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Jlewis

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  1. No, this is not exactly an exciting film. I do agree that the 1941 offering we will cover next has quite a bit more substance to it. Not to mention the real Glenn Miller acting on screen, instead of Jimmy Stewart playing him, and a knock-out dance number by the Nicholas Brothers to add novelty value. Oops! Getting ahead of schedule here. Since she was temporarily #2 on the Fox lot after Shirley, I guess her fluff pieces were no worse than the Curly Top's fluff pieces and she certainly brought in the revenue. Apparently Walt Disney was a bigger fan of her than I realized. Not only does she appear in THE AUTOGRAPH HOUND with Donald Duck, but there were initial plans to make a part animated, part live action feature to be incorporated in reissued showings of FANTASIA. The project did not make it past the storyboard phase in 1946.
  2. Hadn't heard of him before, but checked out his Wikipedia page. Like the famous animator Gene Dietch, he was happier as a Czech than as a Yank. Quite a few famous Americans in the film business settled in Prague.
  3. Good to refresh myself on this one. Stephanie Zimbalist looked familiar but I could not remember her other TV work. As mentioned above, a lot of TV movies made on a budget and other restraints did not always capture the period settings as well as bigger budget theatrical movies (not that they were all that successful back then either a.k.a. Dirty Dancing being so much an eighties rather than a sixties movie with all of the poofy hairdos and newer clothing styles). This was pretty good for its time, can openers aside.
  4. I was trying to remember how long these women actually were in prison. I think Stella merely stated that her man was willing to wait six years if that was the case, but she probably wasn't in any longer than the others. The Oldest Profession didn't necessarily get her arrested; just "where" she was doing it. None of the crimes these women committed was any big deal. One was caught shoplifting (although her daughter was certainly outraged enough) and another was romantically involved with a bank robber who didn't get caught. Often the characters are put in prison for something much more serious like murder. Then we retrace the "how" and "why" in flashbacks. If we are supposed to sympathize, then the killing was by accident but difficult to prove as such. With Stella, her main weakness was her attraction to shiny glittery things she can not afford by other occupation.
  5. Your explanation of the title fits how I was interpreting the connection. Personally I don't have a problem with the title, but it is a hard one for me to remember since its connection to the story is more symbolic than direct. We could go back through the full dialogue to see if those words were mentioned, if fleetingly. Quite often a movie title comes from a specific line. Another tidbit to add, since my wording was a bit off in my descriptions above. I do agree with you about Stella changing her life and settling down. I just question whether or not she can succeed with Bob since their personalities are so different. He seems better matched with Monica. To be fair, I have more confidence in the couple featured in VIRTUE mostly because we see a lot of them together, while the Stella/Bob scenes are brief here. I do not think her questionable "working gal" history has anything to do with it. This is a classic example of why good casting is always important. You want the viewers to instantly see Joan Collins and Glyn Houston as a "couple" and, yes, we have to take short cuts in terms of outward appearances here when we know that is NOT what relationships are about. It is possible that the actors were quite chummy off screen.
  6. That poster at the beginning is so provocative: “Many men filled her life...” in addition to the letter V bordering a couple shown struggling rather than wooing each other. Those Pre Code advertisers certainly caused plenty of wrath at the pulpit each Sunday. Yet few of these films delivered as much “sin” as they suggested. This one is still a fluffy romance that could hardly hold a candle to Pretty Woman.
