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Movie Rambles


MissGoddess
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OH WOW--I forgot how wonderful the ending to The Great Dictator really is. That speech was so moving...especially when you consider the context behind it....wish some of our present day "speakers" would say things like this.

 

So glad it was Chaplin day! It never ceases to amaze me how a guy who is responsible for making so many people laugh-is also the same guy who can bring all those same people to tears all at the same time.

 

.

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MISS GODDESS writes June 24th: "I've concluded I need a thread to post my random movie watching comments and also to (hopefully) keep me from taking too many other threads off-topic. If a thread has been started on a movie elsewhere I will try to post my comments there, this will just be for those films I don't necessarily want to start a new one for. And any one and everyone is welcome to jump in with their own movie critiques or what not, if they like..."

 

This is a wonderful idea for a thread Miss Goddess, if I hadn't said so before. And successful too...so many responses. One can tell when people want to engage in a topic by the number of responses. Posting ten, twelve, twenty threads does not make one popular. Seeing so many threads created by one, two or three individuals, (duplicate threads if you will) only to be unanswered definitely says a lot. With MOVIE RAMBLES we need not create a million threads for every little cinematic thought that comes to our little pointed head, when this thread can cover any little cinematic thought that comes into our little pointed head.

 

So what comes into my pointed little head this fine sunny Sunday New York morning? I've just seen TCM's offering up of Gregory Peck for today's Summer Under the Stars. Just two movies for now. I sometimes forget about Gregory Peck; others light burns soooo brightly. But there he is in "The Great Sinner" playing a gambling addict. He must be sick; gambling must be a disease. I wasn't convinced before, but I am. Why? Becuz of Ava. To have Ava Gardner with her arms around your neck, her face close saying she's yours to take...and you still want to go gambling...dude, this must be a sickness.

 

Now I'm checking out Peck in "The Paradine Case." There's a bit of "Laura" in this where a man is falling in love with a ghost or an image of someone rather than the reality of her. He's in her house, looking at undergarments on the bed. "I want to save you. I want to fight for you," Peck says to Alida Valli. "Part lawyer part lover...part 'frustrated' lover," says wife Ann Todd. I love that Peck was not afraid to play flawed characters. Tall dark and handsome with a wonderfully sonorous voice; I love the dark streak he's brought some of his characters. I don't know why I've never appreciated this movie before...thought it too stuffy, but now on this Sunday morn, I'm seeing the beauty of this Hitchcock flick. Valli is beautiful in that "european" way (whatever that means).

 

Peck's a lawyer who will try to frame a man for murder becuz he's fallen in love with his client. Hitchcock is one twisted dude, I tell ya. I'll watch how this plays out. All I see now is Peck is almost frantically begging that she allow him to defend her. She's got him twisted around her finger. I love lethal ladies. Right now, I'm swooning over the beauty of Louis Jourdan. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous! Different types of womanhood is explored in "The Paradine Case" (great name too). Adoring subservient wife: (Ethel Barrymore to Laughton), faithful and patient wife: (Ann Todd to Peck), logical, questioning, straight-forward, women's libber-type who won't go quietly from the men's smoking room while the men talk: (Joan Tetzel to her dad: Charles Coburn), sultry, sexy, sexual, femme fatale vixen: (Alida Valli to...any man in her path). By the by...Tetzel makes me think of Diana Lynn.

 

This is my movie rambling for today. I shall watch this unfold...watching Hitchcock dissect a man in love, falling... falling...falling...in love and to his doom.

 

Message was edited by Cinemaven--even if I am rambling and my head is pointed, I've still got to correct my grammar. ;-)

 

P.S. Message was edited by CineMaven: Oh yeah, I'm specifically making pointed jabs, but not at you dear.

