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LEAST & MOST FAVORITE of the week...


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Saw four movies last week:

 

In The Land of The Headhunters (1914)--Is a remarkable, hand-tinted film, pre-Technicolor (as far as I know) documenting a tribe in British Columbia.  Film was restored from two degraded reels and the rest is stills.  As I counted, were 12 different shades of color to the film.  A remarkable job of restoration & preservation.  Tribe it documented is now down to 5000 members (I think).

 

I Am Cuba (1964)--Propaganda film nobody was happy with (Cubans or Soviets)  that has Wonderful photography--Opening shots of film make Monday Night Football Blimp shots look like childs' play, kindergarten level.  Something was done to make plants white--I Think Bogie56 mentioned Infra-red photography?  Anyway, remarkable photography--propaganda is a bit of a snooze.

 

The Lodger (1926)--Saw on another site--Alfred Hitchcock, in his third film, directs like an assured veteran.  Not a dull moment--this is a have-to-see-if-possible film.

 

Murder! (1930)--Again, saw on another site--One of Hitchcocks' lesser films, it has a good first 1/3, excellent last fifteen minutes, but the middle is SSLLLOOOW--Herbert Marshall is a fine hero--my not knowing 1930 British law is a handicap because motive might have been valid Then, but now Motive for all the murders is silly, IMO.

 

For historical reasons, all four films should be seen, IMHO.

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I watched a lot of TCM recordings this week...

 

...So, best of the week for me, was ORDINARY PEOPLE. I'd guess because it was the only movie viewed for the first time. Worst of the week was KLUTE, also a first, if incomplete viewing.

These two were not on TCM the past week, were they? KLUTE sometimes airs in February for the Oscar tribute, and occasionally ORDINARY PEOPLE comes up. 

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CHAMPION is a title newly added on Amazon Prime. It's a colorized version, but at least it's there...and I thought it was fabulous. Was Kirk Douglas ever better? I will probably re-watch it again in the near future. 

 

REMEMBER? aired on TCM a few days ago and it's one I've seen several times but always make a point of re-viewing because it's rather unheralded and fun, escapist entertainment.

 

DRUMS IN THE DEEP SOUTH is one I watched three times recently. I can't say enough good things about it...it will probably become one of TopBilled's Latest Picks.

 

THE INSPECTOR GENERAL is on Hulu and gave me a newfound appreciation for Danny Kaye's talents. Though I must say I don't appreciate all his talents. LOL

 

BLANCHE FURY is a film Ian Patrick and I reviewed together. I watched it five times. I just love this film. Thanks to the folks at Amazon Prime who keep it available. If they ever remove it, I will buy two copies (one for viewing and one as a back-up).

 

I re-watched CANON CITY last night. Eagle-Lion is my favorite smaller studio, and this film is one of the reasons why. A great prison-break noir, with Scott Brady in his first film role and the venerable Mabel Paige doing what she does best (which is a lot).

 

I VITELLONI is a charming Italian film on Hulu. It was one of Fellini's earlier efforts and every bit as worthy of discovery as his later masterpieces.

 

EMERGENCY HOSPITAL is a low-budget programmer from the mid-50s. I watched it, because I wanted to see how much they borrowed from the old Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie movies (quite a bit)...and it stars Margaret Lindsay when her movie career was waning.

 

THAT BRENNAN GIRL is one I found on Amazon Prime. I love these obscure Republic films, especially the lesser seen non-westerns from the studio. In TBG, we have James Dunn in a leading role as a grifter/con-artist, shortly after his Oscar win for A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. And Mona Freeman also stars...she's good, but I found her a little miscast and slightly over her head with this material. But the film itself is fine and worth seeing.

 

RUTHLESS is one of my favorite noirs of the 1940s, and easily my favorite film from Eagle-Lion. What a tremendous group of actors-- Louis Hayward, Sidney Greenstreet, Zachary Scott, Diana Lynn, Lucile Bremer, Raymond Burr and Martha Vickers. So good! I try to watch RUTHLESS at least once a month, because it reminds me of what Hollywood filmmaking was, and should be again.

 

THE STORY OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN is a sweet hodgepodge of tunes, and it is held together with a loose narrative about the composers who were frenemies to say the least. A good British cast and glorious Technicolor...it's energetic and worth the nearly two hour running time.

 

I DREAM OF JEANIE. Note there is only one 'n' in Jeanie, unlike the later TV series. This is a musical from Republic about the life of Stephen Foster. There are some great performers in this b&w musical biopic, many whose careers were mostly on stage. Amazon Prime has a copy of this film, but the print quality could be better. I hope Paramount, which controls the Republic library, rescues it and allows Olive to release it on DVD at some point with a cleaned up copy. It deserves a wider audience...the musical numbers are nicely performed. It's a feel-good movie on a lot of levels, and who says we don't need more of that?

 

MALTA STORY is a British war film I had first seen several years ago. Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins shine in this 1953 production.

 

BLOWING WILD was one of the few Stanwyck films I had not seen. I knew it was available on Amazon Prime but I was waiting to get into the right frame of mind to watch it. I felt Stanwyck was incredibly miscast, and I was embarrassed for her in some scenes, but she does try hard. The rest of the cast are well-suited to their roles, particularly Anthony Quinn who steals the film from Gary Cooper and does not give it back. It helps that this motion picture was mostly filmed on location in Mexico. But it should have been done in Technicolor.

 

THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE. Agnes Moorehead is perfectly cast as Rhonda Fleming's mother in this 50s feminist adventure from Paramount. While incredibly corny in spots, I have to admit I enjoyed this movie (probably more than I should have).

 

DAKOTA INCIDENT is one I first looked at about two years ago. I remembered liking it. But when I re-watched it on Amazon Prime a few nights ago, I liked it considerably less. The acting is not good. With the exception of easy-going Dale Robertson, they're all too self-conscious. It's easy to see why many of them were soon to end their movie careers and head into television. I wish I hadn't looked at this film again. I'd prefer to remember enjoying it.

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I watched a lot of TCM recordings this week. Contains many spoilers....

 

• THIS IS THE ARMY-saw this in a theater setting, the newly restored version from Warner Bros. What a crowd pleaser! The audience sang along to GOD BLESS AMERICA and applauded after a few outstanding numbers, especially the "Harlem" one.

