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3 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

I like this one too. It has a clever plot. My only complaint was the role they saddled Nat Pendleton with. He has played dumb characters before, but this one was off the charts stupid.

Oh, and it's hard to believe Frieda Inescort would be H. B. Warner's wife ... his daughter, maybe ...

FRIEDA INESCORT Is in three films of the 1940s that I have seen several times apiece: RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE. THE LETTER and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, And I like her very much in each one, but she plays a very similar type – an icy, patrician, stiff upper lip Englishwoman.

She starts out that way in, THE GARDEN MURDER CASE but her character starts to unravel mentally and she did a wonderful job, I absolutely bought her desperation. I had no idea she could show such a vulnerability or had such range.

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5 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

HOW COULD I FORGET?!?!

Virginia Bruce was also in KONGO and her role is SCANDALOUS!

Oh, I've seen Kongo! I kept thinking the title was West of Zanzibar. But that was the original movie title. Definitely PRE-CODE. Another good performance from her. (I could've done with a little less hammy acting from Huston, though).

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"Watusi" - Kurt Neumann - 1959 -

"spoiler alert" -

not a sequel to "King Solomon's Mines" -

it takes place many years later, as Alan Quarterman's son (George Montgomery) returns to Africa in search of the fabled mines -

along the way, he is joined by a local resident (David Farrar) who is looking for a change of pace (?!) -

could that change of pace be George Montgomery? -

and a missionary's daughter (Taina Elg) whose father has just been murdered by a local tribe -

and is about to be slaughtered by the ravenous tribe -

as I said, the film takes place many years later -

but footage from "King Solomon's Mines" is used -

although the film plays like a somewhat routine adventure yarn -

it is "saved" by the charming performances of the three leads - Montgomery, Elg and Farrar -

at the end, Montgomery and Farrar, who seemed to be entertaining a "bromance", transfer their affections to Elg -

she eventually decides to remain in Africa with Montgomery -

heartbroken (?!) - has he lost Montgomery or Elg? -  Farrar decides to leave Africa -

amongst this emotional upheaval, the diamonds are forgotten -

the yarn has a genuinely "dark" ending -

there are a lot of lingering shots of a barechested Montgomery, which Farrar seems to have a hard time resisting -

this film represents the second pairing of Kurt Neumann, the director and James Clavell, the screenwriter -

they had first worked together on the unforgettable "The Fly" -

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I finally made it thru PRIVATE LIVES (1931) on TCM on HULU. (Third attempt, & it helped that I paused it and went to work and then watched the rest this evening)

It is not a bad movie, but a taxing and decidedly antiquated one.

It’s the witty and effervescent story of a divorced wealthy couple, each of whom is SEVERELY BIPOLAR, who realize (as the result of a chance meeting on their honeymoons with their new spouses) that, while their now-defunct union was not perfect, at least their manic mood swings and periodic outbursts of uncontrollable rage were on the same cycle, and readjusting is just so darn hard....So they run off together and the second act is like watching WHATS LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? as directed by ERNST LUBITSCH.

(All kidding aside, some violent stuff goes down between these two and I’m not entirely sure the world wouldn’t be better off with them living a time zone or six apart. )

As taxing as the film was, both the leads – Robert Montgomery And Norma Shearer- were excellent. Shearer especially handles reams and reams of difficult dialogue and manages to make a difficult character somewhat sympathetic. She was a very gutsy actress, and even though her style is somewhat dated, the courage and commitment to her work always  comes across.

They both do some really impressive, highly proficient work here...But still, weird movie, man.

 

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This kind of champagne cocktail comedy is difficult to translate to the screen, and yes, Lorna, it's a lot like What's Love Got To Do With It? as directed by Ernst Lubitsch! Noel Coward wrote Private Lives for himself and Gertrude Lawrence, and the play was a hit in London and on Broadway, which is no doubt why MGM bought it for Norma Shearer. Elyot and Amanda both have diva temperament for days, so they can't live with each other, but they aren't really suited for living with lesser mortals, either. Coward's Design for Living is similar, but with an extra man.

I saw Maggie Smith play Amanda in Private Lives on stage. Her leading man, John Standing, could not stand up to her, so that the play became a question of what campy, outrageous thing Dame Maggie would do next. The most memorable moment of the production--literally, this is all I remember clearly--was when Amanda sits on a couch and discovers something, something horrid, on the couch: the handbag of Sibyl, Elyot's new wife. Holding the handbag as far away from herself as possible, Dame Maggie, looking aghast, rises, totters across the room, and deposits the wretched object near Sibyl. One of the best-executed pieces of comic business I've ever seen, though it really has nothing to do with the play.

