Review older films here: 1979 and earlier - Page 58 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Baselworld is only a few weeks away. Getting the latest news is easy, Click Here for info on how to join the Watchuseek.com newsletter list. Follow our team for updates featuring event coverage, new product unveilings, watch industry news & more!



Forum Jump: 
 194Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1711 of 1732 Old 07-06-2016, 03:39 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
The World of Henry Orient (1964), directed by George Roy Hill.

Two girls from private school run wild in Manhattan. Their only questionable fun is becoming infatuated with a no-talent concert pianist (Peter Sellers) and stalking him. It's an innocent hobby on their part but terrifies him. He's trying to make time with a married woman (Paula Prentiss) when these two girls keep popping up.

This much is like a Disney film, and it was originally intended for Patty Duke and Hayley Mills. It becomes more of a Disney-gone-bad story when we learn of troubles with one set of parents, Mom being a real piece of work. Between this and The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Angela Lansbury owned the Evil Mother roles back then.

Instead of known actors for the girls we have two first timers who are wonderfully natural and vivid, going through that in-between age. Young enough to jump over fire hydrants and play games, old enough to scare an adult.

In an unexpectedly moving scene, Mom has been caught in a lie and the daughter knows it. Dad (good guy Tom Bosley) sees it in the daughter's eyes, which is how he learns the truth. She sees that in his eyes and both understand.

I had never heard of this before it appeared on Blu-ray and it was a good find. I can't help comparing it to Heavenly Creatures (1994); similarities, although the later film has sex and murder.

Twilight Time Blu-ray with a commentary track by the usual suspects. Julie Kirgo was about that age, also living in Manhattan, and saw the film when it was new, so this is a nostalgia rush for her. She praises the film for presenting the fantasy life of girls, which she says is all true.

Nick Redman cannot comprehend the fame and regard given to Peter Sellers, who he thinks was the least talented member of The Goon Show trio. He makes an exception for the Kubrick films: Dr Strangelove (1964) and Lolita (1962).



-Bill
RUR likes this.

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #1712 of 1732 Old 07-06-2016, 07:06 AM
RUR
Innocent Bystander
 
RUR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: California Republic
Posts: 2,730
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 343 Post(s)
Liked: 200
Yes, this is IMHO a fantastic, fun, and ultimately touching movie. I think I originally picked it up for the Sellers connection, only to find that it's the girls, and not B-list pianist Sellers who are the stars. No matter, as the two unknown actresses are superb, and I can't imagine that bigger names would have added appreciably to the end result. Also fun to see Al Lewis as the frantic shopkeeper who falls prey to one of the girls' practical jokes.

Speaking of Paula Prentiss, Bill, have you ever reviewed Man's Favorite Sport? One of my favorite rom-coms, even though my wife can't stand it.
wmcclain likes this.
RUR is offline  
post #1713 of 1732 Old 07-06-2016, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post
Speaking of Paula Prentiss, Bill, have you ever reviewed Man's Favorite Sport? One of my favorite rom-coms, even though my wife can't stand it.
Yes, here: Man's Favorite Sport? (1964). I fall somewhere in-between.

-Bill

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
post #1714 of 1732 Old 07-07-2016, 11:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
ChromeJob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: N. Carolina
Posts: 1,157
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 479 Post(s)
Liked: 154
Don't know if I caught this on the many times it was on TV (KTVU Oakland, CA) in the 70s, but wish I had. Sounds interesting beyond it's years.

Surprise tidbit: Merrie Spaeth went on to much grander things, including working at the White House (well, more than just work), producer for 20/20, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merrie_Spaeth

Nick Redman can go suck an egg. Sellers was amazing. Maybe not in Casino Royale, but Strangelove? Being There? A Shot In The Dark?

“Hey, Jenny Slater. Hey, Jenny Slater. HEY, Jenny Slater.
A: Yamaha RX-V775. Bose 401 mains, 301 Series III surrounds, Yamaha NS-C444 center, Hsu VTF-2 Mk4.
V: Samsung UN40ES6150, Panasonic DMP-BDT215, Yamaha DVD-S550.

ChromeJob is offline  
post #1715 of 1732 Old 07-10-2016, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
Only Angels Have Wings (1939), produced and directed by Howard Hawks.

