LawrenceA

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About LawrenceA

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  1. The Passion of Joan of Arc at the Film Forum in NY

    I wish I could, but that's a bit far for me. I recently rewatched my Criterion disc and commented how I wished that a restoration could be done. Nice to hear that one has been done.
  2. GUESS WHO?

    That just leaves #3 and #5. I've posted 2 pictures of #3. She was a leading lady, primarily in the early to mid 1930's. She died relatively young of a possible suicide. #5 was a stage star brought to Hollywood with the advent of sound pictures. She appeared in around 50 films, the majority in the 1930's. Although married twice, her longest relationship was with another actress. Both women have unusual names.
  3. Top Ten Favorites Review

    #3 Favorite Movie of 1934 It's a Gift - Classic comedy from Paramount Pictures and director Norman Z. McLeod. W.C. Fields stars as Harold Bissonette, a henpecked family man and general store proprietor. He dreams of buying an orange grove out in California, and when the opportunity arises, he packs his wife (Kathleen Howard), his teenage daughter (Jean Rouverol), his small son (Tommy Bupp) and all of his belongings into their dilapidated car and heads west, which sets the framework for a series of lengthy comedy segments. Also featuring Julian Madison, Baby LeRoy, Tammany Young, Morgan Wallace, Charles Sellon, Guy Usher, Dell Henderson, Jane Withers, and Chill Wills in his debut. Fields can be an acquired taste, a sometimes uneven mixture of slapstick farce and sly verbal witticisms and sharply-honed barbs. This ranks near the very top of his film work in my opinion, with several of my favorite bits. The stand-outs are the chaotic scene in the store with everything going wrong ("Kumquats!"), Fields attempting to sleep on a swinging bench on his front balcony while neighbors and salesmen keep making noise, and Fields wrestling with an uncooperative lawn chair. The supporting cast does a good job of making Fields' life a headache, much to the viewer's amusement. (8/10) Source: Universal DVD, part of the W.C. Fields Comedy Favorites Collection.
  4. Top Ten Favorites Review

    #4 Favorite Movie of 1934 The Man Who Knew Too Much - Suspense thriller from Gaumont and director Alfred Hitchcock. British family the Lawrences, father Bob (Leslie Banks), mother Jill (Edna Best), and daughter Betty (Nova Pilbeam), are vacationing in Switzerland when a friend is killed by sinister agents. Bob finds a bit of secret information that his friend possessed which in turn puts all of the Lawrences in danger, especially when the agents kidnap Betty in order to keep her parents quiet. But Bob and Jill won't let their daughter be taken so easily. Also featuring Peter Lorre, Frank Vosper, Hugh Wakefield, Cicely Oates, and Pierre Fresnay. I'm one of the few people who thinks that this original version is superior to the much-glossier, big budget Hollywood remake Hitchcock made in the 50's. This movie to me is the foundation movie of Hitchcock's suspense career. He had earlier successes in the genre, but with this movie he set the template for most of his later triumphs. The average everyday family caught up in circumstances beyond their control, using their wits to try and outsmart evil forces, is integral. Banks, one of the more unlikely leading men, what with his half-paralyzed face due to war injuries, is very good here at playing a husband and father who will not rest until his family is safe, all the while keeping his stiff upper lip. The performance of the film belongs to Lorre, making his English language debut, although he himself had not yet learned the language and spoke his lines phonetically, quite an accomplishment given the nuance he instills in his dialogue. One particular moment that sticks with me is during the film's protracted shoot-out between the agents and London police. A pair of sharpshooter cops are getting into position in an apartment across the street. The resident, a young and pretty blonde in a barely-there nightgown, is ushered out, and the two men trade quips about her looks and how warm her bed is. Seconds later, bullets shatter the window, and a round hits one of the policemen in the face, killing him, his lifeless body falling face down on that same warm bed, his blood trickling across the sheets. A stark moment of mortal horror. (8/10) Source: Criterion DVD, bonus features include an interview with director Guillermo Del Toro about Hitchcock, a circa-1972 interview with Hitchcock himself, audio excerpts of Francois Truffaut's interviews with Hitchcock, audio commentary by historian Philip Kemp, and a written essay in the DVD insert (a booklet, really). I think one reason that this movie isn't as fondly remembered as many of Hitchcock's films is that it has been in the public domain for a long time and there are scores of sub-par copies on the market and on television. Criterion has done an outstanding job restoring the film to near-pristine condition, and I recommend that anyone who hasn't seen it do so.
  5. GUESS WHO?

