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MARTY (1955) Score: 3/5 

Starring: Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Joe Mantell, Jerry Paris, Karen Steele, Esther Minciotti, Augusta Ciolli. 

This is a re-watch for me. I watched the majority of this one about 3 or 4 years ago, so I didn't remember too much of it. 

Borgnine stars as a lonely, 34 year old man who has bad luck with women, and is shamed by his friends and neighbors for not being married. Marty doesn't ever really do much except work at a butcher shop and hang out at the local bar with his friend, Angelo (who never does much either). Finally, after much cajoling by his mother, Marty goes to the Stardust Ballroom one night and ends up meeting a nice, lonely schoolteacher. They hit it off quite well, and decide to continue to see each other despite other people not approving of their relationship. I think this film was deserving of every single Oscar it was nominated for. 

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COLD MOUNTAIN (2003) Score: 1.5/5

Starring: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger. 

I don't really care to write an entire plot summary or anything of this one, as it was one of the most dull things I've ever seen. I really only watched it because it takes place during the Civil War (and that time period fascinates me). Also, I never thought I'd say this, but Renee Zellweger stole the show. She was actually sort of funny in this. 

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Sadie McKee (1934) - Romantic melodrama from MGM and director Clarence Brown. The movie follows the life of Sadie McKee (Joan Crawford), a lowly cook's daughter, and her relationships with three men: singer Tommy (Gene Raymond), alcoholic millionaire Jack (Edward Arnold), and childhood friend Michael (Franchot Tone). Also featuring Jean Dixon, Esther Ralston, Earl Oxford, Akim Tamiroff, Samuel S. Hinds, Minerva Urecal, and Leo G. Carroll in his movie debut.

This is high-gloss soap opera, but well shot and well acted. I particularly liked the sections dealing with Arnold and his alcoholism. Drunks were usually just comic relief in movies of the time, and this role seemed like no exception at first, but then it takes a serious turn and treats the problem like the health issue that it is. I also liked Jean Dixon as Sadie's been-around-the-block friend.   (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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Stamboul Quest (1934) - Romantic spy thriller from MGM and director Sam Wood. Myrna Loy stars as German spy Annemarie aka Fraulein Doktor, a master at romantic manipulation. It's 1915, and WW1 is raging. American medical student Douglas Beall (George Brent) gets accidentally mixed up in a spy operation and meets Annemarie without realizing who she is or who she works for. He follows her to Turkey where the two begin a romance, with Annemarie struggling to keep her profession a secret and thus keep Douglas safe. Also featuring Lionel Atwill, C. Henry Gordon, Mischa Auer, Rudolph Anders, Joe Sawyer, Virginia Weidler, and Leo G. Carroll in his film debut.***

Loy's character is based on a real WW1-era spy master who was never caught during her active years (she later descended into drug addiction and mental illness). I thought Loy was very good, beautiful and compelling. This also marks one of my favorite George Brent performances to date, as I found him amusing and charming. I would have ranked the film a bit higher except for the cop-out ending.   (7/10)

***The IMDb pages for this film and my previously watched movie, Sadie McKee, both claim that they are the film debuts of Leo G. Carroll.

Source: TCM

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Waltzes from Vienna aka Strauss' Great Waltz (1934) - British romantic drama from Gaumont and director Alfred Hitchcock. The film details the events surrounding the 1866 writing of "The Blue Danube Waltz" by Johann Strauss II (Esmond Knight). Strauss lives in the disapproving shadow of his famed father (Edmund Gwenn), and the younger man hopes to make a name for himself with his own compositions. He's cheered on by baker's daughter Resi (Jessie Matthews), and he also catches the eye of Countess Helga (Fay Compton). Also featuring Frank Vosper, Robert Hale, Charles Heslop, Hindle Edgar, and Marcus Barron.

Hitchcock described this film as "the lowest ebb of my career", and it's arguably the least-shown of his sound films, and the only one that I had not seen until now. It's not as bad as I expected, but it won't find too many fans, either. Despite some of Hitchcock's directorial flourishes popping up now and then, this movie still resembles many British productions of the time, which all seem to have a certain indefinable remoteness to them. Perhaps it's the lack of close ups or a certain flat lighting technique or just the style of acting, but I find myself rarely becoming engaged in the onscreen action. As I said though, I didn't find this movie to be a complete bore or waste of time, as some of the shooting is inventive, the costumes and sets are good, and there's the music, of course.   (6/10)

Source: Starry Night Video DVD. Excellent quality for MOD disc from a company I'd never heard of.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Hitchcock described this film as "the lowest ebb of my career", and it's arguably the least-shown of his sound films, and the only one that I had not seen until now.

