speedracer5

I Just Watched...

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I just watched The Stranger last night. Damned if I could find any gay subtext, except for maybe those college boys chasing each other in the woods.

 

It can be found in EVERY movie. Just ask a homosexual person, he'll tell you.

 

We see what we wanna see, and we hear what we wanna hear - to paraphrase Harry Nilsson in 'The Point'.

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John Frankenheimer's Seven Days in May (1964) with Fredric March, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Ava Gardner for about the fifth time.  March is great and Gardner is really good in it too.  And Kirk is very effectively reigned in.  Just wonderful.

 

I agree with that other recent poster that one can see parallels in this film with things occurring today.  But as I don't wish for this thread to be moved as the other one was I'll keep those thoughts to myself.

 

But I did read that JFK was a fan of the book.  And that the authors based the Lancaster character on the then head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Curtis LeMay.  He was the one trying to push Kennedy into a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Russians in the Cuban Missile Crisis and even quoted the "10 to 20 million" American casualty figures as an acceptable loss!  Right out of Buck Turgidson's mouth!!!!   

 

Anyway, if you love political intrigue this film is very good.  Great dialogue by Rod Serling.  Boy that guy could churn out top notch stuff, couldn't he?

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As I stated in my "waste of DVR space" thread, I was going to watch Days of Wine and Roses.  I am happy to say that this film was NOT a waste of space.  It was a very good, albeit very sad, movie. 

 

I had never seen this side of Jack Lemmon before.  He was a very gifted and versatile performer.  The only other Lee Remick film I had seen was her role in A Face in the Crowd where she played Andy Griffith's teen bride.  She was very good and very tragic in 'Days.' 

 

In this film, Lemmon, an alcoholic, meets the very sober Remick in a bank (or a store? I don't remember).  He ends up taking her out on a date and asks if she wants a drink.  Remick states that she would rather eat chocolate than drink.  Lemmon tells her he has just the drink for her and mixes her up a Brandy Alexander that contains creme de cacao--basically making Remick a chocolate flavored cocktail.  This is the beginning of the end for Remick.

 

Lemmon and Remick fall in love and marry.  They spend their days drinking and drinking.  Lemmon's alcoholism spirals out of control and he ends up being demoted and is sent away on business.  Bored, Remick's alcoholism gets worse as she fills her empty time drinking.  Lemmon is later fired due to his alcoholism and spends the next few years drifting from job to job.  

 

Lemmon and Remick realize that they have a problem and try to sober up together.  For awhile, they are sober and working together in Remick's father's landscaping business.  That all ends later however, when Lemmon ends up destroying Remick's father's greenhouse looking for stashed booze.  The scene of Lemmon crawling around on the ground in the rain is particularly sad and pathetic and shows just how bad he and Remick's problem has gotten.  Lemmon ends up joining AA in an effort to sober up.  Jack Klugman plays Lemmon's sponsor. 

 

Lemmon appeals to Remick to join AA with him, but she won't.  She doesn't feel she has a problem and feels that she can handle it herself when she wants to.  Her father later tells Lemmon that his daughter has started disappearing for long stretches of time and is even picking up strangers in bars. 

 

The most bittersweet moment of the film is at the very end.  SPOILER ALERT!! Remick returns to the apartment she shares (or shared) with Lemmon and appeals to him to make things the way they were.  Lemmon says that he doesn't want things the way they were, he wants to be sober.  Remick states that she likes her life better when she's drinking than when she's not.  Lemmon is essentially forced to choose between his sobriety and being with her.  He lets her go and Remick walks out the door, leaving her daughter and husband behind.  Their daughter, seeing her mom leaving asks her father: "Will mommy ever get well?" Lemmon responds "I did, didn't I?" He looks out the window to watch Remick walk down the street--right toward a lit neon "Bar" sign. 

 

This film was so tragic and so sad, but it was also very compelling.  Lemmon and Remick did an excellent job portraying two alcoholics and I liked that the film ended on a somewhat uncertain note.  It seems that Lemmon will be okay, but what will become of Remick? Based on her actions in the film, things don't look rosy for her. 

 

I think I liked this film better than The Lost Weekend.  Perhaps because it was made in the early 60s versus the mid 40s, the film had a bit of a gritty aesthetic to it that I think really enhanced the film. 

