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37 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I'm watching Green Dolphin Street.     Not one of Lana Turner's best performances!   But I love the song so here is a version that I try to copy (but without much success!).

 

 

 

 Green Dolphin Street has always been a favorite of mine. When my sister and I were young girls, we always watched Green Dolphin Street together. They use to show the film on The Early and Late Show in NY. It's a chick flick. Maybe a little too gushy for guys but I always thought all the performances were great.This one has a special place in my heart and always brings back wonderful memories for me. I do agree though, I love the song too.

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My big memory of Green Dolphin Street is the book. I read it in French and that big reveal (a plot twist I won't mention) was a shock. I don't mean to sound immodest or brag mentioning the French. If you've had as much French as I have, translations can be at time fairly easy to read (as long as they are not literary translations) because they use mostly general vocabulary, lots of tool words, and employ standard usage. I haven't seen the movie in quiet awhile (too late now I didn't record it) but I hope they did a good job with that plot twist. I think reading it in French packed a bigger wallop than had I read it in English.

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11 hours ago, lavenderblue19 said:

Green Dolphin Street has always been a favorite of mine. It's a chick flick. Maybe a little too gushy for guys but I always thought all the performances were great.

SO GLAD to hear it! I just picked up a home recorded disk of this off a "free" table at Capitolfest along with about 25 other movies on impulse.

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20 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

SO GLAD to hear it! I just picked up a home recorded disk of this off a "free" table at Capitolfest along with about 25 other movies on impulse.

The special effects for that time ( 1947) were great in Green Dolphin Street.The film won an Oscar for Special Effects. At the time the cost for the earthquake scene was $500,000 that's equivalent to 6.1 million dollars in 2021!

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Green Dolphin Street has several great character actors, who add real style to the film: Gladys Cooper, Edmund Gwenn, Frank Morgan, Reginald Owen, and Dame May Whitty.

I have a friend who was related to Richard Hart.

greendolphinstreet_thetidemaynotwait_fc_

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Alias Nick Beal (1949)

A Faustian tale, with the visual elements of film noir mixed in, this Paramount production is an effectively eerie take on a familiar story.

This time it's Thomas Mitchell as an honest district attorney who has only just said he'd give his soul to convict a crime boss when a message arrives for him to meet a mysterious stranger in a waterfront tavern. The stranger is a dapper Ray Milland who knows a lot, an awful lot, about a bit of everything, but smooths the path for Mitchell to get his conviction, in turn turning him into a leading candidate for state governor. Milland smooths the path for Mitchell here, as well, but this stranger gets Mitchell increasingly mixed up with some underhanded acts and, as time goes by, the price that Milland asks of Mitchell if he can't follow through on his contractual obligations to him is that he must accompany him to a Spanish island unknown on any map, the English translation of which is island of lost souls.

A film of genuine atmosphere, achieved through excellent black and white photography and much fog, as well as a clever, subtle screenplay, and fine performances from the leads. Milland is particularly effective, obviously relishing his villainy role, as the smooth talking stranger who appears and disappears from rooms without warning and seems to know what everyone is thinking (even, in one particularly effective scene, knowing the literal words that will come out of a person's mouth before he has even said them). Milland has a way of opening his eyes wide in reaction at times, effectively adding to the cold bloodedness of his self confident suave character. This may well have been the actor's best role in the years immediately following his Oscar win for The Lost Weekend.

Halloween Havoc!: ALIAS NICK BEAL (Paramount 1949) – cracked rear viewer

Also effective, though, is Audrey Totter as a fallen woman Milland recruits to assist him in getting control of potential future governor Mitchell. Totter's is a surprisingly complex characterization, at first cynical, then baffled and finally terrified of who and what she suspects Milland to be. Mitchell is solid as the attorney whose soul is on the line and George Macready, normally seen as screen villains, is, instead, cast against type as a minister, the only character in the film that makes Milland uncomfortable.

For years a difficult find to find, Alias Nick Beal has been released on DVD by Kino Lorber with a fine looking print. If you haven't seen this fantasy noir try not to miss it. Second audio track commentary on the disc, by the way, is provided by Noir Alley's Eddie Muller.

Alias Nick Beal (Paramount, 1949). Three Sheet (41" X 81"). Film | Lot  #53010 | Heritage Auctions

3 out of 4

 

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MOBY DICK (1956)

I recently read some things about Herman Melville and revisited some of his works. Is there a more difficult author to follow on the page than Melville? Maybe, Faulkner....but Melville is a close, inscrutable second. 

