moirafinnie12

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Everything posted by moirafinnie12

  1. moirafinnie12

    Beautiful...but dumb.

    Secretly, don't each of us have a person whose mere presence in a movie captivates us? That person may not be the most polished thespian in the world, but there's something about him or her that just makes your heart sing--here's a spot to admit to that soft spot you may have for someone, even if you know that individual would never give Laurence Olivier or Meryl Streep a restless night worrying about the competition. So, okay, boys and girls, 'fess up that guilty secret: do you have a Jeff Chandler or a Hedy Lamarr whose face, form or voice speak to you, for no rational reason?
  2. moirafinnie12

    Most Romantic?

    Yes, I tell myself, I know, I'm too sophisticated, if not a little hard-boiled somedays, but I caught a few minutes of "Waterloo Bridge" (1940) this morning, and immediately felt that old foolish pang for the plight of Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor in this gossamer thin, old-fashioned tale. Am I the only sap out there--I doubt it! Okay, tough guys, we all know that beneath that cynical twenty-first century shell you may present to the real world, the stoniest of hearts may beat a little faster when certain movies are viewed; especially around Valentine's Day. Despite any intellectual reservations and reality checks you've experienced, is there a film(s) that makes you let your guard down for a moment and makes you believe in the possibility of romantic love?
  3. moirafinnie12

    Favorite Costume Design

    Most studio era fans remember Irene, Adrian, and Edith Head, but how come no one mentions Milo Anderson? "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) was shown on TCM this morning, and I half watched it while getting ready for work, enjoying, as always, the high spirits of the talented ensemble of actors, from Errol Flynn to Una O'Connor. This time though, I really noticed the gorgeous costumes created for the male and female characters by Milo Anderson. While the art direction by Charles Weyl undoubtedly influenced Anderson, and Weyl deserved and received an Oscar for this pix, I can't believe Anderson wasn't even nominated! One of the remarkable features of the costume design here is that each character's outfit seems individual, but it all fits into the whole glorious pageant without overwhelming the story! If you're interested in truly imaginative design, check out some of these scenes (& beware of faded prints of this movie): - The silver and brown velvet outfit Olivia de Haviland wears when slipping away to warn Robin of her nefarious uncle's schemes---the cloak she wears has little silver hands as a clasp. - Or the black robe with what look like sterling silver accents that Claude Rains wears while mocking Basil Rathbone & Melville Cooper in their rags. The dark richness of Rains' costume reinforces his portrayal and the placement of the belt is more than, uh, a wee bit suggestive! - Oh, and the color--I'm not a big Technicolor person, but here there's a riot of color in Rathbone's orange, green and gold costume in the archery scene that'll knock your eye out! Milo Anderson must've had a ball creating these numbers! I wonder how many fights he had with Warners about the cost! Do you have any favorite costume designs from other movies?
  4. moirafinnie12

    Beautiful...and smart!

    Now that we've named some of the people who seem to be lovely, if unconcious--how about mentioning a few of the performers who, in addition to being easy on the eyes, seem to have a spark of intelligence? Of course, good luck, good writing and direction helped these folks, but their smarts didn't hurt! To get us started, there are two individuals who strike me as pretty sharp cookies: Myrna Loy: you'd never know that this somewhat exotic looking lady hailed from Montana by her early film appearances as an Asian beauty, but thanks to her later roles such as Nora Charles in the Thin Man series, Ms. Loy proved her verbal dexterity with some pointed dialogue and she even gave traditional "Mother" roles an interesting spin, as seen in "The Best Years of Our Lives". If you get a chance to read "Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming", her autobiography, you might be pretty impressed by her honesty and intelligence, as well. Cary Grant: looking at the bare facts of his beginnings as Archibald Leach, this guy should have lived and died in obscurity, but because of his unbelievable looks,drive, and intelligence he entertained people on screen for 4 decades without being vulgar or insulting his audience's intelligence. Additionally, he became an accomplished businessman in his later years as well. Interestingly, when someone once expressed a longing to be like Cary Grant to him, he is said to have replied, somewhat wistfully, that he wished he could be like that guy on the screen too, and he acknowledged how much work it took to be "Cary Grant".
  5. moirafinnie12

    A Dream of France

    Perhaps we could leave politics and war outside this small space for a moment? Would you like to bridge the current gulf between America and France for a moment, at least in cyber-space? Is there a French movie that makes you long to be a boulevardier, sauntering through the streets of Paris? Can you appreciate the Gallic flair of a favorite French actor, actress or director? If you wish you could wake up and smell the french bread some morning, perhaps you could share your favorite French film with the rest of us...
  6. moirafinnie12

    Forgotten Films

    Sure, we may all know the great movies--the ones that TCM will show regularly and the ones that have won the Oscars. Here's a spot to talk about those films that seem to have been forgotten over time. They may have been popular in their time or perhaps they were ahead of their time, but somehow they are seldom seen now. If you saw them and now, would like to recommend them to others, here's your chance.
  7. moirafinnie12

    What would you like to see on TCM?

