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Review older films here: 1979 and earlier - Page 8

post #211 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Tiger Bay (1959), directed by J. Lee Thompson.

Tomboy Hayley Mills (age 12 in a fine debut) witnesses a murder. She steals the gun and is on the run from the killer for a while until she befriends him and tries to help him escape. Police Superintendent John Mills (her real-life father) is not letting him get away, no matter what.

A great little thriller. Filmed on location around the Cardiff Docks, very gritty and real. Hayley gives one of the best performances from a child actor I have seen. She is very natural as the lonely child prone to lying and mischief.

Horst Buchholz ("the James Dean of German cinema") is the Polish sailor who commits the murder, a crime of passion. He's not a bad sort, but he'd really like to get away with it if he can.

Commentary track by Hayley Mills. Laurie Johnson score.

The North American region 1 NTSC edition is out of print and is expensive on the used market. My region 2 PAL disc is for sale in the classified section.



-Bill
post #212 of 1259
Hayley Mills is the daughter of that fine UK actor John Mills. (Sir John Mills, CBE) She comes by her acting talent in part because of her genes.

That clip you posted - lower left - shows both of them together.

Dana
post #213 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Quatermass 2 (1957), directed by Val Guest.

Aka Enemy from Space and Quatermass II: Enemy from Space, but not to be confused with Quatermass II, the 1955 TV series not on DVD.

Bernard Quatermass was created in the 1950s and established a small UK-based science fiction sub-genre: the boffin attached to a military command who encounters aliens, strange forces, prehistoric survivals and all sorts of weird X-files stuff. Doctor Who always had a strong Quatermass influence.

In this installment the Prof discovers that his canceled moon-base design has actually been built at the site of a destroyed town where meteorites have been showering down for months. Who would want a sealed base on Earth, and why are people changing? Looks like a monstrous conspiracy. Yes, we have a blob monster, for some reason very popular in these stories.

It's kind of half-baked and kind of exciting. Brian Donlevy really doesn't suit as the lead but Hammer Films needed an American actor to get US distribution. He is grumpy and more of an office-manager-man-of-action than a brain.

The disc is from Anchor Bay, but is manufactured on demand on DVD-R (media id: TYG03), available for rent from http://www.classicflix.com/. Commentary track by the writer.



-Bill
post #214 of 1259
Tonight I watched the 1955 UK film The Dam Busters as released on Blu-ray in September 2009.

Quote:


The Dam Busters is a 1955 British war film, set during the Second World War, and based on the true story of the RAF's 617 Squadron, the development of the "bouncing bomb", and Operation Chastise, the attack on the Möhne dams in Germany. It stars Michael Redgrave as Barnes Wallis and Richard Todd as Wing Commander Guy Gibson and was directed by Michael Anderson. The film was based on the books The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill and Enemy Coast Ahead by Guy Gibson. It was re-mastered and re-released in September 2007 in the United Kingdom.



Quote:


Technicians working on original negatives held at Pinewood Film Studios spent more than two months cleaning and enhancing the two-hour film. They used specialist equipment to correct flaws, reduce grain and scratches and achieve new high-definition pictures.

Based on a book by Paul Brickhill, the original film starred Redgrave as Sir Barnes Wallis, who developed the bomb, and Todd as Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who led the bombing mission.

It's a bit unusual to see a B&W film on BD but it's an important film to the Brits. The use of B&W was originally selected in part to match the actual test footage of the special spherical bomb used on the dam busting project. Also it lends itself much better to the drama surrounding the flight which took place at night.

Some interesting cast notes.

• Seen in the film in one of his first roles is the late Robert Shaw. Likewise, this was Patrick McGoohan's first film, in a bit part.

• Actor Richard Todd OBE (11 June 1919 – 3 December 2009) has long been a favorite of mine, in part because he was a genuine hero in WW II.

Quote:


During the Second World War, Todd joined the British Army, receiving a commission in 1941. Initially, he served in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry before joining the Parachute Regiment and being assigned to the 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion as part of the British 6th Airborne Division.

