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6 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

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.

The second part, where they do a live-action adventure (this was Hanna-Barbara's attempt to spin off a live-action Superfriends) is...a little easier to take.  And technically, the Roast should have come second, I don't know what the Archive was thinking.

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5 hours ago, EricJ said:

The second part, where they do a live-action adventure (this was Hanna-Barbara's attempt to spin off a live-action Superfriends) is...a little easier to take.  And technically, the Roast should have come second, I don't know what the Archive was thinking.

I don’t know what ANYBODY was thinking- except “damn, I hope the check clears.”

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Poster_of_the_movie_Second_Honeymoon.jpg...1937  Director Walter Lang   78 minutes
Stars: Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Claire Trevor

Synopsis: Newly remarried woman finds her businessman husband boring and runs into her wealthy playboy first husband.

Classified a "screwball comedy" I couldn't wait for this bit of fluff to end. Everyone yelled and overacted like they were desperately trying to punch some life into it, but even Tyrone got on my nerves. Claire Trevor was completely wasted and there was no chemistry between Young and Power. Yes they're both beautiful but it's not worth commenting further. YMMV  4.5/10

 

 

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Men in White (1934)

Glossy MGM screen adaption of a Sidney Kingsley play, with Clark Gable as a young doctor torn between his professional duties and a society girlfriend (Myrna Loy) who wants more of his time.

The film dealt with some controversial material involving a young nurse who has a botched abortion, so controversial, in fact, that the film was attacked by the Legion of Decency and cut from 81 to 73 minutes (its current length). The missing section would obviously have made the current version of the film make more sense since the only thing you see Gable do with the young nurse is exchange a single kiss and then apologize. Next thing you know she's on an operating table telling him she loves him.

It was a difficult film for me to take too seriously. Gable seems miscast, though on the positive side he impressively sports more dark eye shadow than does his leading lady. Jean Hersholt brings some sincerity to his role as an elderly doctor encouraging Gable to work as his assistant and gradually learn the medical ropes. In a supporting role Wallace Ford is fun as a breezy young intern more concerned about dates than anything else. Elizabeth Allan is the young nurse who has a thing for Clark.

This is a hospital with a decidedly '30s art deco look and as impressive a winding staircase in its main lobby as you could hope to see in any posh mansion of the time.

Superficial as it is, Men in White was popular at the box office, leading to Gable and Loy being co-starred in a number of other features. Its popularity also resulted in a Three Stooges spoof that same year, Men in Black ("Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!") which would be one of the funnier shorts of that comedy team's career. The Stooges short today may well be better known than the film which inspired it.

Men in White – Dear Mr. Gable

2.5 out of 4

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Once a Thief from 1965 with Alain Delon, Ann-Margret, Van Heflin, John Davis Chandler and Jack Palance

 
 
Once a Thief is an early entry in the "ex-con tries to go straight, but everything conspires against his good intentions and pushes him back to a life of crime" genre. 
 
A detective, Van Heflin, who has it in for ex-con Alain Delon, keeps harassing him at work, which gets Delon fired. The paper-pushing bureaucracy at unemployment denies Delon's claim. His wife, Ann Margret, gets a job as a scantily clad cocktail waitress, which challenges his manhood as the breadwinner (different era) and his old crime buddies (including his brother and mobster Jack Palance) keep coming around trying to entice Delon to work on a big heist they are planing.
 
After opening with a cool jazzy montage and the above setup, the movie slides into crime-drama mode as Delon reluctantly agrees to join up with his old gang. Delon seems to genuinely love his wife and young daughter and, maybe, would have gone straight if it had been easy, but he seems more in his element - more like a Tarantino character - now back in his old "profession."
 
Wife Ann-Margret sees the writing on the wall, but what can she do? Van Heflin continues trying to arrest Delon mainly because he hates Delon for once having shot him. Delon seems oblivious to the writing on the wall others can see, so he plows ahead with the caper, which like all capers, goes well until, inevitably, it doesn't.
 
It's not critical to the story, but the heist is of a warehouse storing a million dollars in platinum (a Hitchcock macguffin, if ever). The heist might even have worked if not for the old saw about there being no honor amongst thieves.
 
Albino-looking and creepy-as-heck gang member John Davis Chandler kills one of the other members as the gang makes its getaway with his justification to the remaining members being, "one less to share in the cut." 
 
Well, everyone can see where that logic leads, so the members turn on each other and the heist quickly unravels as Delon makes off with the platinum. (Spoiler alert) All that's left is Delon going to his nemesis Van Heflin for help when Chandler kidnaps Delon's daughter trying to force Delon to turn the platinum over to him. 
 
