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I Just Watched...

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Il bidone aka The Swindle  (1955)  -  7/10

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Italian crime drama from director Federico Fellini. Augusto (Broderick Crawford), Raul (Richard Basehart), and Roberto (Franco Fabrizi) are a trio of con artists who pull various swindles large and small. Augusto is beginning to question his life choices, Raul struggles to keep his wife (Giulietta Masina) in the dark about their line of work, and Roberto is just out for quick money and a good time. Also with Sue Ellen Blake, Irene Cefaro, Alberto De Amicis, Lorella De Luca, Giacomo Gabrielli, and Riccardo Garrone. Fellini was still in his more restrained and conventional mode at this point, although a New Year's Eve party sequence hints at things to come. It took me a while to get used to Crawford and Basehart being dubbed in Italian by other actors, especially Basehart, who has such a memorable voice of his own. However, once I passed that hurdle, I enjoyed the film, and thought Crawford was very good in it.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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Broderick Crawford doesn't have a memorable voice?  :P

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I just watched a double feature from TCM last month, two comedies "of their time" from 1970-71....

First was COLD TURKEY '71. This is a typical Norman Lear production that includes his regular stable of comedians seen in many of his TV shows. It's the story of a downtrodden town that tries winning a contest for giving up smoking cigarettes for ONE MONTH, without cessation, a definition of the slang title. Addiction as hilarity ensues while everyone in town snaps at each other and substitutes food for smoke, raiding the 'fridge.

Dick Van Dyke in his "mod cool" long hair is the town preacher, guiding his flock, giving his usual excellent performance. The talent in this movie was packed with great, but too brief performances: Tom Poston's character just LEAVES TOWN for a month, which would be my inclination. Jean Stapleton is a hilarious standout, but also seen is Vincent Gardenia, Bob Newhart, Bernard Hughes, Paul Benedict and Bob & Ray. I was thrilled to spot in an almost non speaking role Gloria LeRoy, who played a character on ALL IN THE FAMILY. Sadly, Edward Everette Horton is very close to his death in a non verbal role.

I saw this in the theater with my parents and remember them laughing heartedly all the way through it. Overall, a one time viewing for me-I enjoyed it but wouldn't watch it again. (nice poster drawn by a Mad Magazine artist)

Cold_Turkey_1971.jpg

The second movie, Myra Breckenridge '70 was a total disaster. Apparently, the character played by Rex Reed has a sex change operation and becomes Raquel Welch and tries breaking into Hollywood. Welch is absolutely gorgeous and shows decent acting ability and talent, but not strong enough to overcome a very bad story.

There's quite a bit of old Hollywood homage, but it's trite and often mean rather than celebratory. It was beautifully filmed but pretty unwatchable and thankfully I slept through 20 minutes of it. Guess the shock value has diminished with time. So sorry Raquel & Mae, I wanted to like both of you in this.

Myrabreckposter.jpg

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10 hours ago, Fedya said:

Broderick Crawford doesn't have a memorable voice?  :P

I should have elaborated. The guy dubbing Crawford sounded more like Crawford, older and gruff, than the guy who dubbed Basehart, who sounded much higher-pitched and goofy.

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I just watched a double feature from TCM last month, two comedies "of their time" from 1970-71....

First was COLD TURKEY '71. This is a typical Norman Lear production that includes his regular stable of comedians seen in many of his TV shows. It's the story of a downtrodden town that tries winning a contest for giving up smoking cigarettes for ONE MONTH, without cessation, a definition of the slang title. Addiction as hilarity ensues while everyone in town snaps at each other and substitutes food for smoke, raiding the 'fridge.

Dick Van Dyke in his "mod cool" long hair is the town preacher, guiding his flock, giving his usual excellent performance. The talent in this movie was packed with great, but too brief performances: Tom Poston's character just LEAVES TOWN for a month, which would be my inclination. Jean Stapleton is a hilarious standout, but also seen is Vincent Gardenia, Bob Newhart, Bernard Hughes, Paul Benedict and Bob & Ray. I was thrilled to spot in an almost non speaking role Gloria LeRoy, who played a character on ALL IN THE FAMILY. Sadly, Edward Everette Horton is very close to his death in a non verbal role.

I saw this in the theater with my parents and remember them laughing heartedly all the way through it. Overall, a one time viewing for me-I enjoyed it but wouldn't watch it again. (nice poster drawn by a Mad Magazine artist)

Cold_Turkey_1971.jpg

The second movie, Myra Breckenridge '70 was a total disaster. Apparently, the character played by Rex Reed has a sex change operation and becomes Raquel Welch and tries breaking into Hollywood. Welch is absolutely gorgeous and shows decent acting ability and talent, but not strong enough to overcome a very bad story.

