We're excited to present a great new set of boards to classic movie fans with tons of new features, stability, and performance.

If you’re new to the message boards, please “Register” to get started. If you want to learn more about the new boards, visit our FAQ.

Register

If you're a returning member, start by resetting your password to claim your old display name using your email address.

Re-Register

Thanks for your continued support of the TCM Message Boards.

X

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.

X

Jump to content


Photo

TopBilled’s Essentials


  • Please log in to reply
353 replies to this topic

#201 Jlewis

Jlewis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 16 February 2017 - 04:39 PM

It is the phase you are going through. The religious aspect, that is. Ha ha! So was everybody in 1939 too, with war clouds on the horizon.

 

Although Leo McCarey did a great job remaking his own film scene by scene with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, I feel that black and white suits this story much better than color and CinemaScope, especially since TCM aired a Museum of Modern Art print that was vastly superior than so many public domain prints (even if there were plenty of scratches that could have been digitally fixed). RKO could easily import shots from the many older RKO-Pathé travelogues (and they had a plenty of material stretching the decades through their Pathé material) more successfully with studio created shots of Madeira. (Only MGM's Jimmy FitzPatrick had it covered in Technicolor one year prior to this time.) Also the matte work looked quite realistic in the scenes of the pair leaving grandmother and her waving at them from the distance. The sets of her house and garden are pretty much the same in both films almost as if they were recycled, but they appear more realistic in monochrome. Can't place my finger on why exactly. Despite how many great CinemaScope travelogues 20th Century Fox was putting out in the fifties that could be incorporated in many of their features (like Three Coins In the Fountain and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing), An Affair To Remember feels rather stage-bound.



#202 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 16 February 2017 - 03:56 PM

The movie is also quite religious in tone, compared to other non De Mille films of that decade. The whole "nearest thing to heaven" line relating to the Empire State echoes how they first "fell in love" inside grandma's chapel and she does the sign of the cross, while he is a bit more awkward imitating her. After all, he hadn't acknowledged his religious side since he was an altar boy.

 

The only parts that date a bit for me are the nauseatingly cute kids, although they aren't as icky as An Affair to Remember. One plus is that 1930s-40s films are interracial in children's groupings, unlike 1950s Mickey Mouse Club whiter-than-Wonder-Bread. The "Our Gang" series made racial mixing acceptable for two decades, but things became a trifle more segregated post-war despite progress by Stanley Kramer and Sidney Poiter.

 

I like the religious tone of it; it appeals to me. The kids are very cute and I am sure audiences in 1939 thought so too. Schmaltz in a good way.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#203 Jlewis

Jlewis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:01 PM

I watched LOVE AFFAIR again. There's a wonderful shot where she reads in the newspaper he didn't marry the other woman (meaning he's free to be with her) and she steps out on to the balcony-- as the door slowly swings open we see a reflection of the Empire State building in the glass, signifying the pre-arranged meeting place for them. These artistic touches, along with Irene Dunne's sensitive acting, really help to put this film over.

 

I like that scene. Also HE gets a companion shot while working on the billboard painting, only the camera just moves to the Empire State instead of just being reflected in a window. That scene reminded me of several other movies, but the only one I can think of, off hand, is dreamy Janet Leigh in Bye Bye Birdie leaning on a doorway and no reflection there. This is after she and Dick Van Dyke "consummate" their relationship after he rescued her from the Turks Men Club.

 

Lots of Empire background shots in The Lost Weekend preceding that movie as well.

 

The movie is also quite religious in tone, compared to other non De Mille films of that decade. The whole "nearest thing to heaven" line relating to the Empire State echoes how they first "fell in love" inside grandma's chapel and she does the sign of the cross, while he is a bit more awkward imitating her. After all, he hadn't acknowledged his religious side since he was an altar boy.

 

The only parts that date a bit for me are the nauseatingly cute kids, although they aren't as icky as An Affair to Remember. One plus is that 1930s-40s films are interracial in children's groupings, unlike 1950s Mickey Mouse Club whiter-than-Wonder-Bread. The "Our Gang" series made racial mixing acceptable for two decades, but things became a trifle more segregated post-war despite progress by Stanley Kramer and Sidney Poiter.


  • TopBilled likes this

#204 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 16 February 2017 - 01:43 PM

I watched LOVE AFFAIR again. There's a wonderful shot where she reads in the newspaper he didn't marry the other woman (meaning he's free to be with her) and she steps out on to the balcony-- as the door slowly swings open we see a reflection of the Empire State building in the glass, signifying the pre-arranged meeting place for them. These artistic touches, along with Irene Dunne's sensitive acting, really help to put this film over.


  • Jlewis likes this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#205 Jlewis

Jlewis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:45 PM

You'll have to remind us of Love Letters later. Ha ha!

 

Initially I posted that I had no clue when that one was being aired. Then I read your post below and saw it for April.


  • TopBilled and rayban like this

#206 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:07 PM

TCM is airing Love Affair tonight (9:45 Eastern Standard Time). Yes, this is the 1939 version without Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr or The Beatty couple.