When Delon sacrifices everything to save his daughter, the message is, maybe, this good kid never had a fair shot, but you don't really believe it. Instead, Once a Thief is just another crime drama that ends with a bunch of dead crooks.
 
 
N.B. #1 Once a Thief's style, plot and dialogue - a blend of noir and '60s jazz - foreshadows movies by the Coen Brothers and Tarantino where criminals are well-drawn characters with moral complexity and real-life concerns, but who live in the crazy world of lawlessness. It works on its own as an average-good movie, but is also worth a watch for its adumbration of where crime movies would go in subsequent decades. 
 
N.B. #2 The main reason I watched this one is Ann-Margret. But she's out of her element here as nothing about Ann-Margret reads gritty noir/crime-drama character. Through no fault of her own, real-life Ann-Margaret looks like a cartoon version of Ann-Margret as her overly full figure, cherub cheeks and mountain of strawberry-blonde hair shouldn't truly exist in the real world. It's why the only role that fully realized Ann-Margret is when she starred opposite Elvis in Viva Las Vegas because Elvis movies are real-life cartoons with actors playing carictures roles.  
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31 minutes ago, mkahn22 said:

Instead, Once a Thief is just another crime drama that ends with a bunch of dead crooks.

Ok another one I don't have to watch, thanks for saving me from wasting my time, mkahn. Wish the message board would reinstate the "spoiler" hiding function though.

31 minutes ago, mkahn22 said:

The main reason I watched this one is Ann-Margret.

You & I seem to have similar taste. I don't think any medium has ever fully captured Ann Margaret's talent & wonderfulness. This poster is on my movie room wall:

s-l1600.jpg

Horrible movie, but great A-M image. Those shoes! My favorite A-M film is MADE IN PARIS '66.  Ann Margaret is beautiful & sexy without being exploitative or cheap. She is intelligent & naturally talented & has kept an active career as she's aged. A perfect role model.

Your namesake, Madeline Kahn's beauty & talent in contrast was well captured on film & sound recordings. Just not ENOUGH of it!

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imagine a retelling of THE TOWERING INFERNO set in 1979 in ATLANTA in an 87 story building (not a 135 story building in SAN FRANCISCO, as it bewilderingly is in the original)- same character set-up MORE OR LESS, but make the architect character SOUTH ASIAN, and a genuinely competent and good guy; and conversely don't make the SON IN LAW CHARACTER such a complete sh!theel- consider making him more of a careless idiot savant- minus the savant.

the following is gonna thrill a lot of you, I know, but the FIRE CHIEF should be black, as should THE MAYOR as should ALL OF THE SERVERS in THE PROMENADE ROOM, and YES, ABSOLUTELY the film should explore the RACIAL DYNAMIC involved in who gets to get out and when.

YOU COULD DO a three part series even just on the SHIRTLEY JACKON/LOTTERY storyline of what goes down IN THE PROMENADE ROOM as the guests at the party are lied to, the danger ignored, and then things snowball from there as the panic increases over each means of escape- just a real parable for any number of scenarios in real life.

in reading up on the film, I was surprised to see an important scene was omitted wherein it is revealed that two of the elevators aren't working because of a strike at the plant; the scene where the desperate partygoers charge into the main elevators after being warned and then having the doors open on the fire floor where they are IMMOLATED by backdraft  is great, that stays in for sure- but we need to explain why the freight/service elevators aren't working.

we're absolutely keeping THE SENATOR CHARACTER- played by ROBERT VAUGHN- who bless his heart is struggling to even BE in the movie, poor thing. I want BOTH GA SENATORS there and I WANT THEM PLAYED BY LOOKALIKES FOR RAND PAUL AND TED CRUZ and the scene where THEY FIGHT LIKE MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS  over the BREECH'S BUOY BEFORE PLUMMETING TO THEIR DEATHS is EPIC!

ps- yes, I know they're not the Senators from GA at present. I just really like picturing that scenario in my head.

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A Cry in the Dark (1988) - IMDb

A Cry In The Dark (1988)  TCM On Demand 6/10

The true story of an Australian couple accused of murdering their baby.

First time viewing for me. I thought is was good, the acting by Meryl Streep and Sam Neill is outstanding.  Streep has done many accents but this is one of the most convincing. Lindy Chamberlain (Streep) insisted that her baby was carried off by a dingo while the family was on a camping trip.  There were some scenes of the press and gossips talking about the case but some of this scenes were so quick you would miss what is said. There is still some mystery about what happened to the baby. But the film gives us the impression that the couple is innocent.

