Barton_Keyes

Noir Alley

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I watched both Eddie's comments about Crime of Passion - by "both", I mean, both his before- and after-the screening remarks. I don't recall any "mistakes" as such that he made; certainly there's room for disagreement regarding what he said, but that doesn't really fall into the category of Eddie being inaccurate.

 

I did notice a definite mistake on the TCM schedule itself: its brief synopsis  of Crime of Passion said something about Barbara Stanwyck's character marrying a "business executive" and her efforts for him to "get ahead".

 

Of course, her husband was not a business exec, he was a police detective. His profession is integral to the story, and what happens with Stanwyck, so the erroneous blurb about the film (it's only two lines or so on the TCM schedule) is quite misleading, and it's odd that such a mistake would appear.

But of course, this isn't the first time there's been an incorrect plot precis on the TCM schedule. Not that this is a beeg deal, since presumeably one's decision to watch any film on the schedule is based on more than those two-line summaries.

Just found what someone said in an earlier post on this site, about Muller's mistake on his intro to this Stanwyck film. Muller said that Stanwyck did the Big Valley because she did not want to follow the lead of other actresses of her time who were doing cheesy horror flicks [ostensibly meaning people like Davis and Crawford I would assume]. But of course, as the poster said, that shows Muller's lack of real knowledge of her career since Stanwyck had already done cheesy horror flicks like The Night Walker from 1964 directed by William Castle [and though his stuff is wonderful you can't get any more cheesy than his oeuvre] and she'd already done two tv movies, The House That Would Not Die and A Taste of Evil which are also low budget horror flicks made for tv. The poster from here mentioned that not probably having the time to research every film in Missy's listing in IMDB, Muller just goes with an overview showing his lack of real background film knowledge, which is more obvious in extemporaneous remarks at his film seminars when he does not know what topics may come up. I also wondered about the TCM write-up and appreciate your correction of this important plot point for the film, Miss Wonderly and enjoyed your salient thoughts about this film. Personally I think you would make a good host for TCM and there are others here also who could do the place justice with their superior film knowledge too.

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Concerning Eddie Muller's comments on Barbara Stanwyck for Crime of Passion -

 

I think to be fair, Eddie did not say that Barbara Stanwyck had not made any horror films.  What he said was (and I quote) "Stanwyck refused to turn to horror movies to keep herself on the big screen."  Eddie was specifically talking about the end of Stanwyck's major movie career and how she then turned to television roles, including The Big Valley series.  To me this is more a statement about what types of film roles she was being offered once she reached her 50s, and it is a stretch to conclude from this statement that Eddie has not done his homework on the details of Stanwyck's career.

 

I would also say that during these intros Eddie only has a few minutes to discuss topics of interest, so he is unable to go into too much detail in the time allowed.  One thing I appreciate about Noir Alley is that Eddie is taking something like 3-4 minutes each for pre- and post- comments, which is longer than the typical TCM wrappers, but it is still not enough time to cover anything in great depth.  During the Crime of Passion wrappers, Eddie talked about other noir films that Stanwyck had made (including Double Indemnity), the role of a female protagonist in film noir, and some similar aspects of Raymond Burr's career, for example.  I'm sure that Eddie could say much more about Stanwyck's career if that was his sole purpose, but ultimately there's a film that we want to get to. 

 

I do agree that the TCM wrappers should always be factually accurate, but I don't think that's an issue in this case.

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JOURNEY INTO FEAR

 

Ho boy, what to say about this one?  It's such a mixture of really good and incomprehensible. Of course, the incomprehensible part can be explained by the fact that Orson Welles kind of abandoned it halfway through for another project, leaving it up to his pal Norman Foster to finish directing it. It's not really a bad reflection on Foster that it's a bit of a mess; according to what I've heard, and also what Eddie Muller said in his intro, Journey Into Fear was rewritten, chopped up, and edited to the point where it's a wonder it's any good at all.

 

And in many ways it is good. You have to love the beautiful black and white cinematography (Karl Struss), which is wonderfully atmospheric and noirish. I love all the scenes on the boat - it's almost funny, how dark and labyrinthine that boat turns out to be. Kind of like the plot, which is almost as complicated and full of unsavoury characters as The Third Man. (Which it precedes by a good 6 years...)

