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What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
I personally had an altogether different take of The Yakuza Fast. First, I confess the Mitchum, Keiko, Takakura love triangle hit me hard as the Second World War aftermath left an indelible imprint on their post war lives.
Also Keiko is a gorgeous mature Japanese beauty whom I cannot resist falling for though I laboured to fight
but her charms reduced me to surrender. The Kendo instructor is her former husband, who returned after the
American occupation was on and Keiko was living with the then Yank sgt, Mitchum. So he accepted it and took
a stoic samurai silent divorce over the whole thing. Mitchum proposed to Keiko but she declines, saying she will
follow and live with him only as his mistress. So, Mitchum-one of my favourite Yanks, borrows money from Keith
who runs an American protection racket, buys Keiko the bar and leaves. Unbelievable. I would have brought Keiko
back to London with me. I liked the sword play and kendo dojo drills, and the knife finger slice off honor atonement
ritual which was neat but Keiko the kimono girl really sold and stole the show for me.

This is a great take. I checked and you are right about Takakura being her husband not brother. I'm going to correct my comments to reflect that, but wanted to acknowledge my debt to you here.

As you show, that certainly changes several of the dynamics at play. I got the part about Mitchum's proposal being rejected, the borrowed money and the bar, but the brother/husband was a big goof on my part.

I, too, enjoyed the Japanese rituals, and in other movies (several that I've commented on over the years here), they've deeply moved me, but in this one, they just felt to me like props for the story.

Maybe I just saw too many similarities to the other vigilante movies of the era for this one to touch me the way it did you. Thank you again for the correction and for your thoughtful comments.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
the-heiress-1949-e1340384063501.jpg

The Heiress from 1949 with Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson and Mariam Hopkins


Throughout time, marriages have often been based on some degree of tradeoff where one person brings wealth and/or position and the other person brings pulchritude and/or a joie de vivre.

It's so common that the arrangement can be overt as when young men used to present their financial situation to the young woman's father when asking permission to marry that man's daughter. A dowry, too, can often be just another version of this exchange.

Life is messy and love, as important as it is, does not conquer all. If there is basic good will and some genuine affection between the two betrothed and everyone acts with thoughtful moderation, these arrangements can work out.

It can also get quite ugly as seen in The Heiress, especially when a bitter, and passive-aggressive father has beaten the spirit out of his plain Jane daughter. When too many things are or get broken, there's not enough left to hold these pacts together.

Olivia de Havilland plays the plain Jane daughter of a wealthy physician, played by Ralph Richardson, who in a passive-aggressive way, regularly and unfavorably compares his unwed adult daughter to his deceased wife.

When a young and handsome man of no means, played by Montgomery Clift, takes an interest in the usually ignored de Havilland, she is elated, as is her kind but misguided aunt, played by Miriam Hopkins, but father Richardson is skeptical.

Set in fine de siecle New York, the entire courting process is ritualized, which adds to the tension as Clift is supposed to ask papa Richardson for de Havilland's hand. Further complicating things is de Havilland's finances.

She already has a substantial income left to her by her mother, but her income will triple when/if she inherits her father's money. His approval, thus, is not an absolute necessity for her marriage, but a substantial nice to have. As we'll learn, it is also leverage.

Is Clift interested in de Havilland's money, yes. Is he only interested in de Havilland's money, maybe. Does Richardson believe Clift is honorable? Richardson does some honest due diligence and the results are not conclusive, but not favorable.

That setup leads to the movie's first big climax. With her father opposing the marriage, de Havilland wants to elope with Clift on just her money. Clift, though, is hesitant on the night of the pending elopement because eloping would mean losing her father's inheritance.

On that same fateful night, Richardson, learning of his daughter's plans, drops the passive-aggressive cover and cruely (there is no other word for it) lets his daughter know how little he thinks of her.

Now reeling, de Havilland also learns that even her well-intentioned, but stupid, modestly selfish and clumsily manipulative aunt thinks little of de Havilland's prospects for a good marriage if not for her money.

It is an incredible series of emotionally crushing scenes brilliantly directed by William Wyler who put his ego aside and let Henry James' outstanding material and his talented cast drive the story with few directorial flourishes.

The writing is so strong and actors so skilled, that Wyler simply allowed it to play out relatively undisturbed, only employing tactical directorial emphasis as when he'd captured a telling look or a revealing bit of body English.

