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45 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

The Italian Connection (La mala ordina ) (1972) Two American mob hitmen Henry Silva and Woody Strode, are sent to Milan to kill a Mafia pimp Mario Adorf who is suspected of stealing a portion of a heroin shipment. It's actually Milan Mafia Boss Adolfo Celi (Largo in Thunderball) who did it. Watchable but nothing special, 6-7/10

That's one of those Italian-made flicks that used to show up in various edits and with differing covers under a variety of titles. I've seen copies with the above title, as well as Black KingpinManhunt in MilanMan HuntHit Men, and Hired to Kill.

Another one like that is Crime Boss (1972) with Telly Savalas, which I've also seen as New Mafia BossSicilian Boss, and The Mafia Terminator.

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Here in Los Angeles, the local PBS station, KCET, has been showing classic movies on Friday nights.  This week I watched  "St. Martin's Lane," with Charles Laughton and Vivien Leigh, made just before GWTW.

This was a wonderful British movie with terrific, heartbreaking performances by Laughton and Leigh.  The story concerns a group of  London street performers, or buskers, who make their existence by entertaining the crowds waiting in the West End Theater district.  Also in the movie is a  young, and very thin, Rex Harrison.

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, johnpressman said:

Here in Los Angeles, the local PBS station, KCET, has been showing classic movies on Friday nights.  This week I watched  "St. Martin's Lane," with Charles Laughton and Vivien Leigh, made just before GWTW.

This was a wonderful British movie with terrific, heartbreaking performances by Laughton and Leigh.  The story concerns a group of  London street performers, or buskers, who make their existence by entertaining the crowds waiting in the West End Theater district.  Also in the movie is a  young, and very thin, Rex Harrison.

 

 

 

 

The film is also known as Sidewalks of London. A cockney accented Laughton is wonderful and a pre-Scarlett Vivien Leigh is luminous in her role. She has potential "star" written all over her in this film.

I agree, John. It's a lovely film, particularly rich in atmosphere in those street scenes depicting the buskers.

St. Martin's Lane/Sidewalks of London will be an unexpected treat for those who have never heard of this little film.

image-w1280.jpg?1445873926

55a20f0ecc7b4ce6dfad0096b9d575d2--vivien

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Last night I watched( for an umpteenth time) DONOVAN'S BRAIN and was again reminded of something.....

I can't recall exactly when, but it was when I was very young I remember seeing a show on TV that had a similar premise.  Instead of just the brain floating in a tank, the brain was in the tank but an optic nerve with an eye still attached was what was floating on top.  And it was of some rich guy and I can recall he too, was a cruel dude and a scene in which his now liberated wife walks in taking great joy in taunting the remains by wearing an expensive mink coat, which her tight-fisted emotionally abusive husband would never let her spend precious money on, and she was smoking a cigarette, which the husband also forbid, and she took great enjoyment in blowing smoke in his floating eye.  And the oscilloscope  was "waving" like crazy, indicating great anger.

I don't think it was a movie, because I remembering it having what I call a "dry" look, like it was either a live presentation like PLAYHOUSE 90 or something in that vein, or recorded by some other video recording method.  Like the electronicam  used for THE HONEYMOONERS television show.

Anybody else recall ever seeing this?

Sepiatone

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4 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Anybody else recall ever seeing this?

Sepiatone

That sounds really familiar, and I'm sure I've seen it. It sounds something like an episode of The Outer Limits, but the brain was of a military man, and it didn't have that kinescope/videotape look. I was thinking maybe Tales of Tomorrow, but I didn't find a synopsis that fit. I'll keep thinking on it. Let me know if you figure it out.

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Out of the closet, off the screen: The life of William Haines 7/10

Made in 2001, this documentary somewhat shows its age, still talking about "closeted Hollywood". How could they know that 15 years later gay men and women would openly serve in the military and be able to marry legally in all 50 states.

But you can't know the future when you are talking about the past. This documentary is good because it is the only one I know of that talks about the complete life of silent and early talkie star William Haines from his birth at literally the turn of the century in Virginia to a well to do family until his death.

