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What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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Black Angel (1946) on TCM’s Noir Alley right now. Despite its less than glowing reviews, I figured that since it was an adaptation of a Cornell Woolrich novel, I would give it a chance. It was okay for the most part. It felt flat. Peter Lorre as the shady nightclub owner was the only character I cared about. He was as good as I have ever seen and I would have enjoyed seeing more of his character.
:D
 
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16,765
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New York City
I-Wouldnt-Be-in-Your-Shoes-Elyse-Knox.jpg

I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes from 1948 with Elyse Knox, Regis Toomey and Don Castle


I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes is a better-than-average B noir based on a story by prolific noir writer Cornell Woolrich.

While its story isn't unique and the plot flaws tumble out along the way, the picture engages with its short runtime and tight directing that keeps its focus on the narrative and its pretty lead actress, Elyse Knox.

A married, out-of-work dance team, played by Knox and Don Castle, live in a one-room apartment supported, for the moment, by Knox's work as a taxi dancer. Late one night, in a pique, Castle throws his tap shoes out of their apartment window at two loud cats.

That, as is noir's wont, sets off an incredible chain of events. Later, Castle finds a wallet with a large sum of money, but no identifying papers. Knox and he argue - he wants to turn it in, she doesn't - but eventually they keep it and spend some of the money.

Those two events lead to Castle being arrested for the murder of a reclusive neighbor. A detective, played by Regis Toomey, puts a solid but circumstantial case together, which leads to Castle's conviction for murder.

With Castle now on death row, a frantic Knox, who knows her husband is innocent, turns to the always hovering around Toomey for help. Told sort of through a flashback, as the movie opens with Castle on death row recollecting how he got there, the movie is now a race to save Castle.

This is another Hollywood tale of a wrongly convicted man on death row. Here, almost all the death-row inmates - ridiculously referred to by each other by only their number, get it? - seem like good men. The families of their victims probably have a different opinion.

Knox's only ally is Toomey who agrees to help dig up new evidence in return for a kiss. That's just the Motion Picture Production Code getting in the way of the truth, though, as in the real world, we know pretty Knox slept with Toomey in return for his help.

A promising looking suspect is found and arrested, but will it hold up? Will it be enough to help free Castle? If not, who is really behind the framing of Castle? By the time we get to the climax, no spoilers coming, you'll have easily figured it out, but it is still an engaging story.

I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes punches above its B noir weight, in part because Knox is so earnest in her attempts to save her husband. Yet when needed, she shows some Machiavellian instincts in dealing with Toomey. She's no simple "nice wife."

The movie also works because, despite its many plot flaws, director William Nigh keeps each scene tight, which keeps the story and action moving quickly along. Nigh also knows how to capture small but realistic details that add to the picture's verisimilitude.

For a movie made under the Code, Nigh tucked in a scene about an ethnically Jewish shopkeeper talking about how Castle wished her a happy Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and how she wants to wish him a Merry Christmas in return.

That comment, and others like it, almost flies by, but it gives the movie a more realistic feel as genuine ethnicity - as opposed to stereotypes like the loud Italian restaurant owner or the Irish cop - was scrubbed out of most movies made under the Code.

Knox's performance here wasn't accidentally overlooked by the Oscars, but she does a respectable job carrying most of the movie. Toomey, a fine actor, plays his complex detective in a low-key way, only slowly spooning out his true self.

Castle is a weak point as he seems to smile his way through everything, even being on death row. It's hard to believe he'd be almost cheery as the priest is called to give him his last rights.

I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes, with its small budget and short runtime, could easily have been turned into an hour-long TV show. As a B noir and despite its challenges, it works because of Knox's earnest performance, Woolrich's story and Nigh's thoughtful directing.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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St John's Wood, London UK
I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes punches above its B noir weight, in part because Knox is so earnest in her attempts to save her husband. Yet when needed, she shows some Machiavellian instincts in dealing with Toomey. She's no simple "nice wife."
I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes, with its small budget and short runtime, could easily have been turned into an hour-long TV show. As a B noir and despite its challenges, it works because of Knox's earnest performance, Woolrich's story and Nigh's thoughtful directing.

