speedracer5

I Just Watched...

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TomJH--I've noticed, the fewer number of views a film on YouTube has, the better shape the video is in, the fewer technical glitches, etc.  I don't particularly care about a films popularity on YouTube, only how viewable a print is/isn't.

 

Really? I've never heard that the one more often a video is played on the internet the greater the possibility of issues existing with it.

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Really? I've never heard that the one more often a video is played on the internet the greater the possibility of issues existing with it.

 

The only connection I can think of is that films with fewer 'views' are illegal copyrighted versions and the rights owner hasn't discovered that it is on YT due to the lack of views.

 

But if they are public domain versions I can't link of why the number of 'views' would related to the quality of the print.  (since generally most PD versions are poor to low quality).

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Paramount, of course, doesn't have much of a catalog of classic films, having sold the rights to pre-1950 films to MCA, which wound up part of Universal.

 

 

And much of their 80's catalog to Warner, who doesn't much feel like bothering with retail catalog disk titles anymore.

Pretty much the only bit they kept was the 60's-70's glory-days that had Grease and Jerry Lewis in it.

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Universal Horror (1998)

 

I'd give this documentary 9/10.

 

Yes! I have this in my collection as well. It actually came as an inclusion in one of the Universal Horror Monster sets (I think it was 'The Mummy' set, which I borrowed from the public library).

 

Wherever it came from, I've watched it several times.

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The Dolly Sisters (1945)

 

Fox musical biopic about a pair of Hungarian immigrant sisters (Jenny played by Betty Grable and Rosie played by June Haver) who dance and become a huge stage success that way.

 

Male lead and romantic interest is John Payne playing Harry Fox (a real person), who falls in love with Jenny; this also provides the dramatic tension in that Rosie wants to keep the act together while Jenny loves Harry. Harry doesn't want to wait for Jenny.

 

In real life, Jenny and Rosie married within a year of each other. Rosie's first two husbands are completely ignored so that the movie can have a plot.

 

If you like Fox musicals, you'll love this one. 7/10.

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MGM's Big Hit Parade of 1940

 

This little short greets the audience of the new MGM theatre in Cairo, Egypt. Although it talks about the films of 1940, all of these films were produced in America in 1938 and 1939. I also have to wonder about the Egyptian audience. Host Lewis Stone, who spent the last 25 years of his life at MGM, greets the audience from behind a desk, and his last words to the audience are about enjoying the trailers that are to come and then he says his farewell in Arabic. However, most of the film clips that are shown require an American viewpoint if you are going to enjoy them. They are:

Block-Heads (1938)

Out West with the Hardys (1938)

Idiot's Delight (1939)

Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Women (1939)

At the Circus (1939)

Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939)

Thunder Afloat (1939)

Broadway Serenade (1939)

Ninotchka (1939)

First off, remember that Britain was occupying Egypt at the time, and first the Italians in 1940 would attack Egypt, followed by Hitler's army in 1941, with Nazi forces getting 150 miles from Cairo before being beaten back. But at the time these films were made, Hitler had not made his true expansionist intentions known.

Now The Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy have universal appeal because of their physical comedy, but Groucho's verbal sparring would go right over the head of somebody not familiar with English or American culture. "Out West With the Hardys" would require the audience to understand the American west, while "The Women" would require the audience to understand the divorce customs of the upper class, and why were all of those women who didn't like each other on a ranch in Nevada in the first place? "Tarzan Finds a Son" speaks a universal language of adventure, but non-American audiences might not understand why American puritanism required Tarzan to go find a son rather than just make one with Jane. The British living in Egypt would totally get "Goodbye Mr. Chips", and "Wizard of Oz" speaks to the fantasy loving child in everybody, but the Egyptians would have no idea why Kansas was in black and white and probably wondered if they were experiencing technical difficulties. Any British in the audience would have their feathers ruffled by "Thunder Afloat" as two Americans have to be tricked into serving in the military in WWI. Likewise the British in 1940 would find "Idiot's Delight" offensive as the film -based on a play - makes the build up to WWII sound like a trick to get profits by munitions magnates while the Nazis are just misunderstood bureaucrats. Ninotchka has timeless universal appeal, but then that was just a trademark of Ernst Lubitsch. And finally, I can't figure out why MGM would try to introduce Jeanette McDonald to Egypt with what has to be her worst film, "Broadway Serenade". The pairing of Jeanette McDonald and Lew Ayres had no chemistry to begin with, and if every time Jeanette opened her mouth to sing, American audiences expected Lew Ayres of Dr. Kildare fame to pull out a tongue depressor, I can only imagine what the Egyptians would think.

