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Oh yay, THE CROWDED SKY (1960) was on TCM.

It’s such a deliciously bad movie that deserves to be better known than it is, It’s rather like a less star-studded version of THE COBWEB Where the mental institution is a jet airliner in distress.

It’s a film that should absolutely be shown to screen writing classes as an example of “everything they are doing here is bad...Highly entertaining mind you, And a hell of a lot more watchable then some legit good films, but nonetheless  bad.”

THERE IS SO MUCH VOICEOVER WORK IN THIS MOVIE. Honestly, I think about half the dialogue is internal monologues recited on lingering close-ups of the actors faces. The whole thing comes off kind of like one of those coffee commercials “hmmm, Ron Never has a 2nd cup at home!” And while plot wise I can absolutely understand that AIRPLANE! was a remake of ZERO HOUR!, style wise it owes a huge debt to THE CROWDED SKY

Oh the dialogue in this thing is golden. The screenwriter thought he was an absolute hoot and a good portion of it is in some of the goofiest, squarest, most delightfully dated slang you’ll ever hear.

”What’s up big mama? My Mama don’t raise no dummies. I dug her rap.”

DANA ANDREWS is 1960s SULLY SULLENBERGER, He is not having any of this crap, and if everyone doesn’t sit the Hell down and shut the Hell up, he will crash this plane himself. JOHN KERR is THE CO PILOT, He is one of my absolute least favorite actors and yet oddly enough this is probably his best performance. He and the material really deserve one another. ANNE FRANCIS is the “reformed tramp” Flight attendant and she is the one actor who emerges completely unscathed from this, I thought she was absolutely fantastic in the movie. RHONDA FLEMING Has an exceptionally pointless role in which she plays one of those 1950s harridan housewives who manipulated her husband into marrying her by lying about being pregnant, as if Rhonda Fleming had to resort to lies to get any man to marry her. TROY DONAHUE is TROY DONAHUE. 

This really isn’t a spoiler: one of the oddest things about this film, as a blueprint for future disaster movies, is that the disaster does not happen until the final 15 minutes and when it does it’s actually resolved rather quickly, and in a  decidedly anti-climactic fashion. But in the hour and 20 minutes leading up to that, is some of the funniest dialogue and scenarios you’ll ever see. If you have a couple of salty drag queen friends, I highly recommend watching this movie with them.

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Wow...

So, did anyone notice that in the scene where TROY DONAHUE and EFREM ZIMBALIST Jr. are in a diner talking about something that the music coming from the diner's overhead speakers( and maybe from that jukebox behind them) was playing "Theme From A Summer Place"?  ;) 

And in the earlier movie THE BIG CIRCUS, I wonder how many takes they had to do of that scene in which VICTOR MATURE makes a reference to the historical figure HANNIBAL (in suggesting they use the circus elephants to get the circus into town on time) before he could do it with a STRAIGHT FACE?  :D 

And I didn't notice if Vic was wearing a WRISTWATCH in that scene or not.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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The Crowded Sky:  I remember seeing this when I was a kid on TV and waiting and waiting for something exciting to happen.  I don't think I watched it to the end.

Maybe I had just seen The High and the Mighty and wanted a little excitement.

And Lorna, I love your observation about the '50s housewives and tricking men in to marriage.  So Rhonda Fleming was a version of Lola Delaney.  Could be fun to think of more examples of these unplanned non-pregnancies.

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Wow...

So, did anyone notice [in THE CROWDED SKY] that in the scene where TROY DONAHUE and EFREM ZIMBALIST Jr. are in a diner talking about something that the music coming from the diner's overhead speakers( and maybe from that jukebox behind them) was playing "Theme From A Summer Place"?  ;) 

 

it was hard to miss, they practically beat you over the head with it.

that was a WEIRD SCENE...

 

I guess it was inserted to add suspense and/or surprise when Zimbalist and Donahue are killed in the crash later on, but it just came off as odd- act one: "we have radio problems" act two: "we made it, and they're fixing the radio, and we're eating at a diner" act three: "we're back in the air and OH ****, EARL LIED TO US AND THE RADIO TOTALLY DOESN'T WORK AGAIN!!! DAMN YOU EARL!"

It was almost as if the actors stepped out of the plane in front of the sky backdrop on the soundstage and went to the Warner's Commisary for lunch and we're just following them for the fun of it.

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2 hours ago, RoyCronin said:

The Crowded Sky:  I remember seeing this when I was a kid on TV and waiting and waiting for something exciting to happen.  I don't think I watched it to the end.

Maybe I had just seen The High and the Mighty and wanted a little excitement.

