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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. LawrenceA

    Recently Watched Horror

    Svengali (1931) - Supernatural thriller from Warner Brothers and director Archie Mayo, based on the novel Trilby by George L. Du Maurier. John Barrymore stars as Svengali, a composer and music impresario who teaches singing in hopes of finding the right talent to mold into stardom. He discovers it in pretty young woman Trilby (Marian Marsh), and sets out to harness her abilities, which also requires him to exert his supernatural ability to hypnotize and dominate the thoughts of others. This understandably upsets Trilby's suitor Billee (Bramwell Fletcher). Also featuring Donald Crisp, Carmel Myers, Luis Alberni, Lumsden Hare, Ferike Boros, and Paul Porcasi. Barrymore, with a long pointed beard and heavy makeup, gets to glare about and look intimidating. The scenes showing his hypnosis, during which Barrymore wears white contact lenses, are effective, as is a scene with the camera swooping over highly-stylized rooftops to show his hypnotic pull over great distances. Marsh is pretty but unpolished, acting wise, but as she was just 17 at the time, it's understandable. There's a scene of her nude modeling for an art class that could only have been Pre-Code. While this film is generally categorized as horror, I wouldn't go in expecting much of the typical horror film elements. This earned two Oscar nominations, for Best Art Direction (Anton Grot) and Best Cinematography (Barney McGill). 7/10 Source: TCM.
  2. LawrenceA

    Recently Watched Horror

    Scary Movie (1991) - 5/10 Not to be confused with the later Wayans brothers comedies, this is a very low-budget regional horror flick from Austin, Texas. It's Halloween night, and frightened wimp Warren (John Hawkes) goes with his friend and two gals to a "haunted house" attraction, the kind of do-it-yourself fright show amusements that used to be ubiquitous around Halloween, often run by civic groups who donated proceeds to charity. Anyway, on this same night a notorious serial killer escapes from custody and makes his way to the spookshow, where he poses as one of the masked participants. Also featuring Butch Patrick as a bully, big Robert Jacks (who would go on to play Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation) as a thug, Suzanne Aldrich as Warren's oddball date, and Ev Lunning as the sheriff. This is very cheap, but it's evocative of the season, and I liked the spookshow attraction setting. I worked in a few in my youth, and even designed and built one with some friends one year. It was a lot of fun. Hawkes, who would later go on to a much bigger career including an Oscar nod for 2011's Winter's Bone, is described on the cover insert as "channeling a mix of Buster Keaton and Crispin Glover." I can see that, with a little Don Knotts thrown in for good measure. The movie is more light in tone than scary, although it's not a straight-up farce, either. The cover insert also states that the film never received distribution, and is only now being widely seen, thanks to the AGFA Blu-ray released just a couple of weeks ago.
  3. LawrenceA

    Ron Ely

    I have the SCTV DVD box sets. On one of them, there are lengthy interviews with the cast and writers. When the inevitable comparisons to SNL are brought up, one of them, I think Dave Thomas, said that it really isn't fair to compare the two, as they were made very differently. SNL writes all of its sketches in a 2 or 3 day marathon before the show night, with attempts made to tailor to them that week's host and their strengths and weaknesses. Then they rehearse them only two or three times, and before performing them live with no re-takes possible. On the other hand, SCTV was a filmed show with no rushed deadlines, and they had a lot longer to get the writing polished and the performances just right before putting them on film/tape. I agree that SCTV was a funnier show sketch-for-sketch, but they had a lot of advantages to achieve such success that the SNL people didn't and still don't.
  4. I know what you meant. Just as comedies, romances and genre films (action/horror/sci-fi/etc.) are often said not to be "Oscar material".
  5. LawrenceA

    TCM Premieres

    I'm still curious what will be shown during Silent Sundays on the 27th. The Haunted Hotel (1907) is scheduled for 12:00AM ET, but it's only 7 minutes long. The time slot, though, is a full two hours, with the next scheduled film being the TCM Imports showing of The Living Skeleton (1968) at 2:00AM ET. If I don't have TCM beck by then, which is a strong likelihood, I hope someone will post about what else was shown during that 2 hours.
  6. Yeah, for me The Adventures of Robin Hood is the best movie of 1938.
  7. I like You Can't Take It With You more than The Citadel, Marie Antoinette, Test Pilot, and Holiday, but your point remains valid. I would add another nominee from that year, Grand Illusion, to the list of those better than the winner.
  8. LawrenceA


    I read an article last week about Matt Gaetz, where it stated that he's going to be a major player in Republican politics for decades to come. It called him savvy and intelligent, and that he's had one of the fastest rises on the national stage of any recent politician. I think that says a lot about the sorry state of things if that's true.
  9. LawrenceA

    Faust (1926)

