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mrroberts

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Everything posted by mrroberts

  1. The original 1968 MADIGAN film was based on a book "The Commissioner" written a few years previously. I have never read the book, it appears that the film follows the book but more emphasis is placed on the secondary character, detective Dan Madigan, and the commissioner becomes more the supportive player. Richard Widmark is Madigan, Henry Fonda is the commissioner, and the film has a very strong supportive cast. Most of the film was location shot in New York City, in some less than appealing places. Not to give too much away here but Madigan is somewhat of an aggressive rogue cop (perfect character for Widmark) , a predecessor to the "Dirty Harry" character . Credit goes to director Don Siegel here. Madigan's recklessness creates the dilemma that he and his partner have to face. The film got very good reviews when released. Several years later the Madigan character was resurrected for a series of made for tv movies that NBC and Universal started (think Colombo, Banacek, McMillian and Wife, etc). Widmark once again plays Madigan , 6 films were made. The short series got great reviews and would probably have continued but it appears that Widmark wasn't eager to get too locked into a regular role. The "tv Madigan" was a little different from the movie character. Madigan is still a tough no nonsense cop , but more of a weary one who is set in his way and prefers working alone. The Madigan character is always multidimensional , a tribute to the acting of Richard Widmark. It always fascinates me how Richard Widmark progressed so well through his long career, he came a long way from that first impression of "Tommy Udo" . Again I can't say enough about the made for tv Madigan films, they were very well done and worth seeking out.
  2. Forgive me for indulging here, but I am such a big fan of Richard Widmark I had to bump this thread back up on top, at least for a little while (help me out here Misswonderly). I am sorry to say that the six Madigan tv series episodes that were on youtube last fall appear to have been taken off. Why doesn't Universal put these films on dvd release or release them for broadcast on one of the many cable tv stations?
  3. On March 21, Monday at 6 am , TCM is airing 1930's THE BISHOP MURDER CASE, the one film that Basil Rathbone plays the detective Philo Vance. Several actors played Vance in the 30's but William Powell was the most successful in the role.
  4. Somewhere I have an old comedy album (late 60's) that spoofs football broadcasts. In one of the bits two guys are talking about the halftime show they are watching. Goes something like this, " hey look at that guy with the red shoes, that must be Van Johnson" Van also did an appearance on the campy 60's Batman tv show as "The Minstrel" . Van was not a very good villain, it doesn't look like he got into the "spirit" of the show. Probably had misgivings about getting involved.
  5. Understand, I'm not knocking musicals, there are a lot of talented performers giving wonderful performances in them. It's just that musicals aren't my cup of tea. Van Johnson was a very versatile performer as the previous postings have pointed out.
  6. I have long thought Van Johnson to be an underrated actor. I personally am not very interested in musicals, but that's no reflection on my opinion of Van. I think Van gave a Oscar worthy performance in THE CAINE MUTINY, in fact I feel he gave the best performance in that film, no easy feat considering that Bogart, Fred Mac, and Jose Ferrer were all at the top of their game as well. And COMMAND DECISION is another favorite film of mine. Van is a great compliment to Clark Gable, Walter Pidgeon and a great supporting cast.
  7. change password

  8. I think that everyone would agree that Claude Rains was a very talented actor and part of that was his distinctive low key raspy voice. Claude Rains had been very seriously injured in WW1 from a poison gas attack. It severely damaged his vocal chords and left him legally blind in his one eye. That helps explain his distinctive voice (why he was chosen to play THE INVISIBLE MAN in 1933). And then there are his rather distinctive facial expressions and the way he often looks at his fellow actors in scenes. It was said many people were unaware of Claude's vision problem . Kind of like the earlier mentioned Herbert Marshall, who had lost his one leg as a result of injuries during WW1. I wonder how many people (the viewing public) were aware of Marshall's injury? You may notice the sometimes hitch in the walking of Nigel Bruce, he also suffered a severe injury to his leg during the war. Fortunately Nigel didn't need an amputation.
