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I Just Watched...

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12 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

College Swing:   Midnight this morning-------

The first time I saw(or even heard of) this one.  With a veritable "who's who" of early movie and radio comic actors, and full of (for me too) surprises.

Anyone who's paid the slightest attention to any of my posts knows that I've been in love with GRACIE ALLEN ever since I was old enough to sit up in front of the tube.  I've seen several of her and George's shorts and other film appearances over the years, but this one escaped me.  I knew she was great at the "zany" type comedy, but really had NO idea she could carry a tune that well!

Also, I'm not sure they did much "dubbing" singing in movies from that period, so I'll assume( until informed otherwise) that JOHN PAYNE did his own singing in this flick, another thing about him I was unaware of.

Most of the cast members were also many of my "favorites" over my lifetime, and too still hold that "honor"  ;)  So, NOW I gotta hunt down a DVD!  ;)

Sepiatone

I'd never heard of this one, either. Like many a musical comedy, it concentrates a little too much on the plot and not quite enough on the comedy bits which are tailored for Gracie Allen, Martha Raye, Bob Hope, Edward Everett Horton, etc. However, any fan of Gracie's crazy non sequiturs and unusual brand of logic (that definitely includes me) will find much to enjoy. Cecil Cunningham gets a larger role than usual, so fans of her mannish manner (that also includes me) will want to see this.

This movie could also provide a great question for movie mavens: which man does Gracie Allen marry in College Swing: A) George Burns; 2) Bob Hope; 3) Jerry Colonna; 4) John Payne; 5) Edward Everett Horton.

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13 minutes ago, kingrat said:

I'd never heard of this one, either.

I watched it, and reviewed it in this thread, back in January. This is what I posted:

College Swing (1938) - Raucous musical comedy from Paramount Pictures and director Raoul Walsh. Set at fictional Alden College, the "story" concerns a 200-year-old stipulation that if the current generation member of the Alden family can graduate, they can take possession of the college and it's lucrative coffers. That latest generation is Gracie (Gracie Allen), a bizarre dimbulb with no chance of passing the final exam. Along comes shady "tutor" Bud Brady (Bob Hope), who helps Gracie cheat at the test in exchange for being named to the college faculty when she takes possession. Also featuring Edward Everett Horton, George Burns, Martha Raye, John Payne, Florence George, Jackie Coogan, Betty Grable, Ben Blue, Cecil Cunningham, Jerry Colonna, James Craig, Richard Denning, Tully Marshall, the Slate Brothers, and Robert Cummings.

This is goofy and dumb, kind of like a 30's version of a teen-appeal 60's movie like Beach Party. Musical interludes are interspersed with comic bits, some funny, some not so much. Allen is funny, and a sequence with Ben Blue teaching a girl's gym class has some funny slapstick bits. Horton plays a rich guy with a phobia of women, while Burns is wasted as his secretary. Raye leans more on the annoying side than amusing. Still, this has some time-capsule appeal.   (6/10)

Source: Universal DVD.

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Vanity Fair aka Indecent (1932) - Bad, updated adaptation of the Thackeray novel, from Allied Pictures Corporation and director Chester Franklin. Myrna Loy stars as social climber Becky Sharp, who eventually pays the price for her ambitious ways. Also featuring Conway Tearle, Barbara Kent, Walter Byron, Anthony Bushell, Billy Bevan, Montagu Love, and Lionel Belmore.

Loy turns in a serviceable performance, but the production values are limited, and the script lacks energy and depth. Miriam Hopkins would do much more with the material 3 years later.   (5/10)

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Vanity Fair aka Indecent (1932) - Bad, updated adaptation of the Thackeray novel, from Allied Pictures Corporation and director Chester Franklin. Myrna Loy stars as social climber Becky Sharp, who eventually pays the price for her ambitious ways. Also featuring Conway Tearle, Barbara Kent, Walter Byron, Anthony Bushell, Billy Bevan, Montagu Love, and Lionel Belmore.

Loy turns in a serviceable performance, but the production values are limited, and the script lacks energy and depth. Miriam Hopkins would do much more with the material 3 years later.   (5/10)

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So it appears Vanity Fair is a case where the production code adaptation, Becky Sharp with Hopkins,  was a better film than a pre-code version (and where the plot was 'adult').      

