What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Amy Jeanne, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    I saw it years ago.... being ex-military I found it a little hard to watch. Everyone's "limit" or breaking point is different. It's a difficult and deeply touchy subject, particularly when you're in uniform. A lot of G.I's think they're tough... talk tough... would never consciously betray their country or comrades BUT... there are things that can be done to the human body and mind that are unimaginable to the human mind.

    Worf
     
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  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Thank you for your comments.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  3. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer A-List Customer

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    Seven Samurai (1954) dir. Akira Kurosawa. This time, I watched it on the Criterion Channel with the commentary by Michael Jeck, and it is remarkable. A number of insights regarding Japanese culture for those unfamiliar with it, as well as explanations about some of the Japanese language idioms and so on. Mr. Jeck also displays a deep appreciation of film techniques Kurosawa uses that might flash by so quickly we miss them. Highly recommend as a commentary.
     
  4. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Long, Hot Summer from 1958 starring Paul Newman, Orson Welles and Joanne Woodward

    The parallels to 1958's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, also staring Newman, are striking especially considering they were released in the same year (they are so similar, that I'd bet Newman had to struggle with keeping his characters and dialogue straight). Sure, this or that details is different, but both movies are about a wealthy and broken southern family dominated and abused by a patriarch that yells, screams, pushes, threatens and rolls over everything and everyone to get what he wants - even, perversely, love.

    Both movies have emasculated, bitter sons pitted against each others or an outsider "adopted" as a son. Both also have said patriarch emotionally pushing - right into his children's marriages - to get grandchildren and both movies have failed love lives owing to closeted homosexuality thwarting, well, that which leads to offspring.

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the better of the two movies because the story is stronger - a failed, alcoholic son beats a conniving outsider for family drama and Burl Ives brings more nuance and reflection to his shoving-everyone-this-way-and-that patriarch role than does Welles.

    That said, the scene in Long, Hot Summer where Welles calls out his daughter's long-time suitor - in front of the suitor's mother - for being "a sissy" and wasting his daughter's youth - including smashing an elegantly-set glass luncheon table - holds its own for gut-wrenching emotion with anything in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. And the ability of the mother and son to completely ignore, on the surface, what just happened is a pitch-perfect example of a dysfunctional family having expertly honed its communication-avoidance skills.

    These are both well-done, smart and well-acted movies that bring you into - and toss you around with - massive family drama; you just have to be in the mood to be emotionally buffeted for a couple of hours.

    N.B., I'm a big Joanne Woodward fan - and both she and Elizabeth Taylor do an outstanding job in their respective movies - but Taylor, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, gives a stronger performance as the woman at the center of it all who see it all because she is smarter than all the bloviating men around her.
     
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  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    "Broadway Babies," a prototypical "backstage musical melodrama" from the early-talkie days of 1929, starring "jazz baby" Alice White.

    Early talkies, more than any other film genre, require an understanding of context to be fully appreciated. It's not enough to watch any given 1929 film -- you need to know when in 1929 it came out and what films recently preceded it in order to really "get" what's happening on the screen. So much was changing so fast in Hollywood that today's fad could go to tomorrow's scrap pile in a matter of weeks -- and performers themselves were not immune to this. Such was the case with Alice White.

    White, a former script girl from New Jersey, made a very bright flash on the screen just at the end of the silent era, as First National's answer to Clara Bow. Like Bow, she gave off a vivacious, ready-for-anything attitude on the screen, and she had a wonderful look for silent pictures, with enormous expressive eyes that could, when the scene required it, take up fully half her face. "Broadway Babies", made as First National's response to MGM's smash hit "The Broadway Melody," and released just at the end of June 1929, was her first talkie, and much was expected. But the excessive plottiness of the film makes it evident that First National itself wasn't altogether sure that White was up for the job. There's so much going on that White often loses your attention, which is a bad sign for a star.

