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TomJH--No, I missed it last time round.  I saw it over twenty years ago and wasn't impressed.  Is it worth a rewatch?

 

I think so. The action scenes in Master of Ballantrae are far more vigorous than in Against All Flags, and the film is visually vibrant thanks to the stunning on location (Scotland, Sicily) photography of Jack Cardiff. Flynn looks older, of course, but he is convincing in the lead, and there is a superior supporting cast, with Roger Livesey outstanding as Flynn's rogueish Irish companion.

 

I like this film far more than Against All Flags (though I agree that Maureen O'Hara is fun to watch in it).

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"The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935)--Starring Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Una O'Connor and Ernest Thesiger.

 

 

May I make an addition reference to, for me, the most memorable scene in the film, when the Monster makes friends with the blind hermit? It's both funny and touching, and, of course, 40 years later, would give Mel Brooks the opportunity to create one of his most memorable moments of parody in Young Frankenstein.

 

Bride-of-Frankenstein-2.jpg

 

2069885257_264462357b_z.jpg?zz=1

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I watched One Step Beyond a few times back in the 60's and 70's, but never really followed it as a fan. So, I don't remember any of them.

 

Except one.

 

1959 - I'd just turned 9 years old and I went up to see my grandparents one evening - they lived upstairs in a 2nd floor apartment of our house. They were watching a show and within a few minutes the eeriness of what they were watching started to creep me out. It's the only episode I remember because of that feeling I got. It was about a stain on the wall that everyday began to look more and more like a woman's face - eventually driving the house occupants into hysterics.

 

Thanks to IMDb, I now know that episode was called 'Image of Death'.

I remember that one which was very scary, I watched when I was 8 or 9 and never forgot the wonderful series. Today I collect favorite TV show of the 50's and 60's. They are great shared memories with my big sister. Many years have passed, but we have never forgotten those great shows.
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May I make an addition reference to, for me, the most memorable scene in the film, when the Monster makes friends with the blind hermit? It's both funny and touching, and, of course, 40 years later, would give Mel Brooks the opportunity to create one of his most memorable moments of parody in Young Frankenstein.

 

Bride-of-Frankenstein-2.jpg

 

2069885257_264462357b_z.jpg?zz=1

It was inspiring for future films and the stars will remain immortal for their great performances. My preference is the original, but yes the future one was good too.

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I think so. The action scenes in Master of Ballantrae are far more vigorous than in Against All Flags, and the film is visually vibrant thanks to the stunning on location (Scotland, Sicily) photography of Jack Cardiff. Flynn looks older, of course, but he is convincing in the lead, and there is a superior supporting cast, with Roger Livesey outstanding as Flynn's rogueish Irish companion.

 

I like this film far more than Against All Flags (though I agree that Maureen O'Hara is fun to watch in it).

I actually missed this one. IT sounds worthwhile to watch in the future. The photography sounds marvelous too.

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Re-watched "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" (1966) starring Don Knotts (whom I love) as a newspaper typesetter named Luther Heggs, who works his way up to an actual journalist after spending a night in the town's haunted mansion that served as the scene for a murder-suicide several years before. 

The-Ghost-and-Mr-Chicken-Don-Knotts-base

 

Luther basically becomes sort of a town hero, and impresses Alma, this girl he's apparently had a crush on for ages. 

tumblr_m8ywn5hBeW1qedb29o1_500.gif

 

All in all, I'd give this film a 7/10. It was entertaining enough, Don Knotts was great, and it made me feel happy.  :)

*Co-starring Joan Staley, Liam Redmond, and Dick Sargent.

The great Don Knotts was even more entertaining with the co-stars I love this one and The Relectant Astronaut.

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Merry Andrew with Danny Kaye. I saw this film on TCM one Sunday morning, not expecting it. I loved it! Danny is his usual exuberant self and keeps up with the athletic dancers in the salude number. There are a couple times when one of the dancers - the guy in the yellow shirt - whacks Danny on the shoulder. I don't know if it's to give him a cue or he's giving Danny some sh*t. It's a grand number and Danny Kaye is awesome!!!!

