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I Just Watched...

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6 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

My favorite moment in the film may have been the TV news alert on the situation, where they use a picture of Jane in a swimsuit after showing the other two's mugshots. 

So much this.  I couldn't stop laughing after that scene the first time I saw the movie.

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10 hours ago, EricJ said:

The Karloff/Loy "Mask" was one of William Hearst's attempts at consulting movie projects at Warner, and he reportedly wanted to use a Fu-revives-the-Mongols story to push his anti-Asian "Yellow peril" issues 

MASK OF FU MANCHU was an MGM Picture tho

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TRUE GRIT (1969) *Score: 6.25/10*

Starring: John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Jeremy Slate, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Strother Martin, Jeff Corey, John Fiedler, Donald Woods. 

A tale I'm sure most (if not all) of you are familiar with. Young Mattie Ross hires a U.S. Marshal to go after Tom Chaney, the man who killed her father in cold blood. 

I have seen both versions of the movie, and I've also read the book by Charles Portis. I would venture to say that the 2010 version remains more true to the events in the book, but I enjoyed both. I liked both John Wayne and Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn, but I would have to say that if it were a competition, Hailee Steinfeld would beat out Kim Darby, and Matt Damon would beat out Glen Campbell. To be fair though, I am aware that Campbell wasn't an actor. I thought Kim Darby's performance was okay. I know she was about 20 when they filmed this, while Hailee Steinfeld was actually about 13 years old, which is definitely closer to Mattie's age of 14. I don't think an actor has to be the same exact age as their character to deliver a strong performance; I just found Steinfeld to be more natural in the character. I do enjoy the title song sung by Mr. Campbell. I've listened to it several times over the past couple weeks. 

Image result for true grit 1969

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There's Always Tomorrow (1955)  -  7/10

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Mature drama from director Douglas Sirk starring Fred MacMurray as the head of a toy company who feels bored and stifled in his marriage to Joan Bennett, who seems constantly caught up in the lives of their children. Fred runs into old friend Barbara Stanwyck, recently divorced and returned to town, and the two begin a tentative romance. But will societal and family obligations force Fred to return to suburban normalcy? Also featuring William Reynolds, Pat Crowley, Gigi Perreau, Race Gentry, and Jane Darwell. Well acted and modestly filmed, Sirk uses B&W photography and the smaller 1:85 screen size, as opposed to the CinemaScope and Technicolor of his other 50's domestic soap epics, and it manages to heighten the intimacy and essential bleakness of the film. A surprisingly effective drama and glimpse at mid-50's ennui. 

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This was one of Joan's better 50's films (post-Father of the Bride).

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INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) *Score: 5.5/10* 

Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, River Phoenix, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover, Michael Byrne. 

The third installment in the "Indiana Jones" adventure series. I have probably seen bits and pieces of this when I was much younger, but it was nice to watch it in full. It starts out with young Indy (played by River Phoenix) stealing back an artifact from a group of looters and the chase that then proceeds. It was a nice little glimpse into Indy's life as a youngster, and how not much changed over the years. 

Flash forward to the present: Indy is still teaching archaeology, but this time, he is approached to help find the Holy Grail (a chalice that Jesus allegedly drank from during the Last Supper). Indy is quite reluctant to embark on this endeavor, until he is told that his father was the first choice, but has now disappeared. Young Dr. Jones then travels to Rome to try to find Dr. Jones Sr., and there he meets Elsa, a German doctor. Eventually, the Nazis show up again and Indy has to steal his father's map back from them, etc. etc. etc. 

I prefer "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but I liked this more than "Temple of Doom." 

Image result for indiana jones and the last crusade

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23 minutes ago, NickAndNora34 said:

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) *Score: 5.5/10* 

I prefer "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but I liked this more than "Temple of Doom." 

 

This film is more in keeping with the "fun" aspect of the Indiana Jones films. Temple of Doom substitutes too much violence for fun, although it still has entertainment value.

