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Two films today. One Classic-era, one from 2017....

First up was the 2017 one, Roman J. Israel Esq. It's nothing groundbreaking per se, but its a good, solid, well-made film and I thought that Denzel Washington was excellent.

Then Caged on Watch TCM from 1950 a strikingly effective prison film supercharged with good pacing and fine performances.

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1 minute ago, CinemaInternational said:

Two films today. One Classic-era, one from 2017....

First up was the 2017 one, Roman J. Israel Esq. It's nothing groundbreaking per se, but its a good, solid, well-made film and I thought that Denzel Washington was excellent.

Then Caged on Watch TCM from 1950 a strikingly effective prison film supercharged with good pacing and fine performances.

I am not excited about the first one but will likely watch it when it comes out on cable. Caged is excellent, imo.

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20 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I don't like Rosemary's Baby either.  I thought it was boring.  The only part I liked was the over-enthusiastic woman who yells out "HAIL SATAN!" 

Clara from the Andy Griffith show was one of the partygoers. I cracked up the first time I saw the film......

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Phantom Raiders (1940) - Second in the Nick Carter detective series, from MGM and director Jacques Tourneur. P.I. Carter (Walter Pidgeon) is hired to look into a series of mysterious explosions sinking ships near the Panama canal. It's all part of a insurance scam run by slick crook Al Taurez (Joseph Schildkraut). Also featuring Donald Meek, Florence Rice, John Carroll, Nat Pendleton, Cecil Kellaway, Steffi Duna, Matthew Boulton, Alec Craig, and Dwight Frye.

Unlike many B-detective flicks, this one isn't a mystery, as the crimes are clearly shown, as are the culprits, even before Carter makes his first appearance in the film. I haven't seen the first movie, but an introduction didn't really seem necessary, even if Carter's relationship to partner Bartholomew (Donald Meek) isn't explained. Meek seems like an unlikely detective, but he was enjoyably offbeat, particularly when he pretends to be a lunatic. Schildkraut makes for an excellent villain, and Pidgeon is amiable enough. His Carter seems more at home schmoozing in the nightclubs than throwing punches. However, since there is no mystery to the story, there isn't a lot of suspense, and some of the other supporting characters seem superfluous and distracting.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

Phantom+Raiders1.jpg

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Finished watching FOOTLIGHT PARADE, and must say I found it to be a very charming, if simple, kind of story.

James Cagney is really energenic in here, just as much as, if not more, as in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY.

Joan Blondell is a gem as his loyal secretary who he needs badly to slap some common sense into him.

Love the musical numbers, especially the 'Honeymoon Hotel' bit.

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

Clara from the Andy Griffith show was one of the partygoers. I cracked up the first time I saw the film......

I didn't recognize Clara in Rosemary's Baby, although by the time we got to the Hail Satan! part, I was pretty much done with the movie.  As we know Clara is the one who wins the annual Mayberry pickle contest at the county fair every year--she has something like twelve blue ribbons.  Aunt Bee with her "kerosene cucumbers" definitely does not win blue ribbons every year.  Aunt Bee just needs to follow Clara's advice and add allspice and use fresher spices! 

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Remember the Night (1940) - Holiday romance from Paramount Pictures, writer Preston Sturges, and director Mitchell Leisen. Lee Leander (Barbara Stanwyck) gets busted for shoplifting from a jewelry store, and prosecutor John Sargent (Fred MacMurray) gets assigned the case. He's anxious to wrap things up in court so that he can start driving  to his hometown for the Christmas holidays, so he manages to get the case postponed. Feeling badly about leaving Lee in stir, he arranges to have her bailed out, but gets stuck chaperoning her until the trial. The unlikely duo start to fall for each other during their eventful road trip and the bucolic holiday festivities of his small hometown. Also featuring Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway, Willard Robertson, Charles Waldron, Paul Guilfoyle, Charles Arnt, Fred Toones, Fuzzy Knight, and Tom Kennedy as Fat Mike.

Sturges' script is very good, with some sharp dialogue and cute situations. Leisen shoots some scenes with a noticeably moody lighting style. The leads have great chemistry. Romance and holiday films are not my favorite genres, but this wasn't bad.  (7/10)

Source: TCM.