After the first shattering climax, the movie speeds through several more life-altering events. We see a wiser but now bitter de Havilland find her voice. Her transition to being her father's equal is an acting triumph that was rightfully acknowledged with an Oscar for de Havilland.

Richardson and Hopkins are also up to the material as both give outstanding performances, but Clift's performance is too sleepy at times as he is supposed to be the Tolstoy "a stranger comes to town" change agent.

He, thus, should always be rocking the staid world of Richardson and de Havilland to its core, but most of the real rocking takes place between Richardson and de Havilland with Clift on side.

The second and final climax of the movie is a sad triumph where revenge is employed with such a cold and cunning ruthlessness that it chills even the viewer. Sometimes a morally correct victory can still be a Pyrrhic one.

There are only a few sets in the movie, making it feel a bit stagey. But there is also no violence or traditional "action," as the picture is pure and powerful human drama where hopes, dreams, insecurities, anger and recriminations are painfully and poignantly laid bare.

The Heiress is movie making at its best, which means it is storytelling at its best. It is also Hollywood's studio system at its best. Asked to present an example of Golden Era Hollywood finest work, one could proudly choose The Heiress.
 

Worf

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,172
Location
Troy, New York, USA
View attachment 523128
The Heiress from 1949 with Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson and Mariam Hopkins


Throughout time, marriages have often been based on some degree of tradeoff where one person brings wealth and/or position and the other person brings pulchritude and/or a joie de vivre.

It's so common that the arrangement can be overt as when young men used to present their financial situation to the young woman's father when asking permission to marry that man's daughter. A dowry, too, can often be just another version of this exchange.

Life is messy and love, as important as it is, does not conquer all. If there is basic good will and some genuine affection between the two betrothed and everyone acts with thoughtful moderation, these arrangements can work out.

It can also get quite ugly as seen in The Heiress, especially when a bitter, and passive-aggressive father has beaten the spirit out of his plain Jane daughter. When too many things are or get broken, there's not enough left to hold these pacts together.

Olivia de Havilland plays the plain Jane daughter of a wealthy physician, played by Ralph Richardson, who in a passive-aggressive way, regularly and unfavorably compares his unwed adult daughter to his deceased wife.

When a young and handsome man of no means, played by Montgomery Clift, takes an interest in the usually ignored de Havilland, she is elated, as is her kind but misguided aunt, played by Miriam Hopkins, but father Richardson is skeptical.

Set in fine de siecle New York, the entire courting process is ritualized, which adds to the tension as Clift is supposed to ask papa Richardson for de Havilland's hand. Further complicating things is de Havilland's finances.

She already has a substantial income left to her by her mother, but her income will triple when/if she inherits her father's money. His approval, thus, is not an absolute necessity for her marriage, but a substantial nice to have. As we'll learn, it is also leverage.

Is Clift interested in de Havilland's money, yes. Is he only interested in de Havilland's money, maybe. Does Richardson believe Clift is honorable? Richardson does some honest due diligence and the results are not conclusive, but not favorable.

That setup leads to the movie's first big climax. With her father opposing the marriage, de Havilland wants to elope with Clift on just her money. Clift, though, is hesitant on the night of the pending elopement because eloping would mean losing her father's inheritance.

On that same fateful night, Richardson, learning of his daughter's plans, drops the passive-aggressive cover and cruely (there is no other word for it) lets his daughter know how little he thinks of her.

Now reeling, de Havilland also learns that even her well-intentioned, but stupid, modestly selfish and clumsily manipulative aunt thinks little of de Havilland's prospects for a good marriage if not for her money.

It is an incredible series of emotionally crushing scenes brilliantly directed by William Wyler who put his ego aside and let Henry James' outstanding material and his talented cast drive the story with few directorial flourishes.

The writing is so strong and actors so skilled, that Wyler simply allowed it to play out relatively undisturbed, only employing tactical directorial emphasis as when he'd captured a telling look or a revealing bit of body English.

After the first shattering climax, the movie speeds through several more life-altering events. We see a wiser but now bitter de Havilland find her voice. Her transition to being her father's equal is an acting triumph that was rightfully acknowledged with an Oscar for de Havilland.

Richardson and Hopkins are also up to the material as both give outstanding performances, but Clift's performance is too sleepy at times as he is supposed to be the Tolstoy "a stranger comes to town" change agent.