"Billy", as he is called throughout the documentary, was very athletic, but from an early age preferred his mother's craft - interior decoration, even redecorating his own room at home. Then at age 14 he discovers his sexuality and runs away from home. The documentary follows his dance hall days in Hopewell, his partying days in New York, discovery by a Fox Studios agent in 1922 and moving to Hollywood, and goes all through not only his acting career, but his stark refusal to Louis B. Mayer's command in 1933 to get married - just for a year - and send his  lover of seven years, Jimmy Shields, to Europe for that year so that the studio could have something to point to that would disprove all of the rumors of his homosexuality. It must have been tempting...just one year in return for his acting career. But he said no and was fired on the spot.

With the help of long time friend Joan Crawford - they were friends for a lifetime - William Haines transformed himself into the interior decorator of the stars. First he did Crawford's house, then Carole Lombard's for free just for the publicity, and it worked. Until his death, Haines was sought out by wealthy people throughout the nation. Seven years after his death his design company was commissioned by Nancy Reagan to redecorate the White House. Oh the irony.

Haines died of lung cancer in 1973. Jimmy Shields, too heartbroken to go on after what amounted to a 47 year marriage, killed himself shortly thereafter. Haines' life story should have been transformed into a biography/love story film long ago.

What I didn't like? The presence of Christina Crawford as the main authority on what went on between William Haines and Crawford. Well, she WAS there, but the "Mommie Dearest" vibe is just too strong to ignore. The documentary also does get some things wrong. Haines was not demoted in talking pictures at MGM because of increasing rumors of his sexuality. Instead, like Johnny Mack Brown, Haines' voice did not quite match what people expected to hear from their once silent stars. Actually, Clark Gable replaced Johnny Mack Brown, not Haines, and it was Robert Montgomery, not even mentioned in the film, a star that had no film history prior to sound,  who was slowly replacing Haines in major motion pictures at MGM. Also, how did Haines get from Fox to MGM? That isn't mentioned.

As for the Great Depression starting the enforcement of a morality code in Hollywood - wrong again. There was a show of stepped up enforcement, but no real enforcement of any production code came in until 1934, after Haines was already out of films. You can find gay images in Hollywood all of the way into 1934 as a result.

I'd give this nine stars for at least saying more about this unfairly forgotten star of the 20s and 30s than any other documentary I've seen. I'd knock off a couple from those nine for the inaccuracies and a couple of important details just left out. Did you know that Joan Crawford proposed marriage to William Haines to help cover for him? He graciously declined because he said such marriages on paper never work if both parties are after the same men.

Of course the biggest shocker for me is that AMC hosted and aired this film back in 2001. Today nobody who works there probably even knows who Joan Crawford is, much less William Haines. They are too busy with the walking dead, who, by now, have walked so far for so long it should be The Marathoning Dead. I don't recommend AMC, but I do recommend this documentary.

source: youtube

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The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie (1976) Cassavetes' Jazz Noir

 poster%2B01.jpg
 
Until I saw Mikey And Nicky a few weeks ago, I honestly have never been that big a fan of John Cassavetes as an actor. He was always a bit too intense, wound a bit too tight, reminding me a demented Jerry Lewis hopped up on steroids.

He got older.  And with age he slowed down a bit making him more world weary and more believable to me as an actor. I haven't seen much of his directed material either. A few Johnny Staccato's which weren't bad, the horribly boring (to my tastes anyway) Too Late Blues, and Gloria which I liked, and now The Killing Of a Chinese Bookie which I loved. 

There are two versions of Chinese Bookie out there. The initial 135 minute release which tanked at the box office. The re-edit by Cassavetes clocked in at 108 minutes. The re-edit trims a lot of Gazzara's expositional explorations of Cosmo's character. It also adds an extra sequence at The Top Sider gambling club, where a uppity doctor and his gambleholic wife are getting threatened by the gangsters. A lot of "Mr. Sophistication and his De Lovelies" routines are trimmed or cut also. The longer version immerses you more into Cosmo's world, it's Cassavetes riff on Noir. 8/10  Full review with some screencaps from the Criterion DVD in Film Noir/Gangster.

