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Walk A Tightrope (1964)

A tight "B" British crime drama with an intriguing story.

SPOILER ALERT: A down and out American living in London (Dan Duryea) follows a woman (Patricia Owens) from a cinema to a pub where she passes out after unexpectedly encountering her husband there with a friend. Against her will, she is taken home by the husband and within a few minutes Duryea bursts through their door and shoots the husband dead. He then demands that the woman pay him the money she had promised him before he leaves her place, promising to contact her again. But her grieving for her husband is not consistent with a planned hit. Something here is amiss.

This is a minor little drama but the interest in its story remains right to the twist ending, with fine work by Duryea as a street hard case and a subtle turn by Owens.

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2.5 out of 4

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Took a trip into what would usually be TCM Underground land with Crazy Mama (1975), a Roger Corman production that was a training ground for the future Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme. It's a zesty, rough-hewn crime saga, sometimes amusing, sometimes shocking, othertimes even wistful, but at all times has a definite air of 50s overload, which lends it an offbeat charm and a kitchy quality as well. The print on Amazon prime is grainy and pan and scan, but don't let that stop you from watching for the strong work from Cloris  Leachman and Ann Sothern. The film itself can really surprise you from the way it goes from comedy to violence, as some of that violence toward the end is truly shocking, and expectant of the shocking mood swings of Something Wild 11 years later. It's definitely not the type of film I usually watch, but i enjoyed this change of pace.

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On 2/26/2020 at 8:51 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

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

Regardless of LEAP, it's still 31 days of Oscar, isn't it? Don't create any more agony that is necessary. ;)

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The UnInvited (1943) was going good until bam, it just ran out of gas. During the first hour the plot is clean and interesting. For a ghost story it seemed to have a long exposition, with only sparse clues about ghost and no really spooky moments. Inevitably, the backstory fill-ins defeated me. Newer characters entering the story with all the backstory and I just got bored. It lasted about 70 minutes. I don't care for horror but I still like a good ghost story if I can find one. Gail Russell certainly impressed me favorably.

Girl Most Likely (2012) I caught this EPIX and liked it. I was genuinely surprised by the bad reviews.  I won't argue about it but I thought it was funny and I enjoyed Kirsten Wiig. She kept me watching. I liked her acting and character (the flimsy shorts she wears was a plus), I liked watching her cope. I actually thought the story was quite inventive, though the reviews see it as too much like a sitcom, struggling to be funny. Maybe that's what I like about it. Maybe the movie didn't try hard enough, that's just what I like. I thought it funny, but not hilarious. When Imogene (Miss Wiig) needs a loved one to pick her up at the hospital, all the hospital can get his her somewhat estranged mother (Annette Benning) who is shocked that they called her. "She said she loved me?" Believe me it was funny. I know, because I also know something about dysfunctional families. It's a good thing I don't read reviews in advance.

///

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4 hours ago, laffite said:

The UnInvited (1943) was going good until bam, it just ran out of gas. During the first hour the plot is clean and interesting. For a ghost story it seemed to have a long exposition, with only sparse clues about ghost and no really spooky moments. Inevitably, the backstory fill-ins defeated me. Newer characters entering the story with all the backstory and I just got bored. It lasted about 70 minutes. I don't care for horror but I still like a good ghost story if I can find one. Gail Russell certainly impressed me favorably.

 

THE UNINVITED showed up a few months back and I surprised myself by watching it almost three times. it's stylish and highly watchable- and the lesbian subplot tickles me- but yeah, there's a certain something missing from the last act.

EDIT- would have likely benefitted from MARIA OUSPENSKAYA or MARGARET RUTHERFORD as a medium.

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Kiss of Death Poster

Kiss Of Death (1947) TCM 10/10

A thief is captured and becomes an informer for the Assistant DA, a psychopathic gangster seeks revenge.

I have seen this many times, it is my favorite gangster/noir film. Seeing it again last night just confirmed my opinion, I was totally riveted from beginning to end. Richard Widmark's Oscar nominated debut as the psycho is still very frightening to this day. His skull like face and sinister giggle is still unnerving. I would like to talk also of Victor Mature, who has been underrated by critics (even by himself) but I have seen several of his films and I don't think he ever gave a bad performance. Actually in this one and a few others (like My Darling Clementine and Cry Of The City) he was excellent. My favorite scene in this one was the extremely tense one where Mature is waiting in a restaurant for Widmark to come from behind a curtain in the back. Mature sits nervously smoking while we see a small opening with Widmark's maniacal eyes staring through it. 

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1 hour ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Kiss of Death Poster

Kiss Of Death (1947) TCM 10/10

A thief is captured and becomes an informer for the Assistant DA, a psychopathic gangster seeks revenge.

