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MR. SKEFFINGTON is one of my favorite Bette films. Yes, she's not very likable, but you could say the same thing about Julie Marsden in JEZEBEL or Regina Giddens in THE LITTLE FOXES.

Fanny had such a feisty personality, maybe that's what attracted the guys to her (though once they had to live with her day and night, I wonder just how long they would have continued to have found it fascinating, probably not for very long).

And I wouldn't say Fanny was flat out unattractive, maybe she wasn't any raving beauty but she was attractive enough that I could buy a lot of the guys fawning over her.

As for the title character himself, well, he always struck me as kind of a loner ( SPOILERS: even though Fanny was only using him to get her beloved brother out of trouble) no doubt she turned on her charm with him overtime. It was only after they married he realized he'd been tricked by her.

Fanny needed a dose of reality that looks weren't everything, and even though it came really late in life as they say better late than never. I am happy that she and Skeffington had a chance to finally come to terms with each other, especially when she saw he was blind.

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I knew my negative take on Mr. Skeffington would garner a few responses, because it seems to be one of those classic films that's been ensconced into the (fictional) honourary hall of immortal Great Movies. And I still say, undeservedly.

I appreciate all the points people have raised in its defence. I'll just briefly respond, and then, I promise, the next time I post here it will be about a movie I like (don't yet know which .)

First, I want to emphasize that I DON'T NEED TO LIKE A CHARACTER TO ENJOY A FILM. That is NOT why I disliked Mr.S. The protagonist does not have to be "nice" or likable - hell, there are tons of films I love that are populated with extremely dislikable, even "bad", characters, and I love them (both the bad characters and the films.) It wasn't because Fanny was selfish and dislikable that I did not enjoy the film, it's because she's not interesting.  Someone mentioned Bette Davis' character in Jezebel: totally different, this is a great example of a "dislikable" character who is interesting - she's intelligent, headstrong (old -fashioned word that means strong-willed?), courageous...in other words, she's a complicated character, there's a lot going on there.

Fanny, on the other hand, is a one-note character - there's nothing engaging or thought-provoking about her. Although she's vain, I don't find her vanity interesting or entertaining in any way. And I don't agree that she has "witty" lines, I find almost all the dialogue in this film flat.

Let me put it this way: I like many different types of films, but there's a certain set of criteria that they have to have for me to like. Sorry, that sounds so pompous !  Anyway, a film does not have to possess all of these "criteria", but maybe at least one or two. What are they?  Interesting, complex characters who develop and maybe change as the narrative progresses /  an engaging, maybe even suspenseful plot (but this is the least important element of a film to me) / atmosphere (settings,etc.) - since almost every scene in the movie was filmed in Fanny's family mansion, the atmosphere from settings was pretty thin /  visual lyricism - this is one reason why I love noir so much - nothing too inspiring, visually, in Mr. S.  / something about the film that moves me, that makes me laugh or cry (ok, I rarely cry at movies, but sometimes....) or think.

I've probably left some out, but this thread is not about that, and I don't intend to start one. I'm just saying, Mr. Skeffington, for me, anyway, offered none of the above. The only thing it had going for it was those two great actors in the lead roles. And if I want to watch them (and yes, I do love Bette Davis and Claude Rains), there are many much better films in which to enjoy their talents.

edit: ps...Bette's appearance in the last 15 minutes of Mr. Skeffington is clearly a dress rehearsal for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, almost 20 years later.

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Well, I mostly look in on this movie(Skeffington) from time to time because I always get a kick out of seeing long time Detroit area movie host BILL KENNEDY( Bill Thatcher) in his old movie acting "heyday".  I do owe my interest in "classic" movies mostly to him and his afternoon movie features.  ;)

Sepiatone

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3 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Sadly, Michael J. Pollard died today, just a few days after we were discussing him here. :(

That's a bummer. I can't help but feel like I jinxed him.

RIP Michael J Pollard.

