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What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

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Four Daughters from 1938 with Priscilla Lane, John Garfield, Claude Rains, May Robson, Jeffrey Lynn, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane, Gale Page, Dick Foran and Frank McHugh


Some movies have so many characters and such fast-paced, smart dialogue that you can only really appreciate them the second or third time you see them, when you are no longer focused on getting the names down and the plot straight.

Four Daughters, with its interesting characters and sharp, snappy dialogue, is that type of movie. Its story, really several stories, is romantic, charming, sad and heartbreaking all at once, just as life is in any large family like "the Lemps."

The Lemp family - get ready for it - has four early adult daughters, played by the three real-life Lane sisters Priscilla, Rosemary and Lola and Gale Page, plus a widowed father played by Claude Rains and a spinster aunt played by May Robson.

The male suitors—the bane of any father with pretty daughters - comprise Frank McHugh, Jeffrey Lynn, Dick Foran, and John Garfield. Garfield, here, won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award playing a rebellious young man, a persona that defined his career.

The Lemps are musical. Rains is the dean of music at the local college and the girls either sing or play instruments with Rains conducting his family "orchestra" for fun. It's a spirited, happy and busy household, but change is coming as the girls are thinking of marriage.

There are several relationships in play. Foran, the local florist, is trying to court Page, who is interested in Lynn, who has eyes for Priscilla. Practical Lola is considering a proposal from wealthy McHugh, whom she likes but doesn't love - his money keeps him in the running.

It's humming along with all the ups and downs you'd expect until Tolstoy's "a stranger comes to town" in the form of a handsome and surely pianist, played by John Garfield. He's there to help Lynn with his composition work, but he quickly garners the attention of Priscilla.

Garfield is angry at the world, or "the fates" as he calls them, because of his hard upbringing as an orphan and, as he sees it, his talent being shy of genius, which leaves him frustrated and poor. One could easily argue Garfield's bitterness self sabotages his success.

The happy Lemp home is both appealing and irritating to Garfield. It reminds him of what he never had, but since the Lemps embrace him, he can't help liking it too. It's Priscilla, though, who takes on "making him human" as a project, which sets up the movie's central conflict.

Priscilla and Lynn were on a glidepath to engagement and marriage, until Garfield takes Priscilla out of her comfort zone. Whom she marries, what happens to both men as a result and how her marriage develops is the climax of this engaging melodrama.

It works because the writing is sharp, fast and funny. You will need to see it several times to take in all the lines, such as when Rains playfully threatens to go down to City Hall to have his name removed from his daughters' birth certificates because they like "modern" music.

It also works because the acting talent is excellent. Yes, Garfield earned his Oscar, but each daughter, even the ones with the smaller roles, creates a believable and nuanced character. May Robson all but steals scenes as the lovable aunt.

Jeffrey Lynn gives one of his best performances as the charming and handsome musician who looks like life has always fallen nicely into place for him until Garfield catches Priscilla's eye. Rains is outstanding as the ringmaster of all this who knows he really controls nothing.

Finally, it works because it's charming, but not cloying. The Lemps are lovable but believable. You wish you could spend time with them, but their problems are real and they take some painful body blows along the way. There's a reason they made two sequels.

Director Michael Curtiz professionally moved his large cast through this busy story. Almost every scene is poignant, with transitions flowing so seamlessly they barely register. Even the obvious sets add to the charm, without tipping the movie into mawkishness.

Four Daughters is so well done you can only fully appreciate its seemingly "simple story" with multiple viewings. That's when you'll both catch the numerous smart lines you missed the first time through and pick up the many relationship nuances that flew by too fast.

With all the cultural change since 1938, for some, the focus on marriage in Four Daughters could make it irrelevant. But the well-developed characters of the young women still provide a window into the past and insight into dating and relationships, even today.
 
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If Winter Comes from 1947 with Walter Pidgeon, Deborah Kerr, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh, Reginald Owen and John Abbot


While the 1950s were the heyday of the movie melodrama, saponaceous stories didn't spring de novo mid-century as Hollywood has been churning them out ever since there's been a Hollywood.

If Winter Comes would probably have been done in color and with a bigger budget had it been made in the 1950s, but this black-and-white post-war effort from MGM still has a strong cast to shepherd its engaging tale of love, scandal and backstabbing along.

Walter Pidgeon plays an editor who, jilted by his true love, played by Deborah Kerr, marries on the rebound a very pragmatic and socially ambitious woman, played by Angela Lansbury. It's no love story, but the marriage is working for the moment.

With WWII looming, though, Kerr returns to the small town and immediately pursues a "friendship" with Pidgeon. Lansbury, thinking she's being smart, allows it to go on as she assumes it will burn itself out. Bad move as her husband and Kerr's friendship flourishes.

