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Le Plaisir  (1952)  -  6/10

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French romantic drama, based on tales by Guy de Maupassant, directed by Max Ophuls. In late 19th century France, three stories are told: a doctor (Claude Dauphin) tends to a mysterious masked dancer who collapses in a nightclub; the brother (Jean Gabin) of a bordello madam (Madeleine Renaud) falls in love with one of his sister's employees (Danielle Darrieux); and a painter (Daniel Gelin) falls in love with his model (Simone Simon). With Gaby Morlay, Ginette Leclerc, Mila Parely, Pierre Brasseur, and Jean Servais. I really liked Ophuls' La Ronde, and enjoyed The Earrings of Madame de..., but I wasn't as enamored of this film. I can't really say why, other than I never cared about the characters and wasn't amused or moved by the situations. While the movie looked polished enough, I wasn't as impressed with that aspect as much as others were, it seems (the film earned an Oscar nod for art direction). Stanley Kubrick once called this his favorite film. Huh. Like I said, I'm a philistine.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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6 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Le Plaisir  (1952)  -  6/10

I like this so much I bought it and I'm not a buyer. The middle and longest story is the real plasir, based on the story La Maison Tellier. Prior to the girls embarking on their adventure Ophuls' camera views them through windows, he won't go in. Much of the enjoyment of the movie is his famed camera eye. The scene in the church could have been better, it is much more lucid in the book. We have to know why that girl is crying and I wish he had made it more clear (or maybe it's me). Darrieux is a little too prettily innocent looking and pristine to pass for a lady of the profession. Jean Gabin is always a pleasure, he is a kind of idol, as an actor yes but also as a man. If I envied men for their looks I would envy him. Is that a man crush? I admire Ophuls for choosing these stories for a movie. The very idea of his doing it pleases. 

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The Life of Oharu  (1952)  -  8/10

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Japanese drama from director Kenji Mizoguchi. Set in the late 17th century, the story tracks the sad life of Oharu (Kinuyo Tanaka), born into a noble family but exiled and disgraced after having an affair with a retainer (Toshiro Mifune) of lower birth. Oharu is forced to endure many indignities, betrayals and hardships as she struggles to survive. With Tsukie Matsuura, Ishiro Sugai, Toshiaki Konoe, Hisako Yamane, and Daisuke Kato. Mizoguchi's style is remote, and slightly stylized, but much of that may be a proper depiction of the behavior and customs of the times. Much of the film's power rests on Tanaka's able shoulders. She's an accomplished actress who had been in films since the silent era, and here she turns in one of her most moving portrayals, imbuing Oharu with enough humanity to avoid the "suffering saint" stereotype so common in Japanese "women's pictures". Recommended.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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The Hitch-Hiker  (1953)  -  7/10

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Everyone around here is familiar with this thriller directed by Ida Lupino. Slimeball William Talman escapes from prison and goes on a killing spree on his way to Mexico. He hitches a ride with unsuspecting fishing buddies Edmond O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy, leading to a few days of terror. I finally got around to watching this and enjoyed it. Hamilton Burger is very convincing as a sweaty dirt-bag. Although his character is supposed to be 28, Talman was 38, and looked 48. Lovejoy managed to annoy me less than usual, which was nice.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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The Masquerader (1933)

A slickly produced Goldwyn production about a drug addicted British MP, who is falling apart, who encounters a lookalike cousin in a London fog, later seeks him out to replace him in the House of Commons the following day when a great speech is expected of him. Not surprisingly for a melodrama of this kind the cousin accepts the offer and carries off the speech with flying colours to the praise of all England. It then becomes difficult for the cousin to extricate himself from his fake ID, however, things becoming even more complicated when the MP's wife returns home from France.

These two cousins are so alike, not only in appearance but voice that nobody, of course, can tell them apart, including the wife as well as the MP's mistress. Despite the silliness and familiarity of the story, once you get past the implausibilities of the plot, The Masquerader is a fun film (impossible to take seriously, of course) thanks to the charm and skill of Ronald Colman in the dual roles of druggie MP and smooth talking imposter cousin. It reminds one of Colman's similar dual turn four years later in The Prisoner of Zenda.

Elissa Landi plays the MP's wife who, after a strained marriage with the MP, falls in love all over again with her imposter husband (beastly awkward for a gentleman like Colman, of course, clearly attracted to Landi yet having to drive her away from him when she visits him in his bedroom one night because, well, she doesn't realize he's an imposter and for Colman to take advantage of the situation well, it's just not done, old boy).