    The story is typical of the "backstager" genre -- White is one of three go-getting chorus girls sharing a room in a cheap boardinghouse and waiting for hte main chance. White's character, Dee (short for "Delight," which isn't altogether unbelievable for 1929) is in love with stage manager/would-be producer Billy, an ever-grinning young man with a cast-iron Brooklyn accent, played by Charles Delaney. Trouble begins with Billy falls under the sway of a scheming Broadway vamp, and Dee, in reprisal, allows herself to be noticed by a beefy, curly-haired gambler inscrutably named "Perc Gessant," in town to run a scam on a few of Broadway's gangland figures. Perc ends up getting shot by vengeful hoods, and proving himself a regular guy, tells Dee to go back to Billy because he knows she really loves him. You've seen it all before, but you really hadn't in 1929.

    White has gone down in history as the poster gal for incompetent early-talkie acting, but that legend was rather maliciously started by a few powerful men she had declined to sleep with at the height of her fame, and who, in turn, set out to put her in her place. Viewed without that baggage, she's an appealing performer who's a bit out of her element -- but again, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in Hollywood who wasn't out of their element during the first half of 1929. White is not a particularly skilled dancer -- she flounces across the stage swinging her arms and shimmying her hips, and Perc gapes at her like she's Ann Pennington, even though she clearly isn't. She sings a couple of tunes, in a voice which is probably her own -- her detractors gladly circulated rumors that she was dubbed, but no proof has ever surfaced to confirm that -- and she delivers her dialogue in a rather stilted manner that's no better and no worse than anyone else in the picture. By the standards of early 1929, it's really not a bad performance at all, and White can still make effective use of her eyes in punctuating her remarks.

    The rest of the cast falls along similar lines -- they might seem ridiculous by 2019 standards, but they're really not that bad compared to the rest of the Hollywood product of that particular moment. Delaney sounds like a Dead End Kid as he honks out his lines, and he's stuck with one of the early-talkie era's more baleful cliches in the form of a stuttering goof of a sidekick who's supposed to be funny, played without a trace of humor by Tom Dugan. Marion "Peanuts" Byron, a diminutive teenager who specialized in playing rock-em-sock-em comedy relief types thruout the late twenties, and appears here as one of White's roomies, is probably the most comfortable with dialogue, and you can see her occasionally stifling a laugh at the corny lines she's given, dialogue that would have been more at home in a comic strip. But, again, that's where the industry was in 1929, and you just have to roll with it.

    Technically, this film is miles ahead of what was being done just a few months earlier -- it's a smoother, more confident bit of filmmaking than "Broadway Melody," made at the end of 1928, and a lot of the technical gaffes associated with early talkies have already been resolved. The cameras are still locked in booths, but we've moved beyond the days of microphones hidden in plant pots, and the recording quality is excellent. There's effective use of music, not just in the production numbers -- "Jig Jig Aloo," a weird pseudo-tropical/jungle number in which White wears a gigantic headdress made of turkey feathers, and "Wishing and Waiting For Love," a pleasant, bouncy tune that became a minor hit -- but in underscoring at key moments in the drama. You get the sense that Hollywood is learning fast, even though they're still making up a lot of it as they go along.

    Alice White made several additional features along similar lines over the next year and a half, and when her contract ran out, she dropped out of pictures until 1933. Exactly what went on during those two years, and why, depends on who you ask -- she was involved in a scandalous divorce, she was blackballed, she quit to take acting lessons, maybe a few or all of those things combined. But when she came back, she came back as a bit player, stereotyped as a tough-talking secretary, a flashy girlfriend, a gun moll, roles which had little of the pep that had briefly made her a top box-office draw. "Broadway Babies" isn't the best of her surviving features -- that honor goes to "Show Girl In Hollywood" -- but it's a valuable and, on its own terms, entertaining relic of a unique moment in movie history.
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    On TCM now "Bad Day At Black Rock." I have it on in the background with the sound off. It has a beautiful opening sequence of a train running through the desert and pulling into a whistle stop: It's 1950s long-distance passenger-train perfect. Excellent movie but no time to watch it now. Also, saw "Born to Be Bad" on mute earlier - Joan Fontaine is ridiculously beautiful (but if memory serves from earlier viewings, she's too old for the role she plays in that movie).
     
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  7. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Man Who Cheated Himself from 1950 with Lee Cobb, Jane Wyatt, John Dall and Lisa Howard

    Sure the big movies it runs - Citizen Kane, Casablanca, etc. - are incredible, but those will always be on somewhere or you can buy twenty or so DVDs and own them, but the real magic of TCM is the surprise "small" movies that you never hear about, but that you stumble upon and thoroughly enjoy.

