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TopBilled

The Overplayed and the Underplayed

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Bergman and Jones discussing the alleged superiority of Bergman's performance that Oscar season was certainly not in Selznick's book of Memos. His wife's Oscar win was one of the joys of his life and I can't imagine who that memo would be written to. So the scene you describe must have been in "some biography you read about Bergman" in which she " humbly agreed that SHE gave the better performance". Not a very convincing sorce cite and how does one "humbly" agree with that sort of remark, anyway?

Yes, I agree that an inferior movie can still contain good performances, but you had said Bergman was tired of being asked about "Casablanca" and wanted to talk about "Joan of Arc" and "For Whom the Bells Tolls" instead. I'm suggesting there are resons why she wasn't asked about those films - few remembered them that fondly to want to discuss them!

I guess those esteemed judges of great acting, Loretta Young and Jennifer Jones, have you convinced re:Bergman, but your leap and non sequitar re: Bette Davis may have Topbilled proclaiming "Bette Davis - who dat?" but the rest of us may say there's room for arguement.

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Right - It's a Wonderful Life has certainly not been overplayed on television. As if.

 

And again, TopB - your "overplayed" views are entirely subjective and contradictory - you complain about Gay Puree being played instead of Wizard of Oz. How many times has the latter been shown as compared to the former? I think the annual network showing of Wizard of Oz for years puts it in the overplayed category even if not on TCM. Your conviction that more people want to see Oz over St.Louis is based entirely on your own bias, unless your claim is based on some extensive polling that you've been doing when not pontificating on the board here.

 

Re: The Lord of the Rings trilogy - if one doesn't care for the genre, fine, but many - including the dubious and debateable opinion of Oscar voters - gave it critical approval. Fans of the book and fantasy films in general seemed to love them. So - what is your gripe? Oh, that's right - they were produced after 1960. Sorry, I still think that's a reactionary reason to dislike a film. I would guess that if these filmshad been made 50 years earlier ( special effects would have been impossible then of course) you'd have been slobbering over them.

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Right - It's a Wonderful Life has certainly not been overplayed on television. As if.

 

And again, TopB - your "overplayed" views are entirely subjective and contradictory - you complain about Gay Puree being played instead of Wizard of Oz. How many times has the latter been shown as compared to the former? I think the annual network showing of Wizard of Oz for years puts it in the overplayed category even if not on TCM. Your conviction that more people want to see Oz over St.Louis is based entirely on your own bias, unless your claim is based on some extensive polling that you've been doing when not pontificating on the board here.

 

Re: The Lord of the Rings trilogy - if one doesn't care for the genre, fine, but many - including the dubious and debateable opinion of Oscar voters - gave it critical approval. Fans of the book and fantasy films in general seemed to love them. So - what is your gripe? Oh, that's right - they were produced after 1960. Sorry, I still think that's a reactionary reason to dislike a film. I would guess that if these filmshad been made 50 years earlier ( special effects would have been impossible then of course) you'd have been slobbering over them.

Vertigo,

 

Your last few replies have been extremely obnoxious. You are obviously an apologist with an axe to grind. Discussion between Vertigo & TopBilled is over.

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As several have noted here, TopB - you can dish it out, but certainly cannot take it. Any opinions that differ with yours are obnoxious.

"apologists" - an invented, imaginary creation of yours.

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As several have noted here, TopB - you can dish it out, but certainly cannot take it. Any opinions that differ with yours are obnoxious.

"apologists" - an invented, imaginary creation of yours.

I took time to craft a thorough response and it was just punctured to bits. If someone has assumed that all biographical information is unreliable, then why suggest I say where I read it-- unless a) hypothetical poster wanted to waste time arguing; b ) hypothetical poster wanted to be a rude obnoxious human being; or c) both a & b are correct. Choose the best response. (picks up number two lead pencil and bubbles it in on the answer document)

 

What is the point in pursuing any more conversation with someone about films that is not interested in looking at both sides of an issue? There is no point. I am not interested in the nonsense that any of the apologists spout. I am interested in only truthful constructive criticism about ways in which TCM might be able to improve before it is sold/goes belly up.

