Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

Terrible Joe Moran (1984)

The final film of James Cagney, a made-for-TV production in which he plays an aged wheelchair-bound boxer (and former welterweight champion) living by himself in a townhouse. His constant companion and housekeeper, played by Art Carney, is the old man's one friend. Soon showing up at his residence, however, will be his granddaughter, whom he hasn't seen since she was a child. As played by Ellen Barkin she moves in with him, her purpose in being there the hope of getting money from him for her boyfriend, who owes big dollars to street gangsters.

Known as 'Terrible" Joe Moran from his fighting prime years a half century earlier the film appropriately opens with Cagney in a wheelchair watching clips of himself in a television tribute to him on his birthday. Clips of scenes of Cagney boxing from The Irish in Us and City for Conquest are shown in the tribute, with an older Cagney amused and commenting on the images.

While the trajectory of the story is predictable (the old man is lonely and a bit hostile and the granddaughter initially has little liking of him, just biding her time to ask for the money) the TV drama fortunately avoids excessive sentimentality. This is largely achieved through Cagney's gruff performance, as well as the solid support he receives from Carney, almost as gruff as Cagney, and a fine, sensitive portrayal from Barkin. Brief cameo appearances are also made by Floyd Patterson as himself, Ed Koch as a fight manager and Lawrence Tierney as an old time fighter who had battled Joe Moran three times.

I saw this film when it was originally broadcast on television and was taken aback by Cagney's frail health and his confinement to a wheelchair. It was not the way I wanted to remember an actor who had been such a physical dynamo during his prime years. However, in seeing the film now for the first time since then I didn't find it to be the depressing experience I thought it might be. Cagney is likable as the cantankerous old man and there's a directness and honesty about his portrayal. In addition to that he gets fine support from his co-stars, particularly Barkin, whose scenes with Cagney seem real.

Unfortunately Cagney had suffered a stroke before this film was made and, according to various sources, either some or all of his dialogue was dubbed over by Rich Little. There are times when Cagney's speech is still a little slurred.

Terrible Joe Moran can be found on DVD from a small company in a serviceable image. Aside from that, along with Come Fill the Cup and Never Steal Anything Small, this is one of the tougher Cagney titles to find. Some will undoubtedly dislike seeing the former Yankee Doodle Dandy in this kind of frail health but his final performance is all the gutsier because of that. One more thing. In his later years Cagney painted and one of his favourite works, that of a punched up fighter called The Victor, can be seen hanging on Joe Moran's den wall.

terrible-joe-moran_u-L-PJ69Z40.jpg

2.5 out of 4

bdd23ef61d3f7d71c58f2e5e9d4733ed.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TomJH said:

Terrible Joe Moran (1984)

The final film of James Cagney, a made-for-TV production in which he plays an aged wheelchair-bound boxer (and former welterweight champion) living by himself in a townhouse. His constant companion and housekeeper, played by Art Carney, is the old man's one friend. Soon showing up at his residence, however, will be his granddaughter, whom he hasn't seen since she was a child. As played by Ellen Barkin she moves in with him, her purpose in being there the hope of getting money from him for her boyfriend, who owes big dollars to street gangsters.

Known as 'Terrible" Joe Moran from his fighting prime years a half century earlier the film appropriately opens with Cagney in a wheelchair watching clips of himself in a television tribute to him on his birthday. Clips of scenes of Cagney boxing from The Irish in Us and City for Conquest are shown in the tribute, with an older Cagney amused and commenting on the images.

While the trajectory of the story is predictable (the old man is lonely and a bit hostile and the granddaughter initially has little liking of him, just biding her time to ask for the money) the TV drama fortunately avoids excessive sentimentality. This is largely achieved through Cagney's gruff performance, as well as the solid support he receives from Carney, almost as gruff as Cagney, and a fine, sensitive portrayal from Barkin. Brief cameo appearances are also made by Floyd Patterson as himself, Ed Koch as a fight manager and Lawrence Tierney as an old time fighter who had battled Joe Moran three times.

I saw this film when it was originally broadcast on television and was taken aback by Cagney's frail health and his confinement to a wheelchair. It was not the way I wanted to remember an actor who had been such a physical dynamo during his prime years. However, in seeing the film now for the first time since then I didn't find it to be the depressing experience I thought it might be. Cagney is likable as the cantankerous old man and there's a directness and honesty about his portrayal. In addition to that he gets fine support from his co-stars, particularly Barkin, whose scenes with Cagney seem real.

