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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    The Notorious Landlady from 1962 with Jack Lemmon, Kim Novak and Fred Astaire (not dancing)


    Fred Astaire meeting, for the first time, the notorious landlady and arresting beauty Kim Novak, who's been hounded by the police and press over her missing husband:

    Astaire (understatedly): Your photographs don't really do you justice.

    Novak (more understatedly): Well, the lighting's not terrible good in police stations.

    Astaire (even more understatedly): Yes, I'm sure.


    Done as a comedy with a little drama mixed in, The Notorious Landlady too often drifts into farce. Had writers Blake Edwards and Larry Gelbart, with director Richard Quine, made a drama with a little less comedy, they'd have made a better movie.

    The Notorious Lady does answer the question of what would Jack Lemmon's character from the 1960 movie The Apartment be like if he left the insurance business, went into the diplomatic service and was stationed in London.

    Career civil servant Lemmon, seemingly wearing the same period "corporate" wardrobe (grey sack suits, white pin-collar shirts and skinny dark ties) as in The Apartment, is an up-and-coming diplomat who just received a plum appointment to London.

    After being warned by his boss, Fred Astaire, to keep his personal and professional life clean, he rents an apartment in the house of, unbeknownst to him, a notorious American, Kim Novack, rumored by the press and neighbors to have killed her husband.

    Immediately smitten by super-adorable Novak, Lemmon jumps to her defense when boss Astaire notes she is a bad choice of a landlady for a young man looking to rise in the service.

    Lemmon (he's got his priorities right) proceeds to get closer to Novak, who periodically behaves in a suspicious maybe-I-did-kill-my-husband way, while Scotland Yard follows both of them, often reporting back to Astaire on their activities.

    Astaire, initially looking to fire Lemmon for this indiscretion, meets and becomes so smitten with Novak (see the opening quote at the top), he ends up partnering with Lemmon to try to prove her innocence.

    It's a not-bad story, which unfortunately, often relies on silliness, pratfalls and screwball comedy. There's too much, "who has the poison," things accidentally being lit on fire, hiding in rooms behind curtains and other such goofiness detracting from the "did she or didn't she off her husband" good core story.

    Just when you are getting engrossed in anything - Novak and Lemmon's relationship, his on-the-ropes career or her mysterious behavior - a Keystone Cop routine breaks out to undermine the drama.

    Even in the movie's penultimate climatic scene - a courtroom appearance by Lemmon and Novak to determine if she actually did kill her husband - there's too-much slapstick weakening the tension.

    More challenging, the final big scene, where they chase down the bad guys (two old women in this case), is full-force farce with people running around in a style familiar to 1920s movie audiences.

    Novak, Lemmon and Astaire are talented-enough actors to keep this sometimes enjoyable effort afloat. It's not that The Notorious Landlady is a bad movie, but you can't help thinking, if they had just turned the dial toward more drama and less comedy, they'd have made a much better picture.

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  2. Edward Reed

    Edward Reed A-List Customer

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    I don’t care much for film noir but I finally got around to starting the Thin Man film series and had no idea just how funny it would be! Myrna Loy is so adorable. And the rapport between Nick and Nora is so fun in how they feed off each other with their sense of humor! A Perfect match!
    So I did a Double Feature;
    The Thin Man (1934)
    After the Thin Man(1936)
    Four more to go and so long as Myrna Loy keeps making that cute crinkle nose face I’ll keep watching them! :D
    (it might make for a good drinking game film series! Every time they take a drink you have to as well! LOL!)


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  3. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    The original Ocean's Eleven with Sinatra, Dean Martin, and the rest of the Rat Pack!
     
  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    Sprung for the $7 rental to see the new "Humans" movie. It has received rave critical reviews, based on the successful play. But my wife and I found it totally unengaging. It was largely emotionally vacant and I felt no engagement with the characters at all........not even dislike or contempt......just nothing. Richard Jenkins who I very much like as an actor was his usual stellar self but still nothing, zilch, nada....it did not touch me emotionally in anyway and that was disappointing. Not a total waste of time but still if I had spent the $7 on 20oz of craft beer while it would not have lasted the 2 hours of the movie I think I would have enjoyed the beer more.
     
