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I Just Watched...

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33 minutes ago, TomJH said:

According to Stan Freberg in the Warner DVD audio track, it was Blanc and Benederet in Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears. He ought to know.

Just watched a short clip of this cartoon on YouTube, and yep, there's no doubt about it for me here, anyway. That's definitely Blanc doing the voice of Papa Bear in this one, alright.

(...I've always been very good at placing the more well-known names to their voice-over work, ya know)

 

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4 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Just watched a short clip of this cartoon on YouTube, and yep, there's no doubt about it for me here, anyway. That's definitely Blanc doing the voice of Papa Bear in this one, alright.

(...I've always been very good at placing the more well-known names to their voice-over work, ya know)

 

But did you ever catch Paul Frees in feature films? That would be a challenge. He did hundreds of voice overs, often when the actor involved may have been ill or sub par, such as Bogart in Harder They Fall.

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3 minutes ago, TomJH said:

But did you ever catch Paul Frees in feature films? That would be a challenge. He did hundreds of voice overs, often when the actor involved may have been ill or sub par, such as Bogart in Harder They Fall.

Yep Tom. In most cases I can pick out a Paul Frees dubbing fairly easily, as I've found there's a subtle but consistent certain tonal quality in almost all his work.

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

Chuck claimed his first "funny" cartoon was 1942's "The Draft Horse", which would have predated 1943's Private Snafu by a year.  So yes, he was just getting the hang of this "comic timing" thing, unlike 1940's "Good Night, Elmer", which has the reputation of being THE unfunniest Warner cartoon ever made.  ("Old Glory" was a PSA and doesn't count.)

 

I find most of those early Chuck Jones cartoons, such as the Sniffles the Mouse efforts, pretty sickly sweet and sentimental. Thank God Jones later found his footing, turning out so many classics later. I tend to think of Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears as when the great Jones cartoons began. I don't recall The Draft Horse.

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15 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Yep Tom. In most cases I can pick out a Paul Frees dubbing fairly easily, as I've found there's a subtle but consistent certain tonal quality in almost all his work.

If you can hear Boris Badenov, Inspector Fenwick AND the narrator of War of the Worlds by ear, you can pick out just about any Paul Frees voice anywhere.  In 50's-60's low-budget American Int'l foreign-film dubbing, the leads were pretty much divided between Paul Frees and Marvin "Robbie the Robot" Miller.

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8 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I find most of those early Chuck Jones cartoons, such as the Sniffles the Mouse efforts, pretty sickly sweet and sentimental. Thank God Jones later found his footing, turning out so many classics later. I tend to think of Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears as when the great Jones cartoons began. I don't recall The Draft Horse.

I've always gotten the idea that it might have been his more zany fellow Termite Terrace coworker Tex Avery who might have contributed to Chuck Jones finding his more comedic side.

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3 minutes ago, Dargo said:

I've always gotten the idea that it might have been his more zany fellow Termite Terrace coworker Tex Avery who might have contributed to Chuck Jones finding his comedic side.

Maybe. But guys like Avery and Bob Clampett turned out great cartoons (Avery particularly at MGM) that were wild, crazy masterpieces, not really Chuck Jones' style. I guess that's the wonderful thing about Termite Terrace, the subtlety to often be found in the best of Jones' work as opposed to the inspired craziness of Clampett with, say, The Big Snooze or The Great Piggy Bank Robbery.

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25 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I tend to think of Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears as when the great Jones cartoons began. I don't recall The Draft Horse.

Obviously doing wartime morale/propaganda jokes bumped Chuck out of his Disney ambitions, and got him back into the Warner business of doing jokes people going to see a Humphrey Bogart or Bette Davis movie would get:

The quick "sloppy" production of wartime toons contributed to the anarchic comedy spirit as well.  At least Chuck credits Draft Horse as the First Funny One, not sure whether that predated "The Dover Boys at Pimento University" or Bugs Bunny and Ala Bahma in 1942's "Case of the Missing Hare".

case-of-the-missing-hare.jpg 

21 minutes ago, Dargo said:

I've always gotten the idea that it might have been his more zany fellow Termite Terrace coworker Tex Avery who might have contributed to Chuck Jones finding his comedic side.

