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I Just Watched...

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4 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

Ah yes, wikipedia ... that wonderful source which I always told my students never to use ... obviously, movie makeup worked wonders on Payne:

And that anecdote was even sourced!

 Victoria Wilson (2015), A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940, Simon and Schuster, p. 637, ISBN 9781439194065

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Actually, I stand corrected ... somewhat. Payne did use the name Tiger Jack Payne. but as a pro wrestler in New York during his days at Columbia. He also used the Alexei Petroff moniker, and here is one more ... a wild  Indian named The Masked Marvel. Geez ... today this guy would be driven out of town for cultural appropriation.

Hmm ... now I read that Payne wrestled a "red Indian" named "The Unmasked Marvel." The plot thickens.

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Personal Affair (1953)  -  7/10

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British drama concerning the disappearance of a high school student (Glynis Johns). She has a crush on her Latin teacher (Leo Genn), but when his wife (Gene Tierney) confronted the young woman about it, the student ran off into the night. When she fails to make it home, the town mounts a search for her, while the scandal of it threatens to destroy Genn and his career. Also featuring Walter Fitzgerald, Megs Jenkins, Pamela Brown, Shirley Eaton, Michael Ripper, and Michael Hordern. The acting is good, and the story kept me interested. The end.

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11 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Personal Affair (1953)  -  7/10

220px-%22Personal_Affair%22.jpg

British drama concerning the disappearance of a high school student (Glynis Johns). She has a crush on her Latin teacher (Leo Genn), but when his wife (Gene Tierney) confronted the young woman about it, the student ran off into the night. When she fails to make it home, the town mounts a search for her, while the scandal of it threatens to destroy Genn and his career. Also featuring Walter Fitzgerald, Megs Jenkins, Pamela Brown, Shirley Eaton, Michael Ripper, and Michael Hordern. The acting is good, and the story kept me interested. The end.

Glynis Johns was 29 when this movie was filmed;   was she convincing as a high school student?

(E.g. Tierney was only 3 years older).  

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57 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Glynis Johns was 29 when this movie was filmed;   was she convincing as a high school student?

(E.g. Tierney was only 3 years older).  

No, not really. Oddly enough, though, this is the third movie that I've watched recently with her playing someone much younger (late teens-early 20s) than Johns' actual age.

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The President's Lady (1953)  -  7/10

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Entertaining slice of Hollywood historical cheese with Charlton Heston as Andrew Jackson and Susan Hayward as the married woman that he falls in love with. Their scandalous love affair occurs against the backdrop of Indian wars and political machinations as lawyer Jackson rises to one day become president. Also featuring John McIntire, Fay Bainter, Whitfield Connor, Carl Betz, Charles Dingle, James Best, Jim Davis, and Margaret Wycherly. The production values are high (the costumes and sets earned Oscar nominations), and the cliff notes history meshes well with the tabloid tone. My favorite scene was when Chuck Heston smacked Jim "Dallas" Davis in the mouth before proceeding to beat him half to death. American history at its finest.

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20 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The President's Lady (1953)  -  7/10

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My favorite scene was when Chuck Heston smacked Jim "Dallas" Davis in the mouth before proceeding to beat him half to death. American history at its finest.

Heston could break off part of an oar from that slave galley and shove that down Davis's throat. Oh, wait, that's from a future film of Chuck's.

Never mind.

For a moment there, blood thirst at its finest.

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I just watched my first ever silent film today on TCM in Our Dancing Daughters.  My goodness.....wow....Joan Crawford is stunning in this movie.  Not sure what I think of silent films yet but this one was worth it for sure.  I now have a retirement goal for my movie room....a nice framed poster of Joan Crawford.   Stunning.

OUR-DANCING-DAUGHTERSlargest.jpg

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"Merrily We Live" - Norman Z. McLeod - 1938 -

starring Constance Bennett, Brian Aherne, Alan Mowbray, Billie Burke, Clarence Kobl, Bonita Granville, Tom Brown -

Genuinely funny wacky comedy about a wealthy family that contribute to the Depression by employing hobos as butlers -

in this case, a well-known novelist (Aherne) is mistaken for a hobo and is offered employment as a butler -

ready for the ensuing adventure, he does his best as the butler and winds up as a beloved family member -

the rich daughter (Bennett) falls in love with him, too - 

so does the younger daughter (Granville) and one of the maids (Patsy Kelly) -

in the end, Aherne stays within the family by winning over Bennett -

the only one who remains immune to his charms is the son (Brown) -

this one has an extremely lively pace and involves some wonderful slapstick -

all of the actors jump into it with a lot of enthusiasm -

when Aherne is presumed dead, but isn't dead and seems to return "as a ghost" -

the film becomes wackily inspired -

one of those films that deserve a much better reputation -

how did it fall between the cracks? -

  hrxf19x2149.jpg?w=512&h=403

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That photo of the cast arm in arm reminds me of the opening credits of Libeled Lady.

