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"Give Me a John Garfield Movie Anyday."


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Not really sure who said THAT, Ascot ol' boy. However, I DO know who said "Give me a *James* Garfield *TARGET* anyday."

 

I believe it was that "disgruntled office-seeker", Charles Guiteau, who said THAT!

 

(...sorry) ;)

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And now it's here ! August 5, Mr. John Garfield day. John "who wants ta know?" Garfield, in all his tough/sweet glory. Love him. Love the feisty sexy guy with a heart of gold. Just watched *They Made Me a Criminal*. Never seen it before, was not disappointed. Classic Garfield. I wouldn't be typing this right now, I'd be glued to the television screen, but for the fact that I'm recording a lot of tcm today.

 

I love his "I don't take nothin' from nobody, see?" stance, his street smarts, and his off-beat good looks.

 

Also enjoy the way he talks: "Aw, shut up and gimme a cigarette, will ya?" I just made that up, but it could be a Garfield line.

Coming up later*: Humouresque*, John in a bona fide Joan-o-drama, classical violin and all. Yeah, baby!

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Coming up this evening will be THE BREAKING POINT, Garfield's second last film and one of the rarest (and best) of his career for anyone to see. A far closer adaption of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not than the Bogart film, it has one of Garfield's most heart felt performances. Garfield's character has the line which he repeats, "A man alone ain't got no chance" (or words to that effect). It's a particularly poignant line since Garfield's career was about to crash down around him in his confrontation with Congress questioning his liberal politics. And speaking of poignant, look at the film's final shot, as directed by Michael Curtiz, in THE BREAKING POINT. It's sure to bring tears to a few eyes.

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}It's sad that he died so young. I think he was very talented, and also somehow different from everybody else in Hollywood. I don't mean his political views particularly, more just his style.

That's 'cause he was doin' "Brando" before Brando was, missW.

 

(...without all the mumbly nasal stuff, of course)

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Absolutely LOVE Garfield! Today was and still is rocking! I'm really looking forward to seeing THE BREAKING POINT, and of course all day long was really awesome!! Though I've seen them before, I want to catch HE RAN ALL THE WAY, BLACKWELL'S ISLAND and DANGEROUSLY THEY LIVE on the DVR as well!!

 

MissWonderly, so glad to hear you grooved to THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL, it's one of my all time faves! I love Garfield's style!

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I know , Johnny, baby, why don't they show *Force of Evil* ? I know they have in the past, because I recorded it off of TCM at least a year ago. ( Maybe it's that "timing" thing again, whatever.)

 

Anyway, I'm thinking *Force of Evil* might possibly be Garfield's best film. It knocked me out, the first time I saw it. Still does.

Damn, it's good. Don't know much about Abraham Polonsky, but even if he did nothing else, he really pulled it off with this one. Garfield's character is almost tailor-made for him, the bad/good guy, the smart cynical lawyer who decides at the last minute what really matters to him. And his wonky courtship of that nice girl - so Garfield.

Wish they were screening it today, but they probably have some good reason why they didn't. (Please, no discussions/ complaints about TCM and its supposed shortcomings re. the films it airs.)

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Thankfully, I've had the pleasure of seeing both BODY AND SOUL and FORCE OF EVIL before on TCM, they used to show them a bit more frequently for a while, but haven't lately. They are both awesome, with FORCE OF EVIL perhaps in a class of its own, simply incredible flick!

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Watching Humoresque right now. It really is a testament to what good actors Garfield and (yes!) Crawford were that they could handle the awkward, ham-fisted, ludicrously pretentious dialogue of Clifford Odets (my least favorite screenwriter of all time) with such style and ease. Gorgeous cimenatography, great sets, sharp direction, great music- just wish the script didn't clunk so loud.

 

ps- I love Oscar Levant, but I f***ing hate him in this movie.

pss- I may be wrong, but isn't this movie supposed to be set in the 1920's? If so they missed on the hairstyles by a couple of decades.

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Aug 5, 2011 6:29 PM

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Just saw The Postman Always Rings Twice...that scene with Lana Turner in the white never fails to crack me up. A perfect face, but her figure was straight up and down, with no waistline.

 

Has anyone else wondered about that car accident near the end? It didn't look like it would be fatal to me.