  9. The way I look at Lucille Ball ; she was quite a talented all around performer who struggled for a long time in Hollywood , trying to make a name for herself and also find that certain image that she could best project. As has often been said, the studio bosses recognized her talents but never quite knew what to do with her, how to cast her. Her career could have gone in several directions, for example I believe she could have been a very good serious dramatic actress. She didn't start out to be a comedienne. But in the 30's and 40's she was cast in a number of films working opposite the comics of the day, just being the attractive straight girl character. So she learned from those experiences and started to play more of the comedic parts. I believe Carol Lombard was a big influence on Lucy at that time. Lucy really got more into comedy with some of her work in radio. One of those popular radio shows evolved into TV's "I Love Lucy". By that time Lucy (in her 40's) had the comedy bits down, and she loved doing the pratfalls that worked so well on TV. Her husband Desi was the very savvy businessman and Lucy learned a lot about that as well. When they later separated Lucy was a very capable businesswoman herself. She always was a hard worker, when I watch some of her later tv shows I marvel at her physical performances and energy, she was in her late 50's early 60's. She was undeniably a pioneer, and a huge influence on later comediennes , Carol Burnett just being one of many. I'm not sure if I would call Lucy a "genius" but very few people worked harder at their craft and achieved the success that Lucy did. She should never be thought of as "overrated".
  10. It really strikes me that where I live (eastern Pennsylvania , half urban, half rural) that many younger people of today don't really understand the history of the Confederate battle flag and what its "heritage" really is about. Some of these people may have ancestors who fought for the Union in the Civil War and those ancestors would be shocked at the present day actions. It's thought of as just being a symbol of having a "rebellious , independent spirit" and making a personal statement. There are those who display the flag and are ignorant of history , and there are those who display it knowing of that history. The ones who know the true history , you can guess what their motivation is.
  11. For those who may not be aware, click on the "blinking yellow lights" at the top of the page to learn more about friend Kyle. You can also scroll down the message boards title page to find a whole category dedicated to Kyle.
  12. I am more upset that Ben uses these high brow terms like "duplicitous". Must we always have a dictionary handy when watching these intros?
  13. I think the problem here is that these guys were just too cheap to tip the hotel help a couple of bucks or buy the hotel dick a drink down at the bar.
  14. I have always rated Edmond O'Brien highly as an actor so I recently recorded the film THE WORLD WAS HIS JURY. Edmond O'Brien stars as a defense attorney representing a ship's captain who is being held responsible for a disastrous explosion and fire that killed hundreds of people on board his ship. My thinking is, this has to be a good film. Maybe I am spoiled by watching so many courtroom dramas that are usually so well done. In spite of O'Brien's usual strong performance (he's the only real actor of note in this modest budget film) and some respectable acting by the supporting cast this film quite frankly stank in my opinion. The problems are a bad script writing and some sub par direction. This film is full of bad cliche situations and dialogue, it's half way to being a parody (Like ZERO HOUR is spoofed by AIRPLANE!) except this film is supposed to be serious drama. Just shows that good acting alone can't totally compensate for a laughable script and direction. This doesn't change my opinion on Edmond O'Brien, except I wished he could have passed over this job.
  15. I find that some threads are occasionally worth going back and reviewing from the start. This one is now 14 pages but its still worth investing a few minutes to review.
  16. Somehow I thought bringing this old post up to the present was called for. This guy Dan just keeps returning to create more mischief.
  17. A friend just gave me a dvd of the Richard Widmark film HELL AND HIGH WATER, directed by Sam Fuller. Fuller had just previously directed Widmark in the excellent noir film PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET. I haven't seen HELL AND HIGH WATER in a long time but the real surprise for me is that as an extra feature the dvd has the A&E documentary "Richard Widmark, Strength Of Characters" . I had vcr recorded that program a long time ago but it is "lost" on one of my unlabeled vhs cassette tapes. As are most of the A&E biographies, it is very well done giving a concise history of Widmark's career and insight into his private life. I really enjoyed watching this again, and now I don't have to rely on memory.
