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Merle Oberon is one tough broad in that movie, lol.

 

Oh, I've been meaning to show you this: a clip of Joan Leslie doing the most dead-on impression of Ida Lupino (from THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT) you have ever seen! Joan goes from her usual sweet self into uncanny "Ida mode" -- it's amazing! (you can disregard the rest after her cute Cagney number)

 

 

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Mar 6, 2010 10:53 PM

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Hey Bronxie...Jackaaaaay. A testimony to Ida Lupino. She had a very distinctive way of speaking. Whew!!! Now there was a firecracker!!! But she could tone it down when she had to.

 

To quote the great Eddie Cantor...Ida, I idalize ya!!!

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Hey did anyone watch *And One Was Beautiful* this morning? It seems to be sisters day at TCM.

 

I only got to see part of it since getting ready for school has to take top priority (dang it), but I found what I saw very interesting - it took me a long while to figure out who Laraine Day was, she was so young and her look wasn't really formed yet. And Jean Muir! I was positive she was Helen Walker - she was a dead ringer for her as far as I am concerned! Her character was very dark, which I wasn't expecting at all. I mean the movie had Robert Cummings and Billie Burke in it! It's not supposed to be a proto-noir thriller!

 

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else has seen this one... there's not much to it, but I found it kind of interesting as another pre-noir women's picture with a dark and fascinating central figure. Muir's character gets by on her looks, and her bored sophistication is a cover for an evil heart. Sort of a warning movie for girls, "Don't behave this way" and a warning to boys, "Don't fall for sophisticated manner and beauty - it will bring you to your ruin." :D

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I saw about the last ten minutes or so. I wasn't sure what was going on and if it was supposed to be comedy or drama, because, like you, I was thrown by the casting. :D

 

Too bad they didn't leave Cummings in the slammer. :P

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> {quote:title=movieman1957 wrote:}{quote}

> Does this mean Cummings is miscast in "Saboteur"?

>

 

In my opinion, yes. I just cannot warm to him in anything. He's just "less annoying" in some things than others, but oh, he bothers me. It's not because of him doing comedies, it's his basic personality that gets under my skin.

 

Let's just say ALL my sympathies were with Ray Milland in Dial "M" For Murder. :D

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I LOVE Saboteur, it is my favorite lesser Hitchcock because of it's theme, and so I always had a kind of nice feeling about Cummings, till I saw some of his 1960's movies. I wonder if Miss G saw him in those before she saw the 40's films, and maybe sees him as very one-dimensional because of that - those sixties characters of his are very leering and weird.

 

I m not saying he's the greatest actor in the world, and he is one dimensional, but I like his rather innocent boy next door quality, especially in Saboteur, Moon Over Miami (my favorite Grable film), The Devil and Miss Jones, and Princess O'Roarke. I think he might be in a nice Deanna Durbin fllm too, which fits perfectly - light and breezy. King's Row took all I had to keep from laughing at his earnestness, but I probably would have laughed at anyone in that role.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Mar 9, 2010 12:00 PM

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Believe it or not, I'm okay with him in Kings Row and that may be the only exception. It's purely "chemical" and personal with me and Cummings. Something about his energy or personality comes through as slightly smug to me, and it grates. I don't feel that way about too many classic stars, but he's one. Anthony Franciosa and Don Murray are my other two betes noirs. :D

 

And I don't hate any of them, nor will I refuse to watch a movie because of them. It's not at that level. I'm much, much less tolerant about modern actors and actresses.

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Re: Many Rivers To Cross.

 

There is no real good place to put any comment on this film so I thought I'd put something in the catch-all thread here. (Sorry if it doesn't work.)

 

With a title like this and Robert Taylor one might think you are getting a western. You would be mostly wrong. It is about 85% romantic comedy and 15% frontier action. That is because it is one of the few romantic comedies that has a body count.

 

Trapper "Bushrod Gentry" (Robert Taylor) meets Mary Stuart Churn (Eleanor Parker) after she helps him in an Indian attack. That is where the drama ends for most of the film. What lies in between is Mary Stuart trying to marry Bushrod much to the support of her family and the dismay to her boyfriend. Only after being tricked into doing just that and initial marital squabbles do they come to an understanding.

