What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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

  1. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed A-List Customer

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    The Uninvited (1944)
    Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner and the outstandingly gorgeous Gail Russell

    this is a fantastic ghost story that I feel was probably one of the inspirations for Steven Spielberg‘s Poltergeist… It’s very creepy and haunting in a very mysterious story that keeps you guessing… Of course I was extremely enchanted with Gail Russell! It was only her third film and while it was told she was very difficult to work with because of her inexperience you would never know it by the performance they were able to capture for this film no matter the difficult circumstances. She suffered from low self-esteem, extreme shyness, and stage fright. Unfortunately at the suggestion of the head of make-up on set she began drinking to calm her nerves which became a crutch. She also suffered a nervous breakdown. Her grueling schedule of 3 films a year caused anxiety and panic attacks which she continued to treat with a liberal dose of alcohol and would lead to numerous DUI accidents. August 26, 1961 Gail Russell died from an alcohol-induced heart attack at age 36. :( Wiki states that She died from liver damage attributed to "acute and chronic alcoholism" with aspiration of stomach contents as an additional cause. She was also found to have been suffering from malnutrition at the time of her death.

    she appeared in 26 films during her short film career.
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  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    This is my favorite of all ghost-story movies, yet it would almost work without the ghost aspect as the romantic storyline between Ray Milland and Gail Russell (agree with all you said about her) is just that good.

    Also, the architecture envy is high in this movie for, yes, the main house on that beautiful ocean bluff, but I also love the smaller house of Gail Russell and her father Commander Beech (Donald Crisp). Plus, who wouldn't want to live in that charming village?

    When I met my girlfriend years ago, we quickly discovered our shared love of old movies, but where she is a huge fan of ghost movies, I'm a take 'em or leave 'em fan. Yet, I introduced her to "The Uninvited" which, naturally, she loved and, in the way of new relationships, said something good to her about me. Sometimes it's the little things.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
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  3. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed A-List Customer

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    Wow! Thanks for sharing that with me! That’s really awesome! Agree with everything you said about the film… I would love to have a girlfriend to share My fondness for 1930s and 1940s films… Maybe one day I’ll find her but alas I watch alone and dream I’m dating Gail Russell! LOL! She is so dreamy!
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  4. My wife and I watched The Uninvited on TCM two or three years ago (at least). She couldn't have cared less because older movies really aren't her thing, but I enjoyed it and thought it was one of the better "ghost story" movies I've seen. It saddened me to read about Gail Russell's abbreviated life in your post. I can't help but wonder why someone who suffered from "low self-esteem', "extreme shyness", and "stage fright" would become an actor in the first place.
     
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  5. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed A-List Customer

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    Before she ventured into acting, she had planned to be a commercial artist.. She was just 18 and was “discovered“ because of her looks… Being only 18 she was naïve but excited to sign the contract with Paramount… They hired an acting coach for her since she had no experience so clearly they just wanted her because of how she looked… I’m sure if she could’ve gotten out of her contract she probably would have. when she got involved she realized that it wasn’t for her but she stuck it out due to contract obligations … she had the support in guidance from some actors particularly John Wayne of all people! He tried to encourage her and some of the actors would practice her lines with her during production and try to ease her nerves and build her confidence because they felt bad for her… so She just accidentally fell into thd “hollywood machine”
     
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  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Misfits from 1961 with Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Eli Wallach, Montgomery Clift and Thelma Ritter


    The Misfits could have been titled Broken People as the movie is about four already broken people painfully breaking some more.

    There are Marilyn Monroe scholars; I am not one. What I know about Marilyn is what one learns simply by having lived on earth the past fifty or so years, so all comments below are presented with that caveat.

    From a screenplay by Monroe's husband at the time, Arthur Miller, The Misfits plays out like a roman a clef of Monroe's life and struggles. Write what you know goes the timeless advice to authors. Miller seems to have taken that to heart as this poignant movie appears to be the playwright's analysis of his wife.

    Her character, a woman who just got a Reno divorce - with seemingly nowhere to go, nothing to do and heartbroken over another failed attempt at love - meets a couple of tired, struggling-themselves cowboys, Clark Gable and Eli Wallach.

    These two lost men with surface bravado are trying to stand tall in a world that has no more use for them. In young-for-them Marilyn, they see, what: their lost youth, a last opportunity for love, someone even they can help?