 

BLU

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On *Humoresque:* I agree with you. Crawford was never a really beautiful woman until she got to Warners with the possible exception of *The Women.* She is at her best here and in* Mildred Pierce. *What, then, led to the 50's with that chopped off mannish cut and exaggerated lip and eye make up that made her look so grotesque? If her idea, maybe stars weren't always the best judge of how they looked. Not in her case, anyway.

 

I like Oscar Levant in most of his movies and the line about Helen's husband "interfering with her marriage" is priceless.

 

Garfield is perfect in this role and it looked as if he was really playing all that wonderful music. He made you feel his inner turmoil. For a relatively short career he packed in some body of work. I'm looking forward to *Breaking Point* and seeing his take on Harry Morgan. Thanks for the documentary; I might not have agreed with his views but did his willingness to defend them and those like him. Good day.

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> {quote:title=RainingViolets101 wrote:}{quote}I regard Humoresque as Crawford,s best work...it seems as if the part of Helen Wright was written for her...and the ending is Crawford's finest hour as she walks along the beach....

I believe the part was actually written with Ida Lupino in mind, but Crawford is splendid. I kind of sort of agree it is her best work- (it's the only time during the prime of her career that she died on screen.) The Oscar no doubt buoyed her confidence- but what gets me is that it totters on the brink of being a supporting role. She does not show up in the film until, what?, about 40 minutes into the damn thing (and those are forty tedious minutes.)

 

It's always seemed odd to me that, Crawford being CRAWFORD, she didn't demand a re-write to make the thing center more on her. I agree that the ending is a triumph, easily the best scene in the film as it is wordless- just pure direction, none of Odets' "Golly, aren't I brilliant? and by the way: HERE'S THE MESSAGE" dialogue.

 

I like the line of Levant's about how "she has a whole alumnae association behind her"- but his character is there as pure one-liner delivery system, it's not even a character: "how's this? Didn't think that was funny? Here's another! And another..."

 

They should've hired Groucho for the role.

 

It is a well-directed film and gorgeous to look at, but I lay the blame for its failure (in myh eyes at least) square on the Bolshevik shoulders of Clifford Odets. When it comes to classic films, there are some I like and some I don't, but (honestly) very few I hate. I HATE everything Odets had a hand in, from Clash by Night to (ugh!) Golden Boy (one of the hidden turds of 1939) to None but the Lonely Heart to (the WORST) The Big Knife

 

I think Humoresque was actually the "best" thing he ever did.

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Embarrassing confession: I've never seen *Humouresque*. I want to. I recorded it yesterday, and plan to view it some time soon.

So I cannot comment on the film itself. However, despite your interesting observations re. the movie and Joan Crawford, I think it behooves you to give at least an honourable mention to John Garfield and his part in the film, given that this is a John Garfield thread. I mean, just sayin...

So how was he in it?

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I watched *Breaking Point* and thought Garfield was great but not the movie. I hate to cross author Hemmingway, who said he liked this version, but it was too plot heavy and hard to follow. Having the hero be a family man who resists temptation by another woman was different for his characters. The ending, where he loses an arm but finally sees what he has, is good but leaving his dead partner's son alone on the dock is very unsatisfying as was the death itself. I'm certain Garfield's alleged Communism-he wasn't one but his wife and many of his friends were-had something to do with the film's failure but also the fact that it simply wasn't that good. *To Have and Have Not,* the better known version, works because it's simpler and more likable. I'm glad I got to see it and find out for myself.

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*I watched Breaking Point and thought Garfield was great but not the movie. I hate to cross author Hemmingway, who said he liked this version, but it was too plot heavy and hard to follow. The ending, where he loses an arm but finally sees what he has, is good but leaving his dead partner's son alone on the dock is very unsatisfying as was the death itself.*

 

I also watched the Breaking Point last night and think the film is a neglected gem. To me it is not a plot heavy film, at all, but instead largely a character study of a man driven to desperate measures in order to support his family. Garfield was really turning into a wonderful maturing actor (he had shown this in Force of Evil, as well) and it's truly one of Hollywood's most tragic stories that his career (and life) was terminated shortly after this film was released.

 

I didn't find the ending, with the dead partner's son left alone on the dock unsatisfying, at all. Quite the opposite. With all the attention being paid to the return of the film's hero, to see cutaways to a small boy ignored by everyone searching for his father, unaware (unlike the audience) that the father is dead, was a sensitive, poignant finale for the film. That image of the little boy alone on the dock after the crowd has scattered has stayed with me for years since my last viewing of the film. I was glad that the film held up as well as it did.

