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speedracer5

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2 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Nice write up.   Yea,  I also found it odd Ex Lady was chosen for the book.    Maybe the author was trying to be different by not selecting a better known Davis film or one where she was nominated?????

E.g.  Dangerous fits "Dynamic Dames" but Davis won for Best Actress (as a make-up for Human Bondage), so covering that film might have felt like been-there-done-that.

It seems like covering Human Bondage may have been better since that seemingly was her breakout part. I haven't seen this film yet, so I cannot say for certain how "dynamic" she was, but I feel like it's got to be better than Ex Lady

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Dragon Inn  (1967)  -  8/10

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Taiwanese martial arts epic from writer-director King Hu. In the 15th century, during a time of political tumult and frequent power grabs, various factions find themselves assembling at the title locale, a meager-looking structure on the northern border. Operatives of the new, repressive regime are searching for the children of a recently disgraced and executed government minister, while others have pledged to protect these innocents until they can escape the region, all leading to the inevitable showdown. Featuring Polly Ling-Feng Shang-Kuan, Chun Shih, Ying Bai, Feng Hsu, Chien Tsao, and Han Hsieh. Hu's follow-up to the previous year's Come Drink with Me sees the director moving toward denser plotting and a focus on multiple characters. It can prove overwhelming for the unprepared audience, and like his later masterpiece A Touch of Zen (1971), this film make require multiple viewings. While the scenes set at the inn, which resemble those found in westerns, are great for character-building, it's the later outdoor sequences, with beautiful mountain scenery, that were my favorites. 

Source: Criterion DVD

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

It seems like covering Human Bondage may have been better since that seemingly was her breakout part. I haven't seen this film yet, so I cannot say for certain how "dynamic" she was, but I feel like it's got to be better than Ex Lady

Bette's character in Human Bondage is more depraved and sad than "dynamic".    More dynamic roles would be in Dangerous or Jezebel.  

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Festival  (1967)  -  7/10

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Documentary from director Murray Lerner that takes a look at the annual Newport Folk Festival, compiled from performances and interviews taken from 1963 through 1966, including the famous "Bob Dylan goes electric" moment. Other acts featured include Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Howlin' Wolf, Theodore Bikel, Pete Seeger, Buffy Saint-Marie, Odetta, Son House, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Judy Collins, and Donovan, among many more. The style run the gamut from traditional folk to delta blues, gospel to country square-dance clogging and electric blues. I enjoyed the film but it was frustrating for a couple of reasons. No performances are shown in their entirety, as they are interrupted by voice-over interviews, and none of the performers are identified on screen. As such, I only recognized about half of them, and have no idea who the others were. However, it does offer an invaluable look at the music of the day, and belongs on any shelf next to Monterey Pop and Woodstock.

Source: TCM

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I'm watching Ishtar. (Showtime Anytime) I wanted to see if it was better than its reputation would indicate. i have this sort of weakness in trying to see if there is something good in films left for dead either commercially or critically.

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5 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Ex Lady (1933).  I watched this Bette Davis pre-code the other night.  I can't say it was one of her best films, not one of her worst either.  Apparently this film was a remake of the Barbara Stanwyck pre-code, Illicit (1931). I remember being disappointed by the Stanwyck film.  It definitely did not live up to its title.  Davis' effort I think was a little better, but it wasn't that great either.  I don't know what the title, Ex Lady, had to do with anything.  Did she become a "lady" when she married, and then became an "ex lady" when she decided to play the field again? I'm not sure.  One of Davis' paramours mentioned having six ex-ladies and that Davis could become lucky # 7.  Maybe that passing comment was the inspiration for the title? It hardly seemed significant enough to warrant it, but who knows.

Anyway, in this film, Davis plays Helen Bauer, a 20-something woman who does not want to be married.  She feels that married people become boring and dull.  She lives with her boyfriend, Gene Raymond, much to the chagrin of her conservative German (?) immigrant parents.  Her father basically calls her a w h o r e for shacking up with Raymond, and he doesn't think much of Raymond either.  Her mother is portrayed as being highly submissive to her husband and she doesn't utter a word in the entire scene.  She seemingly is offering comfort to daughter Davis, to me implying that she isn't as against her daughter's lifestyle as her husband is. 