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Miss W, I've seen Mr. Skeffington many times and I can say with certainty that Claude makes it clear while they are on the ferry after they've just married, that he tells Fanny that he had seen her many times before the night he came to her house. He had admired her from a distance, knew all about her many admirers.  It wasn't just out of the blue they marry or having her portrait commissioned.

I can't agree, although I certainly respect your opinion and I agree almost always with you, just not this time. I've always enjoyed Mr. Skeffington. The Epstein Brothers, the same brothers that wrote Casablanca wrote the screenplay for Mr. Skeffinton.

The scene in the restaurant with Claude and young Fanny, I think is very touching, so I agree with lafitte. Skeffington had a very poor childhood, it's assumed that being Jewish he had to contend with prejudice ( Fanny's brother is a good example of what many thought) but Skeffington was a smart man, driven, hard working and an ambitious man. That he would want a woman that all the mainstream ( non- Jewish) men wanted is not so hard to understand. What made Skeffington an appealing character was that although very wealthy and powerful, he was a kind,generous man, loving man. The heart wants what it wants and he wanted Fanny. Not just because all the others wanted her as a trophy, but he genuinely thought she was adorable. Her self absorption he found somewhat amusing, that's why she had said many times that he was laughing at her. He understood what a spoiled, silly woman she was but found her chatter delightful., He wanted to spoil her ( like Rhett to Scarlet in GWTW) but just as Rhett could only put up wih Scarlet for so long, the same holds true for Skeffinton.

 Skeffington not wanting his daughter or anyone to know that he was now a broken man, poor and blind, that certainly fits his character. He was a proud, unselfish man and didn't want to burden or cause pain to his daughter or Fanny.

I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the film, I love Bette and I love Claude and this film has always touched me and the ending as sentimental as it is has always left me with a tear in the eye.

edited by me

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Werewolf of London.

 

For  LanaForbes

Mrs. Whack: 10 years I was married to Moncaster. Aint seen him in 20. He run away to Australia. Oh, what a man he was. Used to come home from his work all tottered up, hit the baby with a plate, threw the gravy in the grate, spear the canary with a fork and make me black and blue and all because I forgot to put cracklin on the pork. Here's your room, sir.

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Just now, Janet0312 said:

Werewolf of London.

 

For  LanaForbes

Mrs. Whack: 10 years I was married to Moncaster. Aint seen him in 20. He run away to Australia. Oh, what a man he was. Used to come home from his work all tottered up, hit the baby with a plate, threw the gravy in the grate, spear the canary with a fork and make me black and blue and all because I forgot to put cracklin on the pork. Here's your room, sir.

Wait a minute. Something ain't right here. Should be Missus Moncaster speaking. 

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40 minutes ago, lavenderblue19 said:

Jan, I've seen Mr. Skeffington many times and I can say with certainty that Claude makes it clear while they are on the ferry after they've just married, that he tells Fanny that he had seen her many times before the night he came to her house. He had admired her from a distance, knew all about her many admirers.  It wasn't just out of the blue they marry or having her portrait commissioned.

I can't agree, although I certainly respect your opinion and I agree almost always with you, just not this time. I've always enjoyed Mr. Skeffington. The Epstein brothers, the same brothers that wrote Casablanca wrote the screenplay for Mr. Skeffinton.

The scene in the restaurant with Claude and young Fanny, I think is very touching, so I agree with lafitte. Skeffington had a very poor childhood, it's assumed that being Jewish he had to contend with prejudge ( Fanny's brother is a good example of what many thought) but Skeffington was a smart man, driven, hard working and an ambitious man. That he would want a woman that all the mainstream ( non- Jewish) men wanted is not so hard to understand. What made Skeffington an appealing character was that although very wealthy and powerful, he was a kind,generous man, loving man. The heart wants what it wants and he wanted Fanny. Not just because all the others wanted her as a trophy, but he geniunely thought she was adorable. Her self absorbtion he found somewhat amusing, that's why she had said many times that he was laughing at her. He understood what a spoiled, silly woman she was but found her chatter delightful., He wanted to spoil her ( like Rhett to Scarlet in GWTW) but just as Rhett could only put with Scarlet for so long, the same holds true for Skeffinton.