Some spoilers in case you haven't seen it-

 

 

 

Lindy is tried and convicted of the murder but was exonerated later. The baby's bloody clothes had been found at the time but not the body. Forensic experts felt the condition of the clothes could not have been caused by a dingo. The body was found years later as well as another piece of clothing. Lindy's conviction was overturned. Still, I haven't heard any explanation of why the body was buried and the clothes in a different area. Lindy and her husband Michael divorced 3 years after the movie. She re married  and Michael died in 2017.

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6 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Ok another one I don't have to watch, thanks for saving me from wasting my time, mkahn. Wish the message board would reinstate the "spoiler" hiding function though.

You & I seem to have similar taste. I don't think any medium has ever fully captured Ann Margaret's talent & wonderfulness. This poster is on my movie room wall:

s-l1600.jpg

Horrible movie, but great A-M image. Those shoes! My favorite A-M film is MADE IN PARIS '66.  Ann Margaret is beautiful & sexy without being exploitative or cheap. She is intelligent & naturally talented & has kept an active career as she's aged. A perfect role model.

Your namesake, Madeline Kahn's beauty & talent in contrast was well captured on film & sound recordings. Just not ENOUGH of it!

The line "Kitten has to use the sandbox" was cut for tv consumption! LOL.

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I'd rather be watching classics (I saw Ingrid Bergman's version of Joan of Arc on VHS this week, and it was wonderful), but its early in the year, which means I hesitantly dip into modern films to take care of some  recent Oscar related loose ends (although I had to take a break from it for a second to start 1969's MacKenna's Gold because I needed a sudden infusion of retro Hollywood to keep me going. So I ended up tackling two bad films, Bombshell and Promising Young Woman, one moderately good one, Being the Ricardos, and one good one, The Father.
Starting off with the bad news: Bombshell (2019) was a filming of the Fox News sex scandal of 2016 that led that network's president to resign amid scandal. Unfortunately, the film is extremely  monotonous and hardly a good time. Its really hard to see who this film is for: conservatives will hate it because it mocks some of their beliefs; many liberals won't touch it because its about women who worked at Fox News. And I don't get the point of making all this drama around a fictional composite character (Margot Robbie plays the non-existent one;she tries to be touching but there is little reason to create a character rather than just to include an actual person instead). The story itself is only skin deep and does not get to the heart of the matter. Charlize Theron is distant in the lead. Nicole Kidman is a saving grace but she can't save the film from self-destructing.
Promising Young Woman (2020) is perhaps even more grotesque. It's like a feminist version of Death Wish with a really perverse ending that even an inspired last minute or two (to the strains of "Angel in the Morning") can't save. Carey Mulligan stars as some vigilante who (according to marks in her notebook) is implied to have killed at least 30 or 40 men without getting caught as part of her revenge after her best friend committed suicide following an horrible event right out of The Accused (1988). Mulligan is a good actress and she brings occasional and much needed notes of vulnerability and humanity to this iron maiden, but its not enough to redeem a terrible script that somehow won an Oscar. We don't like the people she wants revenge on (as she swoops back to take care of those who harmed her late friend), but most of the time, its hard to warm to her too. The film itself is overly paranoid and stricken, seemingly screaming and hammering its audience over the hed over and over  that all men on the earth are garbage with no exception whatsoever and its ending as mentioned is hard to take especially a hideous closeup of a grotesque image. This film is everything that Thelma and Louise was wrongfully accused of being by its critics back in 1991. By the end its even turned its main character into an impersonal object and although she gets her aim in the end, the film's way of executing it does not make it feel like a victory at all. Its a perverse, immoral, nihilistic, and misanthropic film that still seemingly belives that women are treated as chattel by society. I could not wait for it to end. [I know some people though who loved this film]
Being the Ricardos (2021) also struggles in the script department with Aaron Sorkin's script being unwieldy and a bit cumbersome, focusing mostly on the most troubled week of I Love Lucy's run when Lucy found out that she was pregnant with Desi Jr., that husband Desi was stepping out, and that she was accused of being a Communist by Walter Winchell (in actuality, she went to only one such event and marked herself briefly as one because her Grandfather was one and she wanted to please him; she herself was very apolitical). This is interlooped clumsily with her first meeting with Desi in 1940, her firing from RKO in 1942, and work on the radio in the late 40s, while Linda Lavin, Ronny Cox, and John Rubinstein serving as a Greek chorus to move things along. What saves it is that Nicole Kidman is quite excellent as Lucy the consummate, strict, tough businesswoman; its her film and she makes it fly. Javier Bardem is also quite good as Desi, and the rest of the cast (JK Simmons as William Frawley and Nina Arianda as Vivien Vance) is well chosen. Though the script is poorly strucured (and has some very anachronistic streaks already marked in another thread here), the diologue itself is sharp and effective, and while the film is about somber events, it moves and flaws and is always interesting. It might not be a masterpiece, but its a solid film, well handled.
The Father (2020) won Anthony Hopkins a surprise second Oscar playing a man losing his memory. It's his best work in many years. His performance is devestatingly good, and he is matched by Olivia Colman as his concerned daughter and by Olivia Williams as a recurrent figment of his imagination. The script is finely tuned, taut and well-paced, with several times when the film (seen from Hopkin's perspective) pulls the rug out from underneath us. Its really a very good, if depressing film, and at 97 minutes, its one of the rare modern films that does not stretch things out too far. Its a chamber piece of a high order.

