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I Just Watched...

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18 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Ichikawa uses a variety of filmmaking techniques, from slow motion to freeze frames, odd angles and special effects, all to highlight the beauty and drama of the events.

How many of the angles did he borrow from Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia?

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21 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Tokyo Olympiad (1965)  -  9/10

220px-Tokyoolympiadposter.jpg

Japanese documentary from director Kon Ichikawa, covering the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Ichikawa uses a variety of filmmaking techniques, from slow motion to freeze frames, odd angles and special effects, all to highlight the beauty and drama of the events. I'm not a sports fan. I enjoyed participating in them as a youth, but never watching them. And I have no special regard for the Olympics, even though I admire the spirit behind them, and the effort to compete at that level. That being said, I found this to be one of the greatest sports documentaries ever made, and I was enthralled for the entire 2 hour and 50 minute runtime. Highly recommended.

Source: The Criterion Channel

 

Lawrence, I'm happy to hear that this is available again. The VHS version was long unavailable except at exorbitant prices, and I wasn't aware that it had been released on DVD or Blu-Ray. It received great reviews, even from those like you who aren't sports fans.

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Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round  (1934)

(7/10)

If only this film had a likeable protagonist then it would be an even better film than it is. It is all about how the lives of several passengers intertwine on a transatlantic journey. Sally Marsh (Nancy Carroll) has gotten her old friend Chad Denby (Jack Benny) to hire her on to his entertainment troupe for the voyage so that she can get her brother Ned out of town in a hurry. Underworld kingpin Lee Lother (Sidney Blackmer) , his henchmen, and his girl are on the ship, and Lother has past ties to both Sally and Ned. Actually, Lother's best girl is a married woman and thinks she has pulled a fast one on her husband with this cruise, when in fact he knows what is going on and is on the same ship with murderous intentions.

So the protagonist who weaves all of these people together? Grifter Jimmy Brett, played by top billed Gene Raymond. The problem is, Jimmy is a louse, and yet the film seems to be saying we should be rooting for him. But how could I? He makes his partner in crime (Sid Sliver) work his way across the Atlantic so Jimmy can stay in first class, he is willing to steal from anybody anywhere anytime, and just because he is getting romantic with Sally, a genuinely nice gal, I'm supposed to cut him a break? Well, I'll let you see how this all works out.

Don't expect cheapskate Jack Benny of 1940 and later. At this point he is still working on his radio persona after only two years of transitioning from film to radio and doing the occasional film. Also Patsy Kelly, part of Benny's entertainment troupe, is practically background noise she is so restrained compared to her usually loud assertive character.

Keep an eye out for the Busby Berkeley type dance number in the film, because like Berkeley's filmed dance numbers over at Warner's, the audience couldn't possibly appreciate it unless they were hanging from the ceiling, and this is not the Poseidon Adventure. 

Source - youtube

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(Been a while since this has happened)

Came home for lunch and stumbled over BOY SLAVES (1939) on TCM. 

(Get your minds out of the gutter in re: the title, It’s a somewhat Horatio Algerian tale of some wild boy runaways who end up indentured servants in a rural turpentine mill (It’s a great study of how the peonage system was being used in America at the time, letting people get goods and food on credit at inflated prices and then making them work it off forever)

Just a damn fine piece of filmmaking, in the very end it kind of turns into WHITE HEAT as enacted by Mrs. Cagney’s 8th Grade Class, And you know what? I liked it.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED And quite well shot, very fluid camera movement and great use of light especially in the final court room scene where natural sunlight seems to be streaming through the windows.

ANNE SHIRLEY- Two years after her best supporting actress nomination – doesn’t show up till the final act, but when she does she’s incredible. Absolutely sensational performance, have you ever seen a performance by an actress in a 1930 or 40 something film where she was actually properly styled and they didn’t have her hair set and glamour make up Because she was in the part of someone poor or a child? There were parts of watching her final moments in the film that seemed like it was a present day actress merely filmed in black-and-white. Just riveting

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MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) *Score: 5/10*

Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, Brent Briscoe, Robert Forster, Katharine Towne, Lee Grant, Scott Coffey, BILLY RAY CYRUS. 

I watched this for the first time over the weekend, and let me just say: it's overrated. All the reviews I read saying it was a "masterpiece" and "an amazing piece of art" are simply ludicrous. I will say that I managed to watch the whole thing, so it was entertaining enough, to say the least. The acting was okay, but that's all I can say. Ann Miller annoyed me to no end in this, so thank God her scenes were few and far between (I liked her in things from the 30s-50s, but this just wasn't it for me). The story and concept were interesting, but I just don't like this movie. It's also not one that I would purchase and keep in my collection. 

