speedracer5

I Just Watched...

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

okay- so- NONE SHALL ESCAPE (1944):

this was an incredibly powerful, imaginative, relentless and eye-opening film, one that would technically make a great companion piece to Douglas Sirk's HITLER'S MADMAN (1943)- although you'd probably have to undergo extensive lithium treatments if you watched them back to back.

and like HITLER'S MADMAN, I don't think I'll ever watch another film by the same director (in this case ANDRE DE TOTH) in the same way again- because it was so masterfully put together, so relentlessly uncompromising and constructed. it reminded me a trifle of WUTHERING HEIGHTS (the novel) in that it had a symmetrical structure- showing the mistakes of one generation being repeated by another.

it's the story of a Nazi on trial for war crimes in Poland, set in the future after WWII had ended (a bold move by the screenwriters)

there was an exceptional scene 2/3 of the way through where the local Polish Jews are being loaded onto a train for a Concentration Camp and revolt, only to be massacred. the camera movements and editing were incredible, I sat up and cried in horror when- quite clearly- a German officer's staff car runs over several bodies lying in the mud. how that got past the censors I don't know, but it was very effective.

the acting was superlative, MARSHA HUNT, who I knew as the dorky sister from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940) ages so believably (the make-up was great!) in a vanity-free performance; HENRY TRAVERS was also good, but the real revelation for me was ALEXANDER KNOX- who I knew only from THE SEA WOLF and the WILSON (where I was not impressed by his Oscar-nominated role as an inexplicably British-accented Woodrow Wilson)- his German accent is perfect here. apparently they wanted PAUL LUKAS for the role, and thank God he didn't get it, because- as an actor- he was incapable of conveying what Knox did, the whole film hangs on his shoulders and he holds nothing back; it's a nuanced look into the banality of evil that doesn't resort to mustache twirling, a MOVIE STAR in the same role would have demanded rewrites to make the part sympathetic.

i was also stunned at how this film dealt openly with r a p e throughout.

highly recommended, especially for anyone who is conflicted about the current state of the world.

Have you ever seen "Kapo" with Susan Strasberg?

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3 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

The Constant Nymph (1943).  I apparently recorded this film a long time ago as there as a TCM Shop ad preceding it telling me that Christmas was coming soon.  This was a strange film that I think I liked, but probably wouldn't watch again.  I recorded it mainly for the cast: Joan Fontaine, Charles Boyer, Alexis Smith, Peter Lorre and Charles Coburn--all people that I like.  

The Constant Nymph told the story of a composer (Boyer) who travels to Switzerland to reconnect with a family friend and his daughters.  One daughter in particular, Tessa (Fontaine), has had a lifetime crush on Boyer, but due to the fact that she's a child (I believe she's supposed to be 14-ish in the beginning of the film) and he's an adult, nothing is happening obviously.  Boyer is blind to Tessa's affection for him (as well he should be, imo).  Later, after their father dies, Tessa and her sister are sent to England to live with their wealthy uncle and cousin (Coburn and Smith, respectively).  This is after Coburn and Smith have visited Boyer and the girls in Switzerland to help get them ready to travel back to England.  Despite being a few years younger than Fontaine, Smith is cast as the sophisticated 20-something cousin of Fontaine.  Smith's height and wardrobe lends greatly to the illusion that she's much older than Fontaine and is her guardian.  Alexis Smith can wear a long "drapey" gown like nobody's business.

Fontaine was semi-believable as a teenager.  Despite being in her mid-20s when this was filmed, I bought her as a teenager, most of the time.  In the beginning of the movie, with her wet hair and simple dress, I bought her as a child. There were other scenes however, where her facial features most definitely didn't say kid and she just looked like a tiny adult. Her constant heart issues throughout the film provided foreshadowing too.

The Fontaine/Boyer relationship was odd.  It started out fairly innocent then devolved into something else that just seemed uncomfortable.  Smith's character was painted as a bit of a villain, but I fully sympathize with her.  Here she thought she was marrying the love of her life, who by the way can't even answer why he married her, and here's some kid trying to steal her husband.  Smith tried to brush it off as puppy love, but she begins to have her doubts (rightfully so).  I kept laughing when Smith, affecting an English accent, kept saying A-GAIN instead of A-Geyn.  Perhaps that is how some British speaking people pronounce that word, but Smith's pronunciation of "again" didn't match the rest of her speech.

