LEAST & MOST FAVORITE of the week...
Posted 09 July 2010 - 11:14 AM
I'll settle for a defense of *The Treasure of Sierra Madre*. (FrecCDobbs, where are you?)
This is one of my very favourite movies.( I know I'm always saying that, but that's because we're always talking about great movies on these boards.) Let's see - great directing from John Huston, a funny little running gag at the beginning in which Huston himself appears as the rich American giving a hand out with a frown to Humphrey Bogart.
Performances: Walter Huston, dancing a jig as he explains to the two greenhorns that they've struck gold and they don't even know it. Tim Holt's quiet patience with nutty Bogart; his touching speech when he daydreams about starting a peach orchard. Humphrey Bogart's descent into greed, obsession and madness has to be one of the most compelling performances along these lines I've ever seen. I love his line, *"I need dough, and plenty of it."*, and the way he says it. (Precurser of his nuttiness in *The Caine Mutiny* .)
I don't mind that there's no female character in this - how would she fit in, it would be merely obvious Hollywood practice of sticking a romantic or sex interest into a film where none belongs. And I often dislike movies without female characters, generally finding them not as interesting. But it's not always about love and/or sex.
Finally, one of the best endings to a movie, ever. Absolutely haunting, so perfect, so existentialist, Walter Huston and Tim Holt laughing their heads off as the gold dust, all their hard work and pain and effort, blows away in the desert wind. (There's a similar scene at the end of *The Killing*, with Sterling Hayden, but that's another story.)
Anybody else care to add to this, or explain why they think *The Treasure of the Sierra Madre* is a great movie?
"....What is it?"
"The stuff that dreams are made of."
Posted 09 July 2010 - 10:18 AM
- CAPE FEAR...the original version with Mitchum and Peck. When you watch this one, you wonder why there was even a need to remake it. It's truly on par with PSYCHO, which was made the same year (1960). Mitchum has a juicy role and plays it for all it's worth, carefully not going overboard. Peck photographs so well, he appears prettier than Polly Bergen, who plays the wife. I didn't think the juvenile actress playing the daughter was very good...that's a tough role to do, to present innocence but also a type of palpable sexuality that would attract Mitchum's character. I think black-and-white cinematography really works for this picture, and again, I think the color remake with DeNiro and Nolte falls short. Despite the implausibilities of the script, the story really does make you think about the rights of an ex-con trying to assimilate back into society and what happens when an attorney is forced to confront his worst nightmare.
- LET'S MAKE LOVE...aside from Marilyn's 'Daddy' number, the first part of this film really drags. It finally picks up speed about half-way into the picture when Yves Montand is coached by Milton Berle, Bing Crosby and Gene Kelly on how to be an actor (very clever cameos!). I do think Marilyn and Yves have a fairly good chemistry (supposedly they were involved off-camera)...but Marilyn looks tired and reminds me of Judy Garland's last days at MGM. But George Cukor does pull the production together, and there are actually many good musical sequences and it's worth the time.
- FACE OF A FUGITIVE...this one has been airing on the Encore westerns channel...it had been a few years so I decided to watch it again...funny how time gives you a deeper appreciation for a movie...in a way, it's not a B-western, it's almost a notch above that (not quite an A..maybe an A/B western if such a thing exists)...Fred MacMurray is very effective in the lead...and what I enjoy about it is that it's jam packed with irony...here we have this violent criminal and yet he does all these good deeds in a town where the people do not yet know his real identity. It's also a rare bad-guy role for MacMurray and he plays it very carefully...the best sequence is the one with him and the unsuspecting girl on the train...
- WRITTEN ON THE WIND...this was my *most favorite* film of the week. Dorothy Malone just blows the competition away. If you have not seen this film, even if you've seen it and it's been awhile, do yourself a favor and watch it again. Sirk's Technicolor melodrama was a big hit in its day (on par with ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS and IMITATION OF LIFE). It has an interesting cast...Malone is joined by Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall and Robert Stack. In fact, Sirk reteams with Hudson, Stack and Malone for THE TARNISHED ANGELS, which will air on TCM next month. But WIND is a truly great film, a searing tale about the life of spoiled youth in an old oil town and the interconnected destinies and smoldering passions of its inhabitants. Only Sirk (or Minnelli) could've made something as potent as this.
