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Strange Relations 

Paul Riser plays a 40 year old New York psychiatrist.  His mother  (Olympia Dukakis) tells him, for reasons, that he's adopted and his biological mother, (Julie Walters) lives in Liverpool. He goes to meet her. I watched it because I love those two actresses and I was not disappointed.  It's very funny, sad, and heart warming.  On Tubi.

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6 minutes ago, AndreaDoria said:

Strange Relations 

Paul Riser plays a 40 year old New York psychiatrist.  His mother  (Olympia Dukakis) tells him, for reasons, that he's adopted and his biological mother, (Julie Walters) lives in Liverpool. He goes to meet her. I watched it because I love those two actresses and I was not disappointed.  It's very funny, sad, and heart warming.  On Tubi.

TUBI is where it's at, Mama. I just noticed they've got DEATH AND THE MAIDEN and JUST A GIGOLO with DAVID BOWIE and NAKED LUNCH and all kinds of other stuff. Wild stuff. a lot of cool stuff from the 80s and 90s.

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57 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

TUBI is where it's at, Mama. I just noticed they've got DEATH AND THE MAIDEN and JUST A GIGOLO with DAVID BOWIE and NAKED LUNCH and all kinds of other stuff. Wild stuff. a lot of cool stuff from the 80s and 90s.

And I know it's legit now and on disk, but how did Tubi get the entire 60's Batman TV series away from HBOMax?  😮

Tubi is starting to out-Amazon Amazon Prime for late-nite back-of-the-shelf VHS-rental crawls.

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1/5 Night at the Opera (MGM, 1935)
Source: TCM

When I saw the lineup for the fifth when doing my list of January titles a few months ago, I guessed the theme of the night was "comedy geniuses", which didn't turn out to be inaccurate, but the actual stated theme of the night was Al Hirschfield and the stars he admired and used in his drawings (the Hirschfield doc wasn't yet listed on the schedule back in November - I made the best guess I could!) I believe this was the Marx Brothers' first film at MGM after starting their movie careers at Paramount. I recall watching some of Peter Bogdonavich's documentary on Buster Keaton a few years ago, and I thought Leonard Maltin as one the doc's talking heads not doing TCM (who fairly routinely give him guest hosting or co-hosting duties) any favors by elaborating to some degree on the fact that most of the great comedy stars ended up at MGM at some point in the '30s, and that the studo pretty much ended up ruining all of them, though in some cases it may have taken a couple of movies (think he said the Marx Brothers were one of those cases). Maltin was making a point relevant to one of the documentary's themes about how Keaton's time at MGM ultimately led to a lot of unhappiness for him, but I can't imagine TCM execs were too crazy about a documentary asserting that most of the product from the studio that provides TCM with probably half their content kinda sucks. Anyway, it was apparently Irving Thalberg who recognized the genius of the Marx Brothers and pounced on them when they became available, so one more notch on the Boy Genius' belt. This was also the first Marx Brothers film without Zeppo, I think, and having seen Duck Soup and maybe one other of their Paramount films, I think I can safely say he wasn't terribly missed.

Hardcore fans of the Marx Brothers have historically been unhappy with their output after the studio switch, and the things MGM decided to emphasize. At Paramount, they tended to mock romantic conventions, but Opera is the first of several films where one of their goals is to try to get the young couple together, and in the process, they become supporting characters in their own movie in the scenes that focus on the leading couple. Also, the charge is the comedy at MGM just wasn't as satirical or surreal, though I would say the famous crowded ship's cabin scene definitely tampers a bit with reality.

