speedracer5

I Just Watched...

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At Close Range (1986).

Sean Penn plays Brad Jr., an aimless young man in late-1970s rural Pennsylvania who gets into it with his mom's latest boyfriend, so he decides to move in with Dad (Christopher Walken) for a while.  Dad turns out to be the head of a gang of thieves, and will stop at nothing to keep from winding up back in jail, including having potential witnesses murdered.

Brad Jr. doesn't like seeing people murdered, but doesn't figure out that not engaging in crime might be the solution, so when he and his friends try to carry off a heist and get caught, the prosecutor puts the pressure on him and his friends.

Based on a true story, this one is incredibly brutal, reminding me at times of Animal Kingdom (2010) and Badlands, the latter because Brad Jr. falls in love with a 16-year-old girl (a young Mary Stuart Masterson) and tries to run away with her at one point.  The movie also has small roles from a young Crispin Glover and Kiefer Sutherland among others, and introduced the Madonna (remember, Sean Penn was Mr. Madonna at the time) song "Live to Tell".

9/10

 

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21 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Last night, I managed to tear myself away from '90210' and I watched a classic film featuring John Garfield.

They Made Me a Criminal (1939) Spoilers ahead.

 

Claude Rains was weird in this film.  I just did not buy him as a NY cop.  I do buy him as a corrupt French cop. At first I thought he was trying to affect a NY accent.  Then it seemed like he wasn't affecting an accent.  Then it just seemed like he was talking weird.  Then by the end of the film, he just gave up and was speaking with his normal voice. I just did not like him in this film.  

 

Aside from the horrible NY accent, what kills me in this film is that he's always got a cigarette in his mouth, but he doesn't inhale. He was totally wrong for this part. Don't know how he ended up with the role, but... P.U.

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23 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

That's a good guess. You're thinking of A Trip to the Moon (1902), directed by Georges Melies. My avatar is from Melies' earlier film The Astronomer's Dream (1898). Here's the whole film, running three and a half minutes:

 

Amazingly enough, Sir LawrenceA, I did not have nightmares about this moon creature.

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White Heat (1949) -  👍

topw.jpg

Another great classic found on DVD library-crawls (that up to now I only knew from "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" clips).  I'll watch anything with James Cagney in it B) , and ruthless mama's-boy gangster Cody Jarrett is arguably the Cagney performance--Even though he was just coming back to Warner after a few years away from the studio trying to produce "prestige" productions, and only came back to the gangster roles if he could have more studio involvement and a juicier, more complex character.

But as the commentary historians point out, a 1949 post-war gangster movie is not a gritty 1939 "Public Enemy" or "Angels With Dirty Faces":  During the Depression, struggling audiences had a fascination to root for the lone enterprising public-enemy gangster to make it on top of his heap, and Cagney was the perfect ambitious young punk to slap and slug his way to the top; the "coppers" were either anonymous or completely inefficient, even if the Code had to declare that Crime Doesn't Pay in the end...And even if Cagney's "Angels" character was caught and goes to the electric chair, he still goes out as the good guy, keeping the Dead End Kids out of crime.  Here, it's after the war and after the Depression, postwar America is settling into its urban status quo, Cagney at 50 is a little too old to be a young ambitious punk and is an experienced lifer instead...Not to mention, an unrepentant nut, a loose-cannon danger to himself and his other gang members with a migraine-headache screw loose.  And even more telling, despite his complex heists and prison escapes, he DOESN'T seem to be the main antihero of the story, tragic or otherwise:  Gangster movies in the late postwar 40's  and early 50's are now gritty Untouchables-style dramas of realistic gang violence, and the heroic FBI squads that brought them down.  About 50-50, or possibly even 60-40, of the story, is devoted to Edmond O'Brien's T-Man Treasury agent going undercover as "Vic Pardo", the only real friend Cody believes he has in the world, and the main drama is in whether O'Brien will successfully stay undercover to betray him into a police raid at the oil refinery.  (The last quarter of the movie seems to be homaging "Radar Secret Service", with a fleet of modern new radar-antenna'ed police cars triangulating onto a highway chase.)  The Treasury and FBI invented more organized and forensic methods by the end of the Depression; here, the message is not only Crime Doesn't Pay, but Crimebusting is a National All-Powerful Army with the Latest Technology, and the old-school individual scofflaw with a gun has no hope against the might of Society to protect the average law-abiding citizens at large.