I remember that scene too! This is one of my favorites, along with Wonder Man and Court Jester. The great Danny Kaye had a talent that was unparallelled.

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While watching CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN on Svengoolie last night, another of my many nephews dropped by to give me something to take to my wife at the hospital.

 

He HAD been "catching up" on the old KUNG FU series on DECADES, since when it originally aired he was a mere babe(born in 1973).  But he's heard so much about it he thought he'd see what the fuss was about.

 

So he walked in, sat down for a minute and glanced at my TV just when a scene with JOHN CARRADINE flashed on, and asked, "HEY!  Isn't that the KUNG FU guy?"  Well the movie WAS made at a time when John showed the closest resemblance to his son DAVID, or the other way around(however you wish to think of it), and he was also surprised to hear me inform him it was the "Kung Fu guy's" father.

 

He never heard of JOHN CARRADINE before.

 

I just LOVE it when the young 'uns get edumacated!    ;)

 

 

Sepiatone

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"Klondike Annie" (1936)--Starring Mae West and Victor McLaglen, directed by Raoul Walsh.

 

Film set in 1890's San Francisco and West is hamstrung by the Production Code, and it shows, especially in the watered down dialogue and lack of double entendres.  The films' highlight is about fifteen minutes into the movie as West sings "I'm an Occidental Woman in an Oriental Mood For Love".  The Code censored the overtly sexual lines, but they missed enough that the first 35 minutes is pleasant.  It's when West starts trying to pass as a missionary(?!) that the film becomes actively painful.

 

 West looks like she's gagging on the mealy mouthed dialogue set in Nomes'  missionary center.  Film misses numerous opportunities for fun.  West gets screen credit for the script, but from the sanctimonious tone of the scripts' second half, I'd say she got "help"--whether it was wanted or not.

 

West is the whole show.  The Code censored her words, but they couldn't censor her eye-rolling, gagging, air of supreme confidence, or her way of making an innocuous line an innuendo.

 

KA wasn't as good as I'd hoped or as bad as I'd feared.  Worth a watch.  Just know the film peaks early.  2.6/4.

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"Stormy Weather" (1943)--Throw out Maltin's "fair" endorsement.  SW is almost all music,with a thin thread for an excuse for a plot; there's a maximum of twenty minutes of just talk in a 78 minute movie.

 

The music is what shines in this film, and the performers make the movie.  Whether it's Fats Waller and Ada Brown singing "Ain't Misbehaving", Lena Horne singing "Stormy Weather", Katharine Dunham and Co. doing a ballet to SW, or the Nicholas Brothers doing a knockout tap routine at movies' end, music is flawlessly performed.  Only thudder is a "blackface" routine.  Otherwise, Stormy Weather is a movie to shout about (movie's last number is "Ain't That Something").  If the blackface routine was cut, rating would be higher.  As it is, 3.6/4.

 

"Studio Visit" (1946)--Is notable for using Lena Hornes' cut number "Ain't It The Truth" from "Cabin In The Sky" (1943); it uses a verse "That's Entertaiment ! Part III" (1994) Didn't use, and two shots TEP III didn't use.  The viewer can see and hear for themselves why the song was cut from CITS (it's by no means Lena Hornes' fault--she's in sparkling clear voice).

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Bloody Mama (1970).

 

Roger Corman's low-budget take on Ma Barker, leader of a crime family in the 1930s. Shelley Winters plays Ma incestuously; the sons are played by Don Stroud, a young Robert DeNiro; Robert Walden, and Clint Kimbrough. (I think; I'm going by memory here.) Bruce Dern plays a fellow convict who's OK being a dominant gay in prison if that's how to get sex; Diane Varsi shows off her bare breasts as a prostitute.

 

It's interesting and over the top; I have no idea how based in reality it is. Shelley Winters looks like she's having a blast chewing the scenery as she gets to play unrelentingly evil. So evil that she turns off her sons. Robert DeNiro gets to shoot heroin. There are some nice vintage cars and some nice location shooting (all done in Arkansas).

 

Warning: there's a scene of implied animal abuse.