    This all sounds like Marilyn's sad life and failed marriages. No one marries Marilyn; they marry their image of Marilyn (Rita Hayworth's famous line, "men go to bed with Gilda, but wake up with me," comes to mind). While Gable and Wallach both vie for Monroe's affection, for most of the movie, neither sees past her blondeness or body, another echo of Marilyn's real life.

    The Misfits is also a retelling of the legend of John Henry: the famous steel-driver of tunnel construction who competes with just his hammer against the new steam-powered drill. He hammers ferociously in the challenge and wins, only to die of exhaustion immediately afterwards.

    Gable, Wallach and younger, but equally lost cowboy Montgomery Clift take Marilyn along on a "mustanging" trip, where they use an old plane, truck and, finally, ropes to corral and capture mustangs for sale to a knacker.

    Mustanging is all but over as a way of life by the early 1960s, but it's all these men really know as dignity, pride or stubbornness prevents them from taking a much-derided "job for wages" (you know, the thing most of us do every day to earn a living).

    In The Misfits' climatic mustanging scene, these fading-away men try to rope a pathetically small herd. Only Marilyn sees the futility and useless cruelty of it all. Yet her pleas for mercy are answered with, effectively, a price tag of sex from Gable and Wallach. Men, as always, want something from Marilyn, even men the world has all but discarded.

    It takes the youngest and most-damaged cowboy, Clift, to do the right thing and free the horses in exchange for nothing. Gable then goes full John Henry trying to retrieve them, but like Henry, his victory has no meaning - mustanging and hammering tunnels by hand is over.

    Arthur Miller penned a melancholy tale of lost souls seemingly inspired by one of the 20th century's most-famous lost souls, Marilyn Monroe. There are lessons here about adapting to a changing world and valuing yourself not through others, but this is not really a movie about lessons.

    It's a movie about three men and one woman who can't find themselves in the world for many reasons. Whether that is their fault or not, The Misfits is still a very sad story.


    N.B. Look for talented Thelma Ritter as Marilyn's friend and confidant. Ritter adds something good to every movie she's in.
     
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  7. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    ^Never seen Misfits, for whatever reason(s), but ditto kudo Ritter, always spot on and beyond the mere
    script call. Never knew what this film was all bouts xcept Gable apparently his last, cardiac issues later,
    Marilyn supposedly difficult to deal with on set. Did Huston direct this?
     
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  8. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Yes, it was Huston.

    Other than bits and pieces, I had never seen it either until now. I'm glad I did, but will probably never watch it again as it's a very sad movie.
     
  9. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    I haven't seen The Uninvited and Gail Russell is an unknown, tragic expire far too soon,
    but what a beautiful woman. She reminds me of a girl I knew in college, angelic, exquisite beyond words.
     
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  10. Interesting you should phrase it this way--Montgomery Clift was only five years younger than Eli Wallach, and Wallach was 15 years younger than Clark Gable. But it's understandable; Eli Wallach was one of those people who looked older than his years. Sad that within five years of the movie's release three of those five would be dead; Gable before it was even completed.
     
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  11. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Thinking about their careers, I should have realized that, but didn't. As you note, Wallach just looked older even young. William Demarest and William Frawley are two other actors, but from an earlier generation, who always looked older than they were until they really were old.
     
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  12. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    It's interesting how people's age gets 'read', not everyone looks the age they are. I always think I look older than I am, though it seems to vary. Interestingly, people who don't 'get' the vintage thing tend to be more likely to assume I'm much older than I really am, a mix of not only having a shaved head (bald = old), but because, as I've been told once or twice, I "dress old". Not that I mind, I think lying *up* is the way to do it with age. Then people think you look great for your age. As opposed to a lady I once knew who claimed to be twenty-five in her late thirties - all it did for her was make some believe her and further think she looked rough for her age!


    This looks great! A lot of the horror movies of that era - not all, but many - were every bit as effective as the better ones of today because they built a story and held a narrative and an atmosphere through power of performance. Night of the Demon is still one of my favourites.

