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Half-way through this year's SUTS-- favorite days so far...?

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I really enjoyed the Herbert Marshall day; wish they had shown the back-to-back versions of The Letter in chronological order (1929 then 1940) and a little earlier in the evening (say eight), but oh well.

 

It was really nice to see The Little Foxes for what felt like the first time in forever on TCM...Whatever other issues it has- Foxes is one of the best acted movies of the forties, and Marshall is MVP among a stellar and pretty flawless cast (I know there could be some debate over whether Bette Davis was the ideal Regina Giddens; but that scene where she lets Marshall die as he ascends the stairs, it's all done silently and with her eyes is as great a moment as she ever had on screen. I almost wish the whole film had been silent.

 

I'd like to see more of The Little Foxes on TCM; it can be their new Mildred Pierce- ie a good film that they kind of run into the ground after repeated viewings. It'd have to be three years worth of monthly showings before I complained though, it is such a watchable film.

 

I really enjoyed The Little Foxes.  I love Bette Davis, so that was a plus.  I thought the film was fantastic and I'm happy to see that it's available on DVD, I'll definitely need to add this to my collection.  For the time being though, I still have it on the DVR, I may watch it again before deleting it, since I was interrupted a couple times trying to watch this.  Bette Davis is one of the few actresses who can play a b**** and still make you feel sympathetic toward her.  

 

I second more showings of The Little Foxes and less of Mildred Pierce.  Okay, that's not fair, I haven't seen Mildred Pierce yet.  I'd like to watch it, just because it is one of *the* films of the 1940s; but I am just so not a fan of Joan Crawford. 

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Interesting.  A lot of people don't give Bette enough credit for the films she was in after All About Eve.    While I favor her WB films more so than her post WB films I do agree that Bette gave fine performances in the pictures you mention.   

I think Bette does some great work after she was able to leave WB.  I love the variety of roles Bette took.  She played all kinds of different people and appeared in all kinds of different genres with a variety of interesting costars.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that post-WB, the remainder of her career was made up of a very eclectic set of films.  All About Eve was fantastic.  I also enjoyed The Catered Affair, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.  I've been told that I need to watch Burnt Offerings and Bunny O'Hare-- I think more for the camp factor than anything else.

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I think Bette does some great work after she was able to leave WB.  I love the variety of roles Bette took.  She played all kinds of different people and appeared in all kinds of different genres with a variety of interesting costars.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that post-WB, the remainder of her career was made up of a very eclectic set of films.  All About Eve was fantastic.  I also enjoyed The Catered Affair, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.  I've been told that I need to watch Burnt Offerings and Bunny O'Hare-- I think more for the camp factor than anything else.

BURNT OFFERINGS is very well made (produced by Dan Curtis of Dark Shadows fame). I consider it among the top ten best horror movies of the 70s. It will be airing on TCM in October-- don't miss it!

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speedracer, give Mildred Pierce a chance.  As a classic film lover, you owe it to yourself to see it and it's arguably Joan Crawford's best performance.  I'm not a huge Crawford fan although there are a lot of movies with her that I really enjoy, but I always watch Mildred Pierce when it's on and I'm available (plus the supporting cast is terrific).  I love Little Foxes - another one I can watch over and over.  Patricia Collinge breaks my heart.  The whole cast is great and it's one of Bette's best.  Wyler was an excellent director.  As I said before, I really like TCM going beyond the "usual suspects" and honoring people like Lee Tracy and Thelma Ritter.  I'm looking forward to Gladys George day - an excellent actress but a lot of people don't know anything about her.  Finally, RO said Welles often wore a fake nose because he thought his nose was small and he thought the bigger nose made him look tougher (I'm paraphrasing) although he used his real nose in The Third Man.  Off topic, I am every excited about pre-code Friday next month.

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speedracer, give Mildred Pierce a chance.  As a classic film lover, you owe it to yourself to see it and it's arguably Joan Crawford's best performance.  I'm not a huge Crawford fan although there are a lot of movies with her that I really enjoy, but I always watch Mildred Pierce when it's on and I'm available (plus the supporting cast is terrific).  I love Little Foxes - another one I can watch over and over.  Patricia Collinge breaks my heart.  The whole cast is great and it's one of Bette's best.  Wyler was an excellent director.  As I said before, I really like TCM going beyond the "usual suspects" and honoring people like Lee Tracy and Thelma Ritter.  I'm looking forward to Gladys George day - an excellent actress but a lot of people don't know anything about her.  Finally, RO said Welles often wore a fake nose because he thought his nose was small and he thought the bigger nose made him look tougher (I'm paraphrasing) although he used his real nose in The Third Man.  Off topic, I am every excited about pre-code Friday next month.

