for being a French speaker and a knowledgeable afcionado and participant in French culture. But it was Stanley Donen who twice photographed Paris beautifully in 2 films: "Charade" and "Funny Face". He showed not just how skillfully he could select cinematic locations, but also how well he knew Paris in order to give the audience the sensational feeling of actually being there. When I first saw these films as a child, they made me want to go to Paris. I finally got there as a young adult. I was shocked to see how realistic and how brilliant Stanley Donen's work had been. Speaking of Stanley Donen's love of French culture, his last musical was a very sweet tribute to the most beloved children's book for adults in French literature, " Le Petit Prince " by Antoine St. Exupery. Unfortunately this beautiful film did not have wide distribution, but it was somewhat of a wrap for Donen because he was actually directing Bob Fosse-- the choreographer of "Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees" in a movie-- and it was the last collaboration for Lerner and Loewe. Alan Jay Lerner had been an important part of the Freed Unit, as both Lyricist and Screenwriter. He wrote lyrics for Donen's First direction of Fred Astaire, "Royal Wedding". So the next time you see "Singin' in the Rain" and you're applauding Gene Kelly, don't forget to give a little silent Bravo to the man who was behind the camera trying to get it all right.
  13. 6 points
    His switch to the genre of suspense/thrillers was impressive. "Charade" (1963), which starred Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, has been called "the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made."
  14. 6 points
    HIS FULL DIRECTOR'S CREDITS from imdb: Note: each of these titles is a link, so if you click on it, it will take you to the film's corresponding imdb page. Another Note: seriously, how many filmmakers would be lucky as Hell to have JUST ONE of these titles to their name? Director (32 credits) 2003 The Lionel Richie Collection (Video documentary) (video "Dancing on the Ceiling") 1999 Love Letters (TV Movie) 1986 Moonlighting (TV Series) (1 episode) - Big Man on Mulberry Street (1986) ... (musical number) 1986 Lionel Richie: Dancing on the Ceiling (Video short) 1984 Blame It on Rio 1980 Saturn 3 1978 Movie Movie 1975 Lucky Lady 1974 The Little Prince 1969 Staircase 1967 Bedazzled 1967 Two for the Road 1966 Arabesque 1963 Charade 1960 The Grass Is Greener 1960 Surprise Package 1960 Once More, with Feeling! 1958 Damn Yankees 1958 Indiscreet 1957 Kiss Them for Me 1957 The Pajama Game 1957 Funny Face 1955 Kismet (fill-in director - uncredited) 1955 It's Always Fair Weather 1954 Deep in My Heart 1954 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 1953 Give a Girl a Break 1952 Fearless Fagan 1952 Singin' in the Rain 1952 Love Is Better Than Ever 1951 Royal Wedding 1949 On the Town
  15. 5 points
    The Strange One (1957) - 6/10 Amusingly over-heated military school drama featuring Ben Gazzara as an upperclassman who bullies and torments his classmates. Eventually his antics go too far, and the others begin to turn against him. Also featuring George Peppard, Pat Hingle, Arthur Storch, Paul E. Richards, Larry Gates, Julie Wilson, James Olson, Peter Mark Richman, Geoffrey Horne, and Clifton James. Gazzara, Peppard and Wilson all made their film debuts here. The film was presented in conjunction with the Actors Studio, with all cast and crew being members of that organization. Based on Calder Willingham's novel and play End as a Man, this film adaptation had to tamp down the more overt homosexual themes present, but they are still there, and some aren't hidden very much. The character played by Paul E. Richards (an actor that looks like the love child of John Cassavetes and Jerry Lewis) is clearly meant to be gay, and his interactions with Gazzara have a lot of blatant symbolism, like Ben fondling and polishing his sword while Richards gazes on admiringly, or a group shower scene with Richards being the one guy wearing a shower cap. There's also a lot of talk about gag reflexes, Gazzara shoving rubber tubes down guys' throats, and spanking guys with a broom. The film's chief flaw is with Arthur Storch, playing a very over-the-top buffoonish character wearing coke-bottle glasses, ill-fitting fake buck-teeth, and overdoing it to a degree that nearly every scene he's in is ruined. I can't blame Storch, who played the role on stage as well, as much as director Jack Garfein, who should have seen that this wouldn't play well on screen. In the end, I felt this was a seriously flawed film, but worth seeing for those interested in off-beat 50's cinema and boundary-pushing subject matter. On a side note, Roger Corman's Sorority Girl, released this same year and one that I watched this morning, was an unofficial adaptation of the same play, with the setting and genders changed.