    Of course, Mongo. I haven't seen either movie since I was a kid, so naturally they've blended into one vague, lovely Damon Runyonesque blur for me--I remember liking Marilyn Maxwell as well as Lucy opposite Hope. I shoulda checked IMDb for the facts before putting in my two cents. By the way, there's one more Bob Hope movie for TCM to show: "The Big Broadcast of 1938" with Mr. Hope and Shirley Ross singing the ruefully sentimental--and lovely, song--"Thanks for the Memories". I'm glad you're back Mongo. I missed your posts. I hope that if you went on vacation, that it was pleasant. :-)
  8. moirafinnie12

    What would you like to see on TCM?

    Ned, I'm so glad that you mentioned the 'Road' pictures. I've been thinking about them this week with Hope's passing. My siblings and I discovered them as kids and couldn't believe how funny they are--we'd only been exposed to Bob Hope as the old guy on the boring specials with the football players. Since then, I've discovered that up until the early '50s, his movies were FUNNY. My favorite road picture is probably "Road to Utopia" where Bob and Bing go into a Klondike saloon. Bob asks for a lemonade, sees the tough guys crowding in and says: "--in a dirty glass!" The corniest of lines, but the delivery was great and interplay between Hope and Crosby were hilarious in this and almost all the others (not crazy about "The Road to Hong Kong"). The side comments to the audience about one another and Hope's perennial coward character still tickle me. I'd also like to see "The Lemon Drop Kid" with Hope and Lucille Ball as well as "My Favorite Blonde" with glorious Madeleine Carroll. It would be worth a look to see one of his only 'straight' parts as Eddie Foy Sr. in "The Seven Little Foys" again. His dance with Cagney as George M. Cohan on the tables is a delightful memory. It's no wonder that so many of today's comedians and comic actors based their work on Mr. Hope's earlier forays.
  9. moirafinnie12

    Lightning in a Bottle

    British director Stephen Frears ("My Beautiful Launderette", "Dangerous Liasions", "High Fidelity"), was recently asked to name his top five directors. His reply intrigued me. He pointed that he couldn't really name a Top 5, since "People make good films for a while, and then they lose it. Take Preston Sturges--he made five good films in a few years, then it was over. You always wonder. Is today the day it won't work?" Perhaps you agree that this was true about Sturges. Could you cite any actors or directors whose work seems to reflect the accuracy or fallacy of Frears' observation?
  10. moirafinnie12

    Lightning in a Bottle

    Feaito, thanks so much for responding to my query. Lubitsch and Hitchcock are terrific choices for directors whose work was apparently on target at least 95% of the time. Hitchcock's career had some interesting detours that were never audience or critical favorites--"Rope" & "Under Capricorn" are two more 'experimental' works that he created, perhaps for his own reasons, since both had technical aspects that interested him. Another director whose work might easily fall into the '95% category' was William Wyler, though I never cared for some of his later work, such as "The Big Country" and "Ben Hur", (both great technical spectacles to me, but without a heart or an original thought, though I'd never say that about most of Wyler's work. But hey, it's only my observation). A couple of directors who seemed to have wonderful hot streaks, only to "stumble", commercially and artistically later were Joseph Mankiewicz and John Huston. Mankiewicz' classics--"Letter to Three Wives"(1949), "All About Eve"(1950), and "No Way Out"(1950) were probably some of the most entertainingly literate and sophisticated American movies ever, but the same man, some years later, could make some embarrassing work, by comparison, such as "Cleopatra"(1963). Huston's greatest films, "The Maltese Falcon", "Treasure of the Sierra Madre", "Key Largo", "The Asphalt Jungle" and "The African Queen" were eventually followed by some far less successful work such as "The Unforgiven", "Freud" and "The Bible". Still, Huston's best film may have been one of very last: "The Man Who Would Be King". And Mankiewicz' last film, "The Honey Pot" is very well done, despite some script problems and it deserves an audience (TCM shows it once in a blue moon). Feaito, maybe the real question should be: what's judged a success? A director or actor whose film finds a large audience or one who tells the story best and in his own unique way?
  11. moirafinnie12

