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Joe, I've seen a couple of the Gary Merrill films you mentioned. Phone Call from a Stranger, nicely directed by Jean Negulesco, is not noir. After a plane crashes, Gary Merrill must inform the relatives of three of the deceased. We get little vignettes into the lives of the three passengers. The most memorable one concerns Keenan Wynn, a loud-mouthed businessman, and his wife, played by Bette Davis, who took this small but challenging role so that she and Merrill could work together.

Another Man's Poison feels very much like a filmed play. Is a stranger the person he claims to be? Although the elements could have been treated in a noirish way, they are not. It's closer to something like Dial M for Murder, also an adaptation of a stage play, but less capably directed. Some people have a higher regard for Another Man's Poison than I do.

 

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The scene I liked in Brainstorm was when the executives suggested marketing the device as a sex toy.  :D

Because you know that's what people would want to do with the device.

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17 minutes ago, Fedya said:

The scene I liked in Brainstorm was when the executives suggested marketing the device as a sex toy.  :D

Because you know that's what people would want to do with the device.

Now that we actually have them, I, the Playstation 4 owner, can tell you for a fact what is keeping the Virtual Reality Headset industry alive.  B)  And yes, Brainstorm does spring to mind whenever I use it...I may take up golf.

But yes, new technologies are subject to one of Scott Adams' Dilbert Principles, namely that any new technology, business model or political system MUST take into account that its users will be A) Lazy, B ) Greedy, and C) Hornee:
A means they don't want a complicated setup or the system to interfere too much with their own lives, B means they want a low price, be able to get as much of it for free as possible, and figure out how somebody can make money off of it, and C, in technology's case, means someone will immediately figure out how it can be applied to Porn, just, well, because...Yep, they even tried with Google Glass.  And Bitcoin.

(Unless it's Blu-ray, 4K or 3D's case, in which case physical-media porn has long since been doomed by the ephemeral Internet.)

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3 hours ago, kingrat said:

Joe, I've seen a couple of the Gary Merrill films you mentioned. Phone Call from a Stranger, nicely directed by Jean Negulesco, is not noir. After a plane crashes, Gary Merrill must inform the relatives of three of the deceased. We get little vignettes into the lives of the three passengers. The most memorable one concerns Keenan Wynn, a loud-mouthed businessman, and his wife, played by Bette Davis, who took this small but challenging role so that she and Merrill could work together.

Another Man's Poison feels very much like a filmed play. Is a stranger the person he claims to be? Although the elements could have been treated in a noirish way, they are not. It's closer to something like Dial M for Murder, also an adaptation of a stage play, but less capably directed. Some people have a higher regard for Another Man's Poison than I do.

 

I was going by the IMDb descriptions (below) I'd have to see them myself to see what I get out of them:

Another Man's Poison (1951) 1h 30min | Crime , Drama , Film-Noir 

Phone Call from a Stranger (1952) 1h 45min | Drama , Film-Noir 

Night Without Sleep (1952) 1h 17min | Drama , Film-Noir , Mystery

 

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The Happy Prince (2018)--Rupert Everett wrote, directed and stars in this look at the last days of Oscar Wilde..maybe that was a mistake.  First of all, his performance is terrific--he is barely recognizable and totally believable as the bloated, sick Wilde living in exile in France.  Supporting actors Colin Firth, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson turn in their usual splendid work, but they get very little screen time in small parts.  Colin Morgan is getting accolades as Wilde's long time lover who got him into trouble in the first place, coming across as a spoiled, nasty self-absorbed brat.  Edwin Thomas, as friend Robbie Ross supplies a lone touch of humanity among the bunch.  The performances are good, the costumes and details are really noteworthy, but the story-telling itself leaves something to be desired.  The story mixes Wilde's last sad days with flashbacks of better times when Wilde was The Star..and he never really gives up the belief that he still is.  From a single prison scene of his hair being cut off, we're supposed to understand all the suffering he went through while incarcerated for two years..but that experience didn't seem to make him more unselfish. What did he learn? How did it change him?  The 'flashbacks' and narration are somewhat random, and the film doesn't really have a good flow.  About a third is in French, with subtitles..no biggie, but some of the scenes stretch on a bit too long.  All in all, I think it would've been a more cohesive film if Everett had handed over the director's chair to someone who had some distance from the project that Everett had been working on for a decade, and maybe seen it more objectively.  I give Everett an A for his performance, but a C for the overall result.  source: Cinema apk  

Everett as Oscar Wilde Image result for the happy prince 2018

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Spook Busters

With the Bowery Boys, missed the beginning but the ether fight was hilarious. From what I saw, it is still entertaining and has that comic zany sight gags, slapstick and embellished narration. Don't know if Spook Chasers will live up to it.