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5 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Last night I watched( for an umpteenth time) DONOVAN'S BRAIN and was again reminded of something.....

I can't recall exactly when, but it was when I was very young I remember seeing a show on TV that had a similar premise.  Instead of just the brain floating in a tank, the brain was in the tank but an optic nerve with an eye still attached was what was floating on top.  And it was of some rich guy and I can recall he too, was a cruel dude and a scene in which his now liberated wife walks in taking great joy in taunting the remains by wearing an expensive mink coat, which her tight-fisted emotionally abusive husband would never let her spend precious money on, and she was smoking a cigarette, which the husband also forbid, and she took great enjoyment in blowing smoke in his floating eye.  And the oscilloscope  was "waving" like crazy, indicating great anger.

I don't think it was a movie, because I remembering it having what I call a "dry" look, like it was either a live presentation like PLAYHOUSE 90 or something in that vein, or recorded by some other video recording method.  Like the electronicam  used for THE HONEYMOONERS television show.

Anybody else recall ever seeing this?

Sepiatone

I remember this but I too cannot come up with the program. I seem to think that it was on a weekly half-hour show. I think it was based on a story by Roald Dahl.

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26 minutes ago, laffite said:

I remember this but I too cannot come up with the program. I seem to think that it was on a weekly half-hour show. I think it was based on a story by Roald Dahl.

I found it:

The title is "William and Mary" by Roald Dahl, on Tales of the Unexpected (ca 1980).

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Well, that appears to be the story, but not the broadcast.  Doing some digging, it's first adaptation was done a couple of years after it was written, on a short-lived TV show called WAY OUT in 1961.  The series only lasted one season.  And thanks for getting that info to me, and I can now look up to see if I can get it burned for me by someone with the equipment and know-how.  :)

Sepiatone

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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) -- viewed on CinemaxMPW-42739

 

I had always heard that this remake of the 1946 classic film noir did not add up to much, that it added graphic sex scenes, but was just a pale imitation of the original. Well, now, as of today's showing on Cinemax, I can say that this statement is unfounded in reality. True, the 1946 classic is still the better film with its taut pacing, moody black-and-white photography and career-best work from John Garfield and Lana Turner. But this 1981 version is a more than satisfying film. 

Indeed, while the much ballyhooed sex scenes just seem excessive, the ending leaves out the ironic twist that gave the story its title, and a scene with Anjelica Huston as a lion trainer seems out of place this is still a sturdy textbook example of a worthy early-80s film, treated badly at the time, that appears much stronger and finely wrought today, daring and fascinating in a time where too many new blockbusters seem pallid.  Jack Nicholson turns in fine work as the drifter drawn into an affair first and murder later. As the femme fatale, Jessica Lange is even better and has remarkable control in what was only her fourth film. It remains some of her best work in her prestigious career.  John Colicos also makes a strong impression as Lange's husband. the 1934 period detail is meticulously well-done and Sven Nykvist's luscious cinematography is ideal. And this  story still has its punch. It is about time for this film to be reappraised.

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"Krakatoa, East of Java" (1969)--Starring Maximilian Schell, Diane Baker, Brian Keith, and Sal Mineo.

This is the only disaster movie I can think of that was made in Cinerama. Entertaining movie follows the disaster movie formula (take five or more characters with their own personal problems, introduce the viewer to them, set them all heading toward certain disaster, throw in plenty of Oscar nominated/winning special effects, mix well, and see who the script says survives).

The plot: On 1883 Krakatoa, two boys are looking through homemade telescopes at a smoking volcano. A nun rings a school-bell, and they are late to class. Once settled and singing a song, the volcano erupts. There is a flashback to a week ago (the film is never certain about timelines). Captain Hanson (Schell) is taking the Batavia Queen to Krakatoa in search of some sunken jewels. His already married friend Laura (Baker) joins him. Add diver/laudanum addict Connerly (Keith), plus balloonist Borghese (Mineo), and the movie's ready to go.

