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What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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Act-of-Violence-2.jpg

Act of Violence from 1948 with Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Phyllis Thaxter and Mary Astor


How is Act of Violence not better known? It's easy to understand why, in 1948, just a few years after World War II and with the economy booming, Americans didn't want to watch a movie about two veterans, broken by the war in very different ways, smashing into each other with shattering consequences, but over time, this movie's reputation should have grown.

With a revenge-driven story, tight directing by Fred Zinnemann, spartan settings and a small talented cast, this 1948 noir plays almost like a Western.

Van Heflin's character is a young, successful and well-respected contractor and war veteran who lives in a small Southern California town with his pretty wife, played by Janet Leigh, and their baby. Quickly, though, we see Van Heflin is being stalked by a newly arrived in town and menacing-looking man with a limp played by Robert Ryan.

At this point, even though we don't understand the motives, we're pulled into the hunt with our sympathies all for good-guy Heflin and not scary Ryan. But why is Ryan stalking Heflin?

Leigh, desperate to call the police, forces her husband Heflin to fess up. (This is not a spoiler as it comes up early, but knowing it will reduce the initial tension in the movie.) Heflin was Ryan's commanding officer in WWII where, when they were POWs, Heflin told their German captives about Ryan's plan to escape with other men.

Heflin also begged Ryan not to try the escape as he believed the men would all be killed. Heflin says he extracted a promise of leniency from the Germans for the men, but Heflin also admits he was rewarded with food in the starving prison camp. Of the six escapees, all were killed by the waiting-for-them and showing-no-leniency Germans except for Ryan, who was left with a crippled leg.

That is some tough stuff: was Heflin sincerely trying to save his men or did he really just want food for himself? Once he took the food, he muddled the morality, but life is a moral muddle. Ryan sees no muddle, though, as he - tightly wrapped in a trench coat, brandishing a large handgun and dragging one leg - is ruthlessly and single-mindedly trying to find and kill Heflin.

The rest of this taut cat-and-mouse thriller is Heflin running from Ryan as Heflin's wife, Leigh, tries to help her husband, while also coming to terms with the fact that her husband isn't the war hero she thought he was.

Ryan, too, has a woman - a girlfriend played by the wonderful Phyllis Thaxter - trying to save him as she knows revenge has poisoned Ryan. The implication is Ryan once showed her love, but his mission of vengeance is consuming whatever humanity he has left in him after the war.

Having fled his hometown and now hiding out and desperate in Los Angeles, Heflin meets a down-and-out woman played by Mary Astor who takes a liking to Heflin - she immediately starts calling him "handsome" - and introduces him to some shady friends of hers whom she says can help him "deal" with Ryan.

She has, maybe, ten minutes of screen time, but this is one of Mary Astor's best performances as, with minimal makeup, she looks down and out (yet still pretty in a weary-and-worn way) with the implication being she's an aging-out-of-the-profession prostitute. She takes over the few scenes she's in while creating a tough yet sympathetic character you won't easily forget.

The climax of the movie is as close to a Western-style dual as you can get at a 1948 California train station. It's not an easy ending - there are no white-hat heroes in this tale - which also helps to explain why Act of Violence didn't go over well in post-war America.

Today we understand war and veterans differently, but the cultural preference in 1948 was to see all the veterans as heroes who, having now returned, conveniently put the war behind them. But how many "heroes," back then, had mixed-up stories, maybe not as extreme, but similar to Heflin's? How many had grudges and grievances, again, maybe not as extreme as Ryan's, that they couldn't simply drop?

Act of Violence asks questions most of America wasn't ready to face in 1948, but today the movie's unvarnished look at the scars war leaves on those who fight it, and the damage it does to those who love them when they return, is still relevant and painful.

With its incredibly talented cast - Ryan, Heflin, Leigh, Thaxter and Astor - all give moving performances and a spartan noir backdrop, Act of Violence is a gem of a movie, punching well above its modest budget, that deserves to be better known today.