 

7/10

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The music is what shines in this film, and the performers make the movie.  Whether it's Fats Waller and Ada Brown singing "Ain't Misbehaving", Lena Horne singing "Stormy Weather", Katharine Dunham and Co. doing a ballet to SW, or the Nicholas Brothers doing a knockout tap routine at movies' end, music is flawlessly performed.  Only thudder is a "blackface" routine.  Otherwise, Stormy Weather is a movie to shout about (movie's last number is "Ain't That Something").  If the blackface routine was cut, rating would be higher.  As it is, 3.6/4.

 

They had to use blackface back then to compete in the genre with white blackface comics, but the "Conversation" routine ("Say, aren't you still going with--?" "Nah, she started seeing--." "Oh, not him, isn't he the one who--?") was apparently one of the better known black-comedy routines in vaudeville.  Mantan Moreland did the routine again with a partner in one of the Republic Charlie Chan movies.

 

(Although I was always a fan of both the radio and TV versions of Amos & Andy, so I'm more tolerant of these issues.)

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I watched a few films this past week, I've just been too busy to post:

 

The Good Dinosaur.  This was Pixar's second 2015 film released about six months after Inside Out.  I hate to say it, but Inside Out was a much better film.  'Dinosaur' was okay, not great though.  It is probably my least favorite of Pixar's films that I've seen so far.  I think the story idea must have changed since I had first heard about this film, because the original story I heard said that he film would be about what life would be like had the dinosaurs not gone extinct.  That sounded more interesting than what the final result was.  This film was your typical "country boy befriends wild animal" story, except in this case, the "boy" was the dinosaur and the "wild animal" was a young human.  This is probably Pixar's only film that could be completely classified as a children's movie.  Typically, Pixar does a fantastic job of weaving more grown-up themes with more childlike scenes so that people of all ages could enjoy the film.  This movie didn't have that.  I also noticed quite a few scenes that resembled The Lion King.  The dinosaur, Arlo, has a father that he looks up to and very much wants to make proud.  ***SPOILER ALERT*** His father also meets a fate very similar to Mufasa in The Lion King except sub in water for a stampede.  ***END SPOILER ALERT*** Later, there are some comedic raptors, who are very similar to the hyenas in The Lion King.  This film was average.  It was okay as a Red Box rental, but I'm glad I didn't pay the movie prices to see it in the theater.

 

---

 

The Snake Pit.  This movie was very interesting.  I thought Olivia de Havilland did a great job portraying a woman trying to figure out why she's been institutionalized.  The non-linear storytelling was very effective in piecing together de Havilland's character's history and helping to explain to her and the audience how she ended up where she was.  I liked the doctor character.  The actor reminded me of the host of "What's My Line?" but I looked it up, and it wasn't the same person.  The "Snake Pit" scene toward the end of the film was a very startling image.  I also thought that the film featured many similarities to Caged! with Eleanor Parker, especially the latter part of the film when de Havilland finds herself in the most severe ward of the mental hospital.  Many of her reactions and experiences (e.g. the mean nurse) are similar to what Parker's character goes through in prison.  One of my favorite scenes of this film is the interaction between de Havilland and Beulah Bondi's characters.  Bondi comes over bragging about her jewelry and she and de Havilland play a game of trying to on-up each other on their jewels.  It was a very funny scene.  My favorite part:

 

BONDI: I have the Hope Diamond!

de HAVILLAND: I have the Hopeless Emerald! It carries the Cunningham curse. You've probably read about it.

 

This was an excellent film and I feel that it would be a film where I would notice more and get more out of it with successive viewings.

 

---

 

Looking For Mr. Goodbar.  After reading so much about this film earlier this month, I made sure to record it.  I was out of town when the film aired live on TCM, so I just got around to watching it Friday night.  I liked the music in the film and I thought that Diane Keaton and Tuesday Weld's characters were excellent.  I liked the contrast of their characters.  Keaton's character in the beginning was a bit more uptight and inexperienced.  Weld's character was one who had already immersed herself in the sexual revolution and seemed to be living quite a wild and exciting life.  I got the sense that Keaton somewhat envied sister Weld's lifestyle.  She wanted a chance to find herself, not only sexually, but just in general.  She wanted to know who she was and what she enjoyed.  I also found it interesting how they juxtaposed scenes of Keaton's wild night life with her serene and fulfilling day life of teaching deaf children.  