8/10

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I watched a few films in the last couple of days:

All That Heaven Allows. I love Douglas Sirk's 1950s films.  I love over the top melodramas--especially when the action takes place in lush locations.  This film definitely did not disappoint.  All That Heaven Allows stars Jane Wyman as a wealthy widow who falls in love with her hunky gardener, Rock Hudson.  Wyman's life is full of pretense, with her constant barrage of country club engagements and dates with men who are "good" choices for Wyman (e.g. older, wealthy men), but not necessarily "fun" or "sexy" choices.  Agnes Moorehead co-stars as Wyman's friend Sarah, who is one of her most vocal critics of her relationship with Hudson.  Wyman is attracted to Hudson, because 1) he's young and attractive, but mainly 2) she likes his simple lifestyle and social circle.  He doesn't strive for money, status or anything of that ilk, he just wants to earn money so he can pursue his real passion--growing trees on his farm.  Wyman's college-aged children also prove to be problematic, as they don't seem to want their mother to find love again, especially if it involves a man of a lower social class and Wyman selling their childhood home.  Wyman's son, especially, treats her like a child.  I liked her daughter, Kay, with her stereotypical college-aged pretentious philosophical and psychological observations about people's motivations for their actions.  I also loved Kay's glasses! As typical in a melodrama, this film has almost everything: clash between social classes, torrid romance, serious accident, bad weather, anything and everything (except for an unexpected pregnancy!) that threatens to keep the lovers apart.  I loved this film and look forward to picking it up on Criterion.

---

Letter From an Unknown Woman.  I absolutely loved this film.  I'm always in search of a romantic film--not a cheesy romantic film that checks off all the common tropes (e.g. boy meets girl, boy hates girl, etc.); but a real, true, intense romantic film.  There doesn't have to be a happy ending if it doesn't fit with the story.  I love to see the romance, feel the passion, the sadness, everything.  'Letter' did not disappoint.  I will definitely have to pick up a copy of this Olive release.

'Letter' stars Joan Fontaine as a gawky, Viennese teenager named Lisa who pines for older man, Stefan, played by Louis Jourdan.  Every day, Fontaine watches Jourdan, hoping that he'll see her and notice her.  She ends up moving away shortly after Jourdan moves into her building.  As she is leaving, she sees Jourdan coming home with his new bride.  She is heartbroken.  In her new city, Fontaine is paired up with a wealthy young man, whom her mother and stepfather hope she'll marry.  Fontaine's beau proposes, but Fontaine turns him down, saying she's "involved with someone else."  Throughout their courtship, it is obvious that Fontaine is not in love with him.  She likes him, but she's not in love with him.  Fontaine ends up moving back to Vienna where she quickly finds herself re-acquainted with Jourdan.  They have a passionate evening together (where Jourdan's wife is, who knows?).  Fontaine is head over heels.

Jourdan ends up leaving for "two weeks" for a tour and doesn't return.  Saddened, Fontaine ends up marrying a Baron who provides her with wealth and status--everything her parents wanted for her.  Through a chance encounter, Fontaine sees Jourdan again and must decide whether to throw her current, comfortable, though not passionate, life away or whether she should pursue her heart and go back to Jourdan, the man whom she's loved half her life.

Fontaine's character ages from teenager to (I'm guessing) a 30-something.  Fontaine was excellent portraying her character at all these different ages and milestones in her life.  She was a better teenager here than she was in A Constant Nymph.  Jourdan was very attractive--no wonder Fontaine was in love with him.  I loved how their story unfolded--especially in the charming train scene.  This film features everything I love in a romantic film and I enjoyed it very much.  At first, it seemed like it was starting off slowly, and I was worried that I was going to be bored; but once Jourdan started reading Fontaine's letter, I was hooked.  Great film!