The actors have the sense to keep out of the way of the special effects, which is what the filmmakers assumed people wanted to see. Whenever the plot slows down or comes to a halt, the director throws in a volcano eruption or a clue as to what's going to happen (dead fish floating on the water, unexplained smoke outside, etc). These events baffle most of the characters.

When all hell finally does break loose, the special effects are excellent. There are a few obvious matte paintings and use of miniatures, but overall the special effects are damn near awe inspiring. The movie is long, but the special effects are worth waiting for. They were nominated for an Oscar, but lost to "Marooned".

Film is essentially a "B" movie, with "A" special effects. BTW, Krakatoa was west of Java. 2.9/4.

Source--YouTube. There are at least three versions on YT; watch the one that's two hours, eleven minutes long.

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Meeks Cutoff (2010)This film was a total snooooooooozzzzzzzzzeeeeeeeeefesssssssstttttttttttttttt, with an ambiguous ending. 

Here is my scenario for their next opus. A rancher gets up at the break of dawn, he heats up some coffee, fries some bacon and eggs, he gets the horses rigged up and attaches the wagon. He rides out towards town. 4 hours later  he hears a squeaky wheel. He stops gets some grease out of the grease bucket and greases the axle. He hops back on drives his team another 4 hours and finally gets to town. The end, another exciting tail of the true West. 

It's the real West, forget John Ford, Henry Hathaway, Budd Boetticher, etc., etc., directors who knew how to make exciting Westerns. This is the West as it probably actually was, boooooorrrrrinnnnnggg. 

Watch Westward The Women, Wagon Train, this revisionist stuff is getting same ol' same ol'. lol. It's only for complete Western junkie nutters who'll watch anything that will give that Western fix. 


*Note the real Meek did get the party of about 1000 pioneers to the Willamette Valley.  
 

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The Homesman (2014) It's a 7/10, way better than Meek's Cutoff, but still, all these overly touchy feely arty Westerns seem to be more what I'd call Wiminz Westerns. They just ain't the same animal, they got a different vibe to 'em, they still don't even compare to say a Wiminz Western from the Golden Age like Westward The Wiminz. they just got an off feel to them. Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, and John Lithgow.

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A rancher gets up at the break of dawn, he heats up some coffee,

So it's a day in the life of the guy from The Story of Film?

At least now we know he finally makes it to town.

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The Big Night, though nowhere near so good as the other two noirs Joseph Losey directed in 1951 (The Prowler and M), is still worth watching for noir fans. Too bad the budget didn't allow for the location shooting that Losey got for M. On his birthday a young man tries to avenge the savage beating his father receives at the hands of a sportswriter. John Drew Barrymore is pretty good as the young man (as one imdb reviewer notes, he looks a lot like Sean Penn), but I'd love to have seen what James Dean could do with the part.

Several members of the supporting cast deserve honorable mention in my 1951 acting honors, including Preston Foster, who has a couple of great scenes as the father; Howard St. John as the vicious sportswriter; Philip Bourneuf as Dr. Cooper; Dorothy Comingore as his wife (I like this much better than her work in Citizen Kane); and Joan Lorring as his sister. All the middle-aged men in the cast have great faces for noir.

Mauri Lynn, an African-American singer, also has a small but significant role in the film.

 

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On ‎5‎/‎22‎/‎2015 at 2:10 AM, speedracer5 said:

This thread is intended for people to share their thoughts on films that they recently saw.  I also made a counter thread "A Waste of Space on the DVR" for those films that were total duds.  This is not limited to films seen on TCM.

 

I just watched a few films:

 

Wabash Avenue.  I just saw this film with Betty Grable and Victor Mature.  I remember last summer, Dargo tried to get me to like Mature more.  While I did like him in I Wake Up Screaming, I can never see him as the supposed heartthrob that he was supposed to be.  Mature does absolutely nothing for me--lookswise.  I do like him as smarmy characters.  He seems to do smarmy well.  Betty Grable was beautiful as always and wore many costumes to show off her great legs.  This film was entertaining when I watched it, but is ultimately forgettable. 