  7. I favor the '25 version over the '59 version because it doesn't drag despite its lengthy running time and there is a lot more heart-stopping action. Even the chariot race in the earlier film is a lot more fun. In the later version, there is one gruesome scene on the ship with some soldier getting his limb hacked off, but the former film is far more gruesome in that respect. Where else do we see a tied up guy at the front of a ship about to be bludgeoned into another ship? That screencap image of the naked body builder seems to have been popular in many 1970s-80s publications due to possible gay "leather" interest. Of course, nobody was seriously thinking along those lines back in the '20s. You noticed a lot of naked men in paintings depicting great suffering and misfortune, so I doubt any censors were that outraged like they would had a woman been shown full frontal. (Then again, we do see some topless-ness in a Technicolor parade sequence.) I also favor Novarro over Charlton Heston in the lead, who was still capable of a fine performance on occasion. That is, I always liked him in Planet of the Apes. In Ben-Hur '59, he is good in his suffering moments such as the gallows scenes but is way too stuffy and overly in love with himself throughout the rest of the film. One tidbit I always find amusing is that the actors who over emphasize their "heterosexuality" are often lousy at wooing women on screen. There is zero chemistry between Heston and Haya Harareet's Esther, since the only connection they share is their love of Christ in the final act. I suspect that Jack Hawkins was more Heston's favored "daddy" type over sweaty let's-bro-in-the-sauna Stephen Boyd. Ramon was closeted so every role had to include a female co-star and he was just as good at it as Richard Chamberlain, Rock Hudson and Monty Clift. I do find him more convincing in his wooing of Dorothy Janis in The Pagan than he is with May McAvoy in Ben-Hur, but that may be due to a stronger comfort level with Janis, much like Clift with Liz Taylor and Hudson with Doris Day. OK... if we want to get really, really technical here... I think Janis and Taylor were "hot" for Novarro and Clift respectively and wouldn't have minded having his "love child" while Day viewed Hudson as her favorite brother who made her laugh.
  8. Again, very good picture selection. The bottom poster is particularly intriguing, suggesting to patrons that this is a very action packed vehicle rather than a fairly straight forward newspaper drama. There was some suspenseful action, of course.
  9. The images look nice. I wonder how this movie looked to viewers back in 1937 when it was in its new and pristine shape. We see these films in their aging states, but often with some sprucing up digitally. In films like THE WIZARD OF OZ, this sprucing up even goes to the 3-D level that is well beyond its original look.
  10. Haven't gotten to THE THRILL OF IT ALL yet, but have seen those other titles. They are all fun movies.
  11. I should point out that the American Cinema series is a good series worth watching in its edited form on YouTube even if I have my wish-it-could-be-better misgivings. It is a very generalized overview that is not going to satisfy we "specialists" who like to get deep into such topics on a forum like this one. (I personally would have preferred it to at least acknowledge more that many great movies existed before 1930, but average TV viewers in the 1990s obviously had no interest in movies that old so it had to cater accordingly.) Yet sometimes this looking at the forest rather than the trees approach does educate in interesting ways. One episode involves Romantic Comedy, not Romantic Drama as INTERMEZZO and SEPTEMBER AFFAIR are strictly defined. Intriguingly the comedies do tend to have stronger statements to make on gender and relationships and are more forward moving on a social conscious level than the dramas in general. This is simply because they are comedies focused on making audiences laugh and can, therefore, get away with examining serious issues by pretending to not be serious. In the features discussed here, we see Bergman and Fontaine's characters making very serious decisions as they reflect on what is happening. In contrast, the characters featured in the comedies basically do NOT reflect and pretty much bumble their way through. Viewers do the same in their own lives and, accordingly, have an easier time relating to them, as well as learning a lot about themselves and society at large. The comedies, more than the dramas, are also a fascinating "read" on the periods in which they were made. This show defined the golden age of the screwball comedy, with its heavy emphasis on very strong women who make sure they are equal to their male counterparts, as the decade between 1934 and 1944, when many women had to work, first to support their families during the depression and, secondly, to replace servicemen during the big war. A comparison is made between the earlier The Front Page and later His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell taking over the previous male role as a star reporter, for example. Later His Girl Friday is compared with Broadcast News to demonstrate how Russell's character reflected the same role that Holly Hunter was playing in the more adjusted-to-women-in-careers oriented 1980s. Both characters are equally conflicted with what role they must play: should they always be supportive of The Man or should they support themselves more? The show ever so gingerly gets into gay relationships with the famous final "Nobody's perfect" line in Some Like It Hot, but coyly doesn't go further since average PBS viewers in the 1990s were probably not ready to delve into all of THAT yet. On a more generalized level, Billy Wilder's film gets much of its appeal from letting go so much angst that was suppressed in the 1950s when the genders were at their most confined and restricted. There was no war allowing women to make bomber planes or drive taxis and roughly half of the female population seemed stuck in the kitchen and nursery... or as sex objects for the opposing gender (cue scenes of The Seven Year Itch and The Girl Can't Help It). This is reflected in how the Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon characters learn what it is really like to be a woman by playing women themselves. Although the story setting is 1929, the movie had plenty to say about how many women felt in 1958 when it was filmed. Although this show totally ignores Doris Day and her very dynamic career gal roles of the late '50s/early '60s (another gripe I have with it), it does address the dramatic decrease in women roles in comedy by the time THE ODD COUPLE and other "bro-buddy romance" comedies crested in the late '60s and '70s. Part of the blame goes to a nervous Hollywood establishment that was financially unstable and not sure how to deal with the burgeoning women's liberation movement without alienating the gender that paid the most in ticket sales at that time. This show could have also addressed, but did not, the curious fact that no actress topped the annual Quigley polls between 1967, when Julie Andrews was at her peak, and Julia Roberts replacing Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991, with every top box office draw being male in the years between. Yet, looking back, I must admit that some of the 1980s romantic comedies have aged rather well, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY being a key example showcased. Had that been a drama, I don't think it would have continued to be a go-to reference film in regards to relationship discussions.
