speedracer5

I Just Watched...

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Lawrence-if you're watching all the Charlie Chans pay attention to the dialogue-often you'll catch cleverly funny double entendres....I think my favorite is in CC At The Wax Museum '40.

(It's the only thing that makes watching these tolerable for me)

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I assume those billboards were put up by Burma Shave?

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1 hour ago, Fedya said:

I assume those billboards were put up by Burma Shave?

Yes -- Aung San Suu Kyi supervised the construction.

 

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Desire (1936) - Continental romance from Paramount Pictures, producer Ernst Lubitsch, and director Frank Borzage. Con artist and thief Madeleine de Beaupre (Marlene Dietrich) has just left Paris and is headed for Spain, having stolen a pearl necklace worth millions of francs. She bumps into vacationing American auto engineer Tom Bradley (Gary Cooper), and through a series of mishaps, he ends up unknowingly in possession of the necklace. Madeleine and her partner-in-crime Carlos (John Halliday) set out to get it back, while Madeleine falls for Tom. Also featuring Zeffie Tilbury, Alan Mowbray, Ernest Coassart, Akim Tamiroff, Marc Lawrence, and William Frawley.

This is an excellent romantic comedy with the classy "Lubitsch touch" and winning performances from both leads. Unfortunately, the movie's quality is often overshadowed by its backstage tales of woe, namely the end of John Gilbert. He and Dietrich were dating, and she secured him the role of Carlos, the fellow con artist, as a potential comeback film, only for him to suffer a heart attack before filming began. Not only was he unceremoniously replaced by Halliday, but Paramount also announced Cooper, an ex-lover of Dietrich, had been cast in the lead. Shortly after hearing the news, Gilbert had another heart attack and died. This sad end to one of the silent screens great stars shouldn't distract from the quality of the finished film, though. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and Dietrich herself is quoted as saying that it was the only one of her films that she was not ashamed of.  (7/10)

Source: Universal DVD, part of the Marlene Dietrich: Hollywood Icons Collection.

a695107d73dbf8498844cabc45191f3f--marlen

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8 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Desire (1936)

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John Gilbert tragedy aside, Desire really is a delight, with Dietrich's continental style and sophistication and Cooper's American abroad innocent a wonderful screen pairing, more satisfactory to me than in their more famous effort, Morocco. I think Desire contains one of Coop's most charming screen performances.

Years ago my mother told me of having once seen a film in which Cooper sang, "I'm driving a Bronson 8" but she didn't know in what film it was. That evening (that evening!) I watch Desire for the first time and was shocked to see Cooper singing that song as he drive the car.

 

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On 1/5/2018 at 1:58 PM, shutoo said:

Funny you should say that..when I saw Needful Things, I was reminded of the Twilight Zone episode "What You Need" (took the basic premise and built on it)

Under the Dome has a similar ending to a Zone episode.

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Doomed Cargo (1936) aka Seven Sinners - Hitchcock-style British mystery thriller from Gaumont and director Albert de Courville. American P.I. John Harwood (Edmund Lowe) teams up with American insurance investigator Caryl Fenton (Constance Cummings) to try and get to the bottom of a series of murders and train derailments in Europe. Also featuring Felix Aylmer, Thomy Bourdelle, Henry Oscar, Joyce Kennedy, O.B. Clarence, and Allan Jeayes.

I'm not usually a fan of Lowe's, but I liked him here, and he had good chemistry with Cummings. The train aspect is also unusual and makes this a slightly better than average mystery of the period.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

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"The Da Vinci Code" (2006) in it's entirety, only seen part of it before. Well it was quoted in the film, the mind sees what it wants to.  Guess Dan Brown don't think Jesus could love a woman for her intellect (aka her brains).  Why does the word love always make someone think its sexual in nature when it pertains to a female?

 

The Last Supper reflects the environment De Vinci grew up in which is the Renaissance period. This caused an inaccurate painting regarding its surroundings.  I understand the reasoning of the earlier taboo on "graven images" in that it can send the wrong message even if by accident.  Far as the film goes, everyone loves a good conspiracy.

 

This is the original masterpiece which shows the effects of aging.

