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Everything posted by rosebette

  1. rosebette


    Is scenery chewing always a bad thing? I rather enjoy it. One of my favorite scenes is the dinner scene in Deception with Claude Raines, Paul Henried, and Bette Davis. Watching Raines order and psychologically abuse both the waiter and Henreid's character (who is nervous before a performance) is masterful scenery chewing on every level. Basil Rathbone is another favorite ham of mine. Son of Frankenstein is brilliant scenery chewing, so much so that I think he's the actor Gene Wilder was channeling (down to the delicately mascara'd eyelashes) in Young Frankenstein. Rathbone as Captain Levasseur in Captain Blood, with that atrocious French accent is another guilty pleasure. You can almost see Errol wiping the spit out of his eye every time Rathbone says, "Mon Capitaine." Oh, and "Thees ees the rosary of pain." It's too much but great fun.
  2. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Wow, one forgets how gorgeous these two grand dames of British film and theater were!
  3. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Much as I enjoyed Rigg as Mrs. Peel, I must admit I also enjoy her later and more classic roles in many British productions. She's one of those actresses whom I could watch reading the phone book.
  4. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    I wanted to be Emma Peel, and my sister, our friends, and I would act out Avengers episodes in the backyard, and I would always insist on being Emma Peel. Unfortunately, I still can't put on eyeliner and at 5'1" would never look good in a catsuit. Regarding Patrick McGoohan, there may have been other things I may have wanted to do.... Oh, that stoic, sexy Scotsman! I went from watching the 9 Lives of Thomasina crying over the cat and the little girl in my childhood to lusting after the father in my adolescence.
  5. Cecile B. DeMille who filmed all those **** scenes and Claudette Colbert up to her nipples in ****' milk to show how terrible and perverted those pagans were?
  6. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    I think that if Robinson were cast, it would have been a very different picture. Perhaps his amateur detective would not be an upper crust type in the social register, romancing a burlesque queen and climbing in and out out of two-story windows. In later roles in the 40s he does indeed play a detective type of character (but not an upper class one oozing with charm) -- The Stranger and Double Indemnity are two examples. Footsteps is clearly tailored to Flynn's personality -- clearly upper class with the English accent, but full of mischief and rebellion against social rules. I could easily see Cary Grant playing a similar role -- both actors have a gift for light comedy that even includes some physicality (watch how Flynn runs up and down those stairs in their mansion home or recovers from being knocked out in the darkened hallway). Brenda Marshall's role is rather thankless; I can't see Olivia taking on another vapid female lead in 1940. By the way, the dialogue in Footsteps is quite good, wittier than the standard Warner's product. It gives me great pleasure to hear Allen Jenkins say "dilletante"; I teach at the college level, and most of my students don't even know what that word means. People must have had better vocabularies back in the day.
  7. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    I came home with a sick headache and bodyaches, looking for something mindless to relax me. I watched Footsteps in the Dark on TCM On Demand, dozed through the first 15 minutes, but woke up and was still able to follow it. I found it delightful and wish Flynn had done more of this type of light comedy. The supporting cast was also excellent, the usual Warners' suspects -- Allyn Jenkins, Lee Patrick, and Alan Hale. Lucile Watson as Flynn's mother-in-law even had some good one-liners about philandering husbands. It's surprising how a film that was considered rather mediocre in its day can have some solid entertainment value now, or perhaps my fevered brain and Flynn's charm have biased my opinion.
  8. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    What's strange about the case of Kay Francis vs. other actresses is that many actresses continued acting in major films in their mid 30s. Claudette Colbert and Myrna Loy both had excellent roles in the 1940s, usually as mothers, but still attractive and in strong films (Since You Went Away, The Best Years of Our Lives). Jean Arthur was born in 1900, so 39 when she was in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, in her early 40s (but convincingly playing much younger) in The More the Merrier and Talk of the Town. Irene Dunne, born in 1898, was therefore in her 40s when she was in My Favorite Wife, A Guy Named Joe, and White Cliffs of Dover. Barbara Stanwyck was in her mid-30s in the 1940s when she made Double Indemnity and The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers. Why did these women who were in their mid 30s or even 40s get top roles? Perhaps it could be because they were "independent agents," rather than contract players tied to a studio, as Kay was. Also, Warner's was known for treating its actresses like crap, as Bette Davis and Olivia deHavilland attested. Case in point -- Greer Garson, one year older than Kay Francis, whose career was just getting off the ground at MGM at the time that Kay was being put out to pasture.
  9. That's for sure. Although his career suffered some damage, he still was in demand by the box office and made several successful films afterwards. However, he always had a "rakish" quality to his screen performance, a bit of a "bad boy" hero or outlaw, unlike Bill Cosby, who was Mr. American Family to most of us with the Huxtable family, Fat Albert, and the pudding commercials, and his many statements about the educational and moral development of black youth. I think the hypocrisy of the Cosby case makes it especially egregious. My family was talking about Cosby vs. Kevin Spacey the other day, and my son, who is a House of Cards fan, said, "Well, it turns out Spacey is just like the characters he plays." While that doesn't take away from the wrong Spacey has done, the "sin" is certainly seen as more heinous if there's an extreme contrast between the artist's public image and the deeds committed in private.
  10. I can't say that I lose respect for actors for taking mundane roles for money, especially in their later years. Even Olivier did this, and claimed it was because he needed to educate his children by Joan Plowright. Basil Rathbone took some awful roles in the 1960s because his adopted daughter had health issues and also because his wife apparently had spent them almost into bankruptcy. This is an entirely different matter than artists like Woody Allen or Roman Polanski, who have done things that are morally wrong. I guess my greatest battle with "respect" for an actor is my admiration for/disappointment in Errol Flynn. I had fallen in love with him as a 10-year-old watching The Adventures of Robin Hood and Captain Blood on syndicated TV in the 1960s and 1970s. I didn't learn his full biography, including the statutory rape cases until I was in my mid-teens. Yet, I still "carry the torch," and can completely believe him in those heroic roles, perhaps due to his personal chemistry combined with screen magic. Now I see him as a gifted, but tragically flawed character, probably someone thrust into stardom before he had the emotional maturity to cope with the spotlight and his inner demons of alcoholism and self-destruction.
  11. rosebette


