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I Just Watched...

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Bullets for O'Hara (1941) - Exceedingly mediocre crime drama from Warner Brothers and director William K. Howard. O'Hara (Roger Pryor) is a detective in the Miami police department. His latest case involves tracking down notorious jewel thief Tony Van Dyne (Anthony Quinn). To facilitate his latest brazen robbery, Van Dyne had seduced and married nice girl Patricia (Joan Perry), who he used to get close to his wealthy targets. After Patricia is arrested by police for being an accessory, O'Hara comes up with the "genius" plan of marrying Patricia in a very public wedding in order to make Tony jealous and bring him out of hiding. Also featuring Dick Purcell, Maris Wrixon, Richard Ainley, William Hopper, and Hobart Bosworth.

This B-movie quickie runs less than 50 minutes. It would have made for a forgettable episode of 50's television. The goofy plan (which works, of course) is only one of several dubious moments, and judging by his work here, Detective O'Hara isn't exactly a gifted lawman. There's an unintentionally hilarious moment late in the film where the people being held at gunpoint keep switching: first O'Hara has Tony at gunpoint, then Tony's man shows up and turns the table, then one of O'Hara's pals, then another of Tony's arrives, etc. etc., so that the gunbarrels switch direction at least 5 times. Top-billed Joan Perry would marry Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn this same year.   (5/10)

Source: TCM.

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I just watched Nicolas Cage as Peter Loew in "Vampire's Kiss" from 1988.
 

There are really no words to describe this movie. Truly bizarre, with awful acting and yet, well I kind of enjoyed it.

Cage's performance is indescribable. Way beyond even anything Ed Wood could have dreamed up. 

I had to laugh, since someone on the IMDB listing asked the burning question "Why didn't anyone notice Peter's strange behaviour and report it?" As if this off the wall movie should be taken seriously.

Ahem! I do think it would make a nice companion film to "Secretary" from 2002 with James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, since both films have a rather tortuous relationship between boss and female employee.

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Caught in the Draft (1941) - Pre-war military recruitment ad/comedy from Paramount Pictures and director David Butler. Bob Hope stars as cowardly movie star Don Bolton. When he reads that the government is going to increase the military draft age to include 21-to-35 year olds, he panics at the prospect of being conscripted. He comes up with the idea of getting married, which at the time removed him from draft eligibility, and so he woos army brat Antoinette (Dorothy Lamour). In his haste to get her to marry him, he inadvertently signs up for the Army anyway. He and his pals (Eddie Bracken and Lynne Overman), who join up as well, try to survive basic training. Also featuring Clarence Kolb, Paul Hurst, Ferike Boros, Phyllis Ruth, Irving Bacon, Marie Blake, and Edgar Dearing. 

This agreeable-though-not-groundbreaking comedy ended up being one of the biggest hits of 1941. Hope is fun as the weasly Bolton, and Eddie Bracken is fun as his young assistant. Dorothy Lamour is beautiful, and when her character is first spotted by Hope's, he remarks, "She looks like Dorothy Lamour with clothes on." She has a few lines that were directed at the audience as much as Hope's character about how the military needs soldiers even during peacetime, since no one knows how long that peace will last. The movie premiered about five months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.   (7/10)

Source: Universal DVD.

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10 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Lorna & Eric....you can watch ALL those things free with an Amazon Firestick. (although Google is just as evil as Amazon, they are smaller players in the field)

There is a station (Pluto) that streams an MST3K channel and a RIFFTRAX channel 24/7. I can find any old TV show complete series episodes like STAR TREK or SHAMELESS via Terrarium TV. I even queue up Yoga practices.
FINALLY. Al la carte TV!

No, I'm talking about watching movies that AREN'T public-domain or MGM/UA.  (As opposed to the Nth daily showing of "1984" on PlutoTV, along with the public-domain Popeye cartoons on the kids' channel.)

And thank you for bringing up the "Frog in the kettle" illustration of streaming fans still so starry-eyed in love with the generational techno-symbolic idea that they can stream--and thumb their noses at cable companies--they're not aware that there's increasingly less and less TO stream.

