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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. * A to Z of TV *

    We have A to Z of Movies and A to Z of Songs, so why not TV? (The) A -Team
  2. Charles Manson is Finally Dead

    I forgot a couple of other Family members: Leslie Van Houten was sentenced to life in prison for the LaBianca murders. She was granted parole in September of this year but is still in prison awaiting the governor's signature on the paperwork. Clem Grogan was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of Donald Shea. He was granted parole in 1985 and is still alive.
  3. Charles Manson is Finally Dead

    Tex Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel are still serving life sentences. Susan Atkins died in prison in 2009. Linda Kasabian turned state's witness and didn't serve time. These were the only Manson Family members who participated in the Tate murders. Charles Manson was not present, either. Bobby Beausoleil is still serving a life sentence for the murder of Gary Hinman. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was paroled in 2009, and was in prison for trying to shoot Gerald Ford.
  4. Who's who?

  5. Recently Watched Silents

    Woman of Tokyo (1933) - Short Japanese tearjerker from Shochiku and director Yasujiro Ozu. Chikako (Yoshiko Okada) dotes on her younger brother Ryoichi (Ureo Egawa), working a secretarial job to pay his way through college. But when Ryoichi's girlfriend Harue (Kinuyo Tanaka) tells him how his sister has been spending her nights, everyone's lives are changed forever. Also with Shin'yo Nara and Chishu Ryu. The brief 46-minute running time doesn't leave enough room for any serious character development, just as Ozu's deliberate pacing means the plot will be the bare minimum. Still, what's here is effective, with strong performances and some interesting camerawork. (6/10) Source: FilmStruck.
  6. Recently Watched Silents

    The Squaw Man (1914) - The directing debut of Cecil B. DeMille and the first feature-length movie made in Los Angeles. A British former soldier named James (Dustin Farnum) is blamed when a lot of money is embezzled from the military widows and orphans fund. It was actually James's cousin Henry (Monroe Salisbury), but James gets the blame and goes on the run to the US, while Henry inherits an ancestral title and becomes nobility. James ends up in Wyoming, where he buys a ranch, falls for native girl Nat-U-Rich (Lillian St. Cyr), and runs into trouble with local bad guy Cash Hawkins (William Elmer). Also featuring Winifred Kingston, Baby Carmen De Rue, Joseph Singleton, Raymond Hatton, and Hal Roach. This is as creaky as one would expect, with primitive filming techniques (most scenes are framed like a stage play, and are usually one continuous shot), and wild pantomime acting. Farnum and St. Cyr are a bit thicker in the middle than most screen stars. My favorite moments include one scene where someone falls off the side of a mountain (a bad dummy is used to humorous effect) and the people who rush to help him do so by rubbing his hands; a scene in which our hero is overcome by the poisonous gases of the "Death Hole"; and a scene where a small child is placed on a horse, given a pistol, and then urged to shoot, which the kid does, seemingly into the back of the horse's head (thank goodness for blanks). 6/10 Source: TCM
  7. Recently Watched Pre-Codes

    Wild Boys of the Road (1933) - Excellent drama about the effects of the Depression on the country's youth, from First National and director William Wellman. Frankie Darro and Edwin Phillips star as Eddie and Tommy, two small town buddies who decide to drop out of high school and hit the road to look for work in bigger towns when the economic downturn of the Great Depression leaves both of their families destitute and unable to support them. While traveling the rails as hobos they meet Sally (Dorothy Coonan), another teen on the road since her family's fortunes have faded. These three stick together through thick and thin, overcoming all manner of hardships and meeting several characters on their way to a hoped-for better future. Also featuring Rochelle Hudson, Sterling Holloway, Robert Barrat, Arthur Hohl, Ann Hovey, Minna Gombell, Grant Mitchell, Charley Grapewin, and Ward Bond. I was genuinely moved by the character's plight, and the story took a few turns I didn't expect. The emotional moments seem real and not manipulative, and while much of the lingo seems corny now, the sentiment is universal. The performances are good, and I was especially impressed with Coonan, a dancer and chorus girl who married director Wellman (almost 20 years her senior) the following year, a union that lasted the remainder of his life. This was one of the better movies I've watched in a while, and will rank among my top ten of its year. Recommended. (8/10) Source: TCM.
  8. Recently Watched Pre-Codes

