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Going Out On A Limb Here But I Liked Pat O'Brien in Crack Up.


lydecker
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Really an intriguing little noir and I liked Pat O'Brien's performance in it.  Perhaps I am just channelling my Irish grandmother (who loved Pat O'Brien) but, to me, he always gives a serviceable performance and sometimes even rises above that.

 

Lydecker

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Yep, I think yer right--out on a limb, that is.  But if you like him you like him, that's that.

Well, heck, SOMEBODY has to like him.  After all, there are actually people who like

Shelley Winters, too.

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Well, heck, SOMEBODY has to like him.  After all, there are actually people who like

Shelley Winters, too.

I'll back you up on this sentiment lydecker!  Pat O'Brien may not have had the range of some of Hollywood's "Golden Age" superstars, but I thought he was very good in 'Crack-Up' and made a nice pairing with Claire Trevor.  If you take a movie like 'Boys Town' as an example, I think O'Brien is one of the few actors who could have played any of the male adult roles in that film, and turned in a credible and believable performance, whether it was as Father Flanigan, Whitey Marsh's condemned death row brother, the skeptical Omaha businessmen, or the reporter who was intrigued by his vision to help wayward and at-risk youth.  His most famous role of course, was probably in 'Knute Rockne, All-American', in which he was great!

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Really an intriguing little noir and I liked Pat O'Brien's performance in it.  Perhaps I am just channelling my Irish grandmother (who loved Pat O'Brien) but, to me, he always gives a serviceable performance and sometimes even rises above that.

 

Lydecker

Yes. I tend to prefer his more subdued performances at RKO in the 40s, instead of his rapid-fire characterizations at Warners in the 30s. 

 

I am on the fence, though, about CRACK-UP. Great cast, but some of the plot points are mightily contrived. Another RKO noir he made around this time was RIFFRAFF, which I like a lot better.

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Yes. I tend to prefer his more subdued performances at RKO in the 40s, instead of his rapid-fire characterizations at Warners in the 30s. 

 

I am on the fence, though, about CRACK-UP. Great cast, but some of the plot points are mightily contrived. Another RKO noir he made around this time was RIFFRAFF, which I like a lot better.

 

I agree about his RKO performances versus WB though I am a total sucker for him in Torrid Zone.  I've never seen Riffraff so I'll be sure to check that out.

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I agree about his RKO performances versus WB though I am a total sucker for him in Torrid Zone.  I've never seen Riffraff so I'll be sure to check that out.

 

Pat is great in Torrid Zone one of my favorite WB films since it has a great mix of comedy, adventure, romance with a campy factor throw in.   The first time I saw this film I was in shock since the only other movies I had seen him in was Angels With Dirty Faces and some early Bogart movies like The Great O'Malley and San Quentin. 

 

Pat held his own and played well off of the WB stars and supporting contact players,  but his RKO performances hold up better today. 

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Pat is great in Torrid Zone one of my favorite WB films since it has a great mix of comedy, adventure, romance with a campy factor throw in.   

Yes, you have totally nailed it.  This film has it all.  Plus, one of the great Ann Sheridan quips of all time:

 

Ann:  I can't believe the Chicago fire was started by this. (Picking up a cigarette dropped by Helen Vinson.)

Helen: The Chicago fire was started by a cow.

Ann:  History repeats itself.

 

Lydecker

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Yes, you have totally nailed it.  This film has it all.  Plus, one of the great Ann Sheridan quips of all time:

 

Ann:  I can't believe the Chicago fire was started by this. (Picking up a cigarette dropped by Helen Vinson.)

Helen: The Chicago fire was started by a cow.

Ann:  History repeats itself.

 

Lydecker

 

Love that exchange.  While Ann has so many great lines in the film,  her exchanges with Helen Vinson (or about Helen's character to Cagney) are the best.   Talk about a catfight! 

 

I also love when Rosario and Lee (Ann) are in jail together and he gives her his ring and says he won't need it where he is going and she says 'afraid it will melt'.       This movie is right up there with His Girl Friday with wise cracking dialog.    

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Love that exchange.  While Ann has so many great lines in the film,  her exchanges with Helen Vinson (or about Helen's character to Cagney) are the best.   Talk about a catfight! 

 

I also love when Rosario and Lee (Ann) are in jail together and he gives her his ring and says he won't need it where he is going and she says 'afraid it will melt'.       This movie is right up there with His Girl Friday with wise cracking dialog.    

That's one of my favorite lines, too.  And I loved George Tobias in this and I am not normally a fan. 

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Yes. I tend to prefer his more subdued performances at RKO in the 40s, instead of his rapid-fire characterizations at Warners in the 30s. 

 

I am on the fence, though, about CRACK-UP. Great cast, but some of the plot points are mightily contrived.

 

I liked the odd plot. I thought it was very intersting.

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I agree about his RKO performances versus WB though I am a total sucker for him in Torrid Zone.  I've never seen Riffraff so I'll be sure to check that out.

