Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds

What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

Worf

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,953
Location
Troy, New York, USA
View attachment 396549
The Browning Version from 1951 with Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Wilfrid Hyde-White and Nigel Patrick


Writer Terence Rattigan specializes in showing the agonizing pain of "ordinary" lives of quiet failure. In Rattigan's The Browning Version, a middle-aged teacher (a "master"), Michael Redgrave, at an English boys school is leaving owing to a heart condition requiring him to take a less-demanding position elsewhere.

We see in Redgrave's final days at the school that he is out of touch with his students. They know he is a brilliant scholar, but they also see him as an aloof disciplinarian, who, to their eyes, is devoid of human emotion and sympathy.

The oleaginous headmaster, perfectly portrayed by Wilfrid Hyde-White, says all the right things to and about Redgrave, but is obviously happy he is leaving even as it becomes clear Redgrave has, without recognition, helped the headmaster improve the school's curriculum.

In a final parting shot, the headmaster tells Redgrave his request for a pension exception owing to his illness - he is short the required number of years for eligibility - has been denied by the School Board.

Worst of all, Redgrave's younger wife is carrying on an all but open affair with a bachelor science teacher at the school. Even with that setup, Redgraves so perfectly fits the role of cold, distant and arrogant teacher that our sympathies initially lean with his antagonists.

Then a series of events reveals a more human and painful understanding of the man. One of the rare students he reached brings Redgrave a touching going away present. Redgrave then learns his nickname is "the Himler of the lower fifth" (his class) at the same time his wife's affair comes fully out in the open. These incidents cause Redgrave to think back to the beginning of his academic career.

Eighteen years ago, when Redgrave came to the school, he and his wife thought his talents as a scholar would lead to a successful teaching career. But he didn't have the personal skills to reach his students or interact with his peers, which caused him to pull in on himself and others to pull away.

Had he asked for help or had others offered it, perhaps he could have turned his career around, but instead, eighteen years later, we see an outwardly hardened, but inwardly broken man.

Clearly not helping is his status-conscious wife who, instead of trying to lift him up, belittles him at every opportunity. Redgrave himself is understanding seeing their failed marriage as equally his fault owing to his unsuccessful career. Maybe, but watching his wife constantly and viciously undermine his confidence and self respect leaves us less forgiving of her than Redgrave is.

Finally, we see Redgrave's deep hurt at his "Nazi" nickname as he thought he was a bit of a "comical" figure to his students and teaching peers, but did not think they viewed him as mean and heartless.

Processing all this information in his last remaining days at the school, Redgrave's epiphany moment comes, unfortunately, too late to save his career or marriage (the latter is better off not saved). Yet, in his final actions and parting speech, we see a man who could have been a better version of himself if he himself, his wife, his peers and his headmaster had tried to help him.

A common theme of writer Terence Rattigan's work is that many good people are broken because they are square pegs trying to fit into the rigid round holes of the British class system. A system which, with its social and cultural structure that admires conformity, quietly but ruthlessly ostracizes those who are unique or different or perceived as "not quite up to snuff."

In The Browning Version, we meet a seemingly cold and antisocial teacher who appears to "deserve" the scorn and disdain others publicly and privately feel toward him. But director's Anthony Asquith's powerful interpretation of Rattigan's play reveals a more nuanced and heartbreaking story of an awkward man whose potential is destroyed early by an inflexible system, an unforgiving wife and unsympathetic peers.

The Browning Version has no special effects, no bombast and only some melodrama. Instead, it's just a poignant tale about a fully drawn "regular" man whose life has sadly, quietly and unnecessarily failed.


N.B. Michael Redgraves' performance here is impressively nuanced and poignant, especially considering he is playing a man who keeps his emotions and, even, thoughts inside.
Saw this some years ago... hit me like a freight train headed west. Such emotion, raw anguish and pain, not your typical English fare. The scene where his wife snearingly, mockingly compares his end to that of Donat in "Goodbye Mr. Chips". I wanted to do murder, I wouldn't kick a dog when he's down much less a man who's given his life to educating youth... not matter how poorly he may have done it.

Worf
 

Turnip

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,245
Location
Europe
This one, this week.

zz-top.jpg
 
Messages
15,568
Location
New York City
MV5BYTgyNmQ5ZTMtZDkzZS00ODU5LWE1ZWQtOTYzNzRiZTI1NDlhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzk3NTUwOQ@@._V1_.jpg
Her Highness and the Bellboy from 1945 with Hedy Lamarr, Robert Walker and June Allyson


Her Highness and the Bellboy is a silly little fairytale of a movie. The plot, which has been recycled since they've been making movies, is about a princess, Hedy Lamarr, from some unnamed European country, who wants to marry a "commoner" for love, as opposed to marrying, as was expected of her, some boring royal guy for the good of her country.

