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I finished watching the last part of "Texas Rising".  Good mini series but different than I expected, sure do have an assortment of characters, even a nutjob.  At the end, I'm confused why the Mexicans were celebrating Santa Ana's return.  :huh:

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Last night I (re) watched The Lost Weekend.

 

I know, this movie must have been written about endlessly on the board, but I really want to give a huge shout-out to a first-rate script.  Yes, Ray Milland as Don Birnam dives into his role as a hopeless alcoholic fully, but he needed good material to work with.  The script covers the full spectrum of alcoholism - the reasons, the effects on the drinker and the loved ones, the addictive behaviors.  

 

I love Milland's subtle mannerisms that mark the addict, like in the beginning of the film when he gives longing and crazed glances in the direction of the bottle that's tied to a rope outside the window, then urges his brother to go out for a few hours so he could get at it...  At one point, Birnam stares at a glass of hooch as if it were a lover.  

 

In another scene Don's brother, Wick, tries to lie to Don's girlfriend Helen, telling her that he himself is the one with the problem.  Helen soon learns otherwise, but then even she initially plays down the seriousness of the disease.

 

Then once Birnam gets access to booze he goes from neurotic to charismatic charmer.  It shows good acting range on Milland's part. 

 

The climactic scene, when Helen confronts Don and his plans to kill himself, trying to talk him out of it, could have easily been cloying and maudlin, but the two actors pull it off brilliantly.

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Today, I saw "Crack-Up" and "No One Lives Forever" on TCM and "Easy Living" on Watch TCM.  Pat O'Brien and Claire Trevor make a good team.  Very good performances by the both of them in "Crack Up", which centers on the unusual story of art fraud.  Ray Collins had to be one of the most versatile supporting actors in the 30's and 40's.  He is in a lot of stuff!

 

I generally like John Garfield movies, but I had never seen "No One Lives Forever".  Garfield gave a good performance as a con-man trying to woo, then take advantage of Geraldine Fitzgerald and her money.  I was impressed with Walter Brennan's performance in this one, and I usually don't like the characters he portrays.

 

"Easy Living" was an interesting movie, but I wish it were longer than it was (76 minutes).  Victor Mature, Lizabeth Scott, and Lucille Ball were very good in this one about a pro football player whose career is cut short due to a heart condition.  Lloyd Nolan also stood out in his role as the head coach of Mature's team.  Very good ensemble cast too, which featured the Los Angeles Rams!

 

All in all, a great way to spend a rainy Friday where I live!

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This past week, my last full week of not working (I am scheduled to start a new freelance position on Monday) I sat down and took it easy for a few days here 50 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The movies I watched were varied in nature and scope.

 

First up was 1960's Spartacus with Kirk Douglas.

 

 

I wanted to watch the opening credit sequence because I had been listening to the soundtrack of it (memorable score by Alex North) and remembered how well the sequence was designed in the first place by Saul Bass who at the time was very influential with his main title sequences. After watching Spartacus which is by the way one of the great films of the latter part of the old Hollywood system's reach, I soon discovered that I had quite a few films in my collection that used Saul Bass and his very entertaining, yet thought provoking main title sequences.

 

Next, The Big Country (1958).

 

 

Another very good title sequence that really gave the impression of just how vast the west really was. The uses of the font style was also very well conceived. Great score by Jerome Moross.

 

Which then led me to Alfred Hitchcock's often ridiculed (at least around here) 1959's North By Northwest with what has to be not only a very well designed title sequence but an unforgettable score by Bernard Herrmann.

 

 

These title sequences were really all very well designed and even though the first two had very interesting fonts used, they all had very distinctive filming and scoring applied to them.

 

Then last evening I watched 2014's American Sniper for the first time. Great film. I have only seen one other 2014 film, Whiplash, so I can not comment on any of the other 2014's Best Picture nominees. But I can honestly say that this was a great film that in years to come will be considered and American classic.

 

 

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For the first time, I watched HERE COMES MR. JORDAN from start to finish. I realize that it was a fantasy, but the plot was utterly ridiculous.. It's an Essential if you want to know how a ridiculous plot plays out.

There's the problem. Next time, watch it from finish to start, and it will seem less ridiculous.

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There's the problem. Next time, watch it from finish to start, and it will seem less ridiculous.

 

Nah, sorry Rich. I once watched "nadroJ .rM semoC ereH" and that didn't help at all either!!!

 

(...though I do have to say I found the '70s Beatty remake fairly good...although I haven't screened that one backwards yet to see if that might improve it even more) ;)

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(...though I do have to say I found the '70s Beatty remake fairly good...although I haven't screened that one backwards yet to see if that might improve it even more) ;)

When you run it backwards, you can hear "Warren is dead."

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There's the problem. Next time, watch it from finish to start, and it will seem less ridiculous.

 

Or in medias res. When I was a kid it seemed perfectly reasonable to go into the theater and begin watching even though the movie was half over. Then we would stay and watch from the beginning (the movies looped over and over in that ancient era). The time would come where we would say, "Here is where we came in..." then leave. Some of those we watched that way probably made more sense.

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Or in medias res. When I was a kid it seemed perfectly reasonable to go into the theater and begin watching even though the movie was half over. Then we would stay and watch from the beginning (the movies looped over and over in that ancient era). The time would come where we would say, "Here is where we came in..." then leave. Some of those we watched that way probably made more sense.