    Lightning in a Bottle

    You make a good point about Cary Grant, feaito. Yet, from 1950-1955, Mr. Grant had a string of movies that prompted him to announce his retirement! "Crisis" (1950), "People Will Talk" (1951), "Room for One More" (1952), "Monkey Business" (1952) and "Dream Wife"(1953), while having some entertaining moments, hardly compare to Grant's best work such as "Bringing Up Baby" or "Gunga Din", or "Notorious". Apparently, Cary was actually led to believe that he had lost touch with what audiences wanted to see, and thought that he should quit acting. It took Alfred Hitchcock and "To Catch a Thief" (1955) to bring audiences back to their senses. Grant did a fantastic job managing his own career, but even he had fallow spells such as the fifties.
  12. moirafinnie12

    It feels good to be back

    What happened to John Agar? Two words--alcoholism and divorce. His highly publicized marriage to Shirley Temple in 1945, along with his All American face prompted David Selznick (Shirley's employer at the time), to get him to sign a movie contract, leading to his best film, "Fort Apache", directed by John Ford. During their divorce in 1949, his bouts with the bottle and Miss Temple were discussed in some pretty ugly stories in the press. After this series of events, and, fortunately, a second marriage that lasted from 1951 until his wife's death in 2000, Agar became a sci-fi and cheap western movie fixture. Apparently Agar was quite philosophical about his career. Shortly before his death in 2002, he gave interviews in which he spoke candidly about his alcoholism, (he was an AA member), his apparent lack of drive about a high powered career, his gratitude for the work with young directors in low budget flicks, and his bemusement with the rather fanatical people who sought him ought to discuss his cult status. He seems to have been a philosophical, good-natured man who saw his career as a way to put bread on the table and didn't mind appearing in such epics as "Tarantula"(1955) or "Zontar the Thing from Venus"(1966). Some of his better, later movies that you might enjoy include "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" (1967), "Big Jake"(1971) with John Wayne again, and "The Miracle Mile"(1989). I've always liked him myself. As someone who is currently moving, and therefore without TCM too, I understand your pleasure in having it again. It's the best & I love the quality of the prints of films that they show!
  13. moirafinnie12

    Film Composers

    My toes are fine! Welcome to the board---I just hoped that you'd enjoy reading the entries and I know how hard it is to find former threads on this website since TCM "upgraded" the place about 6 months ago. I'm glad to read that you like John Barry's work too. I love John Barry's scores for "Out of Africa" and "Somewhere in Time". I saw him interviewed on Bravo years ago. He mentioned that the melancholic beauty of the "Somewhere in Time" theme (borrowed from Rachmaninoff, of course), may owe something to the fact that he wrote the score immediately after the deaths of both of his parents. He implied that their symbiotic relationship was similar in its romantic, "I-can't-live-without-him" quality to that of the film's central characters. Apparently, his mother died within months of his father. Having lived for decades together, they weren't truly able to function in this world together without one another. Interesting that this same man could write the wonderfully flashy and energetic music that we identify so closely with James Bond movies like "Goldfinger" too. The guy certainly has range! Moira
  14. moirafinnie12

    Film Composers

    You might want to check out an earlier thread listed under Favorites entitled "Favorite Film Composers". There's alot of different composers discussed there. My all time favorite: Bernard Herrmann. Not necessarily for his Hitchcock themes, but also for such scores as "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", and, really, all his 20th Century Fox work. This music stands on its own beautifully.
  15. moirafinnie12

    I looking for a movie

    James, the movie you describe sounds alot like "Phantom of the Paradise", directed by Brian de Palma in 1974. It stars that '70s pop culture fixture, the songwriter, Paul Williams and Jessica Harper, (she's quite lovely, but rarely appears in movies anymore). It doesn't, as far as I can recall, take place on a studio backlot, but rather in a Studio 54 type of refurbished theatre serving as a disco. It is for sale in vhs/dvd formats and can probably be purchased at Amazon or at your local Blockbuster. You can see movie details about this at IMDb's website at http://us.imdb.com/Title?0071994. Good luck.
  16. moirafinnie12

    "Now, Voyager"

    How about a Mary Wickes film festival, TCM...I'd watch and Mongo too, I'll bet! Let's see... "Now, Voyager" "The Man Who Came to Dinner"--another juicy nurse part, though she's too easily cowed by the penguins! "On Moonlight Bay" & "By the Light of the Silvery Moon"--she's the same maid in both movies (I'd fast forward through the tedious parts, without her) "Fate is the Hunter" --she's a great, sneakily prurient landlady in this pretty good "Rashomon" type story about a plane crash. What character actor's work would you like to see featured?
  17. moirafinnie12

    2 more gone...

