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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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LEAST & MOST FAVORITE of the week...


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#41 film lover 293

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 09:52 AM

I saw seven films for the first time last week.

 

"The Bed Sitting Room" (1969)--Richard Lester comedy of London after WW III is intermittently amusing, occasionally "laugh out loud" funny.  But too often the film is just unfunny; the atmosphere, the situation, and the dogged insistence of the characters refusing to admit anything wrong about their attitudes becomes infuriating.  It kills the impulse to laugh.  Points are scored off organized Religion and Mao.  The best line has to do with Charlton Heston wrestling the Pope on BBC television.  Marty Feldman, Dudley Moore, and Peter Cook are the most consistently funny performers in the film.  Found on YouTube.

 

"War Gods of the Deep" (1965)--Jacques Tourneur's final film stars Vincent Price, Tab Hunter, and David Tomlinson in an AIP adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "City Under the Sea".  Price does the narration and the mountains of exposition the script gives him.  Hunter and Tomlinson are acceptable horror film good guys.  Film is an odd mix of horror and absurdist humor (Tomlinson worries about a pet rooster all film long).  Good cinematography, good to so-so acting, and source material a muddled script can't destroy makes for a film worth seeing.  Saw on YT.

 

"The Big Store" (1941)--Lesser Marx Bros.   MGM film doesn't have the stranglehold of Plot that destroyed The Bros. spontaneity in"Go West" (1940) , and so one liners are scattered through the script.  Virginia O'Brien has a good number, a Swing version of "Rockabye Baby", and she and Groucho do a fast Jitterbug.  The silent comedy influenced finale is memorable, as a store is demolished by The Bros. on roller skates.  Film is better than its' reputation.

 

"The Rains of Ranchipur" (1955)--Starring Lana Turner, Richard Burton, and Oscar nominated Special Effects.  Talky remake of "The Rains Came" (1939) has Turner as the predatory Lady Esketh, who uses and then discards men like Kleenex, and  Burton as the saintly Dr. Safti, who is torn between his love for Turner and India.  All this is merely an excuse for Turner to model her Helen Rose wardrobe, throw off occasional waspish remarks, and watch Burton's impression of a robot.  Finally, the earthquake/flood hits--and it's worth waiting for.  Impressively well done, with state of the art Special Effects, sequence conclusively proves Twentieth-Century Foxs' need for waterproof makeup (watch Burton's makeup disappear, never to return--except for copious amounts of mascara).  Entertaining watch, if only to see the predecessor of some of the set-pieces from "Earthquake" (1974).  Found on archivedotorg.

 

"Dragonwyck" (1946)--Mankiewicz Gothic starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price in 1840's New York.  Film is overlong but literate, and the secret had to be less detailed than in Anya Seton's novel, but film is entertaining nonetheless.  Tierney and Price do justice to their roles; Spring Byington adds a memorable cameo as Magda.  An ok watch. Saw on YT.

 

"Blood From The Mummy's Tomb" (1971)--Hammer Gothic about the desecration of a Cursed Egyptian princess's tomb.  Each member of the archaeological expedition takes an object from the tomb.  The daughter of the leader is subsequently possessed by the spirit of the princess, and tries to get the objects back for eternal life.  Film is very good.  Saw on YT.

 

"Son of Paleface" (1952)--Frank Tashlin directed sequel to "The Paleface" (1948), reteaming Bob Hope and Jane Russell, and adding Roy Rogers and Trigger to the mix.  Hope is the even more obnoxious son, who's gone West to collect his fathers' fortune--which he finds is nonexistent.  Russell is the lady bandit, Torch, and Rogers is the Federal man.  Trigger gets some of the best gags; the scene with Trigger and Hope in bed together is a classic of sorts.  Watch Hope's pipe when Russell caresses him during her song "What a Night For a Wingding".   Film repeatedly takes accurate aim at The Code, with verbal and sight gags.  Tashlin's tendency to use women as cartoon figures is shown in this early film, and Russell goes along with his parody of her image as a sex kitten.  Watch for cameo appearances.  Very enjoyable film.  

 

Favorite--Son of Paleface (1952).

 

Least consistent--The Big Store (1941).