    Faust is a great silent movie. One of Murnau's best, as well as Jannings. There's nothing "woke" or "film school" about it. Plus, it fits in with October, and the other Halloween-style programming. In fact, I don't see any other films scheduled for Silent Sunday for the rest of the year that suggest the idea that the programming is being changed substantially from what it has been previously
  10. I'd buy a Fred Mertz action figure. And display it prominently in my home for others to enjoy. Edit: I was joking, but wouldn't you know it, there is such a thing. What child's face wouldn't light up at the sight of such a treasure under the tree on Christmas morn? -
  11. LawrenceA

    Why I love TCM

    I enjoy the complimentary soup, salad and breadsticks.
  12. LawrenceA

    The Birthday Thread

    Inspired by the great work done by GregoryPeckFan during the month of February, and the nice photos posted by bansi in the Candids thread, I've decided to start a thread to list all of the movie, tv, or otherwise related individuals birthdays. Comment or not, as you wish.
  13. LawrenceA

    It's A Wonderful Town

    The Warriors (1979) - All over the city: Riverside Park, Coney Island, Central Park, 96th St IRT station, etc.
  14. T. Rex was very big in the UK, as influential in their time as David Bowie and Roxy Music. They had 11 top-ten singles from 1970 to 1973, as well as 4 top-5 albums, including 1971's Electric Warrior, which went to #1. However, in the US, their albums never went higher than #17, and "Get It On (Bang a Gong)" was their only top ten single here, reaching #10 in '71. As I stated in my previous comment on them, I think T. Rex should have been inducted a long time ago. They had a big impact on the rock acts that came out after, especially the more theatrical rock of the 1980's. And Marc Bolan was a textbook example of a Rock Star. His death in '77 at age 29 resulted in a smaller catalog of songs than some of his contemporaries, but he's almost always listed as one of the best British rock performers of the 1970's. Here are a few other songs I like by them:
  15. I would think so. I know many performers have been inducted multiple times, like Eric Clapton 3 times (as a member of the Yardbirds, Cream, and his solo career). Here's a list of those: However, I'm not sure if anyone from the other categories (Early Influences, Non-performers, and Sidemen) have been inducted as a regular performer, as well. I don't think they have. But there can always be a first time. By the way, if anyone's interested, here's a list of the acts who have previously been nominated but have not yet been inducted:
  16. LawrenceA

    Upcoming Releases

    January Criterion Titles Announced Holiday (1938) January 7 SPECIAL FEATURES New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Holiday (1930), a previous adaptation of Philip Barry’s play, directed by Edward H. Griffith New conversation between filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and film critic Michael Sragow Audio excerpts from an American Film Institute oral history with director George Cukor, recorded in 1970 and ’71 Costume gallery PLUS: An essay by critic Dana Stevens Le Petit Soldat (1963) January 21 SPECIAL FEATURES High-definition digital restoration, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Interview with director Jean-Luc Godard from 1965 Interview with actor Michel Subor from 1963 Audio interview with Godard from 1961 New English subtitle translation PLUS: An essay by critic Nicholas Elliott All About My Mother (1999) January 28 DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES New 2K digital restoration, supervised by executive producer Agustín Almodóvar and approved by director Pedro Almodóvar, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray Fifty-two-minute documentary from 2012 on the making of the film, featuring interviews with Pedro Almodóvar; Agustín Almodóvar; actors Penélope Cruz, Marisa Paredes, Cecilia Roth, and Antonia San Juan; production manager Esther García; and author Didier Eribon Television program from 1999 featuring Pedro Almodóvar and his mother, Francisca Caballero, along with Cruz, San Juan, Paredes, and Roth Forty-eight-minute post-screening Q&A in Madrid from 2019, featuring Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar, and Paredes New English subtitle translation PLUS: An essay by film scholar Emma Wilson, along with (Blu-ray only) an interview with Pedro Almodóvar and a tribute he wrote to his mother, both from 1999 Fail Safe (1964) January 28 SPECIAL FEATURES New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Audio commentary from 2000 featuring director Sidney Lumet New interview with film critic J. Hoberman on 1960s nuclear paranoia and Cold War films “Fail-Safe” Revisited, a short documentary from 2000 including interviews with Lumet, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, and actor Dan O’Herlihy PLUS: An essay by critic Bilge Ebiri Plus a Blu-ray upgrade for: The Fugitive Kind (1960) January 14 DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES High-definition digital restoration, approved by director Sidney Lumet, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Interview from 2009 with Lumet Three Plays by Tennessee Williams, an hour-long 1958 television presentation of one-act plays, directed by Lumet and starring Ben Gazzara and Lee Grant, among others Program from 2010 discussing Williams’s work in Hollywood and The Fugitive Kind PLUS: An essay by film critic David Thomson
  17. LawrenceA


    You should read up more on Erdogan: On 14 June 2018, in a video that was leaked to the public, President Erdogan is caught calling his party members to resort to electoral fraud, by "marking" the votes of an opposition party, HDP, in a bid to consolidate a better position for his own party at the 2018 June elections in Turkey. Other topics include: Silencing the press State of emergency and purges Authoritarianism Suppression of dissentğan
  18. LawrenceA

