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I Just Watched...

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Henry Fonda was a splendid actor. So real, authentic. Sometime there was incongruity with his child-like sounding voice, but he survives it. He has a way of moving, walking (for instance) with a sophisticated gait. Very much in command of himself on screen and without a loss of spontaneity. I admire the way he holds his own with the blustery over-the-top Victor Mature persona in that movie (OK Corral) in an early bar scene. I must see Fort Apache again. Warlock might be favorite Western. Musing.

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5 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Checked out MARY BURNS, FUGITIVE (1935)- the TCM Premiere of an old Paramount film starring Sylvia Sydney...After a promising start, it ended up being no great shakes.

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still, SYDNEY was an interesting actress with a very unusual look- almost like a beautiful insect.

The stand out of this production was probably the sets, which managed to be much more interesting at times than the story. There was an absolutely adorable little coffee shop that was like something out of a Disney movie, a hospital with a recessed window seat, and one of those 1930s country cottages with railings made from rustic timber and a fire roaring in a floor-to-ceiling stone hearth.

edit- this is sort of a HAYES CODE retelling of THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE...AND in many ways the overall story and the performance and "look" of SYLVIA SYDNEY reminds me in many ways of the SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)

Yeah, it starts out great, then becomes a standard melodrama. I recorded it to watch again. We need to see more Sydney films on TCM. All we get is Fury (MGM, natch) or a few of her later WB films...Most of her Paramount/UA output from the 30s remains to be seen. :( I saw an early Preston Sturges (written) comedy that was pretty funny.

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The Browning Version  (1951)  -  8/10

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British drama from director Anthony Asquith, from a script by Terence Rattigan, based on his play. Michael Redgrave stars as Andrew Crocker-Harris, a teacher at an exclusive boys boarding school. An illness has forced him to retire, and as he prepares to leave, his reputation for being an unfeeling bore comes to a head. However, there may be more going on beneath his quiet exterior than once thought. Featuring Jean Kent as his unfaithful wife, Nigel Patrick as a fellow teacher, Wilfrid Hyde-White as the headmaster, Bill Travers as Crocker-Harris' replacement, Brian Smith, Ronald Howard, Peter Jones, and Sarah Lawson. Redgrave is exceptional as the repressed teacher, giving one of the best performances of his career. The film's lack of a score adds to the weight of the tale. Recommended.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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34 minutes ago, rosebette said:

I couldn't help but think of those left behind, particularly as the women say farewell to their husbands and sweethearts before the regiment rides out.  The final scene at the memorial also features O' Rourke's widow (Ward Bond's character) looking on while the grandchild (both of whose grandfathers have died in the battle) play at Shirley Temple's feet.

Another aspect that grated was the lack of respect of Fonda's character toward the Indians.  Apparently, he was willing to sacrifice an entire regiment and go into battle rather than make a pact with "the redskins" who were untrustworthy, although the Indians had been betrayed by a white tradesman who was present at that meeting.   Wayne's character is respectful throughout, and Wayne shows true courage by walking toward Geronimo unarmed -- and he and those remaining survive as a result.  About the ending, my husband said, "Aren't we giving a memorial to toxic masculinity here?"  Since hubs said this, I can repeat it, otherwise someone might just say I'm some crazy feminist.  

Apparently, the Thursday character and the final massacre was loosely based on the true story of Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn.  Interestingly, that story was highly fictionalized in They Died with their Boots On so that the character of Flynn's Custer would have the audience's sympathy (Flynn's Custer is sympathetic to the Indians and has to make a stand to protect innocent settlers).  I don't know how Ford wants us to feel about Thursday -- should we both admire him and despise him at the same time?  In any case, it's a complex film with fine performances by both leading men.

There's an ambiguity in Ford's presentation of Henry Fonda's Thursday character in Fort Apache. If he's not actually racist towards the Indian (hardly uncommon in the real West) his intolerance and lack of respect for them (as well as his own arrogance) leads to the tragedy of the film's final encounter with them. Yes, he is courageous (so was the real Custer) but what still followed with his final command was a clear military disaster for the cavalry. I wouldn't want him as my commanding officer. Ford treats the Indians with a certain degree of respect. He doesn't show us the savagery of what they could do in victory to Thursday and his men (as happened in real life with the physical butchery of many of Custer's troops).