    The Locked Door (1929) - Melodrama from United Artists, director George Fitzmaurice, and producers Joe Schenck and Joe Kennedy. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Ann Carter, recently married to Lawrence Reagan (William Boyd). Their matrimonial bliss is disturbed by the appearance of Frank Devereaux (Rod La Rocque), a sleazy cad and serial womanizer who shared an embarrassing incident with Ann a year ago. When Ann learns that Devereaux has designs on Lawrence's young sister Helen (Betty Bronson), she decides to meet with Devereaux and try to keep him away from the young girl. This leads to scandal and tragedy. Also featuring Harry Stubbs, Harry Mestayer, Mack Swain, and Zasu Pitts. Stanwyck was only 22 here, and this is her first starring role (she appeared as an uncredited showgirl in 1927's Broadway Nights). She's cute with dark hair and a baby face, and she's already exhibiting her star appeal. The Pre-Code story elements include traveling to an offshore "rum boat" (where a young Paulette Goddard is supposedly among the extras), implied forced sex, and Stanwyck spending a bit of screentime in a torn dress. La Rocque steals the film, though, as the dapper skirt-chaser who stays one step ahead of the cuckolded husbands left in his wake. He's detestable and funny at the same time. 6/10 Source: TCM by way of YouTube (the uploaded copy was ripped from a TCM airing, complete with the now-discontinued intro that featured sunlight dappling through overhead train tracks).
  9. You're not on TV, but it sounds like you have a lot in common with him.
  10. Recently Watched Pre-Codes

    White Woman (1933) - Lurid, sometimes grisly melodrama from Paramount Pictures and director Stuart Walker. Carole Lombard stars as Judith Denning, a nightclub singer with a sordid past stuck in a Third World country where the white governors don't want her around. She reluctantly agrees to marry Horace Prin (Charles Laughton), a rich but repellent owner of a Malaysian rubber plantation. Known as the "King of the River" , Prin runs things with an iron fist and a maniacal twinkle in his eye. It doesn't take long for Judith to regret her decision, what with the horrid weather and seething natives. She's also being chased by a pair of her husband's employees: handsome Army deserter David (Kent Taylor) and swaggering new overseer Ballister (Charles Bickford). Also featuring Percy Kilbride, James Bell, Charles Middleton, Noble Johnson, Claude King, and Marc Lawrence. This plays like a mash-up of A Lady to Love and Island of Lost Souls. The filmmakers re-used the sets from the latter film, and Laughton gets to ham it up in a delightful way, with an exaggerated accent, peculiar manners, and silly haircut and mustache. Lombard looks terrific, but she doesn't have much to do other than excite the guys in the cast while looking sad. Bickford doesn't show up until later in the movie, but he's worth it with his macho, no BS characterization clashing wonderfully with Laughton's sadistic weirdo. Like most exotic locale movies of the era, this one is more than a little racist, and the bungled depiction of the natives adds to the movie's bizarre "charm". (7/10) Source: YouTube.
  11. FORGOTTEN Oldies

    R.I.P Warren "Pete" Moore (songwriter and bass vocalist, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles) - Moore was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he co-wrote many hits with Robinson, including the two songs below.
  12. Thank goodness, now maybe Nipkow can get a job and stop raiding the local food banks. That provolone doan grow on trees!
  13. Recently Watched War and Military

    Abraham Lincoln (1930) - Cliff-Notes biopic of the 16th President of the United States, "personally directed" by D.W. Griffith. Walter Huston stars as Lincoln, shown from his birth through his rough-and-tumble early years, his doomed romance with Ann Rutledge (Una Merkel), his marriage to the eccentric Mary Todd (Kay Hammond), and his election to the presidency, where he presided over the U.S. civil war, during which he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves, before being felled by an assassin's bullet. Also featuring Jason Robards Sr., E. Alyn Warren, Russell Simpson, Helen Ware, Oscar Apfel, Hobart Bosworth, Henry B. Walthall, and Ian Keith as John Wilkes Booth. Like most of Griffith's movies, this is a mixed bag of interesting choices, corny populism, and a rose-colored vision of the past. I was surprised by the opening of the film, set aboard a trans-Atlantic slave ship, featuring slavers coldly discussing their remaining "inventory" as they toss a dead African overboard. As this was one of a few scenes missing its audio, I have a feeling it was often cut out during exhibition. I was confused by Griffith's decision to cast Warren as both Stephen Douglas and Ulysses Grant: were there not enough qualified actors around? I liked seeing silent film stalwarts Bosworth and Walthall as General Robert E. Lee and his attendant colonel, respectively. I liked Huston as Honest Abe, and was surprised by how much he looked like the photographs of Lincoln in the last third of the film. The biopic elements themselves are simplistic and hagiographic, and things seemed rushed, trying to tell his entire life story in 90 minutes. I was not a fan of Hammond as Mary Todd, and felt she dragged the proceedings down quite a bit. 6/10 I decided to put this film in this genre category since, for some inexplicable reason, there are no Genre categories for Biography, History, or even standard Drama, so, since the last third of the film or more deals with the Civil War, I decided on this Genre forum. Source: TCM. In this early scene with Una Merkel, Huston's heavy make-up made him resemble Batman's villain The Joker.
  14. Recently Watched War and Military