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1 hour ago, NickAndNora34 said:

TRUE GRIT (1969) *Score: 6.25/10*

I do enjoy the title song sung by Mr. Campbell. I've listened to it several times over the past couple weeks. 

 

Credit Elmer Bernstein (who did several Wayne films) with the music. This was the first soundtrack album I ever bought, primarily for the title track.

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Adam and Eve (1956)  -  4/10

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"Religious" drama that was a landmark exploitation release in the US. The dialogue-free film is narrated (in Spanish in the version I watched) with passages from Genesis as we see nature footage representing the creation of the world. Eventually Adam (Carlos Baena) appears. He wanders around Eden, which consists of a very small pond and some poorly laid out greenery, and plays with the animals, including a deer and some lion cubs. He gets bored, though, so God rips out one of Adam's own ribs for him to play with. It helps that the rib takes the form of Eve (Christiane Martel). The two then wander around the Eden set, smiling and walking, and occasionally sitting. Eve notices an apple hanging in a tree, and although Adam (and God) say DO NOT TOUCH, we all know what happens next. They end up in the desert wearing over-sized fig-leaf loin-clothes, starving until Adam manages to strangle a wild dog. Then there's an earthquake. Thanks a lot, Eve!

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The Catholic League of Decency was always quick to condemn any displays of nudity in film. However, American exhibitor David F. Friedman convinced them that the near-nudity in this film was acceptable due to the film's religious nature. The League agreed, and therefore this film played more widely than nearly any other film up to that time featuring "nudity". The skin on display will seem tame to most viewers today, as Eve's hair is always positioned to maintain modesty, and conveniently placed foliage hides both of their nether regions (as well as noticeable flesh-colored G-strings). However, there's far more flesh on display than in any other movie at the time, guaranteeing a healthy box-office and a continued exhibition of the film into the mid 1960's! Despite the shoddy production values and turgid direction, this movie remains an interesting and amusing relic from a simpler time, and a must-see for exploitation-film historians.

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Libel (1959)

The film is truly a curious case. The camerawork is quite stodgy, but the film still has such gripping excitement in its plot that it doesn't matter. Dirk Bogarde shines in a double role as that both of a titled British nobleman and that of a man he knew back in his army days . These wartime scenes are set in retrospect as a court battle looms over this man's true identity, if he truly is the lord of the manor, or the old acquaintance who assumed his place. What seems like an open and shut case ends up being like a labyrinth, with enough twists, double-crosses, reversals, twists of fate, and betrayals to fill a whole book or to keep a soap opera busy for some time. It is far fetched, but it works and it makes for  compulsive viewing.

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2 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

Credit Elmer Bernstein (who did several Wayne films) with the music. This was the first soundtrack album I ever bought, primarily for the title track.

As well as the scores to CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON and ROBOT MONSTER.

(A genuine talent, but Lord alive- if you spelled his name right on the check, he'd probably score a snuff film. [and do a damn good job of it too])

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2 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

This film [INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE] is more in keeping with the "fun" aspect of the Indiana Jones films. Temple of Doom substitutes too much violence for fun, although it still has entertainment value.

In the Department of Coincidences, this was the first movie soundtrack that *I* ever bought.

(and now, I recognize the influence of KING OF KINGS on JOHN WILLIAMS'S score for this particular film.)

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Just now, LornaHansonForbes said:

As well as the scores to CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON and ROBOT MONSTER.

(A genuine talent, but if you spelled his name right on the check, he'd probably score a snuff film. [and do a damn good job of it too])

Bernstein was a great composer, although sometimes I think he was undervalued. He only won an Oscar once (Thoroughly Modern Millie), despite many other nominations (The Man with the Golden Arm, Magnificent 7, Summer and Smoke, Walk on the Wild Side, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hawaii, Return of the 7, True Grit, Gold, Trading Places, Age of Innocence, Far from Heaven). He never did get the nominations he deserved in the 80s for The Black Cauldron or My Left Foot. Admittedly the former was whisked under the rug quickly after it perished in the summer of 1985, but his score is alternately terrifying, playful, romantic, eerie, and boomingly majestic, and is among the best scores ever written for an animated film. The latter was quite beautiful and give the academy's affection for the film, it made no sense for him to be left out.

