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Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

The huge number of wipe transitions annoyed the heck out of me, but otherwise a really good film. Totally unexpected but authentic ending. The bike plot stopped there, but makes you wonder about the untold psychological aspects of the rest of the story.

Watched it on Filmstruck.

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59 minutes ago, FilmSnob said:

Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

The huge number of wipe transitions annoyed the heck out of me, but otherwise a really good film. Totally unexpected but authentic ending. The bike plot stopped there, but makes you wonder about the untold psychological aspects of the rest of the story.

Watched it on Filmstruck.

Image result for Sergio leone in Bicycle thieves

Young director to be Sergio Leone on on right with glasses

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Yellowstone Kelly (1959) - Western adventure from Warner Brothers and director Gordon Douglas. "Yellowstone" Kelly (Clint Walker) is a fur-trapper and frontiersman in southern Missouri. Along with young friend Anse Harper (Edd Byrnes), Kelly gets involved with the conflict between the Sioux led by Gall (John Russell) and the local US Cavalry troops. Things are further complicated when Kelly and Harper end up with custody of Wahleeah (Andra Martin), the Arapaho captive of Gall's malicious nephew Sayapi (Ray Danton). Also featuring Claude Akins, Rhodes Reason, Gary Vinson, Harry Shannon, and Warren Oates.

Yet another big screen effort from Warner Brothers showcasing their stable of TV contract players, I found this western to be sufficiently entertaining, with a solid lead performance from Walker, a less-annoying-than-usual turn from Byrnes, and good work from both Russell and Martin. The outdoor scenery is nice.   (7/10)

Source: TCM

yellowstonekelly_theycansmellfear_FC_470

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2 hours ago, FilmSnob said:

Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

The huge number of wipe transitions annoyed the heck out of me, but otherwise a really good film. Totally unexpected but authentic ending. The bike plot stopped there, but makes you wonder about the untold psychological aspects of the rest of the story.

Watched it on Filmstruck.

Great movie and the relationship between son and father is so touching!

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3 hours ago, FilmSnob said:

Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

The huge number of wipe transitions annoyed the heck out of me, but otherwise a really good film. Totally unexpected but authentic ending. The bike plot stopped there, but makes you wonder about the untold psychological aspects of the rest of the story.

Watched it on Filmstruck.

I had to look up what a 'wipe transition' was:  A wipe is a type of film transition where one shot replaces another by travelling from one side of the frame to another or with a special shape.

Learn something new everyday.    

 

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The Young Land (1959) - Western from Columbia Pictures and director Ted Tetzlaff. In a small California town, young sheriff Jim Ellison (Patrick Wayne) tries to keep the peace during a contentious murder trial. The accused (Dennis Hopper) killed a Mexican, and the Mexican community cries for justice, while the killer's unsavory cohorts threaten to take violent action to see their friend freed. Also featuring Yvonne Craig, Dan O'Herlihy, Cliff Ketchum, Pedro Gonzales Gonzales, Roberto De La Madrid, and Ken Curtis.

This low-budget effort was Patrick Wayne's first lead role, and was made while he was still a college student. He plays an unusual character, a even-tempered nice guy lawman who doesn't wear a gun or a badge but always manages to get the job done. Hopper is the highlight of the film as the casually racist bad guy. That's not saying much though, as this is a strictly pedestrian effort hampered by poor pacing and uninspired direction. The movie did manage to nab an Oscar nomination for Best Song ("Strange Are the Ways of Love").   (5/10)

Source: Amazon Prime video. The picture quality is rather poor.

the-young-land-movie-poster.jpg

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Blood on the Moon (1948)

Blood on the Moon Poster

A different slant on the same ol range war tale filmed in a very noir-ish style by Nicholas Musuraca. Directed by Robert Wise with Robert Mitchum. Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston, Walter Brennan, Phyllis Thaxter, Frank Faylen, and Charles McGraw. 

Entertaining enough for me. 7/10

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2 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I had to look up what a 'wipe transition' was:  A wipe is a type of film transition where one shot replaces another by travelling from one side of the frame to another or with a special shape.

Learn something new everyday.    

 

They were used a lot in the Star Wars movies. It's acceptable in fantasy films with their soft lenses, but breaking the fourth wall felt badly out of place in neorealism.

In every other respect, however, Bicycle Thieves was a very fine film.

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Indulge me here, if you please. This is not a movie, nor even a TV movie ; no, it is an astonishingly good piece IMHO from FOUR STAR PLAYHOUSE that aired on October 27, 1955. Herman J Epstein, a veteran of television,  as you see above wrote the story and screenplay and does a remarkable job with this scant 25-minute drama/comedy. The plot has a couple of fine turns and then a nice twist. Pretty good dialogue.

