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The Scarface Mob (1959)

An amalgamation of a two part Desilu Westinghouse TV presentation that was turned into a feature film. Introduced by producer Desi Arnaz, it was the basis for the popular TV series The Untouchables and has voice over narration throughout by legendary columnist/radio commenter Walter Winchell.

At a time when the battle between crime bosses and federal agents was presented in simple black and white, good versus evil terms, this film, directed by Phil Karlson, still works. It's a frequently exciting portrait of depression era Chicago when that city seemed to be owned by Al Capone (there is only a fleeting reference made to Capone gangland competitor, Bugs Moran) and his bootlegging operations, and the crack team of seven incorruptible law officers, organized by the F.B.I.'s Elliott Ness, determined to bring them down.

For a late '50s film it is quite violent, at times, with armour plated federal trucks smashing through steel doors where Capone's breweries are located and the shootups that follow. Robert Stack is deadpan solid in the role that finally made him a star, at least on television, as Ness, and while Neville Brand, as Capone, is a little broad in his performance, at times, well, a lot of the time, he's still fun to watch as the volatile, cigar chomping gangland boss. Barbara Nichols also scores well as a nightclub stripper working in one of Capone's joints.

There is a scene in which Capone, freshly released after a ten month stint in prison, sits at a board meeting with the six heads of his crime organization, including top man Frank Nitti (played by granite jawed Bruce Gordon). Capone, not happy with the financial losses his empire has endured during his absence, screams at the men and they all uniformly cringe, even Nitti.

But a moment later Capone starts to laugh and they all start to smile and laugh with him. Capone then screams at them again and, once again, all the goons quiet down in their chairs. Finally the manic Capone, having clearly established his dominance in the room through fear, starts to laugh hard once again, and the goons all relax and join in with him in the laughter.

It's a difficult scene to take too seriously, and, apparently, Bob Hope did a parody of it on one of his TV specials. A scene with a boss so instilling fear in all his underlings that he can sit in a meeting with them, have them quaking with fear then laughing then shaking again, followed by laughing with him once again. Who could take this seriously as something that could actually happen, I thought.

Then I remembered Donald Trump.

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3 out of 4

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6 hours ago, spence said:

UOne of the netwirks had THE BIG LEBOW#SKI (l998) ($17m.() on again yesterday  Not a big hit when released, obviously has a massive cult following &  I'm sure many have seen that beer commercial with Jeff Bridges as "THE DUDE" & Sarah Jessica Parker  It was vioted by fans online as #1 best SB commercial by the way

 

He had to stop working out-(now 70) to portray "THE DUDE" to look like he was out of shape  Did the same for a terrific semi Western crime-drama for which he snagged his 7th nomination-(damn it 4 get it's name right now, tired) & also quit working out for his only Oscar winning role td 2009's CRAZY HEART.

Knew a taxi driver who got to live his dream, his favorite movie is BIG LEBOWSKI, FAVORITE ACTOR J. BRIDGES & HE VENTURED OUT TO HOLLYWOOD & TO BE SPECIFIC VENICE BEACH=-(I got to stay there 5hrs when they leave you off at a specific place during a tour)  WHERE IT WAS SHOT MOSTLY. THIS GUY GOT TO MEET JEFF, BUT GOT HIS AUTOGRAPH & PICTURES TAKEN WITH THE GUY!

 

COOL STORY HUH

 

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On 4/19/2019 at 9:43 AM, rayban said:

"Pauline at the Beach" - Eric Rohmer - 1983 -

starring Amanda Langlet (Pauline), Arielle Dombasie (Marion), Pascal Greggory (Pierre), Feodor Atkine (Henri), Simon de la Brosse (Sylvain), Rosette (Louisette) -

this film was the third in Rohmer's famed 6-film cycle, "Comedies and Proverbs" -

it illustrates the proverb that people who talk themselves to death do themselves a disservice -

Pauline and her cousin Marion go to the beach and get involved - with men -

Marion meets an old lover, Pierre, but she doesn't want a second chance with him -

she hooks up with an aging playboy, Henri, who is more to her liking -

Pauline seems interested in Sylvain, but he proves elusive -

meanwhile, a girl who sells candy at the beach, Louisette, proves a complication with all of them -

did she sleep with Henri? - it looks that way -

but Pauline is led to believe that she slept with Sylvain -

the amusing thing about this film is that nobody can stop talking about IT -

that is, their attraction to the opposite sex -

maybe if they stopped wagging their tongues -

and became more involved with their feelings -

things might have sorted themselves out -

or perhaps -

not have sex in the first place -

in this film, sex becomes a mystery -

in the end, Pauline believes that Sylvain slept with Louisette -

and Marion believes that Henri slept with Louisette -

so, everyone feels somewhat - cheated -

and not too happy -

hey, what is wrong with going to the beach and reading a book? -

13154_3.jpg

I recently saw re-watched this. I find it timeless, as characters deceive themselves, and rationalize away things that may have never happened.  It's Rohmer at his finest.