 

In fact, there's little point trying to describe the plot (I know I always say this.)  Joseph Cotten plays Howard Graham, a naval engineer ( or something like that) who for some reason is in Turkey (I think) and wants to go home to the States. But a whole slew of dubious characters want to either stop him, help him, or kill him, and the film's entire 68 minutes is all about which of these  will prevail.

 

I mentioned The Third Man because, as in that film, Cotten's character is somewhat passive, bemused, and a little foolish, and is caught up with people and forces outside his understanding or control. He always seems a bit irritated, although I suppose we can't blame him, since people keep making him do things and go places he has no desire to do or go to.

 

What's kind of funny is his apparent devotion to his wife ( played by Ruth Warrick, who was Mrs. Citizen Kane). He's separated from her very early on in the story, and the entire film features a voice-over of Cotten reading a letter he's writing to her, trying to explain why he's been away from her and that he has no interest in the sexy woman who's accompanied him on the boat trip.

In fact, the wife serves as a kind of McGuffin, since his primary interest (other than staying alive) seems to be to get back to her. Yet when we finally see her again, she seems oddly uninterested in her husband and what has been happening to him. It's tempting to say that the first Mrs. Kane has somehow wandered into this other story - that's how detached and unemotional she seems when she's finally reunited with Cotten.

 

And it looks like Cotten's equally uninvolved with her, despite his desperate letter-writing to her - which is really just to serve as some kind of narrative cohesion in an otherwise rambling plot. At the film's conclusion, we don't see Mr. and Mrs. Graham happily united and leaving for the United States together. In fact, we don't see Mrs. Graham at all - and Graham tears up the letter he's been writing to her throughout the movie.

 

Some fun bits:  Orsen Welles playing a Turkish police chief. He strides into the police station wearing an enormous Turkish hat and a puffy fur coat. There's something funny ( as in amusing - something funny as in odd, too) about his appearance.

Also: Dolores del Rio as the sympathetic dancer who befriends Graham. When we first meet her, she's wearing some kind of cat costume, complete with a cat headpiece with ears. She looks quite silly and pretty. No wonder Graham, despite his claims of fidelity in his letter to his wife, is more interested in her than in the dull Ruth Warrick.

Also:  Agnes Moorehead puts in an appearance as a French lady with a garrulous husband. I love her French accent and the way she's always getting mad at her spouse. Agnes M. is always good.

 

Also: The fat assassin, who says not one word in  the entire film ( apparently, according to Eddie M., because the actor told Welles he'd only appear in the movie if he didn't have to say any lines.)  Every time he encounters Graham /Cotten on the ship, he stares wordlessly at him, which is much more intimidating than anything he could say.

 

But it isn't just the non-verbal assassin Cotten's character has to watch out for; in fact, by the end of the film's first 15 minutes, you decide nobody, not even Delores and her kitty -hat, can be trusted. If only in this - the complete confusion when it comes to who to believe, which is no one - Journey Into Fear is a true noir.

 

 

Anyway, if you just watch Journey Into Fear without trying to figure it out too much, you'll enjoy it more. Just sit back and let all the sinister characters take you on a seedy boat ride over the Black Sea,and you'll be fine.

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Eddie did a really great job introducing JOURNEY INTO FEAR as well, proving it doesn't have to always be "sunshine and lollipops" when talking about a classic film on air (or otherwise) and you can be critical but still honest and make the whole "lesson" (for lack of a better word) hit home. 

 

...although I'd've rather they showed THE STRANGER, I love that movie.

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oh, and per wikipedia's entry on Dolores Del Rio:

 

After her death, actor Vincent Price used to sign his autographs as "Dolores del Río". When asked why, the actor replied: I promised Dolores on her deathbed that I would not let people forget about her.[113]

 

 

which, even if it isn't true- I say LIBERTY VALANCE that ****.

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oh, and per wikipedia's entry on Dolores Del Rio:

 

After her death, actor Vincent Price used to sign his autographs as "Dolores del Río". When asked why, the actor replied: I promised Dolores on her deathbed that I would not let people forget about her.[113]

 

 

which, even if it isn't true- I say LIBERTY VALANCE that ****.

When I have to use the screen to sign my name when I use a credit card, I often use some celebrity or maybe a president.  Nobody ever notices.

