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I Just Watched...

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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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I know it's kind of corny but I love the "Indian Love Call" number from Rose Marie.  I can't help it; I find it romantic and sweet.  

I just watched Inferno on TCM.  Taut thriller that is part western, part adventure story with noir elements even though it takes place in the desert sun and heat.  Robert Ryan is excellent, as always, as the cuckold husband left to die in the desert by his wife and her boyfriend.  Can he survive with a broken leg and hardly any food and water?  I especially liked the ending.  Rhonda Fleming looks good in her western/desert wardrobe as well as her glamorous gowns when she's in her mansion and the mandatory swimsuit scene at a pool.  A girl has to look good when she's pretending to care about her missing husband, right?  ;)

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14 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936) - Historical drama from 20th Century-Fox and director John Ford.

I'm a big fan of this film. I think it is one of John Ford's unsung masterpieces, typical of the director's artistry.

 

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19 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Prisoner of Shark Island

johncarradine1.jpg

 

I don't think Warner Baxter ever had a finer moment as an actor than in his portrayal of the innocent man railroaded by a political fervour for vengeance in Prisoner of Shark Island. For those who may be taken aback by the pure ham of his Oscar portrayal in In Old Arizona, take a look at the decency he brings to the role of Dr. Mudd, along with the anguish in his portrayal.

Shark.jpg

By the way, historians are divided as to whether the doctor, a slave owner, was the victim of circumstances that he is presented to be in this John Ford drama. I'll tell you one thing about the man. He was a potent devil, fathering four children before his imprisonment and five others following his release.

By the way, according to Wiki, Mudd was imprisoned in Fort Jefferson, in the Dry Tortugas, 70 miles off Key West, Florida. Fort Jefferson was never called Shark Island, but I can forgive the screenwriters for their dramatic license taken here. After all, who would get excited by a film with the title The Prisoner of Fort Jefferson?

160px-SamuelMudd.jpeg

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I was impressed that TCM showed a triple-header (basically) of premieres Friday night/Saturday morning.  I caught bits and pieces of "Man In The Wilderness", which is a great testament to one's individual fortitude.  I got wrapped up in watching basketball while this aired, so I'll try and catch it on TCM Movies On Demand.

I started watching "Inferno", and sure enough, I dozed off 30 minutes into it! :angry:  I'll have to catch that one via computer too.

I woke up mid-way through "Robinson Crusoe" and decided to pull a 'half-nighter' and watch "Into The Wild", which I had never seen before.  The cinematography on the movie was excellent, but the movie was two and a half hours long, which I find to be tedious unless there's plenty of action or dialog to hold my interest.  The acting was very good, and I thought it did a good job of providing an insight to Chris McCandless' psyche.  Overall though, the movie was a bit of a downer.  Many people can relate to the theme that you don't need money or excessive wealth to be happy, and this film effectively showed this.  Still, it was sad that the main character "checked out" of society at such a young age.  I'm not sure if Chris was ultimately satisfied with what he set out to do.  It's one of the great mysteries movies such as this leaves for the viewer.

In a sense, he turned out to be selfish, whether it was intended or not, because he didn't give himself the chance to do as much good for as many people as possible.  At least, that's my take on his life.  Now, we have to be a little selfish in life with regards to living.  If we don't take adequate care of ourselves, how can we be of service to those who might need us when called upon?  On the other hand, "Into The Wild" is a classic example of one of my favorite sayings; "I never seem to have what I want, but I always seem to have what I need.".  I give ITW a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

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On 1/12/2018 at 12:46 PM, Janet0312 said:

If you liked this cartoon, watch A Bear for Punishment.

Mama Bear turned out to be a natural stage performer in this one. Getta load of these moves . . .

 

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The Story of a Cheat (1936) - Sly, ahead-of-its-time French comedy from writer-director Sacha Guitry. The plot follows the life of an unnamed protagonist who suffers a terrible tragedy in his childhood that sets him along a path in life in which he believes he who cheats avoids getting cheated. Guitry also stars as the adult version of our "hero" a one-time bellboy in a posh hotel who eventually becomes a croupier in Monte Carlo before dabbling in thievery and cheating in casinos under a variety of disguises. Also featuring Marguerite Moreno, Jacqueline Delubac, Roger Duchesne, Rosine Derean, Elmire Vautier, and Serge Grave.

Things get off to a unique start as Guitry introduces the rest of the cast and the crew, not with written credits, but by showing them at work behind-the-scenes or hanging around the sets, with Guitry's voice identifying them. The most unusual thing about this movie is its narrative style. The story is told by the elder version of the protagonist writing his memoirs at an outdoor cafe, and the action occasionally stops for short vignettes at the cafe that interrupt his writing. But for the vast majority of the film, there is little to no spoken dialogue from the characters, but rather everything is narrated in voice-over by Guitry. What seems like a possible annoyance is actually quite charming, no doubt aided by Guitry's pleasant voice. The action moves quickly, and the camerawork is vibrant. Many notable directors have named Guitry as one of their favorites and as an inspiration to their own works, including Orson Welles, Robert Bresson, and Francois Truffaut. I would even add the more recent Wes Anderson, whose work is obviously, if perhaps indirectly, influenced by Guitry's style. This is one of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Recommended.  (8/10)

Source: TCM.

d589290972eb9dd28727b2d77e66cbe7--the-st

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