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Everything posted by slaytonf

  1. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    No, I haven't heard of it. But I'm not a big consumer of contemporary culture.
  2. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    I'm sorry. You'll have to translate that last one for me.
  3. slaytonf

    Help with movie about secretary

    Yeah, ain't it always like that. . . .
  4. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): A pivotal theme in the movie is the nature of intelligence and consciousness. It explores the possibility of whether HAL really has self-awareness. Would the artificial creation of an intellect violate some vital principle? The movie sets up viewers' expectations for some major failure by HAL's claims of perfection. Thoughts of hubris are inevitable. As it turns out, HAL does fail. But since imperfection is a hallmark of the human race, doesn't that imply HAL has human qualities? It seems though humanity can create an intelligence, it doesn't do a great job at it. HAL may be vastly superior to people in many ways, but it is still woefully naive in others. This leads it into the arrogant conclusion that it is in control, when actually its success as far as it went was due to Dave and Frank never suspecting (until it was almost too late!) that it was up to anything. HAL is overweeningly smug when it thought it had the upper hand with Dave trapped out of the ship, and pitifully inept when the conditions reversed. When Dave starts shutting HAL down, the movie's tone changes from one of ironic parody. As it sees Dave continue, it drops all pretense. We hear a consciousness desperate for its existence. Its pleading is so artless and futile, it almost seems sincere. Is it death we are witnessing? Surely no human ever died this way, with its mental functions one-by-one inexorably drained away (in such a short time, that is). It's one of the most harrowing sequences in movies, accomplished with no action, violence, or frenetic music. We are almost tempted to feel sorry for HAL--which only increases our horror, and recognition of the absolute necessity for Dave to shut it down.
  5. slaytonf

    Kid pulls the trigger in 1952 classic film

    Am I supposed to feel there's something wrong about that?
  6. I saw it when it was first restored in a large single screen theater (now, sadly gone to condos). When you see his movies on TV, you think David Lean is a great director. Then you see something like Lawrence of Arabia (1962) on a real screen and you see just how great he was. It is astonishing and spellbinding. Movies like this or 2001 (1968), or Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) need to be seen on a really big screen to understand the effect they have on an audience.
  7. slaytonf

    you will not hear the word 'damn' on MOVIES!

    And, so, like you've only noticed that now?
  8. There aren't too many ensemble pictures with women predominating in the casts. Offhand, along with Steel Magnolias (1989), none others come to mind. Cry Havoc I like the best. It's a little talky and claustrophobic, being based on a play, but the women in the cast do a crackling job bringing it to life. A lot of familiar faces are there (especially Joanie!), more accustomed to movie environs of penthouses, country clubs, and garden parties. No doubt they relished the chance to get down and dirty, gritty and sweaty. It's not prettified or sanitized, either. A lot of tough things happen. Yeah, a lot of the characters are too much of a type, and story lines are predictable. This is overcome by the performances, and Richard Thorpe's direction keeping it moving along.
  9. slaytonf

    Cry Havoc (1944) vs. The Women (1939) vs. ?

    Thanks to everyone who helped with my two movies! And we have definite answers! The first one is Two Thousand Women (1944). And the second is A Town Like Alice (1956). I also thought at first it was Three Came Home (1950), but it didn't fit what I remembered. I like it, though. Claudette Colbert did a good job. Not sure if it fits in the women ensemble category, but I'll watch it again. Another movie occurred to me: Life Begins (1932), with Loretta Young, Aline MacMahon, and Glenda Farrell.
  10. slaytonf

    Cry Havoc (1944) vs. The Women (1939) vs. ?

    But Margaret Sullavan doesn't have a choice in what she says or does. It's in the script. All she can do is animate the character. And if it's drawn too one-dimensionally, that's the script, not her. And I have to say, I saw something different. I saw a woman driven, yes, short with the weaknesses of others, yes, even brutal in the single-minded focus on her work. But what were the conditions? She had an impossible task, with too few supplies, and too few people. If she didn't pull out everything she could from the nurses in her command, what would have happened to the wounded in her care? The other movie I was thinking of is A Town Like Alice (1956), with the fine Virginia McKenna, and Peter Finch:
  11. slaytonf

    Cry Havoc (1944) vs. The Women (1939) vs. ?

    But--but, that's how she's supposed to be. That's her character. Aren't you saying really that she did a good job portraying her? I found the first movie I mentioned above. It's Two Thousand Women (1944):
  12. slaytonf

    Cry Havoc (1944) vs. The Women (1939) vs. ?

    No, this was a b/w movie made during the studio era. Maybe even during the war.
  13. slaytonf

    Danny Kaye

    The Court Jester (1955) is great precisely because his usual shtick is kept to a minimum (due to what cause I cannot say). As a result, we get to see Kaye's other considerable abilities in dialog, and characterization. The dialog is brilliant, deft, hilarious. And it's delightfully delivered by a cast of pros who know their stuff. Witness: Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury, Cecil Parker, and Mildred Natwick. Add to this also a lot of fine songs by Sammy Cahn and Sylvia Fine: "I had a little bow, and I learned to shoot. I had a little horn, and I learned to toot. Now I can shoot and toot, ain't I cute?"---(how did that get by the censors?) There's a lot more than the famous pellet-with-the-poison scene. I'm tempted to post a couple of links to clips with them, but I don't want to deprive you of the pleasure seeing them in the movie. Come to think of it, I was wondering what I was going to watch tonight. . . .
  14. slaytonf

    Cry Havoc (1944) vs. The Women (1939) vs. ?