 

• ORDINARY PEOPLE- I wanted to revisit Donald Sutherland after a conversation on this board.

I enjoyed the movie very much, outstanding performances. I liked that MTM played against type, brilliantly. I never "hated" her, even though I thought she was unfairly coldly written. Instead, I felt so badly for her, losing a child. It made a great contrast to the surviving son charactor who because of youth, was more resiliant. I really liked the portrayal of a therapist, (my original chosen profession) played by Judd Hirsch. I was struck by the Karen charactor, played by Dinah Manoff, familiar to me from the old SOAP series. Outstanding actress of course....she's Lee Grant's daughter!

 

• KLUTE - another Sutherland film. Once he slept with the prostitute, I lost interest and turned it off. Fonda was outstanding in her performance. Even though I knew I was watching a movie star, I wholly believed her charactor and felt much pathos for her. But the plot didn't interest me a whit.

 

• A THOUSAND & ONE NIGHTS - I love "sandal" pictures, and this is one of the better ones. I loved Evelyn Keyes as a genie and wasn't annoyed by Phil Silvers' charactor. Great costumes, great sets, great Technicolor, good writing all helping to make Cornell Wilde as a singing Aladdin tolerable.

 

• RACHEL & THE STRANGER - nothing special about this pioneer tale. Loretta Young was her usual self, William Holden HIS usual self and bit cameo Robert Mitchum part was too insignificant to elevate the story. I am left cold by "savage" Native American portrayals, but try suspending belief for a story's sake.

 

• GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES - MM is spectacular playing a vapid blonde, Jane Russell brave to appear on screen next to her. A true classic that just about anyone can enjoy. MM singing often brings a tear to my eye, she was such a special person, I'm so glad we have her forever preserved on film.

 

• LADY KILLERS 

• THE MAN WITH TWO FACES - 2 Warner Bros shown on Mae Clark Day. I can say these are "nothing special" programmers, typical WB fare, but there is something so wonderful & entertaining about WB programmers. The first movie had Cagney, the second on EG Robinson...both with Mae Clark. You really can't improve on that, can you? Good writing, good photography, great acting....like the staple, bread. Bread can be ubiquitous, yet such a strong basic staple.

 

So, best of the week for me, was ORDINARY PEOPLE. I'd guess because it was the only movie viewed for the first time. Worst of the week was KLUTE, also a first, if incomplete viewing.

 

New for me:  Paradise for Three. 

Old favorite I loved again:  The Enchanted Cottage. 

 

I have to agree with you on Klute. I saw it originally in the theater and I haven't changed my opinion about it.  

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I watched a lot of TCM recordings this week. ....

 

• RACHEL & THE STRANGER - nothing special about this pioneer tale. Loretta Young was her usual self, William Holden HIS usual self and bit cameo Robert Mitchum part was too insignificant to elevate the story. I am left cold by "savage" Native American portrayals, but try suspending belief for a story's sake.

....

 

• LADY KILLERS .....

 

Sorry to abbreviate your interesting post like that, TikiSoo, but it was on these two particular films that I wanted to focus. (thanks for all your mini-reviews, though, I enjoyed reading them.)

 

I like Rachel and the Stranger. Maybe some of the "pioneer" elements are unrealistic; I couldn't say. But since William Holden and Robert Mitchum are two of my all-time favourite actors (and not just for their acting !) I always enjoy watching this odd little love story.

 

What I wanted to ask you was, you list The Lady Killers as one of the films  you recently viewed, but don't say which one. If it was the Coen brothers version with Tom Hanks, I can see why you'd make no comment whatsoever (isn't there some expression, "silence speaks volumes" , or something?)  because I know you can't stand Tom Hanks, and in any case, I believe the critics hated it (I've never  seen it , myself.)

But if you meant the original Lady Killers, the 1955 Ealing comedy featuring Alec Guiness and other great British character actors, I'm surprised you'd have nothing to say about it. I really like it ! (But then, I'm a big Ealing comedy fan.)

Do you mind specifying which version you saw, and why you chose to say nothing about it?

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• ORDINARY PEOPLE- I wanted to revisit Donald Sutherland after a conversation on this board.

I enjoyed the movie very much, outstanding performances. I liked that MTM played against type, brilliantly. I never "hated" her, even though I thought she was unfairly coldly written. Instead, I felt so badly for her, losing a child. It made a great contrast to the surviving son charactor who because of youth, was more resiliant. I really liked the portrayal of a therapist, (my original chosen profession) played by Judd Hirsch. I was struck by the Karen charactor, played by Dinah Manoff, familiar to me from the old SOAP series. Outstanding actress of course....she's Lee Grant's daughter!

 

 

I also feel deeply for Mary Tyler Moore's character in ORDINARY PEOPLE.

I don't see her as "bad" but just trying to deal with her grief and continue to "go on" with life after her loss in ways that work for her.

I see why she perceives the surviving son (played by Timothy Hutton) as trying to hurt her even though I don't agree that he is.

The scene where the father (Donald Sutherland) wants to take a photo of the mother and surviving son together is so wonderfuly acted and directed. I feel sympathy for both the Mary Tyler Moore character and the Timothy Hutton character during those painfully uncomfortable moments.

 

The movie was filmed in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago (the Metra train that Donald Sutherland's character takes home from his Chicago office announces the Lake Forest stop and the therapist's office is identified as being in Highland Park) so seeing familar locations in the movie and hearing actual places mentioned enhanced my enjoyment of it.

I've eaten at the restaurant where the scene with Karen and Conrad was shot a few times over the years (It's in Wilmette IL).  Last year we were seated in the same booth where Conrad and Karen sat in the movie. (It wasn't planned.)

 

My sweetie is a fan of the movie after being introduced to it in a psychology course in college but had not seen any of Mary Tyler Moore's comedic work on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW on Nick At Nite as I did growing up.  I now have all 7 seasons of the series on DVD so recently we watched some episodes together, including one of my favorites The Lars Affair" from Season 4.

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My sweetie is a fan of the movie after being introduced to it in a psychology course in college but had not seen any of Mary Tyler Moore's comedic work on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW on Nick At NIte as I did growing up.  I now have all 7 seasons of the series on DVD so recently we watched some episodes together, including one of my favorites The Lars Affair" from Season 4.

