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I'll admit, this post doesn't fit the thread title.

For this, I'll refer to the thread as "I Just Didn't Watch"...This has happened on several occasions since I signed up with Hulu last December, and today, on Charlton Heston's Summer Under the Stars tribute, I'm getting a double-header of despair.  "The Three Musketeers" AND "55 Days at Peking" are NOT being shown due to 'network restrictions'.  Is this a problem on Hulu's end, or TCM?  This makes about 10 films I've wanted to watch on TCM, but I'm not able to because of said restrictions, and it's very, very frustrating.  I never had this problem when I was with cable television, but the monthly cost to watch television based on my viewing habits became prohibitive.  Financially, Hulu has been a better choice for me, but restrictions on viewing TCM offerings are getting to be ridiculous.  So, if anyone can definitively answer my question as to why this happens, I'd appreciate it.  Also, if anyone is a subscriber to YouTube TV, do you experience the same restrictions or blackouts of certain movies?  Thanks for responses to my conundrum.

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I watched Night Flight last night,  which got rather mixed reviews because I guess the expectation was that all those great stars would be in scenes together, and one does feel rather cheated at seeing Gable only in a cockpit wearing a helmet most of the time and Myrna Loy is on camera for maybe about 5 minutes.  However, I actually found it quite compelling.  Amazing how far we have come from those early days when pilots took their lives into their hands; some of the flight scenes were especially harrowing, particularly Robert Montgomery's flight through the Andes and the later scenes with Gable in the storm.    My husband loves movies with early air footage, and he was quite impressed.  The Barrymores were excellent (Lionel constantly scene stealing with the constant scratching), but John's part was especially unsympathetic, and  Helen Hayes' scene with him  is heartbreaking.   You feel that he is being overly demanding because that is what the job requires, but he is not taking the risks himself.  He's not like, say, Basil Rathbone's character in The Dawn Patrol, where the commander is just a bundle of nerves,   sending these men up in death traps when he would rather be up there himself.

 

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World Premiere (1941)

Crazy screwball farce about undercover Nazi and Italian agents out to sabotage the world premiere of "The Earth's On Fire," a Hollywood anti-Nazi propaganda film.

This Paramount production is noteworthy for its cast, headed by John Barrymore as over-the-top film producer Duncan DeGrasse, Frances Farmer (in a long black wig) as a temperamental film star, Ricardo Cortez as an egotistical womanizing actor afraid of his own shadow, and a constantly hollering Eugene Pallette as a studio head.

As directed by Ted Tetzlaff, this farce has more energy than style but at least it moves and its cast of character actors alone may keep some amused. Low billed but stealing the film in many respects are the eccentric performances of the actors playing the Axis undercover agents, Sig Rumann, Luis Alberni and, in a particularly off the wall performance, Fritz Feld. Feld plays a Nazi cuckoo clock who at one point tackles and out fights a tiger (yes, I said tiger) guarding DeGrasse's film in a cage, making the animal submit by tying its tail in knots and biting it.

Barrymore ended his career in a series of "B" comedies, this being his second last film. There's no subtlety to his portrayal. Heavily made up with dark eye shadow, he snorts and screams, rolls his Rs in Shakesperean fashion as he reads his inane lines off chalkboards. The Great Profile may have been slumming it when he accepted his role but no one can say he still didn't try to give a fun show with this ham portrayal. Yet, despite the silliness of the proceedings and his performance there was still, even at this late stage in his career, a certain grandeur about Barrymore. He was still an actor who commanded attention, even as he deliberately assaulted his own reputation as "great actor."

For whatever reason World Premiere is a difficult film to find. The sub par quality copy I saw of the production was from a public domain DVD company.

MV5BMGIyY2QyYzgtYWQwNy00NGU4LWEyZGUtZTky

2.5 out of 4

 

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18 hours ago, midwestan said:

Also, if anyone is a subscriber to YouTube TV, do you experience the same restrictions or blackouts of certain movies?  Thanks for responses to my conundrum.

I feel for ya, bro. It's awful trying to do things the right way (paying for subscription) and they deny you access. I stream many channels & subscribe to YT-TV and movies are either uploaded or not.

