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post #931 of 2271 Old 03-23-2013, 10:28 AM
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I have always loved Laura. Gene Tierney was at the height of her luminous beauty and Clifton Webb's waspish performance made him a star. Highly recommended!

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post #932 of 2271 Old 03-24-2013, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

The Harvey Girls (1946), directed by George Sidney.

How the west was won: by singing and dancing waitresses!

The thesis is worth considering: when the Good Girls show up on the frontier, the rough cowpokes give up on the Bad Girls and shift to the other side of the street. The gambling halls and bordellos move farther west. Heck, the church may even reopen.

Lots of sexual politics here, all between the two camps of young women. Each side is curious about the other, with some hostility that might be overcome in the end. Cyd Charisse (in her first speaking role) must cross over to the saloon to dance while the Irish tenor plays piano. And then we have the huge all-girl barroom fight. The times they are a-changing.

Judy Garland is head Good Girl, always with great comic talent, awkwardly wielding six-shooters in the bar. Smoldering Angela Lansbury is head Bad Girl, impossibly young at 21, but always looking older.

The show-stopping number occurs early: "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" was a smash hit that year. It's one of those mind-virus tunes that plagues you for days. On the melancholy side, "It's a Great Big World" is a lovely song.

Providing extra comic relief: Chill Wills, Marjorie Main and dancer Ray Bolger. The big waltz scene is dizzying.

The director's commentary track on the DVD is a fond reminiscence of the golden age of the studio system, rambling but fact-filled:

  • He was in the movies at age 5, went to work for MGM at 14 and did just about every job on the lot.
  • This movie was to be a straight western with Clark Gable, but they kicked it around for years and finally sent it to the musicals department.
  • Judy Garland had a great ability to focus. You'd give her direction and she'd stare blankly off into space. You'd think: "She's not even listening". Then she'd go and nail it first time, one take.
  • This is a rare musical where the leading man doesn't sing.



-Bill
Check out Angela in The Picture of Dorian Gray...also see the lovely Donna Reed .
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post #933 of 2271 Old 03-25-2013, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Lawrence of Arabia (1962), directed by David Lean.

The epic tale of a strong-willed, enigmatic man.

This could have been another better-quality war adventure, like the director's previous film, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), but in the five year interval he developed a much deeper, more conflicted vision of war and heroism. It's also set on a much grander scale: I have never seen such vast landscapes in film before.

The story is about Lawrence turning a corner, the filmmaker showing two perspectives on tales of war.

The first part is all boy's big adventure, finely supported by Maurice Jarre's sweeping, romantic score. A Englishman descends on the primitive squabbling Arab tribes and by his force of will gets them organized to achieve impossible goals. Oddly enough, the Arabs understand him: "You're one of those English in love with the desert." They know it's a game to him and they are his chess pieces, but they follow him anyway.

In the second part Lawrence's inner demons emerge. He finds he hates killing and it drives him mad. He has to do terrible things with his own hands, executing his friends. He's done with adventure and just wants out, but still poses for the cameras.

In the final ignominy, the struggle sinks into political wrangling, all heroism snuffed out.

A 1962 film can't be explicit about certain things, but those familiar with the biography of TE Lawrence will get the hints:
  • After executing one of his men, Lawrence confesses in shame to his superiors: "I enjoyed it."
  • He becomes excessively morose after being captured and beaten by the Turks. His friends wonder "What did they do to him?"

The real Lawrence later wrote that he had been raped by the Turks and enjoyed it. He had masochistic desires and, back in England after the war, paid men to flog him.

Another historical note: Lawrence's efforts were in support of General Allenby, who achieved total victory in his theater with minimal loss of his own troops.

It says "Introducing Peter O'Toole", although the IMDB shows earlier small credits. It must be one of the most auspicious debuts in film history, although he never entirely kicked the "mad Englishman" persona. He said that his looney director in the The Stunt Man (1980) was inspired by working with David Lean.

3h47m long, including overture and intermission. It seems like a much shorter film.

