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About cinemaspeak59

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  1. "The Merry Widow" - MGM Remake

    I think Jane Powell would have been a good choice. Deanna Durbin was retired, but she certainly had musical talent.
  2. 'Kong - Skull Island' (2017)

    Yeah, I loved it too. Can't wait for the next one, which the ending hinted at involving Godzilla.
  3. Recently Watched Westerns

    Broken Arrow (1950) is a gorgeously photographed Technicolor Western, and as noted by Ben Mankiewicz in his introduction, the film marked the start of Hollywood portraying Native Americans as human beings rather than crude caricatures. Jimmy Stewart, one of cinema's great humanists, plays a white man who, against the advice of skeptical white settlers, sets out to forge a lasting peace between the settlers and the Apache, who are led by Cochise, played with gravitas and nobility by Jeff Chandler, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role. The only flaw, and it's a minor one, is the familiar Hollywood plot device that has Stewart's character falling in love with a much younger Indian woman, played by Debra Paget. But the acting is effective enough to make this relationship quite touching. Director Delmer Daves maintains a seamless pace, allowing the characters to take center stage. Broken Arrow has everything you want in a Western: action, pathos, and the added redemptive understanding of two cultures bound by a common humanity.
  4. Recently Watched Mystery/Crime/Noir/Etc.

    The Lady in the Lake (1947) contains some of the wittiest, snappiest, funniest dialogue you'll hear in film noir, all delivered courtesy of Robert Montgomery (in his directorial debut) as Philip Marlowe, and noir Hall of Famer Audrey Totter as his love interest/murder suspect. Here's Marlowe explaining why people hire him: "Because I'm dumb, cheap, and keep my mouth shut." It doesn't take long to adjust to the inventive camera angle, which creates intimacy, as if we're walking in Montgomery's shoes, seeing only what he sees. Montgomery talks like he's hard-boiled, but the few times we see him, when he stands in front of a mirror, or breaks the fourth wall, he looks like an affluent playboy. The Lady in the Lake is light on classic noir trappings; the events depicted take place during Christmas season. But the film is a fun puzzle, with a satisfying ending, and at times seems to satirize the elaborateness of the milieu it inhabits.
  5. Room 237 (2012)

    I agree. If all classic or cult films received the same treatment Room 237 gave to The Shining, then we might discover a trove of buried messages in those films as well.
  6. Room 237 (2012)

    Room 237 (2012) examines the hidden clues in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining. Several unseen voices describe and dissect overlapping images, running the film backwards, and singling out continuity errors they believe are sign posts to deeper meanings. The result is The Shining is not merely a standard, but highly stylized, haunted house film, but much, much more. No, it’s really about the genocide of the North American Indian; the Holocaust; sexual deviancy; the power of subliminal advertising. And, here’s the kicker, The Shining is Kubrick’s confessional that he faked the moon landing for the government - not necessarily that we never went to the moon - but what the nation saw on television was filmed on a soundstage by Mr. Kubrick. What’s amazing is these theories, conspiratorial or not, supported as they are by editing choices and props used in the picture - the shirt worn by Danny (Nicholson’s son in the movie), Tang orange juice, Nicholson’s type writer – are all remarkably plausible. It all adds up to an utterly fascinating documentary. Source: The Sundance Channel. I’m surprised by the number of people who say The Shining isn't that scary. I’ve never seen a scarier set piece than the Overlook Hotel, and throw in the beckoning call of the twins, the sinister bartender Lloyd (does he represent the Devil?) and the music, and you have one heck of a film. I read in Entertainment Weekly that the ending Kubrick wanted involved the hotel manager, played by Barry Nelson, to visit Danny and his mother in the hospital, and bring Danny a gift: the mysterious ball that was rolled to him in the hotel. Critics at screenings didn’t like it. The studio deemed the film too long already, so it was cut.
  7. Who would you marry?

    I liked the English actresses from the 1930s and 1940s. So, either Valerie Hobson, Heather Angel, or Madeline Carroll.
  8. I VITELLONI (1953)

