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Everything posted by Swithin

  1. I'm surprised, Jack Burley, that you didn't mention Jeanette MacDonald singing "San Francisco."
  2. I was just thinking about one of Dame May Whitty's great lines in *Mrs. Miniver*. She says to Greer Garson, "I hate war, because it gives little people the chance to do something important!" Maggie Smith in *Downton Abbey* starts out like that, but grows a bit and becomes more sympathetic (as Dame May Whitty does). At first, I shared your concern about the gay character in *Dowton Abbey*. But then I remembered the Cambridge spies (Blunt, Burgess, etc.) of a slightly later generation, who were gay and turned against England because of the beastly way they were treated. So, perhaps we can ha
  3. The outbreak of WWI at a summer party, another lifting -- homage if you will. Those Guns of August have provided a dramatic "to be continued..." on many occasions!
  4. I've very much enjoyed PBS's Masterpiece Theatre showings of the British series *Downton Abbey*, which concluded Sunday. Very high class period soap opera. Yes, it was derivative of so many other works. Particularly obvious was the lifting of the whole flower show scene from *Mrs. Miniver*. But to show you how obvious we need to be these days, when Maggie Smith, as the Dowager Lady, announces the winner, the camera has to show us the piece of paper that says she's the one the judges really picked. And then to underline that, she has to mention it sotto voce to the character who persuaded her
  5. I recorded and watched *Fire over England* recently. What a great, political film! Down with the Armada! And then I watched *The Sea Hawk*. And again I say, Down with the Armada!
  6. Very nice, imaginative thread. So many films that aren't musicals have great song and dance moments. I mentioned Cathleen Delany in *The Dead*. But I think Gladys George singing "A Shanty in Old Shanty Town" to a down-and-out Cagney in *The Roaring Twenties* is another great moment. One could go on and on (but I won't).
  7. 1. Fred and Ginger: "The Waltz in Swing Time" from *Swing Time* or "Let's Face the Music and Dance" from *Follow the Fleet*; 2. I'm not a fan of Gene Kelly; 3. Marx Bros.: The whole "Freedonia's Going to War" segment in *Duck Soup*; 4. Music in non-musical: "Arrayed for the Bridal" sung by Cathleen Delany in *The Dead*; 5. Dance in non-musical: The "Black Bottom" in *Roxy Hart*, danced by Ginger Rogers, George Montgomery, Lynne Overman, Spring Byington, Sara Allgood, Phil Silvers, etc.
  8. *Kongo* is a hoot, craziest ape I ever saw. I'm particularly looking forward to the Tom Courtenay films. *The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner* is a great film with a heartbreakingly ironical performance of Blake's hymn "Jerusalem" by Borstal boys.
  9. When I first saw *Wise Blood*, it made me want to read O'Connor's work, which I never got around to. Now that I've seen the film again, I'm determined to read her work. Two asides: As I mentioned in another post, Mary Nell Santacroce's daughter is one of our great stage actresses --Dana Ivey. She is currently on Broadway as Miss Prism in "The Importance of Being Earnest* (Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknall!) And, you mention that Wise Blood is a good depiction of the South you grew up in. Like my parents, I'm a native New Yorker. My mother, who was born in 1922, says one of the best
  10. *Blithe Spirit* with Angela Lansbury was videotaped for the Performing Arts Library in NY. It's only for research purposes; I've seen it, it's quite amazing, and she's wonderful. It could never be shown on television or at the movies, though, due to rights issues. Permission to tape the show was given by unions, producers, etc., with the understanding that it's only for research use in the library. But at least a record of it exists! Another possible interviewee would be Marian Seldes, who lives in NY. She has done alot on stage and not much film, but she knew everyone, was friends with K
  11. Dickie Moore lives across the street from me in NYC, with his wife Jane Powell. I think Dickie has been interviewed, but not asked the right questions. Instead of "what was it like to be a child star, how did you go to school, etc.", I'd like the questions to focus on all the great leads and character people he worked with. I think any older actor already interviewed should be re-debriefed in this way, though it means taking the focus off them. And of course, a good, in-depth interview of Eleanor Parker would be welcome. Has there been one?
  12. I remember seeing Bette Davis on a talk show. She said at a certain point in her career, Fay Bainter was earning more money than her.