He, thus, should always be rocking the staid world of Richardson and de Havilland to its core, but most of the real rocking takes place between Richardson and de Havilland with Clift on side.

The second and final climax of the movie is a sad triumph where revenge is employed with such a cold and cunning ruthlessness that it chills even the viewer. Sometimes a morally correct victory can still be a Pyrrhic one.

There are only a few sets in the movie, making it feel a bit stagey. But there is also no violence or traditional "action," as the picture is pure and powerful human drama where hopes, dreams, insecurities, anger and recriminations are painfully and poignantly laid bare.

The Heiress is movie making at its best, which means it is storytelling at its best. It is also Hollywood's studio system at its best. Asked to present an example of Golden Era Hollywood finest work, one could proudly choose The Heiress.
Oh crap.... you HAD to bring up this one! Man what a mess! Some may call this a "soap opera" but I wouldn't, it's an all too real heaping pile of tragedy shot through the heart with excellent acting and fine directing. I love this film but can't stand to watch it. If you've ever been "stood up" then you've been the one waiting by the window, sitting alone at a restaurant table, hanging waiting for the call or text that NEVER comes. For the 99% of us we've BEEN de Havilland. But rarely do we get a chance to even the score! Being a Scorpio I live by the code of payback, revenge and get even! The last scene of an incredibly handsome Clift getting a heaping helping of karma makes my hands flex and nostrils flair. But it's her pain and life experiences that make this film all but unwatchable. A magnificent film, but too close to home for me!

Worf
 
Last edited:
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
Oh crap.... you HAD to bring up this one! Man what a mess! Some may call this a "soap opera" but I wouldn't, it's an all too real heaping pile of tragedy shot through the heart with excellent acting and fine directing. I love this film but can't stand to watch it. If you've ever been "stood up" then you've been the one waiting by the window, sitting alone at a restaurant table, hanging waiting for the call or text. For the 99% of us we've BEEN de Havilland. But rarely do we get a chance to even the score! Being a Scorpio I live by the code of payback, revenge and get even! The last scene of an incredibly handsome Clift getting a heaping helping of karma makes my hands flex and nostrils flair. But it's her pain and life experiences that make this film all but unwatchable. A magnificent film, but too close to home for me!

Worf

I agree ⇧. The most-painful scene for me is when her father drops any pretense and tells her how little he thinks of her. It's a crushing moment. As you note, many of us have been stood up, albeit not as significantly as de Havilland was, but fewer (thankfully) of us have been told by a parent that he/she thinks the adult we are a total disappointment in his/her eyes. More than Clift's jilting, I think it was her father's comments that broke de Havilland.
 
Last edited:

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
851
(I don't even know if this counts...) The Tale of Despereaux (2008), a computer animated feature with the voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, and a long list of others. The visuals are rich, colorful, and fluid, considering it's about 15 years old. But a couple of us commented how similar to Ratatouille this was. Full disclosure: I watched only because the grandkids wanted to watch, and, both the dad and the granddad in the room snoozed through parts of it.
If you haven't seen it, an anthropomorphic rat accidentally causes a bad thing during a kingdom's Soup Day, and from that point on soup and fun are outlawed by the king. A mouse, enamored of nobility and derring-do, gets involved and to cut things short I'll just say lotsa creepy threatening events happen, and anthropomorphic mice and rats save the day, and, yes, soup is re-instated and in view of FF's insightful, thought-provoking, and well-composed analyses of society, life, and cinema I blush to post this twaddle.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
(I don't even know if this counts...) The Tale of Despereaux (2008), a computer animated feature with the voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, and a long list of others. The visuals are rich, colorful, and fluid, considering it's about 15 years old. But a couple of us commented how similar to Ratatouille this was. Full disclosure: I watched only because the grandkids wanted to watch, and, both the dad and the granddad in the room snoozed through parts of it.
If you haven't seen it, an anthropomorphic rat accidentally causes a bad thing during a kingdom's Soup Day, and from that point on soup and fun are outlawed by the king. A mouse, enamored of nobility and derring-do, gets involved and to cut things short I'll just say lotsa creepy threatening events happen, and anthropomorphic mice and rats save the day, and, yes, soup is re-instated and in view of FF's insightful, thought-provoking, and well-composed analyses of society, life, and cinema I blush to post this twaddle.

