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

Post your least favorite classic films and tell why


TopBilled
 Share

Recommended Posts

For me, they are:

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)...I feel the story is sexist.

SHANE (1953)...the relationship between Shane and the boy seems too unnatural to be believed and Jean Arthur seems too old for her role.

GYPSY (1962)...every time I watch this movie I want to get my hands on the original negative, cut Roz Russell out of every frame she's in and replace her with Ethel Merman.

MY FAIR LADY (1964)...every time I see Audrey Hepburn sing, I'm embarrassed for her. I'm just as embarrassed when other people watching the movie think that's singing. If I could take a time machine back, I'd fire her the day before filming starts and replace her with Julie Andrews.

THE NUN'S STORY (1959)...another Audrey Hepburn movie I don't like. I feel the whole thing is too drawn out. And the actual nun the story was based on left the church and entered into a lesbian relationship. So there's a whole side of the character that is being left out because of the production code and the studio's need to make a profitable mainstream film. So not only does this movie feel belabored, it feels false and inauthentic on almost every level.

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA (1958)...I wouldn't be surprised if there's an article in the New England Journal of Medicine about doctors using this film to cure insomnia. Spencer Tracy in a boat on a soundstage and his voice narrating much of the action. Why anyone thought this could be considered entertaining is beyond me.

MAME (1974)...oh Lucy what were you thinking. Playing aunt to a boy who seems like your grandson. Making a musical without any real musical talent. And expecting people would pay to see it? In a perfect world Roz Russell is Mame Dennis; Ethel Merman is Rose Hovick, and Lucille Ball is in sitcoms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Perhaps I'm missing something obvious, but I'm not sure how this film with Jean Arthur's gutsy career gal, certainly unusual for the era, is sexist. Could you elaborate?

Here's a review I posted last week:

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.37.26 AM.jpg

A few things about this Frank Capra-directed classic bother me. First, we have to watch Jimmy Stewart getting schooled by Jean Arthur about the ways our government works. It's hard to believe that even the most naive simpleton did not get some basic civics course in high school, or that he could not go to the local library and look up a few things when he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate.

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.38.37 AM.jpg

The fact of the matter is that Arthur's character, a woman, knows more about the government and its processes than Stewart, a man. Clearly, she is ten times more qualified than him, yet he is the one who gets to be Senator? I know, I know, the goons (played by Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee and Claude Rains) want an idiot in the seat so they can manipulate him. But why doesn't Arthur or the other women like her fight for the job themselves?

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.39.34 AM.jpg

As if that is not enough, Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin keep hammering the point that Stewart can get a bill passed into law that would benefit a boys scout-type group. This is repeated several times, and we even see a throng of clean cut all-American boys in the Senate chamber on the day that Stewart is trying to introduce the bill. They, of course, applaud him enthusiastically. Never mind the fact that there are no girls in attendance-- they simply were overlooked or not invited. And why couldn't Stewart introduce a bill that would benefit both boys and girls in America? There are long speeches where he talks about how boys need to know the way our government works. Again, aren't girls allowed to know that, too?

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.36.49 AM.jpg

The sexism of this movie becomes increasingly apparent when you realize that there are no women on the Senate floor. And none are seen even as extras in crowd scenes involving politicians. Surely Arthur's character cannot be the only woman in the nation's capital. The filmmakers give the impression that a boys club is running Washington while the female sex is back at home preparing dinner. Did you know that the first woman senator was appointed to fill a vacancy just like Stewart's character, back in 1922?

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.41.19 AM.jpg

And in 1932 a woman from Arkansas named Hattie Caraway became the first fully elected lady senator, a position she held until 1945. Ms. Caraway was not the only female senator in the 1930s. There were three other women in the Senate during this decade. Yet there are no women seen in the Senate chamber scenes of this film. They are not there, not even on the sidelines or in the background.

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.39.04 AM.jpg

I am not saying this film necessarily had to be called MISS SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, but there is way too much gender bias. And I don't see the purpose of it, unless the goal is to show that women do not have any say in our way of life in America. Debate it all you want, but doesn't that seem wrong to you?

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.49.27 AM.png

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that Arthur's character was certainly more qualified for the job than Stewart's, but part of the plot is that Edward Arnold and Claude Rains want someone they think is lacking in perceptiveness and is easily manipulated to occupy the position. That doesn't apply to Arthur at all. And thus Stewart's waking up to just how corrupt things can get is an essential part of the plot. 