 

The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  This was a great film.  While it was heavy on the CGI, it was a fun film with an interesting plot.   James Spader was great as the voice of the villain, Ultron.  The Avengers themselves were also fun, and I thought it was interesting how the filmmakers worked around Scarlett Johanssen's pregnancy (stunt doubles & CGI).  I also like that the group seems to be evolving and making room for two new Avengers: The Scarlet Witch (played very well by The Olsen Twins' sister, Elizabeth Olsen) and Falcon.  I look forward to the next film and the next superhero film in the Marvel franchise-- Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. 

 

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.  I recorded this film for Jean Arthur.  I'll have to admit right here that I've seen three Capra films: It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Arsenic and Old Lace.  My opinion of star Gary Cooper unfortunately is not that high.  He was awful in Love in the Afternoon.  I found him very dull and in Love in the Afternoon, director Billy Wilder would have been better off hiring a mannequin for Cooper's part.  In Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Cooper wasn't that bad, but I can't figure out WHY he was such a big star.  Maybe he was better in silent films.  Cooper just seems to have no pizzazz.  Perhaps if they had cast James Stewart or maybe even Cary Grant, it might have been more interesting.  I wanted to say Errol Flynn, but he might have had too much flair for the part of Longfellow Deeds.  I hate to say it, but I liked Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder's remake better! But I did love Jean Arthur in this film.  She never gives a bad performance in my opinion.

Think *Capra's 1936 "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (Columbia) a masterpiece though & on almost every level! I like Arthur a lot too. It won the 2nd NYFCC-(New York Film Critics Circle Award0-(est: 1935-) for Best Film * due to it winning BD *Oscar, that generally means that particular film was the runner-up to take the Best Picture *Academy Award. All-along *Capra meant for his even greater 1939 masterpiece "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (Columbia) to be a follow=up-up & again w/*Coop. "Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington"  For trivia buffs: Jean Arthur's one & only shot at an *Oscar was fore '43's "More the Merrier" Dietrich really looked down on her during shooting of 1948's "A Foreign Affair" though & was insulting

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On ‎11‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 5:08 PM, CinemaInternational said:

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) -- viewed on CinemaxMPW-42739

 

I had always heard that this remake of the 1946 classic film noir did not add up to much, that it added graphic sex scenes, but was just a pale imitation of the original. Well, now, as of today's showing on Cinemax, I can say that this statement is unfounded in reality. True, the 1946 classic is still the better film with its taut pacing, moody black-and-white photography and career-best work from John Garfield and Lana Turner. But this 1981 version is a more than satisfying film. 

Indeed, while the much ballyhooed sex scenes just seem excessive, the ending leaves out the ironic twist that gave the story its title, and a scene with Anjelica Huston as a lion trainer seems out of place this is still a sturdy textbook example of a worthy early-80s film, treated badly at the time, that appears much stronger and finely wrought today, daring and fascinating in a time where too many new blockbusters seem pallid.  Jack Nicholson turns in fine work as the drifter drawn into an affair first and murder later. As the femme fatale, Jessica Lange is even better and has remarkable control in what was only her fourth film. It remains some of her best work in her prestigious career.  John Colicos also makes a strong impression as Lange's husband. the 1934 period detail is meticulously well-done and Sven Nykvist's luscious cinematography is ideal. And this  story still has its punch. It is about time for this film to be reappraised.

AGREED! I think it's ok (**1/2) & with a look. & it really showed *Lange's first time acting-wise!

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On 11/23/2017 at 5:12 AM, spence said:

AGREED! I think it's ok (**1/2) & with a look. & it really showed *Lange's first time acting-wise!

Lange's first movie role was in the 1976 remake of KING KONG.  And subsequently, she's the only thing worth watching in that fiasco.

Sepiatone

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Bob le Flambeur (1956) Laissez les bons temps rouler

Poster.jpg

Bob is a player. A high roller. Born with an ace in his palm.

Montmartre, 18th arrondissement, Paris. Bob's " hood." Excon. Bank robbery. He's been a well known fixture for twenty some odd years since, among the denizens "de la nuit." He's even quite friendly with the police commissioner Ledru. It seems that long ago a criminal "the Stick" took a shot at him but Bob deflected his gun at the last moment, saving his life.