 Skeffington not wanting his daughter or anyone to know that he was now a broken man, poor and blind, that certainly fits his character. He was a proud, unselfish man and didn't want to burden or cause pain to his daughter or Fanny.

I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the film, I love Bette and I love Claude and this film has always touched me and the ending as sentimental as it is has always left me with a tear in the eye.

Nice analysis. Carol.

And Jan, you too. Nice discussion.

There is a positive equivalence to what you both said, despite opposing opinions.

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3 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I hope you called someone to check on Estelle Parsons!

Ugh I talked about the whole Bonnie and Clyde gang.  I hope they are all hunkered down in Warren Beatty's mansion or something.

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The Irishman (2019) It’s difficult to avoid hyperbole for this latest Martin Scorsese tour de force, which is narrated in flashback by Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, aka The Irishman, in a flat, phlegmatic tone. The scenes between De Niro and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa are magical. The way they play off each other, the rhythms of speech, movements, expressions… it’s all magnificent.  I found the de-aging process almost seamless.

Joe Pesci doesn’t miss a beat as Russell Bufalino, the chief of the Northeast U.S. syndicate. Pesci tones it down in a subtle performance. He and Philly Cosa Nostra boss Angelo Bruno (Harvey Keitel) are old-school dons who believe themselves to be nothing but businessmen. They farm out the dirty work (the painting of houses) to the cold but respectful Sheeran, who is so enamored of the lifestyle (and money) he’ll do anything for Bufalino, but at a painful cost. Keitel is under-utilized, but he’s great in the few scenes he has.  Steven Zaillian’s screenplay is gorgeously profane. The period details, covering mostly the 50s to the 70s, are immaculate.  The tone feels morose, as if we’re seeing the end of an era. In short, The Irishman is a masterpiece.

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26 minutes ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

The Irishman (2019) It’s difficult to avoid hyperbole for this latest Martin Scorsese tour de force, which is narrated in flashback by Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, aka The Irishman, in a flat, phlegmatic tone. The scenes between De Niro and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa are magical. The way they play off each other, the rhythms of speech, movements, expressions… it’s all magnificent.  I found the de-aging process almost seamless.

Joe Pesci doesn’t miss a beat as Russell Bufalino, the chief of the Northeast U.S. syndicate. Pesci tones it down in a subtle performance. He and Philly Cosa Nostra boss Angelo Bruno (Harvey Keitel) are old-school dons who believe themselves to be nothing but businessmen. They farm out the dirty work (the painting of houses) to the cold but respectful Sheeran, who is so enamored of the lifestyle (and money) he’ll do anything for Bufalino, but at a painful cost. Keitel is under-utilized, but he’s great in the few scenes he has.  Steven Zaillian’s screenplay is gorgeously profane. The period details, covering mostly the 50s to the 70s, are immaculate.  The tone feels morose, as if we’re seeing the end of an era. In short, The Irishman is a masterpiece.

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino: A Big, Beautiful 50-Year Friendship 

https://www.gq.com/story/al-pacino-and-robert-deniro-godfathers-of-the-year-2019

al-pacino-robert-de-niro-cover-gq-men-of

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Sadly, Michael J. Pollard died today, just a few days after we were discussing him here. :(

R.I.P, I do now remember seeing him in Dick Tracy

Favorite performances, Bonnie and Clyde, Little Fauss and Big Halsey, and the Western Dirty Little Billy

Image result for Dirty Little Billy film poster

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2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I know.  Maybe I should stick to discussing persons who have already passed. I'm the Grim Reaper of the keyboard.