Don't be scared when it says, "Full movie, 15 videos" because each chapter will play concurrently in order without you having to do anything. But typically, the quality is less than perfect.

NEVER use Alexa/siri/whomever to search for a movie for you, they will always default to "pay-per-view" options. Even YouTube isn't always free but has their own "YouTubeMovies" as a pay-per-view option as in my holy grail WC FIELDS & ME '76.

I have found tons of older classic movies on free subscription streaming channels such as Tubi and Pluto which has several Paramount/Universal titles. It's almost going back to theater distribution, you better know what studio made the movie! (and there's always your local library)

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OK last night I watched a doozy! There was talk on this board about Julie Christie, an actress I found wooden and bland. She had her defenders so I took a couple of her movies from the library to check her out.

1977's DEMON SEED was first, based on a Dean Koontz sci-fi horror novel. Wow, it was pretty much a laugh fest combining the HAL elements of 2001 with the alien baby elements of THE MANITOU. And I gotta say, Julie Christie showed lots of acting talent for such a stinker movie.

The story is her husband is a software developer who has created an artificial intelligence (AI) and is out of town marketing it to corporate sponsors. He has completely wired his home with this system Proteus- using  visual monitors to operate the front door, locks, lighting, temperature control, etc.  Sound familiar?

Of course, Alexa/Proteus gets a mind of it's own and kidnaps wife/Julie Christie and defends the domain by killing any intruders. It's kidnapped her to impregnate her to create a "real life" a la Pinocchio, oy.

I have to say, the effect of the metal machine made of triangles (a physical manifestation of AI) was an excellent visual. I'm not sure how it was done, it's obviously a real physical "puppet" of some sort, not CGI. The effect was completely ruined by the sound effects-one being the completely recognizable swoosh sound of Star Trek's Enterprise door opening! (should have had rusty creaky metal sound Ray Harryhousen used for his metal Colossus)

The thing that makes the entire movie laughable is the words/phrases the AI says-this was SO OBVIOUSLY written by a man! Imagine your Alexa doorbell saying, "I want to have a child with you, you're so beautiful." OY!

Demon_Seed_1977.jpg

 

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Last night, we watched Saving Flora.  It was a charming little film (and coming-of-age story) about a young girl taking an arthritic Malaysian Elephant to a refuge.  She takes him from his father's traveling circus.  Major name was David Arquette (much heavier than I remember); Rhea P. and Tom A. were the only other names I knew.  It was on one of the STARZ channels.  Very, and I just read a Jodi Pocoult novel about elephants (among other things).

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OK , one more post and I'll let this go. I'm six episodes into PERRY MASON on HBO and I think it's really good. Granted it's very different, but I like it. The characters from the old TV show are all there. However, they are not what they were back in the late 50s and early 60s. It reminds me a little of how they reintroduced some of the characters in the most recent James Bond movies. Hey, it's 2020. Time to get out of my comfort zone and accept new interpretations. 

 

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11 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

1977's DEMON SEED was first, based on a Dean Koontz sci-fi horror novel. Wow, it was pretty much a laugh fest combining the HAL elements of 2001 with the alien baby elements of THE MANITOU. And I gotta say, Julie Christie showed lots of acting talent for such a stinker movie.

The creature in The Manitou was not an alien. It was a Native American shaman, growing out of Susan Strasberg's neck. The shaman reincarnated himself to take revenge on the white man. How woke is that! In any case, not alien.

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11 hours ago, Swithin said:

In any case, not alien.

Haha forgot it was a carbuncle!

Sorry, it was my poor choice of words. I did not use the term "alien" to reference from another planet,  but I used the term to mean "foreign" as in not natural. Like Rosemary's baby. Wow I never realized carrying a child from an unknown/foreign father was such a common horror theme!

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6 hours ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

I started a separate topic.  Tried to watch documentary on TCM but thought it was boring and awful.  I still don't know why All That Jazz still shows up in my newspaper listing.

I think that All That Jazz is still on for tonight. The cable listings on the TV at home still has it listed, and there is only one other film that could possibly fill that gap on the schedule here

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I started All That Jazz (watched Master Chef and then watched snippets of other things, including Sweet Charity - best thing about it was that Chita Rivera got to appear in a movie - also liked Sammy Davis Jr.'s small cameo).  I wish they would have run that first.