There's quite a bit of old Hollywood homage, but it's trite and often mean rather than celebratory. It was beautifully filmed but pretty unwatchable and thankfully I slept through 20 minutes of it. Guess the shock value has diminished with time. So sorry Raquel & Mae, I wanted to like both of you in this.

Myrabreckposter.jpg

Couldn't agree with you more on both counts, TIKI.  I was hoping that the MOVIE of MYRA BRECKINRIDGE  would hopefully be better than the book, but both were difficult to endure for me.  But, COLD TURKEY always HAD cracked.  Me. UP! :D  I always wondered what WALTER CRONKITE thought of the WALTER CHRONIC thing..... :D And there were so many other character GREATS in addition to the few you mentioned.  ;)

Sepiatone

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Le Amiche  (1955)  -  7/10

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Italian drama from director Michelangelo Antonioni. Clelia (Eleanora Rossi Drago) is in Turin to set up a clothing store for her company based in Rome. When her hotel neighbor attempts suicide, Clelia finds herself drawn into the victim's circle of friends, including Momina (Yvonne Furneaux), Nene (Valentina Cortese), and Mariella (Anna Maria Pancani). Also featuring Gabriele Ferzetti, Franco Fabrizi, Maria Gambarelli, Ettore Manni, and Madeleine Fischer. While more accessible than the director's later films, this is also addresses his common subject matter of emotional emptiness in the modern world. The characters are aimless in their love lives, hurting one another one minute and then supporting them the next, all looking for something that they can't quite reach and most likely never will. 

Source: The Criterion Channel

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I had a rather unexpected double feature of WHISTLING IN THE DARK and WHISTLING IN DIXIE, two RED SKELTON MGM vehicles about a RADIO STAR with a popular crime program who gets drawn into a couple of elaborate crimes.

I generally tend to stay away from popular male comedy stars of the 40's and 50's- I CANNOT STAND DANNY KAYE, JERRY LEWIS or BOB HOPE- but I surprise myself by liking SKELTON, a lot even. He's a very likable guy and a very good actor, and it was nice to see him in the part of an IDIOT SAVANT/proto MACGUYVER who escapes some tight corners with innovative use of everyday objects. 

I also love the "awooooooooooooooooooo" sound that his character supposes Foxes must make, predating SCTV'S COUNT FLOYD.

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I watched the AVA GARDNER documentary that aired last night on TCM on HULU. I like it when they feature a bio of the star on their SUTS DAY.

hqdefault.jpg

it was hard not to love it...and hard not to take a special understanding of it, seeing as how, like AVA, I am also NORTH CAROLINIAN (we have a distinct accent, way of life and personality.)

i was heretofore unaware of AVA'S 1950'S LIFE IN FRANCO'S SPAIN, I found much of that section to be inspiring- particularly amusing, you could probably do an interesting film adaptation of the time SINATRA came to her seaside village and the locals conspired to act as a informant chorus, piping his whereabouts to AVA, who would then move on to the next hotel bar.

(He never did find her.)

Also the story of how American films came to be produced in SPAIN was interesting.

the doc spends a fair enough amount of time criticizing AVA for turning a blind eye to the poverty and horrors of FRANCO'S regime, but then at the same time, the other 7/8 is dancing on table tops, and PASSIONATE affairs with MATADORES ("no, no, you mustn't fall in love with me...you mustn't...") and GOWNS BY BALLENCIAGA!!!!!! that you just can't help but be #TeamAVA in the end.

it's odd that they use relatively few clips from her films and almost none where she is speaking, and many clips played with the dialogue replaced the the doc's narrator's narration (almost reminded me of the courtroom scene from THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA where a narrator tells us all about her great performance before the jury, but never SHUTS UP AND LETS US LISTEN...

the included scene of her with the MARACA players in the night surf from NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, for example, is great, but they don't show ANY of her other scenes, and as far as i'm concerned, her work in that film is some of the best done by an actor in 1964.

the filming of SHOWBOAT is not covered nor is THE KILLERS. PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is given an awful lot of prominence. 

they one time they do use a scene is of AVA actually ACTING in a picture, it's of her and GRACE KELLY arguing in MOREGUMBO, presenting one of the least impressive and outright worst performances to ever be nominated for Academy Awards.

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A Prize of Gold  (1955)  -  5/10

220px-APrizeofGold1S.jpg

Dull heist picture from director Mark Robson. Richard Widmark stars as an American soldier who teams up with a bunch of Brits to steal a lot of gold dredged up from a river in Germany. Also featuring Mai Zetterling, Nigel Patrick, Donald Wolfit, George Cole, Eric Pohlmann, and Karel Stepanek. The script nor the direction add much of note to this routine picture.