A South American cargo airline is serious about getting the mail through a dangerous mountain pass. You'd think they were at war. Pilots often crash and die, then their pals drink and sing, divide up their stuff and pretend not to care.

New arrivals: an old enemy, an old girlfriend (Rita Hayworth, age 20) and a stranded singer, Jean Arthur, auditioning for the part of new girlfriend.

From the golden year of 1939, a tough-guy genre film where the women have to be tough to keep up. The sexual banter is concealed in the text, but the characters understand. They fall in love by instinct, without calculation.

You know why condors are endangered? Because those fliers used to drop exploding bottles of nitro on them.

Cary Grant is harder than in other roles, but still dreamy for the ladies. He can be fun, it's just that he has a tough job.

Strong supporting cast, and this time I noticed that even the background characters are real characters. We don't get to know their stories, but we can tell that they have them.

Most of the flying is with small scale models, but we have some breathtaking real footage.

Chesley Bonestell provided some matte paintings; this is his first film credit. Later he was a noted astronomical illustrator for the early Space Age.

Criterion Blu-ray. A Turner Blu-ray was available earlier. Operating just from memory the image quality seemed similar to me. Criterion has subtitles and extras, but I don't think Turner did.

One extra has some valuable points about Howard Hawks:

  • He created fantasy destinations we already seem to know and would like to visit, but will never be able to find.
  • He mixes genres from moment to moment, subverting film conventions while seeming to obey them. Example: Jean Arthur menaces Cary Grant with a gun, a thriller moment. She gives up and drops it, it fires and wounds him, a comic touch.
  • Unusually for that period, Hawks is good at group scenes.
  • Hawks and Hitchcock were perhaps the best directors Cary Grant worked with. Both saw something dark in him.



-Bill
hitchfan likes this.

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    

Last edited by wmcclain; 07-10-2016 at 06:04 AM.
wmcclain is online now  
post #1716 of 1732 Old 07-10-2016, 05:16 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ChromeJob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: N. Carolina
Posts: 1,157
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 479 Post(s)
Liked: 154
LOL, I almost posted a pic from this myself, after buying the CC disc at Costco. The trimotor on fire, but it's so iconic. It looks marvelous for such an old movie. The extras are fascinating, including the ones about the special effects, and the stunt pilot who did the amazing flying off the mesa.

Cary Grant was a superb comedy actor, and there's some great bits from him in this. Watch his quick pose while they're singing at the piano. And his eye work. And his telling whatsisname "oh, go pick up da pilot." And his sobering up to take a flight (he waterboards himself!).

BTW, searching for images, I found an article about a young man who bought an airplane model at a shop, took it to an antiques roadshow, and found out he had an original model from this film. Jackpot.
hitchfan and wmcclain like this.

Last edited by ChromeJob; 07-10-2016 at 05:31 PM.
ChromeJob is offline  
post #1717 of 1732 Old 07-16-2016, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
His Girl Friday (1940), produced and directed by Howard Hawks.

Ace reporter Hildy Johnson strives to get away for her marriage and honeymoon, but her crafty publisher (and ex-husband) plots to keep her single and at work on a death row story.

This is a condensed remake of The Front Page (1931) and entirely derivative of it, but adds the genius element of turning it into a screwball comedy with Hildy now a woman.

Great cast, with rascally Cary Grant pulling the same stunts on aw-shucks-nice-guy Ralph Bellamy as he did in The Awful Truth (1937), but it is really a Rosalind Russell showcase. Her frantic entanglement with the telephones (each requiring two hands in the those days), and her quiet, serious time with the condemned man: all very fine. She's tougher than her beau, which is always good for a laugh.

A nice touch: her dawning realization that she is where she belongs, that she doesn't want to leave the newspaper or her ex-husband.

Some bits from the earlier film and play fly by quickly:

  • a reference to the "colored vote".
  • a gay joke: the prissy reporter could be a bridesmaid; "Ouch", he says.
  • new for this film: What does Hildy's fiance look like? "He looks like that fellow in the movies... Ralph Bellamy.
  • ...and: "Listen, the last man that said that to me was Archie Leach just a week before he cut his throat." (that was Cary Grant's given name)

Turning down the role of Hildy: Jean Arthur, Katharine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, Claudette Colbert and Irene Dunne. I'm not sure why: the play and earlier film were well-regarded and Hawks a successful director.

