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49 minutes ago, Thenryb said:

I really enjoyed this movie except for the endless credits roll at the end. Not sure when that tradition began but I really find it annoying. And you pretty much have to watch a lot of it to see what actor played what role.

use the google machine next time, 😎

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Under Capricorn (1949) An anomaly in the Hitchcock canon, a period piece set in the English colony of New South Wales in the 19th Century. I really liked it, much more than most it seems as apparently it is not a very popular film, and much more than Alfred Hitchcock himself who, according to Wikipedia, hated it, calling it his “worst film” and a “disaster.” Yike! There is particular about the setting involving a penal colony within New South Wales in which convicts are freed to live within the community providing that they behave like good citizens and contribute to society. Sam Flusky (Joseph Cotton) is one such and who has prospered and become rich. He is married to Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman) who is not a convict. These two are visited by a newcomer Charles Adare (Michael Wilding), a relative of the governor of the colony and who has come to “make his fortune.”

When Mr Adare first visits the Flusky mansion, we are treated with one of two splendid long takes in the film. Here it is in some detail and although it does not reveal plot, you may want to skip it, but I wouldn’t regard it as a spoiler. You have to see it to appreciate it. He approaches the mansion with camera in tow and we see as he circles the house looking into big windows, finally finds an entrance, walks in and converses with guests, turns and looks down a wide corridor where more people enter, the camera leaves Adare and follows a conversation or two of others. Mr Flusky enters and they converse. The camera pans away and we the whole company, now herded into the dining room where they are all seat themselves at table. The camera eye executes a tracking shot down the long of the table where it ends with Mr Flusky at the end seat who grimaces at the sound of a noise behind him. The take finally ends with a shot of the feet of a person just entering the room. These feet belong to his wife (Ingrid). The take must figure to end grandly and it does. Wikipedia touts the film for its long takes, referring to them as lasting 10 minutes. This one went 7:03 and is no less the striking for its falling short of 10 minutes.  

I certainly disagreed with some of the criticisms on NetF. One said that Ingrid looked terrible. This reviewer probably gave up early because her first entrance (described above) was at a time when her character’s physical and mental state was problematical. And later it was revealed that she might have been quite drunk. Needless to say she has better moments later. Another said that Joseph Cotton was terrible. Nonsense. Nothing wrong with him in this picture, especially since he was one of the few American accents amid a plethora of English accents. That might be disadvantage according to some. But accents aside, he was fine. The film was too talky, they said. But what talk, the dialogue was very good. The source material I believe was from a novel but it had been adapted to the stage as well, but the movie is not stagy, not to me anyway.

In a revelatory scene later on, Ingrid Bergman and Michael Wilding are magnificent in another long take, this one 8:45. Wilding speaks at the very beginning and at the very end, but the long middle is all Ingrid, and I thought she was positively brilliant. The scene requires a spectrum of emotional qualities. I watched it three times. It is not a grandly “staged” set piece. It begins like a routine conversation and evolves into something extraordinary by small degrees. The one-take aspect is not immediately noticeable. It pains me to know what Hitch says about the film because it seems to undermine the fine work here.

The English actress, Margaret Leighton, plays Millie, a manipulative housekeeper who would make a fine protégé for the infamous Mrs Danvers. She doesn’t have far to go to become a full partner.

Don’t watch the trailer, it is so misleading. They try to make it look like regular Hitchcock, which this movie is not. I don't think it's a thriller. If so, not a conventional one. Although I declare myself a fan of this film, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to all as it might not be embraced by the general, but if you like Ingrid Bergman (and who doesn’t) than it is a must. Am I going to far to suggest that this could be her finest hour on screen. Probably … but maybe not.

///

 

 

   

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Shenandoah (1965).  Credulity-straining movie in which James Stewart plays a Virginia patriarch whose family has been able to completely avoid the Civil War for the first 3½ years.  That is until his youngest son Jem Finch (er, Boy, played by Philip Alford) is taken prisoner by Union forces.  Stewart and his family are able to travel Virginia completely unmolested looking for Boy.