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1/6 Rope (Warner Bros., 1948)
Source: TCM

Kicking off Night One of the month-long theme of true crime, Rope is, I guess, Alfred Hitchcock's take on the Leopold and Loeb case, in which two young Chicago man murdered a 14-year-old boy in the 1920s. The case was also the inspiration for the 1959, I think Fox, film Compulsion, which I've seen on TCM a couple of times. Rope specifically is an adaptation of a one-set play by Patrick Hamilton, and I think Hitchcock relished the challenge of essentially creating a stage performance on film, including the limited scope of action, but coupled with the sophistication modern film techniques could supply.

Moreso than the lurid plot, the film is famous for being shot in a series of long takes, approximately 10 in the entire 80-minute movie, avearging eight minutes each, some shots as short as five minutes and edited together to give the illusion that the entire movie consists of one uninterrupted shot. This sort of thing gets a lot of attention now, as with the recent movie 1917; also Mike Nichols liked to open a number of his movies with uninterrupted shots of 10 minutes or so, and as I recall, Robert Altman's The Player opens in such fashion. But Rope came out in an era that wasn't littered with message-board posting film snobs, and I'm not sure how many moviegoers would even be aware of general film technique to the point of knowing what a "take" was. We're not that far removed from audiences diving behind their seats in panic when viewing the Lumieres' train leaving the station. I don't know enough about movie cameras to comment intelligently on the procedure. I recall watching Rope in a college film class and the professor telling  us somehting like the reels had to be changed out every time the camera stops to fixate on a certain point. I don't know about all that. I'm reading on IMDB that there was use of trick photography, 1948-style, such as the screen going momentarily dark as someone passes in front of the camera, during which time a new reel is put in place and a new shot begins. But IMDB also says there are a small number of direct cuts in the movie, and I'm uncertain if the whole thing was filmed with one camera. Anyway, all the shots are lengthy, and there are very few total shots, and being aware of this technical trickery only enhanced my enjoyment of the film, something I could put on the back burner of my brain and be wholly conscious of for only a few seconds at a time before getting sucked back into paying attention to the suspensful plot again.

And Hitchcock didn't get the monicker "Master of Suspense" for nothing! The plot centers around two college students (John Dall and Farley Granger, the latter whom Hitchcock would use again in a more sympathetic role in Strangers on a Train) who, believing themselves to be intellectually superior to an acquaintance (Dick Hogan), decide to murder him. This is handled in typical Hitchcock fashion: after pretty music plays over the opening credits, we jump cut to the final seconds of this strangling. The actor Hogan gets unusally prominent placing in the closing credits for probably not even 30 seconds of screen time and zero lines. We see the character's final seconds of life, then watch as Dall and Granger stuff his body into an old chest. I only learned the week of viewing that Hogan at one time had a scene in, I presume, Central Park, in which he proposes to a woman (Joan Chandler), then promising to meet up with her later, goes to his acquaintance's apartment, only to be murdered. This scene was cut, I presume by Hitchcock, so he could just make the entire movie a single location with its multiple long takes.

