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Everything posted by flickerknickers

  1. Both "Since You Went Away" (1943) and "Mr. Skeffington" (1944) were both ravishingly photographed in black and white. The shadows and the fireplaces and the lighting were supberb. Another forgotten beauty is again, David Selznick's gorgeous "Intermezzo" filmed in l939 at the same time he was making "Gone With the Wind." The movie is so creamy with soft lights and deep shadows it glistens, almost like it's coated in photographic candy. Another offbeat favorite for beautiful movies is Deanna Durbin's l941 musical "Nice Girl?" filmed in black and white. The scene of her performing "Old Folks at H
  2. I think King Vidor's l949 classic, "Beyond the Forest" is his greatest achievement. This movie has been tremendously maligned over the decades, thanks to Bette Davis' constant bad-mouthing of it. What one has to remember is that Bette was having a breakdown because her movies were tanking, she had tremendous marital problems and she took it out all her frustrations on "Beyond the Forest." But still, you've got to see her performance in this feverishly directed film noir masterpiece as a small-town Emma Bovary. Warner Brothers gave it a top-notch production and Bette never looked more sexy and
  3. Republic made the greatest serials during the late 30s and early 40s. They all moved like a hurricane with the greatest stuntmen and women starring in them. To me, the greatest serial of all was "Spy Smasher" (1940) and "G-Men Vs. the Black Dragon." The production values were top-notch, the chapter endings were stunning and most were filmed on location in and around Los Angeles. Other outstanding Republic serials were "Daredevils of the Red Circle", "Captain Marvel" and "King of the Texas Rangers" .The truly worst of the lot and I think Republic's last serial was "King of the Carnival," which
  4. My favorite serials, the ones I watch again and again, are from Republic, whose serials couldn't be touched in the 40s. The best of them all, besides Captain Marvel, was G-Men Vs. the Black Dragon, a serial that moves at jet-speed and stars that perfect serial hero, Rex (Chandler?) and Constance Worth, as his feisty, gun-toting sidekick. Another Republic goodie was Daredevils of the Red Circle, about a group of circus brothers who try to find the killer of their little brother. There's not a wasted moment. Many think Spy Smasher is the ultimate serial and they might be right. the action ranges
  5. Tough, gorgeous, muscular bruiser Victor McLaughlin would get my pick as my dream date. I'd love to have a few drinks with him. Next in line would be the most gorgeous Adonis of them all during the thirties, Buster Crabbe. He makes Bratt Pitt look like Pee Wee Herman. And in that terribly brief Tarzan G-string, he wore in "Tarzan the Fearless," he would have had the guys and girls lined up. Bela Lugosi without the heavy make-up would also have been a heart-stopper. Just watch him in "The Black Cat" with that slicked back black hair and Continental wardrobe. Richard Carlson also made my heart t
  6. Paramount made in l929 one of the very best early talkie musicals, "Sunnyside Up" starring that delightful couple, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. I taped it off PBS years ago and watch it regularly. The camerawork is amazing and the sound excellent. You won't forget the songs and especially that bizarre, alll-out musical number, "Turn up the Heat' where 50 or more chorus girls writhe and grind to billowing columns of fire. It's also fascinating to study the fashions where all the women wear chiffon dresses and gowns and large hats. Gaynor and Farrell sing in natural, unaffected voices witho
  7. I hope TCM plays and replays "Since You Went Away," "Holiday Inn," "White Christmas" and the original "Christmas Carol"--over and over and over again. I never get tired of those old classics. Does anyone remember that charming little black and white animated short from the 50s called "Susie Snowflake." It begins "Here Comes Susiie Snowflake, look at her snow white gown," and there were several other l950s black and white animated shorts. "The Bishop's Wife" is a goodie, too, but you have to stay with it to understand what's going on and what Cary Grant's up to. And let's not forget 'Home Alone
  8. Joan Crawford rarely made a movie without a telephone as a prime prop. Look at what she did in "Grand Hotel," as she made that tearful phone call to the train station. Throughout the movie she makes telephone calls. In "The Women" some of her best moments are on the phone, and in "Mildred Pierce" the whole movie centers around that phone call she won't make to the ppolice about Veda. In "Humoresque" her final goodbyes are murmured over the phone. And in Baby Jane, she tries to escape by using the phone. Joanie and that phone--inseparable.