 

Her sexual encounters were terrifying.  Richard Gere's character was a freak.  He was very scary.  And what was up with his weird underwear? Was he wearing a jock strap, afraid that some woman would knee him in the groin? I didn't like him at all.  The welfare worker was equally as creepy, even if he wasn't as outwardly obnoxious and frightening as Gere's character.  It was very sad that Keaton kept meeting and picking up these guys and perpetuating these relationships.  I realize that it was the middle of the sexual revolution, especially when it came to women having more freedom to do what (and who) she wants to, but it was hard to feel compassion for Keaton when she was putting herself in these situations.  However, I do believe that since her character was so inexperienced and seemed to have lived a sheltered lifestyle up until the beginning of the film, perhaps the excitement of the violent sexual encounters, snorting lines of coke and picking up unknown men was enticing and that's what kept her satisfied.  She needed more and more drugs, sex and danger to keep her "high." The ending scene of the film between Keaton and Tom Berenger was terrifying.  Despite Keaton's lifestyle, she did not deserve that fate.  That scene with the blinking blue light, which with each flash, showing her terrified face, was probably one of the scariest and disturbing scenes I've seen in a film.

 

I liked Keaton's performance in this film.  She was very pretty when she was younger and it was a nice change of pace to see her doing something else other than her typical mousy, nervous and frazzled persona.  I was surprised to see her doing so much nudity in this film, based on Keaton's current persona, which I'm most familiar with, I would have never thought she'd performed nude scenes.  It was interesting to see her in this type of role.  It was definitely more risky and raunchy than anything else I've seen her in.  I'd like to see more of Keaton's 1970s work since I find it much more interesting than anything she's done in the last 20 years.  I also really liked Tuesday Weld. Her character was what I would imagine the teenage Tuesday Weld character (that I'm a little familiar with) would grow up to be.  Kind of a bad-girl Sandra Dee.  Richard Gere's character was scary and if this were my first introduction to him, I would not want to see more.  I also liked seeing LeVar Burton in this film.  He was excellent in his small role and I'm glad he beat up Richard Gere.  He definitely had it coming.  Go LeVar "Reading Rainbow" Burton! 

 

Overall, this was a very interesting film to see, especially as it depicted mid-70s America in the throes of the Women's Rights Movement and sexual revolution, but I don't think I'll need to watch it again.  I'm glad I saw it, but it's not the type of film that I'd want to watch over and over. 

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"Stormy Weather" (1943)--Throw out Maltin's "fair" endorsement.  SW is almost all music,with a thin thread for an excuse for a plot; there's a maximum of twenty minutes of just talk in a 78 minute movie.

 

The music is what shines in this film, and the performers make the movie.  Whether it's Fats Waller and Ada Brown singing "Ain't Misbehaving", Lena Horne singing "Stormy Weather", Katharine Dunham and Co. doing a ballet to SW, or the Nicholas Brothers doing a knockout tap routine at movies' end, music is flawlessly performed.  Only thudder is a "blackface" routine.  Otherwise, Stormy Weather is a movie to shout about (movie's last number is "Ain't That Something").  If the blackface routine was cut, rating would be higher.  As it is, 3.6/4.

 

"Studio Visit" (1946)--Is notable for using Lena Hornes' cut number "Ain't It The Truth" from "Cabin In The Sky" (1943); it uses a verse "That's Entertaiment ! Part III" (1994) Didn't use, and two shots TEP III didn't use.  The viewer can see and hear for themselves why the song was cut from CITS (it's by no means Lena Hornes' fault--she's in sparkling clear voice).

 

Luv Stormy Weather. Lena is great even when just talking. Adorable. That last number wearing that white gown is a winner for me.

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Luv Stormy Weather. Lena is great even when just talking. Adorable. That last number wearing that white gown is a winner for me.

She is always lovely and talented. Love the songs and "Stormy Weather" especially.