Nevertheless, this was a fine film. 

Gregory Peck did not feel he was right for the role but I thought he was perfect. His booming baritone matched perfectly with the Shakespearian dialog. There were many scenes between Peck's Ahab and Leo Genn (who was terrific as well) as his second in command, Starbuck, that were riveting and dramatic. The scar on Ahab's face added a dramatic flare. 

Orson Welles had a little turn at the beginning as a foreboding minister. John Huston's direction was also outstanding.

I was surprised it did not garner a single Oscar nomination. Costumes, makeup, cinematography, direction, editing...surely one nomination was in there. Peck was Oscar-esque. 

The ending where Ahab meets his end with the Great White Whale were very well done. For 1956, the special effects felt authentic. I'm sure on the big screen, at the time, it must have been a harrowing audience experience. Is there a  more ridiculous task than whaling? Who thought that job up? 

The whale was done very well. The Pequod ocean scenes were too. A sensed a little MASTER AND COMMANDER....even a little bit of JAWS-iness in there. 

My only criticism was the casting of Richard Basehart as Ishmael. I don't know at what point this film was made in Basehart's career, but I thought he was too old and not innocent/naïve enough in the role. Just me.

In the end, Peck was fabulous.  I DVR'd it and will keep it for future viewings. 

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I was reviewing the cast of MOBY DICK and did not realize that the actor who played the cannibal harpooner, Queeqeg, Fredrich von Ledebur, was the same one who played the German commander of the POW's in Dresden in SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE (1972)...which is one of my favorite, all time movies that few people talk about. 

Queeqeg's makeup was eerily outstanding in MOBY DICK. Just the right mix of fearsome exoticness. 

"schlachthof fünf....schlachthof fünf" he repeated to Billy Pilgrim as the place where they are staying in SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE. I've never forgotten that little scene from which the title of the book and movie are taken.

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2 hours ago, MrMagoo said:

Queeqeg's makeup was eerily outstanding in MOBY DICK. Just the right mix of fearsome exoticness. 

In the...serviceable '98 TV-movie remake with Patrick Stewart as Ahab, Queegqueg was now fully and racially-sensitively identified as a Maori New Zealander, and NZ actor Piripi Waretini played him with full Maori regalia and traditional "bleah 😝 " war-faces.  That's probably more what Melville had in mind, but couldn't quite geographically identify, although Ledebur pulls off the 50's movie's "generic" island-brownface with a scary lack of irony.

The remake also paid tribute by having Gregory Peck cameo as Father Mapple, just as Orson Welles had taken the 50's cameo to raise money for a stage production he wanted to do with himself as Ahab.

2 hours ago, MrMagoo said:

Is there a  more ridiculous task than whaling? Who thought that job up? 

As they probably pointed out in the movie, whale oil was the country's national power & lighting source up to the 20th cty.  Even when crude oil was discovered, they didn't know what to do with it at first, since it was too dirty to burn in lamps.

Which explains the Quaker owners' speech on the docks about the "widows and orphans" invested in the ship, as there was big money to be made.  Ivory was also a major element, although I'm not sure whether ambergris, aka oily-stinky whale vomit, is still a major ingredient in perfume as it was then.

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3 hours ago, EricJ said:

In the...serviceable '98 TV-movie remake with Patrick Stewart as Ahab, Queegqueg was now fully and racially-sensitively identified as a Maori New Zealander, and NZ actor Piripi Waretini played him with full Maori regalia and traditional "bleah 😝 " war-faces.  That's probably more what Melville had in mind, but couldn't quite geographically identify, although Ledebur pulls off the 50's movie's "generic" island-brownface with a scary lack of irony.

The remake also paid tribute by having Gregory Peck cameo as Father Mapple, just as Orson Welles had taken the 50's cameo to raise money for a stage production he wanted to do with himself as Ahab.

As they probably pointed out in the movie, whale oil was the country's national power & lighting source up to the 20th cty.  Even when crude oil was discovered, they didn't know what to do with it at first, since it was too dirty to burn in lamps.

Which explains the Quaker owners' speech on the docks about the "widows and orphans" invested in the ship, as there was big money to be made.  Ivory was also a major element, although I'm not sure whether ambergris, aka oily-stinky whale vomit, is still a major ingredient in perfume as it was then.