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Follow the Fleet (1936) - Fun dance musical romance from RKO and director Mark Sandrich. Bake (Fred Astaire) and Bilge (Randolph Scott) are two US Navy sailors on shore leave in San Francisco. Bake runs into old professional dance partner Sherry (Ginger Rogers), reigniting their old romance, while Bilge meets Sherry's mousy sister Connie (Harriet Hilliard), and they fall for each other. Naturally, complications ensue in between song and dance numbers. Also featuring Astrid Allwyn, Harry Beresford, Lucille Ball, Russell Hicks, Brooks Benedict, Ray Mayer, Tony Martin, and Betty Grable.

The music from Irving Berlin is good, and the dance numbers enjoyable, although I liked the funny "rehearsal" dance bit better than the polished elegant showstopper. I've never seen an episode of Ozzie & Harriet, and I had no idea that I was watching Harriet Nelson (Hilliard) in the sister role, and I thought she was very good. Lucy also gets a few good cracks in, while prominently billed Betty Grable is seen only for a moment during a singing number.  (7/10)

Source: Warner DVD, part of the TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Astaire & Rogers Volume 2, with bonus features including a making-of short, and a pair of vintage short subjects.

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2 hours ago, hamradio said:

This caused an inaccurate painting regarding its surroundings.

So they only show six of the disciples instead of all twelve?

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25 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Follow the Fleet (1936)

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I like the Astaire-Rogers musicals though I'm not as much a fan as are many other posters on these boards. The comic support to be found in them, though (Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Victor Moore or the priceless Erik Rhodes) is a hoot and a half.

Follow the Fleet, though, has one of my favourite dance numbers of the entire series- Irving Berlin's beautiful Let's Face The Music And Dance. The art deco set, the clever story telling (with even, daringly, a contemplation of suicide by two lost souls!), and, of course, the sheer beauty and elegance of Fred and Ginger in motion make it a sublime joy to behold.

 

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1 minute ago, TomJH said:

I like the Astaire-Rogers musicals though I'm not as much a fan as are many other posters on these boards. The comic support to be found in them, though (Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Victor Moore or the priceless Erik Rhodes) is a hoot and a half.

Follow the Fleet, though, has one of my favourite dance numbers of the entire series- Irving Berlin's beautiful Let's Face The Music And Dance. The art deco set, the clever story telling (with even, daringly, a contemplation of suicide by two lost souls!), and, of course, the sheer beauty and elegance of Fred and Ginger in motion make it a sublime joy to behold.

 

I think "Let's Face the Music and Dance" is also the music number that is featured in Pennies From Heaven with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters re-creating Fred and Ginger's dance.  I did not like 'Pennies,' but I love Fred and Ginger.  I haven't seen all ten of their collaborations, but of the ones I've seen, my favorite is Swing Time

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9 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I think "Let's Face the Music and Dance" is also the music number that is featured in Pennies From Heaven with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters re-creating Fred and Ginger's dance.  I did not like 'Pennies,' but I love Fred and Ginger.  I haven't seen all ten of their collaborations, but of the ones I've seen, my favorite is Swing Time

It's been a long time since I saw the, from what I can recall of it, depressing Pennies From Heaven. Whatever else you might say about it, it certainly was a "different" musical. I don't recall that Let's Face The Music and Dance is a part of it, but I'll take your word for it, Speedracer. I like Steve Martin very much but if he was trying to emulate Astaire's dancing in the film that takes a lot of balls (not to mention more than a bit of chutzpah).

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33 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I like the Astaire-Rogers musicals though I'm not as much a fan as are many other posters on these boards. The comic support to be found in them, though (Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Victor Moore or the priceless Erik Rhodes) is a hoot and a half.

Follow the Fleet, though, has one of my favourite dance numbers of the entire series- Irving Berlin's beautiful Let's Face The Music And Dance.

I love Follow the Fleet and especially the "Let's Face the Music and Dance" number; but, like Speedy, my favorite Astaire and Rodgers film is Swing Time.

A bit of information about Erik Rhodes: He was romantically involved with Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg, who, under the screen name of Julian West, played the lead in the Carl Theodor Dreyer film Vampyr.

Vampyr4.jpg

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13 minutes ago, TomJH said:

It's been a long time since I saw the, from what I can recall of it, depressing Pennies From Heaven. Whatever else you might say about it, it certainly was a "different" musical. I don't recall that Let's Face The Music and Dance is a part of it, but I'll take your word for it, Speedracer. I like Steve Martin very much but if he was trying to emulate Astaire's dancing in the film that takes a lot of balls (not to mention more than a bit of chutzpah).

