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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Hell on Frisco Bay (1955) - 7/10 CinemaScope crime drama with Alan Ladd as a former cop who's just been released from prison after being framed for manslaughter. He's determined to get revenge, so he pushes away his singer girlfriend Joanne Dru. The man behind the frame-up is gangster Edward G. Robinson who will go to great lengths to stay out of prison. Also featuring William Demarest, Paul Stewart, Fay Wray, Perry Lopez, Stanley Adams, Peter Hansen, Nestor Paiva, Anthony Caruso, Rod Taylor, and Jayne Mansfield. I liked this early widescreen effort, which uses the format to maximum effect with excellent shot composition. Stewart has one of his better roles as a scar-faced minion of Robinson's. I also liked the small role of Fay Wray as a former film star now dating Stewart's character. One of the film's best scenes is between Wray and Robinson. Speaking of Edward, he plays a complete louse in this one, a truly reprehensible slimeball who never passes up a chance to insult, demean and bully those around him. I thought it was one of his best roles of the 1950's.
  2. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Could you list what movies those pics are from? I want to look them up and make sure I have them available if I haven't seen them yet.
  3. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    I've had that one lined up to watch when I get to '57 in a couple of weeks or so. It looks promising.
  4. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Five Guns West (1955) - 5/10 Low-budget western that marked the directing debut of Roger Corman. Five condemned prisoners (John Lund, Mike "Touch" Connors, Paul Birch, W. Robert Campbell, and Jonathan Haze) are granted clemency in exchange for undertaking a perilous mission to intercept a Union gold shipment. The unscrupulous bunch hide out at the home of Dorothy Malone and her elderly uncle, and they spend their time waiting for action by bickering and fighting with each other. Also featuring Jack Ingram, James Stone, Larry Thor, and James B. Sikking. Of minor historical note but it makes for pretty poor entertainment.
  5. It was announced several days ago that all of the awards will now be shown unedited. Oscars Change: All Awards Now Presented Fully In a dramatic turnaround, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has agreed to reverse its initial decision to tape-delay four categories on the upcoming Oscars telecast. Now, all of the awards will be handed out live including Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling and Live Action short which had been earmarked for delay and edited packages later in the broadcast. In a brief statement on the official account, the Office of the Board of Governors says: “The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscars presentations of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, Makeup and Hairstyling. All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24th.” While the Academy rebuffed an open letter from filmmakers asking for them to change their mind the other day, the last 24-48 hours have seen official responses from the guilds themselves. AMPAS had suggested had been all onboard with the idea, but very vocal complaints from the ASC and the ACE slamming the tape delay of two of the most important categories in filmmaking (cinematography and editing) indicated they weren’t. In the wake of the decision, the American Society of Cinematographers has praised the decision: “We thank you for your show of respect for the hard-working members of the film community, whose dedication and exceptional talents deserve the public recognition this reversal now allows them to enjoy. The honor offered by the Academy Awards is vital to validating the claim that everyone contributing to the making of a motion picture is an artist.”
  6. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Finger Man (1955) - 5/10 Humorously bad crime drama with Frank Lovejoy as a "four-time loser" who the Treasury Department invites to work as an undercover agent. They want to take down big-time gangster Forrest Tucker, but can't pin anything on him that will stick, so Lovejoy has to help catch Tucker in the act. Also featuring Peggie Castle as Lovejoy's girl, Timothy Carey as Tucker's chief heavy, John Cliff, Hugh Sanders, Dorothy Green, Joi Lansing, Henry Kulky, and Lisa Montell. Lovejoy narrates using a lot of hard-boiled dialogue. He also fights most every other guy on screen, despite being half their size. Everyone wears really big overcoats, too. Timothy Carey is his usual delightful self, and almost makes this programmer worth while. Then again, based on the title, I was hoping this was a superhero movie, like Doctor Digit or Captain Phalanges.
  7. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Female on the Beach (1955) - 7/10 Prime late-period Joan Crawford melodrama. Joan plays a bitter, middle-aged single lady who arrives to take up residence in a swanky beach house. She meets hunky Jeff Chandler and, despite her better judgment, slowly falls for him. But his motives may not be pure, and the last woman who loved him "fell" to her death. Also featuring Jan Sterling, Charles Drake, Cecil Kellaway, Natalie Schafer, Stuart Randall, Marjorie Bennett, and Ed Fury. The B&W cinematography by Charles Land is very good, and the performances are pitched at just the right level for the material.
  8. LawrenceA

    Paul Newman as SOTM May 2019

    Unfortunately, I've seen them all. It's a shame that one or more of the few that I haven't couldn't have been among the ones chosen.
  9. LawrenceA

    FORGOTTEN Oldies

  10. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Escape to Burma (1955) - 5/10 Silly exotic-locale melodrama with Robert Ryan accused of murdering a nobleman's son. He hides out on the plantation of Barbara Stanwyck, who is revered by the natives as an almost supernatural personage due to her expert handling of elephants. Babs quickly falls for Bob, but cop David Farrar shows up and ruins everything. Also featuring Reginald Denny, Robert Warwick, Robert Cabal, Peter Coe, and Gavin Muir. Technicolor jungle nonsense.
  11. LawrenceA