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#42 skimpole

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 03:16 AM

I saw four movies this week.  Miss Hokusai is an anime film about the daughter of the most famous of all Japanese painters.  (Hokusai is best known for a painting of a giant wave, the most famous of all Japanese paintings.)  It's interesting, and parts of it are very attractive.  But ultimately this intelligent woman doesn't become a great painter in her own right, nor does she have a love affair or any other intense emotional relationship.  Moonlight is certainly worth watching, though I must confess that I didn't realize that the protagonist's friend was in all three parts of the movie, or quite realize what happened at the very end.  The Courtship of Eddie's Father asks the question, would it be worth watching five episodes of a sitcom if they were done by one of the great Hollywood directors.  And my answer is "Meh."  Digging for Fire is the first movie by Joe Swanberg that I've seen.  Count me unimpressed.  The couple are uninteresting, leave a bland self-satisfied life, face no major challenges, and have and feel nothing particularly profound.


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#43 laffite

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 04:33 PM

lafitte--The lady who sang "Just For An Hour" was Irene Bordoni.

 

Thanks. She really put her heart into it, didn't she? Thank you, Irene.


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#44 film lover 293

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 04:12 PM

lafitte--The lady who sang "Just For An Hour" was Irene Bordoni.



#45 laffite

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 02:53 AM

I remember those segments you mention in Show of Shows but had never seen the movie all the way through. Until just recently on TCM. The opening numbers were so bad that had I been in the theater way back then I might have walked out (not really, perhaps; all this was so new back then). Or maybe smuggled in a quart of coffee :-) .  I also enjoyed the song "...just for an hour," by a woman whose name I know not, and I also felt that the sisters routine had a bit o' charm to it.


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#46 film lover 293

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 01:08 PM

I watched seven films for the first time last week:

 

"The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent" (1958).  Roger Corman directed cheapie would-be epic is a Bad mix of 50's slang ("Cool!") and Norse mythology.  The Viking Women and their adversaries and allies all have access to curling irons, permanents, and hair dye--even the slaves in the mine.  Except for one character, hair color determines their fate. There are enough laughs so that film isn't painful to watch.  On a "So Bad It's Good" scale, 2.3/4.

 

"Creature From the Haunted Sea" (1961)--Unfunny, Godawful spoof of horror movies and spy movies.  Roger Corman's worst movie.  Consider yourself warned.

 

"The Day the World Ended" (1956)--Starring Richard Denning, Lori Nelson, and Adele Jergens.  Roger Corman directed version of how WW III caused the end of the world--with a few unexplained survivors.  The monsters are not bad, the script is bare bones, the acting is fair to poor.  The matter-of-fact narration is by Chet Huntley.  Interesting, if implausible, fast moving watch.

 

"H.E.A.L.T.H." (1979)--Starring Carol Burnett, James Garner, Lauren Bacall, and Vanessa Redgrave. Robert Altman film was barely released, is hard to find.  Satire on politics set in a health convention has as many misses as hits.  Carol Burnett is the best overall player--her Presidential representative/spokesperson is on target with her cliched platitudes and droning doubletalk.  Her scene where she finds a dead body in the hotel pool after fighting with her ex (Garner) is the funniest thing in the film.  Redgrave as the Nixon figure is amusing, as is Bacall as the Ford figure.  Very worth a watch--I saw a very dark copy on YT.

 

"Doctor Rhythm" (1938)--Bing Crosby and Bea Lillie team up in this one.  Lillie and Crosby do a on-target parody of Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy style operetta, "Only a Gypsy Knows".  Lillie has MacDonald's physical and vocal mannerisms Down (the Costume Department contributed an overly starched and ruffled horror that looks like a reject from "Naughty Marietta" (1935)), and Crosby does a good job of Eddy at his most clueless.  Lillie and Franklin Pangborn have a classic wordplay routine "12 Dozen Double Damask Dimity Napkins".  Recommended.

 

"On Approval" (1944)--Classic British comedy is all verbal.  Lillie takes her potential husband for a month long tryout in Victorian England; major complications ensue.  Lillie gets the best line,  Googie Withers and Roland Culver have the best exchange:

 

Lillie, to potential husband, who's facing away from her: "What color are my eyes?"

 

At night, an upset Withers, to husband Culver: "I'm having such Terrible dreams!"

 

Culver, growling: "So'm I;  it's the Haggis."

 

Highly recommended.