 I saw Pennies from Heaven in a movie theater more than 30 years ago.   Steve Martin is someone who "learned" how to dance last week, but Christopher Walken, a thoroughly  professionally-trained dancer, really stole that movie.

I loved watching Christopher Walken tap dance live on SNL.

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46 minutes ago, Fedya said:

So they only show six of the disciples instead of all twelve?

One can only speculate but drawing on how the average person (mostly poor) lived during the time period. 

Not very elegant is it?

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israel-galilee-nazareth-village-recreati

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

I think "Let's Face the Music and Dance" is also the music number that is featured in Pennies From Heaven with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters re-creating Fred and Ginger's dance.  I did not like 'Pennies,' but I love Fred and Ginger.  I haven't seen all ten of their collaborations, but of the ones I've seen, my favorite is Swing Time

The only one I can remember having actually seen is Carefree (1938). Although, upon doing some more research, I believe I can confirm that I've also seen Swing Time and Shall We Dance. The Astaire-Rogers movies seem to blur together after a while, or at least that's the way it appears to me. 

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29 minutes ago, NickAndNora34 said:

The Astaire-Rogers movies seem to blur together after a while, or at least that's the way it appears to me. 

I've been rewatching some (The Gay Divorcee, Top Hat, Swing Time), and watching others for the first time (Flying Down to RioRobertaFollow the Fleet), in the past few weeks, and even in that close proximity, they still blend together. Of the six, I think I like Top Hat and Swing Time the most. I have Shall We Dance and The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle left to watch. I don't have a copy of either Carefree or The Barkleys of Broadway.

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21 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I've been rewatching some (The Gay Divorcee, Top Hat, Swing Time), and watching others for the first time (Flying Down to RioRobertaFollow the Fleet), in the past few weeks, and even in that close proximity, they still blend together. Of the six, I think I like Top Hat and Swing Time the most. I have Shall We Dance and The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle left to watch. I don't have a copy of either Carefree or The Barkleys of Broadway.

I really like The Barkleys of Broadway (I'd loan you my copy, but we live on completely opposite sides of the country!).  It's Ginger and Fred's tenth and final film together and their only color film.  Originally Fred was supposed to co-star in this film with Judy Garland as their success in Easter Parade made MGM only more keen to re-team Fred and Judy on another film.  However, the studio's tolerance of Judy's erratic behavior (and substance abuse issues) finally reached its breaking point, and Judy was fired. Ginger Rogers was brought on to replace Judy and surely to capitalize on the publicity that could be generated with the re-teaming of Fred and Ginger. 

Supposedly, I don't know if this is true or just legend, after she was fired, Judy sent Ginger a congratulatory bouquet inside of a large shaving mug.  It was well known in Hollywood at the time that Ginger's face had to be lit in a very specific way as to disguise the fact that Ginger's face had a lot of peach fuzz on it.  Judy was definitely being very catty and very passive aggressive, but it's still pretty funny.  I like Ginger Rogers as an actress, but from reading her autobiography, she comes across as being a little full of herself.  

I've seen Flying Down to Rio (with the ridiculous airplane number), Follow the Fleet, The Gay Divorcee, Top Hat, Swing Time and The Barkleys of Broadway.  I haven't seen Shall We Dance, The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle and Carefree. I agree that Fred and Ginger's films run together (much like The Marx Brothers' films) except for The Barkleys of Broadway, only because it's the only film they have that is in color and the film was made ten years after their last film, so both actors have matured.  I like Swing Time because I like when Fred sings "The Way You Look Tonight" to Ginger while she's washing her hair.  I also like their last song "Never Gonna Dance." 

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The Garden of Allah (1936) - Visually impressive romantic melodrama from United Artists, producer David O. Selznick, and director Richard Boleslawski. Domini (Marlene Dietrich) is a rich woman who has spent many years taking care of her ailing father. When he finally dies, she realizes that she has missed much in her own life, and sets out to North Africa to find herself. Boris (Charles Boyer) is a Trappist monk who has taken vows of poverty and silence, but he can no longer bear the burden of either, and so he heads to North Africa to find himself. The two spiritually conflicted people meet and fall in love, but their sad ending is foretold. Also featuring Basil Rathbone, C. Aubrey Smith, Joseph Schildkraut, Alan Marshal, Henry Brandon, John Carradine, Lucile Watson, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Bonita Granville, and Tilly Losch.