The film opens in an unnamed European country that's apparently supposed to be Italy, the country most celebrated for opera, of course. I'm reading on IMDB that the studio didn't want to offend Mussolini, who disliked the Italian stereotypes, some years before Italy and the US were at war (I've also read that Hitler cherished prints of Hollywood films and would have private screenings of them). So, an opening number that identifies Italy by name got cut, and the film begins rather abruptly. The arrogant tenor Rodolfo (Walter King) is chasing after his leading lady Rosa (Kitty Carlisle). She's in love with Ricardo (Allan Jones), who's stuck in the chorus like Ruby Keeler in one of her making-a-musical movies with Dick Powell, and just wants to show the world his talent. Meanhile, Groucho, playing a man named Otis P. Driftwood, convinces the wealthy widow Mrs. Claypool (frequent Marx Brothers foil Margaret Dumont) to invest $200,000 in the New York Opera Co. The company's managing director Gottlieb (Sig Ruman) wants to use the cash to entice Rodolfo to cross the Atlantic and join his company, and Rodolfo intends to bring Rosa with him where he can continue pursuing her. Shortly before the boat departs, Ricardo reunites with his friend and ostensible manager Fiorello (Chico Marx) and his former dresser Tomasso (Harpo Marx), and the trio decide to stowaway aboard the ship. Also prior to departure, Driftwood ecounters Fiorello and ends up buying Ricardo's contract in one of the movie's funnier scenes ("That's a sanity clause" ... "You can't fool me. There aint' no Sanity Clause!"), mistakenly believing Fiorello represents Rodolfo. All the Marx Brothers are working on Ricardo's behalf, trying to get him the lead tenor part and wed to Rosa. This requires them to keep manuevering one step ahead of a variety of authority figures who want to haul them in for a variety of reasons - stowing away, impersonating a trio of world-famous bearded (Russian?) aviators (don't ask) and just generally causing havoc as they try to get Ricardo in the spotlight during Rodolfo's New York debut. Their most dogged pursuer is a police sergeant played by Robert Emmett O'Connor, whom I didn't know by name when I watched the movie, but I certainly recognized his face from years of TCM viewing. He must have been a contract player at MGM for quite a while - you can see him in everything from the Maisie to the Dr. Gillespie to the Andy Hardy to the Lassie movies as well as The Human ComedyThey Were Expenable and The Harvey Girls. 

As the title suggests, there's a lot of singing in this film. It was conventional thinking at the time apparently that musical numbers gave a film wider appeal, and I find it interesting to view shifting attitudes over time, as there's another thread on these boards specifically discussing the new West Side Story but also Dear Evan Hansen and some others and wondering if movie musicals are going to work anymore. So, in addition to the showcase pieces for Chico and Harpo on piano and harp, respectively, we get Jones and Carlisle singing love songs to one another, both operatic pieces and more contemporary romantic ballads. Similar thinking got numbers inserted in the movies of Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy and W.C. Fields. The songs here are pretty pointless, but the movie is still hilarious in spite of them.

The brothers themselves are very reliable. Groucho is his usual quick-witted self ("Nine dollars and fifty cents? It's an outrage!" he declares when told the price of dinner, then turning to his female companion, "If I were you, I wouldn't pay it!").  Chico is smart or dumb as called for by the scene. The bits he does with Groucho, like the contract reviewing scene, as far as I know from my limited Marx Brothers knowledge, were well rehearsed from their live act, but they still play as funny if you're watching them for the first time in movie form. Harpo is a gifted silent actor and no doubt would have excelled in that era - all wide-eyed innocence yet playfully mischevious, expressive in all the best possible ways. Jones and Carlisle are generically bland. When I squinted, I could kind of half-imagine Zeppo in the Jones role, although I don't know that he ever would have been cast as a romantic lead. There's a promotional piece on TCM in which Carlisle recounts having been distressed at not hearing her own singing voice in playbacks. Every time I try to focus on what she's saying, it's over before I can commit that much brain power, so I don't know the whole story, but sounds like the Marx Brothers saw to it that her actual voice was used. Dumont has the wit and comic timing to keep pace with Groucho and is underappreciated as his comic foil/target of his "affections".

While I'm sure the Marx Brothers wrote a lot of their own material, the screenplay is credited to George S. Kaufman. He wrote the play on which Frank Capra's You Can't Take It with You is based, and he made apparently large but uncredited contributions to A Day at the Races. Directed by Sam Wood, who also did Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Kitty Foyle.

Total Films Seen This Year: 11

A Night at the Opera (1935) - IMDb

 

 

 

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On 1/23/2022 at 7:07 PM, HoldenIsHere said:

Disaster movies with all-star casts were big box office draws in the 1970s.  I watched AIRPORT 1975 (1974) for the first time recently. This is a movie I’ve wanted to see for a while but somehow didn’t make it happen until now. It was a follow-up to the highly successful AIRPORT from 1970.