- Probably my *least favorite* film this week was ODD MAN OUT. I've already commented on it in the thread for it. Again, I just found it to be a rehash of Cagney gangster pictures (without Cagney) and a film that would've been tighter in the hands of Alfred Hitchcock. James Mason is fine in the lead, but I prefer his Hollywood films like EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE that were made a short time after this one.
Coming up...I haven't seen THE RAINS OF RANCHIPUR yet and I recorded it from Fox Movie Channel this morning...also, I plan to get to BELOVED INFIDEL and a Clint Walker western called MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE...
Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:15 PM
Edited by: ClassicViewer on Jul 6, 2010 9:19 PM
Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:13 PM
"Those who would give up essential liberty
to purchase a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty, nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin 1775
"I know that the hypnotized never lie... Do ya?"
Pete Townshend 1971
Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:14 PM
"A small elephant is not a rabbit."
Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:04 PM
I can not objectively state why I love some movies and other movies do not appeal to me. It would be like using calculator to show why my knees go weak when I see Steve McQueen smile.
The best I can do is like what I said for *The Great Race* It always seems like mindless gushing.
My Avatar: Little girl ghost from "義足のMoses"
Russian nesting dolls are full of themselves.
Posted 05 July 2010 - 05:32 PM
For instance, I'd be curious to read a paragraph from you about why TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD did not register favorably with you...
Posted 05 July 2010 - 04:34 PM
Edited by: SansFin on Jul 5, 2010 8:03 PM
My Avatar: Little girl ghost from "義足のMoses"
Russian nesting dolls are full of themselves.
Posted 05 July 2010 - 03:47 PM
- I'LL BE SEEING YOU...Ginger is gorgeous and Joseph Cotten is just starting to break away from the Mercury players and build his own career as a leading man. David Selznick produces and teenaged Shirley Temple costars. An added bonus is the addition of the ever-effervescent and utterly charming Spring Byington in the cast, PLUS a young John Derek (going by his earlier stage name, Dare Harris). I have to say I really did enjoy this film...it's very subtle and understated and is not afraid to handle a dark subject about a soldier experiencing a type of traumatic stress disorder...keep in mind, the film was released in '44, when patriotism was at its highest and the war was still on against the Nazis. There are some beautiful holiday scenes in this movie and the two lead characters are given a very romantic storyline. It's an uplifting picture, based on a radio play. I recommend seeing it.
- THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO...Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward and Ava Gardner star. Ava has more screen time than Susan but Susan gets higher billing. Gregory Peck plays the Hemingway protagonist (a stand-in for Hemingway himself). There are some good outdoor hunting scenes, and Peck is perfectly groomed and dressed...in fact, he looks MORE suave than Cary Grant ever did. The scene where Ava's character is killed off is not to be missed. I think the script for this one is a little better than THE SUN ALSO RISES, if that's possible. I'd watch both of these again as part of a double feature, probably on Hemingway's birthday.
Posted 05 July 2010 - 09:42 AM
I noticed FLYING HIGH on TCM's schedule, but since I am without TCM (and cable) for a week, I did not have the opportunity to see it. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Bert Lahr is also in a few musical comedies from the early 40s if I remember correctly...one with Dick Powell and Lucille Ball and there's another good one he did with June Haver. Look for them if you haven't yet seen them. (I can't remember the titles but search his filmography...)
DESK SET is a blast. I couldn't get over how far ahead of its time the storyline was...it was about how a computer takes over an office...and today we're seeing all these layoffs because technology really is taking over and causing companies to eliminate jobs that involve people. But DESK SET is more than a warning about technology, it's a spritely comedy involving some of the best actors of its era.
I have not watched 1776 and have no intention. I saw the play when I was younger and didn't really enjoy it.
Posted 05 July 2010 - 09:24 AM
Oh I'm sorry I missed Desk Set. I'm making a Tracy/Hepburn box set and wanted to record this for it-I loved it!
Best film this week for me was aptly titled Flying High (1931). I wondered if the last Bert Lahr film I enjoyed was a fluke, but it wasn't-I love Lahr's comedy! His over the top style is so vaudvillian, it actually captures the feeling of it for us later generations. And a few drug & sex references made it even better. And early Busby numbers! Wow!