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  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Love it's Rat-Packness. Comments here: #27877
     
  6. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Ocean's Eleven - and the whole Rat Pack thing in general - has always left me totally cold. I tried watching this again the other day, for like the fourth time, and only made it 15 minutes before I got disgusted and gave up. Lazy, sloppy, incredibly impressed with itself, and wallowing in and glorifying so many things that are now considered unacceptable. Ugh, I just don't get it.

    (I know part of it is generational: I was a teenager in the late sixties, and all this fifties-cool stuff was part of our parents' world and considered unhip, at best. I mean, guys like Sinatra and Dean Martin were way into their Fat Elvis phase by 1970. I didn't come around to appreciating Frank Sinatra's brilliance until years later. [And Dean Martin took even longer: until just a few weeks ago when I saw the fascinating new documentary about him.])

    The Humans - I saw the good reviews, recorded it from cable, watched the first 45 minutes last night. Very unpleasant, despite how much I love Richard Jenkins in anything, and the genius casting of Amy Schumer and Beanie Feldstein as sisters. I may watch the rest, but I was pretty disappointed... and distressed by the film's very overwrought sense of impending doom. And also the feeling that it's an inferior riff on the same indie-flick family gets together for a holiday and all the masks come off plotting of so many earlier films, e.g., Pieces of April.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
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  7. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Captain Horatio Hornblower from 1951 with Gregory Peck, Virginia Mayo and Robert Beatty


    Captain Horatio Hornblower is swashbuckling fun. In the 1930s, Hollywood put out some of the best swashbucklers of all time, with stars Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and others creating iconic "pirates" and "captains" that still work as fun action-adventure movies today.

    In 1951, Gregory Peck picked up the swashbuckling baton from that earlier era to deliver a classic seafaring adventure in Captain Horatio Hornblower. Historical accuracy and realism are not these movies' stock in trade; instead, they loosely riff on some kinda-sorta history so that the hero has battles to win, a maiden to rescue, bad guys to defeat and wrongs to right.

    That's it. You watch these movies to escape for a few hours to a fun world where heroes are good, villains are bad, maidens are pretty (and often smart and fearless themselves) and after a bunch of near escapes, harrowing battles and dangerous missions, it all works out in the end.

    Set in the early 1800s, British Naval Captain Horatio Hornblower is on a mission to supply a Latin American leader fighting the Spanish in hopes that France, Spain's ally, will divert resources from its war with England to help its ally, Spain.

    That is the one confusing thing in this otherwise straightforward movie. Once you get over that hump - Peck as Hornblower has to capture the same ship (which is larger and better armed than his) twice as the diplomatic alliances shift - the politics calm down.

    It's easier to only pretend to be following the geopolitical machinations while you just enjoy the battles - large wooden sailing ships firing cannonballs at each other, forts firing down on the same ships, sailors boarding listing enemy vessels to engage in hand-to-hand combat, including captain-versus-captain sword fights, and other neat swashbuckling stuff.

    Captain Peck gallantly, brilliantly and bravely does it all with a bit more seriousness than his 1930s captain cognates, but still with his tongue a bit in cheek. His men at first think he's aloof and hard driving, but after leading them successfully in battle time and again - shrewdly out maneuvering the enemy, fearlessly risking his own life and showing great concern for his wounded men - they become the most loyal crew in naval history.

    The same change of heart can be seen in Captain Horatio Hornblower's version of the blonde maiden, Virginia Mayo, playing Lady Barbara Wellesley who becomes an unwanted passenger on Hornblower's ship from Panama back to England.

    Having rescued her from possible capture by the Spanish, his surface gruffness initially irritates Mayo, who he thinks is spoiled. Yet, after a few adventures where she sees his captaining talent and compassion for his men and he sees her roll up her noble sleeves to nurse the wounded, these two fall in love.

    He's married, she's engaged to an admiral and it's an early 1950s movie, so other than a lot of heavy sighs, one "passionate" kiss and a bunch of talk about how much they mean to each other, nothing happens on all those lonely nights at sea.

    (Spoiler alert, kinda, as you know these two will eventually get together.) After they return and she marries her fiance, Peck learns his wife had died in childbirth while he was at sea. Later, Mayo's husband is killed in battle, so fortunately, it only took two deaths for these kids to get together.