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I watched a few films this past week, I've just been too busy to post:

 

The Good Dinosaur.  This was Pixar's second 2015 film released about six months after Inside Out.  I hate to say it, but Inside Out was a much better film.  'Dinosaur' was okay, not great though.  It is probably my least favorite of Pixar's films that I've seen so far.  I think the story idea must have changed since I had first heard about this film, because the original story I heard said that he film would be about what life would be like had the dinosaurs not gone extinct.  That sounded more interesting than what the final result was.  This film was your typical "country boy befriends wild animal" story, except in this case, the "boy" was the dinosaur and the "wild animal" was a young human.  This is probably Pixar's only film that could be completely classified as a children's movie.  Typically, Pixar does a fantastic job of weaving more grown-up themes with more childlike scenes so that people of all ages could enjoy the film.  This movie didn't have that.  I also noticed quite a few scenes that resembled The Lion King.  The dinosaur, Arlo, has a father that he looks up to and very much wants to make proud.  ***SPOILER ALERT*** His father also meets a fate very similar to Mufasa in The Lion King except sub in water for a stampede.  ***END SPOILER ALERT*** Later, there are some comedic raptors, who are very similar to the hyenas in The Lion King.  This film was average.  It was okay as a Red Box rental, but I'm glad I didn't pay the movie prices to see it in the theater.

 

---

 

The Snake Pit.  This movie was very interesting.  I thought Olivia de Havilland did a great job portraying a woman trying to figure out why she's been institutionalized.  The non-linear storytelling was very effective in piecing together de Havilland's character's history and helping to explain to her and the audience how she ended up where she was.  I liked the doctor character.  The actor reminded me of the host of "What's My Line?" but I looked it up, and it wasn't the same person.  The "Snake Pit" scene toward the end of the film was a very startling image.  I also thought that the film featured many similarities to Caged! with Eleanor Parker, especially the latter part of the film when de Havilland finds herself in the most severe ward of the mental hospital.  Many of her reactions and experiences (e.g. the mean nurse) are similar to what Parker's character goes through in prison.  One of my favorite scenes of this film is the interaction between de Havilland and Beulah Bondi's characters.  Bondi comes over bragging about her jewelry and she and de Havilland play a game of trying to on-up each other on their jewels.  It was a very funny scene.  My favorite part:

 

BONDI: I have the Hope Diamond!

de HAVILLAND: I have the Hopeless Emerald! It carries the Cunningham curse. You've probably read about it.

 

This was an excellent film and I feel that it would be a film where I would notice more and get more out of it with successive viewings.

 

---

 

Looking For Mr. Goodbar.  After reading so much about this film earlier this month, I made sure to record it.  I was out of town when the film aired live on TCM, so I just got around to watching it Friday night.  I liked the music in the film and I thought that Diane Keaton and Tuesday Weld's characters were excellent.  I liked the contrast of their characters.  Keaton's character in the beginning was a bit more uptight and inexperienced.  Weld's character was one who had already immersed herself in the sexual revolution and seemed to be living quite a wild and exciting life.  I got the sense that Keaton somewhat envied sister Weld's lifestyle.  She wanted a chance to find herself, not only sexually, but just in general.  She wanted to know who she was and what she enjoyed.  I also found it interesting how they juxtaposed scenes of Keaton's wild night life with her serene and fulfilling day life of teaching deaf children.  

 

Her sexual encounters were terrifying.  Richard Gere's character was a freak.  He was very scary.  And what was up with his weird underwear? Was he wearing a jock strap, afraid that some woman would knee him in the groin? I didn't like him at all.  The welfare worker was equally as creepy, even if he wasn't as outwardly obnoxious and frightening as Gere's character.  It was very sad that Keaton kept meeting and picking up these guys and perpetuating these relationships.  I realize that it was the middle of the sexual revolution, especially when it came to women having more freedom to do what (and who) she wants to, but it was hard to feel compassion for Keaton when she was putting herself in these situations.  However, I do believe that since her character was so inexperienced and seemed to have lived a sheltered lifestyle up until the beginning of the film, perhaps the excitement of the violent sexual encounters, snorting lines of coke and picking up unknown men was enticing and that's what kept her satisfied.  She needed more and more drugs, sex and danger to keep her "high." The ending scene of the film between Keaton and Tom Berenger was terrifying.  Despite Keaton's lifestyle, she did not deserve that fate.  That scene with the blinking blue light, which with each flash, showing her terrified face, was probably one of the scariest and disturbing scenes I've seen in a film.

