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39 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Give Me a Sailor (1938) -Raye steals most of the scenes by sheer volume. One plot twist, involving Raye inadvertently winning a "Most Beautiful Legs" contest, is doubly humorous in light of Grable's impending pin-up immortality.  (5/10)

 

While people never think of her that way, Martha Raye did have beautiful legs.

41368ef444db25f5bda4cb6c29e41f3d--martha

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Gold Is Where You Find It (1938) - Entertaining Technicolor western from Warner Brothers and director Michael Curtiz. It's 1870's California, and new gold mine superintendent Jared Whitney (George Brent) arrives at his new job up north. The use of hydraulic mining techniques has resulted in massive runoff and flooding of the wheat farms south of the mining areas. Wealthy rancher Colonel Ferris (Claude Rains) has rallied the local farmers together to take legal action against the mining companies. Things get complicated when Jared begins romancing Ferris's daughter Serena (Olivia de Havilland), and Jared has to decide between his loyalty to his bosses in San Francisco or to his new beloved and her rancher family. Also featuring Tim Holt, Margaret Lindsay, Sidney Toler, Barton MacLane, Harry Davenport, George "Gabby" Hayes, Clarence Kolb, John Litel, Marcia Ralston, Henry O'Neill, Robert McWade, Russell Simpson, Moroni Olsen, Granville Bates, and Willie Best.

Much like the same year's Jezebel, this seems more than a little influenced by the then-recent literary success of Gone with the Wind, with it's idealized view of olden days, heavy on the romance and family loyalty, and with a large cast of characters. My chief complaint with this film was that it could have been a good half hour longer to allow for more character development. I actually liked George Brent here ('38 was a good year for him). Tim Holt, as Olivia's callow brother, and Sidney Toler as the jovially corrupt gold mine owner, are both enjoyable. You know which side the audience is supposed to root for as soon as Barton MacLane shows up as a miner.  (7/10)

Source: TCM.

Gold+Is+Where+You+Find+It+Poster+3.jpeg

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My best movie buddy has been trying to open my mind a little by suggesting I watch a few "live" versions of classic movies. I couldn't resist trying out the new musical stage version of WAR OF THE WORLDS recorded in 2015.
war-of-the-worlds-musical11.jpg"

We all know the story, but this production tried to blend film, live action & a live concert all into an "experience".

The strongest aspect to me was the FILM portion. The story was narrated by a huge head (seen in the poster) which only the lips moved. The odd CGI aspects of the movie worked really well to give a nightmarish otherworldly feel to the story. Much of the images on the film are abstract collage, blurry and impressionistic. There's a lot of repeated symbolism so the movement pulls you through the story. I especially liked the setting as Victorian England, as that's the point of view of HG Wells writing. It makes the CGI "modern" invaders & techniques seem even more terrifying.

The music portion was OK. There was a definite blend of rock instruments and sound with orchestral classical music. The themes were extremely heavy handed and just went on & on. But for some, I bet the themes were "catchy" and enjoyable. I won't criticize the music too much.
I will however say that I thought much too much camera time was spent on the musicians, abruptly pulling you out of the story. I can HEAR the harp, the xylophone- I do not need to watch the person playing it. It's as if they thought the audience wouldn't know what "that sound" is, so they waste visual time on the person playing the instrument!
And film time on the conductor was really annoyingly distracting.

Then there was the occasional live singer, walking out to the edge of the stage, singing & walking away. Whaaa? I suppose it was nice having "live" vocal performances (like the music) but it was annoyingly distracting from the story. That said, Justin Hayward sang one of my all time favorite songs "Forever Autumn" just beautifully. That guy looks & sounds EXACTLY the same as he did 40 years ago. And all the singers were in handsome Victorian costumes.

The lighting was part of the show, and often the camera is in the back of the auditorium showing the image projection & intense spots aimed over the audience. I'm sure it added a lot to the atmosphere if you were sitting in the cheap seats...on a show recording, not so much.