Unfortunately Cagney had suffered a stroke before this film was made and, according to various sources, either some or all of his dialogue was dubbed over by Rich Little. There are times when Cagney's speech is still a little slurred.

Terrible Joe Moran can be found on DVD from a small company in a serviceable image. Aside from that, along with Come Fill the Cup and Never Steal Anything Small, this is one of the tougher Cagney titles to find. Some will undoubtedly dislike seeing the former Yankee Doodle Dandy in this kind of frail health but his final performance is all the gutsier because of that. One more thing. In his later years Cagney painted and one of his favourite works, that of a punched up fighter called The Victor, can be seen hanging on Joe Moran's den wall.

xZLaFCD5vUlqGlC7T_kpeFdtbjU4dMQUOWZ1FBsg

2.5 out of 4

bdd23ef61d3f7d71c58f2e5e9d4733ed.jpg

I would love to see this film. It's no secret that James Cagney has always been my favorite classic era actor and I adore Art Carney as well.

That is one terrific pic that Cagney did too, I must say.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

I would love to see this film. It's no secret that James Cagney has always been my favorite classic era actor and I adore Art Carney as well.

That is one terrific pic that Cagney did too, I must say.

I saw it again through this DVD off Amazon.

81JnTMFmLFL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A Shot in the Dark (1941)

This is one of those mystery films where the one character explains why they caught the bad guy in the final two minutes of the film. With approximately 50 different names thrown at you inside of an hour, you’re left with crossed eyes trying to figure out who double-crossed who, and who that nameless victim was halfway through and why they were of any importance to the overall plot. William Lundigan really nailed the wise-cracking newspaperman, though. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Jerk (1979)

In honor of Carl Reiner, we watched this film last night.  I'd never seen this film, but had heard a lot about it.  I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I knew that Steve Martin was in the film, but I didn't realize that he wrote both the story and the screenplay.  My husband and I thought this movie was hilarious.  I wasn't really sure what to expect when it started, but it soon grew on me.  In lesser hands, this movie could have been really really bad--but Steve Martin made it work.

Martin plays Navin Johnson, a poor black child in Mississippi.  He is (obviously) white and was adopted as a child.  His parents raised him as one of their own, with Navin not realizing that he was "different" than his siblings.  At his birthday party, his mother breaks the news to him that he was adopted.   Later that evening, Navin is listening to the radio and hears an instrumental song that inspires him to move to St. Louis.  There's a funny scene where he is trying to hitchhike and a motorist stops to pick him up.  Navin asks him how far he's going, the motorist advises that he is driving to the end of Navin's fence.  Navin says "ok," he gets into the vehicle, the driver drives like 5 feet, and Navin gets out.  After numerous hitched rides, Navin finally makes it to his destination.

Navin then gets a job at a gas station, then later a carnival to try and make it on his own. While working at the carnival, Navin catches the eye of Patty, the daredevil motorcyclist.  Patty has a very strong, brash personality.  She finds herself wildly attracted to Navin and helps him discover how to utilize his "special purpose." Later, Navin meets Marie (Bernadette Peters) and they fall in love.  However, she ends up leaving him because she doesn't want a life of financial insecurity.  

Meanwhile, Navin has innovated a new glasses feature--a piece of metal that rests on the bridge of the user's nose.  This device helps keep the glasses from slipping off someone's nose.  His invention sells like gangbusters and soon Navin has more money than he knows what to do with.  He and Marie marry and start living it up.  I loved their home disco and their wine in the water cooler. 

There were a lot of great scenes and lines.  For some reason, Navin's dog's inappropriate name was hilarious.  I loved how gaudy and ugly his mansion was.

This was such a weird, but sweet and funny film.  Steve Martin somehow regularly manages to straddle the line between humor, vulgarity, and stupidity very well. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

The Jerk (1979)

In honor of Carl Reiner, we watched this film last night.  I'd never seen this film, but had heard a lot about it.  I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I knew that Steve Martin was in the film, but I didn't realize that he wrote both the story and the screenplay.  My husband and I thought this movie was hilarious.  I wasn't really sure what to expect when it started, but it soon grew on me.  In lesser hands, this movie could have been really really bad--but Steve Martin made it work.