Lamarr, trying to escape the pressure to make the "right" marriage, takes a trip to New York City in search of the man, a "commoner," she once loved but gave up. There, she befriends bellhop Robert Walker. Walker, when not working, takes care of his friend, June Allyson, a sickly young woman whose doctor tells Walker that, with enough love, Allyson will get better.

With that set up, the rest of the movie plays out as expected. Walker mildly neglects Allyson as he falls for Lamarr. Lamarr, unintentionally, encourages Walker while she really just wants him to help find her former lover, an everyday newspaper man (just go with it; it doesn't have to make much sense).

After an hour plus of relatively harmless misunderstandings, cringe worthy slapstick and obvious twists and turns, the movie comes to the expected climax. First, it looks like (if you have no insight), Walker will abandon Allyson for the princess, whom he mistakenly thinks wants to marry him, while Lamarr will choose royal responsibility over true love.

As in any good fairy tale, though, at the last minute, Walker sees the light and chooses his infirm girlfriend (who is miraculously cured by his love) over the Princess, which encourages Princess Lamarr to choose the commoner newspaper man as she casually abdicates (yup).

Message delivered: it is worth giving anything up - a princess or a country - for true love. Lamarr, Walker and Allyson almost have enough charm to pull this fluff off, but Her Highness and the Bellboy's script lacks enough wit and whimsy to keep you engaged in a story you have all but figured out in the first five minutes.

That said, you can just spend the movie staring at Hedy Lamarr as she does have a fairytale princess' beauty. Plus, it's fun to see an early version of a plot Hollywood is still using to this day.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
I might say Roman Holiday comes to mind but HM Pulham, Esq and Ecstasy strike indelibly etched
mindful images of a true princess, Hedy Lamarr. A complex cipher, enigmatic, highly intelligent, and certainly
cast from European mold, Lamarr, like Ingrid Bergman stands timely testament to beauty.
 
Messages
15,568
Location
New York City
I might say Roman Holiday comes to mind but HM Pulham, Esq and Ecstasy strike indelibly etched
mindful images of a true princess, Hedy Lamarr. A complex cipher, enigmatic, highly intelligent, and certainly
cast from European mold, Lamarr, like Ingrid Bergman stands timely testament to beauty.

The movie is good not great, but "H.M Pullman, Esq." is probably my favorite Lamarr roles. She's wonderful as the smart, confident business woman showing neophyte Robert Young the ropes. Separately, I have never once spelled her full name without checking as there is no frame of reference for those letters making those sounds.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
^The silver screen has immortalized certain women for such glory is taken, captured only in part
through beauty, but largely taken by storm of emotional heartbreak. Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa in Casablanca
is emblematic of inner grace, beauty, and elegance capturing eternal fame amidst historic circumstance
whose moment demands nothing less than everything the heart, mind, and soul possesses.
Very, very few films can force such moment with its searing examination of conscience.
And even fewer women can embrace such a heroic role.
 
Messages
15,568
Location
New York City
three-secrets-v.jpg

Three Secrets from 1950 with Eleanor Parker, Patricia Neal, Ruth Roman and Edmon Ryan


Despite sharing the lead with two other women, Three Secrets is Patricia Neal's movie. It's a B-picture melodrama, but she gives it grit and gravitas with an outstanding performance.

A plane crashes on a remote mountain top. A military spotter plane takes pictures revealing that a five-year-old boy is the sole survivor. The challenge is how to rescue him before he succumbs.

A famous mountain climber is brought in to lead a team up the 12,000 foot peak, while a media frenzy ensues at the mountain's base.

With the boy's parents, apparently, casualties from the crash and, since authorities discovered, the family has no relatives, the boy, Johnny, if rescued, will be an orphan.

Through flashbacks, we then learn Johnny was adopted and that one of three women - all who converge on the mountain - is his biological mother, but the adoption agency won't release that information.

Five years after giving up their babies, each woman is struggling with that decision and what it means if Johnny survives and if she is the mother.

Through further flashbacks, we learn the women's backstories. Eleanor Parker had a quicky affair with a soldier on leave and, then, at her mother's urging, to save her "reputation," went away to have the baby and, quietly, give it up for adoption.