All true. 

Nevertheless, the guys who decided it was a good idea to go out for months...years...in not terribly big boats, then jump into oversized row boats and jab harpoons into 40-100 foot whales and hold on for dear life, sometimes for days in order to slaughter them on deck and boil their carcasses down for oil must have thought "there's gotta be an easier way to make a living."

I'm thinking if the high seas didn't get you, the odors would eventually. 

I was up on Cape Cod last month and we strolled through a whaling museum. They had an actual, renovated whaling ship. No way I'd go to sea in that thing. I even hate the Block Island Ferry.  

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I saw The Rainmaker on Katharine Hepburn day. The film demonstrates the difference between writing for the stage and writing for films (both play and screenplay by N. Richard Nash) and demonstrates with frightening clarity the difference between directing for the stage and directing for the movies, as the play's Broadway director, Joseph Anthony, got the opportunity to direct his first film. Everyone in the cast is capable. Unfortunately, Joseph Anthony can't do much except stage the play. Trim the dialogue for the screen? Use camera position or camera movement to emphasize or give a different spin or a different subtext to lines? Not much of that happening. Most of the film's budget must have gone to Hepburn and Burt Lancaster, because everything else looks like El Cheapo Backlot.

What has always made audiences respond to the play is the theme of accepting reality vs. dreaming of something better, as con man rainmaker Burt Lancaster (with too little screentime) tries to make Katharine Hepburn believe that she is pretty and can find a man, or, failing that, Wendell Corey. To believe in herself she must not allow her father (Cameron Prud'homme) and brother (Lloyd Bridges) to relegate her to spinsterhood; keeping her as chief cook and bottlewasher is, of course, useful for them. To a lesser extent, her younger brother (Earl Holliman) must make the same kind of rebellion. One of the film's strengths is that Prud'homme and Bridges are sympathetic actors who do not play their characters as out-and-out villains.

In the 1950s Katharine Hepburn gives two great performances as spinsters, in The African Queen and Summertime. John Huston and David Lean know how to help Hepburn edit her work, and know how to put all the elements of the film together. Hepburn does have some good moments in The Rainmaker, but also some not so good. For instance, the scene after she shuts Lancaster out of her room is like something out of a silent movie.

Interesting enough to see once, but not a film I particularly want to see again.

 

 

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10 hours ago, King Rat said:

I saw The Rainmaker on Katharine Hepburn day.

 

10 hours ago, Roy Cronin said:

Wow! That was a fabulous review!

I hate to call member's posts of impressions "reviews", but I will say it's terrific to see posts like King Rat's....

Posts that are constructed of complete sentences & clear intent. Posts that are easy to read and actually describe what the viewer liked/disliked about the movie and WHY. 

Lately, there have been fewer full impression reviews and more fragmented, random words posted that simply read as nonsense.

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The Great Gatsby (1949)

The little remembered second screen adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald's jazz age novel, with Alan Ladd cast in the role of the mysterious nouveau riche stranger who moves into a huge estate across a lake from the home of a woman he still loves from years before, even though she is now married.

Fitzgerald fans will probably not be happy with this Paramount production, if only because the ambiguity of Gatsby's background is taken away with an image just minutes into the film of Ladd as a gun firing bootlegger. Those are the only action moments, brief as they are, in the film, a sop to Ladd fans who liked to see their hero as a man of action. A poster for the film, shown below, featuring Ladd in a trench coat, is also completely inappropriate for the image of the refined Gatsby living in high society.

Having said that, Ladd is quite good in the title role. The actor always had an air of mysteriousness, of course (never more brilliantly utilized than when he would later play Shane) but he also brings subtle shadings to his characterization here, including a sense of vulnerability, at times, which are quite affecting. Macdonald Carey works well as Nick, Gatsby's neighbour commentator on much of Gatsby's activities in the film. A young Shelley Winters, Howard Da Silva and Barry Sullivan are also featured in key roles. Ruth Hussey brings a light hearted charm to, unfortunately, an ill defined character with limited screen time.

The sinker for me, though, in the casting department was Betty Field as Daisy Buchanan, the girl Gatsby still dreams about and loves and for whom he is willing to make sacrifices. Now Daisy as a character, of course, turns out to be unworthy of Gatsby's devotion, but, as played by Field in a rather charmless manner, I had to wonder exactly what was the fascination that Gatsby found in her. Even the film's photography of Field seems unflattering much of the time. I've seen this actress, respected for her stage work, do good work on screen (Of Mice and Men and Kings Row come to mind, in particular) but this film is definitely not one of her shining moments.