There was an impressive prop on the stage of the alien invader machine too. But still overall, I think this production would have been much much better if the musicians remained hidden from the visual story, like the organist in silent films. Especially since the film portion was pretty excellent. 4d60c42a527a4fb6829e5d2b22b8acc6.jpg"

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15 hours ago, Hibi said:

 

LOL! And he WAS married to Joan Fontaine during this time period.........(just looked it up!!)

 

Man, I’m worthless. I can’t keep my Vans straight, I can’t keep my Brian’s straight...

DANGEROUSLY close to losing my Film Snob License....

 

(for the record tho, there is just some inscrutable something similar about Aherne and Donlevey...at least to me)

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13 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Four's a Crowd (1938) - Lackluster, somewhat irritating screwball comedy from Warner Brothers and director Michael Curtiz. When newspaper owner Patterson Buckley (Patric Knowles) decides to shut down operations, ace reporter Jean Christy (Rosalind Russell) goes to former editor-in-chief Bob Lansford (Errol Flynn) for advice on how to get Patterson to change his mind. Bob isn't really interested until he learns that Patterson is dating Lorri Dillingwell (Olivia de Havilland), the granddaughter of John P. Dillingwell (Walter Connolly), the latter of whom Bob needs for a lucrative contract. Soon everyone gets entangled in romantic complications. Also featuring Melville Cooper, Hugh Herbert, Franklin Pangborn, Herman Bing, Margaret Hamilton, Joseph Crehan, Gloria Blondell, Frank Faylen, and Carole Landis.

The manic, everyone-yelling tone of this one just annoyed me to no end, especially Walter Connelly and his incessant shouting, with his high, wheedling voice. I kept hoping Errol would punch him in the face. Speaking of Flynn, he does his best Cary Grant impersonation, but doesn't seem totally comfortable in such lightweight fare. Knowles has all of the charisma of a loaf of Wonderbread, while Russell seems to just be going through the motions. Olivia seems to be having fun. If only the script were funny rather than overly caffeinated, I might have, too.  (5/10)

Source: TCM.

 

I liked this movie more than you did, though I agree with you on your assessment of Patric Knowles' personality.  While he can be handsome at times, it is apparent how little charisma he has, especially when he shares a scene with Flynn who has charisma coming out of his ears.  Flynn and Rosalind Russell are my favorite parts of the film.  I didn't have an issue with Walter Connolly and thought he was funny--especially in the train racing scene.  I thought Olivia de Havilland's whininess was annoying, but I liked the funny 1930s "exercise" machine she was using.  I also didn't like Knowles' baby talk (or whatever it was that he was doing) to Olivia.  

This is definitely not among any of the cast's best films, but I enjoy watching it--if only for the scenes between Flynn and Rosalind Russell.  I also like when the dog is chewing on Flynn's foot.  Lol. 

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

 

Man, I’m worthless. I can’t keep my Vans straight, I can’t keep my Brian’s straight...

DANGEROUSLY close to losing my Film Snob License....

 

(for the record tho, there is just some inscrutable something similar about Aherne and Donlevey...at least to me)

Nah. (license)

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16 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Four's a Crowd (1938)

1938-Fours-a-crowd-USA-Half-Sheet.jpg

You're more hostile towards Four's A Crowd than I was, Lawrence. I thought it was nothing special but an okay screwball comedy, though Olivia's air head character got on my nerves. I have sometimes wondered if Rosalind Russell's performance in this film lead to her being cast in His Girl Friday two years later.

Flynn gave it a game effort as he tried to branch away from heroic screen roles. Somehow the material he got from Warners in his few out and out screen comedies was never up to scratch. Viewing this actor's charming facility with humour in films like They Died With Their Boots On (the early scenes), Gentleman Jim and Adventures of Don Juan (not to mention the song and dance number in Thank Your Lucky Stars) makes it apparent that he had a talent in that direction that the studio was never interested in fully exploring. And that is frustrating for the viewer, almost as much as it must have been for Flynn.

