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"Tower of London" (1939)--Starring Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price, and Boris Karloff.

 

A Universal horror film mixed with British fifteenth(?) Century history.  Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Rathbone), is sixth in line to the throne.  With the help of Mord (Karloff), a sadistic executioner, he gets rid of numbers one through five.

 

The fun in the film is wondering who will be killed when.  Price is a fine sniveling drunkard, and has an especially memorable exit.

 

Rathbone is the ultimate two-faced monster, who smiles at his intended victims and then has them killed.

 

Karloff is excellent as the executioner who enjoys his work.

 

Film suffers from too much talk, and predictability.  Still, a fun watch.  2.7/4

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"Tower of London" (1939)--Starring Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price, and Boris Karloff.

 

A Universal horror film mixed with British fifteenth(?) Century history.  Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Rathbone), is sixth in line to the throne.  With the help of Mord (Karloff), a sadistic executioner, he gets rid of numbers one through five.

 

The fun in the film is wondering who will be killed when.  Price is a fine sniveling drunkard, and has an especially memorable exit.

 

Rathbone is the ultimate two-faced monster, who smiles at his intended victims and then has them killed.

 

Karloff is excellent as the executioner who enjoys his work.

 

Film suffers from too much talk, and predictability.  Still, a fun watch.  2.7/4

 

Conrad Veidt comes to mind as probably a good Richard. I'm thinking of a couple of choice scenes in A Woman's Face.

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Last night I watched The Candidate.  I was actually interested in the entire evening's programming, but The Candidate was the only film I was able to watch.  I got home too late for All the President's Men (which I will watch later as I recorded it awhile ago) and I had to make myself go to bed when Network started.  I own Network and have seen it before, so I am not disappointed about not seeing this film.  I believe that Klute was on after Network.  I have this film DVR'd as well, but haven't seen it yet.

 

Anyway, I did watch The Candidate and almost in real-time (which almost never happens).  I started my recording when it was about 30 minutes in.  

 

I really liked this movie.  I'm not sure though if it's a movie I'd need to own, but I would watch it again if it came on TV.  I thought Robert Redford was excellent as the candidate who starts out with a rather lackadaisical campaign until his manager, Peter Boyle (who I did not recognize at first), realizes that preliminary numbers show that Redford will be clobbered and humiliated in the election if he does not at least try to campaign.  Redford's grassroots campaign was fun and I thought it demonstrated what politics really should be about--finding someone with new ideas and perspective and someone who has the general population's best interests in mind.  I also thought that Don Porter was excellent as the incumbent candidate, Crocker Jarmon.  When I first heard him speak, I immediately thought of his performance as Gidget's dad, Russell Lawrence in Sally Field's Gidget series.  I thought Melvyn Douglas was excellent as Redford's father.  I also liked that there was minimal profanity in this film.  It was a very well presented story about the ins and outs of political campaigns.

 

I also liked the fun cameo by Natalie Wood.  I would have liked to see more of her, just because I'm such a big fan of hers.  

 

I know some are not fans of 1970s films because of the quality of the cinematography and the more realistic (and not as romanticized) storylines of these films.  However, I really like the 1970s movies.  I like the slightly faded and flat color that is common in films from this era.  I think they add a more realistic and gritty aesthetic, especially in comparison with the saturated colors of the 1930s-1950s Technicolor (which I also like).  I think it fits better with the themes that are typically present in 1970s film.  

 

I look forward to seeing Redford in All the President's Men when I finally watch it.  My DVR is 89% full, I've got to get some stuff off of there to make room for SUTS selections!  It doesn't help that there's an Errol Flynn marathon on tonight!

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Last night I watched The Candidate.  I was actually interested in the entire evening's programming, but The Candidate was the only film I was able to watch.  I got home too late for All the President's Men (which I will watch later as I recorded it awhile ago) and I had to make myself go to bed when Network started.  I own Network and have seen it before, so I am not disappointed about not seeing this film.  I believe that Klute was on after Network.  I have this film DVR'd as well, but haven't seen it yet.

 

Anyway, I did watch The Candidate and almost in real-time (which almost never happens).  I started my recording when it was about 30 minutes in.  

 

I really liked this movie.  I'm not sure though if it's a movie I'd need to own, but I would watch it again if it came on TV.  I thought Robert Redford was excellent as the candidate who starts out with a rather lackadaisical campaign until his manager, Peter Boyle (who I did not recognize at first), realizes that preliminary numbers show that Redford will be clobbered and humiliated in the election if he does not at least try to campaign.  Redford's grassroots campaign was fun and I thought it demonstrated what politics really should be about--finding someone with new ideas and perspective and someone who has the general population's best interests in mind.  I also thought that Don Porter was excellent as the incumbent candidate, Crocker Jarmon.  When I first heard him speak, I immediately thought of his performance as Gidget's dad, Russell Lawrence in Sally Field's Gidget series.  I thought Melvyn Douglas was excellent as Redford's father.  I also liked that there was minimal profanity in this film.  It was a very well presented story about the ins and outs of political campaigns.

