Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

TopBilled’s Essentials


Recommended Posts

Oh no... I am not expecting anything to spelled out in these films. This was the era of McCarthy and Hollywood Confidential. It did tickle me how much effort was put into matching these major characters with love interests of the opposite gender, especially FORTY GUNS making sure that all three of the "good" brothers had girlfriends. Personally I think THE FURIES would have worked even better if Vance and Rip both realized they were never meant to be a couple but were still great business partners. After he got his share of his ancestral terrain as property, she could continue as her own "man" any way she wanted. Better yet, I could see her and Florence learning that they get along great after Big Daddy's death and the former "mothers" her step-mother, getting her to stop drinking, seeking the best doctors to help her on her face and so forth. After all, they had no man to fight over and Vance got the ranch in her name, which Florence didn't show interest in owning in the first place.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Jlewis said:

Oh no... I am not expecting anything to spelled out in these films. This was the era of McCarthy and Hollywood Confidential. It did tickle me how much effort was put into matching these major characters with love interests of the opposite gender, especially FORTY GUNS making sure that all three of the "good" brothers had girlfriends. Personally I think THE FURIES would have worked even better if Vance and Rip both realized they were never meant to be a couple but were still great business partners. After he got his share of his ancestral terrain as property, she could continue as her own "man" any way she wanted. Better yet, I could see her and Florence learning that they get along great after Big Daddy's death and the former "mothers" her step-mother, getting her to stop drinking, seeking the best doctors to help her on her face and so forth. After all, they had no man to fight over and Vance got the ranch in her name, which Florence didn't show interest in owning in the first place.

Great reference to CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF. Love it!

I think the one mistake, plot-wise, besides turning Vance into a traditional woman at the end-- is what happens with the brother. Given how dysfunctional the family is, I don't buy for one second that Clay had a perfect life and went off to be happy somewhere. It should have been that T.C. had invested all his hopes in Clay, and that Clay did something illegal and ended up on the run. This would have brought embarrassment to T.C., wounded his pride a bit, that he had a son who became a criminal/outlaw. And then he was stuck with Vance by default, to help him run the ranch...which ironically she did better than any son would have done.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Essential: CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA (1954)

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.30.40 AM

JL: This is one of the better RKO releases of 1954. It does not get off on a particularly great start with some curious narration by its star, Barbara Stanwyck (who is good in her delivery but isn't given good material to read) and she is shown on horseback against a way-too obvious back screen of cattle ranching stock. Yet we soon have some pretty on location scenery to get my enthusiasm rallied up more. Plus I do love her name: Sierra Nevada Jones.

TB: It's a great name. And one almost imagines a mountain girl with windswept hair. But it seemed obvious to me that Stanwyck had a studio perm right before she appeared on camera.

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.30.56 AM

JL: With her in her opening scenes is “Pop” Jones (Morris Ankrum). This daddy-daughter relationship is peachy great with her constantly calling him “dad." We all know what this means. He is doomed to die soon and all of her happiness is shattered.

TB: Of course you're right about that. It's almost funny how thick they pour it on. Woman loves father so much she will be devastated when he's killed off a short time later. Though I must say I do like Morris Ankrum in this rather brief role. He's a character actor I never paid much attention to before, and he's well suited to the genre. He also seems to elicit a vulnerability in Stanwyck that she seldom if ever displays in her other motion pictures.

Screen Shot 2020-05-16 at 6.26.34 PM

JL: Yes. And her revenge will be against his murderers and finding justice.

TB: Let's talk about Stanwyck's leading man in this picture.

JL: Ronald Reagan is the major co-star, playing Farrell, undercover investigator late-19th century style. When observing her skinny dipping, he Is much more subdued in his reaction than Kirk Douglas was in THE INDIAN FIGHTER. He may not be the aggressive wooing type, but we can all see right away that he is a good guy who has her best interests at heart...and she will need a new man in her life eventually, with Pop gone.

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.31.52 AM

TB: I had remembered reading somewhere, awhile back, that Reagan enjoyed working with Stanwyck immensely. She had also costarred with wife Nancy, when she was billed as Nancy Davis, in EAST SIDE WEST SIDE (1949). Stanwyck and her ex-husband Robert Taylor were close pals of the Reagans and shared similar political views. Apparently, when Reagan was about to leave the White House, the last film he screened as president during his last week in office in January 1989, he and Nancy screened CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA.

JL: In the beginning, we don't get a flattering picture of the “Indians” but it changes quickly. They are still considered as a separate species from all of the “white man” and we get plenty of Broken English on the soundtrack by a cast that...well, at least they sport nice suntans.

TB: Yeah. Fake painted-on tans. One thing that crosses my mind when I watch those scenes is how much time the actors playing natives must have spent in the make-up chair.

JL: When her beloved daddy dies, Sierra Nevada suddenly assumes the worst and yells at the natives visiting the scene: “You savage sons-of-a…Come finish the job! There is one of us left!” Yet she is informed that she will get help from them in finding out who is responsible. Anthony Caruso plays Natchakoa, the “bad” Blackfoot, and Lance Fuller is the dashingly handsome “good” one, Colorados.

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.31.05 AM

We have a potential triangle romance in the making involving Colorados with Sierra Nevada and Yvette Dugay's Starfire, who tragically dies later after expressing some jealousy to her rival (who insists the contrary in her intentions).

TB: While I found the depiction of the good natives admirable, even ahead of the times, I found the plot with Stanwyck's character and Fuller's character a bit far-fetched. She really hadn't been there long enough before her father died for her to become so close to Colorados.

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.59.25 AM

It felt like a plot device, so that Sierra Nevada had a few allies against the land baron (played by Gene Evans) that was actually responsible for her father being slaughtered and her land being taken away from her.

JL: Even if the races are all sticking to their own kind in the end, there are some interesting set-ups here.

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.49.33 AM

When Sierra Nevada and Colorados go into town, the residents are shocked by the two shown in cahoots; this being an interesting commentary on the racial prejudices of both circa 1888-89 and 1954 (i.e. Brown vs. Board of Education was stirring up the status quo). Later this theme is built up more with her defending herself, with Farrell's help, against uppity ladies with their own opinions about the Blackfoot tribe.