On 6 June 1944, as a captain, he participated in the British Airborne Operation Tonga during the D-Day landings. Todd was among the first British officers to land in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. His battalion were reinforcements that parachuted in after glider forces had landed and completed the main assault against Pegasus Bridge near Caen. He later met up with Major John Howard on Pegasus Bridge and helped repel several German counter attacks.

As an actor, Todd would later play Howard in the 1962 film The Longest Day.

The Dam Busters was the film Todd was best known for, playing Guy Gibson who led the raid on the dams. Gibson later was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Quote:


After receiving his VC, Gibson wrote an account of his wartime career, Enemy Coast Ahead, and was sent on a lecture tour of the United States by the government, partly to keep the new hero safe. The tour was at a time when the first American airmen were coming home 'tour expired' after 25 operations. During questions one young lady asked "Wing Commander Gibson, how many operations have you been on over Germany?" "One hundred and seventy-four." There was a stunned silence.

Sadly. Gibson later was killed in the war - at age 26.

Lots of interesting "stuff" about the film even for 1955 such as the use of four Avro Lancaster bombers specially restored. Filming took place at RAF Hemswell, still an operational RAF base when the film was shot.

The BD is Region 2. It played well.



Dana
post #215 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbonbi View Post

Tonight I watched the 1955 UK film The Dam Busters as released on Blu-ray in September 2009.

I recall the early 1970s series THE WORLD AT WAR had actual footage of one of these bombs being tested (without explosives, I presume). The cameraman deserved a medal as it was bouncing right towards him, doing lots of damage along the way.

-Bill
post #216 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Scott of the Antarctic (1948), directed by Charles Frend.

No, not the Monty Python version with the giant electric penguin.

This about the 1910 attempt to be the first men to reach the South Pole. It covers recruitment and fundraising, then six months hunkered down in the Antarctic winter. In the spring the expedition embarked with a combination of tractors, horses and sled dogs. First the tractors broke down, then the horses were shot (as planned; there was no way to take enough food for them). Several supply caches were established and five men walked to the Pole, pulling their sledge behind them. They found a Norwegian flag already there. (Amundsen had used sled dogs the whole way). They turned back; two died on the way and the remaining three died 11 miles from a supply depot.

Done as realistically as possible. The final portion is a story of suffering and endurance. John Mill's narration is from Scott's journal. At the Pole he says "Great God, this is an awful place."

I know that Scott's leadership has become controversial, but I don't know enough about the history or debates to comment. The film is a fairly heroic presentation, although it is easy to see in retrospect that some of his decisions were errors.

This must have been gorgeous in Technicolor (sea, snow and mountains are always worth filming, and Jack Cardiff did the photography) but my rental DVD (from "905 Entertainment") was awful, like a poor VHS tape.

Ralph Vaughan Williams score, later worked into a symphony. Watch for a young Christopher Lee.



-Bill
post #217 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Secret Agent (1936), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Adapted (loosely, as always) from W. Somerset Maugham's Ashenden, a fine collection of stories based on his experience as a spy-master in Switzerland during WW1. Possibly confusing: Joseph Conrad's novel, The Secret Agent was adapted by Hitchcock for his film Sabotage also in 1936. Which is not the same as his 1942 Saboteur, written by Dorothy Parker and others. Are you writing this down?

Here we see him continuing to develop the romance/comedy/thriller genre he was so good at. This story is darker than others, in that our agent couple come to realize they are doing simple murder and it bothers them. It's worse after they kill the wrong man. But the comedy and wryness never completely drain away.

The production is a bit rough and I get lost as to who they are after and what they are trying accomplish. Builds to a nice tense ending.

John Gielgud is very reserved and mannered, more like a character from a Noel Coward comedy. Madeleine Carroll is good to have along but doesn't seem to know what to do with herself. Peter Lorre has a great time as the Hairless Mexican, a killer whose nickname has to be explained away here. Robert Young is an irritating American playboy and our #1 suspect from the beginning.