("Whaddya mean, 'less'?...Look at all the new series Netflix is making!"  :lol: )

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Dangerously They Live (1941) - Routine B-movie spy thriller from Warner Brothers and director Robert Florey. When a beautiful young woman named Jane (Nancy Coleman) is in a car crash, she's seemingly left with amnesia. Doctor Michael Lewis (John Garfield) is intrigued by her case, particularly when she confides in him that the man claiming to be her concerned father is actually part of a Nazi spy ring out to glean information from her, as she's secretly a British intelligence officer. Noted neurologist Dr. Ingersoll (Raymond Massey) takes charge of the case and has her transferred to his private sanitarium, and Dr. Lewis goes along to monitor her progress, only to learn that she may have been telling the truth. Also featuring Lee Patrick, Moroni Olsen, Esther Dale, John Ridgely, Christian Rub, Frank Reicher, Ben Welden, Cliff Clark, and Roland Drew.

This mild thriller had promise but it falls apart about halfway through and just loses steam. Garfield plays his doctor hero as more even tempered than many movie heroes, and that adds something unusual to the fairly routine story. There's one surprisingly violent torture scene that stood out. I'm not too familiar with Coleman, although looking over her credit list, I've seen her in a few things before. Her fragility helps sell her role here.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

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Mildred Pierce (1945)

----Well known because Joan got the Award but my takeaway is that it is one of the most ludicrously improbable narratives ever. It's a good thing to exercise discretion in criticizing old Hollywood. Many film are fraught with problems when trying to square them with realities that we base on common sense and general credibility, and consequently to lay into them too heavy-handedly is like kicking a dead horse. More consideration should be given with genre pieces as they have their own conventions. Suspension of disbelief exercised to the fullest is imperative in many cases. All of this to no avail with a story that piles one grossly improbability upon the other to the point of distraction. It makes it difficult to assess the performances because the world in which they move is so contrived. The one truly interesting thing is that we have a most unlikely femme fatale. And how many closeups do we get of Joan's face with the shadow falling diagonally over her brow and forehead? In itself, this shouldn't be a problem but it loses its value being in such bad company, i.e., practically everything else that's going on. Even Eve Arden can't save it.

*

(our of 4)

 

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1 hour ago, laffite said:

 

 

Mildred Pierce (1945)

 

----Well known because Joan got the Award but my takeaway is that it is one of the most ludicrously improbable narratives ever. It's a good thing to exercise discretion in criticizing old Hollywood. Many film are fraught with problems when trying to square them with realities that we base on common sense and general credibility, and consequently to lay into them too heavy-handedly is like kicking a dead horse. More consideration should be given with genre pieces as they have their own conventions. Suspension of disbelief exercised to the fullest is imperative in many cases. All of this to no avail with a story that piles one grossly improbability upon the other to the point of distraction. It makes it difficult to assess the performances because the world in which they move is so contrived. The one truly interesting thing is that we have a most unlikely femme fatale. And how many closeups do we get of Joan's face with the shadow falling diagonally over her brow and forehead? In itself, this shouldn't be a problem but it loses its value being in such bad company, i.e., practically everything else that's going on. Even Eve Arden can't save it.

 

 

 

 

*

 

(our of 4)

 

 

 

Too bad, I happen to love MILDRED PIERCE. I think Joan earned her Oscar, and Ann Blyth is wonderfully nasty as Veda, the daughter-from-hell. And I definitely can't agree about Eve Arden, she was definitely one of the best things about the movie.

Having said that, you might like the HBO remake of MILDRED PIERCE a bit more. It sticks a lot closer to the novel than the 1945 film does and I happen to think Kate Winslet does a great job in the role, she was able to fill Joan's shoes (not an easy feat). 

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7 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Having said that, you might like the HBO remake of MILDRED PIERCE a bit more. It sticks a lot closer to the novel than the 1945 film does and I happen to think Kate Winslet does a great job in the role, she was able to fill Joan's shoes (not an easy feat). 

I thought the HBO remake was far superior to the film. Of course, it had much more time to "stick closer to the novel".

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13 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Too bad, I happen to love MILDRED PIERCE. I think Joan earned her Oscar, and Ann Blyth is wonderfully nasty as Veda, the daughter-from-hell. And I definitely can't agree about Eve Arden, she was definitely one of the best things about the movie.