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An actress (played by Joanne Woodward) is furious because a powerful television critic (David Niven) has panned her opening of a play, her "big chance" going down the drain and she wants to do something about it. Uh-oh. Niven is solid as usual but it's Woodward who pleases me no end. Her first scene did not make an immediate impact but she quickly turns that around. She is ADORABLE.

This came from Netflix but I am profoundly delighted to have discovered that it is posted on utube and has been there since last year and has, alas, received precious little attention. Well, it's not exactly high profile and I might be overrating a bit (to say preemptively) in general terms but is certainly safe to say that it is above average for TV of that time. But however it may be judged by the general it is an unabashed hit for me. I love it. Thank you Mr. Epstein and Miss Woodward (and you to, Mr. Niven). I will be pushy and entice you with a direct link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG5VOTN0kfk&t=31s

Thanks.

 

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2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Blood on the Moon (1948)

Blood on the Moon Poster

A different slant on the same ol range war tale filmed in a very noir-ish style by Nicholas Musuraca. Directed by Robert Wise with Robert Mitchum. Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston, Walter Brennan, Phyllis Thaxter, Frank Faylen, and Charles McGraw. 

Entertaining enough for me. 7/10

Yes,  Blood on the Moon is a solid film.   Fine acting and I especially liked how Robert Preston played his character.      He gave the impression that he really wasn't that bad of a man.  That he would 'turn it around'.   

Looking at his film legacy that was one versatile actor.   E.g. at first I didn't believe this was the same man that was in The Music Man or Victor Victoria.  

 

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6 hours ago, FilmSnob said:

Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

The huge number of wipe transitions annoyed the heck out of me, but otherwise a really good film. Totally unexpected but authentic ending. The bike plot stopped there, but makes you wonder about the untold psychological aspects of the rest of the story.

Any back to back comparisons with Maurizio Nichetti's spoof The Icicle Thief (1989), where a director sees his award-winning (and scene-specific De Sica-parody) bleak Italian neo-realist film aired on TV, only to be interrupted by annoyingly cheery commercials?

 MV5BMDMzNmNmMjEtYmU4NS00YTBhLTg4NGMtMTNk

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Picky Mouse - 2013 Mosfilm stop animation cartoon made by Sergey Strusovskiy. In a forest, a vain bird and a mouse meet. The mouse finds a bow and is seen as the prettiest by all of the animals who she spurns the advances of. "A mouse with a bow and a mouse without a bow are two completely different things." Eventually she runs into a cat and loses her bow before escaping him. Meanwhile the boy mouse shows up and tells her he still loves her with or without bow. Adorable cartoon with a nice message. 7/10

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Assault of the Rebel Girls aka Cuban Rebel Girls (1959) - Rock-bottom docu-drama from Exploit Films and director Barry Mahon. Errol Flynn stars as "The American Correspondent", working for the Hearst organization, who's assigned to track down and report on the rebel guerrilla efforts of Fidel Castro in the Cuban countryside. He meets up with a couple of women (Beverly Aadland and Jackie Jackler) who join up with the rebel forces. Also featuring John McKay, Marie Edmund, and Ben Ostrowsky.

This sad piece of junk film was released two months after Flynn's death. He wrote the script and provides the copious narration used to hide the lack of adequate on-set sound equipment. It's odd seeing a pro-Castro movie, which would be unthinkable in American theaters just as short time later. Director Mahon, a personal friend and sometime manager and collaborator of Flynn's, would go on to produce and direct all sorts of grindhouse garbage, such as Sex Killer and the delirious Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico. This particular film is only for Flynn completists or gawkers of cinematic trainwrecks.   (3/10)

Source: Amazon Prime video

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detail.f7a94ff5.jpg

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9 hours ago, laffite said:

 I will be pushy and entice you with a direct link.

 

Haha, not "pushy"....thanks!

I am a big Joanne Woodward fan and think I have almost every movie of hers on DVD. She seems to melt away into whatever character she plays. So believable, natural. You easily get "lost" believing you're watching something real unfolding.

8 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Fine acting and I especially liked how Robert Preston played his character.      He gave the impression that he really wasn't that bad of a man.  That he would 'turn it around'.   Looking at his film legacy that was one versatile actor.   E.g. at first I didn't believe this was the same man that was in The Music Man or Victor Victoria.  

Also a HUGE Robert Preston fan, the other end of the acting spectrum! You always know he's an actor playing a role (not unlike Bette Davis) Preston somehow brings something of himself into the character successfully, no matter what the role. That's why you had that "impression".