  9. Okay, I'm ready for the bullets, the knives, the slings and arrows because I have a big confession to make: I watched AMC for nearly two weeks of its Monster-Fest. Two weeks of complete joy as I watched the turkies, the cheeses, the classics, of the rarely-shown. Around the clock, the marathon ran and I recorded like crazy, especially one rarely seen William Shatner goodie, The Devil's Rain. Even wtching entire 'Halloween" franchise was guilty fun although i knew that there was heavy editing and you know every turn of every plot. What I loved was the way AMC worked in the classic universal sho
  10. I would love to see Andy Warhol's three great flesh flicks: "Trash," "Heat" and "Flesh.", all starring the unforgettable Joe Dellasandra. These movies have mucho nudity and simullated sex but are well worth watching to see what one of of America's much hyped artists was doing on film during the 70s. "Heat," in particular, is hysterical, a take-off of Sunset Boulevard with sylvia Miles the aging film star and Joe Dellasandra her shiftless boyfriend.
  11. One of my all-time fave Universal shockers is "The Mummy's ghost," where Princess Ananka returns in the form of a stunningly beautiful Ramsey Ames. The ending, where Ramsey ages into a thousand year-old mummy as she sinks into a bog with the mummy is unforgettable. Another all-time fave is "Mystery of the Wax Museum," filmed in early Technicolor (l931) and stars Lionel Atwill as the mads sculptor. Glenda Farrell steals the picture as the wise-cracking reporter, Florence, and it also stars Fay Wray at her screaming best.
  12. Can't you just imagine Ethel Merman's rage when she read that her rival, Betty Hutton, had snatched the dream role from her of Annie Oakley? From what I've read, Merman was convinced MGM was going to ask her to reprise her role in front of the cameras after Judy Garland was fired. And then here comes Betty Hutton who got the glory and ended Merman's chance of a movie triumph. I've read where they also tested Doris Day, Jane Powell, Susan Hayward and Betty Grable for the role of Annie but Hutton took it and turned it into gold.
  13. You've never seen anything like, "Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill!" Thanks mostly to its amazonian star, Tura Satanya. The movie is beautifully photographed in black and white and moves like a jet plane. Tura portrays Varla, head of a trio of beauteous, ****, who get their kicks murdering hapless men. Russ Meyer has then go-going dancing all over the place but it's Tura who burns herself into your mind with her mind-boggling torso, black leather and gloves. "Mud Honey" should also be fun. Anything that Meyer made is worth watching.
  14. It's a crying shame that none of Republic movies are available for viewing today. They're not shown on any channel, just like the majority of Universal flicks. These studios made movies geared for the small town trade and had a charm all their own. I would love especially to see the Judy Canova comedy/musicals she made back during her heyday of the 40s. Republic also turned out a series based on "Your Hit Parade" which featured the musical hits of the 40s with now forgotten bands and singers. Dale Rogers (later Mrs. Roy Rogers) was a regular in this series.
  15. I brought the Sweetheart pak of Deanna Durbin and loved them all, although the quality of several of the movies were blurred and needed a good digital clean-up. for the second package, I do hope they include two of my favorite Dubrin movies: "Nice Girl?" and "His Butler's Sister." Nice Girl is a glorious evocation of a time now gone, set in a small California town and World War II. Deanna looks beautiful in her Vera West costumes. "His Butler's Sister" is even better, this time with Deanna dresssed by Adrian, and her songs are beautiful. Universal owns all these movies and we'll probably never
  16. I fell in love with Claudette when I was little and watched her unforgettable portrayal of Anne Hilton in Selznick's super production, "Since You Went Away." claudette was perfect as the long suffering mother and wife. This gal could do anything--heavy drama and light comedy, i.e., "The Palm Beach Story," and "MIdnight." MGM wanted to borrow her for "Mrs. Minever," but Claudette turned it down, saying she couldn't play the mother of a grown boy. Ironically, after the movie became a world-wide champion, claudette consented to play the mother of two grown daughters, Shirley Temple and Jennifer
  17. Has anyone mentioned that god-awful "Stayin' Alive" starring John Travolta and the even worse," A Chorus Line?" The first one is so cheesy and off the wall that you watch this exercise in torture with your mouth agape. John Travolta never looked more sexless. "A Chorus Line" was ruined when it was given to Sir Richard Attenborough (pardon the spelling) who turned it into a travesty. I'll also add a new bad movie, the 2005 production of "The Producers." What magic it possessed on stage was totally absent from the film version with Nathan Lane and Mathew Modine trying desperately to infuse some