I have seen this many times, it is my favorite gangster/noir film. Seeing it again last night just confirmed my opinion, I was totally riveted from beginning to end. Richard Widmark's Oscar winning debut as the psycho is still very frightening to this day. His skull like face and sinister giggle is still unnerving. I would like to talk also of Victor Mature, who has been underrated by critics (even by himself) but I have seen several of his films and I don't think he ever gave a bad performance. Actually in this one and a few others (like My Darling Clementine and Cry Of The City) he was excellent. My favorite scene in this one was the extremely tense one where Mature is waiting in a restaurant for Widmark to come from behind a curtain in the back. Mature sits nervously smoking while we see a small opening with Widmark's maniacal eyes staring through it. 

kod4.png

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2 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

 

Kiss Of Death (1947) TCM 10/10

A thief is captured and becomes an informer for the Assistant DA, a psychopathic gangster seeks revenge.

I have seen this many times, it is my favorite gangster/noir film. Seeing it again last night just confirmed my opinion, I was totally riveted from beginning to end. Richard Widmark's Oscar winning debut as the psycho is still very frightening to this day. His skull like face and sinister giggle is still unnerving. I would like to talk also of Victor Mature, who has been underrated by critics (even by himself) but I have seen several of his films and I don't think he ever gave a bad performance. Actually in this one and a few others (like My Darling Clementine and Cry Of The City) he was excellent. My favorite scene in this one was the extremely tense one where Mature is waiting in a restaurant for Widmark to come from behind a curtain in the back. Mature sits nervously smoking while we see a small opening with Widmark's maniacal eyes staring through it. 

Have loved this film for many years too Jim, however one correction here. Widmark was nominated but didn't win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar that year.

(...Edmund Gwenn did for his turn as Kris Kringle)

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55 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Have loved this film for many years too Jim, however one correction here. Widmark was nominated but didn't win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar that year.

(...Edmund Gwenn did for his turn as Kris Kringle)

RingedRegalGopher-size_restricted.gif

"So ya voted for Kris Kringle over me, did ya? Well, I got a little Christmas gift for you, lady!"

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

Have loved this film for many years too Jim, however one correction here. Widmark was nominated but didn't win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar that year.

(...Edmund Gwenn did for his turn as Kris Kringle)

Yes, I was typing too fast, I fixed it. It was an interesting year for Supporting Actor, another psycho killer Robert Ryan in Crossfire was also nominated. Thomas Gomez (Ride The Pink Horse) and Charles Bickford (The Farmer's Daughter) was the other ones. I think Edmund Gwenn deserved it.

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

RingedRegalGopher-size_restricted.gif

"So ya voted for Kris Kringle over me, did ya? Well, I got a little Christmas gift for you, lady!"

This scene looks all the more horrible taken out of context.  And now due to the magic of JIFeroos this woman will plummet to her death for years to come. Yeah, I know ... get a life.

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Pygmalion (1938) with Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller

Outside of the performances by Howard and Hiller, I got very bored after the first forty minutes. I rank Howard as one of the finest actors of the 1930s, but I struggled to get through this one. However, 1938 is one of the years that I've seen very few films, so I'm happy to add another.

North by Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint 

I started this awhile ago, but never got around to finishing it. I think it's one of Cary Grant finest performances. The light comedic touches throughout make this a great film, but I didn't really like the ending. 

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28 minutes ago, YourManGodfrey said:

North by Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint 

I started this awhile ago, but never got around to finishing it. I think it's one of Cary Grant finest performances. The light comedic touches throughout make this a great film, but I didn't really like the ending. 

Really? The ending is one of the best parts of the movie, imo.  The scene of the train going into the tunnel is dripping in innuendo as to what happened next between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. 

My favorite part of the movie are all the scenes of the amazing house in South Dakota.  I also love the auction scene and Eva Marie Saint's wardrobe. 

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Personally, I prefer Saboteur to North by Northwest.  I think the story works better with an Everyman, which is one thing Cary Grant was not no matter how much better an actor than Robert Cummings he may have been.

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10 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

THE UNINVITED showed up a few months back and I surprised myself by watching it almost three times. it's stylish and highly watchable- and the lesbian subplot tickles me- but yeah, there's a certain something missing from the last act.

EDIT- would have likely benefitted from MARIA OUSPENSKAYA or MARGARET RUTHERFORD as a medium.