TB: I must admit I liked the town scenes very much. They gave us a much-needed break from the land war raging between Stanwyck and Evans. Plus it was interesting to see how Stanwyck's character lacked support from other women, which in some ways reinforced her resolve to be one of the boys if she was going to survive.

JL: The primary villains here are Natchakoa and sneaky Tom McCord (Evans), who steals an important document from Pop's body at the scene of the crime. Thus, we have heroes and villains on both sides with plenty of action.

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.31.28 AM

Aside from Lance Fuller appearing shirtless in a fist fight, I guess the one Pride Month interest-of-sort is Stanwyck showcased in trousers, never a dress, throughout and displaying strong masculine resistance against a wooing schemer who tries to take advantage of her at one point. However she still winds up courting Farrell in the end and, while there are no talks of marriage and kids just yet like THE FURIES, you will be expecting it soon after “The End.” In short, all is well in the strictly heterosexual frontier known as Montana.

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.37.53 AM

TB: Final thoughts. What did you think about the directing?

JL: Allan Dwan was a wonderful director of action flicks with a filmography going back far enough. Remember ROBIN HOOD with Douglas Fairbanks? To be fair, he was 69 at this time and quite overworked with at least three back-to-back productions that year, so this may not represent him at his freshest. It is enjoyable for what it is, matinee entertainment.

TB: Thanks Jlewis. CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA may currently be viewed on Amazon Prime. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 7.57.19 AM

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

You did make me laugh with "Yeah. Fake painted-on tans." I have a feeling we both view this one pretty much the same: average western fluff that is interesting mostly because SHE is in it. Regarding the natives hardly looking "native", this seems to be more of a problem with Hollywood westerns made in the 1930s-60s (pre-Spaghetti Western Boom) than those made in California and neighboring states at least (if not New Jersey and other areas east) in the 1910s-20s. They actually did hire native Americans quite often in the early years, as well as actual ranchers who were struggling to find work, many of whom started their out-west lives in the very 19th century settings often depicted.  (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLuigo4yqjw

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Jlewis said:

You did make me laugh with "Yeah. Fake painted-on tans." I have a feeling we both view this one pretty much the same: average western fluff that is interesting mostly because SHE is in it. Regarding the natives hardly looking "native", this seems to be more of a problem with Hollywood westerns made in the 1930s-60s (pre-Spaghetti Western Boom) than those made in California and neighboring states at least (if not New Jersey and other areas east) in the 1910s-20s. They actually did hire native Americans quite often in the early years, as well as actual ranchers who were struggling to find work, many of whom started their out-west lives in the very 19th century settings often depicted.  (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLuigo4yqjw

As much as I love Stanwyck and we are looking at four of her 50s westerns this month, I kind of felt that she doesn't quite fit the Sierra Nevada Jones character. I think the role might have been better served by an actress like Virginia Mayo. Someone a bit younger, a bit more outwardly feminine, who would still be able to hold her own with the men. Susan Hayward also would have been an interesting choice, but probably would have overplayed the "tough scenes."

Incidentally RKO's first choice for the male lead was Robert Mitchum, who was still under contract at the studio. But he turned it down, so it was offered to Reagan who was working as a freelancer in his post-WB days.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Essential: THE MAVERICK QUEEN (1956)

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 7.16.09 AM

TB: We're looking at another western that Barbara Stanwyck made in the 1950s. This time she ventured over to Republic Pictures, the first and only time she worked for Herbert Yates' illustrious studio. She plays a larger than life saloon gal who has ties to an outlaw gang. On screen Stanwyck is reunited with Barry Sullivan, with whom she had previously costarred in MGM's psychological drama JEOPARDY. Sullivan is well suited to the western genre, and he has a nice easy rapport with Stanwyck. In fact, they would team up a third time, for 1957's FORTY GUNS, which we will review next week.

I think what I like about THE MAVERICK QUEEN is that it's really Stanwyck's show. She is surrounded by Sullivan and other audience favorites like Wallace Ford, Jim Davis, Scott Brady and Mary Murphy. But she's clearly in command of the proceedings. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 7.17.19 AM

JL: At this point Republic Pictures was using their widescreen process Naturama. Director Joseph Kane and screenwriters Kenneth Garnet and DeVallon Scott are adapting from the always reliable Zane Grey whose books were as commonplace in libraries throughout the 20th century as Webster's Dictionary. Colorado poses as the Wyoming Territory and it is presented fairly well in Trucolor.

We get the infamous Butch Cassidy and Sundance as an added plus, being played by Howard Petrie and Scott Brady who may not be as glamorous as Paul Newman and Robert Redford but are also likely better matches to the 19th century originals. Mind you, this is still fictional make-believe with a “what if?” scenario that suggests Sundance died much earlier than he did in real life and under completely different circumstances.

TB: Tell us how Stanwyck's character crosses paths with them.

JL: Barbara Stanwyck is portraying a somewhat “bad” character here in cahoots with them, but she becomes a “good” heroine later on when she severs her ties and helps those battling them.

TB: She has an especially close bond with Sundance.

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 7.17.05 AM

JL: Kit Banion is a fascinating character: a successful hotel owner and “queen” of cattle rustlers at a time when there weren't many women occupying such roles. It's interesting how the theme song by Joni James contrasts with the story; she is so soft and feminine in her delivery, suggesting our leading lady is quite demure and wholesome despite “stealing your heart."

TB: But of course Kit is tough, as only Stanwyck could play her.

JL: In various ways, these Barbara Stanwyck westerns are stepping stones of sorts to the later TV roles that established Stanwyck with an audience that was too young to see these theatricals in their initial release. Namely, The Big Valley, where she stars as the matriarchal widow. Plus The Thorn Birds, where she's cast as the ruthless Australian sheep ranch owner Mary Carson, also a widow.

TB: (smiles) I should interrupt for a second. Our readers don't know this, but you and I often debate the merits of alluding to other films or television projects the stars also appeared in. Though I'm sure you are going somewhere with this...

JL: Well...I will defend myself here in referencing these other titles because I do see some similarities worth noting. More often than not, Stanwyck does not need a man in her life as a support system because she operates quite well solo as her own “man in charge."

