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Classic Missing in Action

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*GENTLEMAN AFTER DARK (1942)...United Artists...Brian Donlevy, Miriam Hopkins, Preston Foster

 

From BrownCam at the IMDB:

 

This classic film noir crime drama is a remake of 1936's FORGOTTEN FACES. Harry's daughter has been raised by the Judge (Preston Foster) who put him behind bars. When his estranged wife (Miriam Hopkins) threatens him with blackmail, Harry escapes prison to keep her quiet, permanently. Brian Donlevy stars as the convict willing to sacrifice everything for his daughter, a girl who may never know her real father. A stylish thriller, that although slightly dated, is still a treat to watch if you appreciate the classics.

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*KLONDIKE ANNIE* (1936)...Paramount...Mae West, Victor McLaglen, Phillip Reed

 

From Gary Brumburgh at the IMDB:

 

The inimitable Mae West struts her stuff yet again in this breezy, passable Paramount Studio vehicle. Based on her play ("Frisco Kate") and co-credited for the writing here, she is the whole show naturally.

 

The story, if you care, has Mae playing Rose ("the Frisco Doll") Carlton, an 1890s entertainer who has to take it on the lam after bringing down one of her paramours - not with sly one-liners, but with a knife in the back. She's forced to slum it on a ship headed for the Klondike.

 

With the police breathing down her bodice, she winds up impersonating a Salvation Army missionary (Helen Jerome Eddy), who conveniently dies of a `bad heart attack' while on board. In a change of heart, the sultry Mae, now dressed down in drab, basic black, vows to fulfill the woman's mission and ventures on to reform an Alaskan town full of drunks, prosties and other sinner types with her own revamped style of Bible-thumping.

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*PATRICK THE GREAT* (1945)...Universal...Donald O'Connor, Peggy Ryan, Frances Dee

 

From mggbikeluvr at the IMDB:

 

This movie is all around great. The acting is certainly top notch and you couldn't ask for anyone better to play the parts. Compared to the rest of Universal's teenage musicals, this one seems to be the most professional. It has a different director than the rest. Though the old director, Charles Lamont, was very good, this film needed a director like Frank Ryan. The rest of the teenage musicals seem to appeal to only teenagers. This appeals to teenagers, children, adults, elderly, anyone!

 

Frances Dee is in this. She is very pretty and a great actress. I enjoyed her so much, I am wishing to see another one of her films.

 

Peggy Ryan is a joy in anything. I happen to think that this film shows all of her beauty. I think she's gorgeous. And in this film, you can definitely see it. Donald O'Connor is the star of the show and he lives up to the title. He was amazing. I loved his little song, "Let Me See." Hilarious!

 

This was Donald and Peggy's last film together before he was drafted into the Army. I think that Universal finally decided to do the kids justice and finally let them fall in love. In their fourteen previous pictures together, they had never fallen in love. They do in this one, though.

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*TEXAS LADY* (1955)...RKO...Claudette Colbert, Barry Sullivan, Ray Collins

 

From RitaRisque at the IMDB:

 

Claudette Colbert is wonderful as Prudence, a woman who has to go to a little country town that's seemingly in the middle of nowhere, where she has inherited the local paper. The men about town are naturally surprised to find that she's a woman, and don't exactly welcome her spritely ways and 'interference' with 'their' paper.

 

Luckily for Prudence, the card shark (Barry Sullivan) that she slayed in New Orleans comes to her rescue, which is nice of him after the beating she gave him in their game of poker - one of the film's most enjoyable scenes.

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Please forgive me if this film has been mentioned previously. I am talking [writing] about SO ENDS OUR NIGHT with Fredric March, Margaret Sullavan,Frances Dee, Glenn Ford and Erich von Stroheim among others. A powerful movie from 1941 showing the Nazi menace to free peoples. At one time this film was available on DVD, but I don't think it has ever been shown on TCM.