The film is in the public domain and the poor DVDs could use an upgrade. The whites on my Alpha Video copy are often blown out.



-Bill

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
post #1718 of 1732 Old 07-17-2016, 12:49 AM
AVS Special Member
 
robnix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,600
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 591 Post(s)
Liked: 461
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
His Girl Friday (1940), produced and directed by Howard Hawks.


The film is in the public domain and the poor DVDs could use an upgrade. The whites on my Alpha Video copy are often blown out.


-Bill
FWIW, for people that want to watch this and have an AppleTV or use Itunes, the version in the apple store doesn't have these issues. Pic 1 is an ITunes screenshot, Pic 2 is my 96" projector screen with an Apple TV playing the movie.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2016-07-17 00_40_44-AVS Forum _ Home Theater Discussions And Reviews - Reply to Topic.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	125.8 KB
ID:	1550265   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0456.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	165.3 KB
ID:	1550273  
wmcclain and ChromeJob like this.

Looky here!
robnix is offline  
post #1719 of 1732 Old 07-21-2016, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
The Vikings (1958), directed by Richard Fleischer.

It's hard living just a boat trip away from the Vikings. They murder and pillage with berzerker abandon. Life is particularly cruel for female victims.

At home the Northmen get along pretty well with each other. Most of the camera time is spent in drunken feasting and loud carousing with poor table manners. Despite their depredations our sympathies are supposed to be with them, rather than with the Northumbrian English who bear the brunt of their overseas ravishing.

This is the dynastic tale of a Viking prince and a slave who -- unknown to each other -- are half-brothers, this due to King Ragnar's rape of a Saxon queen. So: Tony Curtis might have a claim to two kingdoms, should he survive. Both he and fierce brother Kirk Douglas are obsessed with the same princess, and both cannot be made happy.

A violent film, with rape and sexual menace, a man's eye ripped out by a hawk, execution by sea crabs, execution by being dropped into a pit of starving wolves, and Tony Curtis having his hand chopped off -- didn't that also happen to him in Taras Bulba (1962)? None of this is very explicit.

It was intended to be especially realistic in clothes, buildings and boats, etc. That was probably more impressive at the time; we've grown accustomed to detailed historical reenactments since. The quick castle siege at the end is pretty impressive and the climatic swordfight on the roof of the castle is a vertiginous panorama which must have been stunning on the big screen. The actors did their own fighting. Me? No way.

Janet Leigh, as always, has a face and figure that might have been lovingly designed by a gifted illustrator. Another of the films -- like Houdini (1953) -- she and Curtis made while married.

Also with Ernest Borgnine, hearty as King Ragnar. He's supposed by Kirk Douglas's father, but is actually a couple of months younger.

Frank Thring made a career playing wicked costume potentates: Ben Hur (1959), El Cid (1961), King of Kings (1961).

Photographed by Jack Cardiff.

Kirk Douglas also produced.

Loosely remade as Erik the Conqueror (1961) by Mario Bava.

Available on a Kino Blu-ray. In a making-of narrated by the director, he says:

  • They spent a year in preparation and eight months in filming. These were difficult location shoots but the cast and crew remained cheerful. They lived on crowded dormitory boats in the Norwegian fjords.
  • They did meticulous historical research and tried to exactly recreate the Viking village, hall, etc. The boats were constructed from blueprints made from recovered wrecks. This turned out to be a problem: people were smaller back then and they had to adjust the seats and oars for the actors.
  • The scene where Kirk Douglas walks on the extended oars out on the water: he insisted on doing it himself, without rehearsal, and did it perfectly. Supposedly this is the first time it was done in 1000 years.
  • Despite the film's reputation for violence, there is only one scene with blood: when the hawk rips out Douglas's eye.



-Bill
ChromeJob likes this.

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
post #1720 of 1732 Old 07-27-2016, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
Suspicion (1941), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

After importing Hitchcock from Britain, Hollywood apparently wanted him to continue making "English" pictures: first Rebecca (1940) and then this. Suspicion has good features and great leads, but is not as strong as some of his other work from the period.

As in Rebecca (1940), Joan Fontaine is wonderful to watch, with all the secret thoughts and emotions she expresses through her delicate features. Small emoting was bigger back then, when faces were projected onto a huge silver screen.