Martin plays Navin Johnson, a poor black child in Mississippi.  He is (obviously) white and was adopted as a child.  His parents raised him as one of their own, with Navin not realizing that he was "different" than his siblings.  At his birthday party, his mother breaks the news to him that he was adopted.   Later that evening, Navin is listening to the radio and hears an instrumental song that inspires him to move to St. Louis.  There's a funny scene where he is trying to hitchhike and a motorist stops to pick him up.  Navin asks him how far he's going, the motorist advises that he is driving to the end of Navin's fence.  Navin says "ok," he gets into the vehicle, the driver drives like 5 feet, and Navin gets out.  After numerous hitched rides, Navin finally makes it to his destination.

Navin then gets a job at a gas station, then later a carnival to try and make it on his own. While working at the carnival, Navin catches the eye of Patty, the daredevil motorcyclist.  Patty has a very strong, brash personality.  She finds herself wildly attracted to Navin and helps him discover how to utilize his "special purpose." Later, Navin meets Marie (Bernadette Peters) and they fall in love.  However, she ends up leaving him because she doesn't want a life of financial insecurity.  

Meanwhile, Navin has innovated a new glasses feature--a piece of metal that rests on the bridge of the user's nose.  This device helps keep the glasses from slipping off someone's nose.  His invention sells like gangbusters and soon Navin has more money than he knows what to do with.  He and Marie marry and start living it up.  I loved their home disco and their wine in the water cooler. 

There were a lot of great scenes and lines.  For some reason, Navin's dog's inappropriate name was hilarious.  I loved how gaudy and ugly his mansion was.

This was such a weird, but sweet and funny film.  Steve Martin somehow regularly manages to straddle the line between humor, vulgarity, and stupidity very well. 

Although ALL OF ME is my favorite Carl Reiner/Steve Martin film, I have to say THE JERK is indeed a classic and you are right, the movie probably wouldn't have worked without the comical genius of Martin.

I love how oblivious Navin could be in a lot of situations (especially the fact that he was the only non-black in the household).  

A good comedy with enough laughs to go around.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Although ALL OF ME is my favorite Carl Reiner/Steve Martin film, I have to say THE JERK is indeed a classic and you are right, the movie probably wouldn't have worked without the comical genius of Martin.

I love how oblivious Navin could be in a lot of situations (especially the fact that he was the only non-black in the household).  

A good comedy with enough laughs to go around.

I love the end where he’s like: “I don’t need anything! Except this ashtray, and this paddle game, and...”

I also loved the part when he writes to his family about finding out what his “special purpose” is for, and basically invites the family to watch the next time he uses his special purpose. 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Baby Poster

The Baby (1973) DVD 7/10

A social worker tries to intervene when she discovers a woman has been treating her mentally challenged adult son as an infant and won't allow him to be an adult.

I was in the mood for 1970s exploitation and this is about as bizarre, exploitative and intriguing as it gets. People not familiar with this type of film will be shocked and disgusted. I think it's very memorable, I had seen it on TV years ago and it has haunted me ever since. I got the DVD a few years ago when my favorite video store was closing, I have watched it whenever the mood hit me. The son is merely called Baby and he crawls on all fours, wears diapers and cries and gurgles but never learned to speak. The only major weakness is the cries are dubbed in, sounding still like a baby though the character is a grown man. Anjanette Comer (she was in the classic black comedy The Loved One) plays the social worker and she gives an excellent performance. Classic film veteran Ruth Roman plays Baby's nasty mom. Ted Post is the director, he had mostly done TV but his most notable film work was inferior sequels to hit movies like Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970) and the Dirty Harry followup Magnum Force. The Baby IMO is his best film, after all the weird and wild stuff at the beginning we get a knockout of a twist ending, cranking this one up an extra notch. 

  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

The Baby Poster

The Baby (1973) DVD 7/10

A social worker tries to intervene when she discovers a woman has been treating her mentally challenged adult son as an infant and won't allow him to be an adult.

I was in the mood for 1970s exploitation and this is about as bizarre, exploitative and intriguing as it gets. People not familiar with this type of film will be shocked and disgusted. I think it's very memorable, I had seen it on TV years ago and it has haunted me ever since. I got the DVD a few years ago when my favorite video store was closing, I have watched it whenever the mood hit me. The son is merely called Baby and he crawls on all fours, wears diapers and cries and gurgles but never learned to speak. The only major weakness is the cries are dubbed in, sounding still like a baby though the character is a grown man. Anjanette Comer (she was in the classic black comedy The Loved One) plays the social worker and she gives an excellent performance. Classic film veteran Ruth Roman plays Baby's nasty mom. Ted Post is the director, he had mostly done TV but his most notable film work was inferior sequels to hit movies like Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970) and the Dirty Harry followup Magnum Force. The Baby IMO is his best film, after all the weird and wild stuff at the beginning we get a knockout of a twist ending, cranking this one up an extra notch. 

