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Everything posted by Moorman

  1. This film has kind of a cult following because its underrated. The film is directed by and stars Allen Baron as hit man Frank Bono. For anyone familiar with the roles played by French Actor Lino Ventura, think of Bono as one of Lino's gangster characters, but with baggage which effects how he goes about business. Bono wants to do one last job and is hired to knock off numbers man Troiano ( Peter Clume). Bono tracks down one of his contacts named Big Ralph ( Larry Tucker) who is a gun supplier. Big Ralph plays prominently in the plot. I'm gonna leave it there because the plot is short and straight to the point. With a run time of only 77 minutes the plot wastes very little time doing what it does. The film features ASTOUNDING images of New York during the holidays. The camera techniques used are fabulous but I had a problem with the photography. Some scenes came off as flat while others were more crisp. I don't know if it was filmed that way or a result of film restoration problems. The film IS a low budget affair so take that with a grain of salt. Its a minor issue during some scenes at the beginning. The film features a ton of narration by Lionel Stander which gave it a early noir feel. The music score was by Meyer Kupferman which featured some very nice Jazz pieces. Its a very good film. Bono never got a chance to direct a feature again and was relegated to directing tv episodes like Charlies Angels, etc. I rate this film a solid 9 out of 10. I felt the film actually could have been about 15 to 20 minutes longer. I'm knocking half a point for the shorter time of the film. The film can be purchased from Criterion.
  2. This is my first F.W. Murnau film. I had great expectations and the film didn't let me down. It stars Janet Gaynor ( The wife), George O'Brien ( The Man), Bodil Rosing ( The Maid) and Margaret Livingston ( The Woman from the City). Very simple but engaging plot. The man owns a farm where he resides with his wife, child and his maid. A woman from the city sees him and his wife one day and decides to flirt with him. He takes the bait and starts seeing the woman. He falls for her and she wants him to leave his wife. The plot then takes a ugly turn. ( not gonna spoil it). Its a beautiful film made even better by the moral situations presented therein. The acting by Gaynor in particular is first rate. The cinematography and music score are fantastic. Cinematography is by Charles Rosher and Karl Struss). Struss also did Limelight for Chaplin which was another fantastic work of art. Hugo Riesenfeld and Erno Rapee scored the film. Another stand out is the sets. Murnau forced Fox to spend big money on the sets and it paid off. I THOUGHT for a minute that the film was in San Francisco. Thats how great a job they did with this. The film holds up and meets its reputation as one of the greatest films ever made. I rate it a perfect 10 out of 10...
  3. Moorman

    Sunrise. A Song of Two Humans (1927)

    She has a few films that I wanna see now after watching her in this performance. I will post reviews when I screen them.
  4. Moorman

    La Haine (1995)

