What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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

  1. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Good comments on all.

    There's also a darn good 1949 version of D.O.A. (TCM plays it from time to time) with Edmond O'Brien in the lead role.
     
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  2. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Oh, yes! I'd forgotten it was a remake. I must track the original down.
     
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  3. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    The Harder They Fall and Human Desire on TCM this weekend. Both were entertaining, but The Harder They Fall (Bogart’s last film) was the better of the two. For my money, Rod Steiger’s intensity steals the show in THTF. Some really nice shots of the real world from way back when as well.
    :D
     
  4. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The footage of the trains / train yards / etc. is wonderful in "Human Desire."
     
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  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Human Desire from 1954 with Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford and Gloria Grahame


    You, Broderick Crawford, mouth off to your boss and lose your job. You then beg your wife, Gloria Grahame, who knows an influential man in the town, to ask him to get your job back for you. She does, but you find out she had to sleep with the man in return.

    So, you kill the man in front of your wife, blackmail your wife into keeping quiet and, then, try to go back to living a normal life with her. It doesn't work. It's just too much to sweep under the emotional rug.

    Into this mess walks Glen Ford, a returning Korean War vet who is damaged from battle more than his surface "normal" would have you believe. He falls in lust, maybe love, with Grahame, but the outlook for these two is not good.

    Famed director Fritz Lang, like all famed directors, made some just okay movies, like Human Desire. It's a fine by-the-number noir that also serves as a lagniappe for railfans, but it's no classic.

    Ford returns from Korea to his old job as a train engineer where one of his bosses is assistant rail yard manager Crawford. After Crawford murders the man who slept with his wife, Grahame turns to Ford trying to find a way out of her now prison-like marriage. Her backstory, then, slowly dribbles out.

    Grahame's character lies so much in this one, though, by the end, you really don't know the truth. Even Ford, in love/lust with her, finally gives up trying to get the truth out of her.

    Grahame was or wasn't abused growing up by a father figure - possibly the same man she asks to get her husband's job back. She married Crawford believing or not he was a good man who would treat her well. Crawford did or didn't abuse her physically and mentally owing to his irrational (or, maybe, rational) jealousy.

    What you are left with is a bunch of people you, ultimately, don't like. Crawford is a bully, probable wife abuser and murderer. Graham is an uber manipulator of men to the point of being a sociopath. She also is an accessory after the fact to one murder and tried to manipulate Ford into killing her husband. Ford is an accessory after the fact to the same murder and walked right up to the line and stopped before killing Crawford.

    All the "human desire" underlying the murder and contemplated murder is because everyone wants to sleep with Graham or is consumed with jealousy that someone else did. Graham is an attractive woman, but too much of this story pivots on men wanting to go to bed with her.

    The small gift wrapped inside this one is the incredible 1950s train and rail yard scenes of the era's huge diesel trains moving through switches, roundhouses, towns and the countryside during train travel's final heyday in America. We also see the proud men who kept them moving: men like Crawford and Ford who had (what they thought were) secure jobs with good pay where they saw the rewards of their physical work in tangible results.

    Lang understands the noir genre well giving us plenty moonless nights, shadows, alleys, seedy bars, cigarette smoke (noir's oxygen), lust, love, hate, murder and, ultimately, lives wrecked for reasons that aren't worth it. You know, good noir stuff. Human Desire doesn't add up to a classic, but it's an entertaining hour and a half of humans behaving badly, oftentimes, while riding on cool trains.

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  6. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally (2021) on Amazon Prime (I think.)

    Not exactly a good film - low budget, less than stellar cast (with one exception), some much-too-recent phrases in the dialog and anachronisms in the props - but it tells a fascinating WWII story that I didn't know. The lead, Meadow Williams, is attractive (though her makeup looks wrong for the forties) and charismatic, but she doesn't really have the depth for this conflicted, complicated role.

    Al Pacino is present as her defense lawyer, and for most the film, he underplays to the point of sleepwalking. But he comes to life at the end, with a rousing closing argument scene where he goes full Pacino.

    Recommended for the interesting history it dramatizes, not for the film itself.
     
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  7. ^ "...full Pacino." I like that.
     
  8. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    This Gordion Knot begs the blade and reconsider of initial response.