 

"The Show of Shows" (1929)--Long, early Warner Bros. musical revue, very uneven.  Highlights include Winnie Lightner's two songs "Pingo Pongo" and "Singin' in the Bathtub", the two color Technicolor Chinese fantasy "Li-Po-Li" with male singer and Myrna Loy, John Barrymore's monologue from "Richard III, and a Floradora Girl and Boy number featuring Myrna Loy and Lupino Lanes' music hall comedy.  Frank Fay as Host is irritating.  More misses than hits, but the hits make it worth a watch--just have caffeine handy.

 

Most Favorite--"On Approval" (1944)--Lillie to extra: "We're sneering acquaintances".

 

Least Favorite--"Creature From the Haunted Sea" (1961).


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#47 LawrenceA

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 11:29 AM

Interesting write-up, skimpole. I especially liked hearing about the Renoir silent. And it's Margot Robbie, not Margaret.



#48 skimpole

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 03:00 AM

I managed to see seven movies last week.  Hell or High Water was distinctly hurt by my having rewatched The Last Picture Show about six hours earlier.  Where the later movie shows what it would actually be like to live in Texas, the former present Texas pastiche (does everyone have to wear ten gallon hats?).  Since Jeff Bridges stars in both, the performance in the latter doesn't rebound to his credit either.  And the result is morally convenient, to say the least.  Grass is a mildly interesting silent documentary about Central Asian nomads.  Suicide Squad deserves all the contempt it has received.  The disaster the squad is fighting is actually caused by its existence, the movie exhibits a brutal and callous attitude, and only Margot Robbie's character actually has a personality (and that isn't full developed), Landscape Suicide is an odd experimental movie which deals with several reflections on murderers living in the Mid-West.  Whirlpool of Fate is an interesting silent movie about the adventures of a young woman which shows more spirit and less sentiment than its American counterparts.  The first time director is a promising young man named Jean Renoir.  Love with the Proper Stranger asks the question whether it is a good idea to marry a stranger who got you pregnant if he looks like Steve McQueen.  Not surprisingly, the answer is as sentimental and dishonest as this suggests.  Wood is very pretty, but her family is a stage caricature.  Horse Money is a very demanding film about the story of an immigrant from Cape Verde and his life in Portugal.  It's not an easy film to watch.


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#49 film lover 293

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 02:49 PM

Over the past two weeks, I saw six movies for the first or second time.

 

"Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster" (1965)--costarring Mothra, Godzilla, and Rodan.  A quadruple threat, this gem has dreadful dialogue ("There's no such thing as brainwaves" "The saucermen will tell us what to do!"), dimwitted subplots (island fairies who are carried around in a makeup case and who translate the monsters various roars, howls, etc. into English), a total disregard for logic ( a woman opens an airplane door and jumps out, without a parachute, falls several thousand feet, and survives with only a case of amnesia as a souvenir) and howlingly funny special effects (Mothra shoots a rope-like substance out of its' nose; at one point, Godzilla and Rodan appear to be playing tennis with fake boulders).  So bad it's good.  Recommended.

 

"Varan The Unbelievable" (1961)--Japanese monster movie runs just over one hour, and wastes forty minutes setting up the situation with Boring pseudo scientific talk.  When Varan finally shows, it looks a cross between The Creature from the Black Lagoon and a flying squirrel.  Varan only gets to destroy a village before being ended.  Film desperately needs a restoration.

 

"Two Rode Together" (1961)--John Ford film starring James Stewart and Richard Widmark.  Starts off as a cynical comedy, turns into a journey where Stewarts' and Widmarks' characters go off on an Army mission to redeem captives from the Comanche Indians--by whatever means necessary.  Film is ultimately downbeat, despite the vaguely hopeful ending.  Linda Cristal is very good in support, as is Shirley Jones.

 

"Kings of the Sun" (1963)--Starring Yul Brynner, George Chakiris, and Shirley Anne Field.  Directed by Lee J. Thompson.  Period spectacle about the ancient Mayan civilization has enough acting talent and energy to overcome its' main flaw, which is a flowery and long-winded script that bogs down the action.  Chakiris plays the King who has to flee Chichen Itza because of invaders, Field is his love interest, and Brynner is the leader of the tribe Chakiris runs into after he's fled from his kingdom.   An enjoyable watch.  