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 7.16.29 AM

TB: Good point.

JL: Yet she does find a man purposeful for other reasons...ahem...as she clearly points out to Richard Chamberlain's Father Ralph in The Thorn Birds. Intriguingly the “good” Stanwyck, even the type who is shady in her actions as in THE FURIES and FORTY GUNS, gets a man as her “reward," but the “bad” Stanwyck like Mary Carson and Kit Banion must suffer unfulfilled.

TB: In other words, the lead character of this story is not exactly going to have a happy ending. 

JL: Yes. Kit (short for Kitty, not unlike Kitty in Gunsmoke, another lady who has been around the block) makes no secret that she has plenty of experience with men on an intimate level-- and, yes, that makes her “bad” in other ways if we view her through a prim and proper Victorian Age lens. As as she puts it, “I did what I had to do to get where I am."

TB: I think this suggests an evolution for Stanwyck in the western genre. (Now it's my turn to reference another work.) A decade earlier she had played a saloon gal in Paramount's CALIFORNIA. But while it was implied the character in that film had obviously used sex to get ahead, it's not as explicit as it is here. Therefore, Lily Bishop, the woman she plays in CALIFORNIA, does get a happy ending-- provided she leave a life of sin behind. But in THE MAVERICK QUEEN, Kit Banion is a known "maverick" and must not be rewarded for that.

Has she been corrupted by Sundance and his gang? Or did she corrupt them? We're sort of left to figure it out for ourselves.

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 7.16.20 AM

JL: Kit does not want the Sundance Kid as much as he wants her: “Oh for heaven's sake, take a bath first! You smell like a combination [of] brewery and horse stable!” Later she gets even more acidic by questioning his, um, functioning abilities in some rather sharp Freudian dialogue that miraculously got past the censors: “That was twice in two days that you lost your gun. You'd better carry it in a sack.” His obvious response: “You shush your mouth!”

She is aching for something more substantial in her conquests, telling him “somewhere along the way, sometime, I will meet a better man like the kind of man I used to know."

TB: Of course we have to wonder if she really did know any better men before Sundance, or if she's just saying that to mess with his head.

JL: Unfortunately, she realizes it is too late for her to have what she wants and she can't turn back the clock. In traditional Hollywood style, only good and moral ladies get what they want in the end. And although she can't be part of a Hollywood boy-meets-girl-and-fights-the-obstacles-to-keep-her scenario, she does make her best efforts before her final departure on screen and at least gets cradled in a man's arms.

TB: It should be pointed out that there is more than one triangle occurring in this story.

JL: Yes, the main love story here involves Barry Sullivan, as an undercover Pinkerton detective posing as “Jeff Young” of the gang whom a deceived-for-a-time Kit aids (“always nice to meet the better man”), and Mary Murphy as Lucy Lee.

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 9.10.12 AM

TB: Incidentally, Mary Murphy was a contract player at Republic. And typically, she was cast in "A" westerns as the sweet-natured love interest. She obviously did not have the star power Stanwyck possessed, but in this story, she is still given the main romantic storyline. Ultimately Murphy's character wins the guy, because Stanwyck's character is deemed too tough, too immoral, too far gone to be saved; and she cannot be allowed the happily-ever-after fairy tale ending.

JL: There is some courtship between Lucy Lee and Jeff early on so that we know Kit's own displays of affection, including some passionate kissing, do not stick to Jeff and he remains free for Lucy. But Lucy temporarily plays the damsel in distress with sweaty and shirtless Sundance ( who apparently is far more unsatisfied in his libido than even Kit).

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 7.19.11 AM 2

Personally I feel that the actor Barry Sullivan is better matched as a partner with Stanwyck than with Murphy, not so much because of their almost 19 year age difference as performers (and it shows on screen) but because they spend less time together than Sullivan does with Stanwyck.

TB: Probably the audience would have expected Jeff to redeem Kit, and for Lucy to redeem Sundance, so that more age-appropriate couplings occur. But we know that Sundance is not the type to be tamed, and apparently, neither is Kit. This leaves wholesome Lucy the only viable match for Jeff, despite his being old enough to be her father. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 9.13.54 AM

TB: Thoughts about the visuals?

JL: In terms of visual style, I kept thinking of several westerns I had seen that were made well before the talkie revolution, including those featuring William S. Hart. I was especially reminded in the rather prominent shots displayed here of characters running swiftly from the cover of one building to the shadow behind another, with half-faces appearing as doors open and the rather abrupt way people jump into action with limited restriction.

This does not suggest that this movie is behind the times. Quite the contrary, it suggests that Republic Pictures and its well established crew of longtime veterans were great at taking what worked so well decades before (don't fix what isn't broken) in keeping viewers tight in their seats suspense-wise. They kept it going well into the fifties quite successfully. With the coming of the New Wave Sixties, a lot would change, especially in the western genre, and there is a sense that some well-learned lessons were forgotten along the way. Although bigger budgeted than the earlier Republic programmers and serials, THE MAVERICK QUEEN is still a good representation of vintage “action-packed” entertainment.

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 7.17.42 AM

TB: Thanks Jlewis. THE MAVERICK QUEEN may currently be viewed on YouTube.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/20/2020 at 12:48 PM, TopBilled said:

TB: (smiles) I should interrupt for a second. Our readers don't know this, but you and I often debate the merits of alluding to other films or television projects the stars also appeared in. Though I'm sure you are going somewhere with this...

I have to inform you that there will be quite a bit of title referencing in at least one future movie review involving TALE OF A FOX due to so many interesting adaptations of the same source material, including a Walt Disney attempt at it that later "morphed" into ROBIN HOOD. Just understand that I always have my reasons for doing this faux pas of yours. Much like my mistake of wearing white after Labor Day, something my mother would never forgive me for if she was still alive.

