What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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

  1. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    The FBI Story (1959) with James Stewart and Vera Miles. The history of the FBI as seen through the eyes of Agent Hardesty and his wife Lucy Ann. Speaking plainly, it's not the story of Hardesty or of the FBI. Neither subject gets the coverage that I would have preferred. I'm thinking some assignments spread episodically over 35 years were to highlight some aspect of the Bureau's evolving mission. Not a bad movie, rather not well-done enough to hold our attention.
     
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  2. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Saw this sometime ago, and, yes, it's a soap opera with the MGM sheen. We watched it to see just how mean folks could be.
     
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  3. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    The Guns of Navarone on TCM! Such a great movie. I've lost count of how many times I've watched it, yet it never gets old.
     
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  4. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Navarone's opening credits set against the Erechtheion caryatids cast a spell.
    When I was stationed in northern Greece after Vietnam Alsatians released by the German Salonika garrison
    had bred local indigenous breeds and these resultant wild dogs were still loose and savage.
    I had to M16 six or seven once when our radio checkpoint was charged. Local villagers occasionally told occupation tales,
    and Second World War wounds were fresh and vivid.
     
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  5. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    This is one area of WW2 that I am ashamed to admit I know little about. I have Captain Corelli's Mandolin on my bookshelf, but haven't read it.
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Saw the Nicolas Cage movie about the time it came out - vague memory is meh to okay, but that doesn't mean the book isn't very good.
     
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  7. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    I think I started reading the book but quit. I have no idea why. Sometimes it's just not the right time to read a book, y'know?
     
  8. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    She-Had-to-Say-Yes-1933.jpg
    She Had to Say Yes from 1933 with Loretta Young, Lyle Talbot and Hugh Herbert

    Behold the pre-code in all its glory: showroom models for a clothing company double as the nighttime "entertainment" for out-of-town clients with the problem being the women have become so greedy and hardcore about it, the men are turned off.

    So, the firm tries to recruit comely women from its secretarial pool to "entertain" the men on the assumption they'll be less impersonal and mercenary. If that's not enough, one senior executive whores out his fiancee, yes, his fiancee, to close a deal with a big commission in it for himself. But it gets better, he's two timing his fiancee while she's out at night "working" for him. All this was on screen in 1933.

    The title didn't oversell the movie. Surprisingly, though, the company's owner makes a big point to the secretaries that they absolutely don't have to do this as it won't affect their job security to say no. To be sure, there are a hundred things still wrong with this, but it is interesting that the message, "you don't have to do this," was presented as sincere.

    Possibly the most underrated actress of the pre-code era, Loretta Young - lithely and delicately beautiful - is the woman asked to answer the call to duty by her two-timing fiance. In a pre-code girl-power move (see enough pre-codes and you'll see plenty of girl power as women, often, didn't take this nonsense sitting down), Young turns the tables on the two-timing fiance and one of the out-of-town clients. It's a wonderful "don't screw with me" moment.

    There is a honest love story wrapped inside all of this brutal inhumanity, which maybe was necessary to get it passed the state censor boards (many states had censor boards in the pre-code era that studios worried about). It also provides some relief for the audience from the exhausting non-stop hawking of human flesh going on in She Had to Say Yes.

    But even that flicker of decency was presented in a pre-code package as a no-longer-innocent Loretta Young, in complete control of everyone now, kills the Hallmark moment of her desperately apologizing new suitor's proposal:

    Desperate suitor: "Will you forgive me [for doubting you at one point] and marry me? I'm terribly sorry"​

    Young: "I assume it's just a matter of choosing the lesser evil" [one man over another]

    Suitor: "Then you will marry me?"

    Young: "Of course, silly"​

    What followed that? Being late at night, the excited young man tells Young they'll go to the Justice of the Peace in the morning and turns to leave. But, Young stops him and, with a seductive look, whispers in his ear. He then picks her up and carries her off to the bedroom.

    My guess, "take me now," was her short susurration. And with that, another pre-code movie fades to credits.

    SheHadToSayYes2-Better.gif
     
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  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The African Queen from 1951 with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart

    Some movies are all but unbelievable, almost silly when examined closely, yet, like The African Queen, they still work marvelously. At the start of WWI, the brother half of an English brother-sister Christian missionary team in Africa is killed by invading Germans leaving his sheltered, middle-aged sister, Katherine Hepburn, stranded.

    Along comes working-class captain, Humphrey Bogart, of the sad, little and dilapidated riverboat, African Queen. A regular supplier of the mission, he comes to assist when he learns of the attack only to find a shattered and isolated Hepburn all but helpless.

    Despite a clear class difference between the educated and proper Hepburn and dirt-under-his-nails Bogart, it is Bogart who initially takes charge shepherding numb Hepburn onto his boat as her only chance of survival. Even while doing so, Bogie is sincerely deferential to Hepburn's putative class superiority. Meanwhile, Hepburn is ostensibly respectful, but also obliviously condescending to Bogie showing the power of class distinction in the Empire at that time.