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Klugman is excellent in this film. Growing up, I was familiar with a lot of his early tv work (Twilight Zone, for instance) and never thought much of him. But when I finally got around to seeing some of his film work, it was a real eye-opener.

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I knew you'd like it, speedy.

But yeah, hard to watch. It's tragic in the classic, original sense of the word -ie, two intelligent likable people with a lot going for them (including their love for each other) fall about as low as you can go, through their own weakness.

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Klugman is excellent in this film. Growing up, I was familiar with a lot of his early tv work (Twilight Zone, for instance) and never thought much of him. But when I finally got around to seeing some of his film work, it was a real eye-opener.

I grew up watching him on Nick-at-Nite and only really knew of him as Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple

 

I agree that he was really good as Lemmon's sponsor in this film.  His character was the most positive person in Lemmon's life and unfortunately also had to be the one to encourage Lemmon to stay away from his wife if she is going to continue to drink.  He tried to get his wife to quit drinking earlier in the film and ended up drinking himself.  Klugman's character had to be the bad guy in that Remick was basically left by the wayside (even though, obviously only she could help herself) and Lemmon was the one who he encouraged to stay away from his alcoholic wife in order to maintain his own sobriety.

 

I also really liked Klugman in 12 Angry Men

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I also really liked Klugman in 12 Angry Men

Everyone in that cast was great.

I just learned recently that one of my mother's relatives used to cut Jack Klugman's hair ... that is, when he had hair.

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Everyone in that cast was great.

I just learned recently that one of my mother's relatives used to cut Jack Klugman's hair ... that is, when he had hair.

Wow! That's really cool!

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I think one of the most difficult scenes in DOWAR is when the two of them are going straight, working in the greenhouse, they're doing ok, and then for some reason Lemmon decides to "celebrate" with a drink.

When an addicted person is starting to make it - go back to some semblance of normal life - and then they slip again, it's harder than if they hadn't tried in the first place/

 

About the ending: I always wondered why Lee Remick not only felt she couldn't become sober, she didn't even want to try. It's the not even wanting to try that saddens and puzzles me every time I see this film.

In pretty much the final scene, she tells Lemmon, "I don't want to be sober. Everything looks so dirty that way." (Not a word for word quote, but something like that.)

 

It's because "everything looks so dirty" to her when she's sober that she has no will to try. How come things look that way to her? She even has a little girl. A lot of people would be motivated to try if they had a young daughter like that.

I'm not "judging" the character, I just have trouble understanding why she has no desire to change.

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I think one of the most difficult scenes in DOWAR is when the two of them are going straight, working in the greenhouse, they're doing ok, and then for some reason Lemmon decides to "celebrate" with a drink.

When an addicted person is starting to make it - go back to some semblance of normal life - and then they slip again, it's harder than if they hadn't tried in the first place/

 

About the ending: I always wondered why Lee Remick not only felt she couldn't become sober, she didn't even want to try. It's the not even wanting to try that saddens and puzzles me every time I see this film.

In pretty much the final scene, she tells Lemmon, "I don't want to be sober. Everything looks so dirty that way." (Not a word for word quote, but something like that.)

 

It's because "everything looks so dirty" to her when she's sober that she has no will to try. How come things look that way to her? She even has a little girl. A lot of people would be motivated to try if they had a young daughter like that.

I'm not "judging" the character, I just have trouble understanding why she has no desire to change.

Their first relapse was very sad to watch.  I also found it sad when Lemmon, attempting to be sober again, visits Remick who is trashed.  She pleads with him to drink with her.  He tries to refuse but ultimately ends up drinking.  I think that's when he ends up stealing the bottle from the liquor store.

 

Remick's refusal to go straight I thought was very sad and very confusing.  For someone to go from not drinking at all at the beginning of the film, to wanting to be drunk all the time at the end was very difficult to understand.  She's obviously a bit selfish to put her drinking ahead of her daughter.  Although, maybe she figured since Lemmon was clean, he'd take care of Debbie? All I could figure from the ending is that Remick wasn't ready to be sober.  Lemmon no longer wanted to drink with her, so she left to seek out someone who does.

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I just have trouble understanding why she has no desire to change.