MV5BMDdjMjBhZTMtNGUwOC00NzBmLWE0MTAtNmM3NjgzYTYyNWM2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzk4OTI2MjM@._V1_.jpg



N.B. #1 In how many movies does pretty Phyllis Thaxter play, as she does in Act of Violence, a woman insecure with her looks (she's so worried about losing her husband to Patricia Neal in The Breaking Point that she dyes her hair blonde to compete)? Only in Hollywood, where the standard for beauty is at a fantasy-high level, could a woman like Thaxter regularly play a "plain Jane" character.

Phyllis Thaxter and Rober Ryan:
ptrraovfl.jpg



N.B. #2 Directors of Los Angeles located noir movies, like Act of Violence, smartly never miss the architectural opportunity of including a shot of Angels Flight, downtown LA's narrow-gauged, steep funicular railroad. Sure, it meets a transportation need, but the railroad's real contribution to the city is serving as a wonderful noir backdrop for all these cinematic tales of desperate people on the run in Los Angeles.

Angels Flight:

ActofViolence10.jpg



P.S., @Worf, I think you would really like this one.
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
742
Some silent films recently- "Sherlock's Home" (not Doyle's character), (1924), Sherlock being "Hurricane" Sherlock, the light-heavy weight champion of the world. The star is Alberta Vaughn, who played The Telephone Girl in series of short films. Full of himself, Hurricane tries to persuade Alberta to go out with him. Then he wants her to accompany him to his home town thinking they will fete him as the nobody who made good. The inter-titles are genuinely clever, showing some wit. Interestingly, the screen play is credited to Darryl Francis Zanuck.

"Papa's Boy" (1927) with Lloyd Hamilton. Hamilton's father hires a hefty body guard to turn his son into a "he-man." Gags follow as attempts are made to transform him. Hamilton is more interested in chasing butterflies with a net. Written and directed by Norman Taurog, who directed about a gazillion shorts in the 20s and early 30s. He went on to give us Broadway Melody of 1940, Young Tom Edison, A Yank at Eton, and some Elvis movies.

"Why Wild Men Go Wild" (1920) with Bobby Vernon and Jimmie Harrison as roomies in the big city, whose wild antics get reported to the folks back home. Summoned by Jimmie's dad, they plot to put on a facade of restraint and social polish. Bobby falls for Jimmie's sister, but his phony persona is not manly enough for her. The pair plan some some staged encounters that are supposed to make Sis think Bobby is tougher than his exterior. An actual wild man roaming the neighborhood makes for some wacky "mistaken identity" humor.
 
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Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
742
View attachment 445650
Act of Violence from 1948 with Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Phyllis Thaxter and Mary Astor


How is Act of Violence not better known? It's easy to understand why, in 1948, just a few years after World War II and with the economy booming, Americans didn't want to watch a movie about two veterans, broken by the war in very different ways, smashing into each other with shattering consequences, but over time, this movie's reputation should have grown.

With a revenge-driven story, tight directing by Fred Zinnemann, spartan settings and a small talented cast, this 1948 noir plays almost like a Western.

Van Heflin's character is a young, successful and well-respected contractor and war veteran who lives in a small Southern California town with his pretty wife, played by Janet Leigh, and their baby. Quickly, though, we see Van Heflin is being stalked by a newly arrived in town and menacing-looking man with a limp played by Robert Ryan.

At this point, even though we don't understand the motives, we're pulled into the hunt with our sympathies all for good-guy Heflin and not scary Ryan. But why is Ryan stalking Heflin?

Leigh, desperate to call the police, forces her husband Heflin to fess up. (This is not a spoiler as it comes up early, but knowing it will reduce the initial tension in the movie.) Heflin was Ryan's commanding officer in WWII where, when they were POWs, Heflin told their German captives about Ryan's plan to escape with other men.

Heflin also begged Ryan not to try the escape as he believed the men would all be killed. Heflin says he extracted a promise of leniency from the Germans for the men, but Heflin also admits he was rewarded with food in the starving prison camp. Of the six escapees, all were killed by the waiting-for-them and showing-no-leniency Germans except for Ryan, who was left with a crippled leg.

That is some tough stuff: was Heflin sincerely trying to save his men or did he really just want food for himself? Once he took the food, he muddled the morality, but life is a moral muddle. Ryan sees no muddle, though, as he - tightly wrapped in a trench coat, brandishing a large handgun and dragging one leg - is ruthlessly and single-mindedly trying to find and kill Heflin.

