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About FredfromNJ

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  1. I can't recall I AM SUZANNE! ever being shown on TCM and if I'm not mistaken it's only in the last few years that TCM has had a contract to show a good number of Fox films. Sorry it took me so long to respond.
  2. I concur with the opinions expressed here as to what a wonderful and remarkable achievement LILI is. However, I wonder how many people here are familiar with an earlier movie dealing with a young woman and a puppeteer which I saw at the Film Forum in New York many years ago. While it has some similarities with LILI it is a different and somewhat darker story yet also fine in its own way. The title of the movie was I AM SUZANNE! (1933) from Fox and it starred Lillian Harvey and Gene Raymond as the puppeteer. Leslie Banks also had a prominent role. Unfortunately, it is rarely ever shown. The director was Rowland V. Lee noted for among other films, ZOO IN BUDAPEST and SON OF FRANKENSTEIN.
  3. Patti, I think you raise a very worthwhile point about TCM showing some of the old series movies. I would definitely enjoy a chance to see at least some of the BLONDIE films and that marvelous middle-aged couple of MA and PA KETTLE should also be worth a look. I also enjoy seeing the old Tarzan movies no matter how often they're revived. The first two films in the Johnny Weissmuller series, TARZAN THE APE MAN and TARZAN AND HIS MATE are generally and rightfully acknowledged as the best. Are there any others in the Tarzan series that you especially enjoy? And any other Tarzan flicks besides the ones with Weissmuller in the title role?
  4. It should also be pointed out that although Jack Warner was proved wrong about Julie Andrews' potential at the box-office he did not take any lessons away from the experience. He again passed over Andrews for the female lead in CAMELOT which she had also originated on Broadway. Of course by that time he may not have wanted to pay the huge salary she commanded.
  5. One of the most famous scenes in Bette Davis' career (SPOILER ALERT) is when she permits husband Herbert Marshall to die by not giving him his medicine in THE LITTLE FOXES when he suffers an attack. Cinematographer Gregg Toland's deft use of depth of field photography memorably shows us Davis' implacable cold stare in the foreground while in the distance behind her Marshall struggles futilely to make it up the stairs. In the prelude to this action, Davis' Regina enters the scene with starkly chalky makeup rendering her almost like a Kabuki actor or a warmup for her facial as Baby Jane. It rather too strongly (to me at least) telegraphs that we have a death scene coming up. The pallid makeup adds a note of eeriness to Regina's glacial gaze as her husband goes through his death throes. However, at least in my viewing last night I found the makeup heavy-handed and distracting from the drama of the situation. I checked on this and according to at least one Wyler biography, Davis and director William Wyler clashed over her interpretation of Regina. Wyler thought her makeup made Davis look like a clown but she clung to her depiction of the character which was apparently closer to Tallulah Bankhead's portrayal in the play than Wyler wanted. Wyler wanted the character to be lighter and more nuanced but Davis wanted to be no less a monster than Bankhead. Did anyone else here find Davis' makeup distracting or too artificial for the scene?
  6. I have to admit that I disagree with the whole premise of this question. Yes, I think it is much better to make a film under optimum conditions than under negative ones but that's only a generalization and a guarantee of nothing. For example, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT was based on unpromising material. Louis B. Mayer was supposedly insistent that the film be made at Columbia to punish Clark Gable. Claudette Colbert entered the project with great reluctance. And yet Frank Capra helped ignite the creative juices and a classic film was made. Creativity is a very mysterious process. Unpromising material can be foisted on writers, directors and actors and with the least amount of time and lowest budget but it's still possible that they can find something in the project that can spark their artistry. Allegedly, James Cagney was bored with the idea of making another gangster film in the late 1940s and signed up for largely commercial reasons. But once he got involved, he and director Raoul Walsh worked hard to make his character totally distinctive and different from the original script, resulting in WHITE HEAT. By the same token very creative people can set out to make a masterpiece and be granted all the funds they need...and still wind up turning out a piece of crap. What ultimately matters is what's on the screen, not how it got there. This question usually gets asked when you see a fiasco and as with the case of an accident, we wonder how did it happen?