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Oh...didn't like the cop-out ending of "The Paradine Case" but twisty movie up till then. Should've ended with that shot of Charles Laughton picking his teeth, condemning Mrs. Paradine to death by hanging and then maybe dissolve to Gregory Peck sitting in Coburn's office with head down. Aaah, always give the suckers hope. :-(

 

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> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

> This is a wonderful idea for a thread Miss Goddess, if I hadn't said so before. And successful too...so many responses. One can tell when people want to engage in a topic by the number of responses. Posting ten, twelve, twenty threads does not make one popular. Seeing so many threads created by one, two or three individuals, (duplicate threads if you will) only to be unanswered definitely says a lot. With MOVIE RAMBLES we need not create a million threads for every little cinematic thought that comes to our little pointed head, when this thread can cover any little cinematic thought that comes into our little pointed head.

>

 

Well said!

 

> But there he is in "The Great Sinner" playing a gambling addict. He must be sick; gambling must be a disease. I wasn't convinced before, but I am. Why? Becuz of Ava. To have Ava Gardner with her arms around your neck, her face close saying she's yours to take...and you still want to go gambling...dude, this must be a sickness.

>

 

True, that. B-)

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It absolutely reminded me of "Rebecca" and "Laura." The voyeuristic aspect of it sounds like something that might be explored in that fall movie class that ChiO will be doing in September.

 

Hitchcock, the ultimate voyeur. Will you be joining that class Bronxgirl??? (How 'bout that Laughton picking his teeth at the end).

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> {quote:title=rohanaka wrote:}{quote}

> OH WOW--I forgot how wonderful the ending to The Great Dictator really is. That speech was so moving...especially when you consider the context behind it....wish some of our present day "speakers" would say things like this.

>

> So glad it was Chaplin day! It never ceases to amaze me how a guy who is responsible for making so many people laugh-is also the same guy who can bring all those same people to tears all at the same time.

>

> .

 

Your last comment there is the one I always use when I try to explain Chaplin's "magic" for

me...he's literally the only moviemaker who at his greatest moments made me laugh and cry

at the same time. I had read this about him and thought it was, frankly, so much "cornballs". :P

Until I watched *The Gold Rush* and couldn't believe my own reaction. It's magic, I tell you!

 

Did any of you see the wonderful documentary?

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Hi Maven! I really enjoyed your taken on The Paradine Case, it actually makes me curious

to see it again. I'm still rather "cool" toward it, mainly because none of the characters, with

the exception of Coburn and his daughter, appeal to me and because I've never been very

keen on Alida Valli. She's beautiful but rather lacking in humor to me and sometimes I find

that a bit wearing. I adore Gregory Peck but for some reason this character doesn't resonate

with me, either. However, I do appreciate that Hitchcock carefully crafted something unique

and I'm sure I'm missing lots of things.

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Of course I missed it...I have got to start paying better attention to the schedule.

 

Miss G--did you record Limelight? How did you like it? I made it through the end of Monsier Verdoux....and gave out. Too tired to keep watching. (plus...that was such an "unusual" story...I don't think I could have made it through another.)

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Hi Kathy! I recorded *Limelight* and watched the first half-hour but I still have to see the whole

thing. *M. Verdoux* is an "acquired" taste, especially for Chaplin fans. I wish you could have

seen the documentary because it touched on how this movie really riled the American audience.

It's the blackest of black comedies but there's a terrific speech when he's in court where he makes

many brilliant points.

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I agree this is probably an "aquired" taste. I do like some aspects of black comedy...but this one really stretched it for me...The scenes with Martha Raye were hilarious (in the canoe--at the wedding, etc) and I thought the story was "resolved" well at the end...but still found it all a bit too disturbing. I agree--he did get some good lines in the courtroom speech and also the things he says afterward...I just don't think this one is my cup of tea. Robert Osborne touched a little on how unpopular it was--talking about how Orson Welles only getting recognition for his part in the film AFTER it was criticized so heavily. I'm sure he appreciated that---Not! :-) I think this is one of those stories that just has to find the right audience.