The second woman, Ruth Roman, had an affair with a wealthy man who dumped her and, then, tried to pay her off when she told him she was pregnant. In a fit of rage, she kills him, is sentenced for manslaughter and, then, gives the baby up for adoption from prison. She has since served her sentence and been released.

The third woman, Patricia Neal, is a successful international journalist married to a sportswriter who comes to resent her lack of interest in a traditional home and family (note the riffing on Woman of The Year).

Five years ago, Neal came back from Europe as a famous war correspondent wanting to restart her marriage. After she throws herself sexually at her now emotionally distant husband, he, in a quietly brutal scene, tells her he no longer "wants" her - ouch. It's one of those moments that justifies a lot of mundane movie watching.

They briefly give it a try anyway, but she soon flies off on assignment again and he divorces her. Now overseas, she realizes she's pregnant and comes back to the States to find him remarried. She never tells him she's pregnant and gives the baby up for adoption. Right or wrong, Neal makes big decisions with speed and conviction - she's no ditherer.

Five years ago, these three women met, on the same day, at the same adoption agency, as they gave up their babies. Owing to the plane crash, they've now met again at the foot of the mountain. Based on the facts reported in the paper and their personal adoption stories and timelines, each is in anguish wondering if it is her child up there.

Patricia Neal is covering the story for her paper, while the other two came to the mountain out of a sense of responsibility. Yet it is Neal who pulls the three together amidst the chaos. This no-nonsense woman also has time to outsmart, out think and out report the men - she's a firecracker.

After a harrowing climb by the rescue team, the report from the top of the mountain comes down that the boy, Johnny, is okay. But what will these women, one of who is the mother of the now parentless boy, do?

Once again, it is Neal to the rescue. She bullies (yup, bullies) her male editor into blasting past adoption agency rules and any laws to find out which one is the mother. There's still one more plot twist to go, but while it's advertised a bit in advance, let's leave it there for those who haven't seen the movie.

To appreciate Three Secrets, one has to accept that words and phrases like "normal family," "illegitimate baby" and "reputation" were powerful memes back then. Wrong, yes, but they were the water society swam in, leaving these single and pregnant women, in the 1940s, with baleful life decisions to make.

The story is contrived, the budget shoestring and the acting uneven (Eleanor Parker all but sleeps through her role), but Patricia Neal and Edmon Ryan, as her newspaper reporter frenemy, along with the always outstanding directing of Robert Wise, elevate Three Secrets well above its material.


N.B. #1 For Hitchcock fans, it's neat when you realize the center of the plot of this story, a kid being rescued off a mountain, is just a macguffin. We often forget about the boy because we're absorbed in the movie's real focus, the lives of the three women.

N.B. #2 If Patricia Neal in real life was half as smart, half as no-nonsense and half as decent (without any fanfare) as her screen persona is here and in other movies - and if she was half as beautiful in person - she's the one you marry if by grace of God she'll have you.
 

M Brown

One of the Regulars
Messages
298
Location
N Tx
West Side Story. went to see it in the cinema last weekend. We were the only people there at 2p on a Sunday afternoon.
It was fantastic in every way... Acting, direction, editing, costumes, writing, choreography, singing, set design... I'd consider it to be the best film of 2021 and worthy of numerous awards. And the updating of the story through Tony Kushner's script is brilliant.
But, of course, what else could one expect from Spielberg?
 

Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,063
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
I saw it last month and totally agree. A really brilliant job on something that could have easily gone horribly wrong.

I was also in a nearly empty theater, which I guess is good for Covid safety, but bad for the box office. Surprisingly, despite how beloved the musical is, and what a fine job Spielberg and company did, the film is a MAJOR flop. In five weeks of release, it's only made $59 million worldwide. I didn't think it would necessarily be a huge hit, but I expected it to do respectably. I mean, people ARE going to the movies again: the Spider-Man flick has made 1.69 BILLION worldwide in a shorter release!
 

Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,063
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
Ralph Bakshi's masterpiece American Pop (1981). I was blown away by this animated feature when it was new, but I hadn't seen it since. I DVR'd it from Turner Classic Movies and watched it with my sister.