Fort Apache is a well crafted western, and I suspect that current audiences may be more inclined to question Ford's "honour the regiment, to hell with the facts" message at the end than did the film's original audience in 1948.

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WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966) *Score: 7/10* 

Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis, George Segal, and Agnes & Frank Flanagan. 

"I am the Earth Mother, and you are all flops." 

The film opens on George and Martha, a married couple in severe need of counseling, or divine intervention. The two have just returned from a party at the university George teaches at (and Martha's father is president of), and are both quite tipsy. Martha informs George that she has invited a young newlywed couple over to their house for a little get-together, and, unbeknownst to the young couple, this "get-together" becomes much more traumatizing and cruel. Nick and Honey arrive at George and Martha's, and are almost immediately blindsided by the older couple's neurotic and abusive behavior. 

Image result for who's afraid of virginia woolf 1966

It's interesting (if not depressing) to witness George and Martha's behavior towards each other and their house guests. The two of them constantly try to outdo each other in terms of shocking and abusive behavior, and Nick and Honey are caught up in the middle of it (although they actively participate from time to time). Ultimately, their relationship is quite sad, as most of the animosity seems to come from their failure to conceive a biological child. Their drinking and constant little "games" are a means of distraction from the very bitter reality of their problems, and it seems to the viewer that they appear to thrive from hurting one another. 

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I was very impressed with everyone's performances in this; specifically Elizabeth Taylor's. The only other grown-up role I've seen her in, was "Suddenly Last Summer" (another Williams adaptation). I have quickly become a fan of Sandy Dennis and her delicate, sniveling method of acting (although it doesn't work in everything, it does work in this film). I also liked the decision to move the location a few times to the backyard and to a dance hall, as that helped keep my attention. 

Image result for who's afraid of virginia woolf 1966

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Early Summer  (1951)  -  8/10

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Japanese drama from Yasujiro Ozu. A middle-class Tokyo family tries to marry off a 28-year-old unmarried daughter (Setsuko Hara). With Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama, Chikage Awashima, Kuniko Miyake, and Ichiro Sugai. If you've seen Late Spring, you'll know what to expect. The family is bigger, and there are more secondary characters, but that's about it. It was odd seeing Chishu Ryu with dyed black hair playing Hara's brother, two years after playing her father in Late Spring. He'd play her father again in 1953's Tokyo Story. Incidentally, Higashiyama, who played Ryu's wife in Tokyo Story, plays his mother in this film.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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3 hours ago, rosebette said:

I watched two movies with Henry Fonda over the week-end:  The Long Night (1947) and Fort Apache (1948)...

...I have a greater appreciation of Fonda as an actor...

...However, Fonda's character is night and day opposite to the rigid martinet in Fort Apache.  I think Fort Apache is a much more complex Western than it's given credit for, and John Wayne is also playing against the  stereotypical Wayne persona.  Wayne is the common sense man, the voice for peace and negotiation against Fonda's self-destructive hubris...

 

Ford could never be accused of typecasting his two leads in this film, anyway.

Every time I watch this great western, I wonder if Ford had indeed typecast those roles and switched them, had the final product been lessened.

Perhaps the rigid martinet character would have been TOO rigid played by Wayne, and the more sympathetic officer under his command played by Fonda instead perhaps too ineffectual or soft than how Wayne played the character.

(...guess we'll never know, but as it is, Ford's film is one of the greats of the genre, anyway)

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25 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Ford could never be accused of typecasting his two leads in this film, anyway.

Every time I watch this great western, I wonder if Ford had indeed typecast those roles and switched them, had the final product been lessened.

Perhaps the rigid martinet character would have been TOO rigid played by Wayne, and the more sympathetic officer under his command played by Fonda instead perhaps too ineffectual or soft than how Wayne played the character.