 

"Monty Python's Life of Brian" (1979)--Scattershot parody of Biblical films has more hits than misses.  The animated opening credits, and the multiple takeoffs on "Ben-Hur" (1959) and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965) are especially effective.  Twenty people play seventy-odd roles.  Look for George Harrison.  Enjoyable film.

 

"Salem's Lot" (1979)--I know this was originally a television movie, but this story of vampires in a Maine small town is one of the best film adaptations of Stephen King.  James Mason is very effective as the courtly but condescending Straker, and Reggie Nalder is a terrifying Barlow.  The cast is uniformly excellent.  Recommended.

 

Favorite--Salem's Lot (1979)

 

Least Favorite--Varan the Unbelievable (1961).


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#50 skimpole

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 03:23 AM

I saw six movies last week.  The Limits of Control is certainly one of Jim Jarmusch's more  underrated movies.  I found it effortlessly cool, consistently well sustained and quite enjoyable.  Denial is about the Lipstadt/Irving trial.  I didn't like David Hare's script for The Hours or for The Reader, and I didn't like the script that he wrote for this movie.  Part of the problem is that the story isn't really about Lipstadt.  The real story is a how an apologist for Hitler managed to get a reputation as a serious expert about Nazi Germany for more than three decades.  That Rachel Weisz is understandably upset is understandable from an audience identification viewpoint, but the reason Irving chose to sue her for libel was because he thought she was weak, and not as well-versed in the minutia of the second world war.  The Pumpkin Eater is an Academy award nominee from 1964, which leads to the cinephile's least favorite question, what's wrong with this example of kitchen sink realism/British "new wave."  (Incidentally, and not helpfully, one of Hare's favorite underrated movies.)  The subject matter is supposed to be more mature, but Bancroft is just mostly miserable.  There is a horribly crude scene when Mason confronts Bancroft about Finch's adulteries.  But one problem with the movie is that it doesn't explain the central character.  Finch is a selfish womanizer, despite the pain it causes Bancroft.  But he is also a wonderful father.  That in itself need nor be surprising.  One can be a bad husband and a good father.  The problem is that he is the children's stepfather.  Why would he love his wife's children more than his wife?  I suspect the movie was too satisfied to be dealing with such "mature" material as adultery, abortion, "excessive" childbearing to really think through the question.  The Marseillaise is a fine movie, and one wonders why this Renoir movie from 1938 is not better known.  It shows all his strengths, fluid camera work and fine character study, along with humorous anecdotes.  In this case the movie deals with the second French Revolution, in this case of 1792, that overthrew the monarchy.  Rather fittingly this is seen from the picture of the people:  political leaders are not seen except for a haughty Marie Antoinette and a muddled Louis XVI, who thinks toothbrushing and potatoes may be good ideas.  I have now seen four David Lean/Noel Coward collaborations, and Blithe Spirit does nothing to change my view that Brief Encounter is the keeper.  Amusing, but not particularly so.  The Avengers:  the Age of Ultron is hardly a necessary movie, but it's an enjoyable one.  Joss Wheedon does show genuine skill and construction, even if Tony Stark and Captain America do much of the character heavy lifting.  (A Hulk/Black Widow romance seems perfunctory.)



#51 TopBilled

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 09:23 AM

By far, the best movie I watched during the last week was THE GUNFIGHTER, which I reviewed in the Essentials forum. Excellent from start to finish.

 

I also watched a decent documentary about Peck's life-- which was made while he was still alive, so there are some very good reminiscences from him about his Hollywood career.

 

4598c-screen2bshot2b2016-11-042bat2b11-5


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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.


#52 skimpole

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 01:57 AM

I saw five movies last week.  In Time has an interesting conceit:  in the future everyone is 25.  People are paid in time to live at this age.  If not, they die.  The conceit is not well developed:  one might think a business would not be in its interest to have much of its population on the verge of death because of its usurious practices.  And the hero-kidnapping-the-daughter-of-a