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Guess it's only over when you get the last word.

No one asumes all biographical information is unreliable, but one should not use this information as the basis for an argument, if the source is unknown ( some biography of Bergman you read). If the conversation you referenced DID occur ( a winner gushing to a loser "you should have won") it wouldn't have been the first or last time, but I would question the sincerity of that modesty. What I found amusing was Bergman "humbly agreeing" and question the reliability of that remembered conversation. Who was there who reported it and remembered it and gave it to the Bergman biographer?

 

And who is rude and obnoxious and "not interested in looking at both sides of the story" here? "i am not interested in the nonsense that any of the apologists spout" Again - apologists" is a Topbilled created and very obnovious, by the way, term for any who happen to disagree with YOUR opinion that TCM should ONLY show Golden Age movies. If you want to "improve" TCM so badly before it goes "belly up" perhaps you might be more open to welcoming newer viewers who may tune in to "Lord of the Rings" and then be exposed to "Laura" ( since as you gripe, it's on so often) and then the whole era of Golden Age film. Clearly as some of your past posts have shown, you're not interested in constructive criticism; if the writer doesn't buy your "Golden Age" rants, you instantly write about their " flawed statements" that can be easily "discredited" and derisively call them apologists. If anything, you're an apologist for that era - great, good, bad or terrible - if a film was made in the Golden Age it's worth showing, if not banish it! If my responses to some of your comments strike you as rude, guess what? So do many of your condescending and

derisive comments towards any who have another point of view. If you don't think YOU have an axe to grind, better ask who that guy in the mirror is, swinging that weapon ar anyone who enjoys movies uncut and uninterrupted that were made after 1960.

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What I found amusing was Bergman "humbly agreeing" and question the reliability of that remembered conversation. Who was there who reported it and remembered it and gave it to the Bergman biographer?

 

 

You make it sound like I was quoting verbatim. I was paraphrasing, from memory. And I am the one that added the word 'humbly' and the word 'congratulatory' because I remembered that Bergman was gracious-- she and Jones were friends and both under contract with Selznick. So I doubt that if Bergman agreed, she would have just said 'yeah you're right, it's my Oscar, give it to me.' I believe you are making too much of what I added, in your zeal to slam a biographer you don't know. That's weird, Vertigo.

 

The comment may have come from an interview one of the women did. Sometimes biographers use items from old interviews and publicity materials, especially if the subject is deceased. I don't doubt it was said-- probably by Jones who felt guilty (and was the humble one) taking an award away from Bergman who was very established in Hollywood by that point-- plus I think Bergman may have been the frontrunner leading up to the awards banquet. Nothing scandalous there.

 

Slamming Jones or Young for admiring their peer Ingrid Bergman is a bit tacky, Vertigo. 

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Well, you're the one who inferred that Bergman " humbly concurred" that she indeed had given the better performance. The rest of your argument is sheer speculation. You say Jones "felt guilty" (Did she tell you that?) because she "took" (I guess that means STOLE) the award from someone who was "very established in Hollywood by that point". The latter is hardly a reason to hand someone an award - and as we all well know, many well established and deserving stars haven't won Oscars ( including the icon in your posts - Barbara Stanwyck). Your statement that Bergman may have been the frontrunner up to the awards ceremony is again, pure speculation on your part. Personally, I doubt it ( just my opinion, of course) as Bergman had already won for Gaslight, and the other nominees were also well established (Greer Garson, Joan Fontaine and Jean Arthur) Of the five, Jones and Arthur were the only ones who had not already won Oscars, and perhaps then it could be said that Jones stole the Oscar from her!