Halliwell Hobbes, forever cast as a butler, is in that familiar role once again, only this time he's the only one in the film who actually knows there are two Colmans. The split screen effects, by the way, in which we see Colman sharing the screen with Colman, are expertly achieved, on a par with the similar effects in Zenda a few years later.

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2.5 out of 4

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The Possession of Hannah Grace  (2018)  -  4/10

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Supernatural horror with Shay Mitchell as a young former cop with a troubled past who takes a job on the graveyard shift at a Boston hospital morgue. On the second night on the job, a corpse is brought in of a young woman who died during an exorcism, only maybe she's not actually dead. Or is all in the new worker's head? Also featuring Stana Katic, Kirby Johnson, Grey Damon, Nick Thune, and Louis Herthum. This was barely passable until the last act when the filmmaking gets very sloppy and the script gets even stupider. Stick to The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) which does the same sort of story much, much better.

 

The Curse of La Llorona  (2019)  -  4/10

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Supernatural horror set in 1973, with Linda Cardellini as a social worker, mother of two young children, and recent widow. When a case she's working on ends tragically, she inadvertently exposes her family to the dangers of "La Llorona", aka the Weeping Woman, an evil spirit from Mexican folklore that steals children away. Now the terrified mother must rely on the help of former priest and current shaman Rafael (Raymond Cruz) to stop the powerful menace. Also with Patricia Velasquez, Tony Amendola, Sean Patrick Thomas, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, and Marisol Ramirez as "La Llorona". From producer James Wan's Atomic Monster company, this is yet another cookie-cutter spook-fest like The ConjuringInsidiousSinisterAnnabelle, etc. etc.. In fact there's even a brief tie-in with the "Conjuring universe" that leads to no real pay-off.  I liked Cruz as the gruff shaman, but otherwise this was dull rehash of tired cliches.

Source: both Amazon Video

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On 7/29/2019 at 8:12 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

TALLULAH is also the only SOUTHERN actor (born and raised in ALABAMA!) I can think of who never ever once sounds remotely southern to me. I would guess MidAtlantic OR long-since relocated British ExPat.

We hear a bit of Southern Tallulah with her "lil ole dressin' room" remark near the end of the clip you posted.

I wish there were recordings of her as Regina from THE LITTLE FOXES, a role she originated in the original Broadway production of the play. I'd love to hear how she sounded playing a Southern character. 

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On 7/28/2019 at 9:36 PM, speedracer5 said:

Holden, if you haven't already, you should read about the background of producing the Tallulah Bankhead episode of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.  It's quite interesting.  Not surprisingly, Bankhead was difficult to work with. 

Yeah, Lucille Ball supposedly said Tallulah Bankhead was a "strange woman" and suspected she was either  hungover or drunk whenever she was on the set.

Lucy had a similar reaction to working with Joan Crawford, who played herself on the "Lucy and the Lost Star" episode of THE LUCY SHOW, Ball's second series. Allegedly Ball reduced Crawford to tears at one point, and in describing her experience working with Lucy, Crawford supposedly said something like "And they call me a b*****." Joan Crawford threw a wrap party for the cast and crew of THE LUCY SHOW, but she didn't invite Lucille Ball.

Back to Tallulah: For the Southern dinner scene (where Lucy had the Mertzes pose as her servants) packages of the first frozen fried chicken dinners ever sold were used. Tallulah claimed it was the best fried chicken she ever had!

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5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Hitch-Hiker  (1953)  -  7/10

Everyone around here is familiar with this thriller directed by Ida Lupino. Slimeball William Talman escapes from prison and goes on a killing spree on his way to Mexico. He hitches a ride with unsuspecting fishing buddies Edmond O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy, leading to a few days of terror. I finally got around to watching this and enjoyed it. Hamilton Burger is very convincing as a sweaty dirt-bag. Although his character is supposed to be 28, Talman was 38, and looked 48. Lovejoy managed to annoy me less than usual, which was nice.

Source: The Criterion Channel

This movie was fantastic.  I loved it.  I also loved that it was barely over an hour long.  I applaud Ida Lupino for not trying to stretch out the action to make it longer.

I thought O'Brien and Lovejoy did a great job expressing the various emotions one might experience if they were held hostage.  They're scared, angry, frustrated, determined, etc. Talman was terrifying.  I loved that he had the one messed up eye.  The fact that O'Brien and Lovejoy couldn't easily run because they didn't know if Talman was awake or asleep added immensely to the tension. 