  7. I enjoyed and appreciated seeing Kingrat's 1941 list but I am inclined to think that 1941 had more depth than he attributes to it. I personally would have no problem putting MANHUNT, HIGH SIERRA and MEET JOHN DOE on the year's Top Ten List. (And I feel no guilt for liking THE SHANGHAI GESTURE despite its outrageousness.) Further down the line I think that there are also worthy additions such as SWAMP WATER, SUSPICION (despite its compromised ending), HERE COMES MR. JORDAN, THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE, PENNY SERENADE, THE FLAME OF NEW ORLEANS, THAT UNCERTAIN FEELING (admittedly lesser Lubitsch but still meritorious), HOLD BACK THE DAWN, UNFINISHED BUSINESS, RISE AND SHINE, ALL THAT MONEY CAN BUY (aka THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER), MAJOR BARBARA, BACK STREET, THE SEA WOLF, SO ENDS OUR NIGHT, THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, REMEMBER THE DAY, and THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON.
  8. While we may be having some difficulty keeping up with these various lists I would just like to say that I forgot to include David Lean's OLVIER TWIST (not released in the U.S. until 1951) and THE THREE MUSKETEERS with Gene Kelly among my list of notable films of 1948 and yes, I should have also included BLANCHE FURY, MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE and RAW DEAL. It's been a long time since I've seen Fritz Lang's SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR and I remember it vaguely as an interesting oddity. Perhaps it should have been included as well. It is often difficult pinning down the actual date of a film's release. A LETTER TO THREE WIVES is actually a 1949 film and won Joseph Mankiewicz the Best Director Oscar of that year. I believe that SHOESHINE was released in Italy in 1946 and made its U.S. commercial premiere in 1947.
  9. A couple of points I'd like to add to my last message. While many notable film figures were away during the war years this period also provided opportunities for others. For example, the Val Lewton films proved a training ground for younger directors like Robert Wise and Jacques Tourneur. As for the year 1948 it boasted such films as LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, THE RED SHOES, RED RIVER, FORT APACHE, MOONRISE, THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, THE FALLEN IDOL, THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, KEY LARGO, FORCE OF EVIL (probably John Garfield's best movie), A FOREIGN AFFAIR, Robert Flaherty's documentary THE LOUISIANA STORY, HAMLET, STATE OF THE UNION, JOHNNY BELINDA, I REMEMBER MAMA, CALL NORTHSIDE 777, EASTER PARADE, SUMMER HOLIDAY, THE INSIDE STORY, RUTHLESS, THE BIG CLOCK, THE NAKED CITY, HE WALKED BY NIGHT, SILVER RIVER (good Errol Flynn effort of his declining years), PITFALL, SITTING PRETTY and the wonderfully delirious PORTRAIT OF JENNIE. Filmmakers still had the ability to experiment and if Hitchcock's ROPE, THE PIRATE (with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly) and Preston Sturges' UNFAITHFULLY YOURS were not entirely successful they were fascinating offbeat efforts. Republic Pictures even had a strange hybrid John Wayne movie, THE WAKE OF THE RED WITCH, that was part South Seas adventure, part film noir and part gothic romance. One of the most unusual of Wayne's movies, it was also a hit at the box office. And from abroad there were three major Italian neo-realist films, THE BICYCLE THIEVES, LA TERRA TREMA and Roberto Rossellini's L'AMORE. There was also Jean Cocteau's LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES and from Japan DRUNKEN ANGEL. An oddity worth mentioning: the stars of LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdan were both still living until 65 years after the release.
