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TCM in England is a different animal entirely.  They show commercials during the films for one thing and repeat repeat repeat the same movies all week long.

 

I always forget that there is such a thing as TCM England. I've seen it mentioned on here before, I think.

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According to MovieCollectorOH's exhaustive research, The Perfect Specimen has not aired on TCM. Take that as you will.

 

Bootleg copies of The Perfect Specimen have the TCM logo on it. As I said earlier, it was broadcast on the channel in 1994.

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Some people said they hadn't seen Madame X, which I suppose is unsurprising. Like Lawrence said about Valiant Is the Word for Carrie (which I haven't seen) this is a very typical soap opera but a great showcase for Gladys George. I've never seen any other version of this story, but I know there are several. It's full of eye-rolling melodrama and bold cliches- the film itself has become a cliche, with the Madam X-type soap opera practically being an honorary sub-genre of melodrama all by itself.

 

This is a great film to talk about on this thread, because it was Gladys George who single-handedly redeemed this film with her performance. The other actors in the film don't help her at all, some of them becoming so overwrought that you might chuckle. But it is difficult to make such melodramatic material not seem ridiculous. It's hard not to look ridiculous yourself when acting in it; and yet if I got a little bit welled up toward the end of the film despite myself it was because of no one but Gladys George. I give her all the credit in the world for bringing a tear to my eye (yup) at the same time the other actors in the very same film are making me larf. That's darn good, that is.

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Some people said they hadn't seen Madame X, which I suppose is unsurprising. Like Lawrence said about Valiant Is the Word for Carrie (which I haven't seen) this is a very typical soap opera but a great showcase for Gladys George. I've never seen any other version of this story, but I know there are several. It's full of eye-rolling melodrama and bold cliches- the film itself has become a cliche, with the Madam X-type soap opera practically being an honorary sub-genre of melodrama all by itself.

 

This is a great film to talk about on this thread, because it was Gladys George who single-handedly redeemed this film with her performance. The other actors in the film don't help her at all, some of them becoming so overwrought that you might chuckle. But it is difficult to make such melodramatic material not seem ridiculous. It's hard not to look ridiculous yourself when acting in it; and yet if I got a little bit welled up toward the end of the film despite myself it was because of no one but Gladys George. I give her all the credit in the world for bringing a tear to my eye (yup) at the same time the other actors in the very same film are making me larf. That's darn good, that is.

 

Gladys George is indeed memorable as Madame X, a story which started as a French play and opened in New York in 1910. I think there are about a dozen film versions. And then there is Frisco Jenny, which is a kind of inverted Madame X.  Spoiler: The stories are pretty much the same, except that in Madame X, her son in the lawyer who gets her acquitted. In Frisco Jenny, her son is the district attorney who convicts her. 

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Re: Pigskin Parade which was recommended here from 1936.

 

I know Kay said that Judy Garland interrupted the story, but I thought that I would comment on this thread rather than wait until it is finished airing on TCM and write about it on I Just Watched.

 

I love the music scenes, but I am not a football fan so I tend to leave the room during football scenes.

 

The only football films I've watched straight through without fast-forwarding or leaving the room during football scenes are the first version of The Longest Yard which I watched for the lead Burt Reynolds and Heaven Can Wait, the remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan- the first film has boxing as its theme and is my favourite Robert Montgomery movie.  Beatty changed the sport to football when Ali was not available to take the lead in the movie as Beatty had played football.

 

This movie has great music.  But as I metioned in my review of the Steve McQueen movie le Mans, I don't watch sports where injuries are often life-threatening.

 

However, it is a Judy Garland movie that is new to me.

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*Announcement*

We will change over to 1938 tomorrow, Sunday April 3 as planned.  1939 will commence on Saturday, April 9th.  1939 was a very big year for films and I would like to fit in a decade review before moving on to 1940 on Sunday, April 17.

We will probably do the 1930's review starting Friday, April 15.  Those that would like to participate please remember to list only one favourite/winner per category, per year.  And clearly mark your preference for the best of the decade with *****.  That way we will see if there is a consensus with any of the yearly performances.  A good detective could go through all of the lists to date and figure this out but some people had ties.  The decade review will be an opportunity to break those ties.