This movie was a lot of fun with moments of genuine tension as the air disaster unfolds as well as enjoyment of some of the cheesier elements when seeing this movie in 2022. I will say Charlton Heston rocks his yellow turtleneck.

Karen Black stars as the head stewardess (as flight attendants were called back then) of commercial Flight 407 bound from the east coast for Los Angeles, and she is wonderful in the role.  The disaster begins when a businessman (played by Dana Andrews) suffers a heart attack while flying a private plane and crashes into the cockpit of the commercial jet, killing the co-pilot and leaving the pilot unable to see! What’s Head Stewardess Nancy (Karen Black) going to do? She’s going to have to fly the plane!

The stewardess’s estranged boyfriend (a pilot played  by Charlton Heston) and the airline executive played by George Kennedy (the only AIRPORT cast member who is also in AIRPORT 1975) give her instructions over radio. I’m not a big fan of Heston (even though he went to the same high school in the Chicago suburbs that I did), but I like him a lot in this movie.  And Karen Black strikes just the right balance between panic and calm when forced to take control.

Much of the fun comes from the all-star cast playing the passengers.  There’s Linda Blair (a year after she appeared in THE EXORCIST) as a girl in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Myrna Loy is a hoot as a woman who loves her booze. Sid Caesar plays a man who took the flight because he had a bit part in the movie being shown on the plane. Pop singer Helen Reddy plays a nun who (surprise!) sings a song to the kidney patient. And then there’s Gloria Swanson as HERSELF, who is dictating her memoirs.  AIRPORT 1975 would be Gloria Swanson’s final movie appearance.  

 

 

This movie's always been one of my 'guilty pleasures.' Gotta love Charlton Heston, Karen Black, George Kennedy and the all-star supporting cast.

I do believe that Kennedy is the only cast member from the original AIRPORT to appear in all of the movies in the series.

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3 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

I do believe that Kennedy is the only cast member from the original AIRPORT to appear in all of the movies in the series.

Nope--Most of the usual suspects sat out on Airport '77 (1977) which is actually one of the better ones, with Jack Lemmon as pilot.

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15 hours ago, EricJ said:

And I know it's legit now and on disk, but how did Tubi get the entire 60's Batman TV series away from HBOMax?  😮

Tubi is starting to out-Amazon Amazon Prime for late-nite back-of-the-shelf VHS-rental crawls.

For the past few years, BATMAN 66 has been available thru FILMRISE, which is a weird add-on service in that it has a standalone channel and also pimps its stuff out to TUBI and IMDBTV.

I've gotten to where I use AMAZON PRIME as more of a rental service, because their B/Cult/PSYCHOTRONIC whathaveyou selection is a little too lowbrow even for me.

I also have to salute the fact that TUBI does not FIREHOSE YOU WITH COMMERCIALS AT ALL TIMES unlike PLUTO TV, which I just deleted because it's just not worth it trying to watch something that way.

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19 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

1/5 Night at the Opera (MGM, 1935)

I always thought this was a comedown from the Paramount films. Horse Feathers and Duck Soup are two of my favorite comedies, the latter I think is the funniest film ever made. 

Opera however seemed to tone down the Marx insanity. Harpo especially, he was now a child like victim, getting slapped around by the villain, he seems a bit pathetic now. In the earlier films he was a wild madman and you didn't know what he would do next. Groucho is still his wisecracking self but has some straight lines as well. In the scene where he sees a crying Kitty Carlisle, instead of a joke he says "Anything I can do?" Chico is the only one that remained true to his scheming con man character. 

The music didn't bother me too much, they were decent tunes. I thought the stateroom scene was amusing but not as hilarious anything in Duck Soup. There is a scene where the Marxes keep changing a hotel room when the cop keeps walking that was very funny. The final scenes where they wreck the opera which was the best in the film.

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3 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I always thought this was a comedown from the Paramount films. Horse Feathers and Duck Soup are two of my favorite comedies, the latter I think is the funniest film ever made. 

Opera however seemed to tone down the Marx insanity. Harpo especially, he was now a child like victim, getting slapped around by the villain, he seems a bit pathetic now. In the earlier films he was a wild madman and you didn't know what he would do next. Groucho is still his wisecracking self but has some straight lines as well. In the scene where he sees a crying Kitty Carlisle, instead of a joke he says "Anything I can do?" Chico is the only one that remained true to his scheming con man character. 