Having said that, you might like the HBO remake of MILDRED PIERCE a bit more. It sticks a lot closer to the novel than the 1945 film does and I happen to think Kate Winslet does a great job in the role, she was able to fill Joan's shoes (not an easy feat). 

We agree on Eve Arden.

I saw the HBO version some time ago and remember being thrilled by the first two episodes. Then with the last three episodes the whole thing just fell apart for me. A terrible fall. The overall details are no longer green so I can't say what went wrong, but it sure did. And in the same vein as what I said of Eve Arden above, the wonderful Kate Winslet, one of the most near-perfect actors we have IMO, couldn't save it.

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Or course, Bob Hope would have been 37 when he made Caught in the Draft, so he wouldn't have been draft-eligible anyway.

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Dead Men Tell (1941) - Charlie Chan mystery from 20th Century-Fox and director Harry Lachman. A number of people have gathered on an old sailing ship in preparation for a voyage to hunt for buried pirate treasure on a remote island. When one of the party ends up murdered, Chan (Sidney Toler) is on the case. Also featuring Victor Sen Yung, Sheila Ryan, Robert Weldon, Donald Douglas, Kay Aldridge, Paul McGrath, Truman Bradley, Ethel Griffies, Lenita Lane, Milton Parsons, and George Reeves.

This hit most of the usual marks for a mid-period Chan feature. The distinguishing characteristics include the unusual setting, with the various cramped cabins and compartments of the ship adding some claustrophobic menace, although the promise of a treasure hunt on a tropical isle is never followed through with, since the ship never leaves the dock. Milton Parsons is a hoot as mentally unbalanced party member with a number of neuroses and a creepy demeanor, and George Reeves is far from Superman as a mustachioed miscreant.  (7/10)

Source: Fox DVD.

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Charlie Chan in Rio (1941) - Penultimate Charlie Chan mystery from 20th Century Fox, and director Harry Lachman. Chan (Sidney Toler), along with son Jimmy (Victor Sen Yung) and local police chief Soto (Harold Huber), is in Rio de Janeiro, on the hunt for a murderess who fled Honolulu. They think she may be local nightclub singer Lola Dean (Jacqueline Dalya), but when Lola is murdered, the case changes course. Also featuring Victor Jory, Kay Linaker, Mary Beth Hughes, Ted North, Cobina Wright, Truman Bradley, Iris Wong, and Richard Derr in his debut.

This is actually a remake of The Black Camel (1931), the second film in the Chan series. It worked better back then, as this is one of the weaker entries, with mostly unmemorable characters in a bland setting (despite the exotic titles, most of the film takes place inside a large house). It's not a complete bust, as I enjoyed Jimmy's flirtations with housekeeper Iris Wong, and Victor Jory's role as a "Hindu psychic" who uses caffeine and a "secret herb" to induce hypnotic trances in people. The film's final moments announce that 

 Jimmy's been drafted by the Army.  (6/10)

Source: Fox DVD.

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High Wide And Handsome (1937)

A lot of talent was involved in this big budget musical with a western theme of the greed of big business versus small oil men (ironic now, of course, that oil men represent the "little guys" in this film).

Rouben Mamoulian directs with style, with music by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. With Irene Dunne in the lead this film may well have had the big budget musical ambitions of the previous year's Show Boat. Yet the final results are disappointingly uneven.

The film certainly starts well, with Dunne as the singing/dancing daughter of Raymond Walburn, a medicine show con man trying to sell the yokels of a small Pennsylvania town the wondrous contents of his "miracle" bottles (the contents come free, he just wants money for the bottles). Their wagon catches on fire, though, and they stay temporarily in the home of ambitious young would-be oil man Randolph Scott and his grandmother (played by Elizabeth Patterson).

So far, so good. Dunne is vivacious and charming, really at the height of her career, this film being made the same year as The Awful Truth. Scott is serviceable as the predictable love interest, and Patterson is amusing, as always, as soft hearted Granny.