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Jeopardy.  This 1953 noir starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan and Ralph Meeker was so much fun to watch.  I loved it.  There were some things about it that I was curious about, like how Stanwyck and Sullivan managed to be the ONLY people driving on these Mexican roads, but that was more of an observation rather than a criticism. 

In this film, Stanwyck and Sullivan star as a married couple, who along with their son Bobby, decide to vacation in Ensenada, Mexico.  Apparently there is a fishing location that Sullivan has been to before and he wants to share the isolated spot with his family.  From the moment we see the campsite and the delipidated jetty, it is obvious that something bad is going to happen involving that jetty.  Stanwyck's narration also foreshadows it.  Sure enough, within the first 20 minutes or so of the film, a jetty pylon has collapsed onto Sullivan's leg and he is trapped in the water as the tide is rising.  Sullivan spends the remainder of the film sitting in water while Stanwyck tries to find help.

Stanwyck is tasked with locating some rope, so they could use the car to try and pull the pylon off Sullivan.  At this point, my husband was yelling at Stanwyck to use the various pieces of wood to build a fulcrum to try and pry the pylon off Sullivan.  Of course, Stanwyck and Sullivan don't listen to my husband, and off she goes to look for help and/or a rope.  While at a deserted service station, Stanwyck comes across Meeker.  It seems that Meeker has just escaped from prison, murdered someone, and is now on the lam.  He takes Stanwyck prisoner with him, so that he can steal her car.

While on the road, Stanwyck tries to escape or get help, but Meeker outsmarts her at each turn.  Seeing that the car is moving too quickly to "tuck and roll" and escape, Stanwyck makes a deal with Meeker: if he helps her save her husband, she will give him her husband's identification and clothing.  To sweeten the deal, she promises to go with Meeker, posing as his wife, just to keep up the charade.  Meeker, intrigued, takes her up on the offer.  They share some very uncomfortable kisses.  At this point, I was thinking "hey Barbara, what about Barry?" but fortunately, Barbara was still devoted to saving her husband.

Meeker was excellent as the convict and was pretty hunky as well. I have seen Barry Sullivan in quite a few movies lately, and I really like him.  I am not exactly sure what it is about him that I like, but I like him.  I didn't expect the ending of the film and was glad that the director didn't take the direction I was sure that the story would take.

This was a great, short, noir film that I wouldn't mind seeing again.  

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1 hour ago, shutoo said:

The Happy Prince (2018)--Rupert Everett wrote, directed and stars in this look at the last days of Oscar Wilde..maybe that was a mistake.  First of all, his performance is terrific--he is barely recognizable and totally believable as the bloated, sick Wilde living in exile in France.  

Rupert Everett has really changed a lot in recent years. I had no idea I was watching him in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) until the end credits rolled, and I had to think who in the film he could have been. I saw him on a talk show recently promoting The Happy Prince and his change of appearance is real, not part of the roles he's been playing. I watched Wild Target from 2010 a week ago or so, and he still was recognizably Rupert Everett, but he's gained weight and/or had plastic surgery, added to the fact that he's nearly 60 now, and age catches up with us all.

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NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)

I've already seen this several times, but this time I went to the historic El Capitan Theater in Hollywood for the 25th Anniversary showing of it. It was in 4D, so I justified braving the highways and the crowds for it. 

I had forgotten a lot of the major plot points of the film, seeing as it has been several years since I last watched it. I definitely enjoy this movie, but I also think it's sometimes overrated. Although, the score/soundtrack is absolutely fantastic, in my opinion. Danny Elfman did a great job on this. 

Related image

Image result for nightmare before christmas gif

Image result for nightmare before christmas gif

Dialogue: 0.5/1 

Story: 0.25/1 

Acting: 0.5/1 

Animation: 1/1  

Music/Score: 1/1  

Enjoyment: 0.5/1 
Score: 3.75/6

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ARTHUR NEWMAN (2012) Score: 1.5/5 

Starring: Colin Firth, Emily Blunt, Anne Heche, Lucas Hedges, Sterling Beaumon. 

