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Really looking forward to Lee Tracy day!


slaytonf

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The original fast-talker with an eye out for the main chance.   A lot of the movies are new to me.  But there are also some I know a like a lot, including The Strange Love of Molly Louvain, The Half-Naked Truth, and Blessed Event.

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They show The Best Man plenty.

 

This is a fun day though, and it's nice to see some outright obscurities on air...I swear I could watch 1930's B-Pictures all day (I think it's safe to say a lot of these were "B" pics, but I know Lee did plenty of A stuff pre-Viva Villa!gate. )

 

I am surprised at how haggard and aged he looks in all his films from the later thirties, even playing the father to a grown daughter in a sort of a retread of A Free Soul where he plays another crooked, fast-talking, lawyer (he did it a lot, but he did it damn well )

 

Our loss that he never got a crack at Perry Mason- actually, our loss in general- it's easy to see Lee Tracy in a lot of great parts in the years between 1945 and 1964 when he didn't appear in any films (for whatever reasons, which I know are debated.) He was a wonderful actor- that he had the hot streak that he did in the thirties is great, and the Oscar nod at the end was well deserved, but those "lost" years are a shame.

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I am surprised at how haggard and aged he looks in all his films from the later thirties,

Tracy was a hard drinking and partying guy.

 

It took years before it impacted the looks of some others like Barrymore (he still looked good at age 49 in Grand Hotel) or Flynn, but with Tracy the aging process started fairly early.

 

One of today's highlights, I feel, is Turn Back the Clock. Tracy plays a middle aged man with regrets about his life who gets to go back in time and relive his life, as he thinks he would have preferred to have lived it. There will be unexpected consequences, of course, both good and bad, when he does so.

 

Well worth a look, plus the film has a brief appearance by the Three Stooges, as well, before their popularity took off in their Columbia shorts series, starting the following year.

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Wanted: Jane Turner is an utter delight. The bit about the pair of female grifters who get caught trying to rip off an Irish sheep farmer by pretending to be a mail order bride was hilarious.

 

It's this kind of stuff that should be on The Essentials.

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Tracy may be the actor who's most beloved by TCM junkies while remaining almost totally unknown to people whose idea of "classic" movies is restricted to PBS and the AFI top 100.  Bombshell is my favorite of today's lineup by far, even if I've seen it countless times already, but I can't think of a single real clinker in the entire 24 hours.  This entire day is a pure delight.

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Tracy was a hard drinking and partying guy.

 

It took years before it impacted the looks of some others like Barrymore (he still looked good at age 49 in Grand Hotel) or Flynn, but with Tracy the aging process started fairly early.

 

One of today's highlights, I feel, is Turn Back the Clock. Tracy plays a middle aged man with regrets about his life who gets to go back in time and relive his life, as he thinks he would have preferred to have lived it. There will be unexpected consequences, of course, both good and bad, when he does so.

 

Well worth a look, plus the film has a brief appearance by the Three Stooges, as well, before their popularity took off in their Columbia shorts series, starting the following year.

 

TURN BACK THE CLOCK is a highlight for me, in part because I haven't seen it before.  Most of the others being shown today, I've seen but will watch them again at some point.  The DVR is getting a workout today.  Love Lee Tracy!

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The one I enjoyed most this morning was THE SPELLBINDER. The plot for this RKO programmer stretches credibility in a few spots, but it is always kept in check by Tracy's down-to-earth line readings. His scenes with the actress who played his daughter were particularly good. I think what works for me is that he usually plays men in larger-than-life situations but you know that the truth will always win out. 

 

I also like the fact that Tracy does not seem to use obvious acting tricks to enliven his characters. He seems to just stand on the stage and address one issue after the next calmly underplaying everything, while others over-act. As a result, we tend to side with him, even if his character is morally challenged.

