kingrat

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  1. kingrat

    Heaven's Gate (the movie,not the cult)

    Actually I did mind the endless wedding scene in The Deer Hunter. Apart from some excellent scenes featuring Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, and John Savage, there wasn't much that I liked in The Deer Hunter. It could easily and profitably have been shortened by 45 minutes.
  2. The Graduate was originally intended to be about a blond WASP-ish family, thus the interest in Robert Redford and Candice Bergen. Doris Day was also considered as a possible Mrs. Robinson, though she was not interested. The choice of Dustin Hoffman shifted the movie away from blond WASPs. By the way, Noel Harrison also had a big hit with Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." At one time I owned a 45 of that.
  3. Does anyone else find One-Eyed Jacks a bizarre choice for the National Film Registry? Some of the films mentioned have cultural importance apart from the quality of their filmmaking (Monterey Pop, for instance), and even The Shining has found its way into popular culture, Hud is one of the films that created Paul Newman's screen persona, Hearts and Minds represents the anti-Vietnam War movement, etc. Broadcast News represents the Bill Clinton Era, where the person with the thick Southern accent can now be seen as intelligent, though I'm afraid that not many journalists today would see anything wrong with the behavior by Wiiliam Hurt which the film condemns.
  4. Although My Fair Lady and The Informer would have been way down my list of possible additions to the National Film Registry (I appreciate their merits, but there are many, many films I consider more worthy), Thursday offers four films that seem especially worthy of note. Patterns is one of several interesting films from the 1950s that examine the costs of the business world; The Prowler is an interesting film noir that gets better and better in the last half hour as the characters escape to a ghost town; Act of Violence is even more satisfying on repeated viewing; and Dames has choreography that is wildly imaginative even by Busby Berkeley's standards. Some people try to be surrealists, but with Busby it just comes naturally.
  5. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    This kind of champagne cocktail comedy is difficult to translate to the screen, and yes, Lorna, it's a lot like What's Love Got To Do With It? as directed by Ernst Lubitsch! Noel Coward wrote Private Lives for himself and Gertrude Lawrence, and the play was a hit in London and on Broadway, which is no doubt why MGM bought it for Norma Shearer. Elyot and Amanda both have diva temperament for days, so they can't live with each other, but they aren't really suited for living with lesser mortals, either. Coward's Design for Living is similar, but with an extra man. I saw Maggie Smith play Amanda in Private Lives on stage. Her leading man, John Standing, could not stand up to her, so that the play became a question of what campy, outrageous thing Dame Maggie would do next. The most memorable moment of the production--literally, this is all I remember clearly--was when Amanda sits on a couch and discovers something, something horrid, on the couch: the handbag of Sibyl, Elyot's new wife. Holding the handbag as far away from herself as possible, Dame Maggie, looking aghast, rises, totters across the room, and deposits the wretched object near Sibyl. One of the best-executed pieces of comic business I've ever seen, though it really has nothing to do with the play. Hey, rayban, thanks for the write-up on Watusi. Must check it out. George Montgomery in Orchestra Wives is handsome even by movie-star standards, and I've always understood why Sister Ruth went bonkers over David Farrar in Black Narcissus. I like Taina Elg, too.
  6. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Yes, Lorna, the Basil Rathbone film was a super early talkie, and yes, I didn't last long with it. Tom, mea culpa for not mentioning Marilyn in re O. Henry's Full House. She has a small role in "The Cop and the Anthem." (But I love your response!) I probably should have mentioned Richard Widmark and Dale Robertson, who have much more screen time in "The Clarion Call." I could also say that I think "The Ransom of Red Chief" is much the weakest episode, not one of Howard Hawks' better efforts.
  7. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    I saw both The Dragon Murder Case and The Casino Murder Case on Philo Vance Day. They are essentially the forerunners of the hour-long mystery shows on television. Neither is great art, but both, especially Casino, are entertaining. At least in the one S. S. Van Dine mystery I've read, The Canary Murder Case, Philo Vance is an effete upper-crust know-it-all, and I can understand why Ogden Nash thought he needed "a kick in the pance." In the movies Philo is a much more interesting character. William Powell in The Kennel Murder Case, as in many other non-Philo films, is just about the perfect combination of sophistication and masculinity. Warren William in The Dragon Murder Case is more macho. Fans of Eugene Pallette, who plays Sgt. Heath, should be sure to check out Dragon because he has lots of good lines and steals every scene he's in. Margaret Lindsay, as the fiancee of the murdered man, has less screen time than one would expect, although if you think Lyle Talbot is hot, you'll appreciate that he has several scenes. The method of murder is unusual, to say the least. The Casino Murder Case is even better, especially if you like Rosalind Russell, who has good romantic comedy chemistry with Paul Lukas, an acceptable Philo provided that you can get past his accent. This is the Roz I enjoy, smart, attractive, and funny. Alison Skipworth as a dizzy dowager is another plus. The young Isabel Jewell has the kind of role that would often go to Una Merkel or Pert Kelton, and she also brings a jolt of energy to the proceedings.
  8. There are quite a few good films on Sunday. One of the less familiar is O. Henry's Full House (1952), five short films based on O. Henry stories, each directed by a different director, and some segments are much better than others. Farley Granger and Jeanne Crain certainly make an attractive couple for "The Gift of the Magi," but my favorite episodes are "The Cop and the Anthem" with Charles Laughton and David Wayne--Laughton wonderfully theatrical and Wayne simply real--and "The Last Leaf," brilliantly directed by Jean Negulesco. Jean Peters and Gregory Ratoff (in perhaps their best performances?) go to heroic lengths to give Peters' sister (Anne Baxter) the will to live.
  9. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Last night had Sophia in a great Italian-language movie, Marriage Italian Style, and Sophia in a not-so-great English-language movie, Lady L. You might ask, as I once did, "How dull can a movie be when it has Sophia Loren, Paul Newman, and David Niven?" Dull. Really, really dull. Peter Ustinov, a charming actor, doesn't know how to direct. This is less obvious in Billy Budd, where the material is so strong (though, to me, the shaping and pacing seem off), but Lady L is a light, artificial comedy of a kind rarely seen by the 1960s, and it desperately needs someone who could channel Ernst Lubitsch.
  10. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    I can't believe it: I was watching a foreign film and my spouse started watching it, too, all the way to the end. He never does that. But the movie was Marriage Italian Style, and that explains a lot. In Italian, at least when directed by Vittorio De Sica, Sophia Loren is a great actress, not merely an astonishingly beautiful woman. The switches from comedy to drama and back to comedy always seem right, and that's very hard to bring off. Again, congratulations to Vittorio De Sica. Marcello Mastroianni is perfect, though his role doesn't have the depth of Loren's character. Aldo Puglisi is fine in a supporting role, and Tecla Scarano is a hoot as Rosalia. The great cinematography is merely an added bonus. Look at the gleaming wood tones in this film: for all the overuse of dark brown in contemporary film and television, no one comes close to using a brown-forward palette this well. Mastroianni's suits are great, too. I'd love to have suits just like them, especially the medium blue and the oyster-colored ones.
  11. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    As movies go, Jeanne Dielmann is an excellent graduate seminar paper. Recording it and using the fast forward is much better than seeing it in real time. However, if memory serves, there are occasional showings of Jeanne Dielmann where, just as at Rocky Horror showings, fans bring some of the items Jeanne uses during her daily routine. John Frankenheimer is one of the very best American directors of the 1960s. Films like The Manchurian Candidate and Seconds look even better now than they did then, wonderful on the big screen. Like so many of his contemporaries, Frankenheimer had drug problems (he has talked about this in interviews), and this harmed his career. He eventually did a lot of television work, including some mini-series which are highly regarded (I am not familiar with them). He also made films like Ronin and The French Connection II, which have notable chase scenes. My take on Reindeer Games is just like Sepiatone's. It's not bad, entertaining enough but not the kind of film one would have hoped for from this very gifted director.
  12. In honor of Philo Vance day. Ogden Nash was not a fan of the Philo Vance mystery novels and wrote the following poem: "Philo Vance/needs a kick in the pance."
  13. kingrat