See you in 1938 tomorrow.

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As we are about the depart the filmmaking year of 1937, I would like to make special reference to the fact that this, above any other year of that decade, was the year of the big budget disaster film, the source of it usually from Mother Nature.

 

It had begun the previous year, of course, with the spectacular earthquake that had been the climax of MGM's San Francisco. Coming up in 1938 would be a giant sandstorm (promoted as a "simoon") in Fox's Suez, as well as the same studio's The Rains Came, of 1939, with a combination earthquake and flood.

 

But 1937 was the year of three big budget productions with memorable natural disaster special effects sequences.

 

Okay, the first one was caused by a cow.

 

In Old Chicago, from 20th Century Fox, with its graphic depiction of the great Chicago fire of 1871, caused, legend had it, and this film stuck to that legend, by Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking over a lit lantern in a barn.

 

The Good Earth, from MGM, with the skies turning dark and the ground swarming with a locust attack on Chinese fields.

 

The Hurricane, Goldwyn Productions, with the title force of wind and waves spectacularly created on soundstages with giant wind machines and, what seems like, a few million tanks of water.

 

Impressive as the first two films may have been, I have always been particularly awe struck by the power of the special effects seen in John Ford's South Seas drama. This lyrical study (combined with a strong story of oppression and intolerance) in fact, ranks as one of my very favourite Ford films, with a superior cast (Thomas Mitchell receiving a supporting Oscar nomination in the process) and a great exotic musical score by Alfred Newman.

 

Still, it's the final depiction of the hurricane that is the real knockout of this production, a sequence that still has the power to impress, even in our CGI world of filmmaking today. Among the highlights that I recall are a church destroyed, its roof caving in on the inhabitants, and a tree, with screaming people clinging to it, uprooted and flying through the air.

 

The%2BHurricane%2B1.jpg

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.Coming up in 1939 would be The Rains Came, from Fox, with a combination earthquake and flood.

Let's not forget that the San Francisco Earthquake returns in 1938, with The Sisters, a fine, lesser known Bette Davis film featuring a mustache-less Errol Flynn.

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Let's not forget that the San Francisco Earthquake returns in 1938, with The Sisters, a fine, lesser known Bette Davis film featuring a mustache-less Errol Flynn.

 

True, Swithin, except that, unlike the other films named, it was a much smaller budgeted special effects sequence and not intended as the highlight of the production. Still, Warners did make their own smaller contribution to this cycle of films with The Sisters.

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Two more 1937 disaster films, both where a ship sinking/near sinking are highlights, regardless of budgets; "History Is Made At Night" and "Souls At Sea".

 

The sea disaster in Souls at Sea was based on a true event from, I believe, the 1840s. The disaster part of that film would later be the basis for Abandon Ship, filmed twenty years later.

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It’s time for 1938.  We will be on 1938 until the end of Friday so plenty of time for everyone to respond.

Here are Oscar’s choices for 1938.  Winners in bold. 

 

1938 Oscars

 

Best Actor

 

Spencer Tracy, Boys Town*  

Charles Boyer, Algiers

James Cagney, Angels With Dirty Faces

Robert Donat, The Citadel

Leslie Howard, Pygmalion

 

Best Actress

 

Bette Davis, Jezebel*  

Fay Bainter, White Banners

Wendy Hiller, Pygmalion

Norma Shearer, Marie Antoinette

Margaret Sullavan, Three Comrades

 

Best Supporting Actor

 

Walter Brennan, Kentucky*  

John Garfield, Four Daughters

Gene Lockhart, Algiers

Robert Morley, Marie Antoinette

Basil Rathbone, If I Were King

 

Best Supporting Actress

 

Fay Bainter, Jezebel*  

Beulah Bondi, Of Human Hearts

Billie Burke, Merrily We Live

Spring Byington, You Can’t Take It With You

Miliza Korjus, The Great Waltz

 

Mickey Rooney and Deanna Durbin received special Oscar statuettes for youth actors of 1938.  No particular films were cited.