Raoul Walsh still gives the picture the same 30's-Warner crackle of energy, but as much raw tough-guy energy as Cagney puts into his performance, you begin to wonder if this was a "farewell" role to an earlier-generation character, as he was looking more to playing Navy captains and song-and-dance men.

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The Blue Knight (1973)

Critically applauded TV mini series adaption of the Joseph Wambaugh novel about the final days in the life of a cop as he approaches retirement. William Holden won an Emmy in one of his few TV projects as a 20 year veteran of the LAPD whose dedicated work as a patrolman on the mean streets of Los Angeles is his life. The film begins with the officer finding the murdered body of a prostitute he knew and his desire to nab the killer in his few days left on the force. I saw a 188 minute version of what was, originally, I understand, a four hour series (minus commercials).

There is, of course, with all the subsequent TV cop shows and police theatrical dramas a feeling of familiarity about subject matter of this nature. But with the on location shooting in LA streets there is a sense of realism here, even if it doesn't feel quite as edgy as some later film or TV work.

Above all, the film benefits from the performance of Holden as "Bumper" Morgan, a man devoted to doing the right thing to rid the streets of criminals, even if that means bending the law a little, at times. Holden's craggy features bring great credibility to his casting here, just as it had a few years before when he had played an aging outlaw leader in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch.

Bumper Morgan is a man disliked by the small time criminals that he harrases and arrests while at the same time respected and even loved by the honest citizens on those same streets. Holden shows us Morgan's courage, particularly in his advancing years, in dealing with those criminals while at the same time his very human vulnerabilities. While dismissing the young green behind the ears newcomers on the police force, he at the same time has doubts about his own performance, whether, as he crowds 50 years, he can still cut it out in the field.

At one point Morgan is in a restaurant enjoying a meal with a former cop. They are drinking and talking as a young girl performs a belly dance before them. Later the same girl, now fully clothed, is at their table serving them. As Holden, now deep in his cups, starts to leave the girl comes up to him and Holden, in looking at her, says, "You're young. Everybody is so young." There's a sadness in this man's eyes that particularly comes from being a middle aged man in a young man's profession.

Lee Remick appears as Holden's professor girlfriend. Remick is effective but her role does not have the complexity of Holden's. Joe Santos also appears as a police sergeant who tries to look out for Morgan in a role not dissimilar to that of the squad cop he would soon be playing in TV's The Rockford Files. TV fans will also spot, among others, Sam Elliott (a very young Sam Elliott, indeed), Vic Tayback and Jamie Farr in effective supporting roles.

I thought I had seen most, if not all, of the highlights in Holden's film career, but, as I watched The Blue Knight, I realized that I was viewing yet another, certainly from the later stages of that career. William Holden fans who have yet to see The Blue Knight have a treat in store for them, as will others who just like a good cop drama.

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3 out of 4

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On 9/26/2019 at 12:19 PM, Janet0312 said:

Amazingly enough, Sir LawrenceA, I did not have nightmares about this moon creature.

Don't think I'm forgetting this.

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18 hours ago, EricJ said:

White Heat (1949) -  👍

topw.jpg

Another great classic found on DVD library-crawls (that up to now I only knew from "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" clips).  I'll watch anything with James Cagney in it B) , and ruthless mama's-boy gangster Cody Jarrett is arguably the Cagney performance--Even though he was just coming back to Warner after a few years away from the studio trying to produce "prestige" productions, and only came back to the gangster roles if he could have more studio involvement and a juicier, more complex character.

But as the commentary historians point out, a 1949 post-war gangster movie is not a gritty 1939 "Public Enemy" or "Angels With Dirty Faces":  During the Depression, struggling audiences had a fascination to root for the lone enterprising public-enemy gangster to make it on top of his heap, and Cagney was the perfect ambitious young punk to slap and slug his way to the top; the "coppers" were either anonymous or completely inefficient, even if the Code had to declare that Crime Doesn't Pay in the end...And even if Cagney's "Angels" character was caught and goes to the electric chair, he still goes out as the good guy, keeping the Dead End Kids out of crime.  Here, it's after the war and after the Depression, postwar America is settling into its urban status quo, Cagney at 50 is a little too old to be a young ambitious punk and is an experienced lifer instead...Not to mention, an unrepentant nut, a loose-cannon danger to himself and his other gang members with a migraine-headache screw loose.  And even more telling, despite his complex heists and prison escapes, he DOESN'T seem to be the main antihero of the story, tragic or otherwise:  Gangster movies in the late postwar 40's  and early 50's are now gritty Untouchables-style dramas of realistic gang violence, and the heroic FBI squads that brought them down.  About 50-50, or possibly even 60-40, of the story, is devoted to Edmond O'Brien's T-Man Treasury agent going undercover as "Vic Pardo", the only real friend Cody believes he has in the world, and the main drama is in whether O'Brien will successfully stay undercover to betray him into a police raid at the oil refinery.  (The last quarter of the movie seems to be homaging "Radar Secret Service", with a fleet of modern new radar-antenna'ed police cars triangulating onto a highway chase.)  The Treasury and FBI invented more organized and forensic methods by the end of the Depression; here, the message is not only Crime Doesn't Pay, but Crimebusting is a National All-Powerful Army with the Latest Technology, and the old-school individual scofflaw with a gun has no hope against the might of Society to protect the average law-abiding citizens at large.