Still, the film has handsome production values (even if they pale beside those of the Robert Redford version of 1974) to make it worth a view. I'm not certain that Ladd fans (those few still around, that is) will be comfortable with his casting here, though. Hearing Ladd repeatingly calling people "Old Sport" does sound a little odd and unnatural, despite the actor's game performance. Unlike Redford, though, Ladd is convincing as someone who comes from the wrong side of the tracks.

The Great Gatsby is one of a number of Ladd films recently released on DVD in fine looking prints by Via Vision Entertainment, an Australian company.

The Great Gatsby (Paramount, 1949). Six Sheet (81" X 81").. ... | Lot  #83111 | Heritage Auctions

2.5 out of 4

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Never heard of it - good cast.

Last night, I watched Spaceballs - There were so many inside jokes (references to films such as Planet of the Apes, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wizard of Oz, and, of course, the first installment of Star Wars).  May the Schwartz be with you!!  The merchandising part with Brooks/Yogurt (Yoda) is funny - even some of his films are displayed.

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4 hours ago, Roy Cronin said:

Lack of participation could be directly related to the fact that posters are tired of being criticized.

 

There was an antidote to this on a certain wonderful "over there" site which sadly for reasons I do not understand is not operative at this time.   Many TCM members, including myself, gravitated there in order to experience true comraderie and the joy of meaty, literate, lively and fun communication.   We respected not only the movies but each other.

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14 hours ago, Roy Cronin said:

Wow! That was a fabulous review!

I remember liking the film the one time I've seen it, but now I'll revisit it with your commentary in mind!

I remember liking it, too, as a teen-ager, but only saw it on syndicated TV with commercials, so there were lots of cut.  Watching it the other night, I could see where some cutting would be an improvement.  Also, I may have been a bit influenced by Lancaster's charisma in my youth.  

 

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The Abyss (1989)

A nuclear submarine meets aliens. The military enlists a team of deep-sea oil riggers to check out the submarine and rescue any survivors.

 

Sphere (1998)

A psychologist researched the finest science fiction available to create a 'first contact' scenario for a report which he sold to the government. He becomes victim of his own imagination when the government pulls him in to enact the plan after they find an alien ship at the bottom of the ocean.

 

These movies are only very superficially similar. Both have a crew stranded on the ocean floor because a storm caused support ships on the surface to clear the area. Both depict an unsettling alien contact. Both are unnecessarily long and each would benefit having fifteen to twenty percent excised. 

The Abyss (1989) is listed as: Adventure, Drama, Mystery. Sphere (1998) is listed as: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi. There is more action in the first and the second is more of an adventure. The mystery elements of both are low-grade and are secondary to horror/thriller elements.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is far more powerful as an engineer in a situation without a documented protocol to follow but Sharon Stone is often compelling as an unreliable neurotic. 

Ed Harris and Dustin Hoffman are credited as the star of their respective movie but both are weak leads. The true stars of both are the scripts and the special effects. They are about even in the latter. Sphere (1998) was an adaptation of a Michael Crichton novel. It is the more powerful story of the two but it suffers greatly in translation to the screen.  The director of: The Abyss (1989) wrote the script as an original story and so it fares much better. 

I would recommend either or both and rank them evenly at: 6.8/9.

I am sorry to say that I know of no streaming service which carries either for viewing for free at this time. 

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14 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I hate to call member's posts of impressions "reviews", but I will say it's terrific to see posts like King Rat's....

Posts that are constructed of complete sentences & clear intent. Posts that are easy to read and actually describe what the viewer liked/disliked about the movie and WHY. 

Lately, there have been fewer full impression reviews and more fragmented, random words posted that simply read as nonsense.

And.

 

We.Know

 

 

By.Wh0.     🙄

 

Me, I look at IJW posts as getting a second chance at all those "Book reports" we had to do at school, back when we had no idea why, and couldn't really grasp the idea of "Critical review", never mind that we were barely paying attention to the books we had to do, and couldn't figure out which books we had to choose to do.  Now, if only I'd become a fan of Siskel & Ebert earlier in my school career...  

Which is why I only save an IJW post for if I want to make some larger point, or sell folks on an obscure cult discovery I just came across.  Keeps it lively, and provides some incentive.

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