I wish there were more films with Robert Preston than there are. His presence, even as supporting player could have elevated many mediocre movies.

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8 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Assault of the Rebel Girls aka Cuban Rebel Girls (1959) - Rock-bottom docu-drama from Exploit Films and director Barry Mahon. Errol Flynn stars as "The American Correspondent", working for the Hearst organization, who's assigned to track down and report on the rebel guerrilla efforts of Fidel Castro in the Cuban countryside. He meets up with a couple of women (Beverly Aadland and Jackie Jackler) who join up with the rebel forces. Also featuring John McKay, Marie Edmund, and Ben Ostrowsky.

This sad piece of junk film was released two months after Flynn's death. He wrote the script and provides the copious narration used to hide the lack of adequate on-set sound equipment. It's odd seeing a pro-Castro movie, which would be unthinkable in American theaters just as short time later. Director Mahon, a personal friend and sometime manager and collaborator of Flynn's, would go on to produce and direct all sorts of grindhouse garbage, such as Sex Killer and the delirious Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico. This particular film is only for Flynn completists or gawkers of cinematic trainwrecks.   (3/10)

Source: Amazon Prime video

220px-CubanRebelGirlsPoster.jpg

detail.f7a94ff5.jpg

Actually Mahon had  70 director credits to his name roughly 85% are trashy sexploitation features and shorts some quite hilariously titled i.e., Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico (1969), Fanny Hill Meets the Red Baron (1968), A Good Time with a Bad Girl (1967), Run Swinger Run! (1967), Fanny Hill Meets Lady Chatterly (1967), The Art School for Nudists (1965), Nudes on Tiger Reef (1965), The Girl with the Magic Box (1965).  Out of this substantial oeuvre of essentially, what even most devotees of sexploitation deem cheap celluloid crap, it's not particularly surprising that at least one would get enough of all the elements and ingredients right to make a Transitory Noir.

That two of them, the maligned The Sex Killer above and Hot Skin and Cold Cash (1965), did is remarkable. What tips both these two features into a "thumb's up" inclusion into the Noirsville universe is the noir-ish, neo-realistic nature of the un-credited cinematography, combined with the unique also uncredited storyline for Hot Skin and Cold Cash, and in the case of The Sex Killer its particular bizarre, again uncredited, storyline. For me they both, aside from the sexploitation have copious amounts of archival footage of Times Square, Greenwich Village, and New York City subways. They for me anyway are about a 6-6.5/10 

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On 9/19/2018 at 11:43 AM, cigarjoe said:

If you don't tune to it, you don't tune to it.

What it has (Sweet Smell...) for me is also a nostalgia ingredient in the formula, I as a small kid imprinted on that New York, I crossed that bridge many times, the street with Bogard's was on 59th Street just a couple of storefronts up from where a friends brother had a waterbed store in the 60s. That whole New York is not there now but it was on it's last crumbling legs in 1957 and some of the ruins are still around today, if you know where to look. If you don't tune strongly to that particular ingredient it may not click. That NYC was on TV, Toots Shor's and 21 Club were talked about on The Ed Sullivan Show, or later Johnny Carson. Add that to the of the slimy tabloid journalism/promotion business and it's accompanying Zeitgeist, and the great acting of Curtis and Lancaster.

For me the Noir films have to have a good story, good locations, great characters, good cinematography, good sound/music and good actors. Some time the shear weight of one of those parts can buoy up where a film is lacking in others. The Crooked Way has great cinematography good locations/sets, OK actors, good story, and I don't remember much about the sound or music. Which maybe back then wasn't the point on a "B" picture, mostly studio mill music, but then somebody figured a soundtrack tie in. now the music is a more potent ingredient. Just think if they could have used say Chuck Berry's "Maybellene" (1955) as diegetic music blaring over a car radio during a chase scene in any late fifties Noir, or just real popular music playing in the background.

Some Noirs actually have great enough sound design that you actually notice it as an extra dimension.

Some times the actors and the script are so good that the whole film can take place in a few rather uninteresting sets. like say the you've seen it a billion times Hollywood Hotel Room in The Maltese Falcon.  

Some you tune to some you don't

 

I Think about 95% of the reason why I dislike SWEET SMELL... is Clifford Odets, Who gets a nomination from me as one of the worst screen writers of the golden age. There are very few films made before 1960 that I would say I “hate”, yet of those very few films are GOLDEN BOY, NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART and THE BIG KNIFE

i saw SWEET SMELL after enduring all those, So I went in with a chip on my shoulder. And while the film most certainly has attributes, for me I just can’t get past the script.