 

No desire to give up the medicine that makes her feel better?

 

Whoopi Goldberg has said, "if this is America, why the hell would I want to stay straight?"

 

Of course, Whoopi hasn't had the privilege of being pretty and white. But pain knows no specific size or colour.

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I think one of the most difficult scenes in DOWAR is when the two of them are going straight, working in the greenhouse, they're doing ok, and then for some reason Lemmon decides to "celebrate" with a drink.

 

 

As I mentioned in another thread the scene where Jack Lemmon searches  for the bottle he's hidden in one of the pots is very powerful and very sad.

 

This is a movie that I don't want to see again because it reminds me too much of people I've known who've suffered from addictions.  

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No desire to give up the medicine that makes her feel better?

 

Whoopi Goldberg has said, "if this is America, why the hell would I want to stay straight?"

 

Of course, Whoopi hasn't had the privilege of being pretty and white. But pain knows no specific size or colour.

 

But she had no pain until she became an alcoholic. Some people develop addictions (whether it's alcohol, cocaine, or some other form of self-administered emotional anesthetic) because they're in pain in the first place.

Kirsten was fine until she fell down the alcoholic rabbit hole. She didn't suffer from depression or anything like that.

 

And she had a lot of reasons to want to get sober: She was still young  (and pretty), she still had a long life ahead of her; she had a life partner who loved her and was ready and willing to help her through the difficult task of withdrawal; she had a young daughter.

 

The only reason she felt pain was because she was an alcoholic, and couldn't stand the knowledge of this when she was sober. So she made sure she never was.

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But she had no pain until she became an alcoholic.......Kirsten was fine until she fell down the alcoholic rabbit hole. She didn't suffer from depression or anything like that.

 

If that rather enormous assumption is correct, you may have a point.

 

It doesn't seem to apply to the alcoholics I've known, seemingly happy as teens though they may have appeared to the casual observer.

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If that rather enormous assumption is correct, you may have a point.

 

It doesn't seem to apply to the alcoholics I've known, seemingly happy as teens though they may have appeared to the casual observer.

 

Hmm, db, I'm not sure if you mean my "enormous assumption" is that the Lee Remick character was "happy" before becoming an alcoholic, or  that most people who become alcoholics already have some kind of pain, which they try to mask by drinking.

 

I just meant, going by the information the film gives us (which is all we can go by), Kirsten was a fairly happy young woman before she succombed to her drinking problem. So, if she could become clean again, she'd have a relatively nice life to return to (as I said, she was still quite young, she had a husband who loved and supported her, and a child who wanted her mother back.)

 

I understand why she would be afraid to take on the enormous challenge of trying to overcome her addiction. What I don't understand is why, with so many reasons to do so (try), she didn't even want to.

 

Not being an expert on the subject of addiction ( I have a very close friend who's a life-long alcoholic, but that hardly qualifies me), I cannot really address the other  "assumption": that is, that people who develop an addiction problem are in some way unhappy already, even before they become addicted. Perhaps there are many who, like Kirsten in TDOWAR, are happy enough before the drinking takes over.

But what I'm talking about is not the tremendous difficulty of overcoming the alcohol addiction;  what I'm talking about is not even having the desire to attempt it. The Remick character had a lot of reasons to have the will to try, even if it was going to be an intimidatingly hard thing to do.

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You said you didn't understand why she didn't want to change. I was just offering a thought. Such a highly dramatic representation of this 117 minute story may not have completely explored her condition prior to meeting Jack.

 

If she took to booze that strongly, it must have played a pretty large part in soothing something inside.

 

what I'm talking about is not even having the desire to attempt it.

 

It's pretty clear to me that she believes she's in much less pain when she's drunk than she'll be if she goes back to being sober.

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You said you didn't understand why she didn't want to change. I was just offering a thought. Such a highly dramatic representation of this 117 minute story may not have completely explored her condition prior to meeting Jack.

 

If she took to booze that strongly, it must have played a pretty large part in soothing something inside.

 

Right at the beginning of the story, the film makes a big point of showing that Kirsten has a weakness for chocolate. She loves chocolate. There's some scene where she tells Joe that she can never resist the stuff.

