DougieB

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Everything posted by DougieB

  1. DougieB

    "Fedora" (1978)

    Maybe he was pressured by suits or...did they still do previews in theaters then?...maybe preview audiences just didn't get it. Maybe in an environment which was dominated by much younger, "trendier" filmmakers like Scorsese and Coppola, Wilder started to second-guess himself. You're right, it's atypical and puzzling.
  2. DougieB

    "Fedora" (1978)

    In lesser hands it could have veered into the same lane as The Legend of Lylah Clare, but happily it didn't. Wilder's hand wasn't always as steady in some of his later films, but Fedora definitely reads as a Wilder movie. In a way it reminds me of Vincente Minnelli's swan song, A Matter of Time, from around the same time; that story also centers on an older woman (Ingrid Bergman) still in the thrall of past glories. For both directors there was a dwindling of power, in Minnelli's case involving oncoming dementia, but in neither case a lack of inherent talent. The Minnelli movie was taken from him and reedited, but Fedora seems to be Wilder's vision intact. I'll look for the Olive Films release; they've done a good job on the couple of DVD's I have.
  3. DougieB

    Greatest Cult Actress...I'm Right!

    I'm not totally sure that the vulnerability (which I think you're entirely right in detecting) isn't more of an indication that she was often out of her depth as an actress than it was an actress' choice in defining a role. I see what you mean by the comparison to Gail Russell, the kind of hurt look in the eyes. Loretta Young also mastered that look well on many occasions, as did I think Ida Lupino at times. Definitely something in the eyes. In Faith's case, maybe it's a legacy of Howard Hughes' tutelage; not many women seem to have walked away from him unscathed.
  4. DougieB

    Greatest Cult Actress...I'm Right!

    I like seeing some of the old threads too. I joined in 2009, but don't remember this one. If I'd seen it then, I surely would have nominated my absolute fave, Faith Domergue. She sort of started out headed toward legit acting, but I think found her level in sci-fi like This Island Earth and It Came From Beneath the Sea. In those she played opposite block-of-wood male actors Rex Reason and Kenneth Tobey and was the perfect female counterpart, totally stylized and prefab. In ICFBTS especially I enjoyed her as the renowned lady scientist in a white smock, busily taking notes on a clipboard as she monitored beakers of boiling water....What dedication to her craft! It seemed to me that she also had a slight Kay Francis-style speech impediment which gave her dialogue a strange lilt that I found intriguing. After seeing her in her sci-fi glory, I later caught up with Where Danger Lives (1950) with Robert Mitchum, where her "actressy" style sort of worked for her character as an unreliable narrator who deliberately misleads and lies. It was an interesting contrast, since Mitchum was also an actor with a façade, but one who could subtly and sometimes ingeniously let us see beneath it. With Faith it was more what-you-see-is-what-you-get, which led her to more formulaic roles in sci-fi and westerns, where she endeared herself to me immediately with her sometimes breathless fake sincerity as an actress. If this all sounds negative, I don't mean it that way. It takes a special kind of actor/actress to make the threat of monsters and aliens seem real and Faith definitely had the goods. Love her.
  5. DougieB

    Titles that have never been used

    TOPBILLED'S 11. TopBilled and his cronies aim high when they plan an ambitious heist at the Mall of America. TOPBILLED. Stylish noir in which a gumshoe who falls for the image of a murder victim is surprised when TopBilled turns up alive after all. TOPBILLED WITHOUT A CAUSE. An alienated TopBilled befriends some outcasts and becomes a fashion style icon for future generations.
  6. DougieB

    Titles that have never been used

    You pick, but don't forget RuPaul is a recent Emmy winner.
  7. DougieB

    Titles that have never been used

    THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF PEYTON PLACE. Constance McKenzie uses billboard ads to shame the father of the town rake, Rodney Harrington. PILLOW TALK IN THE AFTERNOON. A much younger woman is smooth-talked by an older man at early bird specials so he can get home by evening. and of course.... HOW TO MARRY TOPBILLED. Three schemers do their darndest to land our hero.
  8. DougieB

    Albert Herring, opera by Benjamin Britten

    It's hard to imagine what a production which didn't play up the gay subtext would actually look like and what kind of sense it would have made. With all the back-and-forth recently about remakes, this is a perfect example of why modern productions with fresh, inclusive perspectives are desirable and necessary.
  9. DougieB

    Memorable Music!

