Review older films here: 1979 and earlier - Page 51 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1501 of 1509 Old 03-14-2015, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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The African Queen (1951), directed by John Huston.

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Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.
When I first saw this it seemed to me that Bogart and Hepburn lacked chemistry. It works better for me now. At first they squabble like an old married couple, then fall in love like goofy teenagers. Somehow I missed the fade-to-black sex scene. Afterward she calls him "dear" and gives him breakfast in bed -- a blanket on the deck.

Something I noticed for the first time: Jack Cardiff's photography and the score by Allan Gray give this a strong Powell & Pressburger tone. Even the titles remind me of their films.

A notoriously difficult shoot, the African scenes figure in several histories and biographies, as well as a Clint Eastwood picture: White Hunter Black Heart (1990). Huston was always difficult: he and Bogart lived on whiskey instead of water, which Hepburn admits kept them from getting sick. She wasn't so lucky.

It's not all on location: they use studio and process shots and some model work.

Is the film unkind to the locals? They scramble for a castoff cigar and seem generally unlovely. At least they show up for Methodist services and leave their weapons at the door, even if they don't know the hymns. Anyway: they're gone after the first 10 minutes.

Available on Blu-ray.



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post #1502 of 1509 Old 03-14-2015, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
The African Queen (1951), directed by John Huston.



When I first saw this it seemed to me that Bogart and Hepburn lacked chemistry. It works better for me now. At first they squabble like an old married couple, then fall in love like goofy teenagers. Somehow I missed the fade-to-black sex scene. Afterward she calls him "dear" and gives him breakfast in bed -- a blanket on the deck.
I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!

Oh yes, it's really a funny moment, isn't it? It's really a story of her awakening isn't it. I grew up with this film, and never fail to be moved at her brother's death, her anguish at this, Charlie's uneasiness in her presence ... well they both awaken, don't they. I can see the racism in it -- I read old 1920s National Geographics from leather-bound books that an elderly friend of mine had from her late husband, and in them they repeatedly referred to locals as "peons" -- but with films like this, I have to remember when they were made, the focus of the story (and minimize the things that really should NOT be in focus), etc.[1]

[1] As a corollary, I rewatched my DVD of Emmanuelle recently, and had forgotten that part of her "awakening" towards the end is being raped in an opium den while her older date watches ... and later given as a sexual reward to the winner of a Thai kickboxing match (though I think she "picks" her fighter). Surely considered racy stuff back then in the 1970s (one of the promo taglines, "X was never like this"), but today it was enough to spoil the movie for me, I probably won't watch it again.

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post #1503 of 1509 Old 03-15-2015, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain
When I first saw this it seemed to me that Bogart and Hepburn lacked chemistry. It works better for me now. At first they squabble like an old married couple, then fall in love like goofy teenagers. Somehow I missed the fade-to-black sex scene. Afterward she calls him "dear" and gives him breakfast in bed -- a blanket on the deck.
 
Gosh Billy how did you ever pick this movie to add to the thread buddy??

I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!!! -- I have the original 1984 release by CBS/FOX and its outstanding!!


I LOVE MR BOGART!!!!!!!!!!! -- What do you think of Mrs. Hepburn?? (I like her alot...... ON GOLDEN POND is another good one she is in)
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post #1504 of 1509 Old 03-18-2015, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I Confess (1953), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

My wife asked "What was that one with Montgomery Clift as a priest...?" I might not have gotten this down for while otherwise, but it plays better than I remember, even if not completely satisfactory.

The strongest feature is Clift's wonderful performance as the wrongfully accused priest who cannot defend himself. This despite Hitchcock's frustration with the Method acting. It works well here.

Karl Malden is a dependable rock as a police detective who knows when something is not quite right. Anne Baxter was brought in at the last minute.

This is a strangely structured film for Hitchcock. We have the innocent man falsely accused, but his conscience renders him passive and defenseless. He must suffer silently and is saved by a twist of "luck".

Other problems: it is humorless and plot heavy with too much of the story told in flashbacks. The villain is not much of a character and, like the hero, doesn't do much.

Of course, suffering for the sins of others is a Christian theme, and you can see it played out by a priest in another recent film: Calvary (2014) with Brendan Gleeson.