    Trump's Biggest Whoppers

    Big Donnie has a new wallpaper for his oval office laptop: "So beautiful. So majestic. And that's just describing my BFF Kim! Why couldn't that stallion have a big red comb-over?"
  19. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films from 2016

    Yeah, that was my recommendation. One of my favorites of the 00's. I recall renting the DVD and not expecting anything, as I hadn't heard of it, and it was released here under the "Dimension Extreme" label, which tended to be trashy low-rent stuff. Instead, I was blown away by it, and was stunned when I realized that the intruder was Beatrice Dalle from Betty Blue. It was remade in 2016 with Rachel Nichols and Laura Harring in the leads, but I haven't watched it. Much like the American remake of Martyrs (2008/2015), I'm not sure if I want to see it.
  20. Carole King was inducted in 1990 along with Gerry Goffin in the Non-performers category, for their songwriting. I've wondered if that's why she hasn't been inducted as a performer, although it shouldn't make a difference. NIN were the crossover-into-mainstream industrial band, the first music of that type that a lot of people heard, and thus influential on that generation. They were industrial-lite to my tastes (I prefer Skinny Puppy, Ministry and KMFDM), but they (he, really) have left their mark. I've never gotten the MC5 love. I haven't heard a lot, and what I have heard sounded sloppy and uninspired, but I never saw them live, which is where they made their mark, or so I've heard. Dave Matthews Band were elevator music, the kind of stuff that department stores play on their intercom systems. They were popular with the granola crowd. Matthews himself seems like a good bloke, though. Rufus/Chaka Khan never did anything for me. I listened to a few of their songs again yesterday, and I can't even remember anything about them this morning. The Doobie Brothers...ugh. I feel the same about Whitney Houston, although with her I at least respect her talent. T. Rex should have been in a while ago. I think their relative obscurity among American listeners may be the reason it's taken as long.
  21. LawrenceA

    Recently Watched SF & Fantasy

    The Mysterious Island (1929) - I really enjoyed this mess of a movie from MGM, based on Jules Verne's book. Lionel Barrymore stars as Count Dakkar (Captain Nemo in the book), a brilliant scientist and inventor with a volcanic island laboratory. The island is part of a larger kingdom known as Hetvia, and Dakkar's research efforts are put on hold when his former friend Falon (Montagu Love) decides to stage a coup. He tortures Dakkar in order to obtain his many scientific secrets, but Dakkar escapes and joins a group of opposing forces in an effort to stop Falon. Also featuring Jacqueline Gadsdon (as Jane Daly), Lloyd Hughes, Harry Gribbon, Gibson Gowland, Dolores Brinkman, and Snitz Edwards. This was a troubled production, taking years to complete. It started out as a silent, but as sound came into vogue, they reshot only parts with full sound, while leaving the majority of the film silent, using title cards, and also adding sound effects and a score. Lucien Hubbard wrote the script and got final screen credit for direction, too, although footage had been shot as far back as 1926 by directors Maurice Tourneur and Benjamin Christensen. The movie is an exciting adventure for the first 2/3 or so, but when the action goes undersea, we head into fun & bizarre territory, with a race of duck-faced dwarven undersea people, a giant octopus, and an alligator with a horn glued on his snout. Being Pre-Code, this has some surprising moments of violence. The disparate pieces of this don't go together smoothly, and the ending seems kind of rushed, but I liked this oddity a lot. Recommended. 8/10 Source: TCM by way of YouTube.
  22. I think you "stan" Lucille Ball. Just a little bit.
  23. Yes, it is Mads Mikkelsen. I was switching the avatars around to feature my favorite foreign-film actors of the decade, while I was watching films from said decade. So, 90's = Takeshi Kitano, 00's = Choi Min-sik, and 10's = Mads Mikkelsen. I finished up all of my discs Monday, though, so I should change it again, although I plan on watching several more from 2017-2019 via streaming in the next week. I haven't decided where to go next with the avatar. Maybe my favorite key grips from the classic film era. Or maybe Best Boys through the ages. Or maybe multiple Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominees who never won.
  24. As of a week ago, it has been a decade since I've read a work of fiction. I remember the date due to other life events that coincided with the last novel I read. It's been nothing but non-fiction since then. I feel like I should be sadder about that than I am.
  25. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films from 2016

    I think my problems with the film came from heightened expectations. The film (and book's) chief point was the ease at which a Hitler-type could come to power in the current German political climate, with heightened nationalism and the immigration crises. In that respect, one couldn't be more on-the-nose than to depict such a leader as literally Hitler himself. The funny thing is, like in many satires of this sort, there is a portion of the audience who actually agrees with Hitler, and for whom the point is lost, twisted or ignored. It's gutsy that the movie was even made. I wonder how big a release it was in Germany?

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