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Movie Rambles


MissGoddess
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Howdy, Ken!

 

Looks like we have something in common. :)

 

Henry King did a lot of work at Fox and they've been very good at releasing the treasures in their vault.

 

My numbers are also similar to yours on the other directors, except Dassin.

 

You aren't really a fan of Hitchcock, are you Ken?

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Hey, can I come over to Miss Goddess and Ken's houses? You guys must not be able to open the door without tripping on dvds, huh?

 

Miss G., if you like *Broderick Crawford*, (and I share your love of Il Bidone), have you seen The Mob? He's great in a good, little known film that pops up on TCM occasionally.

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I think *Richard Basehart* is a really interesting actor with a great speaking voice whose career took a left turn when he married his Italian co-star in House on Telegraph Hill (1950) and moved to Italy for about a decade (until he and *Valentina Cortese* went pffft!). Of course, his career may not have taken off due to his casting in Voyage to the Bottom of the TV Sea in the '60s. Though if you ever have a chance to see the filmed play Andersonville, he was still capable of giving a vivid performance now and again, he didn't seem to fulfill the promise his brooding acting seemed t imply earlier in his career.

 

Why do you or anyone else think, after such interesting films as *Tension*, He Walked By Night and Fourteen Hours his career never really took off?

 

I suspect that he's one of the few guys who gave it all up for a combination of love (romantic, yes, but one must eat), a chance to do some interesting films in Europe, (i.e. Decision Before Dawn with Anatole Litvak & Oskar Werner, working with Fellini in La Strada & Il Bidone), and one more factor. I don't think Basehart had a great sense of humor. At least not on screen.

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Thanks for the nice welcome, Ken & Miss G.

 

In the last few years, I've started to have more affection for *Saboteur* than most of the big deal Alfred Hitchcock movies. Apparently he was none too happy with the casting choices for the leads, (Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane were rarely better) except for Norman Lloyd, who began his long friendship with the director on that movie. I like the weird touches throughout, such as the blind guy all by himself out in the cabin, the scene at the creek, the conversation with the bad guy in the car about his concerns for his son, and, natch, the homey freak show caravan sequence, the behind-the-movie screen, the intensity of the conflagration that starts the whole hegira across America and Lady Liberty, of course. Maybe Hitch's discontent made him more creative?

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Hi Moira!

 

I always am happy to talk about Mr Basehart and I know Bronxie is a fan, too, so maybe she'll chime in with her own thoughts.

 

I agree with your reasonings as to why his career didn't really go very far in Hollywood, and it is a loss for Hollywood films because he was very effective in the right roles and what makes him particularly attractive to me is his quality of vulnerability. In the few movies I've seen with him so far, the ones I like best are those that bring out that quality: Fourteen Hours, Tension, He Walked By Night (to a limited extent) and now, Il Bidone. In each of them to varying degrees I see in his eyes the look of a hurt child. It's very appealing and makes even a character like that in He Walked By Night hard to shake off emotionally. In *Il Bidone* he may have been playing a con man, but he seemed more like a play acting child and he really was very naive. He wasn't vicious like his fellows and therefore his is the only character we are left feeling any hope for.

 

His private life certainly was more tumultuous than his career, one wife died and the Italian love affair that fizzled and all, so I suppose he was more driven by personal things than pure ambition. I read an interview with him somewhere on the internet, if I find it again I'll post the link here, in which he did exhibit a very self-deprecating sense of humor that is absent from most of his roles. He said he was "too short" to be a successful leading man but I disagree, what about Alan Ladd? They are also rather similar in some respects besides their height.

 

Do you think Basehart may also have lacked a certain "edginess" which was becoming more and more the trend in the 1950s actors? I like that about him, but it might make him seem a little bland to others.

 

He really was terribly sweet in Il Bidone.

 

basehart-richard2.jpg

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> {quote:title=ken123 wrote:}{quote}

> Miss Goddess,

> I have one ( 1 ) Hitchock film North by Northwest, but I would consider Rear Window and if it ever gets on DVD Saboteur.

>

> Miss Moira,You are welcome any time !