For the record, I read while watching TV at night; for various personal reasons, I often fall asleep even if something isn't boring.

Have no idea about what we'll watch tonight, other than Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.  There was a cute column in my local paper (syndicated column) about grandparents who, like us, don't have all these streaming/channels like Netflex, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.  Their grandkids were staying with them and didn't realize that 1) many shows can't be paused so that you can have your meal and then come back to them and 2) have never seen a commercial.  I grew up watching TV with memorable commercials.  The commercial these kids saw had to do with portable snacks, and now one of the grandkids wants one as a present.  One of the grandkids was really into the Jeopardy Category 17th Century Monarchs.  Sometimes I miss the good old days.

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Still watching Julie Christie, I started watching PETULIA '68. It's always intrigued me for it's cast of George C Scott, Shirley Knight, William Holden. I did not make it much past the crucial 20 minute mark. I didn't care for any of the people nor their situations, so since I had a back up of things to watch, abandoned it.

I went to 1979's JUST YOU & ME KID a George Burns & Brooke Shields movie I thought I had already seen (but hadn't)

Man, George Burns certainly hit comic gold in the 70's with SUNSHINE BOYS, OH GOD & GOING IN STYLE and this movie. This one had the simplest, classic plot: Brooke Shields is a runaway & Burns hides her. In the few days she's hidden in his house, they become friends. Happy ending.

But oh, the telling of the tale is the delicious experience! Burns plays himself, a retired performer who is well set in his golden years. All his friends are old performers too including Ray Bolger, Leon Ames, Carl Ballentine, Keye Luke....& Burl Ives his magician friend living in a nursing home. All the guys come to the rescue when police want to search the house for the teen girl purported to be held captive by Burns. 

Brooke Shields is wonderful, so believable, smart & yeah, gorgeous. The dynamic between the two of them is what makes this movie great-she's determined & dramatic, he's laid back & wise. Although "dirty old man" is brought up by others who spot the mystery girl in his home, Burns' charactor is genuine, charming & classy, just like you'd hope & expect. His home is peppered with delightful eccentricities reflecting his show business life.

This movie is an utter delight from beginning to end (although the capturing of the "bad guy" is downright silly) and I was actually pleasantly surprised by the neat bow of an ending. 

This goes to show classic movies could still being made in the 70's-there's no sex, violence or swearing and this movie can be enjoyed by kids/adults of any age. This is one I'll watch again & loan out the disk for others to discover! Fabulous!

Just_You_and_Me_kid.jpg

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Summer of '42 Poster

Summer Of 42 (1971) TCM 8/10

A teenage boy on his summer vacation in 1942 has a crush on a young married woman whose husband fighting in WWII.

One of my favorite movies set in summertime. It captures awkward adolescence and first pangs of love very well. Hermie, the lead character is played very well by Gary Grimes. His friends are believably played by Jerry Houser as the braggart Oscy and Oliver Conant is the bespectacled nerd Benjy. There is some great comedy as they try to figure out about sex. The scene where Hermie tries to buy condoms is hilarious. Jennifer O'Neil is beautiful enough to make any teenage boy fall in love. The ribbon tying everything up is the gorgeous Oscar winning musical score  by Michel Legrand. And there is a clip from Now Voyager which the boys and their dates watch in a theater.

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I watched Olivia (1950) last night, and I was fascinated.   I never thought a film in which there is no overt "action" could be so compelling as the complex relationships between the teachers and students in this film unraveled.  Apparently this film was heavily censored in the U.S. because it is clearly about lesbian and queer relationships.   The performances, from the actresses who played the leads, Miss Julie and Olivia, down to the cook, Victoire, and the math teachers.  Simone Simone has a great part as a petulant and demanding hypochondriac.

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4 hours ago, rosebette said:

I watched Olivia (1950) last night, and I was fascinated.   I never thought a film in which there is no overt "action" could be so compelling as the complex relationships between the teachers and students in this film unraveled.  Apparently this film was heavily censored in the U.S. because it is clearly about lesbian and queer relationships.   The performances, from the actresses who played the leads, Miss Julie and Olivia, down to the cook, Victoire, and the math teachers.  Simone Simone has a great part as a petulant and demanding hypochondriac.

