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What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

EngProf

Practically Family
Messages
596
The best thing I ever saw from Keaton, and he did a lot of great real movie work, was a scene from a biography of him.
He was a great railroad and train fan and expert("The General") and this was an aspect of that.
In what looked like a home movie he was standing on a railroad station platform and a train was coming in. After a number of cars came by, eventually the caboose did.
Just a second or so before the train completely stopped moving, Buster reached out and grabbed the rear handrail of the caboose with his arm flexed. As he extended his arm it looked *exactly* like he had grabbed the train and stopped it.
It was amazing to watch, and was a quick living tribute to his physical comedy skills and sense of timing.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
ATINTRO800.jpg

L'Atalante from 1934, A French film


L'Atalante is described by some critics as the greatest or one of the greatest films ever made, which proves the uselessness of the expression "the greatest film ever made" and it proves that the opinions of critics are still just opinions.

If you can get over its early movie-making clunkiness and are okay with a "talkie" with a lot of nearly silent-era sequences - both heavy lifts when watching L'Atalante - then you can enjoy a good movie about the challenges faced by a young, immature newlywed couple.

A romantic girl from a provincial village, who has never been to a city, marries a young barge captain. After a quick wedding and send-off, they start life on the barge with a quasi honeymoon of work and play as the barge heads toward Paris.

Juliette, played by Dita Parlo, and Jean, played by Jean Desti, enjoy newlywed sex (one guesses, they waited), but are unprepared for married life, especially working and living together on a claustrophobic barge with a small quirky crew of an old man and young boy.

Juliette tries to bring a domestic routine to the barge, but the three men are so used to living as slovenly bachelors that her efforts to do laundry and clean up are all but resented. Very quickly, both newlyweds are thinking "I didn't know I signed up for this."

It's the old, even then, story of a romantic, Juliette, marrying a pragmatist, Jean, as both are sincere, but they have very different outlooks on life. The rest of the movie is seeing if these young inexperienced newlyweds can quickly gain the insight needed to find compromise.

None of this is helped, by the older first mate, Jules, played by Michel Simon, who is a gruff, uncouth even for barge life and pushy man, whose attentions to Juliette, which she sees as harmless, make Jean jealous (yes, one less "J" named character would have been nice).

Jules serves as an odd foil to Jean. The old man has clearly seen a lot of the world. He also loves his many kittens and his cabin full of travel curios. And while he is physically filthy, he so enjoys music and life that he connects with the wonderlust and romantic side of Juliette.

As the barge steams toward Paris, the young couple have sex, fight, makeup and do it all again. All the while, the four, which includes the young cabin boy, try to get into a routine with Juliette now part of their small world, but they continue to squabble.

Juliette is excited to see Paris for the first time, but her and Jean's plans for a night out are scuttled when Jules and the boy go off unannounced, requiring responsible Jean to stay on board to tend to the barge. Nobody here regularly thinks about how their actions affect others.

It's a disappointment easily dealt with by a mature couple, but these "kids" have been fighting over so many small things and Juliette has been waiting her entire life to see Paris, that a series of words said in the heat of an argument causes a big blow up.

Juliette goes off to see Paris alone and Jean, when the crew comes back, sails the barge to the next city without her. The newlyweds have just had their first barge-equivalent fight of her going home to mother or him staying overnight in town.

The long climax, no spoilers coming, involves the used-a-million-times-in-stories drama of a young couple, clearly in love, either finding their way back to each other or breaking up because of ego, anger and immaturity. It's the plot of one out of two Hallmark movies.

Director Jean Vigo has an eye for capturing the small details of life that can take on large meaning. He also anticipated some of the camera work, like long shots of a sad person walking down an empty street at night, that would become a staple of film noir in a decade.