Hopefully he will enjoy The MTM Show as much as you do! :)

 

I wish TCM would air ORDINARY PEOPLE more often...I also wouldn't mind them showing the HBO telefilm Finnegan Begin Again which paired her with the always great Robert Preston.

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I also feel deeply for Mary Tyler Moore's character in ORDINARY PEOPLE.

I don't see her as "bad" but just trying to deal with her grief and continue to "go on" with life after her loss in ways that work for her.

I see why she perceives the surviving son (played by Timothy Hutton) as trying to hurt her even though I don't agree that he is.

The scene where the father (Donald Sutherland) wants to take a photo of the mother and surviving son together is so wonderfuly acted and directed. I feel sympathy for both the Mary Tyler Moore character and the Timothy Hutton character during those painfully uncomfortable moments.

 

The movie was filmed in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago (the Metra train that Donald Sutherland's character takes home from his Chicago office announces the Lake Forest stop and the therapist's office is identified as being in Highland Park) so seeing familar locations in the movie and hearing actual places mentioned enhanced by enjoyment of it.

I've eaten at the restaurant where the scene where Karen and Conrad was shot a few times over the years (It's in Wilmette IL).  Last year we were seated in the same booth where Conrad and Karen sat in the movie. (It wasn't planned.)

 

My sweetie is a fan of the movie after being introduced to it in a psychology course in college but had not seen any of Mary Tyler Moore's comedic work on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW on Nick At NIte as I did growing up.  I now have all 7 seasons of the series on DVD so recently we watched some episodes together, including one of my favorites The Lars Affair" from Season 4.

 

I haven't seen Ordinary People, but I am wondering if the accidental death of MTM's one and only child around the same time as this movie was in production helped provide her with some experience from which she could draw from when filming her scenes.  I want to see this film, it'd be interesting to see a different side of MTM.

 

I love The Mary Tyler Moore Show and have been a fan since also watching it on Nick at Nite.  I also own all seven seasons on DVD.  In fact, I just watched the hilarious "The Lars Affair" last night! One of my favorite episodes is from season three, "Put on a Happy Face."  Mary Richards has an uncharacteristic string of bad luck.  She ends up with coffee stains on her sweater, she sprains her ankle, she gets a bad cold, the dry cleaner ruins her gown for the Second Annual Teddy Awards banquet, she ends up with Ted Baxter as her date when her other date bails on her, her hairdryer breaks and she steps in a puddle in her slipper that she's forced to wear over her sprained foot.  She shows up to the award show looking disheveled in a tacky orange/brown dress with rhinestones borrowed from Rhoda, with a yellow raincoat (because it starts pouring right before leaving for the ceremony) and her fake eyelash falls off.  She of course wins the award she's up for and apologizes to everyone in her speech.  She gets her award and her name is misspelled... of course it is.  This episode was a true tour de force performance for MTM.

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Sorry to abbreviate your interesting post like that, TikiSoo, but it was on these two particular films that I wanted to focus. (thanks for all your mini-reviews, though, I enjoyed reading them.)

 

I like Rachel and the Stranger. Maybe some of the "pioneer" elements are unrealistic; I couldn't say. But since William Holden and Robert Mitchum are two of my all-time favourite actors (and not just for their acting !) I always enjoy watching this odd little love story.

 

What I wanted to ask you was, you list The Lady Killers as one of the films  you recently viewed, but don't say which one. If it was the Coen brothers version with Tom Hanks, I can see why you'd make no comment whatsoever (isn't there some expression, "silence speaks volumes" , or something?)  because I know you can't stand Tom Hanks, and in any case, I believe the critics hated it (I've never  seen it , myself.)

But if you meant the original Lady Killers, the 1955 Ealing comedy featuring Alec Guiness and other great British character actors, I'm surprised you'd have nothing to say about it. I really like it ! (But then, I'm a big Ealing comedy fan.)

Do you mind specifying which version you saw, and why you chose to say nothing about it?

 

There's also a James Cagney pre-code film called Lady Killer.  I think Tiki was talking about this film and she lumped in with another Mae Clark film, The Man With Two Faces and wrote one blurb about both films. I don't think she was making a statement by making no statement. 

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There's also a James Cagney pre-code film called Lady Killer.  I think Tiki was talking about this film and she lumped in with another Mae Clark film, The Man With Two Faces and wrote one blurb about both films. I don't think she was making a statement by making no statement. 

 

The Cagney Lady Killer is a good film.   Cagney as a criminal that gets away with everything since this is a pre-code film.   He even gets the nice gal in the film Margaret Lindsay.    

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There's also a James Cagney pre-code film called Lady Killer.  I think Tiki was talking about this film and she lumped in with another Mae Clark film, The Man With Two Faces and wrote one blurb about both films. I don't think she was making a statement by making no statement. 

 

Oops, I think you're right, speedy. I should have realized Tiki was referring to two Mae Clarke movies, not The Lady Killers I was thinking of.

That makes sense. I haven't seen either  of those Mae Clarke movies (although I'd like to), so , duh, didn't put the "Lady Killer" title together in my mind with "The Man with Two Faces".

I think I might have been confused by the "s". Apparently the Clarke movie is simply The Lady Killer, while the much later British comedy I was referring to is The Lady KillerS, plural. Not that I'm whinging about Tiki's adding the "s", a normal and very trivial thing that anyone might do (I do stuff like that all the time.) I was dumb not to put it together, that she was talking about both Mae Clarke movies in one mini-review.

 

ps: I do recommend The Lady Killers, though; the 1955 version ,not the 2004 one, which I've heard is wretched.

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I haven't seen Ordinary People, but I am wondering if the accidental death of MTM's one and only child around the same time as this movie was in production helped provide her with some experience from which she could draw from when filming her scenes.  I want to see this film, it'd be interesting to see a different side of MTM.

