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A Shot in the Dark (1935)
 

A despondent and conflicted college boy commits suicide but it is a poorly disguised murder.

This is a sufficiently nice little murder mystery but I would have higher regard for it if it had been made five years earlier. The very early talkies can be forgiven for being a play that was filmed but to be so stagey at this late date is somewhat questionable. I can easily envision all of the action taking place in a college dormitory room or lounge. It is a Poverty Row 'B' movie so production values would not be high but I feel it is the quirks in the screenplay and direction which let it down most.

I found also that it works against believability that the 'college students' were quite obviously in their late twenties or early thirties. 

I feel the screenplay should be praised for using a plot device that is seldom seen and could be quite effective. It is unfortunate that the screenplay did not exploit it to its full potential. 

The flaws I have mentioned do not seriously detract from the fact that there are far worse ways to spend an hour. I am glad that I watched it even although I doubt I will wish to watch it again soon. 

6.2/10

It is available for viewing free with commercials on: TubiTV.

 

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

maybe even moreso than VIVIEN LEIGH being BORN to be SCARLETT O'HARA, SHELLEY DUVALL was BORN to be OLIVE OYL.

one of my favorite reviews on the Letterboxd site: 

"One of the weirdest things I've ever seen. It's barely a movie. It's like Robert Altman made 3 Women and kept looking at Shelley Duvall and saying to himself "God, DAMN that woman looks like Olive Oyl" and then he couldn't get it out of his head and it gave him bad dreams and he was begging his brain, "PLEASE, stop, I don't want to make a Popeye movie!" but his brain just kept showing Shelley Duvall going "Ohhhhhh!" in a high pitched voice and finally Robert Altmans therapist told him to just make the damn thing and he did it to make the nightmares go away..."

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1 hour ago, NickAndNora34 said:

one of my favorite reviews on the Letterboxd site: 

"One of the weirdest things I've ever seen. It's barely a movie. It's like Robert Altman made 3 Women and kept looking at Shelley Duvall and saying to himself "God, DAMN that woman looks like Olive Oyl" and then he couldn't get it out of his head and it gave him bad dreams and he was begging his brain, "PLEASE, stop, I don't want to make a Popeye movie!" but his brain just kept showing Shelley Duvall going "Ohhhhhh!" in a high pitched voice and finally Robert Altmans therapist told him to just make the damn thing and he did it to make the nightmares go away..."

Robert Evans originally wanted Lily Tomlin as Olive (and Dustin Hoffman as Popeye), but seeing as you couldn't NOT cast Shelley, I'm wondering if Altman got the directing job as a contractual requirement.  I wouldn't even hire Altman for an adult musical, let alone a kids' one.

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

maybe even moreso than VIVIEN LEIGH being BORN to be SCARLETT O'HARA, SHELLEY DUVALL was BORN to be OLIVE OYL.

Kinda like when Spielberg met John Goodman and the first thing he said was, "Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make. I have just found my Fred Flinstone." 

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2 hours ago, Shank Asu said:

I thought the film was decent.  Taylor looks pretty sexy in it.  Her performance was pretty good too but surprised she won her first Oscar for it.  Still not sure why they spell the film BUtterfield  with the U capitalized.

Possibly the old phone exchange code?

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14 minutes ago, Citizen Ed said:

Possibly the old phone exchange code?

From the era when phones were actually used as phones?  😄

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Taylor didn't think much of her performance in BUTTERFIELD 8.  Or the film itself.  

I agree with Elizabeth.   She's done better work elsewhere.  

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19 hours ago, Shank Asu said:

From the era when phones were actually used as phones?  😄

Ah youth!

BUtterfield 8 refers to the phone exchange in NYC, which serves the Upper East Side.

Phone numbers are allocated in batches of 10,000 numbers, and each "batch" is an exchange.  Up until the late 50s/early 60s, exchanges had names.   In larger cities, names were usually chosen to reflect the neighborhood they served.  In other places, it was somewhat random.  AT&T maintained a list of acceptable exchange names.  For example, in the town I grew up in, our exchanges were CApital 3 and CApital 6, even though we weren't a capital city, and not near one.  It was just a name chosen in order to efficiently allocate numbers.

Exchange names are why phone dials and buttons have letters on them.  The capitalized letters of the name (BU, in the movie) were the ones to be dialed, with the rest of the number.  So if someone said their number was BUtterfied 8-1234, you'd dial 288-1234.

Early AT&T research indicated that people could more easily remember phone numbers with exchange names rather than phone numbers that were just a string of digits.  That's why they started using names for exchanges.