    This is a beautiful dream come true for me, after all these years. When I was a kid (and we all know kids have these feelings, no matter what many misguided adults would prefer) I went right to the men's underwear models in the Sears catalog, like many budding gay boys of my era, I'm sure. Those contourless airbrushed crotches only empowered the imagination instead of frustrating it, which I'm sure was the intention of reducing the male models to sexless Ken dolls. Now to see them come to life, freely cupping each others limbs and bodies and accommodating themselves to each other in such intimate ways, exquisitely erotic without being overtly sexual....I'm so glad I've lived long enough to be a witness. This is beautiful almost beyond description. Thank you for this.
  10. DougieB

    RSVP for heartache

    Agreed. Just as an afterthought, the outfit shown in the above picture is one of my all-time favorites of any actress in any film. Class indeed.
  11. DougieB

    Casablanca not on schedule

    It was the first and so far only post from this person, so you're probably right that he/she hadn't really figured out how to navigate yet. It is interesting how so many films can be cross-categorized. Maybe even a fit subject for a thread, though again there's the question of where?
  12. DougieB

    Ben Mankiewicz & Keith Carradine

    You sure you don't want to change it to a rear view of Mr. Brent?
  13. DougieB

    Casablanca not on schedule

    I don't want to presume to speak for anyone, but perhaps the OP meant that the film has many fanatic partisans. Inexplicably, I never took the opportunity to watch it as a younger man, though admittedly there were fewer chances before cable. I knew it only by it's reputation and by the enthusiasm some people expressed for it. My sister-in-law was/is a fanatic for the movie and has an entire collection of puzzles, trays, mugs, books, tee shirts, etc., to the point where it actually seemed to me that it WAS a cult film. When I finally made it a point to watch the movie for myself, I immediately became a fan, though one without all the merch. It could be the fact that the movie, like It's a Wonderful Life, has been so heavily merchandized that might make it seem like a cult movie. Just a guess.
  14. DougieB

    The Day the Earth Stood Still - 1951

    I'm not sure how they were ranked, but Wikipedia says that Spencer Tracy and Claude Rains were both considered for the part. I can't really visualize either of them in that role, though Claude Rains might have done in a pinch. Michael Rennie was younger and leaner and had the perfect blend of dour and caring as someone who was dealing with the fate of an entire race of beings. Neither of the other two would have made as much sense opposite Patricia Neal and the movie probably would have suffered for it. She was part of the glue which held the whole thing together.
  15. DougieB

    Ben Mankiewicz & Keith Carradine

    So far I've only caught them doing the intro to Performance, but I liked their rapport too. It wasn't just Carradine's knowledge and ease, but his enthusiasm too. I liked that Keith coined the term "psychedelic noir" to describe the film, which has always been a favorite of mine. Ben seemed content to look at it as a gangster film, but Keith expanded that by pointing out it involved both the criminal underground and the rock and roll underground and it was really the convergence of two very different takes on violence and sexuality which made it such a potent movie. I'd agree that they'd be a good pairing for "The Essentials", except for the fact that the series may have run its course and had already begun repeating so many titles. But Keith should be a keeper for TCM, that's for sure.
  16. DougieB

    RSVP for heartache

    Greer Garson could definitely be guilty of "goo" on occasion, sometimes undermining the credibility of her character. But I agree that her performance here was very measured (and spot on, as you said). She was the picture of patience and loving support as she worked to become the helpmate of the man who no longer remembered her. It's a wonderful romantic film which stands up to repeated viewings.
  17. I wonder if this is where Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd met and, if so, was Laura Dern conceived somewhere in the middle of this mess? It sounds like a pretty h orny group.
  18. DougieB

    let's talk about BLOOD ALLEY (1955)

    I really like Blood Alley too, though I only became familiar with it later in life. As a young man in the late 1960's I had a prejudice against John Wayne based on political views and wouldn't watch his films, though as a kid I'd liked things like North to Alaska and Hatari!. Thankfully I've gotten over that and have enjoyed catching up with many of his films. I noticed that Blood Alley was done by Batjac, his production company, so it was an example of some of the good choices he made when looking for material. I don't know whether or not he personally sought Lauren Bacall as a costar, but it was a good pairing (though I think she could have paired well with almost any of the male leads of that era). He was less successful, in my opinion, with the casting of Lana Turner in The Sea Chase; I didn't really feel chemistry there. I know a lot of people think he was dreadfully miscast (by himself, I would imagine) in John Huston's The Barbarian and the Geisha, but I think that's a beautifully realized film and he was really good in it. America was still a relatively new nation, also new to diplomacy, so that his seeming discomfort seemed natural to the character and not a reflection on John Wayne the actor in a period role. The asides to "Baby" were an interesting device and I particularly liked the fact that in the final scene he transferred the term to Bacall, so that she would henceforth be his "Baby" and his need for fantasy was over. (Weren't she and Bogart referred to as Bogie and Baby, so maybe it's an inside joke too?) I can't vouch for the accuracy of the political subplot either, but you're right that it seems to ring true. These were good roles for both Wayne and Bacall and I was happy to see it show up on her SUTS day.
  19. DougieB

    THEM! (1954)

    I was lucky to have a really good local theater too, though I never saw Them! The one that sticks with me is Forbidden Planet, which seemed miraculous to me, also with a great music score and fantastic (for the time) special effects. When I watch it now I feel like I'm right back in that theater. I love that you mentioned the giant title blasting you in the face. Sci-fi in general always had the best title graphics back in those days.
  20. DougieB

    CHEW THAT SCENERY!