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The Ambassador's Daughter (1956)  -  6/10

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CinemaScope Technicolor romantic comedy from writer-producer-director Norman Krasna. Olivia de Havilland stars as the daughter of the US ambassador (Edward Arnold) to France, stationed in Paris. They are hosting visiting US senator Adolphe Menjou and his wife Myrna Loy, and when Olivia takes Myrna on a tour of the sights, they meet US soldier John Forsythe. Olivia ends up having a nice night around town with him, but she's engaged to Francis Lederer, and wasn't honest about who she really was, causing the expected conflict. Also featuring Tommy Noonan and Minor Watson. This felt old-fashioned, like something from the 40's but filmed with mid-50's technology. It's not my kind of film, and Forsythe is dull as dishwater to me, but it seemed competently made, and fans of the genre and/or Parisian life may get more out of it than I did.

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1 minute ago, CinemaInternational said:

Bernstein was a great composer, although sometimes I think he was undervalued. He only won an Oscar once (Thoroughly Modern Millie), despite many other nominations (The Man with the Golden Arm, Magnificent 7, Summer and Smoke, Walk on the Wild Side, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hawaii, Return of the 7, True Grit, Gold, Trading Places, Age of Innocence, Far from Heaven). He never did get the nominations he deserved in the 80s for The Black Cauldron or My Left Foot. Admittedly the former was whisked under the rug quickly after it perished in the summer of 1985, but his score is alternately terrifying, playful, romantic, eerie, and boomingly majestic, and is among the best scores ever written for an animated film. The latter was quite beautiful and give the academy's affection for the film, it made no sense for him to be left out.

His music for those two is particularly good.

ps- also GHOSTBUSTERS

PSS- I really need to re-watch THE BLACK CAULDRON. I have distinct memories of seeing it in the theater as seven year old and, why yes, it did SCARE THE EVERLIVING **** OUT OF ME.

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6 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

His music for those two is particularly good.

ps- also GHOSTBUSTERS

PSS- I really need to re-watch THE BLACK CAULDRON. I have distinct memories of seeing it in the theater as seven year old and, why yes, it did SCARE THE EVERLIVING **** OUT OF ME.

Mmm, yes. Age of Innocence score I did think was a beautiful score, and deserving of a win (either it or The Piano from the Academy's picks that year), and Ghostbusters score (the omnious passages of it sould a bit like Cauldron's but not quite as elaborate) was also very memorable and very effective.

As for being scared by Cauldron, I too was petrified by it back in the day..... Disney was trying to shake up their image at the time for a few years though. Goodbye squeaky-clean G, say hello  to disembowelment (Black Hole), beheading of a child, Faustian bargains (both Something Wicked This Way Comes), a 2-second full frontal nude shot followed by about 6 minutes of rear nudity (Never Cry Wolf), creepy seances (Watcher in the Woods), drug dealers (Tex), walking skeletons, villains exploding (both Black Cauldron), dogfights (Journey of Natty Gann),and a chamber of screaming decapitated heads (Return to Oz). You know.... for kids!

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

Bernstein was a great composer, although sometimes I think he was undervalued. He only won an Oscar once (Thoroughly Modern Millie), despite many other nominations (The Man with the Golden Arm, Magnificent 7, Summer and Smoke, Walk on the Wild Side, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hawaii, Return of the 7, True Grit, Gold, Trading Places, Age of Innocence, Far from Heaven). He never did get the nominations he deserved in the 80s for The Black Cauldron or My Left Foot. Admittedly the former was whisked under the rug quickly after it perished in the summer of 1985, but his score is alternately terrifying, playful, romantic, eerie, and boomingly majestic, and is among the best scores ever written for an animated film. The latter was quite beautiful and give the academy's affection for the film, it made no sense for him to be left out.

And Thoroughly Modern Millie wasn't his finest hour either.

