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The Sword of Doom (1966)

Tatsuya Nadakai’s performance in this film is an all-time great performance. His eyes and facial expressions alone are worth watching for two hours. His character has no soul. His eyes are in a perpetual thousand yard stare. He only craves death and destruction. I almost avoided this film due to its title, but in retrospect, it’s a perfect title. I am left wanting to fully explore Nadakai’s filmography. I watched Harakiri a few years ago, but I don’t remember it well. Perhaps that is a good place to start my journey. 
 

What I’m trying to say is, watch this film! Tatsuya Nadakai! Toshiro Mifune! Swords! Death! What more do you want? 

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I just watched Penny Marshall's 1992 film A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. As many of you know, I dislike Tom Hanks intensely, but since this movie was so popular, figured I better give it a go.

The story is a historical drama about the forming of an all girl's US baseball league during WW2, when American men were at war. It was a pretty typical sports movie featuring several quirky charactors & situations to add drama & comedy.

Tom Hanks plays his most repulsive role as a drunken manager. It's the first time I've ever seen him actually try acting and as usual, fails. Geena Davis & Lori Petty play rival sisters at the core of the story and both were great- believable in their emotions & athletics. Rosie O' Donnell and Madonna play NYC chums adding more extreme & colorful characterizations. The rest of the "team" had more minor appearances but all added great support to the story. There were a few subplots, most centering around the fact most men in their age group were absent/at war/on leave.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the film opening in nearby Cooperstown NY's Baseball Hall of Fame, nicely photographed. In fact, all of this movie was great looking-it was well set & photographed. The locations and action shots looked great, as did the costuming make up & hair, it was a nice mid 40's period piece.

Movie music at it's best can elevate emotions of the story and set time & place. Here, the music absolutely distracted from the story. Probably partly due to Marshall's attempt at creating a legendary/fairy tale type of story coupled with the style of the 90's when this was made, the grande sweeping violins and crashing cymbals of the climax come across as super hokey.

Glad I saw it, once. Really enjoy Geena Davis on screen. Wish she was there more.

 

225px-League_of_their_own_ver2.jpg

PS to add to my theory there are classic film actors that are comparable to today's actors/personalities I'd say Rosie O'Donnell is the contemporary Patsy Kelly.

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11 hours ago, kingrat said:

Mister Roberts gives us the chance to see four great stars at different stages of their careers, and all four could scarcely be better. Jack Lemmon looks impossibly young and skinny and adorable and, oh yes, funny. If he's near the beginning of a long film career, William Powell is at the end of his and though the doctor seems weary, his quiet wisdom, irony, and kindness shine through. Like Powell, Henry Fonda is one of the best "acting is reacting" actors to be found. The smallest gesture, a look, an intonation, the thought we can see cross his face--never too much, always enough. Like Lemmon, James Cagney is a different kind of actor, livelier, more extroverted, more presentational. Because we like Cagney from his other films and because the captain is so full of energy, although usually misguided, he's comic, villainous, and serious in just the right proportions.

As a big fan of Jimmy Cagney, I've always been a bit disappointed by his broad playing as the Captain in this film. I see little, if any, of the subtlety that he was capable of bringing to a role here. Yes he's amusing to watch, at times, and I know that this mean spirited little man he is portraying has to be the butt of the humour in much of the film. Maybe it's simply the way that the role of the Captain was written and Cagney was being loyal to Joshua Logan. But James Cagney was, in my opinion, one of the great actors and I would have enjoyed seeing a more rounded characterization instead of a cartoony villain. If that had happened,though, I guess the Captain would not have been as much of a foil for everyone else.

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Murder Is My Beat (1955)  Low Rent Ulmer Noir

Murder%2Bis%2Bmy%2BBeat%2BPoster.jpg

Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer ( director of low rent masterpiece Detour (1945), and The Man from Planet X (1951)). Written by Aubrey Wisberg and Martin Field. The Cinematography was by Harold E. Wellman and the Music was by Albert Glasser.

