kingrat

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Everything posted by kingrat

  1. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Agree 100%. Many interesting nuggets from Donen, who pointed out how well Audrey Hepburn sang in Funny Face (and could presumably have sung in My Fair Lady) and how Brigadoon was the A-List musical when it was being made at MGM, whereas Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, made at the same time, was considered the B Team, until both movies were released. Donen also emphasized how so many wonderful moments, like Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling, happened because of lots of rehearsal. Donen had nothing but praise for Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, and Gene Kelly, though he admitted that co-directing (with Kelly) was inherently difficult. Musicals were going out of fashion by the mid-50s, and MGM was ready to release him before Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was a hit. Donen then turned down MGM's offer so that he could go out on his own. When he called Jack Warner about making Indiscreet, when Warner heard that it was with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman directed by Donen, he immediately said yes. Donen pointed out how very different things became when the studios were no longer owned by the people who ran them.
  2. For Tuesday evening: Another Part of the Forest is a prequel to The Little Foxes. If you enjoy this kind of family melodrama, and I do, it's worth checking out.
  3. kingrat

    Painfully inappropriate casting.

    Dargo, that's hysterical. Although I'll give the poor guy this: that's one of the worst lines anyone has had to deliver.
  4. kingrat

    Painfully inappropriate casting.

    Yes, those nerdy guys always end up with the heroine--provided that they are played by Cary Grant (Bringing Up Baby), Henry Fonda (The Lady Eve), or Gary Cooper (Ball of Fire). Marcello Mastroianni also plays the shy type in both White Nights and The Organizer. The best qualification for any role is always someone who is, at that very moment, hot at the box office, who is then perfect to play any kind of character. Case in point: Ryan O'Neal as Barry Lyndon. Dozens of Irish or British or even American actors would have played the role better, but O'Neal's bankability meant that the film was made.
  5. Thanks for recommending Hungry Hill, Bogie. It has one really great scene, and you'll know it when it happens. Based on a novel by Daphne du Maurier.
  6. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Tom, I like this movie, too. Thanks for the great write-up. I can't think of another film where Flora Robson gets the chance to show sex appeal, and convincingly.
  7. kingrat

    Groovy Movies!