-Bill
post #218 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Love on the Run (1936), directed by W.S. Van Dyke.

Lively screwball comedy with runaway bride Joan Crawford pursued by rival reporters Clark Gable and Franchot Tone. We get planes, trains and automobiles and an improbable mixup with a spy ring.

Crawford and Tone were married at this time, but it is Gable who gets the girl. Tone is always the guy left behind tied up in a closet.

Warner Archive title, available for rent from http://www.classicflix.com/.



-Bill
post #219 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

I recall the early 1970s series THE WORLD AT WAR had actual footage of one of these bombs being tested (without explosives, I presume). The cameraman deserved a medal as it was bouncing right towards him, doing lots of damage along the way.

-Bill

I like this movie a great deal. If any of you watch Foyle's War on PBS one of the episodes had the development of this bomb in one of the peripheral story lines including real footage of some of the testing that was done.

SMK
post #220 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Sherlock Holmes (1965).

Episodes from a BBC series starring Peter Cushing as Holmes. This can be a bit confusing, as Cushing also played Holmes in the Hammer The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959).

Shot mostly on video but with good color and detail. The 50 minute episodes included are:
  • The Hound of the Baskerville (in two parts)
  • The Sign of Four
  • The Blue Carbuncle
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery
  • A Study in Scarlet

Only for Holmes die-hards. Not bad in themselves for low-budget TV, but they are out-done in every way by the later Jeremy Brett/Granada series. On the other hand Cushing's Holmes is less eccentric than Brett's and maybe closer to the text.

A different actor played Holmes in earlier episodes.



-Bill
post #221 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Whistle Down the Wind (1961), directed by Bryan Forbes.

Three children discover a man (Alan Bates) hiding in their barn. Through a bit of miscommunication they believe him to be Jesus. He's actually on the run, wanted for murder. But they decide to help him and keep him secret, except from a few dozen other kids who become additional disciples. Like any Passion Play, whether it has a happy ending depends on how you look at it.

A remarkable little film. Often funny (the theme for the three children is the "We Three Kings" carol), often poignant bordering on tragic. Many little biblical scenes and theological dilemmas are suggested. Most of the children believe in a childish way, just for the novelty and excitement of it all. But they come to believe more profoundly. The oldest girl (Hayley Mills, age 15 and growing up fast) struggles to do the right thing as she understands it.

It's very thoughtful without being heavy handed.

Available on region 2 PAL DVD. Hayley Mills commentary track.



-Bill
post #222 of 1259
Vampyres 1974

Quote:


The Erotic Horror Classic Is Reborn... Totally Uncut And Uncensored!

"They share the pleasures of the flesh, and unleashed the horrors of the grave!" screamed the ads. The beautiful Marianne Morris and stunning Playboy centerfold Anulka star as bisexual seductresses who roam the English countryside with an insatiable lust for the blood of mortals as well as the succulent bodies of each other. Director Jose Ramon Larraz packs this landmark adult hit with chilling atmosphere, shocking bloodshed and some of the most torrid sexuality of any vampire movie in horror history.

Also known as DAUGHTERS OF DRACULA, this controversial cult classic was butchered repeatedly by censors around the world. Blue Underground is proud to present VAMPYRES in a stunning new High Definition transfer that restores all of the controversial gore footage missing from other versions!

This British sexploitation flick is kind of a hoot and really not too bad for it's ilk. Recently released on BD, but the DVD will provide equal PQ and AQ.

Contains abundant sex, gore and creepiness.
post #223 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Quatermass and the Pit (1967), directed by Roy Ward Baker.

This is the one people seem to remember. The first color Quatermass is a Hammer remake of a 1958 TV series of the same name. Aka Five Million Years to Earth.

