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1 hour ago, sewhite2000 said:

January 7

 

Bright Leaf (Warner Bros., 1950)
Source: TCM

Bright Leaf (1950)

Total Movies Watched in 2020: 10

Patricia Neal and Lauren Bacall both wanted the same role, that of the good hearted madame in Bright Leaf. Bogart, who had a big influence at Warners, heavily lobbied for his wife to get the role, while Neal was disappointed in Cooper for not doing the same thing for her (but that was typical Cooper, he wasn't a fighter, not even for himself when it came to getting film roles). We have a difference of opinion about the performances of the two actresses in this film, sewhite. I think Neal is wide eyed hysterical in her spoiled southern belle role while Bacall is warm and appealing in a more sympathetic part. I agree, though, that it's interesting watching Cooper play an ambitious louse, for a change, and it's not a bad performance. This may have been the most dislikable role that Gary Cooper ever played.

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Eyewitness (1981) -- 5.5/10

On paper at least, this film sounds like it should be entertaining. A thriller with William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Plummer, James Woods, Irene Worth, Morgan Freeman, Pamela Reed, and Steven Hill from the makers of the sublime Breaking Away sounds like something that can't miss.  But things do indeed go wrong.

This film plays like the cinematic equivalent of a Mad Lib. You remember the game. Somebody tells you to fill in blanks and it ends up becoming a silly story.  Likewise, what could have been a strong thriller is crushed by heavy and complicated plotting, not to mention the unintentionally creepy nature of the Hurt/Weaver love angle (which is supposed to be a kind of modern fairy tale placed against a thriller background). Hurt lies and says he was an eyewitness to a murder; she's a reporter that falls for him after buying the lie. On top of all this, you have Woods doing his paranoid spiel, a whole bewildering subplot about smuggling refugees into the country, a very badly-behaved (and doomed) dog, broken engagements, and stalkers. it's all too busy. It plays like an explosion at the plot factory. There is just too much for one film.

That said, the film works in sections and the acting is good, especially from Weaver, Plummer, Worth, and Reed. If only if they had had something more cohesive to work with.

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My Gun Is Quick (1957) The Second City Of Angels set Hammer

my-gun-is-quick-movie-poster.jpg
 
"I just crawled out of a sewer, not a decent person left in the world."

Directors were Victor Saville (as Phil Victor) known for another Spillane non Hammer based Noir The Long Wait (1954), and George White more known more as an editor for Noirs The Sellout (1952), The Phenix City Story (1955), and Shack Out on 101 (1955). The writing credits go to Mickey Spillane (novel),  Richard Collins and Richard Powell for the screenplay and Richard Powell for the screen story. But I can tell you straight off the only connection with Spillane's novel is the use of the Mike Hammer Character and opening scene in the greasy spoon, the rest is all Collins and Powell.

Cinematography was by Harry Neumann and the percussive score was by Marlin Skiles.

The film stars Robert Bray (an actor probably recognized by most people as the bus driver in Marilyn Monroe's Bus Stop. The six foot-three actor was in quite a few Westerns and also in a handful of uncredited parts and some supporting performances in Classic Noirs, notably The Clay Pigeon, and Shield for Murder, as Mike Hammer. He plays Hammer in a very believable human manner. 
 
My Gun Is Quick (1950) was Mickey Spillane's second Mike Hammer novel following 1947's I, The Jury. Hammer was a New York based detective. The book's beginning has Hammer buttoning up a three day lost manuscript case and then trying to drive back to his apartment house. Mike wakes up to blaring horns. He's fallen asleep stopped at a red light.

He spots a greasy spoon under the el (which in 1950 would only be the 3rd Avenue el). He parks and goes in grabs a stool and meets the prostitute Red. They hit it off. One of her seeming clients, Feeney Last (Louis in the film) comes in looking for Red, he wants something and he treats her roughly, grabbing her by the arm, Mike smacks him around. Last pulls a knife. Mike pulls his .45 automatic points it at Lasts forehead and tells Last that he'll blow his head off if he tries to also go for the gun Mikes spots in his waistband. 