 

Some nostalgic casting makes this all the more fun. Alan Hale, Jr. and Russell Johnson appear together without benefit of the fact that in 10 years they will both be lost on an island together with some knucklehead named Gilligan. James Arness shows up as a fellow trapper who is just too tired of people asking how the weather is at 6'6" and has wounded a few for the asking. Arness is as animated and fun as you are going to see. Rosemary DeCamp is his wife and quite frankly looks several years older. Victor McLaglen plays Parker's father in a role not unlike Will Danaher.

 

The best is the roles played by Taylor and Parker. They are both fun. Taylor surprisingly so. The last bit comes some action but even that is played for laughs. And it is fun. Parker pretending to mourn Taylor being dead while telling him an Indian approaching is a highlight and fun turn by Parker.

 

So, don't think you are getting a western. Yeah, it may be set in 1790s Kentucky but there isn't a horse to be found and it is all more about love than anything else. Nothing wrong with that.

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Hiya Mr. Movieman... I will keep a look out for the film you mentioned... It sounds like one I would enjoy (and my beloved Victor M is in it... woohoo.)

 

If I may make a quick interruption here... I just wanted to bring up Heat Lightning. I got to watch that one last night (and was so proud of myself that I stayed awake (as late as it was) all the way to the end. OH wow. I had never even heard of this film before last night... and BOY was I glad to have seen it. It was chock full of really great characters and a truly interesting (and attention getting) story.

 

I liked how the entire film took place over just one day and night... but it seemed to really fill each moment with a lot of info about who the characters were and their various personalites.

 

My only criticism.. it was TOO short. Once I got to know everyone.. I wanted to know MORE. (maybe it is just the nosey busy body in me..ha) Anyway.. I say again, I am glad to have caught this one.

 

A very good (if too short) story.

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

> Hey Bronxie...Jackaaaaay. A testimony to Ida Lupino. She had a very distinctive way of speaking. Whew!!! Now there was a firecracker!!! But she could tone it down when she had to.

>

> To quote the great Eddie Cantor...Ida, I idalize ya!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love Ida's soft, vulnerable sides too.

 

Hey -- did you see the Warner Bros. HEAT LIGHTNING?

 

It was over 100 degrees in the desert, but everyone kept their hats on.

 

I can't believe I'm saying this, but, (aside from the great Aline MacMahon) Lyle Talbot gave the best performance as Preston Foster's

insecure criminal sidekick.

 

I always used to lump (no pun intended) Talbot in with Sonny Tufts; now I want to take a second look at Lyle.

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Hey, there, Mave! Wasn't it fun? (ended sort of abruptly I thought)

 

I loved the nifty p.o.v. camerawork.

 

My favorite line was heat-parched Jane Darwell's: "Give me a Coca-Cola before I expire".

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Mar 14, 2010 11:49 PM

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Hiya Miss Bronxie (and Miss Maven, too)

 

I loved the nifty p.o.v. camerawork

 

Oh wow, that shot from under the car (when the younger sister was walking away).. very creative.

 

Jane Darwell

 

Oh my golly, wasn't she a hoot? That whole beginning scene w/ her and her husband (as he is pushing the car) ha. VERY entertaining.

 

I think this film had so many little "gems" like that. You know for all the serious (and even somewhat heartbreaking) themes in the story (especially between the two sisters) there were a lot of really fun moments too.(what about those two AWFUL rich women??? Oh golly... I laughed all the way through some of their little cat fights. They knew too much about one another's past to let each other get away with ANYTHING. ha.)

 

But wow... that Aline... wasn't she SOMETHING???? It really was her movie,wasn't it?

 

I say again, my only criticism for HL is that it was TOO short of a story. I wanted more background on the sisters... and on Olga's friend (who helps her out at the end). There were a whole lot of ways his story (with her) could have gone.. I wanted to see where that led.

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http://forums.tcm.com/jive/tcm/thread.jspa?threadID=147364&start=165&tstart=0

 

I scrolled down page 12 of the Brunettes thread to read what you wrote Jack:

 

?Gosh she is gorgeous in that cap from ?Heat Lightning?! I would talk about it, if I had seen it! That is the single movie of hers that I want to see most.? - <JackFavell > Feb 19, 2010 @ 8:27 AM.

 

?HEAT LIGHTNING? (1934) stars Aline MacMahon. Also featured in the cast are great 30?s stalwarts Ann Dvorak, Ruth Donnelly, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Preston Foster and the ubiquitous Lyle Talbot.

