slaytonf

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Everything posted by slaytonf

  1. slaytonf

    The four watchable Bond movies.

    I'm being even-handed. I'm giving every Bond movie from now on a fair shake. I watched On Her Majesties Secret Service (1969) to the end. But that's because I came in an hour into the movie. Otherwise the level of toxicity built up would have been too great. Mr. Lazenby actually didn't have so bad a presence on screen as Bond. But, oh, I felt so bad for Diana Rigg. She was killer in the Avengers. Chic, trig, mod. But in the movie, she came off--well--I was wondering why Bond didn't go for that chicken heiress. . . . . Gave up on Diamonds Are Forever (1971) after the save from cremation. Toooo lame. This notwithstanding Jill St. John. Onward.
  2. slaytonf

    The four watchable Bond movies.

    I'm glad it was on. And I'm glad I missed it.
  3. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    The Wages of Fear (1953): The French have a history of hard-case movies. Tales of thieves, gangsters, killers, and low-lifes who have a run-in with life and come to a bad end. Some have seen in it an antecedent of film noir, but I think that's a stretch. But with their discovery of a characteristic in American cinema of dark stories shot with dark cinematography, it's no surprise it struck a strong resonant cord, and French filmmakers set out right away to emulate it. Most of which we will turn a benevolent blind eye to, and focus on the triumphant, like Melville, who turned out a string of winners. They of course added a twist to them suited to their own culture. In American noir, the world presented a bleak prospect, institutions corrupt, people unreliable, life nasty, the American Dream a cheat, and then you die--because somebody kills you. A sour disillusion underlies the stories. In French movies, the quality is more of a disenchantment, a psychologic distancing, with more philosophic observations. In American noir you get betrayal; in French emulations, you get disappointment. In America, a sneer; in France, a sneer, and a shrug. But there are exceptions. Exceptions where the director played hardball right down the line, as the lady says. And this movie by Henri-Georges Clouzot is the best of them all. It is the meanest, hardest, nastiest, most unforgiving, unrelenting, and pitiless of the French noirish movies. It's terrific. Aside from a little of the intellectualizing, especially in M. Jo's death scene about the fence in Paris (Rien! Rien!), it's on a par with American movies for its grittiness, and toughness, mirrored in the cinematography and camera angles. It's populated with dead-end losers who through bad luck, being too clever, or not clever enough, have been shaken out to the ragged edge of civilization's fabric. And become scraps themselves, detached and unravelling. Their disposition leads them to scrap and quarrel over petty matters, exacerbating their condition and increasing the absurdity of their existence. In the clip we are startled to see the tobacco blown away by an unexpected puff of air while M. Jo rolls a cigarette. A moment later it becomes clear why. The truck Luigi and Bimba are driving in ahead of them has exploded, and it is the pressure wave that made the puff of air. Associating the two implies life is tenuous and insubstantial, as easily snuffed as tobacco is scattered from a hand.
  4. slaytonf

    Marx Brothers Movie Marathon

    Not just MGM. The Cocoanuts (1929), Monkey Business (1931), and Duck Soup (1933) are slated.
  5. slaytonf

    How do I add a photo?