rich-tycoon-and-she falls-in-love-with-him-anyway doesn't really work.  The Blind Owl is an interesting adaptation of a famous Turkish novel which I haven't read.  Perhaps if I had it would be easier to understand this merger of cinephilia and Orientalist attraction.  Jamaica Inn does deserve its reputation as one of Hitchcock's least interesting films.  Nor is it one of the better of Charles Laughton's performances.  Executive Action is sort of a low budget JFK, without its style or its narrative punch.  We know who the villains are from the beginning.  Nor is it clear why they would think replacing Kennedy with Johnson would be an improvement, or that they would care enough about Vietnam to kill Kennedy for withdrawing (something he probably wasn't planning to do in November 1963).  I should point out that I did see the original The Man Who Knew Too Much two decades ago.  On rewatching it this week the Albert Hall scene is good, the rest of the film is less successful.  (You would think the ruthless assassins would play the child hostage card earlier than they do.)  Trainwreck is certainly more interesting and thoughtful than most romantic comedies.  One is pleasantly surprised by the kind of detail that is provided.  But the parts played by Schumer and Hader (as well as a very biting Tilda Swinton) add up more than the whole.  The film lacks a certain energy in the last third, as the inevitable break-up and the inevitable reunion seems a little too convenient. 


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#53 film lover 293

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 04:30 PM

I saw six movies and one short for the first time last week.

 

"Rasputin, The Mad Monk" (1966)--Hammer melodrama starring Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley.  Film takes a turn toward horror in its' last thirty minutes.  Lee plays Rasputin as an amoral man who will use whoever he needs to, however he needs to, so he can become rich.  Film wisely never answers the question of whether Rasputin could really heal people.  The viewer is left to decide that for themselves.  A fun watch.

 

"Taste the Blood of Dracula" (1970)--Count Dracula's back, this time in Victorian London, and nobody is what they seem.  The ones who bray loudest about morality are the biggest fools.  Christopher Lee turns in another polished performance as the Count, and Veronica Carlson is a creditable damsel in distress.  Recommended.

 

"Kiss of the Vampire" (1963)-- Hammer horror entry that has Clifford Evans' character subbing for Van Helsing; Noel Willmans' stands in for the Count.  The struggle between good and evil is the main focus of the film.  Special Effects are fair.  An ok watch.

 

"The Skull" (1965)--An Amicus horror film starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Jill Bennett.  Film is about the title object, which belonged to the Marquis De Sade, which is bought by an occult researcher (Cushing).  Turns out the Skull is possessed.  Cushing, Lee, and Bennett's acting ability make the film work, as special effects are only ok.

 

"Ghost Cat of Ouma Crossing" (1954)--Japanese horror film is subtitled, but takes too long to set the situation up, people talk and talk and Talk about what they're going to do to someone before they do it, and the victim(s) just stand around and cry, instead of defending themselves, or Leaving. The fragile flower of a heroine is seriously annoying.  

 

That being said, the last thirty minutes of the film are fun as the viewer sees the villains get their just desserts.  It was hard to find information about the film; TCM says nothing about this film or director, and IMDB had exactly One review of it.  Found on archivedotorg.

 

"Blood and Black Lace" (1964)-- A Mario Bava film set in a fashion salon where all the models are being murdered over an incriminating diary one of the models has/had. All the characters are skunks, which helps, but I got sick of seeing people killed in this forerunner of the 'Slasher" film.  Film had knockout photography and a wild color scheme, like most of Bava's 1960's color films.  

 

"The Tell-Tale Heart" (1941)--MGM short of the Edgar Allan Poe short story, directed by Jules Dassin.  Joseph Schildkraut and Roman Bohnen are very good.  Makes me wish Dassin had done more horror films.  Saw on YT.

 

Favorite--Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970).

 

Least Favorite--None.  All are worth one viewing, at least.


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#54 OBJ

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 12:02 PM

I saw six movies for the first or second time last week:

 

"The Lair of the White Worm" (1988)--Based on Bram Stoker's last novel, movie stars Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, and Catherine Oxenberg, was directed by Ken Russell.  Lord James D'Ampton (Grant)  and his village celebrate the slaying of the monstrous dragon/snake that occurred centuries ago.  Eve Trent's (Oxenberg) parents disappeared in its' lair a year ago.  The mysterious Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe) lives in the moldy mansion down the lane.  Movie tips it's hand about the mystery in the first shot of her.  Donohoe Easily steals the film as the snake worshipper who has a tendency to quote old movies ("Rosebud") and has most of the best lines; Oxenberg and Grant are eye candy.  It wouldn't be a Russell film without a few shocks, the first of which happens without warning.  Ottocensor would just star out  further descriptions.  Recommended.