REMEMBER-THE-NIGHT-1.jpg

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17 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Romance and holiday films are not my favorite genres, but this wasn't bad.  (7/10)

Mine either, but for a holiday film give me this over It's A Wonderful Life, any day.

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5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Remember the Night (1940) - Holiday romance from Paramount Pictures, writer Preston Sturges, and director Mitchell Leisen. Lee Leander (Barbara Stanwyck) gets busted for shoplifting from a jewelry store, and prosecutor John Sargent (Fred MacMurray) gets assigned the case. ...

I would fondly remember this as the saying goes if I could only remember it better. It's been years but i was quite taken, I know that. They were so good together and I warmed greatly to the domestic scenes when they reached  her family, etc., . I recall a courtroom scene, however, where the teleplay allowed a prosecutor to go on and on presumably passing for a humorous set piece. That wasn't Robert Benchley, was it? I hope not 'cause RB is funnier than that.

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11 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I didn't recognize Clara in Rosemary's Baby, although by the time we got to the Hail Satan! part, I was pretty much done with the movie.  As we know Clara is the one who wins the annual Mayberry pickle contest at the county fair every year--she has something like twelve blue ribbons.  Aunt Bee with her "kerosene cucumbers" definitely does not win blue ribbons every year.  Aunt Bee just needs to follow Clara's advice and add allspice and use fresher spices! 

Or, you know, sell her immortal soul to The Dark Prince...

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14 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I didn't recognize Clara in Rosemary's Baby, although by the time we got to the Hail Satan! part, I was pretty much done with the movie.  As we know Clara is the one who wins the annual Mayberry pickle contest at the county fair every year--she has something like twelve blue ribbons.  Aunt Bee with her "kerosene cucumbers" definitely does not win blue ribbons every year.  Aunt Bee just needs to follow Clara's advice and add allspice and use fresher spices! 

She doesnt have a big part. She's part of the coven. She may only be in the party sequence. Been so long since I've seen the movie as TCM never shows it!

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Saturday's Children (1940) - Domestic drama from Warner Brothers, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winninh play by Maxwell Anderson, directed by Vincent Sherman. The story follows Bobby (Anne Shirley), the youngest daughter of the Havely family of five who all live in a cramped NYC apartment. Her father (Claude Rains) gets her a job at his office where she meets would-be inventor Rims Rosson (John Garfield). The two fall in love and get married, but young love may not be enough when the difficulties of starting out in the world look insurmountable. Also featuring Roscoe Karns, Lee Patrick, Dennie Moore, George Tobias, Elisabeth Risdon, Berton Churchill, Frank Faylen, and John Qualen.

The situations are routine to the point of banality, despite their universality. The film's saving grace is in the performances from the three leads. Shirley is lovely and warm, with wonderfully expressive eyes, while Garfield gets to show another side of himself as the gentle dreamer. Rains is loving and believably flawed.   (6/10)

Source: TCM.

MV5BNDJlOTg4ZDQtODgwYi00YWI1LWE2YjItYzgw 

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Strange film. It's better than Crash, which I saw it compared to, but thats mainly because of the acting. The script is messy, with too much  foul language and insults (against black people, overweight individuals, Catholics, etc.) meant to cut others down and it becomes wearying quickly. its curious because Last Flag Flying, another 2017 film I saw last night) had a ton of language too, but it felt more natural there, less forced and offensive. Morally, the film is  contradictory.  Some scenes are weird (Rockwell dancing in the police office to ABBA music, Abbie Cornish's  last scene with her husband) The violence is plain nasty.  Woody Harrellson's presence made me think back to his other small town film, Doc Hollywood, and how that one had such a heart of gold and this....not so much, although it does make me feel some stirrings of sympathy with some of the parties involved in the film. And yet, there is a saving grace here that makes it worth watching at least once: the performances. Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrellson are all excellent really in less than flattering roles, and Caleb Landry Jones and Lucas Hedges are pretty good in supporting.  McDormand in particular really shines, and its a pleasure to see her in a big role. Honestly, she is great in everything she appears in. Just let her and all of them have a better script next time. That this film is as good as it is (about a 7.5) and that the characters are at least somewhat convincing is due to their talent.