    Vincent Cassell ( Vinz), Hubert Kounde', and Said Taghmaoui ( Said) are three youths in their early 20s living in a French banlieue ( housing project) in the suburbs of Paris. Based on real life events, the film follows 24 hours in the lives of the three youths. The film is about class struggles in modern France and Paris in particular. The film opens with real footage of French riots from the early 90s time period. Abdel (Abdel Ahmed Ghili) a friend of the three youths has been beaten by the police and is hospitalized in critical condition. Vinz wants to seek revenge but Hubert tries to talk sense into him through out the film. Said is more concerned with chasing women but goes along with his friends. During the riots, one of the police officers loses his weapon. Vinz finds it and threatens throughout the film to use it but is thwarted by Hubert. I'm not gonna go further with the plot because of spoilers. One of the main draws to the film is the on location filming in a actual banlieue in Paris. Due to the controversial subject matter only the suburb of Chanteloupe-les-Vignes allowed the director (Matthieu Kassovitz) to film on location. The soundtrack features contemporary and classic hip hop, soul and funk music which is another standout of the film. The performances of the three lead characters was also exceptional in this film. The choice by the director to film in black and white adds a beautiful classic look and feel to the film and enhances the timeless philosophy that is being expounded upon in the film. I would be remiss to not mention the fabulous camera techniques used by the director. Pierre Aim was the cinematographer here. This is a great production. I felt the plot dragged in some areas, but if you stick with it the film will draw you back in when it wanders. I give the film a solid 9.5 out of 10... ( I saw this on Amazon Prime)
  5. I've always been a big fan of the musician Prince. I knew back in the 80s that he was a classic movie buff but I never made the connection between him and Chaplin until I saw Limelight and this film. Prince ( and Michael Jackson) practically "copped" Chaplin's whole style, look, and persona. It got past me until I got into Chaplin. Everything from his clothing, dancing and his comedy. I mean EVERYTHING about Chaplin, Prince and Michael took and added it into their styles. Its soo blatant that Prince essentially REMADE Monsieur Verdoux as the 1986 film " Under the Cherry Moon." I wondered back then about WHERE he got that plot and French setting from. In UTCM Prince plays a French Gigolo ( sound familiar?) with a comedic sidekick played by Jerome Benton ( a member of several of Prince's bands.) Prince changed it up a little though. He falls in love with heiress Mary Sharon ( Kristin Scott Thomas). The ending of UTCM is his version of the ending of Limelight. What tipped me off ( I was on the trail while watching City Lights) was a dancing scene in Limelight. The Danseur Andre Eglevsky did a dance sequence and he made a move that I for YEARS wondered where Prince got the inspiration for. I saw that move, lol. THAT tipped me off to where Prince copped some of his dancing, styles, etc. from. Its from Chaplin. Prince even has a video called " The One" in which the first part is his version of "The Tramp" character calling on a love interest. A modified version of this character is shown over the years in various Prince videos. Michael Jackson has never hid his affinity for Chaplin. He has numerous projects and dances that are clearly directed at Chaplin. Prince performing on Ophrah Winfrey Show: Andre in Limelight: Chaplin in limelight: Prince in Under The Cherry Moon: Michael Jackson:
  6. This is my first Ingmar Bergman film. I've had it on my screening list for a while. Swedish director Victor Sjöström plays 78 year old Professor Isak Borg. He has been awarded the degree of Doctor Jubilaris after a 50 year career as a physician. Currently residing in Stockholm, the plot revolves around his long car journey from there to Lund where the ceremony is being held to honor him. During the course of the journey the apparently cold charactered Borg has a chance to reflect on his childhood and young adult years. His daughter in law and characters he meets in route trigger different memories he had. I had mixed feelings about the film. First. I didn't like the flashback aspect of the plot. Borg's memories of his past were brought back thru dreams. I didn't like the philosophy that was touched on in these sequences either. It didn't make sense. Next, the main gist of the plot is his supposedly hard, cold character. I felt this wasn't built up anywhere but in dialogue from his daughter in law. For this reason the film didn't connect to me at the end when his character changed. I would have ditched the dream sequences and built up his character in real time. Another problem I had ( and I learned this is true with most of Bergman's films) is the serious tone of the majority of the characters. Seems like everybody had some deep issue that was troubling them. This issue was balanced out somewhat by the trio of young people that Borg let accompany him on his trip, but a lot of people will find it bothersome nevertheless. One of the highlights of the film is these three people played by Bibi Andersson, Folke Sundquist and Bjorn Bjelfvenstam. I said I had mixed feelings about the film. What I did love was the cinematography. This is a gorgeous film. Gunnar Fischer did excellent work here. The on location filming in Stockholm was gorgeous. Even the scenes filmed on the studio lot were gorgeous. Everything was deep and crisp. The lighting and shadows were beautiful. This alone makes the film worth viewing. My final score for the film is 7.5 out of 10...
  7. Moorman

    Limelight (1952)