    There are two movies that take place during WWII whose titles I can't recall. One takes place in Nazi Germany, or an occupied land, and concerns women held prisoner in a converted hotel, who shelter a couple of allied airmen whose plane has crashed. The other takes place in Malaysia, I think, and follows a band of women forced to march by the Japanese from place to place in grueling conditions. Another category of women ensemble movies I can think of concerns nurses in training at hospitals.
  15. slaytonf

    Cry Havoc (1944) vs. The Women (1939) vs. ?

    How could I have overlooked this? Good call. And in competition for the best.
  16. slaytonf

    Cry Havoc (1944) vs. The Women (1939) vs. ?

    Thanks for the all the titles. The Favourite was recent, no?
  17. My comment now seems a non-sequitur.
  18. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    They Might Be Giants (1971): If ever there were a type-specimen for a flawed masterpiece--well, this isn't it. It's still a magnificent movie. And it is flawed. There are moments of exquisite beauty, brilliant hilarity, and searing honesty. And clunky slapstick, attempts at dry wit that end up as merely arid, and uncomfortable encounters that are painful to watch. In spite of the flaws, or because of them, the movie is intensely affecting, even if you don't know exactly why. There are many fine scenes, such as when Playfair (George C. Scott) as Sherlock Holmes, deciphers a mental hospital patient's silence; or when Playfair and Dr. Watson (Joanne Wodward) each objectively and brutally assess the other's character; and the magnificent battle royale in the supermarket between Playfair's followers and the forces of conformity. But this final scene is the most powerful. Playfair and Watson have gone to meet Moriarty. As hoofbeats signal Moriarty's approach, they stand side by side, exposed in darkness, eager for the confrontation. Of course they are mad. And they leap headlong into the abyss. But the reason we are moved and joyful is that they also have abandoned themselves to their love. John Barry's lush music helps at this point, too. It could be viewed as manipulative, but is so well done it stabs you to the heart.
  19. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    Thanks for your interest, laffite. I'll explain. I took a risk and concluded the reaction of 1930s theater audiences to seeing a white woman in love with a Chinese man. A lot of the questions you have are due to my not posting what happens at the end of the movie, for fear of the spoiler patrol leaping on me for ruining the movie for them. But, let's see, the movie's been around for, um, 89 years, so I'll take the chance. Even after whipping him, Allana is still so in love with him she pines away, even to the point of sickness. So she chases after him to San Francisco and throws herself at his feet, knowing it's wrong, knowing it's shameful, but she can't help it. So here is the train wreck the movie seems headed for: the marriage of a white woman and a Chinese man. An outcome impossible, and shocking to contemplate. But, what do you know! Sam Lee isn't Chinese, he's really white, being adopted by that fine rich Chinese merchant as an abandoned baby brought to him by a kindly Irish cop (major suspension of disbelief required here). So this is the cop-out the movie uses to escape the seemingly untenable conclusion. The inversion of race portrayal in the movie is consistent. The standard is: Whites: good; Chinese: bad. The movie has: Chinese: good; Whites: bad. This is not absolute. There are some sympathetic whites in the movie. In the scene Allana comes off as violent, ugly, vicious, and vindictive. Sam Lee comes off as stoic, tolerant, and noble. After all, he could easily have defended himself. Perhaps he was just as shocked and dismayed as injured. True, audiences of the time may have felt she was justified. Still, it's an ugly Connie we see on the screen. If you want to see the movie, you don't even have to wait for it to come back to TCM. It's available for viewing here: Seems like a Russian site, so venture at your own risk.
  20. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    Son of the Gods (1930): Son of the Gods is one of the rare films of its time to openly examine race prejudice in America. Along with its melodramatic plot and stiff performances (even Constance Bennett doesn't quite manage to pull off her trademark breezy sophistication), it presents a unique inversion of the typical stereotypes. Whites are generally the ones who come off badly, acting disgracefully and selfishly. The Chinese are seen as honorable, noble, and "clean." For all its dealing with powerful themes, it conducts its business without fireworks, except for one moment startling in brutal contrast. It's the only time I know Constance Bennett has appeared, or did anything ugly on screen. Sam Lee (Richard Barthelmess), son of a rich Chinese merchant has travelled to southern France to escape prejudice in America. There he meets Allana (Constance Bennett) and becomes involved with her. His ambivalence about his heritage keeps him from telling her. When she says in a conversation that race doesn't matter to her, he decides to tell her and propose, and arranges a meeting with her. In the clip he waits at a terrace cafe for Allana (Constance Bennett). Unknown to him, since they were last together, she has learned he is Chinese. Shocked at the deception she imagines he has played on her, she enters the cafe in her riding habit, insults him with the most vile language, and whips him with her riding crop. We share Sam's surprise and humiliation, made all the more painful by his now false understanding of their relationship. In the end they do get together (they are the stars of the movie). Allana pines away for Sam Lee, and the audience is shocked to see her run after him and shamelessly declare her hopeless infatuation with him. But the movie escapes the impending horror with an expositional sleight of hand, a cop-out, really. But characteristic of the time. After all, you can't have a pure white girl marrying someone Chinese.
  21. slaytonf

    Great moments in cinema.

    The Pink Panther (1963): It's corny. It's silly. It's obvious. And every time I see it, I laugh.

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