After killing the man, the two murderers then welcome a number of guests for a dinner party as some sort of highly morbid intellectual cat-and-mouse high-stakes parlor game with the body right there in the chest that has plates and silverware stacked atop it by the young men's maid (Edith Evanson). The guests include the aforementioned proposed-to woman, the man she used to date before getting engaged to the dead man (Douglas Dick) and the dead man's father and aunt (Cedricke Hardwicke, Constance Collier). Oh, yeah: also present is a former professor of the two murderers, whom they perversely attribute as an inspiration for their actions, greatly admiring his flippacny about the topic of murder and some ideas of superior and inferior intellects that the young men have taken to a twisted extreme. He's played by no less than Jimmy Stewart at a time in his career when Stewart was just beginning to probe some darker roles, though this performance is much more conventionally heroic than Vertigo a decade later. For the Dall character, it's not just enough to have commited the murder. He needs to go through the entire dinner party with the victim in the room, just tantalizingly out of sight, all the while dropping broad clues as to his actions, everything short of confession. Only in this manner, apparently, can he prove his superior intellect and feel that he has truly gotten away with murder. The Granger character, more passive and susceptible to influence, has gone along with the murder, but now plunges into a state of heightened paranoia, only enhanced by his heavy drinking. The cat-and-mouse game brings no thrill to him; rather he sees it as only a prelude to disaster.

I can see how this film came from a play. We begin with the murder, move to the party scene, where a large number of characters enter. We focus occasionally on the group as a whole, but also on members of the group in various pairings of twos and threes, as actors enter and exit depending on the necessity of their contribution to the story at any particular point. Then, everybody goes home, and the two murderers are alone for a few minutes to debate the success of their scheme - let's just say Dall is a "glass half-full guy", Granger more "half-empty". Then the Stewart character, who became increasingly paranoid during the party that something sinister was up, returns to either confirm or dispell his suspicions, and it's the three leads the rest of the way, with the tension ramping up, at first slowly and then at jet speed, turning into outright conflict and the final couple of minutes. I can see how it all be quite thrilling performed live in front of me by actors, and Hitchcock works hard, especially in the final minutes, to give the viewers that same "you are there" intimacy.

It's probably worth mentioning that the real life Leopold and Loeb were a gay couple in an era when one couldn't possibly even publicly acknoweldge such things existed in mainstream society. I don't know that attitudes were much different by the time this movie came out nearly a quarter century after the actual murder. The murderers are two young men sharing an apartment, but nothing is explicit and is instead left open to interpretation. The Dall character mentions that he once dated the Chandler character, and the two men have separate bedrooms.

My only complaint is that maybe the obviousness of the murder is TOO obvious, and Dall's smug cockiness, coupled with the on-camera disintegration of Granger's psyche equates to them pretty much confessing to murder virtually the entire film. Although maybe Hitchcock's point is people are too willing to take a blithe approach to the darkness that can exist within even those we think we know well. I did like that the Chandler and Dick (can I say that?) characters are all too aware that SOMETHING's up, and Chandler in particular becomes quite put out with Dall's smugness, fully willing to believe that he's arranged in some way for Hogan to be absent for some twisted reason known only to him. But the idea that he's actually freaking killed a guy never seems to occur to them. Only Stewart is obsessively driven to learn the truth, and when it comes, the stark reality of it and the awareness that he's somehow been an inspiration or motivation for it all is almost more than he can take. It's all good and dark psychological stuff.

On the Hitchcock career path, Rope comes between The Paradine Case and Under Capricorn, two more meandering films that are less classically "Hitchcockian", while Rope seems to be a return to form, suspense clearly on the front burner. Probably not as good as Vertigo or North by Northwest, but certainly an interesting artistic experiment.

Total films seen this year: 13

Rope (film) - Wikipedia

 

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15 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

So I ended up tackling two bad films, Bombshell and Promising Young Woman

Omigod you scared me! I just set the DVR Feb 20 to record BOMBSHELL:

Annex%20-%20Harlow,%20Jean%20(Bombshell)

... to see Harlow's most famous movie.

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2 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Omigod you scared me! I just set the DVR Feb 20 to record BOMBSHELL:

Annex%20-%20Harlow,%20Jean%20(Bombshell)

... to see Harlow's most famous movie.

I don't wanna hype it up too much for you- but I like BOMBSHELL a lot, it is a brilliant early example of  meta-storytelling, honestly it would make a pretty good double feature with ADAPTATION (2004?) It is a story within a story, a cinema verite about the fakest place on earth: HOLLYWOOD CA. 1933. 

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13 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

1/6 Rope (Warner Bros., 1948)
Source: TCM

Kicking off Night One of the month-long theme of true crime, Rope is, I guess, Alfred Hitchcock's take on the Leopold and Loeb case,He's played by no less than Jimmy Stewart at a time in his career when Stewart was just beginning to probe some darker roles, though this performance is much more conventionally heroic than Vertigo a decade later.