 

The short of it...two bank robbers (Foster & Talbot) hide out in this desert gas station and run into an old flame of Foster?s (Aline). They look to pull a heist there as well with disastrous results.

 

The long of it...I found it to be a fascinating exploration of the different stages of desirability of Woman. I sure hope you got a chance to watch TCM?s airing during Daylight Savings Time. According to Robert O. in his intro, this is one of the last of the pre-codes. I warn you, there will be spoilers galore in this post...and one confession.

 

DVORAK: She plays Aline?s kid sister. (And yes their features even resemble each other. Nice casting). She represents young woman, 20?s, virginal, new. Unafraid. She wants to explore life. She likes a man in town known to be a bad boy and is impervious to Aline?s admonitions.

 

FARRELL: A dame. The prime of Womanhood. She knows the score and her pheromones are raging. Hmmm....why even Frank McHugh looks good to her. (Glenda makes me think of Marcia Gay Harden).

 

DONNELLY: The older more mature woman. Past her prime. No longer viably desirable. (Honestly, there?s nothing really wrong with her). She?s a bit of pinched snippy spoilsport probably b?cuz there?re no takers. But ya gotta love Donnelly?s sharp tongue.

 

I liked the two kewpie dolls that come in and banter with Foster; two girls of the road, hitchhiking their way to Hollywood to seek their fame and fortune. True independence. They can protect themselves from the old geezer who tries to play footsie with them in the car.

 

The Mexican woman and her husband who show up with their busted jalopy later in the film have about seven kids.

 

DARWELL: Older still and more matronly. Long married, very domineering, she wears the pants and has her husband totally whipped. Funny, at first she doesn?t give the gas station owners their due:

 

?This is no job for anybody?s sister. You?ll have to get a man to get the cap off that radiator.?

 

But when she sees the self-sufficiency of Aline, she comes around and admits:

 

?Always goes to show, a woman can do anything she puts her mind to.?

 

And then there?s ALINE MacMAHON. Now I admit to you...I love my glamour girls and dreamy matinee idols. I?m voyeuristically entranced by their blazing good looks (I?ll take a steady diet of Gable & Harlow). Aline is not your conventionally girlie-pretty type. She is beautiful. Stunning. I have to make a confession here. I am hypotized by her; her eyes, her strength, her heartache

and her pain.

 

Aline is such a warrior in "HEAT LIGHTNING." A warrior in the battle of love. She actually is a fallen warrior. She has retreated from the bright lights and big city to a desert monastery. She is self-sequestered in this nunnery of arrid dryness out in the desert. (Perhaps a metaphor for her-

self). In the game of love, she has lost. We see before us...a broken woman who is hiding from love. She now protects herself in armor that the male gaze is not want to pierce = oversized shirt, boots and overalls. Her long hair is pinned and trussed up by a bandana. I think she looks rather fetchingly contemporary this way.

 

She doesn?t want her younger sister to suffer the same slings and arrows she did. When Aline meets up with Foster after all this time, he wants to take her inside to meet his partner (played by LyleTalbot). Foster attempts to usher her in by taking her arm, and she ever so (almost) imper-

ceptibly avoids his touch. Oh brother...did THAT ever speak volumes. Aline performance is so subtle. She is one tough cookie...to him. But we see a glimpse of her resolve against love, lust and male attention waiver. She still mistrusts...distrusts. (Maybe she can?t trust her self). Look at her line delivery and how she drops her smile when she says:

 

?Desert town don?t ask any questions. No good telling people things they?re not interested in.?

 

She looks so sweet and diminuitive sitting at the table with Foster looming over her. Watch her put on a good front. When Foster touches her hair, she reacts as though touched by a hot poker. Her feelings are on the very surface of her skin. Foster ignores her sternness and has an easy breezy way of dealing with her.

 

?Here?s a girl with the most beautiful head of hair in the country and she?s got it covered up with a speckled bandana.?

 

I love the cold hard stern staunch way she says: ?I?m dressed to work!?

 

She means business...but we see that she?s just really covering up her feelings for him.

 

Foster?s a thoroughly bad guy in this movie. Dammit he?s so hateful:

 

?She used to be crazy about me. She used to hold out against me sometimes but I can twist her around if I want to take the trouble. There?s one dame I can do anything I want with.?