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New Morals for Old (1932) - Pre-Code drama from MGM and director Charles Brabin. The story follows the Thomas family. Father (Lewis Stone) and Mother (Laura Hope Crews) worry about their irresponsible children Ralph (Robert Young) and Phyllis (Margaret Perry). Ralph, who has a nice position in his father's company, would rather move to Paris and study art, while Phyllis is having an affair with a married man (David Newell). Also featuring Jean Hersholt, Ruth Selwyn, Kathryn Crawford, Louise Closser Hale, Elizabeth Patterson, Mitchell Lewis, Paul Porcasi, and Myrna Loy.

Shamelessly manipulative and preach, this works as a time capsule of moralizing in the early part of the twentieth century, but not so much as entertainment. Young isn't bad as the callow Ralph, but Margaret Perry is pretty awful as his conflicted sister. I watched this for Loy, who doesn't show up until the last 30 minutes, and even then is barely in it.   (5/10)

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Young America (1932) - Effective social drama from Fox and director Frank Borzage. Edith Doray (Doris Kenyon) sits in on a session of the juvenile court run by Judge Blake (Ralph Bellamy) where she meets repeat offender Arthur Simpson (Tommy Conlon). She offers to become the boy's foster mother, much to the annoyance of her druggist husband Jack (Spencer Tracy). Will Arthur prove himself to be a good boy at heart, or is Jack correct in his assessment of Arthur as "the worst kid in town"? Also featuring Beryl Mercer, Raymond Borzage, Sarah Padden, Robert Homans, Louise Beavers, Jane Darwell, and Anne Shirley.

The performances are good all around, and the subject is reasonably dealt with, although the last act stretches things a bit (how much bad luck can one kid have?). Tracy is given the less likable role, when later on in his career he'd be a shoo-in for Bellamy's Judge.    (7/10)

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"April Showers" - James V. Kern - 1948 -

This film is a highly entertaining musical about the ups and downs in the life of a show business family - a father, a mother and their young son.

The principal roles are played memorably by Jack Carson, Ann Southern and Robert Ellis.

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2 hours ago, Hepburn Fan said:

I just watched the first two episodes of Murphy Brown from my DVR. TV doesn't get any better.

The new version? How did you like it? 

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Hell's Heroes (1929) I actually prefer this way grittier version of the story to Ford's syrupy sweet remake Three Godfathers.

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Yeah, I'm with ya on that.

It was the first time I saw a movie with a much younger CHARLES BICKFORD, who I was more familiar with playing crusty old men in movies (from JIM THORPE-ALL AMERICAN to DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES w/all that were in between.  ;)  ).  And was impressed.  I didn't at first know it was the precursor to THREE GODFATHERS as it just came on after something else and wihout any host preamble. It was( if memory serves) on a Saturday afternoon back in the late '90's.

Sepiatone

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14 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Strangers in Love (1932)

So Fredric March is Bette Davis and Kay Francis is Karl Malden.  Interesting.

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NewMoralsforOldDVDR.jpg

According to IMDb, Crews' name really was misspelled Crewes in the credits.

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12 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I watched it, and reviewed it in this thread, back in January. This is what I posted:

Don't feel ignored Lawrence....I saw COLLEGE SWING screened in a theater four years ago & wrote about it here. We always have "newer reviews" of the same movies, since classic movie fans are always newly discovering them. 

Every opinion is worthwhile, since we all have different "takes" on them, different preferences-especially when it comes to comedy.

It's best when a poster explains why they liked or disliked a movie and stays on the forum a long enough time for readers get a chance to "know" their tastes. (like your posts, for example)

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9 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

The new version? How did you like it? 

Yes, the new Murphy Brown. I was never a fan of Rosanne Barr, or her old/new TV show. I like Last Man Standing, because Tim Allen is funny and Nancy Travis is adorable. Haven't watched the new Last Man Standing on Fox yet.

I do love Candice Bergen. The show is fantastic. Haven't seen the original since it went off the air. Everything felt familiar. The politics, I think, are funny.

I know this is a TCM forum, but it makes sense to watch other channels some times. My attention span works perfectly with 30 minute shows.

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Phantasm (1979) - Sci-fi/horror from Avco Embassy and writer-director Don Coscarelli. Young teen boy Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) recently lost both parents in a car crash, and now his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) has come back to town to look after him. Mike is convinced something is up at the local cemetery, where the strange undertaker, known only as the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), seems to have a sinister purpose. What the brothers discover is beyond their comprehension. Also featuring Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, Terrie Kalbus, Kenneth V. Jones, Susan Harper, and Lynn Eastman.