Source: internet

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Value for Money  (1955)  -  6/10

220px-Value_for_Money.jpg

British comedy with Diana Dors as a showgirl who hopes to fleece heir John Gregson, only to learn that he's a frugal penny-pincher. Also featuring Susan Stephen, Derek Farr, Frank Pettingrell, Ernest Thesiger, Joan Hickson, Ferdy Mayne, and Donald Pleasence. Dors is lovely, but the humor a bit too mild for my tastes. I still appreciated seeing Thesiger, Hickson, and Pleasence, the last of whom was making one of his earliest film appearances, and yet was still made to look like an old man.

Source: internet 

 

 

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La Pointe Courte  (1955)  -  3/10

La-Pointe-Courte.jpg

French drama from director Agnes Varda. Lui (Philippe Noiret) and Elle (Silvia Monfort) are a couple, but things are strained. They wander about and engage in inane conversation. Then they stare at things. Meanwhile, the poor residents of La Pointe-Courte struggle to survive and conduct their daily lives. This is the kind of pretentious, tedious garbage that gives foreign and arthouse films a bad name to the general viewing public. The kind of excruciating experience that makes one hate cinema in general. Plus it's in French.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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4 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

La Pointe Courte  (1955)  -  3/10

La-Pointe-Courte.jpg

French drama from director Agnes Varda.

Seriously, how many directors have done that Bergman-fan shot at some point in their lives?  I keep looking closely at the picture to see if she's smooshing his nose to the side.  😅

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55 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Plus it's in French.

The last kick is the most vicious.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

La Pointe Courte  (1955)  -  3/10

I thought the footage of the boat jousting was worth the price of admission, while the half of the movie involving the husband and wife was terrible.  It's stuff like that that causes a lot of people to be philistines about foreign cinema.

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

e

Gee, I feel kind of awful because I really enjoyed La Pointe Courte.  Maybe it's because I'm a  big fan of Philippe Noiret.  Maybe it's because I enjoy and appreciate the director, Agnes Varda.  Maybe it's because I liked some of Varda's other films.  I'm at a loss ---but the fact remains, I really liked this film!

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Early Spring  (1956)  -  7/10

220px-Early_Spring_Poster.jpg

Japanese drama from director Yasujiro Ozu. After an earthquake, a small green bear-like creature is discovered by a family. The youngest boy sneaks it home, where it soon grows into a bloodthirsty monster. The only thing that can stop it is Starman (Ken Utsui). Featuring Chikage Awashima, Ryo Ikebe, Teiji Takahashi, Keiko Kishi, So Yamamura, Chichu Ryu, Yo Mama, Takako Fujino, Masami Taura, and Steven Seagal as "Sensei Steve". This was unlike any other Ozu film that I'd seen, from the high amount of gore, to the copious nudity and extreme vulgar dialogue. The special effects were not good, but the fight choreography was outstanding, especially with the children. Most of the film is in B&W, but scenes seen through the monster's eyes are in color. Many sequels followed.

Source: The Cthulhu Channel

Ken_Utsui-in-Attack-From-Space.jpg

20150210-JF-Cinema-Feb-11-EarlySpring.jp

latest?cb=20160904145319  Steven-young.jpg

 

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7 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I watched the AVA GARDNER documentary that aired last night on TCM on HULU. I like it when they feature a bio of the star on their SUTS DAY.

hqdefault.jpg

it was hard not to love it...and hard not to take a special understanding of it, seeing as how, like AVA, I am also NORTH CAROLINIAN (we have a distinct accent, way of life and personality.)

i was heretofore unaware of AVA'S 1950'S LIFE IN FRANCO'S SPAIN, I found much of that section to be inspiring- particularly amusing, you could probably do an interesting film adaptation of the time SINATRA came to her seaside village and the locals conspired to act as a informant chorus, piping his whereabouts to AVA, who would then move on to the next hotel bar.

(He never did find her.)

Also the story of how American films came to be produced in SPAIN was interesting.

the doc spends a fair enough amount of time criticizing AVA for turning a blind eye to the poverty and horrors of FRANCO'S regime, but then at the same time, the other 7/8 is dancing on table tops, and PASSIONATE affairs with MATADORES ("no, no, you mustn't fall in love with me...you mustn't...") and GOWNS BY BALLENCIAGA!!!!!! that you just can't help but be #TeamAVA in the end.

it's odd that they use relatively few clips from her films and almost none where she is speaking, and many clips played with the dialogue replaced the the doc's narrator's narration (almost reminded me of the courtroom scene from THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA where a narrator tells us all about her great performance before the jury, but never SHUTS UP AND LETS US LISTEN...

the included scene of her with the MARACA players in the night surf from NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, for example, is great, but they don't show ANY of her other scenes, and as far as i'm concerned, her work in that film is some of the best done by an actor in 1964.

the filming of SHOWBOAT is not covered nor is THE KILLERS. PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is given an awful lot of prominence. 

they one time they do use a scene is of AVA actually ACTING in a picture, it's of her and GRACE KELLY arguing in MOREGUMBO, presenting one of the least impressive and outright worst performances to ever be nominated for Academy Awards.