And frankly, it's amusingly ironic that you want "everyone in the room" to say shame to me as YOU were the one who wanted to slam Bette Davis (for no apparent reason) "Bette Davis - who dat?", simply because you claim that both Jones and Loretta Young (whom you state was a "close, personal friend of Bergman's". Hmm - no personal bias there, right?) declared her the best actress of their generation. I certainly am not knocking Jones or Young for admiring Bergman (I admire Bergman too), but their opinion is no more valid than yours or mine. I can however, mock your contention which is - these two said it, so therefore it is true, and therefore your presumed contention "Bette Davis is considered the greatest actress but does not deserve the title" has been proven by these two actresses' admiration of Bergman. So your build up of Bergman was essentially achieved by slamming Davis. Everyone in the room let's say shame on TopBilled together.

Actually I am a big fan of Bergman AND Davis and feel these "who was the greatest?" contests are silly and entirely subjective - no matter how many "experts" chime in one way or the other.

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I also can see what another poster meant when he noted that you amend your own posts faster than the person to whom you are addressing them can respond. Your last post originally ended with "Everyone in the room together "Shame" (on Vertigo2) for "slamming Jones and Young for admiring Bergman." In your newly revised version - I'm "a bit tacky". Of course I was not slamming either - only Topbilled's misguided attempt to cite Young and Jones as the experts who can determine the "greatest actress of their generation" and as his excuse to slam Bette Davis.

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Well, you're the one who inferred that Bergman " humbly concurred" that she indeed had given the better performance. The rest of your argument is sheer speculation. You say Jones "felt guilty" (Did she tell you that?) because she "took" (I guess that means STOLE) the award from someone who was "very established in Hollywood by that point". The latter is hardly a reason to hand someone an award - and as we all well know, many well established and deserving stars haven't won Oscars ( including the icon in your posts - Barbara Stanwyck). Your statement that Bergman may have been the frontrunner up to the awards ceremony is again, pure speculation on your part. Personally, I doubt it ( just my opinion, of course) as Bergman had already won for Gaslight, and the other nominees were also well established (Greer Garson, Joan Fontaine and Jean Arthur) Of the five, Jones and Arthur were the only ones who had not already won Oscars, and perhaps then it could be said that Jones stole the Oscar from her!

And frankly, it's amusingly ironic that you want "everyone in the room" to say shame to me as YOU were the one who wanted to slam Bette Davis (for no apparent reason) "Bette Davis - who dat?", simply because you claim that both Jones and Loretta Young (whom you state was a "close, personal friend of Bergman's". Hmm - no personal bias there, right?) declared her the best actress of their generation. I certainly am not knocking Jones or Young for admiring Bergman (I admire Bergman too), but their opinion is no more valid than yours or mine. I can however, mock your contention which is - these two said it, so therefore it is true, and therefore your presumed contention "Bette Davis is considered the greatest actress but does not deserve the title" has been proven by these two actresses' admiration of Bergman. So your build up of Bergman was essentially achieved by slamming Davis. Everyone in the room let's say shame on TopBilled together.

Actually I am a big fan of Bergman AND Davis and feel these "who was the greatest?" contests are silly and entirely subjective - no matter how many "experts" chime in one way or the other.

Vertigo, vertigo, vertigo,

 

In the future, please separate your paragraphs-- the formatting issues with your posts make them difficult to read. Thanks.

 

I think Jones and Young's opinions are more valid than ours because they were her contemporaries and in fact members of the academy vote in their respective fields to determine Oscar recipients. So unless you belong to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences your opinion is worth less than Loretta Young's was or Jennifer Jones' was. 

 

Your logic is flawed when you suggest that people who did not receive Oscars should have received them. For some of them, they were good (enough to be nominated) but not good enough to be considered the best in their category in a given year. I am not taking a swipe at Stanwyck who received a lifetime honor years later-- but let's be clear, not all performers denied an Oscar deserved them. In the case of this contest, if Bergman truly gave the best performance but for sentimental reasons Jones won, then Bergman really was robbed. And it doesn't matter if she already had ten Oscars or not.

