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LEAST & MOST FAVORITE of the week...

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

> I like the show that was on TCM yesterday afternoon about Myrna Loy. Kathleen Turner was talking about her and her movies. Can not remember what it was called but it was cool because there are some silent films that I have not seen with Myrna Loy and I didnt know that she was John Dillinger's favorite actress. That is my fav of the week in case anyone was wondering.

 

Yes, she sure was. I believe the film that he went to see before his famous ending was *Manhattan Melodrama* , which TCM is playing next week to celebrate William Powell's bday.

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

> .....and she felt bad that he was captured because she was his favorite actress. That's why he had gone to see the film.

 

Talk about irony.

 

The worst movie I have seen this week (even though it is only Wed) is Sergeant Rutledge. I admit, I only caught the film for an in-his-prime Woody Strode....but geesh, what exactly was Ford thinking with this one? Well I promised myself I'd give it another go on Woody's SOTM day next month because this time around, I was not too impressed.

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I was not impressed with Sergeant Rutledge either. Certainly not one of Ford's best. Woody is a interesting actor, wasted entirely in this film. I enjoyed the tribute to C. Aubrey Smith today. I had seen him in movies many times before, but really never gave him his do. Today was interesting. Always ready to learn something new.

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In retrospect, "Election" was clealry more irritating than "The Barbarian Invasions," which was still a fatuous film. "Little Women" was clearly the best movie that I saw for the first time this week, and "Dinner at Eight" improves on rewatching it closely.

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Ok, I won't argue about *Election*, because I think that at least one reason why you may like it or not depends on whether or not you like Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Neither is the sort of actor whom everyone likes, they're both kind of a specialized taste, like worcestershire sauce or something. I happen to be a fan of them both, and I found this movie quite funny. But again, a chacun son gout.

 

But I am curious as to why you consider *The Barbarian Invasions* fatuous. I assume you also disliked Denys Arcand's earlier film featuring these characters, The Decline of the American Empire. Can you elaborate on the reasons why you don't like these films? Go ahead, be as critical of them as you like. I can take it.

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I had the flu this weekend, so I didn't go out much. While trying to get better, I watched a handful of films, some I may not otherwise have taken the time to view.

 

First, I have to say that my *most favorite* was THE BRIDE WORE RED. I've been wanting to watch it for a long time. Dorothy Arzner was one of those rare women directors in Hollywood before WWII, and while she didn't make a lot of films, she did make several substantial ones. What I most liked about RED was watching the chemistry and loveliness of real-life couple Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone. This wasn't the only film they made together, but in this picture, they're truly magical. The sets are amazing; it's a major MGM glamor-and-sparkle creation (check out Joan's amazing dress). Robert Young and Reginald Owen are among the cast, and so is Billie Burke, who does not play her typical scatterbrained character, but is a real shrew. They're all excellent. I would watch this one again with MIDNIGHT, since they seem to be alike thematically.

 

I enjoyed watching Abbott & Costello in RIDE 'EM COWBOY. It was interesting to see Ella Fitzgerald on film singing 'A Tisket, A Tasket' in the early days of her career. The other musical acts were great, too, and of course the comic bits were inspired. What I like about Abbott & Costello is that their films are very episodic in nature; but the gags are more than vaudeville-type bits, and they do contribute to the overall storyline. However, the duo is usually backburnered when the romantic leads are falling in love.

 

I have a love-hate feeling about Billy Wilder. I tend to think he's overrated. But while watching THE FORTUNE COOKIE this weekend, I developed a greater appreciation. The team of Matthau and Lemmon is most unbeatable and Wilder really does get the most from them. What I realize about Wilder is that he's basically a one-gag man. He takes one joke (here, a shyster lawyer tries to exaggerate his client's injuries) and stretches it out for two hours. With COOKIE, it works. There are layers of action and reaction among the characters. Matthau goes from scheming to paranoid to triumphant, and it's fun to watch him earn an Oscar for the performance. Lemmon, for his part, perfects the sweet-natured but used-and-abused victim. But probably what I like most is that we see the characters feel something and care for one another.