But the Kern-Hammerstein score, while pleasant, lacks distinction. There are certainly no songs in the film to even remotely compare to "Let's Make Believe" or "Old Man River" in Show Boat. And in the second half of the film Dunne's character plays a minor role as a tale of small oil men battling the big business of railroad tycoons (personified by a smooth, constantly smiling Alan Hale) takes over the story line. It's all a bit predictable and corny.

Still, the supporting cast is an interesting one, including Dorothy Lamour in a non-exotic part as a shanty boat singer, William Frawley as a fake Indian in the medicine show (you read that right, folks, William Frawley as a fake Indian!), Charles Bickford as a big mouth ruffian and Akim Tamiroff in a small but colourful role as a saloon owner.

SPOILER ALERT: The film has a big brawl at the end between the small oil men trying to lay down pipes for their oil and goons from the railroad. Coming to the oil men's rescue is, ready for this, not the cavalry but the circus (!) with Irene Dunne on horseback leading the charge, which includes strong men, midgets and elephants (how the elephants know the good guys from the bad I don't quite understand, but they do!).

Preposterous as this ending may sound it is still rather weirdly entertaining.

highwidehandsome.jpg

2.5 out of 4

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In re: MILDRED PIERCE

1. Aye lühv eet

2. This, of course is in spite of some of its faults, one of which is that Joan is not allowed to give as good a performance as she could have (why? I don’t know. Maybe the director hadn’t seen RAIN or GRAND HOTEL or SADIE MCKEE and thought she was not capable- she very much was.) The scene where her younger daughter dies, for example, is played all wrong- not a genuine moment. I’m glad she won an Oscar, and I’m glad that gave her the confidence that she exudes in her later roles, but as with Frank Sinatra in ETERNITY, it was the comeback story that earned L’Oscar, and not anything Particularly compelling or striking or exciting done with said role

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Seem to be a few critics of Mildred Pierce here.

Not me. Thanks to director Michael Curtiz and cinematographer Ernest Haller the visual pleasures of this noirish melo (with more than a few soap opera overtones) remains intact after all these years. Crawford effectively mixes strength with vulnerability in the lead role, with the support of a superior cast. There were few effete cads on screen as effective as the silken smooth, slimy, supremely self serving Zachory Scott, Jack Carson is a marvel in a cynical role that turns oddly likeable, while Eve Arden as always, puts a delicious little invective into her delivery of delicious one line zingers. As for Ann Blyth, well, I wanted to slap her face along with Joan.

Curious thing, though. Masterful as that early staging sequence is when Zachory Scott gets shot and falls to the floor, uttering "Mildred," when it is repeated again, in flashback, at the end of the film, instead of just showing the same sequence again, it's been re-shot. You can tell if only because Scott's delivery of "Mildred" is different.

Mildred Pierce, for me, represents Crawford at her peak, along with Grand Hotel and Humoresque, but without the dynamic Curtiz behind the camera, I doubt very much that we would still have the same high powered melodrama.

mildredrev.jpg

I just love those freshly rained upon streets.

mildredfur.png

tumblr_nfcjlvljad1riy8svo8_400.jpg?w=464

 

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26 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Seem to be a few critics of Mildred Pierce here.

Not me. Thanks to director Michael Curtiz and cinematographer Ernest Haller the visual pleasures of this noirish melo (with more than a few soap opera overtones) remains intact after all these years. Crawford effectively mixes strength with vulnerability in the lead role, with the support of a superior cast. There were few effete cads on screen as effective as the silken smooth, slimy, supremely self serving Zachory Scott, Jack Carson is a marvel in a cynical role that turns oddly likeable, while Eve Arden as always, puts a delicious little invective into her delivery of delicious one line zingers. As for Ann Blyth, well, I wanted to slap her face along with Joan.

Curious thing, though. Masterful as that early staging sequence is when Zachory Scott gets shot and falls to the floor, uttering "Mildred," when it is repeated again, in flashback, at the end of the film, instead of just showing the same sequence again, it's been re-shot. You can tell if only because Scott's delivery of "Mildred" is different.