For a "small story" movie, L'Atalante packs in a lot of real life and emotion, all told by a director who understood the still-new medium of movies. While the reach of its reputation often exceeds its actual grasp, L'Atalante is still a meaningful piece of cinematic history.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,388
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
Edmund Golding directed Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge with a stellar cast include Tyrone Power,
Gene Tierney, Anne Baxter, and John Payne. A bit much I know to go brazen couch potato chipper and all,
but Tierney while gorgeous elegance-think Sargent's Madame X come to life wearing her stunning black evening dress gown albeit strapless---and substitute Myrna Loy, lady of understated elegance, WASPish
absolute queen of Hollywood's A list gals and start cooking with hell fire flames. Tierney is all right yet all wrong.
Baxter is passable but still wanting. Ty coasted in this sadly. All bark but no bite. His heart wasn't Zorro.
Elsa Lancaster did a cameo, really exceptional as always and ever. She had the goods and much so much
better a woman to cast opposite Myrna Loy. Clifton Webb was alright as a scamp expatriate avuncular,
a gin and tonic delivery with the right pitch.
Edmund Golding probably hadn't an original thought since puberty, quite obvious here. This film is based
on a Maugham novel that was nothing near a noir pulp, but a serious post First War search for soul that gave
a mystic tilt to the overall production. Golding clealy a simple minded auteur beyond, far beyond his ken.
I believe a Fleming or Vidor would be capable but not quite up to the mark. Preminger or Hitchcock would have been better. Carol Reed probably the best pick to run the entire show. I read Maugham in school and Golding
missed much, too much and settled for mundane interior scenes with flaccid dialogue. Ty phoned it in, Tierney
was not right-Baxter could have been Lancaster, and if Carol Reed directed much more depth and less skim.
All bark and no bite.
 

MisterCairo

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,005
Location
Gads Hill, Ontario
The Cairo Cavalcade of Hallowe'en Horror is ongoing. Most recently, John Carpenter's The Fog. My wife and I are huge Carpenter fans, and on retirement will visit "Antonio Bay" and environs. Not sure if I'll get to meet Stevie Wayne, but who knows...
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,388
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
A less heroic but always interesting William Holden in Boots Malone, a low budget Steinbeck type flick
portrayal of a thoroughbred jockey agent fallen lower ladder, downed luck but not out, and his redemption
thru chance encounter with a runaway boy. A number of Hollywood post war era stock players populate
with racetrack locus trim but Holden is the proverbial stick stirrer served this backstretch stable of characters.
A straight bourbon sip racetrack barn, barracks, and whole backstretch poured inside an undeniable turf classic film.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
coma-1978-michael-douglas-genevieve-bujold-max.jpg

Coma from 1978 with Genevieve Bujold, Michael Douglas, Richard Widmark and Lois Chiles


Trust in institutions ebbs and flows. In the 1970s, like today, that trust was at a low resulting in movies like Coma about a massive and grossly immoral conspiracy at one of Boston's top hospitals.

If you let a lot of plot flaws go and accept a questionable choice for a lead actress, Coma is an engaging thriller that also has a lot of fun 1970s style. There are also a few questions raised about medical ethics that are given rushed and pat answers, but at least they were raised.

Genevieve Bujold plays a young doctor at the fictional Boston Memorial, a large and august teaching hospital. When her friend, played by Lois Chiles - the cast in this one has several well-known names - goes into a coma during routine surgery, Bujold gets suspicious.

Bujold's boyfriend, played by Michael Douglas, who is also a young doctor at the hospital, dismisses her concerns as he is interested in advancing his career by playing hospital politics. Most of the movie that follows is Bujold, dog-with-a-bone like, following up on her suspicions.

Why are so many routine surgeries resulting in patients in comas? Why is the head of anesthesiology so protective of those particular patients' records? Why do strange things start happening to Bujold, like a man following her, the more she digs?

Who is an ally and who isn't? Is Douglas a good guy or is he in on whatever's going on so he can advance his career? Is the hospital's chief of surgery, played wonderfully by Richard Widmark, unaware of this nefarious scheme at his hospital or the mastermind behind it?

It then gets really creepy when Bujold investigates the institution where the coma patients are being sent to. The building has a 1970s Logan's Run institutionalized-evil feel to it that hides a massive conspiracy behind the smiling face of authority.

Director and co-writer Michael Crichton is subtler here than in his later efforts, as he lets the suspense build slowly, only rolling out his wow moment about two-thirds of the way in. After that, it's a pretty standard race to the finish between Bujold and the powers behind the conspiracy.

Bujold is a talented actress, but she lacks that something that allows a star, sometimes even one of lesser acting talent than Bujold, to carry a movie. Douglas, who can carry a movie, is given a surprisingly small role here, but his 1970s hair looks great.

For us today, the time travel to the 1970s is part of the fun. The cars, clothes, architecture, aforementioned hair and, more importantly, social issues are all dated, but also expository of that era in a way in which even the most-thoughtful period movie can't quite be.

To that point, there are some serious medical and social issues brought up as the conspiracy is revealed. However, they are raced through and not explored deeply or thoughtfully as Crichton clearly wanted to make a thriller first and a "think piece" second.