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Seven Sinners (1940) - Uneven comedy-drama romance from Universal Pictures and director Tay Garnett. Marlene Dietrich stars as Bijou, a nightclub singer whose mere presence causes men to riot. Her unholy aura causes her to be exiled from one South Pacific island as the film begins, so she heads out for another island with her lunkhead bodyguard Little Ned (Broderick Crawford) and two-bit magician Sasha (Mischa Auer) in tow. It doesn't take long for Bijou to land a new nightclub singer job, and even less time for her to set the menfolk aflame, including sleazeball Antro (Oskar Homolka) and US Navy Lt. Dan (John Wayne). Also featuring Albert Dekker, Billy Gilbert, Anna Lee, Samuel S. Hinds, Richard Carle, Vince Barnett, James Craig, Willie Fung, Noble Johnson, and Reginald Denny.

This meandering flick changes moods almost as often as Dietrich changes outfits, from silly farce to heartfelt romance to menacing drama. The supporting cast is excellent, although Dekker is wasted as a drunken ship's doctor, and Crawford's loud brute grows a bit tiresome. Dietrich, who was 38 at the time of filming, looks ten years older, thanks to too much weight loss, an unflattering hairstyle, and some regrettable outfits. She's beginning to resemble the slightly inhuman mannequin she would become in the last half of her life, too artificial and almost a parody of her 30's heyday. Even her throaty singing seems like a takeoff on her own inimitable style, like someone doing an exaggerated impersonation of Marlene Dietrich. Wayne's admiration onscreen seems very genuine, and it's been stated by multiple sources that it continued offscreen, as well. The climactic barroom brawl loses some steam by using cartoonishly sped-up action and an obvious stunt double for Wayne, although it does provide the unexpected sight of seeing John Wayne in a fist fight with Oskar Homolka.   (6/10)

Source: Universal DVD, part of the Hollywood Icons Collection: Marlene Dietrich.

59fe46cee239ba00320d8f00.jpg?s=8f41e1d0f

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Key Largo (1948) - One of the finest ensemble cast ever put together? I don't believe, anyway, that any one can claim the lead. A screenplay taken from a stage play often levels the playing field with regard to billing order and/or screen dominence. If a choice had to be made it might be EGR. We've seen him before like this but here he creates Johnny Rocco, an enduring character with a famous name in movie underworld lore. Humphrey Bogart in a relatively bland role (which he easily overcomes just by being there) and as close as regular as he probably gets (subsequent to star status). He strives for as much detachment as possible from the proceedings but did you see the closeups of his face after they all learned what happened to the Indians!? We see a little character development there and in a trice. Becall is gently appealing with her quiet demeanor. Claire Trevor plays a stereotypical alcoholic with intractably barfly behavior (at least at the beginning) but they still allow her to look fantastic. Her little singing-for-her-supper song was just right. But could the scene played better dramatically if she had not sounded quite so good? It might have added an element (increased humiliation) that was felt not needed or desired. Vintage Lionel in his later roles.  Trevor's pickpocket maneuver is difficult to accept and the finale on the boat is over the top but in a movie like this that is so eminently view-able, who cares?

 

***1/2

(out of 4)

netflix

 

The Breaking  Point (1950) - Best John Garfield I've seen. He is the same guy as always, struggling against odds, railing about making it, etc., but toned down a bit. He takes umbrage but there is a restraint that is not present in his earlier more angry-young-man roles. Maybe because he looks as little filled out and older and is a family man to boot. There is a relative maturity in the character that is appealing. Despite playing the proverbial "same role" as some actors are thought of as doing, there is no sense that he is phoning it in. And he holds up more effective than ever with the ultimate no-nonsense imperative of tough guys. Tough but regular too, I like the opening sally, i.e., to the effect that when out to sea a certain tranquillity can reign but back on land nothing but trouble. I like that, especially with the ultimate irony to come. The domestic scenes are not Hemingway (as I read in the short on Curtiz) but added for the movie. A wonderful decision. It rounds out Garfield's character giving him a softer side and allows for the domestic sweetness and wholesome prettiness of Phyllis Thaxter to be his wife. I like to feel that her all-to-obvious new hairdo was not lost on her husband and that it might have helped decide him on another matter regarding a certain lady. Garfield's remark to his 10-year-old daughter about being "too old to run around [the house] like that" (i.e., in night clothes) was a surprising but effective slice-of-life detail that perhaps only in a small way ushers in the new 50s sort ot sensibility regarding such details that will make films more frank and real with youth (teens) issues. Patricia Neal is stunning as the would-be femme fatale, would-be because she falls short of treachery. Her worldly manner and sophisticated beauty provides a stark contrast to Garfield's women in the story. She wants to seduce and pending the outcome has the goods on him for revenge. Is she too sympathetic for fatales? Up in the air,,pending definitions. Reliable veteran character actor Wallace Ford has a good gig as a low-level conduit to the underworld. He has good dialogue, pushy and sarcastic with his own clients but totally subservient when around the big boys. A happy addition to the story. The poor little black boy alone on the pier resonates and is discomforting.