    Initially, Hepburn sits queen like under a sun umbrella as Bogie exhausts himself keeping his rickety boat going. But Hepburn emerges from her shock and, showing her English grit, hatches a crazy plan - including makeshift torpedoes and an all but suicide trip downriver - to use the diminutive African Queen to sink the large and forbidding German warship controlling this strategic waterway.

    Rational Bogie tries to talk Hepburn out of this insanity, but her force of will and his class deference breaks his resistance. Soon, these two middle-aged oddballs are heading downriver in the least threatening looking boat ever to plot an attack on a warship. With its persnickety boiler, a frail tiller and a general rot that argues against it even staying afloat, it would appear the German Navy should have other things to worry about.

    The joy in this one is less the moonshot plan than the chemistry between patriotic and well-meaning-but-obstinate Hepburn and I-just-want-to-live-to-see-tomorrow and carefree Bogie cohabiting for days on a tiny boat. As Hepburn rolls up her sleeves and works (and gets dirty) versus just dreaming up crazy plans and Bogie shows surprising mechanical and boating skills and courage (between periods of drunkenness), their class divide fades into mutual respect and then, believable, sexual attraction.

    Kudos to director John Huston for making a very not-Hollywood movie that has the audience rooting hard for these two lost souls to, not only succeed in their cockamamie plan, but overcome their own resistance to romance. A sexual awakening in two reticent middle-aged people is a tricky business, but Huston, Hepburn and Bogart are up to the challenge.

    Showing an intimate understanding of the material, Huston resolves both the crazy attack plan and the love story in a masterful climax that leaves the audience smiling at the whimsy and joy of it all. Is it believable, ehhhh, but it's a heck of a movie anyway.


    N.B. Look for the moment when hope is all but lost and missionary Hepburn turns to the power of prayer - a prayer God answers in a very different way than requested by Ms. Hepburn. This happy agnostic enjoys a time when Hollywood would still make a movie with a positive Christian message. Cliched as it is, when the sun broke through the clouds symbolizing God's resolve, a tear might have formed in someone's eye; I'm not saying it did, just saying, it might have.
     
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  10. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    The New Mutants via HBO. Essentially the final film in Fox's X-Men franchise, it was supposed to start a new sub-series, but with all things X-Men having now reverted to Marvel, it's a one-off that finally got a long-delayed release with no plans for sequels... quietly ending a really uneven, occasionally impressive 20-year-run(!) series.

    I have no background comics knowledge of these particular characters, but I liked it more than the last couple of X-films. It's all deeply familiar: teenage mutants manifesting powers they can't control taken to a secret hospital for their and others' protection where they're mentored by a doctor with impressive powers of her own. They believe they're in the minor league tryouts for the X-Men... but who's really behind it?

    I liked that it mainly concentrated on the characters' emotional dilemmas in dealing with their situation and kept the CGI overkill to a relative minimum. It's kind of more Girl, Interrupted than a superhero flick. Some good acting from familiar faces like Maisie (Game of Thrones) Williams and Anya (The VVitch, The Queen's Gambit, EMMA, etc.) Taylor-Joy, and less familiar actors too. It's no masterpiece, but it held my interest and I liked it.
     
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  11. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    ^^^Loretta Young, The Bishop's Wife !!! ;):)
     
  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I love her in that role too, one of my top-five Christmas movies.

    Have you seen her in all her pre-code glory in her early-'30s movies? She banged out a bunch of early '30s movies and, like "She Had to Say Yes," many of them are good.
     
  13. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Ashamed to say very little pre code; however, I recall a quite revealing pix from studio snaps that surprised
    considering her image. Perhaps I am mistaken about her image when unfamiliar with her film canon.
    Last time I recall seeing her was at the Oscars when she presented the award for Chariots of Fire which she adored.
    Wonderful lady.
     
  14. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    It can take a little "adjusting" to, but I think you'd love pre-code movies once you got into them. Is this the pic of her you have in mind, definitely not from her mid-career-image stage.
    441dc4b401c6a15059da8792ae6757ec.jpg
     
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  15. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    release-date-june-1-1946-movie-title-one-more-tomorrow-studio-warner-F6DRDM.jpg
    One More Tomorrow from 1946 with Dennis Morgan, Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith, Jane Wyman and Jack Carson

    Halfway through One More Tomorrow, I couldn't stop feeling an odd deja vu as I was pretty sure I had never seen this movie, but somehow, the story felt familiar. Then it hit me, it is a reworked-for-the-Motion-Picture-Production-Code version of the outstanding 1932 pre-code movie Animal Kingdom (which a quick trip to Google confirmed).

    Animal Kingdom is the story of a man who has an artist girlfriend that, in pre-code fashion, he sleeps with as they spend time at each other's apartment. His wealthy and proper father wants him to marry a socially acceptable woman, which in a moment of weakness, he does.