Coma is good in a 1970s "we can't trust our institutions" way, which sadly feels very on message to today. What is quite different, though, is the movie isn't stridently ideological or political as it would be if made now. For that reason alone, it's a better movie than most modern ones.
 

ClaytonMoore

New in Town
Messages
6
I finished the movie and forgot to update the thread. "King of The Hill" released in 1993 and taking place in 1933 was very good. The acting felt real, the costumes and scenery was very well put together, and it just felt like a classic overall; would recommend.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
kypdfflao.jpg

Keep Your Powder Dry from 1945 with Lana Turner, Laraine Day and Susan Peters


By 1945, Hollywood was at the retread stage of wartime propaganda movies, but it still managed to put out some reasonably good efforts like Keep Your Powder Dry, an early similarly themed version of 1980's more-well-known Private Benjamin.

War causes social change with WWII unevenly and too slowly bringing advancement for minorities' and women's rights. In Keep Your Powder Dry, the focus is on humor and the personalities of the three stars, but even if unintentionally, there's a feminist vibe.

Three young women, played by Lana Turner, Laraine Day and Susan Peters, from diverse backgrounds and for various reasons, join the WACs (Women's Army Corps.). They have challenges and squabbles, but grow as individuals and officers as is propaganda's wont.

Very blonde Turner gets the fun role of playing the rich party girl who joins only to convince her trust administrators that she's becoming a mature and responsible adult, which per the terms of the trust, should prompt them to release more funds to her.

Peters plays a traditional young wife who, despite lacking confidence to do something on her own, joins the WACs in sympathy with her husband so that both can be serving their country at the same time.

Day gets to play the army brat who likes discipline and rules just a little bit too much. She joins to please her officer father and because she is scared of civilian life, so she cocoons in the WACs, where she expects to quickly advance.

Once in, the girl triangle quickly forms with lackadaisical Turner and by-the-book Day immediately rubbing each other the wrong way as sweet-as-heck Peters plays peacemaker.

All the things you expect to happen, happen. Turner is the slowest to adjust to army discipline; diffident Peters is just glad to survive another day, while Day irritates most of the other girls with her know-it-all attitude and imperious approach.

There are some fun scenes along the way, including one where the girls, now all in the motor transport school, go out to fix a general's car. He's not at all obnoxious about it (that's not this type of movie), but it's clear he has no confidence in these women mechanics.

Of course, the girls get the car running in no time and the humbled general makes a nice comment about the WACs. The inside fun for the audience is watching Turner, playing a supposedly crack mechanic, looking like it's the first time she's ever seen an engine in her life.

It's all handled lightly, but in the 1940s "girl mechanics" fixing a car lickety split as a bemused general looked on said something to America about women's rights. It would take another generation for even more advancement, but each step counts.

Another scene to look for is the one where Turner's old socialite friends show up as they look incredibly frivolous next to now serious Turner. There's, sadly, also a gratuitous dig at a stereotypically fey gay man at a time when gay men were not allowed in the military.

As in the above scene, the movie gets more serious as it heads to its climax, which includes some real WWII sacrifice coming home to one of the girls just as Day, finally, learns a humbling lesson about leadership being about more than just enforcing the rules.

Had the movie kept the tone of the socialites-are-frivolous or Day's comeuppance scenes throughout, Keep Your Powder Dry would have been a better movie. But MGM couldn't help making this effort too-Hollywood glossy and "girl pretty" to give the movie sustainable grit.

Keep Your Powder Dry is still enjoyable, though, as Turner, Day and Peters are appealing actresses. Plus, even a WACs propaganda movie is historically important as it reminds us that women's rights weren't spontaneously generated by the Baby Boomers in the 1960s.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,695
Location
London, UK
View attachment 551512
Keep Your Powder Dry from 1945 with Lana Turner, Laraine Day and Susan Peters


By 1945, Hollywood was at the retread stage of wartime propaganda movies, but it still managed to put out some reasonably good efforts like Keep Your Powder Dry, an early similarly themed version of 1980's more-well-known Private Benjamin.

War causes social change with WWII unevenly and too slowly bringing advancement for minorities' and women's rights. In Keep Your Powder Dry, the focus is on humor and the personalities of the three stars, but even if unintentionally, there's a feminist vibe.