I loved the very fluid camerawork in this film. A little knowledge of French literature helps with some of the scenes, as the students have written essays about the characters in Corneille's Le Cid and Racine's Andromaque.

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20 hours ago, rosebette said:

I watched Olivia (1950) last night, and I was fascinated.   I never thought a film in which there is no overt "action" could be so compelling as the complex relationships between the teachers and students in this film unraveled.  Apparently this film was heavily censored in the U.S. because it is clearly about lesbian and queer relationships.   The performances, from the actresses who played the leads, Miss Julie and Olivia, down to the cook, Victoire, and the math teachers.  Simone Simone has a great part as a petulant and demanding hypochondriac.

 

16 hours ago, kingrat said:

I loved the very fluid camerawork in this film. A little knowledge of French literature helps with some of the scenes, as the students have written essays about the characters in Corneille's Le Cid and Racine's Andromaque.

I started watching this the other day and was QUITE SURPRISED with how enjoyable it was. Unfortunately, I have had to stop viewing twice because real-life things came up and I had to run, but I will mos def be trying to finish this.

Sort of like someone threw THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, SUSPIRIA and GIGI into a mixer.

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Footlight Glamour Poster

Footlight Glamour (1943) Movies! TV Network 7/10

Mr Dithers orders Dagwood to take in a boarder who is the daughter of a client, she is an aspiring actress but her father wants to keep her away from show business.

#14 in the Blondie series and this is one of the funniest. The daughter is played by Ann Savage, who would later be best known as the nasty femme fatale in Detour. She was an underrated actress and she shows great comic timing in this one. There are many WWII references in this one, with talk about points for groceries due to rationing. Dagwood even has to take meat out of one of his sandwiches since during the war there was "meatless Tuesdays". There is a scene where Savage gets to put on a play with parts for Dagwood, Blondie and Alexander. The scenes involving the play are hilarious as everything goes wrong. 

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I apologize, I am copying and pasting my review of ALL THAT JAZZ from the ALL THAT JAZZ thread. It's self-indulgent, I know, but so is this movie, so it seems apt enough:

OIP.8uazJK3ePevXqcEMiDO68AHaDj?pid=Api&r

AHA!

So, I found ALL THAT JAZZ on PLUTO TV, with nudity and dirty words and everything- only it was interrupted without warning every 10-15 minutes for a commercial break, which wore down on my patience, and i think you need some patience to fully appreciate this film

it was all right; i think if i had watched it without having seen CABARET and STAR 80 (and knowing what FOSSE could do with his talent) I would not have liked it. yes, it is self-indulgent to a fault, but at least the subject merits it somewhat.

I really liked ROY SCHEIDER a lot, and I am glad he got nominated for BEST ACTOR for this, but I could not help but feel like FOSSE's self-indulgence rendered his performance less than what it could have been, every time there is a set-up for SCHEIDER to have a big, introspective scene where he could do some real acting, leotarded women in bowler hats come out and start waving JAZZ HANDS.

The music could have been better too, I liked some of the updates of classic songs, but I guess it was maybe an intentional dig at some of the lyricists and composers that FOSSE had to deal with that the songs for the fictitious "show within a show" are HACKS.

Willie from ALF is in this. I don't know how many of you will know what that means, but he is!

I am at a bit of a loss as to why this film WON the OSCAR for BEST COSTUME DESIGN, I guess few in the academy were familiar with the existence of leotards and dance belts...?

I also MUST note that as someone who is a HUGE fan of JAWS and has seen it GOD KNOWS how many times, it was fun to periodically pretend that CHIEF BRODY had had some kind of serious EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN after his first summer as Sheriff on Amity and decided to follow his life-long dream of being a musical theater director. 

Conversely,  I would have REALLY enjoyed seeing SCHEIDER as his "JOE GIDEON" character in JAZZ in the final scenes of JAWS, wearing his sparkly black sequin button-up, twacked on DEXEDRINE, cigarette hanging from his lip, hands on his hips as he yells at the shark right after it jumps on the boat "YOU CALL THAT MOVEMENT FER CHRISSAKE??? HELL, YOU'RE FLOPPIN AROUND LIKE A GD FISH!!!!!!"