 

I will comment on Beulah Bondi and Miliza Korjus’s nominations in the next post.

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Leading vs. Supporting Categories…

 

In 1938, Oscar put Beulah Bondi in the Supporting Actress category for Of Human Hearts.  I think she was clearly the leading actress in this film and this is again a case of putting a character actor in the lesser category.

And I think Meliza Korjus belongs in the lead actress category for The Great Waltz

 
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1938 Favorites

 
Best Actor
 
Charles Boyer (Algiers)
James Cagney (Angels with Dirty Faces)
Robert Donat (The Citadel)
Cary Grant (Bringing Up Baby)
Leslie Howard (Pygmalion)
 
Best Actress
 
Fay Bainter (White Banners)
Bette Davis (Jezebel)
Alice Faye (Alexander’s Ragtime Band)
Katharine Hepburn (Bringing Up Baby)
Wendy Hiller (Pygmalion)
 
Best Supporting Actor
 
Walter Connolly (Too Hot to Handle)
John Garfield (Four Daughters)
Paul Lukas (The Lady Vanishes)
Robert Morley (Marie Antoinette)
Eugene Pallette (The Adventures of Robin Hood)
 
Best Supporting Actress
 
Beulah Bondi (Of Human Hearts)
Ruth Donnelly (A Slight Case of Murder)
Lee Patrick (The Sisters)
May Robson (Bringing Up Baby)
Dame May Whitty (The Lady Vanishes)
 
Best Juvenile
 
Freddie Bartholomew (Kidnapped)
 
Best Musical Numbers
 
“You Couldn’t Be Cuter” sung by Irene Dunne in The Joy of Living
“Jeepers Creepers” sung by Louis Armstrong in Going Places
 “Thanks for the Memory” sung by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross in The Big Broadcast of 1938
 
Craziest Musical Number
 
“Here PussyPussy” sung by the Ritz Brothers in The Goldwyn Follies
(I know, there should be a space between those two words in the song title, but the censor won't allow those words).
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My 1938 favourite performances, in approximate order of preference:

 

BEST ACTOR

 

James Cagney, ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES

Cary Grant, BRINGING UP BABY

Robert Donat, THE CITADEL

Leslie Howard, PYGMALION

Errol Flynn, THE DAWN PATROL

 

Honourable Mention: David Niven in The Dawn Patrol, Charles Laughton in St. Martin's Lane (Sidewalks of London), Cary Grant in Holiday, Clark Gable in Test Pilot.

 

BEST ACTRESS

 

Bette Davis, JEZEBEL

Katharine Hepburn, BRINGING UP BABY

Wendy Hiller, PYGMALION

Katharine Hepburn, HOLIDAY

Norma Shearer, MARIE ANTOINETTE

 

Honourable Mention: Myrna Loy in Test Pilot, Vivien Leigh in St. Martin's Lane (Sidewalks of London), Alice Faye in Alexander's Ragtime Band.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

 

Basil Rathbone, THE DAWN PATROL

Ralph Richardson, THE CITADEL

Robert Morley, MARIE ANTOINETTE

John Garfield, FOUR DAUGHTERS

Basil Rathbone, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD

 

Honourable Mention: Claude Rains in Adventures of Robin Hood, Gene Lockhart in Algiers, Spencer Tracy in Test Pilot, Eugene Pallette in Adventures of Robin Hood, Donald Crisp in The Dawn Patrol, Lew Ayres in Holiday, Mischa Auer in You Can't Take It With You, Edward Everett Horton in Holiday, Ernest Thesiger in They Drive By Night.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

 

May Robson, ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER

May Robson, BRINGING UP BABY

Fay Bainter, JEZEBEL

Dame May Whitty, THE LADY VANISHES

Una O'Connor, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD

 

Honourable Mention: Spring Byington in You Can't Take It With You, Ann Sheridan in Angels With Dirty Faces, Miliza Korjus in The Great Waltz.