(...guess we'll never know, but as it is, Ford's film is one of the greats of the genre, anyway)

I have often thought the same thing. That Fonda would be cast as Captain York, the one who wants to reason and negotiate with the Apaches, while Wayne would be Colonel Thursday who looks to do battle with these people he considers savages. It might have been a warmup for Wayne to play Ethan Edwards in "The Searchers".

I think "Fort Apache" is a good western though I wish we more of the Thursday/York conflict and less of the Shirley Temple/John Agar romance.

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8 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I have often thought the same thing. That Fonda would be cast as Captain York, the one who wants to reason and negotiate with the Apaches, while Wayne would be Colonel Thursday who looks to do battle with these people he considers savages. It might have been a warmup for Wayne to play Ethan Edwards in "The Searchers".

I think "Fort Apache" is a good western though I wish we more of the Thursday/York conflict and less of the Shirley Temple/John Agar romance.

I was disappointed that John Agar was one of the soldiers spared.

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This is kind of strange, but I watched 1/2 of FORT APACHE last night and then woke up this morning and watched 1/2 of MISTER ROBERTS and just now I finished watching FORT APACHE.

I was Struck watching ROBERTS this morning how very, very similar it is in many ways to APACHE, and it's also interesting to note that HENRY FONDA did not make any movies in between FORT APACHE and MISTER ROBERTS, wherein he plays rather different, but multi-shaded, sides of a coin.

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La Poison  (1951)  -  7/10

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French black comedy from writer-director Sacha Guitry. Michel Simon stars as Paul Louis Victor Braconnier, a gardener unhappily married to slovenly, alcoholic Blandine (Germaine Reuver). Paul decides to kill his wife after a conversation with noted defense attorney Aubanel (Jean Debucourt). The murder trial turns into a farcical community affair. Also featuring Louis de Funes, Marcelle Arnold, Georges Bever, and Albert Duvaleix. This is the second Guitry film that I've seen (after 1936's The Story of a Cheat), and I'd have to now rank him among my favorite French comic talents. Simon is terrific as usual, a mix of wit and knowing humanity. The film's story seems like a collaboration between Marcel Pagnol and John Waters. The film's opening credits are 7 minutes long, and consist of director Guitry greeting and thanking every cast member and most of the crew in person, either individually or in small groups.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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One Wild Oat  (1951)  -  4/10

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British comedy starring Stanley Holloway as a charming rogue whose son wants to marry the daughter of a respected barrister (Robertson Hare). The stuffy barrister tries to end the engagement, so Holloway sets out to air the other man's dirty laundry. With Vera Pearce, Andrew Crawford, Irene Handl, June Sylvaine, and Audrey Hepburn. Dreadfully unfunny. I watched it for Hepburn, who shows up for a few seconds answering a telephone.

Source: internet

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

This is the second Guitry film that I've seen (after 1936's The Story of a Cheat), and I'd have to now rank among my favorite French comic talents.

Have you seen 1937's The Pearls of the Crown? If you haven't, do so as soon as possible. It's a feat of multilanguage performances and precision editing, and very, very funny and irreverent towards history.

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THE CAT IN THE HAT (2003) *Score: 1/10* (1 star because I enjoy looking at Alec Baldwin)

NOBODY JUDGE ME, I HAVEN'T SEEN THIS IN 15 YEARS AND WAS CURIOUS TO WATCH IT WITH ADULT EYES.

Starring: Mike Myers, Kelly Preston, Alec Baldwin, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin. 

All the things I've heard about this over the years did not prepare me for the dumpster fire that this movie truly is. Kelly Preston plays a terrible mother to a son who constantly causes her problems, and an a*** retentive daughter (self-censored bc I'm scared). I literally watched this 1.5 weeks ago, and I'm still not convinced the whole thing wasn't a fever dream. The town looks like the off-brand version of the town in Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" and everything is almost just as chronologically all over the place. Every house has an identical Ford Focus, and people have cellphones, yet the children are dressed like one is from 1950's suburbia and the other is from the late 1990's.  This wasn't my biggest complaint of the movie by far. Mike Myers and the screenwriters/director were the proverbial thorns in my side. 