And Lorna, I love your observation about the '50s housewives and tricking men in to marriage.  So Rhonda Fleming was a version of Lola Delaney.  Could be fun to think of more examples of these unplanned non-pregnancies.

All the "action" in THE CROWDED SKY happens in the last fifteen minutes, and by action, I mean extensive scenes of firetrucks spewing foam on the runway (which probably worked as a sick little thrill for some viewers in the days before internet) and someone dangling a fishline attached to an 18 inch model plane made out of very thin aluminum that has a hole in one side and a "flaming" engine effect achieved by smearing some spirit gum on one of the wings and lighting it with a bic. it's some JAWS THE REVENGE level work from the special effects team.

in re: the pregnancy thing, I guess THE CROWDED SKY deserves some credit for tackling controversial issues, there's also a contrasting subplot where ANNE FRANCIS reveals she had a child and gave it up for adoption; and abortion is hinted at...i mean, baby steps and all; and at least the film doesn't judge FRANCIS'S character, and (again) FRANCIS does a really, really admirable job in this thing- it deserves to be heralded as one of the best performances ever given in a baaaad movie.

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22 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Another reason I am grateful for HULU. I might even re watch it. It's that bad.

LOL. Hope it'll pop up again. It's on my list.

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On 7/22/2019 at 9:34 AM, Hibi said:

That's for sure. 2 hrs of my life I'll never get back. What a snoozefest. I had hopes for this as Dirk Bogarde was in it, but I found it tedious, I managed to stick it out till the end, but I should've bailed.  Maybe it would've helped if the actress playing the student had any charisma, but I doubt it the way it was written.

Jacqueline Sassard is actually pretty good in Chabrol's Les Biches, which surprised me, because I thought she was pretty bad in Accident. Acting in her native language obviously helped. Hibi, you and I are not the only ones who doubted her ability. I seem to recall a review, possibly by Brendan Gill, when the movie was first released, which said something like "Michael York and Jacqueline Sassard are newcomers to whom the adjective 'promising' does not immediately attach itself." Michael York would soon do much better.

Accident was a big event for the cinematic in-crowd when it was first released. Harold Pinter was at the height of his popularity. Certain critics from the Cahiers du Cinema crowd had rediscovered Joseph Losey and were pushing his reputation. I guess you had to be there. I don't think any of Pinter's time-tricky screenplays hold up that well, and Losey's noirs like The Prowler and The Criminal look much better than Accident; so does The Go-Between, also with a Pinter script. What I like best about Accident is Stanley Baker, who usually plays proletarian types, as a university professor.

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Love Feast aka The Photographer aka Pretty Models All in a Row (1969)  -  1/10

Feast2.JPG

Exploitation skin flick written by and starring Ed Wood (yes, that Ed Wood). He plays a photographer who dials up models that he finds in the yellow pages. They arrive at his house one by one, and they engage in group sex activities (simulated, that is - it would be a few more years before Wood started making hardcore pornography). Wood cross-dresses and grovels on the floor. He's very fleshy and has long, greasy hair. Everyone is very hairy, in fact, and the movie just looks like it must have smelled bad on set. Ugly, pathetic and stupid.

Source: AGFA/Something Weird Blu ray

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1 hour ago, kingrat said:

 I don't think any of Pinter's time-tricky screenplays hold up that well, and Losey's noirs like The Prowler and The Criminal look much better than Accident; so does The Go-Between, also with a Pinter script. What I like best about Accident is Stanley Baker, who usually plays proletarian types, as a university professor.

I've never seen this movie, HOWEVER since we've been talking books in another thread, I have to offer that the novel THE GO-BETWEEN by LP Hartley is really, REALLY good and I recommend it highly, especially if (like me) you're a BRIT LIT SUCKER.

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Medium Cool  (1969)  -  7/10

mc1.jpg

Snapshot of the late 60's, from writer-director-cinematographer Haskell Wexler. Robert Forster stars as John Cassellis, a Chicago news cinematographer who tries to capture events of the day, battling with corporate news directors, and juggling the women in his personal life, including a former West Virginia school teacher (Verna Bloom) struggling to deal with her delinquent son (Harold Blankenship). Also featuring Peter Bonerz, Marianna Hill, Felton Perry, Robert McAndrew, and Peter Boyle.

