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His Woman (1931) - Tepid romantic drama from Paramount Pictures and director Edward Sloman. Merchant sea captain Sam Whalan (Gary Cooper) discovers an abandoned baby while in port at a Caribbean island. Eventually convinced to take the child back to New York, he decides to hire a nursemaid to watch over the child during the sea voyage. He settles on Sally Clark (Claudette Colbert), a woman of "ill repute" who claims to be the orphaned daughter of a missionary. Sam and Sally fall for each other, but what will happen when Sally's sordid past is revealed? Also featuring Averell Harris, Joseph Calleia, Hamtree Harrington, Sidney Easton, Joan Blair, Charlotte Wynters, Douglass Dumbrille, Preston Foster, Barton MacLane, Donald MacBride, and Harry Davenport.

There's not much I can say about this timewaster. Cooper and Colbert are passable, the story never goes anywhere unexpected, and the filmmaking is perfunctory.    (5/10)

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I Like Your Nerve (1931) - Breezy romantic comedy from First National and director William C. McGann. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. stars as Larry O'Brien, a fun-loving playboy bouncing around from country to country trying to have a good time. He spots beautiful young woman Diane Forsythe (Loretta Young) and decides to pursue, and even when he learns that she's scheduled to soon marry the nation's richest man, Larry's still determined to win her over. Also featuring Henry Kolker, Claud Allister, Edmund Breon, Luis Alberni, and Boris Karloff as Luigi the butler.

Fairbanks is fun and charming, and Young is lovelier than ever, so it's unfortunate that they couldn't have worked with a more inspired script. The filmmakers never quite manage to develop a compelling or amusing scenario for these characters to inhabit, and unfortunately the film fell flat for me.   (5/10)

Source: TCM

ILikeYourNerve3.jpg

 

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3 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I Like Your Nerve (1931) - Breezy romantic comedy from First National and director William C. McGann. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. stars as Larry O'Brien, a fun-loving playboy bouncing around from country to country trying to have a good time. He spots beautiful young woman Diane Forsythe (Loretta Young) and decides to pursue, and even when he learns that she's scheduled to soon marry the nation's richest man, Larry's still determined to win her over. Also featuring Henry Kolker, Claud Allister, Edmund Breon, Luis Alberni, and Boris Karloff as Luigi the butler.

Fairbanks is fun and charming, and Young is lovelier than ever, so it's unfortunate that they couldn't have worked with a more inspired script. The filmmakers never quite manage to develop a compelling or amusing scenario for these characters to inhabit, and unfortunately the film fell flat for me.   (5/10

Source: TCM

ILikeYourNerve3.jpg

 

Wow.  Douglas Fairbanks Jr definitely benefited from growing a mustache and omitting the use of eyeliner! If you hadn't said that he was in this film, I wouldn't have recognized him.

He does absolutely nothing for me in this picture.

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"Born To Sing" - Edward Ludwig - 1942 -

starring Ray McDonald and Virginia Weidler -

this MGM musical is a low-budget programmer -

but when Ray McDonald dances -

the film rises to a much higher level -

Ray McDonald was a dancing sprite -

and, as a dancing sprite, he was tremendoudly engaging -

he's ably supported by a terrific cast in a film which is about, you guessed it, putting on a show -

virginia-weidler-and-ray-mcdonald-dance-

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Mustang Country (1976)

A 70-year-old Joel McCrea emerged from retirement to make this one last film, a simple, unpretentious western about a hunt for a lone black stallion on the Montana-Alberta border in 1925.

This is largely a two character movie, with McCrea accompanied for the majority of the film by young Nika Mina as a runaway Indian boy who, after he discovers that his grandfather has died, gets McCrea to agree, after numerous failures to capture the stallion in the past, to try one last time with him. There's a reward for the horse which the boy wants for his family. The story will also involve Three Toe, a grizzly who wiped out all the sheep on McCrea's ranch and who, of course, will emerge from the woods to cause trouble again.

Filmed on location in Banff National Park the scenery, needless to say, is breath takingly gorgeous, from the first shot in this film to the last. Those who love the sight of mountains and forests, lakes and streams, will have nothing to complain about in regard to that aspect of the film. There are also a lot of cutaway shots of animals, at times giving the film a bit of a Disney feel, but it's not too much of a distraction from the main story.

In his only film appearance Nika Mann is clearly limited as an actor but even though he's a bit stiff as a performer, he's a likable kid companion. McCrea, even in his grey haired senior years, still looks mighty convincing riding a horse, and there's a comfortable screen presence about him, as well as a direct honesty in his delivery of dialogue that makes his final screen performance an appealing one.