Hammer slam review here Fast. Agree completely code also, but will concede ''less is more'' principle when
director understands his distinct bounds. Watched a superb Gloria Grahame docu recently. A scene when she
turns around to face a male and her unbuttoned blouse flies open revealing her black brassiere. A thunderbolt
briefly struck lightning indelibly etched. Good direction trumps code.

Woolwich is always good copy. Will mark this.
 
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16,765
Location
New York City
mrsminivermovie.jpg

Mrs. Miniver from 1942 with Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, Richard Ney, May Whitty and Henry Travers


Subtle is good, but sometimes obvious works. In Mrs. Miniver, director William Wyler delivers one of the great WWII propaganda films with little subtlety. The characters and situations are almost all black and white, but inspiring nonetheless.

Sometimes, also, you just want to watch a movie and feel good. Mrs. Miniver fits the bill as its unbridled patriotism was delivered at the exact time England and America needed it. It's so well done, it's still uplifting today.

We meet the Minivers, played by Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, just before the war when they are a happy, albeit a bit spoiled upper-middle-class family, which also includes a teenage son, played by Richard Ney, and a younger son and daughter.

After the war starts, frivolity disappears as England is fighting for its life. When British troops are trapped at Dunkirk, a civilian Pidgeon risks his life, over several sleepless days and nights, using his pleasure boat to rescue British soldiers from the beaches of France.

The scene of the armada of small boats, "the little ships of Dunkirk," owned by private citizens coming together to save the British Expeditionary Force at the behest of the British Navy is one of the most inspiring scenes in all of the many WWII propaganda films made.

While Pidgeon is busy at Dunkirk, wife Garson, at home, manages to capture a downed German pilot before breakfast. It's another obvious scene, with ideology masquerading as dialogue. Too bad for the sophisticates, though, as this is a war of good versus evil.

Not all of the movie is heroics as part of the charm of Mrs. Miniver is seeing their village join the "homefront" effort: Older men and women becoming air raid wardens, rationing, blackouts, backyard bomb shelters and more become part of everyday life.

The charm is also the Minivers themselves who cheerfully go about "doing their part." Yes, it's with worry and concern, but also with English fortitude and resolve.

The older son, Ney, joins the Royal Air Force, which has him defending his village during the Blitz. It's obvious propaganda again - this family is at the center of everything - but it's also true as England's towns and villages were on the frontlines of the air war.

Ney also begins dating the daughter, played by Teresa Wright, of the village's noble family, "The Beldons," headed by the imperios Lady Beldon, played by May Whitty. For class conscious England, this is a "presumptuous" act by "the Miniver Boy."

In one of the great tête-à-tête scenes in movie history, Whitty confronts Garson over their children's relationship. Garson, in her inimitable way and in a fine bit of acting, slowly wins Whitty over. Garson's bridging of the classes also, nicely, reaches both ways.

Her friendship with the village's humble stationmaster, played by Henry Travers, leads to another democratic scene when Travers' rose, "The Mrs. Miniver," wins at the annual village flower show against Whitty's rose, the perennial winner "by tradition."

Garson defined her career with her Oscar winning performances as everyone's favorite English mother and wife. But Pidgeon, Ney, Travers, Wright (Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner) and Whitty all deserve mention for creating memorable characters.

Wyler (Best Director Oscar winner) admitted gave the Minivers a house more American than British, but his seamless directing and beautifully black and white cinematography gives the picture an echo of the WWII newsreels the public was familiar with at the time.

Wyler also created several iconic images, including the inspiring ones of the Minivers placidly huddling in their backyard bomb shelter during a raid and the closing one of British bombers heading toward Germany, as seen through the roof of a bomb-damage English church.

It is easy to criticize Mrs. Miniver for being blatant propaganda with a perfect family, endlessly cheerful resolve and a lens that only sees the good side of England's homefront efforts. All those criticisms are true, but so what?