    Good luck!
  6. slaytonf

    Marx Brothers Movie Marathon

    I hope this is just the inaugural post of a long line, Diane. You will be happy to know that TCM does do Marx marathons on occasion. Sometimes in the mornings and afternoons, or a whole evening of 'em. Keep your eyes peeled for when. Or you can also go to the TCM movie database to get a clue. Just type a Marx movie title in the search bar. On the movie's database page, under the title, you will see upcoming air dates. If, say, three or four of their movies has the same air date, that's a clue there's a marathon. I can't say if there's a marathon in store, but a quick check of the database shows a number of Marx movies coming up this month and in October.
  7. Allowance needs to be made for my dyslexia. Then it would be clear I meant the woman on the left. You are the wonderful wiz. I will leave it to others to pore through the list of movies. Assuming that I am right about it being Mr. Kolker.
  8. The man at the center looks like Henry Kolker to me. But it would be a job to go through all the skeds to find which movies he appeared in this year. The guy to the right. . .as the man said, the face is familiar but I can't place the name.
  9. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    Frankenstein (1931): Elegance is a term used in science to describe something that accomplishes a lot in as simple a manner as possible. In movies, there are scenes which do not have involved action, or are simple in concept, but because of what happens, or the associations the characters have, it carries meaning on many levels. In this brilliant scene, James Whale presents the simple, though tragic act of Ludwig bringing his drowned daughter into town. This happens during the general celebration in honor of Baron Frankenstein and Elizabeth's upcoming marriage. As he walks, of course, all celebration ceases, the gaiety is replaced with astonishment and horror in everyone he passes. It's as if there is an invisible plane that moves with him. On one side is happiness and light, on the other, bewilderment and shock. But the advancing dismay is also a symbol of the unravelling of Frankenstein's plans and hopes; how what he has done is working to throw his world into disarray. The scene is also a symbol of the impending danger of the monster itself, how its approach threatens to upend the town's security and well-being--although that is unknown at the time.
  10. slaytonf

    unsung disney decor

    Hey! You changed your original post. Anyway, it looks like a Hot Point or Whirlpool french door oven. Probably had a rotisserie attachment--ooh think of the chickens you could do four at a time. . . .
  11. slaytonf

    unsung disney decor

    Life wasn't all beer and skittles for Brian Keith.
  12. slaytonf

    unsung disney decor

    No, it was a Disney movie set.
  13. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    The Big House (1930): A central theme of the movie is the conflict and interplay of order and disorder. The very nature of the setting almost requires that. You have the prison authority as a source of order. And you have the convicts which are a source of disorder. This is as you would expect it. But order arises from the convicts, as they have a code of conduct, primarily concerning squealing. And the guards are a source of disorder, promoting convicts to violate that code and inform on others. Throughout the movie there is an exquisite tension between the two, the ferocity and violence with which order is imposed, and its fragility, and the ferocity and violence which is ready to erupt the moment disorder arises on any scale--from a fight between two people to an all-out prison uprising (with tanks!). The first two clips are visual representations of this dialectic. You see irony and beauty in them. Order is imposed on the convicts by the prison authorities, regimenting them like the military. The inmates march smoothly and elegantly, their movements constricted by the guards and the prison building. Disorder obtains in both. In the first, by intent, the dismissed convicts breaking ranks into an amorphous milling mass. In the second, the prison mess descends to chaos over the objection of the guards, and under the hail of bullets. The last clip is unique in movies, American movies at least. No other director had the courage, or the genius that George Hill had to show dialog with a static shot, holding it for some two minutes, and keep the audience engaged. On top of that, he does it without any actors! The fascination arises from the tension built by the conflict between what we expect to see (cuts of close-ups of the speakers), and what we do see. In a way, frustrating our expectations makes us more involved with the 'action' than otherwise.
  14. slaytonf

    Movie Requests

    My only observations have been, as you can see from my first post, that I only see the button for SUGGEST A MOVIE on my old version of Safari. And that it appeared that it stopped working back in May.
  15. slaytonf

    Career Movie Reporters.

    Not people who made their living reporting on movies. But actors who you could be pretty much assured of appearing when reporters showed up on screen, for a murder, a scandal, or some other paper-selling event. They can be counted on to be tenacious and unscrupulous. Misrepresent embarrassing situations. Take photographs at inopportune moments. And generally come off as pestering invasive nuisances. That is, when they are not the crusading heroes of the movie, indefatigably tracing down a murderer and showing up the police. We can start with James Donlan: He had a mushy, nasally voice, rotund figure, and inoffensive manner. He cut his teeth on the newspaper business in Mother's Cry (1930) and never looked back, rushing through A Free Soul (1931), Five Star Final (1931), Is My Face Red? (1932), Madison Square Garden (1932), 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932) and any number of others.
  16. slaytonf

    Career Movie Reporters.