I can only handle Mike Myers in small doses, to be honest (although he managed not to induce my gag reflex during the entirety of "So I Married an Axe Murderer"). This seemed to almost completely disregard the original source material, and instead go in its own borderline-inappropriate direction. I don't know if I'm going off the rails with my review here; I hope not, but I can honestly say that I prefer Ron Howard's live action "Grinch" adaptation to this. At least there was some semblance of the original story in there, and not some strange story revolving around a shady, anthropomorphic cat (who looks suspiciously like one of the characters from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats" musical). 

Image result for cat in the hat 2003

I would write more, but I'm exhausted. 

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5 hours ago, TomJH said:

I was disappointed that John Agar was one of the soldiers spared.

Same here.  I thought he was a lousy actor and apparently a rotten husband to Shirley Temple in real life.

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Summer Interlude  (1951)  -  7/10

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Swedish drama from writer-director Ingmar Bergman. Marie (Maj-Britt Nilsson) is a prima ballerina who reflects on a summer affair she had 13 years earlier, at age 15. The consequences of that summer hang over her now, as she tries to come to terms with what happened and who she has become since. Also featuring Birger Malmsten, Alf Kjellin, Annalisa Ericson, Stig Olin, and Georg Funkquist. Transitional Bergman as he moves away from his earlier melodramas into more psychologically dense material. Nilsson is good, and she does a better job of playing a teenager than the 32-year-old Malmsten. 

Source: The Criterion Channel

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54 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Summer Interlude  (1951)  -  7/10

Summer+Interlude.jpg

Swedish drama from writer-director Ingmar Bergman. Marie (Maj-Britt Nilsson) is a prima ballerina who reflects on a summer affair she had 13 years earlier, at age 15. The consequences of that summer hang over her now, as she tries to come to terms with what happened and who she has become since. Also featuring Birger Malmsten, Alf Kjellin, Annalisa Ericson, Stig Olin, and Georg Funkquist. Transitional Bergman as he moves away from his earlier melodramas into more psychologically dense material. Nilsson is good, and she does a better job of playing a teenager than the 32-year-old Malmsten. 

Source: The Criterion Channel

Loved this. I am a BIG FAN of early Bergman and continually defend these films against the ubiquitous short shrift they seem to get when compared with the later, greater stuff. But I DO see what these fans and critics are getting at but it grows tiresome and it irritates me because most of these film are quite good in their own right.

Summer Interlude seemed like two movies in one for me. The first half seems almost frivolous with the endless romping around by young lovers as we wait for something to happen. Then, after it happens, the film gets serious and the tone DOES begin to resemble some of the later poignancy of the oeuvre. The trick is to be fully awake from the early movie doze. Details escape me at present but this is how I remember it going down in a general way. I have posted on this before though, probably on this thread some years ago right after a viewing.

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The Tales of Hoffmann  (1951)  -  7/10

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British operatic musical/ballet from Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger. A trio of tales trace the tragic love life of poet Hoffmann (Robert Rounseville), including time with a dancing robot (Moira Shearer). Robert Helpmann co-stars as various evil antagonists. Also with Ludmilla Tcherina, Ann Ayars, Pamela Brown, Frederick Ashton, and Leonide Massine. This is a visually sumptuous, deliberately theatrical production. I care not for opera nor ballet, but this kept me largely engaged throughout.

Source: internet

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10 hours ago, rosebette said:

Same here.  I thought (JOHN AGAR) was a lousy actor and apparently a rotten husband to Shirley Temple in real life.

FORT APACHE- ironically- is probably Agar’s best performance. He gets even worse in his later films.

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10 hours ago, rosebette said:

Same here.  I thought he was a lousy actor and apparently a rotten husband to Shirley Temple in real life.

Yeh, it's always a good feeling when John Agar dies in a movie. And if you know it's going to happen, then it's something to look forward to.

Movies can be wonderful.

