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Posts posted by rayban

  1. 38 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

    Bridge to the Sun (1961)  -  6/10


    Wartime drama starring Carroll Baker as a Tennessee girl who marries Japanese diplomat James Shigeta sometime before the outbreak of WWII. Shigeta is against the aggressive posture of his government, but he and his wife and young daughter are sent to Japan soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They struggle to survive in a hostile environment as the war rages on. Also with Tetsuro Tamba, James Yagi, Yoko Takahashi, Hiroshi Tomono, Yoshiko Hiromura, Sean Garrison, and Ruth Masters. Baker attempts to establish her dramatic cred with this true-story romantic drama that only partially works. I thought she was good in some scenes, dreadful in others, and the script is a bit too glib. However, it's an interesting story, and the interracial romance angle had to have been risky film material at the time.

    Source: TCM

    Carroll Baker was very desperate to get rid of her "Baby Doll" image.

    And she certainly reached that goal with this film.

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  2. 2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

    Black Tights (1961)  -  5/10


    If you like the French, and you like ballet, then you may enjoy this French ballet movie. Maurice Chevalier hosts four segments: "La Croqueuse de diamants" features Zizi Jeanmarie as a pickpocket who falls in love with furniture mover Dirk Sanders; "Cyrano de Bergerac" tells the tale of the title fellow (Roland Petit) with a big nose who assists friend Christian (Georges Reich) in his efforts to woo the lovely Roxanne (Moira Shearer); "Deuil en 24 heures" has rich wife Cyd Charisse witness her husband (Hans von Manen) duel another man (Roland Petit); and finally, in "Carmen", a soldier (Roland Petit) falls for a gypsy girl (Zizi Jeanmarie). The film was put together and choreographed by Paris Ballet, under the supervision of Roland Petit, while the film was directed by Englishman Terence Young. None of this is my cup of tea, and I watched it simply because it was included in a box set that I have.

    Source: Mill Creek DVD

    The segment with Cyd Charisse and Roland Petit is breathtakingly danced. 

  3. 1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

    Angel Baby (1961)   -  5/10


    Half-baked drama with Salome Jens as "Angel Baby", a mute girl in the Deep South who gets "healed" by tent-revivalist George Hamilton. She joins his ministry, preaching the Word, quickly inspiring jealousy in Hamilton's wife Mercedes McCambridge. Also with Joan Blondell, Henry Jones, and Burt Reynolds in his movie debut. Obviously inspired by the success of the previous year's Elmer Gantry, the script for this is weak, the direction flat, and the performances either too much (Hamilton, McCambridge) or too little (Jens). Reynolds plays a Florida good 'ole boy, which he was. 

    Source: internet


    I think that Salome Jens, who didn't have a movie career, moved over to television dramas.

    In person, onstage, she was gorgeous - I saw her in "The Balcony".

    But somehow, that beauty did not translate onto film.

  4. 13 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

    Interesting. Yes, I was aware there was a remake, but I haven't seen it. Maybe, if the original film had been less reticent about the sex you say is in the novella and in the remake, it might have been a more effective movie. But if Helen Mirren plays Mrs. Stone the way Vivien Leigh did - which is to say, completely passive and lacking in ideas or any kind of joie de vivre (don't get me wrong, I like Vivien Leigh) - I still probably would not enjoy it.

    Helen Mirren had more material to play with - she played the sex scenes well - and without shame, too.

    But you did get the feeling - quicker than in the film - that she was on a quicker slide into oblivion.

    When the stalker appproached by opening his fly, well, what can I say?, the end was in sight.

    Next stop, degradation!


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  5. 17 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

    Thanks for your take on the film, rayban.

    Yes, I believe everything you said about it is true. I had those same insights as I watched it (except for the final scene, where I really thought there was a strong chance she was going to be, quite literally, murdered. But degradation will also suit the purposes of the story...)

