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Coming Out: Classic Film Lovers Anonymous


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(adjusts microphone) Hi. I'm TopBilled...and I'm a classic film lover. (applause) My last film confession was yesterday. (crowd quiets) I have tried and tried, and celluloid gods forgive me, but there are some classics I do not like. (gasps from the audience)...


1. GASLIGHT '44...I wrote in another thread yesterday that I feel that despite her Oscar-awarded turn, Ingrid is over the top in this production. She had three chances to get this role right: RAGE IN HEAVEN (made earlier); GASLIGHT; and NOTORIOUS (made later). I think she's grand in the other two films, but in GASLIGHT I think she is using some sort of avante-garde acting techniques, probably encouraged by Cukor, and it throws the film off balance for me. It is, in my estimation, one of her least natural performances. Compare her work in this one with the fine job she does in JOAN OF ARC and you will see what I mean.


2. ARSENIC AND OLD LACE...I do not find this one funny, at all. Except for the always excellent Raymond Massey who knows how to play a bizarre character yet bring a little more subtlety to the proceedings, the entire cast is trying way too hard and as a result, end up going overboard. I kept reminding myself this was a Broadway hit, that it is directed by Frank Capra, that it stars Cary Grant, etc. and so forth-- but it just left a bitter taste in my mouth. I wonder if those two gals put something into my cinematic drink?


3. GONE WITH THE WIND...it is like one prolonged piece of flatulence. Lawdy, Prissy! What did David Selznick eat?


4. SINCE YOU WENT AWAY...again, David Selznick ate something that doesn't agree with me. I can stomach the fine ensemble, who do an admirable job with a sometimes amateurish script (mostly rewritten by Selznick) and I think the film has some atmospheric touches worth viewing. But overall it lacks inspiration, it cries out 'masterpiece wannabe' when it is just one drawn-out dirge about loneliness on the home front. Selznick made a much better effort about some of the same themes with the much shorter, more to the point I'LL BE SEEING YOU produced the same year.


5. CASABLANCA...we'll always have this film, and we'll always have TCM playing it.

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Hello, I'm Sepiatone.

(crowd): Hello Sepiatone!

I've gone just TWO DAYS without viewing a classic film. It's tough. I've tried following my wife's lead and sat through many dreary hours watching Gypsy weddings and Lifetime drek. I don't know how long I can hold out. If not for my daughter supplying me with DVD copies of BREAKING BAD, I'd go nuts! My mind is preoccupied with thoughts of Maltese Falcons and wise-cracking newspaper reporters. Top hats and Hollywood canteens. METV's offering of THE UNTOUCHABLES is poor substitute for PUBLIC ENEMY and Rico. I need to find a reliable sponsor, and QUICK!



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