    Another masterpiece from Chaplin. Most of you already know this film is considered a very personal drama and has autobiographical elements. Filmed later in Chaplin's career, it features Chaplin as past his prime Calvero, a stage clown. One day Calvero comes home to his boarding house and saves a neighbor named Terry ( Claire Bloom in her first major film role) from suicide. He takes her to his room with the assistance of a doctor he called. He nurses her back to health and finds out she is a ballerina with her own personal problems. They develop a friendship and Terry falls in love with Calvero albeit against his wishes due to a vast age difference. The film is just marvelous. Chaplin again directs, produces and helps score the film. Karl Struss did the wonderful cinematography. Due to problems going on in Chaplins life at the time of production of the film it was heavily boycotted in the United States upon initial release. The film was re-released in 1972 and the music score won a Oscar for Best Dramatic Score. Even THAT was controversial because it has come to light that Larry Russell ( who was awarded the Oscar along with Chaplin) had nothing to do with the film but that it was really Russell Garcia who had scored the film with Chaplin's assistance. Nevertheless, Garcia and Chaplin created a fantastic score for the film. Another major point about the film is the extended "Cameo" appearance by Buster Keaton. As fans know its the ONLY time that both Chaplin and Keaton were both featured in the same film. There was controversy about this appearance that was later refuted by people who knew Keaton. He and Chaplin perform a marvelous stage routine toward the end of the film that is just fantastic. I rate this as another masterpiece from Chaplin and give it a 10 out of 10...
  8. Moorman

    The Circus (1928)

    Even when he is off mark, Chaplin is STILL the best. From Wikipedia: "The Circus is a 1928 silent film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin. The film stars Chaplin, Al Ernest Garcia, Merna Kennedy, Harry Crocker, George Davis and Henry Bergman. The ringmaster of an impoverished circus hires Chaplin's Little Tramp as a clown, but discovers that he can only be funny unintentionally." I found the film, though not as mesmerizing as The Kid, City Lights or The Gold Rush, STILL a worthy addition to the Chaplin collection. There was a lot of real life unfortunate distractions surrounding Chaplin when he made this, so that possibly carried over into the production of this film. Its still a great film and I rank it at a solid 9 out of 10...
  9. Moorman

    The Gold Rush (1925)

    Another masterpiece from Charlie Chaplin. His Tramp character plays the Lone Prospector searching for Gold in the Klondike. Georgia Hale stars opposite him along with Mack Swain and Tom Murray. Excellent cinematography ( even though its not on location), music scoring and the plot is fantastic. Gonna keep this review short... another perfect 10 out of 10 for Chaplin... One more thing. I saw the original 1925 version on Youtube. The Criterion release of 2012 contains both the 1925 version and the 1942 version. Thats the one to get...
  10. Moorman

    The Freshman (1925)

    This was a pretty good film that I feel drops a few notches from being perfect. Harold Lloyd goes off to college and wants to become popular on campus by joining the football team. The plot sets up nicely with Harold at home with his parents and they express their joy at him saving his money and going off to college. ( spoiler alerts): Enroute by train to the campus Harold Lamb ( Lloyd) meets a woman on the train named Peggy ( Jobyna Ralston) with whom he sits down next to and helps her with a puzzle. There is a instant unspoken admiration between the two. Later at the campus Lamb runs across his new classmates and finds out the most popular guy on campus, Chet Trask ( James Anderson ) plays football. The Campus Cad ( Brooks Benedict) runs across Lamb and immediately turns him into the campus joke. Lamb rents a room and finds out that Peggy's mom owns the house when he encounters Peggy cleaning the room. The plot goes on to feature a few very funny gags by Lamb that lead to him eventually joining the football team. The problem I had with the gags is I felt he stayed in them too long. The gag at the " Fall Frolic" dance for instance. Another thing that I had a small problem with is Lloyd's gags required me to suspend reality a lot more than the gags of Charlie Chaplin. I'm nitpicking the film but those issues ARE there for me. The production of the film ITSELF is first rate. The cinematography is by Walter Lundin, music by Harold Berg, production by Harold Lloyd and direction by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor. The cinematography stands out here. Its very crisp with superb lighting for the sets and locations. I'm a big fan of "Trad" and " Ivy League" clothing so the wardrobe really popped here for me also. Overall its a great film. The two minor quibbles I have above hold it back for me though and keeps it around a 8 to 8.5 out of 10...
  11. Moorman