Mike gives Red $150 and tells her "Do something for me will you Red?, Get off the street. Tomorrow you go uptown and buy some decent clothes. Then buy a morning paper and hunt up a job. This kind of job is murder." In both novel and film Mike notices an out of place antique Baroque ring on Reds finger. Red seems genuinely touched. She kisses her finger and puts it to Mikes cheek. He notices the ring has a fleur de lis pattern. After Red splits, Mike drags Last out of the dog wagon to a police call box out on the street. Mike has his own key to it. He has a squad car pick Feeney Last up for possibly having an unlicensed gun, a Sullivan Act violation. 

The next day Mike spots the Jane Doe hit and run headline in the paper the photo is Red. Mike heads to police headquarters to get the details. When he finds out that her broken neck injury was unusual for a hit and run Mile suspects foul play, and makes it personal. They view Red's corpse at the morgue. He doesn't tell Pat that his open and shut hit-and-run case is all BS. Mike noticed that Red's ring is missing.

In the novel Hammer snoops around discovering Red's flop and finds her room tossed, mattress slashed, the works, he also checks out Feeney Last who in the novel works as a bodyguard for a Long Island millionaire. He next looks up a pimp he knows and braces him about what he knows about Red. From the pimp he gets the address of a whorehouse. He checks that out but finds it burned down recently. At a bar on the corner of the street with the burned out whorehouse he runs into Lola. She is described as a tipsy brunette wearing a little black dress with a plunging neckline and a matching large hat

Lola is a hooker and a former friend of Red. They worked that same whorehouse. Lola didn't get caught in the fire because she got a dose of the clap and was in the hospital getting the cure. Lola and Mike hit it off. Lola and Mike head to Rockaway Point where one thing leads to another and they screw on the beach. Lola spills that originally she and Red were high class call girls at one point and that that racket was run out of the Zero Zero Club on 6th Avenue. Lola tells Mike that Red besides being a call girl, also worked at the club as a souvenir photo "Quick Pic" gal at the club. Lola and a club hostess named Ann Morin are combined in the novel into the stripper character Maria Teresa Garcia. BTW this being Mike Hammer story Mike also has sex with Ann, lol.... 

Mike eventually finds out the Red was setting up an expose of the call girl racket complete with pictures of wealthy and politically connected big shots as the clients. It's other than the original opening setup scene, nothing like the film.

Robert Bray puts in a passable portrayal as Mike Hammer he's Hammer-esgue but with the action once again moved to California it's got a slight fish out of water quality if you are at all familiar with the novels. It's not quite up to Aldrich's polished film noir masterpiece. It took a couple of viewings for me to realize that directors Victor Saville and George White do a decent job with what they had. None of the cast are A-listers or even B-listers for that matter, but they do a pretty good job of working downtown L.A, of Bunker Hill, the oil derricks of Signal Hill and the Eisenhower freeway system into the film.

The broads, Whitney Blake as Nancy Williams, Patricia Donahue as Dione, Pamela Duncan as Velda, Jan Chaney as Red the prostitute, and Genie Coree as stripper Maria Teresa Garcia are all "hammer-tommically" correct but again as in both I The Jury (1953), and Kiss Me Deadly (1955) the slightly gratuitous sexuality which should be a touchstone in any Mike Hammer based film is PG-13 if even that. To put it bluntly in the novels the hammer babes (save for Velda) peal for Mike at every opportunity. Hammer was basically Detective Porn.
 

This low rent Hammer actually delivers in some respects even though it doesn't follow the novel at all It's parallel universe Hammer. It delivers especially if you have low expectations. It falls way short of delivering if you expect it to follow Mike Hammer's libido.

Here are my thoughts, Spillane wrote Mike Hammer as a traditional hard boiled Pulp/Noir Detective but he pushed the bubble with over the top sexuality of the women going  basically 20 years ahead of his time. The Motion Picture Production Code wouldn't allow films to be that explicit to do Hammer justice until the independent Sexploitation films of the mid to late 60s where the crisp black and white cinematography would do justice to Spillane's descriptive images of Mike Hammers in flagrante delicto assignations with various babes. By then the ability to do stylized Classic Noir in its chronological time period along with its complementary stable of character actors was almost gone, it's like two ships passing in the night.