Medium+Cool1.jpg

I was torn with this movie. On the one hand, it captures the time better than very few other American films of its day. I would rank it as essential a representation of the turmoil of the late 60's as Easy Rider or Midnight Cowboy. However, the acting ranges from okay to downright awful, and the dialogue is stilted and clumsy during the more personal, emotional scenes. The film's blend of documentary footage with staged stuff works well, and would have made for a better film if the more scripted material had been minimized. The soundtrack features several songs by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

Source: Criterion DVD

mediumcool22.jpg

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Love Feast aka The Photographer aka Pretty Models All in a Row (1969)  -  1/10

Feast2.JPG

Exploitation skin flick written by and starring Ed Wood (yes, that Ed Wood). He plays a photographer who dials up models that he finds in the yellow pages. They arrive at his house one by one, and they engage in group sex activities (simulated, that is - it would be a few more years before Wood started making hardcore pornography). Wood cross-dresses and grovels on the floor. He's very fleshy and has long, greasy hair. Everyone is very hairy, in fact, and the movie just looks like it must have smelled bad on set. Ugly, pathetic and stupid.

Source: AGFA/Something Weird Blu ray

Wood probably should have used Tor Johnson in this to spice things up. "Time for go to bed and simulate sex."

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3 hours ago, kingrat said:

Jacqueline Sassard is actually pretty good in Chabrol's Les Biches, which surprised me, because I thought she was pretty bad in Accident. Acting in her native language obviously helped. Hibi, you and I are not the only ones who doubted her ability. I seem to recall a review, possibly by Brendan Gill, when the movie was first released, which said something like "Michael York and Jacqueline Sassard are newcomers to whom the adjective 'promising' does not immediately attach itself." Michael York would soon do much better.

Accident was a big event for the cinematic in-crowd when it was first released. Harold Pinter was at the height of his popularity. Certain critics from the Cahiers du Cinema crowd had rediscovered Joseph Losey and were pushing his reputation. I guess you had to be there. I don't think any of Pinter's time-tricky screenplays hold up that well, and Losey's noirs like The Prowler and The Criminal look much better than Accident; so does The Go-Between, also with a Pinter script. What I like best about Accident is Stanley Baker, who usually plays proletarian types, as a university professor.

Yes, I remember it being an art house hit back then, but it sure doesnt hold up now. Bogarde and Baker were good as was Pinter's wife in a brief role. What was Delphine Seyrig doing in this thing? Felt like she walked in from another movie. I had to laugh about the promising comment. York wasn't required to do much, so I can give him a pass, but Sassard's part was pivotal and she just didnt deliver.

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I've never seen this movie, HOWEVER since we've been talking books in another thread, I have to offer that the novel THE GO-BETWEEN by LP Hartley is really, REALLY good and I recommend it highly, especially if (like me) you're a BRIT LIT SUCKER.

I wish TCM would show a widescreen version of it. It's always pan and scan when they air it. Wasn't it ever released on DVD?

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8 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Wow...

So, did anyone notice that in the scene where TROY DONAHUE and EFREM ZIMBALIST Jr. are in a diner talking about something that the music coming from the diner's overhead speakers( and maybe from that jukebox behind them) was playing "Theme From A Summer Place"?  ;) 

The first time I saw the movie and saw that scene I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. :lol:

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On 7/23/2019 at 2:47 PM, cigarjoe said:

It's a nice fantasy, helps to forget all today's BS for a while. For me I could watch it over and over with no problems.Ne

The first time I saw this movie, it aired late at night during a snowstorm in an especially harsh New England winter.  My husband and I felt as if we were in paradise.  I loved the locale and always enjoy James Mason, and my husband loved Helen Mirren.

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The Milky Way  (1969)  -  7/10

lavoielactee.jpg?w=604

French surrealist religious drama from writer-director Luis Bunuel. A pair of modern-day pilgrims (Paul Frankeur & Laurent Terzieff) are traveling to a holy shrine in Spain. Along the way they encounter various people that embody heresies and events from the history of the Catholic Church, as well as the Devil (Pierre Clementi), the Virgin Mary (Edith Scob), and Jesus Christ himself (Bernard Verley). With appearances by Michel Piccoli (as the Marquis de Sade), Alain Cuny, Claude Cerval, Georges Marchal, Claudio Brook, and Delphine Seyrig. Bunuel's usual strain of black humor and biting criticism runs throughout, although this one is a bit more obtuse. This would probably best be appreciated by those well versed in Catholic history and philosophical debate.

Source: Kino Lorber DVD

milkywayangel.jpg?w=549

milkyway6.jpg

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B

7 hours ago, kingrat said:

Jacqueline Sassard is actually pretty good in Chabrol's Les Biches, which surprised me, because I thought she was pretty bad in Accident. Acting in her native language obviously helped. Hibi, you and I are not the only ones who doubted her ability. I seem to recall a review, possibly by Brendan Gill, when the movie was first released, which said something like "Michael York and Jacqueline Sassard are newcomers to whom the adjective 'promising' does not immediately attach itself." Michael York would soon do much better.