Three young women, played by Lana Turner, Laraine Day and Susan Peters, from diverse backgrounds and for various reasons, join the WACs (Women's Army Corps.). They have challenges and squabbles, but grow as individuals and officers as is propaganda's wont.

Very blonde Turner gets the fun role of playing the rich party girl who joins only to convince her trust administrators that she's becoming a mature and responsible adult, which per the terms of the trust, should prompt them to release more funds to her.

Peters plays a traditional young wife who, despite lacking confidence to do something on her own, joins the WACs in sympathy with her husband so that both can be serving their country at the same time.

Day gets to play the army brat who likes discipline and rules just a little bit too much. She joins to please her officer father and because she is scared of civilian life, so she cocoons in the WACs, where she expects to quickly advance.

Once in, the girl triangle quickly forms with lackadaisical Turner and by-the-book Day immediately rubbing each other the wrong way as sweet-as-heck Peters plays peacemaker.

All the things you expect to happen, happen. Turner is the slowest to adjust to army discipline; diffident Peters is just glad to survive another day, while Day irritates most of the other girls with her know-it-all attitude and imperious approach.

There are some fun scenes along the way, including one where the girls, now all in the motor transport school, go out to fix a general's car. He's not at all obnoxious about it (that's not this type of movie), but it's clear he has no confidence in these women mechanics.

Of course, the girls get the car running in no time and the humbled general makes a nice comment about the WACs. The inside fun for the audience is watching Turner, playing a supposedly crack mechanic, looking like it's the first time she's ever seen an engine in her life.

It's all handled lightly, but in the 1940s "girl mechanics" fixing a car lickety split as a bemused general looked on said something to America about women's rights. It would take another generation for even more advancement, but each step counts.

Another scene to look for is the one where Turner's old socialite friends show up as they look incredibly frivolous next to now serious Turner. There's, sadly, also a gratuitous dig at a stereotypically fey gay man at a time when gay men were not allowed in the military.

As in the above scene, the movie gets more serious as it heads to its climax, which includes some real WWII sacrifice coming home to one of the girls just as Day, finally, learns a humbling lesson about leadership being about more than just enforcing the rules.

Had the movie kept the tone of the socialites-are-frivolous or Day's comeuppance scenes throughout, Keep Your Powder Dry would have been a better movie. But MGM couldn't help making this effort too-Hollywood glossy and "girl pretty" to give the movie sustainable grit.

Keep Your Powder Dry is still enjoyable, though, as Turner, Day and Peters are appealing actresses. Plus, even a WACs propaganda movie is historically important as it reminds us that women's rights weren't spontaneously generated by the Baby Boomers in the 1960s.


Sounds like an interesting one to track down. Day's character as you outline it reminds me a touch of Hotlips Houlihan - is there a similar progression here as we saw Loretta Switt's character go through? (In the TV show.... although I can appreciate it for what it is much more now, I still don't much care for the film, which I found a touch too mean-spirited, especially towards the female characters, for my tastes.)

The other WW2 comedy I have seen and feel very much still holds up while also having something interesting to say about gender role stereotypes at the time is I was a male war bride. Carey Grant was great in that.
 
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16,755
Location
New York City
Sounds like an interesting one to track down. Day's character as you outline it reminds me a touch of Hotlips Houlihan - is there a similar progression here as we saw Loretta Switt's character go through? (In the TV show.... although I can appreciate it for what it is much more now, I still don't much care for the film, which I found a touch too mean-spirited, especially towards the female characters, for my tastes.)

The other WW2 comedy I have seen and feel very much still holds up while also having something interesting to say about gender role stereotypes at the time is I was a male war bride. Carey Grant was great in that.

Yes there is - Re Day's transition - but being movie, it's a bit rushed at the end, yet still reasonably well handled.

I enjoyed "I Was a Male War Bride" too. As you said, Grant was outstanding and, I'd add, so was Sheridan - I liked them as a screen couple.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,388
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
The other WW2 comedy I have seen and feel very much still holds up while also having something interesting to say about gender role stereotypes at the time is I was a male war bride. Carey Grant was great in that.
I recall this vaguely. Ann Sheridan and Cary Grant fall in love while post war Germany, he being French,
so technically allowed New York entrance as a ''war bride.'' A flip would have been Randolph Scott in the
Ann Sheridan role....sorry, just a Ladbrokes chuckle bet.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,388
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
^ I vaguely remember Alec Guiness in the earlier TTSS but his George Smiley was absolutely spot on.
Guiness made indelible impress and that much I can recall but I have wanted to see Oldman try his hand
at Smiley once I had le Carre's book read proper so I could really follow the game with its spycraft nuance.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,695
Location
London, UK
Just finished that below breaker, Gary Oldman at his very best imho.