Available on Blu-ray with a superb image.



-Bill

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post #934 of 2271 Old 03-25-2013, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

Lawrence of Arabia (1962), directed by David Lean.

The epic tale of a strong-willed, enigmatic man.


In the second part Lawrence's inner demons emerge. He finds he hates killing and it drives him mad. He has to do terrible things with his own hands, executing his friends. He's done with adventure and just wants out, but still poses for the cameras.

In the final ignominy, the struggle sinks into political wrangling, all heroism snuffed out.

A 1962 film can't be explicit about certain things, but those familiar with the biography of TE Lawrence will get the hints:
  • After executing one of his men, Lawrence confesses in shame to his superiors: "I enjoyed it."
  • He becomes excessively morose after being captured and beaten by the Turks. His friends wonder "What did they do to him?"

The real Lawrence later wrote that he had been raped by the Turks and enjoyed it. He had masochistic desires and, back in England after the war, paid men to flog him.

-Bill

This was the "Hays Code Lawrence".
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post #935 of 2271 Old 03-27-2013, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JSUL View Post

Check out Angela in The Picture of Dorian Gray...
Quote:
Smoldering Angela Lansbury is head Bad Girl, impossibly young at 21, but always looking older.



No question she did have a certain sex appeal in her younger years. wink.gif

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post #936 of 2271 Old 03-27-2013, 12:30 PM
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No question she did have a certain sex appeal in her younger years. wink.gif

No question that Angela Lansbury was a beautiful and sexy girl in her youth. Better than that she was a wonderful actress even then. And even better than that, she could sing. No wonder see became the queen of the Broadway musical theater. In the '70s, I saw her as Mama Rose in her Tony Award winning performance in a revival of Gypsy. She blew me away. I also saw her on disc in another of her Tony Award winning roles, Mrs. Lovett in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, opposite George Hearn. What a show!

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post #937 of 2271 Old 03-27-2013, 01:46 PM
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I would have recommended Gaslight as the best example of her good looks in her youth, but Dorian Gray is a good choice too.
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post #938 of 2271 Old 03-27-2013, 06:08 PM
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No question that Angela Lansbury was a beautiful and sexy girl in her youth. Better than that she was a wonderful actress even then. And even better than that, she could sing. No wonder see became the queen of the Broadway musical theater. In the '70s, I saw her as Mama Rose in her Tony Award winning performance in a revival of Gypsy. She blew me away. I also saw her on disc in another of her Tony Award winning roles, Mrs. Lovett in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, opposite George Hearn. What a show!
I saw her in that version of Gypsy twice. Wish I had seen it more than that. It was one of the top 2 or 3 live theater-going experiences I've ever had. She was spectacular in it. Too bad there was, as far as I know, no video version of it recorded a la' Sweeney Todd.
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post #939 of 2271 Old 03-27-2013, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Yojimbo (1961), directed by Akira Kurosawa.
Quote:

Thug: I've committed every crime in the book!

Sanjuro: So you won't mind if I kill you?

Thug: What? Kill us if you can!

Sanjuro: It'll hurt.

Thug: We're gamblers. We ain't afraid of the sword.

Sanjuro: [chuckles] There's no cure for fools. [draws sword, visits split-second death and mayhem on the gang, turns and walks away]

A scruffy lone samurai wanders into a town divided between warring factions. If he can rescue the innocent and get the goons to kill each other off he will have had a good day.

It is now late in the samurai era and the rich industrialists with their gangster allies are supplanting the old feudal order. Kurosawa satirizes contemporary Japan and in his fantasy version of history the samurai triumphs over the new order one last time.

This is funnier than his earlier costume pictures and has a jazzier score. The story is now a classic one: it was remade as Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Walter Hill's Last Man Standing (1996). Kurosawa sued for a cut of Leone's picture and made more on it than on his own version.

It is probably the Toshiro Mifune role best loved by audiences. Despite the general wryness in tone, the violence is more explicit than in his earlier films. He takes a sadistic beating.

