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I Just Watched...

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11 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Yes, the setting was nice, especially the seaside scenes. I watched this with someone else, and I related your story (which had you told me in the past when you first clued me in on this fine offering) about your friend shrieking in terror at the first "talon" scene, and they thought that was fantastic. 

I meant "unbelievable" as in, you won't believe what you are seeing was actually committed to celluloid. It was a good kind of unbelievable. That final shot of Tamiroff in the cave was priceless!

Actually, in thinking back, maybe my friend shrieked when Tamiroff alit on the girl at the bus stop, later in the film. But I just checked the YouTube copy -- that scene either didn't happen or was cut from that print.

Btw, if you want to see a really low budget British horror (I probably mentioned this before), see Disciple of Death if you can find it. It's another film that takes place in the English countryside. But suddenly, out of the blue, in the midst of this dark and cheap movie, there is a scene with a Cabalist who has a Yiddish accent that is absolutely amazing!

Here is a simply awful clip from the film. Sadly not the Cabalist clip though. I haven't seen the film in yonks.

 

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Two Against the World aka One Fatal Hour (1936) - Drama from Warner Brothers and director William C. McGann. A radio station, looking for a ratings boost, decides to dredge up an old scandal to use as the basis for a salacious program, leading to tragedy. Station manager Sherry Scott (Humphrey Bogart) and his secretary Alma (Beverly Roberts) decide to try and right the wrong. Also featuring Linda Perry, Carlyle Moore Jr., Henry O'Neill, Helen MacKellar, Claire Dodd, and Hobart Cavanaugh.

This is a cheap, less-than-an-hour remake of 1931's Five Star Final, with the setting switched from newspaper office to radio station. It manages to lose the emotional heft of the earlier film, and the rote direction and condensed script don't allow Bogart to do much with a role that Edward G. Robinson played so well previously. Beverly Roberts came across as a less-talented, more-grating Mercedes McCambridge. For Bogart completists only. This was my 70th Bogie movie!   (5/10)

220px-Two_Against_the_World_FilmPoster.j

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Jan. 7

Way Out West (MGM, 1937)
Source: TCM

I also watched The Music Box (1932) and Busy Bodies (1933), but as far as adding to my total of "movies" watched this year goes, I guess I will confine myself to "features", although this "feature" clocks in at fewer than 70 minutes.

Well, TCM just aired two Laurel and Hardy shorts in prime time last month when John Landis became the network's first-ever two-time Guest Programmer, so another prime time devoted to them so soon seems odd. I suspect the Landis segment was filmed before anyone at TCM even knew there was going to be a film called Stan & Ollie. At least they didn't repeat either those just-aired shorts tonight (at least not in the first three and a half hours).

As I recall, Sons of the Desert, which I only watched the first 20 minutes of (got to go to bed sometime!) was a stronger feature. West has moments that made me guffaw, but at least in this instance, a 70-minute L&H felt like it had a lot more padding than a 30-minute L&H. I don't want to condemn all L&H features based on this one viewing, however.

So, the plot: Stan & Ollie are messengers in the Old West, though they're dressed exactly the same as they are in their films with contemporary settings. They've come to deliver a message to a local girl that she's inherited a highly profitable gold mine. The girl in question is working as a domestic servant in a saloon, but they first run into the proprietor of the saloon, who's the girl's legal guardian, and his showgirl wife. Since L&H have no idea what the girl looks like, the showgirl masquerades as her to obtain the deed to the mine in a duplicitous manner. It practically takes being hit over the head (well, in Hardy's case, literally, more than once) for the gullible pair to realize they've been duped, and most of the rest of the film is devoted to their attempts to retrieve the lease for its rightful owner, which usually end in physical pain for Ollie.

I would like to comment on what I think is another poorly written TCM intro. Dave Karger informs us that Hardy provided his own singing voice but that Laurel's voice was overdubbed by Chill Wills, who appears in the film with his vocal group, the Avalon Boys. While that's essentially true, based on my careful viewing, I believe Stan's voice is only dubbed when he sings solo, when his comically bass voice is obviously supposed to be exaggerated. If you listen to Stan and Ollie singing in two-part harmony, Stan's singing voice sounds exactly like his speaking voice, and I believe it's actually him in those moments. It's exasperating that no one at TCM was able to notice that distinction.

Movies I've Watched This Year: 9

Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, and Sharon Lynn in Way Out West (1937)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Two Against the World aka One Fatal Hour (1936) -

This is a cheap, less-than-an-hour remake of 1931's Five Star Final, . For Bogart completists only. This was my 70th Bogie movie!   (5/10)

220px-Two_Against_the_World_FilmPoster.j

This film was on TCM not too long ago and it is THE ONLY TIME I have ever seen BOGART visibly falter on screen; there is a scene somewhere in this, where they use a take where he just obviously doesn't give a **** and seems to have a hard time remembering his dialogue (not that I blame him, because the script is bad and the direction is worse and i imagine they filmed this in three days on a budget of a buck ninety-five.)

