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rosebette

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About rosebette

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    Female
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    New England
  • Interests
    Vintage movies, especially precodes and films of 30s and 40s, literature, music (classical, show tunes and soundtracks, literature -- college English instructor), public TV and radio, yoga and fitness

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  1. Actually, the storyline for the film Rebecca was changed from the book to make Rebecca's death more accidental. In the book, Max kills her deliberately after she goads him one time too many. However, as in the film, Rebecca has a form of cancer and in effect is asking for an easy death. The censors at the time wouldn't allow the book's version in the film.
  2. I think the Code was more concerned that a main character who was portrayed as a protagonist is allowed to "get away" with murder. One of my favorite precodes is Mandalay (1934) during Kay Francis gets away with murdering Ricardo Cortez and blithely goes off with Lyle Talbot. Of course, in that film, that is just one of the many sins her character "Spot White" gets away with.
  3. Persuasion doesn't have the plot of the main character pretending to be a younger "cousin," which Quality Street has. I also found Quality Street a bit of a "feminist" film; Phoebe/Livvie play on the Franchot Tone character's (and society's) dismissal of women of a certain age.
  4. I enjoyed this movie more than I expected. I think it would be more popular now than when it was released, considering the success of films like Emma and other Jane Austen adaptations. Although Quality Street is not Jane Austen, it's of that period and has many of the themes of her books. In some ways, it's more "Jane Austen" than the recent PBS series Sanditon. Quality Street is a similar story to Austen's Persuasion about the romance of a more mature couple who are reunited. Fay Bainter and Eric Blore were delightful.
  5. I happen to be a fan of Grand Hotel, especially the performances of the Barrymores and Joan Crawford. I agree that it is one of Garbo's weakest performances, mannered and affected, rather like Carole Lombard's parody of her in The Princess Comes Across. However, I would like to share my experience of another actress in the lead of Grand Hotel. In the early 90s, I saw a production of the musical Grand Hotel at a New England theater in the round with, of all people, Cyd Charisse as the ballerina. She played the role as an aging ballerina, but I was seated pretty close, and she looked fabulous and still moved beautifully. (One of the problems with Garbo is that you can't really believe she was ever a ballerina.) Her singing voice wasn't much, but her songs weren't demanding. The Count's role was played by an attractive 30ish tenor, and as they did a love scene, which just involved some kissing and embracing, the people behind were remarking that it was "disgusting" that this young man was making out with an older woman. All I could think of as a young woman in her early 30s was that I wished I could look that great when I got to be Cyd's age and how lucky she was to have this young man singing a beautiful aria to her. My other thought was how many films I had seen where older men were making love to much younger women (sometimes barely out of their teens) , and audiences weren't thinking how disgusting that was, but that these guys were great lovers and leading men. By the way, there are some good tunes in the stage version of Grand Hotel. I think Jane Krakowski made her debut in the Joan Crawford part and she has a couple of good numbers on the cast album.
  6. If you knew the true story of the First Thanksgiving, then you'd know if Scarlett had trust in her Higher Power from the beginning, she would indeed have plenty of turkey. See Amy Sedaris below -- skip the ad, of course:
  7. I'm not a fan of streaming because it's only as good as your Internet, and mine tends to be spotty. Frankly, I prefer my computer for work and my TV for pleasure. I have a 39" flat screen in my bedroom and a 50" in my family room. Yes, I love Comcast's remote where I can flip the channels. I've been living without TCM since Oct. 10 and managed all right because I'm in a busy mode in my semester during which I have less time to watch. I've become a lot more disciplined about correcting papers on time without it. Also, October is all about horror movies, Godzilla, etc., genres I don't care about anyway. However, when my workload slows down, I'll want to watch again and I'm debating whether to pay the extra $10 for the package. Some of these streaming services like Sling would mean I'd still have to pay extra every month for another service and then rig my TV so that it can stream from the web. I'm now a member of Backlot; I wish that would give me the right to get TCM On Demand. I watch PBS and local channels and need Cable for that. Also, we have a premium add-on with HBO, NetFlix, etc., where my husband and I catch movies that we missed at the theaters. It seems strange that I have all these premium movie channels but have to pay more now for TCM.