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7 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

99 River Street (1953)  -  7/10

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Gritty crime thriller from director Phil Karlson. John Payne stars as an ex-boxer who's now driving a cab. His life is turned upside when his gold-digging wife (Peggie Castle) takes up with two-bit thief Brad Dexter. Soon Payne finds himself on the run from cops and crooks, although he finds a sympathetic ear from aspiring actress Evelyn Keyes. Also featuring Frank Faylen, Jay Adler, Jack Lambert, Glenn Langan, Eddy Waller, and Ian Wolfe. I never would have pictured John Payne as a two-fisted ex-boxer with a mean streak, but he's really not bad in this. In fact, the entire cast does a fine job of filling out their sordid characters. A solid little slice of darkness.

I think my favorite scene is when Keyes is at the dive bar at the titular address, she puts a coin in the jukebox and says, "This place is dying."  One of the older male patrons, who's there with his wife (?!) responds, "Revive me, baby!" and starts dancing with Keyes. :lol:

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4 movies today. (1 before bed last night though after midnight)

23 Paces to Baker Street (1956;FXM Retro On Demand) was a wonderful surprise package. Van Johnson played a blind man who overheard a kidnapping plot and raced against time to try to prevent the crime. A twisty plot only added to the interest. It might have been inspired by Rear Window, but it is still pretty fresh in its own right, and Johnson really gave a wonderful performance.

The Divine Lady (1929;TCM) was a bit of a slog. Well-detailed, not horrible, but just a bit dull overall.

Zelly and Me (1988;Amazon Prime). Another surprise package. Unabashed tearjerker involving a war of wills over a little girl never quite goes where you expect it to, and becomes a deeply touching and moving film in the process. There is a sequence in the first third involving childhood imagination that is Whimsy with a capital W, but overall the film is sweet, yet also unflinching. The little girl who is the lead shines, as do Isabella Rossellini as her loving governess (a mother figure definitely) and Glynis Johns playing against type as a jealous, icy grandmother. Also David Lynch (yes, that David Lynch) has a supporting role as an ordinary person with no touches of anything ominous.

Sadie Thompson (1928; TCM) was the livelier silent film of the day. Gloria Swanson really shone in the title part, and Lionel Barrymore oozed noxiousness in his part. Pity that the last reel disappeared over the years, but it seemed like a much more involving film than the more famous Joan Crawford version, Rain, just 4 years later.

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Alaska Seas (1954)  -  6/10

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Remake of 1938's Spawn of the North. Robert Ryan stars an ex-con returning to his Alaskan stomping grounds after a stint in jail. The local fishermen, including his buddy Brian Keith, are at war with salmon-trap thieves led by Gene Barry. Jan Sterling, as the woman both Ryan and Keith love, worries which side Ryan will side with. Also with Timothy Carey, Ralph Dumke, Peter Coe, and Aaron Spelling as "the Knifer". This is a much-abridged version of that earlier film, with a running time nearly half an hour shorter. It's no a better a film for it, although it's over quicker. The plot sticks close enough to the prior version to rob this one of any surprises. The highlights for me were the scenes with Timothy Carey as an oddball trying to get Ryan to pay a debt. 

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6 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Personal Affair (1953)  -  7/10

220px-%22Personal_Affair%22.jpg

British drama concerning the disappearance of a high school student (Glynis Johns). She has a crush on her Latin teacher (Leo Genn), but when his wife (Gene Tierney) confronted the young woman about it, the student ran off into the night. When she fails to make it home, the town mounts a search for her, while the scandal of it threatens to destroy Genn and his career. Also featuring Walter Fitzgerald, Megs Jenkins, Pamela Brown, Shirley Eaton, Michael Ripper, and Michael Hordern. The acting is good, and the story kept me interested. The end.

Where did you find this to watch?

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The Beachcomber (1954)  -  6/10

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British comedy-drama based on a story by W. Somerset Maugham. The plot concerns the few British residents on a small island group off the Indian coast. The new governor (Donald Sinden) struggles to acclimate to the new surroundings and to mediate between the uptight missionary (Paul Rogers) and his medically-trained sister (Glynis Johns), and the drunken layabout and ne'er-do-well Honorable Ted (Robert Newton). Also featuring Walter Crisham, Michael Hordern, Ronald Lewis, and Donald Pleasence in his movie debut. This movie continues the odd practice of casting mainly natives in the native roles, with the exception of a handful of British actors in brownface. It's very distracting and often unintentionally laughable. That being said, this has some enjoyable aspects, like the performances of Johns and Newton, some nice scenery (location shooting was done in Sri Lanka and the Welcome Islands), and the unusual sight of an elephant fighting a crocodile. This had been previously filmed in 1938 with Robert Newton, Elsa Lanchester and Charles Laughton in the Sinden, Johns and Newton roles, respectively.