Accident was a big event for the cinematic in-crowd when it was first released. Harold Pinter was at the height of his popularity. Certain critics from the Cahiers du Cinema crowd had rediscovered Joseph Losey and were pushing his reputation. I guess you had to be there. I don't think any of Pinter's time-tricky screenplays hold up that well, and Losey's noirs like The Prowler and The Criminal look much better than Accident; so does The Go-Between, also with a Pinter script. What I like best about Accident is Stanley Baker, who usually plays proletarian types, as a university professor.

So much of Harold Pinter takes place just under the surface.

It's never plot-driven, it moves along by implication.

Whenever a Pinter play made it to Broadway, it was only for a limited run.

But the big question in "Accident" is what question was Michael York going to ask Dirk Bogarde?

He didn't have the time; he had a fatal accident.

Was it - am I right in marrying this woman or should I leave her?

Bogarde who wanted her for himself probably would have said "no".

 

 

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Beast of Blood  (1970)  -  4/10

MVCOM-BEAST-BLOOD-6.jpg

Sequel to Mad Doctor of Blood Island sees John Ashley return to battle the still-living mad scientist (Eddie Garcia) and his mossy-green zombie monster. Celeste Yarnell plays the love interest, a photographer who picked the wrong time to vacation on Blood Island. Also featuring Liza Belmonte, Alfonso Carvajal, and Bruno Punzalan. This Filipino wonder features the same shoddy film-making, awkward love scenes, and gruesome murders as the prior film. The one added "bonus" is the decapitated head of the green monster, kept alive in a lab (think The Brain That Wouldn't Die), and given to occasional monologues. 

Source: Alpha Video DVD 

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Silent Running (1972) Hippie In Space

Silent Running (1972)

Space Biologist/Gardner/Hippie "Freeman" Lowell (Bruce Dern) is in charge of various geodesic domed ecopods attached to American Airlines Space Cargo Ship Valley Forge. The Valley Forge and other ships are in orbit around the sun between Jupiter and Saturn. 

Lowell and three other shipmates are on the ninth year of a mission to preserve the various ecosystems in botanical terraria holding the flora and fauna of an Earth. The Earth has long stabilized into a mostly barren always overcast planet with a constant temperature of 75 degrees. The crew are mostly in caretaker mode with lots of leisure time. All ship maintenance is carried on by three diminutive drones who work on a round the clock basis. 

Lowell grows and eats his own food shunning the prepossessed frozen deep fried crap that John, Marty, and Andy his crew mates chow on. Lowell's like a St. Francis figure all the animals of the forest (his favorite ecopod) are his friends. Lowell is one with the gardens and at peace with himself. These idyllic images are accompanied by really dated Joan Baez songs. It may have been cool once but now its pretty cheesy.

John, Marty, and Andy are fun loving gearheads who fight boredom playing poker and by driving basically space golf carts at breakneck speeds up and down the various race courses they've set up in the cargo bays. They also like to tear up the ecopods with these antics which tick off Lowell. 

When Earth command gives the Valley Forge the orders to come back home they also are ordered to eject the pods into space and nuke them. John, Marty, and Andy are ecstatic and eagerly go off to detach the pods and destroy them. 

Peace-Love-Dove Lowell goes crazier than a sheethouse rat and kills John, and vaporizes Marty and Andy on one of the ecopods where they were installing a warhead. 7/10

Source Streaming on line in a good print.

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Colossus: The Forbin Project  (1970)  -  7/10

220px-Colossus_the_forbin_project_movie_

Science fiction thriller with Eric Braeden as Dr. Charles Forbin, designer of the world's largest and most powerful computer, code named Colossus. It is set to take control of the US nuclear defense network in an effort to remove the element of human error, but not long after going fully operational, Colossus begins showing signs of free will, causing an international panic. Also featuring Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert, Georg Stanford Brown, Marion Ross, Dolph Sweet, Willard Sage, Byron Morrow, and James Hong. Although dated now, this is still a pretty effective nightmare scenario, with a solid turn by Braeden as the taciturn genius losing control of his creation. The ending is memorable.

Source: Universal DVD

braeden-colossus.jpg

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16 hours ago, rayban said:

B

So much of Harold Pinter takes place just under the surface.

It's never plot-driven, it moves along by implication.

Whenever a Pinter play made it to Broadway, it was only for a limited run.

But the big question in "Accident" is what question was Michael York going to ask Dirk Bogarde?

He didn't have the time; he had a fatal accident.

Was it - am I right in marrying this woman or should I leave her?

Bogarde who wanted her for himself probably would have said "no".

 

 

I can live without knowing. LOL.

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