  18. In the old days, you saw names of the "masters" or key executives in the beginning credits. Although Cedric Gibbons was always listed as designer at MGM, he often only had a supervisory role and if there was a name beneath his, you can believe it was this unknown who had actually done the set designs. The same went for costume designers. While Adrian was MGM's in-resident clothes designer, he often just made the sketches while his small army of clothes makers did the actual work. It's ironic today that one is rarely certain just who made a movie. When I watch a movie from today, it usually fla
  19. Rudolph Valentino was sleek, gorgeous and untouchable which made him all the more desireable. He was the first boy toy of the Jazz Age and both women and gay men wanted to play with him. Buster Crabbe was usually nearly naked in his early movies because shrewd moguls knew the gals and the gays loved drooling over a beautifully proportioned body, i.e., Tarzan the Fearless and later in Flash Gordon. In his Tarzan movie, Crabbe later told one interviewer that the studio "wanted me as naked as possible." And you can see the results in the Tarzan the Fearless flesh-feast. And thirdly, Johnny Mack
  20. I still enjoy watching the Lil' Rascals/Our Gang comedies. I've got a DVD collection (for $4.50) that showcases five of their best episodes, especially the banned "Wild Man of Borneo" segment. This was the one where a wild man from Africa escapes from a circus and for various reasons the kids think he's Spanky's real-life uncle. The episode was yanked after pressure groups said it was demeaning to blacks. Also, the Marx Brothers and Lou and Costello are both great fun to watch. And I'll never pass up a Laurel and Hardy short.
  21. More about Beyond the Forest: throughout its torrid 139 minutes, Bette walks to the train station every day to watch the "choo choo" rattle by. This is her great passion--to get on that train and leave boring, dead Loyalton, Wis., her husband, her life as a married woman and have a hot affair with hunky David Brian, in Chicago an executive who has a cabin on the lake where he rendevouz's with Bette. Strangely enough, Bette has an Indian maid (Donna Drake) who has the identical black hair as Bette. Their arguments are hilarious because Donna gives the impression she wouldn't let anything stop h
  22. "Beyond the Forest" is Bette at her most evil best. She's so sexy and voluptuous that she stuns with her ability to transform herself from school mar'm's (Corn is Green," "dying heireses (dark victory) and wealthy dowagers (now voyager). Watch and be amazed at one of her greatest and most controversial roles--one you'll never see on TCM which reasons that only it knows will not allow it to be televised.
  23. Whenever TCM pays tribute to Bette Davis, there's one movie of her's you'll NEVER see: l949's "Beyond the Forest." Savagely attacked when it first appeared in l949, it was mostly the critics who were shocked to see this sexy, voluptuous, black-haired Bette portraying a cold-bloodied killer with an animinal-lke intensity that left them gasping. They had been used to seeing Davis as the noble sufferer ("The Corn is Green") or as a woman's executive ("June Bride") or as trust-fund sisters, (A Stolen Life), a concert pianist ("Deception." In "Beyond the Forest," she's down and dirty and galvanizes
  24. Also, will we see the restored ending? The last version I saw on TCM ended abruptly with a group of executives in a room discussing the latest victim of Babyface, aka Barbara Stanwyck. I've always heard that Jack warner kept complete, uncut copies of every film that came out of his studio. HE had them stored in a library like storage room in his mansion. This is where they found the thought-to-be-lost versions of 'Dr. X" and "Mystery of the Wax Museum." The cans of film were neatly labeled and stored in a carefully moderated temperature and these are the films believed to be used in the restor
  25. Yes, I had a copy of the Mae Murray book, The Self-Enchanted, which was fascinating but someone borrowed it and never returned it. The book dissapoints towards the end when it just trails off with Mae Murray sleeping on a park bench in Central Park. You don't know what happened to her after that but somehow she found herself in the Motion Picture Home in Hollywood during the sixties. That's what fascinates about these old stars...you only hear half the story of what really happened when you're dying to find out what happened in all these long, empty passages.
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