 

I also liked the fun cameo by Natalie Wood.  I would have liked to see more of her, just because I'm such a big fan of hers.  

 

I know some are not fans of 1970s films because of the quality of the cinematography and the more realistic (and not as romanticized) storylines of these films.  However, I really like the 1970s movies.  I like the slightly faded and flat color that is common in films from this era.  I think they add a more realistic and gritty aesthetic, especially in comparison with the saturated colors of the 1930s-1950s Technicolor (which I also like).  I think it fits better with the themes that are typically present in 1970s film.  

 

I look forward to seeing Redford in All the President's Men when I finally watch it.  My DVR is 89% full, I've got to get some stuff off of there to make room for SUTS selections!  It doesn't help that there's an Errol Flynn marathon on tonight!

 

 

It is a great film.

 

You will love All the President's Men when you finally see it. It is excellent.  I love how the aired both Redford movies back to back.

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Just watched Dave intro DOWNSTAIRS.

 

1. Total natural in his delivery.

2. Visible enthusiasm always a plus.

3. Still supercute.

 

Not that anyone's asking, but just in case they did, my official answer is: "we have our successor to Osborne."

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Fedora (1978). Director-scenarist Billy Wilder's late '70s return to Sunset Boulevard territory, reuniting him with William Holden in a role not at all dissimilar to that which had skyrocketed the actor's career in the 1950 classic.

 

In this film he plays an aging independent Hollywood producer, desperate for a success, who travels to a Greek island with the hope of luring a reclusive Garboesque film queen out of retirement with a screenplay based on Anna Karenina. The star, remarkably well preserved with a bizarre collection of hangers on surrounding her (or are they imprisoning her?) is erratic, to say the least, once Holden finally succeeds in meeting her.

 

Wilder fans may be intrigued with the film's premise for a while (based on a story by Thomas Tryon) but this film largely told in flashback after beginning with the film star's Anna Karenina-like suicide in front of a train lacks the wit and sardonic black humour that had so distinguished Sunset Boulevard. In fact, this suitably bizarre tale has no levelling humour at all, and it is sorely missed.

 

The cast is adequate, nothing more. Holden, his character so integral to Sunset Boulevard, is largely reduced to the role of observer here, and Marthe Keller as the mysterious Fedora lacks any sense of depth or fascination as the aging Hollywood queen whose youthful appearance is eerily similar to that of a female Dorian Gray. Hildegarde Knef as an embittered Countess who lives with her, and Jose Ferrer, as her doctor, fill out the cast. There are also brief appearances by Michael York and Henry Fonda.

 

While ultimately the film must be judged a disappointment, considering the impressive pedigree of those involved, fans of Wilder will still want to see it - at least once. But there's only so much interest one can develop for a film in which it is difficult for its audience to muster any emotional involvement for any of its characters.

 

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2.5 out of 4 stars

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Lawrence said: There's only so much interest one can develop for a film in which it is difficult for its audience to muster any emotional involvement for any of its characters.

 

I dunno, Hollywood sure cranks 'em out these days and people still pay to see them.

 

Maybe they do that so you're not horrified when you see the "charactor" blown to bits.

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Maybe they do that so you're not horrified when you see the "charactor" blown to bits.

I know that Hitchcock would say later it was a mistake, but I like that he killed off the kid brother in Sabotage. Not that I want the kid to die; it's that it makes the movie work.

 

The F/X are horrible, however. ;)

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JUAREZ (1939)

 

I just watched a lot of it at least, and I've seen it before.

 

Interesting that in his review Maltin feels the need to single out Claude Rains for what he deems an "unforgettable" performance.

 

Claude Rains was a marvelous actor and always worth watching, but he is in this movie for maybe all of 8 minutes and isn't really doing anything that he hadn't done before in ANTHONY ADVERSE or ROBIN HOOD or anything else where he played a silky borderline villain.

 

The real revelation of the film is Bette Davis in what is essentially a supporting part, but who holds you in the palm of her hand for every minute she is on screen. In a banner year for her, I really do think it's her work in this film that deserves to be singled out more than her other triumphs.

 

Brian Aherne is also excellent, as the slightly bumbling and out-of-touch Emperor Maximilian. He earned an Oscar nomination for his part.