Bob's luck is about to change.....

The whole cast performs flawlessly, I was surprised that both Isabelle Corey and Roger Duchesne didn't continue to make more films. This was Duchesne's second to last film, and Corey was only active until 1961. Melville was just hitting his stride, his next film was Two Men In Manhattan. The gorgeous cinematography of the environs around Montmartre was by Henri Decaë, and the interesting score was by Eddie Barclay and Jo Boyer. This film was an influence for Jean-Luc Godard.

Watched the Criterion DVD. 8/10  Full review with screencaps here In Film Noir/Gangster pages.

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The Arrangement (1969)

Adman Kirk Douglas has a midlife crisis that results in him attempting suicide.  Deborah Kerr plays his wife, Faye Dunaway his mistress.

Horrible, horrible movie that gets one point for the porn-stache that Douglas wears before the suicide attempt.  Amazingly, a lot of reviewers praise this one simply because it's supposedly making deep comments about suburbia or something.  Apparently Elia Kazan saw The Swimmer and thought, "Let's make something with the same themes that's even more ****ed up!"

Terrible.

1/10, with that one point for the aforementioned mustache that has to be seen to be believed.

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40 minutes ago, Fedya said:

The Arrangement (1969)

Adman Kirk Douglas has a midlife crisis that results in him attempting suicide.  Deborah Kerr plays his wife, Faye Dunaway his mistress.

Horrible, horrible movie that gets one point for the porn-stache that Douglas wears before the suicide attempt.

Terrific novel. I read it 3 times and everyone to whom I recommended it were transfixed by it as well. This was back in the mid 60's to mid 70's.

Horrible, horrible miscasting of the Eddie Anderson character utterly ruined the movie. Kirk Douglas was abysmally wrong for it.

If Jason Robards Jr. had been cast in that role, the movie could have been almost as good as the novel. Never doubt that the right casting for the right part can make all the difference in the world.

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Thunder Bay (1953) - Cornball adventure story about clashing industries, with manly men and the women who love them, from Universal and director Anthony Mann. James Stewart stars as Steve Martin (!!!), a broke oil wildcatter who arrives in the Louisiana fishing village of Port Felicity. He and his best bud Gambi (Dan Duryea) want to build the first off-shore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and they convince rich company man Jay C. Flippin to finance it. They run into trouble with the local fishermen, led by a swaggering Gilbert Roland, who resent the damage the oilmen are doing to the already fragile shrimp beds. Fisherman's daughter Joanne Dru also dislikes the outsiders, due to her bad experience spending "3 years in Chicago". But Steve Martin won't let some dumb yokels stop him from getting the oil, of which "there's enough to lubricate the universe!". Also featuring Marcia Henderson, Robert Monet, Antonio Moreno, and Harry Morgan.

At times this seems sponsored by Exxon-Mobil or some other oil company, with the pro-oil exploration rhetoric laid on thick, usually by Stewart during lengthy, righteous speeches. Duryea tries to liven things up as his devil-may-care friend, but he often seems to be trying too hard. Both Dru and Henderson, as poor fisherman's daughters, always appear in thick garish make-up, standard for the 1950's working woman who spends all day trawling for shrimp. Roland seems about as Cajun as he does Swedish, and his outfit is almost as silly as the women's makeup. Flippin is good as the helpful financier and former wildcatter. This was the last of the Mann-Stewart collaborations that I hadn't seen, and now I know why it's seldom shown.   (5/10)

Source: TCM HD. I noticed as the film began that after the credits, the image zoomed in a slight bit. This didn't disrupt too much of the picture, although there's one scene when we're supposed to see a fuse burning down toward some dynamite, and the fuse isn't visible due to the zoom. While this was filmed in the 1:37 aspect ratio, Universal made this their first "widescreen" release, and cropped the image to a 1:85 AR. I'm not sure what TCM showed, but it may have been the theatrical 1:85, while the uncropped original may have been released on VHS (if this ever was). Either way, the color is starting to bleed and smear, so a restoration is in order.

f1c100c536d5a38e5006a82edecc562d--magazi

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