Firth and Blunt meet under interesting circumstances, and end up road-tripping together (even though they are essentially strangers).The two of them are pretending to be people they aren't, so I guess they have that in common.I like Firth enough, I guess. I'd like to watch more of Emily Blunt's film work, though. I really didn't care too much about this movie. It was okay, I guess. Nothing spectacular. It was all a bit underwhelming, if I'm being perfectly honest. 

Image result for arthur newman 2012

Dialogue: 0.25/1 

Story: 0.25/1 

Acting: 1/1 

Cinematography: 0/1  

Score: 0/1 

Enjoyment: 0.25/1 

Score: 1.75/6 

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9 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Jeopardy.  This 1953 noir starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan and Ralph Meeker was so much fun to watch.  I loved it.  There were some things about it that I was curious about, like how Stanwyck and Sullivan managed to be the ONLY people driving on these Mexican roads, but that was more of an observation rather than a criticism. 

In this film, Stanwyck and Sullivan star as a married couple, who along with their son Bobby, decide to vacation in Ensenada, Mexico.  Apparently there is a fishing location that Sullivan has been to before and he wants to share the isolated spot with his family.  From the moment we see the campsite and the delipidated jetty, it is obvious that something bad is going to happen involving that jetty.  Stanwyck's narration also foreshadows it.  Sure enough, within the first 20 minutes or so of the film, a jetty pylon has collapsed onto Sullivan's leg and he is trapped in the water as the tide is rising.  Sullivan spends the remainder of the film sitting in water while Stanwyck tries to find help.

Stanwyck is tasked with locating some rope, so they could use the car to try and pull the pylon off Sullivan.  At this point, my husband was yelling at Stanwyck to use the various pieces of wood to build a fulcrum to try and pry the pylon off Sullivan.  Of course, Stanwyck and Sullivan don't listen to my husband, and off she goes to look for help and/or a rope.  While at a deserted service station, Stanwyck comes across Meeker.  It seems that Meeker has just escaped from prison, murdered someone, and is now on the lam.  He takes Stanwyck prisoner with him, so that he can steal her car.

While on the road, Stanwyck tries to escape or get help, but Meeker outsmarts her at each turn.  Seeing that the car is moving too quickly to "tuck and roll" and escape, Stanwyck makes a deal with Meeker: if he helps her save her husband, she will give him her husband's identification and clothing.  To sweeten the deal, she promises to go with Meeker, posing as his wife, just to keep up the charade.  Meeker, intrigued, takes her up on the offer.  They share some very uncomfortable kisses.  At this point, I was thinking "hey Barbara, what about Barry?" but fortunately, Barbara was still devoted to saving her husband.

Meeker was excellent as the convict and was pretty hunky as well. I have seen Barry Sullivan in quite a few movies lately, and I really like him.  I am not exactly sure what it is about him that I like, but I like him.  I didn't expect the ending of the film and was glad that the director didn't take the direction I was sure that the story would take.

This was a great, short, noir film that I wouldn't mind seeing again.  

Yes I like Jeopardy also. I've liked Meeker since I've seen him in Kiss Me Deadly, he also good here in Jeopardy, and plays a complete 180 in Something Wild. 

Barry Sullivan I first noticed in Westerns in Seven Ways from Sundown. Since I've seen his Film Noirs.

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41 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Yes I like Jeopardy also. I've liked Meeker since I've seen him in Kiss Me Deadly, he also good here in Jeopardy, and plays a complete 180 in Something Wild.

I love RALPH MEEKER. His finest work (that I have seen) is probably in PATHS OF GLORY (which is another 180 from KISS ME DEADLY and SOMETHING WILD.)

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7 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I love RALPH MEEKER. His finest work (that I have seen) is probably in PATHS OF GLORY (which is another 180 from KISS ME DEADLY and SOMETHING WILD.)

Yes Paths Of Glory he's great in that also, agree.

Another good Short Noir to check out of his is Revenge (1955) an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

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spirits9.jpg

5fa09466ce034c59bef90fd1aa6731f3--terenc

Spirits of the Dead - A good horror anthology film from the directors Federico Fellini, Roger Vadim and Louis Malle. The Toby Dammit segment was my favorite where a drug addicted, melancholic actor meets the devil. It had the best visuals and story and had a nice Nino Rota soundtrack too. If you are a fan of Fellini as I am this one must not be passed up. The media and television people are mocked heavily in this. This one really seemed like a bit of a precursor to Ginger and Fred. I also liked the Metzengerstein segment. It had a good soundtrack and the story was intriguing. The cruel and wicked woman played by Jane Fonda is served a poetic fate after killing the man she loves. My least favorite was William Wilson. God, that one was really, really boring. 