AT&T realized in the 1950s that limiting phone numbers to meaningfully named exchanges was too constricting, as more people got phones (not everyone had a phone in the 50s).   They would quickly run out of available numbers.  So they dropped the names, and just went to two letters (BUtterfield 8 just became BU8).  But this was just the first step.  Next, they eliminated exchange letters altogether and used numbers only.  This was extremely controversial in some cities (paradoxically, it was the larger cities like NYC, Philadelphia and San Francisco that put up the most fuss, as it seems people were attached to the association between neighborhood and exchange name).   

The reason for all of this was to get the entire nation standardized on 7 digit local phone numbers so that you could place your own long distance calls without operator assistance.  Before this occurred, phone number length was not standardized (even within the same city, sometimes).    Small towns might have 3 digit numbers.  Large cities like NYC and LA would have 6 and/or 7 digit numbers.  All were eventually transitioned into 7 digit numbers.  Today, many places have 10 digit local numbers, due to multiple area code overlays.

There's an old Glenn Miller song called PEnnsylvania 6-5000, which is the phone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC, and the number still gets you connected to the hotel today, as long as you prefix it with its 212 area code.  The hotel is in the Penn station neighborhood, which is how the phone exchange got its name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_exchange_names

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

 I wouldn't even hire Altman for an adult musical, let alone a kids' one.

It was not too terribly long ago (within 10-15 years?) that I imdb'd ROBERT ALTMAN and came across POPEYE in his DIRECTING credits, AND CLICKED ON IT IN DISBELIEF and then I think I went to wiki, google, and bing just to verify that imdb had not been hacked and someone was pulling my leg. 

I legit stared at it in gobsmacked, open-mouthed disbelief for a good 20 seconds.

it's still hard to believe it happened.

even moreso than JOHN HUSTON directing ANNIE.

(I was born in 1978, so I caught POPEYE ad nauseum on HBO as a kid, but I didn't know about ALTMAN until about 2000, so imagine my surprise.)

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@Lorna:  If you wanna be 'gobsmacked' go to YouTube and watch a few minutes of the 1981 Canadian comedy 'GAS'.  → POPEYE ain't got nuthin' on "Gas".  You can be mesmerized by the two Italian pet morticians along with Dan Aykroyd's brother, Peter, playing a sister-fixated lunkhead who's into karate + Susan Anspach as an eager reporter who can't drive and her Asian cameraman who says "My life is your hands, White Goddess!" and Sterling Hayden as greedy oil baron "Duke Stuyvesant" who starts a phony gas shortage.  It's never been released on DVD; only VHS.  Apparently PARAMOUNT PICTURES wasn't interested in forking out the $dosh$ for music rights for a digital release of  "Gas".  

But somebody uploaded GAS to YouTube so everyone could enjoy it.  It's overstuffed with every stereotype the filmmakers could throw in + it's very noisy with car chases and vehicular destruction galore.  I've seen it 25 times.  It IS a bad movie, but it makes me laugh every time I see it.  The scene where 'Uncle Leo' the Godfather-- who's traveling around in his big Cadillac with dead fishes in it -- runs across some Hare Krishnas was a nice touch, I thought.   

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2 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Ah youth!

BUtterfield 8 refers to the phone exchange in NYC, which serves the Upper East Side.

Phone numbers are allocated in batches of 10,000 numbers, and each "batch" is an exchange.  Up until the late 50s/early 60s, exchanges had names.   In larger cities, names were usually chosen to reflect the neighborhood they served.  In other places, it was somewhat random.  AT&T maintained a list of acceptable exchange names.  For example, in the town I grew up in, our exchanges were CApital 3 and CAptial 6, even though we weren't a capital city, and not near one.  It was just a name chosen in order to efficiently allocate numbers.

Exchange names are why phone dials and buttons have letters on them.  The capitalized letters of the name (BU, in the movie) were the ones to be dialed, with the rest of the number.  So if someone said their number was BUtterfied 8-1234, you'd dial 288-1234.

Early AT&T research indicated that people could more easily remember phone numbers with exchange names rather than phone numbers that were just a string of digits.  That's why they started using names for exchanges.

AT&T realized in the 1950s that limiting phone numbers to meaningfully named exchanges was too constricting, as more people got phones (not everyone had a phone in the 50s).   They would quickly run out of available numbers.  So they dropped the names, and just went to two letters (BUtterfield 8 just became BU8).  But this was just the first step.  Next, they eliminated exchange letters altogether and used numbers only.  This was extremely controversial in some cities (paradoxically, it was the larger cities like NYC, Philadelphia and San Francisco that put up the most fuss, as it seems people were attached to the association between neighborhood and exchange name).   