A very unusual animated film, it follows four generations of men, starting with a boy fleeing a Russian pogrom, and ending with a 1980s arena-rock star. Along the way, music/entertainment professionals and organized crime members are shown working together as each new style/technology comes along. (I.e., you wouldn't have jazz without burlesque/vaudeville and prostitution... and the gangsters who ran it all.) Each generation rebels against the previous one and makes its mark, from ragtime to early jazz, to swing, to R&B, to sixties rock, to punk rock. (I think the film was out of circulation and not released on home media for many years due to its extensive/expensive use of hit music copyrights.) Each generation has its own battles with drugs, ethics, personalities. And yeah, it's got some of the raw sex and violence that you expect from Bakshi.

It's far, FAR from perfect. The plot's scattershot and doesn't always make logical sense. Characterization is minimal (especially in the case of different-named figures who are clearly representing real people, like Janis Joplin). The film also wants to be about fathers and sons (American pops)... but that doesn't really work. What does work is the animation art, which is all over the map - much of the character work is rotoscoped, but the backgrounds and background characters are painterly: sometimes things are realistic, but mostly they're impressionistic. As someone who appreciates ambition even when it doesn't entirely succeed, I really respect Bakshi's guts in doing such an odd, personal project when he could have just done a Fritz the Cat sequel...

Recommended to animation fans who haven't seen it, and adventurous curious types.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,028
Location
London, UK
I saw it last month and totally agree. A really brilliant job on something that could have easily gone horribly wrong.

I was also in a nearly empty theater, which I guess is good for Covid safety, but bad for the box office. Surprisingly, despite how beloved the musical is, and what a fine job Spielberg and company did, the film is a MAJOR flop. In five weeks of release, it's only made $59 million worldwide. I didn't think it would necessarily be a huge hit, but I expected it to do respectably. I mean, people ARE going to the movies again: the Spider-Man flick has made 1.69 BILLION worldwide in a shorter release!

A pity, but sadly not a massive surprise. At least here in the UK, the audience for musicals is limited. The Producers and Hairspray I think did well enough, more because the musicals had been mainstays of the West End for several years at that point... but when Burton's run at Sweeney Todd was first being advertised in the UK, the trailers were actually cut to hide that it was a musical, such was the fear that a musical would simply never sell here. The result of this was a whole slew of press stories about angry cinema patrons demanding their money back because they had been tricked into watch a musical. (I know, I know, the cultural ignorance, but there you go...).

I'm looking forward to seeing it myself. I blow hot and cold on Spielberg. When he does it well he's very good indeed, though for me all too often he goes far too far with maudlin sentimentality. That said, I've heard nothing but praise from those who have seen this latest venture, and am looking forward to catching it on streaming. (My wife is medically classified as 'vulnerable', and with the way Covid Regs have been suddenly dropped entirely in England this has made us ironically much warier about going out than we were at earlier stages in the pandemic. Hopefully it won't be too long before it's a fair price on streaming.) As an aside, I've been faintly amused at the number of comments I've read about it "deviating from the original story" in certain respects, bearing in mind Tony and Maria were something of a deviation from the original original story... ;)
 

Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,063
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
Certainly, musicals are not the mega-popular form now that they were in the past. And selling-Sweeney Todd-as-not-a-musical was an incredibly stupid strategy. But that film ultimately did pretty well, Les Mis did pretty well, and modern "backstage musicals" like the awful Pitch Perfect series apparently do well. The Disney and Pixar semi-musicals do well. Remember, there are a couple of generations out there that grew up with High School Musical and Glee...

West Side Story is a widely beloved piece, both the 1961 film and continual revivals (even I, who hadn't been to a Broadway show in decades, took my daughter to the 2009 revival which offered much of the Sharks' dialog in Spanish [which Spielberg/Kushner do too]). I dunno, I find the lack of audience interest in the new WSS a bit surprising and distressing. Well, I suppose not everyone memorized the original cast album like I did as a very small child...

Edward, we've discussed Spielberg's "maudlin sentimentality" before. I think most of his recent output carefully avoids it, he's pruned it out of his mature style. Of course, WSS is operatic in its emotions and that can't be avoided, but this production - far more than the 1961 film with its much-too-cute-to-be-scary gang members - puts more of the ugliness and violence of the story front and center. And it positions it as a story of warring ethnic tribes that we can easily recognize, not a period piece about cute fifties juvenile delinquents.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
View attachment 397576
Three Secrets from 1950 with Eleanor Parker, Patricia Neal, Ruth Roman and Edmon Ryan


Despite sharing the lead with two other women, Three Secrets is Patricia Neal's movie. It's a B-picture melodrama, but she gives it grit and gravitas with an outstanding performance.