 

Paul Muni is a little stiff at times ( as is dictated by the role perhaps) but as usual he becomes Juarez.

 

WHY Maltin didn't feel the need to devote any ink to this trio of Sterling performances, and instead site one of the most routine elements of the film is yet another exhibit in the case for "Maltin doesn't watch the movies he writes about, plain and simple."

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Miami Blues (1990) Pastel Noir

 

Miami_blues_poster%2B01.jpg

 


Director: George Armitage, written by Charles Willeford (novel), and George Armitage (screenplay). Miami Blues is the first film based on Willeford's series of novels featuring hard boiled detective Hoke Moseley. According to Lawrence Block "Quirky is the word that always comes to mind, Willeford wrote quirky books about quirky characters, and seems to have done so with a magnificent disregard for what anyone else thought."

 

The film stars Fred Ward (Hoke Moseley), Alec Baldwin (Frederick J. Frenger Jr.), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Susie Waggoner), Charles Napier (Sgt. Bill Henderson), Obba Babatundé (Blink Willie), José Pérez (Pablo), and Shirley Stoller (Edie Wulgemuth), Paul Gleason (Sgt. Frank Lackley), Martine Beswick (Noira, Waitress) José Pérez (Pablo) and Nora Dunn (Ellita Sanchez).


 

Miami Blues is a Film Soleil Noir that cinematographer Tak Fujimoto infuses with a bright sunny tropical pastel pallet. 

 

Story basically boils down to an ex-con runs amok with a Miami police badge.

 

Pastel.jpg

 

 7/10 More  in Film Noir/Gangster. Full review with NSFW screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/07/miami-blues-1990-pastel-noir.html

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JUAREZ (1939)

 

I just watched a lot of it at least, and I've seen it before.

 

Interesting that in his review Maltin feels the need to single out Claude Rains for what he deems an "unforgettable" performance.

 

Claude Rains was a marvelous actor and always worth watching, but he is in this movie for maybe all of 8 minutes and isn't really doing anything that he hadn't done before in ANTHONY ADVERSE or ROBIN HOOD or anything else where he played a silky borderline villain.

 

The real revelation of the film is Bette Davis in what is essentially a supporting part, but who holds you in the palm of her hand for every minute she is on screen. In a banner year for her, I really do think it's her work in this film that deserves to be singled out more than her other triumphs.

 

Brian Aherne is also excellent, as the slightly bumbling and out-of-touch Emperor Maximilian. He earned an Oscar nomination for his part.

 

Paul Muni is a little stiff at times ( as is dictated by the role perhaps) but as usual he becomes Juarez.

 

WHY Maltin didn't feel the need to devote any ink to this trio of Sterling performances, and instead site one of the most routine elements of the film is yet another exhibit in the case for "Maltin doesn't watch the movies he writes about, plain and simple."

I'm a fan of Juarez. Completely agree about the performances. Some people do not care for Muni's performance, but it seems to me he shows Juarez as a cool, calculating, unbending man who presents himself as an icon and who will not hesitate to send Maximilian to his death.

 

Of course Maltin doesn't write all the reviews in his guides, but I would expect him to have written the one about Juarez, a picture with big stars.

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"The Kiss Before the Mirror" (1933)--James Whale film gets off to a great start, but at the 30 minute mark goes disastrously wrong, and takes a hypocritical viewpoint.  Film never recovers from this directorial decision.

 

The fault isn't with Frank Morgans', Nancy Carrolls', or Gloria Stuart's performances.  Karl Freund's fine cinematography is also flawless.

 

 Part of it is Paul Lukas, whose character commits premeditated murder and then expects audience sympathy.  But most of the blame must be put on the material ( a Viennese(?) play of the same name by Ladislaus Fodor).  Whale's direction of the actors is good, but the script is hypocritical and did not work (for me).  

 

The film may have worked in 1933, but it creaks in 2016.  Watchable, but disappointing.  2.4/4

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"The Kiss Before the Mirror" (1933)--James Whale film gets off to a great start, but at the 30 minute mark goes disastrously wrong, and takes a hypocritical viewpoint.  Film never recovers from this directorial decision.

 

The fault isn't with Frank Morgans', Nancy Carrolls', or Gloria Stuart's performances.  Karl Freund's fine cinematography is also flawless.

 

 Part of it is Paul Lukas, whose character commits premeditated murder and then expects audience sympathy.  But most of the blame must be put on the material ( a Viennese(?) play of the same name by Ladislaus Fodor).  Whale's direction of the actors is good, but the script is hypocritical and did not work (for me).  