I liked parts of this film but as a whole, I thought it was strange.  I loved Charles Coburn, he was funny.  I like how he kept calling one of the hired hands "Robert-O" instead of "Roberto."  I also liked Alexis Smith and Peter Lorre.  I liked Joan Fontaine most of the time in this film. 

I don't think I'll need to see this film again.

This film has a peculiar fascination for me.

It's due to the nature of the Joan Fontaine-Charles Boyer relationship.

Wasn't it Joan Fontaine's favorite film?

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20 minutes ago, rayban said:

Have you ever seen "Kapo" with Susan Strasberg?

I had never heard of this film before, but am glad I decided to watch it. Well done, very powerful film......

 

Sorry, I meant this for Lorna's comment and attached it to the wrong post! (NONE SHALL ESCAPE)

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

I feel the same way about The Constant Nymph: I'm glad I saw it, mainly because I'd heard of it, and also for the cast; but I have no real interest in seeing it again.  Full disclosure: I did not see it in its recent airing on TCM, it was a few years ago I watched it. So my memory might be inaccurate in some parts about the film.

The only thing I might argue with in speedy's excellent write-up of The Constant Nymph is her sympathy for the Alexis Smith character ("Florence".)  Yes, true, she married Lewis ( Boyer) in good faith and all that. But what the film makes clear is that she has little regard, really, for his music. Right from the first moment we see Boyer, he talks about his music and his composing career. It's clear he loves music, it's the most important thing in his life. He has ambitions to be a famous composer, not so much for the success it might bring, but for recognition of his musical ideas. As I remember the film, his wife is mainly interested and supportive of that aspect of his character because it will mean social success for them both.

Tessa (Fontaine), on the other hand, is completely sympatico with Lewis and his musical dreams. She knows how much it means to him, and it is she, not Florence, who supports and truly understands his passion for music and composition.

I forget the details ( as I said, it was a while ago I saw it), but I do remember that about it. Also,  - SPOILER - I think there's something near the end about how Lewis finally gets a chance to have his music performed by some respected symphony orchestra, a big concert, an event that's broadcast on the radio. But due to her health issue, Joan/Tessa cannot attend it, and listens with tears in her eyes to the broadcast of her beloved Lewis' music being performed, joyful in the knowledge that the one she loves is finally having his dream come true. And then of course she dies. But happy.

I can understand your perspective on Florence.  I forgot about her coldness toward his music.  I did think it was cruel of her to want to wash her hands of her cousins by sending them off to boarding school and not having them around the house.  It'd make more sense if these were Lewis' relatives that she wanted to shuffle off, but they're hers! I know that her main motivation however was the girls' admiration of her husband and her feeling jealous.  She was also jealous of Tessa and Lewis' bond over his music, something that she didn't understand and didn't want to understand.  This is evident in the scene where Lewis performs an especially heavy version of the "To-morrow" symphony for the party goers.  Tessa is not impressed because it lacks heart; but Florence thinks it was fine because the guests liked it.

I think the crux of the issue is that Florence and Lewis really aren't compatible and Florence doesn't want to believe it.

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16 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Wow. 

Just finished NONE SHALL ESCAPE (1944).

Thanks to everyone who recommended it in the “hits and misses” thread.

It was a damn fine film.

AGREE! I hadnt heard of this film before and am glad I decided to watch it.

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10 minutes ago, rayban said:

This film has a peculiar fascination for me.

It's due to the nature of the Joan Fontaine-Charles Boyer relationship.

Wasn't it Joan Fontaine's favorite film?

Yes.  I read that Joan considered this her favorite of all her films.

While it's not MY favorite of Joan's films, I cannot decide what I think about the Fontaine/Boyer relationship?

Weird, endearing or creepy? I don't know.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

And thank you for also loving it, I’m kind of surprised but every time I mention LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN someone usually chimes in with the fact that it’s not one of their favorites, and while I (try to) respect the opinions of others, it’s hard for me to wrap their mind around anyone not liking it. It is a completely brilliant film.