Construction workers discover fossilized human remains under London. They then uncover a strange object and call the bomb squad (always the cavalry in British pictures, for obvious reasons). It turns out to be a Martian spacecraft millions of years old. As it comes alive we see strange phenomena and people start changing. The area has always been a spooky, paranormal hot spot, with strong suggestions of the diabolic. The combination of straight science fiction with the dread of ancient evil builds to a dynamite climax.

Quatermass is played differently here: he's honestly afraid of what he discovers and is vulnerable to Martian mind control. As always, and fortunately for us, the Martians left a hole in their defenses that the feeble earthlings can exploit.

Slow buildup as the clues accumulate but that is part of the fun when the audience is ahead of the characters ("Don't go down there, fool!"), although the squabbling bits with the bureaucrats tend to drag. We have a pretty female scientist but no romance subplot.

Something that struck me when I first saw this on TV as a boy were the closing credits, which are presented against the background of two survivors in the wreckage. They are just staring, gasping and trying to recover, but otherwise doing nothing. At the time it seemed to me that this was meant as an ominous postscript, that after the Martian influence was destroyed the human mind was also deactivated to some degree. But now I'm not sure.

Available on region 2 PAL DVD. The region 1 NTSC versions seem to be out of print and are expensive on the used market.



-Bill
post #224 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Remember the Night (1940), directed by Mitchell Leisen.

A comedy setup that turns romantic and sentimental. Another title for the "Christmas story" collection, and a pretty good one. To me, Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck suggest Double Indemnity, but they made three films together.

Stanwyck is on trial for shoplifting jewelry. It's not the first time and she seems philosophical. Her showman attorney pulls out all the stops in a histrionic attempt to get her off. MacMurray is a wisecracking prosecutor who, improbably, bails her out because he doesn't want her sitting in jail while the trial is continued over Christmas break.

Of course, he then can't get rid of her. Since they are both from Indiana he gives her a lift so she can visit her mother for the holidays. We have a comic episode with WPA roadwork, a farmer with a shotgun and a not very scrupulous justice of the peace. It turns weepy when we get to her home town. Says her mother: "Good riddance to bad rubbish."

So he takes her on to his own people, an eccentric, loving clan who take her in and give her an old-fashioned Christmas, including a barn dance. She's changing, considering whether she has a chance to reform her life, maybe fall in love. But she still has to face the music back in the city. Even if he were willing to throw the case against her, would that be the right thing to do?

In one movie we get the city vs country rivalry from both directions. At first it is the city folks coping with hostile bumpkins, but then we see that both of our leads are country folk who like the simple pleasure of life. The country house has no electricity, which was still true of about 10% of the rural locations in 1940. (Much like me and high speed internet today).

Writer Preston Sturges slips in a suggestive interchange when the new lovers are returning to the city via Niagara Falls:

He: You know where could go on our honeymoon? Niagara Falls.

She: We're in Niagara Falls now.

[Kiss. Fade to waterfall].

Fred 'Snowflake' Toones is the comically stereotyped black manservant in the city. He actually says "yowza". He made a couple hundred films and was a railway porter about fifty times.

Edith Head costumes.

TCM Vault title, available for rent from http://www.classicflix.com/.



-Bill
post #225 of 1259
Thread Starter 
The Verdict (1946), directed by Don Siegel.

Nicely atmospheric Victorian murder mystery, with lots of London fog and dark interiors lit by gaslight. "Suggested" by Israel Zangwill's The Big Bow Mystery, one of the earliest locked room stories. Don Siegel's first full length film.

Police Superintendent Sydney Greentreet's evidence sends an innocent man to the gallows and he resigns in disgrace. I'm not sure why everyone blames him; he did an honest, thorough job and the prosecutor, judge and jury also contributed.

When an impossible murder occurs in his neighborhood, he and pal Peter Lorre watch in delight as the new Superintendent fumbles the case. Lorre is wonderfully decadent: "I've always wanted to see a grave opened. Especially at night. It's exciting."