 

I love The Mary Tyler Moore Show and have been a fan since also watching it on Nick at Nite.  I also own all seven seasons on DVD.  In fact, I just watched the hilarious "The Lars Affair" last night! One of my favorite episodes is from season three, "Put on a Happy Face."  Mary Richards has an uncharacteristic string of bad luck.  She ends up with coffee stains on her sweater, she sprains her ankle, she gets a bad cold, the dry cleaner ruins her gown for the Second Annual Teddy Awards banquet, she ends up with Ted Baxter as her date when her other date bails on her, her hairdryer breaks and she steps in a puddle in her slipper that she's forced to wear over her sprained foot.  She shows up to the award show looking disheveled in a tacky orange/brown dress with rhinestones borrowed from Rhoda, with a yellow raincoat (because it starts pouring right before leaving for the ceremony) and her fake eyelash falls off.  She of course wins the award she's up for and apologizes to everyone in her speech.  She gets her award and her name is misspelled... of course it is.  This episode was a true tour de force performance for MTM.

 

Mary Tyler Moore's son Richie Meeker actually died after the filming on ORDINARY PEOPLE was completed. I didn't know this myself until very recently, thinking that he had died earlier. Richie attended a private screening of the movie with his mother before its general release. He died in in October 1980.

 

Framed photographs of Richie Meeker can be seen in Mary Richards's apartment on episodes of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. The photographs are never referenced in any of the dialogue on the show.

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I saw three movies last week.  The Good Bad Man had some interesting touches, though the thoughtless racism near the end certainly undermined things.  Bessie Love is generally shot as one of those simpering asexual Victorian abstractions in early silent films that completely lose my interest.  But there are a couple of interesting shots of her.  (And am I correct in thinking that the villain may have been Fairbanks' character's father?  Or was I just looking for more complexity than was actually the case.)  The Black Pirate was a much better movie:  the early Technicolor was good, and there were several exciting and clever scenes.  (The love interest could have been improved.  Full Moon in Paris does seem like an inversion of the last Rohmer film I saw, A Summer's Tale, except here one women wonders about three men, whether the first film dealt with one man concerned with three women.  It's possible that my preference for A Summer's Tale is simply because the characters are more attractive physically.  It might also be pointed out that the characters in the first movie are also nicer, though the stakes in this movie are higher as well.

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I saw six films last week.  "Green Mansions" (1959) was flawed, but very worth watching.  It combined an ecological statement with a love story.  As another poster pointed out to me, it wasn't completely faithful to the book, nor were the bird sounds accurate (Lily Pons sang them more accurately in "Hitting A New High", 1937)  but films' theme hooked me anyway (true love never dies--sappy, but when as convincingly shown as by pre-Psycho Anthony Perkins & Audrey Hepburn, an enjoyable tearjerker--a rarity for me).

  

 

"The Egyptian" (1954)--Enjoyable whether you see and hear poetry, or concentrate on the silly side of things (like myself).  Two indisputable facts--film has Oscar nominated cinematography & a beautiful score/soundtrack by Alfred Newman & Bernard Herrman.  After that--WWell--opinions diverge.  For me, I will say Gene Tierney as Princess Bakematon is a revelation--she Gets the role, & spits out one liners like she was one of Groucho's ancestors.  Victor Mature is also notable for his line delivery in this film.  

 

"Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967)--photographed in a yellowish color that gets more yellow as film gets psychologically darker, film is watchable--but you may want to turn color off in last half hour (it's more effective in black & white, IMHO).  Trailer that was shown for it the day of its' showing was in regular Technicolor--& VHS that I saw in the 1990's & 2000's was in b&w.  More interesting--the wildly revolving shots I remembered on the VHS I watched were reduced by half.  Still a fascinating film.  Elizabeth Taylor as a Southern dingbat Nails her role--and is films' only comic relief.

 

"in Cold Blood" (1967)--Ugly film about a gruesome subject.  Wasn't for me.  "Ship of Fools" (1965), I watched to see Vivien Leigh's last film performance.  Overly emphatic script that hits one over the head with its theme acting as baseball bat, but Leigh and Simone Signoret save the film.  "Blood Kin" (1970)--Outrageous plot and dialogue sink the actors, except Lynn Redgrave--bits and pieces of Tennessee Williams talent show through.  I gave up on this one after 45 minutes.

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PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE...aired on TCM and it had been awhile since I had seen it. I watched it because of Michele Morgan, not Bogart. Some of Michele's films are on Hulu, and I've been rediscovering her (especially her French film work).

 

FIRE OVER ENGLAND...I checked this one out on Hulu after seeing Ian Patrick's recent review.

 

A COTTAGE TO LET...I used this film to fall asleep. I've seen it countless times before, but there's something about Alastair Sim, when he's not playing Scrooge, that helps me get a good night's rest. LOL

 

The Fall Guy...Season 1 is on Hulu, and it had been years since I had seen any of these episodes. I wound up writing a forthcoming column for Today's Topic about how stuntmen and stuntwomen are depicted in fictional stories. Look for it in December.

 

JIGSAW...I found this curio on Amazon Prime. It was made independently by Franchot Tone in New York and stars the actor and his then-wife Jean Wallace. It's clunky in spots but certainly interesting, if not altogether entertaining. It seemed like they took a radio script and photographed it. Not good but not bad.

 

AN IDEAL HUSBAND...another one I watched to put me to sleep one night. And that's because this one is definitely a bit sleep-inducing. Don't get me wrong, I love Paulette Goddard, and this film has exquisite production values, but it's lacking some much-needed energy.

 

THE BIG BONANZA...I fell in love with this charming Republic western starring Jane Frazee and Bobby Driscoll. I wound up reviewing it and it became one of TopBilled's Latest Picks.

 

CALENDAR GIRL...continuing my Jane Frazee kick, I checked out this charming musical she made at Republic after the war. What a cast-- Victor McLaglen, Kenny Baker, James Ellison and Franklin Pangborn. It's a fun romp, with a period setting, and a script by screenwriter-turned-director Richard Sale. I recommend it, even if the print quality is lacking on this Amazon Prime offering.

 

LES COUSINS...I went on a Claude Chabrol kick mid-week. I love early French New Wave from the late 50s. This was Chabrol's second major film work, after working as an editor and writer at Cahiers du Cinema.

