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I Just Watched...

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The Light Touch (1951) - Dull crime caper from MGM and director Richard Brooks. Stewart Granger stars as Sam Conride, a master thief who makes off with a valuable, supposedly enchanted, Renaissance painting lifted from an art museum. Sam tells his financial back Felix (George Sanders) that the painting was lost en route to their rendezvous in Italy, so they hatch a plan to create forgeries of the painting to sell to multiple buyers. Toward this end they recruit poor young artist Anna (Pier Angeli) to make the copies. Things get complicated when Sam falls for Anna, and a series of crosses and double-crosses commence. Also featuring Joseph Calleia, Kurt Krasznar, Mike Mazurki, Norman Lloyd, Rhys Williams, Larry Keating, Ben Astar, and Hans Conried.

This routine "no honor among thieves" picture is enlivened a tiny bit by European location photography and an interesting cast. If only they'd had a more compelling script to work from, this might have been something worth seeking out. As it is, only die-hard fans of the genre or the performers may find anything of interest.   (5/10)

Source: TCM.

The-Light-Touch-1951.jpg

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13 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Light Touch (1951) - Dull crime caper from MGM and director Richard Brooks. Stewart Granger stars as Sam Conride, a master thief who makes off with a valuable, supposedly enchanted, Renaissance painting lifted from an art museum. Sam tells his financial back Felix (George Sanders) that the painting was lost en route to their rendezvous in Italy, so they hatch a plan to create forgeries of the painting to sell to multiple buyers. Toward this end they recruit poor young artist Anna (Pier Angeli) to make the copies. Things get complicated when Sam falls for Anna, and a series of crosses and double-crosses commence. Also featuring Joseph Calleia, Kurt Krasznar, Mike Mazurki, Norman Lloyd, Rhys Williams, Larry Keating, Ben Astar, and Hans Conried.

This routine "no honor among thieves" picture is enlivened a tiny bit by European location photography and an interesting cast. If only they'd had a more compelling script to work from, this might have been something worth seeking out. As it is, only die-hard fans of the genre or the performers may find anything of interest.   (5/10)

Source: TCM.

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This was one of those films that I when I read about the cast and the plot believe it had to be great but it was only so-so.     Maybe if the film had less of a light touch and was more gritty and dark it might have been better.

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Lullaby of Broadway (1951) - Technicolor musical from Warner Brothers and director David Butler. Singer Melinda Howard (Doris Day) arrives in New York to visit her famous Broadway star mother Jessica (Gladys George). What Melinda doesn't know is that Jessica has become a broken-down drunk singing in cheap dive bars. Her pretense of fame and success told via her letters to Melinda were all lies, and the large mansion she supposedly lives in is actually the property of beer baron Adolph Hubbell (S.Z. Sakall). However, butler Lefty Mack (Billy De Wolfe) convinces Hubbell to play along with the story, since Hubbell and Lefty both have a soft spot for Jessica. Melinda also finds romance with leading song-and-dance man Tom (Gene Nelson). Also featuring Florence Bates, Anne Triola, Hanley Stafford, and the Page Cavanaugh Trio.

Romantic comedy with a threadbare plot and only a few musical numbers, this is passable if unexceptional. I liked Sakall and De Wolfe, both of whom can get old real quick, but here managed to strike the right comic balance. Day and Nelson are both very talented and attractive, and about as exciting here as a white bread & processed cheese sandwich.   (6/10)

Source: Warner DVD.

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Where's Gene Nelson's left foot?

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3 minutes ago, Fedya said:

Where's Gene Nelson's left foot?

The poster illustrator should have drawn Gene in some other dance position, not kicking his foot out, it does look odd.  I choose to believe that Gene only had one leg and "the pogo stick" was his trademark move. 

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To me it looks more as though the left leg is bent at the hip toward the right, not coming outward.  And where's the flared pant leg?

