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Part I of the Mame-a-thon--"Auntie Mame" (1958) is dated, & Rosalind Russell is the whole show--the supporting cast are caricatures, with one Southern girl contributing a viciously funny cartoon in 5 minutes of screen time--film is uneven (when it's good, it's good, when it's bad. it stinks)--at it's worst, it's painless--film always recovers laughs within ten minutes--time for Part II.

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Part II of the Mame-a-thon--"Mame" (1974)--It's bad, but there are just enough good elements to take it seriously (IMO).  The good--Bea Arthur as Vera Charles has 1 solo & parts of 3 duets--she steals the film easily, no contest.  Robert Preston has one solo & is part of 2 other numbers, in limited screen time--he does his best to make Lucy look good in the title song and dance & succeeds.  The instrumental music is  so loud during Lucy's numbers it almost drowns her out, along with other cast members who can't sing.

 

The bad; Lucy didn't have the range to sing the title part & shouldn't have been cast,, She ruins her first two songs--she & the kid cast ruin song #3--from then on she alternates between a Very Limited tenor range and talk-singing her songs, like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964)--all the choreography seems slowed down--there is so much Vaseline on the camera lens one can barely see the pearls she's wearing--they look to be dots.   Film just Barely avoids total disaster--1 and 1/2 stars.

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The Moon and Sixpence, part of Saturday’s small tribute to director Albert Lewin.  (This tribute included The Essentials selection Dorian Gray, which has a rousing debate elsewhere on this board.) Was also featured in the Martin Scorsese TCM column (http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/1091436%7C0/Scorsese-Screens-for-June.html)

 

Moon is a very unusual film, loosely based on the life of painter Paul Gauguin.  “Loosely” because all names are changed and events are not completely consistent with the famous artist’s life.  A notable feature of the film is that the first half is shot in black and white, and then switches to color when the character moves to Tahiti.  However, for most of the second half color is only used to present the island scenes with an amber tint, and only one very short segment at the end is shown in full color.

 

George Sanders is very good as the ~Gauguin, but his character is completely unsympathetic for most of the film.  The main theme seems to be that although ~Gauguin’s works would eventually make him a world-famous artist, during his life he was a complete wrecking ball to all those around him who gave him their love and support.

 

I did appreciate the film’s performances and the unusual aspects of the production, but overall feel that the whole was somewhat a miss.  Making a film which is ostensibly about Gauguin but does not use Gauguin’s name and also changes major events in the person’s life seems curious.  I also did not get much out of the amber tint for the second half, and the very short color sequence at the end to me did not pay off the decision to present it this way.  In the introduction Robert said they were specifically blocked by the estate from showing any of Gauguin’s actual works, so perhaps such issues prevented them from making the film as they had originally intended.

 

All of Lewin's characters are pretty unsympathetic.

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Part II of the Mame-a-thon--"Mame" (1974)--It's bad, but there are just enough good elements to take it seriously (IMO).  The good--Bea Arthur as Vera Charles has 1 solo & parts of 3 duets--she steals the film easily, no contest.  Robert Preston has one solo & is part of 2 other numbers, in limited screen time--he does his best to make Lucy look good in the title song and dance & succeeds.  The instrumental music is  so loud during Lucy's numbers it almost drowns her out, along with other cast members who can't sing.

 

The bad; Lucy didn't have the range to sing the title part & shouldn't have been cast,, She ruins her first two songs--she & the kid cast ruin song #3--from then on she alternates between a Very Limited tenor range and talk-singing her songs, like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964)--all the choreography seems slowed down--there is so much Vaseline on the camera lens one can barely see the pearls she's wearing--they look to be dots.   Film just Barely avoids total disaster--1 and 1/2 stars.

So what?  Rosalind Russell couldn't sing either, and she had the meatiest role in GYPSY, and IT was a huge hit.  Figure the producers of MAME were thinking along these lines when they made IT.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Sepiatone--what matters is that Russell allowed her voice to be dubbed by Lisa Kirk where actual singing had to be done in the film--Russell did all the patter songs,or talk singing, herself.  Ball, for whatever reason, didn't allow herself to be dubbed & that's the big difference between Gypsy (1962) & Mame (1974)--Russell recognized her shortcomings as a singer & allowed them to be fixed, resulting in a successful film; Ball tried to do all the singing herself, & generally failed.