 

In this particular case, I agree with Ingrid that her best screen work was in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS--it's better than her work in GASLIGHT and in THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S, for which received another Oscar nod. And she also was nominated for JOAN OF ARC, but I think Ingrid was biased there because she played it on stage and it was a role she identified with for many years.

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My apologies for lack of paragraph separation.

 

Sorry, but being a voting member of the Academy does not make one any more of an expert than anyone else. Anyone with a ticket stub at the time, or who has seen the performances since, is entitled to an opinion.

 

If you concluded that I think undeserving actors should get Oscars, I was misunderstood. I was simply reacting to your statement that "Jennifer Jones felt guilty because she took the Oscar from a star who was well established in Hollywood." Clearly "well established in Hollywood" is no reason to be given any award, but then awards have been given over years for all kinds of reasons, often having little or nothing to do with the best performances of the year.

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being a voting member of the Academy does not make one any more of an expert than anyone else. Anyone with a ticket stub at the time, or who has seen the performances since, is entitled to an opinion.

 

 

I think members of AMPAS would disagree with your uninformed viewpoint. Everyone may have an opinion but some are worth more than others-- especially in Hollywood. Please refer to page 179 in TopBilled's book Everything You Should Know About Hollywood (But Were Afraid to Learn). You can probably find a copy on Amazon or at your local library. Thanks.

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Oh, please - TopB - We're not IN Hollywood. We're on a message board (talk about delusions of grandeur!) and guess what - anyone here (and that includes any who may happen to be in the business) has no more a qualified view than anyone else - EVEN YOU -Gasp!) in terms of the validity of THEIR opinions. Your original premise was that Loretta Young and Jennifer Jones are more qualified to judge good acting than someone who is not in the business. I guess critics are therefore also less qualified than say Suzanne Sommers or Zak Efron or Bozo the Clown.

 

I don't think I'll have time to read any of your books, Professor. I spend too much time as it is just reading the titles of the ten thousand threads you clog the board with just so you can entertain the rest of us with how many views and replies you get and whether or not your threads are hot. Why don't you go work on some more books - your enormous ego is crowding out everyone else here.

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Oh, please - TopB - We're not IN Hollywood. We're on a message board (talk about delusions of grandeur!) and guess what - anyone here (and that includes any who may happen to be in the business) has no more a qualified view than anyone else - EVEN YOU -Gasp!) in terms of the validity of THEIR opinions. Your original premise was that Loretta Young and Jennifer Jones are more qualified to judge good acting than someone who is not in the business. I guess critics are therefore also less qualified than say Suzanne Sommers or Zak Efron or Bozo the Clown.

 

I don't think I'll have time to read any of your books, Professor. I spend too much time as it is just reading the titles of the ten thousand threads you clog the board with just so you can entertain the rest of us with how many views and replies you get and whether or not your threads are hot. Why don't you go work on some more books - your enormous ego is crowding out everyone else here.

Once again Vertigo vertigo vertigo,

 

You are once again confusing what I posted earlier once again. Once again my original premise was that Young and Jones are Oscar winners, for best actress no less. So once again, it would stand to reason once again that they know what it takes to be an award-winning performer in their category, in their group, among their peers, their fellow professional actresses. They are (italicized) more qualified than either one of us once again to make a judgment or evaluative statement about best actresses in the business. Once again we can go over this once again if we need to once again.

 

I can give you a discount on my book. 