I'm waiting for the Ida Lupino collection to come out next month.  I've seen The Hitch-Hiker and The Bigamist and thought that both were excellent.

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8 minutes ago, HoldenIsHere said:

Yeah, Lucille Ball supposedly said Tallulah Bankhead was a "strange woman" and suspected she was either  hungover or drunk whenever she was on the set.

Lucy had a similar reaction to working with Joan Crawford, who played herself on the "Lucy and the Lost Star" episode of THE LUCY SHOW, Ball's second series. Allegedly Ball reduced Crawford to tears at one point, and in describing her experience working with Lucy, Crawford supposedly said something like "And they call me a b*****." Joan Crawford threw a wrap party for the cast and crew of THE LUCY SHOW, but she didn't invite Lucille Ball.

Back to Tallulah: For the Southern dinner scene (where Lucy had the Mertzes pose as her servants) packages of the first frozen fried chicken dinners ever sold were used. Tallulah claimed it was the best fried chicken she ever had!

There was also an anecdote that I read somewhere where the cast sat down for a script reading for this episode.  Vivian Vance admired Tallullah's slacks.  Tallulah then took off her slacks, gave them to Vance, then sat down for the remainder of the rehearsal.  The catch? Tallulah wasn't wearing any panties! 

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THE NO-CRYIN KING (2019; also known as The Lion King) *Score: 4/10* 

I watched this in theaters the day it was released, as I've recently been let go from my job, and have found myself with some extra time lately. I walked into this with low expectations, and I'm glad I did. Color me unimpressed. Boy, did all the voice actors seem incredibly bored in this movie. It's almost like none of them wanted to be there. If I were you, I would not pay money to see this in theaters. You're better off spending your money elsewhere, to be honest. The best thing about this movie was Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Pumbaa and Timon, respectively. And if the best thing about your movie is Seth Rogen, you have a problem on your hands. 

The reason I decided to title this the way I did, is because all of the emotion/feeling from the original animated movie was completely destroyed in this remake. The "emotional" scenes of this movie did not have the same impact as they did in the original, due to the lack of emotion displayed by the animals. Granted, it's not 2D animation, but I really would have preferred if they had just animated it in 3D animation like "Frozen" or "Toy Story 3/4." Even "Dumbo" (2019) had more emotion than this one. Looking at Dumbo's facial expressions tugged on my heartstrings, whereas in "Lion King," it tugged on my chuckle reflex. 

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I think it's gotten to the point where excessive CGI is being used to the point where it fails to impress anyone anymore... I'm just saying, there's an issue with the film if I'm chuckling during Mufasa's death. It was just so ridiculous. Despite my comments, I do think the CGI was great and it's a really innovative way to design movies these days. I wish 2D animated movies would come back in style, but they probably wouldn't sell. 

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I know I have the reputation here as a Disney fan, but that doesn't mean I'm completely blind to the company's issues. There are numerous Disney films that I would consider "trash." 

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Stumbled over THE GREAT DIAMOND ROBBERY (1954), a RED SKELTON vehicle (his last for MGM) About a diamond cutter who is taken in by a gang of crooks who convince him they are his long-lost family.

It’s a really charming movie, full of chuckles, and DOROTHY STICKNEY IS A HOOT in the LADY FOR A DAY type part of Red’s “Ma.”

Maltin gives it two stars, which wasn’t a surprise, but what was was that according to Wikipedia, this film was a colossal flop-losing the modern-day equivalent of $4 million for MGM.

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11 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

There was also an anecdote that I read somewhere where the cast sat down for a script reading for this episode.  Vivian Vance admired Tallullah's slacks.  Tallulah then took off her slacks, gave them to Vance, then sat down for the remainder of the rehearsal.  The catch? Tallulah wasn't wearing any panties! 

Yes, I've heard that story too.

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White Mane  (1953)  -  7/10

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Short French film about an untamed horse named White Mane who is repeatedly captured only to escape again and again. A young boy (Alain Emery) bonds with the horse, and he becomes the only human White Mane will respond to. Albert Lamorisse co-wrote and directed this 47-minute movie. The B&W cinematography is very good, and the locations in the Bouches-du-Rhone region are both harsh and beautiful. The ending is very moving.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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26 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Yes, I've heard that story too.

Tallulah was definitely an interesting woman.  Her episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour is one of the best ones, in my opinion.  Apparently Lucy and Desi originally wanted Bette Davis.  Bette and Lucy went to the same dramatic school back in the 20s--Lucy failed, while Bette excelled.