Stewart is good as always, and the supporting performances do just fine, including Katharine Ross in what I think was her debut as well as a pre-Oscar George Kennedy and Micah Torrence (er, Paul Fix).  But the story was something I found maddening, seriously detracting from my enjoyment of the movie.

5/10.

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6 hours ago, laffite said:

Although I declare myself a fan of this film, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to all as it might not be embraced by the general, but if you like Ingrid Bergman (and who doesn’t) than it is a must.

Re: UNDER CAPRICORN- thanks for your review, prompting me to look this one up. I must have seen this during my Hitchcock course but have totally forgotten it. Will be most interesting as when living in Australia many of my friends were descendants of "Scottish Convicts".

(if you think there's a racial divide in the US, Australia has us beat)

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Hands of Stone (2016)

Boxing biography of Panama's legendary Roberto Duran, a four weight class champion, still hailed by many fight fans as perhaps the greatest lightweight champion in history.

Highlight of the film are partial recreations of Duran's first two fights with Sugar Ray Leonard. Unfortunately the film's pedestrian screenplay follows the tried and true tradition of formula boxing dramas of a poor kid who struggles to become a champion only to have a downward slide after his career reaches a peak, followed by a comeback. The film chooses to end with Duran's comeback fight following the second Leonard fight.

Neither Edgar Ramirez nor Usher Raymond particularly look like Duran or Leonard but Ramirez has some of the Panamanian's ferocious intensity and Raymond, on occasion, captures some of the cadences of Sugar Ray's speech pattern. I saw and was thrilled to both of their fights on closed circuit presentations when they occurred six months apart in 1980.

The film's screenplay says that Duran got into Leonard's head after crudely insulting his wife in public, thus causing Sugar Ray to abandon his usual dance and stick boxing style and go mano a mano with Duran in their first fight. I'm not certain if this is accurate history, but I hadn't heard it before. At the time of that fight I recall being baffled as to why Leonard chose to fight the contest on Duran's terms. It was still a great fight.

Robert De Niro appears as Ray Arcel, Duran's American fight trainer, who had problems of his own with the Mob in America. A story about Arcel might have been more interesting and emotionally involving than this one about the at times crude and largely unsympathetic Duran.

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2.5 out of 4

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Directv is giving HBO / Cinemax free for the Thanksgiving holiday / weekend. Thought I wait and post all at once.

"Green Lantern" (2011) seen it only once when it was released to TV shortly after.  HBO presented it in 2.35 widescreen - movie is fair, not worth recording though.

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5 hours ago, hamradio said:

"Skyscraper" (2019) now that was a great "Die Hard" type of action movie!

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The 'pearl" looks like a giant baseball. :lol:

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Such a tower may soon be reality.

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I saw this one just a few days ago and thought it was entertaining, as long as you forget logic and go with it. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is good at this kind of stuff. But at one point, he was about to attempt an incredible stunt and muttered "this is stupid" ... to which my wife replied "yes, it is."

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The Eddy Duchin Story (1956)

Show business biographies were quite the rage in '50s Hollywood and this slick presentation of the life of the popular pianist of the '30s and '40s with the golden smile was a surprise box office hit. The Oscar nominated Technicolor photography of Harry Stradling is striking, with New York City, both during the day and, especially, at night, never looking more romantic.

Tyrone Power (who knew the real Duchin, hiring him to perform at some of his home parties) plays the pianist, with Kim Novak as the beautiful high society woman who becomes his wife, Rex Thompson as his 12 year old son, James Whitmore as Duchin's friend/manager accompanying him on tours, and Australian actress Victoria Shaw as the son's governess. Shaw was an elegant beauty whose voice had a remarkable resemblance to that of Audrey Hepburn. Almost every time she spoke in this film I thought of the Academy Award winning actress.