    May 2019 Schedule is up

    Paul Newman is Star of the Month. Here are the weekly links:
  12. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Colditz Story (1955) - 7/10 British WWII prison movie from director Guy Hamilton. John Mills and Eric Portman star as British officers imprisoned by the Germans at Colditz Castle, a reportedly inescapable facility designed for the most incorrigible P.O.W.'s. That doesn't stop the multi-national prisoners from attempting escape attempt after escape attempt, though. Also featuring Bryan Forbes, Lionel Jeffries, Christopher Rhodes, Ian Carmichael, Frederick Valk, Anton Diffring, and Theodore Bikel. Sharp, no-frills drama with a good performance from Portman.
  13. LawrenceA

    Chips Off the Old Block-head

    In the lead up to the election in '16, there were reports about how Trump's team watched conservative TV and listened to conservative talk radio in order to build up a list of grievances that would resonate with that audience. It worked like gangbusters, so they aren't going to abandon that strategy. As we get closer to the '20 election, we'll see Trump and his cabal start to parrot these talking points again and again. We had already started to hear it with the recent uptick in abortion talk. One of the favorite targets of the right-wing media for the past 30 years or more has been the public education system. Add to that the boogeyman of the teacher's union, and the right has another topic that riles up its base of low-information deplorables. Just look back at the comments of the right-wingers on this message board to see how this topic still works to get them angered and ready to vote Republican. Whether it's the "too much science and not enough Jesus" crowd, or the "public education breeds socialism" goons, most of them haven't actually set foot in a public school classroom in decades, and base their ill-founded prejudices on the hysterical stories propagated on right-wing media. We'll just have to wait and see how effective it is this time around. My guess is it will be very effective. It's much easier to get the rubes angry about nonsense than it is to motivate lazy people to get out and vote.
  14. 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.
  15. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Cockleshell Heroes (1955) - 6/10 British WWII movie directed by and starring Jose Ferrer. He plays an unconventional officer in the Royal Marines who devises an audacious plan to have a small contingent of marines use 2-man canoes to quietly make their way down a river to the occupied port of Bordeaux, where they will then blow up as many German ships as possible. Ferrer's second-in-command (Trevor Howard) is a by-the-book soldier of the old guard who can't tolerate Ferrer's almost whimsical nature, leading to conflict. Also featuring Dora Bryan, Anthony Newley, Victor Maddern, David Lodge, Peter Arne, Percy Herbert, Karel Stepanek, and Christopher Lee. The tone of this one is all over the place (there was some behind-the-scenes turmoil, with producer Albert Broccoli bringing in another director to shoot additional humorous scenes, causing Ferrer to wall off the picture), and the parts don't come together as a whole. Christopher Lee has a brief role as a submarine commander. Singer Yana, a major star in Britain at the time, has an unbilled cameo as a uniformed gal singing a song in a pub. This movie was a major hit in the UK. Shot in CinemaScope.
  16. LawrenceA

    Illinois mass shooting- breaking CNN

    Yeah. What's the point of having laws, since criminals are just going to break them anyway.
  17. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    I delved once more into the stagnant waters of 70's made-for-television fare: The Stranger (1973) - 4/10 Failed pilot for a series that features Glenn Corbett as an astronaut who crashes into a parallel Earth-like planet named Terra. Thankfully they all speak American-accented English, drive American-style cars, and use the English alphabet in their writing. Unthankfully, they are dominated by a fascist, Big Brother-style government known as the First Order. Glenn's existence would upset the status quo, so First Order security chief Cameron Mitchell decides Corbett must die. Also featuring Sharon Acker, Lew Ayres, Tim O'Connor, George Coulouris, H.M. Winant, Steve Franken, Virginia Gregg, and Dean Jagger. A dumb concept made worse by bad writing, the only highlight was a chase scene involving some very dangerous stunt flying by helicopter, weaving in and out of a forest at very low altitude. Terror on the Beach (1973) - 4/10 It's Attack of the Dirty Hippies, as Duel meets Deliverance meets the Manson family. Dennis Weaver and family (Estelle Parsons, Kristoffer Tabori, Susan Dey) head out for a quiet weekend camping on a secluded beach, but are instead menaced by a group of smelly hippies driving dune buggies and an old fire truck. You know, like hippies do. Featuring Scott Hylands, Michael Christian, Henry Olek, and Roberta Collins as the hippies. Derivative and silly, with overwrought performances and a laughable finale. You'll Never See Me Again (1973) - 6/10 Passable mystery based on a Cornell Woolrich story. David Hartman stars as a husband whose wife disappears after they get into a fight. As his concern grows, he becomes the primary suspect in her disappearance. Also featuring Jane Wyatt, Ralph Meeker, Joseph Campanella, Jess Walton, George Murdock, and Bo Svenson. Hartman's hangdog look fits with the role, as does his large size, with his character having occasional fits of frightening anger, making his guilt seem possible. I didn't immediately figure out the mystery, so that was a big plus.
  18. LawrenceA

