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About rosebette

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    New England
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    Vintage movies, especially precodes and films of 30s and 40s, literature, music (classical, show tunes and soundtracks, literature -- college English instructor), public TV and radio, yoga and fitness

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  1. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    My husband and I watched this one on Saturday, too. While it held our interest, we noted how "flabby" the direction was, rather episodic and typical of films of that era. We both grew up in that era, so we noted the styles, awful decor (Brenda Vacarro's apartment with the paneling and orange couch). However, I also recalled my dad, who was a high school teacher then, speaking against the war and saying that if my brother came of age before it ended, he would have glady sent him to Canada (we're also only one generation removed Canadian anyway). When my dad died, we actually found letters he wrote for a student who was applying to be a conscientious objector. So, this film brought back many memories for me.
  2. rosebette

    The four watchable Bond movies.

    I'm not a Bond fan, and I find Connery's Bond mean and misogynistic (of course, he's supposed to be that way, and I do realize that these are entertainments designed by and for men). However, I enjoy Roger Moore and saw most of those when I was going to movies with dates in the late 70s and the 80s; I have fond memories of them as being a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon or evening. Viewing these movies last night, I still found they had great entertainment value because Roger Moore is constantly winking at the audience as if underneath it all he knows we're not expected to believe all this stuff. Even the sex scenes are handled lightly. He has a charming presence and a fine sense of timing -- maybe he's not the Bond that Connery fans expect, but he's very enjoyable to watch. The ending of The Spy Who Loved Me, where he and Barbara Bach are making out in the capsule is a hoot. I think the two best are The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only. Moonraker is really incredible (of course we don't expect any Bond film to reflect reality) and is fun for the first 45 minutes but gets tiresome; also, Lois Chiles is a terrible actress and probably the worst Bond girl ever. Perhaps as a woman, I feel that Moore's humor takes way the meanness that turns me off in the Connery Bond. I think Pierce Brosnan had that kind of charm but the series ended up getting too bogged down in special effects rather than using that aspect of his persona well. The Daniel Craig spin on the series just takes itself too seriously.
  3. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    It's important to note that Lady of Scandal was an MGM product, so lacking the snappy direction and earthy quality of the Warners' precodes. I think it was also one of the more pretentious studios, so they probably thought filming a stage play was approaching high art. I love Ruth in all the Warners' flicks, and she's excellent in Dodsworth.
  4. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    On my Ruth Chatterton pre-code binge, I took in Lady of Scandal (1930) on TCM On Demand last night. Apparently, this was made when Hollywood learned how to talk but forgot how to make pictures. This is an obviously filmed version of a stage play with extremely poor sound quality. At times, there are echos, at others, lines are lost when actors turn their heads or are out of range of the mike. Everytime Ruth walks down a hallway, it sounds like the calvary is coming. My husband watched for a bit with me and said, "I guess all that stuff about the talkies in Singin' in the Rain was true." The pace was stultifying. I had to pause it to use the ladies', to which hubs remarked, "I think this thing has already been paused for an hour." The only virtue was a young Basil Rathbone, with the crisp diction, thin as a whippet and very elegant in tux or tennis whites. However, this film made me long for another trashy Warner's pre-code with the dialogue running a mile a minute and the heroine selling herself on the streets before the end of the first reel.
  5. rosebette

    Noir Alley

    I got hooked by the opening of Nocturne and found that it had some good moments. However, George Raft is so dull. The only thing I can tolerate him in is They Drive By Night. I was a bit sad that the composer was murdered in the first scene, as he was one of the more interesting characters. I think this could have been a great film with an actor who could really handle some of the better dialogue -- some good lines just are thrown away by Raft's delivery. I was thinking fondly of Dick Powell, another 30s actor who ended up having a career in film noir.
  6. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    I'm having fun catching up on all the Ruth Chatterton pre-codes, such as Lily Turner and Frisco Jenny. Ruth is really good, not "stagey" at all, and in Lily Turner can suggest a mood (or a proposition) with a slight smile or raise of an eyebrow. Great chemistry with George Brent, not one of my faves, but it turns out, her husband at the time, and I think he's pretty cute in Lily Turner. The ending of Lily is a bit of a surprise. Frank McHugh is also very good in this one. William Wellman directed -- short, racy, and to the point. I can see why it had trouble with re-release; it's clear she and McHugh might have what we would call an "open marriage"; they're just pals, and he seems to be relatively OK or just oblivious to the fact that there are other men in her life.
  7. rosebette

    The Intersection of Kings Row & Peyton Place

    This is really good stuff -- perhaps the content later may be "adult," but this is hardly trashy writing.
  8. rosebette

    The Intersection of Kings Row & Peyton Place

    Perhaps more faithful versions of both books could be made today because the film industry doesn't have to deal with as much censorship about sexual matters.
  9. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    The sequel is really trashy and incredible in places. You can tell that Bellamann didn't write it all himself.
  10. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    There's another thread on the novel, but I do want to correct the idea that Parris and Drake are gay. There is another male character who is gay (and eventually ostracized), and at one point, Drake looks at how handsome he is and has homoerotic feelings toward him. Bellamann was way ahead of his time in his writing about adolescence and sexuality. Most of the characters have sexual experiences at early ages, and it's pretty clear that Randy and Drake have a sexual relationship before marriage, and that Drake has had relations with several of the town girls. I've got a battered copy of the book, and rereading bits reminds me of the musical "Spring Awakenings," which is about adolescent sexuality in Germany during the same era.
  11. rosebette

    The Intersection of Kings Row & Peyton Place

    I happen to own an old copy of the novel King's Row, which is much racier than the movie, and although I've never read Peyton Place, I wonder whether King's Row, the book, might not be more salacious. There is nude swimming, at least one gay character, the clear implication that Randy (the Ann Sheridan character) is sexually active with boys at an early age, at least one other female character is sexually promiscuous, as is Drake (Ronald Regan's character), and the incestuous relationship between Cassie and her father is quite obvious. While its only implied in the film, it's pretty clear that Randy and Drake are having a sexual relationship before marriage.
  12. rosebette

    Hollywood and Boxing

    Has anyone mentioned The Set Up with Robert Ryan, a great noir flick, with excellent performances by Ryan and Audrey Totter?
  13. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    You have done great service to us all by watching and reviewing this film, sparing any further drops in the IQ level of the members of the forum. Thank you for your sacrifice:)
  14. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Sorry, but these pallid boys can't hold a candle to Errol.
  15. rosebette

    Don't miss WHEN TOMORROW COMES (1939) on TCM

    But get a better print!

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