I have no argument with anything else you write. I guess I just tend to focus on what films are rather than what they are not or what they should have been by modern perspective or even against the reality of their time.

  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, sewhite2000 said:

I agree that Arthur's character was certainly more qualified for the job than Stewart's, but part of the plot is that Edward Arnold and Claude Rains want someone they think is lacking in perceptiveness and is easily manipulated to occupy the position. That doesn't apply to Arthur at all. And thus Stewart's waking up to just how corrupt things can get is an essential part of the plot. 

I have no argument with anything else you write. I guess I just tend to focus on what films are rather than what they are not or what they should have been by modern perspective or even against the reality of their time.

There were women's libbers in 1939. Feminism is not a new concept. I am sure people watching MR. SMITH in 1939 had issues with the way that story was presented. The film's problems are not exactly new by modern day standards. The film's problems were there from day one, the minute it was screened for audiences.

They easily could have made it a story about Arthur's character fighting the corruption and Stewart helping her, but Capra was not interested in it being told from the female point of view. It's still an entertaining film but it is very skewed in how it depicts government, mainly as being a sort of boys club.

I think it's a terribly irresponsible movie. This is not me seeing what the film should have been, but seeing what the film actually is-- something meant to uphold gender biases about the way Americans participate in government. Susan B. Anthony would've absolutely despised the film, I have no doubt of that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

It's really just one gag that is stretched out for two hours.

My favorite part of the whole movie is the Tony Curtis doing Cary Grant scenes, which is different than the main gag. That almost could have been a movie by itself. But is definitely far from my favorite Billy Wilder movie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This is not me seeing what the film should have been, but seeing what the film actually is-- something meant to uphold gender biases about the way Americans participate in government.

I'm probably not phrasing myself as eloquently as I would like. This is something you've clearly given a great deal more thought about than me. Perhaps I should have said "as presented" than "as is". I don't know. I enjoy the story and I haven't given it much thought about any context greater than was it entertaining or not. You will condemn me as short-sighted and narrow-minded, I suppose, but that's what I mean about considering movies "as they are".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, sewhite2000 said:

My favorite part of the whole movie is the Tony Curtis doing Cary Grant scenes, which is different than the main gag. That almost could have been a movie by itself.

Yeah, the main gag was wearing thin so it feels like we get this other filler added in...but Tony's such a great performer and it entertains us. 

I always feel sorry for the makers of the 1939 Paramount film called SOME LIKE IT HOT. It's been totally obscured by this unrelated 1959 production. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Some_Like_It_Hot_(1939_film)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

GYPSY (1962)...every time I watch this movie I want to get my hands on the original negative, cut Roz Russell out of every frame she's in and replace her with Ethel Merman.

There was another thread about this recently, singing the praises of Ethel Merman to high heaven. I haven't seen any footage of her in the role, though generally I find her every bit as broad-as-a-barn as Russell. But several people are very passionate about how much better she was at the role, and I will defer to that opinion, not being any better informed.

This is one of my least favorite films for different reasons, as I also mentioned in that other thread. I never liked it because I went into it thinking a film called Gypsy might, you know, have something to do with the business of stripping. Instead, it's completely about an overbearing and probably mentally ill stage mother with whom I'm utterly exhausted five minutes into the movie, and Gypsy Rose Lee herself is relegated to supporting character status. And the stripping element doesn't come in until the last 10 minutes of what feels like a very long movie. And any time you're actively thinking about how long a movie is, it probably isn't succeeding.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

There was another thread about this recently, singing the praises of Ethel Merman to high heaven. I haven't seen any footage of her in the role, though generally I find her every bit as broad-as-a-barn as Russell. But several people are very passionate about how much better she was at the role, and I will defer to that opinion, not being any better informed.

This is one of my least favorite films for different reasons, as I also mentioned in that other thread. I never liked it because I went into it thinking a film called Gypsy might, you know, have something to do with the business of stripping. Instead, it's completely about an overbearing and probably mentally ill stage mother with whom I'm utterly exhausted five minutes into the movie, and Gypsy Rose Lee herself is relegated to supporting character status. And the stripping element doesn't come in until the last 10 minutes of what feels like a very long movie. And any time you're actively thinking about how long a movie is, it probably isn't succeeding.