 

"Pete Kelly's Blues" (1955)--Starring Jack Webb, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and Janet Leigh.  Uneven film directed by Jack Webb; strengths are the instrumentals, vocals by Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and Janet Leigh, good cinematography, attention to detail (down to what is passed off as champagne in 1927 Chicago).  Minuses are overstated performances (except Lee and Leigh), a cardboard script, and a wooden performance by Webb.  Recommended  

 

"Guys and Dolls" (1955)--Starring Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando.    Simmons is the happy surprise; her voice is strong, sweet, and on key, and she dances creditably,  Vivian Blaine was in the Broadway show, and her performances of "Adelaide's Lament" and "Take Back Your Mink" are highlights.  Stubby Kaye's rendition of "Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat" is GaD's highight.  Brando's tenor is barely on key, and he has obvious breath-control problems; while attempting "Luck Be a Lady", he looks like he's strangling while holding a prolonged note.  Not dubbing him was a Mistake.  Sinatra may be miscast, but at least he can Sing.  GaD is overlong but ok Runyonesque fluff that should have been better.

 

"Young Bess" (1953) is an good costume drama, distinguished by Simmons' and Laughton's fine performances.  Deborah Kerr  and Stewart Granger are ok in support.

 

"When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" (1970)--There is no language (after a windy prologue), and no performances to speak of.  The stars are the stop-motion animated dinosaurs of Jim Danforth, and each one has its' own theme by composer Mario Nascimbene.  Film is worth a watch if you find a good copy.

 

"The Night Monster" (1942)--Film is a fast paced parody of monster movies; there are bits from "Rebecca", "Angel Street", "Dracula"--just in the first seven minutes.  A fun watch.

 

Favorites--Pete Kelly's Blues (1955) and "The Lair of the White Worm" (1988).

 

Least Favorite Film--"When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth" (1970) .

I'm trying to be as polite as possible, are you a younger person or have you just found "classic movies" recently as some of your first time viewings seem like old some very old faves of mine. Do you like specific actors, genres, etc or just all around good movies? If you would like some reccomendations we're here to help and I have hundreds! Happy viewing!


"Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven" Chuang Tse: XXIII


#55 OBJ

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 11:53 AM

I saw five films for the first time last week:

 

"The Undying Monster" (1942)--Programmer that runs just over an hour paces itself at a sprint to fit all the plot in the running time.  Good photography by Lucien Ballard and effective scoring by David Raksin help out.  Script borrows liberally from "Rebecca" (1940), "Angel Street" (1940), and other sources.  Film's a fun watch: it comes off as a hybrid of horror film/parody, whether it was meant that way or not.  

 

"The Story of Mankind" (1957)--Ronald Colman as The Spirit of Man and Vincent Price as Mr. Scratch present their case before an Outer Space Judge and Jury whether mankind should be eliminated or not.  They cite cases from history to illustrate their argument(s).  Thirty odd stars make cameo appearances.  Vincent Price, Groucho Marx (as Peter Minuit) and Harpo Marx (as Isaac Newton, complete with harp) are the most entertaining players in this "so bad, it's good" comic book history lesson.

 

"Die, Monster, Die! (1965)--Horror film starring Boris Karloff and Nick Adams, based on H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Colour Out of Space" is ok, but could have been better.  Karloff, the musical score, and a Mostly intelligent script are the strengths.  Weaknesses are Adams and a dimwitted heroine who faithfully follows the old horror movie cliche "If you have an obvious, intelligent course of action(s) to take, do the exact Opposite".  Karloff's performance, the visuals, and a Nasty loose end of plot that's not tied up make film worth watching.

 

"9 To 5" (1980)--Occasionally funny film about three working women and their male chauvinist boss that was a box office hit, thanks to Dolly Partons' rendition of the theme song and the comic skills of Lily Tomlin and director Colin Higgins.  Script does have some one liners to remember, and a golden fantasy sequence, with Snow White and animated accomplices.  A fun watch.

 

"Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison" (1957)--Excellent John Huston film, with Deborah Kerr as a stranded nun and Robert Mitchum as a shipwrecked marine on a South Pacific island in WW II.  Mitchum and Kerr have chemistry together, and make this a believable love story/drama/comedy.  Mitchum's encounter with a sea turtle and Kerr's introduction to sushi are memorable.

 

Favorite--"Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison" (1957).