    Captain Horatio Hornblower is formulaic fun at its best. The handsome, brilliant, kind, generous and smart captain outsmarts his country's enemies (several times), earns the everlasting loyalty of his crew, captures the beautiful maiden's heart and does it all with heroic style. By the end of the decade, movies like Hornblower would be out of step with that period's morally messier but more-realistic movie zeitgeist, which makes this 1951 effort one of Hollywood's Golden Era's last pure-fun swashbucklers.
     
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  8. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    It's a fun late-era swashbuckler, along with the likes of The Crimson Pirate, The Master of Ballantrae, Prince Valiant, Scaramouche, and those three 1950s Robert Taylor flicks (the best is Ivanhoe).

    Influence note: Captain Horatio Hornblower, of this film and the series of C.S. Forester novels that inspired it, was a primary model for Captain Kirk on Star Trek. (And the earlier iterations of the character in the original script treatment - Captain Robert April - and first pilot episode - Captain Christopher Pike.) Gene Roddenberry wanted the series' captain to be young, brave, resourceful, swashbuckling, romantic, inventive, and always willing to put himself in as much risk as any crewman.
     
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  9. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    One of my favorite movies! I am a big fan of swashbuckling movies and this is one of the best.
     
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  10. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    Lured (1947) with Lucille Ball and George Sanders and a fantastic cameo with Boris Karloff. This is a great noir film featuring Lucy in a non-comedic role. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend it. lured.jpg
     
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  11. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    The main reason there is only one Captain of the Enterprise James T. Kirk.

    Up front, willing to take one for the team, and always gets the green chick...
     
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  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Five and Ten from 1931 with Marion Davies, Leslie Howard, Richard Bennett and Douglas Montgomery


    Five and Ten is another pre-code examining real life issues in a fast-moving early "talkie" that highlights how much life hasn't changed from generation to generation as most of this story could be (and has been) retold by modern day Hollywood.

    A five-and-ten-cent chainstore tycoon (think Woolworth) from humble beginnings in the Midwest moves his family to New York City where they are snubbed socially. He and his son don't care, but his wife and daughter feel it acutely. It's an early version of a nouveau riche family not being accepted by "society," a story Hollywood has been telling ever since there's been a Hollywood.

    Once in New York, the bored and ignored wife starts having an affair, while the father, oblivious to his family's problems, digs into business (he wants to build a skyscraper headquarters - the Woolworth's thing again). The sensitive, family-peace-keeper son tries to please his father by going into the business, something he clearly isn't cut out for. The daughter, Marion Davies, keeps trying to push her way into a society that doesn't want her.

    Davies then meets bad-boy-of-the-Four-Hundred-set and struggling architect Leslie Howard. Despite his being engaged, she takes a hard run at him, in part, because he represents "society" and, in part, because she truly connects with him.

    She badgers her father into hiring Howard to be one of the lead architects on his skyscraper - she plays to win - and just keeps hanging around Howard trying to outlast the fiance. As is common in pre-codes, you like Davies and Howard, despite neither being a particularly moral person: Davies is trying to break up an engagement, while Howard keeps pushing Davies for some action on the side.

    In one of the movie's cutest, but revealing, scenes, Davies and Howard spar about having an affair. She (paraphrasing) says he needs to "switch firms" (drop the fiance) and he says he wouldn't do that without first sampling the new firm's product (bow chicka wow wow). They are, effectively, having a version of the "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free" battle 1930s style.

    Darn it, though, you're rooting for these two rapscallions to get together. Unfortunately, a combination of a misunderstanding (Davies is tricked by Howard's fiance into sounding like a social climber, which she kinda is, but she truly loves Howard too) and the pull of his social class has Howard marrying the fiance he no longer truly wants.

    The movie, then, as was usual for the time, speeds to a conclusion that has (spoiler alerts for next two paragraph) Davies' mother threatening to leave her tycoon husband, while the son tries to save the family with a dramatic suicide attempt.

    After that, as you knew would happen, in the final scene, as Davies is sailing away to "clear her head in Europe," Howard shows up to tell her he's getting a divorce. A happy ending ensues and the credits roll.