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4 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

spirits9.jpg

5fa09466ce034c59bef90fd1aa6731f3--terenc

Spirits of the Dead - A good horror anthology film from the directors Federico Fellini, Roger Vadim and Louis Malle. The Toby Dammit segment was my favorite where a drug addicted, melancholic actor meets the devil. It had the best visuals and story and had a nice Nino Rota soundtrack too. If you are a fan of Fellini as I am this one must not be passed up. The media and television people are mocked heavily in this. This one really seemed like a bit of a precursor to Ginger and Fred. I also liked the Metzengerstein segment. It had a good soundtrack and the story was intriguing. The cruel and wicked woman played by Jane Fonda is served a poetic fate after killing the man she loves. My least favorite was William Wilson. God, that one was really, really boring. 

For me, "Spirits of the Dead" - the worst one was the Roger Vadim segment and the best one was the Louis Malle segment.  The Frederico Fellini segment came off as second-rate Fellini.

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20 hours ago, shutoo said:

The Happy Prince (2018)--Rupert Everett wrote, directed and stars in this look at the last days of Oscar Wilde..maybe that was a mistake.  First of all, his performance is terrific--he is barely recognizable and totally believable as the bloated, sick Wilde living in exile in France.  Supporting actors Colin Firth, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson turn in their usual splendid work, but they get very little screen time in small parts.  Colin Morgan is getting accolades as Wilde's long time lover who got him into trouble in the first place, coming across as a spoiled, nasty self-absorbed brat.  Edwin Thomas, as friend Robbie Ross supplies a lone touch of humanity among the bunch.  The performances are good, the costumes and details are really noteworthy, but the story-telling itself leaves something to be desired.  The story mixes Wilde's last sad days with flashbacks of better times when Wilde was The Star..and he never really gives up the belief that he still is.  From a single prison scene of his hair being cut off, we're supposed to understand all the suffering he went through while incarcerated for two years..but that experience didn't seem to make him more unselfish. What did he learn? How did it change him?  The 'flashbacks' and narration are somewhat random, and the film doesn't really have a good flow.  About a third is in French, with subtitles..no biggie, but some of the scenes stretch on a bit too long.  All in all, I think it would've been a more cohesive film if Everett had handed over the director's chair to someone who had some distance from the project that Everett had been working on for a decade, and maybe seen it more objectively.  I give Everett an A for his performance, but a C for the overall result.  source: Cinema apk  

Everett as Oscar Wilde Image result for the happy prince 2018

I always looked forward to his gay James Bond flick, which, unfortunately, never happened.

He toured in an English play about Oscar Wilde.

It played at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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19 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Rupert Everett has really changed a lot in recent years. I had no idea I was watching him in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) until the end credits rolled, and I had to think who in the film he could have been. I saw him on a talk show recently promoting The Happy Prince and his change of appearance is real, not part of the roles he's been playing. I watched Wild Target from 2010 a week ago or so, and he still was recognizably Rupert Everett, but he's gained weight and/or had plastic surgery, added to the fact that he's nearly 60 now, and age catches up with us all.

Yes, I was shocked by his appearance in "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children".

He has had plastic surgery, though.

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

For me, "Spirits of the Dead" - the worst one was the Roger Vadim segment and the best one was the Louis Malle segment.  The Frederico Fellini segment came off as second-rate Fellini.

That segment was shot well and Alain Delon was a very good actor so I understand why it's your favorite. That segment just didn't click with me though.

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6 hours ago, Hibi said:

Meeker was in Picnic on Broadway. Didnt get to do the movie version. I dont think he had the film career he really deserved.

As much as I love William Holden and Picnic, I would be curious to see how Meeker did in the Hal Carter role.  He would be a little closer in age than Holden, but not by much.

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South of St. Louis (1949)

A fairly run-of-the-mill Warner Brothers western, but at least it's distinguished by an above average cast and some very nice Technicolor.