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The Old Man & The Gun (2018)

Based on a true story about bank robber Forrest Tucker, there's a period piece feel to this drama, even though much of it is set in 1981. Tucker is a gentleman thief who enters a bank, flashes an easy smile while also briefly flashing a gun under his coat then has the tellers/bank managers give them their money without other customers knowing a hold up is occurring. He then makes what is usually an easy escape.

Robert Redford pays Tucker. He is, in fact, one of three men involved (the others being Danny Glover and Tom Waits), three senior citizens who become known through the media as the Over-the-Hill Gang. Casey Affleck is likeable as the family man police officer on the hunt for Tucker. There is more than a hint of admiration in Affleck's eyes regarding Tucker's legendary exploits (among them 16 escapes from prison over the years), but, in hunting Tucker, he is doing his career "thing" just as Tucker is doing his. Tucker simply likes holding up banks.

Then there's Sissy Spacek. She plays a woman whose car has broken down at the side of the road that Tucker finds it convenient to stop and help as police rush by in response to his latest bank robbery. "You know anything about cars?" she asks him as he looks over her engine as the police whiz past them. "No, not really," he replies.

But he likes her and takes her to a diner, even telling her he's a robber (he thinks he can trust her) but she doesn't believe him. Spacek is laid back and constantly smiling in this film, one of life's good natured souls (just like Tucker, even if he is a crook).

One of the joys of this film is watching the casual interplay between Redford and Spacek as they talk about life or whatever, whether it's in a diner or on the porch of her ranch. These two actors have a wonderful chemistry and there's an easy comfort zone established between them from their very first scene together. Spacek, to put it simply, is marvelous in this film.

This is a film in which, of course, the audience does not want the bank robber to get caught.

Robert Redford has announced that The Old Man & The Gun will be his final film before retirement. His features may be craggy now, as they have been for some time, but he has lost none of the acting skills or charisma that had made him a star for over half a century.  And, in playing a stylish, easy going gentleman robber, the legendary actor has left us with a performance of effortless charm and grace.

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3 out of 4

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Away All Boats (1956)  -  6/10

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WWII Navy movie with Jeff Chandler the captain of a newly-commissioned troop transport ship. He struggles to get his crew ready for the task ahead, and then works even harder to keep them alive during their Pacific theater operations. Also featuring George Nader, Julie Adams, Lex Barker, Charles McGraw, Richard Boone, Keith Andes, William Reynolds, Jock Mahoney, Frank Faylen, John McIntire, James Westerfield, Don Keefer, Dabbs Greer, David Janssen, Grant Williams, and Clint Eastwood. If a movie can be square, this one is. It's not without some humor, though, and the array of familiar faces keeps things from getting too dull. The last act is fairly exciting, and Julie Adams appears in a white swimsuit again. 

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8 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Away All Boats (1956)  -  6/10

 

 Julie Adams appears in a white swimsuit again. 

 

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"This one I might watch."

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Overlord (2018)  -  5/10

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WWII men-on-a-mission meets horror in this misfire. A group of US soldiers are airdropped behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day in order to take out a radio jammer located in a church tower in a small French village. The occupying Germans are also using the church to conduct gruesome medical experiments that have resulted in a pseudo-zombie formula. Now the troops have to not only take out the tower in less than a few hours, but must also stop the monstrous menace below. Starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier,  John Magaro, Iain De Caestecker, Jacob Anderson, Dominic Applewhite, and Pilou Asbaek.

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This isn't anything I haven't seen many times before, and done better. The lead character played by Adepo is one of the most frustrating characters in recent cinema history, never failing to make a mistake that endangers himself and/or others. Wyatt (son of Kurt) Russell tries his best imitation of his father but falls short. There are plot holes (why would the Nazis place such a vitally important radio station in the same building as their top-secret super-soldier experiments?), there are silly plot contrivances (the Nazis must suffer from severe audio and visual problems, as the heroes sneak past them multiple times in the most laughably obvious manner), there are many historical inaccuracies (the racially integrated squad, the way D-Day is laid out in the film), and it all ends in a terrible rap song. Somehow this movie generated a lot of positive reviews (it has an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but I found it to be one of the biggest disappointments from last year.