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Sepiatone--what matters is that Russell allowed her voice to be dubbed by Lisa Kirk where actual singing had to be done in the film--Russell did all the patter songs,or talk singing, herself.  Ball, for whatever reason, didn't allow herself to be dubbed & that's the big difference between Gypsy (1962) & Mame (1974)--Russell recognized her shortcomings as a singer & allowed them to be fixed, resulting in a successful film; Ball tried to do all the singing herself, & generally failed.

Of course, Russell sang on stage in her Tony Award-winning performance in Wonderful Town, the 1953 musical version of My Sister Eileen. She also appeared in the 1958 television version of Wonderful Town. Here's a clip from that show, in which she sings "Swing." Leonard Bernstein wrote the music, which is pretty sophisticated; perhaps he tailored it for her voice:

 

 

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Sweet Charity starring Shirley Maclaine on DVD not on TCM. This movie should be shown again on TCM. It hasn't for awhile. Shirley was amazing both in her acting and musical skills.

 

SWEET CHARITY was shown recently as part of the Friday Night Spotlight on roadshow musicals, but I hope it is shown again soon.

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Last night I saw a film I’d never heard of before: The Mystery of Marie Roget (1942).

 

It’s Paris, 1899, and Marie Roget is missing.  A woman’s body is found in the river, her face torn up.  It is believed to be Marie.

 

We are then introduced to Marie’s sister, Camille, set to marry Marcel, her fiancé.  Suddenly, Marie shows up to greet them, chipper and none the worse for wear!  She will not explain where she has been. 

 

In private, Marie and Marcel talk.  Marie is furious that Marcel will be marrying Camille.  Marie and Marcel had been plotting Camille’s murder!  But Marcel reassures her that this only helps their plan – no one would suspect him of murdering her sister, since he is her fiancé… 

 

Dupin and Gobelin, who are investigating the murder of the woman found in the river, go to meet Marie and Camille Roget’s grandmother.  The grandmother is a tough old bird.  As Gobelin proudly recites his credentials, she cuts him off with, “Oh, go have yourself stuffed!”  Madame Roget wants Dupin to escort Camille to a party to be held that night, to protect her: she has overheard the murder plot between Marie and Marcel.

 

Later, at the party, Marie herself is murdered!  A new body is found in the river, again with her face torn up.

 

There are elaborate twists and turns throughout the story, which includes a leopard, Grandma Roget’s pet, as a suspect.  This movie is based on an Edgar Allan Poe mystery.  I enjoyed it; the plot was complicated enough to keep the film interesting.

 

EDIT: Wanted to add - The grandmother and Marie speak with accents, but Camille is purely American.  Go figure...

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EugeniaH--Marie was played by Maria Montez, just before she started a series of adventure films with Jon Hall for Universal that permanently put her in high "camp' heaven--"Arabian Nights (1942) was the 1st (I think)--my favorite is "Cobra Woman" (1944)--favorite line-- "Gif me the cobra jool". :)

 

The grandmother was played by Maria Ouspenskaya, best known for the gypsy fortuneteller in "The Wolf Man" (1941)--she specialized in odd roles & women who couldn't be pushed around.

 

Both actresses are fun to watch.  Glad you found an old Universal goodie.  I saw this one some years ago on an old movie channel in CO when I was growing up--haven't seen it since.

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Sepiatone--what matters is that Russell allowed her voice to be dubbed by Lisa Kirk where actual singing had to be done in the film--Russell did all the patter songs,or talk singing, herself.  Ball, for whatever reason, didn't allow herself to be dubbed & that's the big difference between Gypsy (1962) & Mame (1974)--Russell recognized her shortcomings as a singer & allowed them to be fixed, resulting in a successful film; Ball tried to do all the singing herself, & generally failed.

I just watched part of BABY, THE RAIN MUST FALL on "Movies". The ghost singing substituted for McQueen's voice was incredibly amateurishly dubbed.

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Man on a Tightrope (1953).  A Twentieth Century Fox Elia Kazan film shot in Bavaria with Fredric March and Gloria Grahame.  It was really good and as usual, Kazan gets the best performances out of people in this small budgeted film.

Some great touches like the cigarette ash on Adolphe Menjou's lapels.

Richard Boone, Cameron Mitchell, March, Menjou and Graham were all excellent.