Even though I haven't seen that one, I enjoyed your comments. I will point out that I've watched and enjoyed Paddington I and II (II is the better movie) and excitedly await Paddington III, rumored for possible release later this year. I also saw "Ratatouille" but vaguely remember being underwhelmed versus the really good reviews I believe it got at the time.
 

Worf

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,172
Location
Troy, New York, USA
(I don't even know if this counts...) The Tale of Despereaux (2008), a computer animated feature with the voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, and a long list of others. The visuals are rich, colorful, and fluid, considering it's about 15 years old. But a couple of us commented how similar to Ratatouille this was. Full disclosure: I watched only because the grandkids wanted to watch, and, both the dad and the granddad in the room snoozed through parts of it.
If you haven't seen it, an anthropomorphic rat accidentally causes a bad thing during a kingdom's Soup Day, and from that point on soup and fun are outlawed by the king. A mouse, enamored of nobility and derring-do, gets involved and to cut things short I'll just say lotsa creepy threatening events happen, and anthropomorphic mice and rats save the day, and, yes, soup is re-instated and in view of FF's insightful, thought-provoking, and well-composed analyses of society, life, and cinema I blush to post this twaddle.
Man please. Sure FF is our "in house" Maltin or Ebert BUT he doesn't slide down a bat-pole every morning (or does he?). We all just plain folks here that happen to like movies. There's a LOT of bad movies out there and many good ones, talking amongst ourselves is how we determine what might be worth spending some of our "life allotment" on. Every little bit of information helps. Keep watching, keep reviewing.

Worf
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,698
Location
London, UK
Even though I haven't seen that one, I enjoyed your comments. I will point out that I've watched and enjoyed Paddington I and II (II is the better movie) and excitedly await Paddington III, rumored for possible release later this year. I also saw "Ratatouille" but vaguely remember being underwhelmed versus the really good reviews I believe it got at the time.

The Paddington films are beautifully done. Mrs Marlowe cried at the start of the first one, and the end of the second. I enjoyed them both. Both pictures are very well translated from the source material - the second deviates more in terms of new story, but the whole is very true to the spirit and character of the original. Hugh Grant is a revelation in the second. Not an actor who has ever much impressed me with his range, he is clearly having a ball here as a real pantomime villain type, gives himself fully over to the camp, and is just marvellous. (In a more 'adult' context, this is reminiscent of the way he also does a turn as a sleazy, tabloid journalist in Guy Ritche's The Gentlemen - worth a watch, though as the language is rather blue, not one for in front of the kids. Particularly intriguing if you're familiar with his off-screen work as a campaigner against the darker elements of the British press.)
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
The Paddington films are beautifully done. Mrs Marlowe cried at the start of the first one, and the end of the second. I enjoyed them both. Both pictures are very well translated from the source material - the second deviates more in terms of new story, but the whole is very true to the spirit and character of the original. Hugh Grant is a revelation in the second. Not an actor who has ever much impressed me with his range, he is clearly having a ball here as a real pantomime villain type, gives himself fully over to the camp, and is just marvellous. (In a more 'adult' context, this is reminiscent of the way he also does a turn as a sleazy, tabloid journalist in Guy Ritche's The Gentlemen - worth a watch, though as the language is rather blue, not one for in front of the kids. Particularly intriguing if you're familiar with his off-screen work as a campaigner against the darker elements of the British press.)

I agree with all your comments (other than I don't know anything about Grant's off-screen work) and came around to Grant after (never thought much about him one or the other before) seeing his performance in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." I was further impressed, as you note, with his performance in "The Gentlemen," a move I thoroughly enjoyed.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,698
Location
London, UK
I agree with all your comments (other than I don't know anything about Grant's off-screen work) and came around to Grant after (never thought much about him one or the other before) seeing his performance in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." I was further impressed, as you note, with his performance in "The Gentlemen," a move I thoroughly enjoyed.


That run at UNCLE was a great picture - a real shame they never made any more. I think it did well enough at the box office, but I have a feeling one of the leads got caught up in some scandal or other that knocked back its momentum. Pity.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
That run at UNCLE was a great picture - a real shame they never made any more. I think it did well enough at the box office, but I have a feeling one of the leads got caught up in some scandal or other that knocked back its momentum. Pity.