 

He presses her buttons. First he?s insulting and baits her. You know...the way Grimesy baits our hooks and gets us to list our 3,500 favorite stars (from 1932-1933) or write imaginary dialogue for a movie: ("HIGH NOON"). Foster talks about what a babe she was in the old days of the Tulsa cabaret. She will not let him touch her. She kind of sounds like my dear Aggie Moorhead when she gives Foster what for:

 

?Now let?s understand each other, Jerry. If you?re staying on here becuz you?ve got any ideas in your head, you might just as well be on your way. I?m not anything like that woman you knew back in Oklahoma. Whatever I was before, I?m different now. And I intend to stay different. Everything between you and me is past, forgotten. I left you and that whole rotten life. Came out here and I started fresh and clean. I worked pretty hard for what I?ve got and I?m not going to lose it now, not for you not for anybody. so don?t you think I?m the same woman who used to eat out of your hands because I?m not. I?m a whole lot wiser and just you put that into that head of yours!!?

 

Ummmm...methinks the lady doth protests too much.

 

I love the scene in the barn between Foster and Aline. Her hand on the post, her voice dropping when she talks to him. I Love the way she says: ?I hated it. I used to wake up in the middle of te night in a cold sweat and wonder how I could love a man like you.? That?s all over...Things have changed alot. I?ve changed a lot.?

 

But there's that hateful Preston Foster coming back with:

 

?You?re right, you?ve changed plenty. You had a lot on the ball then though. You were some-

thing to look at. Something to get up and go after. Don?t you worry about me trying to get you back. There ain?t a chance in the world, Sweetheart.?

 

If you?ve recorded it, would you do me a favor and look at that scene again. Look at them standing near that wooden post. I really hated him there, and I really loved Aline there. Look at her hand...

her gloved hand touching the pole when what she wanted badly was to touch him. She does more acting with that left gloved hand... When she walks away she looks so sweet and sad and broken. I found her longing extremely palpable.

 

He hits her in her vanity. And she takes it full force. I expected her to sock him in the jaw. But she doesn?t.

 

She gets all dolled up for him and makes her entrance. (WHOA!!) She walks towards the camera. She doesn?t sashay like Harlow, but I thought I caught a hint of...of...of a swagger? Get the--- (The Mexican man singing his family to sleep under the desert sky serves as a musical backdrop for this latter half of the movie). Look at Aline: proud of herself, confident of her power...a slight hint of a smile that she?s pleased with herself. Come to think of it, I think she knows she has power over Preston Foster too. I love the p.o.v. shot as the camera dollies towards Foster and Willard Robertson (who I enjoyed in this film). And maybe there is a hint of cockiness from Aline too. Foster plays it cool with a ?I-knew-you-had-it-in-you? attitude.

 

We know what he?s up to so it?s rough to see her riding for a fall; she?s worked so hard to repair her heart. When she goes inside and he calls Aline and walks up to her at the door, their kiss was like water for her. Poor girl, she?s so thirsty and hungry. How could he take advantage of her. Yeah, I was hatin? Preston Foster.

 

Dvorak has a meltdown when she comes back from her date with the town bad boy. He?s so bored and tired of her already he can?t get her out of the car fast enough. She?s chastised by Aline for disobeying her, but Dvorak throws it right back at her when she sees Foster come out of her bedroom. (Whatever happened to personal responsibility???) I loved Dvorak yelling. She finally comes to life. (Yay for Dvorak).

 

When Aline discovers Foster?s ruse (?I didn?t spend all that time with that dame for nuthin?!!?) and that it was really about the safe & the jewels she takes matters into her own hands immedi-

ately, decisively. And didn?t she look good doing it? The smoke rising up to her face, her hair cascading...she looks beautiful. WoW!! I?ve never seen her look better. And I love how she sends Talbot away.

 

When the other guy comes back, we know he knows what Aline was doing. And he still likes her. He?s so sweet, he just wants to be around her is all. Aline does what she has to do. She is the caretaker. She is the Protector. She puts on her overall(ed) armor, ties that bandana on her head and goes back inside herself. But you know, I've said I am a c0ck-eyed romantic. I feel hopeful that slowly...surely...the little sheriff guy will break through Aline's armor with his kindness and attentiveness.

 

I really enjoyed this movie. Never heard of it until you mentioned it, Jackaaaaay. The plot is very slight. But it had some strong messages I thought. DareIsay it could be looked at as a feminist film? I have to make a confession here. I am hypotized by Aline MacMahon. Her heartache and pain. Her eyes. Her strength.