 

 

Total films seen this year: 13

Rope (film) - Wikipedia

 

I'm not actually that big a JIMMY STEWART fan, BUT, I acknowledge his skill as an actor (I'd be a fool not to), and ROPE is one film where he really reminds you of just how gifted he was (and it's a demanding part) and honestly, he blew me away to the point where I don't remember much else about the film besides really liking the actress who played the poor beleagured domestic. It's a truly incredible performance on his part, one of the best of 1948 and right up there with HARVEY and DESTRY and VERTIGO.

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20 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

 

A Cry In The Dark (1988)  TCM On Demand 6/10

The true story of an Australian couple accused of murdering their baby.

MERYL remains on probation with me since getting eaten by the chicken in DON'T LOOK UP.

But.

Her work in A CRY IN THE DARK is ONE HELL of a piece of acting.

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14 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

1/6 Rope (Warner Bros., 1948)
Source: TCM

Kicking off Night One of the month-long theme of true crime, Rope is, I guess, Alfred Hitchcock's take on the Leopold and Loeb case, in which two young Chicago man murdered a 14-year-old boy in the 1920s. The case was also the inspiration for the 1959, I think Fox, film Compulsion, which I've seen on TCM a couple of times. Rope specifically is an adaptation of a one-set play by Patrick Hamilton, and I think Hitchcock relished the challenge of essentially creating a stage performance on film, including the limited scope of action, but coupled with the sophistication modern film techniques could supply.

Moreso than the lurid plot, the film is famous for being shot in a series of long takes, approximately 10 in the entire 80-minute movie, avearging eight minutes each, some shots as short as five minutes and edited together to give the illusion that the entire movie consists of one uninterrupted shot. This sort of thing gets a lot of attention now, as with the recent movie 1917; also Mike Nichols liked to open a number of his movies with uninterrupted shots of 10 minutes or so, and as I recall, Robert Altman's The Player opens in such fashion. But Rope came out in an era that wasn't littered with message-board posting film snobs, and I'm not sure how many moviegoers would even be aware of general film technique to the point of knowing what a "take" was. We're not that far removed from audiences diving behind their seats in panic when viewing the Lumieres' train leaving the station. I don't know enough about movie cameras to comment intelligently on the procedure. I recall watching Rope in a college film class and the professor telling  us somehting like the reels had to be changed out every time the camera stops to fixate on a certain point. I don't know about all that. I'm reading on IMDB that there was use of trick photography, 1948-style, such as the screen going momentarily dark as someone passes in front of the camera, during which time a new reel is put in place and a new shot begins. But IMDB also says there are a small number of direct cuts in the movie, and I'm uncertain if the whole thing was filmed with one camera. Anyway, all the shots are lengthy, and there are very few total shots, and being aware of this technical trickery only enhanced my enjoyment of the film, something I could put on the back burner of my brain and be wholly conscious of for only a few seconds at a time before getting sucked back into paying attention to the suspensful plot again.

And Hitchcock didn't get the monicker "Master of Suspense" for nothing! The plot centers around two college students (John Dall and Farley Granger, the latter whom Hitchcock would use again in a more sympathetic role in Strangers on a Train) who, believing themselves to be intellectually superior to an acquaintance (Dick Hogan), decide to murder him. This is handled in typical Hitchcock fashion: after pretty music plays over the opening credits, we jump cut to the final seconds of this strangling. The actor Hogan gets unusally prominent placing in the closing credits for probably not even 30 seconds of screen time and zero lines. We see the character's final seconds of life, then watch as Dall and Granger stuff his body into an old chest. I only learned the week of viewing that Hogan at one time had a scene in, I presume, Central Park, in which he proposes to a woman (Joan Chandler), then promising to meet up with her later, goes to his acquaintance's apartment, only to be murdered. This scene was cut, I presume by Hitchcock, so he could just make the entire movie a single location with its multiple long takes.