    Films of 2018

    It's hard to believe, but it's that time again, when one year closes and another is on the horizon. I'll start off this new year's thread by posting the list of the most anticipated releases of 2018 as voted on by the users of the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Avengers: Infinity War Black Panther Deadpool 2 Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom Tomb Raider Pacific Rim: Uprising The Predator Ocean's Eight Mission: Impossible 6 Solo: A Star Wars Story That's 3 superhero movies leading off the list, and that's not even all of them. There's also Ant-Man and the Wasp, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, The New Mutants, Venom and Aquaman. I haven't read much about the next year's films but there are a few on my radar that I'm interested in: Annihilation is the new science fiction film from Alex Garland, the writer-director of Ex Machina, and writer of Sunshine and 28 Days Later. It stars Natalie Portman as the leader of an expedition into a mysterious alien realm in search of her husband. Isle of Dogs is an animated film from director Wes Anderson. I like his quirky sensibilities. God Particle is a science fiction story whose details have been kept under wraps. It's supposedly going to be tied to the Cloverfield movies, but only in a very minor way. The 15:17 to Paris is Clint Eastwood's take on the thwarted terrorist attack on a French train a few years ago. The actual guys who stopped the attack play themselves. A Wrinkle in Time is the long-gestating adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's much-loved science fiction fantasy novel. The movie features Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey. Mary Magdelene is another look at the biblical character, starring Rooney Mara, with Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus. Ready Player One is a big-budget science fiction adventure from Steven Spielberg, based on a best seller about people searching for treasure in a virtual reality game populated by familiar pop culture characters. Sicario 2: Soldado is a follow-up to the excellent 2015 film Sicario about the US/Mexican drug trade, with Benicio Del Toro returning as a lethal secret agent. As usual, most of the more interesting movies won't be out until late in the year, and as such I haven't heard about them yet.
  19. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Cell 2455, Death Row (1955) - 6/10 Crime drama based on a best-selling autobiography from death row inmate Caryl Chessman. William Campbell stars as a death row inmate who reflects on his past misdeeds while awaiting his date with the executioner. Also featuring Kathryn Grant, Marian Carr, R. Wright Campbell, Vince Edwards, Harvey Stephens, Bart Braverman, Jonathan Haze, Kerwin Mathews, Joe Turkel, and Buck Kartalian. Campbell has a field day with the lead role, angry at the world and cocky to boot. This isn't anything I'd call a classic, but crime picture fans could do worse.
  20. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    I watched the online one. It wasn't too horrible, but I've watched some really awful prints online, so it didn't seem as bad to me. I've grown used to the trade-off of bad prints in exchange for seeing something I otherwise wouldn't be able to. However, I have watched just as many online that were very good prints.
  21. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Betrayed Women (1955) - 5/10 Women-In-Prison flick with Beverly Michaels as "Honey Blake", the belligerent ex-moll of a notorious outlaw. She's sentenced to life in prison at a bayou-country work farm where the usual mistreatment from sadistic guards awaits. Honey teams up with fellow inmates Carole Mathews and Peggy Knudsen for a prison break, much to the consternation of Knudsen's ex, state prison inspector Tom Drake. Also featuring Sara Haden, Esther Dale, and John Dierkes. Trashy, low-budget thrills.
  22. LawrenceA

    Drafting a Movie Concept Script

    I don't own a telephone. I do have a telegraph station, though.
  23. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Atomic Man aka Timeslip (1955) - 5/10 British science fiction mystery with Gene Nelson and Faith Domergue as American reporters working in England. They investigate a story about a prominent scientist (Peter Arne) found floating in a river with multiple bullet wounds. Not only does the man survive, but due to massive radiation doses, his consciousness is now 7 seconds in the future. Gene and Faith try to stop enemy agents, one of whom is the scientist's doppelganger, from subverting the doctor's efforts to create artificial tungsten. Also featuring Joseph Tomelty, Donald Gray, Vic Perry, Martin Wyldeck, and Barry MacKay. This is probably the best artificial tungsten movie that Gene Nelson made that year.
  24. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Apache Woman (1955) - 4/10 Woeful western from director Roger Corman features Lloyd Bridges as a government agent investigating reports of Apache attacks near a small town. Lloyd falls for title dame Joan Taylor, a half-breed whose brother (Lance Fuller) is secretly behind the attacks. Also featuring Morgan Jones, Paul Birch, Jonathan Haze, Chester Conklin, X Brands, and Dick Miller in his movie debut. Corman, directing for only the second time, manages to bring out the worst in his performers, some of whom have done good work before and since. Dull and amateurish, this was the first feature released by AIP, then known as American Releasing Corporation.
  25. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Witness to Murder (1954) - 7/10 Thriller with Barbara Stanwyck as a woman who witnesses George Sanders murder a woman across the street from her apartment. She promptly reports it to the police, but they find no evidence, so Sanders walks. Then it becomes a game of cat and mouse as Stanwyck tries to prove what she saw and Sanders tries to shut her up. Also featuring Gary Merrill, Jesse White, Claude Akins, and Juanita Moore. A solid nail-biter, well-shot by John Alton and directed by Roy Rowland.

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