 

Least Favorite--"The Undying Monster" (1942).

You haven't seen H.K.M.A. till now? I'm sure glad you did as it's one of the best Mitchum movies in which he doesn't play a bad (ngegative) guy but a real bad (positive) guy. The back and forth between he and Ms Kerr as a nun is extremely witty at times and very solemn at others. The other movie which people seldom watch is "the story of mankind" and was pleased that you watched that one too. I try to get my sons (late 20's) to watch some of the classics with me but as soon as they find out a movie is in black and white it's like a light switch go off. Happy viewing!


"Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven" Chuang Tse: XXIII


#56 OBJ

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 11:43 AM

I saw four movies for the first time the last two weeks.

 

"Hurry Sundown" (1967) was one of the films in the book "The 50 Worst Films of All Time" (1978).  Film is overlong. sprawling, badly edited, with too many plot threads set up and then forgotten, and characters that just disappear from the film.  Still, there are fine performances from Jane Fonda, Madeleine Sherwood, Michael Caine (although his accent is a hilarious flop in the films' beginning, and never gets past generic Southern) and Diahann Carroll in this portrait of 1946 Georgia, just before the Civil Rights movement.  Very worth the watch.

 

"The Brides of Dracula" (1960)--Fun Hammer horror entry in their vampire series.  Peter Cushing is a fine Van Helsing, Yvonne Molniaur is a good damsel in distress, Martita Hunt is very good at suggesting past depravities with her vampire son and expressing remorse.  A fun watch.

 

"She" (1982)--Plotless, incoherent movie is like H. Rider Haggard for early 80's MTV.  There are no performances to speak of, and no direction;  film just puts in as many references to old movies as possible.  My favorite scene recreates scenes from "Gone With the Wind" and werewolves.

 

"No Orchids For Miss Blandish" (1948)--Overacted, overemphatic British noir that makes the Horrible mistake of having British actors try to sound like New Yorkers.  It doesn't work.  Nice musical score, and two songs whose lyrics have suggestions of "odd" behavior.  The horrid reviews this received must have been partially for the novel.  Robert Aldrich remade this as "The Grissom Gang" (1971).

 

Most favorite--"The Brides of Dracula" (1960).

 

Least favorite--"No Orchids For Miss Blandish" (1948).

i couldn't stand She, with U. Andress however, the She from 1935 with Randolph Scott, Nigel Bruce and Helen Mack is IMHO very good and has a feel of Lost Horizon to it. Produced by Merian C. Cooper, give this one a try. It took forever to get it out on dvd but it's one that we'll hopefully see on TCM instead of the Ursala Andress (sp) fiasco that TCM shows now.


"Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven" Chuang Tse: XXIII


#57 skimpole

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 02:27 AM

I saw six movies last week.  Lady Snowblood is a Japanese vengeance movie from the seventies, with extra violence over its predecessors.  As it stands, I can't say I'm all that sympathetic to the genre.  And to make things worse, the spurting blood reminds me nothing so much as of Sam Peckinpah's "Salad Days."  Wild Canaries is an odd independent movie.  You would not think there would be much call for a remake of Manhattan Murder Mystery with younger, hotter and arguably less interesting actors.  But if you stay with it, you can find parts of it amusing.  Blue Valentine is a movie about a collapsing marriage and one suspects that the inarticulacy of its working class couple is a convenient excuse for the director's lack of anything particularly profound to say.  That's not to say that Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling don't do a good job.  They do, and one wishes the story had done them a little more depth.  Confessions of a Nazi Spy is known today for two things.  It was the first major anti-Nazi movie made by a major Hollywood studio.  And it was the National Board of Review's choice of best movie of 1939, Hollywood's golden year.  History has done little to vindicate that judgement.  It's not particularly profound of exciting.  In retrospect it looks more like a pro-FBI movie than an anti-Nazi one.  Star Trek:  Beyond does nothing to make the existence of its franchise any more necessary.  The quasi-magical super bomb or whatever might as well has been called a McGuffin for all the interest we're to have in it.  Despite a certain competence, there isn't any real need to make the old series with new actors.  Shaun the Sheep is certainly an amusing movie.  One wonders why I don't admire Aardman movies more.  It's inventive and clever, it just lacks a certain emotional connection.  Slightly daft middle age men and their pets perhaps just aren't that compelling to me.