    The Freshman (1925)

    I've got a list of his films to watch.
  12. Moorman

    "Duel in the Sun" 1946 Video Movie Review - Western Film Noir

    Darn it. I was gonna post The Wizard of Oz in the noir forum...
  13. Whenever I run across a film directed by Fritz Lang its almost a INSTANT look for me. For that reason I gave this one a screening. SPOILER ALERT: Writer Stephen Bryne (Louis Hayward) makes a drunken pass at his maid Emily ( Dorothy Patrick) and to silence her screams he accidently strangles her. His brother John (Lee Bowman) happens to come along at this time and Stephen isn't able to hide what he did. He manipulates John into helping him dump the body into the river that runs right next to Stephen's huge house. Thats the basic plot. The plot felt half baked. The whole exercise felt like something Lang was forced to do. The material was waaaay beneath his stature. There was little suspense with the script and the ending was weak. Its a shame because a excellent cinematography by Edward J. Cronjager and a pretty good performance by Hayward were wasted on this. There was soo much potential here that was wasted. I rank it a 6 out of 10...
  14. Moorman

    "Battle of Algiers" Feb. 9, morning.

    I have to give this a look. I've had it on my to do list for a while.
  15. Moorman

    Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

    A excellent dark comedy by Charles Chaplin cast against type. I can't say enough about the brilliance of Chaplin. Chaplin plays a laid off bank teller who decides to marry and bump off rich widows to support his wheelchair bound wife and son. One of the highlights of the film is Martha Raye who played one of his wives. I'm not going too deep into the plot and characters since the film is well known. The cinematography and music scoring is excellent here. Cinematography by Roland Totheroh and Curt Courant. Music and direction by Charles Chaplin. A anecdote about that directing. As I'm sure most of you are aware, Chaplin bought the rights to the script from Orson Welles. Welles had approached Chaplin originally about directing Chaplin in the film. Chaplin balked at that idea and instead bought the script. Welles claimed that it would have been a better film if he directed, citing that Chaplin is merely competent as a director. That comment gives me another opportunity to say again that Welles is probably the most overrated director ever. Chaplin is EXACTLY the man to direct Chaplin. Fancy camera angles and lighting shouldn't always be the star. Chaplin is a BRILLIANT director. A perfectionist in his own right. Chaplin did a wonderful job here. This film is another solid 10 from Chaplin...
  16. Moorman

    House by the River (1950)

    Victorian era. Southern Gothic feel...
  17. Moorman

    House by the River (1950)