    I turned TCM on twenty or so minutes into this one, but the two-sentence cable summary and its not-complex plot allowed me to catch up quickly and enjoy the solid acting, good story and beautiful B&W cinematography of 1950s San Francisco.

    It's a basic noir done well - burly policeman has itch for pretty socialite women / femme fatale pretty socialite woman has itch for burly, not-of-her-class men / younger brother newbie detective keeps finding all the clues his guilty (not a spoiler, you know it up front) veteran detective brother tries to bury / murder / cover up and incredible angles, shadows and stairwell shots.

    And upping its noir-ish-ness:" It moves quickly, you are more engaged than you realize, you're almost rooting for the wrong guy and the bad, but beautiful, woman is revealed to be nastier and more selfish than you thought. Maybe it's not as good as I think because stumbling on a movie you know nothing about sets the bar low, but I'm guessing this one will hold up to multiple viewings.
     
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  8. EngProf

    EngProf A-List Customer

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    I'll add a second positive opinion of this one.
    I didn't recognize the name, having seen it only once, but your one-sentence description was enough to make me remember it in some detail. All your positive comments are 100% on target. If a movie sticks in your memory after just one viewing you can tell it's "high quality".
    Recommended for all... See it if you have a chance.
     
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  9. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    That, or it's so bad you want to remember to never watch it again. :p
     
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  10. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    First Lady from 1937 starring Kay Francis

    For a code-era movie, if you get past the men-are-the-face-of-politics fact, this is an early pro-women movie as they, mainly, are the smart ones directing the men's careers behind the scenes (and, for Kay Francis, ghostwriting important speeches).

    While nothing more, my guess, than a movie-of-the-week studio effort when they had to churn them out, First Lady does reasonably directly show the corruption of money and favors in politics (again, for a 1937 code-era movie as it's no "The Candidate," but Washington politics is no Shining City upon a Hill here either).

    The story revolves around Francis who wants to make her currently Secretary of State husband president in the upcoming election. She's a Washington wife in the full sense of the word - giving socially meaningful parties, setting up opportunities and connections for her husband, fund raising and bringing down rivals through gossip and soft blackmail. Naturally, there are competing factions and while it's all pretty common stuff today, it was, maybe, a bit edgy in '37, especially with a Supreme Court judge about to get, hold your breath, a divorce from his gold-digging and social-climbing wife.

    The entire story is handled in a kinda breezy fashion and wraps up too nicely, but it's all there - corruption, back stabbing, manipulation and women smarter than men - with a directness not usually seen during this period of movie making. Not great, but interesting for what it shows and for what it hints, pretty obviously, at.
     
  11. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer A-List Customer

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    Too Hot to Handle (1938) with Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, Walter Pidgeon, and many others. Rival newsreel reporters Gable and Pidgeon try to out-scoop each other in exotic locales. Loy is sort of the the romantic competition 'twixt the two. However, Pidgeon plays the Ralph Bellamy part, so 'nuff said. Beware of the revolting depiction of non-Caucasians who are in childish deference to the lead characters: typical of the era, but still terrible.

    An Innocent Affair (1948) with Fred MacMurray and Madeleine Carroll as husband and wife whose misunderstandings lead Carroll to seek a divorce but really MacMurray is above board but has to go all sneaky for his job and he tries to get them back together and so on; one of those plots which couldn't exist if the characters talked about the situation to each other.

    NB: the title on the screen is An Innocent Affair, but the opening credits call it Don't Trust Your Husband, which IMDB says was the UK title. Also, a cruddy, grainy, wavy print, but we stuck it out until the end to see just how it winds up.
    Both movies off the TCM streaming app.
     
  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    We're screening the current Lush Costume Drama "The Chaperone."

    I'd been looking forward to this one for a while -- any film concerning the doings of noted film star/raconteur/public reprobate Louise Brooks ought by simple dint of its source material to be interesting -- and I was only slightly put off by the fact that it's based on a best-selling novel I'd never heard of, and adapted and directed by the team behind "Downton Abbey," which I've always found annoying just because of the sheer abrasiveness of its local fanbase. But now, having seen it, I've got even more to be annoyed about.