Personally, I swing hard left when it comes to most issues, but there is something about the way Clifford whines and bites the (admittedly stern) hand that has fed him, railing against Hollywood and how corrupt and awful it is- the same Hollywood that allowed him to write crap like HUMORESQUE and paid him for it too

Every time he goes on one of his tears about how horrible it is to work in entertainment, I just want to say, “well Cliff, why don’t you go find a nice commune in somewhere in Washington state and grow beets for a living? Now get off my lawn And go cut your hair you **** dirty beatnik”

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Assault of the Rebel Girls aka Cuban Rebel Girls (1959) - Rock-bottom docu-drama from Exploit Films and director Barry Mahon. Errol Flynn stars as "The American Correspondent", working for the Hearst organization, who's assigned to track down and report on the rebel guerrilla efforts of Fidel Castro in the Cuban countryside. He meets up with a couple of women (Beverly Aadland and Jackie Jackler) who join up with the rebel forces. Also featuring John McKay, Marie Edmund, and Ben Ostrowsky.

This sad piece of junk film was released two months after Flynn's death. He wrote the script and provides the copious narration used to hide the lack of adequate on-set sound equipment. It's odd seeing a pro-Castro movie, which would be unthinkable in American theaters just as short time later. Director Mahon, a personal friend and sometime manager and collaborator of Flynn's, would go on to produce and direct all sorts of grindhouse garbage, such as Sex Killer and the delirious Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico. This particular film is only for Flynn completists or gawkers of cinematic trainwrecks.   (3/10)

Source: Amazon Prime video

220px-CubanRebelGirlsPoster.jpg

 

It's very sad that one of the great stars of the Hollywood Golden Era, and a man whose screen image during his prime years was the personification of adventure and romance, would have a career that so bottomed out that it ended with this sad piece of amateurish junk (with a pro Cuban Revolution political message mixed in there).

Flynn also appeared in a semi-documentary around this same time, Cuban Story, which has actual footage of a victorious Castro and his rebels entering Havana following Batista's fall. It's better than Cuban Rebel Girls (how couldn't it be?) but it's still a painful sight to see the bloated, haggard appearance of Errol Flynn in the final months of his life.

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5 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Actually Mahon had  70 director credits to his name roughly 85% are trashy sexploitation features and shorts some quite hilariously titled i.e., Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico (1969), Fanny Hill Meets the Red Baron (1968), A Good Time with a Bad Girl (1967), Run Swinger Run! (1967), Fanny Hill Meets Lady Chatterly (1967), The Art School for Nudists (1965), Nudes on Tiger Reef (1965), The Girl with the Magic Box (1965).  Out of this substantial oeuvre of essentially, what even most devotees of sexploitation deem cheap celluloid crap, it's not particularly surprising that at least one would get enough of all the elements and ingredients right to make a Transitory Noir.

That two of them, the maligned The Sex Killer above and Hot Skin and Cold Cash (1965), did is remarkable. What tips both these two features into a "thumb's up" inclusion into the Noirsville universe is the noir-ish, neo-realistic nature of the un-credited cinematography, combined with the unique also uncredited storyline for Hot Skin and Cold Cash, and in the case of The Sex Killer its particular bizarre, again uncredited, storyline. For me they both, aside from the sexploitation have copious amounts of archival footage of Times Square, Greenwich Village, and New York City subways. They for me anyway are about a 6-6.5/10 

I watched The Sex Killer about 15 years ago when I was watching as many of the Something Weird Video DVD's as I could get my hands on. I don't recall it off-hand, but I gave it a 3/10 score at the time. Sounds like it needs a revisit. I also watched Run Swinger RunA Good Time with a Bad GirlSex Club InternationalProstitutes Protective SocietyThe Love Cult, and The Beast That Killed Women around that same time, all from Mahon. I've also seen his notoriously awful Rocket Attack USA.

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I just watched a handful of comedy shorts starring W.C. Fields: Pool Sharks (1915, and his film debut), The Golf Specialist (1930), The Dentist (1932), The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933), The Pharmacist (1933), and The Barber Shop (1933). I found them all amusing, although the earliest two are rather primitive and creaky. If I had to choose a favorite, it would likely be The Fatal Glass of Beer, a send-up of family melodramas set in the frigid Canadian north. "It's a night not fit for man nor beast!"

These are all compiled on a Criterion DVD entitled W.C. Fields - Six Short Films, but it has long been out of print. I watched them all on YouTube.