It was better than 80 percent of most films.

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16 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Early Spring  (1956)  -  7/10

Japanese drama from director Yasujiro Ozu. After an earthquake, a small green bear-like creature is discovered by a family. The youngest boy sneaks it home, where it soon grows into a bloodthirsty monster. The only thing that can stop it is Starman (Ken Utsui). Featuring Chikage Awashima, Ryo Ikebe, Teiji Takahashi, Keiko Kishi, So Yamamura, Chichu Ryu, Yo Mama, Takako Fujino, Masami Taura, and Steven Seagal as "Sensei Steve". This was unlike any other Ozu film that I'd seen, from the high amount of gore, to the copious nudity and extreme vulgar dialogue. The special effects were not good, but the fight choreography was outstanding, especially with the children. Most of the film is in B&W, but scenes seen through the monster's eyes are in color. Many sequels followed.

Source: The Cthulhu Channel

 

latest?cb=20160904145319  

 

I will have what he is smoking.

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Never Say Goodbye  (1956)  -  5/10

220px-Never_Say_Goodbye_FilmPoster.jpeg

Melodrama with Rock Hudson as a doctor who travels to a conference in NYC only to run into the wife (Cornell Borchers) that he thought died many years earlier behind the Iron Curtain. Flashbacks reveal how they became separated after a whirlwind romance in post-war Austria. Also featuring George Sanders, Ray Collins, Shelley Fabares, Mr. David Janssen, Helen Wallace, Raymond Greenleaf, Max Showalter, John Banner, Robert F. Simon, and Clint Eastwood. This dull affair lurches from cliche to schmaltz and back again. Eastwood is onscreen for a few seconds as Hudson's lab assistant. Douglas Sirk did some uncredited direction for Jerry Hopper.

Source: internet

image37.jpeg?w=510&h=254

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8 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

ALWAYS WORTH POSTING THIS...

 

ok, but why didn't they just let Ava sing this in the movie instead of being dubbed by Annette Warren? She sounds pretty good to me. 

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Early Spring  (1956)  -  7/10

220px-Early_Spring_Poster.jpg

Japanese drama from director Yasujiro Ozu. After an earthquake, a small green bear-like creature is discovered by a family. The youngest boy sneaks it home, where it soon grows into a bloodthirsty monster. The only thing that can stop it is Starman (Ken Utsui). Featuring Chikage Awashima, Ryo Ikebe, Teiji Takahashi, Keiko Kishi, So Yamamura, Chichu Ryu, Yo Mama, Takako Fujino, Masami Taura, and Steven Seagal as "Sensei Steve". This was unlike any other Ozu film that I'd seen, from the high amount of gore, to the copious nudity and extreme vulgar dialogue. The special effects were not good, but the fight choreography was outstanding, especially with the children. Most of the film is in B&W, but scenes seen through the monster's eyes are in color. Many sequels followed.

Source: The Cthulhu Channel

Ken_Utsui-in-Attack-From-Space.jpg

20150210-JF-Cinema-Feb-11-EarlySpring.jp

latest?cb=20160904145319  Steven-young.jpg

 

That bear looks like a demonic Berenstein bear. 

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The Red Balloon  (1956)  -  9/10

redballoon613x463.jpg

French short film from writer-director Albert Lamorisse. A young boy (Pascal Lamorisse) gets a red balloon that follows him around like a puppy dog and obeys his commands. This simple, sweet fantasy is very amusing and ingeniously executed. It won the 1957 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Highly recommended.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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10 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

ok, but why didn't they just let Ava sing this in the movie instead of being dubbed by Annette Warren? She sounds pretty good to me. 

MGfreakinM. 

Louis B Mayer’s obsession with every last aspect of a film being fine-tuned to perfection- from the colors, to the visuals to his general idea of what life in America was supposed to be. I’m sure since Ava’s voice wasn’t pitch perfect and possessing a range of whoever they dubbed her with was a factor, but to be honest Ava’s natural, beautiful but not perfect, voice and reading of the song is what they should’ve used. It makes sense for the character and it makes sense for Ava

The sense of hyper perfection sometimes works, for the most part, I do not have a lot of interest in 40s and 50s MGM films. 

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