RIFFRAFF has him going toe-to-toe with the ever-crafty Walter Slezak over oil and maps. Beautiful Anne Jeffreys is the female lead. It's well-made and hums right along.

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Pat held his own and played well off of the WB stars and supporting contact players,  but his RKO performances hold up better today. 

Yes, most of his RKO films were guided by Dore Schary and I think that is why they are a higher quality. It was a renaissance period for the studio, before Hughes took over and Schary went to MGM.

 

Another good Pat O'Brien performance at RKO during the 40s-- well, there's two of them-- HAVING WONDERFUL CRIME with Carole Landis; and his role as the grandfather in THE BOY WITH GREEN HAIR.

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If you can make sense of it, right? :)

 

Well, the first time I saw it, I didn't understand the part about the "train wreck", but the second time I saw it, I finally realized that the drug  Ray Collins gave Pat O'Brien confused his mind on some issues, and he incorporated one of his normal train trips into one of his "weird dreams" and he dreamed the part about the train "wreck". Collins was trying to make O'Brien seem to be "crazy" so no one would believe his theory about the painting-theft conspiracy. Once I understood that, then I thought the movie was great.

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Well, the first time I saw it, I didn't understand the part about the "train wreck", but the second time I saw it, I finally realized that the drug  Ray Collins gave Pat O'Brien confused his mind on some issues, and he incorporated one of his normal train trips into one of his "weird dreams" and he dreamed the part about the train "wreck". Collins was trying to make O'Brien seem to be "crazy" so no one would believe his theory about the painting-theft conspiracy. Once I understood that, then I thought the movie was great.

Yes, and of course you're right about that. I think what I don't like is that the train 'wreck' happens early in the film. I'd rather O'Brien's character reference it, then it would seem like he's crazy, which would play into Collins' scheme.

 

But the way it is depicted, we see it so early in the movie without really knowing whether or not O'Brien is sane, and we certainly do not know much about Collins at that point-- it leaves us perplexed. We have to quickly decide if it's real, or a hallucination-- and if we think it is real, then we have to assume it's a flashback but we still would not know when it occurred. It requires almost too much thinking for a film of this type. 

 

Again, I'd rather O'Brien just ramble on about it and maybe over the audio we can hear the crash in his mind-- and everyone can keep looking at him like he's crazy.  

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Really liked RIFFRAFF which I just saw today. Very good, amusing script which is well-played by an excellent cast including O'Brien and Jeffreys.

One of the films which made me sit up and take more notice of O'Brien was SECRET COMMAND (1944), a homefront espionage film with his good pal Carole Landis and also Chester Morris.  Really a nicely done film.  O'Brien was the executive producer, released by Columbia.

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Really liked RIFFRAFF which I just saw today. Very good, amusing script which is well-played by an excellent cast including O'Brien and Jeffreys.

One of the films which made me sit up and take more notice of O'Brien was SECRET COMMAND (1944), a homefront espionage film with his good pal Carole Landis and also Chester Morris.  Really a nicely done film.  O'Brien was the executive producer, released by Columbia.

Yes, I think he matured as an actor (and producer) when he left Warners. People remember him for his work with Jimmy Cagney, but his screen career actually flourished after that.

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Yes, and of course you're right about that. I think what I don't like is that the train 'wreck' happens early in the film. I'd rather O'Brien's character reference it, then it would seem like he's crazy, which would play into Collins' scheme.

 

But the way it is depicted, we see it so early in the movie without really knowing whether or not O'Brien is sane, and we certainly do not know much about Collins at that point-- it leaves us perplexed. We have to quickly decide if it's real, or a hallucination-- and if we think it is real, then we have to assume it's a flashback but we still would not know when it occurred. It requires almost too much thinking for a film of this type. 

 

Again, I'd rather O'Brien just ramble on about it and maybe over the audio we can hear the crash in his mind-- and everyone can keep looking at him like he's crazy.  

 

I think you are right about the train wreck. It seems to me that the first one he “experiences” takes place “before” he is given the drug.

 

But I also think the photography of the approaching train, going around the curve in the track, and the close-up of of O’Brian looking out the window with a puzzled look on his face, and the train sound effects, and the excellent editing during that sequence, are very good.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY9F3gr0caY

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I think you are right about the train wreck. It seems to me that the first one he “experiences” takes place “before” he is given the drug.

 

But I also think the photography of the approaching train, going around the curve in the track, and the close-up of of O’Brian looking out the window with a puzzled look on his face, and the train sound effects, and the excellent editing during that sequence, are very good.

 

Yes, I agree the visuals are striking. But since we do not know what to make of it at first, a lot of the intended effect is lost on us. 

 

I do like the editing, with the camera going from his dazed expression, to the glaring light of the oncoming train, to his panic once he realizes what it happening, to the crash. It's a powerful montage.

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