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The Invisible Menace (1938) - Short murder mystery from Warner Brothers and director John Farrow. On a fog-enshrouded American military base, a man is found gruesomely murdered, having apparently been tortured before his death. Gruff military investigator Colonel Rogers (Cy Kendall) tries to find the culprit among the pool of suspects, including quiet Dr. Jevries (Boris Karloff), newlywed soldier Eddie (Eddie Craven) and his bubble-headed bride Sally (Marie Wilson) who has been smuggled onto the island, or any of the other soldiers on or off duty. The cast includes Regis Toomey, Henry Kolker, Frank Faylen, Eddie Acuff, Charles Trowbridge, Phyllis Barry, Harland Tucker, and Carole Landis.

Despite the title and the presence of Karloff, this isn't a supernatural or science fiction tale, just a routine murder mystery, although there is one incongruous scene of a Haitian voodoo ritual. Craven and Wilson stick out like a goofy sore thumb from the proceedings, but I still liked Wilson. Cy Kendall is unusually cast as the law enforcer, as he's typically cast as a gangster or corrupt politician. Just a few years earlier, Toomey was playing the kind of roles played by Craven in this one.   (5/10)

Source: TCM.

eadb7e799998196ca1587085f30dc561.jpg

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Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) - 4th in the series of family comedies from MGM and director George B. Seitz. Judge Hardy (Lewis Stone) has to hold down the homefront when wife Mrs. Hardy (Fay Holden) heads out of town to visit ailing relatives. Daughter Marian (Cecilia Parker) tries to take up the domestic duties, while son Andy (Mickey Rooney) has his own set of troubles. He has three girls all vying for his time: regular girlfriend Polly (Ann Rutherford), schoolmate Cynthia (Lana Turner), and new neighbor Betsy (Judy Garland). Also featuring Mary Howard, Gene Reynolds, Don Castle, Marie Blake, and Raymond Hatton.

Whenever we start up one of those "most annoying" or "least favorite stars" threads, I always forget to mention Mickey Rooney. Maybe it's because I try to keep him out of mind. I'm reminded why I dislike him so after watching this. His incessant mugging, hyper manner, screeching speaking volume...it all adds up to perpetual phoniness. It may be understandable for someone who grew up on screen to have little relation to normal human emotion or expression, and Rooney would be exhibit #1. This was a big hit, and established Rooney as the star of the series which continued on for another decade. Co-star Garland is much more palatable, fresh and endearing, and singing a couple of songs. Turner and Rutherford both look stunning, but I spent most of my time wondering what all 3 girls saw in Rooney's whiny, asinine Andy. I enjoyed a couple of other moments: when Mrs. Hardy receives a telegram and is too afraid to look at it due to the "newness" of the technology, and a similar scene later on when young boy Reynolds shows off his ham radio skills to an incredulous Judge Hardy.   (5/10)

Source: TCM.

z_love_finds_andy_hardy.jpg

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Whenever we start up one of those "most annoying" or "least favorite stars" threads, I always forget to mention Mickey Rooney. Maybe it's because I try to keep him out of mind. I'm reminded why I dislike him so after watching this. His incessant mugging, hyper manner, screeching speaking volume...it all adds up to perpetual phoniness. 

 

 

Rooney has never been one of my favorites either, but he is watchable in some movies (BOYS TOWN, NATIONAL VELVET, and THE BLACK STALLION come to mind).

The one movie that I think he really demonstrated some serious acting ability (and he did win an Emmy for it) was his work as a mentally handicapped man in the TV movie BILL.

But even with that, he certainly wouldn't be in my top 10 of favorite actors.

He wouldn't even make it in my top 50 if truth be told.

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TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942)

A nice comedy/drama starring Jack Benny & Carole Lombard. I've only seen about 3 or 4 of Carole's films, but she never fails to impress me. She is quite charming in all the roles I've seen her in, at least. She's quite adept at subtle comedy, as well as broad comedy (e.g. My Man Godfrey). 