 

LE BEAU SERGE...another Chabrol entry, this was his first film, which I found on Hulu and watched after seeing LES COUSINS. He uses the same two lead actors in both films, and I believe they were shot back-to-back. SERGE takes place in a provincial community where Chabrol spent part of his childhood, and COUSINS takes place in Paris. The stories are intriguing because they look at similar issues from reverse perspectives, and the two actors switch roles and play against type. I love Chabrol's movies, and they inspired me to write a nine-page treatment for a screenplay I intend to write in December.

 

GRAND OLE OPRY...can I get anymore diverse? This hillbilly musical with The Weaver Brothers and Elviry is about as far from Chabrol as one can get. I recommended the Weavers on a B-westerns thread in the westerns genre sub-forum, and i figured if I am recommending something, I should at least watch it. There are some great musical numbers, including Roy Acuff in his prime crooning his trademark hit 'Wabash Cannonball.' I had fun watching it.

 

MAMMA ROMA...I had started watching this Anna Magnani film a few weeks earlier and was interrupted thirty minutes into it, so it was my intention to pick it back up and finish it. I am so glad I did. She made this one in the early 60s when she was older, but she's as exuberant and full of life as ever. She plays a "recovering prostitute" (my phrase) and she has an illegitimate son she wants to have the good life, but he's a crook. So you can see what sort of high drama this leads to, and Magnani delivers in spades.

 

THE ATOMIC SUBMARINE...I found this late 50s science fiction classic (and I will use the word 'classic' loosely here) on Hulu. I actually did not dislike it. It moves slowly, but the storyline is compelling. And I love the fact that we really do not see the alien race, and that much of the danger outside the sub is left to our imagination. Arthur Franz is very good, though not a leading man in the conventional Hollywood sense. I really enjoyed the nice character role turn by Tom Conway. He almost steals the film.

 

IL SORPASSO...this was the best film I have seen in months, maybe years. I intend to re-watch this masterpiece of comedia del arte and write more extensively on it. So wonderful in so many ways.

 

MAJOR BARBARA...I don't know why I felt compelled to look at this film again, but I did. It's been a long while since TCM has aired it. I feel it's very disjointed and seems like they tried to cram ideas from three or four separate films into one. But some sequences are marvelous. The bit at the end where Robert Morley takes the otherwise stuffy, out-of-touch family on a tour of the factory that brings them their millions was filmed on location and is very well photographed and played by the cast. 

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film lover said:


Still a fascinating film.  Elizabeth Taylor as a Southern dingbat Nails her role--and is films' only comic relief.


 


Nice comments-observations like yours really help me decide whether a movie is worth trying out.


 


"in Cold Blood" (1967)--Ugly film about a gruesome subject.  Wasn't for me.  


 


Correct, good comment. Despite that, I've never heard of anyone turned off by it. Many are intrigued by ugly subjects, aren't they?


 


"Ship of Fools" (1965), I watched to see Vivien Leigh's last film performance.  Overly emphatic script that hits one over the head with its theme acting as baseball bat


 


I agree with you again!

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TikiSoo--In particular, I was turned off by "In Cold Blood" (1967) for two reasons:

 

1. I've never liked Robert Blake, even in "Baretta (?--?)

 

SPOILER SPOILER POSSIBLE STOMACH TURNER

 

2. The scene of the murders themselves--even though done bloodlessly--made me ill with the pleas of the victims, & basically ruined  the film for me (the scene is in the last 20 minutes--not in the first 10-20 minutes, so I could have just turned off the tv or changed the channel, but after I got interested in how these monsters minds worked--film proceeded like murders weren't going to be shown, & was just going to be an intellectual exercise in finding out Why these******** did it--then, in the last twenty minutes, The Scene is shown, victims pleas & all, everything But--and after that, the Director has the gall to ask us to feel Sympathy for Blakes' character??!!? This movie goes from a police procedural to an anti capital punishment "statement".  This movie sympathizes with the killers, not the victims--and it makes me Angry and Ill at the same time.  

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then, in the last twenty minutes, The Scene is shown, victims pleas & all, everything But--and after that, the Director has the gall to ask us to feel Sympathy for Blakes' character??!!? This movie goes from a police procedural to an anti capital punishment "statement".  This movie sympathizes with the killers, not the victims--and it makes me Angry and Ill at the same time.  

 

I see your point and think many see it the same way.

 

I had ZERO sympathy for either charactor at the end of the story and think the movie is a great illustration of senseless crime. (not unlike Dead Man Walking)

 

The "sympathy" scene you reference just illustrates how some people consider the perp's regret & forgive a stupid act, possibly Truman Capote's POV as written.

 

While I find the act as abhorrent as you, I like the way the story is told and think overall, it's an interesting view into the criminal mind, feeble as it is.

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The film I most enjoyed watching the past few days was THE SPANISH GARDENER, which I viewed on Thanksgiving. It aired on TCM maybe a year ago and was worth looking at again. Dirk Bogarde is a bit miscast as the title character but his sincerity in the role goes a long way. The rest of the cast are perfectly suited to their parts-- namely, the young boy and the father he ultimately rebels against. Filmed in Technicolor at Pinewood Studios and on the coast of Spain (the first British production to do so), it is based on a bestselling novel by A.J. Cronin.

 

Since I was on a Dirk Bogarde kick, PENNY PRINCESS seemed like a good choice (and it was). This is a fun Technicolor comedy about a fictional country called Lampiddora that produces a product called shneeze. Yes, you read it correctly-- schneeze, which is a combination of Schnapps and cheese. Writing this makes me laugh. Dirk is a visiting expert on cheese, and producer-director Val Guest's wife Yolande Donlan plays the princess of the nation that produces this unique product. The script is clever, the performances are inspired, and Donlan (an American actress who spent most of her film career in Britain) comes across the way Judy Holliday would in such a screwy story. 

 

THE DAKOTA KID is a cute kiddie western the folks at Republic made in the early 1950s. In fact, it is one of four such matinee movies produced in a series called Rough Ridin' Kids, featuring child stars Michael Chapin and Eilene Janssen. This entry and another one are available on Amazon Prime. The story lasts barely an hour but it is filled with a lot of action, and the kids are very convincing in their roles. I went into it not expecting much, and I was thoroughly entertained. It's what they used to call quality wholesome movie entertainment. The stuff Hollywood doesn't produce anymore. 