Raoul Walsh still gives the picture the same 30's-Warner crackle of energy, but as much raw tough-guy energy as Cagney puts into his performance, you begin to wonder if this was a "farewell" role to an earlier-generation character, as he was looking more to playing Navy captains and song-and-dance men.

What strikes me most about this flick is when Cody stuffs one of his guys in the trunk of a car and asks him if he has enough air and then fires his gun into the trunk. Blam,  blam, blam! Very violent for the time. Eddie O'Brien was awesome. My fave.

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On 9/26/2019 at 10:05 PM, EricJ said:

White Heat (1949) -  👍

topw.jpg

 

Cagney gave the performance of his career in this film, in my opinion. Everything coming after this film, even the few good films he would be in, would feel a little anti-climactic after White Heat.

And speaking of climaxes, the explosive adrenaline rush finale for Cody standing on top of that horton sphere is as memorable a death scene as the movies have given us. And a large part of that is because of the insane Cody's attitude. Trapped by himself and surrounded by a million cops, Jarrett has the attention of the world on him at this moment and he is about to go out his way. Cagney plays Cody's finale seconds as though they are a moment of triumph.

It's a shame, in retrospect, that Jimmy didn't get an Oscar nomination for his performance. But the religious and morality groups were really down on White Heat at the time, in particular Cody Jarrett's character. Warner Brothers didn't dare promote this film when it came to awards season.

As the years rolled by Cagney himself became more disparaging of this film, in his heart of hearts he really being the song and dance man he played in Yankee Doodle Dandy. But none of this takes anything away today from his frightening, dynamic portrayal of a homicidal lunatic with a mother complex spiralling towards a crash end.

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8 hours ago, TomJH said:

Cagney gave the performance of his career in this film, in my opinion. Everything coming after this film, even the few good films he would be in, would feel a little anti-climactic after White Heat.

It's a shame, in retrospect, that Jimmy didn't get an Oscar nomination for his performance. But the religious and morality groups were really down on White Heat at the time, in particular Cody Jarrett's character. Warner Brothers didn't dare promote this film when it came to awards season.

Even just for the climax where O'Brien's cover is blown, and Cagney realizes the first person he's ever put his trust in since losing Ma was informing on him--"How you like that, boys?...A copper!  A T-man, and I was going to split 50-50 with him!"--and while he's still playing the hard-as-nails tough guy, he looks like he's laughing off the urge to cry.

Yep, Cagney was robbed, but the whole awards backlash reflects the entire '49 social poor-crazy-sap negative dismissal of old-school crime in the movie.  ("Cody Jarrett...He finally got to the Top of the World, and it blew up in his face.")

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[all apologies if this is a rambler...]

at some point, there are certain films that become like long-time casual lovers- every encounter with them is welcome, but sometimes there is one in particular when just...damn, you connect!

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I watched FREAKS (1932)  last night. I watched it a few days ago too. I've seen it so many times, I just didn't see the need to post about it. for a film that is barely over an hour long, damn, a lot happens in this movie! 

and it surprises me how I have seen it two dozen plus times (yes, i am a habitual rewatcher) and yet, i can still come across something wild i had forgotten.

i have no idea what the truth about TOD BROWNING was- I have such mixed feelings about his overall ouevre, and yet- I get the feeling maybe he would too...