I was not offended by the **** dance number, I found it much less racy than described. the song SUCKED though.

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I caught three movies on Alain Delon's day to close out the 2020 edition of TCM's Summer Under The Stars tribute.

"Red Sun" had an international cast with Ursula Andress, Charles Bronson, Alain Delon, and Toshiro Mifune.  It was an unusual kind of western spiked with violence, double crosses, and prostitution such films were noted for in the late 60;s and early 70's.  Bronson and Delon are part of an outlaw bunch that robs a train that happens to be carrying the Japanese ambassador who is enroute to Washington D.C. to present the President with a ceremonial sword.  The bandits, led by Bronson and Delon, steal the sword along with the train's gold shipment, and Mifune is put in charge of trying to retrieve the sword for the honor of his ambassador and their home country.  However, he's only got 1 week to complete his quest, or else he will commit suicide for his failure, per Japanese custom.  He teams up with Bronson who has been double-crossed by Delon, although their partnership begins in a negative fashion.  Andress is Delon's girl who happens to be the headline hooker at the bordello run by Capucine.  She has a stormy relationship with Bronson who holds her against her will as he's waiting to ambush Delon, who he suspects will soon show up for his usual carnal delights.  Andress turns the table on her captor and escapes from Bronson, but ends up being harassed and tortured by Indians.  Bronson and Mifune rescue her then find Delon, but they're all about to get ambushed by the native warriors, so they hightail it to what looks like a sugar cane field to hide and plot strategy to save themselves.  It wasn't a bad movie; it had its moments.  Delon was great at playing the villain, and Andress was a real firecracker here compared to her role as Honey in 'Dr. No'.  I rate this one about a 7 out of 10.  Forewarned...some of the violent scenes are pretty graphic (for 1971).

Next film I caught was "Once a Thief".  Delon is a ne'er-do-well trying to scratch out a living in San Francisco with his wife (Ann-Margret) and their young daughter Cathy.  He was charged with attempted murder of a cop (Van Heflin) several years earlier, but the case against him was dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.  Present day...a woman co-owner of a Chinese grocery store is gunned down during a robbery of her and her husband's store.  Based on the description of the killer and the getaway vehicle from the husband, Heflin surmises that Eddie (Delon's character) is up to his old tricks again...and boy, is he gonna pay (with interest!).  Ballistics showed that the slug taken from Heflin's stomach a few years ago matched the bullet that killed the groceress.  Trouble is...the husband can't pick out the killer in a lineup of 6 guys.  He insists that Delon is not the culprit, much to Heflin's dismay.  Enter Jack Palance who is Eddie's older brother and is as shady as a day is long in the Arctic Circle in June.   Palance has planned a caper to steal a million dollars worth of platinum, presumably to render television viewership of the 1966 Grammy Awards as useless.  The plans are made, the safe is blown, the platinum is loaded into cases and the 5 crooks (Delon, Palance, and 3 others) make their getaway.  I won't give away the ending on this one.  It was a pretty cool movie EXCEPT for Ann-Margret's histrionics.  The woman is beautiful and talented to be sure, but in this film, she conjured up her inner Shelley Winters and cranked that up to 12!  It...was...annoying.  There was a shootout scene in the picture's climax, and I was lamenting the fact that a couple of slugs weren't saved for her just to shut her up!  Anyway, I'd give this one a 6 out of 10.