I saw this on TCM a few years ago.  I've wondered since what Ruth Roman was thinking when she took the role.  Did she think this was going to be her Baby Jane moment and revive her feature film career?  She hadn't made a picture since 1965, and after The Baby,  she was in another four B grade horror features.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

I've wondered since what Ruth Roman was thinking when she took the role.  Did she think this was going to be her Baby Jane moment and revive her feature film career?  She hadn't made a picture since 1965, and after The Baby,  she was in another four B grade horror features.

The DVD has an audio interview with director Ted Post. He said that he knew Ruth Roman and sent her the script and she accepted it immediately. Like you said, perhaps she thought it would revive her career since these macabre films with classic Hollywood actresses had become so popular in the 1960s and 1970s. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Blondie on a Budget Poster

Blondie On A Budget (1940) Youtube 6/10

Blondie gets jealous when Dagwood is visited by an old girlfriend.

Especially when the the old girl friend is  played by a young and gorgeous Rita Hayworth! This is #5 in the series and still has some good laughs though it follows the usual formula. Bumbling Dagwood is misunderstood by a suspicious Blondie. Baby Dumpling and Alvin have some more funny lines. One of the funniest scenes has Dagwood seeing every woman turn into Blondie. including a Chinese lady. Daisy has a drunk scene. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched the first 7 episodes of NewsRadio. It was a series from the 90's that starred kids-in-the-hall alumni Dave Foley and SNL alumni Phil Hartman and lovely Maura Tierney (who would later go on to great success plating Abby on ER) and future  podcast superstar Joe Rogan plus goofy Andy Dick and the remarkable character actor Stephen Root (who, in many ways, stole the whole show).

Anyway, I always loved that show and I recently bought the entire series on DVD for a great price on EBay. So, in the first day of my viewing I watched the entire Season 1 (which was only 7 episodes) but I re-watched the first 6 with commentary as well - that makes 13 episodes watched in one day. 

Time well spent!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched THE LONG, LONG TRAILER '54 again after many years since many on this group give it such favorable reviews. I remember not liking it much, but sometimes your opinions change with additional viewings. Well, this viewing was the same: I didn't really like this movie very much, but at least more favorably than the first viewing. 

It's the story of a newly wed couple played by Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz who were both excellent. I noticed Desi often had comic bits as well as Lucy and those were the few that actually made me laugh out loud. Every once in awhile he'd hear a frantic "trailer brakes first" in his mind and get bug eyed & panicky. Lucy's comic bits were familiar slapstick. I enjoyed the segment in the first 20 minutes  when the girlfriends were helping them move their stuff into the trailer, women everywhere cackling like chickens, piling up stuff....poor Nick. Smart directorial move, Minnelli.

But a string of mishaps were the bulk of the story and would have been much funnier if the couple weren't constantly bickering. I did not like the charactor Lucy played (Daisy? Tracey?) she showed disdain towards Nicky (Arnaz) over things he had no control over and therefore came across as demanding & unfeeling. Not newlyweds. There were a couple of times I wanted to pop her, her husband was doing his best while she sat back, complained and even deceived him (about removing the boulders she had been collecting along the way) Although one of the better scenes was when she took over the driving.

Neither of them thought through the logistics and consequences of hauling a large trailer, that is the crux of the "comedy". The scenes as they drove up a steep mountain were hair raising and only funny because they were so absurd-as absurd as making up the twin beds on their honeymoon night. I did love the one scene where they seemed happy & carefree and sang a song together. It sounded like Lucy was doing her own singing & she sounded wonderful. The movie needed more scenes like that and at least redeemed itself at the very end when they realized their love was bigger than the trailer.

The funniest thing watching the movie was all the stuff spotted that I still use 60 years later! I wear dresses like Lucy's and carry a 2 handled box purse like she does in the earliest scenes. The "tombstone" refrigerator in the trailer is like my old Gibson 'fridge (now used as a fireproof locker)

Lucy has a gorgeous new set of Pyrex refrigerator boxes in various colors & sizes (fruits/vegetables/cheese stay fresh for weeks) and when Nick says "Why do we need all these casserole dishes?" I almost fell off my chair seeing him holding up a coveted aluminum/glass Guardian casserole! 

