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  • 1 month later...

"Millie" and "Kept Husbands" are two sparkling Pre-Code jewels on one disc that I watched over the weekend. I got this through Netflix, of all places, and it was an experience to journey back to the very l930s and see what sassy, bawdy and adult themes were being enjoyed by our great-grandparents back in those days of yore. "Millie" stars the legendary Helen Twelvetrees and she gives a powerhouse performance. She begins as a weepy, naive young girl who marries a heel. They have a daughter who grows up to be a beautiful young woman. In the meantime, Millie divorces her two-timing husband and then latches on to yet another lounge lizard whose even worse. At the end, she's embittered and haggard looking and murders one of her lover's whose trying to seduce her daughter. The courtroom scene is powerful but the film ends abruptly. I can only wonder if there was an alternative ending or if this is the way it was photographed. The second, "Kept Husbands," is bouncy, risque and brazen, starring a delightful cast of Joel McCrae and Dorothy Mackail. They're at the top of their game since Dorothy wants the handsome Joel to be her husband. He succumbs to her charms and her father gets the new son-in-law a decorative job doing nothing in his construction empire. Finally, Joel rebels against the endless parties and travel. The script is terrific, the acting brilliant and the cast delightful. Take a trip back to those old Bijou days of the early 30s. See what our great-grandparents were thrilling to--where all women were always elaborately gowned, everyone smoked and sipped cocktails, before slipping off into the boudoir!

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I have books with some beautiful photos of Dorothy but really have only seen her in a few things, like the Lombard/Gable flick "No Man of Her Own" [not to be confused with the flick of the same title with Stanwyck, but not the same story, as Barbara's was written by Cornell Woolrich].

 

I would really like to get this disc, but have not dealt with Netflix. Maybe I'll just try to order it through my regular channels.

 

My grandmother loved Helen Twelvetrees, and I am following in her footsteps, though one doesn't see much of her films nowadays, so this disc should be a treat.

 

Thanks for the heads up. The only dvd that I've heard might be out soon, might be Jacques Tati's "Playtime" which is supposed to be the longer version than the 120 minute one, released previously by Criterion.

 

 

 

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Therealfuster, you simply must buy the latest issue of "Films of the Golden Age," because it's got your favorite--Helen Twelvetrees--on the cover! There's a terrific appraisal of her life and film career and the cover shows her in a radiant green gown from the movie, "Disgraced." She had a tragic life, which might account for her outstanding performances of tragic heroines. The article correctly highlights the brutal treatment of Helen after her heyday was over with. She was cursed with bad career advice, physical and mental problems and brutal boyfriends. Another major detriment to her legacy is that her movies are not available for either viewing on TV or on tape or DVD. Maybe the DVD edition of "Millie" will change that.

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Yeah, I definely agree with Paty regarding the Helen Twelvetrees article in Films of The Golden Age magazine. This is probably the most detailed account ever written on her life and it will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about this forgotten legend.

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, all you Bette and Joan fans! Time to empty your piggybanks because tomorrow--June 14, 2005--Warner Brothers will release the Bette Davis and Joan Crawford collections! At a price tag of either $35 or $47, you'll be getting five classic movies for each diva--cinematic gems that have been digitally restored, refurbihsed and polished--or so the ads proclaim. Bette's collection will include some of our favorites: "Mr. Skeffington," "Dark Victory," "Now Voyager," "The Letter" and "The Star." Joan will shine in "Mildred Pierce," the marvelous "Humoresque," "The Damned Don't Cry," "Possessed" and "The Women." Curtis Bernhardt, one of Joan's favorite directors, will provide commentary on one of these movies. You can be assured he'll remind us of his tempestuous affair with Crawford as well as nearly everything that walked back in Hollywood's golden era. But--he is entertaining. I hope a future collection might feature Bette's greatest roles in "In This Our Lie" and the much maligned "Beyond the Forest." As for Joan, I'd like to see some of her earlier work, like 'Our Dancing Daughters' and "Our Modern Maidens." On the monster front, on September 6, a fabulous, must-have collection of eight Hammer movies will finally be released on a two-disc collection. This includes the MUCH requested "Brides of Dracula," "Curse of the Werewolf," "Kiss of the Vampire," "Evil of Frankenstein," the dandy "Phantom of the Opera", "Nightmare," "Night Creatures" and "Paranoic."

You get all these treasures for only $19.95 or $29.95. Whew. After all this buying, don't be surprised if you see somebody approaching you with a tin cup and uttering those famous 30s words: "Hey, Buddy, can you spare a dime?"

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for this head's up!

 

I will admit that I did know about the Joan/Bette collections. But I was not aware of the Hammer stuff coming out, so for that I am extremely grateful.

 

I love any Hammer, and even the Amicus competition films, as they are bloody good fun.

 

For true aestheticicm, I'll stay with the atmospheric Universal originals, but these brightly colored Hammer drive-in type fare really hits the spot sometimes and who cannot like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing together?

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  • 1 month later...

"Piccadily" is a silent, 1929 British movie that will leave you gasping at its beauty and stunning restoration. Starring Anna May Wong and that Zeigfeld hotcha gal, Gilda Gray, I was simply astonished throughout this art deco influenced movie made by genius E.A. Dupont. The camerawork by Werner Brandt,the lighting, the amazing set pieces by Alfred Junge, also go toward creating a nearly surreal story of a scullery maid (Wong) who becomes an overnight dancing sensation in the ultra chic Piccadily Club in London. The print is so pristine and devoid of scratches and color that it often looks like a candid camera as it glides over the patrons of the club, the elaborately dressed women and the men with patent leather hairdos. There's no information on who did the wardrobe but you'll be knocked out by the creations worn by both Wong and Gray. This latter actress by the way was one of Zeigfeld's biggest moneymakers when she did her scandalous "Shimmy" dance. As Mabel, she comes across as voluptuous, sexual and gorgeous. Those bead-fringed gowns and furs she wears are drop-dead ravishing. Another bit of info on Gray: she was tapped to perform some of her sexy shimmying in the MGM spectacular, "The Great Zeigfeld" in l937 and she practiced for months on her routines. Sadly, she was completely chopped out of hte final film because of its length and probably because that shimmying Gilda may have been too hot for audiences back then. While watching this movie, it reminded me much of GW Pabst and his Louise Brooks movies. In several sequences, Wong looks like Brooks with that slick page-boy hairstyle.

I got this movie through Netflix and I'm going to buy it for my permanent library.

Another double-feature I got through Netflix is from the Ernst Von Stroheim Collection: "Blind Husbands" (1919) and "The Great Gabbo" (1929). The latter was one of the first all-talkies and has rather bizarre musical numbers interpersed with a grim drama of a tyranical ventriloquist, Stroheim, who alienates everyone around him. Betty Compson stars as his long-suffering girlfriend. Stroheim gives a powerful performance and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance. You can't go wrong with this double-header from Netflix!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I saw "Piccadily" tonight at the Walter Reade, finally! Patypancake your review sums up the picture perfectly, I was astonished as well at how lavish were the sets and costumes. There is nothing like a double staircase in a movie!

 

Regarding Anna May Wong, what struck me about this film was how very contemporary she looked in all of her clothes. Almost everything she wore could have be worn today. And I also thought of Louise Brooks when I saw her haircut.

 

It was also amazing to see what an impact Charles Laughton had as well, even with such an early and brief (but pivotal) role. He barely had 5 minutes of screen time but how he used it! This is definitely worth watching on DVD.

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