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*SPAWN OF THE NORTH* (1938)...Paramount...George Raft, Henry Fonda, Dorothy Lamour

 

From stanleybix-1 at the IMDB:

 

Henry Fonda and George Raft play rival fishermen. Near the end of the movie George Raft is shot. While resting in bed he smokes a cigarette and the smoke comes up out of the bullet holes in his chest! I remember when I was in high school. We were learning about first aid. The teacher told us about never giving a cigarette to an injury victim. Then he told us about a Humphrey Bogart movie where after being shot he smoked a cigarette and the smoke came out of his chest. I searched for years and found out it was the SPAWN OF THE NORTH with George Raft, not Bogart. Watch for this movie, just to see this scene. It is well worth watching, with fine acting and great scenery.

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*DANCING IN THE DARK* (1950)...20TH Century Fox...William Powell, Mark Stevens, Betsy Drake

 

From russellld at the IMDB:

 

This is a good film for fans of William Powell, Betsy Drake, Jean Hersholt, and/or films about Hollywood or the road to success. Inspirational in that "we're gonna make it" way, however corny that can be. The plot twists are good, if melodramatic, the schemes hatched by the characters to achieve their objectives are clever, and there are some good musical numbers, although these are far fewer than in the musical BANDWAGON which is based on the same source. I found it a very pleasant evening's entertainment.

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*THE GOLDEN GLOVES STORY* (1950)...Eagle-Lion...James Dunn, Kevin O'Morrison, Kay Westfall

 

From tentender at the IMDB:

 

By no means a great movie, this feature-length promotion film for the Golden Gloves nevertheless has one riveting feature: the performance of Dewey Martin. It's his first film as a star, and he makes the most of it, playing an exceptionally aggressive street kid. Contrasted with his performance in "The Thing," in which he is exceptionally nice, it is clear that the kid could act. For those who find him sexually attractive (and there are many), this film offers glimpses of a nicely-put-together physique (in boxer shorts, of course) as well as that adorable face. In other words: it's a Dewey fest! -- and highly recommended as such.

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*BIG BROWN EYES* (1936)...Paramount...Cary Grant, Joan Bennett, Walter Pidgeon

 

From bkoganbing at the IMDB:

 

Cary Grant and Joan Bennett co-star in BIG BROWN EYES which had it been done over at Warner Brothers would have been standard material for James Cagney and Joan Blondell. In fact the whole project was an unusual one for Paramount, it was a gritty urban drama that Warner Brothers specialized in.

 

Grant is a police detective and Bennett a manicurist turned reporter (only in Hollywood) who team up in life and who team up to solve a series of robberies. What begins as high end jewel robberies turns deadly serious when during a payoff gone bad, a baby is killed in the park by a stray bullet.

 

When the doer Lloyd Nolan is acquitted in court due to perjured testimony and political influence, Grant quits the force and Bennett goes back to manicuring and look for justice in an unofficial manner. Need I say they get it though you have to see BIG BROWN EYES to find out how it's done. But I will say that forensics and Bennett's manicurist training does help a lot.

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I'm watching "The Wild Party", a 1929 sound film with Clara Bow.

 

I recorded this off of TCM about 10 or more years ago, when they were still showing Clara Bow movies. Mr. Osborne looks younger in the introduction. :) Ahh, the good old days.

 

Clara is very good in this. Sounds good too. She plays a college girl, and Fredric March plays a handsome professor who she falls in love with.

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Sounds like a good time, Fred.

 

Recently, I watched Frederic March with Tallulah Bankhead in MY SIN, a Paramount pre-code. Why don't we see more of his early films. He made more than DR. JEKYLL in those early days of sound, and these are great films that need to be rediscovered.

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*FLIGHT FOR FREEDOM* (1943)...RKO...Rosalind Russell, Fred MacMurray, Herbert Marshall

 

From curatorfilm at the IMDB:

 

This film is influenced by the patriotism during the great struggle of The Second World War. It is accurate in depicting the spirit of the great Amelia Earhart. A film made today might choose to focus on other aspects but that is more an indication of the difference in attitudes from the 40s to now. This is an interesting film for youngsters and adults.

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>March also co-starred with Clara Bow in one of her few talkies, WILD PARTY. That has been shown occasionally on TCM.

 

That was the film Fred mentioned earlier in the thread.