    The cinematography is great here. Its worth a look. You can see it on Youtube...
  18. Disclaimer: I've just recently got into the " classic", " and " film noir "genres of movies about a year and a half ago. About two years ago I got into "classic westerns", and that naturally progressed over into other classic genres after I started enquiring about them on the Sergio Leone board. I say all this to point out that I'm gonna admit I haven't seen nearly enough classic or more modern films to make my bold statement, BUT, I feel I have seen enough thus far. I know the majority will not agree and people have their own opinion on what the greatest film of all time is. Now, with that out of the way, in my PERSONAL opinion, the Greatest Movie of All Time) is The Night of the Hunter by Charles Laughton. What makes this even more stunning to me personally is the fact that the film was considered a commercial failure when it was released and discouraged Laughton from ever directing again. Its a shame but its also what makes the film even that more special. I'm gonna start with my review I posted last year on the Sergio Leone Forum and follow that up with the beginning of Roger Ebert's review of the film: My review from February 2017 Sergio Leone Forum: WHERE do i start? I guess i'm just gonna put it out there. This is the BEST movie i have ever seen. I admit, i'm still new to westerns and classic movies, which are my favorite genres ( 1970 on back), but i'm gonna go out on a limb here. This is the BEST movie i've personally, ever seen. " I first got wind of this movie by looking for something to watch on Turner Classic Movies. I recorded it after reading the description one day back early this year. I sat down and watched it, not really knowing what to expect. It started a little slow, then built up tension as it went along. By the time it got to the scene where Mitchum's character had married the widow, i knew this was gonna be special. From the moment he married her, all the way to the end, this picture had me terrified. I was left speechless. Everything about this movie. The plot. The acting. The direction. The cinematography. The musical score. EVERYTHING was just top notch. I read numerous reviews of the movie after watching it, and one of them stood out. The reviewer said what i said about the film. It was if " i had lived this movie before". The boogeyman was a character, that in this case, was a very believable boogeyman. The acting of Mitchum. I KNEW he wasn't acting. That character is HIM. I later read that Mitchum always said he wasn't acting in his movies, that he was just being himself. The cinematograpy. The music, the direction, the plot, i could go on for days. The movie was kinda surreal. Its a BEAUTIFUL movie. Its to me, what Orson Welles was always trying to accomplish, but Charles Laughton pulled it off in ONE movie. Its a shame that Laughton never got the praise he should've for this movie. The good thing is this movie is now a cult favorite and gets high praise from directors like Scorsese, Lee and others. You can see the influence of this movie in a ton of movies made today. I don't give these out too often, but this gets my two thumbs up rating of a perfect 10 out of 10..." Roger Ebert review November 1996 Charles Laughton's "The Night of the Hunter” (1955) is one of the greatest of all American films, but has never received the attention it deserves because of its lack of the proper trappings. Many “great movies” are by great directors, but Laughton directed only this one film, which was a critical and commercial failure long overshadowed by his acting career. Many great movies use actors who come draped in respectability and prestige, but Robert Mitchum has always been a raffish outsider. And many great movies are realistic, but “Night of the Hunter” is an expressionistic oddity, telling its chilling story through visual fantasy. People don't know how to categorize it, so they leave it off their lists.
  19. CAHIERS DU CINÉMA currently has this film ranked number 2 in its list of 100 greatest films ever...
  20. Moorman

    Five most "underrated" Westerns ...

    gonna give a few of these a try.
  21. Moorman

    Five most "underrated" Westerns ...

    The films on this list are known but I feel are underrated. Some are ranked in high regard, but not HIGH ENOUGH... 1. Gunman's Walk (1958) Van Heflin tries to keep one of his sons in line. Played by Tab Hunter. Hunter was a terror here. Heflin had another great performance. HIGHLY underrated Western in my opinion. You can't even get a respectable dvd copy of this. 2. Fastest Gun Alive (1956) Glenn Ford's version of Gregory Peck's " The Gunfighter". Same basic plot as The Gunfighter but with another spin. Vastly underrated Western. 3. Rawhide (1951) My favorite Jack Elam Western. Tyrone Power is billed as the star but this is Elam's film. Another Western that few have heard about but its fantastic. 4. The Oxbow Incident (1943) My favorite Henry Fonda Western after My Darling Clementine and Once Upon A Time in the West. This film was supressed when it originally came out due to the subject matter and I think it STILL is. Its in my top 5 Westerns ever. 5. The Great Silence (1968) A film known by diehard Sphagetti Western fans and lovers of Cult films. This film gets no play in the mainstream Western Genre as it should. Its in my opinion the GREATEST WESTERN EVER. A masterpiece from director Sergio Corbucci. His inconsistent work I feel prejudices his work and hurts the standing of this film in comparison to say Sergio Leone. Regardless, its the best ever. HONORABLE MENTION: Death Rides a Horse (1967) Might be Lee Van Cleef's best work outside of the Leone Films. If you had replaced Phillip Law with Clint Eastwood this film would've been ranked up there with Leone's Man with No Name trilogy.
  22. Moorman

    Shane (1953)