I think it's best not to give away the solution to this one. The final ten minutes are a study in plot misdirection. The film is a bit talky and plot-heavy but entertaining despite that.

Warner Archive title, available for rent from http://www.classicflix.com/.



-Bill
post #226 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Monte Carlo or Bust! (1969), directed Ken Annakin.

Aka Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies. Another entry in the madcap retro-adventure genre of the 1960s. Written and directed by the same people who did Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.

Very silly. It's not that good but works well enough if you revert to your childhood mind. The simple pleasures of a slapstick road race and the slightest bit of sex farce. I don't know if it could compete with contemporary children's programming. I couldn't follow some of the accents; no subtitles.

I rented it so I could see Susan Hampshire again. She has a beautiful doll-like face and is often quite funny. Tony Curtis tries to have some fun but doesn't really click. Terry Thomas is the reliable comic villain. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are a hoot as the imperturbable Major and his loyal assistant.

I wonder if the "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Deathrace" comedies could be considered continuations of the genre, updated to contemporary times and the future?



-Bill
post #227 of 1259
Thread Starter 
The Professionals (1966), written, produced and directed by Richard Brooks.

A great adventure western set in the early twentieth century in Pancho Villa's Mexico. A rich American's lovely young wife has been kidnaped and he hires mercenaries to go into Mexico to get her back. Tough men and women and witty tough guy dialogue throughout.

You seldom see a cast as strong as:
  • Burt Lancaster
  • Lee Marvin
  • Robert Ryan
  • Woody Strode
  • Jack Palance
  • Claudia Cardinale
  • Ralph Bellamy

It is familiar 1960s mythology: a plucky band of commandos penetrate the enemy stronghold and succeed against impossible odds. Alistair Maclean had similar plots in The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare. A new dimension elevates this one: Burt Lancaster and Lee Marvin are old revolutionaries. They have a history with their opponents and have sympathy for them and their cause. In a way their mission is a nostalgic return home.

Woody Strode is their tracker. Robert Ryan is the horse wrangler and the odd man out. He's not done this type of mission or fighting before and is not quite up to it physically. He cares more for horses than for people, but has the grit to do what's needed when it matters. At age 57 he was the oldest of this set. All were in their 40s and 50s when this was made.

Burt Lancaster was a marvel: massive head and distinctive face, athletic ability and performances always worth watching.

Like many films of the 1960s, my first exposure to this one was the lampoon in MAD magazine ("The Amateurs"), drawn with devastating wit by Mort Drucker. I recall Woody Strode turning to the reader and saying "You notice how they never ask my opinion about anything? Do I have to spell it out for you?" And this one had me rolling on the floor:

Cardinale: I hate my husband! He treats me like dirt!

Lancaster: Yeah, poor kid. All that money and he won't even buy you a bra!

Score by Maurice Jarre.

The Blu-ray is worth having and is a good upgrade from the DVD, but not a spectacular one. The edge enhancement Joshua Zyber mentions in his review does not bother me much except in a glittery look that sometimes appears on faces, an effect I associate with overly sharpened DVDs. I'm guessing it comes from the edges of skin pores and whiskers.

As an aside, I had a thread about "tough guy" films a while back but was never able to explain what I was talking about. You say "action" and people think of martial arts and flying through the air. You say "thriller" and they suggest zombie films.

In film, the Tough Guy:
  • knows other tough guys..
  • ...and has a history with them (war stories, revolution, gun running, crime)
  • is a hard working blue collar guy and has never had any money
  • is not averse to a little crime...
  • ...but is not in it only for the money; honor is important
  • has difficult relations with women
  • is deeply cynical, but probably a secret romantic
  • can handle any weapon including heavy machine guns
  • can operate heavy machinery (steam locomotives in westerns)
  • does not know martial arts apart from informal boxing and brawling
  • can take a beating
  • is not afraid of death

Example films would be Emperor of the North Pole (1973) (Lee Marvin again) and Hard Times (1975), Walter Hill's first film, with Charles Bronson and James Coburn. Phillip Marlowe is a Tough Guy even though he has an office, and blaxploitation pictures are full of them.