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1 hour ago, NickAndNora34 said:

MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) *Score: 5/10*

I saw this some time back and I remember having a hard time putting it together. I don't remember going back to watch a second time.

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40 minutes ago, laffite said:

I saw this some time back and I remember having a hard time putting it together. I don't remember going back to watch a second time.

I was confused for the duration of the film, although the pacing was quite good. It was rather confusing to me. However, at the end I managed to come up with some kinds of halfway theories... and then I just gave up and read the Wikipedia page for it. I really don't know why people enjoyed it so much, but I guess that's how my friends feel when I try to make them watch any of the Coen Brothers' repertoire, and they don't get it. Ah, such is life. 

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1 hour ago, NickAndNora34 said:

I was confused for the duration of the film, although the pacing was quite good. It was rather confusing to me. However, at the end I managed to come up with some kinds of halfway theories... and then I just gave up and read the Wikipedia page for it. I really don't know why people enjoyed it so much, but I guess that's how my friends feel when I try to make them watch any of the Coen Brothers' repertoire, and they don't get it. Ah, such is life. 

I just finished another film that can be termed a puzzler, The Apartment (1996). I hung fast till half way, then it begin to slip away. The film has slick direction and good acting and I was intensely interested for the first hour, I thought I was watching something special. The film fully intends to be abstruse and I almost feel pretentiously so. There are confusing flashbacks which seem more like intentional narrative trickery (I think there's a difference). I stayed till the end thinking it was one of those films whereby if you suspend judgement, it will all cleared up. Alas.  Some Netflix reviewers were puzzled as well. The ending elicited outrage by some.  Nevertheless, I have a favorable impression overall (just barely).

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On 6/17/2019 at 2:56 PM, CinemaInternational said:

She wasn't so lucky with Towering Inferno either. :( (Although she did give one of the two good performances in that film)

Fred Astaire got the Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor in "The Towering Inferno".

But for my money, Richard Chamberlain had the best role and the best over the top acting in this movie. And that was beating out an awful lot of other people. 

 

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8 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) *Score: 5/10*

Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, Brent Briscoe, Robert Forster, Katharine Towne, Lee Grant, Scott Coffey, BILLY RAY CYRUS. 

I watched this for the first time over the weekend, and let me just say: it's overrated. All the reviews I read saying it was a "masterpiece" and "an amazing piece of art" are simply ludicrous. I will say that I managed to watch the whole thing, so it was entertaining enough, to say the least. The acting was okay, but that's all I can say. Ann Miller annoyed me to no end in this, so thank God her scenes were few and far between (I liked her in things from the 30s-50s, but this just wasn't it for me). The story and concept were interesting, but I just don't like this movie. It's also not one that I would purchase and keep in my collection. 

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It takes a couple of viewings sometimes to click with some films. 

David Lynch's Mulholland Drive Explained :D

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"Boy Slaves" - P. J. Wolfson -1939 -

starring Anne Shirley, Roger Daniel, James McCallion, Walter Ward, Charles Powers, Johnny Fitzgerald, Frank Malo, Paul White, Walter Tetley, Charles Lane, etc. -

Muckraking cinema, I suppose, from RKO Radio Pictures, but, nevertheless, very effective -

the plight of homeless youth in Depression-era America -

a group of homeless boys is saved from imprisonment by an unscrupulous businessman -

he puts them to work on his turpentne farm and takes terrible advantage of them -

they are nothing more than unpaid servants -

they are fed badly and housed badly -

in the end, they rebel against the deplorable conditions -

unfortunately, one of the boys is killed -

the law intervenes and promises to take care of them -

the film is distinguished by the committed direction of P. J. Wolfson -

and great ensembe work from a largely unknown cast of young actors -

cast-of-boy-slaves-james-mccallion-walte

 

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53 minutes ago, rayban said:

"Boy Slaves" - P. J. Wolfson -1939 -

starring Anne Shirley...

Muckraking cinema, I suppose, from RKO Radio Pictures, but, nevertheless, very effective -

the film is distinguished by the committed direction of P. J. Wolfson -

and great ensembe work from a largely unknown cast of young actors -

 

SO GLAD someone else caught (and liked) this movie; again, if any of you have access to this on TCM ON DEMAND, or even the internet (something tells me it's maybe in the Public Domain)- then check it out. I liked it better than the much more famous WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD, it would make a great double bill with SALT OF THE EARTH.

I bet A LOT of kids who got dropped off to see this at the SATURDAY MATINEE came home that night and BLEW THEIR PARENTS MINDS.