 

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On 2/12/2019 at 10:47 PM, LawrenceA said:

The central draw here, outside of the music, is the performance of Rami Malek, which looks poised to win himself an Oscar after already garnering several awards in the previous weeks and months. He is phenomenal, mixing deft mimicry with expert showmanship, attention to emotional nuance, and providing an illumination on the quixotic individual he's portraying. And he's helped by some expert dental prosthetics, too. I haven't seen all of the nominated films yet, but I can say that Malek gives one of the best performances of last year, and his winning the Oscar would not be a travesty.

I haven't seen the film yet but must confessed that I had a rare attack of political correctness when I heard that Rami Malek was cast. I thought (incorrectly) that Malek was a Moslem. I did not think it appropriate that a Moslem should portray a Zoroastrian, which is what Freddie Mercury was. After all, the forced conversion of Iranian Zoroastrians by the Moslem hordes is what drove Mercury's ancestors to India, where they are called Parsis (meaning Persians). I have no problem with actors playing people of other ethnicities; I just thought in this case, it would have been wrong.

But -- Rami Malek's comes from an Egyptian Coptic family, so it's all right!

(I was going to do my doctorate on Zoroastrianism, so I tend to feel strongly about issues related to that noble and ethnical religion.)

 

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I've had 1951's YOU NEVER CAN TELL on my wish list forever. Thanks TCM for finally showing it last month, I watched my recording yesterday.

It's one of those goofy "come back from the dead and influence the living" type ghost/reincarnation stories that I've enjoyed since childhood. THIS one is special though, that the spirit is a dog coming back as a human. This movie's not really anything special, just goofy fun really.

The story is elevated by the fantastic acting, most notably by Dick Powell as the "human" dog spirit. The poor dog inherits a fortune when his master dies and then the dog's murdered. The estate manager played straight by adorable Peggy Dow is instantly suspected, although WE know she's as innocent as snow.

Powell is really deft at comedy and combines that with his serious "detective" persona in this one film, almost like a combination of his two careers. Joyce Holden plays a reincarnated horse companion and that note gets tired, illustrating the difficulty in the animal/human spirit role Powell pulls off more successfully. Charles Drake plays the hiss inducing gold digging boyfriend.

Although I never warmed to Dick Powell, I'm starting to look beyond his smugness as just his "schtick"

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Then I watched an oft discussed here noir starring Lucille Ball THE DARK CORNER 1946. Seriously, how could this movie go wrong with this group: Lucy, Clifton Webb & William Bendix all directed by Henry Hathaway?

The story starts out simply enough- William Bendix is tailing/threatens NYC transplant Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens) and his secretary Kathleen (a blonde Lucy!) Clifton Webb is an art dealer with a trophy wife (beautiful Cathy Downs) who has strayed with Kurt Kreuger playing a character named Jardine.

These two stories intersect -once you find Jardine was once Galt's partner in a detective agency- but takes all sorts of twists and turns, with Stevens barely keeping up with Lucy's obvious star quality. Bendix is given a role he can really play with for a change, and brings real menace to the movie despite his teddy bear face.

Clifton Webb brings his usual haughty coldness to his pivotal role but mostly at the very end of the film. You don't need a lot of Clifton Webb to be memorable, so this was paced just right in my opinion. I enjoyed this film a lot, only the middle seemed to drag a little, probably only because I was a little confused as to what was going on.

Enjoyed the inserted NYC footage & foley and opening song "Street Scene" to suggest setting. I'm always amazed that NO one could see Lucy's obvious talent & star quality: she stands out here just like Marilyn does in her early roles. Although the poster lists the stars in appropriate order....

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I tried watching MERRILY WE LIVE (1937?) on TCM, But could not make it through in spite of it having a handful of genuine laughs and some good production values.

Billie Burke is absolutely superb, completely deserved that Oscar nomination for supporting.

Constance Bennett, on the other hand, stinks something awful, & a great deal of the writing and many of the performances are glib, smarmy and irritating.

I guess maybe the idea was to make rich people seem like complete and utter tools, that way Depression audiences didn’t get too envious.

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

I've had 1951's YOU NEVER CAN TELL on my wish list forever. Thanks TCM for finally showing it last month, I watched my recording yesterday.