    In the 1932 version of the story, while the man is fond of his new wife, she, like his father, is conventional and concerned with "society;" whereas, he had more fun with his "not respectable" bohemian girlfriend whom he misses. The rest of the movie is watching the man decide if he's willing to settle for an okay marriage or if he'll blow it all up to be with his former girlfriend. It's an adult movie that handles sex, relationships and hard decisions in a mature, nuanced and, even to us today, modern way.

    But fourteen years later, with the Motion Picture Production Code in control, the adult elements of the story had to be altered - no casual sex, no sleepovers, no honest discussion of a man having to choose between a nice-but-passionless marriage and an avant-gaurd girlfriend.

    Instead, Dennis Morgan is the liberal scion of a wealthy industrialist who invests in a floundering leftist magazine in part, to thumb his nose at his conventional father (that he uses his father's "tainted" money to invest doesn't seem to bother him).

    He then falls in love with the periodical's photographer, free-spirit Ann Sheridan. She, ultimately, rejects his offer of marriage believing she wouldn't fit into his society family. Morgan, on the rebound, marries gold-digging society woman Alexis Smith.

    The rest of the movie, in the 1946 version, is watching Morgan slowly realizing his wife is a social-climbing manipulative shrew who only married him for his money and position.

    That, along with an off-the-shelf subplot about Morgan's liberal magazine potentially exposing a defence-contract scandal involving his Dad's friends, sparks the movie's climax where Morgan has to choose between his "values" and his "social position." Yawn. You know long before Morgan does what he's going to do.

    A mature story from 1932 about a man torn between two decent women became a cardboard story in 1946 about good liberals and artists fighting evil businessmen and snobby society types. Even written to make the Dad look bad, I had more sympathy for Morgan's father who seemed to truly love his son than Morgan who came across as another rich liberal kid willing to denounce his Dad, but still (sometimes) take his money.

    A genuine and moving love-triangle story from 1932 lost its excitement when it was desexed and turned into a flat good-versus-evil narrative to meet the demands of the Motion Picture Production Code and Hollywood's liberal lean. One More Tomorrow argues that not every story could be harmlessly nipped and tucked to fit the code.


    N.B.1. Despite a dull story, there is some witty dialogue that felt "added in," which probably is what happened as the Epstein Brothers - the guys who wrote much of Casablanca's memorable humor - were brought in as writers on this one.

    N.B.2. Ann Sheridan, known as the "Oomph Girl" for her sexual allure, is, in truth, only average pretty for Hollywood, but her appeal comes from her being smart, funny and in on the joke. Few can deliver a sarcastic aside faster and with humor, not asperity, better than Ms. Sheridan. The below clip is from a different movie, but watch Ms. Sheridan absolutely destroy George Raft with the line at the end in They Drive By Night:

     
  16. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Exactly so. My repressed Catholic boyhood strikes again. ;)
     
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  17. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Same on "Men In Black".
    It was launched in Germany in late 1997 and ran a long time until summer 1998 or so. We were 13/14 and the stupid hype didn't got us kids. We were too old to fall for the whole kiddish merchandise. And I think, some kids were tired of Will Smith.
     
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  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    ev woods-lindsay.jpg
    Merry Wives of Reno from 1934 with Guy Kibbee, Margaret Lindsay, Glenda Farrel and Frank McHugh

    This is not a good movie, but - but there are no buts - this is not a good movie. Even some of the better talents from Warner Bros stable couldn't stand this one up on its hind legs. Other than some time-travel fun for us today plus a look at Reno's divorce system in its heyday, there's just not much here.

    Two wives, owing to misunderstandings with their husbands, head off to Reno for divorces with said husbands fast on their heels trying to change their wives' minds. The misunderstandings - a mix up about overcoats - is too silly to set this entire event in motion, but even that is further confused by another couple involved where the husband has a sheep with him for, one guesses, comic relief.

    After this circus lands in Reno, the confusion continues as the women stop and start divorce proceedings time and again depending on if they believe their husbands' excuses and apologies at that moment or not. Thrown into the mix is a hotel bellboy, Frank McHugh, who has a side business doing everything for the guests from getting them into card games to, umm, satisfying the women. In the end, most of the problems sort of work out, but you really don't care much at that point.

    Almost everybody is miscast in this one. Talented Guy Kibbee is one of the husbands in trouble because he's a womanizer. This is ludicrous as he's fat, bald and older looking than his fifty years - young women aren't falling for this guy. The lovely Margaret Lindsay is out of her element as an angry wife in a screwball comedy and even outstanding Frank McHugh seems uncomfortable playing a slicker-than-heck schemer who is also the hotel's resident Lothario.

    It is neat to see how Reno's economy - including hotels filled with women trying to establish residency and office buildings chocablock with divorce lawyers - is set up to handle a good chunk of the country's divorce business back then. Also, there's some neat 1930s cars, trains and architecture, but it's not enough as, even at just over an hour, this entire effort drags.
     
  19. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Bonny & Clyde (1967)

    BOY, this is a movie for us Loungers!! :)
    Flatcaps, hats, type I jacket and so on!
     
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  20. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    "We rob banks"
     
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