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5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Night World (1932) - Pre-Code oddity starring Lew Ayres as an angry drunk upset over his mom (Hedda Hopper) killing his dad. He drowns his sorrows in Boris Karloff's swinging nightclub, where Mae Clarke is a dancer getting hit on by George Raft, that is when she's not participating in Busby Berkeley dance numbers. Ayres knocks out Raft with a single punch. Yeah, right.    (6/10) 

Source: YouTube. 

Now I'm gonna have to check this out...Boris Karloff owning a swinging nightclub?  Night stick, I could see, but...

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"Kwaidan" (1965)--Directed by Masaki Kobayashi.

Japanese anthology horror film has four stories. The first story is "The Black Hair". A man divorces his poverty stricken, beautiful wife to get another wife with higher social status, not to mention income. He thinks doing this will end all his problems. He's wrong. The second story is "The Woman In The Snow". A man witnesses the killing of his friend by a ghost, but survives himself. The third story is "Hoichi the Earless". The story of two clans who have declared war on each other is told. Several hundred years later, a blind boy is summoned to play and sing for the ghosts of the losers. The last story is "In A Cup Of Tea". A samurai is frightened by the reflection of a ghost in his tea.

The first three stories are the most effective, although the third story is overlong, it still works. The fourth story feels rushed and a bit like a Hammer horror entry, although the last shots and narration of the last two-three minutes works well.

The film has a beautiful opening credits sequence, and the entire film has fantastic cinematography by Yoshio Miyajima. The third tale is in particular well photographed, with suggestions of a Kabuki play, live action, and a version of anime (sp?) all mixed together. One of the links between all four tales is eyes, real or unreal, watching the characters. The very effective, atonal score is by Toru Takemitsu.

The movie was nominated for Best Foreign Film of 1965. A trailer I saw for the film on YouTube boasted that the film has cost 350 million yen. I Googled that; according to Google, that's over three million U.S. dollars. Every cent of that is visible onscreen. Film should have gotten a nomination for Best Photography also.

The film is too long, and the last sequence is rushed, but these are minor flaws. TCM really dropped the ball by not showing this film. 3.5/4.

Source--archive.org. The print I saw was a beautiful UK copy.

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Life (2017) - Science fiction creature feature B-movie with an A-List cast and production values. A 6-person crew aboard the International Space Station conduct experiments on newly-acquired Martian soil samples, in which they discover a hibernating single-celled organism that begins to grow and mutate once exposed to air. The thing, with the rather non-intimidating name of Calvin, resembles a dog-sized squid, but it makes short work of anyone who encounters it, so the surviving astronauts have to find a way to destroy it and keep it from reaching Earth. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya.

This has top-shelf effects, but it would have been more enjoyable if it had embraced its 50's monster movie roots and had fun with the concept, rather than too often sliding into ponderous self-seriousness. There are some excellently executed suspense scenes, but not enough to put this into "must-see" territory. The ending raises it up a point in my estimation, though.   (7/10)

Source: DVD.

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One Way Passage (1932) - Very good romantic comedy with a dark edge. William Powell is a convicted and condemned fugitive being escorted by cop Warren Hymer from Hong Kong to San Francisco via passenger ship. Also on board is Kay Francis, who meets Powell and falls for him without knowing his secret. Also on the ship are perpetually drunk thief Frank McHugh and con artist Aline MacMahon, who both do what they can to get Powell and Francis together without divulging his fugitive status. But Francis has a secret of her own that complicates things even more.

This is enjoyable fluff for the most part, featuring some terrific supporting performances from the always reliable MacMahon, McHugh, and Hymer. Powell and Francis also have great screen chemistry. What makes the movie even better is the way it manages to weave in some saddening touches without the film becoming maudlin or causing any jarring tonal shifts. The very ending was also a tremendous touch. This won an Oscar for Best Original Story. Recommended.   (8/10)

Source: TCM.

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One Way Passage is a very touching and well-acted film.  I like all of the cast which is headed by the wonderful Kay Francis and William Powell.  You will find it interesting and haunting. 

My rating is 9 out of 10.

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The Penguin Pool Murder (1932) - First in the series of comedic mysteries starring Edna May Oliver as schoolteacher and amateur sleuth Hildegarde Withers. While escorting a class field trip to the aquarium, a body is found in the penguin exhibit. Withers forces herself into the investigation led by police inspector James Gleason. The suspects include Mae Clarke, Donald Cook, and Robert Armstrong. Also with Edgar Kennedy and Gustav von Seyffertitz.