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2 minutes ago, Fedya said:

To me it looks more as though the left leg is bent at the hip toward the right, not coming outward.  And where's the flared pant leg?

That could be.  It still looks weird though.  It looks like he's wearing tuxedo pants on one side and a leotard on the other side.

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M (1951) - American remake of the German classic crime drama, from Columbia Pictures and director Joseph Losey. Martin Harrow (David Wayne) is a killer of young girls, and his murder spree is sending the city into chaos. The mayor is berating the chief detective (Howard Da Silva) to find the culprit, and quick, which means an increased police presence on the streets and a disruption of the city's crime operations. That last bit does't sit well with crime boss Marshall (Martin Gabel) who orders his own illegal empire out on the hunt for the killer. Also featuring Luther Adler, Raymond Burr, Norman Lloyd, Steve Brodie, Glenn Anders, Walter Burke, Janine Perreau, Karen Morley, Jim Backus, William Schallert, and John Miljan.

I consider the original M one of the best movies ever made, so I went into this remake with some trepidation. It's not as bad as I feared, but I also didn't enjoy as much as others who have posted about it. Wayne does a good job with a role that could have spelled career suicide. However, I most enjoyed the scenes with the criminals, including an amusingly raspy-voiced Raymond Burr at his heaviest. Luther Adler was a bit too much, though, as a drunken mob lawyer.    (6/10)

Source: TCM.

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The Man with a Cloak (1951) - Dubious period crime thriller from MGM and director Fletcher Markle. In 1848 New York, a loquacious alcoholic poet (Joseph Cotten) stumbles across a plot by a charming servant (Barbara Stanwyck) to swindle the fortune of dying eccentric Charles Thevenet (Louis Calhern). The poet is alerted to this by the arrival of young Frenchwoman Madeline (Leslie Caron) who has come to secure the fortune for her beloved, who is also Thevenet's grandson. The poet agrees to help Madeline, but the odds are against them. Also featuring Joe De Santis, Jim Backus, Richard Hale, Nicholas Joy, Roy Roberts, Mitchell Lewis, Hank Worden, and Margaret Wycherly.

This seemed like a rehash of Kind Lady, only with the addition of Cotten's mysterious character (I won't spoil his identity, a reveal which is saved until the end, but most should be able to guess it). The production values are pretty good, and the performances passable. I wouldn't cross the street to find a copy, though.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

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Funny Games - Good Austrian film from Haneke about two men who take a family hostage and torment them. They bet them (and the audience) that they'll be able to slaughter all three before 9 AM the next day and they then torture and torment them in various ways. Eventually it appears they leave after they kill the kid but they return and bring the woman back after she escapes. I won't spoil the ending but it intentionally spoils some horror film cliches. The film is very dark and even humorous at many points. I give it a 10/10. I really enjoyed it.

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I liked MAN WITH A CLOAK and was kind of surprised...that I liked it. There's just not enough Leslie Caron movies out there imho.

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This was my first time ever seeing Billy DeWolfe in a movie and I just loved him! The banner on the poster tips you off: WARNER BROS Bright Lights Musical That's Gay as the Gay White Way!

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

M (1951) -  I most enjoyed the scenes with the criminals, including an amusingly raspy-voiced Raymond Burr at his heaviest.

 

I thought he was at his heaviest during his last years, when he looked like a "roadshow" ORSON WELLES.  But, I guess you meant something else.   ;)

Sepiatone

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Sutter's Gold (1936)

Largely fictionalized account of an ambitious immigrant's land purchase in America and the events leading to the California gold rush of 1849. Prior to that he has adventures with natives and slave trading in the Sandwich Islands before landing in Mexico.

A big budget production from Universal in which every penny shows on the screen, the film, after initially appearing promising, is defeated by a screenplay which tries to compress too much time with choppy narrative results. Edward Arnold, playing Sutter, gradually ages throughout the film with the usual greying of hair and facial wrinkles. He tries his best and with his booming voice could be a powerful actor. He has a few moments here but, ultimately, his character fails to draw sympathy, with the audience caring little about his fate.

