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About BingFan

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  1. That's the way I took it. At the same time, it was a good way to make the point that I was alluding to.
  2. I completely agree. Although I don't understand how, even 78 years ago, black-face could have been viewed as anything but a grotesque and demeaning lampoon of African Americans, I know that it was actually seen by many performers and viewers of the time as just another form of entertainment, without any offense being intended. But even though I know that, I'm not seeing Holiday Inn with 1942 eyes, so when I watch it, I know that the black-face scenes can and do offend people now, even if that wasn't intended then. It doesn't stop me from watching and enjoying that movie, or many others with scenes that are now considered racially insensitive. I never forget that those movies were from a very different era when people, for the most part, had a different point of view on such things. As for Marjorie Reynolds' cringe-worthy line, "And I thought I was going to be so pretty," I'm sure it wasn't intended to offend. It was more likely intended to mean that she was sorry her natural appearance wasn't going to be seen. The next line, "That's what I get for thinking so well of myself," reflects that the character knew she was too caught up in thinking of herself as naturally attractive and deserved to be brought down to earth. But once again, heard with modern ears, rather than 1942 ears, it sounds like Marjorie is saying that a black face can't be pretty. Not intended as offensive, but I can see how it could reasonably be interpreted that way.
  3. I'm sorry to hear about Jason Polan's passing. Although I didn't know until now who he was, I always enjoyed his drawings for Criterion. From the NY Times obituary, it sounds like his artistic interests were wide-ranging. I wonder if the Criterion cartoons will continue with another artist. Polan gave the idea a great start, and whoever comes next (if anyone) will stand on his shoulders.
  4. I love Holiday Inn but, like a lot of people today, I find the "Abraham" scenes with the cast in black-face to be very disconcerting. Particularly cringe-worthy is the lead-in scene where Bing is telling Marjorie Reynolds that they'll be doing the number in black-face. (His motivation is to disguise her identity so that old pal Fred doesn't take her away as his new dancing partner.) She responds by saying something like, "And I thought I was going to be so pretty."
  5. Thanks very much for the link, speedracer! I was pleasantly surprised to find, not a utilitarian text list of movie titles, but a collection of movie posters for the films that Eddie has shown on Noir Alley . Very cool! I, too, wish I had kept up with Eddie's picks from the start of Noir Alley. I initially only watched or recorded the movies occasionally, focusing on the ones that I actually wanted to see right then. After about a year, I finally realized that even if I didn't feel like watching the whole movie at the time -- either because it didn't appeal to me or because I just wasn't in the mood -- I'd always get a lot out of Eddie's commentary. I now record every Noir Alley movie so that I can listen to Eddie; I don't always watch or save every movie, but I do always benefit from Eddie's interesting, detailed commentary. The guy is a real treasure in the world of film history.
  6. Is there a list somewhere of movies that have been shown on Noir Alley? If so, could you point me to it? My wife and I often discuss the weekly Noir Alley film, which inevitably leads to our wondering if some other noir-ish movie has also been featured on Noir Alley. Thanks! (I also raised this question on the Noir Alley thread, but it understandably got lost in the discussion of last weekend's movie.)
  7. Is there a list somewhere of movies that have been shown on Noir Alley? If so, could you point me to it? My wife and I often discuss the weekly Noir Alley film, which inevitably leads to our wondering if some other noir-ish movie has been featured. Thanks!
  8. I haven't watched I LOVE LUCY for a while, but I seem to remember other differences between the Ricardos' two apartments besides the fireplaces. The second, bigger apartment had a window on the back wall, under their piano, which wasn't there in their original apartment. And I think there was a brick wall in one of the apartments but not the other. There may have been other differences... You're right about Larry Mondello's absence not being explained on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. Having moved around when I was a kid in the 60s, as well as having lost friends who moved away, I think it would have been more realistic to acknowledge his departure in some way. Heck, my friends gave me a surprise going-away party right before one of our family moves, one of my fondest memories from those years, and it's not like I was the most popular kid on the block -- kids just did things like that for each other, at least in my neighborhood. I think the Beav would have done something like that for Larry. Or even if the show's producers didn't know far enough in advance about Larry's departure to work in a going-away party, they could at least have had the Beav lament his friend's absence in the next season. (Oh well -- the producers didn't know we'd be watching and analyzing the shows 60 years later. They probably thought, reasonably at the time, that the audience would forget about Larry by the next season.)
  9. Not all. According to the list of recent Hallmark Hall of Fame productions in Wikipedia, they still do some non-Christmas movies. You might still want to pass, but thought I’d mention it.
  10. On I LOVE LUCY, the Ricardos live in two different apartments in the Mertzes’ building before they move to Connecticut. That may account for the different fireplaces. According to Wikipedia, Larry Mondello left LEAVE IT TO BEAVER because actor Rusty Stevens’ family moved from California to Philadelphia. (I read elsewhere that it was because his dad was transferred by the company he worked for, something that I know from personal experience happened a lot in the 60s.) I’ll join the consensus that Larry Matthews wasn’t a very good actor. It’s surprising that Carl Reiner, Danny Thomas, and Sheldon Leonard, the creator and producers of the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, respectively, didn’t find a better actor for that role, given the spot-on casting of the other parts. I did find Richie’s shtick amusing when he ran into and out of almost every scene he was in.
