speedracer5

I Just Watched...

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The River (1951) is one I taped off TCM decades ago. Beautiful Technicolor film about a girl's remembrance of growing up in India in the 1920s, a coming of age tale about life (as it used to be) and death and the river they live on. We see a picture (no politics) about people living together and respecting each other's belief systems even as they struggle with their own beliefs and problems. Every ending is a new beginning. The actor playing Captain John, Thomas Breen, was the son the Joseph Breen, Hollywood's censorship czar from 1934 -1941. The film was based on a book by Rumer Godden.

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43 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934)

Many moons ago (maybe I should say many, many moons ago) when Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was gracious enough to respond to a fan letter of mine, he listed the role of Czar Peter as one of the favourites of his career. Mind you, he also listed another ten roles or so as favourites, as well.

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3 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Many moons ago (maybe I should say many, many moons ago) when Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was gracious enough to respond to a fan letter of mine, he listed the role of Czar Peter as one of the favourites of his career. Mind you, he also listed another ten roles or so as favourites, as well.

I thought he was very good in Catherine the Great. Between that and seeing him in the original version of The Dawn Patrol a couple of months ago, my estimation of him as an actor has grown substantially. 

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26 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I thought he was very good in Catherine the Great. Between that and seeing him in the original version of The Dawn Patrol a couple of months ago, my estimation of him as an actor has grown substantially. 

Actually it was my having just seen The Dawn Patrol at a Toronto film revival that prompted me to write my letter to Fairbanks. This was long before there was such a thing as video tape, and the actor was greatly interested to know that there were film societies of that kind (this was in the late '60s) in Toronto. He also listed Scotty in Dawn Patrol as a favourite role. David Niven repeated the part in the 1938 remake, of course, Niven and Fairbanks being friends.

One film of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. that has never been released on either video tape or DVD, confoundingly, is the excellent State Secret. This is a 1950 thriller written/directed by Sidney Gilliat, who had written the screenplay for Hitchcock's Lady Vanishes. In fact this film was the exact kind of subject matter that would have been ideal for Hitch since it has an innocent man on the run (in a mythical nation behind the Iron Curtain from state police) because he knows a major political secret (the nation's dictator died from complications following an operation).

Fairbanks, playing a "common man" with whom the audience identifies, gives one of his best performances in this film as the doctor trying to escape from the country, with solid support from Glynis Johns, Jack Hawkins (head of the state police) and, perhaps best of all, Herbert Lom as a slimy underground character forced, against his will, to assist Fairbanks (Lom brings some delightful dark humour to the production).

I rank State Secret as one of Fairbanks very best films and, you guessed it, the actor also listed his role in this film as a favourite.

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The Road to Ruin (1934) - Early juvenile delinquency scare film from First Division Pictures, and written, produced and co-directed (with Melville Shyer) by Mrs. Wallace Reid (Dorothy Davenport). High school student Ann (Helen Foster) falls in with a bad crowd that's into drinking, smoking, and dancing poorly. Her new goofball boyfriend Tommy (Glen Boles) likes booze as much as he likes pawing Ann, so she gets bored and starts seeing shady character Ralph (Paul Page), who leads her into even darker depravity, like skinny-dipping in the backyard pool, strip dice games, and more poor dancing. Also featuring Nell O'Day as Ann's best galpal (they read naughty books together), Robert Quirk, Richard Hemingway, Virginia True Boardman, and Mae Busch. 

Routine fare for this genre, this was a remake of a 1928 silent of the same name. There's a lengthy nightclub scene in the middle of the film featuring 3 bad singing performances (accompanied by the aforementioned bad dancing) that made me wish that this one was silent, too. Of course, the ultimate culprit for Ann's degeneracy is her parents inattention, since they're too busy heading out "to the Cotton Club". This morality lesson/time capsule is good for some unintentional laughs.  (4/10 or 6/10 on the so-bad-its-good scale)

Source: YouTube.