By the way, aside from the Indian boy, McCrea's other two companions throughout most of the film will be his horse, Rosie, and a remarkably bright dog, Luke, who will play a role in saving both McCrea and the Indian boy from wilderness tragedies.

Briefly appearing at the beginning of the film are Robert Fuller and Patrick Wayne as a couple of cowboys who try in vain to capture the stallion. While the film seems designed to appeal to kids, adults should also enjoy it for the scenery and McCrea's seasoned performance.

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2.5 out of 4

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I Take This Woman (1931) - Simple romantic drama from Paramount Pictures and director Marion Gering. Carole Lombard stars as Kay Dowling, a spoiled rich girl who causes her father no end of grief with her wild partying ways and scandalous appearances in the society pages. He has her sent out west to cool down at a ranch where she meets cowpoke Tom McNair (Gary Cooper). The unlikely duo fall in love and get married, but their disparate lifestyles may be too much to bear. Also featuring Helen Ware, Lester Vail, Charles Trowbridge, Clara Blandick, and Al Hart.

Lombard and Cooper are both appealing and have genuine chemistry. The story lacks originality or flair (it closely resembles the previous year's Montana Moon with Joan Crawford and Johnny Mack Brown), but the charisma of the talented stars makes it a passable hour and twelve minutes.   (6/10)

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The Singing Kid (1936)

Call me a square. Call me a nut, but I loved this film starring Jolson. I was a bit hesitant to tune in as I have seen some of his pictures before and quite frankly, they stink. The story centers around Al Jackson, a famous Mammy singer. (Go figure.) His accountant runs off with his money, his fiance and his voice. Al's docs decides he needs complete rest in a quiet countryside setting, where he meets a charming little kid and her lovely aunt. The kid portrayed by Sybil Jason is a little charmer. She and Jollie have a lovely number together which is absolutely adorable. I loved it! Allen Jenkins and Edward Everett Horton join in singing and that just about killed me. I may have to buy the DVD. Jolson is wonderful in this. His mannerisms and rolling eyes add to the songs. Jolson does a grand impression of Larry Parks here. 

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As You Desire Me (1932) - Amusingly hysterical melodrama from MGM and director George Fitzmaurice. Budapest nightclub singer Zara (Greta Garbo) drinks too much and carouses with multiple men, including aristocratic author Carl Salter (Erich von Stroheim). One evening she's approached by a man who claims that Zara is actually Maria, a married woman who was injured and left amnesiac and lost. Zara believes that this could be true, so she travels to meet Count Bruno Varelli (Melvyn Douglas), the man who many be her husband. Also featuring Hedda Hopper, Owen Moore, Rafaela Ottiano, Warburton Gamble, Albert Conti, William Ricciardi, Roland Varno, and Nella Walker.

Garbo has a short, blonde 'do at the film's start, a distinctly different look for her. She also wears a succession of bizarre outfits. The characters are all pitched to the roof, over emoting to the point of parody. Garbo went to bat for von Stroheim to get him the much-needed acting job, but he was reportedly a wreck behind the scenes, often sick, and flubbing his lines. I still liked him in the film. I don't know if I would call this movie good, but I was entertained.   (6/10)

Source: TCM

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On 10/1/2018 at 8:53 PM, LawrenceA said:

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

Even if the movie is lousy, I just love the artwork of these posters/lobby cards that LawrenceA includes with his reviews, especially from the early 1930's.  They remind me of some of the old paperback pulp novel cover art.

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8 hours ago, TomJH said:

 

4rpfsqqvhhO0wV5Ehywv6iwku2V.jpg

 

That sure looks like Chuck Robertson's famous stunt horse, Cocaine. You may remember him from this scene:

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I Take This Woman (1931)

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I Take This Woman was unavailable for viewing for years due to rights issues tied up with the family of its author, Mary Roberts Rinehart. UCLA performed a restoration on, I believe, a 16mm print of the film (thus the softness of its image). I wish it was more of a film but it's good to see the only movie that co-starred Cooper and Lombard (who had a brief affair) now available for viewing on the internet.

Tacky comment of the day: apparently when Lombard was annoyed with Gable in their later relationship she would throw Cooper's sexual prowess in his face. Ouch!