The reason for all of this was to get the entire nation standardized on 7 digit local phone numbers so that you could place your own long distance calls without operator assistance.  Before this occurred, phone number length was not standardized (even within the same city, sometimes).    Small towns might have 3 digit numbers.  Large cities like NYC and LA would have 6 and/or 7 digit numbers.  All were eventually transitioned into 7 digit numbers.  Today, many places have 10 digit local numbers, due to multiple area code overlays.

There's an old Glenn Miller song called PEnnsylvania 6-5000, which is the phone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC, and the number still gets you connected to the hotel today, as long as you prefix it with its 212 area code.  The hotel is in the Penn station neighborhood, which is how the phone exchange got its name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_exchange_names

Wow, thanks for the detailed answer.  That more than explains it.  I was thinking Butterfield 8 was Taylor's building number.  And the Glenn Miller song I apparently was hearing wrong my entire life.  I thought the lyric was for the White House address. 

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I'm having trouble getting through The Good Die Young (1954).  On the surface looks it okay. We got Laurence Harvey, Richard Basehart, John Ireland, Gloria Graham, Joan Collins, Robert Morley,. Margaret Leighton. and a couple of other familiar English faces that I've seen before and who are apparently pretty good actors.  The story is made up four flashbacks to fill in the backstories of four men. One man is ne'er do well but a high class one, living off his wife's considerable stash of money and pining over not getting an advance on his inheritance from a father who hates his guts and who says, "My greatest ambition in life is to outlive you."  Ouch.  Another is an honest sort who wants to take his pregnant wife to America (they are in England) but is hampered by a mother-in-law from hell whose very existence explains why some people see fit to murder other people. Another is man whose wife is in the movies and is continually wandering about with good looking leading men types, the both of whom most probably do more than just wander about.  And another is a good sort who, after 12 years in the fight game with nothing to show for it, but who has a pretty wife who is staying put with him.  Everything I've said so far is known withing the first hour, so anyone interested in this film need but watch the second half. The four backstories converge held together by something they have in common. And you see this coming from afar. The movie begins with what I consider an ill-advisedly chosen scene. This scene is the source of why my interest flags. I wish it weren't there. So I have refrained from mentioning it here as a spoiler averted.  It is not a spoiler, per se, the film chooses do it this way, it just doesn't work for me. I am stuck in the middle of the film and am seriously considering just skipping to the end and see the finale. That might be a tacky (tacky, is that word still used, after four years of ... oh, never mind) way to watch a film but I can live with it.

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14 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

There's an old Glenn Miller song called PEnnsylvania 6-5000, which is the phone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC, and the number still gets you connected to the hotel today, as long as you prefix it with its 212 area code.  The hotel is in the Penn station neighborhood, which is how the phone exchange got its name.

Haha I took my Mom to NYC for the Thanksgiving Day Parade and we stayed in the Hotel Pennsylvania-it's directly across from Madison Square Garden. She kept saying "We're in Pennsylvania 6-5-Thousand" but I didn't believe her until seeing it written on the phone. We all shouted "Pennsylvania Six Five Thousand!"....a fun memory.

This section of town is "GRanite" and my rotary phone is still labeled GR9****......MrTiki's house is a block away, his phone number is 472****

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14 hours ago, Drewberry said:

@LornaHansonForbesthat would be an incredible attraction to visit; my wife is a huge Popeye fan.

It would, the whole island nation of MALTA is intriguing to me, I don't remember how tiny it is, but it is very small.

edit: I looked it up, the whole nation is 122 square miles, making it the 10th smallest country in the world.

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26 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

It would, the whole island nation of MALTA is intriguing to me, I don't remember how tiny it is, but it is very small.

edit: I looked it up, the whole nation is 122 square miles, making it the 10th smallest country in the world.

"It's terribly small, tiny little country. Rhode Island could beat the crap out of it in a war. THAT'S how small it is. They recently had the whole country carpeted. This is *not* a big place."

its-terribly-small.jpg

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19 hours ago, EricJ said:

Robert Evans originally wanted Lily Tomlin as Olive (and Dustin Hoffman as Popeye), but seeing as you couldn't NOT cast Shelley, I'm wondering if Altman got the directing job as a contractual requirement.  I wouldn't even hire Altman for an adult musical, let alone a kids' one.

According to author Peter Biskind's account in EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS, producer Evans envisioned POPEYE (1980) the movie to capitalize on SUPERMAN's box office success. Director Altman, who was on a run of box office failure and obnoxious, drunken behavior was engaged after a "tubful of turndowns" from more highly-regarded directors. Evans took on the risks and headaches of Altman because he thought Altman would be motivated for a rebound after the flop of QUINTET.