What is her flaw? Her reason for marrying. She was goaded by her parent's presumption that she would be a spinster. She decided to capture the love and desire of such a sexy rogue.

Cary Grant gets to try something different: funny and charming as always, he's also a bit of a cad. He lies, gambles and embezzles. It's not beyond belief that he might be a murderer as well. Now and then the affable mask drops and we see something much more dangerous beneath.

The problem here is that romantic heroes must be stalwart and he just isn't. She is the strong one.

Does the movie cheat by making him seem more sinister than he really is? I've often thought that, but on the other hand, this is another of Hitchcock's women's romance thrillers, meant to be seen from the bride's point of view. We must come to suspect with her, seeing it as she does.

Hitchcock toys with us, making him seem guilty (tension!), then redeeming him with an explanation or plausible excuse (relief!) Repeat that enough times and we begin to wonder: how will it end? Could the husband really be guilty, and will we finally have the rug pulled out?

The studio wouldn't allow that, but it is what Hitchcock wanted. More closely following the book, he would have: the husband was a murderer, the milk was poisoned, the bride drank it anyway because she loved him so much, but had given him a letter detailing his guilt, which he posted the next day, whistling that waltz theme. The End.

The director is sparing with camera innovations this time, although that makes certain moments more special, as when we have circular tracking around the big kiss (something like the coach house scene in Vertigo (1958). And when Grant brings the glowing glass of milk up the dark stairs. Mostly the cinematography is the beautiful actors + furniture + architecture. Hitchcock objected to the overly lavish sets.

Franz Waxman score.

Available on Blu-ray.



-Bill

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
post #1721 of 1732 Old 07-27-2016, 10:43 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ChromeJob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: N. Carolina
Posts: 1,157
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 479 Post(s)
Liked: 154
It's said that Hitchcock was one of the few directors who could see the darkness Grant was capable of, and let him delve into it.

Asked how he did that remarkable shot of the glass of milk, he laughed, 'simple stage trick, a light bulb in the glass.'
wmcclain likes this.

“Hey, Jenny Slater. Hey, Jenny Slater. HEY, Jenny Slater.
A: Yamaha RX-V775. Bose 401 mains, 301 Series III surrounds, Yamaha NS-C444 center, Hsu VTF-2 Mk4.
V: Samsung UN40ES6150, Panasonic DMP-BDT215, Yamaha DVD-S550.

ChromeJob is offline  
post #1722 of 1732 Old 07-28-2016, 11:16 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
Josh Z's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Planet Boston, source of the spice, Melange.
Posts: 22,224
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1887 Post(s)
Liked: 1309
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
Could the husband really be guilty, and will we finally have the rug pulled out?

The studio wouldn't allow that, but it is what Hitchcock wanted. More closely following the book, he would have: the husband was a murderer, the milk was poisoned, the bride drank it anyway because she loved him so much, but had given him a letter detailing his guilt, which he posted the next day, whistling that waltz theme. The End.
In his later years, Hitchcock insisted that the studio forced the happier ending on him. However, that's rather disingenuous. Accounts from the production show that he was heavily involved in that decision and was fully on-board with it. Only in retrospect did he wish he'd followed the book's ending.
wmcclain likes this.

Josh Z
Writer/Editor, High-Def Digest (Blog updated daily!)
Curator, Laserdisc Forever

My opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers.

Josh Z is offline  
post #1723 of 1732 Old 07-28-2016, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
In his later years, Hitchcock insisted that the studio forced the happier ending on him. However, that's rather disingenuous. Accounts from the production show that he was heavily involved in that decision and was fully on-board with it. Only in retrospect did he wish he'd followed the book's ending.
Yes, you have to be cautious with Hitchcock's comments. You can see him adjusting his stories in interviews.

Truffaut: "Now we come to [I forget..." Dial M for Murder ?]
Hitchcock: "I was contractually obligated and there is not much to it."
Truffaut: "One of my favorites. I saw it every night in Paris."
Hitchcock: "It is pretty good, isn't it?"

I doubt if he felt the need to bare his soul to interviewers. If he became the hero of his own life, well that's understandable.

-Bill

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    

Last edited by wmcclain; 07-28-2016 at 11:31 AM.
wmcclain is online now  
post #1724 of 1732 Old 07-31-2016, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), directed by John Schlesinger.