If you want to focus on the criticisms, go ahead, while the rest of us will just enjoy the patriotism of Mrs. Miniver that was, faults included, decidedly on the right side of history.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,405
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
^ Boats that sailed the Dunkirk Armada are awarded Admiralty permission to fly the Dunkirk Crest ensign
to honour this historic achievement. The ensign is a St George Cross defaced by Dunkirk arms and flown
off the jack staff, hence its tag, ''Dunkirk jack.''

Some tawdry noblesse oblige passed to me by whisper whilst Cambridge film class audit is that
''dear Mrs Miniver was shagging her son during the entire production, so observe these two,'' spake
-Sophocles-; whom had studied film at the University of Southern California where ''all trash is good hash.''
It's assumed Wyler knew this secret and accommodated as ''necessary fit.'' Pidgeon was ''in the know.''
Whenever I seat Miniver armed with beverage of choice I recall this class and have a chuckle over ''all the jolly rodger.''
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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St John's Wood, London UK
Thomas Wolfe is portrayed by Jude Law in the literary glimpse afforded Genius (2016) of his relationship
with Scribner & Sons editor Maxwell Perkins played Colin Firth. Nicole Kidman is Wolfe's married mistress,
slightly more than square peg cast last lass but more than a cameo character. She keys the lock for Perkins regarding his prodigal Wolfe, a North Carolinian tarheel who escaped Appalachia for Harvard's literary
graduate course and whose singular cracker barrel wit writ large hid a destructive turbulent cruelty.
Michael Grundage director virgin caught blame. Tom Wolfe. Larger than life literature is not easily digestible
fare for today's movie audiences to start with. Making script about a tubercular immoral rake living a complicated life queers the pitch totally. Which is why I love this flick my bic book look.
Ham sandwich on Wild Turkey rye bourbon over ice.
 
Messages
16,765
Location
New York City
Thomas Wolfe is portrayed by Jude Law in the literary glimpse afforded Genius (2016) of his relationship
with Scribner & Sons editor Maxwell Perkins played Colin Firth. Nicole Kidman is Wolfe's married mistress,
slightly more than square peg cast last lass but more than a cameo character. She keys the lock for Perkins regarding his prodigal Wolfe, a North Carolinian tarheel who escaped Appalachia for Harvard's literary
graduate course and whose singular cracker barrel wit writ large hid a destructive turbulent cruelty.
Michael Grundage director virgin caught blame. Tom Wolfe. Larger than life literature is not easily digestible
fare for today's movie audiences to start with. Making script about a tubercular immoral rake living a complicated life queers the pitch totally. Which is why I love this flick my bic book look.
Ham sandwich on Wild Turkey rye bourbon over ice.

Agreed, it's a very good movie. If you haven't read it, I recommend the book it's based on as it's an even better read.
41t81MKfKeL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_.jpg
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
851
Careful hombre. I stumbled into this thread as well, and it seems it’s only for run-on sentences or those equipped with a nearby thesaurus. Yours and my direct replies might be out of place
Hmmmm... the unmortified fussiness in me wants to point out that the original post might be understood as AHP91 and Barbara Stanwyck sitting down together to watch Christmas in Connecticut, made in 1945, but that's just uber-nit-picky. Ignore this comment.
It's a heavy favorite in the Christmas Movie Season rotation, over here at our place.
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
851
The Santa Clause (1994) with Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, a bunch of actors of whom I have never heard, and Peter Boyle. First time ever for seeing this. The rest of the family has watched it for years.

Allen undergoes sort of a Scrooge-like transformation from self-centered businessman to the ultimate Nice Guy, Santa Claus, through a series of wild Advent-related events. Not Scrooge-like per A Christmas Carol, hating people and Christmas, but going from self-absorbed to considerate and caring about others. Fun watch. I was advised that the sequels vary in entertainment quality.
 
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16,765
Location
New York City
Back Street 1.jpg

Back Street from 1932 with Irene Dunn and John Boles


Back Street, based on a popular novel, can be seen as an unconventional love story or a sad look at the lonely life of a mistress relegated to the "back streets" of a selfish man's world. The answer, as with most things, probably lies in an Aristotelian balance.