    For "swinging London" you could also watch The Knack and Smashing Time, among others. A Hard Day's Night and Help! are definitely groovy. Head tries too hard for my taste, but it's trying its best to be groovy. Blow-Up and Petulia have the "groovy gone sour" thing going on. And don't forget The Trip and Chappaqua.
  8. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    I'm so glad that TCM was able to air The King of Jazz (1930), a film with real historical importance and some fascinating, even mind-blowing, scenes. As you might expect from the revue format, some segments misfire, especially some of the comedy sketches, and not all of the musical scenes are equally interesting. Some of the big musical scenes look like imitation Busby Berkeley scenes from the mid-thirties--but this came earlier. I don't know enough about the period to know who did what first, either on Broadway or on film. The director, John Murray Anderson, apparently had helped develop Ziegfeld shows as well as putting on Broadway revues of his own, and some of the scenes are so inventively shot that it's most unfortunate he never directed another film. Anderson joins the company of such gifted one-time directors as Charles Laughton (Night of the Hunter) and Clive Brook (On Approval). There had been too many musical revues in the early sound era, and this late entry in the genre failed to make back its cost, sending Anderson back to Broadway. Seeing the two-strip Technicolor was interesting all by itself, although skin tones look unnatural. The film won an Oscar for art direction, much deserved. The scene with Paul Whiteman's orchestra inside an aqua piano is spectacular even today. The costumes are also great, and you'll get to see a bridal dress with a train that goes on and on. I did not know that John Boles sang. He has a fine tenor voice in the operetta style that is not popular today among most audiences. Seeing Bing Crosby when he was one of the Rhythm Boys is another treat; Crosby's singing style is more modern by comparison. I'd love to see this on the big screen; it would seem to be a natural for the TCM Film Festival.
  9. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Lorna, not only is this genuinely witty and beautifully put, I agree with it a hundred per cent. About American Graffiti: It's a well-made movie, much imitated, as Lawrence and others have said, and I can appreciate much about it although 1) my nostalgia level for high school is close to zero and 2) the endless soundtrack of pre-existing pop songs is one of the worst trends in movie history.
  10. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    I'd like to see the full production of Ruthless! the Musical. The song I've heard from it is hilarious, as the mother-turned-reluctant-star wishes she could go back to the more fulfilling life of ironing clothes, etc. I saw the first hour of Get Carter. Probably could have pushed through to the end, but I didn't care enough. Pretty much a case study in why I don't usually like 1970s crime pictures. Good enough story idea: criminal Michael Caine goes back to his hometown to find out who killed his brother and avenge his death. The cinematographer, alas, has seen Klute and is impressed by how darkly Gordon Willis lit most of the scenes. The script is rather offhand, with minimal characterization and not much suspense. Everything is set up to be the work of a fancy-schmancy director/auteur: the scenes are set up for style, with script, actors, and characters suitably de-emphasized, but the director has few ideas about what that style might be. Nothing but Michael Caine held my interest at all. Jigsaw and Scorpio are similar films with related problems.
  11. Bogie, here's another vote for an honorary Oscar to Max von Sydow. He's been in numerous American-made films, like Three Days of the Condor, which is a big favorite of Ben M.
  12. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    For a happier look at Edward G. Robinson, there's last night's feature, The Cincinnati Kid. Robinson said he identified strongly with his character, the old gambler who still has what it takes, even when challenged by a macho youngster with gorgeous blue eyes--Steve McQueen, of course. The script doesn't dig very deep, but with Karl Malden, Rip Torn, Jack Weston, and Joan Blondell on hand, you can just turn them loose and let them play their usual characters. I wish the script let us know more about the past between Blondell and Robinson; that would have been interesting. Tuesday Weld plays McQueen's girlfriend, Christian (gosh, do you suppose she's supposed to be the good girl?). Ann-Margret is supposed to play SEXY SEXY SEXY #Hot2Trot, and she fulfills those expectations. We know she's bad because she gets turned on by a cockfight (like, roosters attacking each other). It's fun that the sexy bad girl is named Melba, now a name rarely heard except for women over 70. One day the same will be true about Madison and Taylor. The cinematography by Philip H. Lathrop is first-rate, and we get to see some location shots of New Orleans. Norman Jewison directs well, with unobtrusive but well-planned camera set-ups. Hal Ashby is the editor, and Lalo Schifrin wrote the music. Even with this strong creative team, however, the most impressive things about the movie are Steve McQueen's star power, visible every moment he's on screen, and the emotion, nuance, subtlety, and thought that Robinson brings to his character.
  13. Such horrible news. Alex Trebek is a great classic movie fan and a friend of TCM. He came up with the idea of films set in Africa as a theme for one month.
  14. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Martine Carol played the title role in Lola Montes, but I'm not surprised that you don't remember her at all. My impression was that she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag, and, perhaps fortunately, didn't try. I've never seen her in another film, so maybe she did better for other directors. Lola Montes is mostly about the showy camera movements that Max Ophuls comes up with, and some are spectacular. This does mean that Lola Montes sometimes seems like camera movements in search of a movie. I'm not surprised you remembered Peter Ustinov, who is quite good, as are Anton Walbrook and Oskar Werner. Martine Carol is like the black hole that the other elements of the film circle around.
  15. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Watching The Leopard, I couldn't help wishing that the aristocracy would decay a little faster! I don't feel much emotional connection with it, either. Nice cinematography.
  16. For Wednesday morning I like Bed of Roses. Constance Bennett is a woman of easy virtue who meets a good man (Joel McCrea, a fine-looking one, too). Pert Kelton gets lots of good lines as the wise-cracking best friend. Nicely directed by Gregory La Cava.
  17. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Lawrence, you get lots of extra points for "the love child of John Cassavetes and Jerry Lewis." A nice write-up on The Strange One. Ben Gazzara doesn't look or sound Southern, but he brings all the right qualities to his role. George Peppard is also good; presumably this film helped him get Home from the Hill, where is also so much better than in most of his subsequent films. I also love the names Rik Van Nutter and Beach Dickerson. What great porn star names they would be. I wonder if Beach Dickerson was a client of Henry Willson. That was the kind of name he loved to give his good-looking male clients.
  18. kingrat