road.jpg

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I like those kind of movies.  In fact, I believe I saw a portion of ROAD TO RUIN somewhere many moons ago.  Those old "morality lesson" films crack me up no matter WHEN they were made.  One of my favorites is one made in '58 called THE COOL AND THE CRAZY.  An early RICHARD BAKALYAN and SCOTT MARLOWE flick, it involved a reform school "graduate" Bennie, who introduces a local street gang to "M"( ;)  marijuana) and gets them "hooked" :D  Tickled me to see the scene in which members of the gang are all anxiously waiting for Bennie in the local malt shoppe, clutching their sides in pain and agony wondering "When's Bennie gonna get here with the "M" ?"  :lol:

Sepiatone

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The St. Louis Kid (1934) - Routine programmer that lives on the appeal of its star, from Warner Brothers and director Ray Enright. James Cagney stars as Eddie Kennedy, a delivery truck driver with a penchant for getting into fisticuffs. He and his long suffering pal Buck (Allen Jenkins) get assigned to drive a route through dairy country, where Eddie manages to ignite the simmering tensions in the area and star a "milk war". When the conflict gets deadly, and Eddie's new gal Ann (Patricia Ellis) gets kidnapped, he has to rescue her and try to end the tensions. Also featuring Robert Barrat, Hobart Cavanaugh, Spencer Charters, Addison Richards, Dorothy Dare, Arthur Aylesworth, Rosalie Roy, and Charles Middleton.

This is one of those films where Cagney really has no distinct character, but rather just his usual screen persona dropped into a new situation. Truck drivers vs striking dairy farmers is an unusual conflict for the movies, and it's not really explored too much beyond providing an excuse for the various dilemmas. Ellis is an actress I'm not too familiar with, and she doesn't come across as much more than a pretty face here. The movie isn't terrible, but it's not one of Cagney's highlights, either.  (6/10)

Source: TCM.

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The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) - Very good period adventure film from producer Alexander Korda and director Harold Young. Leslie Howard stars as the title hero, an Englishman who heads a secret group of like-minded men that help to smuggle aristocrats out of France during the Reign of Terror. Sir Percy Blakeney (Howard) masquerades as a foppish dandy to throw off suspicion, and he even starts to alienate his wife Lady Blakeney (Merle Oberon) with his foolish persona. Things get more dangerous for Sir Percy and his men when the clever Chauvelin (Raymond Massey) arrives, intent on discovering the identity of the Pimpernel and destroying his organization. Also featuring Nigel Bruce, Bramwell Fletcher, Joan Gardner, Anthony Bushell, Walter Rilla, and Melville Cooper.

I think I may have seen this when I was very young, as parts seemed familiar this time around. I'm glad I decided to see this again, though, as I was thoroughly impressed by Howard's persona, and would rank this among his best roles. Massey, too, has a great time as the devilish antagonist. Oberon is excellent, and very beautiful. The production design is up to Korda's usual high pedigree. Along with The Private Life of Don Juan and The Rise of Catherine the Great, 1934 proved to be a truly stellar year for Alexander Korda. Recommended.  (8/10)

Source: TCM.

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On 6/13/2015 at 5:04 PM, laffite said:

 

Well, it's about time. Where you've been, man. I don't even watch movies any more. I used to read once in awhile and have sex with girls, but hey, why waste time with dull activities like that when you can treat yourself to the exhilarating experience of consulting the top ten most searched TCM database. I no longer engage in unworthily activities such as watching films on that august list when I could be watching the actual list itself. Hey man, time to get your priorities in order.

 

laffite

Don't watch only film that are on the Top Ten Most Searched Lists because then you'd never get to see something like "Liquid Sky".

 

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The Sea Horse (1934) - French documentary short from director Jean Painleve that details the title creature, including its physical make-up, its reproductive cycle, and how it moves about its environment. This is common stuff now, with entire channels devoted to animals of all shapes and sizes, but nature documentaries were fairly rare back in '34, and this look at one of nature's true oddities must have been impressive. I thought of fellow poster SansFin at this 15-minute short's end, the word "FIN" formed by sea horses.  (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck.

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The Dirty Dozen (1967) about a 7/10, never did figure out how Clint Walker's character died, a screw up in the film.