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*SO THIS IS NEW YORK* (1948)...United Artists...Henry Morgan, Rudy Vallee, Bill Goodwin

 

From John Beatty at the IMDB:

 

A funny funny film! Definitely a "missing" gem. The play performed within the film ("Bridget Sees a Ghost") makes "Springtime for Hitler" look like Shakespeare! Morgan's voice overs are marvelous and the use of Rossini's "Barber of Seville Overture" to punctuate the closing moments of each act is masterful. Clever and innovative in its photography with outstanding performances by Henry Morgan and Leo Gorcey. The rest of the cast certainly holds its own in this lunatic story about a family's visit to New York City. This should definitely be released on DVD. It was shown on television years ago, but seems to have vanished from the airwaves. Definitely worth watching - if it ever reappears.

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*JOE BUTTERFLY* (1957)...Universal...Audie Murphy, George Nader, Keenan Wynn

 

From revdrcac at the IMDB:

 

Audie Murphy, the decorated WW II soldier is remembered today for his entertaining westerns and war films of the post war era. However, in this comic outing, Murphy and pals hit post war Japan and all sorts of hi-jinks develop in quick succession.

 

Audie is at ease here in the title role and brings an easy-going charm to a slightly above-average storyline. Keenan Wynn and John Agar offer fine support in a pleasing film that served to stretch Murphy out of his westerns rut.

 

This is the sort of film that demands little from the viewer, yet provides a pleasant viewing experience even for non-fans of the legendary war hero. Well worth another look.

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*MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH* (1934)...Paramount...Pauline Lord, W.C. Fields, Zasu Pitts

 

From RonOliver at the IMDB:

 

With her husband in the Klondike searching for gold, MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH (the poor part of town) valiantly strives against heavy odds to care for her five children.

 

Based on the book by Helen Hegan Rice, this is a wonderfully sentimental look at a bygone era of Americana. While it is easy and perhaps even fashionable to scoff at films which touch the emotions, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sentimentality if the sentiment expressed rings honest & true. There are no false notes here.

 

Noted stage actress Pauline Lord (1890-1950), in the first of only three film appearances, is heartrending in the title role. Gentle & patient, she is the very epitome of loving motherhood. ZaSu Pitts (1898-1963), with vague voice & fluttering fingers, gives a noteworthy performance as the Wiggs' spinster neighbor. Had events proceeded differently and her contributions to von Stroheim's GREED justly appreciated, Miss Pitts would have been recognized as one of the screen's greatest tragediennes. Instead, she orbited into comedic roles, constantly portraying a nervous, scatterbrained female, a sort of living, breathing, Olive Oyl.

 

Following the film's most sorrowful sequence, director Norman Taurog wanted to introduce a light touch to the succeeding scenes. The inimitable W. C. Fields was brought in for one week's work to play Miss Pitts' gustatorial suitor. Although in much pain from a torn ligament, he is splendid, delivering what is almost a dress rehearsal for his subsequent characterization of the marvelous Micawber. His scenes with Miss Pitts are a special delight, mixing blustery braggadocio with humor & pathos.

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*DON JUAN QUILLIGAN* (1945)...20th Century Fox...William Bendix, Joan Blondell, Phil Silvers

 

From David (handlinghandel) at the IMDB:

 

This sure beat THE CAPTAIN'S PARADISE by eight years or so. The plot is the same, though the Guiness movie is more polished.

 

William Bendix is appealing as the dumb lug who just can't help marrying two women. Phil Silvers gives a restrained performance as his sidekick.

 

Who wouldn't fall for Joan Blondell?

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*LISBON* (1956)...Republic...Ray Milland, Marueen O'Hara, Claude Rains

 

From Neil-117 at the IMDB:

 

Elegant is the only word to describe this wonderful example of 1950s film-making at its best. Art direction is usually one of those obscure technical credits nobody ever bothers about, but in this case the entire movie is a feast for the eyes thanks to clever art direction using subtle shades of blue and brown to reflect the beautiful natural locations in Portugal. Almost every frame is a painting in its own right and the movie is worth watching just for its sumptuous looks alone.

 

Against this delightful visual backdrop, a complex double/triple-cross crime story is allowed to unfold at a leisurely pace as the viewer is gradually let in on the intricacies of the plot. Characters and motives also develop with the story and by its conclusion little is what it first seemed. Claude Rains, Maureen O'Hara and Ray Milland (who was also director and associate producer) are each excellent in their roles.