Another wrinkle in Pidgeon's life is that his boss at work doesn't like him because Pidgeon's views are too liberal for the conservative publisher. The boss would like to fire him, but can't unless Pidgeon violates his contract's "morals clause."

Through it all, Pidgeon is simply a nice guy. He's kind to the two domestics his wife imperiously orders about. Then, when a local village girl, played by Janet Leigh, gets "in trouble" and is put out by her father, Pidgeon takes in the young pregnant girl.

That's too much goodness for Lansbury and for the town's gossip mill. Lansbury moves out and files for divorce. Ironically, Pidgeon has been nothing but kind and proper to Leigh, while his behavior with Kerr has been inappropriate, but it's the former that's causing the trouble.

There's more "shocking" melodrama to come, that's best left to be seen fresh, but know that divorce papers will be dramatically served, an inquest will pivot on a pharmacist's poison book and a suicide note might clear everything up, if it survives an attempted burning.

It is fun melodrama skillfully handled by a cast of professionals. Pidgeon is wonderful as the kind, life-affirming Englishman whose quiet world is ripped apart by a good deed. Kerr is equally engaging as the woman who wants to correct a mistake, but is maybe a bit too late.

Lansbury is perfect playing the martinet wife who made the mistake of marrying a decent man when she needed an ambitious and cold one like herself. At twenty-two, Lansbury convincingly plays a woman in her thirties as, even young, she always looked a bit matronly.

Reginald Owen and John Abbot are excellent as Pidgeon's scheming, but English-prim-and-proper looking boss and co-worker, respectively. A very young Janet Leigh is adorable as the daughter sadly thrown out of her home for "shaming" the family.

Shot on sets and in Florida for some exterior scenes, no one will mistake any of it for England. Still, MGM created a romanticized English village that nicely fits the story of a pleasant-looking community simmering with scandal and prejudice just beneath the surface.

If Winter Comes is a fun full-on soap opera from one of Hollywood's top studios, which leveraged its deep bench of talented actors to make a standard potboiler story engaging. It's fluff, but it's entertaining-as-heck fluff.


N.B. If Winter Comes is based on the 1921 novel by A.S.M. Hutchinson. Comments on the novel here: #9,138
 
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The Inside Story from 1948 with Charles Winninger, Gene Lockhart, Florence Bates, Marsha Hunt, Robert Shayne, Roscoe Karns, Allen Jenkins and Gail Patrick


It is not often that a motion picture from Hollywood's studio era addresses:

- The Monetary Equation MV=PQ (money time velocity equals price times quantity)
- Fractional Reserve Banking
- The Gold Standard

But The Inside Story, a genuinely lighthearted offering from Republic Pictures, does all that in a fable-like story of the Depression that can be enjoyed even if economics is not your thing.

Bookended by two scenes in, then, present day 1948, the movie is told as one long flashback to a small Vermont town in 1933 dying from a lack of money in circulation due to the Depression. Very little business gets done as everyone owes money, but no one has any.

The town's hotel might go into receivership as it has few paying customers and can't even meet its own restaurant's food bill. A local lawyer's marriage might fail as his ego can't accept his wife supporting them with her out-of-town work as a dress model.

Even the skinflint and slightly crooked local grocer might fail as he can't make his rent payments to his kind landlady who owns the local mills that she had to close due to lack of business. You get it, the town is dying because no one has any money.

Then a man from a collection agency comes to town with $1000 for a local farmer. Owing to a series of coincidences, the money, which was being stored briefly in the hotel's safe, accidentally ends up in circulation.

The hotelier pays his grocery bill, which allows the grocer to pay his landlady, who then hires the lawyer and on it goes. The townsfolk start to feel optimistic as the money circulates.

The "message" for 1948 post-war audiences is to not hoard money, to not store it in safe deposit boxes, but instead, to deposit it in the bank. Hoarding, it is argued, could bring on another depression, which was a significant post-war concern.

The economics is oversimplified, but at a high level, it captures the importance of the velocity of money - how the $1000 moves quickly through many hands - which is the "V" in MV=PQ. Faster velocity leads to more economic activity (PQ, price times quantity).

The economics here also touches on fractional reserve banking, which, oversimplified, means that when money is deposited in a bank and loaned out, it increases the "M," the money supply, which also leads to increased economic activity (PQ).

Gold gets a passing mention as the government, in the Depression, made it illegal to hoard gold. It's noted the government could do the same to paper money today, in 1948. This is a complex issue, but the message was to deposit your money in a bank.

Economic scholars still fight over the causes of the Depression, but the point of the movie was to try to prevent another one by having people deposit their money in the banks and not hoard it. With many caveats and at a high level, it's a good message.

If the above economics were central to the story, it would make for an awful movie, but the economics plays on in the background, while the "cuter" story of $1000 accidentally bringing life to this woebegone community is front and center.