Evans' decision-making ability may have been hampered by his own substance abuse. He was using among other things, cocaine, quite heavily at the time and was even charged with felony drug trafficking after attempting to buy a large amount of powder (5 lbs!) in 1980. The well-connected, wealthy Evans and his lawyer Robert Shapiro eventually plead down to a misdemeanor.

Also according to the book Paramount president Michael Eisner wanted Gilda Radner to play Olive Oyl. Altman successfully insisted on Shelley Duvall (one of his regulars).

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4 minutes ago, Moe Howard said:

"It's terribly small, tiny little country. Rhode Island could beat the crap out of it in a war. THAT'S how small it is. They recently had the whole country carpeted. This is *not* a big place."

its-terribly-small.jpg

It has been too long since last I saw ARTHUR.

 

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7 minutes ago, Herman Bricks said:

According to author Peter Biskind's account in EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS, producer Evans envisioned POPEYE (1980) the movie to capitalize on SUPERMAN's box office success. Director Altman, who was on a run of box office failure and obnoxious, drunken behavior was engaged after a "tubful of turndowns" from more highly-regarded directors. Evans took on the risks and headaches of Altman because he thought Altman would be motivated for a rebound after the flop of QUINTET.

Evans' decision-making ability may have been hampered by his own substance abuse. He was using among other things, cocaine, quite heavily at the time and was even charged with felony drug trafficking after attempting to buy a large amount of powder (5 lbs!) in 1980. The well-connected, wealthy Evans and his lawyer Robert Shapiro eventually plead down to a misdemeanor.

Also according to the book Paramount president Michael Eisner wanted Gilda Radner to play Olive Oyl.

in many senses (the sets, the actors, the production design, the costumes) POPEYE is a surprisingly early (and now oft-followed) BLUEPRINT for "CINEMATIC" ADAPTATIONS of TV/ANIMATED/COMIC BOOK/COMIC STRIP properties that have become an increasingly BIG DEAL OVER TIME.

i think without it, DICK TRACY and the 1989 BATMAN would have been rather different movies.

(maybe some of you see that as not a bad thing...)

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Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Hated it.  How was this hit?  No explanation of the events happening, just a few random disappearances and then an unexplained death and then a brief synopsis of an additional death at the rocks.  Obviously something supernatural is occurring.  Obviously?  I don't know.

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

in many senses (the sets, the actors, the production design, the costumes) POPEYE is a surprisingly early (and now oft-followed) BLUEPRINT for "CINEMATIC" ADAPTATIONS of TV/ANIMATED/COMIC BOOK/COMIC STRIP properties that have become an increasingly BIG DEAL OVER TIME.

i think without it, DICK TRACY and the 1989 BATMAN would have been rather different movies

Studios reportedly still wanted to go with a goofy 60's-style Batman in 1989, which was coin of the realm before producer Michael Uslan showed them what the current comics were doing with Frank Miller's "Dark Knight" revival.

And in 1977, Star Wars (which was still only one out-of-nowhere hit) was still considered a "salute to Flash Gordon", which, in tandem with the runaway hit for the '78 Chris Reeve Superman, had producers thinking in terms of "iconic" comic-strip/book heroes.  Hence the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, which was originally going to be produced by the He-Man animators as a straightforward version of the comic strips.

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4 hours ago, Herman Bricks said:

According to author Peter Biskind's account in EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS, producer Evans envisioned POPEYE (1980) the movie to capitalize on SUPERMAN's box office success. Director Altman, who was on a run of box office failure and obnoxious, drunken behavior was engaged after a "tubful of turndowns" from more highly-regarded directors. Evans took on the risks and headaches of Altman because he thought Altman would be motivated for a rebound after the flop of QUINTET.

Evans' decision-making ability may have been hampered by his own substance abuse. He was using among other things, cocaine, quite heavily at the time and was even charged with felony drug trafficking after attempting to buy a large amount of powder (5 lbs!) in 1980. The well-connected, wealthy Evans and his lawyer Robert Shapiro eventually plead down to a misdemeanor.

Also according to the book Paramount president Michael Eisner wanted Gilda Radner to play Olive Oyl. Altman successfully insisted on Shelley Duvall (one of his regulars).

First thing that went through my head watching this was, "there were some lit folks making this".

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2 hours ago, Shank Asu said:

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Hated it.  How was this hit?  No explanation of the events happening, just a few random disappearances and then an unexplained death and then a brief synopsis of an additional death at the rocks.  Obviously something supernatural is occurring.  Obviously?  I don't know.

I've tried watching this multiple times. I've heard it's good and it has its own cult following.  I like the premise. It sounds like a really great supernatural mystery story. 

But God Almighty is it slow paced! I can't even make it to the rock before falling asleep.

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