 

SHIELD FOR MURDER aired recently on TCM. There's a thread about this title in the film noir genre subforum. Reading the posts there and replying to some of them before the broadcast encouraged another viewing. Though it's Edmond O'Brien's film all the way (he plays a crooked cop), he is aided immensely by the supporting turns of Carolyn Jones and Claude Akins. 

 

TWO-GUN LADY is something I watched on Amazon Prime, because it had Marie Windsor in it. The title character, however, is played by Peggie Castle. A very convoluted story prevented me from fully enjoying the movie, though I could tell everyone involved was trying awfully hard to put it across. A juvenile actress did quite well in a supporting role, and the entire production is not without merit. But it's not what might be regarded as an early feminist western. It's a little too bound by its conventions and archetypes for that.

 

MAN FROM TEXAS is an Eagle-Lion western that I rewatched, because I did not pay close enough attention to it the first time. I was glad I chose to view it again. The production values are good for this smaller studio, but probably not as good as similar product from any of the major studios. James Craig and Lynn Bari are cast in the lead roles, and they do better than okay. The script is quite witty, and it's helped along by a sharp cast of character players, like Una Merkel and Harry Davenport. It's definitely entertaining and worth the time.

 

THE BLAZING FOREST. I may have mentioned this film last week (in fact, I know I did). But I enjoyed it so much, I watched it again this week. I plan to write a lengthier review about it.

 

TEN DAYS TO TULARA was recently added to Amazon Prime. Because I had not seen it since Sterling Hayden was Star of the Month on TCM last May, I decided to look at it again. It's not bad but not great. Too many slow-moving, drawn out scenes hamper it from being fully effective. But there are worse ways to spend one's time. And if you happen to like seeing Mr. Hayden shirtless for 70% of a motion picture, this one is certainly for you.

 

UNDER CALIFORNIA STARS is a Roy Rogers western I watched on Amazon Prime. The boy from THE DAKOTA KID, Michael Chapin, has a supporting role in it. But it was Roy's leading lady Jane Frazee (filling in for Dale Evans) that made me want to check it out. Filmed in Republic's Trucolor process and mostly on location at Roy's ranch, it's a beautiful looking and mostly well-acted story. Andy Devine provides fun in his usual comic relief role, and the music is truly exceptional. So is the sentiment, which goes a long way toward making the viewing experience a most pleasant one.

 

I found a copy of Curtis Harrington's THE KILLING KIND on Amazon. I had heard strange things about this film, which plays like a 1973 reworking of PSYCHO. I thought Ann Sothern gave a very good performance as the mother, and Ruth Roman made the most out of a limited role as an attorney who quickly turns into a murder victim. John Savage plays the deranged young man at the center of the story, and while he seems to lack the confidence as an actor needed to bring the role to life, he does fairly well. I wrote a review about the movie which I posted in a thread on the LGBT forum. If you're in the mood for cheap gritty filmmaking with an exploitative angle, this film fits the bill perfectly.

 

"Coronation Street" is my favorite daily serial, a British soap available on Hulu. This week Leanne revealed to Eva that Simon has been beating her; and Liz tricked Tony into signing his share of the pub over to her. A new lesbian couple was introduced, and Ken has been finding himself spending time with his and his late wife's friend Audrey. His daughter Tracy does not think enough time has passed for him to start dating again.

 

MY FAVORITE WIFE is a charming romantic comedy starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. It aired on TCM during a morning devoted to a series of Cary Grant films. As I watched, I noticed I was comparing it to the early 60s remake with Doris Day and James Garner. I think this version is the best one. The sets are gorgeously decorated, and the stars wear the finest clothes. But it's Dunne who infuses it all with such warmth and heart that at key points, I forget it's a comedy with far-fetched romantic complications and consider it instead a beautiful meditation on family life.

 

TCM Wine Ads-- I cannot believe that I am having to write about this. I don't think an overplayed seven-minute ad where TCM is using classic film to push alcohol should be something we have to sit through. Get back to the good old golden age movies, please.

 

There's an unrestored print of DISHONORED LADY on Amazon Prime, and I almost gave up watching it after five minutes. But I am glad I stuck with it. This one was made when Hedy Lamarr had left MGM in the mid-40s and began to freelance, usually financing pictures with her own earnings from those earlier studio days. Not sure if she quite gets her money's worth in the leading men she's hired to help enact the story-- Dennis O'Keefe and William Lundigan are both likable (if too similar in appearance and manner), but the production probably needs actors with greater dramatic skills. In a way it does not matter, though, because Hedy's the main attraction. Her star power helps sustain this story about a woman whose reputation is at stake when she's involved in a highly sensational trial.

 

THE GHOST TRAIN. Arthur Askey was a British comedian who found success on the stage and was given several chances to bring his unique humor to the big screen. This is one of the best films he made, which is available on Amazon Prime. Since it was produced in the early 40s, the villains are Nazis, and as the title indicates, the action revolves around an abandoned locomotive. Passengers are trapped inside the depot due to a raging storm, but that doesn't stop Arthur from getting into trouble with those nasty Nazis and ultimately saving the day.

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I saw ten films last week.  

 

"The Pirate" (1948) is Always a treat to watch--Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, in a musical farce that required hairsbreadth comic timing.  Garland, despite missing 99 of 137 days of shooting, brings it off--and so does Kelly & the rest of the cast.  The Nicholas Brothers, making a too rare film appearance (in the first version of "Be A Clown), make this film a must-see, especially for anyone into the history of filmed dancing/music.

 

"Plymouth Adventure" (1952).  Overly talky, but for 1952 gritty film about the Pilgrims voyage to Plymouth Rock.  Good performances take second place to Oscar-winning Special Effects.

 

"Duel In The Sun" (1946).  Half masterpiece, half howler/cringe inducing.  Oscar nominated performances by Jennifer Jones & Lillian Gish, Gorgeous score by Dimitri Tiomkin, Lovely cinematography, Herbert Marshall (of all people) has an very effective cameo role at film's beginning. On the down side--script is muddled, are too many howlers/cringe inducing lines (When Barrymore first meets Pearl (Jennifer Jones): "Is that what they're wearing in wigwams these days?"  Pearl, when upset: "I'm Trash! Trash, trash,trash, trash, Trash!"  The finale pushes film irrevocably across line into ridiculousness (for me, anyway).