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The film plays loose with the facts (according to Duchin's son, Peter, who complained about the film's screenplay), treating the story for largely soap opera effect. There's some corniness in the screenplay, too, such as Duchin's wife possessing an inexplicable fear of the wind, foretelling the viewer that something terrible is going to happen.

Those questionable moments, though, are supplemented by some effective big musical numbers set in beautifully photographed night clubs. Chopin's Nocturne in E Flat is effectively utilized throughout the film, but there are also lavish and most enjoyable presentations of such popular hits as "Brazil" and "(I'll Take) Manhattan."

Carmen Cavallaro, whose own musical stylings were influenced by Duchin, performs the piano recordings heard on the film's soundtrack but that takes nothing away from Power, who clearly studied the piano, and performs some extremely convincing fingerings on the keyboard (at least, to this non pianist viewer).

Power is also quite dramatically effective in this film, even if the screenplay requires a clearly middle aged actor to play a twenty something brimming with enthusiasm and energy in the film's early scenes. Power gives these early scenes a game try, though you're always aware of his real age. The actor fares better when allowed to play his own age in the film's second half, in particular some touching scenes in which Duchin awkwardly tries to connect with his young son who barely knows him. There's an old fashioned appeal to this kind of sentimental film biography.

The film's memorable final scene, beautifully directed by George Sidney, and sensitively performed by the cast, can only be described as classic tear jerker stuff. Columbia would follow up on this film's release with two soundtrack releases of the Cavallaro/Duchin musical selections heard in the film.

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2.5 out of 4

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Was visiting family this weekend. they have DEE'S KNEE PLUS, so I had a FASCINATING double feature of THE BLACK CAULDRON (1985)- which I had not seen in YEARS- and FROZEN (2014?), which I had heretofore managed to avoid.

I don't go to movie theaters anymore, but from the early eighties up to about 2004, I used to go ALL THE TIME, and TO THIS DAY, i can still recall (I was eight years old) THE AUDIENCE REACTION to THE BLACK CAULDRON in THE THEATER, which- to approximate it crudely- FELL INTO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TWO CATEGORIES:

The older kids/ parents:

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THE YOUNGER children:

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GOD BLESS THE EIGHTIES, MAN.

Anyhoo, seeing it all these years later, it makes me miss HANDDRAWN ANIMATION- this film is SO GORGEOUS. There is a decidedly truncated feel to it- but that is because about 10 minutes of footage were excised for being deemed "too ****ed up even for 1985."

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I've brought this point up before, but I can't get past the fact that UNDER CAPRICORN looks like it was shot on a ViewMaster.

 

Does that mean you didn't get through it? If you did, what did you think of it?

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I've brought this point up before, but I can't get past the fact that UNDER CAPRICORN looks like it was shot on a ViewMaster.

 

BTW, for those who might not know what is meant here, Lorna is referring to the Technicolor, which indeed seem a bit robust.

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4 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I don't go to movie theaters anymore, but from the early eighties up to about 2004, I used to go ALL THE TIME, and TO THIS DAY, i can still recall (I was eight years old) THE AUDIENCE REACTION to THE BLACK CAULDRON in THE THEATER, which- to approximate it crudely- FELL INTO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TWO CATEGORIES:

There is a decidedly truncated feel to it- but that is because about 10 minutes of footage were excised for being deemed "too ****ed up even for 1985."

You want F'ed up childhood 80's Disney trauma?  Only one name is legend:  Return to Oz (1985), now unearthed from studio shame, is now free for viewing on Disney+ (as is every other obscure 80's-90's title that got a Disney Movie Club exclusive Blu-ray master).

I am NOT being ironic in calling it "Pure distilled childhood nightmare-fuel"--You can sense that there was a good book-friendly script (and a fantastic score), which was then handed to a deranged, incoherent madman of a director with some deep inexplicable issues.

