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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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TopBilled’s Essentials


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#201 TopBilled

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Posted 30 July 2016 - 02:11 PM

Essential: THE DIVORCE OF LADY X (1938)

 

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THE DIVORCE OF LADY X was released in North America by United Artists and was made by Alexander Korda’s London Films company. It boasts impressive Technicolor as well as elegant costuming and sets. It’s safe to say many films in 1938 were not this technically advanced. It had an American director, so its humor seems to translate well. Plus the cast was already becoming known in Hollywood productions– a group which includes Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon and Binnie Barnes.

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Olivier and Oberon would soon pair up again for a completely different type of film– Samuel Goldwyn’s adaptation of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. But in this picture, they are playing characters and a scenario that is about as far from Bronte as you can possibly imagine.

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It’s a shame Oberon wasn’t photographed more often in color during the 1930s and 1940s, when she was at her peak. Her complexion is absolutely flawless. And despite excessive dialogue, the scenes do move quick enough, thanks to the actress’s spirited line deliveries and her obvious chemistry with Olivier.

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Originally, third-billed Binnie Barnes played Oberon’s role in the first screen version of this story. It was called COUNSEL’S OPINION and hit screens five years earlier. Barnes proves how versatile a performer she is, relinquishing the lead and taking a supporting character part in this remake. In addition to Barnes’ presence in the two films, Korda makes sure both versions were given big budgets.

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As for Olivier, he’s quite charming in THE DIVORCE OF LADY X. He plays a divorce attorney who meets a lovely costume ball attendee (Oberon). They innocently share a room for one evening; but the next morning, things do not seem so innocent when he is led to believe she's married to his client. The client has a supposedly unfaithful wife (in reality, the woman played by Barnes). So what develops is a romantic intrigue taken to farcical extremes. It's all played to a tee by the film’s delightful stars.

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THE DIVORCE OF LADY X was directed by Tim Whelan. It can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#202 TopBilled

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:32 AM

I will be posting my third essential tomorrow. 

6441d-screen2bshot2b2016-07-272bat2b9-12It's such a good film. Hope everyone takes a look at it.


"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#203 TopBilled

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 11:25 AM

Essential: MY LOVE FOR YOURS (1939)

 

MY LOVE FOR YOURS is another charming romantic comedy from the late 1930s that people don’t know much about. It was originally released by Paramount under the title HONEYMOON IN BALI. It was one of five films that paired the studio’s leading man Fred MacMurray with British actress Madeleine Carroll.

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The theme of the film is one which might have resonated with a growing number of women at the time it was made. Carroll plays a single female executive at a big city department store. She begins to ask herself if a husband and a child are necessary for her to be happy. She turns to a window washer, a gal pal and a psychic for the answers. Helen Broderick is the wisecracking best friend; she has the best and funniest lines.

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The dialogue exposes sexist attitudes, but it seems to reinforce them, too. Allan Jones plays a rival suitor, someone who supports wives that work. But of course, we know she won’t pick him. She will pick macho MacMurray who expects his wife to be the stay-at-home type. As a direct contrast to this, there’s Osa Massen as a shallow debutante MacMurray knew back in Bali. She’s followed him to New York City. But is she serious competition for working woman Carroll?

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Carroll does an excellent job playing an icy businesswoman. She begins to thaw when she meets an orphaned girl named Rosie. There are pleasant diversions along the way– such as a musical scene performed by MacMurray; and an operatic selection by Jones. But the main focus is on the romance developing between the main characters, and how the little girl brings them closer together.

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The film’s story is bookended by two sequences involving the window washer (fourth-billed Akim Tamiroff), who serves as a Greek chorus of sorts. Near the end, Carroll has a heart-to-heart talk with him, and it causes her to make a life-altering decision. She does an honest-to-goodness reappraisal of her situation and realizes she has to go to Bali. For a honeymoon that will never end.

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MY LOVE FOR YOURS was directed by Edward H. Griffith. It can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#204 TopBilled

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 02:23 PM

I will be posting my second essential tomorrow. 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-07-22%2Bat%2B12.25.

It's such a good film. Hope everyone takes a look at it.


"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#205 TopBilled

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 09:48 AM

Essential: THE RAGE OF PARIS (1938)

 

I want to start with THE RAGE OF PARIS, because I feel it’s one people don’t know much know about. The picture’s stars make it must-see.