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Night Journey (1960) - 30-minute short film production of Martha Graham's interpretive dance adaptation of Oedipus Rex. Performed on a spare set, Graham plays Jocasta, the wife/mother of Oedipus (Bertram Ross), as the two learn of their incestuous relationship. A chorus of other dancers provide more movement. I liked this a tiny bit better than the other two Graham shorts that I watched recently, but I still found it overly pretentious. This and the other two films are available from Criterion as Martha Graham: Dance On Film.   (6/10)

Source: FilmStruck

51-wZKNXMoL._SY445_.jpg

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

I watched The Sex Killer about 15 years ago when I was watching as many of the Something Weird Video DVD's as I could get my hands on. I don't recall it off-hand, but I gave it a 3/10 score at the time. Sounds like it needs a revisit. I also watched Run Swinger RunA Good Time with a Bad GirlSex Club InternationalProstitutes Protective SocietyThe Love Cult, and The Beast That Killed Women around that same time, all from Mahon. I've also seen his notoriously awful Rocket Attack USA.

Sounds like you were on a dive to the bottom.

What I've discovered about sexploitation films is when the MPPC died they tried to make serious films with what they had, low budgets, guerrilla location filming, somewhat coherent stories, actors that were available, and some nudity.  

I look at it like this, if you were a horse and lived in a fenced in pasture all your life and then somebody kicked the fence rails out you would definitely exploit that new freedom. That is what was going on. It was free with no guardrails. 

The funny thing is eventually the lowest common denominator demographic won out because that is where the money was, not in any artistic cinematography, or story lines, just straight get right to it hardcore.

The way to judge sexploitation titles is to look at the reviews. The fans of basic hardcore porn videos are always going to review any artistic Sexploitation flick as dull or boring precisely because they were trying to be more artistic rather than graphic. Those are the ones that may be the forgotten gems.

One more thing, The Sex Killer had was that it's serial killer worked in a mannequin factory so you get a sort of homage to Kubric's Killers Kiss.

 

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

These are all compiled on a Criterion DVD entitled W.C. Fields - Six Short Films, but it has long been out of print. I watched them all on YouTube.

I've been waiting for a Blu-ray upgrade, but think Criterion used the public-domain Hal Roach TV sources, that added music and sound effects.
(Came out in a double-feature release with "The Bank Dick", which is now back with Universal.)

...Anyone know if the original film sources are public-domain either, or also Universal?

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Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painleve - A collection of short films by French filmmaker Jean Painleve, released between 1925 and 1982. The first several, ranging in length from 27 minutes to 10 minutes, concentrate on marine life, often examined in microscopic detail, including octopuses, sea urchins, tiny diaphins, and other exotic aquatic fauna. 

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After a brief and harrowing 4-minute look at an experimental surgery performed on a healthy dog (the dog makes it through fine), there are several films made to highlight mathematical principles in relation to various fields, including engineering, physics, and cosmology. While these may sound dull, they are presented with an inventive playfulness that rises above the typical schoolroom educational reel.

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After a few years inactivity due to the war, Painleve returned in 1945 with a look at vampire bats, followed a few years later by a lengthier look at predators and their prey in a freshwater lake.

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In the mid 1950's he began making color nature films, looking once again at sea urchins, as well as jellyfish. Later films looked at shrimp, diatoms, and finally, in 1982, pigeons.

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The one real oddity in the bunch is 1936's Bluebeard, a striking claymation musical filled with violence (a horse bites a guy's head off!) and grotesque imagery.

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These films won't be for many audiences, but for those with an interest in offbeat nature films, science, and unusual cinematic techniques, there's a lot to savor. I'll give the whole set an 8/10, although individual film quality varies.

Source: FilmStruck

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"Made In Paris" - Boris Sagal - 1966 -

This film is an extremely lush romantic comedy from MGM that seems to come from another universe -

it's about a young woman (Ann-Margret) who is obsessed with maintaining her virginity -

there are any number of assaults on that virginity -

from Chad Everett, the boss's son who follows her to Paris (she's on a buying trip for his father's store) -

from Louis Jourdan, the famous French dress designer, who expects sex with an order -

and from Richard Crenna, a friend of Mr. Everett's, who can't help falling for Ann-Margret - 

the film is essentially an assembly-line production that seems committed to knocking your eyes out -

perhaps in an effort to make you forget the monotonous storyline -

Ann-Margret is so busy being a virgin that nothing else seems to matter -

needless to say, she is finally pushed into making a choice -

will it be Chad Everett, will it be Louis Jourdan or will it be Richard Crenna? -

the film also seems to be a showcase for Ann-Margret's talents - her beauty, her sexual allure, her dancing and her singing -

perhaps you haven't lived until you've seen her dancing "The Pussycat"? -

the actors do a terrific job of supporting her -

and that support is where "the fun" of this film actually lies -

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