One more thing - at the end of the previews, MGM summarizes who to look for in their new films as their up and coming stars. Only Lana Turner will be recognizable unless you are the most earnest of film history buffs. Virginia Grey I recognized, but she never made it out of B roles in B pictures at MGM, and left there in 1942. Rita Johnson had even less success, and then tragedy struck when she became permanently brain damaged by one of those heavy old style hair dryers falling on her head, essentially ending her career.

In summary, I don't think MGM thought this through very well since they probably were not used to appealing to non-Western audiences. However, this short is a great time capsule of what American audiences liked in that narrow frothy optimistic time frame post depression and pre-WWII.

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Madam Satan ​(1930), an entertaining mess of a film that doesn't know what it wants to be -- a romantic comedy, a drama, a musical, a farce, or a disaster movie (some might say it is a disaster!)  The scenes on the dirigible, both the production number and the disaster are definitely worth watching.  I have to admit not only the work of the female editor, but the three female writers are all over this one, since the male characters are upper class twits who have no understanding of women or their own stupid behavior.  You can also see the work of Mitchell Leisen in the set design, costumes, etc.

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The Great White Trail (1917) youtube

 

Crazy romance/adventure/tearjerker-type plot involving mistaken identities, coincidences, missed chances, and the most ridiculous sled chase I’ve ever seen.

A happily married couple (Doris Kenyon and Paul Gordon) end up on the rocks when Kenyon’s gambler-brother puts the bite on her to pay back money he owes her husband. Reading a half-burnt letter, Gordon thinks his wife is fooling around, and tosses her and their baby out of the house. The brother, meanwhile, falls to his death while trying to steal the family jewels from Gordon’s house. On his deathbed, he tells Gordon that Kenyon was not at fault. Gordon tries to locate Kenyon, who, after wandering around in a daze, hides the baby in a tree trunk and collapses in the woods. She is nursed back to health. Meanwhile, Lassie finds the baby and brings it to a minister (Thomas Holding), whose mother adopts the child. Are you following this?

Kenyon decides she is going to Alaska as a nurse. Holding decides he is going to Alaska to continue his ministry. Gordon, who reads an article about his wife (13 years after she disappeared) heads for Alaska as well. When Holding’s mother dies, the young girl heads for Alaska to see Holding.

Now last time I checked, Alaska is pretty big, but of course, they all end up in the same place. Among other misadventures, Gordon is cold-cocked by somebody called “The Vulture” and loses his memory, and after a few months pass (according to the title cards) he looks like the Ayatollah Khomeini. That may explain why his wife doesn’t recognize him every time she bumps into him. But not to worry. Gordon is later cold-cocked again, by the same guy, which causes him to regain his memory.

The climax features an unintentionally hilarious chase on dog sleds, with Gordon after “The Vulture” and Kenyon after the same guy, because he just snatched her daughter. Even though he is about 100 feet behind “The Vulture,” Gordon throws his rifle at him (I’ve never seen this happen in a film) and knocks him cold.

Upstate New York fills in for Alaska. The acting is okay for the most part. Lost in the shuffle is a one-scene performance by Edgar Davenport (brother of character actor Harry Davenport). This was his last film, and, as far as I can tell, his only existing film appearance. If you’re curious, you can hear his voice on several recordings available on youtube, as he was not only a famous stage actor, but also a monologist who recorded several short works of literature.

I had thought this was a lost film. Wishful thinking.

 

 

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JOHNNY RENO (1966).

 

A time waster western, clearly done on the cheap, by producer A. C. Lyles for Paramount, most noteworthy for its middle aged cast of veteran actors well past their glory days, all in need of a pay check.

 

Dana Andrews (looking slow and like he's stuffed into his cowboy outfit) plays the two fisted title character, a former gunslinger turned stalwart peace officer who gets bushwacked at the film's beginning by two brothers, killing one and wounding the other (Tom Drake, no longer the "boy next door" living beside Judy Garland) after they mistakenly think he's hunting them.