    If you're going to do a story about Louise Brooks, first off, one of the most interesting women of her time, why not make it all about her instead of some semi-fictitious character fluffed up for the occasion. But the film is not the story of Miss Brooks -- although she figures prominently in it -- but rather the story of the chaperone who accompanied Brooks to New York in 1922, when she was a fifteen year old student of the Denishawn modern dance company. OK, well, if you have to do that you have to do that -- but at least give the chaperone an actual personality of her own. Norma, for that is her name, ought to be an interesting character as depicted here -- a middle-aged orphan looking for her birth mother, a middle-aged wife of a closeted gay husband, a small-town pecksniff suddenly confronted with the Big Bad City. But somehow, all Elizabeth McGovern seems to do with the role is display one of two expressions -- pained frustration and frustrated pain. Oh, she does have a fling with a convenient German handyman, but even that has all the stimulation of the bag of unsalted peanuts you buy on a night train from Wichita to Chicago. They tell me she's a fine actress, but it wasn't on display here.

    The saving grace of the picture is Haley Lu Richardson as Brooks, who owns the screen every moment she's on it. I'd pay good money to see her star in a real Brooks biopic -- she comes across as exactly the kind of character who'd caper in a hotel room with Charlie Chaplin and a bottle of mercurochrome. Here she's got hokey soap opera dialogue to speak, and does the best she can with it, and manages to at least partly transcend the lameness of the material.

    "Downton Abbey" supposedly was the bee's knees when it came to its meticulous recreation of the Twenties, and not having watched that show I can't say one way or another. But they should have saved some of that budget for this movie, because the Twenties depicted here bear little resemblance to any actual Twenties, living or dead. Oh sure, there's clothes and cars -- but the rest of it comes across as having been put together by someone who learned everything they know about the Twenties by watching "Downton Abbey." The set dressing is particularly sloppy -- Norma and Louise inhabit a hotel room featuring a radio and refrigerator that have magically traveled into the past from 1932, and the German boyfriend enjoys the latest tunes on one of the multiband Grundig-type radios that was all the rage in 1960. I realize they couldn't get much excitement showing characters tuning in with earphones on an Aeriola, as would have actually been done in 1922, but jeez, at least try.

    And the music was really off kilter, to the point of distracting me from the film -- rather than using actual 1922-style arrangements of actual period songs, they've brought in some guy to do an epically bad pastiche of the period. The score is the musical equivalent of a polyester flapper dress and a glitter headband with a big feather on it, with blatting trumpets and a jangling banjo rattling out something that I'd rather not be listening to. (The only sax you hear in the whole picture is a strange Charlie Parker type thing that must have arrived in the same time warp that delivered the rest of the anachronisms.) Where's Vince Giordano when you need him?

    Anyway, a big disappointment. But if Haley Lu Richardson wants to try a remake of "Diary of a Lost Girl," I'm all in.
     
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  13. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

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    I was flipping through the channels, and happened to catch one of my favorite movies, Rent (2005).

    The play was originally staged in its more or less fully fleshed form in 1996. The movie was released in 2005, with most of its original cast reprising their roles. The two new actors were perfect in the parts they were chosen to fill. The Broadway production closed in 2008.

    I have seen the Broadway show live on stage three times over the years (the first with most of the original cast), which for me is a lot, as I don't often go to live shows.

    I enjoyed the show, as much as I can enjoy something 3 hours long that all takes place on one set, regardless of how good it is.

    When the movie was released, we went to see it in theater where I was, quite frankly, blown away. The movie is a perfectly manageable two hours, having had what I would consider a lot of bloat trimmed away, to tell the story in a much clearer manner. I also think the musical arrangements and vocals are much more powerful in the film. Shortly after seeing the film for the first time, I bought it on DVD, as well as the audio CD, and played both very often for weeks on end.

    I love pretty much everything about this film - acting, singing, music, cinematography, pacing, and the song lyrics are universally brilliant. It's hard to pick out one scene above the rest, but the Out Tonight sequence is especially captivating, the way the camera cuts between different eye level 90 degree views of the stage Mimi is dancing on as she herself moves in a circular manner.