This film started off in tricking me into thinking that it was going to be a lot more lighthearted than it actually was. It was a mixture of farce and drama. Most films don't make me actually laugh out loud, but there were moments when this one did. 

Side note: Carole's maid (in the movie) could give Thelma Ritter (in All About Eve) a run for her money in the sass department. 

Related image

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Discarded Lovers--a 1932 B mystery.  The setting is Eminent Studios, and we jump right into the action as spoiled star Irma (Natalie Moorhead) is finishing her latest movie.  She is what everyone probably thought all Hollywood actresses were then..vain, haughty, and quite promiscuous.  Her husband, Roy D'Arcy, has turned to drink over her escapades, her director/ex-lover's wife (Sharon Lyn) is mad enough to kill her, another lover (Jason Robards Sr.) wants everything kept hush hush, her first seemingly destroyed husband keeps lurking about, and her chauffeur is stealing from her.  What a mess...When she's found dead, the only one who acts genuinely upset/shocked is her faithful (or is she?) secretary (Barbara Weeks). It takes a NY reporter (Russell Hopton) to steer the cops in the right direction. Yes, the print isn't so hot (even the titles are missing), but this was entertaining:  the look of the early film sets, some pretty corny dialogue ("Some women are too fascinating for their own good") and a rapid pace.  Nobody's really awful, as in some early talkies, and Fred Kelsey, an actor who always seems to be the 'dumb cop' in B flicks fills that slot again.  If you can take one more 'gather all the suspects' scenario and a Perry Mason moment, it's worth the hour.  source: YouTube                                               Related image

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The Sisters (1938) - Early twentieth century nostalgia and domestic melodrama from Warner Brothers and director Anatole Litvak. The Elliott sisters, Louise (Bette Davis), Helen (Anita Louise), and Grace (Jane Bryan), are all looking for love in their small Montana hometown. Louise finds it in handsome writer Frank (Errol Flynn), and they quickly elope, marrying and settling in his native San Francisco. However, wedded bliss is not to be as Frank's work isn't going well and he turns to the bottle. Also featuring Beulah Bondi, Henry Travers, Ian Hunter, Dick Foran, Donald Crisp, Patric Knowles, Alan Hale, Lee Patrick, Laura Hope Crews, Janet Shaw, Harry Davenport, Stanley Fields, Mayo Methot, and Susan Hayward.

Davis is good in a gentler role; you get the feeling that normal screen Davis would have slapped Flynn out of his funk much earlier, if not left him outright. Errol gets more dramatic heft than usual, and he's up to the challenge, but even when he's supposed to look down and out, he still looks like Errol Flynn. Many of the large supporting cast don't get much to do, and a lengthier running time may have fleshed their storylines out. Still, I found this an improvement over the majority of the 1938 movies that I've watched this week.  (7/10)

Source: TCM.

Sisters1-1938.jpg

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2 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Rooney has never been one of my favorites either, but he is watchable in some movies (BOYS TOWN, NATIONAL VELVET, and THE BLACK STALLION come to mind).

 

I have NEVER been a fan of Mickey Rooney.

However, I enjoy him very much in the first two thirds or so of Boys Town. His fresh brat performance is, in fact, one of the highlights of the film. Unfortunately, once his character changes, and Rooney starts crying all over the place and massively over acting, it would be a great time to bring out a favourite farm implement in such trying circumstances.

mans-hand-holding-up-pitchfork-against-b

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7 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I have NEVER been a fan of Mickey Rooney.

However, I enjoy him very much in the first two thirds or so of Boys Town. His fresh brat performance is, in fact, one of the highlights of the film. Unfortunately, once his character changes, and Rooney starts crying all over the place and massively over acting, it would be a great time to bring out a favourite farm implement in such trying circumstances.

mans-hand-holding-up-pitchfork-against-b

Agreed. Whitey Marsh, Rooney's character, was far more interesting in his spoiled brat phrase than after his rehabilitation. But without his changing his ways, it would have defeated the purpose of the film. It had to validate Father Flannigan's 'no such thing as a bad boy' philosophy even though history has proved time and time again there are some boys (and girls) out there who are indeed beyond redemption.