Hey, rayban, thanks for the write-up on Watusi. Must check it out. George Montgomery in Orchestra Wives is handsome even by movie-star standards, and I've always understood why Sister Ruth went bonkers over David Farrar in Black Narcissus. I like Taina Elg, too.

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The Monster and the Girl (not to be confused with The Lady and the Monster)

Girl meets boy. Girl marries boy (or so she thinks). Boy and gang of bad guys turn girl into ho. Girl’s brother framed for killing one of bad boys, swears he will get even, and is executed. Scientist extracts his brain and puts it into gorilla. Gorilla mops up the floor with bad guys. Guy in gorilla suit wins acting honors, but Skipper the dog is also cute. Somehow this whole thing works.

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46 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

The Monster and the Girl (not to be confused with The Lady and the Monster)

Girl meets boy. Girl marries boy (or so she thinks). Boy and gang of bad guys turn girl into ho. Girl’s brother framed for killing one of bad boys, swears he will get even, and is executed. Scientist extracts his brain and puts it into gorilla. Gorilla mops up the floor with bad guys. Guy in gorilla suit wins acting honors, but Skipper the dog is also cute. Somehow this whole thing works.

 

Well yeah Rich, but you remember what Groucho once said about his sort'a thing don't ya?

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a gorilla suit, it's too dark to......."

Wait of sec, that wasn't it.

OH yeah, it goes, and..."Inside a DOG, it's too dark to read."

(...man, I hate it when I screw this sort'a stuff up the first time)

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"Walkabout" - Nicholas Roeg - 1971 -

starring Jenny Agutter, Lucien John and David Gumpilil -

uniquely crafted story about two children who are stranded in the Austrailian outback and the aborigine boy they encounter who is on a "walkabout" -

the visual design of this film is thrilling -

it's alive with every kind of creature -

it's about survivial, I think -

under the most horrific circumstances -

who will live and who will die? -

a truly haunting experience -

(Lucien John is actually Nicholas Roeg's son, Luc Roeg.)

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On 12/11/2018 at 8:03 PM, kingrat said:

I've always understood why Sister Ruth went bonkers over David Farrar in Black Narcissus.

Ew, I found him to be so icky even a man starved nun could easily resist him:

 

 

Shorts do nothing for him. If he didn't wrap his legs around the teeny pony's butt, his feet would drag on the ground....he outweighs that poor pony!

Sabu on the other hand...wow!

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6 hours ago, Fedya said:

Why couldn't the two kids just go back the way they came?  Stupid idiots.

Their father, who had decided to end it all, drove them too far out.

He wanted to hide the results of his horrific decision - to kill himself and them.

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Ew, I found him to be so icky even a man starved nun could easily resist him:

 

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Shorts do nothing for him. If he didn't wrap his legs around the teeny pony's butt, his feet would drag on the ground....he outweighs that poor pony!

Sabu on the other hand...wow!

Well, he was playing a man who had no interest in those nuns.

He was a world unto himself.

His sex appeal lives on, though.

Well, it depends on one's point of view, doesn't it?

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23 hours ago, rayban said:

Well, he was playing a man who had no interest in those nuns.

He was a world unto himself.

His sex appeal lives on, though.

Well, it depends on one's point of view, doesn't it?

It sure does. I'd hop on that thing! (the pony, I mean!) :D

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"A Special Day" - Ettore Scola - 1977 -

starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni -

during the course of one long day - Hitler's triumphal meeting with Mussolini in Italy - a bored housewife, who's at the end of her rope and a homosexual, who's about to be deported, meet by accident in their apartment building and get to acknowledge each other's existence as caring and loving human beings -

beautifully realized peformances from both of the stars -

and superlative direction from Ettore Scola -

at the end, when the characters are forced to go their separate ways, the tragedy of this special day is powerfully revealed -

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Just had the distinct thrill of seeing THEY CALL IT A SIN (1931ish?) A delightful, delicious, utterly implausible precode starring LORETTA YOUNG, DAVID MANNERS, and a svelte GEORGE BRENT. (Although, it’s worth pointing out for you George Brent fans that although he is second billed, he appears in less than 10 minutes of this hour and 11 minute long movie.)

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It’s basically a rehash of POSSESSED (1931) only with a “let’s put on a show” sort of slant to it- A good deal of action centers around a sleazy theatrical agent in New York City.

It was featured I think on UNA MERKEL day, And while she’s kind of a lot to take (that accent!- was she raised by Cockneys in the middle of Alabama?) I like her and she’s very good in her proto Eve Arden gal pal part.  She does cartwheels and wears the cutest little sailor pantsuit during one rehearsal number. She also has the standard “having a discussion in your apartment in your underwear for no real reason other than the obvious” scene that features in so many pre-codes.