Thank you also for reminding me that Louis Jourdan spelled his name with a “u”. My oopsie on that.

This film sounds really good and I was reading about it last night when I was reading about The Constant Nymph.  I hope that TCM airs it.

EDIT: The library has it on Blu-Ray! Putting a hold on it right now.

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5 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I don't even remember it advertised in 66, also being in Black & White probably doomed it with a certain demographic.

I dont remember the film at all, but TCM shows it often enough. I imagine it failed in its NY/LA release and was quickly played off on double bills or the drive in circuit for the rest of the country........

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

oddly enough, LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, which came out 5 years after THE CONSTANT NYMPH, has La Fontaine playing a teenaged character more believably. it was directed by MAX OPHULS and costars LOUIS JORDAN and it is an exquisite film that should have garnered Fontaine a Best Actress nomination, but sadly did not.

AGREE.

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Outside the Law (1930)*** - Very dated crime drama from Universal and director Tod Browning. Crook "Fingers" O'Dell (Owen Moore) is planning a bank job, but it's in the territory of crime boss "Cobra" Collins (Edward G. Robinson). Fingers decides to fake out Cobra on the date of the heist, with the assistance of gal pal Connie (Mary Nolan). Also featuring Rockliffe Fellowes, Delmar Watson, Eddie Sturgis, John George, DeWitt Jennings, Clarence Muse, and Louise Beavers.

This was a remake and reworking of the Lon Chaney film from 1920 of the same name. I enjoyed that one more, as the sound technology and acting techniques are too primitive in this version, and distract from the proceedings more than the silent film. I watched it for Robinson, which is good since everyone else is lousy, especially Watson as a very annoying kid. Robinson's voice sounds a bit higher than usual, and his performance isn't that much better than the others around him, but he still has screen presence. Still, I would recommend this only for completists.    (5/10)

Source: Rarefilmm.com. The print available is terrible.

Outside_The_Law_1930_photo__28889.143704

 

***I know this out of chronological order with my usual watching pattern, but I've found a few more older ones that I want to see. :D 

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48 minutes ago, rayban said:

Have you ever seen "Kapo" with Susan Strasberg?

No, I have not. I had planned to also take in OPERATION EICHMANN last night as part of a double feature, but NONE SHALL ESCAPE drained my energy.

Im all Nazied out at the moment...

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2 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Lorna, I liked Letter From an Unknown Woman.  But  !  SPOILER   Something I found implausible was  that Joan's lover (Louis Jourdan) would not  remember her.  I know the whole point was that for  Joan's character , this was the love of her life, a passionate affair that changed her forever, etc. etc.  (and doesn't she have his baby???can't remember for sure, it was a long time ago I saw it)  so, given that, how ironic etc. etc. that Stefan (Jourdan) wouldn't remember her at all. Showing what a user of women he was, how shallow and dishonest he was, and so force.  And while I can believe that he was all those things, I just cannot believe that he would not recall Joan at all. That's a sticking point for me with the film.

Maybe he was drinking a lot of beer and playing Devil's Triangle games between piano engagements, which made him have blackouts and forget trysts like with Joan, Miss Wonderly?

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Well...

one *kinda* got the impression that Joan’s character was but one in a veritable “cast of thousands” for Louis. 

True story, I had a great uncle who was married six times and he ran into one of his ex-wives at a funeral and did not remember who she was. 

Oh, she was also one of his grade school teachers.

I was with a friend of mine who is notoriously bad at remembering faces. She pulls up to a stop light and next to her a guy pulls up on a bike. He says "Hey, Barb! She turns to him and says "Who are you?" He then says "Uh, your ex-husband. We were married for seven years..."

The light changes! I'm dying laughing. I had never known her when she was married but she'd only been divorced about three years at this time. I said "Was that really your ex?" She is like "Yeah, I just didn't recognize him. I'd tried to forget him since he cheated on me and that's why we are divorced."

I said "Talk about ruining a person's ego. Well, that little scenario is probably big payback for the cheating and he will never forget that you don't even recognize him now."