-Bill
post #228 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

The Professionals (1966), written, produced and directed by Richard Brooks.

-Bill

You left out one of the best comebacks of all time:

"You bastard!"
"In my case, an accident at birth. But you sir, are a self-made man. "
post #229 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Champagne (1928), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Another of his early silent films. A slight story but some good shots and an interesting look at 1920s club life.

A spoiled rich girl steals her father's seaplane so she can catch up with an ocean liner carrying her boyfriend. Once there the seaplane sinks. On board she flits between the boyfriend, an earnestly serious young man, and an older gentleman who is obviously a sexual predator.

In France her father arrives to tell her they are broke. He's lying but it's for her own good; he wants to teach her a lesson. They set up housekeeping and surprise! She actually enjoys taking care of him. But she has to find a job and that is pretty dismal.

A pretty girl who knows rich men has a way out, but that is a dismal prospect too. If only that young man would show up again. But when he does and suspects she is already a prostitute, what is injured pride to do but run off with the predator? Oops. Mistake.

A happy ending is arranged in the last five minutes which I will not attempt to summarize. And then a nicely Hitchcockian final few seconds, ominous intimations.



-Bill
post #230 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Monte Carlo or Bust! (1969), directed Ken Annakin.

Aka Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies. Another entry in the madcap retro-adventure genre of the 1960s. Written and directed by the same people who did Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.

Very silly. It's not that good but works well enough if you revert to your childhood mind. The simple pleasures of a slapstick road race and the slightest bit of sex farce. I don't know if it could compete with contemporary children's programming. I couldn't follow some of the accents; no subtitles.

I rented it so I could see Susan Hampshire again. She has a beautiful doll-like face and is often quite funny. Tony Curtis tries to have some fun but doesn't really click. Terry Thomas is the reliable comic villain. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are a hoot as the imperturbable Major and his loyal assistant.

I wonder if the "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Deathrace" comedies could be considered continuations of the genre, updated to contemporary times and the future?



-Bill

Reminds me a little of 'The Great Race' (1965), with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon and directed by Blake Edwards. That was a classic screwball comedy and road race from New York to Paris. Tony Curtis is the suave 'good guy', Jack Lemmon along with his assistant, Peter Falk, the commsumate 'bad guy'. They race across the globe and have alot of madcap adventures along the way. I particularly like the adventures in the eastern European Country with a Lemmon look alike despotic ruler, and the ensuing pie fight is fantastic.
post #231 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

Reminds me a little of 'The Great Race' (1965), with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon and directed by Blake Edwards. That was a classic screwball comedy and road race from New York to Paris. Tony Curtis is the suave 'good guy', Jack Lemmon along with his assistant, Peter Falk, the commsumate 'bad guy'. They race across the globe and have alot of madcap adventures along the way. I particularly like the adventures in the eastern European Country with a Lemmon look alike despotic ruler, and the ensuing pie fight is fantastic.

It's been a long time since I saw The Great Race (is that the one where he keeps saying "Push the button, Max!") but it is probably the better film. The IMDB score is 7.1 whereas Monte Carlo or Bust! gets an unenthusiastic 5.8.

-Bill
post #232 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

It's been a long time since I saw The Great Race (is that the one where he keeps saying "Push the button, Max!") but it is probably the better film. The IMDB score is 7.1 whereas Monte Carlo or Bust! gets an unenthusiastic 5.8.

-Bill

Yes it is. Of course Max (Peter Falk) finally pushes it at the wrong time.
post #233 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Baby Doll (1956), directed by Elia Kazan.

A foolish older man is driven to drunken derangement by sexual frustration. His young wife is making him wait. And wait. Lots of yelling and throwing things. He burns down a competitor's cotton works and when that man comes around for revenge...let's just say he knows how to hurt a crazy jealous husband.