Through hard work, Gabriel Oak has become an independent sheep farmer. He proposes marriage to the lovely Bathsheba Everdene, a somewhat contrary young woman staying with relatives near by. She won't have him, but maybe he'll keep trying...

Reversals of fortune. An busy but inexperienced sheep dog drives Gabriel's sheep off of a cliff, killing them and ruining him. He shoots the dog, which is how you know you are watching a Thomas Hardy adaptation. He's reduced to common farm laborer and hits the road looking for work.

Meanwhile Bathsheba has inherited her own farm. She hires Gabriel and he, of course, is the most stalwart and competent man in her life. Older farmer Boldwood is interested in her, but she wants the caddish but yummy Sergeant Troy -- "a young girl's fancy and an old maid's dream" (-- Jethro Tull, "Velvet Green").

After vast sorrow and tragedy, having exhausted all other possibilities, maybe she'll do the right thing.

This is a fine and very close adaptation of the book, just slightly condensed and using much of the original dialogue. The perennial problem in adapting books to movies: how closely to follow the text? Great books are not necessarily great shooting scripts. Look at Scorsese's The Age of Innocence (1993), a meticulous page-by-page close adaptation of the book, where neither book nor film are very exciting.

Here it works. The humanity of all the characters is real to us, their dilemmas wrench our hearts. We're there with the country folk, their hard lives and simple pleasures. The story has nightmare passages, as when Bathsheba must open the coffin of another young women to see her face and the stillborn child with her.

Great photography -- as we expect -- from Nicolas Roeg.

The actors are among the best of that era: Alan Bates, Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch. I've always thought Christie exceedingly beautiful. She has severe features, like antique statuary, and I love that strong nose.

I call it a "great book" but that's for the story. Hardy doesn't write very well, although I'm told his poetry is good. His novels are set in "Wessex", a collection of fictional place names overlaid on the real southwest England.

Two criticism: (1) at three hours my attention begins to flag. (2) A famous scene is Sergeant Troy's sword-exercise wooing of Bathsheba. He cuts and slashes all the greenery around her while she stands still in quiet erotic submission. The film does a bizarre treatment of this scene that I think doesn't work very well.

Available on Warner Archive Blu-ray.



-Bill
ChromeJob likes this.

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    

Last edited by wmcclain; 07-31-2016 at 12:20 PM.
wmcclain is online now  
post #1725 of 1732 Old 07-31-2016, 08:22 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
gwsat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 16,691
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1534 Post(s)
Liked: 1611
Bill -- Your review of the 1967 film version of Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd, starring Julie Christie, reminded me that I recently saw the 2015 film that was also based on the Hardy novel. It starred Carey Mulligan. I thought the 2015 film was rather good but confess, it had been so long since I read the Thomas Hardy novel, I couldn't assess how true to Hardy's work it was.
wmcclain likes this.
gwsat is offline  
post #1726 of 1732 Old 08-04-2016, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
Valentino (1977), directed by Ken Russell.

I am compelled to see every Ken Russell film, but he is a director I can't recommend to anyone who is not already watching Ken Russell films. I make an exception for Altered States (1980), talking it up to anyone who retains a sense of wonder.

He is more restrained in some pictures than in others, but when you let him go he is unmatched in the spectacularly excessive, the self-indulgently vulgar. He admits it: that's what Art is, he says.

This one is not as wild as Lisztomania (1975), but -- as in all his "lives of the artists" films -- no one should mistake it for a documentary. Historical accuracy is not important to him; his biopics are more like novels.

I also note that his source is a biography by Brad Steiger, prolific generator of books on UFOs and psychic topics.

Much interesting material embedded in a lot of "who cares? why is this in the film?" The commentary track defends the structure, pointing out that Valentino's life is told by the people in it (mostly women) and that he was a different man to each of them. Russell claimed that each scene was purposefully done in a different style. The commentator raves about the set design and massive costuming effort.

As is often the case with Russell films, I missed subtitles. Many accents, both real and put-on, are hard to follow. Rudolf Nureyev is a Russian speaking English with an Italian accent.

He's rather good in the role. Not a professional actor but he had been performing all his life and the tango dancing was no obstacle. He could put on that erotic fierceness the role requires.