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52 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Sisters (1938) -

Sisters1-1938.jpg

In his autobiography Flynn said that he must have been the screen's worst lush in this film.

However, I find it interesting that there are actually some similarities between Errol's role in The Sisters and his real life self. Like the actor, his character is charming, wants to be a good writer, is poor husband material, suffers from wanderlust and turns self destructive. Flynn had far more in common with this character than he did Robin Hood.

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Just now, Bethluvsfilms said:

Agreed. Whitey Marsh, Rooney's character, was far more interesting in his spoiled brat phrase than after his rehabilitation. But without his changing his ways, it would have defeated the purpose of the film. It had to validate Father Flannigan's 'no such thing as a bad boy' philosophy even though history has proved time and time again there are some boys (and girls) out there who are indeed beyond redemption.

Yeh, I know, but Rooney as a "good kid" is downright obnoxious.

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I have read many threads on here singing the praises of Rooney and his acting ability....heck I understand Laurence Olivier and Cary Grant called him 'the greatest actor of all time'. I have to take issue with that one. 

Rooney had BOYS TOWN, NATIONAL VELVET, and the ANDY HARDY series to build up his popularity. I know he has lots of fans on here. But he has never really had the kind of iconic status or impact that say Tracy, Fonda, Cagney, Bogart, and Cooper, to name a few, have had on a lot of filmgoers throughout the years. His acting style was nowhere near as complex or deeply confound as theirs. 

Not to mention he really hasn't appeared in a whole lot of films (out side of BOYS TOWN, VELVET and THE BLACK STALLION) that one could truly call a classic film for all time, and that includes the Andy Hardy movies.

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Thanks for the Memory (1938) - Forgettable quickie rom-com from Paramount Pictures and director George Archainbaud. Young married couple Steve (Bob Hope) and Anne (Shirley Ross) are having money troubles, as Steve is struggling to finish his novel. Anne decides to take a job to help make ends meet, which annoys Steve, and even more so when she starts spending too much time with rich guy Gil (Otto Kruger), who openly admires Anne. Can their marriage survive? Also featuring Charles Butterworth, Hedda Hopper, Roscoe Karns, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Laura Hope Crews, Emma Dunn, Edward Gargan, Jack Norton, Patricia Wilder, and William Collier.

This was rushed into production after the title song, from The Big Broadcast of 1938 and also sung by Hope and Ross, became a big hit, and the studio managed to get it out the same year. The script is cliched and routine, the kind of thing that they stopped making when TV sitcoms came about. The cast are all good, although in my book, Eddie Anderson steals every scene he's in. This is inoffensive and unremarkable fluff. You could do worse, but don't seek it out.  (6/10)

Source: Universal DVD, part of Bob Hope: Classic Comedy Collection.

thanks-for-the-memory-movie-poster-md.jp 

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31 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

I have read many threads on here singing the praises of Rooney and his acting ability....heck I understand Laurence Olivier and Cary Grant called him 'the greatest actor of all time'. I have to take issue with that one. 

Rooney had BOYS TOWN, NATIONAL VELVET, and the ANDY HARDY series to build up his popularity. I know he has lots of fans on here. But he has never really had the kind of iconic status or impact that say Tracy, Fonda, Cagney, Bogart, and Cooper, to name a few, have had on a lot of filmgoers throughout the years. His acting style was nowhere near as complex or deeply confound as theirs. 

Not to mention he really hasn't appeared in a whole lot of films (out side of BOYS TOWN, VELVET and THE BLACK STALLION) that one could truly call a classic film for all time, and that includes the Andy Hardy movies.

Mickey Rooney always manages to annoy me. I think when I was very young, his obnoxiousness hadn't started to manifest itself upon my juvenile brain... I think I may have hit on something the minute I typed "juvenile..." 

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