    Where did you see the reports of Zsa Zsa Gabor & Jerry Lewis' deaths? It's hasn't been reported by the New York Times or CNN,
  18. moirafinnie12

    "Now, Voyager"

    Mongo, and wasn't Claude Rains delightful as Charlotte's "liberator"? Did you know that Bette Davis thought that her character should have wound up with the good doctor rather than Jerry (Paul Henreid)? And don't you just love the delicious Mary Wickes as Gladys Cooper's 'I've-seen-it-all-before' nurse? I'm glad HBO is showing something other than "The Sopranos".
  19. Oh, Patypancake, this girl's voice has been bothering me too. I thought I was the only stick-in-the-mud whose inner voice cried "Elocution lessons, elocution lessons, elocution lessons!" each and every time I hear Ms. Lopez speak!! She hurts my ears...oh, please let one of this girl's handlers give her some real advice about that flat, nasal voice. I don't know if she can evolve into a good, adequate actress, but at this point, she's way too famous for her own good. Then again, so was poor Rita. Otherwise, let's compare: Rita Hayworth: Signature role-"Gilda" (one of the most sensuously photographed movies ever),Warm Persona, Dazzling smile, Great dancer, Glorious hair, Partnered onscreen, (& off, in some cases), with Orson Welles, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and, oh yeah, Glenn Ford. Jennifer Lopez: Only decent movie to date-"Angel Eyes" (mostly due to soulfulness of Jim Caviezel), Good Dancer, Annoying Omnipresence in media, Self-Aggrandizement writ large, Plastic Diva attitude, Lucky to be partnered onscreen with George Clooney, Jim Caviezel, and, oh yeah, Ben Affleck (Glenn Ford for our time, I fear.). Both ladies have or had, beautiful, womanly figures, by the way. Okay, I usually don't pop off like this, but this topic got to me...maybe it ought to be under "Hot Topics"...:-)
  20. moirafinnie12

    Forgotten Gregory Peck Film

    "Captain Newman, M.D." does seem to have been lost in the shuffle during the posthumous tributes to Mr. Peck, Slappy. Thanks for reminding me of its lovely blend of comedy with serious underlying themes. The romantic sparks between Peck and Angie Dickinson weren't too shabby either. Plus, Eddie Albert gave one of his best onscreen portrayals as a cracked officer with a rigid military wife. I'll have to track it down on video again. P.S. Don't forget some other nimbly played comedic roles by Gregory Peck: "Roman Holiday" (1953) & "Designing Woman" (1957). :-)
  21. moirafinnie12

    *James Cagney's 104th Birthday!!!

    Spencer, 1.) I'm a longtime AOL user, and I cannot log in through AOL, only through the Netscape browser window, and that can be tricky...so I don't think it's any easier for AOL members to log in here. Having been posting on this board for over a year, I trace all the problems back to the change in subcontractor to Jive Forums for the maintenance of this board back on Dec. 1st, 2002. Everything got flukey after that--the board was MUCH easier to navigate before this transition, but, hey--this too shall pass, (maybe on Dec. 1st, 2003?). 2.) I loved "Man of a Thousand Faces" too. Cagney was particularly magnificent during the scenes between his character and those playing Chaney's deaf parents--the man never needed mere words to communicate to an audience! As I've mentioned to you before, I doubt if he cared about the awards that he may have been "robbed" of at any time--remember he was known as the "faraway fella" by his friends, longing to get away to his country retreats. (The "faraway" label was coined by Frank McHugh, his friend and co-star in so many Warner classics. McHugh seems to have had a way with a phrase. In his autobiography, Cagney mentions that he found McHugh's phrase for someone whose behavior marked him as anathema from then on--"he broke his shovel with me"--to be quite an apt piece of verbal shorthand...no doubt useful for some Hollywood types.) :-) 3.) "Terrible Joe Moran" is a tv movie that I went out of my way to see, since I cherish Mr. Cagney's work. As memory serves, Art Carney and Ellen Barkin appeared with him in this film--which mostly made me sad, since I could clearly see that Mr. Cagney was ill and struggling to perform, even if still a trouper during the making of this movie. It may be an apocryphal story, but didn't the imitator, Rich Little, claim to have been miming his voice during some scenes of this film, (he also made a similar claim re: David Niven's voice in his last film appearance)? Overall, I still prefer to regard Cagney's last full performance to be in the funny, and challenging role in Billy Wilder's "One, Two, Three" (1961), after which, he chose to, in Shakespeare's phrase regarding "our actors/As I foretold you,/ were all spirits and/Are melted into air, into thin air."
  22. Oddly, I do wish that I knew LESS about certain actor's lifestyle on the contemporary scene. For example, my enjoyment of Woody Allen movies has definitely diminished in recent years. But still, "Annie Hall" is a funny movie. "Crimes and Misdemeanors" seems to be Allen's attempt to wrestle with his own conscience--a struggle that he seems to have lost. Yet, when reading about some classic actors' scrapes, I usually guess they did what they thought they had to in order to get through life in the fast lane. I just ask myself: Would I have had the ability to avoid such temptations as these men and women met on a daily basis? Evidence of racism and an eagerness to participate in McCarthyism STILL bothers me, however--though it doesn't stop me from watching and enjoying an actor's work. I think my viewing is more influenced by my reading about some of the egos of some actors...but then, if they didn't believe that their needs and wants and talent were the center of the universe, how would these folks ever have cultivated the drive needed to succeed in this tough, tough profession?
  23. moirafinnie12