How the wheel turns: Kurosawa was influenced by John Ford westerns and Dashiell Hammett books and films, and his work in turn inspired new westerns and hardboiled movies.

The Criterion Blu-ray has a better image than the other b&w Kurosawa I have seen recently: The Seven Samurai (1954) and Rashomon (1950). It's often very fine.

The excellent commentary track gives not only an appreciation of the camera work but loads of detail on the director's intent, his habit of illustrating problems of the present with stories of the past, the historical and contemporary context, his debt and influence.



-Bill

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post #940 of 2271 Old 04-01-2013, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), produced and directed by Robert Aldrich.

Two ex-showbiz sisters in a big old house: the one in a wheelchair is terrorized and starved by the psychotic one.

It's well done, but 2h13m is plenty long for this. The photography is at times exceptionally fine. The finale on the beach rises to a higher level of macabre dread.

Joan Crawford and Bette Davis did not get along at all off-stage, but both needed a comeback vehicle and worked hard on this exploitation thriller. It worked for them. Audiences were shocked to see them in these roles and there is unexpected violence: murder with a hammer and Crawford being kicked across the floor.

Davis always had exotic looks and a mannered acting style: she just eats up the role of gruesome ex-child star. The bit where she dances one of her old numbers, twirls and shows her thighs: that is genuinely creepy.

This inspired a brief psycho-biddy genre, which is a bit cruel: both leads were in their mid-50s, made to look older.

Frank De Vol score, a good one.

Available on Blu-ray with a rather good image. Two excited film buffs provide the commentary track: they appreciate both leads and say good things about Joan Crawford, but they adore Bette Davis.

They point out the two women are playing in different movies: Crawford is in a straightforward thriller while Davis is doing a ghastly comic interpretation of same. The combination works.



-Bill

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post #941 of 2271 Old 04-04-2013, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Dillinger (1973), written and directed by John Milius.

Low-budget, unromantic version of an often-told tale, kind of an economy Peckinpah. Both bank-robbers and cops are hard, rough men and we have an abundance of shootouts. Documentary-style plot with news footage of the period and some old films spliced in. No character development to speak of.

Mostly it's an excuse to see the tough guy actors of the period: Warren Oates as Dillinger, Ben Johnson as Melvin Purvis, and Harry Dean Stanton as another thug. Richard Dreyfuss doesn't quite do it as big-talking psycho Baby Face Nelson, but that's probably because we remember him from later work.

It has a good Depression look. Oklahoma gets all the location credits. Singer Michelle Phillips has an early role as Billie Frechette, Dillinger's girl.

A problem: because the gang members have the same clothes, hats and haircuts, I had a hard time tracking who was who during the action scenes.

A nice technical touch: the gang have Browning Automatic Rifles, seldom seen in movies. Hollywood has plenty of tommy guns but little else for that era.

I don't know the history well enough to judge, but the body count among the lawmen seems improbably high.

The most recent version of the story was Michael Mann's Public Enemies, where Johnny Depp was Dillinger and Christian Bale played g-man Purvis.



-Bill

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post #942 of 2271 Old 04-06-2013, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

I reviewed this previously here and will let my previous heartfelt comments stand. The wonderful Criterion Blu-ray is an excuse to visit it again.

As I said before, it is "a poignant epic about the passing of an Age of the world, dressed up as a satirical comedy". It is also intensely romantic: our hero meets his dream girl three times in his life. She is always Deborah Kerr at age 21, no matter how old he is. Once he marries her, but twice she belongs to another.

I'll see anything with Kerr or hoarse-voiced Roger Livesey. I'll see anything by Michael Powell.

Martin Scorcese is an obsessed Powell & Pressburger fan and seems to be the driving force behind this restoration. He supervises several good extras on the disc and says his own Raging Bull was much influenced by this film. I wouldn't have imagined that, but I'll be watching for it next time.

The Criterion Blu-ray has a combined commentary track with Scorcese and Powell watching the movie, although not together. Powell is sometimes a bit difficult to understand, but has some great reminiscences.