I was able to nab the movie from the jaws of death, rescuing it from the DVR's "Recycle Bin" where it's held for a short while before being commended to the deep. I was closer to the end than I thought. Not much change in the overall assessment. Ava, in the outro, revealed that the ghosty scenes (shimmering white coverlets hovering in doorways, etc.) were added after the original shooting to spookify it a little, and I'll take the opportunity to use that to vindicate my own feeling that it was rather lame in the spooky department. I liked those scenes and they added a lot. Interestingly, Ava also said that those scenes were taken out in Britain as they were thought to be scary. The old English reserve wins out. The level of appeal for genre pieces like this depend on the tastes of the viewer and since I am not particularly drawn to horror, I may have not been able to appreciate it fully.  As to the "lesbian subplot" It may or may not have been intended, to stand on the fence. If they were serious about it though, they might have made a better case, even in view of the restrictions of the era. As we know, they are clever that way. Or Holloway's interest may have been merely devotional, a more conservative but less titillating view of it.

//

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4 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Really? The ending is one of the best parts of the movie, imo.  The scene of the train going into the tunnel is dripping in innuendo as to what happened next between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. 

My favorite part of the movie are all the scenes of the amazing house in South Dakota.  I also love the auction scene and Eva Marie Saint's wardrobe. 

I should have worded that better. I liked the very ending, but I didn't like the climatic action scenes at the end. 

 

4 hours ago, Fedya said:

Personally, I prefer Saboteur to North by Northwest.  I think the story works better with an Everyman, which is one thing Cary Grant was not no matter how much better an actor than Robert Cummings he may have been.

I really enjoyed Saboteur. I thought the final 'dangling scene' was better than North by Northwest's. 

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On 2/28/2020 at 3:50 AM, laffite said:

The UnInvited (1943) was going good until bam, it just ran out of gas.

I love The Uninvited, especially when I saw it screened in a big old spooky theater. I love the story, the suspense, the acting & especially the ghost. I liked the resolution too.

I just listened to an old radio version starring Ray Milland recreating his character last night courtesy of the little known Syracuse University Audio Archive:

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443756/tuned-to-yesterday

(it's not uploaded yet-24 hr delay)

 

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On 2/28/2020 at 3:50 AM, laffite said:

The UnInvited (1943) was going good until bam, it just ran out of gas. During the first hour the plot is clean and interesting. For a ghost story it seemed to have a long exposition, with only sparse clues about ghost and no really spooky moments. Inevitably, the backstory fill-ins defeated me. Newer characters entering the story with all the backstory and I just got bored. It lasted about 70 minutes. I don't care for horror but I still like a good ghost story if I can find one. Gail Russell certainly impressed me favorably.

 

I'm a fan of The Uninvited. I love the smooth elegance of its black and white photography, its Cornish cliff setting with those angry waves splashing down below, the lovely theme song "Stella by Starlight," as well as the sweet, vulnerable performance of Gail Russell as Stella. I think the film also has Ray Milland at the peak of his charm, and the always underappreciated Ruth Hussey is engaging, too.

As for the ghost, which I think is effectively eerie (without CGI!!!) . . .

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Character actress Elizabeth Russell plays an unbilled role, I suspect

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Single White Female (1992)

Okay. So I watched this movie last night.  A movie about a deranged roommate seemed perfect for a dark, rainy Friday night.

My main takeaway from this film is: Don't room with people you don't know.  Which just reaffirms something I've always thought, I'm not  living with strangers.

In Single White Female, Bridget Fonda plays Allison Jones, a successful young woman who seemingly has it all: A giant rent-controlled apartment in NYC, a slim body, she's fairly tall,  she has a well-off boyfriend, great fashion sense (for 1992), she's an entrepreneur (she designs some type of computer software)... After Allison's boyfriend cheats on her with his ex-wife, Allison finds herself living alone in her enormous apartment.  Feeling lonely, she decides to put an ad in the paper for a roommate.

BIG MISTAKE. BIG.

Answering the ad is a young woman, Hedra "Hedy" Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh).  At first glance, Hedy seems harmless.  She's shy, timid, but kind.  She moves in and eagerly makes herself at home.  First things are going well between Hedy and Allison.  Then little things start happening, like Hedy borrowing Allison's clothing.  Hedy constantly cleans the apartment. As the movie progresses, little things happen that make Allison wonder about the woman she just let move into her apartment.

Then, Allison and her boyfriend rekindle their romance and announce that their engagement is back on.

Oh crap! 

All hell breaks loose and suddenly it's clear that Hedy is absolutely out of her freaking mind. She's insane, she's extremely manipulative, she's everything you wouldn't want in an acquaintance, let alone a roommate.

This movie was definitely very suspenseful and entertaining (I don't mean entertaining in a "funny ha ha" type way).  However, it was also very disturbing. Fonda's haircut in this film is hideous (like an overgrown mushroom haircut w/ sideburns).  But as the film progressed, it became apparent why Fonda's character had to have such a distinct looking style.  A run of the mill bob would not have had the same effect.