****

(out of 4)

netflix

 

[I watched both of these yesterday back to back and notice that they both have similar boat scene finales and both have elements regarding minorities. In KL an integral part of the plot, in TBP more intriguing as a tacked-on social statement, perhaps]

--

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5 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Strange film. It's better than Crash, which I saw it compared to, but thats mainly because of the acting. The script is messy, with too much  foul language and insults (against black people, overweight individuals, Catholics, etc.) meant to cut others down and it becomes wearying quickly. its curious because Last Flag Flying, another 2017 film I saw last night) had a ton of language too, but it felt more natural there, less forced and offensive. Morally, the film is  contradictory.  Some scenes are weird (Rockwell dancing in the police office to ABBA music, Abbie Cornish's  last scene with her husband) The violence is plain nasty.  Woody Harrellson's presence made me think back to his other small town film, Doc Hollywood, and how that one had such a heart of gold and this....not so much, although it does make me feel some stirrings of sympathy with some of the parties involved in the film. And yet, there is a saving grace here that makes it worth watching at least once: the performances. Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrellson are all excellent really in less than flattering roles, and Caleb Landry Jones and Lucas Hedges are pretty good in supporting.  McDormand in particular really shines, and its a pleasure to see her in a big role. Honestly, she is great in everything she appears in. Just let her and all of them have a better script next time. That this film is as good as it is (about a 7.5) and that the characters are at least somewhat convincing is due to their talent.

I just finished this one as well. I liked it more than you did. I see it as an indictment on the cycles of violence both domestic and otherwise, and the ripple effects it has throughout society, shown in microcosm by the townsfolk of Ebbing. The coarse language is rampant, but I thought it was used to humorous effect, and wasn't superfluous or forced. In fact, it was another aspect of the violence infecting everyone. This story wasn't meant to have a "heart of gold", as you put it, but rather to shine a (very black) comic light on the cancer eating that heart. The choice of that disease's use in the story wasn't arbitrary. And the examination of societal violence couldn't be more timely, and not just its connection to the #MeToo movement, but also with the police brutality outrages and even our military misadventures of the past 16 years that have left another source of lingering violence. The script is much deeper than the at-times silly characters may lead one to believe at first.

The performances are all good, although they are broad, but that's what the script called for. I won't have any problem with either McDormand or Rockwell winning on Oscar night. As for the movie, while I wouldn't call it my favorite movie of 2017, it comes pretty close.  (8/10)

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Apparently I've seen five Polanski films: Chinatown and Knife in the Water were excellent, and Tess was a first-rate adaptation of Hardy's novel. I liked Rosemary's Baby when I saw it years ago, though it's definitely not on a par with the other three. I probably wouldn't watch Repulsion again, though the first hour is very well directed, and historically it is an important film in the development of the art house horror film.

We saw the 1970s Murder on the Orient Express, wanting to compare it with the recent remake. The 1970s version is superior in almost every way, although I prefer Michelle Pfeiffer to Lauren Bacall, and, to a lesser extent, Kenneth Branagh over Albert Finney. I liked Finney's performance better when the movie first was released and David Suchet had not yet established ownership of the role of Poirot. Richard Rodney Bennett's music is a big plus for Sidney Lumet's version, and every syllable of Wendy Hiller's performance as the Princess Dragomiroff is an absolute delight. Lumet's film is much more faithful to the original, and every "updating" in the Branagh film is cringe-worthy.

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Hey guys, thanks for your comments on 2017 movies. I can't watch violence and your comments help me to decide what movies to skip.

speedy, you didn't recognise Hope (Clara) Summers in ROSEMARY'S BABY? Did you recognise perennial favorite Patsy Kelly?