 

I liked Keaton's performance in this film.  She was very pretty when she was younger and it was a nice change of pace to see her doing something else other than her typical mousy, nervous and frazzled persona.  I was surprised to see her doing so much nudity in this film, based on Keaton's current persona, which I'm most familiar with, I would have never thought she'd performed nude scenes.  It was interesting to see her in this type of role.  It was definitely more risky and raunchy than anything else I've seen her in.  I'd like to see more of Keaton's 1970s work since I find it much more interesting than anything she's done in the last 20 years.  I also really liked Tuesday Weld. Her character was what I would imagine the teenage Tuesday Weld character (that I'm a little familiar with) would grow up to be.  Kind of a bad-girl Sandra Dee.  Richard Gere's character was scary and if this were my first introduction to him, I would not want to see more.  I also liked seeing LeVar Burton in this film.  He was excellent in his small role and I'm glad he beat up Richard Gere.  He definitely had it coming.  Go LeVar "Reading Rainbow" Burton! 

 

Overall, this was a very interesting film to see, especially as it depicted mid-70s America in the throes of the Women's Rights Movement and sexual revolution, but I don't think I'll need to watch it again.  I'm glad I saw it, but it's not the type of film that I'd want to watch over and over.

My favorite, though grim, is The Snake Pit. Yes, Olivia was marvelous in this film and I loved the doctor too, He really cared about his patients. Yes, that was a touch of humor, I recall about "The Hopeless Emerald", She was good at witty comebacks. I think Lee Patrick and Beaulah Bondi played fellow inmates and the husband, played by MArk Stevens, was wonderfully patient. The other doctor was pretty scary who kept shaking his finger at Olivia's character. Also, I thought Celeste Holm was great as the patient who wanted to help in the beginning of the film. When the other girl goes home, she is behind bars, having had a frightening relapse. I was glad to rewatch this one and give it a 10.

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My favorite, though grim, is The Snake Pit. Yes, Olivia was marvelous in this film and I loved the doctor too, He really cared about his patients. Yes, that was a touch of humor, I recall about "The Hopeless Emerald", She was good at witty comebacks. I think Lee Patrick and Beaulah Bondi played fellow inmates and the husband, played by MArk Stevens, was wonderfully patient. The other doctor was pretty scary who kept shaking his finger at Olivia's character. Also, I thought Celeste Holm was great as the patient who wanted to help in the beginning of the film. When the other girl goes home, she is behind bars, having had a frightening relapse. I was glad to rewatch this one and give it a 10.

 

Agreed.  Of the three films I discussed, The Snake Pit was my favorite too.  Lee Patrick and Beulah Bondi did play fellow inmates as did Ann Doran, who you may recognize as James Dean's mother in Rebel Without a Cause.  She was very good as the mute patient with tendency toward violence.  I thought that the way that de Havilland's character took Doran's character under her wing to make her feel comfortable enough to not resort to violence and also to regain her speaking ability was very touching, and demonstrated that de Havilland's character was not completely lost and showed potential to recover. Their ending scene is very sweet.   I also thought Celeste Holm was excellent.  The more I see of her, the more I like her.

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I finally just got to see TIM'S VERMEER from 2013 

Tim%27s_Vermeer_2013.jpg

 

This documentary takes you through Tim Jennison's (sp?) journey to illustrate his theory of how the great Dutch painter Vermeer created his incredible paintings using complex optical devices.

 

OK so as an art restorer I'm sure this movie touched me more deeply than the average person. But I think anyone with an interest in art and history would enjoy this story. It was very well told and never too technical or boring. 

 

I especially liked the fact Tim is NOT an artist, but he could match colors and reproduce what he "saw". 

 

This alone illustrates that MANY in the art field are truly "technicians" who just have the perseverance to follow through and complete challenging tasks. And this was a doozy of a task, taking 7 months to complete.