My one takeaway about the apartment is that while it was big, it didn't really seem all that nice.  It was kind of shabby and Fonda had barely even furnished or decorated it.  It reminded me of Party Girl (1995) where Parker Posey lives in this enormous warehouse-like apartment.  The best thing about Fonda's apartment is that it was fairly cheap (assuming), which is why she was reluctant to move out.

While I enjoyed this film, I do not think it's something I would re-watch.  I don't think I can bare to see the puppy scene again 😢 

 

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

I'm a fan of The Uninvited. I love the smooth elegance of its black and white photography, its Cornish cliff setting with those angry waves splashing down below, the lovely theme song "Stella by Starlight," as well as the sweet, vulnerable performance of Gail Russell as Stella.

Yes, the setting is nice. I like the studio with the angular window. It has a nice, uh, ambience. Gail Russell plays Stella with great delicacy, probably not far from her own self.

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16 hours ago, YourManGodfrey said:

I really enjoyed Saboteur. I thought the final 'dangling scene' was better than North by Northwest's. 

I really like the Statue of Liberty scene too.  It also gives Priscilla Lane another chance to be intelligent, which is another thing that makes me prefer this one to North By Northwest, where Eva Marie Saint's character is working for the government (and we know this fairly early on) which keeps Cary out of too much danger.

I also really like Lane's escape from captivity in the newsreel company office.

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Death on the Nile (1978)

For Agatha Christie fans, the first of six occasions in which Peter Ustinov would play celebrated Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

A stylish, slowly paced thriller, it takes its time (too much time) before the mystery finally starts to take hold with a murder occurring. Anyone familiar with light hearted mysteries of this nature will know well in advance who the victim will be and that Poirot at the end will gather all the suspects in one room and, with remarkable logic and clarity, as well as cat and mouse teasing, finally reveal the killer.

The film boasts an impressive all star cast of suspects and, partially shot on location in Egypt by cinematographer Jack Cardiff, boasts some truly spectacular colour photography of the pyramids, Great Sphinx and various ruins. The photography alone makes this cinematic trip a worthwhile one, albeit an overlong one at 140 minutes.

Of the cast Peter Ustinov stands out with his amusing and subtle characterization of Poirot. Unlike some other paper thin portrayals here, he never makes the detective seem like a caricature. Mia Farrow, though, is chilling with her creepy portrayal of a spurned lover who pursues her former fiancee and friend on their Egyptian honeymoon. In contrast to Farrow, though, Angela Lansbury is a shameless ham as a novelist in her cups much of the time.

Other cast members include David Niven, bringing his usual effortless debonair cool to the production as Poirot's friend helping in the investigation (Niven and Ustinov were lifelong friends from their first encounter during WWII), Lois Chiles as a beautiful spoiled heiress, Simon MacCorkindale as her new husband, Bette Davis as a rich dowager envious of Chiles' pearl necklace, Maggie Smith as Davis' servant resentful of her lowly status, George Kennedy as Chiles' duplicitous attorney and Jack Warden as a physician.

Christie fans will probably love this film, which drips in handsome production values, while others may find much of it a bit of a tedious affair. I enjoyed Death in the Nile for a couple of the performances and, certainly, its stunning photography.

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2.5 out of 4

 

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On 2/28/2020 at 3:39 PM, YourManGodfrey said:

 

North by Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint 

I started this awhile ago, but never got around to finishing it. I think it's one of Cary Grant finest performances. The light comedic touches throughout make this a great film, but I didn't really like the ending. 

 

What ?? !!!    I don't get how there seems to be so many people who stop and start movies.  A movie is not like a television series,  where you can watch one episode  (usually an hour long) and then take some time off before you watch the next one.  Most movies are roughly two hours in length  (yes, some longer, many shorter),  so what's the problem with just sticking it out for a couple of hours?

Now, I do understand a couple of reasons why one might not watch a film all in one sitting:  you get interrupted somehow  (emergency phone call,  whatever device you're watching it on stops working, you fall asleep...)  sure, that happens.  Sometimes.  But honestly, even if I don't like the movie I'm watching, I almost always stick with it to the end. If I don't like it, I never have to watch it again.   I suppose I sound judgemental, and I shouldn't , because  some of my favourite people here on these boards watch movies in bits. But personally, I'll never understand it.

ps:  I also have trouble understanding why you didn't like the ending. The ending is great, a typical exciting dramatic suspenseful Hitchcock ending.  If you didn't like the ending of "North by Northwest", I imagine you're not much of a Hitchcock fan.

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