    After reading the review: Grahame engaged in criminal conversation with the deceased but was not
    accessory before the fact Principal in the Second degree; merely witnessed the murder within marital
    stricture, and is not bound to testify against spouse which traverse covers criminal notice.
    This lack of liability invalidates accessory after the fact status.
    Ford has some defense against accessory after the fact as to disavowal Grahame veracity,
    nor given aid to her spouse.

    The above does not apply to an attempted murder of Grahame's husband.
     
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  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Obsession (aka The Hidden Room) from 1949 with Robert Newton, Sally Gray, Naunton Wayne and Phil Brown


    Many post-war British films are clever, well-crafted, small-budget affairs. A large subset of these, like Obsession, are mystery and/or crime dramas as the British seem to have mystery/crime drama spun in their storytelling DNA.

    Also, England's studios' small budgets at that time required engaging stories as they couldn't entertain the audience with Hollywood-like elaborate special effects, expensive on-location shots or large casts.

    Obsession, with its handful of characters, mainly indoor settings and a lot of dialogue, is right in the sweet spot of the low-budget, smart British crime drama. A well-to-do doctor plots an elaborate murder of his wife's lover while a scripted-out-of-central-casting equanimous Scotland Yard superintendent pursues the case with polite British persistence.

    The doctor, Robert Newton, channeling his inner Dumas, kidnaps his wife's American paramour, Phil Brown, and keeps him chained up in a cellar room. Newton is waiting to see if the police, investigating Brown's disappearance, are suspicious of him, before killing Brown.

    This sets up a lot of wonderfully engaging tension and, even, macabre humor as Newton plays cagey/dumb to his wife, Sally Gray (think beautiful, aloof English blonde), who believes, but without proof, her husband has killed her lover.

    An equally tense, yet oddly lighthearted at times, dynamic develops between captor and captive. Newton and Brown have an almost playful banter when Newton has his daily visits to bring chained-to-a-wall Brown his food and water.

    Drumming on quietly, almost in the background, is superintendent Naunton Wayne who just keeps popping by the doctor's house or office to clear up one point or another about Brown's disappearance. He is suspicious of the doctor, but without evidence, all he can do is noodle around hoping something will come up.

    (Spoiler alert) As always is the case, it's the little things that get you. Here, it's the doctor's wife's lost dog stumbling into Brown's cellar prison and an incidental American colloquialism tossed off by very-British Nauton that catches the always-thinking superintendent's attention.

    You know all along Scotland Yard is going to get its man; it's the plodding investigation followed by the "aha" moment for the superintendent that is the fun in this one.

    It's all wonderfully understated in that uniquely British way. Almost no one runs, shoots, fights, shouts loudly or cries - even in a long, drawn-out potential murder. Instead, everyone tries to do his or her thing - commit the perfect crime, solve the perfect crime, expose your spouse committing the perfect crime or escape from the perfect-crime's prison - without raising a fuss.

    Obsession is simply a good solid hour and half of British crime-drama entertainment. Fans of Foyle's War and the too-many-others-to-count modern British movies and TV crime-drama stories will appreciate an early version of a genre at which, to this day, the British continue to excel.


    N.B. Not particularly salient to the plot (away from some symbolism), the doctor has an incredibly elaborate model train layout in his basement. If you like model trains, this is a cool one to see.
     
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  10. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Sure can pick 'em. A good dog and mouser. I was thinking about An Inspector Calls with Alastair Sim
    before reading this review, a vaguely recalled post war production set circa 1913 or so...Foyle's War
    I am aware but never saw an episode. Along with Morse and the later Lewis series, and the pre-Thaw
    Morse series GHT recommended, there is much in the outstanding British crime genre that awaits.

    Unlike Human Desire (can Gloria Grahame out sweater sweater gal Lana Turner) this film has a more
    murder-as-yet-to-be-or-not-to-be-that-is-the-question background to all the attendant suspicion and
    snooping, and the physician-wife connubial scenario definitely drawing card here.
     