The supporting cast includes Lee Tracy as Sutter's gabby sidekick who accompanies him everywhere, Binnie Barnes as a Russian countess who has eyes on Sutter when she thinks he's wealthy, Harry Carey as Kit Carson, and Montagu Love as a ruthless slave trader.

This expensive ponderous production, directed by James Cruze (The Covered Wagon), was a noteworthy flop at the time of its release, with studio founder Carl Laemmle and his son soon forced out of the studio. It would take the Deanna Durbin musicals to rescue Universal from its financial debts.

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2 out of 4

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I thought he was at his heaviest during his last years, when he looked like a "roadshow" ORSON WELLES.  But, I guess you meant something else.   ;)

Sepiatone

No, I actually was referring to his weight. I thought about putting a "...except for his later-in-life years" in my comment, but didn't. I suppose I should have. In M, it's the heaviest that I've seen him either in his early movies or his Perry Mason series days. I've seen him in 5 or 6 movies, made between '48 and '51, in the last few weeks, and his weight seems to fluctuate a lot, with M being at the heavy end of the scale.

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6 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I liked MAN WITH A CLOAK and was kind of surprised...that I liked it. There's just not enough Leslie Caron movies out there imho.

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This was my first time ever seeing Billy DeWolfe in a movie and I just loved him! The banner on the poster tips you off: WARNER BROS Bright Lights Musical That's Gay as the Gay White Way!

The film does have a good dance number on a staircase that was hard for Doris to manage with her broken (in the past) leg....

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Miss Julie (1951) Complex Swedish psychological melodrama based on the play by August Strindberg, from Sandrews Films and director Alf Sjoberg. Miss Julie (Anita Bjork) is the heiress to the Count Carl (Anders Henrikson). While the count is away, the servants on his estate hold a raucous bacchanal, during which Julie flirts, and more, with young butler Jean (Ulf Palme). As the two discuss the ramifications of their relationship, they look to their pasts for answers to their future. Also featuring Marta Dorff, Lissi Alandh, Inga Gil, Ake Fridell, Kurt-Olof Sundstrom, and Max von Sydow.

Inventively staged and filmed, with good performances all around, this is an interesting if not all together successful look at a damaged individual. Portions of the movie bear more than a whiff of pretension, but a lot of the "artsy" filming choices help enliven what was a perhaps a rather sedentary play. Max von Sydow, at age 22, appears in only his second film role as a drunken farmhand. He already looked and sounded older than he was.   (7/10)

Source: TCM. I recorded during the hosting gig of acting couple Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole. They were a fun duo, and I wish they'd host more often.

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Mr. Imperium (1951) - Technicolor musical romance from MGM and director Don Hartman. European prince Alexis (Ezio Pinza) travels to America in hopes of rekindling a romance with a Hollywood star (Lana Turner) that he hasn't seen in 12 years. Complications ensue from both sides. Featuring Cedric Hardwicke, Marjorie Main, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Sullivan, Ann Codee, Mae Clarke, Wilton Graff, and Bobby Troup.

Pinza had been a major opera star who retired from the New York Metropolitan opera in 1948. He then became a Broadway star with his lead in the original production of South Pacific. MGM signed him to a movie contract, and this was his first starring role. He was already nearly 60, twice Turner's age at the time. There's not a lot of chemistry on screen, but maybe she was having as hard a time understanding Pinza's dialogue as I was. He has a tremendous singing voice, but his acting scenes fall flat. Turner is just adequate at the best of times, which don't often occur here. The interesting supporting cast (Hardwicke, Main, Reynolds) isn't given enough to do. Pinza would go on to star in 2 more movies, a handful of TV shows, and the Broadway smash Fanny before dying in 1957.   (5/10)

Source: Mill Creek DVD.