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Sing and Like It (1934) - Amusing musical comedy from RKO and director William A. Seiter. Soft-hearted gangster Tony Sylvester (Nat Pendleton) hears amateur songsmith Annie Snodgrass (Zasu Pitts) singing a schmaltzy tune and decides to help make her a star and the song a hit. He enlists the aid of moll, former showgirl Ruby (Pert Kelton), and incredulous theatrical producer Adam Frink (Edward Everett Horton). Also featuring John Qualen, Ned Sparks, Matt McHugh, Stanley Fields, Richard Carle, Joe Sawyer, Roy D'Arcy, and Paul Hurst.

This minor attraction is funny and appealing in a low-expectation kind of way. The cast of veteran character performers rise to the occasion as leads.   (7/10)

Source: TCM.

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22 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Road to Ruin (1934) - Early juvenile delinquency scare film from First Division Pictures, and written, produced and co-directed (with Melville Shyer) by Mrs. Wallace Reid (Dorothy Davenport). High school student Ann (Helen Foster) falls in with a bad crowd that's into drinking, smoking, and dancing poorly. Her new goofball boyfriend Tommy (Glen Boles) likes booze as much as he likes pawing Ann, so she gets bored and starts seeing shady character Ralph (Paul Page), who leads her into even darker depravity, like skinny-dipping in the backyard pool, strip dice games, and more poor dancing. Also featuring Nell O'Day as Ann's best galpal (they read naughty books together), Robert Quirk, Richard Hemingway, Virginia True Boardman, and Mae Busch. 

Routine fare for this genre, this was a remake of a 1928 silent of the same name. There's a lengthy nightclub scene in the middle of the film featuring 3 bad singing performances (accompanied by the aforementioned bad dancing) that made me wish that this one was silent, too. Of course, the ultimate culprit for Ann's degeneracy is her parents inattention, since they're too busy heading out "to the Cotton Club". This morality lesson/time capsule is good for some unintentional laughs.  (4/10 or 6/10 on the so-bad-its-good scale)

Source: YouTube.

This film didn't happen to be made by the same folks who made Reefer Madness was it? 

I love the poster to this film.  It's amazing. My favorite part: "Modern youth, burned at the altar of ignorance?" I don't know, Poster, were they? I choose to believe yes. 

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Brutti, sporchi e cattivi (Ugly, Dirty and Bad) (1976) Director, Ettore Scola, shanty town shenanigans in Via Domizia Lucilla, Rome, Lazio, Italy, 6/10

Ugly, Dirty and Bad Poster

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Thirty Day Princess (1934) - Passably agreeable romantic comedy from Paramount Pictures and director Marion Gering. When the King (Henry Stephenson) of an obscure European country wants to create a social safety net for his nation's poor, shady American banker Gresham (Edward Arnold) says that he can raise the funds through a bond offering. However, he wants the King to send his daughter, Princess Catterina (Sylvia Sidney), to the U.S. on a goodwill tour that will raise awareness of the country and entice investors. When the princess falls ill, though, it looks as if the endeavor will fail, until Gresham hits on the idea of finding a lookalike to stand in for the fallen royal. He finds such a girl in starving actress Nancy (also Sidney) who jumps at the chance (and the paycheck). Her easy job gets complicated when she falls for newspaper publisher Porter Madison III (Cary Grant), threatening to unravel the whole charade. Also featuring Vince Barnett, Edgar Norton, Ray Walker, Lucien Littlefield, Robert McWade, and Eleanor Wesselhoeft.

One of the five credited screenwriters was Preston Sturges, and his touch comes through in some sharp dialogue. The story is a bit overly convoluted, and not every plot thread gets a proper resolution, but the leads are attractive and the mood is light enough to make this a pleasant time-waster.   (7/10)

Source: Universal DVD, part of the Cary Grant Screen Legend Collection.

thirtydayprincess.jpg?itok=qnGaRNEc 

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The Trail Beyond (1934) - John Wayne invades Canada in this dull, cheap western from Monogram and director Robert Bradbury. Wayne stars as Rod Drew, a nice young man who agrees to head up to Canada to find the long-lost niece of a family friend. Along the way, Drew runs into old school chum Wabi (Noah Beery Jr.), and the two get mistakenly accused of murder. Now on the run from the Mounties as well as still searching for the girl, the two land in a small town where various bad guys are after a map to hidden gold. Also featuring Noah Beery Sr., Verna Hillie, Robert Frazer, Iris Lancaster, Earl Dwire, and Eddie Parker.