The archival location cinematography in My Gun Is Quick depicts Los Angeles as is circa 1957, with its new freeways and 1950s Mid Century-Modern “less is more” design style characterized by a prolific use of industrialized steel exposed brick, aluminum, plastic and glass. This new is all juxtaposed by the old, the clutter of oil derricks on Signal Hill and the last decade of Bunker Hill. Full review with some  screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster Pages .

Available to stream on Amazon Prime, 7/10 

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

...it's interesting watching Cooper play an ambitious louse, for a change, and it's not a bad performance. This may have been the most dislikable role that Gary Cooper ever played.

So, did Coop's role in Bright Leaf remind you at all of Daniel Day-Lewis' role in There Will Be Blood ?

It did to me anyway, although as usual, Coop would play his role more stoic, but I saw a lot of similarities between the two characters.

(...except of course, there was no bowling alley in the tobacco flick) ;)

 

 

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Just now, Dargo said:

So, did Coop's role in Bright Leaf remind you at all of Daniel Day-Lewis' role in There Will Be Blood ?

(...it did to me anyway, although as usual, Coop would play his role more stoic, but I saw a lot of similarities between the two characters)

 

 

I hadn't considered that. Both characters are ruthless though, of course, Day Lewis becomes psychotic. I have to call this comparison a stretch, Dargo, unless you have some interesting insights I hadn't considered.

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15 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I hadn't considered that. Both characters are ruthless though, of course, Day Lewis becomes psychotic. I have to call this comparison a stretch, Dargo, unless you have some interesting insights I hadn't considered.

Yes, DD-L definitely goes off the deep end in his picture AND of course seems to actually get away with his ruthlessness at the end. And whereas, Coop would get his just desserts in his picture.

Perhaps this could be due to the production code at the time of BL's release.

However, I was really speaking more to the idea of the protagonist in these two films being excessively driven to succeed and not caring who they stepped on along the way, and that in each instance there was someone close to them who'd  greatly suffer from their closeness, and something the two leads in these two films is unable to understand.

(...but yeah, maybe it is a stretch, but still while I watched BL a few weeks back on TCM, this thought came to my mind a few times, and especially as I watched Coop's character get more and more ruthless)

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7 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Yes, DD-L definitely goes off the deep end in his picture AND of course seems to actually get away with his ruthlessness at the end. And whereas, Coop would get his just desserts in his picture.

Perhaps this could be due to the production code at the time of BL's release.

However, I was really speaking more to the idea of the protagonist in these two films being excessively driven to succeed and not caring who they stepped on along the way, and that in each instance there was someone close to them who'd  greatly suffer from their closeness, and something the two leads in these two films is unable to understand.

(...but yeah, maybe it is a stretch, but still while I watched BL a few weeks back on TCM, this thought came to my mind a few times, and especially as I watched Coop's character get more and more ruthless)

I don't know if you've seen Silver River, with Errol Flynn as another ambitious ruthless louse (dealing with the silver mining industry) who goes one step beyond Coop in Bright Leaf and deliberately sends a man into Indian territory hoping that he will be killed by Indians on the warpath (which does happen) so he can claim his wife. You might throw him into the mix with the others, but, of course, Day Lewis, without the Producton Code's overview, as you pointed out, is far more extreme and gets away with even more.

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1 minute ago, TomJH said:

I don't know if you've seen Silver River, with Errol Flynn as another ambitious ruthless louse (dealing with the silver mining industry) who goes one step beyond Coop in Bright Leaf and deliberately sends a man into Indian territory hoping that he will be killed by Indians on the warpath (which does happen) so he can claim his wife. You might throw him into the mix with the others, but, of course, Day Lewis, without the Producton Code's overview, as you pointed out, is far more extreme and gets away with even more.

I do have a vague recollection of watching Silver River years ago, and so also only vaguely recall being surprised at watching Flynn also playing such a character. And because of course, and similarly to Coop's career, neither of them would play that type generally.