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Mister Buddwing. Could be two too many James Garner B&W films too close together. "Emily" was fine actually. Julie Andrews is amazing, even in B&W. Maybe I saw Dargo! Couldn't decide if to or too was right in both places. Don't tell CaveGirl.

I go nuts with nonlinear plot lines. Yeah, there is another word for that, on the tip of my tongue, but I'm too lazy go get a mirror and look at my tongue. If I was gonna take a name from a beer truck, "When You're Out Of Schlitz, You're Out Of Beer." Will TCM take that one out? I just noticed in Shop TCM it also included an airplane.

I have seen Mister Buddwing before, and like today, not from the very beginning. That happens plenty on my TV. Maybe I can watch it again, from the start, and it might make sense.

Was the girl on the beach, who cut his hair, Jean Simmons, and just not blonde?

I have seen Angela Lansbury play a role a little like that in Murder, She Wrote, her look alike cousin Emma McGill, but not with so much of her front showing. Did James Garner mind having his face in her chest?

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41 minutes ago, jimmymac71 said:

Mister Buddwing. Could be two too many James Garner B&W films too close together. "Emily" was fine actually. Julie Andrews is amazing, even in B&W. Maybe I saw Dargo! Couldn't decide if to or too was right in both places. Don't tell CaveGirl.

I go nuts with nonlinear plot lines. Yeah, there is another word for that, on the tip of my tongue, but I'm too lazy go get a mirror and look at my tongue. If I was gonna take a name from a beer truck, "When You're Out Of Schlitz, You're Out Of Beer." Will TCM take that one out? I just noticed in Shop TCM it also included an airplane.

I have seen Mister Buddwing before, and like today, not from the very beginning. That happens plenty on my TV. Maybe I can watch it again, from the start, and it might make sense.

Was the girl on the beach, who cut his hair, Jean Simmons, and just not blonde?

I have seen Angela Lansbury play a role a little like that in Murder, She Wrote, her look alike cousin Emma McGill, but not with so much of her front showing. Did James Garner mind having his face in her chest?

The girl on the beach was Katharine Ross in one of her first, if not the first credited big-screen roles.

Thanks to TCM, I never knew anything about this movie until it was shown during James Garner's tribute as either Star of the Month or his Summer Under The Stars day many years ago.  It's a movie I really like and one of those that you may need to watch more than a couple of times to fully get what's going on in it.

Garner's character (Mr. Buddwing) is so vulnerable as an amnesiac trying to figure out who he is, let alone how and why he woke up one morning sitting on a Central Park bench.  The four principal female characters were all great, especially Angela Lansbury (in a relatively small role) and Jean Simmons.  Simmons, Ross, and Suzanne Pleshette turn out to be amalgams of Mr. Buddwing's wife, Grace, in various stages of their relationship.  Piece by piece, Garner starts to regain some semblance of memory and we learn what's really happened to his wife, whom the audience never sees, except at the end when her saran-wrapped upper torso in a hospital bed is shown following her attempted suicide.

The film is beautifully shot and the scenes at the penny arcade on Broadway and the ensuing dice game in Harlem are quite memorable (at least to me, anyway).

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Lt. Uhura is in the dice game scene.

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1 hour ago, midwestan said:

The girl on the beach was Katharine Ross in one of her first, if not the first credited big-screen roles.

Thanks to TCM, I never knew anything about this movie until it was shown during James Garner's tribute as either Star of the Month or his Summer Under The Stars day many years ago.  It's a movie I really like and one of those that you may need to watch more than a couple of times to fully get what's going on in it.

Garner's character (Mr. Buddwing) is so vulnerable as an amnesiac trying to figure out who he is, let alone how and why he woke up one morning sitting on a Central Park bench.  The four principal female characters were all great, especially Angela Lansbury (in a relatively small role) and Jean Simmons.  Simmons, Ross, and Suzanne Pleshette turn out to be amalgams of Mr. Buddwing's wife, Grace, in various stages of their relationship.  Piece by piece, Garner starts to regain some semblance of memory and we learn what's really happened to his wife, whom the audience never sees, except at the end when her saran-wrapped upper torso in a hospital bed is shown following her attempted suicide.