Back Street opens in early 1900s Cincinnati with a young pretty woman, played by Irene Dunn, unwilling to settle for any of the local boys, including the sincere one who proposes. Then an out-of-town businessman, played by John Boles, shows up.

Dunn and Boles connect immediately, but he soon tells her he's engaged to a local girl. Still, they date on the sly, but when a coincidence prevents Dunn from meeting Boles' mother, Boles marries the other girl.

We then fast forward five years to New York City where Boles and Dunn accidentally meet again. He's a wealthy young banker and up-and-coming influential man and she's living alone and working to support herself.

They begin an affair where he convinces her to quit her job so that she'll always be available for him when he has time to see her. He pays for her to live in a modest apartment.

Dunn is all in on the affair and Boles seems to truly love her. Yet Dunn's reality becomes always waiting to spend time with him in the "back streets" of his life, while for him, she's always there when he wants to step away from his regular world.

Later, when Dunn has a chance at a real marriage, Boles pulls her back to him and her marginalized life. He comes across as unawarely selfish, not overtly mean, but the result for Dunn is the same.

Boles' move is brutal, even if unintentional. He keeps his wife, family and public career, plus his mistress, while Dunn is left with no family, no career, no public life - no one to celebrate holidays with, no children to love. Hers is a lonely life.

Dunn, though, made her choices, even the choice not to marry, with her eyes wide open. It might have been kinder of Boles to have left her alone, but he didn't force her to stay with him. Perhaps pieces of true love were worth more to Dunn than a conventional life.

There are a few more plot twists left, but the outline of the story is set: Dunn lives for the windows of time she can spend with Boles. The climax, no spoilers coming, in which Boles' adult son learns a lesson about the complexities of life, is a nice touch at the end.

Dunn is outstanding here as she has to convey a lot of emotions with facial expressions, because she's almost always putting up a front, first for her family and later for Boles and the public. It's Dunn's talents that keeps her character from becoming pathetic.

Boles is good as he never comes across as cynical or mean, but slowly you realize how selfish his character is. His low-key acting style, though, leaves the field clear for this to be Dunn's movie. It would be a different picture with a strong leading man like Clark Gable.

Back Street is not the easiest book to bring to the screen as so much "action" happens in Dunn's head. Fortunately, Director John M. Stahl understood the material and his actors well, so he kept the focus on Dunn and her loneliness.

Back Street is a sad story even if you embrace the romantic angle. Since mistresses haven't disappeared, its story, while dated, still has something to say to us today, something that can be seen in the often lonely look in Irene Dunn's lovely eyes.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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View attachment 567334
Back Street from 1932 with Irene Dunn and John Boles




Back Street is not the easiest book to bring to the screen as so much "action" happens in Dunn's head. Fortunately, Director John M. Stahl understood the material and his actors well, so he kept the focus on Dunn and her loneliness.

Back Street is a sad story even if you embrace the romantic angle. Since mistresses haven't disappeared, its story, while dated, still has something to say to us today, something that can be seen in the often lonely look in Irene Dunn's lovely eyes.
Her eyes talk. Volumes writ chapter and verse. Earlier the other week, I commented Thomas Crown II, a film
less for its directorial ham handed moronic conception all things subtle with convolute politically correct
end. A cork bottle please and sell this swill to sewer. Now this is genuine directing and camera brief capture
of a woman's eyes saying all poetic prose. Her vulnerability tears my heart to shreds.
 

Worf

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,173
Location
Troy, New York, USA
"Godzilla Minus One" - Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the original "Gojira" (in Japanese) from 1954. That film, is a near masterpiece and, while not the first Kaiju film ever made it's certainly the best of the breed. While the original "Gojira" is set in a well recovered Japan of the early 50's, this current reboot of Godzilla's origin is set in late WWII and 1947 when the country is still firmly planted on its knees. We're drawn into the story slowly through the eyes of a Kamikaze pilot who loses his nerve and decides to bug-out mid flight to Ohto Island, landing there and claiming engine trouble. When the head mechanic can find nothing wrong with his plane the seeds of his cowardice are planted. Later that night the base is attacked by something... when ordered to fire the 20mm canons of his Zero at the creatures head... our "hero" again punks out... From this crazed opening.... the saga unfolds.