    A little background. The folks over at The Sergio Leone Forum that are familiar with me know I only started getting into the classic Westerns about a two years ago and the classic Hollywood and Noirs about a year and half ago. I've always loved Westerns but beyond the Leone films and other a few others, never made it a hobby. Once I got going I started bing watching to catch up so some of the films. I would TRY and watch and would either be half asleep or doing something else. My first viewing of Shane was during this period. I HATED it the first time around because I believe I was half asleep, lol. There are a few others that got this treatment. I got a chance to view the film again a couple weeks ago and this time I saw what I missed the first time. THIS is a GREAT FILM. I will start with the selection of actors and actresses. The selection of Alan Ladd as Shane, Van Heflin as Starrett, Jack Palance as Wilson, Ben Johnson as Calloway, Jean Arthur as Mrs. Starrett, Elisha Cook Jr. as Torrey and Brandon DeWilde as Joey Starrett is a example of excellent casting. The others were just as good but that list is long, lol. Montgomery Cliff was the original choice for Shane but was unavailable. It worked out anyway. The cinematography was gorgeous also. It was the first film to be filmed in "flat " widescreen. Though shot at a standard of 1.37:1 aspect ration, Paramount utilized a newly cut aperture made just for the film and a wide angle lens. Using this technology Paramount was able to project the image to a aspect of 1.66:1 in movie theatres. The long and medium shots used during filming combined with the new technology allowed the cropping of the film to the aspect shown in the theatres without compromising the image quality. Overall its a great film. I saw elements in the plot that later films like " Pale Rider " employed to great effect. The one thing that stood out in this film that changed the game in Westerns is the violence of the gun play. Peckinpah said the gunfights in this film changed the genre. ( He agrees with me that the director of " The Magnificent 7 " missed the memo). The Wild Bunch took these elements to the highest level. Shane is a great film and I rank it a 9 out of 10...
  23. Moorman

    The Crowd (1928)

    Is " The Crowd " available to stream or purchase?
  24. Moorman

    Thief ( 1981)

    I'm not alone in my accessment that Mann HAD to have been influenced by Melville. " Thief, Heat and ESPECIALLY Collateral are obviously influenced by Melville. As far as the plot of Thief, its been a while but what I remember is Cann's character gets involved with a gangster who wants Cann to continue working for him even though Cann wants to get out of the business. This sets up the climatic second half of the film.
  25. Moorman

    Thief ( 1981)

    Michael Mann. I have to give Criterion credit for making me aware of this film. Let me back up. I've been a fan of Michael Mann ever since his production of Miami Vice. I believe his work for that series (television) undermines in SOME people's views just how good of a FILM director he really is. How I slept on this film is beyond me ( see my last sentence as a possible reason). I've had it on my viewing list since last November and finally got around to screening it. The last film I saw of Mann's is the Miami Vice remake back in 2006. That film is just now receiving the critical praise that it should've gotten back then. Its a excellent contemporary take on the Miami Vice series. When i found out about " Thief", I knew it was gonna be good but not THIS good. The first thing that struck me from the opening credits is the fact that Michael Mann was doing THIS before Miami Vice. Based in Chicago it could've easily been located in Miami. The music, cinematography, everything screamed what later would become Mann's signature style. The plot. For those who haven't seen it. Frank ( James Caan) is a jewel thief in Chicago. After making a big score, the plot takes him to a meeting with Leo ( Robert Prosky) who wants to recruit Frank to work for him. I've been a huge fan of gangster and heist films from the early 80s to the present. The stand out heist film from this period to me has always been Mann's film " Heist". I said HAS because I think Thief is the better film. There are two major reasons for this. First, the length of Heist. Its almost 50 more minutes in length than Thief. This lends itself to a few scenes that dragged the film down, in particular the time spent with the romances of two of the leads in the thief ring. The second thing that I feel this film has a edge on is the plot itself. Whereas Heist was more over the top, ala Scarface in its production and plot, Thief was more lean and believable. Everything about Frank was believable. The ending was believable. Its just great writing and production in this one. I think its Mann's best film. Heat and even another Mann film, Collateral, are both great films, don't get me wrong, but Thief is on another level. It has immediately jumped among the top of my favorite Heist films category. Again, HOW did I not know of this film? I rank it a solid 9.5 out of 10...

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