Jlewis

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  1. Jlewis

    Making some "Shortie Checklists"...

    Strand Film is an interesting film production unit that was at its peak between the years 1935 and 1945 as part of the "British School" of documentary films. Many of the names associated with it also worked with the competing GPO Film Unit including the legendary Paul Rotha who helped establish it. For about two years or so, Strand Film was under the supervision of the equally famous Stuart Legg, just before he assisted with others with the newly formed National Film Board of Canada... another company that needs little introduction to film buffs. Most successful of the films made under Legg was a series distributed by Walter O. Gutlohn Inc. for the American educational market called "Animal Kingdom", made in conjunction with the London Zoological Society. Several big names were associated with this series, including host Julian Huxley and future Hollywood and American independent filmmaker Paul Burnford as cinematographer. William Alwyn provided some rather stirring classical music backgrounds, making these little critter reels seem more ambitious than they really were. A list of titles are as follows with approximate UK release dates... Behind The Scenes (directed by Evelyn Spice Cherry) / December 1937 Free To Roam / May 9, 1938 Monkey Into Man (Stanley Hawes) / May 9, 1938 The Zoo And You (Ruby Grierson) / May 9, 1938 Zoo Babies (Evelyn Spice Cherry) / May 9, 1938 How To Look After Your Pets / May 26, 1938 Mites And Monsters (Donald Alexander) / May 26, 1938 Animal Geography (Evelyn Spice Cherry) / November 24, 1938 Animals On Guard (Ruby Grierson & Donald Alexander) / November 24, 1938 Creatures Great And Small / November 24, 1938 Young Animals / November 24, 1938 Animal Legends (Evelyn Spice Cherry) / December 14, 1938 Birth Of The New Year / December 14, 1938 Fingers And Thumbs / December 14, 1938 Time Of Your Life (Stanley Hawes) / March 9, 1939 From Fin To Hand / July 18, 1940 Monkeys And Apes / December 1940 may be a reissue or re-edit of Monkey Into Man Also similar, but not officially part of the series were: Galápogos Islands (Richard Leacock & David Lack) / April 1939 Land Of The White Rhino (produced by Basil Wright and camera work by J. Blake Dalrymple) / December 12, 1940 A print of Monkey Into Man that features its original title cards can be viewed on the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/monkeyintoman Ooooh boy! There is plenty to comment here. All of the primates featured are London Zoo captives and the commentary on chimps in particular is noticeably behind-the-times. It was not until 1960 that Jane Goodall started studying them in the wild with more intensity and interest. The narration insinuates, if not spell out directly, that chimps are only creative when humans push them to be, rather than being creative on their own in the wild. It is also a trifle strange that we progress from gorillas to shots of the aborigines in Australia. There is also a bit of sermonizing on the importance of "family", both among primates and humans. I especially enjoy how baboons grooming each other are presented as something rather provocative: "it stimulates the nerves of their skin and they obviously get a great deal of pleasure from it just as a man does from massage and a woman does from beauty treatment".
  2. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Wonderful YouTube has given us an abundance of riches with so many favorites entering public domain.
  3. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    I am vaguely familiar with all of these titles to some degree but have yet to see any of them.
  4. I am not clear exactly on Paolo Turco's character's age. I am speculating 21 but 23-24 would be more likely if, say, he was born in 1945. We see war footage but we don't know how it fits in some of the flashbacks. The movie was shot in 1969 and there are vintage posters at the fair ground. He loves magic acts and it is interesting how his first stunt in front of his parents and Sylvania the lady visitor instantly changes the nature of this movie. It started straightforwardly but then begins featuring curious flashforward and flashback inter-cuts once he cuts the cards and makes both cards... and even Silvana the lady visitor... temporarily disappear. There are a lot of details of the past that are not examined fully and we viewers have to do some guess work. Maybe this is why Roger Ebert disliked this film? He needed everything spelled out? We see the woman's son as a three year old stumbling on his parents in "cahoots" in bed... only we are not sure if the woman with his stepfather is really his mother. Perhaps he was cheating on his mother? Also we see the husband killing a man who might have been the boy's true father right after he stumbles upon him and the cheating wife and surprises them with a knife. When Silvania's character often asks where the gun is, we only see it fired in flashbacks and we are not certain who the guy is who falls down the stairs, but we kinda assume he was the biological father of Turco's character. Also just before she gives him back his "manhood" (being that he was impotent), she comments on one of the guns he has in his library that he is not impotent... the obvious Freudian symbolism here. I can understand that this film may be too deep for some viewers, but it is still a lot of fun to watch. Another thing that I am sure