The mystery elements are fairly routine, but the appeal here rests with the performers, and if you like their style, you'll enjoy the movie, as I did.   (7/10)

Source: YouTube, in 5 parts and with awful sound. I should have taped this when TCM showed them all.

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15 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

One Way Passage (1932) - Very good romantic comedy with a dark edge. William Powell is a convicted and condemned fugitive being escorted by cop Warren Hymer from Hong Kong to San Francisco via passenger ship. Also on board is Kay Francis, who meets Powell and falls for him without knowing his secret. Also on the ship are perpetually drunk thief Frank McHugh and con artist Aline MacMahon, who both do what they can to get Powell and Francis together without divulging his fugitive status. But Francis has a secret of her own that complicates things even more.

This is enjoyable fluff for the most part, featuring some terrific supporting performances from the always reliable MacMahon, McHugh, and Hymer. Powell and Francis also have great screen chemistry. What makes the movie even better is the way it manages to weave in some saddening touches without the film becoming maudlin or causing any jarring tonal shifts. The very ending was also a tremendous touch. This won an Oscar for Best Original Story. Recommended.   (8/10)

Source: TCM.

One Way Passage is a fine example of the Warner Bros. studio system.    WB signed Powell and Francis in 1932, and character actors MacMahon and McHugh were already under contract.   A very balanced film that makes the most of its 68 minutes.    Powell and Francis did have great screen chemistry and were featured together in many films.   Of course Powell had great screen chemistry with other leading ladies like Loy,  being a very charming gent  (but one men could appreciated as well as women). 

One of my pre-code favorites.  

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The Old Dark House (1932) - Terrific darkly humorous horror story. On a dark and stormy night, several travelers (including Melvyn Douglas, Gloria Stuart, Raymond Massey, Charles Laughton, and Lilian Bond) are forced to seek shelter in a forbidding stone mansion in the middle of nowhere. The residents of the house turn out to be the Femm family, a twisted group of weirdos and malcontents including Ernest Thesiger, Eva Moore, Elspeth Dudgeon, Brember Wills, and scarred mute butler Boris Karloff. 

This was a rewatch, as I just received the new Blu Ray restoration from the Cohen Collection (the picture and sound are outstanding, and a distinct improvement over the old Kino edition). The amazing collection of screen talent is not wasted, although Laughton is a bit more reigned in than usual. I love Thesiger and Moore as the most prominent members of the Femm family, and Wills is great in his short role as the brother locked in the attic. Director James Whale brings a great sense of atmosphere with the camera set-ups, shadowplay, and production design. 

One thing I realized this time was that this movie is the spiritual predecessor to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and all of the other "travelers run into rural wackos" horror and suspense movies.   (8/10)

Source: Blu Ray. 

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16 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

One Way Passage (1932) - Very good romantic comedy with a dark edge. William Powell is a convicted and condemned fugitive being escorted by cop Warren Hymer from Hong Kong to San Francisco via passenger ship. Also on board is Kay Francis, who meets Powell and falls for him without knowing his secret. Also on the ship are perpetually drunk thief Frank McHugh and con artist Aline MacMahon, who both do what they can to get Powell and Francis together without divulging his fugitive status. But Francis has a secret of her own that complicates things even more.

This is enjoyable fluff for the most part, featuring some terrific supporting performances from the always reliable MacMahon, McHugh, and Hymer. Powell and Francis also have great screen chemistry. What makes the movie even better is the way it manages to weave in some saddening touches without the film becoming maudlin or causing any jarring tonal shifts. The very ending was also a tremendous touch. This won an Oscar for Best Original Story. Recommended.   (8/10)

Source: TCM.

 

Sadly for Kay, Powell left WB shortly after for MGM and she never had a great leading man again. Working mostly with George Brent, Ian Hunter or other WB contractees.......

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30 minutes ago, Hibi said:

 

Sadly for Kay, Powell left WB shortly after for MGM and she never had a great leading man again. Working mostly with George Brent, Ian Hunter or other WB contractees.......

Very true.   Kay's screen persona didn't really match up well with the WB's main male stars of the 30s,  Cagney, E.G. Robinson,  George Raft or Errol Flynn (for late 30s,  and Kay wasn't a period\adventure movie type actress anyhow).