Mildred Pierce, for me, represents Crawford at her peak, along with Grand Hotel and Humoresque, but without the dynamic Curtiz behind the camera, I doubt very much that we would still have the same high powered melodrama.

mildredrev.jpg

I just love those freshly rained upon streets.

mildredfur.png

tumblr_nfcjlvljad1riy8svo8_400.jpg?w=464

 

We're in complete agreement about MILDRED PIERCE, Tom.

But there is one point that I think we may be out of sync though. (SPOILERS)

You say Jack Carson is in a cynical role but somehow 'likable'. I agree Carson is great in this, as well as everybody else, but I wouldn't call Wally Fay a likable guy. He was a horrible business partner to Bert (not that Bert was any saint himself), hit on Mildred the moment he heard she and Bert had separated, conspired with Veda to blackmail the family of the boy she had wed into giving her a walkaway settlement, and was even on it with Monty to shove Mildred out of the business she started.

Monty was an out and out sleazeball, but I just don't see Wally being much better than him.

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17 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

We're in complete agreement about MILDRED PIERCE, Tom.

But there is one point that I think we may be out of sync though. (SPOILERS)

You say Jack Carson is in a cynical role but somehow 'likable'. I agree Carson is great in this, as well as everybody else, but I wouldn't call Wally Fay a likable guy. He was a horrible business partner to Bert (not that Bert was any saint himself), hit on Mildred the moment he heard she and Bert had separated, conspired with Veda to blackmail the family of the boy she had wed into giving her a walkaway settlement, and was even on it with Monty to shove Mildred out of the business she started.

Monty was an out and out sleazeball, but I just don't see Wally being much better than him.

I agree that Carson's character is definitely shady but, ultimately, he shows a loyalty to Mildred. In spite of everything else I find him, in the final analysis, curiously likeable, perhaps unexpectedly so. At least we're in agreement about the skill of Carson's performance, Beth.

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This was a big hit with the crowd when screened last year in Syracuse. Our group always erupts in applause at the appearance of lloyd Nolan-for some reason he's a favorite around here.

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

I agree that Carson's character is definitely shady but, ultimately, he shows a loyalty to Mildred. In spite of everything else I find him, in the final analysis, curiously likeable, perhaps unexpectedly so. At least we're in agreement about the skill of Carson's performance, Beth.

I agree about Carson.  He's the one who warns Mildred about giving Monte too many loans and even warns her about Monte being a leech.  He's the one who ultimately arranges to have her business bought out in order to save it from being foreclosed.  

I love Mildred Pierce, it's one of my favorite films. 

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Last Flag Flying (2017) - Melancholy comedy-drama from Amazon Studios, Lionsgate, and director Richard Linklater. Vietnam vet Larry "Doc" Shepherd (Steve Carell) tracks down a pair of his old military friends: foul-mouthed and hard-drinking barkeep Sal (Bryan Cranston), and minister Mueller (Laurence Fishburne). Doc asks his two friends to accompany him to pick up the remains of his son, a Marine killed in Iraq. The three men set out on an odyssey to have the young man buried and to perhaps put some old ghosts to rest themselves. Also featuring J. Quinton Johnson, Yul Vasquez, Deanna Reed-Foster, and Cicely Tyson.

This was based on the 2003 novel by Darryl Ponicsan, which was a sequel to his 1970 novel The Last Detail, which was memorably filmed in 1973 with Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, and Randy Quaid. Linklater, who co-wrote the script with Ponicsan, decided to alter this follow-up in several ways, changing the character names and a lot of their back story, but the essential dynamic is the same. I enjoyed this film well enough, but as a big fan of The Last Detail, I spent much of this movie's runtime comparing it, and wondering what might have been had this been filmed 15 years ago and with the original film's cast returning to their roles (Otis Young passed away in 2001, before the sequel novel was published). Seeing at least Nicholson and Quaid return in those roles would have been really something else. 

All that aside, this is still a largely enjoyable movie, with good performances and some nice, quiet character moments. The film seems to want to say something about veterans, and what they feel and how they deal with the rest of their lives, and how they end up viewing their country that they sacrificed for but who may have ultimately been lying to them. However, the script doesn't put these thoughts together in a clear enough fashion to be making any kind of definitive statement, but it may be the case that there really isn't one. It's odd to think that a movie set in 2003 is a period piece, but it is, and much is made of a visit by the three aging buddies to a cell phone store to check out the new-fangled technology. I'm curious how this movie will be viewed by actual Vietnam-era military veterans.   (7/10)

Source: Lionsgate Blu-ray.