Not that THE MAVERICK QUEEN isn't interesting in its own right, but I have to add too that TALE OF A FOX is one of the most unusual and exciting essentials we will be discussing... hopefully in August as we are tentatively planning. I read so much about it in animation books but only finally got to it 15 years ago with a European DVD transfer I found on eBay. Today you can easily see it online, but that wasn't the case back when I saw it. With a limited staff consisting primarily of his daughter Irina, Władysław Starewicz was able to create something that can hold its own against the very best of Disney, Pixar and Studio Ghibli... and long before any of those companies were able to make animated features, during a time when the technique, especially the stop-motion kind, was extremely difficult and time consuming.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Essential: FORTY GUNS (1957)

 

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.08.40 PM.png

Part 1 of 2

TB: We're wrapping up our month-long look at westerns in the 50s starring Barbara Stanwyck. This week our focus is FORTY GUNS, a 1957 entry that teams the actress with writer-director Sam Fuller and leading man Barry Sullivan again. 

If it's okay I am going to share my impressions today then turn it over to Jlewis tomorrow. A lot of thoughts crossed my mind as I watched this film last night. First, I wanted to point out that Leonard Maltin gives it 2.5 stars, out of 4, and he seems to think the story is a bit too over-the-top. Actually, it's one of the things I like about the movie, that it is camp and it is over-the-top, as this makes the story much more entertaining than it probably has a right to be.

While I would not give FORTY GUNS four stars I would probably give it three solid stars. I agree that it could have been a much more perfect masterpiece. Still it's a competently made product. It starts with an exciting on-location sequence featuring Stanwyck and her men on horseback.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.09.50 PM

A few things prevent FORTY GUNS from achieving its full potential. I think the biggest fault with the movie is that it's too ambitious a story for a modestly budgeted production. This is where 20th Century Fox should have stepped in to increase the cash flow. You can tell it does not have an adequate budget when an actor accidentally stumbles going up some steps, as Gene Barry does in one scene; and when Dean Jagger fumbles a line but quickly recovers the rest of his character's speech in a dramatic confrontation with Stanwyck; and these flubs remain in the movie. Obviously, Fuller couldn't afford to do many retakes, if any at all. And he didn't have the time or money to fix these goofs in post-production by editing them out with cutaways to other shots.

I think the lack of retakes also causes him to rely too much on long tracking shots. After that exciting sequence at the beginning, we quickly grow weary of the Fuller's repeated use of tracking shots. Also, we get too many long scenes where the characters move around and recite all their dialogue without any cutting to their faces to get close-up reactions. As a result of the sloppiness of some of the staging, we have a somewhat uneven film. However, this rogue or maverick feel which lends itself to Fuller's "vision," does work to the story's advantage. But it still seems amateurish in spots when it shouldn't. And I think that if more money had been allocated for retakes and a chance to record more reaction shots, we would have had a much more compelling and flawless narrative.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.12.27 PM.png

Don't get me wrong it is still compelling. But I think its dynamism comes from the performances and from Fuller's script, which is certainly high concept. However, Fuller's dialogue is downright silly in places which gives it those campy vibes, especially when we have Sullivan ask Stanwyck if she wants to spank one of her men. Like that would really be said by an investigator to a powerful woman he just barely met. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-27 at 7.10.35 PM.png

Aside from Stanwyck and Sullivan, the performance that really stood out for me was Dean Jagger's work as the corrupt sheriff. I love this sort of villain. I think I love this character so much because of the way Jagger imbues him with slimy but still "heroic" traits. The sheriff knows that Stanwyck's character Jessica has been corrupt and could be brought down by a former ranch hand, so he takes matters into his own hands and kills the dude in a prison holding area, so she doesn't have to worry. Of course, she insists she didn't want the guy murdered. But the sheriff seems to believe it was necessary, and he certainly enjoys doing the dirty work. Particularly if it endears him to her for a favor or two. Jagger's sheriff has sort of his own code when it comes to protecting people, and to his way of thinking, this is what a man does for the woman he loves.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.16.06 PM.jpeg

Jagger has an interesting death scene a bit later, when all his efforts to hold on to the woman he loves have failed. He hangs himself in Jessica's home. This is an unexpected development, but in retrospect it's certainly something we should expect from Fuller the flamboyant storyteller. It's a totally over-the-top death. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.18.16 PM

I also like John Ericson's performance, playing kid brother to Stanwyck. In fact, he's probably young enough to be her son. Jessica Drummond has always bailed out little Brockie, but Brockie goes too far at the end and pays for his transgressions with his life. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.10.15 PM.png

Supposedly Fuller wanted Jessica to die in the climactic scene where Griff Bonnell (Sullivan) shoots her so that she will fall and he can get a clean shot at Brockie. But the studio insisted that Fuller make the character live so she could have a happy ending. I think the movie probably would have been more powerful if she had died. Griff's real love is the law, and his career certainly would have come ahead of sparing Jessica and making her his wife. It's sort of like expecting Marshall Dillon on Gunsmoke to put the sister of one of targets ahead of everything else, including the law, which of course he would never do.

As for the title, I think the forty men or forty guns that Jessica keeps employed, is mostly just a gimmick. Not many of them are fleshed out and we don't know them as individual characters. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.23.38 PM

Fuller's thesis is that life and death exist side by side. In the blink of an eye, roles can reverse so that the living are now suddenly dead, and the seemingly dead might spring back to life.

In many ways, this would be a great companion piece to Peckinpah's RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. Especially since both films have violent wedding scenes in them. I would suspect that Peckinpah was influenced by Fuller even if that has never been corroborated anywhere. I would also suspect that many makers of spaghetti westerns ten to fifteen years afterward, were inspired by what Fuller accomplishes here.