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24 minutes ago, laffite said:

Does that mean you didn't get through [UNDER CAPRICORN]? If you did, what did you think of it?

You ever see movie and- after some years pass by- get near-total amnesia of it?

That's me and UNDER CAPRICORN...It's been something like 6-8 years since I saw it and most of what I can recall is the SUPER-SATURATED PHOTOGRAPHY, MARGARET LEIGHTON was good (I've since seen her in other [MUUUUUCH BETTER] films like THE WINSLOW BOY and THE HOLLY AND THE IVY- both of which I recommend very very very highly) and I remember thinking it was kinda an unofficial sequel to GASLIGHT, where JOE COTTEN marries BERGMAN'S damaged goods and she ends up going NUTS FOR REAL THIS TIME.

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Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving edition:

Mayflower: the Pilgrims' Adventure (1979) 👍 

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Rather than look up old Spencer Tracy movies or 90's Disney movies (no, "Squanto: a Warrior's Tale" isn't on Disney+ yet, although it's not bad either) in addition to Charlie Brown's popcorn and toast, a wealth of old public-domain 70's TV-movies on Amazon brought up this surprising gem from the late-70's Golden Age of network TV-movies.  A historical docudrama recap of just the cross-Atlantic Mayflower voyage, with Richard Crenna as the fervent but clearly unprepared leader William Brewster, Michael Beck--yes, Sonny from "Xanadu"--as a young-farmer John Alden, caught up in that story, with Jenny Agutter (he's all yours, Priscilla), and an always elusively borderline-creepy/sociopathic early Anthony Hopkins as the hard-bitten experienced ship captain Christopher Jones, doing his job-for-hire with no open love for moralistic land-lubbers.  Since they don't reach land until the end credits, it's a refreshingly straightforward Thanksgiving drama without the usual native-guilt revisionism, and emphasizes just how risky the voyage was to begin with.

(I'd also watched a PBS American Experience special on Plymouth, which details the sad history of the colony after Thanksgiving, as by the time the insular Puritan outpost could finally generate trade and native alliances after ten years, members, including many of the original Mayflower voyagers, began drifting farther away in search of better land, with new commercial colonies springing up.)

And, for kick-back snowed-in library-disk viewing, for someone who couldn't get out on Black Weekend, appropriately enough:

Blacula (1972) - 👍

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Seeing this disk at the library, yes, the temptation was there to watch this as 70's-blaxploitation kitsch, with the same wokka-chicha stereotyped expectations that Quentin Tarantino loves to indulge in.  And yes, most of what we know of the movie either comes from the goofy 70's me-too title or images of the title character in his, frankly, goofy-looking B-budget vampire makeup.  But the surprise of the movie is that the title character--an African prince, Mamuwalde, cursed by the Count Dracula after an argument over slavery (one of many "woke" attempts to put a "Black-power avenger" overlay on the tragic-antihero character for the audience)--is played by veteran Shakespearean actor William Marshall, who, despite B-movie and TV appearances, turns out to be a pretty darn GOOD actor.  (Most would remember Marshall only as the mad scientist who tried to install a computer on the Enterprise, or, in another generation, for "Let the cartoon begin!")

The movie may disappoint those looking for low-camp, being produced more on a straightforward TV-style B-budget, with the usual race-appeasing scenes of our antihero knocking stake-wielding modern-day white LA cops across the room.  But Marshall, with his deep stage-trained voice, plays the character 100% without irony, or even the occasional stuffy resentful embarrassment Christopher Lee would show in the later Hammers--When out of makeup as the elegant caped Count Prince, he's pure charm and menace, and in the accompanying sequel, Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973 - and yes, the title's explained), where the character now has to command evil legions, he brings enough commanding menace to blow the other B-actors away.  Definitely for the adventurous to seek out, as it just shows what spending a little extra money on a professional can do.

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8 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

where JOE COTTEN marries BERGMAN'S damaged goods and she ends up going NUTS FOR REAL THIS TIME.