    The White Sister (1933) - WW1 is the backdrop to this romantic drama, the third film version of the same story, this time from MGM and director Victor Fleming. Angela (Helen Hayes) is the daughter of wealthy Prince Chiaromonte (Lewis Stone), and she's expected to wed respectable but boorish Ernesto (Alan Edwards). Those plans are disrupted when she meets handsome yet common soldier Giovanni (Clark Gable). He becomes a fighter pilot when World War One breaks out, and is believed killed, sending the distraught Angela to a convent to become a nun. But when Giovanni returns very much alive, Angela must decide between earthly joy or her vows to Jesus. Also featuring Edward Arnold, Louise Closser Hale, May Robson, Gino Corrado, Lumsden Hare, Frank Puglia, and Nat Pendleton. I recently watched the silent 1923 version starring Lillian Gish and Ronald Colman, and I found that one to be the better production. Gable and Hayes just don't have much chemistry, and Hayes seems miscast as a flighty young rich girl (although she fits as a nun). The brief aerial battle sequences are exciting and well-mounted, and the production design is fine. Pendleton has a small but good role as a fellow P.O.W. (6/10) Source: TCM.
  15. Death Takes No Holiday -- The Obituary Thread

    Della Reese (July 6, 1931 - November 19, 2017) - Singer and actress, whose first recording hit was 1959's "Don't You Know?". She hosted her own talk show, Della, from 1969-1970. She was the first black woman to guest host The Tonight Show around this same time. She made numerous guest appearances in TV shows over the next two decades, but her acting career didn't go into high gear until her scene-stealing turn in 1989's Harlem Nights. This led to a string of TV guest appearances and minor film roles and to her casting as the co-star in the hit TV series Touched By an Angel (1994-2003).
  16. Recently Watched Action/Adventure

    The Whispering Shadow (1933) - Wild action serial from Mascot Pictures and directors Albert Herman and Colbert Clark. Two-fisted shipping company foreman Jack Foster (Malcolm McGregor) is determined to avenge the murder of his brother, a delivery driver for the same company who was killed by agents of the Whispering Shadow, a mysterious figure leading a criminal gang who keep attacking deliveries made by the company. Company president Bradley (Henry B. Walthall) also enlists the aid of noted detective Robert Raymond (Robert Warwick) to assist Jack in his efforts. All signs point to the culprit being a creepy magician named Professor Strang (Bela Lugosi) who operates a wax museum out of his House of Mystery. Also featuring Viva Tattersall as Strang's lovely daughter and accomplice, Karl Dane as a goofy comic-relief radio operator, Roy D'Arcy and Lafe McKee as shady company employees, Ethel Clayton, Lloyd Whitlock, Bob Kortman, and Yakima Canutt. The outlandish plot, wide variety of interesting characters, and incredible stunts all combine to make this a stand-out in the serial genre. It's still pretty dumb, and goes on longer than the story can sustain it, but it's silly fun. Lugosi, appearing in the first of several serials he would make, hams it up quite a bit, but seems to be enjoying himself. Dane, who struggled with his thick accent in sound pictures, makes his final film appearance. He would die by suicide less than a year later. (7/10) Source: YouTube.
  17. Air Mail (1932) - John Ford directed this look at the US Air Mail Service, from Universal Pictures. Ralph Bellamy stars as Mike Miller, the tough boss of an air mail station and supervisor over a number of pilots. The hazards are many, and turnover in the ranks is frequent as many pilots crash, permanently injuring themselves or, more likely, dying. After one such death, hot-shot former war ace Duke Talbot (Pat O'Brien) joins the service and immediately starts rubbing everyone the wrong way. But when the chips are down, he may be the only one who can save the day. Also featuring Gloria Stuart, Lillian Bond, David Landau, Russell Hopton, Slim Summerville, Leslie Fenton, Frank Albertson, George Irving, Jack Pennick, Jim Thorpe, and Ward Bond. The highlight here is the aerial footage, with some excellent shots from under the planes while doing low-flying aerobatics. Some rear-projection and miniature work is antiquated, though. There's a lot of the typical "men in close, stressful quarters" type of dialogue and camaraderie, which comes off as more genuine than the attempts at melodrama involving infidelity. The movie serves as a nice snapshot of a type of work, and the characters who worked it, that are now distant history. 7/10 Source: YouTube, from a recording off of AMC.
  18. GUESS WHO?

