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Posts posted by Sgt_Markoff

  1. Exactly so. And on shows like Groucho's 'You Bet Your Life' --where contestants are drawn out to discuss their personal lives at length--I've seen the same thing. I think that program ran from '48 to '55? But yes, just as you say. People used to always know culture history.

    One episode of YBYL, in particular, had me mist up. A wonderful bandleader and tune-smith of the 30s, Pinky Tomlin, appeared as a surprise contestant from the audience one night, to get up on stage and take the quiz; but he was not announced as Pinky Tomlin. He was introduced to Groucho by George Fenneman in his current incarnation; that of a red-haired, boyish-faced, but clearly middle-aged family man in the California oil business.

    Gradually Groucho's questions bring this out. What did the man used to do before he was in the oil biz? etc. "I was a vocalist, and I wrote a bunch of songs," says Tomlin.

    Then Groucho gets it at last. "You're not...you're not ...Pinky Tomlin, are you?" and the audience takes in an audible, collective, breath. Groucho, awed, reaches over to shake his hand fondly.

    He asks if Pinky wouldn't mind rendering one of his hits before he departs; and Tomlin agrees, and when he opens his mouth the vocals are pitch-perfect; nearly undetectable from the original recording; as if its still the 1930s. Extraordinary.

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  2. I don't know the answer to your pickle but I just wanted to say that I enjoy this film. Ladd is moribund in this flick as he usually is --always appears to be delivering his lines at 78rpm--but the story is about knives and knife-fighting and I think its a lot of fun. The scene where Ladd and an opponent battle in a locked, darkened room emptied of furniture--outstanding.

  3. Impossible to say. In the century of cinema so far, there have been such drastic shifts in the audience outside the theater. Sea-changes in society and cultural memory. If you asked this question in the mid-1960s people might have said Bogart even though Bogart had died what, 15 yrs before?

    But Bogart and Jerry Lewis and 'noir' and even Buster Keaton all had powerful revivals. Woody Allen's film about Bogart kept him alive long past his actual tenure.

    If you asked this question in the mid 1950s many replies might have cited Gable, even though his heyday was already faded. Gable had been making flicks since the 30s. But at that date yes, among the replies you would have received some respondents naming silent stars like Garbo or Valentino.

    As the question today? It's a completely different kettle off fish because literally no one recalls anything. The answers are all going to be skewed by the vanishing awareness of history. Its truly shocking in a way; this is the first era where no one has a deeper 'frame-of-reference'... for anything longer ago than their own adolescence.


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  4. Gregory Peck makes the best war movies, in my opinion. There's just something about him; his stature; the crisp delivery of his lines; his pauses between replies; his squinty eyes; the set of his jaw. He's particularly facile in WWII flicks but he's likeable enough in this one, too. 

    The source material gave producers every right to assume the flick would be a big hit; the book series was renowned in Great Britain at the time.

    Oh well. Who knows exactly why it missed the mark? I sure don't. I haven't got an opinion on it either. I will mention though, that the novels have recently been revived into a fresh BBC production, isn't that right?

    The sequence I enjoy most (in the classic version) is where Peck meets Mayo for the first time and he gets flustered. I'll watch the film up to that point and then turn aside. It is hilarious!


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  5. I feel the best way to answer with a list of my faves, is to just rattle off names of soundtracks I've purchased, downloaded, or even recorded myself with a microphone held up to the television speakers.

    music from 'The Duellists'

    music from 'Reilly: Ace of Spies'

    various James Bond themes

    theme from 'Magic', Theme from 'Papillon', Theme from 'Alien' --all by Jerry Goldsmith

    soundtrack to 'The Music Man' by Meredith Wilson

    soundtrack from 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'

    Rossini's 'La Gazza Ladra' from Kubrick's ACO

    soundtrack to 'Anatomy of a Murder', Duke Ellington

    the 'Arabian Symphony' by I-forget-the-composer (soundtrack to 'Lawrence of Arabia')

    soundtrack to 'The Third Man' by Anton Karas

    piano music from 'Touch of Evil'

    soundtrack from 'Bullitt', 'Dirty Harry', 'Cool Hand Luke' all by Lalo Schifrin (including songs from Harry Dean Stanton and Paul Newman in the last)

    ...that's all I can recall at the moment

  6. Thank ye very kindly. Yes, the Hill-Street-Blues 'feel' is there and its a good one. To this day, HSB is my all-time favorite cop show. NONE of the big-name police series popular these days thrill or charm me in the slightest. 

    Sigh. 'Choirboys' could have been a mega-hit if it had been handled better. Look at that casting. And the book is laugh-out-loud funny. They really blew it.

  7. Two hundred and fifty dollars per MONTH! ?

    What madness.

    The bill for my entire monthly use of electronics is $37. $14 for www connection; $0.00 for TV (I don't watch TV at all); and merely $20 for a cheap throwaway emergency phone, (more like a pager).  No "cable" or "dish"; no wires or chargers; no video games, no streaming media, no blu-ray, no flatscreens or touchscreens, no smart -devices; no "music service", no "subscriptions" to anything, no nuttin', get outta here, go away, leave me alone!