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OUT OF THE PAST

 

I love this movie- what fan of film noir  doesn't? Robert Mitchum is one of my favourite actors, and he, along with Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Paul Valentine, Rhonda Fleming and Virginia Huston make a great cast in a legendary noir.

 

I must have seen it for the tenth time today. The fun thing about repeat viewings of movies you like is, you start to notice things that you might have missed the first or second time around. For one thing, I think I finally figured out the plot. I mean, everything's crystal clear in the flashback - up to that point I think everyone gets what's going on.

But it becomes really complicated when Jeff meets Whit the second time - this is partly because the dialogue is so sharp, full of wise cracks, veiled insults, (on everyone's part) and double meanings, that it's hard to figure out what exactly going is on. All we really know is, Whit Sterling wants to punish Jeff Bailey for stealing his girl and his money, and sends him on a truly dark and convoluted mission to San Francisco. But all Whit really wants is to exact revenge upon Jeff. He doesn't care a whit about anything else  ( sorry, I just couldn't resist !)

 

A few things I hadn't really noticed on previous viewings:

 

The San Francisco part is really complicated, but it does actually make sense. And I love all those on-location Frisco settings. That apartment (the one the ill-fated tax lawyer resides in) on the hill, the glamourous night club where Jeff sees Kathie for the second time, that phone booth Kathie makes her treacherous call from ...even if you don't entirely follow what's going on, it's ok, because part of what film noir is all about is scenes like those.

 

Kathie's character:  what does this girl want? She has to be the most complicated femme fatale in all of noir. She claims she hates Whit Sterling, yet she returns to him and plots with him to betray Jeff. It can't be just money she wants, because she could have just taken off to South America  after she kills Fisher - she's got forty thousand dollars. She yo-yos back and forth between Jeff and Whit, we don't really know why. And she lies constantly, effortlessly, passionately, even when she doesn't have to. I think what Kathie is really about is a desire for power - power over the men in her life. While you could argue that she doesn't have any such power with Whit - in fact, all signs point to the other way around - it's strongly indicated that she does wield a kind of sexual power over him, and maybe that's what she wants. Same with Jeff.

 

I don't really know, and I realize that the above might come across as just blather. If anyone has another idea about what makes Kathie Moffat tick, let me know. I'm thinking maybe she's just evil, like another Kathy ( Cathy Ames in "East of Eden"). We never really know, and maybe that's part of what makes Out of the Past fascinating.

 

A side character who I think really adds interest and even some humour ( in a dry, noirish way) to  Out of the Past is Joe Stephanos, Whit Sterling's assistant and messenger. Played with a kind of world weary menace by Paul Valentine, Joe is key to the double dealings orchestrated by Whit. And he has more than a few funny lines - some of the hard-boiled verbal sparring between him and Jeff is pretty entertaining. I looked up this actor - Paul Valentine - and was surprised to find that he wasn't in very much at all - just a handful of films, until a comeback he made in the '80s. Don't know why - I really enjoyed his performance as the treacherous, slightly bored Joe Stephanos.

 

Two quibbles I have with the film:  it seems everyone who writes about Out of the Past accepts what Kathie and others ( like the Bridgeport cop, Jim) say about Jeff Bailey /Markham: that he's "no good". 

But in fact, there's nothing in the film - no action that Jeff takes - that convinces me of this. Jeff doesn't actually kill anyone, nor does he want to. In fact, he tries to prevent someone from being killed. He's demonstrated that he can "settle down", and be happy doing it, running his little gas station business in a small mountain town, and courting a girl who's worth a hundred Kathies. 

 

And "Anne" may be "good", but she's not dull. She's neither boring, stupid, nor plain. I quite like her, and I wish that "the Kid" had told her the truth in the film's final few seconds - that Jeff loved her, not Kathie, and that he had not been planning to run away with Kathie.

I believe that Anne would have felt betrayed and bitterly hurt, thinking that Jeff had lied to her. She could have "moved on" with her life, knowing that Jeff had been true to her. I don't think she would have locked herself up and mourned for him - she may have loved Jeff, but in the few scenes she has, she demonstrates that she's also a stable, normal woman. I don't see how letting Anne believe that Jeff still loved Kathie would have made her life any better. 

I've always had a problem with that ending.

 

Anyway, although Out of the Past has been discussed on these forums many times, I'd still love to hear others' comments on it.