 

Thanks for the reminder, Jlewis!


  • rayban likes this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#207 Jlewis

Jlewis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:01 PM

TCM is airing Love Affair tonight (9:45 Eastern Standard Time). Yes, this is the 1939 version without Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr or The Beatty couple.


  • TopBilled and rayban like this

#208 Jlewis

Jlewis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 11 February 2017 - 12:40 PM

Only saw it once ages ago and I do agree with your opinions. It is flawed but interesting as a relic of its era. I struggle a bit seeing Cotten "romantic" due to so many typecast roles in dramas and crime situations, not to mention all of his radio work in serious material (Suspense included).


  • TopBilled and rayban like this

#209 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 11 February 2017 - 11:50 AM

Essential: LOVE LETTERS (1945)

 

A lot can be said for romantic films of the 1940s, especially ones made at the end of the war. In this Paramount classic, the focus is on a soldier’s ability to readjust to life on the home front. It features two of David Selznick’s stars (and probably a lot of his input). Joseph Cotten plays the soldier who is thrust into an uncertain future when he goes back to England after international battles end.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-3-13-34-pm.png


Of course he quickly discovers there are newer types of battles, and they rage inside his heart. He is deeply connected to Victoria Morland (Jennifer Jones), a girl he was writing letters to while he was away. In a clever psychological reworking of Rostand’s ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ screenwriter Ayn Rand shows us Cotten has written the letters on behalf of another, less poetic, war buddy. When Cotten goes home, he learns the buddy died but not until after he had married Victoria. All did not go well in the marriage, because the other man was a phony, not the one she had fallen in love with while Cotten was pouring out his innermost feelings from somewhere in Italy.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-3-15-10-pm.png


Rand’s script relies on more than one coincidence to bring it all together. After Cotten has been mustered out, he goes to a party and meets a girl named Singleton. She just so happens to be the widowed Victoria, but she became an amnesiac when her husband was fatally stabbed. We learn in a very skillfully photographed flashback how she went on trial and was found guilty, though she had no recollection of the killing or about herself. At first Cotten doesn’t know Singleton is the girl who received his letters, and then when he does find out, it becomes a matter of her realizing who she is and how her whole being is connected with his. Before we get to the resolution, she is prone to fits of hysteria.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-3-14-55-pm.png


Critics of the day were not too kind to the film, but audiences loved it. It became a huge hit for the studio and its stars. Jennifer Jones, on the heels of her Oscar triumph for SONG OF BERNADETTE, received another nomination. In particular Bosley Crowther found fault with her performance, calling it fatuous (silly or contrived). I would agree with Crowther to a point, but only when Jones is trying to show the girlish innocence of the character. I think the dramatic scenes, where she has to summon more adult courage and a wiser perspective, are exemplary. Cotten for his part is fairly solid, though I don’t think he totally invests himself in the material. Cecil Kellaway does an outstanding job as the caretaker of the house; and so does Ann Richards who plays a well-meaning friend of the couple.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-11-29-31-am.jp


While it is not a perfect film, it succeeds in combining the more terrifying elements of post-war readjustment– not only for the men who are returning, but also the women they return to. Both main characters in the story have a duality that puts them on a mutual path of healing. Like Rostand’s Cyrano, the mask has to come off and love has to be followed to the letter.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-11-30-37-am.jp


LOVE LETTERS was directed by William Dieterle and is scheduled to air on TCM on April 7th.


  • Jlewis and rayban like this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#210 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 10 February 2017 - 01:45 PM

I will be reviewing my thirty-first essential tomorrow.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-11-32-22-am.jp

 

Check back.


  • rayban likes this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#211 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 05:59 PM

Madame Ouspenskaya is also very effective in "The Rains Came".

 

Yes, that's another one. She's also wonderful in two Republic Pictures she made after the war-- as a patroness of the arts in I'VE ALWAYS LOVED YOU and as an old world grandmother out west in WYOMING.


  • rayban likes this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#212 rayban

rayban

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,081 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 05:14 PM

Re: Madame Ouspenskaya-- it had been about a year since I had seen LOVE AFFAIR. And it's funny how one's memory works. I could have sworn the segment when they got off the boat and visited with her at the villa was at least a half hour, like a full third of the movie. But when I re-watched it a few days ago, I realized it's a much shorter segment. But she's such a tremendous character actress, making so much of so little, that she sort of looms over the rest of the movie. At the end, he tells Dunne that his grandmother died and gives her something the grandmother wanted her to have. It almost feels like the old woman's spirit is hovering nearby, making sure they reunite.

 

Another good performance by her is the role she has in BEYOND TOMORROW, where she is once again guiding a romantic couple, played by Richard Carlson and Jean Parker. But that time she has help from Charles Winninger, Harry Carey and C. Aubrey Smith. 

Madame Ouspenskaya is also very effective in "The Rains Came".


  • Jlewis and TopBilled like this

"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#213 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 02:02 PM

... but she couldn't save Lon Chaney Jr. from becoming The Wolf Man. 

 

No. She couldn't help that poor soul!