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Anyone else watch/record any Marie Dressler today? I really like that they played quite a few pre-codes today, including one which also stars Norma Shearer. And of course, the great ol' musical *The Hollywood Revue of 1929* of which most people have only seen a brief clip in *That's Entertainment! Part III*

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Hello there Miss G., re: "The Paradine Case" I understand your points:

 

(1.) the beautiful but humorless Alida Valli

(2.) easy breezy relationship between Coburn and Tetzel

(3.) ehhhhh, Peck...you just weren't into him in that movie.

 

But I hope one day you give it another chance. Valli was good as an uncompromising lethal lady whose powers extended beyond prison bars. It was good seeing Peck get knocked off his self-righteous pedestal and have him being twisted around in a really good courtroom drama with the Hitchcockian touch. ...One more chance???

 

Okay, back to discussing Dressler & Chaplin.

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*And of course, the great ol' musical The Hollywood Revue of 1929*

 

This is very similar to Show of Shows, also 1929. which is a variety show of sorts. I think I like Shows a bit more for the content. But both are so interesting and not just a little bit wistful. I was touched by the very last sequence of Hollywood Revue. The whole cast is singing, "Singing in the Rain," and the camera does a tracking shot of the faces of some of them as they sing. They are just being themselves while they sing. It's not a routine. They don't seem to know that the camera is on them. Joan Crawford looks so sweet and innocent. We see the faces pass and review. Most I didn't recognize. Buster Keaton wasn't singing and he was aware of the camera and trying to be funny, the big ham. Near the end we see Marie, she does a little thing with this tiny umbrella and then something with her face, and then something else again with her face, you have to see it. They all looked natural, regular, and happy. So long ago.

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I was sad that I couldn't sit all day in front of the tube - like Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight, eating chocolates! That would have been my preferred position, but instead took my daughter swimming and then did housework and made dinner. I missed some of the most interesting programming TCM has shown for a while, or is likely to show within the next two months at least (I checked). Most disappointing was missing The Girl Said No and The Vagabond Lover. I tried to stay up for Emma and Min and Bill but it was just too late for my poor brain to make it and DVDR is not working. :(

Woke up still on the couch (no chocolates) to They Won't Forget...so that made up for it a bit.

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> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

> Hello there Miss G., re: "The Paradine Case" I understand your points:

>

> (1.) the beautiful but humorless Alida Valli

> (2.) easy breezy relationship between Coburn and Tetzel

> (3.) ehhhhh, Peck...you just weren't into him in that movie.

>

> But I hope one day you give it another chance. Valli was good as an uncompromising lethal lady whose powers extended beyond prison bars. It was good seeing Peck get knocked off his self-righteous pedestal and have him being twisted around in a really good courtroom drama with the Hitchcockian touch. ...One more chance???

>

> Okay, back to discussing Dressler & Chaplin.

 

Hi CMaven! I'll always give Hitch another chance. ;) He's my koala bear.

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Hi Jackie, I feel your "pain"! I missed Tillie and The Vagabond Lover, The Girl Said No as well

as most of The Hollywood Revue (but I did catch "Singin' in the Rain"). It was a great day

for movies, a great day in TCM's schedule for the whole of 2008!

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I am going to ramble.

 

Let me start with a definition:

SUBLIME: "adjective ( -limer , -limest )

of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe."

 

To me, this definition describes Greta Garbo's performance in "Camille."

 

SUPPORTING CAST: With friends like these who needs enemies?

Henry Daniell as the oily, sleazy, snide, sadistically, elegant Baron de Varville or Baron de Varvile. (I could see the better-looking George Sanders in this part). But I have to admit, Daniell was perfect). Actually he is a man in love but has come to terms with the fact he's only wanted for his money by Camille. And once he comes to terms with that...he no longer has to be nice to her.

 

Camille: "You play beautifully."

Baron: "You lie beautifully."