The music didn't bother me too much, they were decent tunes. I thought the stateroom scene was amusing but not as hilarious anything in Duck Soup. There is a scene where the Marxes keep changing a hotel room when the cop keeps walking that was very funny. The final scenes where they wreck the opera which was the best in the film.

Solid points here;    MGM did try to slightly sanitize the Trio which was fairly common for MGM who wanted to be known as the most profession studio.   E.g.  look at many of their noir\crime films as compared to Warner Bros, or RKO.

Thus the running time is over 90 minutes verses those other two at around 70.        Opera also did better at the box office than the other two films and for MGM that is  what mattered most. 

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I Loved a Woman (1933), a totally mistitled movie, which is really about the Edward G. Robinson character's rise to the top in the meat-packing industry.   Although this is billed as a "Kay Francis" movie, it's Edward G.'s all the way, and there are actually two women in the film, with Genevieve Tobin's bitter wife being another strong performance.  Like most Warner's films, it moves along like gangbusters, lots of montages, and takes us from the Spanish American War to the early 20s, with a good narrative circling back at the end.  I feel that with a different title and marketing, it would have been more successful box-office.    Robinson is a powerhouse, as usual -- it's worth watching just for him.

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11 minutes ago, rosebette said:

I Loved a Woman (1933), a totally mistitled movie, which is really about the Edward G. Robinson character's rise to the top in the meat-packing industry.   Although this is billed as a "Kay Francis" movie, it's Edward G.'s all the way, and there are actually two women in the film, with Genevieve Tobin's bitter wife being another strong performance.  Like most Warner's films, it moves along like gangbusters, lots of montages, and takes us from the Spanish American War to the early 20s, with a good narrative circling back at the end.  I feel that with a different title and marketing, it would have been more successful box-office.    Robinson is a powerhouse, as usual -- it's worth watching just for him.

I saw this film for the first time last night and yea,  it really is about the Robinson character's rise to the top and in some ways the two women distract from that storyline.

But hey,  Kay got to show off herself in many gowns.      The one below was really out there with the matching hat.

Edward G. Robinson and Kay Francis - I Loved a Woman 1933 | Kay francis,  Women, Francis i

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2 hours ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

I saw this film for the first time last night and yea,  it really is about the Robinson character's rise to the top and in some ways the two women distract from that storyline.

But hey,  Kay got to show off herself in many gowns.      The one below was really out there with the matching hat.

Edward G. Robinson and Kay Francis - I Loved a Woman 1933 | Kay francis,  Women, Francis i

Robinson with sideburns? That's something you rarely see in any of his movies. Nice look on him though.

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4 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Opera however seemed to tone down the Marx insanity. Harpo especially, he was now a child like victim, getting slapped around by the villain, he seems a bit pathetic now. In the earlier films he was a wild madman and you didn't know what he would do next. Groucho is still his wisecracking self but has some straight lines as well. In the scene where he sees a crying Kitty Carlisle, instead of a joke he says "Anything I can do?"

It works in the sense of Bugs Bunny maturing from a chaotic wiseguy to the righteous Bully-Avenger of the Chuck Jones cartoons.  (Where do you think he got "Of course you know, this means war!"?)

Even if we have a poor-naif Harpo, seeing him be literally whipped in the beginning elicits a visceral "You can't do that! 😮  " reaction from the audience, and seeing Walter Woolf King play up the opera star as nasty-wasty villain in every other plot point just sets him up for a comeuppance climax.  And even then, the Bugs Bunny rule--that revenge must not only be served on a silver platter, but in a five-star banquet--works when we have the systematic destruction of the opera overture with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", by the time Sig Ruman starts deserving his just desserts from Groucho, too.

Duck Soup has classic bits, but (probably due to their own grudges with Paramount at the time) even the Marxes didn't consider it their best up to that point--It's too thrown together, there's very little plot and no resolution, and not even time for a Chico & Harpo interlude.  It gets praise for the mirror scene, and for being film-studied as a "war satire", but I agree with the argument that you probably wouldn't show it to kids first, as opposed to Horsefeathers' big football game, or Opera giving the characters fully justified motivation to destroy high society.