 

"The Mask of Fu Manchu" (1932)--Delightfully campy turns by Boris Karloff (his fingernails are Claws) & Myrna Loy in the last of her Oriental Bad Girl temptresses make silly film a Pre-Code delight.  Very British colonial (The Far East)--was the first time I'd heard "The Yellow Peril" mentioned since I first saw this film on television as a preteen.

 

OK--TCM's The Walking Dead (or Comcast) had an annoying buzz--so I went and found "The Ghoul" (1933), a Gaumont-British Karloff film--a good film, worth seeking out for two reasons--Karloff and the brunette who played the ditz who by her clueless behavior, should be the first killed--but she continually avoids disaster, till film becomes a comedy of sorts--who/what will save her This time?  All the while, Karloff's character is getting angrier.  I'll stop here and just recommend the film.

 

"Lured" (1947)--Lucille Ball plays a chorus girl turned detective after a friend goes missing--she's searching for a "Jack the Ripper" type--using herself as bait.  Film is too good to give away more of the plot--just throw Maltin's rating out the window and give this 3-3 1/2 stars.

 

"The Women" (1939)--A delight--I appreciate Shearer's performance more than I used to.  Recommended for anyone who hasn't yet seen it.

 

"Two Weeks With Love" (1950)--A light comedy with songs, made memorable by "Abba Dabba Honeymoon", performed by a young Debbie Reynolds & Carleton Carpenter (who, going by this film, didn't have the Voice that Reynolds had, though he outdances her).

 

"The Manxman" (1929)--Alfred Hitchcock's last silent, film is melodrama that could be solved if one person said "I was misled.  I'm sorry."--but such a common sense thing doesn't happen, & tragedy ensues.  Notable for the performance of Anny Ondra (star of Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) & for the loving closeup of a knife cutting a wedding cake.

 

"The Poseidon Adventure" (1972)--The disaster movie that survives from the 70's craze of disaster flicks.  Notable for Shelley Winters' performance & John Williams score, in case anyone hasn't seen it.

 

Best film--"The Pirate" (1948)

 

Hardest to sit through--"The Manxman" (1929)

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I saw ten films last week.  

 

"The Pirate" (1948) is Always a treat to watch--Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, in a musical farce that required hairsbreadth comic timing.  Garland, despite missing 99 of 137 days of shooting, brings it off--and so does Kelly & the rest of the cast.  The Nicholas Brothers, making a too rare film appearance (in the first version of "Be A Clown), make this film a must-see, especially for anyone into the history of filmed dancing/music.

 

"Plymouth Adventure" (1952).  Overly talky, but for 1952 gritty film about the Pilgrims voyage to Plymouth Rock.  Good performances take second place to Oscar-winning Special Effects.

 

"Duel In The Sun" (1946).  Half masterpiece, half howler/cringe inducing.  Oscar nominated performances by Jennifer Jones & Lillian Gish, Gorgeous score by Dimitri Tiomkin, Lovely cinematography, Herbert Marshall (of all people) has an very effective cameo role at film's beginning. On the down side--script is muddled, are too many howlers/cringe inducing lines (When Barrymore first meets Pearl (Jennifer Jones): "Is that what they're wearing in wigwams these days?"  Pearl, when upset: "I'm Trash! Trash, trash,trash, trash, Trash!"  The finale pushes film irrevocably across line into ridiculousness (for me, anyway).

 

"The Mask of Fu Manchu" (1932)--Delightfully campy turns by Boris Karloff (his fingernails are Claws) & Myrna Loy in the last of her Oriental Bad Girl temptresses make silly film a Pre-Code delight.  Very British colonial (The Far East)--was the first time I'd heard "The Yellow Peril" mentioned since I first saw this film on television as a preteen.

 

OK--TCM's The Walking Dead (or Comcast) had an annoying buzz--so I went and found "The Ghoul" (1933), a Gaumont-British Karloff film--a good film, worth seeking out for two reasons--Karloff and the brunette who played the ditz who by her clueless behavior, should be the first killed--but she continually avoids disaster, till film becomes a comedy of sorts--who/what will save her This time?  All the while, Karloff's character is getting angrier.  I'll stop here and just recommend the film.

 

"Lured" (1947)--Lucille Ball plays a chorus girl turned detective after a friend goes missing--she's searching for a "Jack the Ripper" type--using herself as bait.  Film is too good to give away more of the plot--just throw Maltin's rating out the window and give this 3-3 1/2 stars.

 

"The Women" (1939)--A delight--I appreciate Shearer's performance more than I used to.  Recommended for anyone who hasn't yet seen it.

 

"Two Weeks With Love" (1950)--A light comedy with songs, made memorable by "Abba Dabba Honeymoon", performed by a young Debbie Reynolds & Carleton Carpenter (who, going by this film, didn't have the Voice that Reynolds had, though he outdances her).

 

"The Manxman" (1929)--Alfred Hitchcock's last silent, film is melodrama that could be solved if one person said" I was misled.  I'm sorry."--but such a common sense thing doesn't happen, & tragedy ensues.  Notable for the performance of Anny Ondra (star of Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) & for the loving closeup of a knife cutting a wedding cake.

 

"The Poseidon Adventure" (1972)--The disaster movie that survives from the 70's craze of disaster flicks.  Notable for Shelley Winters' performance & John Williams score, in case anyone hasn't seen it.

 

Best film--"The Pirate" (1948)

 

Hardest to sit through--"The Manxman" (1929)

 

I'm glad you like The Pirate as much as I do.  It bombed during its initial release, because I think it was a bit ahead of its time.  I agree that Garland was fantastic despite missing much of the filming schedule.  That's the thing about Garland, no matter how many issues she was reported to have, you'd never know it from the final product.  If Garland weren't so talented, I don't believe we'd be talking about her today.  A professional company (like a film studio) would have never put up with her behavior if she didn't produce quality work.  In Meet Me in St. Louis, she had similar issues, but still pulled out a great performance.  She didn't even rehearse "The Trolley Song" with the crew, but she showed up on the day of filming and nailed the song in one take. 

 

My favorite scenes in The Pirate is where Gene Kelly does his dance with the fire; where Judy Garland sings the "Macoco" song; and where Kelly dances with the amazing Nicholas Brothers to "Be a Clown." 