As he tells it, the other animators, Tex and writer Ted Pierce included, were pretty much ALL saying "Be funny, fer crissakes, Chuck, that's what we do!" but it was between '43-'44, when they had to pitch the Snafu cartoons to servicemen who didn't want gags about adorable Disney-clone mice, that it got Chuck in at the deep end of making adult-audience gags for gags' sake.  By '44, you could see his comic timing gel with the wartime-rationing gags in "The Weakly Reporter". 

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The Old Dark House 1932. 

I don't recall who posted that this little gem had been restored, but I absolutely had to have it. After years and years of this film not airing anywhere and having bought a bootleg DVD, I couldn't resist. My bootleg was muddy. I don't know if that's the proper term to use here, but the film I had was pretty much unwatchable. Enter the restored version, and baby, it is GORGEOUS!!!!!! I'm going to check out the process of how and why and when, etc. Haven't had a chance, but man, what a thrill. Thumbs up.

 

Have a potato.

 

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When the idea of "cute little cartoon characters" comes up, and as it did when you earlier said the following Tom... 

"I find most of those early Chuck Jones cartoons, such as the Sniffles the Mouse efforts, pretty sickly sweet and sentimental."

...and the name Tex Avery is then introduced into the conversation, I always think of this following opening scene of Avery's first "Screwball Squirrel" short he made after moving over to the MGM animation lot...

(...now THIS is pure Tex Avery here!)

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Yeh, it's too bad Screwy Squirrel didn't really catch on (about six cartoons, I think). He's a mean little **** but he's fun.

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8 minutes ago, Janet0312 said:

The Old Dark House 1932. 

I don't recall who posted that this little gem had been restored, but I absolutely had to have it. After years and years of this film not airing anywhere and having bought a bootleg DVD, I couldn't resist. My bootleg was muddy. I don't know if that's the proper term to use here, but the film I had was pretty much unwatchable. Enter the restored version, and baby, it is GORGEOUS!!!!!! I'm going to check out the process of how and why and when, etc. Haven't had a chance, but man, what a thrill. Thumbs up.

 

Have a potato.

 

The new restoration from the Cohen Collection is bright and sharp, a real contrast to the dark, muddy KINO release of a few years ago.

 

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4 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Yeh, it's too bad Screwy Squirrel didn't really catch on (about six cartoons, I think). He's a mean little **** but he's fun.

Yeah, I know. Screwy was great!

Btw, it might be just me, but for some reason Screwy always sort of reminded me of Mickey Rooney.

(...did ya ever get that vibe too?)

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Just now, Dargo said:

Yeah, I know. Screwy was great!

Btw, it might me just me, but for some reason Screwy always sort of reminded me of Mickey Rooney.

(...did ya ever get that vibe too?)

Well, they were both obnoxious. :D

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Hold Back the Dawn (1941) - I had seen this movie before and just happened upon it while channel flipping last night.  I know folks don't like to get political here, but with the recent news about DACA and suitable and unsuitable (yes, I'm keeping it clean here) immigrants, this story of war refugees in Mexico waiting to enter the U.S. seemed coincidentally appropriate.   DeHavilland's speech to Boyer on how he would be received in her small town seemed especially moving, as she says of course he would be accepted because everyone is an immigrant, "unless you're Pocahontas" (yes, a dated and politically incorrect reference).  Kind of ironic that the tone and attitude of this film was more compassionate than what is being encountered today; even taking into account the unsavory aspects of two of the main characters, Boyer and Godard (he is a gigolo, and she's an adventuress, and they're both con artists), they are both portrayed with sympathy, despite their very human failings.   And of course, there is the radiant deHavilland, with that beautifully transparent face that reveals every emotion, from her early suspicion of Boyer, to vulnerability, love, and hurt.  She steals the picture handily from Boyer.  I think this film and The Heiress feature her best performances.