Churchill (a bit of a Blimp character, bless him) hated the project and wanted the film banned. The government didn't ban it, but neither did they help and Powell was told he would never get his Knighthood if he proceeded. He never did, although that might have something to do with Peeping Tom (1960).

Emeric Pressburger, a Hungarian Jew, was still classified as an enemy alien, even though he and Powell had been making patriotic films for years. The solution: open an account -- 37 pounds -- in a British bank. He got his papers immediately.



-Bill
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post #943 of 2271 Old 04-06-2013, 01:26 PM
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Bill -- I have the Colonel Blimp BD and love it. For Livesey it was the proverbial performance of a lifetime in the role of a lifetime. In order to save a few bucks, I bought the UK BD of the film instead of the Criterion edition. The transfer was the same but the Brit version has fewer extras. Because my BD is Region B, for reasons you know I won't be able to watch Colonel Blimp again until I replace my all regions BD player with a new one. Anyway, this is a great film, a classic. 10 Stars out of 10.
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post #944 of 2271 Old 04-21-2013, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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River of No Return (1954), directed by Otto Preminger.
Quote:
He can run but he can't hide.

Just out of prison, a pioneer widower sends for his boy and takes him to their farm where it looks like all will be well for them. They get tangled up with a dance hall singer and her no-good gambler boyfriend, and it turns into a survival story of white water rafting on the wilderness rivers.

As always, Robert Mitchum is excellent as the tough, witty, manly father, not looking for trouble but able to handle it.

Marilyn Monroe sings several numbers. I always find it hard to judge her acting; she's at her best when relaxed, funny and "normal". When being dramatic she gets all earnest and breathy. Did they make jeans that tight back then?

The threats include a mountain lion, hostile Indians and hostile prospectors. Mitchum himself is a threat: we have a near-rape scene. Later he says: "I didn't mean it" and she seems to believe him.

Filmed in Alberta and Idaho with gorgeous mountain scenery. The raft closeups are studio process shots, but we also see a real raft in real rapids, stunts that look damned dangerous.

Production was described as "difficult" and you can see the details in the wikipedia article. Monroe thought it her worst film; she and Preminger hated each other. I've heard him described as a tyrant on the set before.

Tommy Rettig, who plays the kid, was boy companion "Jeff" on the first 116 episodes of Lassie. This was just before "Timmy".

Available on Blu-ray. The aspect ratio is 2.55:1.



-Bill

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post #945 of 2271 Old 04-29-2013, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
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The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), directed by Roman Polanski.

This spoof of Hammer Dracula films was one of my favorites as a kid, with that fine semi-horror delight of fools dancing on the edge of genuine fright. It's still fun, if not as much as before. Now it seems stuck in low gear and the constant slapstick is not as hilarious as it once was.

It's more lush than the originals, but has the same middle-European fantasy tone. We have the isolated village, the inn with the tight-lipped locals, the buxom daughter and serving wench, the cobweb-draped castle with the debonair undead Count, and the improvised crosses to hold back the vampires.

New features:

  • The Professor looks like Einstein, who is always good for a laugh. Jack MacGowran is the best thing in the movie: hilariously distracted and oblivious to danger, but with a certain craft when needed.
  • A Jewish innkeeper: crosses don't work when he's vampirized.
  • A gay vampire.

We have more sexual innuendo than usual:
Quote:

Sarah: I got into the habit of it at school. It's funny. You can't just change your habits in a couple of months, can you? Besides, it's good for your health. Once a day is the very least. Don't you agree?

Alfred: Yes...

Sarah: Do you mind if I have a quick one?

Alfred: Huh? I don't mind at all, but...

Sarah: Oh, thank you! You are being very nice. [goes to bathtub] Now could you get me some hot water?

The wild choral music is a good addition.

Polanski plays the Prof's nervous and love-struck young assistant. Sharon Tate is the love interest who needs rescuing from the castle. As I presume everyone here knows: they married and she and four others were murdered by the Manson family about 18 months later. Polanski is currently a fugitive for a sex crime committed in 1977.