Also with ex-singer Michelle Phillips, last seen in Dillinger (1973). She contributes actual nudity, as shown in the sexy poster:



They enact a film fantasy of a different sort. Those passion scenes of yesteryear: what if we could see the people strip off and actually go at it, which is what viewers were imagining anyway?

Penelope Milford, last seen in Coming Home (1978), contributes comical sexiness as the female lead in The Sheik (1921). She and Valentino retire to the tent for some "rehearsal" and she is awfully vigorous, slapping his face with her boobs (loud SMACK sound effect).

Nureyev didn't want to do that scene, finding it vulgar, but came around. As to disputes and yelling on the set: "Sure, that happens. We do much worse in the ballet".

Kino Blu-ray. No subtitles, but a valuable commentary track by an enthusiastic fan.

He says Valentino was so popular with women because they knew he was "safe". It was shared role playing. No matter how erotically intense he could be, everyone knew there was no harm in him.

He died at age 31 and has 39 acting credits in the IMDB.



-Bill
ChromeJob likes this.

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
post #1727 of 1732 Old 08-07-2016, 07:49 AM
AVS Special Member
 
ChromeJob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: N. Carolina
Posts: 1,157
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 479 Post(s)
Liked: 154
Oh boy do I remember that October Playboy pictorial....

“Hey, Jenny Slater. Hey, Jenny Slater. HEY, Jenny Slater.
A: Yamaha RX-V775. Bose 401 mains, 301 Series III surrounds, Yamaha NS-C444 center, Hsu VTF-2 Mk4.
V: Samsung UN40ES6150, Panasonic DMP-BDT215, Yamaha DVD-S550.

ChromeJob is offline  
post #1728 of 1732 Old 08-10-2016, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
The Red Badge of Courage (1951), directed by John Huston.

A more sensitive, detailed treatment than is usual for war pictures. Finely photographed. The center of the story is uncertain young soldier Henry, who worries that he will cut and run in his first battle. Which he does, but after a day and night of wandering, comes back and is extra fierce in battle the next day.

Often in this sort of film the soldiers just appear on the line, ready for the action scenes. Here we see the tedious movements to get into position on the dusty terrain. Also with glimpses of camp life, with the rumor mills working overtime.

A favorite bit: Henry is on sentry duty in the moonlight. A rebel voice from across the river: "Hey, Yank, would you mind stepping back into the shadows? Be a shame to shoot you on a fine night like this".

The voice-over narration from the book is unnecessary and distracting.

The highly decorated Audie Murphy is the lead. His fellow infantryman and two-time Pulitzer winning cartoonist Bill Mauldin plays his best friend.

Many recognizable character actors of the period:

  • Royal Dano, Andy Devine
  • Arthur Hunnicutt, who had a career playing backwoodsmen
  • John Dierkes as "Jim Conklin - the Tall Soldier". I knew his face but not his name.
  • Whit Bissell, William Schallert -- both uncredited
  • voices of James Whitmore and Strother Martin -- uncredited

Although liked by critics at the time it did not find much of an audience. Huston's work was done after he delivered his version; he left the country to make The African Queen (1951) and had no more to do with it. After two poor sneak previews the studio trimmed it down to 69 minutes and added the narration.

The whole story is told in Picture by Lillian Ross, an acclaimed "inside Hollywood" account. She seems snide to me, a literary figure finding that movies are made by shallow sycophants.

It was true even then: young people determine what movies get made. Films need audiences and if teens aren't interested in a topic then neither are the studios -- for very long.

Available on DVD.



-Bill
V'ger and ChromeJob like this.

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
post #1729 of 1732 Old 08-15-2016, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
The Odessa File (1974), directed by Ronald Neame.

Pursuing a story that begins the day of the JFK assassination in 1963, a German journalist discovers a dead man's death camp diary. Tracking down the camp commandant, an escaped war criminal, he enters a dangerous thicket of lies and espionage.

ODESSA, the organization that protects former SS members, has people in the police and even in the government offices which are supposed to investigate and prosecute war criminals. Who do you trust? Suppose you wanted to penetrate ODESSA: how dangerous would that be?

The first half is methodically developed and paced, a sort of hunt-the-war-criminal procedural plot. This style can sometimes seem slow and unnecessarily detailed, but it has its appeal. The film becomes more action-oriented and improbable in the second half.