There are many differences between this and the original telling with the acting in this one being far superior and the story far more engaging on it's human side. These are simply the best humans in a Kaiju movie I've ever seen, only rivaled by "Pacific Rim" of a few years back. One thing remains the same however... THIS Gojira is the SAME as his 1954 for forebear. He is a city destroying, world ravaging monster literally spawned from the bowels of a radioactive hell, "maneuvered" (and this is an important point) to Japan by America. Some surmise that the G-Man was being "pointed" at the Soviets, but Japan got in the way. Regardless, he's big, powerful and pissed. The Ginza is laid flat and his "atomic breath" does NOT just set things on fire but sets off nuclear detonations!

This film is amazing. The only flaw I find in it is it fails to "stick" the landing. People who are dead should stay dead. Still, Puddin' and I were in tears when we left. See it on a large screen, the bigger the better! Let nothing dissuade you... you owe it to yourselves!

Worf
 
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Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
851
Hmmmm... the unmortified fussiness in me wants to point out that the original post might be understood as AHP91 and Barbara Stanwyck sitting down together to watch Christmas in Connecticut, made in 1945, but that's just uber-nit-picky. Ignore this comment.
It's a heavy favorite in the Christmas Movie Season rotation, over here at our place.
Wow, what a cotton-headed ninny-muggins I am. It should be "DonR" not AHP91. Send me to the the County Home for the Rushed and Inattentive.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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1,405
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St John's Wood, London UK
I had planned to sit Margin Call but Fast's review of Back Street with absolutely gorgeous Irene Dunne
with her Gloria Grahame eyes, struck lightning; so I went to 11th & Adams instead. Then Wall Street across
from George Washington's statue. Classic direction with tightly reasoned script.
Ms Dunne talks silent angst through optical acuity. John Boles possesses a selfish stone heart until he realizes his own truth; truth angel Ms Dune shared unselfishly. Mortality plays Romeo and Juliet. Stunning.
 
Messages
12,376
Location
Germany
I have to refresh my favorite actors list:

-Stellan Skarsgard
-Gary Oldman
-Lance Henriksen
-Martin Sheen

Say, what you want. But if Martin Sheen is in, it just can't be bad! :)
Still hoping for him and the USS Nimitz in a "The Final Countdown - Part II".
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
Messages
1,405
Location
St John's Wood, London UK
I have to refresh my favorite actors list:

-Stellan Skarsgard
-Gary Oldman
-Lance Henriksen
-Martin Sheen

Say, what you want. But if Martin Sheen is in, it just can't be bad! :)
Still hoping for him and the USS Nimitz in a "The Final Countdown - Part II".
Oldman saw recently in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as George Smiley.
Alec Guiness owns Smiley but Oldman gave GS a decent go with fairly solid casting all round the clock.
Skarsgard in Red October as Tupelov is all and more ticket price.
Lance-wer ist das?
Sheen had his run and Countdown doesn't need a sequel. Apocalypse Now is his best work.
 

T Jones

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,583
Location
Central Ohio
Black Angel (1946) on TCM’s Noir Alley right now. Despite its less than glowing reviews, I figured that since it was an adaptation of a Cornell Woolrich novel, I would give it a chance. It was okay for the most part. It felt flat. Peter Lorre as the shady nightclub owner was the only character I cared about. He was as good as I have ever seen and I would have enjoyed seeing more of his character.
:D
That was the last movie I watched too. For me, I liked it. I especially liked the twist at the end. It's not among the big film noir classics like 'Out of the Past' or 'Murder My Sweet' but it's still worth a watch, imo. Dan Duryea was my favorite character in this film.
 

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