 

Hi Ken---I'm having trouble myself finding the "right" version of his films to get on dvd. Some of the best versions, like Rear Window: Collector's Edition are good choices (and I recommend that one to you if you can find it--it is available in Amazon's "marketplace" I think), but titles like Saboteur turn up in all these random, public-domain versions that I am suspicious of. This is why I have so few of them on dvd.

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> {quote:title=moirafinnie6 wrote:}{quote}

> Thanks for the nice welcome, Ken & Miss G.

>

> In the last few years, I've started to have more affection for *Saboteur* than most of the big deal Alfred Hitchcock movies. Apparently he was none too happy with the casting choices for the leads, (Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane were rarely better) except for Norman Lloyd, who began his long friendship with the director on that movie. I like the weird touches throughout, such as the blind guy all by himself out in the cabin, the scene at the creek, the conversation with the bad guy in the car about his concerns for his son, and, natch, the homey freak show caravan sequence, the behind-the-movie screen, the intensity of the conflagration that starts the whole hegira across America and Lady Liberty, of course. Maybe Hitch's discontent made him more creative?

 

Saboteur is a marvelous Hitchcock movie for all the reasons you state, my only difficulty with it is as you alluded to, the casting of the leads. I can probably accept Priscilla, she's hard not to like, but Cummings, in spite of giving what is I'll admit a faultless performance, just never appealed to me AT ALL. He has a quality that rubs me the wrong way. Only this keeps the film from becoming a favorite "Hitch".

 

I think the villain is my favorite character, played with expert smarmy smoothness by Otto Kruger whose "charms" you and I, Moira, have discussed before. :)

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Sigh. Deepdiscount.com is really disappointing me lately. I just did a comparison of the "Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection" and the "Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection", both of which together contain his best Hollywood movies---on deepdiscount.com and Amazon.com. While the sale prices might be competitive with the 20% off on the Masterpiece Collection at DD, neither collection is in stock there! What a gyp.

 

 

Masterpiece Collection:

Deepdiscount: $84.88 (minus 20% if in stock: $67.90)

Amazon: $71.99

 

Signature Collection:

Deepdiscount: $75.50 (with 20%, $60.40)

Amazon: $53.49

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> {quote:title=ken123 wrote:}{quote}

> I have to agree with Miss G in regard to the Otto Krueger role. Imagine wealthy capitalists who were pro Nazis, I guess that is the " fictional " part of the film.

 

LOL

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I shall if I find a good deal, but so far I'm not. Amazon has now been forced by the evil state of New York to charge its customers SALES TAX (they are suing New York over this---yay!!!) therefore I won't order from them no matter what.

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I think the villain is my favorite character, played with expert smarmy smoothness by Otto Kruger whose "charms" you and I, Moira, have discussed before. :)

 

Well, Miss G., that's interesting, 'cause apparently our pal Otto was the last guy that Hitchcock wanted in the role. He thought that Kruger had been making one too many appearances as a villain in movies, and wanted someone else, though I can't recall who just now.

323187163.jpg

Otto Kruger, wondering why Hitch doesn't like him...

 

I guess he wanted someone more unexpected in the role, as he'd done in another one of his less over-analyzed flicks, Foreign Correspondent. I thought that Otto K. was perfectly smarmy in the scene with the grandchild. Can't wait to see Otto in Allotment Wives (1946) with Kay Francis on Sept. 26th during her SOTM. I've heard good things about this poverty row film noir from Mick LaSalle & Scott O'Brien.

 

323187166.jpg

I agree about Robert Cummings' ickiness normally, but, in Saboteur, King's Row (for the most part, though he is embarrassing to watch in a few scenes) and in a very little known movie, The Chase (1946) he appears with Peter Lorre and a guy who really makes my flesh crawl, (even though he's a far better actor than Cummings), Steve Cochran.

If you go to youtube link chase[/i]%281946%29&search_type=&aq=f]here, you can see a couple of scenes indicative of the creepy power of this Cornell Woolrich story. Somehow, Cummings' bland weaseliness fits the material---he's an everyman who might be capable of anything, as long as he eats.