 

I am going to give "Mildred Pierce" a chance =) In fact, I had it recorded on the DVR a few months ago, but then we had some problem with the box and ended up having to get it replaced.  There went all my movies =(  Anyway, I'm going to watch it just because it is one of the classics of not only the 1940s but of the Golden Era of Hollywood, so I'll watch it just for that alone.  I am not a fan of Crawford, but I won't avoid films she's in if the story sounds interesting or if there are other people I like in the film.  Crawford would just not be the sole reason why I'd watch a film of hers.  I did enjoy her in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" and "The Women."  Crawford makes a great "other woman."

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BURNT OFFERINGS is very well made (produced by Dan Curtis of Dark Shadows fame). I consider it among the top ten best horror movies of the 70s. It will be airing on TCM in October-- don't miss it!

Thank you! I will definitely make sure to record it in a couple months.  I wouldn't miss Bette Davis in anything!

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speedracer, give Mildred Pierce a chance.  As a classic film lover, you owe it to yourself to see it and it's arguably Joan Crawford's best performance.

I'll argue with you: I love Mildred Pierce, and it may be the best vehicle she ever had, but I don't think it's anywhere near her best work- she's too restrained, too controlled, and frustratingly not allowed (likely by director Michael Curtiz) to show any real emotion during certain scenes where it's really called for.

 

He best work pre-Mildred would be in Dance Fools, Dance! (she's really good in that one and very sexy), Grand Hotel, Sadie McKee, The Women (in a supporting role) and Rain- although, sadly, Rain is ultimately kind of boring despite her excellent performance.

 

Post-Mildred, Humoresque is a mess of a movie, but it may be her best performance ever. She's great in Possessed and (especially) The Damned Don't Cry!- which is a great film to introduce you to Joan since it's a parade of all her various personas- and I think one of her great underrated triumphs is in Flamingo Road, where she gives a very natural, easy performance in a role she's a trifle too old for.

 

 

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Lorna, that's why I said "arguably" and I still say Mildred Pierce is a great choice.  Plus it is perfectly cast with great supporting performances.  I haven't seen Flamingo Road in ages.  I do like Joan in Grand Hotel,  Humoresque and The WomenJohnny Guitar is a favorite of mine.  I think Possessed and Sudden Fear are two of her best and for s e x, I like the heat she generates with Clark Gable - no surprise there!  But if speedracer, or anyone else who is not a fan, is only going to watch one Crawford  movie, I still say Mildred Pierce is the way to go and it's my personal favorite because of Joan, the story, camera work, direction, everything.

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The beauty of Joan Crawford is that the vast majority of her films were contemporary dramas (few or no costume dramas, thank God), most of which found her either in working class or other striving roles where she was wholly in her element.  Very few stars have been as good as she was for as long as she was, from her silents through her pre-codes through her soaps through her noirs and all the way up through her neo-horror movies of the 60's.  That's quite an impressive run for an actress who seldom gets mentioned by critics in the same breath as Stanwyck, Davis or Hepburn.

 

If I had to choose my favorites, I'd go with The Unknown, Paid, Rain, The Last of Mrs. Cheney, The Women, A Woman's Face, Mildred Pierce, Possessed (1947), Flamingo Road, The Damned Don't Cry, Sudden Fear, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Strait-Jacket, and Berserk.  But even her lesser movies are almost always worth at least one viewing.

 

---------------------------------------------------

 

I did enjoy her in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" and "The Women."  Crawford makes a great "other woman."

 

"Do come again, Mrs. PROWLER...." has to be one of the ten greatest lines of all time.

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Lorna, that's why I said "arguably" and I still say Mildred Pierce is a great choice.  Plus it is perfectly cast with great supporting performances.  I haven't seen Flamingo Road in ages.  I do like Joan in Grand Hotel,  Humoresque and The WomenJohnny Guitar is a favorite of mine.  I think Possessed and Sudden Fear are two of her best and for s e x, I like the heat she generates with Clark Gable - no surprise there!  But if speedracer, or anyone else who is not a fan, is only going to watch one Crawford  movie, I still say Mildred Pierce is the way to go and it's my personal favorite because of Joan, the story, camera work, direction, everything.