A plane crashes on a remote mountain top. A military spotter plane takes pictures revealing that a five-year-old boy is the sole survivor. The challenge is how to rescue him before he succumbs.

A famous mountain climber is brought in to lead a team up the 12,000 foot peak, while a media frenzy ensues at the mountain's base.

With the boy's parents, apparently, casualties from the crash and, since authorities discovered, the family has no relatives, the boy, Johnny, if rescued, will be an orphan.

Through flashbacks, we then learn Johnny was adopted and that one of three women - all who converge on the mountain - is his biological mother, but the adoption agency won't release that information.

Five years after giving up their babies, each woman is struggling with that decision and what it means if Johnny survives and if she is the mother.

Through further flashbacks, we learn the women's backstories. Eleanor Parker had a quicky affair with a soldier on leave and, then, at her mother's urging, to save her "reputation," went away to have the baby and, quietly, give it up for adoption.

The second woman, Ruth Roman, had an affair with a wealthy man who dumped her and, then, tried to pay her off when she told him she was pregnant. In a fit of rage, she kills him, is sentenced for manslaughter and, then, gives the baby up for adoption from prison. She has since served her sentence and been released.

The third woman, Patricia Neal, is a successful international journalist married to a sportswriter who comes to resent her lack of interest in a traditional home and family (note the riffing on Woman of The Year).

Five years ago, Neal came back from Europe as a famous war correspondent wanting to restart her marriage. After she throws herself sexually at her now emotionally distant husband, he, in a quietly brutal scene, tells her he no longer "wants" her - ouch. It's one of those moments that justifies a lot of mundane movie watching.

They briefly give it a try anyway, but she soon flies off on assignment again and he divorces her. Now overseas, she realizes she's pregnant and comes back to the States to find him remarried. She never tells him she's pregnant and gives the baby up for adoption. Right or wrong, Neal makes big decisions with speed and conviction - she's no ditherer.

Five years ago, these three women met, on the same day, at the same adoption agency, as they gave up their babies. Owing to the plane crash, they've now met again at the foot of the mountain. Based on the facts reported in the paper and their personal adoption stories and timelines, each is in anguish wondering if it is her child up there.

Patricia Neal is covering the story for her paper, while the other two came to the mountain out of a sense of responsibility. Yet it is Neal who pulls the three together amidst the chaos. This no-nonsense woman also has time to outsmart, out think and out report the men - she's a firecracker.

After a harrowing climb by the rescue team, the report from the top of the mountain comes down that the boy, Johnny, is okay. But what will these women, one of who is the mother of the now parentless boy, do?

Once again, it is Neal to the rescue. She bullies (yup, bullies) her male editor into blasting past adoption agency rules and any laws to find out which one is the mother. There's still one more plot twist to go, but while it's advertised a bit in advance, let's leave it there for those who haven't seen the movie.

To appreciate Three Secrets, one has to accept that words and phrases like "normal family," "illegitimate baby" and "reputation" were powerful memes back then. Wrong, yes, but they were the water society swam in, leaving these single and pregnant women, in the 1940s, with baleful life decisions to make.

The story is contrived, the budget shoestring and the acting uneven (Eleanor Parker all but sleeps through her role), but Patricia Neal and Edmon Ryan, as her newspaper reporter frenemy, along with the always outstanding directing of Robert Wise, elevate Three Secrets well above its material.


N.B. #1 For Hitchcock fans, it's neat when you realize the center of the plot of this story, a kid being rescued off a mountain, is just a macguffin. We often forget about the boy because we're absorbed in the movie's real focus, the lives of the three women.

N.B. #2 If Patricia Neal in real life was half as smart, half as no-nonsense and half as decent (without any fanfare) as her screen persona is here and in other movies - and if she was half as beautiful in person - she's the one you marry if by grace of God she'll have you.

The coincidence triple play alone is remarkable but maternal instinct focuses yesterday-as opposed
to present day-morals in stark reiief as though conscience is a piece of jettisoned inconvenient baggage.
And the question if this film could be made today is easily answered. Perhaps too easily.
 
Messages
15,568
Location
New York City
onceathief1965.3498.jpg
Once a Thief from 1965 with Alain Delon, Ann-Margret, Van Heflin, John Davis Chandler and Jack Palance


Once a Thief is an early entry in the "ex-con tries to go straight, but everything conspires against his good intentions and pushes him back to a life of crime" genre.