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Douglas Fairbanks Jr. is an expert when it comes to light-hearted material. A greater appraisal of his work in romantic comedies should be undertaken by someone. In 1938, he had a multi-picture deal at Universal. The studio assigned him roles in more than one genre, but his style works best in action yarns and love stories.

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The actress who plays opposite him in THE RAGE OF PARIS is French starlet Danielle Darrieux. As I write this, she is 99 and still living in France. Darrieux enjoyed a long and varied screen career. In 1938, she had already scored hits in her native country and was eager to try her luck in Hollywood. This was her first American production.

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What’s great about THE RAGE OF PARIS is how effortlessly Fairbanks and Darrieux play off each other. In their first scene together, she takes off her blouse (yes, it’s that kind of classic film)– she’s a model and thinks he might be interested in using her for a photo shoot. He has no intention of hiring her, but since she’s begun to expose herself to him, he allows her to continue. And he lets a few other men in the office look on. It’s not as sexist as it may seem. It’s all done very tastefully, and the point is that she’s charming and naive in a world of wolves, I mean men.

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Of course, we know these two characters are fated to fall in love with each other. But there are complications that get in the way of their blossoming relationship. Since she does not get hired to model, she must try to find another way to pay her rent and survive. Two older friends, played by Helen Broderick and Mischa Auer, help her snare a rich husband in the form of Louis Hayward. And the scheme seems to be succeeding, until Fairbanks re-enters her life and decides to sabotage her gold digging. Is it because he wants to help Hayward, or is it because he wants the girl for himself?

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Hollywood doesn’t make these kinds of movies anymore. Absent from screens are stories that present the lighter side of romance and uplift us as we watch them. It occurs to me how much skill goes into crafting a motion picture that is so airy and delectable. Other films are like heavy entrees. But this is a low-calorie confection, and sometimes we need these cinematic snacks to get us through the day.

 

THE RAGE OF PARIS was directed by Henry Koster. It can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#206 TopBilled

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 01:53 PM

I will be posting my first essential tomorrow. 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-07-15%2Bat%2B11.35.

It's such a good film. Hope everyone takes a look at it.


"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#207 TopBilled

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 01:31 PM

Starting next weekend, I am going to be reviewing at least one classic film per week in this thread. I invite others to join in and share their thoughts about the titles I will be discussing. My essentials will be slightly different than what you see on TCM. These will primarily be titles outside the Turner library though every now and then I may overlap with what TCM broadcasts. In 2017, I plan to explore themes that include serials, animation, non-English language films and low-budget classics. Here is my tentative schedule:

 

Theme for July 2016: 30s romantic comedies

 

Saturday July 16, 2016

THE RAGE OF PARIS (1938), starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr. & Danielle Darrieux. Studio/production company: Universal. Source: Amazon Prime.

 

Saturday July 23, 2016

MY LOVE FOR YOURS a.k.a. HONEYMOON IN BALI (1939), starring Fred MacMurray & Madeleine Carroll. Studio/production company: Paramount. Source: Amazon Prime.

 

Saturday July 30, 2016

THE DIVORCE OF LADY X (1938), starring Merle Oberon & Laurence Olivier. Studio/production company: London Films. Source: Amazon Prime.

 

Theme for August 2016: Joan Bennett produced by Walter Wanger

 

Saturday August 6, 2016

TRADE WINDS (1938), starring Fredric March & Joan Bennett. Studio/production company: United Artists/Walter Wanger Productions. Source: Amazon Prime.

 

Saturday August 13, 2016

VOGUES OF 1938 (1938), starring Warner Baxter & Joan Bennett. Studio/production company: United Artists/Walter Wanger Productions. Source: Amazon Prime.

 

Saturday August 20, 2016

THE HOUSE ACROSS THE BAY (1940), starring George Raft & Joan Bennett. Studio/production company: United Artists/Walter Wanger Productions. Source: Amazon Prime.

 

Saturday August 27, 2016

SCARLET STREET (1945), starring Edward G. Robinson & Joan Bennett. Studio/production company: Universal/Walter Wanger Productions. Source: Amazon Prime.


  • Jlewis and Barton_Keyes like this

"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.





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