RosieSayer

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  1. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    A belated thanks, Hibi! I had misremembered. Thank you for setting the record straight.
  2. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    It sounds like I'll have to see But Not For Me just to satisfy my curiosity, but I'm amply forewarned not to have high expectations. It Started in Naples is one of a group of films I have categorized as movies with great stars, which should have been good but are simply awful. I'm used to silly comedies and eat them up, so when I say "simply awful," you should know I'm setting a very low bar for quality. Another one in this category is The Lady Says No, starring David Niven and Joan Fontaine. I hope I haven't offended any fans.
  3. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    Today's idle entertainment was again provided by TCM On Demand. I watched Who Was That Lady? (1960) This is a domestic comedy typical of the era; in fact, I think the type constitutes a mini-genre. Actors who made a lot of this sort of movie (both domestic and romantic comedies) include Doris Day, Dean Martin, Tony Curtis, and Debbie Reynolds. If you've ever seen The Glass Bottom Boat starring Doris Day and Rod Taylor, then you know what kind of movie this is. Who Was That Lady? stars Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh as a married couple and Dean Martin as the husband's friend. To cover up a breach of marital propriety, the husband, egged on by the friend, invents a wild tale about being an FBI agent. There is much winking at infidelity and women. I wouldn't call it a stellar example of the type, but it was mildly entertaining to watch Curtis and Leigh (a beautiful couple on and off the screen), and as a nice bonus, Dean Martin sings the title song.
  4. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    Sorry for the typo! Actually, I suspect "autocorrect."
  5. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    I decided to watch Two Smart People starring Lucille Ball and John Kodiak, because I vaguely remembered liking it the first time I saw it several years ago. TCM has it incorrectly listed as a comedy. It's actually a romantic drama about two con artists who fall in love. He has made a plea deal and is in a detective's (Lloyd Nolan) custody, but she wants him to escape with her to South America. Or does she just want the bonds he has hidden? There is also a no-goodnik on the woman's trail. He has information on her and wants a share of the bonds in return for his silence. The progression of the relationship between the two con artists and the side intrigue regarding the bonds reminded me of The Thomas Crowne Affair. The two characters are struggling against their own cynicism and hoping beyond hope that they can finally trust in love. What the actors rightly conceal is whether one will betray the other. One of the memorable scenes is the purchase of a princess costume on Mardi Gras evening in New Orleans. The dress belonged to the costume shop owner's late wife, and at first he can't consider selling it. But Lucille Ball does justice to the dress.
  6. RosieSayer

    Classical Music

    It's never too late to take up music, or take it up again. I think it's one of the most rewarding ways to spend one's time. You will reward not only yourself but others, too! Du Pré was responsible for making that concerto much better known as a result of her recording it in the 1960s.
  7. RosieSayer

    Classical Music

    Nimrod - Enigma Variations, ElgarA couple of years ago, after many years of neglect, I started playing cello again. I've been playing in a community orchestra, which has been fun, time-consuming, stressful, and educational. One of the great things about it is the exposure to pieces I didn't know. One of my favorite discoveries in our repertory was the Nimrod movement from Elgar's Enigma Variations. The back story is also beautiful: Elgar had been suffering from depression, and his friend Jager (German for "hunter") encouraged him to compose again. This movement was a tribute to his friend, as Nimrod was described in the Bible as a hunter. The music does sound like someone overcoming a dark period. I must add that I have really loved playing with an orchestra again. Here's Nimrod, and I hope I have managed to embed this correctly: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sUgoBb8m1eE" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> Oops, can someone tell me how to embed in here? Trying again with a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUgoBb8m1eE
  8. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    Thanks for bringing this across my radar, Lawrence. I'm just starting to get interested in B detective serials. I had never heard of the Michael Shayne series, but this sounds pretty good.
  9. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    Last night a friend brought over a movie on my List of Shame -- movies I should have seen but haven't. Several of my LoS movies are on the AFI 100 list (adding to my shame). So I got one ticked off: Chinatown. One of the reasons I had never seen this movie was because I had seen a clip of the scene in which Nicholson's character gets his nose cut. It's quite graphic as I recall (I covered my eyes during that part last night). But I've heard Chinatown mentioned about a million times as a great movie, so I was happy to finally see what all the fuss was about. What surprised me is that the movie is not particularly violent. In fact, it reminded me a lot of a 1940s film noir. I found it stylish and atmospheric; the vintage Los Angeles setting is strangely eerie yet beautiful. Knowing what LA will become gives an odd feeling. Even more eerie was what happened after. I got in a discussion with my friend about Eleanor Powell's performances. I don't have many of her movies, and I decided to rewatch one of the few I have, Broadway Melody of 1940, which costars Fred Astaire. I still had Chinatown on my mind. I popped in Broadway Melody, and it opens with someone hawking "Chinatown."
  10. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    Now I have to go watch this again. It has been too long. Both actors are magnificent, and like Ingrid's character, I, too, am crazy about hard currency.
  11. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    I have to say that Kay Francis really has something for me. I love her combination of sophistication (the short, slicked-back hair somehow looks feminine on her) combined with a special vulnerability. Her eyes seem to convey a plea to be gentle, and her little lisp is so charming when it slips out. I don't know if I've ever seen In Name Only, but I loved Kay Francis in Trouble in Paradise.
  12. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    Last night I watched A Guy Named Joe. I had seen it before, I would say more than 10 years ago and maybe one other time since then. What I remembered was a very patriotic and sentimental film, and this impression was reinforced by my latest viewing. The story concerns a WWII flier who is killed in action, and his subsequent observations of and attempts to influence, from beyond the grave, what happens to those he left behind, most notably his grieving fiancée (Irene Dunne). What I found in the movie this time was more appreciation of the fiancée's process of grieving and letting go. There certainly is a lot of patriotism in the movie, and as sentimental love stories go you could find better. But the three stars (Spencer Tracy as the deceased flier, Irene Dunne, and Van Johnson as the new love) are all great actors, and they brought some subtle human details to their performances. The screenplay, although at times overbearingly patriotic, had touching moments. One was when the new man, whom Tracy has pegged as a typical wolf on the make, performs an act of sensitivity and kindness toward a fellow serviceman. The serviceman is desperately lonely for home, and Johnson's character places a call to his mother for him. The serviceman's reaction when he hears his mom's voice on the phone had me in tears. The other beautiful thing about that moment was that as a viewer you begin to see that Van Johnson's character is a man of quality and there may be hope for Irene. Although this movie is pure corn, I would put it on the list of movies that could be healing to people grieving a loss, whether due to death or some other reason. Moreover, you get to hang out with Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne, and Van Johnson, which ain't bad.
  13. RosieSayer