This is dumb and boring, even by poverty row western standards. The less-than-an-hour runtime is heavily padded with travel footage and horse chases/falls that seem to go on forever. The shootouts are poorly staged, but not as badly as the fistfights, with punches clearly missing the target by a foot or more. This is a rare chance to see both Noah Beery's acting together, and the location scenery in Mammoth Lakes, California is nice.  (4/10)

Source: Starz Encore Westerns. The print shown had an awful synthesizer score that must have been added for a 1980's video release.

krVto.jpg

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On 12/6/2017 at 4:39 PM, LawrenceA said:

I'll go out on a limb and guess that you made a typo, but if not, if she was able to turn just her shin dark and get away with the ruse, she's all the more impressive! :lol:

Touche!  I need to proofread my h's and K's.  The bio of Ms. Edwards that I read said she once missed a spot on the back of her neck and when questioned replied: "I always knew I'd turn white some day; my Mammy was". She got away with it. 

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Upper World (1934) - Under-cooked romance with crime elements, from Warner Brothers and director Roy Del Ruth. Warren William stars as wealthy and powerful business tycoon Alexander Stream, a workaholic who rarely has time to spend with his wife Hettie (Mary Astor), who herself has a busy social life. Aboard his yacht one day, Alexander rescues a swimmer in distress who turns out to be showgirl Lilly Linda (Ginger Rogers). Her fun-loving, no-nonsense attitude appeals to Alexander, and the two strike up a strong friendship. However, people in Lilly's life see an opportunity for easy money, and the ramifications could prove ruinous to all involved. Also featuring Andy Devine, Ferdinand Gottschalk, J. Carrol Naish, Robert Barrat, Sidney Toler, Henry O'Neill, Robert Greig, John Qualen, and Dickie Moore.

The relationship between William and Rogers is well-drawn and believable, and the two have chemistry. Rogers is good, and has a strong emotional scene late in the film. Astor doesn't have much to do, as her character is one of the underdeveloped aspects of the film. Devine, Naish, and Toler are all solid in minor roles. My main issue with this movie was that it seemed to end just as things were getting interesting, and the finale seemed too rushed and very anti-climactic.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

UpperWorld.JPG

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We're Not Dressing (1934) - Decent musical comedy re-working of The Admirable Crichton, from Paramount Pictures and director Norman Taurog. Spoiled socialite Doris Worthington (Carole Lombard) gets stranded on a tropical island when her pleasure cruise ends up sinking. She and her equally pampered friends struggle to survive, but working-class sailor Stephen Jones (Bing Crosby) has the know-how to make things work, and naturally the two, who start out bickering, eventually fall in love. Also featuring George Burns, Gracie Allen, Ethel Merman, Ray Milland, Leon Errol, Jay Henry, and a bear.

Bing gets to sing a lot, which is a plus, even if his numbers end with a bear tackling him. Ethel gets to sing a few, too. The disc I watched was defective, and I didn't see the opening credits, so it wasn't until about halfway through the film that I realized the petite brunette was Ethel Merman! Burns & Allen seem like they're in a separate movie for much of the runtime, and their scenes play out like their vaudeville act, which is fine by me as I find Gracie hilarious.   (7/10)

Source: Universal DVD, part of the Carole Lombard Glamour Collection.

werenotdressing.jpg

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On 12/4/2017 at 8:07 PM, Dargo said:

Or perhaps closely "related" to And Then There Were None (1945) and/or ITS "offspring"/remake, Ten Little Indians (1965), eh Lawrence?!

I too thought the same thing, (though I am not Lawrence).  Similar to And Then There Were None, the superb '45 film.  I did not care for the remake too much and missed some innuendoes along the way, Shirley Eaton, etc.  I was about 14 at the time and simply felt that the older one was best!  I think it still holds up.