The rest of this taut cat-and-mouse thriller is Heflin running from Ryan as Heflin's wife, Leigh, tries to help her husband, while also coming to terms with the fact that her husband isn't the war hero she thought he was.

Ryan, too, has a woman - a girlfriend played by the wonderful Phyllis Thaxter - trying to save him as she knows revenge has poisoned Ryan. The implication is Ryan once showed her love, but his mission of vengeance is consuming whatever humanity he has left in him after the war.

Having fled his hometown and now hiding out and desperate in Los Angeles, Heflin meets a down-and-out woman played by Mary Astor who takes a liking to Heflin - she immediately starts calling him "handsome" - and introduces him to some shady friends of hers whom she says can help him "deal" with Ryan.

She has, maybe, ten minutes of screen time, but this is one of Mary Astor's best performances as, with minimal makeup, she looks down and out (yet still pretty in a weary-and-worn way) with the implication being she's an aging-out-of-the-profession prostitute. She takes over the few scenes she's in while creating a tough yet sympathetic character you won't easily forget.

The climax of the movie is as close to a Western-style dual as you can get at a 1948 California train station. It's not an easy ending - there are no white-hat heroes in this tale - which also helps to explain why Act of Violence didn't go over well in post-war America.

Today we understand war and veterans differently, but the cultural preference in 1948 was to see all the veterans as heroes who, having now returned, conveniently put the war behind them. But how many "heroes," back then, had mixed-up stories, maybe not as extreme, but similar to Heflin's? How many had grudges and grievances, again, maybe not as extreme as Ryan's, that they couldn't simply drop?

Act of Violence asks questions most of America wasn't ready to face in 1948, but today the movie's unvarnished look at the scars war leaves on those who fight it, and the damage it does to those who love them when they return, is still relevant and painful.

With its incredibly talented cast - Ryan, Heflin, Leigh, Thaxter and Astor - all give moving performances and a spartan noir backdrop, Act of Violence is a gem of a movie, punching well above its modest budget, that deserves to be better known today.

View attachment 445651


N.B. #1 In how many movies does pretty Phyllis Thaxter play, as she does in Act of Violence, a woman insecure with her looks (she's so worried about losing her husband to Patricia Neal in The Breaking Point that she dyes her hair blonde to compete)? Only in Hollywood, where the standard for beauty is at a fantasy-high level, could a woman like Thaxter regularly play a "plain Jane" character.

Phyllis Thaxter and Rober Ryan:
View attachment 445655


N.B. #2 Directors of Los Angeles located noir movies, like Act of Violence, smartly never miss the architectural opportunity of including a shot of Angels Flight, downtown LA's narrow-gauged, steep funicular railroad. Sure, it meets a transportation need, but the railroad's real contribution to the city is serving as a wonderful noir backdrop for all these cinematic tales of desperate people on the run in Los Angeles.

Angels Flight:

View attachment 445656


P.S., @Worf, I think you would really like this one.
Not only Angel's Flight, but the Bradbury Building was a frequent setting. So linked with noir and detective movies that it was Jake Axminster's office building in the 1976 City of Angels tv show, along with Banyon, and for one season of 77 Sunset Strip.
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
742
For those Loungers who are interested in Golden Age movies, here are some podcasts worth listening to-

NitrateVille Radio, hosted by Michael Gebert, who interviews those involved in film preservation, and keeps listeners up-to-date about film festivals around the world.

The Extras, hosted by Tim Millard, who hosts film restorationists, authors, and from time to time, George Feltenstein of the Warner Archive, who delivers some film history, and announcements about upcoming DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Silent Film Music, hosted by Ben Model, who plays live accompaniment to silent film screenings, and runs a company that provides restored films on disc.
 
Messages
15,809
Location
New York City
Not only Angel's Flight, but the Bradbury Building was a frequent setting. So linked with noir and detective movies that it was Jake Axminster's office building in the 1976 City of Angels tv show, along with Banyon, and for one season of 77 Sunset Strip.