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On 4/20/2019 at 12:36 PM, rayban said:

I don't know if you're familiar with the Helen Mirren TV adaptation, which was far more faithful to the novella.

Sex was a far more important component in the original material and in the TV adaptation.

Paolo ravished her - totally.

The stalker exposed himself.

But can sex keep you "alive"?

Not for long, I'd say.

 helen-mirren-olivier-martinez-the-roman-

I haven't seen the remake with Helen Mirren. The first time I saw The Roman Spring, Leigh's character, though no longer young, was still attractive & desirable, and the subtext was that her and Paolo had a powerful sexual bond.  It didn't go beyond sex, but for Karen Stone, this sustained her, and made life worth living. Karen Stone was a doomed character, perhaps depressed, and looking for any spark she can get.

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4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

And I was very moved by this film! I read all sorts of conflicted emotions in the quiet "Queen Christina" closing shot of Ingrid Bergman. The stellar performances elevated what could have been a silly or stereotypical story. 

I love Anthony Perkins' acting and welcome ANY good role that showcases his talent for all the unimaginative who only care about his Bates character.

I tried watching Shallow Grave but was turned off by the charactors in the beginning. Time to give it another try.

That ending could never be forgotten.

Years later, in his "People" magazine confessional, he admitted that Ingrid Bergman wanted to have an affair with him,  but that he couldn't or wouldn't follow through on her obvious interest in him.

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3 hours ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

I recently saw re-watched this. I find it timeless, as characters deceive themselves, and rationalize away things that may have never happened.  It's Rohmer at his finest.

Rohmer's dry wit - and talkativeness - is fascinating.

But it's an acquired taste, isn't it? 

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Perverse Preachers, Fascist Fundamentalists, and Kristian Kiddie Kooks (1991)  -  9/10

123732-perverse-preachers-fascist-fundam

Incredible documentary compilation of clips from various televangelist programs, news stories, and religious children's shows recorded circa '85 through '90. From Captain Hook, the "pirate for Jesus", to Oral Roberts, Robert Tilton, Jack Vam Impe, and Pat Robertson, to the scandals involving Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, the clips are damning in their own right, and no additional commentary is needed. But this isn't a hit-job on Christians, as there is also time devoted to New Age quackery, UFO cultists, and other sorts of fringe lunacy. It's disturbing, hilarious, cringe-worthy, and very entertaining. I'd read about this tape years ago in the Psychotronic Video Guide, but only recently tracked it down online. It's now nearly 30 years old, but one will notice how little things have changed in many respects, as many of the same cultural boogeymen are trotted out by the fearmongering crackpots and hucksters. Highly recommended.

Source: YouTube

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Il Posto (1961)  -  8/10

220px-Il_Posto_DVD.jpg

Italian drama about a young man (Sandro Panseri) who ventures out into the working world of Milan. He applies for a job at a huge corporation, for which he takes a battery of tests. He meets and falls for a young woman (Loredana Detto) who has also applied. However, it doesn't take long for the young man to realize the dull, banal life that he has locked himself into. Director Ermanno Olmi uses some Neo-Realist touches to add verisimilitude to the drab, gray world that the young man faces. Authentic, appealing performances from the two leads help cement the shambling narrative, and keep things from becoming too dreary. In fact, there's a distinct vein of black comedy running throughout. Recommended.

Source: TCM

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Last Year at Marienbad (1961)  -  5/10

220px-Marienbadposter.jpg

French drama (?) set at a palatial resort where many finely dressed people dance, watch plays, and stand around looking at one another. One man (Giorgio Albertazzi) approaches a woman (Delphine Seyrig), apparently hoping to rekindle a relationship from "last year, at Marienbad", only the woman claims to not know the man. Another man (Sacha Pitoeff), who may or may not be the woman's husband, tries to thwart the first man. Meanwhile, everyone looks fabulous as the camera zooms past them, or zooms in, or quick-cuts away. 

marienbad_banner.jpg

This may be the ultimate arthouse flick, alternately regarded as brilliant or pretentious, mesmerizing or dull, hypnotic or narcoleptic. It looks nice, and its visual style has certainly been influential. But many (most?) viewers will find it a confounding, nigh-incomprehensible waste of time. To those few who "get it", it will be regarded as a masterwork. I'm somewhere in between. I appreciate the artistry, and the idea that director Alain Resnais may have been attempting to depict the inner workings of the mind (I also like the idea that the movie may be a ghost story, with long-dead players reenacting their mortal hang-ups), but a little of this goes a long way. The organ-music score, in particular, grew very grating. However, I can see where some may connect with the abstract vibe.