Raymond keeps suggesting to Davis that they should marry.  He loves her and wants to make their relationship legitimate.  It also seems like he wants to keep Davis' father off their backs.  Davis keeps resisting, saying that she doesn't want to hurt their relationship by marrying.  Then, for whatever reason, she randomly pops the question to Raymond! They marry.  As Davis predicted, their life becomes dull. All Davis and Raymond seem to do is fight--especially when Davis' illustration career seems to be more successful than Raymond's advertising one. 

The couple, bored and upset with one another, both take lovers on the side and soon both sides of the relationship are jealous. 

I think this movie was trying to promote the idea that unattached relationships with spontaneous sex here and there and not having to make a legal commitment to one another was the way to go.  They tried to show the other side of the coin by having Raymond and Davis marry and seemingly all the exciting sex stops, except for a rendezvous outside a Havana nightclub.  They both take on paramours to try and reignite the flame missing in their lives.  The movie seemed to harp on this idea over and over again.  By the end I was thinking, "ugh, just be married or don't already!" 

I also didn't really understand the point of Frank McHugh's character.  He was just kind of there... 

I was amused by one of the scenes towards the end where Davis keeps slapping her face as she expresses her unhappiness with Raymond.  I'll assume that this is some 1930s beauty treatment?

I don't know if this is the best Bette Davis film that the author could have chosen for her "Dynamic Dames" book. 

Ex-Lady reminded me how dire the situation for leading men was in the early 1930s, for whatever reason. Gene Raymond's performance was OK, but he doesn't having leading man looks, to my way of thinking. On the other hand, he doesn't have much competition from Frank McHugh or especially Monroe Owsley, who played the villain. No wonder actors like Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, and of course Errol Flynn made their way to the top.

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14 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

I'm watching Ishtar. (Showtime Anytime) I wanted to see if it was better than its reputation would indicate. i have this sort of weakness in trying to see if there is something good in films left for dead either commercially or critically.

I have the same weakness, and seek them out of occasional curiosity but....how are you holding up so far?  The "Stranded in the desert" metaphor was never more appropriate than for this movie.  😫

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11 minutes ago, EricJ said:

I have the same weakness, and seek them out of occasional curiosity but....how are you holding up so far?  The "Stranded in the desert" metaphor was never more appropriate than for this movie.  😫

 It has this nutty type of charm about it that makes it a likable viewing (even though its strongest in the New York set sequences). And some of the jokes are very sly and subtle . The purposely ridiculous songs are hilarious. I couldn't call it a masterpiece like some recent critics have stated, but its far from being the complete fiasco I heard about.

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In "Ex-Lady", and other films, Gene Raymond could easily qualify as "dreamy".

Image1.png

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2 hours ago, kingrat said:

Ex-Lady reminded me how dire the situation for leading men was in the early 1930s, for whatever reason. Gene Raymond's performance was OK, but he doesn't having leading man looks, to my way of thinking. On the other hand, he doesn't have much competition from Frank McHugh or especially Monroe Owsley, who played the villain. No wonder actors like Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, and of course Errol Flynn made their way to the top.

As Rayban points out Raymond was very handsome.    I just don't think he had enough of a screen persona compared to Grant or Flynn etc or the unique charm Cooper has (that takes him beyond wooden).

 

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First to Fight  (1967)  -  5/10

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WWII drama with Chad Everett as a US Marine sergeant who earns the Medal of Honor after a battle during the early days of the war. He returns to the US where he meets and marries Peggy (Marilyn Devin), who convinces him to take a job stateside as a drill sergeant. However, he longs to get back to the front. Also featuring Dean Jagger, Gene Hackman, Claude Akins, James Best, Norman Alden, Bobs Watson, Ken Swofford, and Bobby Troup. The message, if any, appears to be, if you're a soldier, don't get married. Everett is very irritating during the boot camp scenes when he becomes a sadistic jerk. The film's last third is enlivened by Hackman, as a veteran sergeant who tries to help Everett readjust to the combat zone.

Source: TCM

 

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Games  (1967)  -  7/10

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Thriller from writer-director Curtis Harrington. Paul (James Caan) and Jennifer Montgomery (Katherine Ross) are a wealthy Manhattan couple who hold bizarre parties and collect strange art and furniture as a way of dealing with their boredom. One day an older saleslady named Lisa (Simone Signoret) comes calling, and after a health scare, Jennifer invites her to stay at their large home to recuperate. Thus begins a series of psychological games where what's real and what's make believe become hard to delineate. Also featuring Don Stroud, Kent Smith, Estelle Winwood, Marjorie Bennett, Peter Brocco, George Furth, and Ian Wolfe. I thought this was an enjoyable film, even if there were few surprises (for me, anyway). Signoret's presence can't help but remind one of Les Diaboliques, which was intentional I'm sure. The set decoration is a delight.