Great call on the Bradbury Building. I didn't know its name until now, but I just looked it up and I've seen it - and its incredible interior architecture, in particular - in countless movies from just about every decade.
 

Worf

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,997
Location
Troy, New York, USA
Alexander Nevsky (1938) directed by Sergei Eisenstein, with music by Sergei Prokofiev. The latent film student in me cannot stop watching this film and losing myself in the compositions, the massive battle scenes, the semi-operatic acting and story, the stirring music, and on and on.
Great film! Saw it on Public Television as a kid, then ran into it on TCM years later. The battle on Lake Lagoda was/is fantastic. Pre-war propaganda/warning to the Germans (didn't work) but all in all one amazing film. What an epic!

Worf
 

ChazfromCali

One of the Regulars
Messages
122
Location
Tijuana / Rosarito
On Final Cut, I prefer original english tone, but on Theatrical Cut the 1982's german synchro.

You know, the original TC's Deckard voice-overs are a thing, that can surely be discussed. But for me NOT the german synchro of it!
These more sensual spoken voice-overs by Wolfgang Pampel in 1982 are the thing, that make the TC so "deep". They nailed the "Philip Marlowe-ish" perspective totally.

Harrison Ford said he couldn't take the voice-over's seriously and purposely did them badly (so the director would not use them).
I'd imagine the German guy was 'taking it seriously' and doing as good a job as he could, so it would/should be a lot better than Ford's, IMO. I don't understand German but I'd like to see that version.
 

ChazfromCali

One of the Regulars
Messages
122
Location
Tijuana / Rosarito
Great call on the Bradbury Building. I didn't know its name until now, but I just looked it up and I've seen it - and its incredible interior architecture, in particular - in countless movies from just about every decade.

I've been in the Bradbury building. It's quite a sight with all that railing and the steps, etc. In person it looks very little like it does in Blade Runner. You can see it's the same place obviously, but they did a great job on set decoration in that film.
 

ChazfromCali

One of the Regulars
Messages
122
Location
Tijuana / Rosarito
"Prey" - This HULU original has an interesting premise, what would happen if a Predator arrived in early America, post Columbus but pre 1776. Well this movie shows you what happens when a feral "Yautja" or Predator battles against bows and arrows, stone tomahawks and flintlocks. The Predator in question was probably the first of it's kind to land on earth as it observes the predator and prey relationships of the animals, then killing whatever eats the latter. This leads to some interesting scuffles with the wildlife culminating in a real donnybrook with a grizzly that, for a good amount of the fight, is actually putting his paw squarely up the Predator's arse. Eventually though it begins hunting man, both Native Americans and French Trappers.

The producers of the film obviously did their research and it shows. I couldn't find any glaring historical inaccuracies save that the Natives spoke English instead of Comanche. However, considering the target audience I can understand wanting to eschew a completely sub-titled film. The movie was quick, engaging and beautifully shot. It's also quite well acted. Some may complain that it's "woke" because it has a female protagonist but that's their problem, it didn't bother me. If you're a fan of the franchise, this is the best one since "Predators" (a thoroughly underrated film) if you ask me.

Worf

I just watched it. Thought it was pretty good! Sci-fi alien meets plains Indians. Maybe a double-bill with Cowboys & Aliens is in order.

Didn't think it was all that woke. The premise with the girl wanting to be a warrior and go on a hunt is.... sort of plausible. Indian tribes were pretty accepting of their people and their "quirks." Remember Little Big Man and the gay character?

But what do I know, I get all my American Indian info from Hollywood movies. ;-)

The lack of older (30's) and middle-aged males in "middle management" positions in the tribe did seem a glaring outpoint to me. But hey, life was rough then, maybe they all got killed somehow.

Nicely done. I enjoyed it.

Alien travel agency:
"We have a lovely planet where you can go on exciting hunts but it's kinda dangerous, the guy that went in 1719 didn't come back. Neither did the guy that went in 1987."
 
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Location
Germany
Harrison Ford said he couldn't take the voice-over's seriously and purposely did them badly (so the director would not use them).
I'd imagine the German guy was 'taking it seriously' and doing as good a job as he could, so it would/should be a lot better than Ford's, IMO. I don't understand German but I'd like to see that version.