Look. Back in 2012, I thought that title belonged to me. Looked up Murder on the Orient Express in a book? Sidney Lumet dies. Think about buying Champagne for Caesar at the DVD store? Celeste Holm passes on. Look at the case for The Cheap Detective? Goodbye, Peter Falk. Hum some bars of a score by Marvin Hamlish? He checks out. 

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2 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Look. Back in 2012, I thought that title belonged to me. Looked up Murder on the Orient Express in a book? Sidney Lumet dies. Think about buying Champagne for Caesar at the DVD store? Celeste Holm passes on. Look at the case for The Cheap Detective? Goodbye, Peter Falk. Hum some bars of a score by Marvin Hamlish? He checks out. 

Oh man.

Stay away from me! 

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Just now, CinemaInternational said:

Well, fortunately that period is over. I didn't see most of those deaths since coming, although I had this horrible sinking feeling that Debbie Reynolds would be broken after Carrie Fisher's passing. And she died only a day later.

I also had that feeling about Debbie Reynolds.  I had already heard that she was having health issues and I knew that she wasn't long for the world after Carrie's passing. 

I'm nervous though. Someone big always dies right at the end of the year--right after all the annual memorial segments by various organizations have probably been completed. I think it is THEM who is jinxing the celebrities! If they'd wait until the beginning of the year to compile their previous year's memorial, then they wouldn't have to scramble to fit someone in because they decided that the year's passings are over--on December 20. 

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Just now, speedracer5 said:

I also had that feeling about Debbie Reynolds.  I had already heard that she was having health issues and I knew that she wasn't long for the world after Carrie's passing. 

I'm nervous though. Someone big always dies right at the end of the year--right after all the annual memorial segments by various organizations have probably been completed. I think it is THEM who is jinxing the celebrities! If they'd wait until the beginning of the year to compile their previous year's memorial, then they wouldn't have to scramble to fit someone in because they decided that the year's passings are over--on December 20. 

i remember that TCM really went back and edited that one year (2013) because Peter O'Toole, Joan Fontaine, and Eleanor Parker all passed away within a week in December. I remember either thinking or heard somebody say something about Eleanor Parker's passing. She passed away mere days after NBC did a much-watched but much panned Live production of The Sound of Music, and it caused either me or somebody else to think, did the remake do her in?

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6 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

i remember that TCM really went back and edited that one year (2013) because Peter O'Toole, Joan Fontaine, and Eleanor Parker all passed away within a week in December. I remember either thinking or heard somebody say something about Eleanor Parker's passing. She passed away mere days after NBC did a much-watched but much panned Live production of The Sound of Music, and it caused either me or somebody else to think, did the remake do her in?

Sad thing is that I had never really heard about Eleanor Parker until hearing that she'd passed.  I've never seen The Sound of Music (in all honesty, I find Rodgers and Hammerstein a chore to get through sometimes). It was Parker's passing that inspired me to look her up and find out more about her.

I remember being more sad that Joan Fontaine had passed, because at the time, to me, she was one of the few pieces of Classic Hollywood left. I think too I had just seen The Women and was excited that she was still alive.  Oops. Sorry Joan 😢 I didn't mean to. 

BTW: I wish they'd stop with the live musical remakes. Ugh. 

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Just now, speedracer5 said:

 

I remember being more sad that Joan Fontaine had passed, because at the time, to me, she was one of the few pieces of Classic Hollywood left. I think too I had just seen The Women and was excited that she was still alive.  Oops. Sorry Joan 😢 I didn't mean to. 

I know what you mean. That's what made the passings of people like Shirley Temple, Doris Day, Maureen O'Hara, Lauren Bacall, mickey Rooney, Debbie Reynolds, all the more painful. There really are very few left who started under the studio system which ended in the mid-1950s (and admittedly I'm a bit astonished that Kirk Douglas and Olivia De Havilland, but especially Kirk) are still with us. Aside from them, who else? These, I guess, but it's not a very long list in the grand scheme of things

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_living_actors_from_the_Golden_Age_of_Hollywood

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