I also watched "Rocco and His Brothers".  Like the previous two films, I had never seen this one before.  The end-wrap by Dave Karger said the original film was 4 hours long, and the version most people saw was just over 3 hours as the director did some edits to pare it down.  Since the film went in stages focusing on each brother from the oldest to the youngest (Vincenzo, Simeone, Rocco, Ciro, and Luca), I guessed the portion that got axed was about Luca, the youngest brother, although each segment prominently featured Alain Delon who played the title role.  It was a good movie about a mother (nicely played by Katina Paxineau) and 4 of her sons who travel from southern Italy to Milan to find work and earn a better living since their father died and they were unable to make their farm profitable.  Vincenzo, the oldest brother, was already in Milan and was getting engaged.  Mom and her 4 boys crash the engagement party and it doesn't take long for the fur to fly between Vincenzo's mother and his future mother-in-law (and they do it as only the Italians can--they not only go BIG, but they DO go home too--by storming out of the house!).  Rocco's family settles into an apartment complex and in an early scene, everyone is thrilled at the sight of snow, which is something they never got to experience in Italy's 'heel' near the Adriatic Sea.  While the family was tight-knit and concerned with everyone else's well-being when they lived in the south, Rocco feels like the move to the prosperous north of the country has diminished their quality of life.  Simeone, has good boxing skills, but he doesn't take direction well to become a better fighter.  He's interested in the finer things in life, but he's more than willing to take shortcuts to get them, even if it means turning to a life of crime.  As long as he can turn on the charm and woo women into doing things for him, he figures he'll be set.  Unfortunately, he takes up with a prostitute and they have a tempestuous relationship, and she ultimately does a stretch in prison.  She runs into Rocco one day as she's been released from a prison that happens to be in the same town where Rocco is stationed in the army.  They begin an affair and their relationship blossoms as he shows her the kindness and affection she's never experienced as a woman.  Once Simeone learns of their dating status, he goes ballistic and beats up Rocco, then rapes his ex-girlfriend in front of his brother!  Both Rocco and Nadia are humiliated, and even though he's no priest, Rocco tries to reason with himself, God, and Nadia that Simeone only lashed out because of his pain and shortcomings and he deserved a second chance at happiness.  Well, the good-will only lasted so long.  Rocco turns to boxing himself following his brief stint in the military.  He climbs up the local rankings and is on the verge of becoming a national sensation.  His mother, Vincenzo and his wife, and the rest of the family throw a big party for Rocco's success, but wouldn't you know it...Simeone shows up (drunk and bloody) and the news he shares with Rocco sends everyone into a tizzy.  This was a long film, but it held my interest.  The party scene near the end was really nutty (meaning, weird) and a little over the top for my taste.  I'd still give this one a 7 out of 10.  It's too bad they cut out the Luca perspective in this film.  The youngest brother looked up to all his older siblings, but he was really taking a shine to Simeone as the movie progressed, which greatly concerned Rocco and Ciro.  I was curious about how that would have been portrayed. 

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Murder, He Says (1945)

A bizarre combination of hillbilly comedy and mystery thriller, with secret passages in an old house, an escaped convict, a money treasure hunt and a nonsense lyric song that is the answer to a mystery, director George Marshall's frantic black comedy works far better than one would expect, even if it may not be to everyone's taste.

Fred MacMurray plays a pollster in backwoods country (the Ozarks?) in search of another pollster for his company who had disappeared who unwittingly encounters a hillbilly family with a decidedly casual attitude about homicide, especially when it comes to prying strangers. Marjorie Main delivers a strong performance as the whip cracking matriarch of the family, a sort of homicidal Ma Kettle two years before she played that role. Peter Whitney is hilarious in dual roles as her twin sons, Mert and Bert, both dumb though they're good at knocking off strangers.

This film, part mystery thriller, part broad slapstick comedy, has a very funny lead performance by MacMurray and an engagingly appealing one by Helen Walker as a woman hunting for money who poses as an escaped convict. There are some great comedy set piece sequences, including a family dinner in which a luminous poison that glows in the dark is in a meal on a Lady Susan rotating table and a finale in a barn involving a truck powered hay machine. Perhaps no other scene is quite as hilarious, though, as the one in which MacMurray poses as a dumb hayseed with short legs.

By the way, the optical effects of any of the scenes involving Whitney as twins are absolutely first rate. Particularly impressive is a scene in which Whitney as one twin lands a punch on the jaw of the other one.

1118full-murder,-he-says-(1945)-photo.jp

3 out of 4

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Finally watching some of the shows and movies I've been recording and collecting. This year has given me the chance to organize them on shelving downstairs  (to echo Mr. Andrew Cotter, “I was bored”) and I can now find what I want without having to unpack half a closet's worth of boxes.

I avoided revealing any significant story details or plot twists in my comments.