The 1982 Theatrical Cut, german synchro seems to be now available only on the Collector's Edition with all FIVE cut versions.

 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
742
Off and on throughout Saturday, it was 55 Days at Peking (1963), an epic story directed by Nicholas Ray, with old fashioned road-show Overture, Intermission, and Exit music. Starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, and David Niven (billed in that order). It's 1900, and Heston is a Marine Corps major with a detachment of troops assigned to guard the US embassy in Peking. Gardner is a Russian baroness with a disgraced past, and Niven is Sir Arthur Robertson, ambassador for Her Majesty.
Interesting power plays and conflicts, both personal and political, between the Chinese prince and the General of the Imperial Army, as the Boxer Rebellion rages. While the European embassies and their nominal military security troops are besieged by the Boxers, the prince wants to drive out the foreigners and shake off the yoke of foreign domination; the General wants to deal carefully, knowing the military advantage enjoyed by the European armies should they invade in force.
Impressive visually, when we realize that all the sets are real, no green screen and no CGI. Historically accurate? Dunno, but still fun.
 
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Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
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5,095
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Hudson Valley, NY
The 1955 Japanese film I Live in Fear, directed by Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshiro Mifune. A less well-known Kurosawa film that I hadn't seen before, recorded from TCM on its recent day of Mifune films.

I-Live-in-Fear.jpg

Nearly unrecognizable, Mifune (in foreground) plays an old man (though he was only 35 at the time) in postwar Japan who runs a metal foundry, a longstanding business that provides for his large family... including a couple of former mistresses and their children. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he has fallen into a desperate panic verging on mania over the omnipresent threat of nuclear disaster. Convinced (for some unfathomable reason) that South America is the safest place to survive fallout, he insists that his entire family leave Japan and accompany him to land that he plans to purchase there.

The family, who don't want to upset their lives and go, consider their father slipping into senility and madness, so they bring a legal challenge to his wishes. A trio of judges (including a dentist who's the viewpoint character) are appointed try to mediate the situation. It's an ugly process, though as in all Kurosawa films, a wide range of recognizable human emotions entangle all the characters.

This is a sad, depressing film with a tragic ending. Not a really great Kurosawa film, and not a really great Mifune performance... but still interesting and ultimately moving.
 
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MV5BNjIwN2Q1NWEtOTM1YS00ZDllLTg2NmYtYWEwNjMyM2IzY2YzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTcyODY2NDQ@._V1_.jpg

The Man in Possession from 1931 with Irene Purcell, Robert Montgomery and Reginald Owen


With a silly story, a pre-code risqué undertone and two quite-engaging leads, The Man in Possession all adds up to a fun, quick romp.

Robert Montgomery plays an upper-class Englishman who was just released from prison over a "misunderstanding" about the payment for an automobile. His snooty father and brother offer to pay him off to leave the country and spare the family more shame, but Montgomery wants to stay in “good old England,” so he finds a job as a "sheriff's bailiff," a repo man for the Crown.

For his first case, Montgomery is assigned to spend the weekend at the house of a young society woman, played by Irene Purcell, to ensure nothing being repossessed "disappears" before it can be taken away on Monday. Adorable Purcell has been living over her head to keep up appearances as she's close to marrying, get ready for it, Montgomery's brother, played by Reginald Owen.

Owen thinks Purcell is rich and that a marriage to her will bring him up in the world both socially and financially, but she's only willing to, what in her opinion is, "marry down" because she's desperate to hook someone with money, even someone as boring and idiotic as Owen.

Complicating matters, Montgomery, whose job requires him to try to be accommodative when staying on someone's premises, agrees to act as Purcell's butler for a dinner party she's having that evening for her fiance and his parents, the fiance being, as noted and unbeknownst to Montgomery and Purcell, his brother

Thrown into this silly and crazy mix is both Purcell's old paramour and benefactor, whom she's currently on the outs with and Purcell's saucy maid who has no truck with Montgomery's antics. Purcell needs to either get back in good with the old lover or marry Owen as the repo man is, as we know, past being at the door.

