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Walk Softly Stranger (1950)


Thanks to Ollie I got to see this movie again after so long. It was one of my favorite

love stories. it was the first movie I saw starring *Valli* and I still like her best in this,

much better than in *The Third Man* (don't all you filmnoiristas kill me!). Actually, this

movie is rather different to how I remember it, much *darker*. In fact, I believe it could

be considered a film noir after all. And the love story is astonishingly subdued and

unsentimental ( :( ). I do love it though, so ignore my frownie face. It's got a crackly

script with some really sharp dialogue and *Joseph Cotten* is his most attractive.

He's perfect, as always, playing a man burdened by something eating him inside,

in this case it's a dark past. The movie rather reminds me of *Shadow of a Doubt* and

Preminger's *Fallen Angel*, in that we have a "hero" who is not one, coming into a

"typical American suburban type town" trailing all his city badness along with him. And

of course, a nice girl falls for him. Only this nice girl has baggage of her own, he may

have been wounded on the inside by the war but she lost her ability to walk by fooling

around on a ski slope (what in the world makes people want to do such things?). Everyone

in the movie is "damaged" by something or suffering some loss which adds to the "noir" vibe.


At the helm is Robert Stevenson, who directed a couple of nicely atmospheric dramas such as

*Jane Eyre* (with considerable Wellesian input) and *Woman on Pier 13* (I want to see that

again!) before turning to Hitchcock's TV show and Disney. Spring Byington is unvarnished and

unaffectedly agreeable as the widowed landlady who takes Cotten in and sort of adopts him in

place of the son she lost in the war. Paul Stewart is on hand as a scurvy remnant of the past

Cotten is trying to escape.


I hope this movie can be rediscovered, it deserves to be.


Alida Valli


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Sorry, I had forgotten that you said you had seen THE BIG PARADE some years ago. If you have not already done so, please vote for DVD releases for both THE BIG PARADE, and WHAT PRICE GLORY?, on the TCM Movie Data Base. They are supposed to share the info with all of the studios.


TCM programmer just told me a few weeks ago that THE BIG PARADE is definitely coming out in 2009, but I have heard that each year since 2004, when the new restoration was completed, and we are still waiting for a TCM premier let alone a DVD. WHAT PRICE GLORY? meantime looks pretty good, but could stand use some additional work as well.

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

> I have been searching for a place to ask this query and this seems to be the best one, I found.


> My question concerns the TCM running of Fred MacMurray films today-08/09/08. I have never and still am not a fan of Fred MacMurray. I am sure he was a wonderful son, father, grandfather, husband, uncle, etc. I just have never felt comfortable watching any of his films.


> In Double Indemnity, I think he fails miserable as believable. Edward G and Barbara are excellent, but Fred is not. I have watched that film numerous times and just don't get why he was cast in that part over many actors, who at that time. would have done a better acting job?.


> His comedies are okay, think he did better in his TV series. If anyone can convince me I am wrong, I welcome their answers. Thanks.


Hi Jenetico! Good questions because Fred's not the most exciting actor to come to

Hollywood. :P He's adequate to good in most of his romantic comedies, but I can think

of half a dozen men I would prefer to him in all those movies. However, for *Double Indemnity*

I can only imagine Billy saw a certain use for Fred's combination of chilly aloofness and

bland homogenity. He may have wanted a guy who was very "average" to show what such

a man might be capable of when he falls in with a manipulative gal like Phyllis (Stanwyck).

For myself, I prefer Fred and Barbara in *Remember the Night*, a nice little drama TCM doesn't air nearly often enough.

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> I always thought Valentino was not just a sex symbol, but a good actor as well.


I think he was a commanding presence on-screen, but I really haven't seen enough of his movies to feel comfortable making any judgment about this acting skills. Of course, silent-screen acting was a bit different.

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I was beginning to wonder about *The Bitter Tea of General Yen* which was rumored to be

coming to dvd and read this in the Classic DVD forum from digitalbits:


"...a box set of the four Frank Capra/Barbara Stanwyck films (due) out this holiday season or

early next year (Ladies of Leisure/Forbidden/The Bitter Tea of General Yen/The Miracle Woman);

and a screwball comedy set sometime next year (possible titles include Theodora Goes Wild/My

Sister Eileen/The Doctor Takes a Wife/some Jean Arthur)."


It's so encouraging to see more _1930s_ titles being talked about for dvd release.


Barbara Stanwyck



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Were you so quiet yesterday because you were in Trevor Heaven?? :P I really did get pulled

into several of his films I hadn't see before and a couple I had (I See a Dark Stranger and Green

For Danger). I even stayed up to watch *The Passionate Friends* and was very impressed! It

was one of the loveliest romances I had seen in a long time. And I'm not really a big admirer

of Ann Todd but Claude Raines and Trevor were so wonderful, so brilliant and emotional (much

more so than Icy Ann) that I couldn't take my eyes off it. TCM needs to air this in primetime

at least once so more people can see it. I only wish I had recorded it. I also liked the Grahame

Green story with Trevor and Maria Schell. I even think it did a better job of getting Green's

famous "conflict of Catholic faith" theme up on the screen than some of his other adaptations. I

was very moved by it. Much more than by *The Angel Wore Red*.