I tried to find a picture of ANNE SHIRLEY- who was so terrific and beautiful with no make-up and natural hair (she looked like a contemporary actress), but alas, not only did I not find any on bing images, I WOULD REALLY RECOMMEND NO ONE TYPE THE TERM "BOY SLAVES" INTO AN IMAGE SEARCH UNLESS YOU WANT A VISIT FROM THE FBI!!!!!!!!

The only way this film could be better would be if ELEANOR ROOSEVELT showed up in a tank with the National Guard at the end.

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On 6/20/2019 at 9:00 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

SO GLAD someone else caught (and liked) this movie; again, if any of you have access to this on TCM ON DEMAND, or even the internet (something tells me it's maybe in the Public Domain)- then check it out. I liked it better than the much more famous WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD, it would make a great double bill with SALT OF THE EARTH.

I bet A LOT of kids who got dropped off to see this at the SATURDAY MATINEE came home that night and BLEW THEIR PARENTS MINDS.

I tried to find a picture of ANNE SHIRLEY- who was so terrific and beautiful with no make-up and natural hair (she looked like a contemporary actress), but alas, not only did I not find any on bing images, I WOULD REALLY RECOMMEND NO ONE TYPE THE TERM "BOY SLAVES" INTO AN IMAGE SEARCH UNLESS YOU WANT A VISIT FROM THE FBI!!!!!!!!

The only way this film could be better would be if ELEANOR ROOSEVELT showed up in a tank with the National Guard at the end.

The title misrepresents it.

It's an unapologitic look at the exploitation of children.

 

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19 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

(Been a while since this has happened)

Came home for lunch and stumbled over BOY SLAVES (1939) on TCM. 

(Get your minds out of the gutter in re: the title, It’s a somewhat Horatio Algerian tale of some wild boy runaways who end up indentured servants in a rural turpentine mill (It’s a great study of how the peonage system was being used in America at the time, letting people get goods and food on credit at inflated prices and then making them work it off forever)

Just a damn fine piece of filmmaking, in the very end it kind of turns into WHITE HEAT as enacted by Mrs. Cagney’s 8th Grade Class, And you know what? I liked it.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED And quite well shot, very fluid camera movement and great use of light especially in the final court room scene where natural sunlight seems to be streaming through the windows.

ANNE SHIRLEY- Two years after her best supporting actress nomination – doesn’t show up till the final act, but when she does she’s incredible. Absolutely sensational performance, have you ever seen a performance by an actress in a 1930 or 40 something film where she was actually properly styled and they didn’t have her hair set and glamour make up Because she was in the part of someone poor or a child? There were parts of watching her final moments in the film that seemed like it was a present day actress merely filmed in black-and-white. Just riveting

LOL. Yeah, I saw that title in the schedule and it gave me pause.......Sorry, I didnt record it now. Think the whole day was devoted to runaways.

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Interesting that Anne Shirley was brought up.  Not sure if it was mentioned elsewhere, but her daughter Julie Payne died just a few weeks ago.

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34 minutes ago, RoyCronin said:

Interesting that Anne Shirley was brought up.  Not sure if it was mentioned elsewhere, but her daughter Julie Payne died just a few weeks ago.

I hadn't heard that. Anne Shirley is one of those stars few people today have even heard of due to her retiring in the mid-40s; despite having a long resume. But at least we do. I know little of her personal life. I don't think anyone has written a biography of her.

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I started watching HIT THE DECK last night. The audio was so mushy, I gave up after 30 minutes.

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I thought Crazy Rich Asians would have more of a Desperate Housewives flavor, but it's a fairly standard issue romantic comedy, say 6.5/10. There are some good laughs along the way, but I would have liked more. The first half-hour is slow. A brisker pace would have suited the material better. The acting is fine, and there are some nice shots of Singapore. Maybe I should bump the rating up to 7/10 because the leading man, Henry Golding, is so handsome. Nico Santos (Mateo on Superstore) does his stereotypical screaming queen routine. Fashionista alert: Santos helps heroine Constance Wu pick out a dress that's supposed to be a knockout, but it seemed kind of blah to me.

All the characters are supposed to be either Chinese-American, like the heroine, or Chinese who've grown up in Singapore. I can't keep up with all the PC views on what ethnicity can play what ethnic role, but perhaps it's worth noting that Nico Santos is Filipino, and as for Henry Golding, his father is English and his mother is from the Iban people of Sarawak.

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The Last Gangster (1937)

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I was going to take a nap but by chance I saw this was on and I had to watch it. Starring Edward G. Robinson in an on-type role as a gangster, kingpin, a very Edward GR role. Alongside the two above as a reporter and the missus who technically speaks English, Alan Baxter as Acey and Lionel Stander as Curly who both play some great roles. It's just well acted in general, maybe some scruples with the kid, but has some nice twists. The gangsters play their roles nicely, the working class does their part, the inmates get their moments too and it's an intriguing ride.