After killing the man, the two murderers then welcome a number of guests for a dinner party as some sort of highly morbid intellectual cat-and-mouse high-stakes parlor game with the body right there in the chest that has plates and silverware stacked atop it by the young men's maid (Edith Evanson). The guests include the aforementioned proposed-to woman, the man she used to date before getting engaged to the dead man (Douglas Dick) and the dead man's father and aunt (Cedricke Hardwicke, Constance Collier). Oh, yeah: also present is a former professor of the two murderers, whom they perversely attribute as an inspiration for their actions, greatly admiring his flippacny about the topic of murder and some ideas of superior and inferior intellects that the young men have taken to a twisted extreme. He's played by no less than Jimmy Stewart at a time in his career when Stewart was just beginning to probe some darker roles, though this performance is much more conventionally heroic than Vertigo a decade later. For the Dall character, it's not just enough to have commited the murder. He needs to go through the entire dinner party with the victim in the room, just tantalizingly out of sight, all the while dropping broad clues as to his actions, everything short of confession. Only in this manner, apparently, can he prove his superior intellect and feel that he has truly gotten away with murder. The Granger character, more passive and susceptible to influence, has gone along with the murder, but now plunges into a state of heightened paranoia, only enhanced by his heavy drinking. The cat-and-mouse game brings no thrill to him; rather he sees it as only a prelude to disaster.

I can see how this film came from a play. We begin with the murder, move to the party scene, where a large number of characters enter. We focus occasionally on the group as a whole, but also on members of the group in various pairings of twos and threes, as actors enter and exit depending on the necessity of their contribution to the story at any particular point. Then, everybody goes home, and the two murderers are alone for a few minutes to debate the success of their scheme - let's just say Dall is a "glass half-full guy", Granger more "half-empty". Then the Stewart character, who became increasingly paranoid during the party that something sinister was up, returns to either confirm or dispell his suspicions, and it's the three leads the rest of the way, with the tension ramping up, at first slowly and then at jet speed, turning into outright conflict and the final couple of minutes. I can see how it all be quite thrilling performed live in front of me by actors, and Hitchcock works hard, especially in the final minutes, to give the viewers that same "you are there" intimacy.

It's probably worth mentioning that the real life Leopold and Loeb were a gay couple in an era when one couldn't possibly even publicly acknoweldge such things existed in mainstream society. I don't know that attitudes were much different by the time this movie came out nearly a quarter century after the actual murder. The murderers are two young men sharing an apartment, but nothing is explicit and is instead left open to interpretation. The Dall character mentions that he once dated the Chandler character, and the two men have separate bedrooms.

My only complaint is that maybe the obviousness of the murder is TOO obvious, and Dall's smug cockiness, coupled with the on-camera disintegration of Granger's psyche equates to them pretty much confessing to murder virtually the entire film. Although maybe Hitchcock's point is people are too willing to take a blithe approach to the darkness that can exist within even those we think we know well. I did like that the Chandler and Dick (can I say that?) characters are all too aware that SOMETHING's up, and Chandler in particular becomes quite put out with Dall's smugness, fully willing to believe that he's arranged in some way for Hogan to be absent for some twisted reason known only to him. But the idea that he's actually freaking killed a guy never seems to occur to them. Only Stewart is obsessively driven to learn the truth, and when it comes, the stark reality of it and the awareness that he's somehow been an inspiration or motivation for it all is almost more than he can take. It's all good and dark psychological stuff.

On the Hitchcock career path, Rope comes between The Paradine Case and Under Capricorn, two more meandering films that are less classically "Hitchcockian", while Rope seems to be a return to form, suspense clearly on the front burner. Probably not as good as Vertigo or North by Northwest, but certainly an interesting artistic experiment.

Total films seen this year: 13

Rope (film) - Wikipedia

 

Technicolor cameras were expensive and bulky when equipped with their sound muffling blimps.  They would only use one on a shoot like Rope.  Here's a photo from the set.    You can see how big the camera setup is here.  The camera itself is not that big.  It's encased  in a box to muffle the camera's sound.

Exhibit: The Wrong House | Aζ South Asia

From a wider angle:

Rope (1948) - The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki

Technicolor Camera | Smithsonian Institution

 

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While it's true that ROPE is no VERTIGO or NORTH BY NORTHWEST (or PSYCHO or THE BIRDS or REBECCA for that matter), it's still a good movie in its own right.

No surprise that the movie was inspired by the Leopold and Leob case, some filmmaker was going to be inspired by it, and who better than Alfred Hitchcock?

It might have been a bit more interesting if Cadell had actually been more like "Bravo! Good job boys! I taught you well!" but that would have gone against the Production Code, they couldn't have that.

Surprised that there's been no attempt at a remake of ROPE though (unless I'm unaware of it). I could see a modern filmmaker taking on the route of the Professor actually approving of the young men's crimes rather than condemn them for it.

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52 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

It might have been a bit more interesting if Cadell had actually been more like "Bravo! Good job boys! I taught you well!" but that would have gone against the Production Code, they couldn't have that.