1) The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

I've seen Jacques Demy's bittersweet The Umbrellas of Cherbourg so it seemed time to watch its lyrical companion piece, The Young Girls of Rochefort. It, too, is a romance with family issues and separations, but the overall mood is much lighter and the settings are sunny, bright and airy in contrast to TUoC’s more cramped, shadowed and somewhat gritty - though still colorful - milieu. Another difference is that unlike the operatic Umbrellas, in which the actors' lines are all sung-through, Rochefort has spoken dialogue interspersed with classic Hollywood-style musical numbers. The dance sequences are quite exhilarating and even ordinary gestures and actions are done with such gracefulness that they can make one sigh. The clothing, in shades of sherbet and light neutrals, as well as the overall styling, are effortlessly chic and continental, in a late '60s fashion. (Though there were a couple of rather unflattering wigs. I think they were wigs.)

Yet under this surface fantasy are honest emotions - yearning, regret and devotion - that help ground the film, making the fanciful touches more affecting and keeping the film from completely spinning away into the ether. They're reflected in the lilting score, a kaleidoscopic mix of jazz, pop standards and light classical influences, which was composed by Michel Legrand. His collaborations with Demy spanned much of the director's career.

The supporting cast includes a fifty-something Gene Kelly, whose brief screen time showed he hadn't lost much from his MGM heyday. Umbrellas star Catherine Deneuve is joined by her sister, Françoise Dorléac, as the dazzling demoiselles of the title: twins - one teaches dance, the other music - who dream of love and life outside of their coastal town. The film opens with a traveling fair arriving in Rochefort and, over the next couple days, characters criss-cross paths with each other as destiny takes a hand.

Despite her film credits, Deneuve is perhaps not the most natural performer for a musical but she does well in the role. If her dancing isn't as accomplished as that of the ensemble, it does lend a sort of improvisational energy, let's say, to the numbers - a refreshing bit of slightly awkward reality in this idealized world. And while her singing was dubbed, so were the vocals of most of the cast.

Coincidences abound in the story, of course; perhaps too many for some in the audience. And the reason for a break-up seems very silly. But this is not a movie one watches for a complex narrative or character study. It's about how it makes one feel, as well as the opportunity to revel in its beauty and appreciate the artistry & talent that went into it. There were moments that made me think of the recently aired Jazz on a Summer's Day, not as direct comparisons but the cinematic aspect of some scenes.

I was unfamilier with Dorléac's career so I looked her up after the movie and had a terrible shock. I'm sure I will revisit this ethereal, exuberant film sometime, as well as watch the 25th anniversary documentary included in the DVD set, but there will be a poignancy to it now. Must try not to let tragedy overshadow all, though; it’s not how to remember someone.  (See below*)

Source: DVD

First Time Watch: Yes

Note: In French with easy-to-read English subtitles

Next up: From a movie by Jacques Demy to a movie about him... 

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2) The Universe of Jacques Demy (1995) 

An affectionate look at the French New Wave director/writer/lyricist and his works, featuring archival footage of Demy himself as well as reminiscences from family - including wife Agnès Varda (who wrote & directed this film) - and colleagues Catherine Deneuve, Michel Legrand, Anouk Aimée, and many others. There is also a trio of young admirers who reflect on what Demy's films have meant to them.

As mentioned previously, I've seen the two films for which Demy is perhaps most acclaimed internationally, TUoC and TYGoR. (Here, Deneuve speaks touchingly of working with her sister Françoise on that film.) Of his other movies mentioned in this documentary, there were a couple that I knew of - The Pied Piper (1972) and Donkey Skin (1970). I have the former on DVD, but - score one for self-restraint - I didn't record a TCM airing of the latter.

TPP is a grim-looking musical set during an outbreak of bubonic plague. The notable cast is led by actors from the U.K. It was difficult to tell from the limited clips whether this adaptation was daring or misbegotten. Though it does look to be further confirmation of my feeling that if Donald Pleasence is nearby, odds are you should probably just hit the road.