Again it's a picture I enjoyed very much. Though I don't think it's exactly the masterpiece it could have been or should have been.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Your comments above suggest that, like Leonard Maltin, you want to rate this film three stars but feel it deserves just two and a half. Keep in mind that two and a half stars still means, in the generic four star rating system, "above average", with "average" or "routine" being two stars. (Maltin's words of "florid, wildly dramatic" in his movie guide suggests he was NOT bored in the least by this movie.) Therefore, it is still better entertainment than what you normally see on TV. I mean... most would still consider this film more of a work of art that is worth preserving for future generations to watch than, say,  a standard TV reality show covering how to rebuild your swimming pool or some grade B horror flick that is indistinguishable from other grade B horror flicks. I have to add that Maltin himself admitted in a few interviews that a great many movies he personally loves are also ones that he does not rate highly simply because he is well aware of their flaws and knows that if he rates them the way he really wants to rate them, readers will not take him seriously. However both of us have also discussed how he and other critics often conform a bit too much to their peers a.k.a. if everybody else rates Vertigo four stars, then you are required to as well even if it happens to be your least favorite Hitchcock movie. By the way, I personally feel that Ride The High Country is vastly over rated... and Maltin gives it four stars... and my opinion is that it and Forty Guns are roughly equal in entertainment value regardless of what rating you use. I do have that film on DVD, however, and not this one but that is partly by default/coincidence rather than because I personally favor it more than the other.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jlewis said:

Your comments above suggest that, like Leonard Maltin, you want to rate this film three stars but feel it deserves just two and a half. 

I don't feel it deserves 2.5 stars. As I indicated in my review, I feel it deserves a solid 3 star rating. I think Maltin rated it too low, because he's comparing it to other films in the genre.

I went over where I thought it came up short. But its merits-- high concept story, flamboyant directorial touches, and its memorable performances (including the well-documented stunt Stanwyck does during a hair-raising tornado scene)-- make it strong in its own right, despite the shortcomings. It's definitely a 3 star film.

This said, it could have been 4 stars if Fuller hadn't been forced to rush through photography in two weeks. He should have been given another week for proper retakes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I understand. Leonard Maltin is a pretty good writer; his Selected Short Subjects and Of Mice And Magic motivated me further in studying short films. Yet his movie guides often have rather blah capsule reviews. Obviously he does not go into depth like you do here.

I think I told you that I favor the old Leslie Halliwell guides even though I disagree with roughly half of his reviews. He is so much more entertaining to read with all of his colorful adjective usage. Since he was a very grumpy man who died before his 60th birthday and was likely suffering poor health in his final years, I especially enjoy his 1986 edition with so many recent eighties favorites of other critics getting thrown under the bus. Nothing after Bonnie & Clyde received four star ratings by him because, in his opinion, that film was almost as revolutionary as The Jazz Singer four decades later, but he was disappointed in all that resulted in American and British cinema afterwards. Even the two Godfather films released when he was alive were not worth that high of a rating.

I also have the 2000 expanded edition done by his successor John Walker, which is somewhat disappointing despite all of the great reference material in it (including a review of Tale Of A Fox that Halliwell was not able to see and review). In a highly controversial move, he re-edited many of the older Halliwell reviews in order to conform to his newer and more positive reviews of movies made in the nineties and, like Maltin, match better with the tastes of other mainstream critics. Halliwell before his death in 1989 was more like you... with a unique opinion regarding many movies that was not in full agreement with the masses.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Jlewis said:

Yes, I understand. Leonard Maltin is a pretty good writer; his Selected Short Subjects and Of Mice And Magic motivated me further in studying short films. Yet his movie guides often have rather blah capsule reviews. Obviously he does not go into depth like you do here.

I think I told you that I favor the old Leslie Halliwell guides even though I disagree with roughly half of his reviews. He is so much more entertaining to read with all of his colorful adjective usage. Since he was a very grumpy man who died before his 60th birthday and was likely suffering poor health in his final years, I especially enjoy his 1986 edition with so many recent eighties favorites of other critics getting thrown under the bus. Nothing after Bonnie & Clyde received four star ratings by him because, in his opinion, that film was almost as revolutionary as The Jazz Singer four decades later, but he was disappointed in all that resulted in American and British cinema afterwards. Even the two Godfather films released when he was alive were not worth that high of a rating.

I also have the 2000 expanded edition done by his successor John Walker, which is somewhat disappointing despite all of the great reference material in it (including a review of Tale Of A Fox that Halliwell was not able to see and review). In a highly controversial move, he re-edited many of the older Halliwell reviews in order to conform to his newer and more positive reviews of movies made in the nineties and, like Maltin, match better with the tastes of other mainstream critics. Halliwell before his death in 1989 was more like you... with a unique opinion regarding many movies that was not in full agreement with the masses.

Yeah, I don't think it's a good idea to "conform" to what other critics are saying, unless you do feel the exact same way about something. 

Also, it's ridiculous to make a contrary statement just because you (the general you) may be a grouch and enjoy disagreeing with everything.

A review has to be "pure" where it's a direct reflection of how the film or part of the film strikes you.

When I said I loved Dean Jagger's performance in FORTY GUNS, I meant it and I think you can tell by reading that part of the review that I truly love those kinds of villains. And I love it when an actor as skilled as Jagger is able to pull it off.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.08.40 PM.png

Part 2 of 2

JL: Nice to see Barbara Stanwyck team up again with Barry Sullivan...and getting a fade-out with him in a possible romantic happily ever. As Jessica Drummond, her primary sin is having a bad brother named Brockie (John Ericson). Yet she is hardly an angel herself a.k.a. THE FURIES and must accept the fact that Sullivan as a reformed gunslinger Griff Bonnell must arrest her brother for the “common good." (Initially he comes to town to arrest another member of her “forty guns” gang, Charles Roberson's Howard Swain.)

Two of the previous Stanwyck westerns had strong daddy-daughter themes but, this time, the focus is on brotherly love and hate. Jessica and Brockie's relationship is an intense one, going back to her helping in his delivery when their mother was dying giving birth.

Screen Shot 2020-06-27 at 7.11.04 PM

Speaking of brothers, Griff himself is one of a trio of Bonnells that include Wes (Gene Barry) and Chico (Robert Dix), all sons of a righteous doctor type who gets discussed in hindsight a bit.

While Griff starts a relationship with Jessica that involves saving her in a tornado, the other two have love interests of their own. Sadly the rather formal and traditional Wes doesn't succeed in wedding (possibly before officially bedding) the town gunsmith's daughter (blond bombshell Eve Brent) before fate intervenes in a shocking scene. Chico goes the less traditional route, rolling about in the desert sand with Sandy Wirth, and getting reprimanded by his big brother for drinking too much whiskey. Yet he winds up pretty settled in the end, taking on the job of marshal after Hank Worden's John Crisholm and his fallen brother.

Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 5.38.15 PM.jpeg

I like how Stanwyck as the primary Alpha Female of the piece runs the show. She is introduced galloping in with the force of a tornado, not unlike the one Griff later saves her from. When Griff comes to her western mansion to arrest Swain for mail robberies, she supervises from her post at the end of a long dinner table.

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 6.21.14 AM.png

Out on the open range close to a cattle herd, we see Griff and Jessica have some mental-challenge wordplay with her dressed in solid black on top of an all-white horse, suggesting she has both a “dark” and “light” side to her persona. “I need strong men to carry out my orders” is her plea to get Griff on her side.

She even buys off Sheriff Ned Logan (Dean Jagger) despite his tearful pleas, since these men are so smitten by such a strong woman. An interesting fade-out of her face as she says “I will do everything I can to see him live” (concerning her brother when arrested) occurs over shots of the “forty guns” riding on horseback.

Screen Shot 2020-06-27 at 7.19.40 PM

Despite being a western with the same two stars as THE MAVERICK QUEEN, so much about this production is as different from the other as night and day. The other was in glossy color and presented fairly straight-forwardly without a whole like of complicated background history among the characters. This one, directed by one the Big Names of fifties cinema, Samuel Fuller, has plenty of action in the central western town but tends to be more methodical and fussy in how it shows it.

The crisp CinemaScope monochrome showcases a rural landscape of Tombstone in the style of a European road picture; obviously the Hollywood studios like 20th Century Fox were competing with all of the art-house imports invading American screens at this time.

Screen Shot 2020-06-27 at 7.16.42 PM

This is a very “artsy” film, opening with exciting shots of horses and men in action, taken from ground level, and a few rather lengthy tracking shots that were just starting to get fashionable with Hollywood productions during this period, the funeral song sequence being a notable stand-out. Griff's warrant and gun battle with Charlie Savage (Chuck Hayward) is shot from a myriad of camera angles, mostly from either high up or so far below that you feel like you may get stepped on by Griff's boots.

I saw this scene before, despite not seeing the entire film, and wasn't aware at first when and where. Then I realized it was a favorite scene of Martin Scorsese's and he and others brought it up in various documentaries.

Screen Shot 2020-06-27 at 7.18.23 PM.png

Oh... and there are a lot of chickens on view. Also still more chickens, including some roosting over the coffins in the town's mortuary. Not sure how many lost their lives as dinner for the humans, but I am sure they had gotten quite used to seeing humans kill each other.

Despite all of the gun tooting, the men in this town are quite clean. We get multiple bath “tub” shots. Made me remember Sundance's problem in the previous film.

Music (credited to Harry Sukman) is used more sparingly to add a more authentic feel, with the emphasis on the sound effects. Yet it does appear in various doses. It gets rather maudlin and nostalgic-for-the-old-days when Griff tells a sobering up Chico that his way of life is now considered freak-ish and out of touch with the changing times of 1881. Like some of the fifties clothing and hair fashions lurking amid the 19th century setting, the melodies do date the film a bit.

Overall this is a very well made movie, but I did not exactly warm up to it. Had to re-watch parts in order to keep track of the complex story with its changing positioning of characters on different sides of the law.

Screen Shot 2020-06-27 at 7.12.58 PM.png

Ultimately...and this is the main point of the movie and my review...we once again see that Stanwyck's Jessica is a good woman at heart and she gets her just reward with a new man after losing That Other Man, this time being her brother instead of her father. “It is very hard to forget the man you love” as she tells Louvena Spanger in mourning after Wes' death.

FORTY GUNS may currently be viewed on YouTube.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming up in July

Threesomes and foursomes

July 4: JULES AND JIM (1962)

July 11: BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE (1969)

Doris Day career gal

July 18: LOVER COME BACK (1961)

July 25: THE THRILL OF IT ALL (1963)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Essential: JULES ET JIM (1962)

TB: When Jlewis and I discussed which films to review this month, I told him I would be flying to Chicago for the 4th of July and would really not have time to go in-depth too much on our first selection. My travel plans changed at the last minute due to the recent increase of Covid-related cases. When I read his review yesterday, I realized that there is nothing I could really add to it anyway. Except maybe...

...a brief comment or two about my first encounter with this film during my days at the USC School of Cinema-Television in the 90s. I remember we were told a lot about Truffaut and the beginning of the Nouvelle Vague. The professor spent time discussing the scene where Jeanne Moreau's character dresses like a man, which Jlewis goes over. In many ways, it's Moreau's film though she doesn't play one of the title characters.

Jlewis doesn't seem to like the way the film concludes, but I favor bleak endings since I think they tend to be more realistic. I enjoy films that leave us hanging with a lot of different thoughts and emotions. The drama is certainly over the top in the last sequence, but it's very provocative.

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 9.47.39 PM.jpeg

Oh, one more comment. I attended a luncheon once where Lauren Bacall was the guest of honor. She did a question-and-answer session about her career. Naturally, she talked a great deal about Bogey. But she also liked discussing her friends. And she told us that when she filmed a TV movie in France in 1993 she had the chance to work with Jeanne Moreau and they became fast friends. She thought very highly of Moreau's skills as an actress.

***

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 4.31.04 PM

JL: François Truffaut's New Wave epic has plenty to answer for. It is a one-of-a-kind piece that stands on its own virtues and flaws, but has so many “connections” with so many other films. In fact, it will be difficult for me to discuss this one without the great sin of title dropping, but I will attempt to get it all accomplished in just two paragraphs and be done with it. May lose myself just a bit towards the end.

The Brits were among the first to mimic (to a degree) its flashy, then-trendy editing style with, among others, the Oscar winning TOM JONES which repackaged some of the French Look for easier consumption in Hollywood, and the Richard Lester comedies followed with a similar use of freeze-frames (more fashionable in the past with sports-reels, but now all the rage post-400 BLOWS), jump cuts and constant zig-zagging. You can watch both this and A HARD DAY'S NIGHT featuring the Beatles and have fun counting all of the oh-so-cute resemblances.