A detective, Van Heflin, who has it in for ex-con Alain Delon, keeps harassing him at work, which gets Delon fired. The paper-pushing bureaucracy at unemployment denies Delon's claim. His wife, Ann Margret, gets a job as a scantily clad cocktail waitress, which challenges his manhood as the breadwinner (different era) and his old crime buddies (including his brother and mobster Jack Palance) keep coming around trying to entice Delon to work on a big heist they are planing.

After opening with a cool jazzy montage and the above setup, the movie slides into crime-drama mode as Delon reluctantly agrees to join up with his old gang. Delon seems to genuinely love his wife and young daughter and, maybe, would have gone straight if it had been easy, but he seems more in his element - more like a Tarantino character - now back in his old "profession."

Wife Ann-Margret sees the writing on the wall, but what can she do? Van Heflin continues trying to arrest Delon mainly because he hates Delon for once having shot him. Delon seems oblivious to the writing on the wall others can see, so he plows ahead with the caper, which like all capers, goes well until, inevitably, it doesn't.

It's not critical to the story, but the heist is of a warehouse storing a million dollars in platinum (a Hitchcock macguffin, if ever). The heist might even have worked if not for the old saw about there being no honor amongst thieves.

Albino-looking and creepy-as-heck gang member John Davis Chandler kills one of the other members as the gang makes its getaway with his justification to the remaining members being, "one less to share in the cut."

Well, everyone can see where that logic leads, so the members turn on each other and the heist quickly unravels as Delon makes off with the platinum. (Spoiler alert) All that's left is Delon going to his nemesis Van Heflin for help when Chandler kidnaps Delon's daughter trying to force Delon to turn the platinum over to him.

When Delon sacrifices everything to save his daughter, the message is, maybe, this good kid never had a fair shot, but you don't really believe it. Instead, Once a Thief is just another crime drama that ends with a bunch of dead crooks.


N.B. #1 Once a Thief's style, plot and dialogue - a blend of noir and '60s jazz - foreshadows movies by the Coen Brothers and Tarantino where criminals are well-drawn characters with moral complexity and real-life concerns, but who live in the crazy world of lawlessness. It works on its own as an average-good movie, but is also worth a watch for its adumbration of where crime movies would go in subsequent decades.

N.B. #2 The main reason I watched this one is Ann-Margret. But she's out of her element here as nothing about Ann-Margret reads gritty noir/crime-drama character. Through no fault of her own, real-life Ann-Margaret looks like a cartoon version of Ann-Margret as her overly full figure, cherub cheeks and mountain of strawberry-blonde hair shouldn't truly exist in the real world. It's why the only role that fully realized Ann-Margret is when she starred opposite Elvis in Viva Las Vegas because Elvis movies are real-life cartoons with actors playing carictures roles.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
Although I basically agree with Elvis' film canon, Ann Margaret herself was a sex kitten
typecast 1960s ingenue studio starlet who delivered pizza (pa-zazz) for a living. Sausage and cheese,
thin crust not deep dish. However, as the New Orleans southern rural girl slut in The Cincinnati Kid
opposite Steve McQueen, Karl Malden, and Edward G Robinson she held her own. Ann Margaret
had chops, and with sufficient script and cast could help deliver a motion picture production.
I believe she might have turned in a performance opposite Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
708
The 47 Ronin (1941-42) dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. A shogun-era noble is forced to commit hara-kiri for attacking a shogunate official. His now "masterless" samurai plot to avenge his death. The conflict is loyalty by the samurai to their oath to their lord versus obedience to the shogunate government. The ronin take the path of loyalty to their late leader, and willingly submit to the inevitable results.

Told over two films produced just before and just after the attack on Pearl Harbor, for a total of about 4 hours, it was designed to be a propaganda epic by the Japanese government hoping to stir up unquestioning obedience by the populace.

Director Mizoguchi paces the camera at the speed of glaciers, and most dialogue is spoken ponderously and with the idea that every word is weighted with significance. The deliberate pacing and dialogue delivery could be an attempt to give a theatrical feel to the film, almost like a Noh production.
 

Worf

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,953
Location
Troy, New York, USA
"The Bounty Hunter" - I was just browsing through the TCM queue with about 1.5 hours to kill and decided to watch this "Oater" helmed by Randolph Scott. Simple story, Scott a grizzled B.H. is tasked by the Pinkertons to catch the remnants of a band of outlaws who robbed a govt. payroll a year earlier and somehow managed to dodge numerous attempts to find them or the cash which thus far has not been spent. Scott, given a chance to make more on one job than he would in 10 years doing regular bounty work... takes up the trail.
He tracks the gang to a small town but in that he's neither photo's nor descriptions of the suspects, save that one was shot in the right leg, he relies on guile and trickeration to make the true criminals reveal themselves. There's plenty of gunplay and flying lead as you'd expect and (no spoiler) he gets the job done. I only watched it as I needed something brainless to watch and Scott's ability to speak his lines with such stoic sincerity is always a joy to watch.