With that set up, the movie is a 1930s style romcom where Purcell and Montgomery, initially, irritate each other, while a bunch of silly coincidences and awkward situations come up.

Montgomery's family is shocked to find its prodigal son is now the butler for the other son's fiancee. Montgomery, already feeling something for Purcell and always happy to flummox his phlegmatic brother, sabotages the dinner. He also undermines Purcell's attempt at a reunion with her old lover.

Then, of course, Montgomery and Purcell have a night of passion. In pre-code land, they don't show you their knees knocking, but there is no doubt these two went at it. It's enjoyable to see adults being adults and doing stupid adult sexual things, as in only a few years, with the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code, sex out of (and, often, even in) marriage all but disappeared from the screen.

Purcell is embarrassed she slept with Montgomery, but is also falling in love with him. Montgomery, though, is hurt that Purcell is treating their night together as a one-off meaningless thing. Pause for a moment on pre-code moral nonchalance: casual sex is being treated, well, casually by the woman, while it's the man whose feelings get hurt.

Purcell knows, regardless of her feelings, she has to choose one of the other men to keep her lifestyle. Even though he is hurt, Montgomery keeps sabotaging her efforts with the other men, while trying to make some grand gesture to win Purcell over.

That sets up the perfect romcom climax. Will Purcell choose love with Montgomery or money either by marrying Owen or going back with her former lover? Will Montgomery do something spectacular to win over Purcell in time?

It's 1931 and Hollywood had already perfected the romcom formula. It works in The Man in Possession for the same reason it works today: Montgomery and Purcell are cute as heck together, so you enjoy their flirt fighting as a bunch of stupid obstacles come up that you are pretty sure will eventually get pushed aside so that true love can win out.


N.B. Ten minutes into this movie, I realized the odd déjà vu I felt was because I had seen the 1937 remake of The Man in Possession titled Personal Property (comments here: #28,076 ). Personal Property is a good Code Era glossy screwball comedy, but it lacks the sexual verve of the original. Plus, while 1937's stars, Jean Harlow and Robert Taylor, are good, they don't have the fun on-screen chemistry that Purcell and Montgomery do.
 
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ctisfl.jpg

Cry Terror! from 1958 with Inger Stevens, Rod Steiger, Angie Dickinson, Jack Klugman and James Mason


Cry Terror! is a gripping crime-drama story of the "home invasion" type with engaging character development and outstanding acting that keeps this low-budget effort moving along from tense scene to tense scene right up to the last minute.

Rod Steiger plays the leader of a gang that dupes Steiger's former army buddy, played by James Mason, into building small but highly explosive time bombs for him under the ruse that it could lead to a military contract for Mason's company, but Steiger's real plan is to use them to blackmail an airline with the threat of blowing up a plane in flight.

Once the plan is in motion and the airline knows it's being extorted, Steiger's gang takes Mason, his wife, played by Inger Stevens, and their daughter hostage to keep them from going to the police.

From here, the movie is Steiger trying to keep the intricate, precisely timed plan working, which includes using Stevens to pick up the extortion money, while the police and FBI work to solve the crime.

It's a good story, but it only fully engages you, and it does, because it has outstanding character development. Steiger plays the psychotic genius mastermind behind the plan with a menacing calm that only cracks when he realizes, but can't fully accept, that his big brain is being defeated.

His gang, equally well developed, includes Angie Dickinson, surprisingly as a brunette, playing a gunmoll with plenty of brains and greed, but no humanity.

Rounding out the gang, Jack Klugman plays an amoral henchman clearly cowed by Steiger and Dickenson and Neville Brand plays a psychotic sexual deviant hopped up on Benzedrine.

But this is Inger Stevens' movie and she is more than up to the task as she shows a range of emotion and screen presence, even in one-on-ones with acting force-of-nature Steiger, that convinces you a much-bigger career was hers if not for the personal challenges in her life.

Her scene with sweating-from-drugs Brand, trapped alone with him in his small, filthy and claustrophobic house, where she learns he was arrested once for raping a girl at knifepoint, has blonde and beautiful Stevens convincingly pinging back and forth between crumbling in sheer terror and employing cunning survival instincts that keeps you on edge throughout.