 

My *least favorite* film was HERBIE RIDES AGAIN. And I really do love this film, especially Keenan Wynn's scene-stealing work as the villain Alonzo Hawk. But what really annoyed me while watching this film was how fast the action cut from one sequence to another, almost as if they were afraid we might get bored if there wasn't another immediate gag. The running time was 88 minutes, and I'm wondering if there was a longer version, since it seemed like more than a few scenes were truncated. The stars are great (Helen Hayes, Ken Berry, Stefanie Powers, and of course Herbie). But I wanted more clarification and a chance to understand the characters' motivations. For instance, why does Berry's character so abruptly go from worshipping his uncle Alonso to instantly hating him (just because Powers clobbered him with some seafood?). Also, why does Powers go from calling Hayes 'Mrs. Steinmetz' to 'Grandma' in the blink of an eye? Did they decide to make the characters related after some of the earlier scenes had been filmed? I know it's a Disney movie and we're not supposed to think that hard about it, but I think it could've been a better movie.

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The one thing wrong with THE FORTUNE COOKIE is some of the other actors. Where did they get Judi West, anyway? Without looking her up, I believe she qualifies as a one-hit wonder, and not a very good wonder, at that. The actor playing the football player isn't very good, either.

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I agree with you Classic Viewer, I loved seeing a young Ella Fitzgerald in the A&C Ride Em Cowboy. But I just couldn't stay up late enough for the entire film.

 

My favorite this week was the Fri night Shirley Temple block. I was hosting an informal "get together" and had the TV on sans sound but recording. My guests enjoyed seeing Shirley overact. The beer & booze helped.

Last night I watched Heidi since I hadn't seen it since I was a kid and it played on TV. Easy to see how I got into classic film, it was quite good-fast paced, well acted, etc. Her costumes were gorgeous and I see why her Mom fussed over her hair so. Enjoyable, despite the saccharin.

 

My least favorite was The Green Slime, a horrible Japanese space saga. Bad writing, acting & unspecial effects. The mix of cheese sci-fi and serious sci-fi (2001/2010) didn't work for me at all.

 

The Green Slime would have been better entertainment in the late Fri night slot entertaining my guests!

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Yes, I have a feeling Judi West did not have much of a film career (I haven't checked her filmography). If THE FORTUNE COOKIE was remade today, you would probably get Jamie Foxx to play the black character and the role would need to be expanded more. Or you could use a big-name football player who wants to break into movies. I thought the guys that played the eavesdropping detectives were good.

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I agree about the evening of Shirley Temple programming. I had never seen HEIDI before and it was a real treat. Loved the scene where the kids dance with the wooden shoes! And Jean Hersholt was the perfect grandpa.

 

I bet if MGM had made HEIDI, Margaret O'Brien would've played the lead, and they would've had Frank Morgan as the grandfather.

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I hate to say this -I like Billy Wilder, Kim Novak, and even Dean Martin. However, I cannot refrain from commenting that *Kiss Me, Stupid* was a low for all three of them. *Kiss Me, Stupid* was stupid.

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

> I agree about the evening of Shirley Temple programming. I had never seen HEIDI before and it was a real treat. Loved the scene where the kids dance with the wooden shoes! And Jean Hersholt was the perfect grandpa.

>

> *I bet if MGM had made HEIDI, Margaret O'Brien would've played the lead,* and they would've had Frank Morgan as the grandfather.

 

I don't know what it is, but I have to brush my teeth after watching her in films.

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

> The Green Slime would have been better entertainment in the late Fri night slot entertaining my guests!

 

As a fan of *The Green Slime*, I have to admit that TCM Underground would be a better fit for it. If TCM can ever obtain a wide screen print of it, so we can see all of it, not just 57% of it, perhaps they will run it in TCM Underground.

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So many to mention...

 

My *most favorite* this week was A DATE WITH JUDY. I read some of the viewer comments on it that appear on TCM's database page for the film, before I watched it. Most of the praise was unanimous. And I join the chorus. But I don't think the other folks explained why they liked it. I liked it because I thought the dialogue was very good in the parent-child scenes and that the younger actors (especially Liz Taylor and Scotty Beckett) put real honest emotion into their parts. Jane Powell was good, too...and of course, so were the leads, Wallace Beery and Carmen Miranda (who nearly steals the show with her rumba lessons). But I was most impressed by Leon Ames, as an out-of-touch dad who realizes before it's too late, that his kids need him. Wonderful. The film is sort of a forerunner to the first television sitcoms. I kept wishing they had made a few sequels, but I guess Wallace Beery's death a year later prevented that.