The worst for me was 1776. I loved the story and the art direction. I spend a lot of time in Boston & Philly and it made those areas come alive for me-not to mention our early American heroes. But as soon as anyone started singing the entire film fell apart for me. Especially disappointing because I'm a big musicals fan. But the portrayals of the charactors were strong enough that it wasn't a complete loss.
Posted 04 July 2010 - 02:12 PM
Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:50 AM
Say buddy, will you stake a fellow American to a meal?
Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:33 AM
Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:10 AM
What's odd is that we have an American doing a British production about an Italian man. I would've taken Rosanno Brazzi or any Italian who couldn't act over Heston, who was clearly looking to expand his resume without taking into account the fact he was not suited for it...it's interesting that he's more at home doing science fiction than playing Michelangelo.
I still would've been able to overlook the casting if the story had been remotely engaging. It was painful. Even Rex Harrison was painful to watch in this production, and I love Rex Harrison.
Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:05 AM
Well, try as they might, the filmmakers could not find a gay dwarf.
I'm a big boy.
Posted 04 July 2010 - 10:56 AM
Anyway-- these are a few of the classics I watched this week that grabbed me and didn't grab me:
- THE DESK SET...honestly, I was dreading it. I had heard it was the worst of the Tracy-Hepburn bunch but since it was the only one I had never seen, I figured it was high time. Guess what? I loved it! Kate and Joan Blondell play well off each other. Gig Young is stuck in another thankless runner-up romantic role (where he does not get the girl, a la Ralph Bellamy). But it's the interplay between the leads that just makes it must-see. There's some improv going on and just a naturalistic acting style that is unbeatable. I wrote a glowing little review about it on the TCM page for this movie and was delighted to find a sorority of fans who also shared their admiration for this fine flick.
- THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE...I have never sat all the way through this one...either the phone rings, or I fall asleep, or I just can't get into it and go do something more exciting like say mop the kitchen floor. Well, darlings, I tried again, but try as I might, I just could not get into it. I think what I don't like about it is that it seems too proletariat to me and not in a good King Vidor sort of way. I also think it needs a sultry female lead. I almost hate this movie and boy that's such a harsh feeling to have about a piece of celluloid.
- THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY...very little ecstasy for me, and a whole lotta agony (and that was the first hour). Carol Reed essentially has a two-man play and it is excruciatingly dragged out for two hours. You get the feeling the participants are trying to do something important but the script just fails to excite, thrill or entertain. One of the dullest movies I have seen in a long time...the artwork is not authentic and Charlton Heston is terribly miscast (since when does an American of Scottish descent who retains his American accent seem appropriate to play an Italian). This was my *least favorite* of the week.
- THE SUN ALSO RISES...I truly loved this picture. I loved it so much I just went out and picked up THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO (to continue the theme of Fox, Hemingway and Ava Gardner). Ava is delicious in this picture. The men have seen better days, notably a past-his-prime Ty Power and a puffed up Errol Flynn...but these are professionals, and with their undeniable star power, they transcend an otherwise mediocre adaptation. In fact, Flynn is so charming and arresting drinking his way through the picture that he makes it must-see. Mel Ferrer is also good as the man who stalks Ava's character. The on-location scenery is gorgeous and at the end, when the expatriates part ways, you feel melancholy and do not want it to end. This was my *most favorite* of the week.
- THE SANDPIPER...I ordered this one from Netflix and it was a bit slow and tough to really get into...it's made in the mid-60s with Taylor and Burton at the height of their popularity...they don't seem to care if they have a tepid script, as long as they have the chance to play a different variation of a love affair between two semi-interesting characters (in this one, she's a bohemian single mother and he's a married Episcopal minister). What I do like about this film is the wonderful cinematography...all that splendid coastline photography...Vincente Minnelli is the director, so it's not surprising. And whether you like the story or not, one has to admit that Taylor & Burton are at the top of their game.
There are some other titles I plan to get to this weekend...I'LL BE SEEING YOU with Ginger Rogers & Joseph Cotten; THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH (this classic Marilyn-Billy Wilder film has eluded me); THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO; and maybe I will take another stab at THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, but I doubt it.
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