(...and so yeah, let's throw Errol into the mix here too...although I'm now wondering if speedy might object to this...you know how she feels about the guy, don't ya?!...the guy can't do any wrong in her eyes, ya know!)  ;)

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11 minutes ago, Dargo said:

I do have a vague recollection of watching Silver River years ago, and so also only vaguely recall being surprised at watching Flynn also playing such a character. And because of course, and similarly to Coop's career, neither of them would play that type generally.

(...and so yeah, let's throw Errol into the mix here too...although I'm now wondering if speedy might object to this...you know how she feels about the guy, don't ya?!...the guy can't do any wrong in her eyes, ya know!)  ;)

Well, I'm sure that Speedy will probably concur. Not only did Errol play a louse in Silver River but he did it a few years before in Uncertain Glory, as well. And Flynn gave, for my money, two of his best performances in those films.

If you want to add another heroic screen figure into the mix try Ty Power in Nightmare Alley. There was something about the post war period that had some screen heroic figures wanting to play ambitious louses, for a change.

Interestingly, though, the Power film, as well as the two Flynn films, were all box office turkeys. The public didn't seem to want to see its heroes change, it would appear, frustrating, I'm sure, for the actors involved. Bright Leaf, though, did well at the 1950 box office, but Coop only started to experiment with his screen image, playing somewhat darker characters at the very end of his career, in The Hanging Tree, Wreck of the Mary Deare and, as a murder suspect in The Naked Edge.

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5 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Well, I'm sure that Speedy will probably concur. Not only did Errol play a louse in Silver River but he did it a few years before in Uncertain Glory, as well. And Flynn gave, for my money, two of his best performances in those films.

If you want to add another heroic screen figure into the mix try Ty Power in Nightmare Alley. There was something about the post war period that had some screen heroic figures wanting to play ambitious louses, for a change.

Yep, and of course, Errol also played a real louse in That Forsyte Woman.

 

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1 minute ago, Dargo said:

Yep, and of course, Errol also played a real louse in That Forsyte Woman.

 

I can see why some might say that but I thought he was more of an emotionally distant man who had difficulty relating to others in that film than he was an out and out cad. Flynn called That Forsyte Woman one of his favourite films, and I can understand why, though, having said that, I don't care for the film that much. I think he's the best thing in the film, mind you, but I prefer much of his work at Warners  (Silver River, for example).

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11 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I can see why some might say that but I thought he was more of an emotionally distant man who had difficulty relating to others in that film than he was an out and out cad. Flynn called That Forsyte Woman one of his favourite films, and I can understand why, though, having said that, I don't care for the film that much. I think he's the best thing in the film, mind you, but I prefer much of his work at Warners  (Silver River, for example).

Good point. Yes, I suppose that would be a better way to describe Flynn's character than as just a louse in this Victorian era soap opera.

(...thought Greer was also pretty good in it...although once again playing TO type...did she ever go to the dark side in a movie, I wonder?...I don't recall one, offhand)

 

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I don't mind the thread veering a bit, discussing star's other notable performances, but...

...going back to what I JUST WATCHED:

IsntSheGreatPoster.jpg

I can see why this movie about actress/author Jacqueline Susann was criticized so mercilessly-it's an oddball movie, but I actually liked it.

Jacqueline Susann was everywhere in the 70's, I knew of her books & TV appearances, but was too young to enjoy her material, so I was hoping this movie would shed some light on her personal life.  I enjoy Bette Midler, think she's a super talent, as well as always wonderful Nathan Lane-they did not disappoint.

The screenplay was good, it definitely took you through her "story" and the performances were excellent-mostly. There were times when the script went off the rails silly weird and Midler's performance went with it, seemingly forced. Knowing what brilliance Midler is capable of, I can't help but think this is the fault of the director. Luckily, I stuck with it & just rolled with those few clunky scenes.

Stockard Channing -who was excellent as always- as the best friend, should have been the only over-the-top comic relief. Nathan Lane certainly kept his character's composure throughout the movie and gave his usual solid performance. My only LOL moments were David Hyde Pierce's scenes as a super conservative publishing editor, struggling to tone down VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and failing. 

Overall I enjoyed this film for illustrating Susann's personal life & struggles, which she had several. Bette Midler was the perfect performer to show Susann's focused goal to be "famous", her flamboyant outrageousness and debilitating disappointments.