Worf
 
Messages
15,568
Location
New York City
hlppffl.jpg
Peyton Place form 1957 with Diane Varsi, Lana Turner, Lee Phillips, Hope Lange, Arthur Kennedy and LLoyd Nolan


The mid 1950s to the early 1960s is the Golden Age of soap opera / melodrama movies with the apotheosis of the genre being Peyton Place. If you like this type of movie [insert casual whistle with eyes looking around at the ceiling], there is none better.

It's all here: extramarital affairs, single young women kept by older married men, babies born to "widows" (who aren't really), domestic violence including a father raping his step daughter, murder, buried bodies (literally and figuratively), young kids buying "banned" books, doctors performing abortions marked down as appendectomies (or something "not abortion"), homes and families on the "right" and "wrong" side of the tracks, Oedipal Complex mothers messing up their sons' heads, clandestine nude swimming, rumors, gossip, alcoholism, suicide (gruesomely by hanging) and more.

All of that happens in pretty Peyton Place, a small, idyllic-looking New England town where the good people dress their best for Sunday church. Yet, as Lloyd Nolan, the town's doctor and conscience states, "We have half a dozen churches, which most of you attend and then don't practice the word they preach once you walk down the steps."

Peyton Place the movie comes from the giant, indulgent, entertaining but also very perceptive book by the same name (comments here: https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/what-are-you-reading.10557/page-401#post-2449613). The movie, like the book, works because, even if exaggerated, much of it rings true.

Books and movies like this shine a light on the worst and, sometimes, the best in us, which leaves out a lot of the everyday living people do inside the lines. You are not getting a balanced view in Peyton Place, but that doesn't make any of its story untrue, just know the lens has been intentionally directed to see the most sordid and hypocritical parts.

Focusing on a few of the town's young girls and boys, the movie tells its story mainly through their eyes in this coming-of-age tale. There are a lot of stories and plotlines to Peyton Place, so think of the movie this way: you can visit a "typical" New England town and watch its young grow up, with all those timeless challenges, from the 1930s into the 1940s, while their parents do all the bad and, sometimes, good things parents do while trying to maintain the outward appearance of respectability.

Looking back, movies like this were part of the, ultimately, successful effort to break down the massive social stigma of, ready-set-go: addictions, pre-marital sex, extra-marital affairs, single parents, abortion, divorce, kids being curious about sex, etc. Today, most of those things are no longer a source of shame, at least not nearly to the degree they once were. Heck, many are now celebrated.

But destigmatizing those things didn't mean they went away (for many, their occurrences have increased) or that some don't still create great personal and social problems, but at least they are more out in the open with many sympathetic to their challenges.

Those things that are still horrible - like domestic violence and rape - also, sadly, haven't been eliminated or even had their occurrences reduced, but they are, at least, no longer considered a source of shame for their victims.

These are serious and real problems, then and now, but you watch a giant ball of soap opera cheese like Peyton Place to wallow in all the dirty laundry and hypocrisy of society in a safe way.

Because, by the 1970s, the idea of "respectable" society had been so diminished and the restrictions on what could be shown or done in movies all but eliminated, soap-opera pictures mainly became depressingly gruesome and extreme affairs lacking any balance or hope.

It's why the soap operas of the mid 1950s to the early 1960s are the most engaging - there was still a respectable society with its hypocrisy and unfair taboos to confront and expose. It was a contradiction and tension that made for good storytelling. A contradiction and tension wonderfully, saponaceously and indulgently exploited in Peyton Place.
 

Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,063
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
Ridley Scott’s latest, The Last Duel.

My longtime feeling on Scott is that about one-third of his films are brilliant, and two-thirds of them suck. This is his third medieval period flick (after the terrible Kingdom of Heaven and even worse Russell Crowe Robin Hood), and I’m happy to report, the best. Anyway, it’s the first Scott film I’ve kinda liked in a while.