 

I'm glad you liked Lured and Two Weeks With Love.  These are two films that I recorded but haven't watched yet.  I'm especially looking forward to Lured

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I saw five movies last week.  Laila was an interesting movie, and the first scenes where the title character is lost as a baby in a desperate flight from wolves is fairly impressive.  However, for the baby to be refound, and then lost again, is a bit awkward.  Bedlam is best for Karloff's performances, showing the desperation and sycophancy of someone in his awkward social position.  Merrill's Marauders does not seem to me particularly memorable:  it's less interesting than either The Steel Helment or The Big Red One.  My thought on watching Mission Impossible:  Rogue Nation is that it's less interesting than the fourth installment, and I suspect that in a few years I'll remember of little of it as I do the second and third ones.  Nightcrawler deals with a stringer trying to film crime scenes and accidents who is clearly more crazy than some of the people he is filming.  Like many sociopaths, he expresses himself in glib corporate speak.  It's interesting that his amorality does not quite lead to the moral disaster one might cynically speak, but it's not a particularly interesting movie.

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These are the titles I have watched in the past few days, not counting the George Sanders films on TCM last night (which I went over in the Sanders thread):

 

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NURSE EDITH CAVELL..I watched this stirring wartime melodrama in anticipation of George Sanders' TCM spotlight. He is third-billed as a Nazi officer who ensures that Anna Neagle (as the title character) is put to death in front of a firing squad. Yes, it's one of those villainous parts an actor like Sanders does so well.

 

KEEPING COMPANY..GinnyFan stopped by my child stars thread and reminded us that this Virginia Weidler film was soon to air on TCM. I watched it the following morning and enjoyed it as much as I had when I first caught it on the tube a few years ago. 

 

OUT WEST WITH THE PEPPERS..The third film of four in Columbia's Pepper series aired one evening on TCM a few nights ago. It aired in sequence with the other three titles. I am mentioning it here, because it's charming (not too taxing on the brain). And it also turned up as an on-demand title on Sling.

 

FOUR BOYS AND A GUN..This is a great 50s programmer about a group of young men coming of age and winding up in a lot of trouble with the law. The dialogue is sharply written and played. And I love how the scenes change perspective but continue forward as if they are all part of one person's overall story. The final sequence is great, and in a way, it reminds me of a thoughtful episode of the Naked City television series.

 

LURED..I wrote about this one in the George Sanders thread. 

 

EN KVINNAS ANSIKTE..this is the Swedish version of A WOMAN'S FACE, which MGM remade in 1941 with Joan Crawford. It's about a blackmailer with a scarred face who undergoes plastic surgery and has a dramatic change of heart. Ingrid Bergman starred in the original production back in her native country in 1938. Both versions are spectacular, but I think I prefer Ingrid's a little better. There is a wonderfully restored print of this on Amazon Prime, and it is available with two other early Swedish films Miss Bergman did. I can't wait to watch those!

 

Coronation Street..Leanne sent Simon to live with his grandfather Ken, when she couldn't handle her son beating her anymore. This led to complications at Ken's house, where his granddaughter Amy became Simon's next victim. As a result, Amy's mother Tracy went off the rails and lashed out at Leanne. Tracy's boyfriend wound up growing closer to Leanne because of all this. In other matters, Carla tried to smooth things out at her shop, when a worker threatened to organise a strike. And Luke, caving to blackmail, decided to participate in a street race after hours. (Daily episodes of Britain's number one serial can be found on Hulu.)

 

NEXT TO NO TIME..Betsy Drake recently passed away, and I had been thinking about her film legacy. This is one she made in England in the late 50s with Kenneth More. It's on Amazon Prime, and if you are interested in seeing something she did without Cary, I'd recommend taking a look at it.

 

CLUB HAVANA..This is one of those little-engine-that-could movies. At least that is what I like to call things like this that have a remarkable lead (Margaret Lindsay), a strong cult director (Edgar Ulmer), and a pitiful budget (though you tend to forget about that the way Ulmer keeps the story moving). There are some very good musical numbers, and I read a review calling the film a poor man's GRAND HOTEL. I don't know if I'd exactly call it that, but I would call it an imaginatively produced motion picture that skillfully casts its spell on the viewer.

 

FLYING WILD..There is a Bowery Boys thread on the General Discussions board. A few people were talking about the East Side Kids, which came before the Bowery Boys. I noticed two titles from this earlier franchise were added to Amazon Prime. I watched one and was mildly amused. There seems to be less scripted action and more ad-libbing than I am used to seeing in pictures from this period. It would be okay, if the actors didn't come across so amateurish. 

 

Nanny and the Professor..John Mills turned up in an episode of his daughter Juliet's sitcom, made in the early 1970s. The first two seasons of the classic program are on Hulu. I thought it would be fun to check out a few episodes. I watched the one with Mills, and another one where Ida Lupino guest starred.

 

APPOINTMENT WITH MURDER..This is one of the last three Falcon mysteries, after George Sanders and his brother Tom Conway had vacated the role. The character was now played by John Calvert, and it was distributed by low-rent Film Classics. It was recently added on Amazon Prime. And despite the substandard budget, the story itself is very well played. Calvert is just as intriguing portraying the Falcon as his predecessors.

 

THE BLACK BOOK..This Eagle-Lion period piece is more evidence just how great a director we have in Anthony Mann. Inferior prints tend to show up on TCM, but there's a sharp clean copy on Hulu. I love almost anything Richard Basehart does, and he certainly steals the show in this picture. Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl are the actual leads. And Norman Lloyd, plus some other notables from the theater world, turn up at key intervals. Not to be missed. 

 

THE WOMAN IN QUESTION..Continuing my Dirk Bogarde kick from the previous week, I watched this early British drama in which the actor appeared. I like the way the narrative is constructed, some years after CITIZEN KANE and the same year as RASHOMON-- we see how a woman of ill-repute (Jean Kent) affects those in her orbit, mostly through flashback, with some overlapping plot points. It's very well made and character actress Hermione Baddeley, who never gives a bad performance, punches it up considerably. Catch this movie on Amazon Prime.

 

Replayed TCM wine ads..if you can't beat 'em, raise a glass to 'em.

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