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13 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) *Score: 5.5/10* 

I prefer "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but I liked this more than "Temple of Doom." 

Raiders was about an iconic film style, Last Crusade was about a marketable character...The Indy movies never recovered after we were expected to remember his name.  

12 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Adam and Eve (1956)  -  4/10

"Religious" drama that was a landmark exploitation release in the US. The dialogue-free film is narrated (in Spanish in the version I watched)

Despite the shoddy production values and turgid direction, this movie remains an interesting and amusing relic from a simpler time, and a must-see for exploitation-film historians.

No fair!--No posting without telling us where you FOUND it!  :D

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Enter the Dragon (1973)

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Wasn't a Bruce Lee fan up to this point; just continuing my quest to put all those great unseen iconic 70's movies in full context--Cleaning up yet another 70's movie on Netflix I felt I already knew every scene from without having seen, having already seen 1985's ghetto comedy The Last Dragon and being able to quote the Zuckers' scene-specific Airplane-parody in 1977's Kentucky Fried Movie from memory.  (This is not a chawade!...We must have total concentwation!)

As for the former--a salute to the urban-black grindhouse cult love for the movie, that also inspired Carl Douglas 70's songs about kung-fu fighting--it's easy to see why a black audience identified with the movie as much as the Asian audience did:  Enter was the producer's "big" attempt to bring Bruce Lee out of Hong Kong's silly bargain-basement chop-socky, and into the more polished production of an American B-exploitation budget, and the American producers hedged their bets--Lee is here only one of three martial-arts rebels to try to infiltrate a villainous drug lord's secret island army (hired by MI6 operatives and his old dojo master), backed up by standard Blaxploitation hero Jim Kelly, and roguishly obnoxious bet-hustler John Saxon.  Whichever ethnicity you identify with, they all get equal time here, and there's as much equal star time devoted to Kelly as the cool, cool hero in the first half of the movie as to Lee, who gets the climactic last third to himself.

For those not into the "real" HK films--with their linguistically challenged dubs and their near Super-8 film stock--this is not one of those movies; it's American chow-mein, which makes it a good introduction to the genre.  What will also strike first-timers (like me) is that Bruce Lee was more than just a fighter who made goofy faces and sounds with his kicks, but also had a sense of his own star presence.  He'd already been in Hollywood since the 60's, and had experience alongside the Green Hornet, so he had enough acting chops to know how to create a character out of his image:  The hip, self-assured teen-rebel on foreign ground, always ready to strike a rebellious last laugh against anti-Chinese racism or any showoff philistine who dared question the spiritual devotion of Shaolin training.

A year before, Lee had reportedly developed the "Kung Fu" TV series for himself, as young rebellious prejudice-victim Caine, but CBS decided to hedge their bets with Western actor David Carradine instead.  Watching Lee's star quality, Enter's a good quintessential introduction that makes you wonder how much better a series we would have gotten, outside of the home product.

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6 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The lead character played by Adepo is one of the most frustrating characters in recent cinema history, never failing to make a mistake that endangers himself and/or others.

They let a black guy make stupid mistakes?

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Yeah, looking back, LAST CRUSADE has faults (especially some stunningly cheap sets in moments, check out the "bookshelf" behind Harrison Ford in the "sometimes X does mark the spot scene"- EESH!)

Still, there are so many things I love (see- the Marx Bros. reference and the cinematography, also who hasn't wished a "he chose poorly" outcome for some boss or coworker or MAGA family member?), and it is perpetually bathed in the sepia tones of the year 1989 for me, which I sometimes think of to myself as the real end to the "classic" era (innovations in everything- movies, communications, music) seem to start in the 1990's and it's exponentially full speed ahead til now.)

ps- was ALLISON DOODY (unfortunate name aside) that bad an actor? Why did she FALL OFF THE MAP ENTIRELY after making this?)

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