I agree. Natalie should have been the star of the film, with Roz as the supporting one. But it was a vanity project for Roz. Her producer husband bought the rights to it so it could be a starring vehicle for her. Poor Natalie never had a chance, and as a result the whole telling of the story is lopsided. We end up with something that might better be called The Great Roz Russell Headlining in the Musical Gypsy Although She Can't Really Sing.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A thread like this is easy for those who think being long-winded in their niggling reasons for not liking(or liking) a particular movie really matters to anyone else but themselves.  

But I'll also add this about "Mr. Smith"......

Sexist?  That must mean you dislike MOST of the movies made in the '30's, '40's and beyand.  ;)

 

My reason (s) for not liking ANY particular movie is that it just didn't appeal to my sensibilities.  Many people, for example, just LOVE ANY movie starring Audrey Hepburn.  Yet, I never found her to be particularly "adorable" or appealing in most of them.  In fact, I found that "cutsie" thing to be quite distracting and annoying. To the point that I found(and to me...) she seemed nothing more than some spoiled brat who came to believe that everyone was SUPPOSED to like her in any movie she's in.

Then there's the "appeal" factor( or lack thereof) which can have too, several different reasons depending on the individual who finds it or not.  And one example( again, for me...) is I'm not particularly fond of GEORGE PEPPARD and avoid any movie he's in.  And mainly because to me, he comes off as both conceited and condescending.  Like he thinks he's better than anyone else in the project he's in.  I know this probably isn't true, but that's his effect on me.  And it took me some time to get over my initial dislike for ALBERT SALMI, simply because he so closely resembled somebody I knew in grade school and Jr. high I never got along with. 

And too, most here know I have a huge dislike for what seems like EVERYBODY'S favorite;   BRINGING UP BABY, which just didn't seem all that funny or entertaining to me.  And despite my really liking the two main cast members and most anything else they've done together or otherwise.

Sepiatone

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I admire many parts of The Graduate (1967), and yet, I can't quite love it as much as everyone else. Its still a good film, just not a masterpiece. That being said, Anne Bancroft's performance is a masterwork and far deeper than the seductive but shrewish caricature that most people remember her character as.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re: Mr. Smith. Reading the first argument, I don't find it convinces me. Jean Arthur's character is merely expressing the typical 'Washington Insider' info that anyone working in Washington would be acquainted with at the time. That is no recommendation whatsoever that should suggest she should actually be in Congress herself.

I'll read the others in turn, as the mood strikes me. I don't have much stomach for it though.

My chief question is this: no one in the 'homespun Capra America' depicted in the story (the fictitious townspeople, etc); none of the film's fictitious Washington characters; no one in the real-world Hollywood studio production; no one among the actors portraying roles in the film; and finally no one in the real-world American society at the time the film was made... was deliberately, knowingly, 'sexist' in a way you're accusing them of. Why would you hold any of these innocent parties responsible for a point-of-view we enjoy today, decades later? How is that any more fair and enlightened?

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, its not just Kate Hepburn but usually Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as well. Plus Ginger Rogers, Olivia deHavilland...there's at least a dozen great actresses who simply strike me as 'chilly' and astringent.

But this is a generic abnegation on my part. Specific classic films I have a more active 'beef against'? Hard to recall any; the human mind naturally shoves aside things it dislikes.

I know I can't abide anything written by Lillian Hellman...or melodramas like 'Peyton Place'...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

I admire many parts of The Graduate (1967), and yet, I can't quite love it as much as everyone else. Its still a good film, just not a masterpiece. That being said, Anne Bancroft's performance is a masterwork and far deeper than the seductive but shrewish caricature that most people remember her character as.

It's an overrated film. But people who love THE GRADUATE want it to be rated highly. 

The best review I ever read on this film was by some critic who said that it falls apart in the third act. I agree. The minute we see him at the zoo, it's clear the filmmakers are just stalling and delaying things till we get to the wedding sequence. It's because they got stuck and didn't know how to logically get to the ending they had in mind. The momentum in the first two thirds of the story is practically destroyed near the end.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

For me, its not just Kate Hepburn but usually Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as well. Plus Ginger Rogers, Olivia deHavilland...there's at least a dozen great actresses who simply strike me as 'chilly' and astringent.

But this is a generic abnegation on my part. Specific classic films I have a more active 'beef against'? Hard to recall any; the human mind naturally shoves aside things it dislikes.

I know I can't abide anything written by Lillian Hellman...or melodramas like 'Peyton Place'...