 

 

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I see that TCM is showing The Sea Wolf at 2 am Wednesday morning. Their schedule says it will be the 100 minute version, rather than the 87 minute version they have shown for years. In view of that, here is a review that I wrote a couple of years ago after having seen the restored version.

The Sea Wolf (1941) 

Many posters, I'm sure, will be familiar with this vivid Warner Brothers adaption of the Jack London novel since it has been shown so many times over the years on TCM. If you haven't caught this production, however, you're overdue to do so. 

Only now there is a difference. The Warners Archive Collection has just released the full original version of the film on DVD, available for viewing in its complete version for the first time since 1941. 

This film was re-released in 1947 (in combination with Warners' The Sea Hawk) but both films were edited so more tickets could be sold for extra daily viewings for a shorter double bill. The Sea Hawk's edited scenes were restored to that film a number of years ago but, until this week with the DVD release, The Sea Wolf's television broadcasts were always the 1947 re-edited version. For the record the running time of the print shown on TCM has been 87:12, while the print on the Archive release runs 99:46. 

The Sea Wolf is representative of Warners at the peak of its studio expertise. With Michael Curtiz in full dynamic directorial form, accompanied by his favourite cinematographer, Sol Polito, and sets by Anton Grot, a terrific ensemble cast all rise to the top with vivid characterizations. All of this plus a dark, at times ominous, musical score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, makes for a stirring tale of brutality and oppression set aboard a sealing vessel, The Ghost. 

As the brutal, sadistic captain of the ship, Wolf Larsen, Edward G. Robinson gives one of the great performances of his career. In fact this has long been my favourite Robinson film and performance, and that's saying a lot considering the often brilliant work this actor accomplished throughout his career. It's a complex characterization, however, he's not just a mere brute.

But the supporting cast is a standout, as well. John Garfield brings sensitivity to his role as a rebellious crew member, and Ida Lupino is terrific as an escaped convict (we never know her crime) who finds herself aboard The Ghost because of circumstances, and is tormented by Robinson as much as any of the male crew members. 

But there is also Gene Lockhart as the pathetic alcoholic ship's doctor who wants to be treated with dignity (something the sadistic Larsen will never allow) and Barry Fitzgerald as Cookie, the ship's knife wielding cook and chief informant to the captain, a conniving, evil little man who cackles with glee as others around him are tormented but remains fearful of the captain himself. 

In viewing the twelve and a half minutes restored to the film it is apparent there was no one big scene missing all these years. Scenes in the film were trimmed, so you might catch selections of a 30 second bit here or there that you've never seen before. There's a small bit at the film's beginning, for example, in which Garfield is hiding from police on a Frisco street that's new, later you see the character of the bookish Van Weyden (played, and played well, by Alexander Knox) when he first wakes up on The Ghost after being fished out of the drink. 

My favourite restored scene runs about 75 seconds, and it was gratifying to see it for the first time. It's when Lupino's character is first revealed as a jailbird on the ship before the laughing crew and she begs Robinson to set her ashore somewhere other than return her to Frisco (where police are looking for her). 

Lupino is stunning in this scene, pleading in vain with Robinson, even to the extent of offering to make it "worthwhile" for him if he does so, to which he barks at her she's not on the Barbary Coast. Lupino pleads, cries and collapses. It's a great moment for her, showing her full dramatic force as an actress, and there is also a telling closeup of Garfield, his eyes filled with pain, as he sees her grovel before a brute like Wolf Larsen. "Don't beg him," he tells her as he leaps beside her, ready to spit in Robinson's eye even if it means another beating. "Beg?" a distraught Lupino responds, "I'd crawl on my knees over every inch of this deck. I'd do anything, ANYTHING, to not have to go back!" 

It's a very strong scene, and it's great to see it restored to the film. 

One more thing. I know the Archive Collection doesn't spend any more money on these prints than is necessary but this 35 mil. print of The Sea Wolf is beautiful, with all of the new scenes seamlessly restored to the production. Warners really did do this film justice with this release. I'm assuming that TCM will eventually broadcast this version of the film, for those who don't care to spend the money on the DVD. 