 

I enjoy all of the Crawford movies you mention but the focus is clearly on her post MGM 30s films (except Grand Hotel and The Women).  I assume you meant the 40s Possessed.

 

I also recommend The Last of Mrs. Cheyney,   A Women's Face,  When Ladies Meet,  and Dancing Lady.

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The Lee Tracy tribute was very good. Some of the films had lousy prints, but it was great being able to see so many of his performances. I can imagine what he was like on stage. Marvelous actor.

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The Lee Tracy tribute was very good. Some of the films had lousy prints, but it was great being able to see so many of his performances. I can imagine what he was like on stage. Marvelous actor.

Wasn't it, TopBilled? A good example that TCM still knows how to do things right, even when they choose to do things wrong.

 

As for some here who blanched at too much of Jean Harlow's voice, although not I, Lee Tracy's voice made my ears bleed after awhile. I found him better in films where he was the sidekick - Love Is A Racket was excellent - although in Turn Back The Clock, he was actually perfect.

 

These blocks of films are fascinating, both for their historical perspective and of course the pre-codes are a breath of fresh air. Ann Dvorak in a room, alone, on a bed, with that no-name actor in Strange Love Of Molly Louvain was astonishing. And wasn't her kid adorable, the one the dirty coppers used against her?

 

It was interesting to see Tracy used as the lead in so many pictures, I didn't find him lead material. Then again, in a day and age when Pat O'Brien was a top draw, Lee Tracy comes off as Paul Muni.

 

Oh, and did you see the shot of a film break at one point in one of the movies? Even that stuff I find interesting. Speaking of broken films, did you happen to see the short (not necessarily this month) of Trixie Friganza (possibly the inspiration for Take Me Out To The Ball Game, how cool is that?) from WAY back, where they only had the audio and a static picture for a period, before the film was restored to both sound and picture? She was from vaudeville, was VERY funny in a VERY modern way, and the audio portion of her bit was far funnier than the latter part. For awhile I thought it was Sophie Tucker...........but it wasn't. Another revelation from TCM.

 

Anywho, my favorites for the month are still Hi Nellie, Hot Heiress, and Hot Saturday. Eye opening, new to me, refreshing, uncensored beauties that, would there were a TCM Classic channel, would play more often, along with movies from Lee Tracy and the rest of the gang we see so seldom because, alas there is no TCM Classic channel showing all 1930s and 1940s black and white movies, all the time.

 

;)

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These blocks of films are fascinating, both for their historical perspective and of course the pre-codes are a breath of fresh air. Ann Dvorak in a room, alone, on a bed, with that no-name actor in Strange Love Of Molly Louvain was astonishing. And wasn't her kid adorable, the one the dirty coppers used against her?

 

It was interesting to see Tracy used as the lead in so many pictures, I didn't find him lead material. Then again, in a day and age when Pat O'Brien was a top draw, Lee Tracy comes off as Paul Muni.

 

Oh, and did you see the shot of a film break at one point in one of the movies? Even that stuff I find interesting. Speaking of broken films, did you happen to see the short (not necessarily this month) of Trixie Friganza (possibly the inspiration for Take Me Out To The Ball Game, how cool is that?) from WAY back, where they only had the audio and a static picture for a period, before the film was restored to both sound and picture? She was from vaudeville, was VERY funny in a VERY modern way, and the audio portion of her bit was far funnier than the latter part. For awhile I thought it was Sophie Tucker...........but it wasn't. Another revelation from TCM.

 

Personally, I think some of the pre-codes are overrated. Last night I watched THE SAILOR WHO FELL FROM GRACE WITH THE SEA, made in 1976 and starring Sarah Miles and Kris Kristofferson. They both have nude scenes in it (and actually did an accompanying spread in Playboy magazine to promote the film). So some pictures in the immediate post-code era are just as interesting and provocative as those in the pre-code group. But it doesn't necessarily make them great films.

 

The Trixie Friganza short airs at least once a year on TCM. She plays the mother of one of Buster Keaton's girlfriends in an early talkie he made at MGM. I am surprised she didn't blossom into a major character actress. She is every bit as talented as someone like Charlotte Greenwood or Alison Skipworth or Marie Dressler.