I think it's the only one I haven't seen too.  It took a long time before TCM finally showed Under Capricorn, which was the last of last of the post-coming to America Hitchcock movies I saw.

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Alibi Ike (1935) - Sports comedy from Warner Brothers and director Ray Enright. Joe E. Brown stars as phenomenally good baseball pitcher Francis X. Farrell, also known as "Alibi Ike". He may be just what the Chicago Cubs need to make it all the way to the series, except that off the field, Farrell is also a phenomenal goofball and prone into getting into trouble. The team's manager Cap (William Frawley) hopes to keep Ike in check, while Cap's sister-in-law Dolly (Olivia de Havilland) improbably falls for the pitching hero. Also featuring Ruth Donnelly, Roscoe Karns, Eddie Schubert, Joe King, Paul Harvey, and Fred "Snowflake" Toones.

I recently posted about my general dislike of Brown's shtick, but for some reason it didn't bother me as much here. I still wasn't crazy about the movie, but it wasn't torturous to sit through, and I chuckled a few times. I watched it for de Havilland, who was making her debut here (A Midsummer Night's Dream was filmed first but released second). She was still very green as an actress, but as beautiful as ever.   (6/10)

Source: TCM

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Alibi Ike (1935) - 

I recently posted about my general dislike of Brown's shtick, but for some reason it didn't bother me as much here. I still wasn't crazy about the movie, but it wasn't torturous to sit through, and I chuckled a few times. I watched it for de Havilland, who was making her debut here (A Midsummer Night's Dream was filmed first but released second). She was still very green as an actress, but as beautiful as ever.   (6/10)

 

I remember enjoying this film the one time I saw it on TCM. As a kid, I watched a lot of Joe E. Brown movies and thought they were funny. There was one where he played a cop, and I think there was some chase scene in a funhouse at an amusement park, but I don't recall what film that was.  I don't feel that way now about his films, unfortunately. I'm not sure what changed, but maybe as a kid his routines seemed hilarious while now they seem boring. According to my mother, her father (who died years before I was born) really liked Brown, as well as Henry Armetta. Well, I can understand Armetta; that was an Italian thing.

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Late Extra (1935) - Comedy thriller from Fox and director Albert Parker. A violent bank robber is hiding out in the city, and intrepid young reporter Jim Martin (James Mason), with the help of gal pal Janet (Virginia Cherrill) and fussy fellow reporter MacPherson (Alastair Sim), is determined to track the fugitive down and land the big scoop. Also featuring Donald Wolfit, Ian Colin, Cyril Chosack, Antoinette Cellier, David Horne, Bernard Miles, Bill Shine, Michael Wilding, and Clifford McLaglen.

26 year-old Mason made his film debut here as the energetic young reporter. He's not terribly charismatic at this early stage, and Sim steals every scene he's in out from under his more handsome co-star. The plot drags a bit despite barely being over an hour, but it's reasonably engaging for the most part. Wolfit scowls as a police inspector, while Michael Wilding shows up as a telephone operator.   (6/10)

Source: Rarefilmm.com

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1 hour ago, scsu1975 said:

According to my mother, her father (who died years before I was born) really liked Brown, as well as Henry Armetta. Well, I can understand Armetta; that was an Italian thing.

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"Hey, whatta meana thinga? I'm noa thinga."

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3 minutes ago, TomJH said:

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"Hey, whatta meana thinga? I'm noa thinga."

Poor Henry. In October of 1945, he was appearing in a new musical entitled Opening Night in San Diego, when he collapsed backstage from a heart attack during the first act. More tragically, his son Johnny, who had just been discharged from the Army, was watching in the wings.

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Henry Armetta as the Sergeant (left) has quite a wonderful scene in The Black Cat (1934).

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Kung Fu Arts - martial arts film from Taiwan. An assassin poisons the princess and the Emperor vows to wed anyone who can cure her. Someone comes forward and cures her and it's a monkey! The Emperor weds the two and sets their barge out to sea to let the Gods decide their fate while the man thought to be the traitor trains to get the real culprit and clear his name. The plot for this sounds very stupid but it is actually a very fun movie. The choreography, sets and costumes are all good and I recommend it.

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16 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Stamboul Quest (1934) - I would have ranked the film a bit higher except for the cop-out ending. 