Powell was her perfect co-star for sophisticated stylist urban films. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Hibi said:

 

Sadly for Kay, Powell left WB shortly after for MGM and she never had a great leading man again. Working mostly with George Brent, Ian Hunter or other WB contractees.......

Actually, Kay did work with a great leading man, Errol Flynn. It's just that they had zero rapport in a not very good film. She and Powell were a good team, no doubt, not only in One Way Passage but in a witty crime film, Jewel Robbery, as well.

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10 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Actually, Kay did work with a great leading man, Errol Flynn. It's just that they had zero rapport in a not very good film. She and Powell were a good team, no doubt, not only in One Way Passage but in a witty crime film, Jewel Robbery, as well.

Kay also starred with Bogart in King of the Underworld but Hibi's overall point is solid.     But ya,  Another Dawn with Flynn isn't one of the better films in either of these stars film legacy.   

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51 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Actually, Kay did work with a great leading man, Errol Flynn. It's just that they had zero rapport in a not very good film. She and Powell were a good team, no doubt, not only in One Way Passage but in a witty crime film, Jewel Robbery, as well.

 

Yes, she did work with him once, but it wasnt a good vehicle for either of them. She did work once with Claude Rains as well, but it was mostly 2nd tier leading men after Powell.......

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43 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Kay also starred with Bogart in King of the Underworld but Hibi's overall point is solid.     But ya,  Another Dawn with Flynn isn't one of the better films in either of these stars film legacy.   

 

Yeah, but that was Kay's B movie period, so I dont really count that....

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The Phantom of Crestwood (1932) - Run-of-the-mill murder mystery that was made as a tie-in to a radio serial. Ricardo Cortez stars as a dubious detective trying to figure out who keeps killing people by sticking large darts into the back of their heads. The residents have all assembled at rich guy H.B. Warner's estate, and serial gold-digger Karen Morley is trying to blackmail a lot of them. But she's not the only one giving people a reason to want them dead... Also featuring Anita Louise, Skeets Gallagher, Gavin Gordon, Pauline Frederick, Mary Duncan, Sam Hardy, and George E. Stone.

There's not much to make this one stand out, besides the bizarre murder weapon, and Cortez's ill-defined backstory and group of (gangster?) buddies. I thought Morley was good.  (6/10)

Source: TCM.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

The Phantom of Crestwood (1932) - Run-of-the-mill murder mystery that was made as a tie-in to a radio serial. Ricardo Cortez stars as a dubious detective trying to figure out who keeps killing people by sticking large darts into the back of their heads. The residents have all assembled at rich guy H.B. Warner's estate, and serial gold-digger Karen Morley is trying to blackmail a lot of them. But she's not the only one giving people a reason to want them dead... Also featuring Anita Louise, Skeets Gallagher, Gavin Gordon, Pauline Frederick, Mary Duncan, Sam Hardy, and George E. Stone.

There's not much to make this one stand out, besides the bizarre murder weapon, and Cortez's ill-defined backstory and group of (gangster?) buddies. I thought Morley was good.  (6/10)

Source: TCM.

I don't  think Cortez was supposed to be a detective in this one, although he ends up solving the crime and looking like a hero. Agree about Morley - not only was she good in this, she was incredibly sexy.

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Just now, scsu1975 said:

I don't  think Cortez was supposed to be a detective in this one, although he ends up solving the crime and looking like a hero. Agree about Morley - not only was she good in this, she was incredibly sexy.

Yeah, I was a bit confused about what he was supposed to be up to. He says that he was hired to "get some papers" from the house, but that was about all I recall as a character description, other than having shady friends. I may have nodded off at an inopportune moment, though. 

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Poil de carotte (1932) - aka Carrot Top aka The Red Head, French drama from director Julien Duvivier about a dysfunctional family. Mother Catherine Fonteney dotes on her eldest son, tolerates her daughter, but treats her youngest son (Robert Lynen) with contempt, only referring to him as "poil de carotte". His father (Harry Baur) barely speaks to anyone, so the boy gets into mischief to alleviate his boredom and misery.

This is a good examination of a family dynamic in ruin, with the young (unwanted) boy trying to make it through the 2 months of summer break until he can return to the relative sanity of boarding school. Baur is very good, as always.   (8/10)

Source: FilmStruck.