Coscarelli's low-budget independent film either purposely or inadvertently taps into an effective nightmare ambiance that transcends the movie's modest production. There's a dream logic to the proceedings that keeps the audience off balance, with jarring edits, strange musical and sound effects cues, and a distinct lack of narrative clarity. The film eventually leans into science fiction territory to try and explain the bizarre goings on, and Coscarelli's SF book fandom is evident a few times (a paperback of a Roger Zelazny novel is prominently shown a few times, and there's a scene lifted directly from Frank Herbert's Dune), but the horror elements are always at the forefront. This was a rewatch for me, of a film that I've seen at least a half dozen times.   (8/10)

Source: Well Go USA Blu-Ray, a remastered disc that looks terrific.

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Phantasm 2 (1988) - Science fiction/horror from Universal and writer-director Don Coscarelli. It's been many years since the events of the first film, and the now grown Mike (James Le Gros) reunites with old friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) to wage war against the otherworldly Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) and his plot to harvest the dead for nefarious purposes. Mike is also aided by psychic girl Liz (Paula Irvine), with whom he has a mental connection. Also featuring Samantha Phillips, Kenneth Tigar, Ruth Engel, Mark Major, and Stacey Travis.

In the 9 years between the first and this sequel, Phantasm had developed quite a cult following, and with the horror market booming, Universal gave Coscarelli a much larger budget to work with. The result is an entertaining, if derivative, continuation. The narrative is much more linear but no less outlandish, as the Tall Man and his minions lay waste to entire towns. This being an 80's film, stuff has to blow up real good, with several giant fireballs exploding into the air, as well as a fetishistic weaponry montage. There's also some gratuitous nudity on display, and inventively gory effects from Greg Nicotero and Robert Kurtzman, among others. Coscarelli had obviously watched Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films a few times, as this lifts some camera shots from those, as well as emulating their horror-meets-black-comedy tone. Still, as far horror sequels go, this is one of the better ones, in my opinion, and it has developed its own cult following, as well as influencing future efforts from others (Eric Kripke, the creator of the long-running TV series Supernatural, borrowed a few things from this).   (7/10)

Source: Shout Factory Blu-Ray

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The Last Tycoon (1976)

Elia Kazan's final directorial effort, a big budget adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished novel about a studio "boy wonder" whose creative genius as a Hollywood film producer becomes undermined by an exasperating love affair with a young mystery woman. Robert De Niro delivers an understated performance as Monroe Stahr, a character based upon MGM legend Irving Thalberg.

The film is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, with its handsome sets and eye for period detail with its costumes in a recreation of '30s Hollywood, the film is a constant visual pleasure.

It also has a phenomenal cast of stars, many of them, some in small parts, from Golden Age Hollywood. Robert Mitchum plays a studio head, with Ray Milland as a lawyer newly arrived in the film capital. Jeanne Moreau is a temperamental film star, Tony Curtis scores well as a "virile" leading man who is wracked with insecurites, Donald Pleasance is a screenwriter heavily into the sauce, and Dana Andrews has a small role as a director who has difficulty handling his prima donna film star on the set.

Small parts, too, are given to character film veterans John Carradine as a studio tour guide and Jeff Corey. Angelica Huston can be seen in a small, early role. A small but signicant role, too, goes to Jack Nicholson as the head of studio writers. Nicholson shares three scenes with De Niro and he more than holds his own. Also scoring very well in an early role in her career is Teresa Russell, as Mitchum's daughter who is in love with De Niro.

But the film is undermined by an uninvolving love affair between De Niro's Monroe Stahr and a beautiful young woman he meets (Ingrid Boulting), which consumes an inordinately large amount of screen time of this lengthy production. Boulting may be lovely to the eye but she fails to make much of an impression as an actress here. Furthermore, the film also has an ambiguous, rather unsatisfactory ending which further weakens its overall impact.

For the cast alone, though, The Last Tycoon is probably worth a look. This is particularly true for fans of Golden Age Hollywood pleased to see some stars from that era given some late career employment, as well as for the unique opportunity to see two of the great screen stars of the past 40 years, De Niro and Nicholson, share a handful of scenes together for the only time in their careers.

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2.5 out of 4

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Supernatural (1933) - Enjoyable Pre-Code horror from Paramount Pictures and director Victor Halperin. After a notorious killer, a woman who strangled three of her lovers, is put to death, scientist Dr. Carl Houston (H.B. Warner) is determined to examine her and learn the secrets of life and death. Meanwhile, heiress Roma Courtney (Carole Lombard), whose twin brother was among the killers victims, is approached by phony spiritualist Paul Bavian (Alan Dinehart) with promises that he can contact Roma's brother on "the other side". Also featuring Randolph Scott, Vivienne Osborne, William Farnum, Willard Robertson, and Beryl Mercer.