  16. 5 points
    The show limped to a tepid, budget-limited conclusion last night. The main girl character, when finally unloading on her grandfather* Dr. Hodel, tells him that while he thinks he's making high art, he's just "boring, a cliche." I couldn't have described the show better myself.
  17. 5 points
    Sounds more to me like what's been pretty much de rigueur for corporate entities for ages now. And that being that they hire some previously extremely overpaid twerp that headed another corporate entity and usually to mixed at best or even poorer results (and very often from a completely different industry) to run the show for a while, and then give HIM a fantastic golden parachute package when HE leaves. (...and all under the guise of "Corporate Restructuring")
  18. 5 points
    Sunday, March 3 10 p.m. The Heiress (1949). Olivia de Havilland is sensational in this.
  19. 5 points
    Essential: HITLER'S MADMAN (1943) The background for this motion picture is quite interesting, maybe more interesting than the film itself. It's an excellent piece of anti-Nazi propaganda. It's a "B" film, turned out by personnel from poverty row studio PRC. Some of the people were top-tier filmmakers in Germany such as cinematographer Eugen Schufftan, and of course, director Douglas Sirk. So despite the low budget, it's made by very competent craftsmen. MGM boss Louis Mayer liked it so much that he bought it from the original financiers, when they were looking for a distributor. This delayed its release into theaters, since Mayer wanted a some scenes reshot and a few more added. And also, this meant a film made on a shoestring suddenly had its budget expanded, and the end result is something I'd call a B+ (or A-) picture. Sirk, Schufftan, and one of the original producers (Seymour Nebenzal) were Germans in exile, and they depict the Nazis in a more realistic way than other films covering the same ground. The people of Lidice, Czechoslovakia are presented realistically too-- the entire village of Lidice was wiped out by the Nazis. When the Nazis gained power in Eastern Europe and took over neighboring countries, they would station "protectors" over newly acquired regions. These high-ranking officials reported to Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himler. Underneath them, there were other officials and town mayors. In this case, the mayor of Lidice is a man who has turned on his people and sworn allegiance to The Fuhrer. Mayor Bauer (Ludwig Stossel) is presented as a fat buffoon who doesn't really have his people in line. And this will cause problems a short time later. The protectors would usually drive through the various regions under their control and if something seemed off to them, the mayor and local police would be notified. One day the protector of this region, Reinhard Heydrich (John Carradine), notices a religious assembly in Lidice. His vehicle stops, he hops out with his men, and they confront the local priest and townsfolk. Heydrich in angry, because the people do not have a permit to gather in public like this. During a quarrel with the priest, whom Heydrich is trying to provoke, the priest is shot and killed. This is the first real violence in the area. Heydrich plans to drive back through the village the next morning to see if the mayor has gotten the people back in line. Before Heydrich appears, life is rather idyllic. The people of Lidice may be under German control, but their way of life has not changed drastically. A resistance fighter named Karel (Alan Curtis) shows up; he's a Czech who's been working with American and British allies in England. He is reunited with his girlfriend Jarmilla (Patricia Morison), and he tries to convince her father Jan (Ralph Morgan) to resist the Nazis. It isn't until Heydrich kills the priest that Jan and the townsfolk realize they need to take a stand against the Nazi regime. The mayor's wife also sides with them, because her two sons were killed on the Russian front fighting for the Fuhrer, which upsets her terribly. In real life Reinhard Heydrich was ambushed along a road outside Lidice. Sirk's film depicts that, though I think he's taken dramatic license with some of it. This version has Karel's girlfriend Jarmilla ride a bike into the middle of the road to slow down Heydrich's jeep, so that Karel and Jan can get off a few good shots with their rifles. The real life ambush did not involve any women, and Heydrich's death occurred much quicker. The movie drags it out for maximum dramatic effect. Before Heydrich dies, we see Karel run off with Jarmilla; then Jarmilla is shot and killed by Nazi soldiers in the woods. After their love story concludes, we have a lengthy death scene for Heydrich. Just before Heydrich finally goes to that big swastika in the sky, Himler arrives to see him. The movie fails to include an interesting fact about Heydrich's death, such as how he refused to let local Czech doctors treat his injuries, since