500set.gif3d341bcb53726a4d0d2249b51c188e0d.jpgtumblr_mt389m7vRt1qcyn0ho1_400.gif

Once the DVD ended, I turned on TCM and watched HANNAH & HER SISTERS for the umpteenth time. Talk about evening of dysfunctional relationships.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I just watched THE LONG, LONG TRAILER '54 again after many years since many on this group give it such favorable reviews. I remember not liking it much, but sometimes your opinions change with additional viewings. Well, this viewing was the same: I didn't really like this movie very much, but at least more favorably than the first viewing.

As everyone knows, I love “The Long, Long Trailer.”  It’s my #1 favorite movie. I’ve seen it probably 100 times (no exaggeration). But I can see why it might not be everyone. 

I do agree that Lucy could be a pill to Desi; but it didn’t bother me much. My absolute favorite part is when Lucy falls out of the trailer and into an enormous mud puddle. Desi, half asleep, looks outside the door and says: “what’s the matter honey? Can’t you sleep?” 

My second favorite part is when Lucy is trying to take charge of Desi’s backing up fiasco, and tells everyone to stand back. Then, she pushes that guy out of the way. 

My third favorite part is when Desi wipes out Aunt Anastasia’s rose, leading to her to wail: “My rose! My rose! You tore down my rose with your lousy stinking trailer” then she sobs. 

Re: Lucy’s name. It’s “Tacy.”  Her character’s actual name is Anastasia, but she goes by Tacy (for some reason). Desi’s accent makes it harder to decipher. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a bad day Thursday with a bit of heat exhaustion and ended up in bed watching the FALCON series with Tom Conway.  These cheaply made programmers were full of snappy dialogue , plot twists, and interesting costars.  I found them and the infinitely charming Tom Conway irresistible and curative.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Last night it was Harrison Ford in A Clear and Present Danger (turned off the Chris Pine Jack Ryan).  Prefer Patriot Games.  Followed with a bit of ET (the alien) and Iron Chef papaya.  This afternoon it was the end of Paul Newman film, The Verdict followed by a bit of Mona Lisa's Smile.  Tonight, probably Fried Green Tomatoes (which I've recently scene but I try to defer to my Mom (until she goes to bed).  Besides, I tend to read while I watch whatever is on TV (trying to finish the last in a compilation of Ross MacDonald).

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rosebette said:

I had a bad day Thursday with a bit of heat exhaustion and ended up in bed watching the FALCON series with Tom Conway.  

(Okay, how many read that too quickly as "The Falcon series with Tim Conway"?  😄 )

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, EricJ said:

(Okay, how many read that too quickly as "The Falcon series with Tim Conway"?  😄 )

Did you know that Tim Conway's name was actually Tom, but he changed it because of Tom Conway?  

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Teresa (1951)

Psychological drama starring John Ericson as a failed World War II soldier who can't adjust to being back home.  Oh, and he couldn't bother to tell his parents that he got married to Teresa (Pier Angeli) while he was in Italy.

If the movie had actually been about Ericson and Angeli's characters trying to make a new life for themselves in the States after the war, it probably wouldn't have been half bad.  But it's mostly about Ericson's cowardice, and I don't think he had enough heft to pull off the part.  It needed to be somebody like Gregory Peck in the role.

It's going to be on TCM again Tuesday morning if you want to watch and judge for yourself.

5/10

Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Fedya said:

Teresa (1951)

Psychological drama starring John Ericson as a failed World War II soldier who can't adjust to being back home.  Oh, and he couldn't bother to tell his parents that he got married to Teresa (Pier Angeli) while he was in Italy.

If the movie had actually been about Ericson and Angeli's characters trying to make a new life for themselves in the States after the war, it probably wouldn't have been half bad.  But it's mostly about Ericson's cowardice, and I don't think he had enough heft to pull off the part.  It needed to be somebody like Gregory Peck in the role.

It's going to be on TCM again Tuesday morning if you want to watch and judge for yourself.

5/10

I agree;   Angeli looks great,,, but that isn't enough.