Camille: "That's more than I deserve."

Baron: "That's not half as much as you deserve."

 

Maybe if Camille hadn't met Armand, Varville would've stood a chance. But can money ever compete with youth...and love??

 

Camille's friends. They don't care about her. They are unpleasant, frivolous, users and the whole idle lifestyle is captured wonderfully. When she's sick and coughing during a party no one notices or cares. When Camille wants to go to the country with Armand, Prudence threatens to have her creditors hound her. When Camille's on her death bed Prudence (Laura Hope Crews) wants money from her. Laura Hope Crews did a great job as a dressmaker. Nanine (Jessie Ralph)-the faithful servant, Olympe-another airhead prostitute, Gaston, faithful friend were all very good.

 

UNABASHED LOVE: Robert Taylor was absolutely beautiful, youthful full of ideals and vulnerability and sensitivity. He is quite the lovesick girl in this film. In fact, this is a real reversal of roles, gender roles. I daresay Armand is the Rhett Butler role for Taylor's career. He's jealous of the Baron de Varville. He loves her so, but she plays him like a yo-yo becuz of her own conflicts. He gives her his heart and gets kicked in the teeth for it. He is hurt beyond beyond. He is a zombie, he is beaten down by her rejection. He gives an impassioned speech of a deeply wounded young lover whose soul has been shredded: "How could you do what you did. I'll tell you. Because your heart is a thing that can be bought and sold. Yes I know, you gave it to me for a whole summer. But when it came to a choice the jewels and carriages he could give you were worth my love, my devotion, my life." He calls the casino crowd into the drawing room and declares in front of all of Paris: "Come in. Come in here all of you. You see this woman? You know her? Then listen to what I'm going to say. I accepted her favors because I thought she loved me. I let her make sacrifices for me when there were others who had more to give. But bare witness, I owe her nothing! Take it. Go on take it. Buy camelias, buy diamonds, horses and carriages. Buy moonlight. Buy a grave!!" I felt bad for young Armand. My heart broke for him becuz he didn't have this one vital important piece of information: that she does this all for him. I don't think Robert Taylor ever really did any better than he did in this role playing opposite the icon of the movies. He stood toe-to-toe with the great Garbo. If he personified Love, she personified Self-Sacrifice.

 

THE ONE, THE ONLY...: Yeah yeah, there are Garbo threads on board, but hey I'm movie rambling here. Garbo as Camille sacrifices her own happiness, sacrifices the short time she has left to make sure Armand's future in France will be secure and not weighed down becuz he fell for a cheap common courtesan.

 

Armand: "I thought I meant something to you."

Camille: "You mean too much. Already."

 

Garbo had the wonderful ability to play opposite emotions simultaneously. I think that is one of the unique things about her performance in this film. She laughs and cries at the same time. Impossible? Nope, watch the scene where the Baron de Varville comes home unexpectedly when she has already made a rendezvous for Armand to come back to her apartment. He knocks, he rings but she can't answer the door. She plays it off to the Baron saying that maybe she's shutting out the great love of her life. Ooh! Ouch!

 

Her Camille is a realist; she knows what she is and doesn't hide it from him. She knows she needs $$$ and will do what she can to get it. She wants to go to the country with Armand but needs $40K to pay off her debts and she asks the Baron. Now really, that's not very nice of her. How tacky to ask one man to finance your dalliance with another man. But she is what she is. Actually maybe Varville is the one making the sacrifices. But I think not. He, too, is a realist. And this relationship with Camille...well even he knows it is what it is. When the Baron doesn't give it to her she pouts and asks why? But of course, he relents becuz he loves her (or let's just say he wants her...wants to own her) and gives her the money. She thanks him with a perfunctory kiss on the cheek. He smacks her. She is hurt; she is disgusted with what she had to do to get the money; but she slightly smiles and chuckles to herself that, hell...she got the money. And I think deep down she doesn't feel she deserves Armand...I believe she believes she does NOT deserve to be loved.