Ebert hated but viewers like me enjoy is the fact that characters like the husband and wife wind up IN the very movie they had been watching, but are being watched by others as "voyeurs". There is also a fascinating sequence when Frank Wolff's character and Sylvania meet at the roof of the castle and he says something a bit too tastelessly "earthy". She requests that he repeat the scene differently on a better note and we suddenly get this strange "rewind" backwards! It is a very surreal moment that reminds me of older animated cartoons of the Tex Avery school that often broke that third wall, often with characters like Screwy Squirrel telling their adversary that they must repeat a chase scene because it wasn't done right... or, in one memorable Warner cartoon, Speedy Gonzales repeats a scene involving TNT exploding a cat's mouth in slow motion. Only this time it is not a gag but part of a hypnotic dream...
  5. I think you may even like how the music is cleverly incorporated in the different scenes. I know that video clip we referenced is quite silly, but it mostly plays through the seduction scene. Then, once the clothes come off, we hear the sounds of locusts in their countryside autumn "mating"! I was checking the earlier film out and noticed that both films are using what looks suspiciously like the same Mercedes-Benz. Both Teorema and The Lickerish Quartet are deep films that require more than one viewing. At its simplest interpretation (and there are many you can think up), the Pasolini film from 1968 features Terence Stamp as a spiritual being... either an angel or a devil, although nobody is harmed by him so I don't think of him as the latter. He is a blank canvas on which each family member and the housekeeper draws their own image... and has a different reaction towards, sometimes on a sexual level but also on a religious level. In the Metzger film, Silvana Venturelli also comes across as this blank canvas in which a man (Frank Wolff), his wife (Erika Remberg) and her son (his stepson, played by Paolo Turco) each has a different reaction towards and she mysteriously becomes some sort of therapy for all of their sexual hangups. The husband is impotent but “cured” in a library full of books and medical terms for sex on the floor. His wife gets to experience her lesbian side that has been suppressed, but she has been using the excuse of her husband's impotence to avoid having sex with him. By rediscovering what turns her on with a woman, she eventually reconnects with him. The 21 year old sees Silvana's character as Saint Margaret like all of those bizarre medieval paintings in his mind (but without fig leafs and toads...?!!.. covering any “lady parts”). He loses his inhibitions out with Mother Nature. In this regard, the two films are quite similar. Then this film goes in similar territory as Sherlock Junior, Rear Window, Videodrome, Purple Rose Of Cairo, The Truman Show and numerous others involving window-peepers/movie/TV viewers becoming a part of what they are watching. The family initially sees Silvana's character as one of several actresses and actors in a black & white 16mm “blue” movie that the father projects in their castle living room. They then see her unexpectedly at a “death race” motorcycle stunt at a fair ground and invite her home to watch herself on screen... only her face keeps changing into a different actress in the very movie all four watches! There is an interesting connection to her motorcycle stunt which is "death defying". She basically helps each family member get “reborn” after a prolonged sexual “death”, overcoming their own obstacles in life. Again, she kinda-sorta resembles Terence Stamp's healing powers in the other film. When she mysteriously leaves the castle estate, the 21 year old is lost, a bit like some of the characters in Teorema after Stamp leaves. He is frantically searching all over the countryside to find his "Saint Margaret" again who once deflowered him. However his mother and step father are back together happy and sexually active... only with a peculiar twist. They are now seen exclusively in black & white on a 16mm projector. In addition, they are also being watched by two actors and two actresses who were previously seen in the very same series of 16mm black & white films. We get a repeat of the same dialogue by these four people that we previously heard with husband, wife and son. In a way, this film has a lot to say about how we as "viewers" are too easily influenced by what we see on a movie, TV, computer or iphone screen and this becomes an obstacle that we must overcome. This film is also manipulative with its sense of "time" with lots of flashforwards as well as flashbacks, sort of like Last Year In Marienbad and the popular ABC series over a decade ago, Lost.
  6. Finally got around to The Lickerish Quartet. Really liked that one. Vaguely resembles Pasolini's Theorum with Silvana Venturelli taking on the Terence Stamp role seducing a rich man who now owns a ritzy country castle, the Italian woman he married sometime after WW2 and her (not his) son who is now 21 or so. It adds another dimension, unlike the Pasolini film, with the characters watching a "dirty" movie in the beginning and then submerging into the characters in the very movie. Pretty trippy stuff. Roger Ebert wasn't much of a fan. Not sure why exactly. Guess you have to be in the proper mood. https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-lickerish-quartet-1971
  7. Jlewis