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Well, TB - once again, once again and again, I think your premise is patently ridiculous and also selfcontradictory. You clearly seem to agree with Jones and (according to "some biography you read about Ingrid Bergman") Bergman that the best actress that year was indeed Bergman and NOT Jones. Therefore an undeserving winner of the Oscar is hardly qualified to be a judge of the best acting of that year. You say Oscar winners know best "what it takes to give a great performance". May I point out to you that knowing what it takes (and I question the logic of that premise too - Does Tatum O'Neal know what it took for Jane Wyman to achieve her Oscar winning performance in "Johnny Belinda", for example) to achieve a performance is ENTIRELY different from evaluating a performance. A food critic can judge a meal as easily as a chef without having the slightest idea how the meal was accomplished. And further being an "Oscar winner" does not suddenly elevate a performer to a more knowing status than a nonwinner. Many (including Elizabeth Taylor) agree that Taylor's 1960 Oscar win for "Butterfield 8" was a sympathy vote because she nearly died that year. So was then Taylor suddenly an authority on what it took to achieve the Oscar? (Almost dying apparently)

 

Sorry, TopB. I don't think winning Oscars means much in terms of being qualified to judge any other actor's performance. That you think the Oscars mean much other than the highly subjective views or whims of the Academy voters in any one year, tells me you are a rather starry-eyed film fan who bloviates as though your words are the most authentic and academically sound.

 

I'm not too surprised you're trying to sell your books at a discount, but I think I'll pass. You might try taking them all to KMart - maybe they can unload them for you.

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Well, TB - once again, once again and again, I think your premise is patently ridiculous and also selfcontradictory. You clearly seem to agree with Jones and (according to "some biography you read about Ingrid Bergman") Bergman that the best actress that year was indeed Bergman and NOT Jones. Therefore an undeserving winner of the Oscar is hardly qualified to be a judge of the best acting of that year. You say Oscar winners know best "what it takes to give a great performance". May I point out to you that knowing what it takes (and I question the logic of that premise too - Does Tatum O'Neal know what it took for Jane Wyman to achieve her Oscar winning performance in "Johnny Belinda", for example) to achieve a performance is ENTIRELY different from evaluating a performance. A food critic can judge a meal as easily as a chef without having the slightest idea how the meal was accomplished. And further being an "Oscar winner" does not suddenly elevate a performer to a more knowing status than a nonwinner. Many (including Elizabeth Taylor) agree that Taylor's 1960 Oscar win for "Butterfield 8" was a sympathy vote because she nearly died that year. So was then Taylor suddenly an authority on what it took to achieve the Oscar? (Almost dying apparently)

 

 

I don't think you understand the voting process or how actors are trained to evaluate each other. Once again...

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Trained to evaluate each other? Who trains them?

That is either sarcastic or genuine-- can't tell which, though! If I knew for sure you were genuinely wanting to know, I would tell you based on my expertise.

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That is either sarcastic or genuine-- can't tell which, though! If I knew for sure you were genuinely wanting to know, I would tell you based on my expertise.

 

A little of both........

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A little of both........

Well, thanks for being honest. If you live in New York or southern California, check out the Actors Studio and the Ruskin School of Acting. You have to be a member to participate in workshops, but non-members can be invited by members to observe. And there are productions put on for the public-- but the workshops will give insight into how they're taught to evaluate peers and self-evaluate individual scene work. I bet that Jennifer Jones, in her own way, was self-evaluating and comparing herself to Ingrid's work in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. This is a very common practice for actors.

 

It is no secret that a lot of the most well-known performers are quite insecure, and my theory is this happens because they are always evaluating and focusing on inadequacies. They are always trying to give the most precise performance possible. Ingrid had a gift, and obviously her peers liked to acknowledge it. But how they evaluated her professionally is a much more rigorous process than how the average movie-watcher forms an opinion. We have to be clear about that.

 

I wish we knew what a lot of these actresses thought about Anna Magnani. When Mother Dolores Hart was a guest on TCM in May, her comments about Magnani's technique revealed how they train and how Hart was evaluating Magnani's performance and learning to make her own better.

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Along the lines of this recent topic, here are two books I think are worth getting and reading:

 

John Kobal, People Will Talk:  Conversations With [41 Actors,  Actresses and Directors on The Art of Filmmaking] (1986, 728 pp.)