  13. Thanks for your very perceptive remarks, kingrat. I like *The Maltese Falcon* and find it very entertaining. But I've never really "loved" it. I'll take Greenstreet and Lorre in *The Mask of Dimitrios* or *Three Strangers* any day. Huston himself challenged people to find a "style" in his body of work. I think, like David Lean, Huston learned from experience and from others (as we all do). I think his later -- and best -- films were greatly influenced by Ford. But I will look at *Falcon* again with an open mind. I was a child during the 1960 Presidential campaign, but I remember it was
  14. Having looked at a bit of *Wise Blood* again, for the first time in many years, I still see the influences of Ford on Huston; I also see how the film depicts great differences between the people of Steinbeck's South and the people of O'Connor's. Tom Joad's Jesus is a revolutionary, as depicted by Casey, who influences Tom to fight for the downtrodden; Hazel Motes in *Wise Blood* is a character from a different, perhaps more contemporary South, best expressed in an article about O'Connor's South I read a few years ago: "It's soaked in violence and humor, in sin and in God. He may have fled the
  15. I haven't seen *Wise Blood* for many years but if I remember correctly, it opens with Brad Dourif coming home to find an empty house, in much the same way Henry Fonda comes home at the start of *The Grapes of Wrath*. Just like, in *The Dead* (sorry you don't like it Val), the camera panning over inanimate objects in the house as Aunt Julia sings "Arrayed for the Bridal" is similar to many scenes out of John Ford -- Jane Darwell going through her stuff to the tune of "Red River Valley" in *Grapes of Wrath*, and Doc Holliday's girlfriend admiring the inanimate objects in her boyfriend's roo
  16. *Wise Blood* has one of my favorite lines. When the landlady (played to perfection by Mary Nell Santacroce) sees Brad Dourif wrapping himself in barbed wire, she says "What are you doin' that for, that's the kind of thing people have quit doin'!" Dourif responds, "They ain't quit doin' it as long as I'm doin' it!." I love that response, and use it on occasion, not related to barbed wire, though. Btw, the late Mary Nell Santacroce is the mother of the great stage actress Dana Ivey.
  17. I think John Huston's two best films were made very late in his career -- *The Dead*, which was his last film, is his greatest film; and *Wise Blood*, made in 1979, is next best. A really great Southern gothic story, based on a work by Flannery O'Connor, *Wise Blood* is on TCM in the wee hours Tuesday morning. Great cast, which includes Huston himself. Like *The Dead*, *Wise Blood* shows some influence on Huston by John Ford. The opening is like *The Grapes of Wrath*. Check out this great, odd, film.
  18. Well, Miss G., it's not that hard to confuse them. It's not as if you confused Flora Robson with Claudette Colbert! Btw, I love *Drums Along the Mohawk*. Such a typical John Ford film, and I do think Edna May, who always gave great performances, gives one of her best in *Drums...*.
  19. Flora Robson was not in *Drums Along the Mohawk*, you may be thinking of Edna May Oliver. But Robson was in *Poison Pen*, in which she excels in a large role. I wish they could have completed *I, Claudius*, Von Sternberg's epic. She played Livia, a perfect role for her.
  20. So many great actresses have played Queen Elizabeth I -- Bette Davis, Florence Eldridge, Jean Simmons, Glenda Jackson, Judi Dench, to name a few -- but I think Flora Robson was the best. I watched *Fire over England* recently; she's great in both films.
  21. I would like to see Rooney interviewed by Osborne solely about the character people he worked with. We have so few links left to the '30s -- Rooney has talked enough (and eloquently) about his own work and about Judy Garland; let's hear his memories of others. He had a small part in *Ah Wilderness* -- I'd like to hear him talk about the others in that film -- Eric Linden, Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Spring Byington, Aline MacMahon; as well as about his colleagues on *Little Lord Fauntleroy* and *The Devil Is a Sissy*. How many actors are still around who actually worked with C. Aubrey Smi
  22. It is indeed an extraordinary film. There is an amazing Criterion DVD of the film, with some of the best extras on any DVD.
  23. When videos of films were first released, I was fairly young and couldn't afford a VCR. But I bought a copy of *King of the Zombies* from Video Yesteryear. It was the first video I every purchased -- had to have it, even though I couldn't play it yet. Maybe TCM should do a Madame Sul-Te-Wan festival. She was a pioneer, working with everyone from D.W. Griffith to Monogram, and beyond.
  24. You left out *King of the Zombies*, one of the most enjoyable Monogram films. Nominated for an Oscar for best score -- it really does have a great score! And terrific performances by, among others, Mantan Moreland and the venerable Madame Sul-Te-Wan, each of whom has some of the best lines in films: Madame's best line: "Tahoma cooks for the living, not the dead." Moreland's: "If there's one thing I wouldn't wanna be twice, zombies is both of them!"
  25. Ms. York certainly deserved her Oscar nomination for *They Shoot Horses...* She also deserved one for *Tom Jones*. Three actresses from that film were nominated that year -- Diane Cilento, Edith Evans, and Joyce Redman. York was as good as any of those great ladies, but I guess it would have been too much to nominate FOUR actresses from one film in the same category. Possibly, as the romantic lead, York could have been nominated in the best actress category. Interestingly, although *Tom Jones* got many acting nominations that year -- Albert Finney should have won, as should have Hugh Griffith
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