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Fiesta (1941) - Short musical comedy from United Artists, producer Hal Roach, and director LeRoy Prinz. In a small Mexican village, Jose (Jorge Negrete) is eagerly awaiting the return of his old sweetheart Cholita (Ann Ayars), who has been away in Mexico City. When she arrives with a new beau in tow, radio star Fernando (George Givot), Jose decides to adopt a bandit persona in order to out Fernando as a coward and win back Cholita's heart. Also featuring Armida, Antonio Moreno, Nick Moro, Frank Yaconelli, George Humbert, and Francisco Moreno.

I applaud the filmmakers attempt to make an authentic Mexican-flavored musical, even if it's only 45 minutes long, but while there are some nice touches (the costumes, the Technicolor cinematography), the plot is silly, the script is threadbare, and the songs are goofy. I mean, who can forget the immortal classic "Never Trust a Jumping Bean"?  (4/10)

Source: Mill Creek DVD.

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The Flame of New Orleans (1941) - Costume romance from Universal Pictures and director Rene Clair. Marlene Dietrich stars as the Countess Claire Ledeux, a globe-trotting adventuress who has arrived in 1840 New Orleans. She quickly draws the eye of many men, including the wealthy Charles Giraud (Roland Young) and fiery ship captain Robert LaTour (Bruce Cabot). She tries to juggle them both, to comic effect. Also featuring Mischa Auer, Anne Revere, Theresa Harris, Melville Cooper, Franklin Pangborn, Andy Devine, Eddie Quillan, Frank Jenks, Laura Hope Crews, Clarence Muse, Mary Treen, and Shemp Howard.

Rene Clair is one of my favorite French directors of the early sound era, and this one of a handful of films he made after leaving Europe during the war. He stages many big, bawdy party scenes, with dozens of extras and a cacophonous soundscape. The costumes are good (I particularly liked seeing the normally austere and reserved Anne Revere in expensive finery and jewels), and the sets packed with detail. I liked Dietrich, and enjoyed her struggle to keep a straight face as Laura Hope Crews tries to explain what to expect on a wedding night. Cabot and Young are miscast, or at least very unusual choices for romantic leads, and it undoes some of the movie's appeal. The movie earned an Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction.  (6/10) 

Source: Universal DVD.

Flame+of+New+Orleans1.jpg

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On 3/3/2018 at 3:20 PM, laffite said:

 

 

Mildred Pierce (1945)

 

----Well known because Joan got the Award but my takeaway is that it is one of the most ludicrously improbable narratives ever. It's a good thing to exercise discretion in criticizing old Hollywood. Many film are fraught with problems when trying to square them with realities that we base on common sense and general credibility, and consequently to lay into them too heavy-handedly is like kicking a dead horse. More consideration should be given with genre pieces as they have their own conventions. Suspension of disbelief exercised to the fullest is imperative in many cases. All of this to no avail with a story that piles one grossly improbability upon the other to the point of distraction. It makes it difficult to assess the performances because the world in which they move is so contrived. The one truly interesting thing is that we have a most unlikely femme fatale. And how many closeups do we get of Joan's face with the shadow falling diagonally over her brow and forehead? In itself, this shouldn't be a problem but it loses its value being in such bad company, i.e., practically everything else that's going on. Even Eve Arden can't save it.

 

 

 

 

*

 

(our of 4)

 

 

 

We hear the shots, Berigan falls, we hear a door slam, and see a car outside drive away. Next, Mildred walking slowly on the bridge apparently deciding to jump off. A few minutes later, she lures Fay to the beach house to frame him for the murder ... Later, at the end, we see what really happened. When the shots rang out, Mildred is in the car but it won't start. Mildred runs back into the house to find that Veda killed Berigan.. It's the same car in both versions, so it's the same driver, Mildred. In the first scene she drives away when the shots ring out. In the second she does not. A descrepancy.  Thus, from the beginning we are led to conclude or believe that Mildred killed Berigan (it was she who slammed the door, we are to believe?) but we are deceived at the beginning. We only see the truth later, at the end of the story. We have been lied to and it lasts throughout the entire movie.