FIVE STAR FINAL is one of mt favorite films of the 1930's though.

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15 hours ago, EricJ said:

Try the more established (ie. non-concert) version instead:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j8u8vNsA6A

("Lay off!" "Take THIS, Mary Queen of Scots! (thud!)")

I guess it would be ok if I spoke Spanish, but this one doesnt work either. Oh well. No big deal.

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16 hours ago, EricJ said:

The Stranger (1946) - 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRNDVYbLxIKCfoV1thToXH

Growing up when local TV stations actually used to show movies, I recognized this omnipresent title from its days as one of Orson Welles' many public-domain RKO Orphans, like "Touch of Evil" and "Mr. Arkadin", but I hadn't yet become a Citizen Kane fan back then, and had never gotten around to watching it.  Now, thanks to Kino Lorber and Netflix cashing in on "Other Side of the Wind" this month, they've gone back and restored most of Public-Domain Welles, and I finally sat down to stream it.

Thank you for letting me know this.

THE STRANGER is my favorite Public Domain film, and- honestly- my #2 favorite ORSON WELLES movie- but you don't do it justice unless you watch it in good condition.

i know it's not perfect (one thing you didn't mention- the last line of the picture, uttered by ROBINSON is ODD), but I love it.

it's a nice, tidy, hour and forty minute backlot town square thriller; ORSON is forced to sit down and behave and, really, he does conventional moviemaking quite well.

he and LORETTA YOUNG had a history, they costar in two of my favorite radio plays of the late thirties, JANE EYRE and THEODORA RUNS WILD.

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13 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

The great thing about movies is they're often open to interpretation! I think I still disagree with you, but I think you have an interesting way of viewing the ending!

A LETTER TO THREE WIVES is not entirely unlike RASHOMAN (only not as well constructed)- we all see the same thing, but interpret it differently.

and in the end everyone ends up arguing about what really happened.

 

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11 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Jan. 7

Way Out West (MGM, 1937)
Source: TCM

 

I would like to comment on what I think is another poorly written TCM intro. Dave Karger informs us that Hardy provided his own singing voice but that Laurel's voice was overdubbed by Chill Wills, who appears in the film with his vocal group, the Avalon Boys. While that's essentially true, based on my careful viewing, I believe Stan's voice is only dubbed when he sings solo, when his comically bass voice is obviously supposed to be exaggerated. If you listen to Stan and Ollie singing in two-part harmony, Stan's singing voice sounds exactly like his speaking voice, and I believe it's actually him in those moments. It's exasperating that no one at TCM was able to notice that distinction.

Movies I've Watched This Year: 9

Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, and Sharon Lynn in Way Out West (1937)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You're right. You have to take the commentator's views with a grain of salt. Eddie Muller said that Raymond Burr walked onto the His Kind of Woman set and told Hughes, "I'm your villain." Yeah, right.

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Breakfast for Two (1937) - Screwball comedy from RKO and director Alfred Santell. After meeting at a party, Valentine Ransome (Barbara Stanwyck) decides to try and reform drunken, bankrupt playboy Jonathan Blair (Herbert Marshall), leading to all sorts of mix ups, catastrophes, and romance. Also featuring Eric Blore, Glenda Farrell, Donald Meek, Etienne Girardot, Frank M. Thomas, Pierre Watkin, and Bodil Rosing.

Marshall seems miscast in this sort of manic rom-com, and he doesn't have much chemistry with Stanwyck. The supporting players bring their A-game, and the script has a few funny bits here and there, but not enough to make this must-see.   (6/10)

220px-Breakfast_for_Two_FilmPoster.jpeg

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

A LETTER TO THREE WIVES is not entirely unlike RASHOMAN (only not as well constructed)- we all see the same thing, but interpret it differently.

and in the end everyone ends up arguing about what really happened.

 

A quite brilliant take and the film also sports the female triumvirate symbolism too.

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California Straight Ahead! (1937) - Truck-driving action from Universal Pictures and director Arthur Lubin. Biff Smith (John Wayne) quits his job as a bus driver to head up a trucking company. They compete against a rail-transport firm to deliver aviation parts to the Pacific coast. Also featuring Louise Latimer, Robert McWade, Theodore van Eltz, Tully Marshall, and Emerson Treacy.