  8. My husband and I watched this one on Saturday, too. While it held our interest, we noted how "flabby" the direction was, rather episodic and typical of films of that era. We both grew up in that era, so we noted the styles, awful decor (Brenda Vacarro's apartment with the paneling and orange couch). However, I also recalled my dad, who was a high school teacher then, speaking against the war and saying that if my brother came of age before it ended, he would have glady sent him to Canada (we're also only one generation removed Canadian anyway). When my dad died, we actually found letters he wrote for a student who was applying to be a conscientious objector. So, this film brought back many memories for me.
  9. I'm not a Bond fan, and I find Connery's Bond mean and misogynistic (of course, he's supposed to be that way, and I do realize that these are entertainments designed by and for men). However, I enjoy Roger Moore and saw most of those when I was going to movies with dates in the late 70s and the 80s; I have fond memories of them as being a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon or evening. Viewing these movies last night, I still found they had great entertainment value because Roger Moore is constantly winking at the audience as if underneath it all he knows we're not expected to believe all this stuff. Even the sex scenes are handled lightly. He has a charming presence and a fine sense of timing -- maybe he's not the Bond that Connery fans expect, but he's very enjoyable to watch. The ending of The Spy Who Loved Me, where he and Barbara Bach are making out in the capsule is a hoot. I think the two best are The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only. Moonraker is really incredible (of course we don't expect any Bond film to reflect reality) and is fun for the first 45 minutes but gets tiresome; also, Lois Chiles is a terrible actress and probably the worst Bond girl ever. Perhaps as a woman, I feel that Moore's humor takes way the meanness that turns me off in the Connery Bond. I think Pierce Brosnan had that kind of charm but the series ended up getting too bogged down in special effects rather than using that aspect of his persona well. The Daniel Craig spin on the series just takes itself too seriously.
  10. It's important to note that Lady of Scandal was an MGM product, so lacking the snappy direction and earthy quality of the Warners' precodes. I think it was also one of the more pretentious studios, so they probably thought filming a stage play was approaching high art. I love Ruth in all the Warners' flicks, and she's excellent in Dodsworth.
  11. On my Ruth Chatterton pre-code binge, I took in Lady of Scandal (1930) on TCM On Demand last night. Apparently, this was made when Hollywood learned how to talk but forgot how to make pictures. This is an obviously filmed version of a stage play with extremely poor sound quality. At times, there are echos, at others, lines are lost when actors turn their heads or are out of range of the mike. Everytime Ruth walks down a hallway, it sounds like the calvary is coming. My husband watched for a bit with me and said, "I guess all that stuff about the talkies in Singin' in the Rain was true." The pace was stultifying. I had to pause it to use the ladies', to which hubs remarked, "I think this thing has already been paused for an hour." The only virtue was a young Basil Rathbone, with the crisp diction, thin as a whippet and very elegant in tux or tennis whites. However, this film made me long for another trashy Warner's pre-code with the dialogue running a mile a minute and the heroine selling herself on the streets before the end of the first reel.
  12. I got hooked by the opening of Nocturne and found that it had some good moments. However, George Raft is so dull. The only thing I can tolerate him in is They Drive By Night. I was a bit sad that the composer was murdered in the first scene, as he was one of the more interesting characters. I think this could have been a great film with an actor who could really handle some of the better dialogue -- some good lines just are thrown away by Raft's delivery. I was thinking fondly of Dick Powell, another 30s actor who ended up having a career in film noir.
  13. I'm having fun catching up on all the Ruth Chatterton pre-codes, such as Lily Turner and Frisco Jenny. Ruth is really good, not "stagey" at all, and in Lily Turner can suggest a mood (or a proposition) with a slight smile or raise of an eyebrow. Great chemistry with George Brent, not one of my faves, but it turns out, her husband at the time, and I think he's pretty cute in Lily Turner. The ending of Lily is a bit of a surprise. Frank McHugh is also very good in this one. William Wellman directed -- short, racy, and to the point. I can see why it had trouble with re-release; it's clear she and McHugh might have what we would call an "open marriage"; they're just pals, and he seems to be relatively OK or just oblivious to the fact that there are other men in her life.
  14. This is really good stuff -- perhaps the content later may be "adult," but this is hardly trashy writing.
  15. Perhaps more faithful versions of both books could be made today because the film industry doesn't have to deal with as much censorship about sexual matters.
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