    I can already feel finance, whether corporeal or non-corporeal, scowling at me, but I have to nominate Susan Hayward as a scenery chewer extraordinaire. Especially in her later films, she dove right into a role with that "plucky dame" persona of hers and took no prisoners until the dust finally settled. TCM recently showed I Thank a Fool with Peter Finch and she uncharacteristically underplayed her part (very effectively, I thought), but in most cases she reminded me of some of the speed freaks I knew in my youth, with a bug-eyed intensity which radiated to every corner of the room. There was a focused self-awareness to her performances which I find hypnotic. (I feel the same about Lana Turner; Lana also had a kind of self-aware intensity, so that you could never for a moment catch her not acting.) Don't get me wrong; I love me a good Susan Hayward movie, but my money was always on her to reduce that scenery to rubble, and if it was Ross Hunter scenery and a Jean Louis gown, all the better.
  21. Nice work. The one which literally jumped out at me was The Mirror Crack'd. Why that hasn't ended up on TCM by this point is a mystery to me, Yes, it represented late-career performances by people who had all done better work in the past, but...Elizabeth Taylor?...Rock Hudson?...Kim Novak?...Tony Curtis?...Angela Lansbury? All TCM favorites.
  22. Thanks. Duly noted. I remember being tremendously amused, though how chemically altered I was at the time I can't say, and am having trouble processing the notion that Melina Mercouri was "abysmal". I also remember being tickled by the "monotonous displays" by the actresses playing the nuns, particularly a deliberately off-kilter Geraldine Page, one of my all-time favorite actresses. I've often had to revise my opinions of films when viewing them again later in life, but as of now my memory of this one is that it was clever and fun. I'm open to the idea that it could be seen as an example of over-extended skit comedy. Also, the fact that the cast includes three married couples working together may make it seem like an in-joke kind of thing to amuse themselves. Guess the only solution is for me to find a copy and watch it again. I like Leonard Maltin but long ago gave up referring to his guides, which I've often thought missed the mark. Again, a matter of taste.
  23. There may be rights issues in play, but I've never seen a broadcast anywhere of Nasty Habits (1977). It's a highly amusing Watergate satire set in a convent, with Glenda Jackson as the secretive and somewhat paranoid abbess who resorts to bugging her office and ultimately the whole convent. She enlists the aid of her two Haldeman/Erlichman-types, Geraldine Page and Anne Jackson, to do her bidding and help set up the hapless Sandy Dennis (read John Dean) to give them plausible deniability. There is a novitiate who is agitating against the abbess and it's the theft from a sewing box of some love letters from a lover in their brother order which precipitates a cover-up that unravels over the course of the movie. Her lover becomes the "Deep Throat" who gets out word of the nefarious goings-on at the convent. As the walls begin to close in Melina Mercuri, in a hilarious cameo as a Kissinger-style fixer nun, swoops in by helicopter to help wrangle the whole mess. Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Eli Wallach and Rip Torn round out the cast, making it all the more curious that a film with such talent has slipped through the cracks. We don't see many movies with such pointed political satire (Dr. Strangelove comes to mind). It seems, though I may be wrong, that it was somehow a British production or at least financed there, so that may be part of the reason why it's in limbo somewhere. There have been both VHS and DVD releases, but from a very faded, cropped print.
  24. DougieB

    Nudist Camp Films

    I don't honestly know particulars but, as I said, it seemed pretty upscale and well-maintained. I'm glad to know the movie is still available.
  25. DougieB

    Nudist Camp Films

    One of the big names in nudist camp films was a woman, Doris Wishman. My favorite of hers was Nude on the Moon (1962), which managed to fuse two Florida favorites, the space program and nudist camps. Two guys self-fund a rocket ship and end up on the moon, all of which is accomplished by stock footage and very tight closeups which don't reveal much background. Lo and behold the moon is a lush garden..who knew? There's a queen, of course, and she and her subjects are topless, but wearing a weird kind of flesh-colored granny p anty (the men too). They communicate telepathically through little tin foil antennae, so there wasn't much distracting dialogue. I can't for the life of me remember the plot, but there was the usual scene of the interlopers being brought before the queen, etc. It looked like a fairly upscale "nature" camp, with lots of nooks and crannies to frame the lovelies of both sexes. Obviously, the selling point was the wall-to-wall *****, but Doris managed to do it in an interesting (for ten minutes) way. There was even a theme song. ("I'm mooning over you, my little moon doll".) I'm not sure about availability, but I had it on VHS.

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