Adapted by Tennessee Williams from one of his plays. Nominated for four Oscars. Then withdrawn from US theaters and banned in several countries. Time magazine called it "the dirtiest American-made motion picture that has ever been legally exhibited".

Well, times have changed. It can't match later films for explicit lewdness, but still holds its own (is this a competition?) for psycho-drama and raw emotional shock value. It is uncomfortable to watch people stripped of their better natures, enduring degradation and enacting lust and revenge and building up to actual violence. It's set in the Delta with all the usual Southern Gothic unpleasantness on display. They live in a grubby dump of a mansion.

Strangely enough, despite all that, it's pretty funny. Finely photographed.

Karl Malden, Carroll Baker and Eli Wallach (in his first film role) are all just outstanding. I could not have imagined Wallach as a accomplished seducer but he is good at it. In the "making of" on the DVD the actors claim they had no idea the film would be so controversial.

A certain type of lingerie became known as the baby doll after this film.

A confession: I find twentieth century playwrights hard to take. A little bit of Tennessee Williams, Eugene O'Neill or Arthur Miller will last me a year or more.





-Bill
post #234 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Baby Doll (1956), directed by Elia Kazan.

Boy, does that bring back some great memories from my younger days:

http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/15...hread=49239649
post #235 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Bandolero! (1968), directed by Andrew V. McLaglen.

Watched this tonight. Stewart and Martin were priceless, great chemistry. Somehow a western is always better with Jimmie in it.
post #236 of 1259
Thread Starter 
The Naked Spur (1953), directed by Anthony Mann.

James Stewart is going to bring Robert Ryan back, dead or alive. All he wants is the reward money so he can buy back his ranch. He picks up two unwanted "partners": prospecting old-timer Millard Mitchell and misfit soldier Ralph Meeker. We also have Janet Leigh who is a girlfriend of some sort to the fugitive. They have to worry not only about the outlaw and the Indians (which they mow down in classic fashion) but each other.

Here we move into the unheroic western genre. Everyone is out for themselves, no one can be trusted. Except for the woman who is doing it for love. James Stewart eventually softens up, also for love.

It's famous and well-regarded. I think I just don't like the Mann/Stewart westerns as much as many others do. Maybe it is because of the new type of character Stewart plays. When he becomes dangerous and unlikeable (as in Vertigo) he is really very unsettling, perhaps because we are so used to seeing him as the boyishly pleasant everyman. But I think he always had that subsurface violence even under his normal roles.

Like Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, Janet Leigh is too beautiful to be very scruffy.

Robert Ryan is my favorite actor, but I don't buy his jolly smirking badman here. It seems layed on a bit thick.

The image on my DVD was soft and the color a bit faded. Gorgeous Colorado locations, though.

A lot of the score seemed like generic cowboy action music and unsuited to the story. I thought the same thing about another Mann western, The Furies (1950). And the theme for The Man from Laramie (1955) was ludicrously bad. I wonder if he had any control over the score for these films?



-Bill
post #237 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

The Naked Spur (1953), directed by Anthony Mann.

I think I just don't like the Mann/Stewart westerns as much as many others do.
-Bill

Next you'll be telling us you don't like Winchester '73.

Communist!!
post #238 of 1259
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Next you'll be telling us you don't like Winchester '73.

I do, but that was the first one and is more of a classic western. After that they descend into a noisome pit of depravity and sadism.

Or do I exaggerate? Have to see them again, I guess.

-Bill
post #239 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Next you'll be telling us you don't like Winchester '73.

Communist!!

Them thar's fightin' words.

Dana
post #240 of 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

I do, but that was the first one and is more of a classic western. After that they descend into a noisome pit of depravity and sadism. -Bill

I'll bet you drive a Prius too.

But seriously folks, I never much cared for Naked Spur either. John Ford owns the genre, ala Two Rode Together. But lets face it, with Stewart in a movie, how bad can it be?

Speaking of Jimmy:
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