    A couple of the transitions between back-to-back songs are slightly awkward, but that's the only fault I can think of, and it's minor.
     
  14. regius

    regius One Too Many

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    Does anyone know who made the officer shirt in tan and olive for Catch 22? Eastman made the pants and jackets (by the way, can't believe the actors were comfortable in those Eastman pink wool pants, they are soooo damn heavy and has no rubber band on the inside the of waist to secure the pants in high position).
     
  15. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I read the book back when it came out and it sounds as if the movie is faithful to the book as the book was more about the chaperone than Louise Brooks (and I agree, that is a structural flaw). Also, as your review touches on, the booked ticked off a lot of present-day political pieties, which is fine for what it is, but comes across as forced in a period novel. It's been too long since I've read it to remember specifics, but it was another period novel where I felt the author was more concerned with showing how progressive his or her views are than creating an accurate representation of the period.

    As to Downton Abbey, the first couple of season were very good story telling talking place in beautiful period sets. I didn't tick and tie the details to the period specifically, but the reviews certainly argued that the show was doing a good job staying true to the period.

    But as with most shows, as it went into multiple seasons, it became more of a soap opera with the characters feeling less period and more modern - still fun, still beautiful, but, IMHO, less period accurate. All that said, it was a really enjoyable PBS show - I'm surprised you never saw it Lizzie.
     
  16. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I probably would have checked it out, except I was soured by an incident fairly early on in its run. We hosted a season premiere party at the theatre, in league with our local PBS station, which was all well and good -- until the audience showed up. I have never in my many decades of dealing with the public experienced a more entitled, obnoxious bunch of whiny white women than that which dominated the crowd that night. SHE'S SITTING IN THE SEAT I WANTED TO SIT IN AND ALL MY FRIENDS ARE THERE AND WE PLANNED ON SITTING TOGEHTER SO YOU NEED TO TELL HER TO MOVE. HOW COME WE CANT DRINK WINE DOWNSTAIRS WE CAN DRINK IT UPSTAIRS BUT NOT DOWNSTAIRS AND THATS NOT FAIR. IM GOING TO DRINK DOWNSTAIRS AND YOU CANT STOP ME. TELL HER TO MOVE OR I'M WARNING YOU THERE'S GOING TO BE TROUBLE. WAIT WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU'RE ONLY SHOWING THE FIRST HALF OF THE EPISODE? NOBODY TOLD ME THAT! WHAT DO YOU MEAN "TEASER?" I DON'T CARE WHAT THE STATION SAID TO DO YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. LET ME SPEAK TO THE MANAGER. WE'LL YOU'RE NOT A VERY GOOD MANAGER IF THIS IS HOW YOU TREAT A PAYING CUSTOMER. YES, THE TICKETS WERE FREE BUT I BOUGHT A POPCORN. AND IT SUCKS, IT'S TOO SALTY! SEE IF I EVER COME IN THIS PLACE AGAIN!

    Honestly, after that one night, I never wanted to hear "Downton Abbey" ever again.

    As for modern perspectives in "The Chaperone," the thing that bugged me the most is that the actual, historical Louise Brooks was far more modern in her mindset than just about anybody you're likely to run into today -- she was, as they say, a libertine in every sense of the word, as were most of the people in the Denishawn circle -- and they reduced her disregard for all established social mores to flirting with soda jerks and drinking too much in a speakeasy.
     
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  17. vintage68

    vintage68 Practically Family

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    They've made a Downtown Abbey movie coming out soon which will supposedly be "only in theaters" so you'll have your chance to see it if you want to...
     
  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    If it helps, early on in "Downton," there's a reasonable portrayal of the socialist movement in England at the time with a couple of characters challenging the "privileged" class pretty hard. In later seasons, it all gets squishy.

    I hear you on Ms. Brooks (I did some homework on her after I read the novel and agree with your comments), which only made the author's choice not to focus on her odd, but again, she seemed very focused on making modern political points that fit awkward into her story.

    The good news - someone else can bring the Brooks story to the screen at some point.
     
  19. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Barry Paris's bio of Brooks would make an excellent film, but it would get an NC-17, and those are very hard to sell.
     