Anyway, if you saw any of Trevor's movies and would like to comment on them, anyone, I'd

love to hear what you think.


P.S. Was Deborah Kerr ever more beautiful than in I See A Dark Stranger? Or feisty?

I was quite impressed by the vividness of her loveliness. Hollywood usually improves on actresses when they cross over but I think she looked more blooming in her U.K. movies.

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I love Trevor's stiff-upper-lipness- he represents the best part of the British nature. He just cracks me up saying really hot lines in that cool, English way - anyone else would go completely over the top with some of the lines he had to say....but not Trevor. He underscores really emotional scenes by making his voice flat and cool, but you know underneath he's seething. Love that.

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

>we are "multi-faceted" moviewatchers--we chat, we watch....we do puzzles and color pictures....we watch some more....etc. :-)



That is what most of my family is like. We love to talk about the movie and most Sunday afternoons we watch an old TV show or a movie as we eat lunch. Having said that we NEVER, under any circumstances do that with my dad! He hates people talking during movies! It's actually pretty funny, because I love talking during movies, sharing my thoughts or a piece of trivia I picked up. So every once I will start talking without thinking. One of two things will happen. One, suddenly the volume has jumped from 19 to 64! LOL! Or two, it will be paused and stay paused for about thirty seconds after I am finished talking. Sometimes, just to annoy him I will be like "Thanks, Dad for pausing it." And I will continue talking. But that isn't the smartest thing to do! LOL!

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

> and they might as well work on the high-def transfer while they're at it


> Wouldn't that be eye-popping wonderful!! :-) I only have aVHS tape--and while the quality could be better--from what I remember in the documentary, I am sure it is still better than if they'd filmed it in that "true color" ( I think that's what they called it)


Well, let's see. If VHS has approximately 260 lines and DVDs have about 480, and HD can have up to 1080, well, you can imagine what a difference it would make to have a nice high-def transfer of the movie available.

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I have noticed that about his films as well...I can't say I am familar enough with the others to comment, but it seems to be a great way to bring out different aspects of the story and the events that are happening at any given moment.


I know some would disagree, but I have always enjoyed Spielberg (generally speaking). I can't say all of his movies are for me, but several of my favorites from the last 30 years forward seem to have his name on them.

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Spielberg told of the one time he met Ford and how Ford taught him the importance of the "horizon line" when composing a shot (or in a painting, for that matter


Hi Film Fatale--lucky guess I my part then about Ford's influence on his work. :-) The "face" thing that I mentioned just seems to be one of the areas that I have noticed where both of these men excel.

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

> Spielberg told of the one time he met Ford and how Ford taught him the importance of the "horizon line" when composing a shot (or in a painting, for that matter


> Hi Film Fatale--lucky guess I my part then about Ford's influence on his work. :-) The "face" thing that I mentioned just seems to be one of the areas that I have noticed where both of these men excel.


If only Ford's brilliance would rub off on a few more American directors! ;)

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I saw Ford's "Seas Beneath." Early sound movies never looked so good but came out so weird. The story involves a US Navy schooner type ship that, while towing a submarine, hunts Germany's most famous sub.


It takes nearly an hour to get going and when it does it is a little hard to believe. An AWOL American sailor hides on a small German boat managing to inflict a little damage. He is shot to death by the German captain. Then they put a life jacket on the body and send him out to sea with a hearty salute from the crew he just tried to kill. Stretches of the imagination like that and in the meeting along the way of the American and German crews in the Canary Islands and the main female lead and her dual role make this one tough to take.


Good things going for it are that it is mostly filmed on the boats and real ones at that. No miniatures or models. Probably 75% of the film is shot out doors and on the decks. Scenes with Germans are shot in German. Sparse title cards for translation are bothersome as you can only guess what the Germans are saying.


Bad part is neither boat could hit the other if their life depended on it. That may be more a matter of not tearing anything up. Dialogue is a bit rough. Not many Ford touches. Interesting only as a curiosity.

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Hi Chris! What I enjoyed in *Seas Beneath* was the photography on the ships. I actually

appreciated the limited subtitles for the Germans because I thought the visuals were expressive

enough of what they were conveying and it just felt more authentic. However, the characters

don't spring to life, at least the males don't, expcept the supporting players who all seemed very

real. I liked ol' George better in westerns, he was rather lackluster here.


I've heard that *Men Without Women* is supposed to be a much superior film along similar lines but I haven't seen that one.

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