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8 hours ago, Janet0312 said:

The Singing Kid (1936)

Call me a square. Call me a nut, but I loved this film starring Jolson. I was a bit hesitant to tune in as I have seen some of his pictures before and quite frankly, they stink. The story centers around Al Jackson, a famous Mammy singer. (Go figure.) His accountant runs off with his money, his fiance and his voice. Al's docs decides he needs complete rest in a quiet countryside setting, where he meets a charming little kid and her lovely aunt. The kid portrayed by Sybil Jason is a little charmer. She and Jollie have a lovely number together which is absolutely adorable. I loved it! Allen Jenkins and Edward Everett Horton join in singing and that just about killed me. I may have to buy the DVD. Jolson is wonderful in this. His mannerisms and rolling eyes add to the songs. Jolson does a grand impression of Larry Parks here.  

I love this one too. I particularly like Jolson and Cab Calloway as dueling singers outside of their penthouse apartments. Most people think "I Wanna Singa" comes from the cartoon with the cute little Owl - Owl Jolson. Instead it comes from this film.

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THE GHOST OF C. AUBREY SMITH IS NOT AMUSED WITH MY JOKES ABOUT HIM.

Why do I say this? A cricket got in my bedroom and kept me awake last night. Never did find the little bastard either, just took a pill and went into a coma.

woke up quite groggy very late and caught the tail end of THE LOST PATROL (1934) and I just have to reiterate what a fine film it is. I also don't think one can overstate how important it likely was in the career of JOHN FORD, who I know had been making films for a long time before this, but it should be noted won the Oscar for Best Director the very next year for THE INFORMER, as did his LOST PATROL leading man VICTOR MACLAGLEN for Best Actor....I've never seen THE INFORMER, but I daresay its victory had a lot to do with residual memories of how effective a film THE LOST PATROL is.

I love the way the desert shows up when filmed in black and white, and I'd put this on a list of the 10 finest examples of black and white cinematography i can think of offhand, it also helps that the print they show on TCM is superb.

One of the very few Golden Age films of which I can decidedly say even modern audiences would find themselves "into."

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I HATE CRICKETS!!! They've just about died out here. Good riddance........Safe till next year!

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18 minutes ago, Hibi said:

I HATE CRICKETS!!! They've just about died out here. Good riddance........Safe till next year!

it's been over ninety degrees every day since the Hurricane, so they are going strong.

and loud.

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I love The Lost Patrol.  I've seen it a few times and agree the cinematography is superb plus my man Boris Karloff in a non-monster, non-criminal role.  One of John Ford's gems.

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44 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

it's been over ninety degrees every day since the Hurricane, so they are going strong.

and loud.

They've mated and died off here, thankfully. It's very warm here too. No fall weather in sight. :(

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

it's been over ninety degrees every day since the Hurricane, so they are going strong.

and loud.

Crickets chirp faster at higher temperatures. There is actually a very simple formula where you can estimate outdoor temperature based on number of cricket chirps in a given time period; you can find it online if you're interested. I once gave my class a problem where they were told the number of chirps in 15 seconds and asked to predict the temperature. The actual answer was around 80 degrees fahrenheit. Some of their answers were in excess of 200 degrees fahrenheit. I then asked them, "really, do you think the crickets and you would still be alive if that were the temperature?" Oh well ... at least nobody gave me an answer in degrees centipede.

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Forbidden (1932) - Pre-Code melodrama from Columbia Pictures and director Frank Capra. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Lulu, a bored small-town librarian who impulsively decides to take an expensive sea cruise. She meets fun-loving attorney Bob (Adolphe Menjou), and the two have an affair, leaving Lulu pregnant. Bob refuses to marry her, and reveals that he's already married. Lulu gets a job on a newspaper run by Holland (Ralph Bellamy), who is determined to bring down Bob, who Holland sees as corrupt, and who is rumored to be running for political office. Also featuring Dorothy Peterson, Thomas Jefferson, Myrna Fresholt, Charlotte Henry, Oliver Eckhardt, Charles Middleton, and Henry Armetta.

This is the kind of "women's weepie" melodrama that Stanwyck was best known for in the 1930's. It's well acted by the three leads, and competently, if lethargically, directed by Capra. The ending is unusual, and definitely places it in the Pre-Code era.   (7/10)

Source: TCM

220px-StanwyckForbidden1932.jpg

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Does anyone know how a cricket chirps? I do because I once snuck up on an in-door cricket who was sounding off and saw what he did.