    Manners is correct, but Bruce is not. Here's an additional pic of #3 -
  6. Top Ten Favorites Review

    #5 Favorite Movie of 1934 The Scarlet Empress - History as psycho-sexual phantasmagoria from Paramount Pictures and director Josef von Sternberg. Marlene Dietrich stars as Catherine, future empress of Russia, shown from childhood through her naive teenage years when she is first wed to Peter III (Sam Jaffe), the mentally deranged heir to the throne. His mother Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (Louise Dresser) demands that Catherine quickly produce her own heir in hopes of passing the dangerous Peter III over, but he doesn't seem much interested in his new bride, who turns toward the affections of court Lothario Count Alexei (John Lodge). Also featuring C. Aubrey Smith, Gavin Gordon, Olive Tell, Ruthelma Stevens, Davison Clark, Richard Alexander, Kent Taylor, Edward Van Sloan, and Jane Darwell. History comes a far second to the production design in the filmmaker's attention. And what production design! The sets require multiple viewings just to take it all in, from the scores of grotesque statues scattered about, to the massive, ornately carved doors in the palace. The costumes, too, are overloaded with detail, among the most sumptuous to date. The performances are good, if pitched to the upper register, with Jaffe a wild-eyed man-child, Dresser a petulant spoiled royal, Lodge a smirking cad, and Dietrich deftly moving from innocent rose to worldly manipulator. The script contains more overt sexuality than just about any other major studio film of the period, and all sorts of "deviant" desires are heavily hinted at. All of this is presented in von Sternberg's exquisite cinematographic style, a masterpiece of lighting and texture. (8/10) Source: Criterion DVD, featuring a TV interview with von Sternberg from the 1960's conducted by Kevin Brownlow, and a written essay on the film in the DVD insert.
  7. GUESS WHO?

    Here are some more, unconnected, performers from the 1930's or earlier: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10)
  8. GUESS WHO?

    Noah Beery Jr.?
  9. Does he mean twitter followers, or has Rand Paul started a cult?
  10. Breaking: al franken...

    Does Conyers not normally wear underwear?
  11. And what does that have to do with the thread topic?
  12. ClassiCategories

    Fletch Lives
  13. RICH'S B (AND WORSE) HORROR MOVIE THREAD

    I think this may be the first title you've covered that I don't recall ever hearing of before. It sounds...good? I just looked it up, and it seems I have seen Curse of Bigfoot (I gave it a 2/10), but I have no recollection of it.
  14. Top Ten Favorites Review

    #6 Favorite Movie of 1934 Manhattan Melodrama - Emotional crime drama from MGM and director W.S. Van Dyke. Friends since childhood, Blackee Gallagher (Clark Gable) and Jim Wade (William Powell) end up on opposite sides of the law: Blackee is a noted bookie and gambling boss, while Jim becomes district attorney. Blackee's girlfriend Eleanor (Myrna Loy) falls for the respectable Jim, but no matter what, Blackee stands by his pal, but can Jim do the same? Also featuring Nat Pendleton, Leo Carillo, George Sidney, Mickey Rooney, Isabel Jewell, Muriel Evans, Noel Madison, Shirley Ross, Oscar Apfel, and Edward Van Sloan. This is more of relationship drama than a gangster movie, although there is bullet-riddled violence. A prime joy of this movie is seeing three of the biggest and best stars of the 1930's at the height of their screen appeal. Gable was rarely as charismatic as he is here, a swaggering ladies man, tough guy, and loyal pal all at once. Powell is dignified, sophisticated and wryly humorous. Loy is beautiful and intelligent, able to hold her own with either of her co-stars. The supporting cast is also fine, with Pendleton a dim-witted hoot. If the story does seem to head to tearjerking territory more than once, that's fine, as the tears are earned. This won the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story (Arthur Caesar). Joseph L. Mankiewicz was one of the other screenwriters. (8/10) Source: Warners DVD, part of the Myrna Loy & William Powell Collection, featuring a pair of vintage shorts as a bonus.
  15. But Maggott was such a nice, God-fearing soldier.

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