    Random Alerts!

    I think this show just needed more time to develop and stronger, as you suggested, supporting characters to off shoot Bea's VERY strong performance. Maybe if Vivian Blane was incorporated in more episodes? There is no guarantee strategy with any show. We all know that the very best that TV has to offer is not necessarily the most successful.
  8. Jlewis

    Random Alerts!

    That is essentially my opinion in a nutshell. I don't think she needs to be warm and fuzzy at all. She just needs others around her to balance out the show a bit more. I have seen some Fawlty Towers and it is an acquired taste for some of us that takes longer to develop, but I understand its cult appeal.
  9. Jlewis

    Random Alerts!

    Kevin McCarthy also appeared in an episode of GG as well, but not in scenes with Bea unfortunately. I too like Vivian Blane in that particular episode even though I found it surprisingly unfunny compared to the earlier one I watched. Obviously there is something wrong with my sense of humor, but... on the plus side... I did find plenty of historical interest. It foreshadows future GG episodes in which Dorothy provides emotional support to broke family members, namely ex Stan and sister Gloria. Also it is fun to compare this episode to another classic GG one, Long Day's Journey Into Marinara, in which Bessie the piano playing chicken is thought to have been “cooked”. Since we actually see the performing bird and see how emotionally attached Rose is to her (i.e. this later show being much more animal friendly), we get a happy ending with the wonderful Nancy Walker as Aunt Angela quipping “You think I know how to kill a live chicken? Who do you think I am? Conan the Barbarian?” (I really wish she made more than two episodes because she was perfect in her role.) My personal feelings about this episode may offer insight into why this show failed and both Maude and GG succeeded. Bea is wonderfully sarcastic in all three shows, but you need more performers in her orbit whom she has a stronger emotional bond with. Maybe we see a stronger connection to her son and daughter-in-law in other episodes than these two I watched? Otherwise, she comes off as... just sarcastic with nothing to bounce off of. She generally does not play the most affectionate of characters and needs those around her to draw affection out of her. In Maude, she was blessed with both an exasperated but still supportive husband and a neighbor she genuinely likes and cares about despite constantly batting with him over political issues (he being the conservative Republican with all of these “phobias” and his wife played by... who else but Rue McClanahan?). John Wayne was so eager to be on her show as a guest star because Bea was at her most lovable when in conflict over ideological differences. In the latter show, she may have been the “glue”, but Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty clearly were equally important to that show's success. We have already discussed the many gay and gay-supportive writers involved with GG behind the scenes. I must mention another key episode 72 Hours in which Rose thinks she may be HIV positive due to earlier hospital blood work. She becomes judgmental of Blanche because she has the busier sex life and is more “deserving” in her eyes. Blanche's comeback was clearly written by somebody who lost somebody close to him/her to the disease or may have been diagnosed: “AIDS is not a bad person's disease, Rose. It is not God punishing people for their sins!” (Estelle Getty, in particular, lost many close performers she worked with on stage.)
  10. Jlewis

    Random Alerts!

    I watched one of those, an episode titled I Ain't Got Nobody. Yes, she is great in it but she is literally exhausting herself doing all of the work. The co-stars are basically just props whom Bea must avoid bumping into, although Peggy Cass (who appeared in at least one Golden Girls, if not two) is delightfully daffy.
  11. Jlewis

    Random Alerts!

