rosebette

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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. I know what you mean. On weekends, Hubs and I search TCM On Demand, and often length is a deciding factor. That's probably why we've become fans of Warners' pre-codes, sharp, spicy, and over in under 90 minutes.
  2. I can see a 2 hour plus length for a story of epic scope, such as Gone with the Wind, but many of today's movies, particularly adventure/action movies run 2 hours and a half. I watched Wonder Woman a while back and thought it would have been better if they had cut the last 45 minutes. I saw only the first Pirates of the Caribbean, and also felt that would have benefitted from cutting out the last 30 minutes. In fact, that movie made me long for the pirate flicks of Errol Flynn, smartly directly by Michael Curtiz. I don't think any of those exceeded a 2 hour running time by much. When there is one action scene after another, after a certain point, it's just boring and tiresome special effects, without a real narrative arc that has a beginning, middle, climax, and end. I remember reading about the making of The Adventures of Robin Hood, in which a jousting scene was planned for the beginning, but it was eventually discarded because the feeling was that including too much spectacle and action would take away from the energy of the story. At 102 minutes TAORH is the perfect length for an action movie. The Best Years of Our Lives is in a category of its own; while it takes place over a short period of time, I feel as if I am living with these characters and their problems with every scene. It's one of those movies that's an accumulation of perfect scenes, and when I watch it, I don't want to leave the room and miss any of them.
  3. This was a miniseries, not a movie, so not intended to be watched in a single sitting.
  4. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Except Oscar Levant's lines. He steals the picture.
  5. Robert Matzen mentions possible ADHD in Errol and Olivia. Flynn had trouble remembering his lines, even in his younger days, and apparently, occasionally ad-libbed, but if the words fit the scene, it was kept.
  6. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Mare Nostrum (1926) - I saw this on TCM On Demand. I didn't to intend to watch all of it, but I found it visually beautiful and haunting and sad, not the usual Hollywood cliches. Like many later silents, it made me wonder about how far film had come before the advent of sound, and how with sound, the visual aspects of film-making took the back seat. By the way, Dietrich stole her exit in Dishonored from Alice Terry's final scene.
  7. I own the Citadel The Films of Errol Flynn, which is now being discussed on another thread. It's terrific, great pictures, write-ups, including background on Flynn's life, etc. It's quite weathered, though, as it's probably 40+ years old.
  8. Even the difference between 1950 and 1956 is surprising, as if he aged 20 years in about 6. But Goldarn it, in his youth, maybe one of the most beautiful men who ever lived.
  9. I've heard the cast album with Carol Lawrence. Also, my dad had an album of her singing show tunes. She had a lovely voice and was a gifted dancer. She was married to Robert Goulet, and apparently, they were one of Broadway's "golden" couples.
  10. A year or so ago, I saw an Actor's Equity production of West Side Story at a local theater. I must admit, it was as if I had never seen the film. There was a rawness and freshness to the performance, and quite frankly, some harsher elements of the book are toned down for the film (Anita is practically raped in the drugstore scene, so her motivation for saying that Maria is dead is much clearer; the language in the movie is also cleaned up considerably, even though the 50s language still doesn't approach the crudity of modern speech). Of course, the production did use a primarily Latino cast for the Puerto Rican roles, which made a huge difference. The actor who played Tony was incandescent. When he sings "Something's Coming," the audience believed that this is a young man filled with hopes and dreams, not just some actor just mouthing the words. I don't know if a film can ever replicate the immediacy and brilliance of Bernstein and Robbins' production in live performance. That being said, I have a hope for Josh Groban in the role of Tony, if a film or televised live production is cast.
  11. Is the book The Films of Errol Flynn by Tony Thomas and Rudy Behlmer? My father gave this to me for Christmas when I was 13, and my copy is falling apart. I was in love with Errol when I first saw The Adventures of Robin Hood on syndicated TV at age 10. A few years later, when The Partridge Family and David Cassidy were the rage, the same station ran Captain Blood. That movie made me realize what pallid stuff my peers were idolizing. I think Flynn fit the definition of star, a bright, meteoric presence; you believed he was Robin Hood or Captain Blood. The face, the grace, the voice, the way with a line -- yet, he also burned out, all too soon, due to his own inner demons. Reading the book was a bit of a shock to me, as I realized this idol had feet of clay. Yet, I still have enormous respect for his talent, and also feel a sense of loss when I watch the later films, wondering what could have been if Flynn had chosen a more moderate lifestyle. We get glimpses of the accomplished actor that could have emerged if he had had the self-discipline.
  12. Some wonderful posts on this thread. However, there should be some kind of warning on SpeedRacer's cellphone background. I think if it were the background on my cell, I'd be easily distracted from whatever navigating I'm attempting via cell phone.
  13. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    After having viewed two BBC adaptations of this story and having read the book, I would say this film was completely miscast and missing a key element, the undertone of repression and sexuality, particularly in the casting of Greer Garson as Irene. This was a part made for Ingrid Bergman, Jennifer Jones, or some other actress who had a persona with undertones of sensuality. Walter Pidgeon and Robert Young as Bohemian types? I could see Errol in either role. I can't imagine a woman defying her position in society for either of these guys.
  14. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Captured (1933) -- This is quite a departure from all the drawing room dramas/comedies and adapted stage plays that we've been seeing Leslie Howard in. It's a Warner's pre-code war film about British prisoners of war, directed by Roy del Ruth, hard-hitting and gritty. Leslie Howard is the commanding officer of a group of British POWS who manages to have a sympathetic relationship with the commandant of the camp, Paul Lukas, to get decent treatment of the soldiers. The Germans are treated even-handedly in this film, not as monsters, but as just doing their jobs, and there is even a scene of camaraderie in the trenches between British and German infantry. In the storyline Howard has left new bride Margaret Lindsay back home (she's on screen for less than 10 minutes, I think), and eventually downed flight pilot Douglas Fairbanks shows up at the camp. There is plenty of friction regarding plot points that I won't reveal here. However, tension and ambiguity about characters' motives and decisions, some pre-code frankness (males shown nude in the shower/dressing area, explicit mention of rape), and some action that moves along like gangbusters. Howard is excellent; his eyes can express more than a thousand words -- he is gifted with dialogue and he underplays throughout, which makes him more sympathetic in some ways than the impulsive Fairbanks character. I think this movie shows that even as early as 1933, Warners' was at the top of the game for moving action and story along in a tight, realistic way. I caught this one on Turner On Demand, and I think it was the Howard movie I most enjoyed. (I slept through Spitfire, I admit.) I'm looking forward to watching the Russion spy movie he made with Kay Francis, which is directed by Mike Curtiz.
  15. rosebette

    "Best"/worst TV or movie detectives...

    Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe, and Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe. I don't even care about the plots in The Big Sleep or Murder My Sweet -- I'd watch them with my eyes closed just for the dialogue. For TV, I always enjoyed Jim Garner in The Rockford Files. He always had such a great sense of humor and this beleaguered, self-deprecating manner. I was a fan of Remington Steele; the young Pierce Brosnan was easy on the eye, and he and co-star Stephanie Zimbalist had great chemistry. I also enjoy British detective series, especially Inspector Morse (in both the old and the Endeavour incarnations). James Horton's handsome and conscience-stricken Sidney Chambers in Grantchester would be an occasion of sin if he showed up in my Episcopal/Anglican parish -- yum!

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