    Here's the thing though: I don't care. I don't care about characters who are self-absorbed and "don't have the resources to invent a new life" for themselves. A leading character in a film doesn't have to be "good" (often I prefer them not to be), or even likable, for me to be engaged in their story. But they do have to be interesting. And Karen Stone is not in the least bit interesting. She is, as you say, unable to cope, because "it's always been all about her", and she doesn't know how to manage now that she's lost both her youth and her husband.

    She doesn't even want to continue her friendships, and the one she had with Meg (Coral Browne) seemed worth keeping. Meg is the only character who seems to genuinely care about Karen, and the only one who is honest with her. But of course, because of that very honesty, Karen Stone avoids Meg. She never wants to have "real" conversations with anyone.

    She never developed an interest in anything else - not even the theatre, it seems. Her acting career was, apparently, just a way for her to get the adoring attention she sought. Mrs. Stone is a completely uninteresting person, and as such, her story did not interest me.

    For me, there's nothing about The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone that moves or even provokes me. 

    I don't know if you're familiar with the Helen Mirren TV adaptation, which was far more faithful to the novella.

    Sex was a far more important component in the original material and in the TV adaptation.

    Paolo ravished her - totally.

    The stalker exposed himself.

    But can sex keep you "alive"?

    Not for long, I'd say.


  6. I agree, Karen Stone is not an interesting woman.

    She has no resources - except youth and beauty which have faded now.

    I don't know if Vivien Leigh could have deepened her approach to the role.

    She is at the end of her rope.

    There is no way to go.

    Her quickest exit - Paolo and the stalker.

    Paolo has done his job.

    Now, let the stalker take over.

  7. Very interesting take on the controversial material, but I think that the story is about a woman, a star, who has always been devoted to a glorification of her self and relied on her husband to manage the details of her life.

    Now, that her husband is dead and she is unable to cope, she cannot manage on her own.

    Becoming "involved" with the contessa and Paolo, is her way of saying, "Yes, I still matter."

    But she just doesn't know how to manage "a love for sale" life.

    It has always been about her, Karen Stone.

    You pay allegiance to her - and damn the consequences.

    A moneyless giggolo is not the answer.

    He can barely take care of himself.

    In the end, when Paolo deserts her and she throws her keys down to the stalker, she is, in effect, saying, "Yes, life is over."

    Degradation from here on out.

    She doesn't have the resources to re-invent a new life for herself.

    The young stalker won't kill her, but he will be the means to "her demise".

    She wants to "die".



  8. "Pauline at the Beach" - Eric Rohmer - 1983 -

    starring Amanda Langlet (Pauline), Arielle Dombasie (Marion), Pascal Greggory (Pierre), Feodor Atkine (Henri), Simon de la Brosse (Sylvain), Rosette (Louisette) -

    this film was the third in Rohmer's famed 6-film cycle, "Comedies and Proverbs" -

    it illustrates the proverb that people who talk themselves to death do themselves a disservice -

    Pauline and her cousin Marion go to the beach and get involved - with men -

    Marion meets an old lover, Pierre, but she doesn't want a second chance with him -

    she hooks up with an aging playboy, Henri, who is more to her liking -

    Pauline seems interested in Sylvain, but he proves elusive -

    meanwhile, a girl who sells candy at the beach, Louisette, proves a complication with all of them -

    did she sleep with Henri? - it looks that way -

    but Pauline is led to believe that she slept with Sylvain -

    the amusing thing about this film is that nobody can stop talking about IT -

    that is, their attraction to the opposite sex -

    maybe if they stopped wagging their tongues -

    and became more involved with their feelings -

    things might have sorted themselves out -

    or perhaps -

    not have sex in the first place -

    in this film, sex becomes a mystery -

    in the end, Pauline believes that Sylvain slept with Louisette -

    and Marion believes that Henri slept with Louisette -

    so, everyone feels somewhat - cheated -

    and not too happy -

    hey, what is wrong with going to the beach and reading a book? -


  9. On 4/17/2019 at 9:05 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

    I watched a lot (but not all) of TEA AND SYMPATHY (1956) because I always do.