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I only heard of *Heat Lightning* because of Molo - or was it movieman1957? I think it was Molo who mentioned it being a great performance by Aline MacMahon. Really he is the one responsible for any of us ever even paying any attention to this film, which belongs to MacMahon alone.

 

Your description of Aline MacMahon as a warrior - whew! Brilliant. She even has her bandanna - almost like a helmet or a souvenir of the war.... the way she places it back on her head at the end spoke VOLUMES. I loved her.

 

I was bowled over by the film myself. Your review really captures that longing and undercurrent going on inside MacMahon. She is thrilling, so much there to grasp onto. Every look, every line had extra meaning. It makes me wish Aline had had a hundred more roles like it.

 

I absolutely loved the characters - and the *"people come and go, but nothing ever happens."* style of the film. One of the most pleasing things to me was the way the set looked - I was shocked last time I watched *The Petrified Forest* because the set looked so phony to me. I had never noticed it before. That's what happens when you don't watch a movie for years.

 

Anyway, This set looks _real_ . Or at least sufficiently minimalist to give you just the right impression of the place. The use of the big giant corner windows in the diner help to propel the action along - we are treated to a panoramic view of the entire setting, which was helpful when keeping track of the characters comings and goings. LeRoy really directed this one well. Tight and sharp, but with great beauty. It was stunning when the heat lightning was illuminating the cacti and the desert seemed so close. The print TCM had was really good, which greatly added to my enjoyment.

 

The car pit was kind of a metaphor for her life, wasn't it? She had buried herself out in the desert and was happy in the shade under the car.... but you can't escape the heat of the desert (or love) for long.

 

I like the way Aline said the words fresh and clean. *"Came out here and I started fresh and clean."* Her voice even sounds like the desert.

 

I really enjoyed Jane Darwell, and that coca cola line was a scream. It says all there is to know about that character. Edgar Kennedy was probably my favorite person in the film after MacMahon. His nuance was as great as MacMahon's, but he had the thankless role this time. The sweet way he said, "Dearest, will you kindly take the brake off?" killed me... like he was trying so hard to be nice (he would pay for it if he wasn't) but could have wrung her neck gleefully by the end of the sentence.

 

Poor Aline, making mistake after mistake.... first with Foster, then with her sister. If only she had told Ann go ahead and go to those dances, have some fun... Ann probably wouldn't have yearned for excitement so much. I thought the scene after Ann and the boy came home was as expressive a one as I have seen. He obviously had his way with her, and now he couldn't care less about her... in fact, she is already a millstone around his neck. Harsh! At least she was wise enough to realize it right away, not that it helps at all. And the casting of the sisters was brilliant as you say. When Aline wrapped her up and held her while she cried, I really felt for both of them.

 

I actually thought Preston Foster was a perfect choice for this role... he has no depth. I liked him in spite of his hatefulness.... it shows just how far you can go in the world if you are a heel who has confidence in himself. Lyle Talbot was actually fascinating. I was glad she let him go. He would go on to have a life very similar to Aline's self exile. I hope he was scared straight. I'd like to see a movie about his life after the events here.

 

I really enjoyed what you said about the ages of women - and I wouldn't have thought about the way the film represents every age so well unless you had said something. Although I loved the way Farrell and McHugh ( dear god, was every actor in Hollywood Irish? I can't believe how many names begin with Mac or Mc) showed up suitable rumpled and smudged up after the shooting, I was actually expecting him to end up with Donnelly - she seemed like a much pleasanter woman on the whole. I would have laughed myself silly had Farrell been dumped for her. But all in all, I figure those two women will just go on and on together, bickering and baiting each other, making Frank's life miserable until he catches a break and beats it on the lam.

 

I adored Aline's friend, Everett, played by Willard Robinson. He had no small talk. He had no fancy clothes or fancy patter. But she knew in the end she could count on him to do what she asked and never to say one word about it again as long as they lived. I did think the ending would have been stronger had she taken care of the body herself, and then Everett said he had come back to check on her, implying that he saw her just finishing with the grave, but this way, there is some feeling that she will have a life not quite so independent and harsh.

 

The thing that sticks in my mind about this film most is the look on Aline's face after she catches Foster at the safe. That look was haunting and she held it and held it, all inside. It made tears well up for me, anyway.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Mar 15, 2010 11:47 AM

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Mar 15, 2010 11:50 AM cause it's Preston Foster, not Norman

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