-Bill

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post #946 of 2271 Old 05-07-2013, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Casablanca (1942), directed by Michael Curtiz.

A disillusioned man regains his soul when an old flame surrenders to him completely. You need to load a man up with responsibility before he gets self-respect and does the right thing.

Miscellaneous notes after a lifetime of I-have-no-way-of-estimating-how-many viewings:

  • Do you hear Sam playing "The Very Thought of You" in the background a couple of times?
  • "Rick's" looks like a great saloon. I wish I'd had somewhere like that to hang out. Minus the nazi jamboree and gunplay, of course.
  • My best viewing of this was long ago in a campus venue. The crowd was not composed of film buffs but they were willing to be entertained. When the camera rose from the chessboard to show Bogart's face: a deep and heartfelt gasp. When he said "Here's looking at you, kid": total meltdown.
  • Set in December 1941, just before the US entered the war -- and made just after -- this was a model for Warner wartime entertainment over the next few years, although never equaled. Well-intentioned without being too heavy, plenty of colorful characters, with an ordinary guy American hero who is tough enough to see it through.
  • Note how "America" is the promised land. Everyone flees the Old World for the New.
  • I was on a discussion list where a film professor found the camera work "risible", which is how you have to talk when you are an academic. I still don't know what she meant. It is a studio-bound film with the attendant degree of fantasy, but looks gorgeous throughout. I notice a lot of radial motion away from the camera, unusual for that time.
  • Notice how Rick's office/apartment has an invisible wall?
  • Look how Ingrid Bergman's eyes shine!
  • The singing battle of "The Watch on the Rhine" vs "La Marseillaise": no one can resist it. One of the great moments of cinema.
  • The unquestionable "letters of transit" are, of course, ridiculous, but we don't mind.
  • Marcel Dalio, Rick's croupier, doesn't even get credit. He'd been a star in France before the war. See The Rules of the Game (1939)
  • The Bulgarian groom is played by Helmut Dantine, who later had a career as nazi villains. Actually he was an anti-nazi activist and had been in a concentration camp.
  • It's startling to hear Ilsa call Sam "boy". That was the term for grown men in certain jobs, for example the little old white bus conductor in It Happened One Night, but I don't know if it was usual for musicians. The Boys in the Band?

Max Steiner score.

Available on lovely Blu-ray with velvety-smooth grain.



-Bill

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post #947 of 2271 Old 05-08-2013, 08:09 PM
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Casablanca (1942), directed by Michael Curtiz.

-Bill

One of hardest things to do in these cases is to find something new and insightful to say about a movie for which so much has been said, repeated, re-said, rinsed and repeated for decades. But you did it, Bill! Thanks for that review.

I've posted previously that Casablanca is one of those movies that, when I watch it, I always enjoy more than I remembered enjoying it before. Actually, that happens a lot for me with Bogart movies. For Casablanca, one of the biggest reasons for that is the man in your last pic on the right; the inimitable Claude Rains. I am always struck by how wonderful he is in this movie and how indispensable his character of Captain Renault is to defining the relationship dynamics among that steady stream of characters. His visible recognition and acknowledgement of the difference between the way Rick behaves when Ilsa enters the picture vs Rick's apparent regard or rather disregard for all other females is thrilling to watch and never fails to have me beaming with delight.
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post #948 of 2271 Old 05-09-2013, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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For Casablanca, one of the biggest reasons for that is the man in your last pic on the right; the inimitable Claude Rains. I am always struck by how wonderful he is in this movie and how indispensable his character of Captain Renault is to defining the relationship dynamics among that steady stream of characters. His visible recognition and acknowledgement of the difference between the way Rick behaves when Ilsa enters the picture vs Rick's apparent regard or rather disregard for all other females is thrilling to watch and never fails to have me beaming with delight.