 

BEST JUVENILE PERFORMANCES

 

Dead End Kids, ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES

 

BEST SYNERGY

 

James Cagney and the Dead End Kids, ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES

 

Honourable Mention: Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby

                               Errol Flynn and David Niven in The Dawn Patrol

 

BEST ENSEMBLE (AND CAST OF A LIFETIME):

 

The Adventures of Robin Hood

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1938 BEST ENSEMBLE:

 

From now on I will switch the categories I have been doing on Sunday and Monday.  This will give me more time to relax my fingers on Sundays.  So today will be my:

 

 

 

BEST ENSEMBLE - of a lifetime as Tom says

 

The Adventures of  Robin Hood:

 

Errol Flynn

Basil Rathbone

Olivia DeHaviland

Alan Hale Sr.

Eugene Palette

Patrick Knowles

Una O'Conner

Claude Rains

 

 

And many others..

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1938 BEST ENSEMBLE:

 

From now on I will switch the categories I have been doing on Sunday and Monday.  This will give me more time to relax my fingers on Sundays.  So today will be my:

 

 

 

BEST ENSEMBLE - of a lifetime as Tom says

 

The Adventures of  Robin Hood:

 

Errol Flynn

Basil Rathbone

Olivia DeHaviland

Alan Hale Sr.

Eugene Palette

Patrick Knowles

Una O'Conner

Claude Rains

 

 

And many others..

 

top.5.jpg

 

mid.1.jpg

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Leading vs. Supporting Categories…

 

In 1938, Oscar put Beulah Bondi in the Supporting Actress category for Of Human Hearts.  I think she was clearly the leading actress in this film and this is again a case of putting a character actor in the lesser category.

And I think Meliza Korjus belongs in the lead actress category for The Great Waltz

Thanks, Bogie. But what about Mary Astor in PARADISE FOR THREE? I tentatively have her in the lead category.

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A couple of special awards:

 

The "Who You Callin' a Sissy?" Award to EDWARD EVERETT HORTON, for believably playing the husband of Binnie Barnes in HOLIDAY. They make a charming couple.

 

The Bizarro Award, combined this year with the "Mine Is Bigger Than Yours" Award, to LORETTA YOUNG in SUEZ. Realizing that Annabella had a much better role (especially since Miss Loretta didn't get into the sexy/evil potential of her own character), Miss Young only agreed to take the part if she had final say over her costumes. In one scene she wears a gown approximately the size of Rhode Island. They had to widen the door of the set for her to get through. That's one way of getting attention.

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Thanks, Bogie. But what about Mary Astor in PARADISE FOR THREE? I tentatively have her in the lead category.

 

I've never seen that one so make your best call.  But I do have Mary Astor in the lead for the upcoming The Great Lie (1941) which will rob her of her supporting Oscar.  We can discuss further with everyone in your 'Lead or Supporting role' thread if you like.

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A couple of special awards:

 

The "Who You Callin' a Sissy?" Award to EDWARD EVERETT HORTON, for believably playing the husband of Binnie Barnes in HOLIDAY. They make a charming couple.

 

 

 

Pardon me for digressing for a moment but this new category of kingrat's reminds me of a scene in 1933's International House when W. C. Fields lands his plane in Who Hoo, China and asks people where he is.

 

The immortal Franklin Pangborn is in the crowd and calls out to him, "Who Hoo!"

 

Fields, after looking at Pangborn, removes a flower from his lapel and simply says, "Don't let the posie fool you."

 

images_zpsknjwu7nr.jpg

 

 

 

And now . . . back to 1938.

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The Bizarro Award, combined this year with the "Mine Is Bigger Than Yours" Award, to LORETTA YOUNG in SUEZ. Realizing that Annabella had a much better role (especially since Miss Loretta didn't get into the sexy/evil potential of her own character), Miss Young only agreed to take the part if she had final say over her costumes. In one scene she wears a gown approximately the size of Rhode Island. They had to widen the door of the set for her to get through. That's one way of getting attention.

 

You're not kidding . . .

 

s-l300.jpg

 

Somebody widen that door. Loretta's coming!

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