 

Tim's relief & joy at the completion of his painting illustrates perfectly for the audience, exactly WHY artists charge what they do for their work. (yay)

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I watched a few films this past week, I've just been too busy to post:

 

The Good Dinosaur.  This was Pixar's second 2015 film released about six months after Inside Out.  I hate to say it, but Inside Out was a much better film.  'Dinosaur' was okay, not great though.  It is probably my least favorite of Pixar's films that I've seen so far.  I think the story idea must have changed since I had first heard about this film, because the original story I heard said that he film would be about what life would be like had the dinosaurs not gone extinct.  That sounded more interesting than what the final result was. 

 

 

That's actually true, and that's unfortunately why it's a last-minute mess.  (Every press analyst kept wishing for "Pixar's First Flop", like some wish for Marvel's, and when Pixar did finally make a boo-boo, everyone was so conscious of the chopped-up last-minute script troubles, everyone excused Good Dino for being "Not their fault".)

The original story was going to have an entire village of dinos working together in farming communities--stegos plant, ankylos thresh, etc.--and our hero was going to be a naive, free-thinking adult dino who wants to study the bugs who attack the harvest instead of exterminating them.  The cute cave boy was going to be a (would-be) mighty young hunter who lives to hunt the bugs, the two get lost, and on the road-trip back, our hero tries to show him that dinos and bugs can get along....Which causes the scene where he shows him by sweeping up a field of pretty fireflies, to suddenly make more sense in the story. 

But the original director had no idea how to make a satisfying third act, so they changed directors with less than a year of prodcution left to go, and winged it.

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This documentary takes you through Tim Jennison's (sp?) journey to illustrate his theory of how the great Dutch painter Vermeer created his incredible paintings using complex optical devices.

 

OK so as an art restorer I'm sure this movie touched me more deeply than the average person.

So what did you think of Girl With a Pearl Earring?
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Last night, Scarlet Street (1945). I had watched about the first 40 minutes the previous time it aired on TCM and hung around all the way to the end this time around. After a complete viewing, I kind of feel like I had seen the best part already. This is a film where I feel the resolution isn't nearly as good as the set-up. And since it's impossible to discuss the merits of the resolution without getting into specifics, be forewarned that Spoiler Alerts abound below!

 

For a good portion of its running time, I feel Scarlet Street is really a great, gritty, remorseless Langian noir. The absolute lack of empathy and sheer screwed-up-edness of Joan Bennett's character is the most shocking thing about the film. Particularly jolting is the scene where she tells Dan Dureya she can't stand for Edward G. Robinson to touch her: "If he would get mad at me or bawl me out or something, I would like it better!" Here is a character who responds not at all to adoration or gentle affection or devotion but only to abuse and mistreatment coupled with a little hot physical action. Wow. And when she's in bed, excitedly telling her ex-roommate that she thinks Duryea has just broken into her apartment and eagerly awaits getting smacked around a little, I mean, holy crap. She's so pathetic, I ended up having mixed feelings about what happened to her. On the one hand, she's so awful to Robinson the whole movie, you sort of feel she had it coming. On the other, she's clearly not entirely responsible for actions, in desperate need of therapy. It's a tour de force performance from Bennett, who, though the "May" in the May-December faux romance between her and Robinson, was no kid when she made this movie - 35 - but still sexy as heck. Looking at her imdb page, I see she was on a run of dark fare in the mid-to-late 40s: this film, The Woman in the WindowThe Macomber AffairSecret Beyond the Door, The Woman on the Beach, The Reckless Moment, then her career took a dramatic left turn with Father of the Bride,and lighter material became the order of the day. I don't know if it was her decision or Hollywood's that maybe at the age of 40, it was time to leave behind the femme fatale and tortured wife roles.

 

Michael Feinstein noted in his intro the film was banned in three major cities despite being cleared by the production code (and we'll talk about that in just a second), and it's easy to see why. We have a married man setting up a single woman in a studio apartment to which he has a key. We have domestic violence and a victim that seems to enjoy it. We have Duryea not particularly concerned that Bennett is often the target of lustful men, even encourages her to encourage them, which may be a very subtle implication that they're supposed to be pimp and prostitute. We clearly have implied sex out of wedlock going on between Dureya and Bennett in the scene where he's lying in the floor and she emerges from the bathroom in a robe.  We have a seeming paragon of law and order faking his own death and reemerging as a pathetic drunken blackmailer. Because of the faked death, we have either a bigamy situation or two characters who have been living together in sin since one of them was actually still married. We even have a murderer get away with his crime, and at the end of the film, he's neither dead nor in jail, which appears to be in direct violation of the Code. So much depravity!