Claude Rains is a neglected treasure. He was seldom a leading man (although: The Invisible Man) but always brought great value to his films, as in Kings Row (1942) and Notorious (1946). It's been a long time but I remember he was excellent in Mr Smith Goes to Washington as the corrupt but tragically sad senator. Making the audience hurt for such an unsympathetic character is a great talent.

-Bill

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post #949 of 2271 Old 05-09-2013, 10:31 AM
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Check out The Clairvoyant, a film he did with Fay Wray.
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post #950 of 2271 Old 05-10-2013, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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The Blob (1958), directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.

This is less of a science fiction film and more of a teen adventure story where it turns out that the hot-rodding juvies are actually all right. Against stiff resistance and suspicion by the adults, they get organized and save the town from a creeping alien menace. Young woman sneaking out at night to meet her boyfriend: raging hormones? No, got to save the world!

It's very decent looking for an independent, micro-budget film. It all takes place in one night, and has a middle-American 50s dream-like ambiance, but with horror lurking behind the wholesome facade.

It's only 82m long and could have been shortened further by tightening up some of the filler material. The "look" is better than the story itself.

Some of the cast seem amateur or semi-pro, but young Steve McQueen is already "there" with his cool, rebellious but basically decent persona. He's 28 but playing high school

The Criterion Blu-ray looks vastly better than I would have expected, although the last time I saw this it was projected on a bed sheet for an after dark school summer program. Prominent grain and vivid color.



-Bill

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post #951 of 2271 Old 05-10-2013, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

The Blob (1958), directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.


Some of the cast seem amateur or semi-pro, but young Steve McQueen is already "there" with his cool, rebellious but basically decent persona. He's 28 but playing high school


-Bill
Seeing this at the theater as a kid, I remember Steve McQueen striking a chord of recognition in our crowd about a certain character/person that certainly existed in our school in the 1950s but, as far as I know, has rarely been portrayed in movies; the good guy who is not the least bit hobbled by dramatic teenage emotional turmoil or angst and who makes his "goodness" look really cool. For the longest time we would imitate his way of hopping into a convertible and hope we looked as lean and assured doing it (none of us did). It kind of set a pattern for most of his subsequent films where he wouldn't just do a thing with a prop or in connection to a set, he would do something really cool with it. He managed to do it with conventional actions done a million times in the movies, like donning or adjusting a cowboy hat, combing his hair, loading a gun with bullets, or getting into or out of a car. He is missed.
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post #952 of 2271 Old 05-11-2013, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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It kind of set a pattern for most of his subsequent films where he wouldn't just do a thing with a prop or in connection to a set, he would do something really cool with it. He managed to do it with conventional actions done a million times in the movies, like donning or adjusting a cowboy hat, combing his hair, loading a gun with bullets, or getting into or out of a car. He is missed.

I recall George Macdonald Fraser telling a story about McQueen. They had a film project that never worked out (Tai-Pan?)

McQueen asked that a bunch of his lines be cut: "Can't I just 'look' the words?"

Fraser: "What do you mean?"

McQueen demonstrated the scene without dialogue.

Fraser: "Oh, like that. That works."

I'm guessing not many actors ask for fewer lines. I've heard Eastwood has done it.

-Bill

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post #953 of 2271 Old 05-11-2013, 08:33 AM
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There are plenty of excellent examples of story telling taking place "between the lines". I recently watched "The Verdict", which is an example. One of the most well-known scenes from that film has no dialog.
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post #954 of 2271 Old 05-16-2013, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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A Double Life (1947), directed by George Cukor.

A charming but self-absorbed actor loses himself in a long-running stage version of Othello. He's cracking up and we fear, from the very first performance, that he is really going to strangle Desdemona on stage.

The plot takes a turn after a different murder: the cynical cops and reporters bring in a more familiar and semi-comic noir tone. The parallel between the stage play and the actor's life is there, but not hammered.

A nice showcase for Ronald Colman, one of the great voices of the 20th century. An on-stage/off-stage story allows the actor to display various degrees of haminess.

First prominent role for Shelley Winters, age 27. She specialized in playing women who were not particularly bad, just available. Also with Edmond O'Brien, a reliable favorite from the period.