 

A few of the interviewees include Gloria Swanson, Joel McCrea, Howard Hawks, Ida Lupino, Ingrid Bergman, and Arletty.  It's a terrific mix of voices, and hardback copies on Amazon (see link above) start at a penny.

 

Jay Leyda, Voices of Film Experience, 1894 to the Present:  Actors, Writers, Composers, Designers, Producers, Directors Talk About Films

 

This is another thick (544 pp.) book with an alphabetical collection of first hand writing by over 600 voices in the film industry from 1894 through the mid-1970's.  It's a one of a kind book, and you can see with the link that it's also available in a one cent hardback edition on Amazon.  Further evidence that this is a golden age for book lovers.

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Your condescension is amusing ("Once again" - indeed!), but I think your arguments have reached a level of desperation. If only I understood the voting process (why do you assume I don't?) THEN I would appreciate how knowledgeable and better qualified Academy voters are to judge acting performances than nonindustry types. First of all, past the initial nomination process wherein the voters select within their own category, everyone votes for the winners within every field. So therefore, cinematographers, costumers, lighting technicians, special effects specialists, actors, et al ALL vote for the eventual winners. I guess they've all been "trained" along with the actors to evaluate performances. (as Hibi notes - trained by whom?), so the eventual winners are clearly always the most deserving. Please.

 

Once again, (he says wearily) acting appreciation and evaluation is subjective and as the various views on the board indicate are as widely varied as can be. I respect the various opinions of many on the board (even yours occasionally!) for their careful and well articulated posts as much as I might those of

any Oscar winning actress, who may have won because she's well liked on the set, has been in the game for many years, or may even have given a great performance that year. You also seem to give added value to the opinions of those who actually won Oscars as opposed to those who were merely nominated, but frankly I'd listen to opinions given by a Peter O'Toole or a Cary Grant sooner than an Ernest Borgnine or a Cuba Gooding, Jr. any day (although I've certainly enjoyed performances by all of them).

 

OK, TB - This bantering is getting tedious - obviously we are far from any agreement on much of anything. You've called me an obnoxious, uninformed person who only wants to waste time arguing. Whatever. I've found you a pedantic, condescending blowhard who is instantly combative if one does not bow to your holier than thou points of view. You pushed my buttons and clearly I pushed a few of yours. Having said that, maybe it's time we both moved on, agree to disagree and attempt more civility in the future on other topics where we might actually find some agreement. I think I'm done with this one.

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Tonight is a guest programmer night. Some guy named Jeff Garlin(?) Not a clue who he is, but he picked three of the most tired titles a GP can pick. The Third Man, which has to be the most GP requested title, Meet John Doe- which is an awful movie- and Dodsworth. (Maybe they talked him into substituting Bullitt for Duck Soup. )

 

Yawn.

 

TCM, look, believe it or not, I love you, and I care about you, but when it comes to these monthly guest programmers: just stop. Save your money and just stop. Stop. Stop. None of us care about either seeing these D-Listers or hearing what they have to say and they all pick the same damn movies time after time after time after time.

 

ps- yes I know there is the occasional Bill Paxton, but it's just not enough to make up for all the other duds.

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Thanks for the tip, Andy. Those one cent book deals are just amazing, aren't they? I'm going for the ones you mentioned here.

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Tonight is a guest programmer night. Some guy named Jeff Garlin(?) Not a clue who he is, but he picked three of the most tired titles a GP can pick. The Third Man, which has to be the most GP requested title, Meet John Doe- which is an awful movie- and Dodsworth. (Maybe they talked him into substituting Bullitt for Duck Soup. )

 

Yawn.

 

Couldn't agree with you more about his choice of movies, especially Meet John Doe, which is just about the only unwatchable Barbara Stanwyck film I can think of.  Too bad Garlin couldn't have been allowed to substitute about 8 half hour episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he plays Larry David's friend and agent.

 

 

You can't control who pops in!

 

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