323187162.jpg

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Thank you for that link, Moira. Looks like our boy Stevie could use some lessons in good manners or on how to treat a lady. ;) I looked into Netflix but unfortunately The Chase did not turn up. Hopefully TCM will show it, it looked pretty interesting in an ultra-hard boiled sort of way. Even Cummings manages to seem better in that company.

 

By the way, my first impression of Otto Kruger was not as a villain but as the (still smooth) philosopher in Douglas Sirk's Magnificent Obsession. I've never quite been able to shake that impression off, so seeing him in villainous roles remains an exceptional experience.

 

P.S. I like "Mr Roman's" peephole. Nice touch.

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[The Women in His Life|http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026006/] (1933) was the first revelation of Mr. Kruger's abilities as a good guy with shading. It just knocked me out. If you have an all region dvd player, (and from the sound of your collection, you probably do), I believe that there is a Region 2 dvd of the movie *The Chase* (1946), discussed [here|http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews30/chase_bury_me_dead.htm]. It really oughta be on TCM, though it is pretty obscure.

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I really enjoyed The Women in His Life, too! It was cool to see Otto in that part. He was also the romantic lead in a nice little Madge Evans drama, Beauty for Sale.

 

I'll check out that all-region dvd, thank you.

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As I type this, mon petit chat de cin?, Simone Simon, is braving the

objectionable advances of " Mademoiselle Fifi," the bizarre nickname of Kurt Kreuger's

Prussian officer, on her honor---even as she considers honor will be well lost in the service of her

"friends" who urged her "cooperation". Simone's petite blanchisseuse in

Mademoiselle Fifi (1944) is one of my favorite female characters.

Perhaps because it is always interesting and very emotional to see someone innocent

gradually confronted with the sorrier side of human nature. You are on the edge of your

seat as to whether this experience will change her character, will it make her cynical or

will she just give up and become like the rest of them? These for me are the central

questions that make Robert Wise's little movie so interesting---that and the always

interesting effects of people of disparate backgrounds being thrown together in close

quarters and undergoing difficult circumstances. This kind of scenario seemed to be

much better handled in classic movies than later on, when it became the staple of "disaster"

movies. (Guy de Maupassant's stories earlier sparked John Ford and Dudgley Nichols when

they crafted the script for Stagecoach. I also wonder if Litvak's The Joureny may

not also have been inspired by them). Right now I am copying my vhs recording of Fifi

to dvd and I never seem to tire of this timeless tale.

 

This movie makes me think about some of some other female movie characters,

and here is a partial list of those I find the most fascinating:

 

1. Scarlett O'Hara - Vivien Leigh, GWTW

2. Mrs Morgan - Sara Allgood, How Green Was My Valley

3. Roslyn Taber - Marilyn Monroe, The Misfits

4. "Honey Bear" Kelly - Ava Gardner, Mogambo

5. Nora Charles - Myrna Loy, The Thin Man

6. Laura Hunt - Gene Tierney, Laura

7. Margo Channing - All About Eve

8. Lora Mae - Linda Darnell, A Letter to Three Wives

9. Blanche DuBois - Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire

10. Regina Lambert - Audrey Hepburn, Charade

11. Holly Golightly - Breakfast at Tiffany's

12. Marnie - Tippi Hedren, Marnie

13. Madeleine/Judy - Kim Novak - Vertigo

14. Gilda - Rita Hayworth, Gilda

15. Irena - Cat People

 

Message was edited by: MissGoddess

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Unbelievably, I've actually seen all the movies represented on your female characters list but for... ohhh, I better not say. :)

 

Can you come up with a word that best describes why you find those female characters fascinating?

 

Scarlett O'Hara: MissGoddessy.

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I'll give you my "words" when you tell which ones you didn't see. :)

 

I forget. I have such a horrible memory. :P:P

 

One of them is performing right now, are you paying attention? She doesn't like it when people don't pay attention to her "fire and music".

 

Gone with the Wind is on now? Ohh, I haven't seen that one. I guess I better tune in. :D

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