Equally immediate in impact was the clever use of iris-out effects, a silent film era device given a new face-lift with squares instead of circles, that soon became commonplace on TV during the swinging sixties, along with Georges Delerue's popular music score (opening like a circus show but getting less jolly as it progresses) that prefigured scores in later doomed romances like Franco Zeffirelli's version of ROMEO & JULIET and, of course, LOVE STORY by decade's close. In turn, Truffaut and his crew borrowed plenty from all that came before them, like Robert Youngson's homages to silent comedy stars (note the opening credits channeling a bit of Hal Roach and Mack Sennett) and Orson Welles' “News on the March” gimmick in CITIZEN KANE of scratching up selected newly shot scenes to blend in better with the already scratched-up 1910s material being utilized.

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 4.55.53 PM

It is little surprise that the same director was originally scheduled to work on BONNIE AND CLYDE years later, since that one also carries the JULES ET JIM influence. Both features provide fun and frivolity during the first three quarters with just the occasional signs of future gloom suggested, then we get a final climax of I-did-not-see-that-coming. Both storylines ask the key question: Are you really free when you think you are free? Fittingly we get a newsreel of German book burning late in the presentation (i.e. two main characters are writers) and it is interesting that this was filmed in 1961 when Otto Adolf Eichmann's trial and popular movies like JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG reminded a great many just how restricted freedom was a few decades earlier.

Our characters rebel against society's restrictions by living a bohemian lifestyle (and apparently they each have some invisible trust fund that helps them do so financially), but there are still feelings of possessiveness, jealousy and, of course, lots of restless wanderlust that will never be satisfied.

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 4.57.47 PM.jpeg

Catherine in particular, as played by Jeanne Moreau, dislikes protocol herself but still dictates it to all of the men she is involved with. Even in little ways such as forbidding Jim (played by the still living Henri Serre) from putting his hat on the bed and ordering him constantly “to talk” to her in private. She is especially demanding of the already domesticated Jules (Oskar Werner) who remains faithful to her during marriage even if she is unable to be herself. Unfortunately Jules can not grant her a final wish of being “distributed among the winds” since the current society norms won't allow it.

Our sarcastic narrator (Michel Subor) labels her a queen but there are limits to being one. The title does not include Catherine despite how she dominates the screen. The true “love story” here involves our two male characters, one from France and one from Austria, who could not be separated by the Great War pitting them on opposite fronts and adding the fear of potentially killing each other in combat.

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 4.50.37 PM

Therefore, it is Catherine's job to keep them distracted by dating both. In some respects, this is a “gay” film in terms of emotions if not actual physical activity. (Actually homosexuality is fleetingly mentioned when they attend a play referencing it pre-war but Jim doesn't think it is a big deal despite how much the play's author thinks it is.)

In the most famous scene that has been recycled in too many film compilations to count, she draws a mustache on her face and sports a boy's cap in order to get that pair's mojo up and chase her accordingly.

screen-shot-2020-07-03-at-7.16.59-am.jpeg

She later makes the threesome into a foursome by also getting sexual with Albert (Serge Rezvani), the one who initially got the boys interested in some Adriatic ancient statue resembling her facial features earlier. She may struggle being faithful to just one man, but she demands power over ALL of them.

She is not quite the feminist/suffragette despite expecting to have equal freedoms enjoyed by the opposite gender during the years “circa” 1912 through 1932. Simply put, she just wants to do whatever she wants and when she wants. Jules discovers in their marriage that she gets quite bored with the routine of playing mother to him and their little Sabine (Sabine Haudepin) even though she puts on quite a show when Jim visits. She makes a go with “domesticity” with Jim...and with Jules accepting the situation with no jealousy at all since he loves Jim equally and wants him to be happy, but she (more than Jim) gets all upset when they fail to produce a baby just like Sabine. This is despite the fact that she hardly wanted to be a mother to Sabine in the first place. Not surprisingly, we see the girl bonding a lot better on screen with daddy than mommy.

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 5.05.16 PM.jpeg

Human behavior is never very consistent and many of us as individuals go through stages as to what we want and don't want in life. When Jim has had enough of Catherine even though he still is “drawn to her”, he settles with the more tranquil Gilberte (Vanna Urbino) who plays a more authentic matron when Jules visits him later on. Before the war, he is quite captivated by lively Thérèse (Marie Dubois) dating Jules for a short period and playing “locomotive” with her cigarette at a time when it was still taboo for ladies to smoke.

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 5.11.15 PM

At a reunion over a decade later at a Paris club, he acts all polite when listening to her constant talk-talk but is now tuning her out...and that masterful Truffaut cleverly gets two others to walk directly in front of her on screen so that we only see Jim's facial reactions of discomfort. One also senses that Jim feels less “bohemian” among the newer “bohemians” of roaring twenties Paris than he did before the war, not knowing how to react to one fellow who introduces his girlfriend as “empty headed” and saying that the only thing good between them is the sex. Jim takes great emotional stock in his physical affairs, even the tormented ones involving Catherine.

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 5.25.13 PM

It is a real downer that the film ends the way it does, but...c'est la vie. It is a trademark of French film-making, being so anti-Hollywood with a disregard for happy couples...and threesomes...riding off into the sunset. Then again, America itself was in the mood for these different kinds of endings in its entertainment during the transforming sixties, although it wasn't until after BONNIE AND CLYDE that a fetish developed for it.

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 5.17.10 PM

Intriguingly quite a few famous titles released during those last years of the decade involved “gotcha” endings involving car crashes at the Chicago Democratic Convention, motorcycle hippies getting shot from pick up trucks, “wild bunches” in their final battles down Mexico way, Ratzo...Rico, I mean...dying on a Miami bound bus and Butch and Sundance shown in freeze-frame, although that scene mirrors Truffaut's earlier 400 BLOWS more than JULES ET JIM.

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Jlewis doesn't seem to like the way the film concludes, but I favor bleak endings since I think they tend to be more realistic. I enjoy films that leave us hanging with a lot of different thoughts and emotions. The drama is certainly over the top in the last sequence, but it's very provocative.

As I stated, c'est la vie. Absolutely nothing wrong with a typically French anti-Hollywood ending like that. Obviously I enjoyed this one enough to watch it a couple times over the last three decades. Yes, the drama at the end is quite "over the top".