    For 1931, when "talkies" were still new and clunky, Five and Ten is well done and very watchable today with themes and a story that have never gone away. Crazy Rich Asians riffed on it just a few years back and Downton Abbey used the same basic class divide for its original plot conflict.


    N.B. #1 Today's "gender" advocates would probably need a fainting couch as Davies sometimes uses her "feminine wiles" to get Howard, but she doesn't come across as weak. She's a determined woman who goes after what she wants basically on her terms. In real life, whether our modern politics like it or not, we all compromise. Once you accept that, you see that Davies is a smart, ambitious woman who keeps blasting past the men that tell her to stop.

    N.B #2 Yet again, we see how Prohibition had become a national joke by this time as people are drinking cocktails left and right in Five and Ten with fully stocked private bars in almost every (upper class) home. If you do see it, look for Howard's insanely cool Art Deco "bachelor pad," which contains a really neat bar hidden behind a sliding door.
     
  13. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Here's to the Young Lady from 1949, a Japanese movie with English subtitles


    One assumes post-war Japanese movie studios didn't have much money, so they were forced to produce low-budget efforts. This stripped-down film making only works, as in Here's to the Young Lady, if driven by a good story and engaging characters, because there is no money for elaborate special effects or other frills.

    Long before there were movies, they have been telling stories about people from different classes falling in love. The story keeps getting told because it's an eternal challenge and an engaging narrative.

    In Here's to the Young Lady, up-by-his-bootstraps, now-wealthy auto-repair-shop owner Shûji Sano is set up with a young upper-class woman, Setsuko Hara. Initially, he can't believe his good fortune that this woman who is "out of his class" would deign to go out with him.

    Soon after they meet, though, he learns her father is in jail: he was the fall guy for a business fraud that he unwittingly fronted with his good name. This has all but wiped out his once prosperous family who is now reduced to selling off their furniture to survive, but worse, a note is soon coming due on their house.

    Despite now understanding that he's been set up to be the family's financial lifeboat, Sano is so (understandably) smitten with Hara, that he continues courting her. It's their dating that brings the charm to this movie as she introduces him to ballet and classical music, while he introduces her to boxing and cursing at dumb drivers.

    But his "crude" manners jar gentle Hara, further stoking Sano's class insecurity. If he likes you, he'll slap you on the back, or if he wants something, he'll yell across the room, both anathemas to Japan's refined upper class.

    From here, we watch Sano trying to reconcile his frustration at knowing Hara is only willing to marry him because he can rescue her family financially (which will be part of the marriage agreement) with his genuine feelings of affection for her.

    At one point, he heartbreakingly tells Hara that he doesn't care about her family's need for his money, if only he believed she truly loved him. She seems to be struggling with filial duty (the family really needs this money), some genuine feelings for Sano, as he is a kind and generous man, and her upbringing, which makes his manners and outlook uncouth to her.

    There is also an obviously metaphorical side story about Sano's younger brother, whom Sano acts like a father to, wanting to marry a woman below his class. Ironically, Sano, who doesn't see the analogy at first, opposes the match.

    Here's to the Young Lady is, effectively, a glossed-up romcom as Sano and Hara really are falling in love, but need to see past the obstacles - money and class - standing in their way.

    All the usual romcom stuff is here, just adjusted for 1949 Japanese culture. Her family acts cordial to Sano, but Hara's slightly daffy grandmother lets the cat out of the bag. During a family tea, she, not realizing who Sano is, says, in front of him, how sad it is that Hara has to marry, effectively, this bumpkin.

    (Spoiler alert, but not really as you can feel throughout that a happy ending is coming.) Just like any good romcom, toward the end, all seems lost for these two lovers - Sano pays off Hara's family's loan, but he calls off the engagement. Then, Hara breaks out of her cultural handcuffs and, unladylike, races to the train station (Sano is leaving on a trip to heal his broken heart) to confess her, now, true love for him.

    Here's to the Young Lady is stilted and hokey at times and in desperate need of a restoration. Yet its straight-forward story telling, appealing characters - you can't help rooting for these two - and wonderful time-travel to post-war Japan make it a quirky and enjoyable little film.
     
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  14. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    The annual Cairo Cavalcade of Christmas began about a week ago.

    Films watched to date with the family:

    Elf. It is a classic. Deal with it.