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:) I got a kick out of Millionaires in Prison if only to see what Truman Bradley did before Science Fiction Theater.  Also most of these films are rarely seen and giving us an idea of what going to the movies was like in the 30s is fun.  I'm watching as many of the rest as I can.

 

The short on Edward Demytryk that just ran was appreciated as well.  I now know why he was both respected and vilified.  Thanks, TCM. 

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Interesting films, but a little of Tracy goes a long way. Early Tracy is fine, but 5 years later, he looks like Errol Flynn near the end. And that VOICE! Oy Gevalt.

 

However, Ann Dvorak is heavenly and what an actor.

 

Thank you, TCM, for doing what you used to do best. Now, break off all the 1930s and 1940s films into TCM Classic and you'll be doing something worthwhile.

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Interesting films, but a little of Tracy goes a long way. Early Tracy is fine, but 5 years later, he looks like Errol Flynn near the end. And that VOICE! Oy Gevalt.

 

However, Ann Dvorak is heavenly and what an actor.

 

Thank you, TCM, for doing what you used to do best. Now, break off all the 1930s and 1940s films into TCM Classic and you'll be doing something worthwhile.

 

Tracy is fine as a side kick but like a lot of actors with his type of vibe,  the director needs to use him with restraint.

 

Ann Dvorak is indeed heavenly and a very fine actor.    I find her to be unique.  Even when there are other beautiful gals in her films Ann stands out.

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Tracy is fine as a side kick but like a lot of actors with his type of vibe,  the director needs to use him with restraint.

 

 

remember you're seeing a large block of his films, one after another on a tribute day like this, so it's easy to to get tired of his persona.

But back in the day you'd maybe only see one or two a year

;)

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Tracy is fine as a side kick but like a lot of actors with his type of vibe,  the director needs to use him with restraint.

 

Ann Dvorak is indeed heavenly and a very fine actor.    I find her to be unique.  Even when there are other beautiful gals in her films Ann stands out.

Yup. He was perfect as the pal to Douglas Fairbanks, both very good in Love Is A Racket. Even as a brunette, Ann was lovely.

 

Interesting ending, and............... did Curly Howard do Lee, or was that Lee doing Curly? :D

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remember you're seeing a large block of his films, one after another on a tribute day like this, so it's easy to to get tired of his persona.

But back in the day you'd maybe only see one or two a year

;)

 

Very solid point and one that rings true with many 30's programmers as well.    I was watching Warner Brothers 30s movies back to back and was thinking;  man they all have the same studio supporting players, very similar plots and sometimes even the same dialog.   How did WB get away with that.

 

Since these were 'B' pictures shown before the main feature and the next similar type movie was released many months later,  most audience members wouldn't even remember much about the movies they had seen before similar to the latest release.

 

But seeing them back to back,  it is easy to notice these things.    (for the record I love WB 30s programmers and the WB supporting players regardless if the movies were not high quality productions).

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Tracy may be the actor who's most beloved by TCM junkies while remaining almost totally unknown to people whose idea of "classic" movies is restricted to PBS and the AFI top 100.  Bombshell is my favorite of today's lineup by far, even if I've seen it countless times already, but I can't think of a single real clinker in the entire 24 hours.  This entire day is a pure delight.

Unfortunately, Bombshell is on right now, while I'm at work.  Fortunately, though, I have it set up on my DVR, I'm looking forward to watching it when I get home.  Can't watch it here, too much forklift noise. I recorded it mainly for Jean Harlow.  I've been trying to see more of her work, to see if I "get" why Jean Harlow is such an icon and why she's so popular. I don't dislike her, so hopefully she'll grow on me the more I see her.  I do own the TCM Greatest Legends Collection: Jean Harlow; but I bought it just for Libeled Lady because I wanted to complete my William Powell/Myrna Loy collection and that movie is also hilarious, so there's that too.  I've never heard of Lee Tracy; but I'm sure he's been in some other films I've seen.  Just waiting for my stupid truck to get here and then I can head home and enjoy Bombshell

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speedracer5, I hope you get home soon enough to see DINNER AT EIGHT which has Harlow and Tracy plus other greats and it's one of Harlow's best (in my opinion).  She holds her own here and you can see why she became an icon.  Everybody in this movie is at the top of their game.  I've really enjoyed what I've seen of the Tracy movies today, expecially the precode stuff.