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We think similarly on this one Tom, here's something that I just posted on the IMDb Message Boards:

 

I must have been ten years old when I saw this 1951 adaptation of *To Have and Have Not*. It would be another 30 years before I got to see it again, for some reason it hardly ever aired in an accessible time slot for me.

 

Last night it aired on TCM and I have to say that this film gets better with each viewing. Michael Curtiz may be associated with some of the greatest films ever made, but this one is barely ever mentioned.

 

 

John Garfield plays Harry Morgan, the skipper of a charter boat and unlike the previous version of the character, he gets to keep his name for the rest of the film. That always bugged me about the Hawks version of the story, why was Bacall calling him "Steve" while everyone else called him Harry. I know the origin of the use of "Slim" and "Steve" but it still seems odd that no other character notices that Morgan responds to two different first names.

 

 

Garfield's Harry comes off initially as a guy who is pretty much in control and Ted McCord's camera emphasizes this at first by always shooting at an up angle. But there's one thing he isn't in control of and that's his finances which get worse when a customer skips out on him, leaving him stuck in Mexico with Patricia Neal. Neal was the customer's "companion" for the trip from Newport Beach to Mexico and she's also stranded by the dead beat. As the film progresses, Harry seems to grow diminutive in stature as the camera shifts to head-on and overhead shots.

 

 

Needing money to get home, Morgan agrees to sneak some Chinese refugees into the States, a deal arranged by sleazy lawyer (a redundancy?) played superbly by Wallace Ford. Harry has a few problems getting his money from the Chinese agent who represents the refugees and in a fight ends up killing the man who brought a gun to the confrontation.

 

 

In true noir fashion, this is just the start of Harry's downward spiral, a tragedy underscored by his relationship with his wife and two daughters. He's really a loving family man who does his best to avoid any entanglement with Neal who would just love to seduce him.

 

 

Neal however isn't the prototypical femme fatale, she really has no part in the unsavory events to follow. She does however cause some jealousy on the part of Harry's wife played by Phyllis Thaxter who even goes as far as to copy Neal's hairstyle when she thinks hubby may stray. The two women have a nice exchange of dialogue in the one scene they share, Thaxter isn't quite the mouse that one would assume.

 

 

One important element in the film is Harry's relationship with his partner played by Juano Hernandez. Never once is his skin color referred to and Hernandez is not given one word of stereotypical speech. So key is their friendship that the final shot of the film is something that stayed in my head from the first time that I saw the film. It's truly haunting.

 

 

The source material has an interesting history. Hawks thought that it was the basis for a good film despite Hemingway's sentiments otherwise. Still, Hawks threw most of it out and added bits of *Casablanca* and his own universe with elements that showed earlier in *Only Angels Have Wings* and even later in *Rio Bravo*.

 

 

John Huston used the ending of the story to close his adaptation of *Key Largo* and eight years after the Curtiz film, Don Siegel presided over yet another adaptation in *The Gun Runners*. There's also an uncredited adaptation titled ****** which was released in 1956 and which seems to have gotten scant distribution theatrically or on TV.

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Destination Tokyo played the other night. I noticed the only book on the Captian's (Cary Grant) desk next to his family photo was "Racial Theory" by More. I do not find this to be a real book. Anyone know why they would put this in the movie? Background please.

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Clore, that was a nice review of The Breaking Point. I also felt that one of the most affecting parts of the film was the relationship between Garfield and shipmate Juano Hernandez. You can really feel the affection between these two characters without it ever being overstated thorugh either the acting or dialogue. When Hernandez is suddenly cold bloodedly executed in two screen seconds I really felt the shock of the moment, along with Garfield.

 

A wonderful film and hopefully thanks to TCM more people will become familiar with it. I agree with Hemingway. Along with The Macomber Affair, I think The Breaking Point is the best screen treatment that his fiction has received. It's just ironic that it would happen in a case in which they jettisoned the author's original title, obviously because of the Bogart version which doesn't have too much to do with Hemingway.

 

I love Bogart but when you watch him in To Have and Have Not there's not much doubt that he's pretty much a cool, in charge guy and he'll win in the end. With a troubled hero like Garfield, though, his version depicts a more human strain of vulnerability. Unlike Bogart, Garfield is full of self-doubt and it adds to the tension of the film. Your're right, this is a Michael Curtiz film that deserves to be far better known than it is.

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