    Tommy Lee Jones

    Back in his One Life To Live days, he was billed as Tom Lee Jones.
  19. kingrat

    Actor Luke Perry (1966-2019)

    These days it's shocking when anyone dies of a heart attack at 52. The top picture in this thread shows Luke Perry looking, I would have guessed, at least 65. Still a handsome man, but with lots of mileage. Perhaps it's the illness that makes him look older than his years. Beverly Hills 90210 was popular worldwide. Sometime in the early to mid-1990s I was vacationing in Padua. As you might expect, all kinds of religious knickknacks were on sale outside the church of St. Anthony. Alongside the religious items with images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary were . . . knickknacks with pictures of Luke Perry and Shannen Doherty.
  20. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    You gotta love the questions that movies pose for us: Will Elvis Presley ever be as big a star as Wendell Corey?
  21. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Lawrence, this might be of interest to soap opera fans from the 60s and 70s. Sam Groom played Dr. Russ Matthews on Another World back in the 1960s; none of the replacements were anywhere near as good. Sam Groom was Canadian, left Another World to star in a medical show for Canadian TV, and was in the movie The Baby Maker in the early 80s. Tom Hallick (Brad, the psychiatrist) and Trish Stewart (Chris Brooks) were original cast members of The Young and the Restless.
  22. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    I'm glad that TCM has finally been able to show Forever Amber, which I had seen on TV perhaps thirty years ago. If the Legion of Decency made the studio evade some of the franker sexuality implied by the story, there's still much to enjoy. Linda Darnell is stunningly beautiful, as Amber must be for the story to make sense. (I can't imagine Peggy Cummins, the original choice, in the role at all; she would seem more suited to play Amber's maid, deliciously acted by Jessica Tandy.) It's great to see favorites like Leo G. Carroll, Anne Revere, Robert Coote, and Margaret Wycherly in small roles, and I'll have to add two more names to my list of best supporting actors for 1947: George Sanders is brilliant as King Charles II, perfectly cast, all wit and irony, intelligence and dissipation. Every syllable counts. Richard Haydn also makes a big impression as the aging lord with a twisted nature underneath a perfectly polished surface. Tastes differ about Cornel Wilde, but if you don't like him, Richard Greene, Glenn Langan, and John Russell are also on display.
  23. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    Exactly. Part of the fun of re-reading or re-watching a Christie story is that now you appreciate exactly how and where the misdirection occurs.
  24. kingrat

    I Just Watched...

    These posters are great, Rayban. Pat Boone as a homoerotic heartthrob! Who'd have thunk it? Although Nancy Kwan is a very beautiful woman, you'd never know it from that poster. Pat is definitely the main attraction. If that weren't enough: Lawrence, my mind is completely blown by the notion of Zsa Zsa Gabor playing twins. Imagine a remake of, say, The Dark Mirror or Dead Ringer with Zsa Zsa in the dual roles. And to all the Agatha Christie fans: I'm a huge fan of Agatha, too. No other mystery writer has had such a marvelous sense of how to play with the reader's expectations. Her characterizations are not necessarily deep, but she always gives us a character, not just a figure in a puzzle, and almost incidentally she gives us a clear view of certain aspects of British life as the years passed.
  25. kingrat

    Misleading Titles

    It's amusing that Woman on the Run is about a man on the run.

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