Joel McCrea, Zachory Scott and Douglas Kennedy play three Texas friends whose ranch is ruined during the Civil War by a Quantrill-type raider and his men working for the Union Army. Eventually Kennedy will decide to become a soldier for the Confederacy while McCrea and Scott will take up gun running for the South.

Alexis Smith plays a saloon singer who is also in on the gun running. She wears an excessive amount of makeup in this western, so much so that her nickname is Rouge. As the film progresses she also carries a secret torch for McCrea who only has eyes for wholesome Dorothy Malone. But as the plot evolves the relationships will change.

Also along for the ride is a scruffy looking Victor Jory as the Quantrill-type scoundrel who's easy to dislike (and doesn't look like he'd smell too good either) and, wasted in a small role, Alan Hale in one of his final film appearances as a saloon owner who tries to get along with soldiers on both sides of the armed conflict. Bob Steele scores well as a knife wielding sleazy hombre working for Scott.

Max Steiner scores the film and, as usual, his music often makes the proceedings seem better than they really are.

In the final analysis western buffs will probably find this a pleasant time waster, even if the end results are rather forgettable. The original title of this film, by the way, was Distant Drums. A couple of years later that would be the title used for a Gary Cooper western.

hqdefault.jpg

2.5 out of 4

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Don Juan (1926)

Private Life of Don Juan (1934)

Adventures of Don Juan (1948)

I guess I was in a mood for films about the famous fictional libertine, for I watched three different productions about the legendary Spanish lover, all three played by famous actors known for their own amorous escapades off the screen.

The first, Don Juan, is a lavish 1926 Warner Brothers silent featuring the legendary John Barrymore kissing the ladies and with a lot images of his Great Profile. The film was significant inasmuch as it was the studio's first made with a synchronized musical score, which also included a few sounds effects (in particular the swishing of swords in the film's big duel).

DcRHiY7XcAAKvDL.jpg

This is by far the most melodramatic of the three films and the darkest in both story and characterizations. The film opens with an epilogue showing why this film Don Juan is so distrustful of women. Juan is a baby and later a young man in this sequence, which shows how his father, Don Jose (played by Barrymore in a dark beard) is betrayed by his faithless wife. At one point when Don Jose suspects there is a cowering lover of his wife's hiding behind the blocks of an unfinished wall in his bedroom, Don Jose orders servants to fill in the wall, burying the man alive. Shades of Edgar Allan Poe!

When the main story begins Barrymore's now adult Don Juan finds himself in medieval Italy, dealing with the Borgias while at the same time falling for the charms of a decidedly virginal young lady (played, ironically, considering her later well known sexual exploits, by Mary Astor). Astor and Barrymore had, in fact, been lovers before this production began.

Warner Oland plays Cesare Borgia, Estelle Taylor (Mrs. Jack Dempsey at the time) his conniving sister, Lucrezia, while villainous Montagu Love plays Italy's greatest fencer, Count Donati, who has an eye to marry Astor so he can inherit her father's estate. And the future Mrs. Nick Charles (as well as Barrymore co-star in Topaze) , Myrna Loy, can be seen slinking around in a small role as Lucrezia's hand maiden and palace spy.

The film boasts some striking sets and photography, in particular a dank prison cell. Barrymore's characterization is definitely the darkest of the three Don Juans. Unlike the Flynn version, which has women eagerly pursuing him, or the aging Fairbanks Don Juan who has women laughing when he tells them he's the real Don, Barrymore's Don Juan climbs a balcony unannounced and emerges into a woman's boudoir, terrorizing her in the process while locking the window behind him.

He is the most aggressive of the three screen lovers (in this age of "No means No" by women his actions here would not be looked upon approvingly). It is only when the lady involved threatens suicide and then passes out that Barrymore, confused by her unexpected behaviour, makes an exit from her room.

There will later by a torture chamber sequence with Don Juan posing before the Borgias as a cloaked version of their torturer/alchemist who creates poisons for them. It is here, with the additional assistance of overhead lighting, that Barrymore contorts his face for villainous effect. It is, in fact, the same Mr. Hyde face he had made in that famous screen adaption of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel in which he had appeared six years before. It is equally effective here, particularly when the actor then relaxes his facial muscles to give the audience his famous handsome left profile once again.