I agree, I love that movie and have easily (and embarrassingly) watched it five or six times. The ending seemed to anticipate a sequel, but as you note, something must have derailed it.
5tGX.gif
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,390
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
Oh crap.... you HAD to bring up this one! Man what a mess! Some may call this a "soap opera" but I wouldn't, it's an all too real heaping pile of tragedy shot through the heart with excellent acting and fine directing. I love this film but can't stand to watch it. If you've ever been "stood up" then you've been the one waiting by the window, sitting alone at a restaurant table, hanging waiting for the call or text that NEVER comes. For the 99% of us we've BEEN de Havilland. But rarely do we get a chance to even the score! Being a Scorpio I live by the code of payback, revenge and get even! The last scene of an incredibly handsome Clift getting a heaping helping of karma makes my hands flex and nostrils flair. But it's her pain and life experiences that make this film all but unwatchable. A magnificent film, but too close to home for me!

Worf
Worf,

Love the descrpt ...'waiting by the window, sitting alone at the restaurant table, hanging waiting for the call...'
I was a complete mess. Despondent so gone a waiter asked if I was alright. Awakening at 2am and crying out her
name. Stayed home for a week. Survived on tins of tuna, saltines, coffee, popcorn, ice cream and vodka and Dorothy Malone. Finally had a talk to meself about honourable resolve. Casablanca and Rick. Stoic soldier on. Watched Twelve O'Clock High a few times too. Overdosed the popcorn. Pulled out of it and all. Stayed off and away
popcorn for a year after. Too close indeed.
 

Worf

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,172
Location
Troy, New York, USA
Worf,

Love the descrpt ...'waiting by the window, sitting alone at the restaurant table, hanging waiting for the call...'
I was a complete mess. Despondent so gone a waiter asked if I was alright. Awakening at 2am and crying out her
name. Stayed home for a week. Survived on tins of tuna, saltines, coffee, popcorn, ice cream and vodka and Dorothy Malone. Finally had a talk to meself about honourable resolve. Casablanca and Rick. Stoic soldier on. Watched Twelve O'Clock High a few times too. Overdosed the popcorn. Pulled out of it and all. Stayed off and away
popcorn for a year after. Too close indeed.
Yeah... like a lot of things... it's something hard to understand unless you've been through it. But once you've survived that crucible it's something you NEVER want to experience again let alone watch someone else get rubbaged. I've been dinged pretty good in over 65 years on this dirtball so I really flinch when something drags up the old trauma and drama.

Wor
f
 
Messages
10,245
Location
vancouver, canada
A French docudrama - "Novembre" about the police response to the terrorist attacks in Paris. It was an interesting and I presume somewhat accurate representation of the chaos that ensued within the police/government ranks.
 

AmateisGal

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,126
Location
Nebraska
View attachment 523128
The Heiress from 1949 with Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson and Mariam Hopkins


Throughout time, marriages have often been based on some degree of tradeoff where one person brings wealth and/or position and the other person brings pulchritude and/or a joie de vivre.

It's so common that the arrangement can be overt as when young men used to present their financial situation to the young woman's father when asking permission to marry that man's daughter. A dowry, too, can often be just another version of this exchange.

Life is messy and love, as important as it is, does not conquer all. If there is basic good will and some genuine affection between the two betrothed and everyone acts with thoughtful moderation, these arrangements can work out.

It can also get quite ugly as seen in The Heiress, especially when a bitter, and passive-aggressive father has beaten the spirit out of his plain Jane daughter. When too many things are or get broken, there's not enough left to hold these pacts together.

Olivia de Havilland plays the plain Jane daughter of a wealthy physician, played by Ralph Richardson, who in a passive-aggressive way, regularly and unfavorably compares his unwed adult daughter to his deceased wife.

When a young and handsome man of no means, played by Montgomery Clift, takes an interest in the usually ignored de Havilland, she is elated, as is her kind but misguided aunt, played by Miriam Hopkins, but father Richardson is skeptical.

Set in fine de siecle New York, the entire courting process is ritualized, which adds to the tension as Clift is supposed to ask papa Richardson for de Havilland's hand. Further complicating things is de Havilland's finances.

She already has a substantial income left to her by her mother, but her income will triple when/if she inherits her father's money. His approval, thus, is not an absolute necessity for her marriage, but a substantial nice to have. As we'll learn, it is also leverage.

Is Clift interested in de Havilland's money, yes. Is he only interested in de Havilland's money, maybe. Does Richardson believe Clift is honorable? Richardson does some honest due diligence and the results are not conclusive, but not favorable.