FREAKS- (like DRACULA and MARK OF THE VAMPIRE) was- as many of you know- DRASTICALLY RE-EDITED and 30 minutes of footage hit the floor and is lost for ever...

and yet, as with MARK OF THE VAMPIRE- what is not seen adds somehow to the mystery, to the enigma, to the "might have been" Mythos of the whole thing ...and  even in its truncated, aborted form and with its "faults" that frankly become pluses [ie the wonderful, terrible acting of the HANS and FRIEDA the little people and some holes in the narrative left by the studio removing so much]- it STILL gets four stars from me.

I really love Wallace Ford in this movie- he and I have the same birthdate and we also look a lot alike (at least i think) although I look better in a wife-beater tee.

I would love to know the story behind MADAME TETRALINNI- MOTHER OF THE FREAKS- i read some of her cut dialogue over on the trivia entry on imdb and she seems like a wonderful character.

 

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oh, anyhow, i'm sorry- maybe i should've posted this part over in the INFORMATION PLEASE! Thread, but I am a GENERAL DISCUSSIONS sort of lurker.

QUESTION IN RE: FREAKS

(it's weird, but I have my reasons)

at 10:55 IN...In the scene immediately after LEILA HYAMS leaves THE STRONGMAN's trailer because he has made advances, WALLACE FORd is dressed as a clown and- on camera- he removes his wig/cap and then SMEARS HIS FACE WITH SOME KIND OF BLACK(?) GOO FROM A CANNISTER....? he then rubs it off with a rag and his face is clean of make-up

WHAT IS THAT STUFF?

I have tried to find the scene to post, but can't locate it exactly...

ps- believe it or not, it's not because i wear make-up in real life. it has more to do with something i'm writing.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

WHAT IS THAT STUFF?

Some kind of Grease Paint Remover

Image result for Vintage Grease Paint Remover

Image result for Vintage Grease Paint Remover

If its in an old can they probably re-used it over and over and in time (you know one of the freaks and geeks jobs was to collect all the rags and sort of wring them out and dump it in a can for recycling, (they just didn't get paid for just sitting around looking geeky, ask Dargo. Carnys got to pitch in setting it all up taking it all down, etc., etc.) people were much better at it back then, squeezing every dime out of everything, now we got landfills) it (the cream) turns black with all the mix of colors and dirt, hell its a carny not a Broadway play....

😎

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House of Frankenstein (1944)

Having been raised as a kid on late night television broadcasts of Universal horror films, I demonstrated an amazing capacity to enjoy even the most hackneyed of these products churned out by the studio. Last night I decided to re-visit this generally less hailed item from the studio's horror canon.

A followup, of sorts, to the previous year's Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (called by one critic the most self explanatory film title of 1943), Universal decided to not only throw their three big monsters into this collaboration, Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man but, for good measure, toss in a mad scientist and a hunchback, as well. There will also be a gypsy girl and, of course, a bunch of frightened villagers with flaming torches.

The Wolf Man was the only one of Universal's monsters that would be consistently played by the same actor, Lon Chaney Jr., and he returned for this third of five go's at the part in this film. However, both Dracula and the Monster would be played by actors new to the roles here, a top hatted, suave, deep throated John Carradine as the vampire (minus any attempt at a Transylvanian accent) and western bit player Glenn Strange as the Monster.

Makeup artist Jack Pierce is said to have been inspired by spotting Strange playing a pirate in a film to talk the actor into paying him to allow him to apply some makeup to his face (covering all mirrors as he did so), without telling Strange what he had in mind. When Pierce finally finished the makeup application and Strange saw himself for the first time in one of the uncovered mirrors, he responded, "My God, I look just like Boris Karloff."

Speaking of Karloff, he returned to the Frankenstein series for the first time in five years, this time playing Dr. Niemann, a scientist escaped from prison minutes into the film's opening who seeks vengeance upon the men who sent him there, as well as the desire, of course, to revive the medical experiments of Dr. Frankenstein.

Also escaping from prison with him is Daniel, a hunchback (J. Carol Naish) who will be willing to murder men at the doctor's command, all in the hope that the medic will eventually supply him with a normal body. Poor Daniel, among other things he will also fall in love with a gypsy girl (Elena Verdugo in an appealing performance), all the more reason to want a body without a hunch on its back.

One of the disappointments, I suppose, of horror fans with this film is that, unlike Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, there is no confrontation here between any of the three monsters. In fact, the episodic nature of this film is such that the Dracula story is wrapped up before the other two monsters are even introduced.