 

The audience is furthermore rankly abused by havng Berigan say "Mildred" as he dies, suggesting of course that it was Mildred who shot him. It's possible that Mildred might have simply come to mind at the time of death, but it was never shown why. Merely assuming that for some unknown reason he intoned Mildred's name is not strong enough because, dramatically, it comes off as arbitrary means of misleading the viewer.


A Question of Loyalty - Wally and Mildred had apparently known each other since "we were kids" so he has a legitimate kind regard to a small degree anyway for her and he does try to guide her in her business dealings. But let's not forget that he did get a third of the business at the outset. I wouldn't take the loyalty thing too far.  He admits to selling her out when they have that early drink (prior to going to the beach house) and he's hardly loyal in telling her that she can still run the business for him (surely knowing that this would be anathema for Mildred) and rather callous in saying "You married him, I didn't." It's strictly business with him, he is not loyal to anyone. Had he been loyal, valuing Mildred as a friend, he, a man "who gets what I want" , might have wrangled a deal with Berigan to halt the foreclosure, but of course the story wouldn't allow for that, so there goes the loyalty. Knowing Fay, it's very plausible that he might have even colluded with Barigan to push for it.

 

Mildred might have been better off going bankrupt anyway. With Veda to please, going bankrupt would have been preferable than the humiliation of merely managing what she had previously owned. After all, in Veda's eyes, Mildred would be still working, God forbid. With bankruptcy, Mildred could have at least blamed someone else (both Baregon and Fay) to save face and to appease Veda, who would have been delighted to have more people to hate besides her mother.

 

How did Mildred manage to hide from Veda where she was working? Wouldn't Veda have been curious about that? Knowing Veda, she would want to know, and now. She would have wanted to make sure she wasn't being shamed publicly by her mother.

 

Katie, innocent little girl, dies suddenly right out of the blue. The teleplay shamelessly manipulates the audience by having Katie say, "Mama" on her death bed but refuses to allow the mother to get close to the child. Two seconds later the doctor says, "I did all I could to save her." Mildred says, stupidly under the circumstances, "I'll never forget her." Katie must die, the audience must be manipulated, all so Mildred can say, "O God, please don't let anything happen to Veda." Oh, and by the way, Mrs Hofstead, thank you for letting us use your house for Katie to die in. And how very kind of you to serve us tea. I can now forgive you for stealing my husband. Then just like that it's right back to the restaurant. The death of a child, hardly a blip on the radar after that.

 

And what's Veda doing by taking a job (!) singing in a dive. What happened to all those pretensions about class and distinction? Would Veda do this?

 

[deleted for brevity]

 

[more deleted for brevity]

 

Rod Serling, come back, put me in the Twilight Zone so I can go back and redo this film. I would have Mildred do the world and herself a favor by jumping off the bridge. That cop would be in Fay's dive on break ogling Veda. The last frame would not be THE END, It would be NEVER MIND.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 3/3/2018 at 3:20 PM, laffite said:

 

 

Mildred Pierce (1945)

 

----Well known because Joan got the Award but my takeaway is that it is one of the most ludicrously improbable narratives ever. It's a good thing to exercise discretion in criticizing old Hollywood. Many film are fraught with problems when trying to square them with realities that we base on common sense and general credibility, and consequently to lay into them too heavy-handedly is like kicking a dead horse. More consideration should be given with genre pieces as they have their own conventions. Suspension of disbelief exercised to the fullest is imperative in many cases. All of this to no avail with a story that piles one grossly improbability upon the other to the point of distraction. It makes it difficult to assess the performances because the world in which they move is so contrived. The one truly interesting thing is that we have a most unlikely femme fatale. And how many closeups do we get of Joan's face with the shadow falling diagonally over her brow and forehead? In itself, this shouldn't be a problem but it loses its value being in such bad company, i.e., practically everything else that's going on. Even Eve Arden can't save it.