That setup leads to the movie's first big climax. With her father opposing the marriage, de Havilland wants to elope with Clift on just her money. Clift, though, is hesitant on the night of the pending elopement because eloping would mean losing her father's inheritance.

On that same fateful night, Richardson, learning of his daughter's plans, drops the passive-aggressive cover and cruely (there is no other word for it) lets his daughter know how little he thinks of her.

Now reeling, de Havilland also learns that even her well-intentioned, but stupid, modestly selfish and clumsily manipulative aunt thinks little of de Havilland's prospects for a good marriage if not for her money.

It is an incredible series of emotionally crushing scenes brilliantly directed by William Wyler who put his ego aside and let Henry James' outstanding material and his talented cast drive the story with few directorial flourishes.

The writing is so strong and actors so skilled, that Wyler simply allowed it to play out relatively undisturbed, only employing tactical directorial emphasis as when he'd captured a telling look or a revealing bit of body English.

After the first shattering climax, the movie speeds through several more life-altering events. We see a wiser but now bitter de Havilland find her voice. Her transition to being her father's equal is an acting triumph that was rightfully acknowledged with an Oscar for de Havilland.

Richardson and Hopkins are also up to the material as both give outstanding performances, but Clift's performance is too sleepy at times as he is supposed to be the Tolstoy "a stranger comes to town" change agent.

He, thus, should always be rocking the staid world of Richardson and de Havilland to its core, but most of the real rocking takes place between Richardson and de Havilland with Clift on side.

The second and final climax of the movie is a sad triumph where revenge is employed with such a cold and cunning ruthlessness that it chills even the viewer. Sometimes a morally correct victory can still be a Pyrrhic one.

There are only a few sets in the movie, making it feel a bit stagey. But there is also no violence or traditional "action," as the picture is pure and powerful human drama where hopes, dreams, insecurities, anger and recriminations are painfully and poignantly laid bare.

The Heiress is movie making at its best, which means it is storytelling at its best. It is also Hollywood's studio system at its best. Asked to present an example of Golden Era Hollywood finest work, one could proudly choose The Heiress.
I watched The Heiress once, and haven't again because I have a VERY hard time watching anything with Montgomery Clift in it. I have no idea why his acting style bothers me so much, but it does!
 

AmateisGal

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,126
Location
Nebraska
The Paddington films are beautifully done. Mrs Marlowe cried at the start of the first one, and the end of the second. I enjoyed them both. Both pictures are very well translated from the source material - the second deviates more in terms of new story, but the whole is very true to the spirit and character of the original. Hugh Grant is a revelation in the second. Not an actor who has ever much impressed me with his range, he is clearly having a ball here as a real pantomime villain type, gives himself fully over to the camp, and is just marvellous. (In a more 'adult' context, this is reminiscent of the way he also does a turn as a sleazy, tabloid journalist in Guy Ritche's The Gentlemen - worth a watch, though as the language is rather blue, not one for in front of the kids. Particularly intriguing if you're familiar with his off-screen work as a campaigner against the darker elements of the British press.)
I ADORE the Paddington Bear movies!!! I heard they're making a third and I can't wait. They're just absolutely delightful.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
MV5BMTQzNzY0MTcwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTIxMjU4Mw@@._V1_.jpg

Stray Dog from 1949, a Japanese film with Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura and Keiko Awaji


This post-war Japanese movie uses the simple story of a rookie detective losing his gun to explore the themes of honor, duty and responsibility in a country where those values were so horribly perverted during WWII that it nearly destroyed itself.

In Stray Dog, if you want, you can ignore a lot of its philosophy and country soul searching and just enjoy a good detective story, Japanese style, by noted director Akira Kurosawa. Today, you can also enjoy its invaluable historic window into 1949 Japan.

When a rookie detective, played by Toshiro Mifune, has his gun stolen, he is distraught. He offers his resignation in disgrace, but the older and more forgiving police inspector simply teams him up with a senior detective to find the man now committing crimes with his gun.

The senior detective, played by Takashi Shimura, tries unsuccessfully to calm Mifune down with the pragmatic comments "If it wasn't a Colt it'd have been a Browning" and "Instead of brooding, prevent the next incident."

Mifune, though, only gets more wound up as his gun is linked to additional crimes. It doesn't take much to see that the older generation has learned something about fanaticism that, surprisingly, some in the younger generation still need to learn, even after the war.