To appear on Lucy's show, Bette wanted $20k and equal billing with Lucy and Desi.  While Lucy and Desi were considering the offer, Bette fell off a horse, was injured and could no longer appear on the show.  I believe that Tallullah was their second choice.  Lucy also parodied Tallullah in a first season episode where Lucy fakes having amnesia.  Lucy takes on Tallulah's persona as her own. 

Bette would have been great on The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, but Tallulah's episode is fantastic.  One of my favorites of the 13 episodes of that series.

I wish Bette and Tallulah had made a film together. 

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Yes, it's one of my favorites as well. Too bad Bette wasn't able to do it, but Tallulah was funny. Not sure how those 2 would've gotten along in a film together. LOL.

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Charade  (1954)  -  6/10

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British anthology film director by Roy Kellino. James Mason and his wife Pamela Mason star. They play themselves discussing potential future projects, which are then dramatized. In the first, Pamela is an artist who doesn't realize that her new neighbor James is a murderer. In the second, James is an Austrian army officer who fights a duel for the love of baroness Pamela. And in the third, James moves back to England and works as a butler, where he falls in love with maid Pamela. Also featuring Scott Forbes, Sean McClory, Paul Cavanagh, Bruce Lester, and Judy Osborne. Competent but unmemorable.

Source: YouTube

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1 hour ago, Hibi said:

Yes, it's one of my favorites as well. Too bad Bette wasn't able to do it, but Tallulah was funny. Not sure how those 2 would've gotten along in a film together. LOL.

Bette and Tallullah I bet would have been amazing together in one of the films Bette did with Miriam Hopkins. 

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Yeah, I could see that. (If they didn't kill each other during filming!)

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14 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

There was also an anecdote that I read somewhere where the cast sat down for a script reading for this episode.  Vivian Vance admired Tallullah's slacks.  Tallulah then took off her slacks, gave them to Vance, then sat down for the remainder of the rehearsal.  The catch? Tallulah wasn't wearing any panties! 

The catch was what they saw when she took off her pants. That can't be described on this website.

Only Desi recovered fast enough to give the woman his robe.

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Twenty-Four Eyes  (1954)  -  7/10

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Japanese drama from writer-director Keinosuke Kinoshita. The story traces the life of elementary school teacher Oishi (Hideko Takamine) as she begins her first year teaching at a rural island school in 1928. She bonds with her students and makes lifelong connections with them, all against the background of turbulent, challenging times of economic hardships and eventually WWII. Also featuring Kuniko Igawa, Takahiro Tamura, Kumeko Urabe, Hideyo Amamoto, Toyo Takahashi, and Chichu Ryu. I've seen more "inspirational teacher" movies than I ever needed to, and running over two and half hours, I was very leery about watching this one, despite its glowing reputation. However, I was still largely engrossed by the story, and it was mainly due to Takamine's moving portrayal of the exceptional Oishi.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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5 hours ago, Hibi said:

Yes, it's one of my favorites as well. Too bad Bette wasn't able to do it, but Tallulah was funny. Not sure how those 2 would've gotten along in a film together. LOL.

That's what I was thinking. Two very dominant personalities. It might have proved to be another "Baby Jane" situation. 

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Death of a Cyclist  (1955)  -  7/10

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Spanish drama from writer-director Juan Antonio Bardem. Juan (Alberto Closas) and Maria (Lucia Bose) are on their way back from an illicit assignation (she's married) when their car strikes and kills a bicyclist. No one witnesses the hit-and-run crime, but their guilt and paranoia grows, slowly driving them to drastic decisions. Also featuring Bruno Corra, Carlos Casaravilla, Otello Toso, Alicia Romay, Julia Delgado Caro, and Manuel Arbo. Director Bardem uses a lot of depth-of-field shots to good visual effect, and his use of close-ups help amplify the characters' tension. There's also some criticism of Franco-era corruption and nepotism. 

Source: The Criterion Channel

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French Cancan  (1955)  -  6/10

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French musical from director Jean Renoir. Jean Gabin stars as a producer who decides to open the Moulin Rouge and revive the scandalous title dance. With Francoise Arnaul, Maria Felix, Anna Amendola, Jean-Roger Caussimon, Dora Doll, Giani Esposito, Albert Remy, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Clay, and Edith Piaf. The vibrant color cinematography, the lavish costumes and art direction, and the presence of Gabin and Piaf were the sole pleasures for me in this, a well-regarded film that failed to engage me very much.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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