The film stars a bunch of "B" Movie and TV actors and actresses Paul Langton as Detective Ray Patrick, Barbara Payton (Trapped (1949), Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)) in her last film before starting her second career of being an alkie hooker selling her **** on Sunset Strip, as Eden Lane, Robert Shayne (Backlash (1947)) as Det. Bert Rawley, Selena Royle (Moonrise (1948), The Damned Don't Cry (1950), He Ran All the Way (1951)) as Beatrice Abbott. Roy Gordon (Night Editor (1946), Nora Prentiss (1947), Railroaded! (1947), Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) as Mr. Abbott, Tracy Roberts (Sideshow (1950)) as Patsy Flint picture snatcher Spotlight Nightclub, Kate MacKenna as Miss Farre, Henry W. Harvey Sr. as the gas station attendant, Jay Adler (Cry Danger (1951), 99 River Street (1953), The Killing (1956)) as Louie, the bartender. William Fawcett as Police Pathologist.

The story is mostly told in flashback.

The film is nothing special but watchable with some interesting sequences for railfans and as noted before, the last film of Barbara Peyton. 6-710 

Review with screen caps in Film Noir/Gangster pages. 

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

As a big fan of Jimmy Cagney, I've always been a bit disappointed by his broad playing as the Captain in this film. I see little, if any, of the subtlety that he was capable of bringing to a role here. Yes he's amusing to watch, at times, and I know that this mean spirited little man he is portraying has to be the butt of the humour in much of the film. Maybe it's simply the way that the role of the Captain was written and Cagney was being loyal to Joshua Logan. But James Cagney was, in my opinion, one of the great actors and I would have enjoyed seeing a more rounded characterization instead of a cartoony villain. If that had happened,though, I guess the Captain would not have been as much of a foil for everyone else.

I'm surprised you didn't like Cagney's part in the film.  IMO, he managed to be both believably contemptable (love his confrontations with Fonda's Doug Roberts) and hilariously uproarious (his throwing a hissy fit when he confronts Roberts about Roberts being the one who threw his precious palm tree overboard just kills me!).

I admit I never saw the original play so I don't know how the role of the Captain played out in there, but I do know I did appreciate Cagney's acting skill in this one. But all four of the leading men did such a bang-up acting job.

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17 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

I'm surprised you didn't like Cagney's part in the film.  IMO, he managed to be both believably contemptable (love his confrontations with Fonda's Doug Roberts) and hilariously uproarious (his throwing a hissy fit when he confronts Roberts about Roberts being the one who threw his precious palm tree overboard just kills me!).

I admit I never saw the original play so I don't know how the role of the Captain played out in there, but I do know I did appreciate Cagney's acting skill in this one. But all four of the leading men did such a bang-up acting job.

I'm not saying Cagney didn't have his moments (the "Whooo did it?" scene on the ship's intercom system after his palm tree is destroyed) but, overall, compared to the best work of his career, his performance disappoints me. Too broad.

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11 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I'm not saying Cagney didn't have his moments (the "Whooo did it?" scene on the ship's intercom system after his palm tree is destroyed) but, overall, compared to the best work of his career, his performance disappoints me. Too broad.

Well, to each their own. I don't feel that broadness is necessarily a bad thing.

While it may not have been THE definite role of his career (that would go to Cody Jarrett in WHITE HEAT), I still think he turned in a terrific performance as the ship's Captain in MISTER ROBERTS.

 

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36 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Well, to each their own. I don't feel that broadness is necessarily a bad thing.

While it may not have been THE definite role of his career (that would go to Cody Jarrett in WHITE HEAT), I still think he turned in a terrific performance as the ship's Captain in MISTER ROBERTS.

 

I rather suspect that most people probably enjoy Jimmy's work in Mr. Roberts and I am of a minority opinion. The reality to me is that everything Cagney did after White Heat seems anti-climactic. There are only so many great roles in a career. The quality of his films largely declined and Cagney started to slow down as he got increasingly heavy. That doesn't mean he wasn't always giving a professional account of himself (certainly his mile-a-minute dialogue delivery in One Two Three is a wonder,  he gives a mean abrasive performance with a touch of vulnerability in Love Me Or Leave Me, as well as a nice low key turn in Come Fill the Cup and a couple of others could be mentioned, as well) but the best of his career was clearly behind him once he entered the '50s. Mr. Roberts, I suspect, was his biggest commercial success of those later years.