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Hopefully.  I think Dinner at Eight is part of the Jean Harlow collection that I mentioned; so I already have a copy if I miss the live airing.  My truck that I've been waiting for just showed up (6:30pm); so hopefully I'll make it home by 8 or so.  I've heard that Dinner at Eight is good.  I believe I read somewhere that Dinner at Eight was David O. Selznick's attempt to recreate the box office success of Irving Thalberg's Grand Hotel that was made a year prior.  Selznick was new to MGM and was trying to prove himself. 

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Unfortunately, Bombshell is on right now, while I'm at work.  Fortunately, though, I have it set up on my DVR, I'm looking forward to watching it when I get home.  Can't watch it here, too much forklift noise. I recorded it mainly for Jean Harlow.  I've been trying to see more of her work, to see if I "get" why Jean Harlow is such an icon and why she's so popular. I don't dislike her, so hopefully she'll grow on me the more I see her.  I do own the TCM Greatest Legends Collection: Jean Harlow; but I bought it just for Libeled Lady because I wanted to complete my William Powell/Myrna Loy collection and that movie is also hilarious, so there's that too.  I've never heard of Lee Tracy; but I'm sure he's been in some other films I've seen.  Just waiting for my stupid truck to get here and then I can head home and enjoy Bombshell.

I'm sorry to say I found most of the main characters in Bombshell so obnoxiously annoying that the movie is tough to watch. (It's not the actors' fault; it's the script.) There was one scene where Harlow is standing on the front steps of her house listening to Tracy talk to a bunch of reporters where I wouldn't have minded if she pulled out a gun and shot him and the movie turned into something like Roxie Hart.

 

Dinner at Eight, on the other hand, is great. I particularly enjoy Billie Burke's Stepford wife-like performance.

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Unfortunately, Bombshell is on right now, while I'm at work.  Fortunately, though, I have it set up on my DVR, I'm looking forward to watching it when I get home.

 

Bombshell and Libeled Lady are probably my two favorite Harlows, and both are in my top five comedies of all time.

 

Once you've finished watching Bombshell, tell me you didn't love

 

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

 

the scene where Harlow discovers that Tracy had staged the entire scene in the country, and where C. Aubrey Smith complains that he can't understand how Lewis Stone keeps getting all those parts that he should be having.   I also like the way that the film ends much like Libeled Lady, with a brawl in the cab while the movie fades out.  All it needed was for Walter Connolly to jump into the cab and yell "QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!!" 

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I'm sorry to say I found most of the main characters in Bombshell so obnoxiously annoying that the movie is tough to watch. (It's not the actors' fault; it's the script.) There was one scene where Harlow is standing on the front steps of her house listening to Tracy talk to a bunch of reporters where I wouldn't have minded if she pulled out a gun and shot him and the movie turned into something like Roxie Hart.

 

Dinner at Eight, on the other hand, is great. I particularly enjoy Billie Burke's Stepford wife-like performance.

I'm actually watching Dinner at Eight right now, as it was literally just starting when I sat down on the couch.  Ben Manckeiwicz (sp?) was still doing his introduction.  I couldn't find the remote to access Bombshell on the DVR.  Laziness and a Cuba Libre cocktail prevailed in the end and as a result, I'll watch Bombshell later.  I'm trying to refrain from reading Andy's spoiler alert post that's above this one.  So far, Dinner at Eight is pretty good.  It's weird seeing Billie Burke not as the Good Witch of the North.  Jean Harlow's character was kind of annoying in her first appearance, so hopefully she'll be less annoying in her next scene.  Marie Dressler was hilarious.  

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