Source: TCM

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Mother Riley Meets the Vampire (1952)

I love British humour in general and have a soft spot in my heart for British slapstick. Old Mother Riley, Headmistress (1950) has long been one of my guilty pleasures. 

I remember watching this movie long ago and not being favorably impressed. I attributed that to my mood as it has all of the elements of the other "Old Mother Riley" movies which I like.

Watching it now also leaves me a little cold. The story makes as much sense as any other movie in its lineage. Bela Lugosi's performance was quite wonderfully his trademark "this would be ridiculously over the top if any other actor attempted it" style. 

It is almost as if they know the jokes and action have been overdone in the other movies and have to overdo them to a greater extent in order to stand out. There is no originality at any level in any of it. There is no brisk "at least we are having fun" attitude among the actors. There is no signature joke or scene which the audience can take away with a smile in their heart.

I am sad to say that it falls flat to me. 

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I know speedtracer said it, kingrat just repeated it...

15 hours ago, kingrat said:

She lives with her boyfriend, Gene Raymond, much to the chagrin of her conservative German (?) immigrant parents.  Her father basically calls her a w h o r e for shacking up with Raymond, and he doesn't think much of Raymond either.  Her mother is portrayed as being highly submissive to her husband and she doesn't utter a word in the entire scene. 

Believe it or not, I have baby boomer age relatives who are just like those parents. I love movies/stories concerning someone in the next generation breaking conservative social boundaries of their parents. 

When kids today are rude & crude I think back to how the older generation must have reacted to The Bowery Boys.

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15 hours ago, kingrat said:

Ex-Lady reminded me how dire the situation for leading men was in the early 1930s, for whatever reason. Gene Raymond's performance was OK, but he doesn't having leading man looks, to my way of thinking. On the other hand, he doesn't have much competition from Frank McHugh or especially Monroe Owsley, who played the villain. No wonder actors like Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, and of course Errol Flynn made their way to the top.

That last sentence doesn't sound too complimentary but you probably didn't mean it that way, considering who they turned out to be. My appreciation of some of the bigger stars is erratic. I have little use for the first name; limited for the second and restricted to dramatic roles only; and somewhat inconclusive for the third, given that despite super-star status, is a relative unknown for me.My access to TCM has been disproportionally limited (especially recent years) considering my time on the board here, not that I'm too poor for cable, it's rather because I don't watch TV when I have it and it doesn't seem worth it. But I miss TCM, no doubt. Sometimes when in rare times these days I catch glimpses of the schedule, I find myself gazing longlingly at the lineup.

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16 hours ago, rayban said:

In "Ex-Lady", and other films, Gene Raymond could easily qualify as "dreamy".

Image1.png

GENE RAYMOND looks like THE PILLSBURY DOUGHBOY and MAE CLARKE had a kid (timelines be damned) who grew up to be hot.

He's not PHILLIPS HOLMES, but- OH YEAH, I WOULD.

I like him in SADIE MCKEE where he does a charming rendition of one of MY FAVORITE SONGS, ALL I DO IS DREAM OF YOU (THE WHOLE DAY THROUGH.)

 

 

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22 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Ex Lady (1933).  I watched this Bette Davis pre-code the other night.  I can't say it was one of her best films, not one of her worst either.  Apparently this film was a remake of the Barbara Stanwyck pre-code, Illicit (1931). I remember being disappointed by the Stanwyck film.  It definitely did not live up to its ti

I missed this review...

I have not seen this movie, but it's interesting to note even though BETTE'S pre-HUMAN BONDAGE roles are often bad, and she sometimes bad in them, she was really quite attractive when she first started. I had forgotten that from watching so many of her post-1938 films.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I missed this review...

I have not seen this movie, but it's interesting to note even though BETTE'S pre-HUMAN BONDAGE roles are often bad, and she sometimes bad in them, she was really quite attractive when she first started. I had forgotten that from watching so many of her post-1938 films.

I agree with you;

Image result for bette davis

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Hillbillys in a Haunted House  (1967)  -  3/10

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Country musical/horror comedy, with Ferlin Husky, Joi Lansing and Don Bowman as a trio of country music artists traveling to a jamboree when weather forces them to seek shelter in a reputedly haunted house. In fact it's the base of enemy agents (Basil Rathbone, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr. and Linda Ho) who are after secrets from the nearby missile factory. Also featuring Merle Haggard, Molly Bee, Sonny James, Jim Kent, Marcella Wright, and Richard Webb. This is a lot of very silly nonsense, a mix of the rural-appeal country musicals that Husky had been appearing in for a while, and the sort of fake-out "old dark house" mystery comedies of the 30's and 40's. 