 

Another beautiful shot with John Ericson - Pier Angeli/Anna Maria ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Journey (1959)

I almost certain that most people could pick Yul Brynner out of a crowd, but outside of Westworld I hadn’t actually seen another Brynner film. Out of the selection of his films that TCM recently aired, this one looked the most interesting to me, so I just had to watch it. I had seen Deborah Kerr in a few other films and I wasn’t very impressed, but Kerr and Brynner put in two really good performances in this Cold War romance/drama. However, the film didn’t wow me. I didn’t hate it either, but something was missing. I felt like nothing really happened and there wasn’t much tension throughout. When everything starts to kick in, the film ends. The acting and setting were great, but the story left me wanting something more. I would give this film a chance if you haven’t seen it yet. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Motherless Brooklyn (2019) New York Neo Noir

Poster.jpg
 
"Frank always used to say, "Tell your story walkin', pal." He was more philosophical than your average gumshoe, but he liked to do his talkin' on the move, so here's how it all went down. I got somethin' wrong with my head. That's the first thing to know.It's like having glass in the brain. I can't stop pickin' things apart... twistin' 'em around, reassembling 'em. Words and sounds, especially. It's like an itch that has to be scratched..
....And I twitch a lot. It's hard to miss. It makes me look like a **** ****, but if I try to hold it back, it just makes it worse."       (Lionel Essrog) 

Its funny. . . . To me anyway.

Though I now live back in New York and very into Noir obviously, I heard nothing about this films production. I actually caught the film on the big screen on its opening day premiere about as far away from Brooklyn as you an get 2,900 miles away in a theater in Burlington, Washington in the shadows of the Cascades. It was the first show of the day and in an almost empty house. I wasn't expecting much and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Director, Edward Norton combining Jonathan Lethem  novel Motherless Brooklyn with The Power Broker, a Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Robert Moses by Robert A. Caro created a sort of New York version of Roman Polanski's Chinatown.

In that film inspired by the California Water Wars, Noah Cross and Hollis Mulwray (chief engineer of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) manipulated the Los Angeles Basin and Owens River water supply to dry up farmland so that it could be bought on the cheap so as to control all the water rights.  Motherless Brooklyn is a riff on New York City city planner, Robert Moses the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City and its surrounding suburbs.

Robert Moses created and led numerous public authorities that gave him autonomy from the general public and elected officials. Through these authorities, he controlled millions of dollars in income from his projects, such as tolls, and he could issue bonds to borrow vast sums for new ventures with little or no input from legislative bodies. Moses conceived and created Jones Beach and the New York State Park system.
 
It's this autonomy that Norton's planner, in the film called Moses Randolph, abuses his power in order to condemn poor neighborhoods to the wrecking ball in order to build expressways to move traffic and parkways to access the new public park spaces and beaches created. Jones Beach was literally built on a frequently storm flooded marsh land originally called Jones Island. The salt marsh at it's highest point was only two feet above sea level. Dredged sand out of Great South Bay was used to  build up to ten feet to create the beach and dunes. The parkways built to access the beach were designed for passenger cars only.

Bridge heights did not allow cheap public transportation access, so not only were the poor blacks, Latinos and other minorities displaced by these transportation improvements but those of the without car ownership had no way to get there.

All this is a backdrop anchor to a tail of murder and messy family intrigue.

Motherless Brooklyn gets right what Last Exit to Brooklyn, a noir-ish 1989 German-British drama film directed by Uli Edel got wrong. Edel's film comes off as a bizarre parallel universe Brooklyn with convincing characters juxtaposed against unbelievable ones. But that's another review.

The score by Daniel Pemberton with jazz pieces interpreted by Wynton Marsalis is a beautiful accompaniment to those images. All the actors do an impeccable job, Norton is quite convincing in depicting his affliction, the rest of the cast is a wonderful ensemble of confidant actors who slip into their characters like you would slip into an old pair of slippers.

Bravo, not bad Ed a 7-8/10. Make another.  Full review with sreencaps in Film Noir/Gangster Pagers

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, YourManGodfrey said:

The Journey (1959)

I almost certain that most people could pick Yul Brynner out of a crowd, but outside of Westworld I hadn’t actually seen another Brynner film. Out of the selection of his films that TCM recently aired, this one looked the most interesting to me, so I just had to watch it. I had seen Deborah Kerr in a few other films and I wasn’t very impressed, but Kerr and Brynner put in two really good performances in this Cold War romance/drama. However, the film didn’t wow me. I didn’t hate it either, but something was missing. I felt like nothing really happened and there wasn’t much tension throughout. When everything starts to kick in, the film ends. The acting and setting were great, but the story left me wanting something more. I would give this film a chance if you haven’t seen it yet. 

Well, it's hard to imagine a more lukewarm recommendation than that, but....

Aside from a fine performance by Brynner, the movie is well worth seeing for Jason Robards Jr'.s film debut.

I think it's a worthy film, but audiences of the time weren't drawn to it much. It lost money, as many fine movies do.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...