    Miles, you are right about Sessions, although that wasn't who I thought I was posting a picture of! I was attempting to post a picture of older character actress Blanche Friderici, and the one I posted was under that name online where I found it. I thought she looked a bit different, but similar enough that I let it pass. Oops! No, lav, there is no connection between the people other than what I said, that I've seen them all in multiple films of the early 1930's that I've watched lately. That just leaves two, I believe. #4 played a lot of society ladies and gruff, Marie Dressler-like working class women. She had been in films since the 1910's. She appeared in the film debut of a female comedy legend, as well as opposite another male comedy legend 4 times, all during the pre-code era. #10 isn't well known, but she should be, as she was a pioneer in the film business. She was in movies from 1915-1958. She had a very unusual screen name.
  19. 2017 Christmas Schedule

    No, I wasn't coming down on you for your comments. I just wondered what movies you were wanting to see. Not having a DVR or a VCR/DVD recorder must be a nuisance. I watch all of my TCM off of DVR recordings or tapes of them. Too many of the titles I want to see are shown way too late or early for me to watch them live. I was also trying to point out the various rights and licensing issues related to showing a movie. Many viewers are unaware of that sort of behind-the-scenes business which directly effects what is shown. Christmas movies seem to be getting more popular each year, and are shown more often. Maybe not on TCM, but across the channel lineup. I noticed last night while scanning through the onscreen TV guide that there were 9 channels showing Christmas movies at the same time. And it's not even Thanksgiving yet! But I suppose we could all use the cheer...Merry Christmas to you, Cody!
  20. Just saw this trailer. I thought others may be interested.
  21. The Triumph of Donald Trump

    Harlan Ellison tried to make a push for people (readers and critics alike) to refer to the genre as "speculative fiction" rather than science fiction, as many authors such as himself or Bradbury were not scientists and didn't know anything about real science. Rather they were "fantasists" who occasionally used science fiction tropes to tell their tales. Some authors in the genre also derisively refer to space opera type science fiction (that's stuff like Star Wars and Flash Gordon) as "Skiffy", a play on the usual abbreviation "sci-fi", while some authors prefer "SF" pronounced "Ess Eff". The labeling gets as tedious as Star Trek fans debating "Trekkie" vs "Trekker".
  22. Yes, they do. But then again, they do in most religious societies. Look at the horrible honor killings in India, and they're mainly Hindu. Many Christian denominations hold women as secondary and subservient to men, but they're not as violent, at least not anymore.
  23. Do you know where specifically in Europe Sharia Law has been passed and is the law of the land?
  24. I don't think all spirituality was invented as a tool for suppression, but that's how it's been used from time immemorial. As long as there are people who can convince other people that they have all the "answers", then they have power over them. Many religions have provided great services to the world in a variety of ways, and have acted as a civilizing force when we have descended into barbarity. And of course it provides the great panacea against the fear of mortality, which is the greatest flaw in the self-aware being and a source of much weakness and sorrow. But too often religion is manipulated to cause greater harm, either passively or aggressively, than good. I don't begrudge anyone their beliefs, be it Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, Scientology, worshiping a purple toad named Felix, whatever gets you through the night. The problems arise when you tell me that I have to believe the same thing, or pass laws that are based on what Felix told a goat farmer 3500 years ago half way around the world. Keep your Felix worship confined to your home or your local House of Felix, and out of my life.
  25. The Triumph of Donald Trump

    There is plenty of science fiction that doesn't contain any of that. It's a pretty big tent, genre-wise. Spaceships, aliens and robots are not prerequisites. I actually haven't read any science fiction (or any fiction, for that matter) in many years, but back when I did, the erroneous notion that it had to be Star Wars or Star Trek or Flash Gordon to be science fiction was a pet peeve. Besides, 1984 depicted a future society, so it's not even a stretch to call it science fiction.

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