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There is adultery, there is drinking, and in her pivotal final scene, Loretta is very obviously not wearing a bra and you can see EVERYTHING. (To whit I say, “you go Loretta.”)

She also wears a very cute Paisley wrap dress in one scene That you would absolutely see walking down the street today.

This is an interesting film to watch in the #METOO era, and there is a very unexpected twist that occurs in the final act that is followed by one of those utterly ludicrous, but delightfully handled general misunderstandings of The Law in general and the very meaning of the Hippocratic oath- wherein our “Hero”, a prominent doctor, storms into the middle of a major brain operation and proceeds to rouse the dying man out of anasthesia  in order to get a statement out of him in order to exonerate his girlfriend- And all the doctors and nurses in the operating room are like “oh sure fine cool, totally: go with it. You want the body when you’re done?”

Scandalous, ludicrous, and highly recommended trash.

(Loretta was in the confession booth for like six hours after shooting wrapped.)

BUT, oh: the fashions!

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Champion (1949)

The last of three major gritty boxing dramas released in the late '40s, following in the footsteps of Body and Soul and The Set Up, Champion is the film that really put Kirk Douglas on the Hollywood film map. Previously cast in supporting roles as weaklings or smooth talking villains Douglas was finally given a role that allowed him to play an ambitious increasingly unscrupulous individual with the kind of dynamic drive that would become a hallmark of this actor.

An early success in collaborations between producer Stanley Kramer and writer Carl Foreman, Champion casts Douglas as Midge Kelly, a down-and-outer travelling the country with his brother (Arthur Kennedy) in search of  work. They get rolled by some tramps while freighthopping a train (Midge puts up a fight but he's out-numbered). Soon Kelly, in need of the money, agrees to participate in a boxing match. Game but out classed, he loses badly but demonstrates a raw animal courage in the process and get the notice of an old time boxing manager (played by Paul Stewart) who offers to train him in the sport. Kelly has no interest.

After romantically hooking up with and then being forced into a marriage with a waitress (Ruth Roman), Midge quickly abandons her, travelling west with his brother and, now desperate for some kind of future (he doesn't want to be a "Hey you!" all his life) seeks out manager Stewart once again to begin training as a boxer. 

While Champion touches on the corruption in boxing that is not the emphasis of the film as much as it had been with the two earlier boxing dramas. We are largely watching, instead, a man's rise to the top of the sport by using and trampling over others in order to ruthlessly reach that pinnacle. This was the first of Douglas's louse roles, with director Mark Robson helping to keep any over-the-top acting excesses on the part of the actor (for which he became known later, on occasion) well under control.

A beach scene, with Douglas and Roman taking a dip at night, reminds one of a similar moment in The Postman Always Rings Twice. Speaking of Roman, this was an early role in her career and she is effective playing a more vulnerable type of innocent character than she would often play later. She also looks most appealing in a one piece white bathing suit.

Aside from Kirk Douglas's hard driven and impressive dynamics, which netted him his first Oscar nomination, the supporting cast of this modestly budgeted production is impressive. Paul Stewart is perfectly cast as the old time cynical boxing manager who "likes to watch a couple of good boys work out."

But there is also Marilyn Maxwell as an only-lives-the-good-life platinum blonde gold digger always trying to latch on to whoever is on top and, in contrast to her, Lola Albright as the serene, sensitive wife of a boxing promoter. Midge decides to acquire her on the side as another trophy for himself.

Some boxing analysts have criticized Douglas's performance in the ring as lacking authenticity, saying his character takes far too many shots to the head with seemingly little impact. But the actor's impressive physique and athleticism are also on display and, for me, the fast edited ring scenes work.

One of the very best sequences in Champion is a half hour into the film, a montage showing Midge Kelly's progress as a fighter, from his early gym training of amateur rawness (a bit of humour is worked in here) through his gradual progress into an efficient hard hitting fighter.

Playing no small role in the effectiveness of this montage is the musical accompaniment of Dimitri Tiomkin's score, lightly underscoring the earlier amateur moments but becoming increasingly more dynamic with a pounding brass sound as Midge Kelly turns into an accomplished fighter throwing digging shots into the heavy bag, as well as sparring partners covering up on the ropes.

A particular highlight moment in this sequence is a genuinely impressive display of rapid speed rope skipping (including cross overs) done by Kirk Douglas, with the camera moving in upon his feet to emphasis his skill. The actor obviously worked very hard on this athletic sequence.

And further adding to the impressiveness in viewing Champion today is the knowledge that Douglas just turned 102 days ago. Like the ambitious, hard punching character he plays in the film that had made him a star almost 70 years ago he seems an unstoppable force.

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3 out of 4

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