    A film during which most of us wonder how that dress stays on.
  12. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    i'm so grateful to LawrenceA to devoting his time to watching mostly 60s crap so I don't have to watch it!
  13. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Also, in What Price Glory? the actors actually used salty language which could not be on the subtitles, but the audience could see it when they read the actors' lips. All this brings to mind Singin' in the Rain, during which Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont state how much they hate each other while filming a silent love scene.
  14. I think there are many fine movies still being made, but many of the current big budget, popular movies are basically live-action cartoons, often devoid of comprehensible dialogue and filled with one noisy, CGI created special effects action scene after another. Those who claim that today's movies are more "realistic" are off base as more films are focused on fantasy action figures and unbelievable plots. I prefer movies with a true narrative arc, intelligent dialogue, and well-drawn characters.
  15. My Favorite Wife wins hands down for me. Irene Dunne is both a superb comedienne and actress, and her scenes with the children are quite touching. The business with Grant and Randolph Scott is a hoot, as is the scene where Grant goes back to the house to pick out some clothes for Dunne and starts trying things on. I don't know how they got a away with that in 1940. However, overall, there is this feeling that Dunne and Grant are still very much in love, even the scene when Grant first sees her. Perhaps because these two had made two films together already, the chemistry between them is so real, as if they actually were husband and wife. I find the ending very sexy -- old films knew how to suggest sexual consummation in the most delightful way. There's a gift and mastery to underplaying, and the remake is definitely overplayed, especially by Day. I'm a big Garner fan, but I like him much better in more acerbic roles, such as The Americanization of Emily.
  16. rosebette

    Pregnant and showing in 1952!

    Actually, there were three pregnancies -- 3 kids 2 years or less apart. My life was kind of a blur for about 5 years.
  17. rosebette

    Pregnant and showing in 1952!

    I was pregnant in the 80s and early 90s, when the giant sweaters and sweatshirts (often with padded shoulders) and leggings were "in," and I live in a Northern climate, where everyone dresses in bulky clothes until April. I was always in the early stages in fall and winter and gave birth in spring. Most people didn't know I was pregnant because of these garments, and then in the spring, I'd emerge wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes and pushing a stroller, and neighbors would all wonder where the baby came from. I guess that's kind of like those older movies where the woman has tiny waistline and makes her announcement, and then in the next scene, the blossoms are on the trees, and miraculously, she's pushing a carriage.
  18. rosebette

    Fat Jokes In Movies And TV

    In The Adventures of Robin Hood, Robin (Errol Flynn) asks Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette) to surround Sir Guy and his men -- personally. Also, when Robin introduces him to Will Scarlett, he says, "Don't worry, he's one of us," to which Will replies, "One of us? He looks like three of us!"
  19. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    I can't believe the bras that must have created those figures! An engineer must have created them.
  20. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    I came home exhausted from work and an evening meeting and Singin' in the Rain was on. Although I've seen this movie many times, I so needed those 2 hours of pure joy. I still had chores to do around the house, but the thing about that movie is that there's never a dull moment, so many wonderful numbers, but even the comedy in between is terrific. I always crack up when Millard Mitchell pulls up Leena Lamont's sound wire.
  21. rosebette

    Sidekicks and Second Bananas

    His rendition of "The End of a Perfect Day" in Remember the Night always makes me tear up.
  22. rosebette

    Starring Madeline Kahn

    High Anxiety and Blazing Saddles feature my two favorite performances of Kahn's. The Marlene Dietrich impersonation always breaks me up. Such a gifted and funny lady.
  23. I own a CD by Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic orchestra that features large excerpts from the score: There is also a large excerpt from the score to The Adventures of Robin Hood. It's one of my favorite CDs, something I'm sure to play if I'm on a long drive or need some extra energy for a task. My vote, Errol Flynn as Don Juan. It's really the last view of Errol as I want to remember him, and the film is beautifully produced. I was most annoyed when I realized that I spent a spring break day correcting papers when I could have been happily viewing Errol in technicolor on my new wide screen TV.
  24. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Just a correction -- the film with Clark Gable and Constance Bennett is After Office Hours, not After Hours.
  25. rosebette

    I Just Watched...

    Yes, a bad pre-code is over in less than 90 minutes, whereas if I watch a bad new movie on On Demand, I've just lost two and a half hours of my life that I'll never get back. At least in a pre-code, I can always admire whatever Kay Francis or Connie Bennett is wearing.

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