    The Cast Of 12 Angry Men In Other Films

    Some great suggestions from other people. I'd probably go with: Henry Fonda--The Grapes of Wrath (The Long Night would be second choice) Lee J. Cobb--On the Waterfront (also like him cast against type in The Song of Bernadette) John Fiedler--The Odd Couple Ed Begley--Odds Against Tomorrow Martin Balsam--Hombre Jack Klugman--Days of Wine and Roses
  14. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Tom's take on Hail, Caesar! hits the mark. If you're a fan of classic Hollywood, you'll enjoy the in-jokes and references. However, the average viewer may wonder what it's all about. The Coens have definitely made better films. One item of interest is the Coen Brothers' lack of reverence for the Communists and fellow travelers in Hollywood. Trumbo this isn't.
  15. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    The Outlaw has lots of overlapping triangles: Doc evidently has the hots for both Rio and Billy; Pat is jealous of Doc's closeness to Billy; Guadalupe has either been or would like to be Doc's girlfriend, and she also has the hots for Billy, etc. In another decade with a better director this could have been more thoroughly explored, and we could actually have seen Rio cut away Billy's clothes, as Doc told her to. In a weird way, I can see Sweet Bird of Youth as a kind of sequel to The Outlaw. After seven years of Howard Hughes, Jack Buetel should have been able to play Chance Wayne, the Paul Newman character. The whole story revolves around his sex appeal, just as the story of The Outlaw revolves around Billy's sex appeal, although the film of The Outlaw definitely revolves around Jane Russell's sex appeal.

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