  10. This is a very interesting thread with many illuminating contributions. I can understand both the lament of why the thread doesn't stick to 1940 (a pretty big subject in itself) and the desire to tout other years in the decade for their treasures. Along the way numerous films of the forties have been cited and extolled. I can applaud some choices, disagree with some others and point out various omissions. But then isn't that what all dedicated film fans do when comparing notes like this? Perhaps the greater point is that over a half-century later these movies are still worth talking about. Here are some observations I would like to add: Film historians generally cite not only 1939 but 1940 and 1941 as banner years in film history. There seems to be a tailing off in 1942. As some people have pointed out, 1942 still had its share of commendable films. For me, no year that included THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS and TO BE OR NOT TO BE as well some other gems should be written off. And although it won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1943, CASABLANCA was actually shown in New York in 1942 and therefore should be considered a 1942 movie. However, in terms of sheer volume of a) classics and good films I think that 1940 and 1941 had the next four years, the war years for America, beat. As has been mentioned briefly there are some good reasons for this. Directors such as John Ford, Frank Capra, John Huston, William Wyler and George Stevens were busy in the military for some or all of those next four years. After THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, Orson Welles became involved in a well-intentioned good-will project in South America, THAT'S ALL TRUE that tied him up (at least as a director) for much of that period. Also numerous actors and stars such as James Stewart, Henry Fonda and others went off to war. Some losses were irrevocable such as the deaths of Leslie Howard and Carole Lombard which were related to the war effort. So it's not surprising that these developments had an impact. In fairness, there were also compensations. Stars such as the wonderful Jean Gabin came to work in the U.S. and we also gained directors such as Jean Renoir and Rene Clair although Clair seemed past his peak. We never got the full measure of Gabin although MOONTIDE is well worth watching. The war years also saw such interesting developments as the Val Lewton films, low budget efforts that depended largely on non-stars (save for horror icons Karloff and Lugosi in three films), the emergence of the new MGM musicals produced by Arthur Freed and the flowering of film noir (DOUBLE INDEMNITY and LAURA). But the major impact of the war came with the returning film personnel and how the war had changed them. For that matter, the public had also been given a jolt and was more receptive to seeing some less pleasant truths shown onscreen. Another aspect of the realism brought on by newsreels and the war was an increasing tendency by filmmakers to get away from the studios and shoot films on vivid locations. 1946 films were greeted enthusiastically by both the critics and the public. 1946 probably also seemed even better at the time than it actually was because so many foreign films were released in one bunch after having their viewings delayed by the war. (I believe that the dates for foreign films should be the year they were first shown in their native country.) Conversely, many foreign nations got a jolt seeing how American movies had changed with a sudden bulge of Yank pictures now getting their release abroad. In addition to the trends already mentioned in the early postwar years viewers also soon got to see such other new developments as Italian neo-realism and the wry British Ealing comedies. And among postwar titles of the late 1940s we should not forget Carol Reed's impressive trio of ODD MAN OUT (1947), THE FALLEN IDOL (1948) and THE THIRD MAN (1949). O.K. I think I've gone on long enough. Hope this helps add to the discussion. P.S. I also think 1948 was a pretty good year.
  11. Check Mr. Ruggles' filmography on the imdb. and you'lll see that in 1956 he appeared in a segment of the WB series CONFLICT that was titled THE MAN FROM 1997. This was a 60 minute TV format, not a feature film.
  12. As a cat lover, I very much enjoyed this montage. I also have grown to love this film. As far as I can recall, L'ATALANTE has never been shown on TCM.
  13. I'm not familiar with the literary source for the movie but I am struck by how MR. SKEFFINGTON combines two ancient myths. The first, of course, is the Biblical story of Job and the second from THE ODYSSEY of the hero's wife being surround by suitors who are perpetually feasting. What is striking is that in this version when the husband at long last returns it is the wife who asserts her care for him after she has lost or banished her remaining suitors.
  14. I can forgive the problems with JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH given that TCM gave us a rare opportunity to see THE SEAGULL with not only another superlative performance by James Mason but the marvelous performances of Vanessa Redgrave and David Warner. A pity that it's not available on DVD. Also enjoyed seeing Denholm Elliott and Harry Andrews. I hope that TCM will some day show it in prime time. Also nice to see that THE SEVENTH VEIL was included though I did not get to see it today.
  15. I've noticed that not only SOUTH OF PAGO PAGO but a a good number of the Edward Small productions of the 1940s have not been visible on TV or video for years. Does anyone know of any current legal or rights problem involving those pictures. I suspect that if there is not a dispute, whoever has the rights may be just sitting on the films for some reason.
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