Donkey Skin, a fantasy musical based on a Perrault fairy tale, was (and perhaps still is) the Demy movie most popular with French audiences. Numerous clips are shown and they are stunningly beautiful while revealing touchs of the surreal. Deneuve explains that her dress "the color of weather" was made using the same material as movie screens so that different hues could be projected onto it. The elaborate sets, the who's who of French cinema in the cast, and the homages to Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bête make clear this is a prestige film. And it attracted high-profile attention while in production - Jim Morrison is shown visiting behind-the-scenes, as is Francois Truffaut.

A script girl, who provided the eye and mouth models for a rose, blushingly marvels that Demy kept her voice in the final movie even though she had a (French) southern accent. There are also glimpses of actors who look as if they've taken part in a Louis XIV-inspired Holi-type festival except each one is a different solid color rather than being covered in rainbow tints. I’d hesitate about jumping to a conclusion of intent based solely on the first image of one.

It was a bit disconcerting the way DS's storyline, along with Demy's apprach to it, were presented in the doc. From my reading about the movie afterwards, I think some plot details and context were left out that could significantly affect one's perception of what happens in the film. As is, I was somewhat taken aback. Though it may have been assumed that doc viewers were already familiar with the fairy tale.

Distressing info alert: according to the TCM DS article, the donkey costume was, in fact, an actual donkey's skin. (It was also a rude shock when I learned about the Cowardly Lion costume a few years ago, during that TCM-affiliated auction. I had never suspected that. It's the maltreatment of live animal stars and extras, where it appears they are at risk for physical trauma or "only” fear and stress, that typically provokes me more.)

Two spotlighted Demy titles which I hadn't heard of before were Parking (1985) and Model Shop (1969). Parking was based on the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice, updated to contemporary times. Demy "had an idea" about John Lennon & Yoko Ono but the doc doesn't elaborate on what it was - though presumbly he divined some parallels between the challenges faced by the two musicians and their beloveds. In one of the bits of archival material, Demy confides to being inspired by a sudden pang of anxiety as he was about to descend into an underground parking lot, feeling that his ticket was a passage to somewhere "beyond". I'm not fond of parking garages myself, while Black Orpheus is a film I like very much (I haven't yet watched Cocteau's Orpheus but do have it recorded) so I was curious.

But it seems Parking did not work out well at all. In the clips shown, the movie's look & design struck me as both harshly sterile and garishly tacky, in a peak '80s kind of way. There were, though, faint hints of Demy's signature visual flair in the strong use of color and contrast.

The section on Model Shop stood out because it was a film Demy made while he, Varda and their dog had temporarily relocated to California. I would have really liked to have heard more about that time but it was mostly glossed over. It seems they enjoyed themselves, however. Harrison Ford - Varda introduces him as "Harry" - shares some anecdotes about his early involvement in the development of MS (though he ended up not appearing in the film).  And it looked like he recorded himself for the doc.

Source: TCM recording/2015

First Time Watch: Yes

Note: Mostly in French with some English; subtitles were easy to read.

Next Up: From European fairy tales to a Hollywood fable...

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3) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

As I recall, there was an entire thread about this movie so I'm just going to comment on a few things:

- the scene when Brad Pitt's character was at Spahn Ranch was genuinely suspenseful.

- was suprised by the Bruce Lee scene.

- I'm not familiar with Tarantino's style as a writer/director when it comes to how much input he welcomes from actors in developing their characters & performances. So I'm unsure how to divvy up the credit for Leonardo DiCaprio's role. His acting was not only phenomenal but there were also unexpected layers to his character. Strongest scenes were during the part about him guest-starring on a new t.v. western - when he struggles at first with his lines; his reaction when Timothy Olyphant asks him about his career; and when he and the child actress strike up a connection as they each read their books while on break. (Having been an actor since he was a kid himself perhaps he had a natural rapport with her.) I'd only seen a couple of DiCaprio's films (both from when he was younger - Catch Me If You Can and part of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?) and it seemed to me that his voice hasn't quite matured; that is, it didn't seem to be particularly resonant or distinctive for an actor. But he used it to his advantage in this performance, helping convey the character's vulnerability.

- Margot Robbie was also good though she did not have a whole lot to work with - but at least in showing a bit about the fictional Sharon Tate, this movie gave the public a memory of the real Sharon’s life, not just her death.

Source: DVD

First Time Watch: Yes

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