he felt they were inferior to German doctors. After Heydrich dies, the last ten minutes are devoted to a bloody reprisal against the village of Lidice. During a comical phone call with Hitler, Himler decides to avenge Heydrich's murder by destroying the entire village. The atrocities committed against the people of Lidice are staggering. Although HITLER'S MADMAN was produced during the production code era, the firing squad scenes are rather graphic. Probably because the film had been originally made at PRC. If the story had started at MGM with an American director, my guess is it would have been much tamer, more sanitized. The scenes of mass death, and the fires that level the village are expertly staged, and the movie ends on a very somber note. However, the final sequence is also presented as something meant to inspire audiences. Where moviegoers should want to carry on and fight the Nazis on behalf of those who were slaughtered that day, the 10th of June 1942, in Lidice. A few things crossed my mind when I watched HITLER'S MADMAN. First, I don't think the Nazis and their underlings were ever really buffoons. I'd say they were very brutal, very calculating. Their eradicating a village was an extreme act that was in every way imaginable, a deliberate (and in their minds, justifiable) measure. Second, Sirk had actually met Heydrich once in the early 1930s, so it's interesting that he ended up becoming a "biographer" of Heydrich through the art of motion pictures; one German denouncing another. Third, the event occurred early during America's involvement in the war. Americans entered the war in December 1941. The massacre of Lidice took place just six months later, and there would be another three years before Hitler and Himler were brought down. Fourth, it's a powerful film that must have been very shocking for audiences, particularly the final sequence. It's powerful and shocking to watch now, all these years later. Fifth, I think there is still a lot of radical militant behavior occurring in the world today, some of it in our own country; so this movie and the legacy of Lidice is just as relevant as ever. And finally, I think this is a movie you have to watch with all other distractions drowned out. It's something where you have to embrace the propaganda, yet put it into perspective, but also realize the deeper message about the value of human life. The Nazis wanted to remove all traces of Lidice. But Sirk's film helps Lidice live. And if you watch HITLER'S MADMAN and absorb its message, you will be helping Lidice live. HITLER'S MADMAN may currently be viewed on YouTube, and it airs occasionally on TCM.
  20. 5 points
    Leaving Filmstruck‏ @LeavingFilmstrk 23h23 hours ago One more @tcm plug: four Saturdays starting next Saturday TCM will show Flash Gordon at at 9:30a et/6:30a pt. My brother and I used to watch Saturday mornings when I was kid a long time ago.
  21. 5 points
    Istanbul (1957) - 6/10 Remake of Singapore (1947), with the location changed, obviously. Errol Flynn stars as a former US Army pilot who returns to the title locale after a long absence. He had been mixed up with smugglers, which resulted in the death of his girlfriend (Cornell Borchers), only he learns that she's still alive, but suffering from amnesia and now married. Also featuring Martin Benson, Torin Thatcher, Werner Klemperer, Leif Erickson, Peggy Knudsen, Vladimir Sokoloff, and Nat King Cole. Flynn looks tired, and the material is a bit too muddled, but I've seen worse, and the supporting cast is interesting. Cole sings "When I Fall in Love". With the exception of the presumed-lost Murder at Monte Carlo (1935), Istanbul was the final Errol Flynn movie that I had not seen.
  22. 5 points
    You microwave plastic containers? You make mashed potatoes in the microwave? You make hot dogs in a crock pot? And turkey hot dogs? It all sounds very un-American.
  23. 5 points
    'Triumph of the Will' by Leni Rifenstahl. They didn't triumph.
  24. 5 points
    HUH??? Wait a sec here, Eric! As far as I know, Fosse was an "avid" heterosexual and who, as they say, "couldn't keep it in his pants". So, how exactly is a story about HIM "not aimed at heterosexual audiences" here, Eric? OH, wait! It's because this thing'll be about a Broadway DANCER and CHOREOGRAPHER would be the reason why you said what you said here, isn't it. And yeeeeeah, and we "all know" that a story about THAT kind'a thing wouldn't have any appeal to anyone who isn't, as they also USED to say, "is a little light in the loafers", huh. (...well then, I must be "a little light in the loafers" myself, and 'cause I'M lookin' forward to seein' this thing, anyway)
  25. 5 points
    POLITICO‏Verified accou@politico Schiff: 'We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify' if report not made public https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/24/adam-schiff-mueller-report-1182516

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