I guess such non-recognition can happen in life, no matter what the situation. Didn't I read that Brad Pitt had that non-recognition facial issue also, which is a brain disorder possibly?

 

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

This film sounds really good and I was reading about it last night when I was reading about The Constant Nymph.  I hope that TCM airs it.

EDIT: The library has it on Blu-Ray! Putting a hold on it right now.

TCM rarely airs it as it's a Universal release, but hopefully it will pop up again......

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

Yes.  I read that Joan considered this her favorite of all her films.

While it's not MY favorite of Joan's films, I cannot decide what I think about the Fontaine/Boyer relationship?

Weird, endearing or creepy? I don't know.

Part of the reason was she loved working with Charles Boyer. She said in her memoirs of all her male co-stars only Boyer and Fred Astaire were interested in making the film as good as possible, not making themselves look good.

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Luxury Liner (1933)

A multiple story soap opera set aboard a luxury liner sailing from Germany to America, this Paramount production's format appears to have been influenced by MGM's mega hit of the previous year, Grand Hotel. Nothing about either the stories or cast are as compelling, however.

There's George Brent, a doctor desperate to stop his wife (Vivienne Osborne) from leaving him with a Wall Street-type tycoon (Frank Morgan) aboard the ship so he hustles himself a position as ship's doctor.

But also aboard are a variety of other characters, among them Zita Johann as a nurse who socializes with no one and remains mysterious about her past; Alice White as an ambitious third class passenger eager to get into the first class section and using her charms with various men to try to achieve her goal; C. Aubrey Smith as a former textiles millionaire just released from prison who when asked why he is traveling third class replies "because there is no fourth class"; and Verree Teasdale as an opera singer who gains Morgan's interest.

At 67 minutes this pre coder certainly moves quickly as it jumps between its stories, even if some of the plot lines are not particularly well developed and may have been victims of the editor's knife. The performances vary in quality, with the highlights for me Alice White in wide eyed bubbly form, telling every man who pays attention to her that he's the nicest man in the world, and C. Aubrey Smith as the old industrialist now broke who doesn't let his misfortune dampen his spirits.

Luxury Liner is a minor but amusing time waster, not to be mistaken with the later MGM musical fluff of 1948 with the same title which also featured George Brent, along with Jane Powell.

A copy of this version of Luxury Liner can be found on Archive.org.

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2.5 out of 4

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Broadway (1929) - Crime drama/musical from Universal and director Paul Fejos. At the Paradise Club, gangster Steve Crandall (Robert Ellis) sets his sights on nice showgirl Billie (Merna Kennedy), which infuriates her dance partner Roy (Glenn Tryon). Things get more complicated when Steve offs a rival gangster near the premises, which draws the attention of both police detective Dan McCorn (Thomas E. Jackson) and the dead gangster's mistress Pearl (Evelyn Brent). Also featuring Paul Porcasi, Leslie Fenton, Otis Harlan, Marion Lord, and Fritz Feld.

The sound is creaky, the plotline unremarkable, and most of the performances downright awful, but the sets and costumes are amazing, and the direction is inventive and eye-popping. Even the film's opening, featuring a highly-detailed miniature of Times Square complete with tiny moving cars, which is then invaded by a giant devil who splashes alcohol around the city, is unusual and memorable. I also enjoyed seeing character actor Porcasi in one of his bigger roles as the nightclub manager. The big finale is in two-strip Technicolor.    (6/10)

Source: YouTube. The quality is passable. This is also available as a bonus feature on the Criterion Blu-ray of Lonesome (1928).

filmszene-aus-broadway-regie-paul-fejos-

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7 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

okay- so- NONE SHALL ESCAPE (1944):

this was an incredibly powerful, imaginative, relentless and eye-opening film, one that would technically make a great companion piece to Douglas Sirk's HITLER'S MADMAN (1943)- although you'd probably have to undergo extensive lithium treatments if you watched them back to back.

and like HITLER'S MADMAN, I don't think I'll ever watch another film by the same director (in this case ANDRE DE TOTH) in the same way again- because it was so masterfully put together, so relentlessly uncompromising and constructed. it reminded me a trifle of WUTHERING HEIGHTS (the novel) in that it had a symmetrical structure- showing the mistakes of one generation being repeated by another.