    I Just Watched...

    I've been busy lately, so I haven't been watching much, but I recently rewatched Topper Takes a Trip followed by It Happened Tomorrow. Let me dispense quickly with Topper Takes a Trip. In my opinion, it's the weakest of the three Topper films. It recycles considerable footage from the first Topper film as background information. I guess that's a way of getting Cary Grant in there, even though he didn't shoot any new scenes for Topper Takes a Trip. (I bet they used his face in the advertising, too. If I had paid money to see this film, thinking Cary Grant was in it, I would have felt quite disappointed!) Constance Bennett stars as the ghost of Mrs. Kerby. She had some amusing moments, but I personally think she lacked the sparkle and sass of Joan Blondell, who starred in Topper Returns (my favorite of the three entries). The only scene at which I laughed out loud was that of the fortune-seeker on the beach, trying to woo Mrs. Topper while the ghost of Mrs. Kerby thwarts him with unseen hands at every turn. She strips his trunks off him while he's lying under the sand, then torments him with a giant beach ball that inexplicably keeps rolling over him while Mrs. Topper squeaks with alarm. So yes, that was funny, but if I had to choose one of the Topper films never to see again, it would be this one. Billie Burke, as usual, is a scene-stealer, but Alan Mowbray also made a worthy contribution here as the butler Wilkins. The other movie, It Happened Tomorrow, was much more interesting. Almost the entire movie is told in flashback, as the reminiscences of a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Flashing back to the late 1800s, we see Dick Powell as a young reporter who comes into possession of a few newspapers that have tomorrow's news a day early. He uses this advance knowledge to become a success and woo his girl (Linda Darnell). They have several hair-raising adventures, and the girl's father, a stage illusionist who uses his daughter in a fake clairvoyance demonstration, at first does not approve of the relationship. But Dick Powell's character wins the day, and fortunately, the news of his untimely death proves to be a reporting error. (You know this from the outset, since the story is told in flashback, but it's still quite exciting.) I think the movie would have been more interesting (to me) if the story had NOT been told in flashback and had been set in modern times. Without the opening scenes from the present time, letting us know that the main characters survived, the ending would have been more suspenseful. I wonder if the writers/producers had a possible sequel in mind, since they left the first half of the 20th century open to play with in a subsequent film. It would have been a fun history exercise to choose the most interesting day to gain advance knowledge of. On the other hand, this movie was made in 1944, and there was a lot of war news at that time that no one would want a day early. Maybe the 19th century setting made the story comfortably far from those grim events. René Clair directed this, and I found it similar in many ways to his previous film, I Married a Witch--both films make use of a supernatural element, madcap adventures, broadly drawn characters, and a light touch. However, many people consider I Married a Witch to be a screwball comedy, but I don't see how one could squeeze It Happened Tomorrow into that category. (Perhaps if it had been set in the 30s or 40s...)
  14. RosieSayer

    Cinema Segue

    Two Girls on Broadway Bill
  15. RosieSayer

    Cinema Segue

    Remember the Night Nurse

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