 

I liked ABOUT FACE more than I thought I would. It's a musical remake of Warners' earlier comedy BROTHER RAT. But the performances are sharp, the music is good, and the energy is infectious. Also, there is a lot of male leg flesh in this one. The guys are dressing and undressing quite a bit. And of course, Gordon MacRae sleeps with his shirt off. If you're a woman or a gay male, I think you will find this an added bonus.

 

Speaking of Gordon MacRae, TCM showed BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON during an evening of Doris Day films. I had not seen it before, so I was curious to see the first one, ON MOONLIGHT BAY (which I then rented from Netflix). I think TCM should've showed both of them, or if they only had time for one, then it should've been the first one. After I watched BAY, I then had to go back and rewatch MOON. There was a lot I didn't 'get' or 'understand' just plunging into the second movie. The characters' relationships make much more sense if you start with the first one.

 

My *least favorite* was FMC's showing of THE DETECTIVE, starring Frank Sinatra. Frankie is fairly decent and so is leading lady Lee Remick. But I had a problem with some of the dialogue. It's clear this is a film immediately after the collapse of the production code. Instead of them having a cozy romantic dinner, the lines are more like: "How many women have you brought here? Have you done them all on the sofa?" It was unnecessary, and it had nothing to do with the main plot, which was about a killing. Compared to NEVER SO FEW, where Frankie romances Gina Lollobrigida in a much sweeter, more romantic way, I think I will pass on another viewing of DETECTIVE.

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

> So many to mention...

>

> My *most favorite* this week was A DATE WITH JUDY. I read some of the viewer comments on it that appear on TCM's database page for the film, before I watched it. Most of the praise was unanimous. And I join the chorus. But I don't think the other folks explained why they liked it. I liked it because I thought the dialogue was very good in the parent-child scenes and that the younger actors (especially Liz Taylor and Scotty Beckett) put real honest emotion into their parts. Jane Powell was good, too...and of course, so were the leads, Wallace Beery and Carmen Miranda (who nearly steals the show with her rumba lessons). But I was most impressed by Leon Ames, as an out-of-touch dad who realizes before it's too late, that his kids need him. Wonderful. The film is sort of a forerunner to the first television sitcoms. I kept wishing they had made a few sequels, but I guess Wallace Beery's death a year later prevented that.

>

> I liked ABOUT FACE more than I thought I would. It's a musical remake of Warners' earlier comedy BROTHER RAT. But the performances are sharp, the music is good, and the energy is infectious. Also, there is a lot of male leg flesh in this one. The guys are dressing and undressing quite a bit. And of course, Gordon MacRae sleeps with his shirt off. If you're a woman or a gay male, I think you will find this an added bonus.

>

> Speaking of Gordon MacRae, TCM showed BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON during an evening of Doris Day films. I had not seen it before, so I was curious to see the first one, ON MOONLIGHT BAY (which I then rented from Netflix). I think TCM should've showed both of them, or if they only had time for one, then it should've been the first one. After I watched BAY, I then had to go back and rewatch MOON. There was a lot I didn't 'get' or 'understand' just plunging into the second movie. The characters' relationships make much more sense if you start with the first one.

>

> My *least favorite* was FMC's showing of THE DETECTIVE, starring Frank Sinatra. Frankie is fairly decent and so is leading lady Lee Remick. But I had a problem with some of the dialogue. It's clear this is a film immediately after the collapse of the production code. Instead of them having a cozy romantic dinner, the lines are more like: "How many women have you brought here? Have you done them all on the sofa?" It was unnecessary, and it had nothing to do with the main plot, which was about a killing. Compared to NEVER SO FEW, where Frankie romances Gina Lollobrigida in a much sweeter, more romantic way, I think I will pass on another viewing of DETECTIVE.