    Ironically, VINCENTE MINNELLI was not the right director for this. MINNELLI was a good director, but he was not an honest director. He is all about the facade- the colors, the sets, the red in Kerr's hair- I bet you he even personally replanted her flowergarden on the soundstage set in Culver City every day...with Minnelli, the actors and the script rank in importance somewhere below whether or not to use Forsythia blossoms in a scene even though the film is set in the Fall.

    my mind goes back to that OBVIOUSLY GAY CHOREOGRAPHER character in DESIGNING WOMAN, who MINNELLI has avow his heterosexuality ("I have two children...") in spite of the fact that in the climactic fight scene he throws some leg kicks and demi-entrechants that would make MOIRA SHEARER envious....

    every time i see it, I just can't help but think "Gurl..."

    Watching TEA AND SYMPATHY I found myself constructing a scenario where, in the hazy process of contracts and legalities, FRITZ LANG found himself assigned to direct instead of Minnelli.

    In his version, now called SISTER BOY, I see neon signs blinking and an air of sleaze, I see SISTER BOY stabbing the hooker/waitress and ensnaring Kerr into his web like a femme fatale. I see the husband taking the fall for a crime he did not commit and someone gets an ice pick to the sternum in the final scene.

    (at least it's a more honest film that what we have now...)

    EDIT- kee-ripes! I think I fixed all the misspellings of "MINNELLI." All apologies, if one is going to be critical of someone (even lovingly) one should get the name spelled correctly!


    I am sure that Vincente Minnelli knew that he was dealing with a falsified version of "Tea and Sympathy", not the already famous play that everybody said COULD NOT BE DONE.

    Well, the famous play was not done - the subplot involving Laura Reynolds' husband's homosexuality was dropped.

    Dropping the REAL HOMOSEXUAL from the plot meant that the screen version was now about what was happening to Tom Lee, in other words, homophobia.

    On that basis, I think that Vincente Minnelli did a very fine job.

    Don't forget that Mr. Minnelli was often thought to be a homosexual, too.

    Yes, the indelible Minnelli trademarks are there, that is, the attention to "the facade".

    Yes, Minnelli packed a watered-down version of some pretty explosive material with considerable wallop.

    If he hadn't, that devastating ending - Tom, meeting the husband, the long-departed Laura and her letter - would not have hit home so hard.

    Forced to work with a lot less, Vincente Minnelli delivered a "Tea and Sympathy" that was different, but no less true - the ingrained destructiveness of homophobia.  


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  10. 3 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

    Murder in the First (1995) Kevin Bacon, Christian Slater, Gary Oldman (from IMDb) Henri Young stole five dollars from a post office and ended up going to prison - to the most famous, or infamous, prison of them all: Alcatraz. He tried to escape, failed, and spent three years and two months in solitary confinement - in a dungeon, with no light, no heat and no toilet. Milton Glenn, the assistant warden, who was given free reign by his duty-shirking superior, was responsible for Young's treatment. 

    It's very loosely based on the life of Henri Young. The real guy was already doing time for bank robbery and murder.

    Entertaining still 7/10

    Murder in the First Poster

    Terrific movie, Kevin Bacon should have received an Oscar nomination.,

    Years later, it opened Off-Broadway as a stage play.

    It was well-received.

  11. 52 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

    You want to hear something funny? I saw TEA AND SYMPATHY twice and it wasn't until I started reading reviews and trivia on the film THAT I (totally) REALIZED KERR'S HUSBAND IS SUPPOSED TO BE A CLOSET CASE!!! (and can totally see it now!)

    And I think we'd all agree I'm pretty perceptive when it comes to that.

    If the film were re-made today - and remained faithful to the play - it would still be as controversial, I think, as the play in its' initial run.

  12. 7 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

    I'd be genuinely intrigued to.

    Maybe we're too far ahead societally now, but I've always thought TEA AND SYMPATHY deserved an HONEST remake.

    (I'm sure the play HAS to be more straightforward than the movie, yes?)

    When it was made as a film, it was too bold for the screen.

    The fact that the husband was gay, and not Tom Lee, was such a revelation.

    It upended everyday conceptions of what it meant to be "gay".