The Truffaut interviews have a long section on this title. Hitchcock admits the humorlessness is a problem and says it shouldn't have been made because non-Catholic audiences simply couldn't accept the priest being bound by the seal of the confessional.

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Hitchcock: Do you feel there is a connection between my Jesuit upbringing and the heavy-handedness of I Confess?

Truffaut: Not necessarily. I attributed that to the austerity of the Canadian climate, which is further weighted down by the Teutonic gravity of Otto Keller and his wife.
Like Hitchcock, the murderer's wife is named "Alma".

Banned in Ireland: a priest can't have romantic relations with a woman, even if it did happen in his earlier life.

Dimitri Tiomkin score, overly dramatic. Filmed in Quebec.



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post #1505 of 1509 Old 03-18-2015, 12:34 PM
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Unless I'm overlooking something, can you link to the release that you're viewing, and taking captures from. Maybe on blu-ray.com or widescreenreview.com...?

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post #1506 of 1509 Old 03-18-2015, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Unless I'm overlooking something, can you link to the release that you're viewing, and taking captures from. Maybe on blu-ray.com or widescreenreview.com...?
For I Confess? It's an ancient DVD, as far as I know the only one ever done for North America.

In the reviews, I always mention the Blu-ray if that's what I've seen, and the label if significant. Else assume DVD, and I'll give the details only if there are multiple versions, or it is an import.

-Bill
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post #1507 of 1509 Old 03-21-2015, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Purple Noon (1960), directed by René Clément.

This version of The Talented Mr. Ripley drops us into the middle of the story, which is fine: we don't need an elaborate setup. Rich American Philippe Greenleaf ("Dickie" in the book) is wasting his life having a good time in Europe and his parents have hired Tom Ripley to go and fetch him back.

Ripley likes the life of the idle rich and sees no reason why it shouldn't be his. Adept at forgery and impersonation, if Greenleaf were out of the way he could assume his life, take his money and even his girl.

In the book the first murder seems a spontaneous outburst of frustration (Tom overheard girlfriend Marge call him a "fairy"). In this film it seems more calculated.

A problem with these stories: you can't stop with just one murder. After an unexpected survival scene on the sailboat, Ripley is coolly competent, always one step ahead of the police.

Lovely photography, beautiful people and gorgeous sailboat and ocean scenes. The characters are supposed to be American, but are played by French actors.

Alain Delon is so damned pretty we are meant to wonder about his sexual orientation. Author Highsmith claimed Ripley wasn't actually gay, but rather nonsexual. (I'm guessing real sex involved loss of control which he wouldn't want). In later books Ripley marries but the physical side is not very important to them.

A final shock: the ending is changed to make it softer than the book, more of a moral tale. French films have become more syrupy in recent years, but back then they were more often less sentimental.

Nino Rota score.

Criterion Blu-ray.



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post #1508 of 1509 Old 03-28-2015, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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The Enforcer (1951), directed by Bretaigne Windust and Raoul Walsh.

A tight, very gritty police procedural told in flashbacks. After a key witness dies, prosecutor Humphrey Bogart must come up with last minute testimony or Mr Big of a murder-for-hire ring will walk.

This must have seemed intensely realistic and brutal at the time, and in fact still does. Great credit goes to Ted de Corsia for establishing the tone. We first see him in prison as a state witness: sweating, terrified, a ruined man. Then we have the flashbacks to when he is the cool, imperial lieutenant of the organization and realize how far he has fallen.

Another plus: we don't have the documentary-style voice-over narration customary in a lot of these realistic films.

The police and prosecutors play a hard game: they threaten to seize the children of uncooperating witness, and propose death by failure to protect gang members who are reluctant to testify.

This film introduced the vocabulary of mob "contract" and "hit" to film audiences. Inspired by true events of the Murder, Inc. investigation and trial.

This is the second time Bogart shot Bob Steele; see The Big Sleep (1946).

Raoul Walsh directed most of the film but refused to take credit. At Bogart's request he took over when the original director became ill.

Hard-charging David Buttolph score.

Available on Blu-ray from Olive Films. No subtitles. Detail is ok, but black levels poor.



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post #1509 of 1509 Old Yesterday, 11:15 PM
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The Birds (1963), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

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