 

MV5BMTlhZWE5YTEtMTY0ZC00OWE4LThkMjctY2Q4

 

I have long been quite fond of this little fantasy comedy, particularly watching Dick Powell have fun playing a deceased dog who comes back as private eye Rex Shepherd to investigate his own murder. The film has me chuckling as I see Powell pop a doggy kibble into his mouth for a fast chewing treat or, when he visits his old home, gets excited when he spots a favourite rubber ball of his lying on the floor and quickly gets down on his hands and knees to play with it underneath a desk.

At one point in the film someone says to him, words to the effect, "That's quite a tale you've got" and Powell does a reflex check of his hind quarters in case something's showing. It's a corny joke but Powell does it quickly so as to not overplay the humour. Blink and you miss it.

Dick Powell's tough guy film roles, combined with a bit of a spoof of them in You Never Can Tell, has me quite fond of this actor. He had marvelous dry delivery of sardonic one liners. This was a guy who was a show business survivor because he could transform himself. From cheery faced soprano in the Busby Berkeley musicals to private eye Marlowe and other film tough guys to radio performer (private dick Richard Diamond, with more smart guy talk plus some singing) to film director to pioneer TV producer and star, and a driving force behind TV's Four Star Productions (which fell apart after his death).

Dick Powell was a major talent.

MurderMySweet3.JPG

I love his insolence as he strikes a match off Cupid's butt.

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14 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Dick Powell was a major talent.

I may not find him the "swoonworthy boy wonder" in the musicals, but absolutely appreciate his talent.

13 hours ago, rayban said:

"Merrily We Live" - Norman Z. McLeod - 1938 -

starring Constance Bennett, Brian Aherne, Alan Mowbray, Billie Burke, Clarence Kobl, Bonita Granville, Tom Brown -

one of the maids (Patsy Kelly) -

Genuinely funny wacky comedy about a wealthy family that contribute to the Depression by employing hobos as butlers - how did it fall between the cracks? -

I feel was you do, it never fell between the cracks for me. What a stellar cast! I'm a huge Bennett sisters fan, as a big Patsy Kelly fan...bonus strength Ahern, Mowbray & Burke.

This movie has the same feel for me as IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVE; movies I saw as a teen that were sweet & simple enough for me to be charmed by the genre classic b&w movies.

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14 hours ago, rayban said:

"Merrily We Live" - Norman Z. McLeod - 1938 -

starring Constance Bennett, Brian Aherne, Alan Mowbray, Billie Burke, Clarence Kobl, Bonita Granville, Tom Brown -

Genuinely funny wacky comedy about a wealthy family that contribute to the Depression by employing hobos as butlers -

 

  hrxf19x2149.jpg?w=512&h=403

Just came across your review after I posted mine.

I loved how the opening credits to the film featured the cast walking arm-in-arm.

I actually went back and watched a little more of the film, and I am still torn over it. While it would be pointless to deny that the film has quite a few funny moments ("it's all right, Mother, I said 'Hello' the goldfish for you this morning"), the delivery by select actors kills the potential of some of the lines.

I have to blame the director for this, I think if BENNETT and BONITA GRANVILLE (who was a splendid actress and has some charming moments in the film, especially when she mimics BURKE on the phone to someone) had been reigned in a little bit, it would make some of their lines a lot funnier.

BENNETT just came off as very smarmy to me, kind of hard to like too.

but still, there is a "there" there with this one...just needed  a gentler touch.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I tried watching MERRILY WE LIVE (1937?) on TCM, But could not make it through in spite of it having a handful of genuine laughs and some good production values.

Billie Burke is absolutely superb, completely deserved that Oscar nomination for supporting.

Constance Bennett, on the other hand, stinks something awful, & a great deal of the writing and many of the performances are glib, smarmy and irritating.

I guess maybe the idea was to make rich people seem like complete and utter tools, that way Depression audiences didn’t get too envious.

LOL.

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On 2/13/2019 at 3:44 PM, jamesjazzguitar said:

Glynis Johns was 29 when this movie was filmed;   was she convincing as a high school student?

(E.g. Tierney was only 3 years older).  

I have a twisted kinky attraction to Glynis John's for some reason. I want to do something but have no idea what.  

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17 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I think if BENNETT and BONITA GRANVILLE had been reigned in a little bit, it would make some of their lines a lot funnier....just needed  a gentler touch.

Understood. Maybe I'm more forgiving since I was much younger when first viewed. Some movies are spoiled by an "adult's" mind-Abbott & Costello come to mind. When watching even the silliest "Road" picture, it's as if I'm instantly transported back to having a 15 year old mentality.

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