Edited by rosebette
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19 minutes ago, rosebette said:

Hold Back the Dawn (1941) - I had seen this movie before and just happened upon it while channel flipping last night.  I know folks don't like to get political here, but with the recent news about DACA and suitable and unsuitable immigrants, this story of war refugees in Mexico waiting to enter the U.S. seemed coincidentally appropriate.   DeHavilland's speech to Boyer on how he would be received in her small town seemed especially moving, as she says of course he would be accepted because everyone is an immigrant, "unless you're Pocahontas" (yes, a dated and politically incorrect reference).  Kind of ironic that the tone and attitude of this film was more compassionate than what is being encountered today; even taking into account the unsavory aspects of two of the main characters, Boyer and Godard (he is a gigolo, and she's an adventuress, and they're both con artists), they are both portrayed with sympathy, despite their very human failings.   And of course, there is the radiant deHavilland, with that beautifully transparent face that reveals every emotion, from her early suspicion of Boyer, to vulnerability, love, and hurt.  She steals the picture handily from Boyer.  I think this film and The Heiress feature her best performances.

I also had seen HBTD but since the NBA game on was a blowout I decided to watch this.  Also,  my wife had never seen it.     Well made film and well deserving of it's 6 academy award nominations.

In the 'showdown' scene where Olivia defends Boyer to the immigration agent,  and later gives her 'we leave a tip just the same' speech (my second favorite Olivia line after 'I have been taught by master' from The Heiress),  I said to my wife;  Olivia should have won the Oscar just for that scene! 

Hey,  her sister Joan was solid in Suspicion,  but not at the level of Olivia in this film.     I have always wondered if Olivia didn't win because this was a loan-out performance and there was no reason for Paramount to promote her and Warner Bros. didn't wish to promote one of their contract stars feature in another studio's film (but Jack if you had given her this type of high quality role,  she might have been nominated for a WB film buddy!).. 

PS:  I'm going to steal this line about Olivia for future use!:   that beautifully transparent face that reveals every emotion.

Also when they are about to sleep in the car in that Mexican town and Boyer looks at Olivia in the rear view mirror,  with her hair down and she is about to fall asleep,,,,   Olivia looked like an angel.    

 

 

 

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The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936) - Historical drama from 20th Century-Fox and director John Ford. Warner Baxter stars as Dr. Samuel Mudd, a country doctor with the misfortune of having treated Abraham Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth (Francis McDonald) for a broken leg without knowing the man's identity or even knowing at the time that Lincoln had been assassinated. Nevertheless, Mudd is arrested along with several other Booth conspirators, and while the others are executed, Mudd is sentenced to life imprisonment at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. While Mudd's wife Peggy (Gloria Stuart) struggles to get him released through legal channels, Mudd battle for survival in an environment that is hostile in more ways than one. Also featuring Harry Carey Sr., John Carradine, O.P. Heggie, Claude Gillingwater, Arthur Byron, Francis Ford, John McGuire, Douglas Wood, Ernest Whitman, Murdock MacQuarrie, Jack Pennick, and Paul Fix.

Baxter is an actor of varying quality to my mind, but here he turns in one of his better performances here, ably portraying the sense of helplessness in the face of an uncaring and unjust society. Carradine also has one of his best early roles as a sadistic prison guard. The film presents an often overlooked footnote in history, and it's worth a look.   (7/10)

Source: Fox Movie Channel.

johncarradine1.jpg

shark+2.jpg

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The Prodigal asks the important question whether Edmund Purdom looks more beautiful bearded or close-shaven. For me it's a toss-up. Lana Turner is never very believable as a priestess of Astarte, but she is also beautiful, and dressed in a more revealing costume than usual. One imdb reviewer headlines his review "Christian Hunk Meets Pagan Babe," which is a good description of the film except that Purdom's character is Jewish rather than Christian, as the movie is set in 70 B.C. In other words, not a great movie but an entertaining one.

Joseph Wiseman plays a creepy character with political overtones, something Wiseman can play exceptionally well, as in Viva Zapata. James Mitchell steals some scenes as a mute servant who is devoted to (maybe in love with?) Purdom, who saved his life, and Mitchell also pairs nicely with Taina Elg. Louis Calhern is, as you would expect, an effective villain, and Audrey Dalton is much more appealing than the usual "nice girl left behind."