Addictive personalities can manifest themselves in different ways. I think it's a hint to the audience of things to come with Remick's character, when there's such attention made to her love for chocolate.

I dunno, just a theory that might explain how she fell so hard and fast. Chocolate, relatively harmless; alcohol, no.

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I added one more point to my post below.

 

She was using chocolate to fill that unhappy hole in her chest.

 

She found that booze worked MUCH better. It was the answer - thank you, Jack - and hallelujah.

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I agree with the chocolate theory.  I think Remick already had an addictive personality.  She made the big deal about loving chocolate so much--so when Lemmon makes her the Brandy Alexander, with the chocolate flavored liqueur, that was the beginning of the end for her.  Yes it was kind of a girly drink, but it was the gateway drink that started her boozing.  Lemmon only made her the chocolate drink to get her to drink with him.  Once Remick realized how much she loved the feeling that an alcohol buzz gave her, the more she wanted to maintain it.  

 

I believe that's why at the end of the film, she wasn't ready to join Lemmon in his sobriety.  Lemmon was ready to be sober, because he realized that alcohol was making him unhappy not happy.  Remick on the other hand, was in the opposite camp and only wanted to live in the alcohol induced haze.  I have to believe that she had other emotional issues going on that she first soothed with chocolate and later with alcohol.  I don't think the film really delves into that very much.   

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I understand why she would be afraid to take on the enormous challenge of trying to overcome her addiction. What I don't understand is why, with so many reasons to do so (try), she didn't even want to.

 

 

Great question.  I had such a conversation with a female friend with the same addiction.  She has two kids.  I don't think she can explain it either.  Quitting is in the back of her mind, but 'back' is the operative word.  Sadly it is destroying her life and all of her friendships but she is in denial.

 

If you have been effected by a suicide by someone close you may know that there will never be satisfactory answers as to why the person chooses such a final solution.

 

Life is strange.

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Bedtime For Bonzo (1951) followed by Bonzo Goes to College (1952).  Both films directed by Frederick de Cordova, The Tonight Show producer.

 

What amused me as a six-year-old I now found to be quite dreadful.  Bonzo Goes to College is perhaps slightly better than the original only because it is that much more ridiculous and has better actors in it.  Sorry, Mr. President.

 

College featured Irene Ryan (Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies) and a young David Janssen in bit parts.  Maureen O'Sullivan must have been pretty fed up with working with monkeys at this point.  Edmund Gwenn tries his very best to elevate the film as is usual.

The kidnapping of Bonzo to keep him out of the big football game is reminiscent of Horse Feathers.

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College featured Irene Ryan (Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies) and a young David Janssen in bit parts.  Maureen O'Sullivan must have been pretty fed up with working with monkeys at this point.  Edmund Gwenn tries his very best to elevate the film as is usual.

The kidnapping of Bonzo to keep him out of the big football game is reminiscent of Horse Feathers.

 

I'd be curious to see Irene Ryan in a non-Granny role.

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I just watched The Front Page a 1974 Billy Wilder film starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.  This film was hilarious.  It was almost like Matthau and Lemmon's characters in Grumpy Old Men but younger.  I loved the 1920s setting (I find the 1920s a fascinating time in American history) and the cast of characters.  I especially loved Carol Burnett as the prostitute and Susan Sarandon as Lemmon's poor fiancee.  This was a great movie, a good pick from Netflix. 

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I just watched The Front Page a 1974 Billy Wilder film starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.  This film was hilarious.  It was almost like Matthau and Lemmon's characters in Grumpy Old Men but younger.  I loved the 1920s setting (I find the 1920s a fascinating time in American history) and the cast of characters.  I especially loved Carol Burnett as the prostitute and Susan Sarandon as Lemmon's poor fiancee.  This was a great movie, a good pick from Netflix. 

 

The source material for THE FRONT PAGE was also the basis of HIS GIRL FRIDAY, but in HIS GIRL FRIDAY the character of Hildy Johnson became a female.

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The source material for THE FRONT PAGE was also the basis of HIS GIRL FRIDAY, but in HIS GIRL FRIDAY the character of Hildy Johnson became a female.

I thought that Jack Lemmon's character name sounded familiar-- I just couldn't place it.  I thought it was a strange name for a man, but figured it was some kind of nickname or something.

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