Source: internet

delphine-seyrigs-style-last-year-at-mari

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Il Posto (1961)  -  8/10

220px-Il_Posto_DVD.jpg

Italian drama about a young man (Sandro Panseri) who ventures out into the working world of Milan. He applies for a job at a huge corporation, for which he takes a battery of tests. He meets and falls for a young woman (Loredana Detto) who has also applied. However, it doesn't take long for the young man to realize the dull, banal life that he has locked himself into. Director Ermanno Olmi uses some Neo-Realist touches to add verisimilitude to the drab, gray world that the young man faces. Authentic, appealing performances from the two leads help cement the shambling narrative, and keep things from becoming too dreary. In fact, there's a distinct vein of black comedy running throughout. Recommended.

Source: TCM

"Il Posto" is one of cinema's greatest films.

The lead actor, Sandro Panseri, is unforgettable.

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5 hours ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

Most definitely, Rohmer is an acquired taste. I’m thankful he gave us such a prolific body of work.

I wish that I had seen all of the Comedies and Proverbs and the six Moral Tales.

I am most familiar with "My Night at Maud's" and "Claire's Knee".

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)  -  5/10

220px-Marienbadposter.jpg

French drama (?) set at a palatial resort where many finely dressed people dance, watch plays, and stand around looking at one another. One man (Giorgio Albertazzi) approaches a woman (Delphine Seyrig), apparently hoping to rekindle a relationship from "last year, at Marienbad", only the woman claims to not know the man. Another man (Sacha Pitoeff), who may or may not be the woman's husband, tries to thwart the first man. Meanwhile, everyone looks fabulous as the camera zooms past them, or zooms in, or quick-cuts away. 

marienbad_banner.jpg

This may be the ultimate arthouse flick, alternately regarded as brilliant or pretentious, mesmerizing or dull, hypnotic or narcoleptic. It looks nice, and its visual style has certainly been influential. But many (most?) viewers will find it a confounding, nigh-incomprehensible waste of time. To those few who "get it", it will be regarded as a masterwork. I'm somewhere in between. I appreciate the artistry, and the idea that director Alain Resnais may have been attempting to depict the inner workings of the mind (I also like the idea that the movie may be a ghost story, with long-dead players reenacting their mortal hang-ups), but a little of this goes a long way. The organ-music score, in particular, grew very grating. However, I can see where some may connect with the abstract vibe.

Source: internet

delphine-seyrigs-style-last-year-at-mari

I agree, the ultimate art-house flick.

The lead actors cannot be forgotten.

Nor the visual style or the music.

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"Brother Rat" - William Keighley - 1938 -

starring Wayne Morris, Ronald Reagan, Eddie Albert, Priscilla Lane, Jane Wyman and Jane Bryan -

big-screen adaptation of the well-received Broadway hit -

it's nothing new, really -

military cadets at the Virginia Military Institute devoting their time -

to breaking the rules and getting off on the system -

it's too bad they're so unappreciative of the school and its' standards -

how they manage to graduate is a mystery -

one of the cadets is married and his wife is secretly having a baby -

this same cadet is unable to carry through on the big baseball game -

it isn' t that funny, but it is lively -

everybody seems locked into a farcical timetable that rolls recklessly along -

but the cast is very attractive and very winning -

whatever their failings, you do hope that they pull through -

even the young husband, who has no idea how his wife got pregnant -

yes, it is that kind of movie -

one big question, though - how did Wayne Morris avoid becoming a major move star -

he is so attractive -

ronald-reagan-wayne-morris-brother-rat-1

one of the cadets, William Tracy, plays Misto Bottome, who must know many of the cadets' darkest secrets -

he is so willing to "put out" -

prod-db-first-national-pictures-inc-warn

morris-lane-reagan-brother-rat.jpg

  morris-lane-reagan-brother-rat.jpg

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7 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Perverse Preachers, Fascist Fundamentalists, and Kristian Kiddie Kooks (1991)  -  9/10

123732-perverse-preachers-fascist-fundam

Incredible documentary compilation of clips from various televangelist programs, news stories, and religious children's shows recorded circa '85 through '90. From Captain Hook, the "pirate for Jesus", to Oral Roberts, Robert Tilton, Jack Vam Impe, and Pat Robertson, to the scandals involving Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, the clips are damning in their own right, and no additional commentary is needed. But this isn't a hit-job on Christians, as there is also time devoted to New Age quackery, UFO cultists, and other sorts of fringe lunacy. It's disturbing, hilarious, cringe-worthy, and very entertaining. I'd read about this tape years ago in the Psychotronic Video Guide, but only recently tracked it down online. It's now nearly 30 years old, but one will notice how little things have changed in many respects, as many of the same cultural boogeymen are trotted out by the fearmongering crackpots and hucksters. Highly recommended. 