The beautiful Anne Gwynne plays a spunky American girl who falls under Dracula's spell. She seems particularly obsessed with a large ring on his hand which he slips onto one of her fingers as a bond between them. It seems to work as she says that the ring makes her see dead people that are still alive and she's ready to slip out of her bedroom in the middle of the night to meet the vampire. Her sappy husband (played by the even sappier Peter Coe) doesn't have a clue, at first, as to what's happening with her.

I can accept Carradine's Dracula, even if he seems a rather stiff substitute for Lugosi. He brings dignity to the role, along with that great voice of his. He also pops his eyes wide open whenever putting someone under his spell.

The film will later have the doctor and his hunchback assistant discover the Wolf Man and Frankenstein Monster frozen in ice in an underground cave after the burst dam that had washed them away at the end of FMTWM. It is here, in the film's second half, that it picks up where the previous Frankenstein film in the series had left off. It doesn't take long before Larry Talbot (Chaney) is walking around with a thunder cloud over his head, grousing to the doctor, asking why he released him from the ice which had frozen the beast within him.

Later he will be again complaining to Karloff (he complains a lot in this film) about the doctor's delay in operating upon him to give him a cure. "Last night," he tells him, "I suffered the tortures of the damned!" (Hey, Larry, that villager whose throat you tore out had a kinda rough night too).

Soon the gypsy girl will be showing an interest in Larry, tormented, moody soul that he is, which, in turn, will have Daniel, the hunchback, dejected and jealous, taking out his frustration by whipping the Frankenstein Monster, strapped to a gurney, but, as it turns out, the Monster will retain a memory of this act. (Don't hunchbacks with whips in this series ever learn anything? Remember Dwight Frye's fate in Frankenstein after doing the same thing?).

Truth is, neither the Monster nor the Wolf Man will have a chance to do all that much in this film. There's more Larry Talbot grumbling about turning into a Wolf Man than there is actual Wolf Man in this film.

It's particularly disappointing with Glenn Strange's Monster that he has so few opportunities here. There is one moment, though, brief as it is, when, as the hunchback approaches the Monster as he is strapped to a vertical lab table, Strange turns to look at him with hint of a half smile at what he did to him and half lunges his upper body at him, though still held back by the restraints.

Strange looks ominous, physically imposing and, well, like a monster, in this moment. It wouldn't, of course, be until he played the Monster opposite Abbott and Costello four years later that Strange would have the opportunity to really shine in the role. If Karloff played the most vulnerable and humane of the Frankenstein Monsters (at least in his first two outings), then Glenn Strange was, for my money, the most physically intimidating of the actors in the same role.

House of Frankenstein, undeniably hokey as it is, is also a fun, lively affair, fast paced by director Erle C. Kenton for its relatively brief 70 minute running time. It has the occasional striking photography (particularly memorable is the shot of a hill at sunrise as Dracula tries to get back into his coffin). Plus J. Carol Naish has the chance to bring some pathos to the role of the hunchback in his unrequited love for the gypsy girl. Naish, in his scenes with the girl, is allowed to bring some sensitivity and sweetness to his portrayal.

I can't envision a film like this frightening any viewers today (did it actually do so in 1944?) but House of Frankenstein still adds up to a fun movie ride allowing you to put any thinking on hold.

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2.5 out of 4

 

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5 hours ago, TomJH said:

House of Frankenstein (1944)

I can't envision a film like this frightening any viewers today (did it actually do so in 1944?) but House of Frankenstein still adds up to a fun movie ride allowing you to put any thinking on hold.

I still picture Bill Cosby's old "9th St. Bridge" routine every time I see the later Universal monster-mashups:  😂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fjm9qxRxn-g

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King of the Hill  (1993)  -  8/10

King_of_the_Hill_1993_Poster.jpg

Coming-of-age drama set in 1933 Missouri, from director Steven Soderbergh, based on the autobiographical book by A.E. Hotchner. It's the height of the Great Depression, and the family of young boy Aaron (Jesse Bradford) is struggling to survive. Younger brother Sullivan (Cameron Boyd) is sent away to live with relatives, mother (Lisa Eichorn) is sick with a serious illness and must be sent to a hospital, and salesman dad (Jeroen Krabbe) must travel far and wide for his job, meaning Aaron is eventually left for fend for himself. Also featuring Adrien Brody, Karen Allen, Elizabeth McGovern, Katherine Heigl, Amber Benson, Lauryn Hill and Spalding Gray.