Co-written by Ruth Gordon (Harold and Maude (1971)); I forget that she was a writer as well as an actress.

Miklós Rózsa score, always making good films better. Shot on location in NYC, unusual for this type of picture.

Nominated for four Academy Awards and won Best Actor and Music.

Olive Films Blu-ray with an intro by Martin Scorcese. Restored by UCLA. The high def detail is often quite good, although the black levels are just fair by modern standards.



-Bill

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post #955 of 2271 Old 05-21-2013, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Barbarella (1968), directed by Roger Vadim.
Quote:
What do you want with me?... Oh.
Quote:
Decrucify the angel or I'll melt your face!

When a scientist goes missing, dim but earnest agent Jane Fonda is, for some damned reason, dispatched to find him. (Plot? Look elsewhere). She has a pink spacecraft shaped like a packet of lipstick, and the interior is entirely covered with brown shag carpet.

She gets laid a few times, despite initial ignorance of the physical nature of the act as still practiced on primitive planets.

I don't know what they were going for here, or if they achieved it. Maybe it's too subtle for me, but you would think anyone trying to make a science fiction spoof would know something about science fiction and something about humor.

The project's assets are:
  • Fonda's face and figure...

...and that is about it. She provides a bit of t&a nudity. Apart from that and some sexual situations, it looks like something made for children, with 10 cent special effects and ridiculous costumes. In look and design there is a direct line connecting this with another De Laurentiis production, Flash Gordon (1980), although the latter film looks like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) by comparison.

Ok, I admit I laughed a couple of times: when she burned out the death-by-orgasm device, and at the hapless revolutionary commander played by David Hemmings, a character named "Dildano". (I don't make these films, folks, I just review 'em).

Available on Blu-ray.



-Bill

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post #956 of 2271 Old 05-21-2013, 10:50 AM
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She has a pink spacecraft shaped like a packet of lipstick,

Lipstick, huh? That's not the comparison I would have made. smile.gif

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post #957 of 2271 Old 05-21-2013, 10:59 AM
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Barbarella (1968), directed by Roger Vadim.

Bill

Confess, did you actually watch the whole thing? I've never been able to, but I've only tried once or twice. I do remember seeing it in the theater when it came out, it created quite a stir.
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post #958 of 2271 Old 05-21-2013, 11:06 AM
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Opening credits are nice - the rest, mmm, yeah I don't know if I ever got past 20 minutes...
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post #959 of 2271 Old 05-21-2013, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Confess, did you actually watch the whole thing? I've never been able to, but I've only tried once or twice. I do remember seeing it in the theater when it came out, it created quite a stir.

Previously: no, but this time: yes. I was thinking: there are films even generous amounts of alcohol won't help. What sort of chemical recreation would make this "fun"?

But, as I said: I did laugh a couple of times.

Italian giallo thrillers do get some respect, and many people admire spaghetti westerns, but I've never heard of a fan-base for Italian science fiction. It's painful.

-Bill

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post #960 of 2271 Old 05-24-2013, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Repulsion (1965), directed by Roman Polanski.

Beautiful Catherine Deneuve is a timid manicurist, vague and dissociated from everything around her. When her sister leaves her alone for two weeks, her dread and fear of men comes to the front and she begins hallucinating. She (and we) can no longer tell what is real and what is not, but she begins striking out, shadows or no.

Initially a psychological thriller, it becomes a full-blown horror film, a bit gruesome for that era. If you enjoy the "disintegration of reality" films of David Lynch and Darren Aronofsky, this would be a good one to add to that shelf.

It's an English film, despite the continental cast and crew. Dramatic visual composition. Jazz score.

A perennially favorite "sex in the cinema" topic is "When did they start doing....?" In this case: the passion noises people -- particularly women -- make during sex. When did that first appear in movies? Here is a data point from a Euro film of 1965, as the younger sister lies awake listening to the older in the next room with her married boyfriend.

Criterion Blu-ray with an excellent image.



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