it's the story of a Nazi on trial for war crimes in Poland, set in the future after WWII had ended (a bold move by the screenwriters)

there was an exceptional scene 2/3 of the way through where the local Polish Jews are being loaded onto a train for a Concentration Camp and revolt, only to be massacred. the camera movements and editing were incredible, I sat up and cried in horror when- quite clearly- a German officer's staff car runs over several bodies lying in the mud. how that got past the censors I don't know, but it was very effective.

the acting was superlative, MARSHA HUNT, who I knew as the dorky sister from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940) ages so believably (the make-up was great!) in a vanity-free performance; HENRY TRAVERS was also good, but the real revelation for me was ALEXANDER KNOX- who I knew only from THE SEA WOLF and the WILSON (where I was not impressed by his Oscar-nominated role as an inexplicably British-accented Woodrow Wilson)- his German accent is perfect here. apparently they wanted PAUL LUKAS for the role, and thank God he didn't get it, because- as an actor- he was incapable of conveying what Knox did, the whole film hangs on his shoulders and he holds nothing back; it's a nuanced look into the banality of evil that doesn't resort to mustache twirling, a MOVIE STAR in the same role would have demanded rewrites to make the part sympathetic.

i was also stunned at how this film dealt openly with r a p e throughout.

highly recommended, especially for anyone who is conflicted about the current state of the world.

Alexander Knox was a revelation for me too. I forgot he was in "The Sea Wolf". I mainly remember him for being the lead in "Wilson" and "The Judge Steps Out". In both cases he is playing decent and emotionally restrained characters, and because he looks the part,  I wondered how much acting talent was really there. He showed me how much was there last night.  I too wondered how this material got through the censors. Plus I was somewhat surprised that this much would be known about the concentration camps in 1944. On the other hand, in the final scene, Russia's hammer and sickle flag alongside the American, British, and French flags is a bad look today, and was probably  a bad look by 1946.

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

No, I have not. I had planned to also take in OPERATION EICHMANN last night as part of a double feature, but NONE SHALL ESCAPE drained my energy.

Im all Nazied out at the moment...

"Operation Eichmann" was a workmanlike production, but it managed to be quite gripping.

It was essentially the story of Simon Weisenthal, the famed Nazi hunter.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Broadway (1929) - Crime drama/musical from Universal and director Paul Fejos. At the Paradise Club, gangster Steve Crandall (Robert Ellis) sets his sights on nice showgirl Billie (Merna Kennedy), which infuriates her dance partner Roy (Glenn Tryon). Things get more complicated when Steve offs a rival gangster near the premises, which draws the attention of both police detective Dan McCorn (Thomas E. Jackson) and the dead gangster's mistress Pearl (Evelyn Brent). Also featuring Paul Porcasi, Leslie Fenton, Otis Harlan, Marion Lord, and Fritz Feld.

The sound is creaky, the plotline unremarkable, and most of the performances downright awful, but the sets and costumes are amazing, and the direction is inventive and eye-popping. Even the film's opening, featuring a highly-detailed miniature of Times Square complete with tiny moving cars, which is then invaded by a giant devil who splashes alcohol around the city, is unusual and memorable. I also enjoyed seeing character actor Porcasi in one of his bigger roles as the nightclub manager. The big finale is in two-strip Technicolor.    (6/10)

Source: YouTube. The quality is passable. This is also available as a bonus feature on the Criterion Blu-ray of Lonesome (1928).

filmszene-aus-broadway-regie-paul-fejos-

It's also an extra on just the Criterion DVD, although I don't know why someone just wouldn't buy the Blu.  Paul Fejos directed both films and was by trade a bacteriologist. What is great about the Criterion edition of Broadway is that they manage to get the color AND the sound right. In all of the previous doctored versions I've seen one or the other is correct. Odd fact - in 1949 Universal remade Broadway with George Raft. However, they leave the story line as is and it is Raft looking back on this prohibition era story, with much of the stilted dialogue left in place. I'll never know why Universal did that.