    It should be re-made - with all of the original material that concerned Laura and her husband and his need for the young men in his house.

    His homosexuality was almost beside-the-point - but it was very real.

    When push came to shove, the young men were far more important than his wife.


  13. 7 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

    That's a very perceptive comment.

    I don't know how many times I have seen this movie in bits and pieces or one full sitting- Hell, I've even lived parts of it...

    I may stand alone on this, but I bemoan the fact that the word "q u e e r" has been redefined and now has a heavy sexuality-defined context, even the positive reclamation of it years ago by the gay community irks me, because in the process we lost a REALLY EFFECTIVE TERM FOR DESCRIBING SOMETHING THAT IS (plainly and simply and independent of any concept of sexuality) JUST ****ING ODD.

    and TEA AND SYMPATHY is one Q U E E R movie. As in just plainly and simply odd.

    You must read the play - it might be the very essence of "queer".

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  14. 2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

    The Wrong Man - (1993) - The Good, The Bad, And The Heart-breaker


    Director: Jim McBride, Writers: Roy Carlson (story), Michael Thoma (screenplay), Cinematography by Affonso Beato. Stars: Rosanna Arquette, Kevin Anderson, John Lithgow, Jorge Cervera Jr. and Ernesto LaGuardia

    Neo Noir, Half Road pic, half Policier, half dysfunctional Drama.



    Kevin Anderson (The Good) plays a young 30-ish American, Alex Walker, a sailor on the run after a fight over a woman that went seriously wrong. He's fleeing from a manslaughter charge in Massachusetts, he says he didn't want to spend 10 years picking up cans along the highways.  His cargo ship The Starfish is working the Gulf coast of Mexico.



    John Lithgow (The Bad) plays a chain smoking "ne plus ultra" Ugly American John Mills, channeling Henry Fonda and touches of other classic Noir performances, you see a bit of Jimmy Stewart and get impressions of Broderick Crawford, he's so very entertaining in the role, an excellent performance.



    Rosanna Arquette (The Heartbreaker) plays Missy, Mills' younger wife/common law friend with benefits, a real sweetheart Floozy of a Femme Fatale. Missy's past is shrouded in Noir. She spins a honey dipped, storybook fantasy background, but we learn later that she "worked" at an infamous Georgia highway truck stop in probable salacious endeavors "giving the best business in hash house history."  Arquette is playing the exact type of exhibitionist, free spirit role that in the late 50s early 60s would have been given to Brigitte Bardot, Arquette is smoking-ly sultry in this film and beautiful to watch, a siren luring men to their fate.

    There is also a good policier angle that is nicely fleshed out of a young ambitious Mexican Criminal Law graduate Ortega played by Ernesto LaGuardia, who will remind you of a young Ricardo Montalban, vs. the old school Police Chief Diaz,  played excellently by Jorge Cervera Jr. who gives off a John Wayne/Harry Carey vibe. The cinematography is outstanding, the noir sequences to die for, the  Mexican locations humid-ly hypnotic.

    I'm starting to believe that what makes Neo Noirs authentic Neo Noirs for me,  is not only a heavy dose of Noir stylistic cinematography along with a simple Noir storyline, but also a bit of cinematic memory, when you can picture the stars in these Neos as inheritors of Classic Noir star parts, or see a nod to Classic Noir type locations combined with an old school, without bells & whistles, low budget, "B" film artistry you reach the tipping point into full blown Noirsville.

    I had to order this off Ebay from Hong Kong, it's worth it. It's equal to the best Neo Noirs of the 90s, a great, great soundtrack by Los Lobos too, 10/10 enjoy. Needs an official release.

    Full review at Noirsville The Wrong Man. 😎

    Sounds very interesting, whatever happened to Kevin Anderson, who seemed destined for stardom?