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The Purchase Price (1932) - Uneven, borderline silly melodrama/romance starring Barbara Stanwyck as a torch singer who moves to Montreal to escape her past as bootlegger Lyle Talbot's gal pal. When he tracks her down, she goes on the lam again, this time as a mail-order bride for Canadian wheat farmer George Brent. The two hit a lot of rocky patches, but will love overcome all? Also featuring David Landau, Mae Busch, and Anne Shirley as a weird kid.

William Wellman directed, and there's a rowdy drunken party and a barroom brawl between Brent and Talbot, with Talbot getting punched in the face, so that's a plus. For some reason, a character turns the lights out for the fight - I guessed that it was an attempt to mask the stunt doubles, but the trivia I read claimed that the two actors really fought it out. For me, there was just something undercooked about the script, and things never really came together in a satisfactory way. Stanwyck does sing a song, though, which is unusual.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

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"The Scarlet Empress" (1934)--Starring Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Louise Dresser, and Sam Jaffe. Directed by Josef von Sternberg.

This fantastical vision of the life of Catherine the Great covers the time from when she was an obscure Austrian princess named Sophia whose mother (Olive Tell) is determined to match her with Russian royalty, to her eventual match to the crazy heir to the Russian throne, Grand Duke Peter (Jaffe), to her name change by Empress Elizabeth (Dresser), and beyond.

Dietrich goes from a dutiful daughter who lives in fear of her mothers' displeasure to a calculating young woman who knows how to play sexual politics to keep and improve her status, official and unofficial, at the Russian court. John Lodge, as Count Alexei, the Russian ambassador who comes to take Sophia and her mother to the Russian court, mainly provides a visual contrast between what she is told and what she actually gets. Dresser, as Empress Elizabeth, initially seems a sane, sympathetic figure, but turns out to be just as crazy as her son. As Grand Duke Peter, Jaffe is pitiable and terrifying at the same time.

The ravishing cinematography is by Bert Glennon (1932's "Blonde Venus", 1939's "Stagecoach, etc.). The eye-popping, oversized, (it takes six women just to open a door in the set of the Russian court), Byzantine sets and art direction was by Hans Dreier. The elaborate costumes were by Travis Banton. The music is by several composers, but I definitely heard some Tchaikovsky and Wagner in the film.

Von Sternberg described the film as "a relentless excursion into style". It wasn't what 1934 audiences wanted to see, and was a disastrous box-office flop. Unjustly, it received zero Academy Award nominations.

This is von Sternberg's best film he did with Marlene Dietrich (I haven't seen 1935's "The Devil Is A Woman"), or damn close. This is one of my finds for 2017. 3.8/4.

Source--archive.org, from a Criterion Collection dvd. Has Portuguese subtitles. Is archived as "A Imperatriz Vermelha". Will be the only result when searched for.

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I missed the first film, but really liked The Purchase Price.  As always, Barbara Stanwyck saves her earky film that is not as good as her later ones.  Her sincerity and earnest way of speaking gets the film's essence and main message across to viewers.  Also, George Brent is enjoyable in most of his films.   Here he has good chemistry with Stanwyck.

I had not seen the film for awhile and had forgotten Anne Shirley's portrayal as the weird kid.  But I did recall Barbara's song, which is unusual in her films.  Though the lack of stunt doubles may have posed a problem in the film, it survived somehow.

An interesting footnote is the fact that the book was very different from the film. It takes place during the Revolutionary War days and features a young woman who is being sold as a "Purchase Price" to a soldier.  My mother had read the book some years ago and spoke of another story it contained.  She said the soldier and the young woman had a falling out,  and she resented him having charge of her.  I can well imagine Stanwyck enacting that role as well!  Anyway, I was going to see if I can locate the book online.  It would be interestng to read, though a very different story.

 

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2 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

I don't  think Cortez was supposed to be a detective in this one, although he ends up solving the crime and looking like a hero. Agree about Morley - not only was she good in this, she was incredibly sexy.

I saw this on TV one time.  I really liked Karen Morley and Anita Louise in their roles.  Lovely Karen was very attractive and talented in every role.  It was a classy murder mystery, and the handsome Ricardo Cortez solves the crime.   My dad spoke of the story being on radio.   He had enjoyed the building suspense and the ultimate denouement of the story.  One can well picture the motive for the murder.  A lot of action packed into a little over an hour.                                                                                                                                                         

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19 minutes ago, film lover 293 said:

"The Scarlet Empress" (1934)--Starring Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Louise Dresser, and Sam Jaffe. Directed by Josef von Sternberg.