 

Andrews takes Drake to the nearest town which has a secret and wants Andrews to leave Drake with them for their "justice." Andrews smells a rat and decides to see justice done, which sets him up against most of the town. Jane Russell plays a saloon owner and former lover of Andrews (natch!), while Lon Chaney Jr. is the town sheriff initially leery of assisting Andrews (shades of High Noon), though he gradually finds his backbone.

 

Among the other town residents of familiar character faces: Lyle Bettger as the town mayor (and chief film villain), Robert Lowrey, John Agar and, with next to no dialogue, Richard Arlen. As I said, producer Lyles found a way to find employment for a middle aged cast. Too bad he couldn't have found a decent script to go with it.

 

Russell, at least, has a couple of half decent lines of dialogue in a scene with Andrews.

 

"Well, here we are, face to face," Russell tells him, "The saint and the sinner, you in your halo and me in my pretty red garters."

 

"It's been a long time since I helped a woman dress," Andrews says he as he buttons up the back of her dress.

 

"You bragging or complaining?" Russell responds.

 

One of the film's most eventful sequences (a fist fight between Andrews and Bettger) is marred by the obviousness of their stunt doubles, their faces clear to see (Bettger's double even has a different hair colour). Later the viewer has the excitement of seeing a stick of dynamite explode, killing a town character in the process, which becomes unexpectedly hilarious due to the rag doll that goes flying in the air.

 

Watching a film like this just makes one feel sorry for its cast of veterans, all past their prime, all dutifully going through their paces, all to such little effect.

 

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2 out of 4.

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Though I haven't seen all of the Sissi trilogy yet, what I've seen is outstanding. Historical romance doesn't get much better than this. Ernest Marisca gets the tone exactly right. Here's an outstanding director most of us have never heard of.

 

The film version of The Sound of Music owes quite a bit to the first Sissi film. When you see some of the early scenes, you may be singing, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" Sissi presents the same kind of problems to the adults. Romy Schneider has the warmth and charm without which these films simply would not work.

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"Fire Maidens From Outer Space" (1956). I re-watched this sedate British sci-fi cheapie to get me out of a bad mood. The copy I found on YouTube was an Olive Films restoration, and I could clearly see what was going on. The laughs start with a line in the opening credits; "All outer space characters are fictional". The film's plot concerns a trip to the 13th moon of Jupiter, which has an atmosphere just like Earths', and male and female inhabitants. Longines must have paid for part of the film, as they are mentioned at least three times, their clocks get four closeups, and there are three closeups of their wristwatches. There is a constant use of "Strangers in Paradise" as background music whenever the female inhabitants of Jupiters' 13th moon do their versions of interpretive dance. The filmmakers let the viewer get too good a look at the "creature" that roams the woods; it's nothing more than a skinny man wearing a bad Werewolf mask with a tuft of hair on top and eyeholes to look out of. The acting is uniformly dreadful. When the creature appears near films' end, the astronauts can't stop themselves from smiling/grinning. The main female character in the scene looks to be biting her lip to keep from laughing. Slow moving, silly, British film gets a 2.3/4 on a "so bad it's good" scale. Source--YouTube. Click on the copy that says it has Spanish subtitles.

Edit--The secret to breaking things into paragraphs may be write a paragraph, then post, click edit, write a paragraph, post, etc. I'll try that next time
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The Bloody Brood (1959) Beatnik and Bongo Noir, Beatniksploytation Canadian Style no less..... Had it on mostly as background noise Peter Falk stars.

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On 10/23/2017 at 11:00 PM, film lover 293 said:

"Fire Maidens From Outer Space" (1956).

Filmlover, did you notice the scene near the beginning (set in a lab before they blast off from Earth) when a voluptuous secretary in glasses and a tight white dress walks down some stairs? She has almost no dialogue but the camera remains on her all the way, remains on her as she sits in a chair to take "dictation" then follows her back up the stairs until she is out of camera range, ignoring the other two male characters in the scene. It's almost like the wolf character from those Tex Avery cartoons was behind the camera, licking his chops all the way.

One of my "favourite" scenes in Fire Maidens.

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"Yeh, I really like that scene, too."

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I'm kind of leery about posting any lengthy reviews elsewhere, not knowing if the upgrade process may cause some content to be lost, so I'll post what I've watched recently here, and in shorter form.