    Federico Fellini's I Vitelloni still charms. It's spirit of independent cinema has influenced directors such Barry Levinson, (who modeled 1982's Diner after it), Martin Scorsese, Richard Linklater, Noah Baumbach and Whit Stillman. The film captures a certain poetic ordinariness in the lives of its aimless, ambition-free characters (called vitelloni in the vernacular). The group's leader, the philandering Fausto, (Franco Fabrizi) appears to have learned his lesson at film's end. But everything about him hints he'll dutifully attend to his wife and baby before boredom soon sets in, and it won't be long before he resumes chasing women and making his wife miserable. The fun-loving Alberto (the great Alberto Sordi), hides the pain from his breadwinner sister running away with a married man, leaving Alberto and his saintly mother to fend for themselves. Alberto promises to find a job, not easy for someone allergic to work. Riccardo (Riccardo Fellini, brother of the director), hangs in the periphery, with dreams of singing, but mostly he just goes with the flow. The lovable Leopoldo, (Leopoldo Trieste) with aspirations of being a famous dramatist, looks destined to keep scribbling away in obscurity, perhaps marrying his next-door neighbor, and confident his next play will pack the theaters of Rome and Milan. We have Moraldo, (Franco Interlenghi) the film's conscience, full of goodwill, at the end boarding a train, off to who knows where, kissing off the small provincial town. I picture Moraldo biding his time, settling in a big city for a while, and with a decent chance of eventually returning home. And how about the sweet, good-natured young G+uido (G+uido Martufi), who works at the train station? The film closes poignantly with him waving goodbye to his friend Moraldo. Who knows what life has in store, but I believe he'll fare the best. Lastly, there's the seaside town that serves as the setting. It's supposed to be Rimini, Fellini's birthplace, a place Fellini had enormous affection for before, like Moraldo, leaving. (Fellini would revisit his past in 1973's brilliant Amarcord). I Vitelloni has dazzling imagery and sound, from the heady nighttime streets, to the giddy masquerade ball, to the howling wind blowing in from the water. And it would be gross negligence not to mention Nino Rota's hypnotic score. If one wanted to experience the Rome of Fellini's La Dolce Vita, it would be rather hard. The Via Veneto and Trevi Fountain are still there, but the optimism of 1960 has been replaced by a world-weary anxiety (captured in 2013's The Great Beauty). But the vitelloni, those cool dudes, one can find them if you want to. They can be seen in the provinces of Torino, Naples, Catania and throughout Italy. These young men will be dressed to the nines, walking the streets, flirting with women, and lounging in their favorite cafe. They'll chronicle everything on social media, blessed with the conviction that tomorrow, they'll land that job, open up that restaurant, or get cast in that movie. I always debate myself where I Vitelloni ranks in the Fellini canon. Suffice to say, it's one of his most essential and best films.
  9. Recommend Underrated Romance Movies

    Brief Encounter (1945) is a gorgeous, nuanced film, with noirish flourishes. Two married strangers meet in a train station and fall in love. Sometimes, commitment and responsibility, as well as societal norms, prevail over love and happiness.
  10. I Just Watched...

    David Fincher is a great stylist and one of my favorite filmmakers. He's behind a show called Mindhunter that's streaming on Netflix. The show explores the psyche of serial killers. Fincher even directed the first two episodes.
  11. I Just Watched...

    I missed this even though it was on my radar. I agree this formula is always alot of fun. Once they start doing those impersonations I can't stop laughing.
  12. I Just Watched...

    Edward Everett Horton makes everything he’s in better. I liked the nightclub scene where Durbin sings “Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya Huh?” The strong but deceptive pull of nostalgia makes one yearn for those types of elegant places where everyone is decked out in tuxedos and evening gowns. The dreamy cinematography by Woody Bredell is classic noir though the script is a little wobbly. Bredell also lensed Phantom Lady (1944) and The Killers (1946). Durbin’s rendition of Silent Night was a tad too risqué considering the song, but it got her out of a jam.
  13. My Favorite Year

    Yes, My Favorite Year is always a treat.
  14. Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

    1960 was quite a year in Italian cinema. In addition to Rocco and His Brothers, there was La Dolce Vita (Fellini) L’Avventura (Antonioni) and Two Women (De Sica).
  15. Well, I finally saw this on TCM, and what a cinematic experience. Rocco and His Brothers is now one of my favorites. The story serves as a history lesson for how Italy was in 1960. There's trenchant social commentary without being didactic (Southern, provincial Italians moving to a big city with all the temptations, being called hicks by the Milanese elite, and feeling like strangers in their own country). And most of all, it's a story about the fragile bonds of family. A great film directed by the great Luchino Visconti, who always had a soft spot for the downtrodden Neapolitan folk. Rocco and His Brothers could have easily descended into melodrama in the hands of a lesser director. But Visconti keeps it grounded in the neorealist tradition. All the performances are wonderful. The ending left an impression on me. When Ciro expresses to his youngest brother Luca, who is still a child, his hope that in 20 years, when Luca enters adulthood, Luca will find the world a better place, is a sentiment passed down through the ages. Alain Delon as Rocco represents an ideal. He’s almost Christ-like in his mission to save lost souls, such as his brother Simone (a smoldering Renato Salvatori), who is on a self-destructive path toward gangsterism. Rocco befriends and falls in love with the prostitute Nadia (Annie Girardot), who has rejected Simone, but it’s more to help her escape her endless cycle of exploitation and violence. Bit characters and scenes stay with you. I was struck by the fashionable laundromat where Rocco works, and his interactions with the attractive female workers. Rocco and His Brothers is an uplifting drama. There’s much tragedy, certainly, but also beauty in a family coping with the timeless, dueling forces of change and continuity.

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