    In my experience it's surprisingly common among actors and performers of all sorts to be shy and introverted off-stage / off-camera. I'm a mere wannabe myself who was far too middle class to ever take the risk of losing job security, but I can fall a bit into that myself. It's a desire, I suppose, to lose yourself in a character and you can do / be 'all that' rather than being yourself - it's like a protective armour. I've done Rocky Horror in front of hundreds of people; in my 'work character' I've given lectures professionally to big audiences and twice addressed the justice committee of the Scottish Parliament, but ask me to do something as simple socially as phone the bank, ask for directions, or ask the waiter to being me the burger *without* cheese as specially ordered, and I'll go to bits. I've even been able to put making a basic phone call off for weeks because of this. It's hard to explain to anyone who doesn't have that side to them, but it's a sort of weird inversion where you develop this extrovert alter-ego to shield the introvert beneath. TBh, I think it's often why a lot of people think X performer is rude when they meet them. Often as not they're just cripplingly shy when exposed.
     
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  13. Most of my life I've been told I look younger than my age. I don't do anything deliberate to look older or younger, that's just the way it's been. I thought my beard turning mostly gray and my receding hairline/thinning hair would finally give people a hint, but that apparently hasn't happened just yet. I had a sit down meeting with a representative at our home/auto insurance company a couple of weeks ago, a very nice younger woman (I'd guess 30-ish?) who was very helpful. At one point I mentioned that I had celebrated my 60th birthday during the last week of July, and her jaw fell into her lap. Once she had recovered and reattached it, she commented that she thought I was maybe in my 50s. That said, I'm not particularly good at guessing a person's age based on their appearance myself. "Child", "teen", "young adult", "middle aged", and "old" are about as close as I can get most days.


    If you were to ask...well, pretty much anyone who has ever met me, I'm fairly certain that none of them would ever say I was "afflicted with shyness". Not that I feel the need to be the center of attention at all times, but I honestly can't recall ever being so intimidated. So while I understand shyness intellectually, I can't remember experiencing it myself.

    I participated in a few plays during my school years, and even "acted" as an extra in Oliver Stone's movie The Doors (if you know exactly where and when to look, I can be seen on screen for a few seconds). And living in this part of southern California so close to Hollywood, I've encountered a few "celebrities" over the years at various functions (conventions, special movie screenings, etc.) and/or out in public (at which times I never approach them unless they choose to interact with me).

    That being said, my experiences have differed from yours and most of the "celebrities" I've met were quite extroverted in a way that "They were paid to be there" doesn't explain. Even the people who were more reserved were still quite social and didn't seem to mind engaging in conversation beyond, "Hello, this is my new movie, and..." Or maybe that's the secret. If those people are/were determined to stay on-point and discuss only why they were there, fine by me. But I much prefer talking to them as people, not actors/directors/producers/artists/promoters/shills, and I've been very fortunate and met some truly nice people. But maybe that's the key--I wanted to relate to them as people, not merely as the product they were selling, and I believe those who went off-point and were comfortable discussing the previous night's ball game or what Europe was like when they were filming such-and-such-movie realized that early in our discussions and were possibly even pleased that someone took an interest in them beyond being "that little girl in The Ghost of Frankenstein" (Janet Ann Gallow; she and her husband were very friendly and quite chatty with me).

    Sorry everyone, that was far more long-winded than I intended it to be.
     
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  14. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I think that's exactly it: most I've encountered seemed to revel in being treated as a person rather than a performer; it can be especially fascinating when you know an actor a little bit to see how they interact with the different 'types' at a stage door.
     
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  15. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    No Regrets for Our Youth, a Japanese movie with English subtitles from 1946 with Setsuko Hara and Haruko Sugimura


    Beginning in the 1930s and moving through the war years, there is a lot of Japanese inside baseball in No Regrets for Our Youth that is beyond my surface knowledge of Japan's history from that period.

    In the early 1930s, as Japan's militaristic and nationalistic leaders increased their power, they began to limit academic freedom at the country's universities.

    No Regrets for Our Youth asserts a number of students and professors protested this circumscription resulting in some professors being fired and some students being kicked out of the university. A few of those students continued their protests in the streets, many of whom were then arrested and given sentences of several years.

    We see this play out at one Kyoto University through the lives of a law professor and his loyal students who, when the movie opens, are enjoying an idyllic university experience of pure intellectual pursuit driven by a thirst for "true" knowledge.

    Also, idyllic, at least for the all-male student body, is the law professor's in-her-early-twenties and cute-as-heck daughter, Setsuko Hara. Hara often participates in the informal discussions the students have at the professor's house.

