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"The (maybe not) Great (but still pretty good) Moment" (1944)

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The Great Moment, 1944. dir- Preston Sturges. st: Joel Mcrae (sp?), Betty Field, Porter Hall, Harry Carey, Grady Sutton and (of course) William Demarest. aka Triumph Over Pain. - which kinda woulda made more sense as a title, but whatevs.


Anyone catch this?


Wow, there is a looooooooooooong and torturous entry for it on wikipedia- it looks like it had a similarly laborious story in the making of...Feel free to check it out. As far as the final, released product goes: I *actually liked it* and think maybekindasorta Illeana was a leetle hard on its faults (aside: Illeana is fantastique, there is a thread praising her in hot topics, feel free to add your opinion if you want her to be a regular presence on the network, which *I know I do*.)


Anyhow: aside from the twisted flashback structure (which, I dunno, didn't really detract that much from the story to me, but I got that it was a little muddled and confusing) it has the standard (seemingly) effortless performance by Joel Mcrae (and I mean that as praise), the standard dour performance from Harry Carey (which was really good too) and the standard "don't **** me off more than I already am" performance by William Demarest (who kind of saved the movie.)


The one weak link in the cast was, I felt, Betty Field- who did not have the greatest role, and maybe some of her better scenes hit the floor. I felt like she fumbled her dramatic speech in the beginning and I also kind of felt like she came off as a bit of a pain in the rest.


Nonetheless- it was moving and *compelling* (and as long as a film is compelling, even compellingly bad- which this wasn't- it's worth something ), great production values and a nice eschewing of the standard forties biopic touches which could be a touch on the trite side.


Kind of an odd- but nonetheless effective- ending.


I'd rate it a solid *three stars out of four,* how's about you?


ps- also, it was kind of cool to watch a film about people gettin' high made right in the middle of the forties.


pss- The Great Moment is cited by some as the pivotal moment when Sturges' career began its downturn.

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I saw it a few years ago while I thought it was okay I didn't quite what know what to make of it. Part of me thought it was going to be a comedy and then not quite. It is an odd story.


McCrea I thought did a fine job as always and I agree with your phrasing of praise for him. I thought the film had fine details of the time frame.


It's rare enough I think it is worth a look but I'd give it maybe **1/2 stars.

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> {quote:title=movieman1957 wrote:}{quote}I saw it a few years ago while I thought it was okay I didn't quite what know what to make of it. Part of me thought it was going to be *a comedy and then not quite*. It is *an odd story.*


Boom. There we go. Two better- or at least more apt- titles than "The Great Moment"

The tagline could be: " The movie you don't know quite what to make of."

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Well I had this recorded because from the description it sounded like it was the story of Horace Wells, the man who discovered anesthesia.


I stumbled across Well's grave site when I visited Katherine Hepburn's burial spot, they are in the same cemetary in Hartford CT.


Well's has a huge elaborate marker with bronze scultures that say "I Sleep to Awaken" and the other side "I Awaken To Glory"




I was really glad they made a movie about him and bonus it's a Preston Sturges film! Hope it's a decent one!

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I missed a bit of the beginning but, yeah, the tone veered a bit between comedic & dramatic.


I was relieved when the wife (I think that's who she was) rescued the doggy. Did the dentist accidentally or deliberately knock himself out after putting the fish back? That scene reminded me of Bill Bryson's book A Short History of Nearly Everything in which he described how scientists used to regularly ingest/inhale substances while studying them and sometimes one would be found dead with a surprised look on his face after tasting some particularly toxic material.


You don't really see facial hair like that billy goat beard on the one man anymore. And I've never had laughing gas, I wonder what it's like. Oh and were handkerchiefs tied under the chin like that because it put pressure on the sore tooth or helped keep the mouth closed so air wouldn't bother it so much?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ugh, the movie was about Morton, the guy who STOLE the idea from Wells!



>Calamity wrote: You don't really see facial hair like that billy goat beard on the one man anymore. And I've never had laughing gas, I wonder what it's like.


Are you kidding? It's all the rage with hipsters, especially when there's flat or no hair on top:




(as well as grown adults wearing juvenile theme t-shirts)


As for laughing gas, it was a very fun (if controlled) experience.

First, your extremities would feel like they were leaving your body, then your entire body would follow. I remember the distinct feeling I was floating about 6 inches above the dentist's lounge.

I had asked for the mask to be removed because it was scary (I was 13 or so) and I could NOT form words which caused uncontrollable laughter instead.

I had 2 wisdom teeth pulled and every time the dentist cracked one for removal, the horrific sound made me laugh. It wore off quickly afterwards and my mouth HURT instead!

It's not used anymore probably because it fries brain cells and local shots seems to numb several hours longer.

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