Please don't misundertand my overall feelings about this actor. One of the great thrills of my teen years was when Cagney sent me a small note of thanks for a fan letter of mine. He was a very gracious gentleman in that missive to me.

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I don't even know when that was written.  Last night, watched Summer School, starring Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley (directed by Carl Reiner).  Kind of a rip off of all the school films (many directed by the late John Hughes (sp?).  Carl Reiner has a funny cameo.  It was cute and semi-unbelievable for someone who has actually taught English to high schoolers.  After that, watched brief intro to Guys and Dolls (Brando and Sinatra - not exactly a match made in heaven).  Switched to the movie version of The Odd Couple and appreciated the great performances by friends Lemmon and Matthau.  I loved and sort of lived The Tony R. and Jack K. TV version (don't ask); however, these two made terrific foils.

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

I'm not saying Cagney didn't have his moments (the "Whooo did it?" scene on the ship's intercom system after his palm tree is destroyed) but, overall, compared to the best work of his career, his performance disappoints me. Too broad.

Cagney’s performance was actually my favorite in that film. I have only seen the film once, but Cagney’s scenes are the ones that have stuck in my head. Now, by the rules of the internet, I demand that you change your opinion! 😆

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9 minutes ago, YourManGodfrey said:

Cagney’s performance was actually my favorite in that film. I have only seen the film once, but Cagney’s scenes are the ones that have stuck in my head. Now, by the rules of the internet, I demand that you change your opinion! 😆

How about my posting a pix of the cast during production. Will you settle for that?

james-cagney-plays-a-guitar-as-william-p

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In the Mood for Love (2000)

There's not much I can say on this film that hasn't already been said. Wong Kar-wai is brilliant and this is certainly one of his best works (I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't yet seen Chungking Express though). Wong's use of offscreen space is particularly noteworthy -- very reminiscent of Ozu. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung both give subdued, heartbreaking performances. Just beautiful.

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26 minutes ago, Lemon-Shaped Rock said:

In the Mood for Love (2000)

There's not much I can say on this film that hasn't already been said. Wong Kar-wai is brilliant and this is certainly one of his best works (I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't yet seen Chungking Express though). Wong's use of offscreen space is particularly noteworthy -- very reminiscent of Ozu. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung both give subdued, heartbreaking performances. Just beautiful.

I'm very much enjoying the commentary you provide on films that are not commented upon by many (any?) of the members here.

By the way, I recently obtained the 2-disc Criterion edition of In the Mood for Love. Haven't watched it yet, though - so I haven't anything to say about it at this point.

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51 minutes ago, Lemon-Shaped Rock said:

In the Mood for Love (2000)

There's not much I can say on this film that hasn't already been said. Wong Kar-wai is brilliant and this is certainly one of his best works (I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't yet seen Chungking Express though). Wong's use of offscreen space is particularly noteworthy -- very reminiscent of Ozu. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung both give subdued, heartbreaking performances. Just beautiful.

I saw "Chungking Express" years ago, shortly after it first came out.  Haven't seen it since, so I don't remember the details, but I do recall I liked it, I thought it was really engaging and  interesting.  Kind of a Chinese Quentin Tarantino action film, although there was more than just "action" going on in it. 

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4 hours ago, SadPanda said:

I'm very much enjoying the commentary you provide on films that are not commented upon by many (any?) of the members here.

By the way, I recently obtained the 2-disc Criterion edition of In the Mood for Love. Haven't watched it yet, though - so I haven't anything to say about it at this point.

I appreciate the kind words. In the Mood for Love is definitely worth owning through Criterion. The visual design is absolutely stunning.

4 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

I saw "Chungking Express" years ago, shortly after it first came out.  Haven't seen it since, so I don't remember the details, but I do recall I liked it, I thought it was really engaging and  interesting.  Kind of a Chinese Quentin Tarantino action film, although there was more than just "action" going on in it. 