The highlight sequence of the silent is probably its final duel between Barrymore and Love, climaxing with a leap off the top of some stairs by Don Juan onto the villain at the feet of those stairs. Flynn's Don Juan, obviously influenced by this moment, would later perform the same stunt. Barrymore's Don Juan remains good fun.

The Private Life of Don Juan, filmed across the seas at the Alexander Korda Studios eight years later, would be the final film in the career of another legendary actor, Douglas Fairbanks. Rather surprisingly this is a largely light hearted affair (there are no action sequences in this film, unlike the other two Don Juans) dealing with an aging Don Juan who can't quite live up to his legendary reputation with the ladies.

Merle-Oberon-Private-Life-of-Don-Juan-19

When a Don Juan imitator is slain in a duel, Fairbanks' Don decides to take advantage of the opportunity to let people believe he's dead so he can take a rest in the country and get away from women and all this balcony climbing business. There are a few references to Fairbanks' aging features in the dialogue, and I was pleasantly surprised that an actor known for his ego allowed himself to be the butt of the humour in much of the film.

The Private Life of Don Juan has some great black and white photography. One of the highlight moments of the film for me in when Athene Seyler, as a homely middle aged innkeeper tells a Don Juan in cognitio that she is willing to marry him. Fairbanks is shocked and recoils at the suggestion, as she tells him he has no looks, isn't very bright and is no spring chicken but neither is she and they would make a good couple.

Finally, Adventures of Don Juan was produced by Warner Brothers in a lavish attempt to revitalize the career of Errol Flynn whose box office had slipped in his past few films. Actually, the idea of casting Flynn as Don Juan had first been discussed as far back as 1939 and then 1945. It wasn't until 1947, though, that the cameras started to roll for this troubled production which, nevertheless, is very effectively directed by Vincent Sherman, who had never made an action costumer before. The editor of the film, by the way, is Alan Crosland Jr., son of the man who had directed the Barrymore version two decades earlier.

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The film starts in light hearted tongue-in-cheek fashion with Flynn's Don Juan climbing a balcony to an awaiting damsel. The dialogue is often quite clever.

When the lady involved questions the sincerity of this Don Juan's proclaimed love for her after he has made love to so many women, Flynn responds, "A painter may paint a thousand canvases before he achieves one work of art. Would you deny a lover the same practice?"

After a largely spoofy tone for the film's first half hour (allowing Flynn to often excel when allowed to play a scene with a wink in his eye thanks to an often witty screenplay) later sections of the film will alternate between the romantic and the adventurous. All three aspects of this film work very well.

Adventures of Don Juan has stunning sets and costumes (the latter winning an Academy Award), with a giant Spanish palace staircase a genuine eye popper. The film also has terrific Technicolor (rivaling Flynn's Robin Hood in visual appeal) and a great lush musical score by Max Steiner, alternately adventurous and poignantly romantic.

Flynn, whose looks were staring to be affected by his partying lifestyle by this time, gives one of his best performances as Don Juan. He brings dash and flair, as well as a cynicism to the role and world weariness that helps to make it such an affectingly credible characterization.

But the supporting cast is also first rate, headed by Viveca Lindfors, who brings intelligence as well as sensitivity to her role as the Queen of Spain, a well meaning monarch who cares for her people but has never known love in her marriage to an ineffectual king. Lindfors and Flynn have genuine chemistry in their few scenes together.

Robert Douglas, heavily made up to look the part of a villain, is fine as the ambitious Duke De Lorca, while Alan Hale, co-starred with Flynn for the final time, is great fun to watch as Leporello, Don Juan's faithful manservant.

Adventures of Don Juan climaxes with a duel clearly influenced by the Barrymore duel. Set on the film's giant staircase set, Flynn, while obviously doubled at times, showed that in action scenes he still possessed the grace of a panther.

The film also has one truly memorable line of dialogue:

"There's a little bit of Don Juan in every man and, since I am Don Juan, there must be more of him in me."

The Flynn Don Juan, which is frequently shown on TCM, is great fun to watch. While I find the Flynn version the most satisfying of these features, all three films are well worth viewing.

Don Juan: 3 out of 4

Private Life of Don Juan: 2.5 out of 4

Adventures of Don Juan: 3.5 out of 4

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