Another B-programmer, with Wayne as the blue-collar, square-jawed hero. Automotive fans may enjoy the vintage trucks on display, a far cry from the 18-wheelers of today.  (5/10)

220px-California_Straight_Ahead!_FilmPos

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Thank you for letting me know this.

THE STRANGER is my favorite Public Domain film, and- honestly- my #2 favorite ORSON WELLES movie- but you don't do it justice unless you watch it in good condition.

i know it's not perfect (one thing you didn't mention- the last line of the picture, uttered by ROBINSON is ODD), but I love it.

it's a nice, tidy, hour and forty minute backlot town square thriller; ORSON is forced to sit down and behave and, really, he does conventional moviemaking quite well.

Accdg. to IMDb, it was his least favorite of the ones he directed, and that could be one reason why.  Also, that he originally wanted the psychological twist of a savvy female investigator, for Agnes Moorehead, but the studio may have thought the romantic element with Young may have been too confusing, and stuck to Robinson's more conventional Double-Indemnity typecasting instead.

(And as Public-Domain Favorites go, I still prefer "Charade", "House on Haunted Hill", "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and the Abbott & Costello "Jack & the Beanstalk", m'self, but this one's pretty good.)

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3 hours ago, Hibi said:

I guess it would be ok if I spoke Spanish, but this one doesnt work either. Oh well. No big deal.

Having trouble with the sound, are we?  The problem's on your end, and PLEASE get it looked into before we get more complaints about YouTube links.

(Had that problem myself, one time, and turned out that the Flash extension on the computer was messed up, but that was a few good systems ago in the early 00's.)

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Call It a Day (1937) - Romantic comedy from Warner Brothers and director Archie Mayo. Various London residents fall in love during the first day of Spring. Featuring Olivia de Havilland, Anita Louise, Bonita Granville, Alice Brady, Frieda Inescourt, Ian Hunter, Roland Young, Marcia Ralston, Peter Willes, Walter Woolf King, Una O'Connor, Beryl Mercer, and Peggy Wood.

This is a hit-or-miss affair. Olivia de Havilland overdoes her role to an annoying extreme, wailing and sobbing and fawning. About the only scenes I really enjoyed were those involving Roland Young pursuing the married Frieda Inescourt. She's still in love with her husband, but enjoys the attention.   (6/10)

 

220px-Call_It_a_Day_1937_Poster.jpg

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40 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Call It a Day (1937) - Romantic comedy from Warner Brothers and director Archie Mayo. Various London residents fall in love during the first day of Spring. Featuring Olivia de Havilland, Anita Louise, Bonita Granville, Alice Brady, Frieda Inescourt, Ian Hunter, Roland Young, Marcia Ralston, Peter Willes, Walter Woolf King, Una O'Connor, Beryl Mercer, and Peggy Wood.

This is a hit-or-miss affair. Olivia de Havilland overdoes her role to an annoying extreme, wailing and sobbing and fawning. About the only scenes I really enjoyed were those involving Roland Young pursuing the married Frieda Inescourt. She's still in love with her husband, but enjoys the attention.   (6/10)

 

While the film has some first rate comedic actors (Granville,  Brady,  Young, O'Connor),  a young actress like Olivia needed firm direction since this was her first comedic role.    Note that later in the year Granville and Olivia were in another comedy,  Its Love I'm After,  also directed by Archie Mayo, and in this film Olivia does a better job.  Of course Bette Davis and Leslie Howard are the leads in that film and therefor Olivia had a role that better suited her experience level  (being 21).   

Note: while Olivia's first film was the comedy Alibi Ike she was just eye-candy\love interest in this all things Joe E. Brown comedy. 

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Marshall seems miscast in this sort of manic rom-com,

Have you seen If You Could Only Cook?

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Just now, Fedya said:

Have you seen If You Could Only Cook?

No, I can't say that I've heard of it. But I do like Jean Arthur.

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Wow, I came up with a film Lawrence hasn't heard of!  :o

 

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Confession (1937) - Good melodrama from Warner Brothers and director Joe May. When a cabaret singer (Kay Francis) shoots a man to death in front of a crowd of witnesses, she's put on trial for murder. Flashbacks reveal her past and her long-buried secrets. Also featuring Basil Rathbone, Ian Hunter, Jane Bryan, Mary Maguire, Dorothy Peterson, Laura Hope Crews, Robert Barrat, Ben Weldon, Veda Ann Borg, Joan Valerie, Pierre Watkin, and Donald Crisp.