Source: TCM

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Hurry Sundown  (1967)  -  4/10

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Melodrama from director Otto Preminger. In post-WWII Georgia, ambitious "southern gentleman" Henry (Michael Caine) is hoping to make a fortune off of a land deal involving plots owned by his wife Julie Ann (Jane Fonda). A big company that's moving into town wants to buy a lot of property, and the only people holding Henry up from making the deal are Julie Ann's cousin Rad (John Phillip Law), just returned from fighting in the war and hoping to get his farm operating well enough to support his wife Lou (Faye Dunaway in her debut) and their four children; and black farmer Reeve Scott (Robert Hooks), whose ailing mother Rose (Beah Richards) had been Julie Ann's childhood nanny. Also featuring Diahann Carroll, Burgess Meredith, George Kennedy, Loring Smith, Luke Askew, Madeleine Sherwood, Rex Ingram, Frank Converse, Robert Reed, and Jim Backus. This is a failure on many levels. The racial tensions are presented in a very simplistic and sensational manner. The acting ranges from bad (Caine's southern accent is justly infamous) to worse (George Kennedy turns in the worst work of his career that I've seen the same year he would win an Oscar). There's some really embarrassing attempts to be boundary-pushing (Preminger's favorite pastime) in regards to sex on screen, with one especially cringe-worthy scene involving Fonda fondling and blowing on a saxophone propped in Caine's lap.  Finally, the movie runs an overlong 145 minutes. Ugh.

Source: Olive/Paramount DVD

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4 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I missed this review...

I have not seen this movie, but it's interesting to note even though BETTE'S pre-HUMAN BONDAGE roles are often bad, and she sometimes bad in them, she was really quite attractive when she first started. I had forgotten that from watching so many of her post-1938 films.

I would agree with you. Bette is very attractive in her 30s films.  I think she's fairly attractive in her 40s films as well, All About Eve in 1950 may be the last film where I've thought she was an attractive woman. Then man, she aged quickly.  Although, I have to say that she doesn't look bad at 60-something in her 1971 Dick Cavett interview.  She's got on a kicky mini skirt and beret and wearing go go boots, and I think she's rocking her look. 

I don't know what it is about her 30s films, aside from youth, perhaps it's the platinum starlet look that she had at the beginning? 30s fashions and hairstyles really suited her? I don't know. Perhaps she seems more attractive in the context of the film roles that she had in the early to mid 30s? As she took on more serious parts or parts such as Elizabeth I in Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex or Fanny Skeffington in Mr. Skeffington, where she had no qualms about looking like crap, her attractiveness was diminished? 

I'm not sure.  When she's in films like Now, Voyager (post makeover), The Letter, or June Bride where she's not asked to make herself look as horrible as possible, I think she's still an attractive woman.

It also seemed that as she aged, her "Bette Davis Eyes" became more and more "Bette Davis Eyes-esque" than they had in years prior.  In her early 30s films, her eyes don't seem as "Bette Davis Eyes." 

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I've never quite understood in various biographies I've read that she was generally considered unattractive in Hollywood at the start of her career.  Maybe because she was not quite as glamorous or curvy as some other starlets at the time?  Love her The Cabin in the Cotton look.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Roy Cronin said:

I've never quite understood in various biographies I've read that she was generally considered unattractive in Hollywood at the start of her career.  Maybe because she was not quite as glamorous or curvy as some other starlets at the time?  Love her The Cabin in the Cotton look.

 

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"I'd love to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair!" 

I don't know why she was considered unattractive.  I think she's attractive.  She is quite thin, but also rather bosomy.  Sometimes I've thought that Jean Harlow was a little unattractive, I think it's the chin, but other times I think she's really pretty.  However, I also think that the super skinny eyebrows may have had something to do with it.  The thin, pencil drawn on eyebrows look weird on almost everyone. 

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Hillbillys in a Haunted House  (1967)  -  3/10

This plays on TCM, Monday (7/22). My 62nd birthday. On the day I was born in '57, "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear," was the #1 song. So TCM is close enough by playing Jailhouse Rock, but not Loving You, where my song comes from. 

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