    Yes, I remember those two episodes so well. Plus there was the one with the sculptor (episode titled The Artist instead of The Actor) whom they all posed nude for and he had a boyfriend. Funny thing... we each react differently to different shows. Designing Women was probably as equally well written and well acted, but I couldn't get into it as much as Golden Girls... just as I always favored Bewitched over I Dream Of Jeanie. Perhaps it was because the stars in the latter shows were pretty much equal in standing and their energy was a trifle scattered. They are on Golden Girls too and one must admire how well Betty White has outlasted everybody. Yet I still favored Bea Arthur's Dorothy over her and the others as the "glue" of the show whom everybody performed around. She was like Jack Benny with his radio and TV ensemble. Just as I loved Phil Harris, Don Wilson, Mel Blanc, Mary Livingston and especially Eddie Anderson's Rochester (and Dennis Day playing Betty White's Rose simple-minded and wholesome counterpart), Benny was still the "glue" just as Bea was with this show. Then again, I can watch Bea in just about anything, Maude or the overblown Mame... and she pretty much dominated everybody else, including Gig Young and Cloris Leachman, in Lovers And Other Strangers.
  12. Jlewis

    Random Alerts!

    We probably need a separate thread devoted to TV shows past and present, but this seems to be a good one to post this. The Golden Girls is one of those TV "antiques" that everybody references in regards to the LGBT representation in the otherwise strongly "heteronormal" conservative 1985-1992 period. The pilot/premiere show (9/14/85) actually featured a "flamboyant" housekeeper (Charles Levin) who was dropped for the rest of the series, partly due to the decision to feature Sophia as the new move-in resident. The Big Four that get discussed the most... Isn't It Romantic? (11/8/86)- an Emmy winner featuring Lois Nettleton as Jean, who falls in love with Rose. As Blanche says, "I've never known any personally but isn't Danny Thomas one?" Scared Straight (12/10/88)- first of two Clayton (Monte Markham) episodes with sister Blanche trying to deal with him being "out" and about. Sister Of The Bride (1/21/91)- Clayton decides to marry the man he loves, much to Blanche's shock. Unfortunately Doug (Michael Ayr) doesn't say or do much except comment that Clayton snores in his sleep. Goodbye, Mr. Gordon (1/11/92)- Rose accidentally puts Blanche and Dorothy on a Miami TV talk show covering the topic of "women who live together and love each other". The two are billed as "lesbians" by the host while another pair of ladies seated with them are presented as "image consultants" a.k.a. "We don't believe in labels". Of course, Blanche's love life is wrecked in the process, although neither she nor Dorothy is particularly homophobic and seem to accept the fact that others think they "are". One of the big jokes in the final moments involves a guy who wants to "convert" Blanche, which we all know is silly and NOT socially progressive by today's standards. Yet you can't help but laugh when she tells Dorothy "I've got to trrrrrry this!" Then there are the episodes with incidental gay characters and gay discussions. The one episode I always enjoyed is Valentine's Day (2/11/89). This is what I would call a classic "flawed masterpiece". It is one of the remembrance episodes full of flashback sequences. A few of these consisted of stock footage as "cheater shows", but most actually had newly shot sequences prepared for that episode as individual sketches as is this one. The Big Flaw involves Sophia remembering Valentine’s Day in 1929 Chicago and, despite an impressive set recreating the period with antique cars in a garage, is surprisingly blah. Yet the other three segments easily rank among the most re-watched GG moments in TV history: Memory # 2 involves Rose getting Dorothy and Blanche to visit to a nudist hotel-resort. The jokes are only hampered by a visual boo-boo involving the trio walking being giant hearts but only Dorothy remembering to take off her shoes. (Go figure. Yes, they should wear something on their feet, but maybe that is part of the joke... they forgot to bring flip flops and must wear high heels?) The lines are fast and furious with plenty of "Oh, no, she did not say that, did she?"... like the nude porter (obscured by the luggage he is carrying) asking the ladies "Excuse me, where would you like me to put this?” and receiving the unexpected Blanche reaction “Oh, well, buy me a drink and we'll talk.” Memory # 3 involves a lonely Blanche celebrating at a bar without her recently deceased husband and consoling a lonely man who is in love with somebody and not sure how to express it. Of course, she thinks he is in love with a woman, not a man as it is later revealed. This may have been one of the earliest shows to use the popular catch phrase "love is love". Memory # 4 needs no introduction... Since it uses a certain word not permitted on this messageboard, I will just link it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si0JJE1rXWY
  13. Jlewis