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I enjoy Out of the Past each time I watch, but don't watch it all that much.  MIssed it today, but have it on DVD. Would have liked to have seen the intro though.

 

On the other hand I really, really enjoy The Big Steal which also features Mitchum and Greer. However, it is more of a mystery movie with much more humor.  Is there any humor in Past?  Greer is the opposite of the Kathie Moffat character.  And there is no doubt that Mitchum's character is "clean."

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Quite frankly, I did not understand the second half of the film. 

 

Spoilers for Out of the Past:

 

The SF scene:  Whit wanted the accountant to be killed (after getting the documents) and there had to be a fall guy so the killing wasn't linked to Whit.   Jeff was the fall guy.   Jeff figures this out when having cocktails with the accountant.   While Jeff can't prevent the murder he does get the documents.    Jeff uses these docs to help ensure he isn't the fall guy.

 

Back to Tahoe:  Whit agrees to make a deal with Jeff,  but Whit is killed by Kathie.   Jeff decides to turn Kathie over the cops even if that means he would be charged with the murder.    (or maybe Jeff decided to commit suicide with the understanding that once Kathie found out his plans,  she would kill him,  since killing men was very easy for her?).

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I've been lurking in this thread, but hadn't had anything to contribute because I hadn't seen the films being discussed.  I also recorded all the Noir Alley films, but haven't watched them yet.  The series is on at 7am on Sunday (not the most "noir-y" time, imo).  Anyway, I have seen Out of the Past and enjoy it very much.  Robert Mitchum was made for noir.  His rumpled appearance, combined with his deep voice make him ideal for the dark world of noir.  He can be romantic in scenes like in Out of the Past such as when he says "Baby, I don't care" after Kathy tries to plead with him to believe her story about shooting her boyfriend. But then, he can also be completely charming but at the same time, terrifying (a truly dangerous combination) like in Cape Fear and The Night of the Hunter.  

 

Jane Greer's femme fatale, Kathy, in this film may be one of the most "fatale" of all femme fatales.  In this film, I get the sense that Kathie, knowing that Whit had money, used him in order to get close to the money and then stole the $40k.  All her subsequent murders are caused by her getting more and more in over her head, so she shoots out of panic--though she doesn't seem to have any qualms about anything she's doing.  So perhaps all of this is a well calculated scheme...?  I'm not convinced that Kathy is really in love with Mitchum's character, Jeff.  I think she senses that he is working for her boyfriend Whit, so she pretends to be in love with him in order to use him to help her escape.  Now, whether or not Jeff really loves her, or if she's onto her as well and is using her back, I'm not sure. 

 

I think one of the most interesting characters in this film is "The Kid" played by Dickie Moore.  One of the characters at the beginning of the film assumes that because "The Kid" cannot talk or hear, then he's "dumb."  I don't believe that The Kid is dumb, he just cannot talk or hear.  He certainly proves his intelligence at the end of the film when he saves Jeff from Stefanos' bullet.  He also helps Mitchum's girl, Ann, get away from the whole mess.  Moore is very adept at conveying emotion and intelligence without saying a word, which to me, is a sign of a very skilled performer.

 

Aside from this, Out of the Past has some of the best lines in noir.

 

Aside from "Baby I don't care," I also like:

 

"It was the bottom of the barrel and I scraped it. But I didn't care. I had her."

 

"And then I saw her, coming out of the sun, and I knew why Whit didn't care about that forty grand."

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I've been lurking in this thread, but hadn't had anything to contribute because I hadn't seen the films being discussed.  I also recorded all the Noir Alley films, but haven't watched them yet.  The series is on at 7am on Sunday (not the most "noir-y" time, imo).  Anyway, I have seen Out of the Past and enjoy it very much.  Robert Mitchum was made for noir.  His rumpled appearance, combined with his deep voice make him ideal for the dark world of noir.  He can be romantic in scenes like in Out of the Past such as when he says "Baby, I don't care" after Kathy tries to plead with him to believe her story about shooting her boyfriend. But then, he can also be completely charming but at the same time, terrifying (a truly dangerous combination) like in Cape Fear and The Night of the Hunter.  