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Quick Millions (1931) - Excellent gangster pic from Fox and director Rowland Brown. Quick-tempered Chicago truck driver "Bugs" Raymond (Spencer Tracy) decides to become a racketeer, and quickly rises through the ranks to become one of the most powerful men in the city. But what comes up must come down, and Raymond is no exception. Also featuring Marguerite Churchill, George Raft, Sally Eilers, Bob Burns, John Wray, Warner Richmond, Oscar Apfel, Edgar Kennedy, Ward Bond, and Leon Ames in his debut.

Tracy is compelling in just his second feature role, playing a part clearly modeled on many of the real-life gangsters of the day, such as Bugsy Siegel and Al Capone. George Raft is also good in a supporting role as one of Tracy's gunmen, and he gets a short but amusing dance number, too. The direction is inspired, with some very effective scenes of violence. I also liked how the film shows many of the rackets of the day, such as smashing up cars parked on the street to force motorists to use pay-to-park garages nearby, which pay a kickback to the gangs. Recommended.    (8/10)

Source: YouTube. The copy there is atrocious, hazy and with onscreen Spanish subtitles throughout the film.

220px-Quick_Millions_FilmPoster.jpeg

 

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Surrender (1931) - Prisoner-of-war drama from Fox and director William K. Howard. During the final months of World War One, a P.O.W. camp is set up near a Prussian castle. French prisoner Dumaine (Warner Baxter) plots his escape until he falls in love with Axelle (Leila Hyams), the beautiful granddaughter of the senile Count (C. Aubrey Smith) who resides in the castle. The camp commandant, the horribly scarred Captain Ebbing (Ralph Bellamy), loves Axelle as well, setting the stage for further conflict. Also featuring Alexander Kirkland, William Pawley. Howard Phillips, George Beranger, Bodil Rosing, Joe Sawyer, J. Carrol Naish, and Virginia Weidler in her film debut.

Director Howard, working with cinematographer James Wong Howe, adds a lot of visual panache, with moody shadow play throughout. Baxter is kind of bland, as is Hyams, but the latter looks good. The usually reliable Smith plays his character so broadly that his scenes descend into farce. Bellamy has one of his most interesting roles as the tragic Ebbing, a decent man at heart whose war injuries have left a bit twisted mentally. He makes the whole film worthwhile.   (7/10)

Source: Rarefilmm.com. The copy is once again very poor, made from an old VHS that has several really bad stretches of bad static and image dropout. However, as this only has 18 votes on IMDb, I'm guessing it's extremely rare, and should be appreciated as is.

MV5BZjE4MjMwMjAtYTJkYi00OTQ5LWI3NWUtNDRh

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10 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

I looked for years for a copy of "Letter from an Unknown Woman" being a major Ophuls fan. When I finally located a copy, I was mesmerized. It's a movie that deserves more recognition and yes, Fontaine was quite believable in all the ages she played from youth to maturity. Jourdan was never better and Ophuls moving camera, worked tremendously in this film. Supposedly used to counter his perhaps dyslexic tendencies, the sweeping shots are admirably framed and give a thrilling scope to each set piece. Thanks for mentioning this film, Lorna!

Just in case anyone wants to watch this for free and in decent enough quality :)

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"The Big Lift" - George Seaton -1950 -

TCM recently aired an extremely bad print of this war drama.

I am not going to talk about it.

It was like watching the film through MUD.

When a print is this bad, it should not be shown.

51PZA91JN8L.jpg

 

 

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14 hours ago, calvinnme said:

 On the other hand, in the final scene [of NONE SHALL ESCAPE], Russia's hammer and sickle flag alongside the American, British, and French flags is a bad look today, and was probably  a bad look by 1946.

oh yeah, that jumped out at me too.

HITLER'S MADMAN (1943) also ended in a similarly artistic, jingoistic, image-laden finale and I almost wonder if in both cases it was the studio that tacked those on ballyhoo-heavy final scenes, not that they were bad, mind you- they just dated the films a tad.

all it needed was a "BUY BONDS, WHERE YOU WORK OR LIVE!" slogan tacked on.

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