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8 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Tales of Hoffmann  (1951)  -  7/10

220px-Tales_of_Hoffman_poster.jpg

British operatic musical/ballet from Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger. A trio of tales trace the tragic love life of poet Hoffmann (Robert Rounseville), including time with a dancing robot (Moira Shearer). Robert Helpmann co-stars as various evil antagonists. Also with Ludmilla Tcherina, Ann Ayars, Pamela Brown, Frederick Ashton, and Leonide Massine. This is a visually sumptuous, deliberately theatrical production. I care not for opera nor ballet, but this kept me largely engaged throughout.

Source: internet

It's artifical, theatrical - and gorgeous.

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Another Part of the Forest (1948)

Solid film adaption of the 1946 Lillian Hellman stage success, a prequel to her play The Little Foxes. It's about the Hubbards, a dysfunctional family despised by the town in which they live in the old South in 1880. The family's patriarch, who rules the clan with a decidedly unloving hand, made his money during the war selling salt at an exorbitant rate, exploiting those in need, thus earning the town's contempt. But, in addition to that, the father and mother have a secret that unloving Papa, in particular, wants no one to know.

Michael Gordon's fluid direction never makes this production feel like a filmed play. The film is full of crackling dialogue and frequently tense dramatic scenes and the entire cast of actors is uniformly excellent. There will be a family gathering with some nervous neighbours attending (in hopes of loans from the father) in which, as the scene progresses, verbal knives will be drawn that is memorable for its uncomfortable intensity.

Fredric March, stern and moustachioed, is quite magnificent as the father. Cold blooded as he is (though no less calculating than his off spring, who emulate him) his one emotional weakness is for his daughter, Regina, who plays up to her father for all that it is worth and has an influence over him shared by no others. There will be a memorable moment when she turns against him. Ann Blyth, fresh off her success as the spoiled daughter in Mildred Pierce, equals, if not surpasses, her performance in that film as a conniving cold blooded schemer.

Dan Duryea, the one cast member here who had also appeared seven years earlier in the film Little Foxes, repeats his role as the weakling son (though, for some reason, his name is changed from Leo to Oscar). It's an impressive performance, especially since Duryea was specializing, by contrast, at playing slimy women slapping weasels in other films at this time in his career.

Edmond O'Brien, as Ben, the oldest son, is particularly impressive. Ben, on the surface, is more approachable and seemingly reasonable than either his brother or sister. As the film progresses, however, we will seen that Ben has far more in common with his steel hearted father than we initially realized. O'Brien dominates many of his scenes and makes one appreciate, once again, what a solid actor he could be in a meaty role.

Finally there is Florence Aldredge (Mrs. Fredric March) as the mother, a well meaning, frightened soul who lives in constant frustration. She has none of the ruthlessness of her husband or children (though she gets along well with Ben) but is a pitiful figure. But that secret she shares with her husband gives her a power that she doesn't seem to quite appreciate until the film's memorable ending.

Those into high powered family dramas will find this film production a more than satisfactory viewing experience.

I've a question, though, for those who have seen this film. Can anyone tell me the meaning of the title?

another-part-of-the-forest-lg.jpg

3 out of 4

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"Duchess of Idaho" -Robert Z. Leonard - 1950 -

starring Esther Williams and Van Johnson and Paula Raymomd and John Lund -

this is one of those Esther Williams flicks that seem thoroughly inconsequential -

and yet it is done with such verve ands style -

that you wouldn't miss a mnute of it -

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I watched PANAMA HATTIE (1942) last night and it made very, very little impression on me- in spite of my liking everyone involved and the music of Cole Porter and it being lovely to look at and all.

It's a rare film where ANN SOTHERN is kind of irritating; although young and thin RED SKELTON is really quite cute.

The best things in it are the Berry Brothers who are amazing dancers and a SAVAGE little girl who, quite rightly, offers some on-the-spot alterations to a dress ANN SOTHERN has on that desperately needs it.

There is a C-Plot about some spies that just really needed to be dropped; they go the VAL LEWTON route mostly- implying, suggesting and discussing the spies, but not showing them much.

this movie needed PETER LORRE.

EDIT- BUT THEN AGAIN, WHAT MOVIE DOESN'T?

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They scrapped most of the Broadway score and beefed up Skelton's part. Ann got the leftovers....

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