The film is beautifully shot and the scenes at the penny arcade on Broadway and the ensuing dice game in Harlem are quite memorable (at least to me, anyway).

Had never seen Mr. Buddwing until today and only the last 35 minutes or so.    Your comment of " amalgams of Mr. Buddwing's wife" helps explain things for me.    I'll have to make sure I see the entire film,  one reason being because I really want to see Lansbury's performance (she was just hanging up the phone on Jim when I started watching).

 

 

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2 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Had never seen Mr. Buddwing until today and only the last 35 minutes or so.    Your comment of " amalgams of Mr. Buddwing's wife" helps explain things for me.    I'll have to make sure I see the entire film,  one reason being because I really want to see Lansbury's performance (she was just hanging up the phone of Jim when I started watching).

 

 

She was only in a couple of scenes.  The one you saw at the end was considerably brief.  The more substantial scene for her comes in the first 15-20 minutes of the film as Garner begins his odyssey to discover who he is and what the hell's happened to him.  Prior to this movie, I only knew about Lansbury's work in "Gaslight", "The Manchurian Candidate", and the television series "Murder She Wrote", so seeing her in the role of a jaded and frumpy middle-aged wife who apparently led a very disappointing life was a revelation to me.

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On Moonlight Bay (1951) - Technicolor musical comedy from Warner Brothers and director Roy Del Ruth. Set in 1917 Indiana, the film follows the misadventures of the Winfield family: father George (Leon Ames), mother Alice (Rosemary De Camp), daughter Marjorie (Doris Day), and young son Wesley (Billy Gray). The focus is primarily on the romance of Marjorie with young radical William (Gordon MacRae), and the various forms of trouble that Wesley gets into. Also featuring Jack Smith, Mary Wickes, Ellen Corby, Sig Arno, and Esther Dale.

An exercise in rose-colored nostalgia, this is pleasant enough to endear itself to even as jaded a viewer as myself. One can see the influence of both Meet Me in St. Louis and Life with Father, and that isn't a bad thing as far as this kind of material goes. The songs are secondary, and mostly (if not all) standards. This proved so popular that a sequel was immediately put into production, 1953's By the Light of the Silvery Moon, which I'll be watching in the next couple of weeks.   (7/10)

Source: TCM.

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1 minute ago, midwestan said:

She was only in a couple of scenes.  The one you saw at the end was considerably brief.  The more substantial scene for her comes in the first 15-20 minutes of the film as Garner begins his odyssey to discover who he is and what the hell's happened to him.  Prior to this movie, I only knew about Lansbury's work in "Gaslight", "The Manchurian Candidate", and the television series "Murder She Wrote", so seeing her in the role of a jaded and frumpy middle-aged wife who apparently led a very disappointing life was a revelation to me.

Thanks for the info.     So you saw Mr. Buddwing before The Picture of Dorian Gray?    I ask because Buddwing isn't as well know as  Dorian Gray,  and TCM has shown Gray a lot.      Lansbury is a very sympathetic and tragic character in that one.     

Note that TCM is showing Kind Lady (1951) soon and that features Lansbury.

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19 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Thanks for the info.     So you saw Mr. Buddwing before The Picture of Dorian Gray?    I ask because Buddwing isn't as well know as  Dorian Gray,  and TCM has shown Gray a lot.      Lansbury is a very sympathetic and tragic character in that one.     

Note that TCM is showing Kind Lady (1951) soon and that features Lansbury.

Yeah, I saw "The Picture of Dorian Gray" before "Mr. Buddwing".  I keep forgetting she was in that one too.  I first saw Dorian Gray back in the 80's on my local PBS station.  It was the only time I'd seen it until I caught it a couple of times on TCM.

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