I thought it would be a more typical gangster flick, but it made me think of a biopic. With the amount of time spent in jail where Krozac wasn't running his criminal empire from, the swapping between Mr. and Mrs. Krozac, the fervent need to see his son and once he leaves the prison, it doesn't slow down. But with the character development of our gangster, it almost feels like a character drama at times. And even though it's another gangster role, this movie still felt different; might have been due to the vulnerability of Krozac's character

And Edward Brophy has a great minor role in it, think I saw him in Larceny Inc, one of my favorite Edward G. Robinson movies.

8/10

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On 6/20/2019 at 11:10 AM, Michael Rennie said:

I started watching HIT THE DECK last night. The audio was so mushy, I gave up after 30 minutes.

This was a clean up movie to get one last musical out there before all the contracts were up.

I don't think you missed very much unless you really care for one of the particular principals.

As a tap dancer, I really was enthralled with Ann Miller's performance although she always seemed to be a bit overwhelming for what's supposed to be an understated art. Her Taps sound like a buffalo, but she's really fast and good.

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"The Last Gangster" -

It's an interesting film, not your usual gangster flick.

It's really a one-man show.

The gangster's returning his son, now, technically his wife's new husband's, is quite reviting.

Kudos to Edward G. Robinson, Jimmy Stewart, Rose Stradner and Douglas Scott. .

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Here are a few that I watched earlier this week to close out my 1965 movies:

Wild on the Beach (1965)  -  2/10

wildonthebeach_037-1.jpg

Without a doubt the absolute worst beach-party-style rip-off film that I've seen. Adam (Frankie Randall) and Lee (Sherry Jackson) both rent the same beach house for the summer, and each refuses to give up their claim. Zero laughs and amateur drama ensue. Also featuring Russ Bender, Gayle Caldwell, Jackie Miller, and Booth Colman. There are also performances by Sonny & Cher, The Astronauts, and Sandy Nelson. The Sonny & Cher song, "It's Gonna Rain", may be one of the worst songs in the history of Western Civilization. The entire film is like hammering a railroad spike through your foot. In B&W.

Source: CIA torture kit

 

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Winter A-Go-Go (1965)  -  4/10

220px-Winter_A-Go-Go_(1965)_Movie_Poster

Someone thought James Stacy and William Wellman Jr. made a good screen team, because here they are again the same year as A Swingin' Summer. This time around, Wellman the Junior and Stacy try running a ski lodge at Lake Tahoe. Also featuring Beverly Adams, John Anthony Hayes, Jill Donohue, Julie Parrish, Paul Gleason, and Tom Nardini. There are songs from The Hondells, Joni Lyman, The Reflections, and The Nooney Rickett Four. There's some nice outdoor scenery, and a lot of pretty people dancing badly.

Source: internet

winteragogo22.jpg

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The Yesterday Machine (1965)  -  2/10

220px-Yesterday_machine_1963_poster.jpg

Grade-Z science fiction from writer-director Russ Marker. In rural Texas, some people stumble upon a Nazi scientist (Jack Herman) who has developed a time travel machine to pluck people and objects from different time periods. He hopes to use it to restart the Reich. Good-guy James Britton and policeman Tim Holt vow to stop him. This independently made obscurity features some laughable performances (Herman goes all out as the mad doctor) and some truly baffling science, which is discussed at length, and with visual aids. 

Source: YouTube

Yesterday+Machine+414.jpg

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Yoyo (1965)  -  7/10

220px-Yoyo_film_poster.jpg

French comedy from writer-director Pierre Etaix. He also stars as "le millionaire", a fabulously wealthy man in 1920's France who has everything except love in his life. He eventually fathers a child with a circus performer, and the child grows up to become a famous clown known as "Yoyo" (also Etaix). We see the family fortunes change as the years go by, and the son seeks happiness, however fleeting. Also featuring Claudine Auger, Philippe Dionnet, Luce Klein, and Martine de Breteuil. Etaix uses his experience as a performing clown to great effect. He also uses an innovative story structure, as the earliest section of the film is done in silent-film style, with no spoken dialogue. When the "talkies" era begins, the film also switches styles, and when the storyline reaches the television era, it changes yet again. There are a lot of visual gags, and the film has much in common with the works of Chaplin, Lloyd, and fellow Frenchman Jacques Tati. 

Source: The Criterion Channel

etaix_top_current_large.jpg

 

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