 

Garbo gives a subtle performance here. She's not as "actress-y" as she can be. Most of her emotions are not big; small sighs, a furrowed brow. The exquisite way she teasingly touches. And frankly I think (for me) I found "Camille" to be her sexiest role because she it plays so masculine. She's the dude in control and Taylor is the lovesick girl. She's on top and he's in a submissive position, even sometimes filmed like that. He's a jealous little milksop. The Baron's villa is just beyond the hill and Armand says: ?I always know he?s there.? But Camille replies, ?But I?m always here.? Aaaah silly fool. Tricks are for kidz!

 

When she's asked by Armand's father, played by the great Barrymore (Lionel, this time) to give up his son she goes through a slew of emotions. She tries to fight for herself, for her happiness but know that she loves Armand more than herself. She is being asked to give up her life's blood: Armand's love. She hasn't long to live anyway, why can't she have this happiness. The prospect of giving up his love, of hurting him forever makes her weak and she drops to her knees holding onto the table. She tearfully agrees to do it and Barrymore humbly thanks her. She looks at him with tearful eyes and says in deepened voice: "Make no mistake monsieur. Whatever I do, it's not for you. It's all for Armand." Geez. I couldn't do it. Could you?

 

And when she puts her plan to action, she is cold to him. Cuts him to pieces with a comments like, "Wasn't one summer all you wanted?" It pains her to say it but she tells him: "I loved you as much as I can. If that's not enough, I'm not to blame." And her 'final solution' is to go back to the Baron de Varville. It will put the ultimate nail in her coffin, to end the relationship. She lets her faithful servant know that she is going to "make my love hate me. Make him hate me." This is a big plot point that she obscures with her face in her hands as she speaks. With every cutting word that Garbo delivers, with every dagger she uses to cut Armand down...she's actually placing it deeper and deeper into her heart. For her to give up her happiness for him is as devastating as watching Bogie put Ingrid Bergman on that plane in "Casablanca."

 

This, by Garbo, was a performance for the ages. Wonderful. Sublime.

 

Message was edited by CineMaven ...I had to edit to get it just right. Thank you for allowing me to ramble.

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Thank you, CM, that was beautifully described. I agree it's Garbo's greatest role and a real

tribute to her skills as an artist, for she was truly an artist, that she could inhabit a role

so comfortably which is as far removed from anything she could have been in real life as to

be imagined. She plays it her way and it's timeless.

 

For the first time last night I realized that the best man in the movie, the one I would have

gone for, was *_Gaston_*. I finally saw his worth, he was the best of all of them! He had a little

money, but just as important he was caring and generous and amusing. He wasn't stunning

looking like Armand, but I think he had more of a sense of humor and he was kinder than

the Baron. I cannot remember him from the book, but last night in Cukor's film,

he stood out in particular relief from the others.

 

I also agree that Taylor was a perfect Armand. However, I have never found Armand, the

character, remotely attractive. Taylor plays him beautifully, though, with real _passion_, more

than he'd ever exhibit again.

 

Keep on ramblin'! :D

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This Indie film sounds like one I may want to see:

 

http://www.redorbit.com/news/entertainment/1515637/a_director_takes_on_a_dicey_theme_spirituality/

 

I like how the writer of the article pointed out what the prevailing themes are in modern,

independent films. It's what I have always observed, that even in indie films the focus tends

to be on the more cynical, materialist side which makes too many of them, in my opinion, just

low budget copies of what Hollywood studios turn out.

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*The Americanization of Emily* is on tonight at 3:00 a.m. (EST), one of my favorite

movies of the 1960s. I just love Jim Garner's character and the marvelous "speeches"

Paddy Chayevsky wrote for him. Great, great movie and I encourage everyone to watch

or record it. I haven't seen it in ages, and I'm not sure I can stay up that late but I will

record it.

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