I particularly liked Alexander D'Arcy who played the rather cowardly lion tamer.  Some may recall his comical role in The Awful Truth.

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Man on a Tightrope (1953). A Twentieth Century Fox Elia Kazan film shot in Bavaria with Fredric March and Gloria Grahame. It was really good and as usual, Kazan gets the best performances out of people in this small budgeted film.

Some great touches like the cigarette ash on Adolphe Menjou's lapels.

Richard Boone, Cameron Mitchell, March, Menjou and Graham were all excellent.

I particularly liked Alexander D'Arcy who played the rather cowardly lion tamer. Some may recall his comical role in The Awful Truth.

I love this lesser known Kazan film, nestled between the better known VIVA ZAPATA and ON THE WATERFRONT. Excellent cast, including the delectable Terry Moore, which you overlooked.
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I love MAN ON A TIGHTROPE too.

Love Cameron Mitchell who didn't get enough meaty roles imho.

 

MST3K fans may know Mitchell from the hilarious SPACE MUTINY episode. He plays a space ship commander, (ah, finally Christmas comes to Santa!) while his daughter plays the lead. The male lead is played by beefy original Captain America, Reb Brown, soon to be Mitchell's son-in-law. 

Successful Hollywood marriage according to IMDB.

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Last night I watched partially (since I fell asleep) BOOM! (1968), with Liz and Dick, and Noel Coward as the Witch of Capri. Scripted by Tennessee Williams from his play "The Milk Train Doesn't Run Here Anymore", I always heard it was bad, but it seems like campy fun from what I saw, with gorgeous scenery. Will have to try watching it earlier next time.

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I watched my favorite Eric Rohmer film the other day -- perfect for the season: A Summer's Tale (Conte d'Ete,1996).  Despite its bittersweet ending, It's one of the most joyous films I've ever seen about the ambiguities of young love. It's part of Rohmer's Tales of the Four Seasons series.  

 

Here's the trailer:

 

 

 

(Btw, the above film should not be confused with Rohmer's Le Rayon Vert, which is called Summer in English and which is one of my least favorite Rohmer films.)

 

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Lately it seems like I haven't had time to do anything, let alone watch movies.  I managed to watch a couple though.

 

The Bribe.  I recorded this movie during "The Summer of Darkness."  I mainly recorded it for Ava Gardner.  It also starred Robert Taylor, Charles Laughton and Vincent Price.  Despite the cast, I thought this film was so-so.  Gardner was good as the innocent femme fatale.  I found the plot to be somewhat convoluted.  Laughton and Price were fun as the villains.  Taylor was okay-- I wasn't a fan of his mustache--not sure what it was about the mustache that I didn't like.

 

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.  This movie was silly and full of actors from many of my favorite Nick-at-Nite shows: Don Knotts and Hal Smith (Barney Fife and Otis Campbell from "The Andy Griffith Show"); Dick Sergeant (Darrin #2 from "Bewitched"); Sandra Gould (Gladys Kravitz #2 from "Bewitched"); Burt Mustin (Gus the Fireman from "Leave it to Beaver"); Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton from "The Waltons" which is actually NOT a favorite show of mine); Charles Lane (This man is in everything, but I remember him in separate appearances on "I Love Lucy" playing different characters); Phillip Ober (General Stone from "I Dream of Jeannie"). Not to mention that the house Knotts' character spent the night in was next door to the Munsters' house! This movie was ridiculous and I liked the guy that kept saying "Attaboy [insert name here]!"

 

The Fly.  We watched the original 'Fly' with Vincent Price.  I thought it was cheesy fun, especially the husband's fly head and hand and later his human head on a fly body.  "Help me! Help Me!" was funny.  I was a bit disappointed that Price's role was small.  I was hoping Price was going to turn into the Fly, but alas no. 

 

Now and Forever.  I watched this movie somewhat last night.  I am sorry to say that I lost interest.  I had never seen any of Shirley Temple's movies that she made at the height of her fame-- I've only seen the films made by a teenaged Shirley Temple.  I thought Temple was good in this film (very genuine, precocious performance-- not irritating and hammy like some children performers are).  I don't know why I lost interest in the film.  The cast is good: Shirley Temple, Carole Lombard and Gary Cooper.  Even Cooper was more interesting in this film than he is in other films I've seen him in.  I also found Lombard's more subdued performance interesting-- she wasn't "screechy" in this film like she is in others.  I don't know why this film didn't do anything for me, but it didn't. 