    Hara, of course, loves the most-rebellious student, Haruko Sugimura, but he's more into his ideology and protests than women (clearly, he does not have his priorities straight). After he is arrested, she considers her mother's admonitions to marry a "safer" man, but doesn't as she pines away for Sugimura.

    Hara, unhappy and searching, leaves home in bored frustration (learning how to arrange flowers just doesn't cut it for this girl). She explains to her parents that she needs "something more important to do with her life than just getting married."

    A few years later, Hara is living in Tokyo where she meets a released-from-jail and apparently reformed Sugimura. But as they begin an affair, she learns his reform is just a front as he's leading an underground resistance movement against Japan's militarist government.

    After living together for a while, Sugimura and Hara are arrested. She's briefly imprisoned so that the government can pressure her to provide evidence against Sugimura, which, despite intense interrogation, she doesn't do. Sugimura then dies in prison, sending Hara into a downward emotional spiral.

    In a kind of solidarity with her dead lover, Hara goes to live with his poor farmer parents who are shunned in their community because of their son's anti-government actions. Hara works the land with her de facto in-laws as a way to show her continued support for Sugimura and his struggle for freedom.

    Echoing Sugimura's philosophy, Hara keeps herself going through the grueling physical labor and social ostracism of these war years with the belief that one day Japan will come to revere the freedom fighters it now despises.

    When the war ends, the formerly dismissed professors return to the universities to teach the now re-embraced philosophy of individual rights and academic freedom. Hara, no longer an outcast, stays on in the village to work the land as a way of restoring Japan's honor.

    It's a pretty obvious message, in this 1946 movie, from Japan to itself that it, too, needs to return to honest work and respect for human rights to reclaim its place amongst the honorable nations of the world.

    Movies often are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Japan in 1946, understandably, wanted to put a lot of distance between its present-day self and its militarist actions and aspirations of just a few years prior.

    A tale of two idealistic, fighting-for-freedom star-crossed lovers who, by resisting Japan's WWII jingoistic government, sacrificed everything for their beliefs was probably just the story Japan wanted to hear about itself at that time.

    For us today, No Regrets for Our Youth, despite its very small budget and its desperate need of restoration, is an engaging story on its own and a wonderful window into Japan in 1946.
     
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  16. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Great review, but you didn't mention that it was directed by Akira Kurosawa. Folks who think that he only directed samurai movies may be surprised to discover that his filmography contains a wide range of films... united by Kurosawa's deep understanding of human nature, no matter the subject.

    And I recently saw Setsuko Hara in Ozu's Tokyo Story - she was a wonderful actress. I looked her up: she was a movie star in Japan for 20 years, then quit and went into a Garbo-like seclusion for decades.
     
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  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I've seen or recorded about eight of these Japanese movies as TCM has been running them the past several months. Unfortunately, I missed "Tokyo Story," (I enjoyed your comments a few pages back), so I'll have to catch that one the next time it comes by. I'm really enjoying these films both as movies and as a window into Japan at that time.

    Hara's a treat to watch - a talented and subtle actress. I've become familiar with Ozu a bit as he's directed several of the ones I've seen, but this was (I think) my first one with Kurosawa at the helm.
     
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  18. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Despite having known about Ozu for decades, Tokyo Story was the first of his films I've seen. But I've watched a lot of Kurosawa on TCM in recent years, and some of his non-samurai films like Lost Dog, Ikiru, and Redbeard (and No Regrets For Our Youth) have really stayed with me. And yeah, they're a fascinating window into Japanese culture, like Miyazaki's animated masterworks and other recent Japanese films (like Our Little Sister, which I think we both enjoyed).

    Speaking of TCM, did anybody watch the Georges Melies documentary that premiered on TCM last night? The image quality on the restored 1890s/1900s material was ASTOUNDING! I've loved these magical little films forever, but they've never looked so good.
     
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  19. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    The 2021 iteration of the Cairo family's Hallowe'en Calvacade of Horror has started a wee bit early.

    We watched The Raven, the John Cusack vehicle about a fictionalized account of Edgar Allan Poe's last days and death.

    Luke Evans co-stars in this easy going Gothic look at an icon of Horror and suspense literature. Not a masterpiece, but I don't care. I like it...
     
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  20. We watched The Raven when it came to cable TV. I kinda' liked it, but as much as I like John Cusack I didn't for a moment buy him as Poe.
     

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