This was a wild mix of beauty and camp that will appeal to some viewers but leave others rolling their eyes in disbelief. I can't recall many films of this period that were as openly spiritual and as concerned with the burdens of the soul, and yet the two leads are among the most vain and superficial of movie stars, both with acting talent, but both better known for their looks than their depth. Dietrich especially looks more like a studio creation than a living human, with her almost comical artificial eyebrows and professional-grade makeup design. 

The movie looks amazing, a word that perhaps gets overused in amateur criticism, but it is most deservedly used here. The color cinematography, coupled with masterly use of shadow and color, and terrific use of locations, create a film that is a joy to behold even if the story and performances may leave you cold. There's a sequence early in the film involving dancer Tilly Losch as a local Arab dancing girl that made me think I had mistakenly started a Maria Montez camp classic (that's a good thing). Schildkraut as a shady Arab, Brandon as his companion, and Carradine as a creepy street person promising psychic readings, are all enjoyable. This earned a pair of Oscar nominations, for Best Assistant Director (Eric Stacey) and Best Music - Score (Max Steiner), and won a special honorary Oscar for the color cinematography (W. Howard Greene & Harold Rosson). Recommended.  (8/10)

Source: South Korean DVD.

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51 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Garden of Allah (1936)

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The Garden of Allah is such a visual joy, with some of the most stunning Technicolor of any Hollywood film of the '30s, in my opinion. That, combined with Max Steiner's lovely musical score, definitely makes this film worth a view. There's one particularly impressive shot of a desert caravan of camels disappearing at sunset over a giant sand dune. Steiner's score includes the sound of tiny bells ringing, such as some of the camels may have had, I suppose. Absolutely gorgeous, both visually and aurally. I've replayed that scene in my DVD of the film numerous times.

Unfortunately there's also the chestnut of a story about spiritual longing, and the arch, artificial performances of Boyer and Dietrich that may have more than a few viewers moaning or laughing, depending upon their mood. The Tilly Losch dance sequence, campy but fun, makes one fast forward to a similar one that she would have a decade later at the beginning of Duel in the Sun for the same producer Selznick.

Back in the early '90s, not long before Dietrich's death, I sent her a letter, accompanied by a photo for her to sign. It was a black and white shot from The Garden of Allah. When I received a reply from the lady she sent an autographed photo but had substituted the Garden of Allah pix with another one of her, from Blonde Venus. A lady's vanity, I suppose, for the photo she sent was far more complimentary to the actress than the one I had mailed. Either that or, I suppose, I may have sent the lady a picture from The Garden of Allah that she didn't have in her own collection.

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Go West Young Man (1936) - Agreeable comedy from Paramount Pictures and director Henry Hathaway.Mae West stars as Mavis Arden, one of the biggest movie stars in the business. During a cross-country trip with her manager (Warren William), her car breaks down and she causes an uproar in the small town where she stays until her car can get fixed. To pass the time she starts a flirtation with local mechanic Bud (Randolph Scott). Also featuring Lyle Talbot, Alice Brady, Isabel Jewell, Elizabeth Patterson, Margaret Perry, Etienne Girardot, Maynard Holmes, and Xavier Cugat as himself.

The supporting cast is excellent, and Hathaway is a top-notch director, but the weight of the production falls to West, who doesn't disappoint. Her sexually aggressive movie queen isn't too far removed from her usual persona, and her wisecracks and one-liners abound.   (7/10)

Source: Universal DVD, part of Mae West: The Essential Collection.

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18 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I've seen Flying Down to Rio (with the ridiculous airplane number), Follow the Fleet, The Gay Divorcee, Top Hat, Swing Time and The Barkleys of Broadway.  I haven't seen Shall We Dance, The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle and Carefree

You say "Ridiculous", I say "Classic".  ("But it's so fake! They're not sitting on a REAL airplane!")

My first F&G was Shall We Dance, and that one feels like the "definitive" RKO Astaire & Rogers, not just for the use of "Can't Take That away From Me" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off".  The plot involves Fred as a hoofer who changed his name to Russian to dance in the ballet, and when Ginger hears she's working with "the great ballet star Petrov", at first thinks she'll be working with some insufferable Kirov diva.  Leading to the classic scene where Fred heckles her by pretending to be an egotistic Russian-ballet diva, and in the process doing one of the most dead-on intentional imitations of Bela Lugosi before it became cool. 

It's not something you see Fred Astaire doing every day.