Francis L. Sullivan has one of the most fake-looking long white beards I've ever seen, and in the big revolution scene at the end you can literally see actors knocking over scenery that looks like nothing but stage scenery, which isn't what you would expect from MGM.

I enjoyed Lana Turner's run as SOTM and now have a much better picture of her overall career. The one film I wish could have been included is Another Time, Another Place, a WWII drama in which Lana has an adulterous affair with the young Sean Connery. (Lana also had an onscreen romance with another future James Bond, Roger Moore, in Diane.)

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Rose-Marie (1936) - Hit musical that's well-made, even if not to my taste, from MGM and director W.S. Van Dyke. Jeannette MacDonald stars as Marie de Flor, a temperamental opera diva who learns that her brother (James Stewart) is in trouble with law and is hiding out in western Canada. She heads out to help him, which brings her into contact with Sgt. Bruce (Nelson Eddy), a by-the-book Mountie who has been charged with capturing her brother. The two end up traveling together through the rugged wilderness, taking time to fall in love and sing a lot. Also featuring Reginald Owen, Allan Jones, Alan Mowbray, Gilda Gray, George Regas, Robert Greig, Lucien Littlefield,  Una O'Connor, Herman Bing, Halliwell Hobbes, Paul Porcasi, and David Niven (credited as Nivens).

The MacDonald-Eddy musicals were huge hits for MGM, and have continued to be enjoyed by a devoted fanbase, but I just can't get into them. The semi-operatic vocalizations irritate me, and neither Eddy nor MacDonald are very compelling screen presences. On the plus side, the location photography is nice, and Eddy's Mountie training montage and song are amusing (even if not intentionally). I watched this for Stewart, who doesn't appear until 95 minutes in, and is onscreen all of 5 minutes.  (6/10)

Source: TCM.

rosemarie2.jpg

57fbc209c33c6965a2501f7f9693a77a--rose-m

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Sitting on the Moon (1936) - Obscure musical from Republic Pictures and director Ralph Staub. Hollywood songwriter Danny West (Roger Pryor) sets out to rehabilitate the career of actress and singer Polly Blair (Grace Bradley) whose once promising rise to stardom was cut short due to personality clashes with a powerful producer. Also featuring Pert Kelton, William Newell, Henry Kolker, Joyce Compton, Henry Wadsworth, Pierre Watkin, and The Theodores.

This is the second thing I've seen Pryor in, and he has an unpolished realness to his acting that's a bit of a change from the usual Hollywood types. I'm not familiar with Bradley, but she was said to have been a popular star of B musicals during the decade, later marrying William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd. This runs less than an hour. It's not painful, but neither is it memorable.   (5/10)

Source: Mill Creek DVD, part of the 50 Classic Musicals box set.

w25uemimWb64TEpWItbvIPG09Pn.jpg

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Rose-Marie (1936) - Hit musical that's well-made, even if not to my taste, from MGM and director W.S. Van Dyke. Jeannette MacDonald stars as Marie de Flor, a temperamental opera diva who learns that her brother (James Stewart) is in trouble with law and is hiding out in western Canada. She heads out to help him, which brings her into contact with Sgt. Bruce (Nelson Eddy), a by-the-book Mountie who has been charged with capturing her brother. The two end up traveling together through the rugged wilderness, taking time to fall in love and sing a lot. Also featuring Reginald Owen, Allan Jones, Alan Mowbray, Gilda Gray, George Regas, Robert Greig, Lucien Littlefield,  Una O'Connor, Herman Bing, Halliwell Hobbes, Paul Porcasi, and David Niven (credited as Nivens).

The MacDonald-Eddy musicals were huge hits for MGM, and have continued to be enjoyed by a devoted fanbase, but I just can't get into them. The semi-operatic vocalizations irritate me, and neither Eddy nor MacDonald are very compelling screen presences. On the plus side, the location photography is nice, and Eddy's Mountie training montage and song are amusing (even if not intentionally). I watched this for Stewart, who doesn't appear until 95 minutes in, and is onscreen all of 5 minutes.  (6/10)

Source: TCM.