This is Jon Voight after Deliverance (1972) and before Coming Home (1978). Also with Maximilian Schell as the chief baddie. Voight's love interest is Mary Tamm who I remember as the First Romana in the Tom Baker years of the original Doctor Who series.

According to the wikipedia article, the consensus among historians is that ODESSA did not really exist. Many dispute that: The SS (Schutzstaffel): Organization of Former SS Members (ODESSA).

From Frederick Forsyth's novel. Score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, cinematography by Oswald Morris.

Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal is listed as "documentary adviser" and an actor portrays him in the film.

Available on Blu-ray with ugly subtitles on a black background stripe.



-Bill

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    

Last edited by wmcclain; 08-15-2016 at 03:14 PM.
wmcclain is online now  
post #1730 of 1732 Old 08-18-2016, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941), directed by Alexander Hall.

A boxer ("The Flying Pug") crashes his plane just before his championship bout. Through the error of a trainee "messenger", he is conveyed to the celestial realms too soon. He wasn't supposed to die in the crash, in fact he had another 50 years! The heavenly staff owe him another body, one suitable for a prizefighter.

This type of metaphysical whimsy used to be popular on stage and screen, and still gets made from time to time. It's a chance to laugh but also ponder the big issues of life and death. Love is always in the mix. Even in a farce we care about lovers' meetings and departures.

The comic bits get well-exercised here, maybe too much. Fight trainer James Gleason has to carry much of this: although always played by Robert Montgomery, Joe supposedly looks and sounds different depending on what body he is in. Continued shock and amazement! No one can see Joe or the angels when they are inspecting a scene: can you believe it? Joe is never happy with his choices, the big dope.

I have nothing against Evelyn Keyes but I think the film would have benefited from a livelier romantic lead.

Claude Rains always masters his roles.

Photographed by Joseph Walker who did many of Capra's pictures. You can tell -- it has that look. Edith Head costumes.

Remade as Heaven Can Wait (1978) with Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and James Mason.

Criterion Blu-ray.



-Bill
ChromeJob likes this.

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
post #1731 of 1732 Old 08-18-2016, 08:38 PM
AVS Special Member
 
ChromeJob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: N. Carolina
Posts: 1,157
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 479 Post(s)
Liked: 154
On a double bill with THEY WERE EXPENDABLE or RIDE THE PINK HORSE, you can really see Montgomery's range.
ChromeJob is offline  
post #1732 of 1732 Old Today, 04:21 AM - Thread Starter
One-Man Content Creator
 
wmcclain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 20,180
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1910 Post(s)
Liked: 834
Broken Lance (1954), directed by Edward Dmytryk.

I had never heard of this before it appeared on Blu-ray. As the commentary track says, it is an example of the lavish results Fox could get with a fine cast and crew and when using Technicolor and the new CinemaScope 2:55:1 aspect ratio.

The story is one of those Shakespeare-in-the-West efforts: a tough patriarch is at war with his older sons. The youngest -- from his second wife, an Indian princess -- is his favorite, and will suffer the most.

The range lands are vast and beautiful, the mansion-sized ranch house rich and comfortable. It has darker elements: race hatred against Indians and half-breeds, murderous anger within the family.

The cast:

  • Spencer Tracy: tough, inflexible, and pretty good on a horse.
  • Katy Jurado: only six years older than Robert Wagner who plays her son.
  • Robert Wagner: skin toned to make him look half-Indian.
  • Richard Widmark: the eldest, smartest and most ambitious son. Not a villain at first...
  • Jean Peters: the young love interest and Howard Hughes protégé. She co-starred with Widmark in Pickup on South Street (1953).
  • Hugh O'Brian and Earl Holliman: the middle sons.

Twilight Time Blu-ray, with an excited, wide-ranging interview on the commentary track between Nick Redman and Earl Holliman, recorded over 60 years after the film was made. Not much about this particular title, but a wealth of good stories.



-Bill

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
Unofficial OPPO FAQS: BDP-103 | BDP-93 | BDP-83 | BDP-80    
wmcclain is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Movies, Concerts, and Music Discussion

Tags
Reviews , Blu Ray Movies , Aliens Blu Ray , The Godfather Collection The Coppola Restoration Blu Ray
Gear in this thread



Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off