Yesterday I watched 5 movies:

Madame Butterfly (1932) - Sylvia Sidney is a Japanese geisha who falls for Navy man Cary Grant. Grant sings! There's a lot of bad "flied lice" Japanese pidgin talk. The ending is a downer. Source: YouTube.  (5/10)

Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) - Sylvia Sidney is a nice rich girl who falls for drunk Fredric March. This leads to heartache and a downer ending. Cary Grant appears briefly at a party. Good performances. Source: YouTube. (7/10)

Movie Crazy (1932) - Harold Lloyd comedy about Harry, a small-town doofus, traveling to Hollywood to be a movie star. He falls for Constance Cummings, who is good. Decent, if routine. Source: FilmStruck.   (6/10)

Night After Night (1932) - George Raft is a gangster with women trouble: current girlfriend Wynne Gibson is giving him grief when he meets new girl Constance Cummings, who sets his heart afire. George's old hellraiser gal Mae West (in her debut) also shows up to spice things up. Lots of funny lines, and even Raft isn't half bad. Source: DVD. (7/10)

Night Court (1932) - Tough tale of judicial corruption as crooked judge Walter Huston frames good girl Anita Page for a sex crime, which sets her cab-driver husband Phillips Holmes on a quest to clear her name. This gets pretty violent, and some of the performances get a little wobbly at times, but I liked it. Source: TCM. (7/10)

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Night World (1932) - Pre-Code oddity starring Lew Ayres as an angry drunk upset over his mom (Hedda Hopper) killing his dad. He drowns his sorrows in Boris Karloff's swinging nightclub, where Mae Clarke is a dancer getting hit on by George Raft, that is when she's not participating in Busby Berkeley dance numbers. Ayres knocks out Raft with a single punch. Yeah, right.    (6/10) 

Source: YouTube. 

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No Blood Relation (1932) - Silent Japanese melodrama from director Mikio Naruse. An actress who found fame and fortune in Hollywood travels back to Tokyo to reclaim the daughter that she abandoned years before. However, the child has been raised by her father's second wife, and considers her her real mother. The actress and her petty criminal brother resort to kidnapping to get the child back. This was decent, and prefigures Naruse's later work as the premiere Japanese director of "women's pictures".    (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck.

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Dementia aka (Daughter Of Horror) (1955) Beat Noir Nightmare

dementia%2Bposter.jpg

Directed and written by John Parker (uncredited).

Produced by John Parker, Ben Roseman, and Bruno Ve Sota. The cinematography by was by William C. Thompson. Music by George Antheil an avant-garde composer, and Shorty Rogers and his jazz band the Giants in the nightclub sequence.

The film stars Adrienne Barrett, Bruno VeSota as Bruno Ve Sota (The Long Wait (1954), Female Jungle (1956), Night Tide (1961)), Richard Barron (Union Station (1950), The Hoodlum (1951)), Lucille Rowland, Ben Roseman (Night Tide (1961)), Angelo Rossitto (Freaks (1932), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)) and filmed in Venice, California in 1953.

The original production had no dialog. It used music and sound effects. The avant-garde score featured soprano Marni Nixon (who provided voice dubs for actresses in many Hollywood productions).

The roots of these types of films can be traced back to Un Chien Andalou (1929).

The film is an entertaining prelude of the supernatural, thriller, experimental, noir-ish explosion to come i.e.,  Vertigo (1958), The Savage Eye (1960) Carnival Of Souls (1962) The Glass Cage(1964), and Seconds (1966), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962), The Twilight Zone (1959–1964), and One Step Beyond (1959–1961).

7/10 Screencaps with full Review here in Film Noir/Gangster and with more screencaps in Noirsville

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11 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Dementia aka (Daughter Of Horror) (1955) Beat Noir Nightmare

The original production had no dialog. It used music and sound effects. The avant-garde score featured soprano Marni Nixon (who provided voice dubs for actresses in many Hollywood productions).

That's the version I have. I didn't want the Ed McMahon-narrated version that TCM has played - I wanted the original. I got my copy from the UK for a reasonable price - under $20 delivered.

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5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Night World (1932) - Pre-Code oddity starring Lew Ayres as an angry drunk upset over his mom (Hedda Hopper) killing his dad. He drowns his sorrows in Boris Karloff's swinging nightclub, where Mae Clarke is a dancer getting hit on by George Raft, that is when she's not participating in Busby Berkeley dance numbers. Ayres knocks out Raft with a single punch. Yeah, right.    (6/10) 

Source: YouTube. 