    Has anyone read posthumous *Kate Hepburn book?

    Path40a, I haven't had a chance to read the Lindbergh bio by A. Scott Berg or the new Hepburn book yet, but based on his wonderful bio of Samuel Goldwyn and even better bio of legendary editor Maxwell Perkins (he's the man at Scribner's publishing house who nurtured Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe, James Jones and Margaret Kinnan Rawlings, among others), I can't wait to read the author's memoir of his friendship. The Goldwyn book is, I think, one of the best Hollywood biographies ever, along with another book that could serve as a companion piece, "A World of Our Own" by Neal Gabler. Mr. Gabler outlines the studio bosses' lives--showing how these struggling, ruthless, and, ultimately, idealistic businessmen, were also perennial outsiders even as they helped to shape Americans' vision of themselves through the power of the movies. I've just caught Berg on CBS's Sunday Morning show re: Katharine Hepburn. He was obviously enchanted with the lady and mentioned that when she visited Michael Jackson at his home once, found that he literally didn't know how to make his own bed, though she tried to get him to learn...she was apparently puzzled by his strangeness and referred to him as "E.T."...I don't think it qualifies as dirt, but I'm amused by the reported story of Miss Hepburn calling for a whiskey after spending an evening with Jackson. As to the story of Tracy striking her at least once, Berg mentions that Hepburn's response to it was forgiveness, since Tracy was too drunk to know he'd done it. If you've ever known, or loved, anyone who struggles with alcoholism, it's credible, as is her understanding. Ah, the power of love is real and, at times, is the only thing that makes reality bearable. I hope to get a copy of the book soon.
  24. moirafinnie12

    Good guys playing the heavy.

    Good idea for a topic, slappy! Maybe his unbelievable good looks helped to typecast him as a good guy for most of his career, but I'd like to nominate the usually heroic, suave, & well-groomed Tyrone Power for his decidedly gamy appearance in one of his best roles in the very dark film noir, "Nightmare Alley" (1947). He plays a conman/drifter who becomes involved in a carnival scam, pretending to be a mindreader fleecing the rubes. He eventually becomes an alcoholic and ends as a geek in a sideshow. I've only seen this one once, but I'll never forget the searing effect of Power's excellent work in this movie. I've got to admit that Power invested so much humanity and honesty in this portrayal, I found myself feeling sympathy for his repellent character. Sadly, it's rarely shown on tv anymore and I don't think it's ever been on video. By the way, he was also a very effective skunk in what I believe is his last complete performance on film,"Witness for the Prosecution" (1957).
  25. moirafinnie12

    Relatively Speaking

    It dawned on me recently that Ann Sothern and Joan Blondell should've and could've played sisters--both had slightly zaftig figures, big blue eyes, blonde tresses and appealing salt-of-the-earth quality. By the way, if you've never seen them, I'd recommend viewing the MGM B movies about the very liberated, independent character of "Maisie", as played by Ann Sothern, sometime. I caught up with some of the late '30s-early '40s "Maisie" movies recently on tape. As always, Ann Sothern delighted me with her bounce, her grit and her joie de vivre--not to mention her lovely singing voice, (If you've ever heard her sing "April Showers" in the film of the same name, you'll know what I mean). I was pretty interested in the surprisingly modern attitudes toward women reflected in these programmers.

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