Playing on, initially in the background, is the FBI, whose methodical investigation - including using a discarded piece of gum to trace Dickinson's bitemark through her dental records - ultimately leads to the climatic scene as the plan begins to break down and the gang realizes it's every man or gunmoll for him or herself.

Surprisingly, James Mason as the husband and dupe, all but disappears in this one until the end, but even then, he doesn't pop off the screen the way he usually does. Maybe that's not his fault as Steiger, Klugman, Dickinson and, most impressively, Stevens have the bigger and better roles, with each one creating a memorable and captivating character that you love or hate, but regardless, are deeply vested in.

Cry Terror!, filmed in beautiful black and white and with some wonderful location shots (confusingly, though, with some mixing up of Los Angeles for New York) punches way above its modest budget and by-the-numbers story. Andrew L. Stone's writing and directing, which doesn't waste a moment of screen time, creates a tension-filled and highly engaging movie from the first scene to the last.


N.B. Check out this eerily foreshadowing exchange the airline executives have when they realize the threat they are facing:

Airline executive #1: "A bomb this small could be planted anyplace."
Airline executive #2: "We can't search every passenger, every inch of the plane, every piece of luggage."
Airline executive #3: "He could paralyze the whole system."
 

Edward

Bartender
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23,421
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London, UK
Harrison Ford said he couldn't take the voice-over's seriously and purposely did them badly (so the director would not use them).
I'd imagine the German guy was 'taking it seriously' and doing as good a job as he could, so it would/should be a lot better than Ford's, IMO. I don't understand German but I'd like to see that version.

Funny thing is I think they work well. I guess he figured he was pastiching or sending up the old Chandler style stuff, but actually I think he got the rhythm of them down pat.
 
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Funny thing is I think they work well. I guess he figured he was pastiching or sending up the old Chandler style stuff, but actually I think he got the rhythm of them down pat.

I don't know, if Wolfgang Pampel knew exactly about Ford's behaviour, back then. But he did the lines without the extra desinterested tone, I would say. When german Deckard talks about Gaff and Bryant from the off, he adds some anger and cynism about this persons. When he talks about Rachel, he gets sensual.
 
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15,809
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New York City
comebacklittlesheba52_thewayyouusedtobe_FC_470x264_042620170451.jpg

Come Back, LIttle Sheba from 1952 with Shirley Booth, Burt Lancaster and Terry Moore


Writing, directing and acting come together in Come Back, Little Sheba to make a powerfully sad and realistic film about a broken marriage being smashed up further by alcoholism.

"Doc," played by Burt Lancaster, had to marry "Baby," played by Shirley Booth, when she got pregnant years ago, yet she not only lost the baby, she was then unable to have any more children.

Doc had to leave medical school and become a chiropractor to support his new wife, but he also notes, later on, he wasted an inheritance from his parents on drinking instead of using it for medical school.

When we meet them, Doc is a tired, wound-very-tight middle-aged man who has just completed his first year of sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and sponsors figure prominently in Doc's life.

Baby is a frumpy housewife who keeps up a surface chatter of nervous pleasantries, but she's walking on eggshells worried her husband will slip again. The tension in the house, (symbolically) overcrowded with shabby furniture and nicknacks, is unbearable.

With money tight because Doc's last "spell" hurt his practice, they take in a boarder, a young, cute college girl played by Terry Moore. Moore is happy, energetic and very sexual, all the things Doc and Baby's relationship isn't. The contrast isn't helpful to the household's stability.

Lancaster brilliantly plays Doc as a man about to snap at any moment; you can feel the rage just below the surface in him. He resents having been "forced" to marry his now sloppy-in-appearance and not-too-bright wife. Looking at young and pretty Moore flirting with a college boy is just too much for him.

Baby, played with impressive realism by Booth, is a desperately lonely woman just holding on as we learn by implication that her father didn't love her. She knows she's not much to look at now and that her husband resents her, but she tries as hard as she can to somehow keep him happy.

Watching her nervously flutter around the kitchen trying to make Lancaster breakfast as he sits stone-faced is excruciatingly painful.