MV5BZDJiYjY2YWYtMmYwMy00NGU3LWIyYWMtNTRlNjQ3YzUxN2IzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTMyODM3MTg@._V1_.jpg

Yes, this one was great. Came out at a point in time when a lot of the Cold War stuff felt a bit old hat, but cast it very nicely and made it feel fresh.

In a simliarish Cold War vein, I very much enjoyed the 2022 ITV version of The Ipcress File with Joe Cole (ex of Peaky Blinders) stepping into Michael Caine's shoes as Harry Palmer. I believe it is (or at least was) available internationally on the 'Britbox' streaming service. Well worth checking out if you get a chance. ITV is very much best known for lowest-common-denominator, populist "light entertainment", but every so often the do one of these big-budget dramas, and they do them very well. This was well-received by both critics and audience at the time; I'm hoping they re-engage Cole and the rest of the team this did this to do follow-up series covering the other Palmer novels in future.
 
Messages
16,755
Location
New York City
The-Kiss-Before-the-Mirror-Nancy-Carroll-3.jpg

The Kiss Before the Mirror form 1933 with Frank Morgan, Nancy Carrol, Paul Lukas, Gloria Stuart and Jean Dixon


A noted physician kills his beloved wife at her paramour's bedside and then immediately calls the police to confess. A prominent attorney takes the doctor's case planning to use a temporary insanity defense for his client.

As the attorney is preparing his case, he discovers that his own beloved wife is cheating on him. He now views his current case as a test of the defense he would use if he murders his unfaithful wife.

Clearly, the plot in The Kiss Before the Mirror requires some suspension of disbelief. One comes to appreciate that director James Whale intended to show a Greek Tragedy view of the mad jealousy which infidelity can arouse and not a twentieth-century rational view.

Whale, most famous for his work in the formative years of the horror genre, anticipates the coming of film noir, here, with his use of highly stylized shots, shadows, stark black-and-white images, mirror reflections and shattered glass.

Film noir, with its passions and grey morality, but also often with a demand that a man or woman should suffer for his or her sins, can often be seen as a modern take on Greek Tragedy.

The movie's opening sequence of the physician discovering his adulterous wife primping for her lover at her dressing mirror and, then, following her to her lover's chic home where he commits the murder, with only a few tweaks, could have been the opening to a 1940s noir.

With Paul Lukas playing the husband on trial, Frank Morgan playing Lukas' attorney, Gloria Stuart playing Lukas' wife, Nancy Carrol playing Morgan's wife and Jean Dixon in a supporting role, Whale has a talented cast to carry out his arch presentation of infidelity.

The performances and the writing are exaggerated in a, as noted, Greek Tragedy way where the characters see these events - their love affairs or the lover's infidelity - as prostration-worthy life-defining moments where nothing and no one else matters.

It's also a very nineteenth century Romantic Era view of love and loss, versus our "just get a divorce, update your wardrobe, move into a new house and try again" modern approach to a failed marriage.

Stripped of all the highfalutin style and Eros view of love, The Kiss Before the Mirror is simply a murder trial that uses the "temporary insanity" defense as a stalking horse for the "unwritten law" that avers a spouse has the right to kill a cheating husband or wife.

We all know it's wrong, but to this day, juries sometimes acquit based on a version of that defense. Human nature, despite great efforts expended by our cultural and social elites to adjust it to their personal dictates, has a timeless, unchanging bedrock.

The Kiss Before the Mirror takes too much of a nineteenth century Romantic Era view of love and marriage to be fully relatable for a modern audience. Still, it's an impressively stylized look at the eternal passions of love and hate that surround infidelity.
 

Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,217
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
On Netflix, a new film from Denmark, Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction.

Based on a posthumously published story by Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen, it's set in a fictional 1800s kingdom and concerns the ruler utilizing a painter's seduction skills to help a young prince produce an heir. The most interesting thing about the production is that the costumes were designed by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. And they're lovely:

Ehrengard-1.jpg
Ehrengard-5.jpg
Ehrengard-2.jpg Ehrengard-3.jpg
Ehrengard-The-Art-OfEhrengard-4.jpg

It's a pleasant enough period piece, and it held my interest. Not really essential viewing, though.
 

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