I won't mention any plot but poor Ingrid's character suffered damage enough in UC without any prior damage from G needing consideration (although I get the levity) . I came to see her as quite sympathetic and her big one-take scene, wherein she tells her story, wrung my heart.    

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19 hours ago, EricJ said:

But Marshall, with his deep stage-trained voice, plays the character 100% without irony, or even the occasional stuffy resentful embarrassment Christopher Lee would show in the later Hammers--When out of makeup as the elegant caped Count Prince, he's pure charm and menace, and in the accompanying sequel, Scream, Blacula, Scream where the character now has to command evil legions, he brings enough commanding menace 

I love both these movies-not in a mocking MST sort of way, but I just really enjoy watching them most likely due to to the strength of the lead performance as you describe above as "without irony". I also think you are spot on describing Marshall as "pure charm and menace" which every vampire must possess to be believable. I never understood the attraction to a sickly sad vampire-you only should feel pity for them as a balance after fearing or hating them. Every well written vampire & wolf man story follows this basic arc.

I have some Bollywood horror I feel the same way about-entertaining, good acting on a cheesy stage set. Same appeal as Star Trek OS.

 

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"Mary Queen of Scots" (2018) last night just in time before the free HBO ended.

Character portrayers are great but it's too low key in drama / action.   Margot Robbie does look like the Queen Elizabeth I painting but had no idea she had such bad hair. :lol:

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RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY 

My husband and I have been on a bit of a roll lately with Westerns, particularly a series of Westerns by director Bud Boetticher, all of them starring Randolph Scott. So when I discovered we had a copy of Ride the High Country kicking around in our movie collection, we decided to continue the Randolph Scott /Western thing and watch it.

Of course Ride the High Country is not a Boetticher film, it's the second film by Sam Peckinpah. Made in 1962, it stars two Hollywood legends,especially of Westerns - Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea. I love these two actors, and they work so well together in this moving film. They both play old cowboy types, relics from a Wild West that is rapidly disappearing, aware that they're out-of-place in this changing world, but still tough and resilient. Ride the High Country feels like an elegy to the kind of Western these two legendary actors contributed to so much. Also an elegy to the actors themselves.

McCrea's character takes on a difficult job; he's been hired by a bank to collect the gold that the miners in a nearby gold mine town have acquired, and bring it back to the bank for deposit. He knows he'll need help, so he takes on Scott, an old and trusted friend and former colleague, along with a young "greenhorn", for support. Along the way they are joined by a young woman who begs them to take her with them to the mining town, despite some obvious dangers this would entail (dangers, obviously, to the young woman;  potential complications for McCrea and his team.) She is desperate to escape the Puritanical tyranny of her religious zealot of a father, and thinks marrying one of the gold miners will offer her liberation. Little does she know - - I won't go into detail, but this is a very ill-considered choice. 

The girl, Elsa, is  sympathetically played by Mariette Hartley. I know very little about this actress, I think she worked in television more than films. But her part in Ride the High Country is an extremely important one, since it's her inclusion in the McCrea/Scott/Ron Starr (the young guy) team that 's a catalyst for everything that happens in the film, once they reach the mining town.

But what Ride the High Country is really about is the characters of McCrea and Scott, their friendship and the code of honour which Steve Judd (McCrea) still adheres to - "All I want is to enter my house justified", and which his friend Gil (Randolph Scott) temporarily "forgets", and the conflict and issues of trust that ensue around this code.

I love this film. There's such a feeling of dignity and respect to it, for both the Western as a genre, and for the fine old actors who grace its story. The final scene, between McCrea and Scott, and how they reconcile their differences around this code of honour, is deeply moving.

 

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I've never seen Ride the High Country but have been meaning to.  Thanks for the informative review.

Interesting that TCM is featuring a Final Films theme today and this was Randolph Scott's final one.

I think it was Mariette Hartley's first film appearance.

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