Source: YouTube

It's a shame they didn't do this later or have an update. There's a televangelist "prosperity gospel" guy named Mike Murdock who has to be seen to be believed. He starts talking about just common sense kind of things about managing finances. Then he slowly transitions the talk so that in the end he is basically saying "Give me money and you won't be poor". This guy has been proven to keep and lavishly spend all of the money he gets on himself. Honestly, his sales pitch is very finessed and I am not sure how he has managed to stay out of jail. A bit OT, but this review got me thinking about him.

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Living Venus (1961)  -  4/10

16694-living-venus-0-230-0-345-crop.jpg?

Schlock meister Herschell Gordon Lewis made his feature directing debut with this adults-only drama. William Kerwin, who would later show up in several of Gordon's other efforts, stars as a Hugh Hefner-esque magazine editor who conceives of a men's magazine featuring nude models, to be named Pagan. His first major layout features model Danica D'Hondt as the "Living Venus", you know, so it's classy and artsy and stuff. Have I mentioned that the chief photographer is played by Harvey Korman in his debut? There's only a small bit of nudity, but enough to make this unplayable in most theaters of the day. However, it did well enough that Gordon and frequent producing partner David F. Friedman followed this with a string of nudie flicks that raked in the grindhouse dough with the trenchcoat crowd, before eventually changing genres and adding graphic gore to horror films in Blood Feast (1963).

Source: internet

 

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5 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Living Venus (1961)  -  4/10

16694-living-venus-0-230-0-345-crop.jpg?

Schlock meister Herschell Gordon Lewis made his feature directing debut with this adults-only drama. William Kerwin, who would later show up in several of Gordon's other efforts, stars as a Hugh Hefner-esque magazine editor who conceives of a men's magazine featuring nude models, to be named Pagan. His first major layout features model Danica D'Hondt as the "Living Venus", you know, so it's classy and artsy and stuff. Have I mentioned that the chief photographer is played by Harvey Korman in his debut? There's only a small bit of nudity, but enough to make this unplayable in most theaters of the day. However, it did well enough that Gordon and frequent producing partner David F. Friedman followed this with a string of nudie flicks that raked in the grindhouse dough with the trenchcoat crowd, before eventually changing genres and adding graphic gore to horror films in Blood Feast (1963).

Source: internet

 

For Anybodies Information....

In the hierarchy of Exploitation films dealing with "sex" the stages were Nudie Cuties (above), Sexploitation, Roughies, Rough Core, and White Coaters. White Coaters functioned much as the old Public Service films showing what was forbidden in the guise of doctors studies and cautionary warnings about sex. The next step was Hard Core loops and X Rated films. 

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2 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

For Anybodies Information....

In the hierarchy of Exploitation films dealing with "sex" the stages were [...] Roughies, Rough Core,

What's the difference between these two? Does the latter feature hardcore sex? How then does it differ from just the run-of-the-mill X-rated flick?

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Lover Come Back (1961)  -  7/10

250px-LoverComeBack-poster.jpg

Comedy with Rock Hudson and Doris Day as rival advertising agency execs. They've never met, but she's heard of his womanizing reputation. When they meet, she mistakes him for someone else, and he decides to go along with the ruse, with the expected complications and humor. Also featuring Tony Randell as Rock's neurotic boss, Edie Adams, Jack Kruschen, Jack Albertson, Ann B. Davis, Donna Douglas, Howard St. John, Joe Flynn, Richard Deacon, and Jack Oakie in his final film role. I thought this was fun, lightweight romp, with some 60's sex-comedy raciness and good performances from the leads as well as Randell. There's also a lot of nice early 60's fashions and decor, and I especially liked Rock's bachelor pad.

Source: Universal DVD

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

What's the difference between these two? Does the latter feature hardcore sex? How then does it differ from just the run-of-the-mill X-rated flick?