  20. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Meanwhile, continuing to scrape around in dark corners of the early-talkie era, I couldn't get to sleep last night so I took a look at an ultra-obscure piece of work from mid-1929 called "Howdy Broadway."

    Everyone's probably had the experience of looking forward to seeing a film after being put onto it by things you've read, and ended up disappointed because it really didn't live up to the hype? Such was the case for me with this beat-up little five-reeler, made in the woods of Fort Lee, New Jersey by the Rayart Corporation, a tiny independent that ground out material for the states-rights market when not ducking bill collectors. A Southern territorial bandleader named Tommy Christian had, after a successful engagement at the Roseland Ballroom, gained a bit of following on the East Coast, and in 1929 came to Rayart for a series of quickie musical shorts -- one of which inexplicably swelled into a feature, or at least a 47-minute featurette.

    The setting is one of those generic Twenties co-ed colleges, where the emphasis is on campus hijinks, and Tommy is the star athlete and fun-leader who gets in trouble with the authorities when he and his band get caught up in a speakeasy raid. When they get expelled, they decide spontaneously that the only thing left to do is go to New York and become Broadway stars. Which, without a bit of trouble or complication, they proceed to do. Okey then.

    As you might guess, this picture has a notorious reputation among historians of musical film as the worst specimen of the genre ever made -- the delightfully bitchy author Richard Barrios once described it as "Ed Wood puts on a benefit in his garage" -- so I was expecting a spectacular display of awfulness. And I'm afraid I have come away a bit disappointed. It's a bad film, when you stack it up against "The Broadway Melody" or "Sunny Side Up" or "Rio Rita." But that's like saying a single-A team plays bad baseball compared to a major league team. As a no-budget musical short-turned-feature ground out in New Jersey for an undiscriminating small-town audience, it's bad -- but bad in the way of nobody espected it to be anything but. There are no big expectations here, no Wood-like air of desperate sincerity. It's just a piece of product ground out to be sold on the bargain table and forgotten -- which, to be honest, is was most movies were.

    Tommy Christian's band made some decent records in the mid-twenties, and it's frustrating that they don't get a lot of focus here, acting mostly as background for various forgettable novelty tunes. Christian himself is not a compelling screen personality -- a shortish, bony fellow who looks a lot, lot older than he actually is, and from certain angles bears a distressing resemblance to Joseph Goebbels. He's not a bad musician, but he is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an actor. To fault someone who is not an actor for being a laughably poor actor is just cruel.

    His leading lady, Ellalee Ruby, is a typical flapper-looking young lady who sings in a piercing soprano that gets a lot of derision from modern viewers -- but she was a Broadway musical-comedy soubrette, and that operetta-style voice is how such performers worked. It gets badly treated by the no-doubt bootleg recording process being used at Rayart, but there's no reason to mock her for it, so I won't. But she does come across like she just saw the script that morning, which she probably did.

    There are a couple of performers, though, who come across fine. Johnny Kane plays the campus wise guy like he was William Haines's small-town cousin, and does quite well with his snappy patter, bouncy personality, and tap dancing. And his female counterpart Diana Mullen, a moon-faced young lady with a Zelma O'Neal/Winnie Lightner type of persona, does equally well as "Lulu" the Campus Vamp.

    The nightclub number, when Tommy and the band arrive in New York isn't really bad -- it's photographed reasonably well, at least by Rayart standards, the music is bouncy, the dancing is no more incompetent than a lot of bigger-budget pictures of the time, and there's a fun novelty in the performance of a fan dancer who turns out to be a contortionist, and who engages in a variety of limber and pretzel-like moves.

    So I spent forty-seven minutes of my life watching "Howdy Broadway," without once breaking into derisive laughter. I rolled my eyes a few times, I smiled indulgently a few times, and mostly just sat there watching, wondering what the performers were thinking as they went thru the motions. It occurs to me that possibly the entire picture was intended as a parody of the Hollywood musical craze -- some of the line deliveries are so broadly and obviously bad as to make me think the performers are making deliberate fun of the stilted dialogue and hokey mannerisms that were very common at this stage of talkie development. Maybe, maybe not. All I can say to sum it up is that I really do hope that their checks cleared.
     
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