 

So the suggestive dialogue is why you don't like THE DETECTIVE? I actually like this film (wonder why Fox Movie Channel plays it when they do sometimes though). Next to *Tony Rome* and *Lady Cement*, I think the movie is awesome and Sinatra would have even made a great cop/detective on television, if he chose that medium.

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Well last week I saw "School of Rock," "Dance Girl Dance," "Man Hunt" "Woman of the Year," and "Black Book." I would say that "Dance Girl Dance" was easily the least impressive. I'm not sure about the other films. They all had their virtues, and "Man Hunt" was the most successful. But none of them was completely satisfying. "Woman of the Year," has a manipulative ending, and I find the cynicism in "Black Book" unsatisfying. (A Dutch **** for the Nazis immediately latches on to a Canadian soldier, and later when they're married he becomes a preacher. Would a Nazi POW officer still try to execute one of his subordinates after the war was over. That seems so implausible I'm inclined to believe it is true. But would a resister working with the Nazis really betray his fellow resisters just weeks before the end of the war? And the kind of events that allow the Jewish resister heroine to be arrested as a collaborator and at one point have a barrel of excrement dumped on her just cries contrivance.)

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The ones I've seen recently that I recall liking were:

 

THE PRIDE OF ST. LOUIS...I think Dan Dailey is fantastic in this one and so is Joanne Dru. I want to see more films with these two actors, especially Dailey. And I thought the script was good in that they didn't have to really pour on the drama (playing up an illness or injury) to get us to understand the conflicts faced by a ball player (Dizzy Dean). The use of humor in it was tops and if you have not seen it, do so.

 

Another baseball themed flick that FMC showed yesterday was IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING. Definitely going for the funny bone, this delightful comedy scores a homerun. Ray Milland is great as the absent-minded professor who becomes a hit in the world of baseball thanks to a wood-repellant formula that prevents batters from getting to first base. Jean Peters plays the love interest and there's a good turn by veteran character actor Ray Collins. But the one to watch is Paul Douglas in one of his first film roles. He's supposed to play support to Milland but half-way through the movie, it becomes clear that Douglas is no character actor, that he's a star in his own right. I think this would be fun to watch again with ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD (also with Paul Douglas) and RHUBARB (Milland again, with a cameo by Douglas).

 

My *most favorite* film was OPERATION CROSSBOW, which aired on TCM Sunday afternoon. I had never seen it, let alone heard of it. Sophia Loren has top billing, but it's really George Peppard's movie. Loren's husband Carlo Ponti produces for MGM, but it's not a typical project for them. Loren does not appear until about 45 minutes into the film; Peppard does not appear until well over 25 minutes in. So, obviously, this is not a star-driven vehicle as much as it is a plot-driven piece about espionage in WWII. The lead actors, when they do show up, are great. But it's the complex story of Nazi betrayal and double-crosses that keeps the viewer glued to the screen. It was exciting up to the very end, with an earth-shattering final sequence that is not to be missed. I have a feeling this film is what led to Peppard's casting in television's The A-Team twenty years later. He is the ultimate vigilante and tears into the role with relish.

 

My *least favorite* film was FORT BOWIE. I had recorded it off Encore westerns a few weeks ago and just got around to watching it. Aside from Kent Taylor, there are no real well-known actors in this one, and everything about it screams B-film. And despite a sharp looking print and obviously careful cinematography, the story just seems too cartoonish to be believed: an officer's wife wants another officer but says he was pursuing her (for what gain, it is anyone's guess). I fell asleep half-way into the film, woke up with about twenty minutes left, and it still hadn't improved. My dreams are infinitely more entertaining than this film could ever dare to be.

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Actually the movies I saw this week were pretty good. All seven were acceptable. I suppose the one that I was least satisfied with was Flesh and the Devil. It's so convenient for Greta Garbo to drown through a hole in the ice. Of Time and the City was very good, but the best movie I saw last week was Marketa Lazarova. This movie, which is not on region 1 DVD (I had to watch it on an English DVD) is a Czechoslovak movie from 1967, and one of the most stunning epics ever made. If it doesn't have the concentration of Andrei Rublev it is still an amazing piece of cinema.

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