Now I'm gonna have to check this out...Boris Karloff owning a swinging nightclub?  Night stick, I could see, but...

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"Kwaidan" (1965)--Directed by Masaki Kobayashi.

Japanese anthology horror film has four stories. The first story is "The Black Hair". A man divorces his poverty stricken, beautiful wife to get another wife with higher social status, not to mention income. He thinks doing this will end all his problems. He's wrong. The second story is "The Woman In The Snow". A man witnesses the killing of his friend by a ghost, but survives himself. The third story is "Hoichi the Earless". The story of two clans who have declared war on each other is told. Several hundred years later, a blind boy is summoned to play and sing for the ghosts of the losers. The last story is "In A Cup Of Tea". A samurai is frightened by the reflection of a ghost in his tea.

The first three stories are the most effective, although the third story is overlong, it still works. The fourth story feels rushed and a bit like a Hammer horror entry, although the last shots and narration of the last two-three minutes works well.

The film has a beautiful opening credits sequence, and the entire film has fantastic cinematography by Yoshio Miyajima. The third tale is in particular well photographed, with suggestions of a Kabuki play, live action, and a version of anime (sp?) all mixed together. One of the links between all four tales is eyes, real or unreal, watching the characters. The very effective, atonal score is by Toru Takemitsu.

The movie was nominated for Best Foreign Film of 1965. A trailer I saw for the film on YouTube boasted that the film has cost 350 million yen. I Googled that; according to Google, that's over three million U.S. dollars. Every cent of that is visible onscreen. Film should have gotten a nomination for Best Photography also.

The film is too long, and the last sequence is rushed, but these are minor flaws. TCM really dropped the ball by not showing this film. 3.5/4.

Source--archive.org. The print I saw was a beautiful UK copy.

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Life (2017) - Science fiction creature feature B-movie with an A-List cast and production values. A 6-person crew aboard the International Space Station conduct experiments on newly-acquired Martian soil samples, in which they discover a hibernating single-celled organism that begins to grow and mutate once exposed to air. The thing, with the rather non-intimidating name of Calvin, resembles a dog-sized squid, but it makes short work of anyone who encounters it, so the surviving astronauts have to find a way to destroy it and keep it from reaching Earth. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya.

This has top-shelf effects, but it would have been more enjoyable if it had embraced its 50's monster movie roots and had fun with the concept, rather than too often sliding into ponderous self-seriousness. There are some excellently executed suspense scenes, but not enough to put this into "must-see" territory. The ending raises it up a point in my estimation, though.   (7/10)

Source: DVD.

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One Way Passage (1932) - Very good romantic comedy with a dark edge. William Powell is a convicted and condemned fugitive being escorted by cop Warren Hymer from Hong Kong to San Francisco via passenger ship. Also on board is Kay Francis, who meets Powell and falls for him without knowing his secret. Also on the ship are perpetually drunk thief Frank McHugh and con artist Aline MacMahon, who both do what they can to get Powell and Francis together without divulging his fugitive status. But Francis has a secret of her own that complicates things even more.

This is enjoyable fluff for the most part, featuring some terrific supporting performances from the always reliable MacMahon, McHugh, and Hymer. Powell and Francis also have great screen chemistry. What makes the movie even better is the way it manages to weave in some saddening touches without the film becoming maudlin or causing any jarring tonal shifts. The very ending was also a tremendous touch. This won an Oscar for Best Original Story. Recommended.   (8/10)

Source: TCM.

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One Way Passage is a very touching and well-acted film.  I like all of the cast which is headed by the wonderful Kay Francis and William Powell.  You will find it interesting and haunting. 

My rating is 9 out of 10.

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The Penguin Pool Murder (1932) - First in the series of comedic mysteries starring Edna May Oliver as schoolteacher and amateur sleuth Hildegarde Withers. While escorting a class field trip to the aquarium, a body is found in the penguin exhibit. Withers forces herself into the investigation led by police inspector James Gleason. The suspects include Mae Clarke, Donald Cook, and Robert Armstrong. Also with Edgar Kennedy and Gustav von Seyffertitz.

The mystery elements are fairly routine, but the appeal here rests with the performers, and if you like their style, you'll enjoy the movie, as I did.   (7/10)

Source: YouTube, in 5 parts and with awful sound. I should have taped this when TCM showed them all.

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