 

Jane Greer's femme fatale, Kathy, in this film may be one of the most "fatale" of all femme fatales.  In this film, I get the sense that Kathie, knowing that Whit had money, used him in order to get close to the money and then stole the $40k.  All her subsequent murders are caused by her getting more and more in over her head, so she shoots out of panic--though she doesn't seem to have any qualms about anything she's doing.  So perhaps all of this is a well calculated scheme...?  I'm not convinced that Kathy is really in love with Mitchum's character, Jeff.  I think she senses that he is working for her boyfriend Whit, so she pretends to be in love with him in order to use him to help her escape.  Now, whether or not Jeff really loves her, or if she's onto her as well and is using her back, I'm not sure. 

 

I think one of the most interesting characters in this film is "The Kid" played by Dickie Moore.  One of the characters at the beginning of the film assumes that because "The Kid" cannot talk or hear, then he's "dumb."  I don't believe that The Kid is dumb, he just cannot talk or hear.  He certainly proves his intelligence at the end of the film when he saves Jeff from Stefanos' bullet.  He also helps Mitchum's girl, Ann, get away from the whole mess.  Moore is very adept at conveying emotion and intelligence without saying a word, which to me, is a sign of a very skilled performer.

 

Aside from this, Out of the Past has some of the best lines in noir.

 

Aside from "Baby I don't care," I also like:

 

"It was the bottom of the barrel and I scraped it. But I didn't care. I had her."

 

"And then I saw her, coming out of the sun, and I knew why Whit didn't care about that forty grand."

 

All true, speedy. However, one of the definitions of the word "dumb" still to be found in dictionaries is "speechlessness" and/or "mute", and in this regard having nothing at all to to with one's intelligence or lack thereof.

 

And although this definition of the word is seldom used anymore in reference to someone who suffers from such, it used to be quite common in the public vernacular, and especially during the 1940s.

 

(...and was most often used in the commonly heard phrase of the time, "He or she is deaf and dumb")

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All true, speedy. However, one of the definitions of the word "dumb" is "speechlessness" or "mute", and in this regard having nothing at all to to with one's intelligence or lack thereof.

 

(...and although, this definition of the word is seldom used anymore in reference to someone who suffers from such, it used to be quite a common in the public vernacular)

 

Yea,  it might be an age thing since speedy is much younger than most of us here;   but use of "deaf and dumb" was very common when I was growing up in the 60 and like you said means that someone can't hear and they can't speak.  

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Yea,  it might be an age thing since speedy is much younger than most of us here;   but use of "deaf and dumb" was very common when I was growing up in the 60 and like you said means that someone can't hear and they can't speak.  

Hmm... interesting.  I know that The Who describes Tommy as "that deaf dumb and blind kid," I always thought that they were just saying he wasn't smart.

 

I suppose with that definition, what the man said to Dickie Moore was not as much of an insult, but just a statement of fact.

 

Thanks for the information James and Dargo!

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If Mitchum's character hadn't been so clueless, he would

have shot Kathy and framed her for Douglas' death, and

then gone back to his sweet small town gal. But noooooo.

Wonder if Dickie Moore was any good at pinball.

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OUT OF THE PAST

 

And "Anne" may be "good", but she's not dull. She's neither boring, stupid, nor plain. I quite like her, and I wish that "the Kid" had told her the truth in the film's final few seconds - that Jeff loved her, not Kathie, and that he had not been planning to run away with Kathie.

I believe that Anne would have felt betrayed and bitterly hurt, thinking that Jeff had lied to her. She could have "moved on" with her life, knowing that Jeff had been true to her. I don't think she would have locked herself up and mourned for him - she may have loved Jeff, but in the few scenes she has, she demonstrates that she's also a stable, normal woman. I don't see how letting Anne believe that Jeff still loved Kathie would have made her life any better. 

I've always had a problem with that ending.

 

 

Thanks again for your comments, misswonderly.  Enjoy them as always.  I was a little surprised at the ending too because I didn't really feel like we had seen anything during the film to convince us that Jeff deserved that fate.  I was also disappointed with 'the lie' by The Kid to Anne at the end.  How could he really know what Jeff's ultimate plan was anyway?

 

Haven't seen anyone mention yet how great it was for Eddie to host Robert Mitchum's son during the wrappers!  Nice behind the scenes perspective on the actor and the movie.  Really appreciate Eddie and TCM making it happen.