Roughies showed violence, usually against women (nothing new in films), but also with a lot of T&A and occasional meer glimpses of bush, these films were produced in the 1966-1968 range. Obscenity laws were evolving in the courts. By 1969 full frontal female nudity was permitted (hilariously giving rise to a lot of, what else, lesbian themed stories) the men were all still wearing tighty whities, jockey shorts or pants and simulating sex, combine this with the ingredients of Roughies gave you Rough Core. In 1970 fully X Rated films were allowed. 

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My top ten list for 1964 has to be redone, because I have to make room for The Killers. Don Siegel directed what was originally supposed to be a TV movie, but it was too violent for 1964 TV (what were they thinking when they wrote the script?), so it was released in theaters. I'd call this true noir, maybe taking its place next to Leave It to Heaven and Niagara in the color noirs, though not with cinematography at that level. It's vaguely a remake of Robert Siodmak's 1940s film of the same name, but the two have so little in common, it makes more sense to see them as independent films.

Imagine a made for TV movie with this cast: Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager as the hit men; John Cassavetes as the race car driver who is their target; Claude Akins as his best friend and business partner; Ronald Reagan, in his last acting role, as the leader of a robbery; Norman Fell as another co-conspirator; and Angie Dickinson as the woman mixed up with more than one of these men. This isn't the film to look for sympathetic characters; except for Akins, who seems overprotective of Cassavetes and jealous of his success with Angie (or does he really have his pal's best interests at heart?) and the blind people in the opening scene, there aren't any. Lee Marvin is icy perfection. Clu Gulager should have had a much bigger career based on this performance alone as the health nut/hit man. This might be Cassavetes' best performance; I like him much better as an actor than as a director. Akins and Fell are solid, as usual. Reagan had a little trouble committing to playing a villain, but he's pretty good anyway. I love the moment when he tells Angie, "Let me try to change your mind about that" and hauls off and slaps her. (Angie, interviewed by Ben Mankiewicz, said that Reagan felt bad about this scene, even though he didn't really slap her. She said he was getting ready to run for governor and kept reading briefing books between shots. He did this film only to get out of his contract.)

If you have a character who's supposed to have all the men falling for her, it makes sense to cast someone like Ava Gardner in the 40s version or Angie Dickinson in this 60s version. No explanation needed. Angie admitted to Ben M that she might have been able to have a bigger career had she been more ambitious, but she was interested in living as well as acting.

Could this be Don Siegel's best film? It's certainly one of his best.

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Cucumber Castle (1970)  -  4/10

01837ee4b0493e25c148033e50420830--castle

British TV movie/special starring, produced, and written by Barry Gibb and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. The nonsensical plot, set in days of old, concerns a king (Frankie Howerd) who is dying, so he divides his lands between his two sons: Prince Marmaduke (Maurice) will inherit the Jelly kingdom, while Prince Frederick (Barry) will become ruler of the Cucumber Kingdom. The two princes set out across the land, meeting some people, singing some songs, and getting into trouble. Featuring Vincent Price, Eleanor Bron, Spike Milligan, Julian Orchard, and performances by Lulu and Blind Faith.

This is extremely silly, with little coherence, and it's aggressively unfunny. The songs are rather weak, as well, although Lulu sounds good, even if a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" seems an odd choice given the setting. The Blind Faith performance is from a concert appearance, and it's awkwardly shoehorned in. This was done during the time Robin Gibb had left the group, in case you were curious why he was absent. This movie seems like it was made with a lot of LSD, and I got such a contact high that my chromosomes are now damaged. Thanks, Bee Gees!

Source: YouTube

 

Ringo (1978)  -  6/10

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TV special (sponsored by Datsun Automobiles) that features Ringo Starr in dual roles: He plays himself, getting ready for a new album release and a concert special, and he plays Ognir Rrats, an American loser who happens to look just like Ringo. The bored and frustrated Ringo suggests that the two trade identities for a day, with the expected complications. Also featuring Art Carney as Ognir's abusive father, Carrie Fisher as Ognir's girlfriend, John Ritter as a sleazy record producer, Angie Dickinson as a cop, and Vincent Price as a hypnotist. George Harrison shows up as himself, while Dr. John is part of Ringo's band. 

This is more silliness, but the production values are decent, and the songs are okay. Ringo is likable, Fisher is cute (the two get to duet on "You're Sixteen"), and it's brief, running only 45 minutes. There's a bizarre dance number with a couple dozen dancers in gold tights jumping around to an instrumental version of "Yellow Submarine", only for them to change clothes into various costumes, but all sporting Ringo Starr masks, beard and all, to chant the song's refrain, "We all live in a yellow submarine..." It seems like it was made with a lot of cocaine, and I got such a contact high that I developed a deviated septum. Thanks, Ringo Starr!

Source: YouTube

 

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