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Have you ever seen it before? If you haven't and you have no clue how it ends, then you are in for a terrific shock. I know the first time I saw it, I had no clue how it ended and I was stunned. Check it out soon before someone ruins it for you.

I watched Sorry Wrong Number last night-- loved it! The ending was not what I was anticipating at all.  This was a fantastic film noir.  I want to add this to my collection.  Since I got it on Netflix, I know it's available on DVD, I guess I could burn the disc before I return it, but I like having the box and the cover art and everything.  It makes a nicer addition to my collection.  Anyway, I digress.  This was great and the story didn't unfold like how I thought it would at all.  I thought Stanwyck was just being paranoid.  This was the first time I'd seen Burt Lancaster in such an early role and in a role completely different than other films I'd seen him inBarbara Stanwyck is so great in her film noir roles (well pretty much every role).  I read that she stated that she blamed her hair turning prematurely gray on the terror she experienced while filming her bedridden scenes.  This was a great film and I wish Stanwyck and Lancaster had made more films together.  I still have Clash By Night recorded on my DVR.  I feel like I should watch this Stanwyck film next just so I can see her in more noirs. 

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It's been a real treat to watch John Hodiak.  It's somewhat unkindly remarked that Hodiak benefited from the top male stars' absences from Hollywood during the war years and was eclipsed when they returned.  I think that sells him short.  He had his own star quality.

 

Hodiak is still on WatchTCM, and I highly recommend checking him out.  Unfortunately, A Bell for Adano hasn't been saved for streaming, but I'm looking at Two Smart People.  It's light fare, but you can see how easily he holds his own opposite the likes of Lucille Ball, Lloyd Nolan  and Elisha Cook, Jr.  He had a great voice and was handsome with or without a mustache.  It was tragic to lose John Hodiak so early.  He should be better known.

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It's been a real treat to watch John Hodiak.  It's somewhat unkindly remarked that Hodiak benefited from the top male stars' absences from Hollywood during the war years and was eclipsed when they returned.  I think that sells him short.  He had his own star quality.

 

Hodiak is still on WatchTCM, and I highly recommend checking him out.  Unfortunately, A Bell for Adano hasn't been saved for streaming, but I'm looking at Two Smart People.  It's light fare, but you can see how easily he holds his own opposite the likes of Lucille Ball, Lloyd Nolan  and Elisha Cook, Jr.  He had a great voice and was handsome with or without a mustache.  It was tragic to lose John Hodiak so early.  He should be better known.

I agree. I think Ben made a comment along those lines in one of his wraparounds the other day. It's wrong to sell him short that way. For some actors it may be true that they built film careers in the absence of others away at war. But in Hodiak's case, even if the country had not gone to war, he would have been just as popular, snagging roles alongside the Gables and Stewarts of Hollywood.  This is proven by the fact that his career flourished for ten years AFTER the war. And if he had not died so young, he likely would have remained just as much in demand on Broadway, as well as on radio, in films and on television. 

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I agree. I think Ben made a comment along those lines in one of his wraparounds the other day. It's wrong to sell him short that way. For some actors it may be true that they built film careers in the absence of others away at war. But in Hodiak's case, even if the country had not gone to war, he would have been just as popular, snagging roles alongside the Gables and Stewarts of Hollywood.  This is proven by the fact that his career flourished for ten years AFTER the war. And if he had not died so young, he likely would have remained just as much in demand on Broadway, as well as on radio, in films and on television. 

 

It isn't wrong to state the POV Ben did.   You just happen to have another opinion.     Other actors like John Wayne also got roles they may not of if the major stars didn't go off to war. 

 

Hard to say if Hodiak or even Wayne would have been just as popular if some major stars didn't go to war.   As you know the studios tended to market their big name stars (even if they weren't as good as lesser stars under contract),   and the major stars genearlly got cast in the best productions.

 

So it is likely that if there was no war (a big 'what if' I know),   the major stars would have dominated an second tier stars would have been pushed more into the background.     Who knows.  

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So it is likely that if there was no war (a big 'what if' I know),   the major stars would have dominated an second tier stars would have been pushed more into the background.     Who knows.  

And that is sort of what I was thinking, too. Hodiak would have been a strong second lead if there had been no war. He was a hot commodity on radio, so he would not have gone unnoticed or unused by Hollywood. Also, he was a smash on Broadway in the early 50s, so even if he had not broken into movies by then, chances are he would have snagged a motion picture contract at that point at a major studio. His career was independent of the war. 