    A Shortie Checklist: Paramount

    The other threads: Warner Brothers http://forums.tcm.com/topic/81033-a-shortie-checklist-warner-bros/ MGM http://forums.tcm.com/topic/81165-a-shortie-checklist-mgm/ RKO & Pathé http://forums.tcm.com/topic/96727-a-shortie-checklist-rko-and-path%C3%A9-and-fbo/ Fox & Educational Pictures http://forums.tcm.com/topic/98056-a-shortie-checklist-fox-20th-century-fox-and-educational-pictures/ Columbia http://forums.tcm.com/topic/99364-a-shortie-checklist-columbia-pictures/ Universal http://forums.tcm.com/topic/99365-a-shortie-checklist-universal-post-1928/ An assortment of culinary delights (United Artists & others) http://forums.tcm.com/topic/114972-a-shortie-checklist-an-assortment-of-culinary-delights/ British Intructional, Gaumont & Rank http://forums.tcm.com/topic/139415-a-shortie-checklist-british-instructional-gaumont-british-rank/ Charles Urban http://forums.tcm.com/topic/181849-a-shortie-checklist-charles-urban/ Jam Handy & Wilding http://forums.tcm.com/topic/258577-a-shortie-checklist-jam-handy-wilding-inc/
  14. Jlewis

    A Shortie Checklist: Warner Bros.

    The other threads: Paramount http://forums.tcm.com/topic/78341-a-shortie-checklist-paramount/ MGM http://forums.tcm.com/topic/81165-a-shortie-checklist-mgm/ RKO & Pathé http://forums.tcm.com/topic/96727-a-shortie-checklist-rko-and-path%C3%A9-and-fbo/ Fox & Educational Pictures http://forums.tcm.com/topic/98056-a-shortie-checklist-fox-20th-century-fox-and-educational-pictures/ Columbia http://forums.tcm.com/topic/99364-a-shortie-checklist-columbia-pictures/ Universal http://forums.tcm.com/topic/99365-a-shortie-checklist-universal-post-1928/ An assortment of culinary delights (United Artists & others) http://forums.tcm.com/topic/114972-a-shortie-checklist-an-assortment-of-culinary-delights/ British Instructional, Gaumont & Rank http://forums.tcm.com/topic/139415-a-shortie-checklist-british-instructional-gaumont-british-rank/ Charles Urban http://forums.tcm.com/topic/181849-a-shortie-checklist-charles-urban/ Jam Handy & Wilding http://forums.tcm.com/topic/258577-a-shortie-checklist-jam-handy-wilding-inc/
  15. Jlewis

    A Shortie Checklist: MGM

    The other threads: Paramount http://forums.tcm.com/topic/78341-a-shortie-checklist-paramount/ Warner Brothers http://forums.tcm.com/topic/81033-a-shortie-checklist-warner-bros/ RKO & Pathé http://forums.tcm.com/topic/96727-a-shortie-checklist-rko-and-path%C3%A9-and-fbo/ Fox & Educational Pictures http://forums.tcm.com/topic/98056-a-shortie-checklist-fox-20th-century-fox-and-educational-pictures/ Columbia http://forums.tcm.com/topic/99364-a-shortie-checklist-columbia-pictures/ Universal http://forums.tcm.com/topic/99365-a-shortie-checklist-universal-post-1928/ An assortment of culinary delights (United Artists & others) http://forums.tcm.com/topic/114972-a-shortie-checklist-an-assortment-of-culinary-delights/ British Instructional, Gaumont & Rank http://forums.tcm.com/topic/139415-a-shortie-checklist-british-instructional-gaumont-british-rank/ Charles Urban http://forums.tcm.com/topic/181849-a-shortie-checklist-charles-urban/ Jam Handy & Wilding http://forums.tcm.com/topic/258577-a-shortie-checklist-jam-handy-wilding-inc/

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