But I reveal no secrets here and, no, they don't do it by rubbing their legs together. You'll have to sneak up on one yourselves.

its-a-secret.jpg

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If I Had a Million (1932) - Anthology from Paramount Pictures and directors Ernst Lubitsch, James Cruze, H. Bruce Humberstone, Lothar Mendes, Stephen Roberts, William A. Seiter, Norman Taurog, and Norman Z. McLeod. When ultra-wealthy John Glidden (Richard Bennett) is told that he's at death's door, he decides that, rather than leave his wealth to his scheming, money-hungry family, he'll randomly pick people out of the directory and give them each a check for one million dollars. The film then shows a series of vignettes, often comedic but occasionally serious, of how each person reacts to their unexpected financial windfall. Featuring Gary Cooper, Charles Laughton, W.C. Fields, Alison Skipworth, May Robson, Gene Raymond, Jack Oakie, George Raft, Charles Ruggles, Mary Boland, Roscoe Karns, Berton Churchill, Joyce Compton, Frances Dee, Blanche Friderici, Wynne Gibson, Samuel S. Hinds, Lucien Littlefield, Grant Mitchell, Clarence Muse, and Marc Lawrence & Gail Patrick in their film debuts.

This entertaining movie is all over the place both in tone and in quality. A silly bit with Fields and Skipworth on a mission to crash cars across the city will be followed by Gene Raymond as a man on death row pleading for his life. Some are just one-joke gags (the Laughton sequence), while others have some emotional heft (May Robson in a home for elderly women). My personal favorite features George Raft as a crook who is too afraid he'll get arrested if he tries to cash his check. According to the IMDb trivia, there were additional scenes that were cut that included Cary Grant, Miriam Hopkins, Tallulah Bankhead, Sylvia Sidney, Carole Lombard, Randolph Scott, and Fredric March.   (7/10)

Source: TCM

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4 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

Crickets chirp faster at higher temperatures. There is actually a very simple formula where you can estimate outdoor temperature based on number of cricket chirps in a given time period; you can find it online if you're interested. I once gave my class a problem where they were told the number of chirps in 15 seconds and asked to predict the temperature. The actual answer was around 80 degrees fahrenheit. Some of their answers were in excess of 200 degrees fahrenheit. I then asked them, "really, do you think the crickets and you would still be alive if that were the temperature?" Oh well ... at least nobody gave me an answer in degrees centipede.

LOL. Next time I'm bored I'll get out my stopwatch........

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The Menace (1932) - Dull, absurd crime thriller from Columbia Pictures and director Roy William Neill. Walter Byron stars as Ronald Quayle, an Englishman who fled his country a wanted man, accused of murdering his own father. After an accident necessitates Quayle undergoing extensive plastic surgery, completely altering his appearance, he returns to England under an assumed identity to try and clear his name. Also featuring H.B. Warner, Bette Davis, Natalie Moorhead, William B. Davidson, Crauford Kent, Murray Kinnell, Oscar Apfel, and Halliwell Hobbes.

Based on "The Feathered Serpent" by Edgar Wallace, this may have worked better in print, because on film the plot becomes either too convoluted to be believable or too opaque to be clearly understood. Byron is a bore, and none of the others make much of an impression, including young Bette Davis, in a smallish role as Quayle's once-and-future love. Davis was so frustrated with her film career after making this that she decided to quit films and head back to the NY stage. Only her co-star Murray Kinnell suggesting her for a role in his friend George Arliss' next film, The Man Who Played God, kept Davis in Hollywood, and gave her the break she needed for her career to flourish.   (5/10)

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The Miracle Man (1932) - Odd crime drama from Paramount Pictures and director Norman Z. McLeod. A gang of crooks and con artists, including leader John "Doc" Madison (Chester Morris), Helen (Sylvia Sidney), Harry (Ned Sparks), and The Frog (John Wray), skip town after an associate gets injured, drawing the law down on them. They head to a small town where they hear about a reputed holy man and faith healer named The Patriarch (Hobart Bosworth) living nearby. Since one of their number (The Frog) pretends to be crippled, they figure if The Patriarch "heals" him in front of the townsfolk, they can charge access fees from all of the rubes who will show up to also get healed. Only, what if The Patriarch truly is divinely powered... Also featuring Virginia Bruce, Lloyd Hughes, Irving Pichel, Frank Darien, Florine McKinney, Bodil Rosing, and Boris Karloff as Nikko.

This was a remake of the mostly-lost 1919 movie of the same name, which helped make Lon Chaney a star. He played the role of The Frog, the faux cripple, which is a lesser role here. The tone of the movie is unusual, a mix of jaunty Pre-Code crime caper and sincere religious sentiment. Sidney is effective as always. I watched this for Karloff, who's only in it for about 5 minutes at the beginning.   (6/10)

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