    Phil Tead Unlike other movie reporters, who, starting with minor roles, built up a career that scaled empyrean heights, Mr. Tead started at the top, in that great-grandaddy of all newspaper movies The Front Page (1931). He was one of the clutch of reporters on execution watch in the pressroom, tossing out wry, satiric observations on the events and people passing through. He blazed through the 30s, mixing it up with the likes of Joan Bennett in The Trial of Vivienne Ware (1932), Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis in 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932), William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man (1934), Barbara Stanwyck in The Woman in Red (1935), and Tyrone Power and Dorothy Lamour in Johnny Apollo (1940). But the flame that burns hottest lasts the least--or something like that. And his passion for the tribunal arts was rendered a burnt shell. The balance of his career consisted of employment in other fields, even having a semi-regular stint with TV's original Superman.
  17. slaytonf

    TCM showed movie in wrong format

    It is no more a habit for TCM to show movies out of true aspect ratio now than it has ever been. Not knowing how TCM gets its movies, or what they know is in any particular 'print' they get, it's impossible (for me) to say why we end up with them here and there. All I can say is that if you are ready to give up on TCM due to wrong aspect ratios, then you have high standards. So high, they will eliminate a lot of movie watching for you for the sake of a few miscalls.
  18. slaytonf

    Movie Requests

    So I updated my Firefox and it's now current and I still don't get the SUGGEST A MOVIE tab in the COMMUNITY drop-down menu. But my OS is El Capitan (10.11.6), the most recent I can install. So that may be why. But in Safari (Version 9.1.3 (11601.7.8) the most recent that will work with my OS), it shows up. I've noticed differences elsewhere. Frinstance, I can read gmail with Safari, but if I want to send, I have to go to a different browser. For gmail, Chrome seems to work best (hmm. . . .wonder why. . . .). Something similar goes on with YouTube. I'm getting out of date. I'm getting messages from sites saying I need to update my browser. Problem is, Safari works best with my Macbook.
  19. slaytonf

    Movie Requests

    Looks like the Suggest a Movie page stopped working back in May. It only appears as an item in the drop down COMMUNITY menu for Safari, which on my computer is an outdated version, as my computer won't take the latest version of the Mac OS. On Firefox and Chrome browsers the menu doesn't even show the SUGGEST A MOVIE tab.
  20. slaytonf

    What Was Archer's Wife Up To?

    Maybe it's to show what kind of character she had. And why Spade won't have anything more to with her. Remember what Spade says about the kind of reputation that was good for business.
  21. slaytonf

    Career Movie Reporters.

    Billy West. Starting out as the world's best Chaplin impersonator, he soon realized its inadvisability, and went into movie reporting. After his first foray in Exposure (1932), he vaulted to A-list company--James Cagney in Picture Snatcher (1933), Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (1934), Jean Arthur in The Defense Rests (1934), Madge Evans and Robert Young in Paris Interlude.
  22. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    I thought about it, and I decided I don't know enough about magic realism to say. But I would not be surprised if this served as an influence on its practicioners, with the prosaic and magical worlds impinging on one another. I would not characterize Cocteau as a magical realist. He has been called a Surrealist by many, even in his lifetime, and he rejected the association. He probably saw himself as his own guy, exploring his own insights into the human condition, and not promoting any one -ism or another.
  23. slaytonf

    Career Movie Reporters.

    Roscoe Karns. His slightly cynical, slightly nasal characterizations acted often as an ironic base to the acid of the press corps, neutralizing their sardonic regard for humanity and its doings. Ok, so maybe he wasn't quite the career movie reporter. With him, reporting was more like moonlighting. And his roles were more substantial than just a member of the pack, with a line or two, and a credit (if any) of 'reporter.' His characters actually had names! In some movies, they even rose to the level of what could be called a supporting role. He rubbed elbows with Constance Bennett in Two Against the World (1932), William Powell and Joan Blondell in Lawyer Man (1932), Ida Lupino in Search for Beauty (1934), Bette Davis in Front Page Woman (1935), and Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in His Girl Friday (1940).

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