Chungking Express is often regarded as one of Wong's best films, right up there with In the Mood for Love, so I really need to check it out soon. Funny that you mention the connection to Tarantino because I also recently watched Ringo Lam's City on Fire (1987), a classic Hong Kong crime film that greatly influenced Reservoir Dogs. It's definitely up there with A Better Tomorrow (1986) as one of the best action films from that period.

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12 hours ago, TomJH said:

As a big fan of Jimmy Cagney, I've always been a bit disappointed by his broad playing as the Captain in this film. I see little, if any, of the subtlety that he was capable of bringing to a role here. Yes he's amusing to watch, at times, and I know that this mean spirited little man he is portraying has to be the butt of the humour in much of the film. Maybe it's simply the way that the role of the Captain was written and Cagney was being loyal to Joshua Logan. But James Cagney was, in my opinion, one of the great actors and I would have enjoyed seeing a more rounded characterization instead of a cartoony villain. If that had happened,though, I guess the Captain would not have been as much of a foil for everyone else.

He was far stronger & snagged his only 3rd Oscar nod in same yrs LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME

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According to CAGNEY they were below decks taking a break & FORD was being really nasty to him, then FONDA got up & threw FORD across the room, telling him to be more respectful of him

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12 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I just watched Penny Marshall's 1992 film A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. As many of you know, I dislike Tom Hanks intensely, but since this movie was so popular, figured I better give it a go.

The story is a historical drama about the forming of an all girl's US baseball league during WW2, when American men were at war. It was a pretty typical sports movie featuring several quirky charactors & situations to add drama & comedy.

Tom Hanks plays his most repulsive role as a drunken manager. It's the first time I've ever seen him actually try acting and as usual, fails. Geena Davis & Lori Petty play rival sisters at the core of the story and both were great- believable in their emotions & athletics. Rosie O' Donnell and Madonna play NYC chums adding more extreme & colorful characterizations. The rest of the "team" had more minor appearances but all added great support to the story. There were a few subplots, most centering around the fact most men in their age group were absent/at war/on leave.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the film opening in nearby Cooperstown NY's Baseball Hall of Fame, nicely photographed. In fact, all of this movie was great looking-it was well set & photographed. The locations and action shots looked great, as did the costuming make up & hair, it was a nice mid 40's period piece.

Movie music at it's best can elevate emotions of the story and set time & place. Here, the music absolutely distracted from the story. Probably partly due to Marshall's attempt at creating a legendary/fairy tale type of story coupled with the style of the 90's when this was made, the grande sweeping violins and crashing cymbals of the climax come across as super hokey.

Glad I saw it, once. Really enjoy Geena Davis on screen. Wish she was there more.

 

225px-League_of_their_own_ver2.jpg

PS to add to my theory there are classic film actors that are comparable to today's actors/personalities I'd say Rosie O'Donnell is the contemporary Patsy Kelly.

made $108m and what did you think of THE QUEEN IN IT  MADONNA LOUISE VERONICA CICCONE?

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9 hours ago, TomJH said:

I rather suspect that most people probably enjoy Jimmy's work in Mr. Roberts and I am of a minority opinion. The reality to me is that everything Cagney did after White Heat seems anti-climactic. There are only so many great roles in a career. The quality of his films largely declined and Cagney started to slow down as he got increasingly heavy. That doesn't mean he wasn't always giving a professional account of himself (certainly his mile-a-minute dialogue delivery in One Two Three is a wonder,  he gives a mean abrasive performance with a touch of vulnerability in Love Me Or Leave Me, as well as a nice low key turn in Come Fill the Cup and a couple of others could be mentioned, as well) but the best of his career was clearly behind him once he entered the '50s. Mr. Roberts, I suspect, was his biggest commercial success of those later years.

Please don't misundertand my overall feelings about this actor. One of the great thrills of my teen years was when Cagney sent me a small note of thanks for a fan letter of mine. He was a very gracious gentleman in that missive to me.

Don't 4-get about his ROCKY SULLIVAN

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2 minutes ago, SadPanda said:

Fonda manhandled John Ford? 

Wow. I'd not heard that before.

It's in CAGNEY'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY  of which I got as a gift in the l980's

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