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*DARK CITY* (1950)...Paramount...Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott, Viveca Lindfors

 

From sonny starr at the IMDB:

 

DARK CITY is a well crafted film. Most film noir fans will love it. It was released in 1950 and stars Lizabeth Scott and Charlton Heston.

 

Heston plays a gambler (Danny Haley) who along with two friends sucker a man from out of town into a game of poker. Only one problem...it wasn't his money to gamble with. He signs over his check with the knowledge, (he's in big trouble!) It is later revealed that he hung himself.

 

Now the story really takes off. The dead man's brother (who is insane), vows to track down those who were responsible for his brother's death, one at a time! This is a very intense storyline and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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There aren't many Missing in Action films that I've seen, but I've seen and enjoyed DARK CITY. It's really well done.

 

Enjoyed might be the wrong word as DeFore's performance as the mark is really good and really disturbing.

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I included DARK CITY, though it is on DVD, because I would like for TCM to play it.

 

This film gets mentioned for being Heston's cinematic debut and is known by noir fans because Eddie Mueller's book Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir takes its inspiration and title from it.

 

DeFore's work is very good, I agree. He was certainly more than Hazel Burke's boss on television.

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*TWIST OF FATE* (1954)...United Artists...Ginger Rogers, Lilly Kann, Stanley Baker

 

From drednm at the IMDB:

 

Ginger Rogers plays a third-rate performer who is shacked up with Baker, a wealthy businessman. They have a fabulous house in Cannes, and everything seems to be going well until an old acquaintance turns up (Herbert Lom) who seems to bring bad luck to anyone he associates with. Aside from that he is a thief.

 

Rogers soon learns that Baker is really not separated from his wife (Margaret Rawlings) or divorcing her. In a snit of hysterics, she almost drives her Rolls over a cliff and wanders to a funky beach house where she meets Bergerac. They fall in love. But how to get rid of Baker?

 

Meanwhile, Lom robs the Cannes house and the bracelet he steals ends up back with Baker, who gave it to Rogers. So he assumes Rogers and Lom are an item. From there everything goes wrong with botched killing attempts, escapes, and each person trying to figure out who is with who.

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*THE JUDGE STEPS OUT* (1949)...RKO...Alexander Knox, Ann Sothern, George Tobias

 

From Tom Sanchez at the IMDB:

 

THE JUDGE STEPS OUT is superb in all aspects. The script is intelligent, wise, and (for 1949) an avant-garde take on personal fulfillment vs. responsibility to society.

 

The acting is outstanding and believable throughout. Alexander Knox never had a role this showy nor as demanding. Ann Sothern's acting demonstrates what a fine and underutilized dramatic actress she was. The unlikely yet thoroughly convincing romance between Knox's and Sothern's characters is heartbreaking in its beauty. Frieda Inescort scored in her characterization as Knox's wife, in which she displays far more maturity and insight than movie "wronged wives" usually displayed.

 

The use of staged sets and location shooting, plus the lyrical, sometimes stirring score fit seamlessly together and are so right for the film.

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*THUNDER IN THE SUN* (1959)...Paramount...Susan Hayward, Jeff Chandler, Jacques Bergerac

 

From alanrhobson at the IMDB:

 

This is one of the most underrated westerns I have ever seen. I first saw it as a child and found it hugely exciting - and I have seen no reason to change my mind in subsequent viewings.

 

It is an enjoyable wagon-train western, with new angles (the Basque element, the emphasis on the importance of the vines, etc.). I'm sure the representation of the Basques isn't entirely accurate...however, crucially, it increases the viewer's interest in and sympathy for the Basques - isn't that ultimately more important?

 

There isn't a single dull scene in the entire film, and it is involving enough to make us care what happens to the wagon train. It is moving at times too - especially the death of the elderly Basque near the end. The underrated Jeff Chandler is excellent, as usual, as the wagon train guide/leader. The action scenes are well shot and exciting, whether it be the raging fire or the climatic Indian attack. The cinematography is also first rate.

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