8 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

For the past few years, BATMAN 66 has been available thru FILMRISE, which is a weird add-on service in that it has a standalone channel and also pimps its stuff out to TUBI and IMDBTV.

It is weird, since Filmrise seems to pimp their entire catalogue out to Tubi, IMDb and Amazon, and anyone else who needs out-of-copyright stuff for free.  

Was just wondering why all the non-Warner Batman seemed to have turned up on Tubi this month, including the 40's serial, and the previously Warner Instant Archive "Legends of the Superheroes", which only true 70's mavens remembered.

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2 hours ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

I saw this film for the first time last night and yea,  it really is about the Robinson character's rise to the top and in some ways the two women distract from that storyline.

But hey,  Kay got to show off herself in many gowns.      The one below was really out there with the matching hat.

Edward G. Robinson and Kay Francis - I Loved a Woman 1933 | Kay francis,  Women, Francis i

Sorry, but I lose interest in Kay when she wears anything that has a back and sleeves.  

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1/5 Sons of the Desert (MGM, 1933)
Source: TCM

A trivia note on IMDB says that the MGM logo with Leo the roaring lion has been removed from all prints of Sons of the Desert, but that must not include the print that aired on TCM, because I think I remember the logo being there.

I'm probably about to give away the whole plot. There's not a lot to summarize, and it's still funny whether you know what's coming or not. Stan and Ollie play two guys named Stan and Ollie who are members of some sort of fraternal lodge known as the Sons of the Desert. They want to attend the annual convention, I think in Chicago, but they know that their wives (Mae Busch, Dorothy Christie) will never go for that. So, Ollie arranges for a doctor (actually a veterinarian) to reccomend a sea voyage to Hawaii. The boys go to the convention and have a good time and return home with ukeleles and leis, unaware the ship they're supposedly returning from Hawaii on has sunk, and the wives have not only seen the newsreel concerning it but also one that clearly shows them frolicking in the convention parade. 

The situations are mostly spot-on and achieve maximum laugh potential. I never tire of Ollie declaring his manhood and primacy in his own home with bluster when his wife isn't in the room, and then Stan in all innocence gives away whatever Ollie has just said whenever the wife is in the room, and she usually responds by breaking some piece of kitchenware over his head. Pretty much all of the humor comes from the pathetic and unsuccessful attempts to deceive the wives (they first suspect something is up when the guy Stan and Ollie are having drinks with at the convention, played by Charley Chase, turns out to be the brother of one of the wives - they wouldn't have met him before? - and he can't wait to call her up and introduce her to his new besties). I don't recall wives even being mentioned in any of the Laurel and Hardy shorts - but the longer running time here gives us the opportunity to see Stan and Ollie's home lives.

The plot has become pretty hackneyed from overuse over the years, especially on television - you can see variants of this basic situation cropping up on The Honeymooners and The Flintstones (which of course is just The Honeymooners animated and set during the Stone Age) and probably there's been some kind of spin on this plot on The Simpsons and who knows how many other sitcoms. But this, as far as I know, is the original, and it's fresh and funny.

Stan and Ollie are in classic form here. You know the drill - Stan says and/or does something stupid, and Ollie ends up suffering for it, usually physically. There aren't really any surprises, but room for LOTS of gags, almost an embarrassment of riches of gags.

Directed by William Seiter, a Keystone veteran - the comic timing of those shorts no doubt served him well here - and who went on to direct Roberta and the Shirley Temple vehicle Stowaway. Oh, and I'm pretty sure there's a Laurel and Hardy fan club named for this film.

Total films seen this year: 12

Sons of the Desert - Wikipedia

 

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2 hours ago, EricJ said:

It Of ! 😮up

on Tubi this month: the previously Warner Instant Archive "Legends of the Superheroes", which only true 70's mavens remembered.

(Sorry, had some issues editing your quote)

I watched THE ROAST episode of LEGENDS OF THE SUPERHEROES a few days ago. It overloaded my senses so deeply I decided not to post a review here, but I have to note just today I was thinking of the “Ghetto Man” segment from the same.

I then wondered out loud whether or not there is actually something to this whole idea of reparations and went on with my business.

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