    A bookshelf of good books; a dinky little stereo system; birds chirping in the tree outside my window; and a bottle of rye whiskey is all I need.

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  8. I was fortunate to see this on the big screen a few years ago. It is expressly for classics fans; only classics fans would grasp all the nuances. The subtext I'm talking about are not even minor--they comprise the pinions of the plot itself.

    There are a number of things to enjoy about the movie, and I'm glad I saw it. Tom Tryon's story is lurid and perhaps predictable to some. Astute viewers may be able to 'see the twist coming' at the finale. I had a glimmer of the outcome but nothing was ruined for me, even so. The tale succeeds with its atmosphere: charming and downbeat and fey, all as intended.

    The chief pleasure for me was seeing Holden (my fave classic star) working with Wilder again. Holden is always so consistently good in everything. He has few memorable lines to enjoy in this script, I admit. Focus is all on the females. But he looked fine and conjured up his usual wry cynicism.

    Supporting cast: the always underrated Marthe Keller carried off her duties ably; and it was gratifying too, seeing Frances Sternhagen and Stephen Collins.

    The real treat of course, was the presence of legendary Jose Ferrer, Michael York, and Henry Fonda. Fascinating to see them in this strange project.  The only misstep in the deployment of all these extra-ammo stars was that the end of the flick has a lengthy 'wrapup' scene, presumably to ensure that the audience 'understood' the story which had just transpired.

    Overall direction: Wilder did not miss a beat in his overall delivery and handling of the endproduct. The quintessential "Wilder style" was in full evidence. But that in itself was odd; and it may even be the root 'problem' of the film (if there can be said to be one). The movie seemed as if it belonged in an earlier era, unlike most other movies of its type.

    There was a deep sense of the anachronistic; as if the vision Wilder had for the film was resuscitated from that vanished heyday. The flick was extremely 'nice' and 'gentle'... no one curses; the camera stays fixed on the actors; you sit there watching this extremely redolent, dialogue-rich, 'Billy Wilder movie' in full color and kinda feel that it should have been shot in grainy, fluttering black-and-white.

    Everything had an air of the 'misplaced'. After the flick was over, I felt that I would have enjoyed it more on a tiny 23" b&w curved screen set, sitting up late on a weeknight in an easy chair, battling insomnia --the way I first enjoyed many of Wilder's other works.



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  9. I've enjoyed plenty of Perry King films. Seen a good deal of 'em; and can talk about them at length if anyone cares to. Generally an underrated actor even in his heyday. But a reliable "go-to" guy for whatever he did. He always seemed to turn in an energetic, vigorous performance and he seemed to care about 'making the grade'.

    In his early films he was sometimes cast as an overly-sweaty, overly-pale, overly-hormonal youth such as in 'Slaughterhouse-Five' or 'Lords of Flatbush' (where he was swapped in for Richard Gere). His face retained a youthful cast for a long time and he stayed lean and lanky, too.

    He matured into a generic "good guy" --playing young cops, loyal boyfriends, medics, etc--but was sometimes cast for his freak-out ability. "Possession of Joel Delaney", for example

    Boy, was he nasty in that one. Provided a serviceable Spanish accent, too. Memorable scene: forcing his niece and nephew to eat canned dog food out of a bowl on a kitchen floor; much to Shirley MacLaine's dismay. (p.s. Aren't they related somehow?)

    He was also in the raunchy 'Choirboys' playing one of the wayward Wambaugh patrolmen, but that was an undistinguished outing. He was lost among such a huge ensemble.

    The most famous film I recall him appearing in? Probably 'Lipstick', the deliberately seamy shocker with Chris Sarandon, the Hemingway sisters (? can never keep them straight) and Anne Bancroft.

    His most influential flick? No, not the wonky 'Mandingo'...I'm thinking instead of his convincing character in 'Search and Destroy', the iconic low-budget action-romp said to have started the entire sub-genre of 'crazed Vietnam vet' thrillers. Yep. He was in there at the beginning, right along with cult-film giant Don Stroud. They were superb together; and although Stroud had the famous action sequences it was King's helpless anxiety at being stalked by a former enemy that carried the movie. He cemented that performance.

    In sum: King was always a good bet to invest time watching anything he was in.

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  10. A few yrs ago I purchased a four-DVD box set of Merry Melodies / Loony Toons and enjoyed a few episodes...but I kinda found that I already knew every one of them by heart. Every time a giant mallet came down on some character's head, squishing it flat!

    So I let it go to a pal. I didn't need it as much as I thought; and also, the purchase was really past the day when I can really set down in a chair and watch a screen anymore.

    I can only hope some kid somehow gets to view it; (if so, maybe there'll be at least one feeble weakling on the East Coast who grows up with an inkling how ridiculous all today's over-protective, safety-helmet coddling is).

    What I did instead was purchase some of Carl Stalling's great music to use throughout my workday.


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