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jlewis said:

Well... as I stated, c'est la vie. Absolutely nothing wrong with a typically French anti-Hollywood ending like that. Obviously I enjoyed this one enough to watch it a couple times over the last three decades. Yes, the drama at the end is quite "over the top".

Perhaps you wanted it both ways, a daring and rather subversive French film that was still going to have a happy Hollywood ending. Which of course, was not possible, since Truffaut is not that kind of storyteller.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One cultural observation. Americans like happy endings simply because they tend to be sentimental, religious in an all-consuming way, idealistic, emotional and, most importantly, nostalgic of the past regardless of what all happened in it... and this nation has had its share of atrocities i.e. institutionalized slavery, devastating diseases, slaughter of the natives, segregation of all races, anti-immigration violence, wartime prejudices, etc. The French tend to view their history more matter-of-fact with the belief that all humans have a dark side regardless. They also have a better memory of the bad ol' days as well as the good ol' days than the Americans with a history of Black Death, religious revolutions, corrupt authorities in power, royal heads getting de-thrown and beheaded, emperors like Napoleon and quite often being the losers in wartime. So basically they tend to be a little more cynical.

With all that said, Truffaut was the one New Wave director that Hollywood seemed to like the most. His style of storytelling was more compatible with the Yanks than Godard, Resnais & company.  I also think he had the easier to please personality that the American studio heads favored, which is why Bonnie & Clyde was originally set up for him personally. Later Spielberg grabbed him to appear in front of the cameras for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Perhaps you wanted it both ways, a daring and rather subversive French film that was still going to have a happy Hollywood ending. Which of course, was not possible, since Truffaut is not that kind of storyteller.

I did say the ending was a "downer" and that is true. Yet I am totally OK with the ending, which is why I stated that I watched this movie a few times. Obviously I wouldn't had it really "downed" me that much. Ha ha! In addition, I agree with what you stated above about needing entertainment to be provocative at times. In fact, that is what characterized American cinema during the late sixties and early seventies (as I tried to explain in so many words) when there were lots of "gotcha" endings much like Jules et Jim. Later on...  post-Star Wars and the arrival of the feel good summer blockbuster, you do notice a  trend back towards happier endings in mainstream American cinema.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jlewis said:

One cultural observation. Americans like happy endings simply because they tend to be sentimental, religious in an all-consuming way, idealistic, emotional and, most importantly, nostalgic of the past regardless of what all happened in it... and this nation has had its share of atrocities i.e. institutionalized slavery, devastating diseases, slaughter of the natives, segregation of all races, anti-immigration violence, wartime prejudices, etc. The French tend to view their history more matter-of-fact with the belief that all humans have a dark side regardless. They also have a better memory of the bad ol' days as well as the good ol' days than the Americans with a history of Black Death, religious revolutions, corrupt authorities in power, royal heads getting de-thrown and beheaded, emperors like Napoleon and quite often being the losers in wartime. So basically they tend to be cynical about everything. Even in an animated cartoon like Tale of a Fox, we have a vicious villain who uses and abuses everybody around him but still gets promoted in the end by the king.

With all that said, Truffaut was the one New Wave director that Hollywood seemed to like the most. His style of storytelling was more compatible with the Yanks than Godard, Resnais & company.  I also think he had the easier to please personality that the American studio heads favored, which is why Bonnie & Clyde was originally set up for him personally. Later Spielberg grabbed him to appear in front of the cameras for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

It seems like an over-generalization to say Americans like happy endings. Not all Americans are sentimental or wanting soppy denouements at the end of their books, plays and films. 

Also I wouldn't characterize the French as necessarily more cynical. They also display a culture that expresses joie de vivre, passion and romance. 

Truffaut and the Nouvelle Vague filmmakers (many of them having written extensive reviews for Cahiers du Cinema) were in some way rebelling against the Hollywood establishment because they objected to the artificiality of the Hollywood endings. Did they go over the top? Yes, sometimes. Truffaut sending Catherine's car off the bridge to a sudden death is shocking and is going to have the audience walking out of the theater with hairs on end. And that's precisely what was intended.

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

It seems like an over-generalization to say Americans like happy endings. Not all Americans are sentimental or wanting soppy denouements at the end of their books, plays and films.

Gee, I hope I wasn't coming across THAT way! Of course, I totally agree. Nobody should be typecast a certain way. No country should be typecast a certain way.

Sorry. I should have rephrased myself better. I was thinking of Hollywood operating in the more "optimistic" New World compared to the more "jaded" Old World but wound up confusing to no end. Please forgive me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Jlewis said:

Sorry. I should have rephrased myself better. I was thinking of Hollywood operating in the more "optimistic" New World compared to the more "jaded" Old World but wound up confusing to no end. Please forgive me.

Yes, that does seem confusing. Not sure why you're confusing things. :) 

Truffaut and his contemporaries saw themselves as realistic modern-day storytellers. They were not reverting back to any old jaded views about society. Again, their films are not advocating cynicism. They are advocating a form of verite. A form of truth.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To make myself clear here... and I did re-edit my post above accordingly, I don't think one style of story telling is any better than another. Of course, it depends on what mood you are in. If you are feeling depressed, maybe When Harry Met Sally is better for you than Jules et Jim. Obviously the former film does not have any "downer" ending. Yet you do have to view certain movies in the correct mood and emotional state. When I suggested that Hollywood tends to favor happier endings than many European films and got all wishy washy and over analytical in my discussion about Americans being more nostalgic and "sentimental" (and, no, I should not have brought up the polarizing word "religion" into the mix but I was, again, making generalizations without the intention of stirring any pot here) than the French , who certainly are capable of being equally sentimental at times, I was painting with very broad brush strokes, so to speak.

A good movie to review sometime, unless it has been done before, is The Sorrow and the Pity. It is an interesting perspective on how the French were coping in 1969 over what all happened back in 1940-1944. For various reasons, that movie was on the back of my mind when I was making contrasts between the French and the Americans and how they often reflect on the past, sometimes incorporating these feelings in their entertainment.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...