    Christmas With the Kranks. It is a classic. Deal with it.

    As Ming Ming the Elf, that is Peter Billingsley, from A Christmas Story. Deal with it.


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  15. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    Cairo Cavalcade of Christmas continues with The Santa Clause. Harmless fun my daughters really enjoy, all three films.

    I enjoy the first two but abhor the third. I recall Martin Short plays Jack Frost who takes over the North Pole.

    Hate that one!
     
  16. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    Right now on TCM’s Noir Alley this Sunday morning, The Unsuspected. Entertaining enough. Nice cinematography. A nice way to start this cold and foggy morning.
    :D
     
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  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Recorded it and will try to get to it soon. I love "Noir Alley."
     
  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    It's a Wonderful Life from 1946 with James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers


    It's a Wonderful Life's rights lapsed into the public domain from 1974 until 1993, so for many years at Christmastime, it was played endlessly on TV. It was shown so often, it turned into a joke as viewers burned out on it.

    No longer in the public domain and having avoided it for a few decades, one is able to look at It's a Wonderful Life anew, and it holds up pretty darn well. Its economics are all but nonsense - standard Hollywood and director Frank Capra cardboard anti-business hokum - but its spirituality is inspiring. Its exposition of one man's life is surprisingly thoughtful and poignant.

    James Stewart as George Bailey grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls dreaming of travel, adventure and big cities. His father runs the beloved but perpetually struggling Building and Loan - the town's small bank alternative to its only other bank owned by the greedy and mean Mr. Potter, played with Scrooge-like exaggeration by Lionel Barrymore.

    Everytime George is close to getting out of Bedford Falls, something - his father's stroke, a bank run, his injured ear - prevents his escape. He turns down business opportunities out of town to keep his necessary-to-the-community bank going. Soon enough, he marries girl-next-door Donna Reed and settles down to keeping the bank alive while he and Reed have a bunch of kids.

    George is a good guy who helps his neighbors and customers with their problems while, ironically, providing the funds for others, like his brother, to leave town. Despite a few bank crises, with the community's support, he keeps it all together until one Christmas Eve when his uncle accidentally loses the bank's cash reserves just as a bank examiner arrives (I know, but it's a movie).

    Stewart is now facing the bank being closed and, even, being arrested because of the missing funds. At home that evening, his old house is falling apart, his gaggle of kids are being annoyingly rambunctious and one is not feeling well. After a small meltdown there, he walks out only to get into a bar fight and car accident later.

    With his world crumbling around him, George, holding a personal pity party standing on a bridge, contemplates suicide. He believes everyone would be better off without him as he is "worth" more dead than alive because of his life insurance policy. Enter the wonderful Henry Travers as George's bumbling guardian angel sent from above to save George.

    He grants George his wish to have never been born and then, riffing like all heck on A Christmas Carol, shows George what charming Bedford Falls would be like if he, George, truly hadn't been born.

    The town having been, effectively, taken over by the greedy Mr. Potter has become a seedy honky tonk. Several of the people whom George had saved with a kind last-minute loan or gift or other help are now drunkards, embittered or impoverished. His wife is a spinster librarian (still looking Donna Reed adorable, though) and his kids have never been born.

    Seeing all this, George begs his guardian angel to have his life restored. Now back, George is happy to see the town he had grown to hate and hugs his wife and children with a renewed love.

    Being a Frank Capra movie, and this still being Christmas Eve, the townsfolk come to the Bailey's house with whatever money they can dig up to save George and the bank. It's a Capraesque moment of treacly happiness that works because, heck, George is a good guy and you share in his redemption.

    It's a Wonderful Life is outstanding movie propaganda with a darker vibe than its reputation would have you believe. Even though the characters are cartoons and the business and financial constructs are ludicrous, the Christmas spirit endnote is so infectious, you don't care.
     
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  19. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend

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    The Misfits (1961), right now on arte.

    Clark Gable in Lee Storm Rider! o_O

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Bushman

    Bushman My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I'm in deep into my Christmas movie marathon, It Happened On 5th Avenue on Saturday night, Christmas with the Kranks last night, and I've saved my three favorite for last! Right now it's Miracle on 34th Street, with Shop Around the Corner and It's A Wonderful Life up next!
     

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