 

So, how on earth did this thing ever get approved? I assume with some heavy-handed moralizing and two lines of dialogue in particular: one in which the reporter on the train tells Robinson, "No one ever really gets away with murder" because of the guilt, and the other when one cop tells another that Robinson has repeatedly confessed his guilt (which no one believes) and has demanded to be tried and executed. Lang and Co. sold to the Hays Office the idea that the personal hell Robinson creates for himself is the moral equivalent of either being punished or killed, and son of a gun if they didn't buy it.

 

Personally, I found this ending to be rather drawn out and overly simplistic, which is a shame, because I thoroughly enjoyed the first two-thirds of the movie. I thought, boom, we've a great, sharp ending where it appears Robinson has hanged himself, but no, two good samaritans rescue him, and the film drags out another 10 minutes longer than necessary, in my opinion.

 

Only one plot point really bugged me: Dureya and Bennett really should have arranged another place for their various rendevouz rather than trying to hook up all the time in her apartment where Robinson with his key was endlessly walking in on them. They struck me as much smarter than that to keep doing something so stupid. Didn't Duryea have a place?

 

 

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Ice Age: Collision Course- This is the fifth installment in the "Ice Age" franchise, and I must say, I was not disappointed. Keep in mind, I was 6 years old when the first Ice Age film came out, and it quickly became one of my favorite films. I watched it over and over with my brother, as it appealed to me for some reason. When the trailer was first released for this fifth film, I was apprehensive, since it seemed rather unnecessary, and I didn't quite know what to expect. 

 

Obviously, these films aren't masterpieces in the true sense of the word, but this was an entertaining movie, and didn't drag on in some scenes (*cough cough Finding Dory*) and is good for kids and their families. 

 

Score: 3.5/5. 

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Sewhite, it seems you may be overestimating Joan's character. She's a low-life in love with another low-life, and she's working Eddie for money. Someone like that is not expected to have much empathy. So no surprise she is bereft of "devotion, gentle affection," or "adoration." She's no girl next door.

 

I believe she said (the phone call in bed) that he threatens her but never does anything about it. We have reason to doubt that and leads to an uncomfortable conclusion that she may like that sort of treatment once in awhile.

 

It's charitable of you to suggest that she may not be responsible to her own actions. That might be true in the shrink's office talking about it, but I wouldn't factor that in with regard to the movie, i.e., I feel the story wants me to feel she is absolutely responsible for her actions.

 

Interesting point as to whether we should feel she had it coming. I don't think I get too wrapped in the characters in a movie like this. The players are not real flesh and blood in a manner of speaking, since they are so determined by the conventions of noir, etc, they seem a bit more like types or examples of the kind of people who do what they do because they are so subject to the the trappings of noir. But only to a limit. I felt sorry for Chris, the old fool falling for a young thing while not seeing through her.

 

You bring up a great point with the scene in the train. It's seems obvious that the Code felt that he was suffering enough, which was the point. But I thought it was plain obvious in itself, and didn't recall the scene in the train. That was pretty good with Chris trying to shake it off. A good scene for the plot but aimed directly at Hayes. Lang was crafty in getting that through.

 

I fear that the ending with the hanging might have been a little abrupt. But aside from that, those last 10 minutes were quite rewarding. We get to see that portrait being dangled right in front of his face, an extraordinary moment.  (I've always wish the music there were a bit more demonstrative. I wanted that milked a little). And the torment---with this ending---was given a sense of duration that adds to the poignancy of the suffering. Hanging in that room was too easy an out anyway. (Oh, laffite...)

 

That portrait was my avatar for quite awhile (though I am a monsieur).

 

Sewhite, though we are apart (in some respects) opinion-wise, I appreciate your nicely written post.

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