It’s essentially the true-ish story of the final duel fought under legal proceedings in 1300s France (as in, rather than a judge, jury, or king, letting God decide who’s right based on who survives). It turns on the allegation of a favorite-of-the-local lord (unrecognizably blond Ben Affleck!) squire (Adam Driver) having raped the wife of a respected, but unpopular, bad-at-politics knight (Matt Damon). It’s a long film because it uses the Rashomon technique of telling nearly the whole story from three different POVs: first Damon, then Driver, then the wife (Jody Comer).

The script is by Damon, Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener, a writer-director whose indie relationship dramas (Friends with Money, Please Give, Enough Said, etc.) I have long admired. I suspect that the textured, believable characterization of the wife was her input. And of course, the film looks great, and the big duel between Damon and Driver, when it finally comes, is seriously brutal.

Not quite top-flight Ridley Scott, but interesting.
 

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
View attachment 398679
Peyton Place form 1957 with Diane Varsi, Lana Turner, Lee Phillips, Hope Lange, Arthur Kennedy and LLoyd Nolan


The mid 1950s to the early 1960s is the Golden Age of soap opera / melodrama movies with the apotheosis of the genre being Peyton Place. If you like this type of movie [insert casual whistle with eyes looking around at the ceiling], there is none better.

It's all here: extramarital affairs, single young women kept by older married men, babies born to "widows" (who aren't really), domestic violence including a father raping his step daughter, murder, buried bodies (literally and figuratively), young kids buying "banned" books, doctors performing abortions marked down as appendectomies (or something "not abortion"), homes and families on the "right" and "wrong" side of the tracks, Oedipal Complex mothers messing up their sons' heads, clandestine nude swimming, rumors, gossip, alcoholism, suicide (gruesomely by hanging) and more.

All of that happens in pretty Peyton Place, a small, idyllic-looking New England town where the good people dress their best for Sunday church. Yet, as Lloyd Nolan, the town's doctor and conscience states, "We have half a dozen churches, which most of you attend and then don't practice the word they preach once you walk down the steps."

Peyton Place the movie comes from the giant, indulgent, entertaining but also very perceptive book by the same name (comments here: https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/what-are-you-reading.10557/page-401#post-2449613). The movie, like the book, works because, even if exaggerated, much of it rings true.

Books and movies like this shine a light on the worst and, sometimes, the best in us, which leaves out a lot of the everyday living people do inside the lines. You are not getting a balanced view in Peyton Place, but that doesn't make any of its story untrue, just know the lens has been intentionally directed to see the most sordid and hypocritical parts.

Focusing on a few of the town's young girls and boys, the movie tells its story mainly through their eyes in this coming-of-age tale. There are a lot of stories and plotlines to Peyton Place, so think of the movie this way: you can visit a "typical" New England town and watch its young grow up, with all those timeless challenges, from the 1930s into the 1940s, while their parents do all the bad and, sometimes, good things parents do while trying to maintain the outward appearance of respectability.

Looking back, movies like this were part of the, ultimately, successful effort to break down the massive social stigma of, ready-set-go: addictions, pre-marital sex, extra-marital affairs, single parents, abortion, divorce, kids being curious about sex, etc. Today, most of those things are no longer a source of shame, at least not nearly to the degree they once were. Heck, many are now celebrated.

But destigmatizing those things didn't mean they went away (for many, their occurrences have increased) or that some don't still create great personal and social problems, but at least they are more out in the open with many sympathetic to their challenges.

Those things that are still horrible - like domestic violence and rape - also, sadly, haven't been eliminated or even had their occurrences reduced, but they are, at least, no longer considered a source of shame for their victims.

These are serious and real problems, then and now, but you watch a giant ball of soap opera cheese like Peyton Place to wallow in all the dirty laundry and hypocrisy of society in a safe way.

Because, by the 1970s, the idea of "respectable" society had been so diminished and the restrictions on what could be shown or done in movies all but eliminated, soap-opera pictures mainly became depressingly gruesome and extreme affairs lacking any balance or hope.

It's why the soap operas of the mid 1950s to the early 1960s are the most engaging - there was still a respectable society with its hypocrisy and unfair taboos to confront and expose. It was a contradiction and tension that made for good storytelling. A contradiction and tension wonderfully, saponaceously and indulgently exploited in Peyton Place.

What is there left to be said about Peyton Place that hasn't been said before?

Plenty.

Grace Metalious didn't write the great Amercan novel but the book serves sizzle sleaze galore.
And when you need a cheeseburger, you need a cheeseburger. And fries with that shake.
And mebbe afterwards, a cigarette and at least a little good old fashion converse.
 
Top