 

The film may have worked in 1933, but it creaks in 2016.  Watchable, but disappointing.  2.4/4

 

Not that I have seen many of his films, but I've seen a handful- THE LADY VANISHES, DOWNSTAIRS, WATCH ON THE RHINE, DEADLINE AT DAWN and some others that don't come immediately to mind- and honestly, "English was his second language" is NO EXCUSE: Paul Lukas was just a terrible actor.

 

..or at least I'll say he is terrible in those films, although his ineptitude works in his favor in DOWNSTAIRS.

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I'm a fan of Juarez. Completely agree about the performances. Some people do not care for Muni's performance, but it seems to me he shows Juarez as a cool, calculating, unbending man who presents himself as an icon and who will not hesitate to send Maximilian to his death.

 

Of course Maltin doesn't write all the reviews in his guides, but I would expect him to have written the one about Juarez, a picture with big stars.

 

The fact that a good majority of Rains' brief time onscreen comes in the first five minutes of the film also raises me eyebrow in suspicion....

 

Did we just dash off the review after half an hour in soes to make it to Shakey's lunch buffet in time, Leonard?

 

(or was that Ebert?)

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Not that I have seen many of his films, but I've seen a handful- THE LADY VANISHES, DOWNSTAIRS, WATCH ON THE RHINE, DEADLINE AT DAWN and some others that don't come immediately to mind- and honestly, "English was his second language" is NO EXCUSE: Paul Lukas was just a terrible actor.

 

..or at least I'll say he is terrible in those films, although his ineptitude works in his favor in DOWNSTAIRS.

 

I guess it is safe to assume you don't agree with Lukas winning the Oscar for best actor for his performance in Watch on the Rhine.

 

I think the academy was voting for the cause and not the performance.

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I guess it is safe to assume you don't agree with Lukas winning the Oscar for best actor for his performance in Watch on the Rhine.

 

I think the academy was voting for the cause and not the performance.

 

oh, i have written at length about that and it's a topic i can go on and on about.

 

i also agree with your second sentence.

 

to try to be brief: it is one of the more fascinating cases of the ACADEMY having a choice between rewarding (more or less) two roles (in this case, Bogie in CASABLANCA and Lukas in RHINE) and going with the one that is IN EVERY WAY inferior to the far more complicated, complex and ultimately LASTING performance.

 

i would've rather seen Bela Lugosi in WATCH ON THE RHINE, at least that way you know you'll get your nickel's worth.

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Last night I watched The Candidate.  I was actually interested in the entire evening's programming, but The Candidate was the only film I was able to watch.  I got home too late for All the President's Men (which I will watch later as I recorded it awhile ago) and I had to make myself go to bed when Network started.  I own Network and have seen it before, so I am not disappointed about not seeing this film.  I believe that Klute was on after Network.  I have this film DVR'd as well, but haven't seen it yet.

 

Anyway, I did watch The Candidate and almost in real-time (which almost never happens).  I started my recording when it was about 30 minutes in.  

 

I really liked this movie.  I'm not sure though if it's a movie I'd need to own, but I would watch it again if it came on TV.  I thought Robert Redford was excellent as the candidate who starts out with a rather lackadaisical campaign until his manager, Peter Boyle (who I did not recognize at first), realizes that preliminary numbers show that Redford will be clobbered and humiliated in the election if he does not at least try to campaign.  Redford's grassroots campaign was fun and I thought it demonstrated what politics really should be about--finding someone with new ideas and perspective and someone who has the general population's best interests in mind.  I also thought that Don Porter was excellent as the incumbent candidate, Crocker Jarmon.  When I first heard him speak, I immediately thought of his performance as Gidget's dad, Russell Lawrence in Sally Field's Gidget series.  I thought Melvyn Douglas was excellent as Redford's father.  I also liked that there was minimal profanity in this film.  It was a very well presented story about the ins and outs of political campaigns.

 

I also liked the fun cameo by Natalie Wood.  I would have liked to see more of her, just because I'm such a big fan of hers.  

 

I know some are not fans of 1970s films because of the quality of the cinematography and the more realistic (and not as romanticized) storylines of these films.  However, I really like the 1970s movies.  I like the slightly faded and flat color that is common in films from this era.  I think they add a more realistic and gritty aesthetic, especially in comparison with the saturated colors of the 1930s-1950s Technicolor (which I also like).  I think it fits better with the themes that are typically present in 1970s film.  

 

I look forward to seeing Redford in All the President's Men when I finally watch it.  My DVR is 89% full, I've got to get some stuff off of there to make room for SUTS selections!  It doesn't help that there's an Errol Flynn marathon on tonight!