 

 

Rose Marie has my favourite Jeanette MacDonald performance. The film remains most famous for the scene in which she and stiff-as-a-board Mountie Nelson Eddy sing "Indian Love Call" to one another in the Canadian wilds. Hokey as it may be there's still faded charm to this sequence, though this kind of musical operetta is, of course, a matter of taste.

Due to the fact that Rose Marie has more humour than most of the other seven films that MacDonald and Eddy made together (certainly the most successful humour) it is far and away my favourite of their series. Fans of their films are usually torn in choosing the best between this film and Maytime (MacDonad's own favourite, in which Nelson Eddy is missing for large sections of the film, by the way).

But I think the reason this film has, for my money, arguably Jeanette's best work as an actress is because it shows off her flair for bringing humour to a number of her scenes. That shows up early in the film in which she is playing the operetta prima donna, sweet to all outsiders, but striking terror deep in the heart of her underlings with a steely glare and grimace of the mouth.

But the one scene that I particularly enjoy in the film is when MacDonald arrives, penniless, in a rough wilderness Quebec tavern. She needs money and sees the reaction that a hip swinging h o n k y tonk singer gets from the tough crowd who throw coins to her. MacDonald tries to emulate her style but is clearly out of her element, as the crowd turn their collective noses up at her.

The operetta prima donna in so much control at the beginning of the film is now a fish out of water in this wilderness tavern. In addition to Jeanette's amusing attempt to act like a h o n k y tonk singer she also brings a touching vulnerability to her character at this moment.

Dinah-JIMMY-CONLIN-and-JEANETTE-MacDONAL

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Small Town Girl (1936) - Middling romance from MGM and director William Wellman. A lot of people descend upon a small town for a football game, and shopgirl Kay (Janet Gaynor) is fascinated with the newcomers. She impulsively agrees to accompany one such person, Bob (Robert Taylor), on a night of drunken partying. When they wake up the next day, they are married, which proves stressful for Bob since he's already engaged and his upper-crust family won't approve of small town Kay. However, Kay sets about proving everyone wrong about her, and helping Bob to grow up. Also featuring Lewis Stone, Binnie Barnes, Elizabeth Patterson, Andy Devine, James Stewart, Frank Craven, Isabel Jewell, Charley Grapewin, Nella Walker, Robert Greig, Edgar Kennedy, and Willie Fung.

Gaynor, at 30, seemed a little too old for her role. She's also a little too precious for my tastes, and Taylor, who I'm not a fan of, is tiresome and unlikable. You know he'll turn out good, though, since he looks like Robert Taylor. This is another movie I watched for Jimmy Stewart, and he wasn't in this one much either, playing the small town guy Gaynor would most likely have ended up with if rich drunk city-boy Taylor hadn't ruined things for him.  (6/10)

Source: TCM.

Taylor drunkenly leers at Gaynor's ear.

SmallTownGirl1936.1170_120420130121.jpg

At this point in his career, Jimmy's just too small to win Janet from the likes of Bob.

smalltowngirl36_ihavaprettyneck_vd_188x1

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Sitting on the Moon (1936) - Obscure musical from Republic Pictures and director Ralph Staub. Hollywood songwriter Danny West (Roger Pryor) sets out to rehabilitate the career of actress and singer Polly Blair (Grace Bradley) whose once promising rise to stardom was cut short due to personality clashes with a powerful producer. Also featuring Pert Kelton, William Newell, Henry Kolker, Joyce Compton, Henry Wadsworth, Pierre Watkin, and The Theodores.

 

w25uemimWb64TEpWItbvIPG09Pn.jpg

Lawrence, does Pert Kelton have much to do in this film? She's a delight in Bed of Roses, and I'd like to see her in another good role.

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6 minutes ago, kingrat said:

Lawrence, does Pert Kelton have much to do in this film? She's a delight in Bed of Roses, and I'd like to see her in another good role.

She's the wisecracking best friend to Grace Bradley. She has a few good lines, delivered well.

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