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  15. 10 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

    Kapo (1960)  -  8/10


    Italian Holocaust drama with Susan Strasberg as a teenage Jewish girl in France during the occupation.  She's soon sent to a concentration camp where she assumes the identity of a non-Jewish political prisoner, thus avoiding immediate execution. She's later sent to a women's work camp, where her desperation drives her to become a "kapo", a sort of trustee assigned to guard over her fellow prisoners, earning more food and creature comforts, but in exchange losing her humanity. Also featuring Emmanuelle Riva, Laurent Terzieff, Gianni Garko, Annabella Besi, Graziella Galvani, Paola Pitagora, and Didi Perego. Stark, brutal and emotionally devastating, with fantastic performances from Strasberg, Riva (as a sensitive prisoner), and Perego (as a tough-as-nails prisoner). The version I watched was mostly in Italian, but I understand that there's also an English-language dub.

    Source: The Criterion Channel

    Such a shame, this fine, but brutal film has fallen into oblivion.

    At the time, Susan Strasberg, fresh off her Broadway triumph as Anne Frank, was such a big name.

    • Like 1

  16. 9 hours ago, Thenryb said:

    How, in your view, does this version compare with the earlier version starring Robert Morley and the later version starring Stephen Fry? I liked both of those versions, but have not seen this one. I have always been interested in this trial and even have a book containing a verbatim transcript of the trial.

    Since the year was 1960, I do realize the limitations that were imposed on the production,.

    But Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas never even touch each other.

    They do not embrace and they do not kiss.

    They seem like contentious friends on the same side of the same issue.

    The film is very good in that it concentrates on the emotional toll of the three trials - yes, all three trials are included.

    Peter Finch gives an understated but heartfelt performance.

    And John Fraser is a beast of a boy.

    But, as films about Oscar Wilde go, I prefer "Wilde" with Stephen Fry and Jude Law.

    And the most recent one, "The Happy Prince" with Rupert Everett, is a devastating glimpse into his last three years,  in which old age, poverty, alcoholism and depravity got the best of him.  


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  17. 2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

    The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960)  -  7/10


    British biopic on the noted author and playwright and his various legal troubles. Wilde (Peter Finch) leads a successful, extravagant life, the toast of society and a source of amusement for his rapier wit and eccentric manner, but when his dalliances with a young man (John Fraser) bring undue attention, especially from the man's father the Marquis of Queensbury (Lionel Jeffries), Wilde finds his presence unwanted, and his exploits eventually lead him to the courthouse. Also featuring Yvonne Mitchell, Nigel Patrick, Sonia Dresdel, Maxine Audley, James Booth, Laurence Naismith, Michael Goodliffe, and James Mason. The subject matter was controversial, but the film tested the boundaries of what was allowed to be discussed onscreen at the time. It seems a bit quaint now, not to mention saddening, but the film works as both an indictment on British society in the time depicted, and the time in which the movie was made. Finch is exceptional, as is Jeffries as the detestable Marquis. Mason has a brief but showy role as a lawyer. 

    Source: YouTube

    What went on between Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas is left in doubt in the film.

    But the casting of John Fraser, who is quite good, makes it quite obvious.

    The ending, in which Wilde can't even acknowledge Douglas, is very sad indeed.

  18. 10 hours ago, rayban said:

    "Tea and Sympathy" - Vincente Minnelli - 1956 -

    starring Deborah Kerr, John Kerr, Leif Erickson, Edward Andrews, Daryl Hickman, Norma Crane -

    Beautifully rendered, but thoroughly falsified version of the famous Broadway hit -

    sadly, the screenplay was written by the playwright, Robert Anderson -

    for, in the play, it is not Tom Lee (John Kerr) who is homosexual, but Bill Reynolds, Laura's husband (Leif Erickson) who is homosexual -

    but, since the subject of homosexuality could not be embraced, everyone concerned did a commendable job -

    still, the revelation that a macho-oriented married man was a homosexual would have been quite a revelation back in 1956 -

    superb performances from all of the mentioned actors -

    especially Deborah Kerr, who is the essence of sympathy -

    and John Kerr, who is such a wounded individual -



    The famous play is about homosexuality -

    the screen version is about homophobia -

    quite a difference, I would say -

    John Kerr deserved a screen career -

    he got better and better, he was terrific in "Gaby", the film that might have made him a star -



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