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Just found what someone said in an earlier post on this site, about Muller's mistake on his intro to this Stanwyck film. Muller said that Stanwyck did the Big Valley because she did not want to follow the lead of other actresses of her time who were doing cheesy horror flicks [ostensibly meaning people like Davis and Crawford I would assume]. But of course, as the poster said, that shows Muller's lack of real knowledge of her career since Stanwyck had already done cheesy horror flicks like The Night Walker from 1964 directed by William Castle [and though his stuff is wonderful you can't get any more cheesy than his oeuvre] and she'd already done two tv movies, The House That Would Not Die and A Taste of Evil which are also low budget horror flicks made for tv. The poster from here mentioned that not probably having the time to research every film in Missy's listing in IMDB, Muller just goes with an overview showing his lack of real background film knowledge, which is more obvious in extemporaneous remarks at his film seminars when he does not know what topics may come up. I also wondered about the TCM write-up and appreciate your correction of this important plot point for the film, Miss Wonderly and enjoyed your salient thoughts about this film. Personally I think you would make a good host for TCM and there are others here also who could do the place justice with their superior film knowledge too.

 

 

Yes, but those made for tv films were made long after The Big Valley. I agree that he seems to have missed The Night Walker film, but in it Barbara is always nicely dressed and doesnt really go through the "ringer" as in other Grade Dame horror flicks of the period....

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Thanks again for your comments, misswonderly.  Enjoy them as always.  I was a little surprised at the ending too because I didn't really feel like we had seen anything during the film to convince us that Jeff deserved that fate.  I was also disappointed with 'the lie' by The Kid to Anne at the end.  How could he really know what Jeff's ultimate plan was anyway?

 

Haven't seen anyone mention yet how great it was for Eddie to host Robert Mitchum's son during the wrappers!  Nice behind the scenes perspective on the actor and the movie.  Really appreciate Eddie and TCM making it happen.

I sort of understand why Mitchum "ahd to die."  It sort of fit the noir mold and he was guilty of a few crimes, to include accessory to murder.  It also permitted Anne to go on to a "normal" life.

As for the lie, I think it fit that he knew that Mitchum would not want Anne to "suffer" by thinking he would have come back  to her.  A cleaner break, for the era, was that he was abandoning her.  This permitted her to marry the other guy with no regrets or second thoughts.

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I agree with Speedy in re: the deaf mute played by DICKIE MOORE in OUT OF THE PAST.

 

Moore Was a marvelous child actor, two performances of his in particular that stand out are MY BILL with Kay Francis where he practically plays her romantic lead at the age of 10, and PETER IBBETSON (1935) which I posted about on the "I just watched" thread some weeks ago. He was very young when he made that movie, maybe only six or seven, and he is absolutely incredible at the depth in the range of emotions he projects. He grew up to be extremely handsome, honestly HE sort of reminds me of Taylor Lautner (if there was something actually going on behind the eyes) in OUT OF THE PAST

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Three pages of spam. Now I remember why I hardly come here any longer. So, I reported it and am boosting this just to get something valid on the first page.

I did see PETER IBBETSON mentioned and I just saw that two weeks ago for the first time in 50 years. I much preferred the early part of the film, Moore and Weidler had more chemistry than Cooper and Harding. Nice production design though, one didn't need the logo to know this was a Paramount title.

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I hear he was a wizard.

Me too, but there's got to be a twist.

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Me too, but there's got to be a twist.

Quick! Someone get M Night Shamaylan!

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Three pages of spam. Now I remember why I hardly come here any longer. So, I reported it and am boosting this just to get something valid on the first page.

 

I did see PETER IBBETSON mentioned and I just saw that two weeks ago for the first time in 50 years. I much preferred the early part of the film, Moore and Weidler had more chemistry than Cooper and Harding. Nice production design though, one didn't need the logo to know this was a Paramount title.

Omigosh!

 

I wish you knew how much it genuinely cheered me up to read this. I am SO GLAD you remembered what I wrote and saw this lovely movie. (which may still be online.)

 

Pleasekeep on peeling beneath the layer of spam to read the actual threads and keep on posting. I always enjoy everything you contribute.

 

AND Moore and Weidler are exquisite in IBBETSON

 

Dickie Moore always had a very masculine quality about him, even as a little boy. It's quite charming.

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