 

If you haven't seen it already, you might also like Redford's 1975 political thriller, "Three Days of the Condor", directed by Sydney Pollack and co-starring Faye Dunaway, Max Von Sydow, Cliff Robertson, and John Houseman.  

 

I love movies from the 1970s, probably because I was teen then and likely went out to see more movies during that decade than any other.  

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If you haven't seen it already, you might also like Redford's 1975 political thriller, "Three Days of the Condor", directed by Sydney Pollack and co-starring Faye Dunaway, Max Von Sydow, Cliff Robertson, and John Houseman.  

 

I love movies from the 1970s, probably because I was teen then and likely went out to see more movies during that decade than any other.  

I love Three Days of the Condor.

 

I love political thrillers.

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Fort Apache (1948). Classic John Ford western or

two hour Aer Lingus advert? Maybe a bit of both.

 

LOL

 

Yep, the old dude with the eyepatch was certainly proud of his Irish heritage, wasn't he?!!!

 

(...and which reminds me of the old joke..."Did you hear Continental Airlines is going to merge with Aer Lingus? And the new name of these combined airlines is going to be..."...well, I think you can guess the punchline here, right Vautrin ol' boy?!) ;)

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If you haven't seen it already, you might also like Redford's 1975 political thriller, "Three Days of the Condor", directed by Sydney Pollack and co-starring Faye Dunaway, Max Von Sydow, Cliff Robertson, and John Houseman.

 

I love movies from the 1970s, probably because I was teen then and likely went out to see more movies during that decade than any other.

 

Okay 2 things:

 

1. Welcome to the message boards, very nice write-up.

 

2. Your avatar and username are FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABULouS!!!!!!!!!!!

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"Son of Frankenstein" (1939)--Starring Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, and Bela Lugosi.

 

Film is the third, last and least of the Karloff Frankenstein movies.  The grandson of Dr. Frankenstein, his wife and son move into the village that's overshadowed by the Family castle.  The village in the past 100 years has gone from a prosperous place to being a shunned town.  Despite the Monster being dead, there is still the occasional murder committed in the village.

 

Karloff is the best actor in the film.  He was the only one of the many who played that role who made Frankenstein's Monster an affecting character.

 

Bela Lugosi is entertaining as the villainous Ygor, who wants revenge on all who have wronged him.

 

Basil Rathbone is good in the first two thirds of the film, then his performance falls apart when he's trying to pretend everything's all right (it's Not) in the last twenty minutes. I can only blame the director, Rowland V. Lee, for that.  Rathbone is usually so polished, even when things are going wrong.

 

George Robinson's photography is effectively eerie, the sets are spare, but Gothic.

 

Film is a fun watch.  3.2/4.

 

Warning: This film froze with ten minutes left to go.  I had to re-start film and go to where the film stopped to fix it.  Annoying, but was easy to fix, for me.

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If you haven't seen it already, you might also like Redford's 1975 political thriller, "Three Days of the Condor", directed by Sydney Pollack and co-starring Faye Dunaway, Max Von Sydow, Cliff Robertson, and John Houseman.  

 

I love movies from the 1970s, probably because I was teen then and likely went out to see more movies during that decade than any other.  

Thanks! I'm a fan of Redford and Dunaway, I'll keep an eye open for this film.  I think I've seen it on the TCM schedule before, so I'm sure it'll repeat! 

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Under the Volcano (1984).

 

Albert Finney plays the alcoholic former British Consul to Mexico in 1938. His brother (Anthony Andrews) has given up fighting the Spanish Civil War, presumably to help take care of Finney. And then Finney's estranged wife (Jacqueline Bisset) shows up.

 

That's about it to the movie, as it's a character study of the Finney character's alcoholism. He's a thoroughly unpleasant character in every way.

 

Everybody does a good job acting, and there's some nice cinematography. Finney's alcoholism is probably more realistic than anything else put on screen before (especially The Lost Weekend and likely Days of Wine and Roses too). But I found the ending unsatisfying, and the movie as a whole wasn't what I was expecting. (For some reason I had the impression that the literal volcano was going to be under risk of eruption, as in The Devil at 4 O'Clock.)

 

If you know what you're getting into and it's your sort of thing, the movie is probably a 9/10. But it wasn't quite my thing, so I'll give it a 7/10.

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Fedya, my reaction to Under the Volcano was similar to yours. Watching a character decline from step 99 to step 100 isn't much of a story, so the cinematography and acting can't help. As you said, the fact that Finney's character is thoroughly unpleasant doesn't help matters, either.

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