  11. Hallmark does still produce the "Hall of Fame" shows, although you're right that they're not as classy as the old days, when the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" on NBC (later CBS and ABC) was usually something special. Starting in 1951 (according to Wikipedia), the HHOF offered Shakespeare, Broadway plays and musicals ("Harvey" and "Kiss Me, Kate," for example), literary adaptations ("A Tale of Two Cities"), original stories, and even an original opera ("Amahl and the Night Visitors"). Some of the featured actors included Laurence Olivier, Katherine Cornell, Richard Burton, Lunt & Fontanne, Julie Harris, and Peter Ustinov. These days, the HHOF productions are on the Hallmark Channel rather than a broadcast network, and the actors, while often better known than those in the average Hallmark movie, aren't in the Olivier range. For example, the first HHOF production shown on the Hallmark Channel, in 2014, was "One Christmas Eve," starring Ann Heche. (It's a pretty funny movie, worth seeing.) This past Christmas season, the Hall of Fame production was "A Christmas Love Story," featuring Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth. Other recent HHOF productions include "The Christmas Train," with Dermot Mulroney, Joan Cusack, and Danny Glover, and "Christmas with Holly," with Sean Faris. (This last HHOF movie was shown on ABC in 2012, before the transfer of the series to the Hallmark Channel. It's a nice little drama about three young uncles raising their orphaned niece, who stopped speaking when her mother died.) I believe there are also some non-Christmas HHOF productions, but I haven't seen them, as I tend to watch Hallmark only during the holiday season.
  12. I'm really sorry that the hugely talented Buck Henry has departed. The world was a funnier place because he was in it. I guess I first became aware of Mr. Henry during the early years of Saturday Night Live, which I never missed. I gradually realized that he wrote, created, and/or appeared in some of my favorite movies and TV shows: among others, The Graduate and Catch-22 (screenwriter and actor; both directed by his childhood friend Mike Nichols); Get Smart (co-creator with Mel Brooks and story editor for the first two years); What's Up, Doc? (co-screenwriter); The Man Who Fell To Earth (actor); The Player (as himself); 30 Rock (playing Tina Fey's father). RIP, Buck Henry.
  13. This is hilariously accurate!! My wife and I actually enjoy the Hallmark "Countdown to Christmas" movies, not because they're great or even particularly good, but because they provide light, escapist entertainment with a Christmas theme. We rarely watch a Hallmark movie all the way through (although there are some genuinely entertaining ones that are worth a real viewing, like The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and Hitched for the Holidays), but we often have the channel on in the background during the holiday season. We frequently joke about the predictability of the plots, and the graphic above really captures that! Of course, none of the Hallmark productions come anywhere close to "real" Christmas movies, like Christmas in Connecticut, Remember the Night, The Shop Around the Corner, Love Finds Andy Hardy, or I'll Be Seeing You, among the many holiday films we watch almost every year. But if you're a nut about Christmas (as I admittedly am), the Hallmark movies provide an entertaining addition to the season. (With all that said, I can certainly see why those movies aren't everyone's cup of tea!)
  14. This is a really heartwarming story, and I wish it were true. It would have been a beautiful thing for Bing to have reunited Barry with his mother. But I've never heard this story before. It wasn't mentioned in the book Swinging on a Star, Gary Giddins' second part of his very detailed, multi-volume biography of Crosby. If there were any evidence to back up the story involving Barry's mother, I'm pretty sure Giddins would have found it. I looked at the pictures you attached, and I think they're of the same person. Your Going My Way screenshot does show a face with rounder features and wider-set eyes: But I think this appearance is the result of the picture being apparently taken from a version of the movie that was shown in a widescreen aspect ratio, which stretches out the frame. (Going My Way wasn't a widescreen movie.) If you reduce the shot back to the old 1.33:1 standard aspect ratio that the movie was originally in, the picture from the movie looks much more similar to the one of Ms. Reynolds that you attached from Shadow of the Thin Man. Here's the Going My Way shot with the aspect ratio adjusted: Here's the picture of Ms. Reynolds that you attached: Of course, I can't prove that the story involving Barry's mother isn't true, and as I said above, I wish it were. But I haven't seen any evidence to support it, unfortunately.
  15. This appears to be yet another dimly-lit British production in which grey is the predominant color. I didn't like this kind of art direction when PBS featured it on programs like Poirot, and I doubt that I'll like it here -- although maybe the full program is more compelling than the trailer. Granted, A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, so it's certainly appropriate to set a spooky mood with the art direction. And perhaps it's more "authentic" to light a story set in the 1800s with what appears to be candlelight and other sources that would have been used in those days (although they're obviously using electric lights in reality). But this fad for dim, grey productions is getting a bit tiresome. I just find it unpleasant aesthetically. I like to see some rich colors occasionally, and some brighter light in at least some scenes. With these faddish productions, it's just a bit too much work to try to follow what's going on when it's difficult to see who's talking or what the action is. (I have very sharp eyesight -- when I'm wearing my glasses, which is always -- so it's not me.) I love A Christmas Carol as a story, and there are few film or TV productions of it that I don't appreciate, whether they feature Reginald Owen, Alastair Sim, George C. Scott, Albert Finney, or Mr. Magoo. Maybe I'll end up liking this FX version if I see it. But I wish the art directors would get over their fad for dim, grey productions, and move on to whatever their next fad is -- which I hope will be full of richer color and somewhat brighter lighting.
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