 

On the other hand, someone like William Eythe over at Fox, probably would not have been a movie star if the war had never taken place. He had a much more limited range and was clearly used to fill in for guys off on combat missions (like Ty Power). I can see Ty doing Eythe's roles in THE EVE OF ST. MARK and A ROYAL SCANDAL quite easily. So if there was no war, Eythe would not have been needed. (And in fact, shortly after the war, Eythe's motion picture career ended.)

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And that is sort of what I was thinking, too. Hodiak would have been a strong second lead if there had been no war. He was a hot commodity on radio, so he would not have gone unnoticed or unused by Hollywood. Also, he was a smash on Broadway in the early 50s, so even if he had not broken into movies by then, chances are he would have snagged a motion picture contract at that point at a major studio. His career was independent of the war. 

 

Well we do have the same POV here.    While I also feel Hodiak was under-utilized typically the reason isn't because one isn't a good actor or doesn't have the chops but instead just how studios were so star driven.    Take Bogart;  Raft was offered some of the roles Bogie made famous.    If Raft didn't have such an ego Bogart may have remained a second lead type actor under his WB contract.      I'm not saying Hodiak is like Raft (I feel Hodiak is a better actor),   just that often something 'special' has to take place for second tier leads to make it to the top under the constaints of the studio system.

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It isn't wrong to state the POV Ben did.   You just happen to have another opinion.

 

I should have made it clear that I wasn't disputing Ben's POV.  He was merely stating a fact.  Indeed, he noted Hodiak's good looks and talent.  I just don't want John Hodiak to wind up, in the minds of moviegoers, in the Sonny Tufts category.  :)

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I should have made it clear that I wasn't disputing Ben's POV.  He was merely stating a fact.  Indeed, he noted Hodiak's good looks and talent.  I just don't want John Hodiak to wind up, in the minds of moviegoers, in the Sonny Tufts category.  :)

 

I see your point.    To be placed in the Sonny Tufts category is a faith worse than death.

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:rolleyes: Dreary my foot!  Introducing us to lesser known but talented stars of the classic era is what SUTS should be about as well as not often seen works of those we most revere.  This month has been far from a waste for me.

 

I got to see Gladys George's Madame X last night.  I've always liked Lana Turner's version but this one really rose above that one.  The story line in 37's  was more believable and the trial scenes were among the best ever filmed.  John Boles, as "Madame's" son, was riveting and along with Gladys made you forget it was a movie.  Even Warren William showed real emotion as the unforgiving husband who warms up too late.  Gladys fixed it so I'll be hard pressed to think of Lana in the role after this.

 

As for Henry Daniell as the blackmailer he is my favorite classic movie villain.  I can recognize that deep, rich, imperious and so menacing voice no matter what the makeup.  He was also the traitorous "Lord Wolfingham" in The Sea Hawk, the cruel orphanage director in Jane Eyre and the evil High Priest in The Egyptian.  In the 50's and 60's he turned to TV appearing in so many Thriller episodes over two years he could have camped out on the set.  He should be as well known as the other such actors like Basil Rathbone.

 

I'm not that fond of Dick Powell's musicals but enjoyed Station West - a film noir disguised as a Western and of course from RKO - and will catch some of the dramas later on.  This is one SUTS  I'll not soon forget.      

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I watched Sorry Wrong Number last night-- loved it! The ending was not what I was anticipating at all.  This was a fantastic film noir.  I want to add this to my collection.  ....  I still have Clash By Night recorded on my DVR.  I feel like I should watch this Stanwyck film next just so I can see her in more noirs. 

 

Always so nice to hear something like that. It's one of those movies that if you're lucky enough to not know the ending going into it, you remember the shock always, and that last line!

 

I would recommend skipping Clash by Night...forever. It's got a great cast (Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, Paul Douglas, Marilyn Monroe, and some smoking hot guy whose name I never remember, but he plays Marilyn's boyfriend.) It's by Clifford Odets- one of my least favorite writers of all time and it hopelessly talky, dull as dishwater and drearier than June in Frisco.

 

If you've got Netflix, see if you can order NO MAN OF HER OWN (1950) it was recently put on DVD and is one of Stanwyck's  least mentioned but best movies (I'm always trying to get people to see it.)

 

 

 

(you can even watch it online if you got a credit card and three bits to spend.)

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