This fantastical vision of the life of Catherine the Great covers the time from when she was an obscure Austrian princess named Sophia whose mother (Olive Tell) is determined to match her with Russian royalty, to her eventual match to the crazy heir to the Russian throne, Grand Duke Peter (Jaffe), to her name change by Empress Elizabeth (Dresser), and beyond.

Dietrich goes from a dutiful daughter who lives in fear of her mothers' displeasure to a calculating young woman who knows how to play sexual politics to keep and improve her status, official and unofficial, at the Russian court. John Lodge, as Count Alexei, the Russian ambassador who comes to take Sophia and her mother to the Russian court, mainly provides a visual contrast between what she is told and what she actually gets. Dresser, as Empress Elizabeth, initially seems a sane, sympathetic figure, but turns out to be just as crazy as her son. As Grand Duke Peter, Jaffe is pitiable and terrifying at the same time.

The ravishing cinematography is by Bert Glennon (1932's "Blonde Venus", 1939's "Stagecoach, etc.). The eye-popping, oversized, (it takes six women just to open a door in the set of the Russian court), Byzantine sets and art direction was by Hans Dreier. The elaborate costumes were by Travis Banton. The music is by several composers, but I definitely heard some Tchaikovsky and Wagner in the film.

Von Sternberg described the film as "a relentless excursion into style". It wasn't what 1934 audiences wanted to see, and was a disastrous box-office flop. Unjustly, it received zero Academy Award nominations.

This is von Sternberg's best film he did with Marlene Dietrich (I haven't seen 1935's "The Devil Is A Woman"), or damn close. This is one of my finds for 2017. 3.8/4.

Source--archive.org, from a Criterion Collection dvd. Has Portuguese subtitles. Is archived as "A Imperatriz Vermelha". Will be the only result when searched for.

I was really very interested in The Scarlet Empress which I had once taped from AMC.  Marlene is brilliant as the dutiful daughter who marries the Grand Duke without meeting him, per her mother's plan to have her daughter marry into a royal family.  In addition, the Duke's mother (Louise Dresser) is very controlling with her son and plots to have him marry this innocent girl who is not aware of his real nature.

THe Duke's ambassador, (John Lodge),  takes Sophia (Dietrich) and her mother to the court to meet the Grand Duke's mother (Louise Dresser) and her son, (Sam Jaffe).  Along the way, we see that Sophia is falling for the ambassador, but promises to comply with both mothers' wishes and marry the Grand Duke Peter.  Yes, Sam Jaffe is terrifying and pitiable, at the same time.  She soon finds him extremely childish, cutting out paper dolls and  ignoring much of his mother's advice regarding his upcoming marriage.  He can soon be heard whispering that "he hates his wife".

A shocking situation causes Sophia's heart to be broken by John Lodge and Peter's mother.  By chance, she finds that he is having a secret affair with Peter's mother..  This causes Sophia to be transformed into a wanton woman who does not care  for him or anyone else.   (He does not know that she is aware of his secret rendezvous with the duchess and is puzzled by the "innocent" girl's behavior in retaliation).  She refuses to see him as well.

This is a highly underrated film and I agree that von Sternberg did a marvelous job on the sets, the cast, and all of the action.  I have not seen the restored version from Criterion on DVD yet, but I am sure it is a sumptuous and entertaining masterpiece of the story  I had seen several years ago.

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, MCannady1 said:

I saw this on TV one time.  I really liked Karen Morley and Anita Louise in their roles.  Lovely Karen was very attractive and talented in every role.  It was a classy murder mystery, and the handsome Ricardo Cortez solves the crime.   My dad spoke of the story being on radio.   He had enjoyed the building suspense and the ultimate denouement of the story.  One can well picture the motive for the murder.  A lot of action packed into a little over an hour.                                                                                                                                                         

The interesting part was how the radio serial had no ending. Listeners were invited to submit their own endings, and NBC, who broadcast the radio show, and RKO, that later made the film, would pay a cash prize. However, as the announcer at the beginning of the film indicated, RKO was in no way guaranteeing that the winning submission would be used for the film(the script most likely was written before the contest ended). But if radio listeners wanted to know how the story ended, they had to go see the film. An interesting early example of cross-medium promotion.

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