#58 film lover 293

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 09:17 PM

I watched five movies for the first time the past two weeks:

 

"Hombre" (1967)--Is a cold, uninvolving, cynical western.  Paul Newman is the title character, and plays him as stone faced, with no emotion except anger.  Fredric March as the crooked Indian agent and Barbara Rush as his wife are both good.  Diane Cilento is the only funny character; she provides a welcome touch of humanity to the film.  A disappointment.

 

"City of the Dead" aka "Horror Hotel (1960)--Comcast showed a crystal clear print that had the alternate title City of the Dead.  Film starred Christopher Lee.  College coed is doing a paper on Colonial Witchcraft, is referred by her professor (Lee) to a small town and inn, where a witch had been burned to death 300 years ago.  You can guess the plot from there.  Although the heroine is naive to the point of being dimwitted (her brother's no smarter), film is enjoyable horror.  This was the first time I'd seen it offline, and the print was beautiful--Thanks TCM.  

 

"The House That Dripped Blood" (1970)--British anthology horror film that starred Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, and others.  Five stories are in the film.  Framework story is about a Scotland Yard Inspector who doesn't believe in the supernatural.  The other four stories star: Denholm Elliott as a novelist who gets too involved with his new character; Peter Cushing as a widower who becomes obsessed with a statue of Salome:  Lee as a father who won't let his daughter have dolls: and Pitt as an actress who wears a certain cape, with unexpected results.  Uneven film, but a  fun watch.

 

"Planet of the Vampires" (1965)--The stars of the show aren't the actors, or the murky plot, they're Antonio Rinaldi's cinematography, and director Mario Bava's psychedelic color scheme for the film.  Wild, multi-color swirling mists of red, blue, green, and white are mixed with a dark orange spaceship.  The spaceship crashes, and Something possesses the crew and tries to kill them.

 

"Voyage of the Rock Aliens" (1984)--Watchably silly spoof of sci-fi, horror, beach party and motorcycle films must be seen to be believed.  The film stars Pia Zadora, Jermaine Jackson, Ruth Gordon, and Craig Sheffer.  Sharp eyed viewers will spot an MTV video of the films' hit song "When the Rain Begins to Fall" ( the song peaked at #54 on Billboard's Hot 100 in the U.S., and went platinum overseas) shoehorned into the first ten minutes of the film.  Jackson is a fine singer, and Zadora  holds her own in their duet; she's a better singer than actress.  Unpretentious movie is good silly fun, with listenable music and more laughs than groans.  A fun watch.

 

Favorite--Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1984).

 

Least Favorite--Hombre (1967).


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#59 skimpole

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 01:34 AM

I saw five movies over the last two weeks.  Honeysuckle Rose is a movie I saw because I remembered it coming out in 1980, and was curious that it had been forgotten so much in the meantime.  It was directed by Jerry Schatzberg, best know for winning the Palme D'or, or its equivalent, for Scarecrow.  I can't say I care much for the music of Willie Nelson, but Schatzberg takes some care to portray the country music scene, and Dyan Cannon gives a good performance.  Sunset Song is the best movie of the past two weeks.  This version of a woman growing up in the Scottish countryside during the first world war slowly grows on one, as the detail and nuance slowly accumulates.  One can compare it to favorably to Brooklyn, in its sense of having a superior sense of time and place, as well as a better visual and auditory scope.  Goku:  body snatcher from Hell is certainly unusual, and I suppose that's the best one can say about it.  Piccadilly is a portrait of an interracial love triangle where the white sides are not particularly interesting or sympathetic.  That they end up together is what one might expect from the time, but I kept drifting out of the movie whenever Anna May Wong wasn't on screen.  Finally Queen of Earth is an example of Alex Ross Perry's deeply misanthorpic cinema.  I didn't much care for his previous movie, and I can't say this story of a woman having a nervous breakdown following the death of her father and a breakup with her boyfriend was very engaging.  One can enjoy a bitter breakdown between friends, but it's hard to imagine these the two women even knowing what actually being friends is like. 



#60 TopBilled

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 09:06 AM

I saw five movies last week.  Caged! is the sort of movie that has been destroyed by decades of parodies and soft-core porn. 

 

Though it wouldn't be "destroyed" for those who've never seen the parodies. I think most people can look at the film on its own merits.


"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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