Most of the movie is watching Shimura and Mifune, ploddingly but doggedly, tracking down the criminal with the stolen gun. Their investigation takes us on a trip through some of the seedier parts of Tokyo, including a burlesque-like nightclub where stolen guns are sold.

The movie doesn't shy away from showing the abject poverty of many in Japan at that time. While it doesn't indulge the poverty-absolves-the-criminal theory, there is, however, an understanding of the stresses it causes.

Foreshadowing many rookie-veteran-cop pairings in movies to come, Mifune is all raw energy and bumbling, while Shimura has the patience and experience to diligently piece small clues together. He also, though, shows a weariness from decades on the job.

Director Kurosawa has a genius for picking small details to humanize his characters, as when a suspect, wonderfully played by Keiko Awaji, shares a beer with Mifune after a day-long game of cat and mouse those two played in the stifling summer heat of Tokyo.

Awaji, a chorus girl, represents Japan's post-WWII version of Fitzgerald's post-WWI The Lost Generation. She, as opposed to Mifune, has little patience for the older generation's values. She just wants to have fun, like so many Americans in Paris did after that earlier war.

The story climaxes (no spoilers coming), as these stolen-gun stories all must, with a final confrontation between the rookie in search of his gun and the criminal who has been using it to commit crimes (parallels to 1982's 48 Hrs. can't be missed).

Mifune is good as the distraught detective, but at times, his Greek Tragedy response to having his gun being stolen is a bit much. Shimura's performance, as the thoughtful, smart but tired detective, is believable and moving, which is why he’s a stock character to this day.

The movie, shot in black and white and in need of a restoration, is slow moving but not boring as you feel as if you are along for the ride with the police on an investigation in a poor dusty city where even the well-to-do look enervated by the heat.

Stray Dog is a good detective story, but it's also a commentary on a post-war Japan trying to come to terms with WWII. One cannot simply renounce honor, devotion and duty, but having seen them twisted into evil, the country is rightfully leery of strict adherence.

Those values, though, are also deeply woven into the historic culture of Japan. Stray Dog doesn't claim to have the answers; who did at the end of the war? Its value lies in simply asking the questions in a smart and thought-provoking way as Kurosawa does here.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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1,390
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St John's Wood, London UK
Spot Fast. Not being facetious but a Jerry Lewis film called Geisha Boy or some such dub also offered
exceptional delve inside post war Japan set around Korea. And this more immediate Japanese detective
noir recast is just remarkable for its actual existence. I saw Diary of A Geisha and Korea was my dad's war.
He did a turn with the Lancasters in Korea and made a soldier's rounds in Osaka and Tokyo. Japan and her
people had profound effect on him that stayed cudgel put thru his life. Geisha is marvelous film. I found it
particular for cultural tapestry and social structure wove like a shroud over a not so distant past.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
Spot Fast. Not being facetious but a Jerry Lewis film called Geisha Boy or some such dub also offered
exceptional delve inside post war Japan set around Korea. And this more immediate Japanese detective
noir recast is just remarkable for its actual existence. I saw Diary of A Geisha and Korea was my dad's war.
He did a turn with the Lancasters in Korea and made a soldier's rounds in Osaka and Tokyo. Japan and her
people had profound effect on him that stayed cudgel put thru his life. Geisha is marvelous film. I found it
particular for cultural tapestry and social structure wove like a shroud over a not so distant past.

I have not seen "The Geisha Boy," but will now keep an eye out for it.

When I got to my first serious trading seat in the late 1980s, the Japanese were king of the hill of accounts, so I spent a lot of time trading with and getting to know many Japanese people back then. It's not at all like your father's or anyone's military experience, but still, in its own way, it's made me interested in Japan / the Japanese ever since.
 

scotrace

Head Bartender
Staff member
Messages
14,373
Location
Small Town Ohio, USA
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is back on Netflix, so I watched it again yesterday. Viola Davis is just incredible, of course, and it's probably the only chance we'll have to see an electrical "studio" recording being created in the 1920s. Also pretty sobering to realize this was Chadwick Boseman's last performance. He was in the last stages of the cancer that would claim him soon after filming--the other cast members were unaware.

Davis wears a weighted suit under her sparkly dress, silver teeth, and a horsehair wig. Ma Rainey was a famously sweaty person, and the movie recreates her very well.

Maxayn Lewis sang the title song, dubbed over Davis's performance. It's some of the best blues singing you'll hear. The real "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" record is pretty dull by comparison.
 

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