This is one of most evocative Depression-set films that I've seen that weren't actually made during the Depression. The performances are good, with Bradford a standout in the lead. The supporting characters are vivid and memorable. I only vaguely recall hearing about this movie when it came out, and nothing really since, but it should be better known. Recommended. By the way, the author of the source book and the character played by Bradford, writer A.E. Hotchner, is still around, turning 102 earlier this year.

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Sapphire (1959) British Transitional Noir

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A Rank Organisation Film.

Directed by Basil Dearden a Brit Noir Veteran who gave us The Blue Lamp (1950) and Pool of London (1951), also other crime and possible Noir dramas Cage of Gold (1950), I Believe in You (1952), The Gentle Gunman (1952), PT Raiders (1955). Those film should be sought out and evaluated. We don't get to see the full spectrum of European Film Noir here in the USA. Deardon also directed a nice little Black & White comedy about a couple who take over a dilapidated movie theater called Big Time Operators (1957) which I've actually caught on Turner Classic Movies.

Sapphire was written by Janet Green with additional dialogue provided by Lukas Heller. Cinematography was by Harry Waxman who lensed noirs (Brighton Rock (1948), The Long Memory (1953), and later The Wicker Man (1973)). Music was by Philip Green.

Sapphire stars Nigel Patrick as Superintendent Robert Hazard, Yvonne Mitchell (Turn The Key Softly) as Mildred, Michael Craig as Inspector Phil Learoyd, Paul Massie as David Harris, Bernard Miles (The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)), as Ted Harris. Olga Lindo as Mrs. Harris, Earl Cameron (Pool of London (1951), as Dr. Robbins. Gordon Heath as Paul Slade, Jocelyn Britton as Patsy, Harry Baird (The Italian Job (1969)) as Johnnie Fiddle, Orlando Martins as Barman, Rupert Davies as P.C. Jack Ferris, Freda Bamford as Sergeant Cook, Robert Adams as Horace Big Cigar, and Yvonne Buckingham as Sapphire Robbins.

The Story

The body of a young woman is found stabbed multiple times on Hampstead Heath. It's locally known as "the heath" It is a large, ancient London heath, covering 790 acres, just a bit smaller than New York City's Central Park.

The film starts out as a policier, with Scotland Yard Superintendent Robert Hazard heading up the investigation. The police first identify the body as Sapphire Robbins a student at the Royal Academy of Music. The police question her boyfriend David Harris, her friends at the academy, and her landlady.

The police know that she was killed elsewhere and dumped on the heath because of the lack of blood on the scene. A search of her room discovers in the contents of a locked draw a bunch of gaudy lingerie and a photograph that was cut in half. The photo only shows Sapphire dancing with someone who has been cut off. An autopsy reveals that she was a few months pregnant.

The police go back and question David Harris who states to Superintendent Harris that he and Sapphire were to be married.

Everything begins to go Noirsville when Sapphire's older brother Dr, Robbins arrives at police headquarters. Dr. Robbins is black, Sapphire was white or so the police thought. Sapphire was actually the product of a white father and a black mother. She was passing for white.


This fact exposes prejudices across a broad spectrum throughout the rest of the film.

For it's time period Sapphire surprisingly explored straight forwardly racial relations in the UK.

Sapphire won the British equivalent of our Academy Award the BAFTA Film Award for Best British Film. It's a nice noir-ish mystery with a message 8-9/10. Review with screen caps in Film Noir/Gangster Pages.

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On 9/26/2019 at 10:05 PM, EricJ said:

White Heat (1949) -  👍

topw.jpg

Another great classic found on DVD library-crawls (that up to now I only knew from "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" clips).  I'll watch anything with James Cagney in it B) , and ruthless mama's-boy gangster Cody Jarrett is arguably the Cagney performance--Even though he was just coming back to Warner after a few years away from the studio trying to produce "prestige" productions, and only came back to the gangster roles if he could have more studio involvement and a juicier, more complex character.

 

Cagney, like JACK NICHOLSON, was around for about 10 years worth of INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCES that were taken for granted until he won a very overdue BEST ACTOR OSCAR in 1942- immediately thereafter, his career went sideways with him dedicating himself to some well-meaning misfires (see also: JACK NICHOLSON).

EDIT- HE ONLY DID THREE FEATURES AND THE SHORT "YOU, JOHN JONES" BETWEEN YANKEE DODDLE AND WHITE HEAT!!!!