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  11. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    The tale end of The Fugitive Kind on TCM while waiting for On the Waterfront. I have never seen The Fugitive Kind, but after the thirty minutes or so I saw, I am thinking it might be worth a viewing.
    :D
     
  12. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    Wind River on Netflix. Entertaining and no obvious CGI. Just some good acting, writing, and directing and one of the better flix I have seen in a while.
    :D
     
  13. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Petticoat Fever from 1936 with Robert Montgomery, Myrna Loy and Reginald Owens


    This silly little movie would have worked well as a pre-code effort. But under the Motion Picture Production Code's narrow view of sex, it's hard to tell the story of a man living in isolation as a radio operator in Alaska who lusts after the first woman who shows up even though she's accompanied by her fiance', Reginald Owens.

    Effectively, how do you tell a story about sex, lust and cheating without showing any real sex, lust or cheating? Hollywood's mostly unsatisfying answer was, after enforcement of the code in 1934, to turn movies about sex, lust and cheating into "screwball comedies."

    The audience was, somehow, supposed to accept that men and women would do silly, stupid things - a bunch of pratfalls and other goofy nonsense - to substitute for their frustrations and to signal the audience that sex is what this is really about. At its best, this formula kinda worked, see Bringing up Baby, but most of the time, the adults just look like idiots.

    Thus, when sex-starved Robert Montgomery all but loses his mind when Myrna Loy and her fiance', Reginald Owens, crash land near his Alaskan radio-operator outpost, we're supposed to see Montgomery's silly antics as an indication of his passion for Loy.

    The rest of the movie - on cheap sets that don't try very hard to convince you anyone is really in Alaska - is Montgomery doing ever-more-dopey things to separate Loy from her fiance'. Eventually, fiance' Owens gets wise to Montgomery and tries to get the heck out of there with Loy as quickly as possible.

    There's a twist toward the end about Montgomery's gold-digging girlfriend from two years ago showing up when she's discovered Montgomery recently inherited a title and money, but it's really just another "screwball" antic to muck up Montgomery's efforts to win over Loy.

    Montgomery, Loy and Owens are professional and appealing-enough actors to produce a few good scenes and moments, but even their talents can't rescue this dull movie. Also not helping our enjoyment of the movie today is some insulting period-typical stereotyping of Eskimos.

    Had Petticoat Fever been a pre-code movie, Montgomery's pent-up passion and Loy's deep-down indifference to her fiance', would have resulted in some harsh realpolitik bed hopping and hurt feelings, especially with all of them cooped up in that claustrophobic little shack. That would have been a much better movie about real life, lust and love, but the Motion Picture Production Code, sadly, said "not on our watch" to that approach.
     
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  14. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Watched the new Gawain and the Green Knight with Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) last night. Some minor variations to the plot of the original source material, but all very well done and it looks beautiful. I like the more open end to it.
     
  15. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    Last night, On the Waterfront on TCM. Always a good choice when looking for something to watch. A great cast from lead to supporting to minor characters. Visually entertaining. Good story. I have yet to tire of it.
    :D
     
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  16. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    The Killing (1956) with an amazing cast - Sterling Hayden, Colleen Gray, Jay C. Flippen, Marie Windsor, Ted de Corsia, Elisha Cook, Jr., Joe Sawyer, Timothy Carey, and, believe it or not, Rodney Dangerfield as a crowd scene extra. Dir. Stanley Kubrick, who showcases the tracking, gliding camera that he uses in Paths of Glory. A heist story, with some hardboiled dialogue by Jim Thompson. I did not figure out the looping, non-linear story line until about half-way through the movie. I thought the repeated scenes were due to budgeting issues, but it was Kubrick pushing a narrative beyond regular story-telling.
     
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  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Really enjoyed this one too. My comments here: #27953.
     
  18. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend

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    Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

    Uma Thurman, 18 years old. :p
     
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  19. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed A-List Customer

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    Wow! I need to rewatch that… I recall distinctly thoroughly enjoying that film back when it came out. I’m a big John Malkovich fan. Uma was so much better looking with a little baby fat on her :D she is still a very attractive woman and looks much better these days but at one point she went through the typical Hollywood phase of not eating anything and turning into a skeleton! I absolutely hate that! She did not need to be that skinny! :D I know the camera can add 10 pounds but come on ladies … Men like curves on a girl! LOL!
     
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  20. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend

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    a
    And John Malkovich was only 34 at the time of the movie. So I think, it's okay, the he kissed Uma's young titties. ;)

    Michelle Pfeiffer only 30!
     
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