The Little Sheeba of the title is Booth's dog that ran away a few months before the movie starts. Lonely Booth calls out for the dog from the front porch as we come to see Sheeba represents all the hopes and dreams of her youth that are now gone from her life.

(Spoiler alert) The spark for the climax is Lancaster finally snapping and going on a bender, but this is no The Lost Weekend with a trite happy ending. Here, we see a realistic take. After Doc comes home from the hospital, he and Baby slip into their old forced roles trying to prop up their sad marriage once again because they both realize they have no other option.

Playwright William Inge and screenwriter Ketti Frings along with director Daniel Mann and Lancaster, Booth and Moore did incredible work in bringing this poignant story to life. Be it Lancaster, with tense patience, listening to Booth ramble on about a dream or Booth sadly trying to befriend her youthful boarder, much is told here in the "little" details.

Come Back, Little Sheeba is not easy viewing, but it is real life that takes Hollywood's look at alcoholism a big step forward. In just over an hour and a half, we come to understand how a long marriage, broken from the beginning, eventually shattered two lives with alcoholism serving as the catalyst.
 

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Come Back, LIttle Sheba from 1952 with Shirley Booth, Burt Lancaster and Terry Moore


Writing, directing and acting come together in Come Back, Little Sheba to make a powerfully sad and realistic film about a broken marriage being smashed up further by alcoholism.

"Doc," played by Burt Lancaster, had to marry "Baby," played by Shirley Booth, when she got pregnant years ago, yet she not only lost the baby, she was then unable to have any more children.

Doc had to leave medical school and become a chiropractor to support his new wife, but he also notes, later on, he wasted an inheritance from his parents on drinking instead of using it for medical school.

When we meet them, Doc is a tired, wound-very-tight middle-aged man who has just completed his first year of sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and sponsors figure prominently in Doc's life.

Baby is a frumpy housewife who keeps up a surface chatter of nervous pleasantries, but she's walking on eggshells worried her husband will slip again. The tension in the house, (symbolically) overcrowded with shabby furniture and nicknacks, is unbearable.

With money tight because Doc's last "spell" hurt his practice, they take in a boarder, a young, cute college girl played by Terry Moore. Moore is happy, energetic and very sexual, all the things Doc and Baby's relationship isn't. The contrast isn't helpful to the household's stability.

Lancaster brilliantly plays Doc as a man about to snap at any moment; you can feel the rage just below the surface in him. He resents having been "forced" to marry his now sloppy-in-appearance and not-too-bright wife. Looking at young and pretty Moore flirting with a college boy is just too much for him.

Baby, played with impressive realism by Booth, is a desperately lonely woman just holding on as we learn by implication that her father didn't love her. She knows she's not much to look at now and that her husband resents her, but she tries as hard as she can to somehow keep him happy.

Watching her nervously flutter around the kitchen trying to make Lancaster breakfast as he sits stone-faced is excruciatingly painful.

The Little Sheeba of the title is Booth's dog that ran away a few months before the movie starts. Lonely Booth calls out for the dog from the front porch as we come to see Sheeba represents all the hopes and dreams of her youth that are now gone from her life.

(Spoiler alert) The spark for the climax is Lancaster finally snapping and going on a bender, but this is no The Lost Weekend with a trite happy ending. Here, we see a realistic take. After Doc comes home from the hospital, he and Baby slip into their old forced roles trying to prop up their sad marriage once again because they both realize they have no other option.

Playwright William Inge and screenwriter Ketti Frings along with director Daniel Mann and Lancaster, Booth and Moore did incredible work in bringing this poignant story to life. Be it Lancaster, with tense patience, listening to Booth ramble on about a dream or Booth sadly trying to befriend her youthful boarder, much is told here in the "little" details.

Come Back, Little Sheeba is not easy viewing, but it is real life that takes Hollywood's look at alcoholism a big step forward. In just over an hour and a half, we come to understand how a long marriage, broken from the beginning, eventually shattered two lives with alcoholism serving as the catalyst.
This is an excellent but very hard to watch movie.
I have seen it before, and will probably see it again, but it will take summoning some force of will to let me do that.
 
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