WHITE HEAT is, in many ways, his reclaiming the title of MOST EXCITING ACTOR after that 7 year absence.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

I borrowed this movie from the library.  I'll be the first one to admit that vampire movies aren't really my thing. I've never seen the Buffy the Vampire Slayer show--it just wasn't interesting to me. Though now that I know that 'Buffy' and '90210' used the same high school for some of their exterior shots--I would have welcomed a Buffy/90210 crossover.  This possibly could have been better than my proposed 90210/Saved By the Bell:The College Years cross-over because the casts of both shows both attend the same fictional California University. But I digress.

I literally borrowed this movie from the library for one reason: Luke Perry.

I had heard that this movie was kitschy and campy--two things I can fully get behind.  I'm happy to report that I loved it. Loved it so much that I bought the blu-ray afterward--I thought it was worth a $6 investment.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer stars Kristy Swanson, who prior to this, I'd known her as the girl who flirts with Duckie at the end of Pretty in Pink. Swanson portrays the titular character of Buffy, a senior in high school.  She's part of a clique of vapid, valley girls.  Future 2-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank appears as one of the valley girls.  When these girls first came on screen, I was wondering if Buffy was going to be a combination Valley Girl/vampire movie... which I would also welcome. One of Buffy's other friends I recognized as the witchy Amanda Paysar a one-time character in an episode of '90210'. 

Luke Perry appears as "Pike" playing a much more attractive version of Nicholas Cage's character from Valley Girl.  He is not rich and doesn't wear fancy clothes.  I couldn't tell if he was a classmate of Buffy's or whether he was just someone roughly her age that she meets.  Like how many of these movies go, Buffy and Pike's first encounter is not positive.  Buffy and Co. are talking during a movie.  Pike, sitting behind Buffy, starts telling her to be quiet and I think starts throwing popcorn at her.  David Arquette plays Pike's friend, Benny.  Arquette's role in this film (like in so many of his other films) is to be weird.  I also think that he may have a crush on Perry's character? I mean, who wouldn't? Pike also drives this van that looks like a decommissioned "Mystery Machine." 

Anyway, Donald Sutherland appears as Merrick, a figure of the vampire hunting community whose job it is to find the next "slayer." He informs Buffy that she's the chosen one.  We're treated to a montage of Buffy training for her new role. Rutger Hauer appears as the lead of the vampires in the local community, and Paul Reubens plays one of his minions.  Reubens is bonkers and hilarious. Perhaps he and David Arquette should make a film together?

Anyway, one by one, local high schoolers start disappearing and re-appearing as vampires.  Like how many of these romantic films tend to go, Pike ends up joining forces with Buffy, helping her slay the vampires.  Pike then takes Buffy to the school dance.  We're treated to a great montage of Pike getting ready for the dance, including shaving off his god awful soul patch. Pike shows up, looking hot, clean shaven, hair slicked back.  He and Buffy kiss, much to the chagrin of Buffy's friends who can't believe that she's slumming it with this h o t t i e outsider. Pike and Buffy's happiness is short-lived, the vampires soon burst into the dance and a melee ensues. 

Anyway, this was a great movie, one that I would happily watch again! 

 

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The BBC America channel yesterday had a 50th anniversary marathon of MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS.  A few hours of their TV episodes ending with the movies THE LIFE OF BRIAN and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.

Haven't seen those flicks in several years and had a blast seeing them again.  Though not always, Sundays are often drab television-wise.  Was a nice way to spend the day.

Sepiatone

PS:  See?  It IS possible to do this in less than 20 paragraphs!  ;) :D 

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26 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

The TV series was one of the best shows of the late 90's/early 00's. The movie was amusing but seems underwhelming after watching the series. I wasn't too thrilled with the movie when it came out, and thus didn't watch the show until the third season, although I went back and watched the first few later (I have the complete series on disc). I've since watched the movie again as well, and appreciate it more for what it is.

I remember Luke Perry being better than I expected. I remember Paul Reubens' "death" scene. That was his first onscreen work after the scandal that ruined his Pee-Wee Herman career for a while. I also remember this movie as being the first time I noticed that Rutger Hauer was getting fat. And Hilary Swank is in the movie, too. I've read that Sutherland, who I'm a fan of, was a complete jerk during the making of the film.

Kristy Swanson later played Anna Nicole Smith in a TV movie, and now she's a very vocal Trump supporter and conservative media fixture. She still gets referred to as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", although most anyone who would care about that regards Sarah Michelle Gellar as the "real" Buffy. 