  18. "Mr Dobbs" was one of my favorite posters on these boards. On a few occasions we exchanged PM's about certain subjects. I always appreciated his insights into some of the technical issues of filming. We even had a few differences of opinion on things but our conversation was always respectful and ended well. I can only hope he got as much pleasure from participating here as I got from people like him. My condolences to his family and friends . God bless, Mr Rush.
  19. I guess "Sir Guy of Gisbourne" wasn't available?
  20. While America has come a long way advancing civil rights for all people since the days of Dr. King there is still discrimination in various forms (against several minority groups) to this day. And there are some who would still like to turn the clock back and reestablish those practices of discrimination and segregation. We must continue to recognize the issues of injustice and work to correct those situations. ---- In no way, shape , or form can one equate the existence and purpose of the NAACP with the K K K.
  21. Not to turn this into a "Cagney" thread but one of the reasons I like THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE so much is that I see Cagney doing a comedic parody of his screen image in all of those 1930's WB films. One reason that Cagney was such a big box office star in the 30's was his " scrappy, tough guy" character was one that depression audiences could identify with. Sure he was hot headed, stubborn, quick to put up his dukes, etc. But to survive in those times many people had to be like that just to get by. And as Cagney himself always stated when he was a kid (years before the 30's depression) growing up in near poverty that was the way you had to be. Raoul Walsh's film depicts that, ironically taking place near the time period that guys like he and Cagney grew up in. The film is first and foremost a comedy and the characters and their situations are as such. Jack Carson is "the bad guy" of sorts, not really evil, just a bit of a con man and a little more savvy than a guy like Cagney's Biff Grimes. So Carson is always quick to take advantage of his "buddy" and Cagney always falls for it. And Carson gets " the strawberry blonde" that everyone wants while Cagney gets the second best girl, Amy. Amy turns out to be the "best" in the end though. The one thing about this movie that does surprise me is the death of Cagney's dad (the very wonderful Alan Hale). The fact that Carson's building contractors were using substandard methods and poor Biff signed all of the papers (making him liable) was necessary to the story, but why did good old dad have to die? That is really the only downer in this whole movie.
  22. I've read that statement from Basil, but I think its more a statement of their personal friendship. Of the three "Moriartys" the one played by Daniell is the least interesting, a reflection of the writing of the script , not the actor's performance. Lionel Atwill was quite good as Moriarty but Zucco's character is definitely the most sinister and he has the best scenes/ dialogue . By the way, Henry Daniell was a very good "red herring" in THE VOICE OF TERROR, Daniell excelled at playing sneaky underhanded villains.
  23. Its funny that I can vividly recall seeing GUNFIGHT AT THE O K CORRAL on tv when I was quite young (its always been an often aired very popular film ) but I only "discovered" LAST TRAIN FROM GUN HILL in recent years. I probably saw it many years ago (my father loved watching these movies) but it slipped from my conscious over the years. As already stated, LAST TRAIN is done very much in the same style ( same director, actors, etc) as the earlier GUNFIGHT film (I even recognize some of the same out door settings in use). But as a film LAST TRAIN stands on its own as a very good , suspenseful western, actually much more serious in tone (GUNFIGHT is more just about action and entertainment). I love both films, and the tension between "friends" Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn is a lot like the film WARLOCK from the same time period (Quinn opposes Henry Fonda there). Back to LAST TRAIN, I agree that the supporting cast is great here (Carolyn Jones was a very good actress) and Earl Holliman is always very solid (usually he's a good guy but he's the despicable spoiled rich kid here).
  24. I just recently rediscovered my old copy of a book "Rating the Movie Stars" by Consumer Guide from 1983. For what its worth, Basil gets a rating of 3.40 (4.00 being top). Claude Rains gets even higher, a 3.66
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