Surprised that there's been no attempt at a remake of ROPE though (unless I'm unaware of it). I could see a modern filmmaker taking on the route of the Professor actually approving of the young men's crimes rather than condemn them for it.

if they had cast CLIFTON WEBB instead of JAMES STEWART, I could see that BEING DELIGHTFUL.

At this point there are ENTIRE TRUE CRIME TV SERIES just about MURDEROUS CHILDREN, so I think the subject matter of ROPE wouldn't be shocking enough for a 2022 audience, maybe not even in THE THEATRE, we've all been desensitized to TRUE CRIME STORIES and GAY TRUE CRIME STORIES that the story of two dudes strangling another guy and then having a buffet dinner on top of his dead body afterwards is so tame as to almost be any given Sunday in West Hollywood.

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I don't wanna hype it up too much for you- but I like BOMBSHELL a lot, it is a brilliant early example of  meta-storytelling, honestly it would make a pretty good double feature with ADAPTATION (2004?) It is a story within a story, a cinema verite about the fakest place on earth: HOLLYWOOD CA. 1933. 

I'm also a fan of Bombshell. Lee Tracy is lots of fun as the fast-talking agent.

 

3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

MERYL remains on probation with me since getting eaten by the chicken in DON'T LOOK UP.

But.

Her work in A CRY IN THE DARK is ONE HELL of a piece of acting.

Yes, I think A Cry in the Dark is one of Meryl's best. It can be a hard film to watch, with a miscarriage of justice and Meryl playing such an unsympathetic character, the polar opposite of Susan Hayward's sanitized "innocent" in I Want To Live! Sam Neill's scene on the witness stand is great, too.

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11 minutes ago, King Rat said:

Yes, I think A Cry in the Dark is one of Meryl's best.

it might even be THE BEST (if anyone pulled a gun on me and demanded I name STREEP'S FINEST WORK ON THE SPOT**, it's the title I'd blurt out without hesitation.)

[Keeping in mind that I haven't seen IRONWEED or some of her more recent endeavors]

she strikes a perfect balance of [incredible] TECHNICAL ACTING with [multifaceted] EMOTIONAL ACTING, it's a REAL PERFORMANCE and one HELL of a challenging part.

SAM NEILL was SO CUTE back in the day too!!!!!!

 

**and, Hell, you never know, we live in uncertain times.

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DILLINGER (1945) TCM had it on this morning.  I only caught the last half hour, but I've seen it.  Revisiting the end reminded me of  the tone.  Violent.  Mean-spirited.  Hambone!  Corny!  LAWRENCE TIERNEY is fun to watch, but gnaws a bit at scenery.  I gather there is debate about whether or not DILLINGER is Film Noir.   What do you think?

Dillinger.jpg

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On 1/26/2022 at 9:03 PM, TomJH said:

Men in White (1934)

Glossy MGM screen adaption of a Sidney Kingsley play, with Clark Gable as a young doctor torn between his professional duties and a society girlfriend (Myrna Loy) who wants more of his time.

The film dealt with some controversial material involving a young nurse who has a botched abortion, so controversial, in fact, that the film was attacked by the Legion of Decency and cut from 81 to 73 minutes (its current length). The missing section would obviously have made the current version of the film make more sense since the only thing you see Gable do with the young nurse is exchange a single kiss and then apologize. Next thing you know she's on an operating table telling him she loves him.

It was a difficult film for me to take too seriously. Gable seems miscast, though on the positive side he impressively sports more dark eye shadow than does his leading lady. Jean Hersholt brings some sincerity to his role as an elderly doctor encouraging Gable to work as his assistant and gradually learn the medical ropes. In a supporting role Wallace Ford is fun as a breezy young intern more concerned about dates than anything else. Elizabeth Allan is the young nurse who has a thing for Clark.

This is a hospital with a decidedly '30s art deco look and as impressive a winding staircase in its main lobby as you could hope to see in any posh mansion of the time.

Superficial as it is, Men in White was popular at the box office, leading to Gable and Loy being co-starred in a number of other features. Its popularity also resulted in a Three Stooges spoof that same year, Men in Black ("Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!") which would be one of the funnier shorts of that comedy team's career. The Stooges short today may well be better known than the film which inspired it.

Men in White – Dear Mr. Gable

2.5 out of 4

In 1937, newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan asked his 20 million readers to vote for the "King and Queen of Hollywood."  Clark Gable and Myrna Loy won the titles.  For the rest of his career, Gable was known as the king, but the title of queen didn't last with Loy.

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