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6 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The TV series was one of the best shows of the late 90's/early 00's. The movie was amusing but seems underwhelming after watching the series. I wasn't too thrilled with the movie when it came out, and thus didn't watch the show until the third season, although I went back and watched the first few later (I have the complete series on disc). I've since watched the movie again as well, and appreciate it more for what it is.

I remember Luke Perry being better than I expected. I remember Paul Reubens' "death" scene. That was his first onscreen work after the scandal that ruined his Pee-Wee Herman career for a while. I also remember this movie as being the first time I noticed that Rutger Hauer was getting fat. And Hilary Swank is in the movie, too. I've read that Sutherland, who I'm a fan of, was a complete jerk during the making of the film.

Kristy Swanson later played Anna Nicole Smith in a TV movie, and now she's a very vocal Trump supporter and conservative media fixture. She still gets referred to as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", although most anyone who would care about that regards Sarah Michelle Gellar as the "real" Buffy. 

I know that the Buffy shows takes on a much darker approach.  I tired of the "dark approaches" then as I do now. I am not a big fan of supernatural things though, and I rarely watched shows on CW/WB... Maybe I'll watch an episode of the show someday, but it's definitely not on the top of my list. 

I really liked the movie, though I had nothing to compare it to. I just thought it was fun. Paul Reubens' death scene was hilarious--it continued into the end credits too.  I also liked when he was attacking Luke Perry through the sun roof and his arm fell off. I'd never seen Rutger Hauer in a movie before this one.  When I saw Donald Sutherland, I kept thinking of him as the teacher from Animal House

Luke Perry played a slightly zanier version of his Dylan McKay character from 90210 in this film--which I appreciated.  Dylan is the best character in the show, imo.

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3 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I know that the Buffy shows takes on a much darker approach.  I tired of the "dark approaches" then as I do now. I am not a big fan of supernatural things though, and I rarely watched shows on CW/WB... Maybe I'll watch an episode of the show someday, but it's definitely not on the top of my list. 

I really liked the movie, though I had nothing to compare it to. I just thought it was fun. Paul Reubens' death scene was hilarious--it continued into the end credits too.  I also liked when he was attacking Luke Perry through the sun roof and his arm fell off. I'd never seen Rutger Hauer in a movie before this one.  When I saw Donald Sutherland, I kept thinking of him as the teacher from Animal House

Luke Perry played a slightly zanier version of his Dylan McKay character from 90210 in this film--which I appreciated.  Dylan is the best character in the show, imo.

I wouldn't say the show is darker at all. It's a comedy. Much like the film, it's a take-off on a traditional high school comedy, mixed with monsters. It has dark moments, but the overall tone is humorous and light, with a lot of sharp, funny dialogue. 

One of my sisters watched 90210 when it was new, but I never watched it. I knew of Luke Perry, but I think the Buffy movie may have been the first time that I saw him act in something. The movie 8 Seconds was a big deal around here a couple of years later, but I avoided it. I didn't see Perry in another movie until his very brief bit at the beginning of The Fifth Element. Looking over his credits, it doesn't appear that I saw him in anything else, except for a couple of guest appearances on various TV shows.

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2 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I wouldn't say the show is darker at all. It's a comedy. Much like the film, it's a take-off on a traditional high school comedy, mixed with monsters. It has dark moments, but the overall tone is humorous and light, with a lot of sharp, funny dialogue. 

One of my sisters watched 90210 when it was new, but I never watched it. I knew of Luke Perry, but I think the Buffy movie may have been the first time that I saw him act in something. The movie 8 Seconds was a big deal around here a couple of years later, but I avoided it. I didn't see Perry in another movie until his very brief bit at the beginning of The Fifth Element. Looking over his credits, it doesn't appear that I saw him in anything else, except for a couple of guest appearances on various TV shows.

Maybe I'll check the show out sometime. I remember when it was new. My sister watched it.  She may have the DVDs, I'm not sure.

I haven't seen 8 Seconds yet, but it's at the library.  I didn't even know that Luke Perry was in The Fifth Element.  I saw that and asked my sister (who owns the film) and she was like "oh yeah he was in the beginning." My husband didn't know he was in the film either.  Let us not forget that Luke Perry also played himself playing Krusty the Klown's half-brother, Sideshow Luke Perry--where he showed up Krusty the Klown's balloon animal making skills by making a 19th century carousel balloon animal that also rotates. 

His last film was an appearance this year in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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