Yes, that was my experience as a kid going to Radio City Music Hall. I don't think I ever saw a movie from the beginning when I went there, but you could stay all day and see stuff over and over.

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When you run it backwards, you can hear "Warren is dead."

 

LOL

 

Actually Rich, when I ran that flick backwards, it all sounded like the beginning of that ELO recording, "Fire On High"!!! ;)

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Or in medias res. When I was a kid it seemed perfectly reasonable to go into the theater and begin watching even though the movie was half over. Then we would stay and watch from the beginning (the movies looped over and over in that ancient era). The time would come where we would say, "Here is where we came in..." then leave. Some of those we watched that way probably made more sense.

 

OH yeah, laffite! I also remember doing this with my parents back in the late '50s and early '60s in some of those great old downtown Los Angeles movie palaces done in that fantastic Art Deco style...

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadway_Theater_District_(Los_Angeles)

 

(...and just after often dining at Cliftons Cafeteria...)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton%27s_Cafeteria

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Yes, that was my experience as a kid going to Radio City Music Hall. I don't think I ever saw a movie from the beginning when I went there, but you could stay all day and see stuff over and over.

 

...and if you didn't have much money (we weren't poor but I seem to remember I had a only nickel to spend on junk) so the preferred item to get was good ole Jujubes. They would last a month.

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Great links, Dargo, I actually read most of each. Really interesting. Are those theaters still there, then? If so, that's astounding. We have nothing like that in downtown San Diego, just the multiplexes. Blast of the past to see those lined up along a city street.  Do you still see movies there? ... Clifford sure had a lot of fun with those cafeterias. Do you go there? A neon-sign that never turned off for 77 years? Life is interesting, isn't it.

 

I had to look up choo choo charlie. Don't know how I don't know that. I watched TV like any other kid. Probably to busy picking those Jujebe(s) out of my teeth. Even to this day I'm not sure I got all of it.

 

---

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An absolutely lunatic short made just after Prohibition called "My Grandfather's Clock (1934).  It's a murder mystery Sung all the way through; the two heroes are Vance & Holmes--the murder's committed, Franklin Pangborn answers the call to the detective agency and sings his answers ( in a good tenor--who knew he could sing?); main detective is in a nightclub ;when informed of events, he sings his goodbye, & then nightclub employees & patrons all troop out to help solve the mystery (nobody forgets their drinks!)   I won't say anymore so I don't spoil it--but if TCM shows this again, it's well worth watching!  Enjoy identifying the music--MGM's orchestra was good at mysteries.

 

 

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When I was a kid it seemed perfectly reasonable to go into the theater and begin watching even though the movie was half over. Then we would stay and watch from the beginning (the movies looped over and over in that ancient era). The time would come where we would say, "Here is where we came in..." then leave.

 

Funny you'd say that laffite- my brother took me to see HELP! as a kid and we did just that. They showed a Bugs Bunny cartoon before the feature and we watched both cycle through all afternoon. Crazy kids.

 

AND the Tiki family watched HELP! for family night. First time for them, first time in 50 years for me. TikiKid was enthralled by the Beatles and I loved remembering them so young & cute. Completely forgotten my fave Eleanor Bron was in it. Her role seemed to be just to show great costumes for every scene. A silly plot perhaps, but we all enjoyed it. A gorgeous restoration.

I watched the extra disk by myself later, very interesting.

 

Many of you know I'm laid up for awhile. This is forcing me to rest & I'm catching up on my TCM recordings.

Last night I watched RAIN OR SHINE an early Capra film that takes place in the circus. I lurved it. It showed how Capra wanted to focus on morality tales, the code of the circus is an early strong one. Scenes showing the lead "Smiley" performing were ASTOUNDING-what an acrobat. I'm so glad this performance was preserved on film. I'm finding a common theme for Capra was "mob mentality" of a crowd rioting. The climax was a tent fire-something I'm always in total fear of-so I was on the edge of my seat! Dramatic stock footage had to have been from the great fire in Hartford, but I haven't confirmed that yet.

Corny yes, but historical & fun too.

 

Next was star of the month Don Ameche paired with my fave Dorothy Lamour in SLIGHTLY FRENCH. While whenever Dottie was on screen & singing was great, the rest of the movie was ho-hum. Ameche had zero presence, inho. I'll rewatch the last half hour just in case I was too sleepy (I'm on meds for my injury) But I think it was a "skip it" kind of movie. Too bad-I'd love a better vehicle for Dottie.

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Nah, sorry Rich. I once watched "nadroJ .rM semoC ereH" and that didn't help at all either!!!

 

(...though I do have to say I found the '70s Beatty remake fairly good...although I haven't screened that one backwards yet to see if that might improve it even more) ;)

My only "backwards" experience was listening to "Abbey Road" backwards to see if Paul McCartney was in fact dead. 

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Almost 50 years later, he's almost the only one still alive.

 

Too bad the guy doesn't realize he can't hit the high notes anymore.

 

Or as my wife said to me after his appearance on that SNL 40th Anniversary special and after he finished, and I DO mean "finished" his Maybe I'm Amazed song, "Wow, I used to really like that song. Too bad he's ruined it for me now!"

 

(...or as I prefer to now say, "HEY, Sir Paul! Look dude. IF you're gonna STILL go out there and tour at your age, do yourself a big favor here and LOWER it an octave! We won't mind, we PROMISE!!!)

 

LOL

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