 I liked this one too.  Very cleverly done and a good cast.

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You're Telling Me! (1934) - Hilarious comedy from Paramount Pictures and director Erle C. Kenton. W.C. Fields is Sam Bisbee, a small-town inventor with a henpecking wife (Louise Carter) and a teenage daughter (Joan Marsh) who wants to marry the scion (Buster Crabbe) of the town's wealthiest family. When Sam has trouble demonstrating his new invention, he's about to hit rock bottom when a chance meeting with a sympathetic princess (Adrienne Ames) may turn his life around. Also featuring Kathleen Howard, Nora Cecil, George Irving, and Tammany Young.

I laughed a lot at this one, from the opening with a drunken Fields trying to sneak into his house late at night, to his struggles with his wife, to the unlikely humor of a protracted suicide attempt, and the final golf outing, featuring Fields' frequent sideman Tammany Young. The cast are all game, and I was especially impressed with Ames as the helpful royal. Recommended.   (8/10)

Source: Universal DVD, part of the WC Fields Comedy Collection.

Youre-Telling-Me-1934-W.-C.-Fields-and-T

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The Pace That Kills (1935) - Another social awareness/drug scare flick from exploitation producer Willis Kent and director William A. O'Connor. This tells the tragic tale of Jane Bradford (Lois January), a small-town diner waitress who has the misfortune of crossing paths with Nick (Noel Madison) a slick, Big City drug dealer who offers Jane some "headache powders" that really do a trick on her. Soon enough, she's strung out and living with Nick in the Big City. Her brother Eddie (Dean Benton) comes to the Big City to look for her, but winds up working as a carhop at a drive-in restaurant where he meets Fanny (Sheila Bromley) another carhop who gives Eddie some special "headache powders"... Also featuring Lois Lindsay, Charles Delaney, Eddie Phillips, Frank Shannon, and Fay Holden.

This is a remake of a 1928 silent, and was itself re-edited and re-titled The Cocaine Fiends and released again in 1937. The acting is as awful as the script, the pace doesn't kill as much as induce sleep, and the hatchet-job on the editing leaves much of this a confused mess. Despite Jane and Eddie both getting gacked out on coke, their "lonely trail of addiction" leads to a Chinatown opium den. But I suppose all paths lead to destruction when confronted with "dope evil", and as the opening screen crawl suggests, it's up to "you, Mr. Citizen, to put a stop to it". I'll get right on that.   (3/10)

Source: Mill Creek DVD, part of Taboo Tales set.

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1 hour ago, Sam Mac said:

I just watched the 1935 "Scrooge" and had the unfortunate let-down to hear the concluding remarks of that new presenter munkenstein or whatever is his name (who replaced dear Rober Osborne). Tell him it is called "CHRISTMAS" and NOT "HOLIDAY"!  Just because he is a STEIN we have to hear the propaganda here too?  It is called "CHRISTMAS" and NOT "HOLIDAY," Mr. STEIN!  You don't like it, QUIT and let someone else do Mr. Osborne's job! We are fed up with stein-propaganda everywhere and don't need it here!

 

Not sure where you're getting the "-stein," his name is Ben Mankiewicz and he's not new.  He's been on TCM for years.  If you don't like him, then put him on mute or don't watch.  Christmas, holiday, whatever.  There are other holidays this season besides Christmas.

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21 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

Not sure where you're getting the "-stein," his name is Ben Mankiewicz and he's not new.  He's been on TCM for years.  If you don't like him, then put him on mute or don't watch.  Christmas, holiday, whatever.  There are other holidays this season besides Christmas.

C'mon speedy, I know you're fairly young and all, but surely you know "Stein" is "code" for when people such as Sammy Baby here actually WANT to say (and excuse me here folks AND our Moderators for the following BUT the following HAS to be SAID) something such as "Jew Boy", but these people are JUST smart enough to know that saying THAT would pass even LESS muster in polite society.

(...yeah, I know you know, speedy...I know)

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