  • Jlewis and rayban like this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#214 Jlewis

Jlewis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 12:19 PM

... but she couldn't save Lon Chaney Jr. from becoming The Wolf Man. :(


  • TopBilled and rayban like this

#215 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 12:13 PM

We also have Judi Dench in Shakespeare In Love. Yet maybe that Oscar was technically for her costume "modeling".

 

Re: Madame Ouspenskaya-- it had been about a year since I had seen LOVE AFFAIR. And it's funny how one's memory works. I could have sworn the segment when they got off the boat and visited with her at the villa was at least a half hour, like a full third of the movie. But when I re-watched it a few days ago, I realized it's a much shorter segment. But she's such a tremendous character actress, making so much of so little, that she sort of looms over the rest of the movie. At the end, he tells Dunne that his grandmother died and gives her something the grandmother wanted her to have. It almost feels like the old woman's spirit is hovering nearby, making sure they reunite.

 

Another good performance by her is the role she has in BEYOND TOMORROW, where she is once again guiding a romantic couple, played by Richard Carlson and Jean Parker. But that time she has help from Charles Winninger, Harry Carey and C. Aubrey Smith. 


  • rayban likes this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#216 Jlewis

Jlewis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 12:05 PM

We also have Judi Dench in Shakespeare In Love. Yet maybe that Oscar was technically for her costume "modeling".


  • TopBilled and rayban like this

#217 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 12:00 PM

 

More lovable than she was in Dodsworth obviously.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-1-58-44-pm.png

 

Yes, a totally different type of character. She isn't in the chapel, so her 12 minutes of screen time is more like 10 minutes if we subtract the chapel scene. I wonder if that's a record for the least amount of screen time for a nominee.


  • Jlewis and rayban like this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#218 Jlewis

Jlewis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,710 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 11:48 AM

More lovable than she was in Dodsworth obviously.

 


 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-1-58-44-pm.png


Madame Maria Ouspenskaya is cast as the grandmother, and she’s charming. She has only 12 minutes of screen time but does such a spectacular job, she would wind up nominated for a Supporting Actress Oscar. (Dunne was also nominated for her lead role, and altogether the film earned six nominations in various categories.) The segment where the couple visits Ouspenskaya takes the story in a new direction. They go to a little chapel to pray, and it is clear they are friends who feel there is something more between them now– as though a higher power has ordained it.

 

 

 


  • TopBilled likes this

#219 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 04 February 2017 - 11:37 AM

Essential: LOVE AFFAIR (1939)

 

For a month of films focusing on classic stories of the heart, I could think of no finer motion picture to start with than Leo McCarey’s 1939 version of LOVE AFFAIR. He would go on to direct the remake almost twenty years later– but the original seems to be a real favorite with viewers and probably is the definitive one.
 

a592c-screen2bshot2b2016-08-102bat2b5-41


Irene Dunne and her leading man, Charles Boyer, cited LOVE AFFAIR as their personal best, and both were in a lot of classic films. They costarred in another production a few months later when they were featured in a romance drama at Universal, probably meant to cash in on the success of the first pairing; and then Columbia teamed them up for a romantic comedy. But as good as their other collaborations might be, it’s the special magic they share in McCarey’s picture that everyone remembers.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-1-59-35-pm.png


The characters they portray meet rather casually on board a luxury liner heading for America. They each have significant careers, and they have other romantic commitments. So they aren’t looking for love. During the cruise they get to know one other and develop a warm friendship. There’s a stopover at a port where Boyer gets off to see his grandmother. He bumps into Dunne outside the ship, and she decides to go with him. They only have four hours, and they will make a little adventure out of it.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-1-58-44-pm.png


Madame Maria Ouspenskaya is cast as the grandmother, and she’s charming. She has only 12 minutes of screen time but does such a spectacular job, she would wind up nominated for a Supporting Actress Oscar. (Dunne was also nominated for her lead role, and altogether the film earned six nominations in various categories.) The segment where the couple visits Ouspenskaya takes the story in a new direction. They go to a little chapel to pray, and it is clear they are friends who feel there is something more between them now– as though a higher power has ordained it.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-1-58-03-pm.png


I won’t spoil the plot anymore. It wouldn’t be fair if someone reading this hasn’t seen the film yet. But the beauty of these early scenes deepens as the story unfolds. There are some melodramatic contrivances when they arrive in New York. For awhile, it looks as though their love is not meant to be. But of course, we know their hearts have to overcome any possible obstacles. The ending is truly satisfying. There’s a reason it’s been remade, and why other films reference it. That's because it’s an affair for the ages.
 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-1-56-18-pm.png


LOVE AFFAIR can be streamed on Amazon Prime. Also, it will air on TCM on February 15, 2017.


  • Jlewis and rayban like this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#220 TopBilled

TopBilled

    Film Writing and Selected Journalism

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38,918 posts

Posted 03 February 2017 - 04:25 PM

I will be posting my thirtieth essential tomorrow:

 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-1-56-18-pm.png

 

Please check back. 


  • LawrenceA likes this

"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users