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Stranger Danger! I never knew a remake of Fritz Lang's classic "M" (1931) even existed, but luckily I DVR'd it on TCM not knowing that it was in fact a 1951 remake starring David Wayne as the child killer that was so brilliantly portrayed by Peter Lorre in the original.

I have to say the remake is well made, but mostly because of Wayne's basically non-verbal performance and the fact that producer Seymour Nebenzal was only allowed to make it if it almost exactly mirrored the original. That was due to Production Code concern that the movie not include child molestation/rape as part of the plot. In fact, before he hired director Joseph Losey, he asked fellow German ex-pat Douglas Sirk to direct, but Sirk turned the project down because he wanted to do a rewrite. (Losey also wanted to rewrite it, but for the same reasons, couldn't.)

You see the same camera work, the child is approached by a man at a candy machine, but he is only seen in the mirror and from the legs down (very menacing); the killer buys balloons for the girls he kills to pacify them and the balloon is seen floating above the power lines once the child has been killed; a child's  ball that she was bouncing a moment before her death comes rolling into the frame and we know, again, a child has been killed.

The kangaroo court held by the mobsters is almost identical to the original as is the search for the killer in a giant commercial building. The motives are the same; the mob wants to get the child killer because he offends even their criminal senses and because they want good publicity from the police, press and public.

There is one very American element to the remake, however, and that's the use of psychotherapy/psychology that was sweeping the nation around this time (and which continues today). Wayne gives a speech explaining his domineering mother's hatred toward the "evil of men, just men" and his need to be punished not only for his deeds but because he is, simply that, a man.

I thought I would hate this remake but I didn't. Although not as startling and striking as the original, there is still a place for this remake I think in the catalog of American cinema. There are very good character actors as well, including Raymond Burr as a gravel-voiced mob enforcer, Howard Da Silva as a chain-smoking homicide detective, Martin Gabel as the crime boss trying to get all the mileage he can out of catching the killer and Luther Adler as an alcoholic criminal attorney who puts up a defense for Wayne and maybe himself simultaneously.

There is also the cinematography of '50s Los Angeles by Ernest Laszlo that serves as another character in the film--it appears to have been filmed on location and it is eye-opening to see this portrait of the City of Angels. Not looking very angelic.

I would have to say I liked this "M" but it is not as good as the original; maybe it isn't trying to be. Like their German roots the film and the filmmakers seem to be searching for something uniquely American.

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Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) - Another in the string of "Gold Diggers" musicals from Warner Brothers/First National, director Lloyd Bacon, and dance choreographer/director Busby Berkeley. A group of showgirls, including Norma (Joan Blondell) and Genevieve (Glenda Farrell), grow tired of struggling with poverty, so they set out to change their circumstances. Norma meets insurance salesman Rosmer Peak (Dick Powell), and he gets her a job at his firm. Genevieve falls in with shady theatrical bookkeeper Morty (Osgood Perkins) who's trying to get out from under the debt of theater owner J.J. Hobart (Victor Moore), and who concocts a plan that brings them into contact with Rosmer and Norma. Also featuring Lee Dixon, Charles D. Brown, Rosalind Marquis, Irene Ware, William B. Davidson, and Carole Landis & Jane Wyman among the chorus girls.

The musical format had started to change in cinema by this point. Whereas previous films had largely kept musical numbers confined to the stage on which they were ostensibly being shown to the "audience" within the film's narrative, now more and more songs were being performed out "in the world", with characters breaking out into song while walking down the street or sitting in a park. Berkeley's only major number comes at the very end, an elaborate fantasia that is supposedly being viewed by a theater audience but actual defies all physics of reality. It's interesting to look at, but isn't terribly inspired. Dixon, who I'm unfamiliar with, gets a couple of tap-dancing showcases, including one on a giant rocking chair seat. I enjoyed Moore, and I always welcome Blondell and Farrell, but the movie is only passable. Berkeley earned an Oscar nomination for Best Dance Direction.  (6/10)

Source: Warner DVD, part of the TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Busby Berkeley Musicals. The disc includes a live-action color short about the Louisiana Purchase (?!?), a Technicolor Merrie Melodies cartoon, another Merrie Melodies cartoon ("Speaking about the Weather") that is preceded by a disclaimer from the disc makers about the racist content (!!!), and two scenes remaining from the lost 1929 Gold Diggers of Broadway.

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