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Thanks for that comment-I've always wanted to see that movie, but wasn't sure if I'd like it. I can deal with a cop out ending.

The poster says: "The most dangerous eyes on the continent". Looks more like "the most punched out eyes on the continent" where's the beefsteak?

Too bad about VIENNA WALTZ. I love Jesse Matthews and there's just not enough good movies with her in them. (and boy are they hard to find!)

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17 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Stamboul Quest (1934)

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I am not a fan of this film though I wanted to like it and generally enjoy '30s films with exotic settings. I like the film's title, for example. Loy was stylish and played a smart, sophisticated, certainly incredibly coiffed and attired, spy.

The problem for me was the bone headed impulsiveness of George Brent's character which got on my nerves as the film progressed. Bursting into restaurants and ready to get into a fight out of jealous pique like some kind of schoolboy, for example. He was an anchor around the film's neck.

I suspect Loy fans will like the film, though, because the actress comes off quite well.

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You "just watched" it?

So.... Where, and when was it on?  :huh:

Just so I can keep an eye out for when when wherever or whomever  might show it again.

;)

Sepiatone

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"Eye of the Devil" - J. Lee Thompson - 1966 -

"Spoiler Alert" -

with a terrific cast - Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Donald Pleasance, Emlyn Williams, Flora Robson, Sharon Tate, David Hemmings, Robert Duncan and Suky Appleby, etc. -

This forgotten film is an extremely atmospheric and extremely errie "thriller" about a woman (Kerr) who gradually discovers that her husband (Niven) whose vineyards have been failing for years must return home to fulfill a family ritual (his death) to replenish the vineyards -

the vineyards and the people who work there are stopped in time and eagerly anticipate the ritual -

as the owner who must save "his people", Philippe (Niven) does not and will not fight the family tradition -

as his wife , Catherine (Kerr) does all that she can to prevent his death -

as the murderous youngsters, Odile and Christian De Caray, Sharon Tate and David Hemmings will chill you to the bone - they are there to execute Philippe -

as the couple's children, Jacques and Antoinette, Robert Duncan and Suky Appleby are very fine young actors -

it's a great film about a most unpleasant subject - ritual sacrifice -

a ritual sacrifice that cannot be denied -

Philippe realizes that what he is doing is "divine" -

in the end, little Jacques, in the presence of the priest (Pleasance), will agree to carry on "the family traditon" -

this is a film that is so well-done that it will knock your socks off -

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Swedenhielms Family (1935) - Swedish comedy-drama from director Gustaf Molander. The Swedenhielms are a proud family of much prior accomplishment. The current members include military officer and aviator Bo (Hakan Westergren), singer and actress Julia (Tutta Rolf), and scientist Rolf Jr. (Bjorn Berglund). Their reclusive father, Rolf Sr. (Gosta Ekman) is a finalist for the Nobel Prize due to his scientific and engineering work, and his three children are desperate for the win, since it comes with a sizable cash prize, and they are all desperate for money. Also featuring Karin Swanstrom, Sigurd Wallen, Nils Ericsson, and Ingrid Bergman.

This is based on a play, and the action is very set-bound. The performances range from adequate to hammy, and the shift from comedy to drama is often times awkward. I watched this for Bergman, who has a smaller role as the wealthy fiancee of the aviator. She was only 19 at the time.    (5/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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Toni (1935) - French drama from Gaumont and writer-director Jean Renoir. Toni (Charles Blavette) is an Italian migrant worker in the south of France. He works and lives in a community of immigrant laborers and farmers from all across Europe. He lives with boardinghouse owner Maria (Jenny Helia), but he begins an affair with Spanish laborer Josefa (Celia Montalvan), which leads to tragedy for everyone. Also featuring Edouard Delmont, Max Dalban, Michel Kovachevitch, and Andrex.

Within the first few minutes of this I noticed the stylistic touches that would later become associated with the Italian Neorealist film movement of the 1940's. It came as little surprise, then, to learn that one of the assistant directors on this was Luchino Visconti. Renoir uses a lot of non-actors to fill out his cast, and the film is shot with a guerrilla-like simplicity. The plot is strictly melodrama, but no one else was making movies this way at this time. I really liked the circular nature of the beginning and ending. This was made in conjunction with Marcel Pagnol's production company. Recommended.   (8/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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20 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Late Extra (1935) - Comedy thriller from Fox and director Albert Parker. A violent bank robber is hiding out in the city, and intrepid young reporter Jim Martin (James Mason), with the help of gal pal Janet (Virginia Cherrill) and fussy fellow reporter MacPherson (Alastair Sim), is determined to track the fugitive down and land the big scoop. Also featuring Donald Wolfit, Ian Colin, Cyril Chosack, Antoinette Cellier, David Horne, Bernard Miles, Bill Shine, Michael Wilding, and Clifford McLaglen.