RB_Essay_Current_large.jpg

kelly_patsey.jpg

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17 hours ago, laffite said:

Key Largo (1948) - netflix

The Breaking  Point (1950) - netflix

 

are these available through the streaming service? if so, i am surprised. someone recently mentioned watching THE DAMNED DON'T CRY thru netflix and i went and looked for it on streaming and did not find it.

do they still have the mail service?

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

are these available through the streaming service? if so, i am surprised. someone recently mentioned watching THE DAMNED DON'T CRY thru netflix and i went and looked for it on streaming and did not find it.

do they still have the mail service?

Netflix still has mail, Key Largo and The Breaking Point are available there. That's where I got them. And you're right, neither is available on Netflix streaming.

I posted on The Damned Don't Cry a few days ago and I indicated Netflix but was in error. That was from my city library. It is not available on Netlix mail nor Netflix streaming. The library copy is a part of a set that also contains Mildred Pierce, Possessed, and Humoresque and, interestingly, the cover says "The Turner Classic Movie Greatest Classic Legends Film Collections."

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I'm envious, NETFLIX BY MAIL is THE WAY TO GO FOR THE TRUE CINEASTE, I didn't know they still had the service.

(I used to have the mail service, but now i only have the streaming option, which i very rarely use)

The world is at your fingertips with Netflix via mail- if it's on DVD in any form you can get it sent to you, but it can be too much power at the same time...(it's how I saw CALIGULA and some SICK 70's FILMS

i let my Netflix via mail service expire in part because it was TOO MUCH POWER TO HANDLE.

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Hey guys, thanks for your comments on 2017 movies. I can't watch violence and your comments help me to decide what movies to skip.

speedy, you didn't recognise Hope (Clara) Summers in ROSEMARY'S BABY? Did you recognise perennial favorite Patsy Kelly?

RB_Essay_Current_large.jpg

kelly_patsey.jpg

I DID!

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The Shadow (1940) - 15-chapter action/mystery serial from Columbia Pictures and director James W. Horne. Lamont Cranston (Victor Jory) is a brilliant police forensic scientist, as well as secretly being the mysterious masked crimefighter known as the Shadow. Along with lab assistant Margot Lane (Veda Ann Borg) and trusty cab driver Harry Vincent (Roger Moore), the Shadow sets out to discover the identity of the Black Tiger, an invisible criminal mastermind behind a recent spree of robberies and acts of sabotage. Also featuring Robert Fiske, John Paul Jones, Jack Ingram, Chuck Hamilton, Edward Peil Sr., Frank LaRue, Murdock MacQuarrie, and Philip Ahn.

This serial based on the popular radio and magazine character is very silly but a lot of fun. Jory has a great time as Cranston, often with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He spends a lot of time in disguise as Lin Chang, a shady Chinese low-level crook persona that he uses to glean info from the underworld. His Chang characterization is more than a little offensive, but it's not Mickey Rooney/Breakfast at Tiffany's level. This version of the Shadow is also more mundane; he doesn't display any of the pseudo-spiritual powers like "clouding men's minds". Rather he shoots handguns a lot, even if he never seems to hit anything, and he's quick with the punches. At one point he leaps on top of a crook cowering in his bed in a scene that looks like it's about to break into a tickle fight.

My favorite aspect of this serial is the villain. The Black Tiger is often heard, with a laughably cartoonish voice, but he's invisible thanks to a special ray. His henchmen gather in a meeting room, and a beam of light appears, moving over to a high-backed chair behind a desk. The chair moves around as if occupied, and switches are moved by invisible hands, as is a gavel to call meetings to order. The centerpiece of the desk is a large radio set, with two eye-like antennae that reach straight up. In front of the radio is a large plastic black tiger's head, with flashing lights for eyes, and with little puffs of smoke belching out from the open mouth. Combined with the goofy voice, it's quite the sight, and one of the best from any serial.   (7/10)

Source: Mill Creek DVD, with all 15 chapters on one side of the disc, resulting some loss in picture quality due to compression issues.

the+shadow.jpg

Victor Jory as Lamont Cranston as Lin Chang

831989_320.jpg

A henchman meets with the Black Tiger

 The-Black-Tiger.jpg

 

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