I like all five of them, but truly, neither "hit it out of the park" as consistently many others seem to think.  And, as earlier stated, for me that would be AUDREY Hepburn...  instead of Kate.

Sepiatone

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Here's a review I posted last week:

 

 

 

 

Ms. Caraway was not the only female elected to the Senate in the 1930s. The year Columbia Pictures made MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, there were three other women in the Senate. So that's four women who should have been seen in the Senate chamber scenes of this film. But they are not there, not even on the sidelines or in the background.

 

Actually three other women served in the Senate in the second half of the thirties.  But the three didn't serve at the same time.  They served for terms less than 11 months (1936-1937), five months (1937-1938), and two months (1938-1939).  The first two were appointees, the third won a peculiar special election for a two month term.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, skimpole said:

Actually three other women served in the Senate in the second half of the thirties.  But the three didn't serve at the same time.  They served for terms less than 11 months (1936-1937), five months (1937-1938), and two months (1938-1939).  The first two were appointees, the third won a peculiar special election for a two month term.

Caraway was in office from 1931 to 1945. So there should have been at least one woman senator on the floor in the scenes of this movie. And if MR. SMITH was filmed in that period of 1938 or 1939 when one of those other women were in office, then there should have been two women on the floor. 

The main point is that Capra's film acts like there are no women working in Congress during this time. Capra's patriarchal view of American society seems unwilling to include the women who had power in our government during these years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Gigi (1958)

The only Best Picture winner I gave a negative rating, (until "The Shape Of Water" last year). Although I liked Maurice Chevalier in it, I found most of the songs unmemorable, Louis Jourdan was too bland and it seemed like a chore to sit through.

 

 

This is downright mild compared to some negative opinions I have heard about this film!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/9/2018 at 9:50 PM, TopBilled said:

Here's a review I posted last week:

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)

The fact of the matter is that Arthur's character, a woman, knows more about the government and its processes than Stewart, a man. Clearly, she is ten times more qualified than him, yet he is the one who gets to be Senator? I know, I know, the goons (played by Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee and Claude Rains) want an idiot in the seat so they can manipulate him. But why doesn't Arthur or the other women like her fight for the job themselves?

And in 1932 a woman from Arkansas named Hattie Caraway became the first fully elected lady senator, a position she held until 1945. Ms. Caraway was not the only female senator in the 1930s. There were three other women in the Senate during this decade. Yet there are no women seen in the Senate chamber scenes of this film. They are not there, not even on the sidelines or in the background.

I am not saying this film necessarily had to be called MISS SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, but there is way too much gender bias. And I don't see the purpose of it, unless the goal is to show that women do not have any say in our way of life in America. Debate it all you want, but doesn't that seem wrong to you?

TopBilled, it is not that what you say is not true, it is that the idea of woman senators would have been extreme in 1939 for most Americans, although you pointed out examples where there were women in the Senate in  the 1930s. I don't know about the other female senators of that time, but for Hattie Caraway:

" On November 6, 1931, Thaddeus Caraway died in office, prompting immediate speculation that his widow would be named to succeed him.5 A few days after his funeral, Governor Harvey Parnell named Caraway's widow to fill the junior Senator's seat. "I have appointed Mrs. Caraway as United States Senator because I feel she is entitled to the office held by her distinguished husband, who was my friend," Parnell explained. "

So though she did win reelection, she got the position because her husband died in office. Women running for senate on their own and winning was not commonplace until the 1990s. I think that if in the 1970s Hillary Clinton could have seen what the future held, and realized that she could have won high elected office on her own in the future, she would have kicked that two timing husband of hers to the curb or maybe never even married him in the first place.

I also roll my eyes at "The Best of Everything" with all of these female Ivy League graduates starting life out in the secretarial pool! But that was how things were in 1959. I remember reading a graduation speech made at Vassar, at that time an all woman college, made in the late 1950s. It talked about how the graduates needed to learn how to use the latest kitchen appliances so they would be good homemakers in the coming years! You just have to take things in the context of the times that they were made, and appreciate the social progress that has been made in the United States.

Have you ever seen "Washington Merry-Go-Round" (1932) which was the precursor to Mr. Smith? It has Lee Tracy in what is basically James Stewart's part. Constance Cummings is the closest thing to Jean Arthur's part in Mr. Smith. It makes for an interesting comparison to what you could get away with during the precode years versus 1939.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...