A remake of the 1935 German film Mazurka, this is one of the better Kay Francis movies that I've seen. I like her as a performer, but most of her films that I've seen have been lacking (there are a few that I like, such as One Way Passage and Trouble In Paradise). She's playing a role that seems like a natural for Marlene Dietrich, but Francis holds her own. Rathbone is appropriately creepy, and Bryan conveys virginal naivete perfectly. A quality example of the tearjerker genre that doesn't overstay its welcome or wallow too much in pathos.   (7/10)

220px-Confession_1937_poster.jpg

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One of Kay's best roles. A very unusual pic for WB to make (very European) From what I've read it was a shot for shot remake by May. (including the length of scenes. He used a stopwatch!) Dunno how the actors could act under those conditions...

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Secret Agent of Japan (1942)

There are slight shades of Casablanca to this wartime thriller from 20th Century Fox even though this film was released a few months prior to that Michael Curtiz-Bogart classic.

Preston Foster plays a Yank with a past who runs a night club in the Japanese controlled city of Shanghai. There are enemy agents everywhere, from Japan and Britain, for starters, plus an American cop on the trail after Foster. Into Foster's place one day walks sleek, beautiful Lynn Bari who is looking for a letter. But there is also a missing jade and a coded message involved. A lovely Janis Carter (a few years before she started to get more notice) can be seen briefly as a co-worker with Bari, and soon Foster will be on the run from authorities, both Japanese and British.

This is one of those films with secret agents popping out everywhere. Bari, for example. Is she working for the Japanese, or is it the British? Noel Madison oozes throughout the film in fake Japanese makeup, his minions ready to resort to any primitive means to get information out of anyone who prevents them from getting access to the mysterious coded paper that Foster happens to attain.

Yeh, it gets a little confusing for Foster (and the audience) to try to figure out who he can trust. You can hardly blame the guy if he winds up trusting very few. But the film has a gloss in its presentation and some lovely photography and, at 72 minutes, moves at a pleasing pace.

Foster is appropriately tough, and Lynn Bari, who never did become a major Hollywood star, is certainly lovely to look at. A minor propaganda flag waver which went into production about the time that Pearl Harbour was bombed and manages to fit that infamous event into its story line, the "stab in the back," as you see referenced in the poster promotion below.

Oh, yeh, fans of character actor Steven Geray will also probably get a kick out of his contribution to the film as a pianist in Foster's bar who, of course, turns out to be more than just that.

film_z_lektorem_secret_agent_of_japan.jp

2.5 out of 4

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Daughter of Shanghai (1937) - B-movie thriller from Paramount Pictures and director Robert Florey. After a human-trafficking ring kills a San Francisco/Chinatown businessman, his daughter Lan Ying (Anna May Wong) teams with undercover G-man Kim Lee (Philip Ahn) to bring the crooks to justice. Featuring J. Carrol Naish, Charles Bickford, Buster Crabbe, Cecil Cunningham, Evelyn Brent, John Patterson, Mae Busch, Paul Fix, Pierre Watkin, and Anthony Quinn.

This may be one of my favorite B movies of the decade. Wong and Ahn are certainly unusual leads in an American film of the day, and they're both great in their roles. There's a surprising amount of violence, including people being dropped to their death out of a plane, shootings, and brutal beatings. Naish and Quinn are typecast as two of the bad guys, but I was surprised to see Buster Crabbe, with black hair and a mustache, as a particularly sadistic cohort. Recommended.   (8/10)

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

Dunno how the actors could act under those conditions...

"All actors should be treated like cattle." -- Alfred Hitchcock

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Over the Counter (1932).

Two-strip Technicolor short in which department store owner Sidney Toler learns from assistant Franklin Pangborn that his son (Emerson Treacy) has come up with the wacky idea of having a "husband check" (much like a hat check) staffed by scantily-clad chorines.  The theory is that the husbands will be entertained by the lovely ladies, and the wives can overspend without nagging from the husbands.  It's more an excuse for elaborate musical numbers.

There's also a vignette about turning Black Friday shopping into a spectator sport, with the store organizing competitions of women trying to be the first to get a particular bargain!  Dad doesn't like his son's ideas at first, until he realizes he can cavort with the husband-check girls.

The music is forgettable, but the short is interesting for its insane ideas, two-strip Technicolor, and pre-Code themes, as well as the presence of Toler and Pangborn.  6/10.

TCM ran it to fill out the time slot of Lady on a Train last month, but it's also available on the first of the "Classic Shorts from the Dream Factory" box sets.

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Wife and I just watched THREE COINS IN A FOUNTAIN .   I ordered her the TCM Wine Club for Christmas and one of the wines was paired with this movie.

Wine was good.  Movie was meh.   However, it was just interesting enough to keep me interestered in how it was going to end.   Needless to say, the ending was corny.   

Scenery however was gorgeous.   Wife and daughter were very interested as they are going to Rome and Venice next month so that made the movie a bit more interesting for us.  

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