The Sea Wolf is one of those dramatically stirring productions that fully deserves to be hailed as a film classic, in my opinion. It has always mystified me that this film is not better known. 

the-sea-wolf-1941-rouhani-cyrus.jpg

3.5 out of 4

 

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On Sunday, I caught the 1 pm showing of "The Color Purple" (presented by TCM and Fathom Events). I've read the book before a few times, so I didn't go into it completely blind. I will admit that the film really spoke to me/touched me. I rated it 4.5/5 stars. 

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On 2/25/2020 at 8:56 AM, TikiSoo said:

..going back to what I JUST WATCHED:

IsntSheGreatPoster.jpg

I have never seen this, but I was curious about it. One thing I do recall was a trailer where the John Cleese character thinks "Valley Of The Dolls" sounds like a children's book. When he is told that the dolls were drugs, he says "Well a really cool children's book!"

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I was hesitant to rewatch THE NIGHT DIGGER (1971), as I knew a repeat viewing could not compare to the first- which carried (for me) a DELIGHTFUL TWIST which, knowing so little about the film, I DID NOT SEE COMING.

I'M NOT GOING TO RUIN IT FOR ANYONE WHO HAS YET TO SEE IT THOUGH.

night+digger.jpg

IT'S a very well-crafted, HELLA BRITISH movie with some great location shoots and nice photography,watchable even knowing how the dance plays out as I did this time,  it incorporates NEAL's real-life stroke from a few years before into the story cleverly, and JESUS is NICHOLAS CLAY HOT.

A MUST for fans of GREY GARDENS and NOW, VOYAGER.

ps- it's been many, many years now, but i still recall how surprised I was to discover Miss Neal was a SOUTHERNER. I completely thought she was British.

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PS- IT'S BEEN NICE that, for whatever reason, TCM on HULU has held over  A LOT of titles from LAST MONTH, otherwise there would be nothing worth watching.

PSS- does this being a Leap Year somehow make OSCAR MONTH even longer? I'm **** off if it does.

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39 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I was hesitant to rewatch THE NIGHT DIGGER (1971), as I knew a repeat viewing could not compare to the first- which carried (for me) a DELIGHTFUL TWIST which, knowing so little about the film, I DID NOT SEE COMING.

I'M NOT GOING TO RUIN IT FOR ANYONE WHO HAS YET TO SEE IT THOUGH.

night+digger.jpg

IT'S a very well-crafted, HELLA BRITISH movie with some great location shoots and nice photography,watchable even knowing how the dance plays out as I did this time,  it incorporates NEAL's real-life stroke from a few years before into the story cleverly, and JESUS is NICHOLAS CLAY HOT.

A MUST for fans of GREY GARDENS and NOW, VOYAGER.

ps- it's been many, many years now, but i still recall how surprised I was to discover Miss Neal was a SOUTHERNER. I completely thought she was British.

Yeah, born in Kentucky.

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32 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

PS- IT'S BEEN NICE that, for whatever reason, TCM on HULU has held over  A LOT of titles from LAST MONTH, otherwise there would be nothing worth watching.

PSS- does this being a Leap Year somehow make OSCAR MONTH even longer? I'm **** off if it does.

UGH. Probably! :(

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15 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

It's not. Means it gets finished on the 2nd instead of the 3rd of March. On Tuesday, we're free.

The end is in sight! :D

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Sukkubus – den Teufel im Leib (1989)  Director: Georg Tressler Writer: Franz Seitz (screenplay)
Stars: Peter Simonischek, Giovanni Früh, Andy Voß  and  Pamela Prati as the  Sukkubus

Sukkubus - den Teufel im Leib Poster

An alpine horror movie about a fantasy Swiss legend.  Three  superstitious cowherders in the 19th century Alps  have a combined Christian/Pagan religion that's tied to the Alps and the alpine meadows and their herds of dairy cows.  They have to take the herd to the meadows of the Black Mountain. They are without women and basically get cabin fever get drunk and create a female doll from cloth, straw and a strangely formed wooden root. Their creation comes to life as a sexy, beautiful but evil witch (see poster). Fun and well done. sort of a an instructional on cheese making and  Drama, Fantasy, Horror film. 7/10

Online streaming for free.

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