26 year-old Mason made his film debut here as the energetic young reporter. He's not terribly charismatic at this early stage, and Sim steals every scene he's in out from under his more handsome co-star. The plot drags a bit despite barely being over an hour, but it's reasonably engaging for the most part. Wolfit scowls as a police inspector, while Michael Wilding shows up as a telephone operator.   (6/10)

Source: Rarefilmm.com

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Michael Wilding is such an acquired taste.

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Walpurgis Night (1935) - Swedish melodrama from writer-director Gustaf Edgren. Newspaper editor Frederik Bergstrom (Victor Sjostrom) worries over his unmarried daughter Lena (Ingrid Bergman), especially when he learns that she's secretly in love with her boss Johan (Lars Hanson), who is trapped in a loveless marriage to hedonist Clary (Karin Kavli). Events soon transpire that could cause scandal or worse for all involved. Featuring Erik Berglund, Sture Lagerwall, Marie-Louise Sorbon, Georg Rydeberg, and George Blickingberg.

I enjoy seeing the great actor/director Victor Sjostrom (aka Victor Seastrom) in just about anything, and he turns in another wonderful, natural performance here. The film is concerned with pressing issues of the day in Sweden, like a diminishing birthrate and lack of housing, while also serving as a romantic melodrama. Some of the plot points hinge a bit too much on coincidence, but that's generally excusable. Bergman is radiant as the young woman in love. The title refers to a seasonal festival that celebrates Spring in Sweden. I only knew of Walpurgis Night from its reference in Dracula.  (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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China Clipper (1936) - Aviation drama from Warner Brothers and director Ray Enright. Pilot Dave Logan (Pat O'Brien) starts a company with the intention of making transoceanic flight not only a reality, but a safe and reliable service. To this end he drives his engineers and test pilots to the brink, as well as pushing away his own wife Jean (Beverly Roberts). Also featuring Humphrey Bogart, Ross Alexander, Henry B. Walthall, Marie Wilson, Joseph Crehan, Joe King, Addison Richards, Anne Nagel, Milburn Stone, Frank Faylen, Pierre Watkin, and Wayne Morris.

This is a mediocre B-movie that will hold some interest for aviation buffs. The presentation of O'Brien's character is so off-putting as to make him unbearable, and you cheer when someone socks him in the jaw. Bogart shows some of his future promise as a cool-as-ice test pilot with an easy smile and no small amount of charm. Ross Alexander isn't bad either, playing a loyal friend to O'Brien. Alexander would come to a sad end, taking his own life less than six months after the release of this movie, at age 29. Silent screen legend Henry Walthall, playing an elder engineer affectionately called "Dad", would die of a heart attack in the middle of production, grimly mirroring a plot point in the film. Walthall was 58, but looked twenty years older. They lived rougher in those days.   (6/10)

Source: Amazon video

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Wow. 

Just finished NONE SHALL ESCAPE (1944).

Thanks to everyone who recommended it in the “hits and misses” thread.

It was a damn fine film.

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Conflict (1936) - Action/adventure from Universal and director David Howard. Pat Glendon (John Wayne) is an affable lug who is part of a slowburn con. He arrives in a small town and over the course of weeks becomes well known and respected for his physical prowess. Then the rest of the gang comes to town in the guise of a professional boxer (Ward Bond) and his entourage, and they challenge Pat to box with the pro. The town invariably bets on Pat, who then takes a dive. They attempt their scam in a logging town, but this time Pat may have reasons not to go along with the plan. Also featuring Jean Rogers, Tommy Bupp, Eddie Borden, Bryant Washburn, Frank Sheridan, Lloyd Ingraham, and Glenn Strange.

This is another B picture from a short period when Wayne left the western treadmill and tried some other genres. There's still a lot of western flavor to this, but he gets to be romantic with Jean Rogers, as well as act as a surrogate father to Tommy, a feisty orphan kid. The movie is marginally charming and entertaining, if one goes in with the proper expectations.   (6/10)

Source: Rarefilmm.com

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