After a fantastic opening with spiritualism quotes from various religions and philosophers appearing onscreen while cacophonous music plays, the film immediately heads into Pre-Code territory with its lurid descriptions of the murders. The film bogs down a bit until Lombard undergoes a major transformation and instantly becomes a much more interesting character. I won't go into detail to avoid spoilers, but it's satisfying and entertaining.   (7/10)

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TCM Underground: He Knows You're Alone

I can barely remember the names of more than 3 of the casts and one of them is just a bit actor no-name called Tom Hanks, but I liked him. Shrieking musical tones every time someone is stabbed, be it once or eight times. It was alright, I wouldn't go out of my way to rewatch it but I remember the opening 10 minutes from the last time it was on Underground. The final act was kinda funny, in a bad way.

5/10

TCM Underground: Demon Seed

I remember the parody The Simpsons did in a Treehouse of Horror segment so it's neat seeing the source of it. It was interesting, an AI growing in intelligence and trapping a woman in her own house for its own sinister means and . Kept my attention more than He Knows You're Alone and glad I caught it. Sci-fi movies like this aren't always my bag but really liked the mix of sci-fi and horror.

7.5/10, could be 8/10

Narcotics: Pit of Despair

Just wanted to mention how completely and utterly 60s this is. Everything about the dialogue is so 60s that it made the square's downward spiral into addiction all the more compelling to watch. Despite the great bongo beat, it's still a somber look at what it can do to you. They really do nail the shorts after Underground.

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8 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Supernatural (1933)

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Lombard had a very low opinion of this film. However, I agree with you, Lawrence, that it's quite fascinating to watch at times. The moments that stay with me in particular are the transformation scenes, with closeups of Lombard's face as the evil spirit either enters or departs her body. It was impressively achieved through the same filters in the camera and colours on the face process that had been memorably used by Rouben Mamoulian with Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde three years before.

A fun followup by director Victor Halperin the year after he had helmed White Zombie.

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RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) showed up on amazon prime, at last.

it really is an exquisite piece of trash, although i found it much more disturbing and unsettling in my old age and in the current world climate than I did as a 13 year old crouched five inches away in front of Cinemax on a summer night in 1990.

i absolutely adored how the group of teenagers seemed to utterly despise one another, yet continue hanging out. LINNEA QUIGLEY plays one named "Trash" and one of them looks like RICK JAMES and they are all clearly in their late twenties and they are all pretty inspired in their performances, James Karen is good, as is the very handsome actor playing his bumbling coworker and the guy who plays the coroner whose name i should totally know and whose face i recognize from a dozen things i can't put my finger on.

CLU GULAGHER is serviceable.

"I CAN SMELL YOUR BRAINS, TINA!"

THE entry for this in THE PSYCHOTRONIC VIDEO guide gives the (shock) ending away! (I won't though!)

this film pretty much corrects every problem with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, it's got some great pacing- there is not a lagging moment-, editing, camera work, special effects and just has an energy about it that is still palpable to this day- just an all-around well-constructed film and a great example of how a well made film is a well-made film, even if the subject matter is more than a little distasteful.

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19 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) 

 the guy who plays the coroner whose name i should totally know and whose face i recognize from a dozen things i can't put my finger on.

 

Don Calfa.

James Karen used to advertise on television for the Pathmark supermarket chain. I never knew the guy was an actor until I saw this film. He is absolutely hysterical in it.

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15 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

i absolutely adored how the group of teenagers seemed to utterly despise one another, yet continue hanging out. LINNEA QUIGLEY plays one named "Trash" and one of them looks like RICK JAMES and they are all clearly in their late twenties and they are all pretty inspired in their performances, James Karen is good, as is the very handsome actor playing his bumbling coworker and the guy who plays the coroner whose name i should totally know and whose face i recognize from a dozen things i can't put my finger on.

CLU GULAGHER is serviceable.

I thought Gulager was hilarious, playing it not only straight, but phony macho tough guy. I love the scene where he's yelling at James Karen and Thom Matthews as they're about to let the naked zombie out of the freezer, and Gulager keeps telling them to man up while he himself is standing as far back as possible.

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"Those are rabid weasels in the bags."

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Don Calfa plays the mortician, and he's also hilarious.

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Jewel Shepard, who plays Casey, the blue-haired girl among the punk friends, wrote an amusing book about her career in b-movies, If I'm So Famous, How Come Nobody's Ever Heard of Me?.

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The soundtrack is good. I was once gifted the picture disc LP:

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