 

 

 

 

*

 

(our of 4)

 

 

 

ADDENDUM

[SPOILERS]

Problem? = We hear the shots, Berigan falls, we hear a door slam, and see a car outside drive away. Next, Mildred walking slowly on the bridge apparently deciding to jump off. A few minutes later, she lures Fay to the beach house to frame him for the murder ... Later, at the end, we see what really happened. When the shots rang out, Mildred is in the car but it won't start. Mildred runs back into the house to find that Veda killed Berigan.. It's the same car in both versions, so it's the same driver, Mildred. In the first scene she drives away when the shots ring out. In the second she does not. A discrepancy.  Thus, from the beginning we are led to conclude or believe that Mildred killed Berigan (it was she who slammed the door, we are to believe?) but we are deceived at the beginning. We only see the truth later, at the end of the story. And we see that they moved the goal posts on us.

The audience is furthermore abused by having Berigan say "Mildred" as he dies, suggesting of course that it was Mildred who shot him. It's possible that Mildred might have simply come to mind at the time of death, but it was never shown why. Absent that, we might merely assume that for some unknown reason he intoned Mildred's name. But that is weak because, dramatically, it comes off as an arbitrary means of misleading the viewer.

A Question of Loyalty - Wally and Mildred had apparently known each other since "we were kids" so he has a legitimate kind regard to a small degree anyway for her and he does try to guide her in her business dealings. But let's not forget that he did get a third of the business at the outset. I wouldn't take the loyalty thing too far.  He admits to selling her out when they have that early drink (prior to going to the beach house) and he's hardly loyal in telling her that she can still run the business for him (surely knowing that this would be anathema for Mildred) and rather callous in saying "You married him, I didn't." It's strictly business with him, he is not loyal to anyone. Had he been loyal, valuing Mildred as a friend, he, a man "who gets what I want" , might have wrangled a deal with Berigan to halt the foreclosure, but of course the story wouldn't allow for that, so there goes the loyalty. Knowing Fay, it's very plausible that he might have even colluded with Barigan to push for it.

Mildred might have been better off going bankrupt anyway. With Veda to please, going bankrupt would have been preferable than the humiliation of merely managing what she had previously owned. After all, in Veda's eyes, Mildred would be still working, God forbid. With bankruptcy, Mildred could have at least blamed someone else (both Baregon and Fay) to save face and to appease Veda, who would have been delighted to have more people to hate besides her mother.

How did Mildred manage to hide from Veda where she was working? Wouldn't Veda have been curious about that? Knowing Veda, she would want to know, and now. She would have wanted to make sure she wasn't being shamed publicly by her mother.

Katie, innocent little girl, dies suddenly right out of the blue. The teleplay shamelessly manipulates the audience by having Katie say, "Mama" on her death bed but refuses to allow the mother to get close to the child. Two seconds later the doctor says, "I did all I could to save her." Mildred says, stupidly under the circumstances, "I'll never forget her." Katie must die, the audience must be manipulated, all so Mildred can say, "O God, please don't let anything happen to Veda." Oh, and by the way, Mrs Hofstead, thank you for letting us use your house for Katie to die in. And how very kind of you to serve us tea. I can now forgive you for stealing my husband. Then just like that it's right back to the restaurant. The death of a child, hardly a blip on the radar after that.

And what's Veda doing by taking a job (!) singing in a dive. What happened to all those pretensions about class and distinction? Would Veda do this?

[deleted for brevity]

[more deleted for brevity]

Rod Serling, come back, put me in the Twilight Zone so I can go back and redo this film. I would have Mildred do the world and herself a favor by jumping off the bridge. That cop would be in Fay's dive on break ogling Veda. The last frame would not be THE END, It would be NEVER MIND.

:ph34r:

 

 

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Well call me a sucker because I too am a MILDRED PIERCE fan. It's my favorite Joan Crawford movie and I enjoy all the performances, especially beautifully nasty Ann Blyth. It takes a big performance to make Crawford look like the nice guy.

I do agree however, Mildred was pretty unemotional over the death of her other daughter. Maybe they wanted to illustrate she put her feelings aside to remain strong for her career. My only criticism is the demonizing of a driven career woman.
Another fave of mine -IMITATION OF LIFE- is a little kinder on the subject.

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