 

 

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This movie was ridiculous and I liked the guy that kept saying "Attaboy [insert name here]!"

 

The "shakey speech" was Knott's original stand up routine and it was great that it was included in this movie for posterity.

 

I read Don Knott's autobiography after seeing this film recently (it's childish fun!) and Knotts stated he kept the page of the script where the "Atta boy Luther!" line was added in his wallet at all times as a good luck talisman.

 

And everyone should keep watching the Shirley Temple films-they do get better.

 

The film group I belong to screens a Temple film every year and it is AMAZING to sit in the audience. You can hear a pin drop during some scenes while when she sings & dances the room is filled with smiles, ending in spontaneous applause.

 

I notice Shirley has MANY close ups where her face just fills the screen, and her eyes & big smile are genuine. She's not faking. That comes across to the audience in a deep, primal way and I think this is the core reason she "helped" people through the Depression.

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The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.  This movie was silly and full of actors from many of my favorite Nick-at-Nite shows: Don Knotts and Hal Smith (Barney Fife and Otis Campbell from "The Andy Griffith Show"); Dick Sergeant (Darrin #2 from "Bewitched"); Sandra Gould (Gladys Kravitz #2 from "Bewitched"); Burt Mustin (Gus the Fireman from "Leave it to Beaver"); Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton from "The Waltons" which is actually NOT a favorite show of mine); Charles Lane (This man is in everything, but I remember him in separate appearances on "I Love Lucy" playing different characters); Phillip Ober (General Stone from "I Dream of Jeannie"). Not to mention that the house Knotts' character spent the night in was next door to the Munsters' house! This movie was ridiculous and I liked the guy that kept saying "Attaboy [insert name here]!"

 

 

I've never seen THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN but it sounds like a lot of fun for a former diehard Nick At Nite viewer like me.

 

Here's a bit of trivia: Both of the actors who played Gladys Kravitz in BEWITCHED (Alice Pearce and Sandra Gould) appear in the movie DEAR HEART, which features a great performance by the wonderful Geraldine Page.

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I just saw, "This Happy Breed" and I'm so glad..loved it..it's right up my alley!

This was directed by David Lean & seems to be his beginning from what I looked up.  I love "slice of life" type movies & have a strong curiosity & am big reader about what was happening during WWII.  This movie, which is based on a Noel Coward play, is set between the two world wars, from 1919 to 1939, but there are interesting references to the coming War, fascism & Hitler in the newspaper.   What fascinates me is this movie was made in 1944 in England while the War was still on and England still being bombed!?  How is that?  Where exactly was it filmed as there are camera shots of outside that appears to be very real & not on a soundstage, like the parades & fun fair.  This was also filmed in Technicolor, which excited me even more (yes, I love color & wished tons more movies were in color way back then)...it's just so artistically shot and unusual and ordinary at the same time..and, its got some very funny lines.  I know David Lean went on to be one of the greats and this movie to me seems ahead of its time. 

Anyone else love it as much as I did?  It's like when I saw "went the day well?" for the first time last year and I loved that in the same way.

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Thank you for that report on THIS HAPPY BREED. It was on my July list until I saw my library has it. 

 

(Holden-every library has THE GHOST & MR CHICKEN....see it! Rita Shaw in bit part is a riot as usual)

 

When requested THIS HAPPY BREED, I received a box set "David Lean Directs Noel Coward" with BLYTHE SPIRIT, IN WHICH WE SERVE & BRIEF ENCOUNTER & a booklet! I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy them all. 

 

I didn't like Brief Encounter very much when first saw it, but will give it another try.

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I've never seen THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN but it sounds like a lot of fun for a former diehard Nick At Nite viewer like me.

 

Here's a bit of trivia: Both of the actors who played Gladys Kravitz in BEWITCHED (Alice Pearce and Sandra Gould) appear in the movie DEAR HEART, which features a great performance by the wonderful Geraldine Page.

 

Is The Ghost and Mr. Chicken a sequel to The Ghost and Mrs Muir ?

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Thank you for that report on THIS HAPPY BREED. It was on my July list until I saw my library has it. 

 

(Holden-every library has THE GHOST & MR CHICKEN....see it! Rita Shaw in bit part is a riot as usual)

 

 

Especially when she forces tapioca on her milksop husband.

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