  12. I was watching the first episode of the 1995 series American Cinema: One Hundred Years Of Filmmaking, which is hardly one of my favorite series. (In contrast, I am far, far more gaga about Brownlow & Gill's Hollywood, the earlier silent film history series from 1980 with James Mason narrating.) Yet there were some interesting observations made in that particular first show, titled The Hollywood Style, in regards to romantic movies. The ones that everybody remember best from Casablanca to The Way We Were... and we can include the lesser but interesting ones like September Affair as well... are all doomed romances. As Sidney Pollack commented, the parts of his famous 1973 movie that he had the most difficulty with involved those showing Redford and Streisand contented because such scenes always wind up resembling Hallmark TV commercials. The parts that most viewers, as well as he himself, are most interested in are the first meetings and the final breakups, not any of the material in-between. Likewise Casablanca pretty much condenses the Bogart-Bergman Paris romance to a montage sequence, while the rest of the film shows them separated and struggling.
  13. I don't want to come across as too critical of poor Anne E. Todd here. She did a very good job as far as child actresses of the era are concerned. I just felt that scene with her and Cecil Kellaway at the dinner table was way too rehearsed and lacked spontaneity. She did not seem all that excited or shocked by his curious talk of China like you would expect a little girl to be. It was obvious that she had plenty of coaching. To be fair, Mickey Kuhn and Cammie King in our much referenced above GWTW were probably worse than her in terms of sugary sweetness. In interviews, Cammie was always hilariously honest and objective about her performance as Scarlet and Rhett's Bonnie and frequently laughed at herself. It is interesting that the last remaining stars of the most famous movie Hollywood ever produced until the Star Wars franchise happen to be 103 year old Olivia de Haviland as Melanie, who actually dies at the end of the movie, and her son Beau, played by now 87 year old Mickey, who sobs to daddy Leslie Howard that he wants to go where mommie is going. Needless-to-say, I always cringe over his voice in that scene. I think my problem with kids in movies stems from being so spoiled by Hal Roach's "Our Gang" comedies which set the bar so high for child acting in general. I am specifically referring to that series' peak period of circa 1929-1935 before it became more formalized. The Shirley Temple impact certainly influenced child acting in general that decade, probably for the worse even though Shirley herself was one powerfully gifted actress who deserved her success.
  14. Oh yes... DeNiro had no shame to his game by this stage, after being in the buff and doing a bit more in Bertolucci's 1900. That film also had an intriguing bromance that went beyond the cerebral.
  15. What always bothered me about this movie is how unrealistic parts of it was. Clearly the Cascades distinctively appear in the background rather than the Appalachians and you know these guys can't make a hunting vacation that many miles away from Pennsylvania in such a short time-frame. I know so many LOVE this film and consider it a classic, but my opinions of it resemble other Best Pics like BRAVEHEART (another fan favorite I get hit with tomatoes over) that had so much better competition against it. However we can start on a whole new topic on seemingly heterosexual "bromances" built on getting drunk and naked with this film included. We can even get into TOP GUN as well where Kelly McGillis serves as the "beard" to make sure all of the guys stay on the "straight" and narrow when they are bro-bonding. 1980s cinema is particularly interesting in the post-AIDS era when screenwriters were, again, trying to make "gay" invisible on screen like it was decades earlier but not doing all that successfully in their constant sea of boy-meets-girl romances dominating the market.
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