The talented cast gives the movie an uplifting spirit. Gene Lockhart is excellent as the hotelier afraid he'll go to jail because he accidentally spent $1000 that isn't his. His daughter, played by Marsha Hunt, is cuteness on steroids trying to help her dad.

Charles Winninger is lovable as the befuddled hotel clerk whose common sense, often, cuts to the quick. Florence Bates is wonderful as the town's matron who tries to do right as she calls out the movie's one villain, the greedy grocer, played by Will Wright.

Robert Shayne, Roscoe Karns, Allen Jenkins, Gail Patrick and a few other B-movie regulars round out a likable cast that somehow make The Inside Story's tale of Depression Era challenges into a lighthearted comedy.

Today, it's hard to appreciate this story if you have no familiarity with the struggles of the Depression. If you do, however, the economics can slide by, and you can just have fun with the perennial plot device of "found money" making people happy…until it doesn't.
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
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The Egg and I (1947) with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, with Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride. WW2 vet MacMurray and new bride Colbert face challenging challenges on a chicken farm way out in the country. Based on the book by Betty MacDonald. Is it a screwball comedy? A rom-com? A live action cartoon? Or all those at once?

We watched it with the grandkids, and they laughed at the slapstick gags (trees falling on chicken coops, Colbert dancing with a number of clumsy or hyperactive partners, etc. ) but overall did not enjoy it. Us grown-ups enjoyed the repartee and goofy set-pieces, but our enjoyment was soured by the heavy-handed set-ups and MacMurray's character seeming to disconnect with his wife. The sub-plot of a (widowed? divorced?) lady ranch owner who clearly has her eye on MacMurray, and his astonishing ignorance of her ploys and his wife's reactions prevented us from entering in. The dvd is one of the box set of the entire Ma and Pa Kettle series; the Missus and I will view them at leisure.
 
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This morning, The Breaking Point on TCM’s Noir Alley. John Garfield, Noir, great cinematography, entertaining story, a cup of coffee all combined to make for a nice morning.
:D
I didn't watch it this time, but I've seen it a few times and agree. It's an outstanding movie that, for me anyway, gets better each time I see it. I don't want to spoil it for others, so I'll just note that the scene of the young boy alone on the pier is freakin' heartbreaking.
 
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Four Wives from 1939 with Priscilla Lane, Lola Lane and Rosemary Lane (all sisters), plus Gale Page, Claude Rains, Frank McHugh, Jeffrey Lynn and May Robson


If Hallmark today had the budget for the behind- and in-front-of-the-camera talent that Warner Bros. had in the 1930s, then Hallmark would be making pleasantly harmless but enjoyable movies like Four Wives.

Most of the cast of the original movie in the series, Four Daughters - Priscilla, Lola and Rosemary Lane, plus Gale Page, Claude Rains, Frank McHugh, Jeffrey Lynn and May Robson - is back along with "newcomer" Eddie Albert for more Lemp family challenges and love.

The fictional daughter-laden Lemp family (the three Lane girls, plus Page) is motherless, but headed by a kind, if somewhat bumbling, music professor, played by Rains, and the "keeps the household working" aunt Etta, played by the wonderful Robson.

In this sequel, daughter Priscilla has moved back home after her musically talented but angry-at-the-world husband, played in Four Daughters by John Garfield, passed away. Priscilla is struggling to adjust to being a widow, even before she gets some bombshell news.

On a trip to the doctor to see if one of her sisters is pregnant, Priscilla discovers that she is pregnant with her deceased husband's baby. This ups her sadness over his passing and also creates a hurdle for her new relationship with her old boyfriend, played by Lynn.

There are several small storylines in this one - one sister loses a baby and is told she can't have children, which gets tangled up in another sister's crazy adoption event, while yet another sister is trying hard to rope in a young idealistic doctor - but the focus is Priscilla's depression.

Despite the heavy sounding theme - and at times the picture is sad, almost morose - the general vibe is that the good-natured and loving Lemp family will rally around any injured member and see him or her (it's usually a her, with all those daughters) through.

It works if you are in the mood to see a large family be kind to each other as they meddle in each other's lives, sometimes, annoyingly so, but always with good intent.

Dinners for boyfriends are over engineered to make the dating sister look like the perfect wife. The sisters show up en masse whenever any one of them goes to a doctor. Mail and phone calls are rarely private. You get a wedding party whether you want one or not.

These are nice, attractive people living an idealized version of America's middle class, but with enough trials and travails to give the movie a plot and the story some relevance. The actors are pretty much all appealing. There are no "heavies" in these movies.

The sisters, the Lane girls plus Page, are pretty and sweet; who wouldn't want to marry one? The father, Rains, is never really stern and always kind. The "bossy" aunt deeply loves all the girls. The male suitors can be stupid now and then, but they are all good men.

Four Wives is pleasant escapism of the kind that Hallmark tries to pull off but rarely does as it lacks the talented cast, reasonable budget and behind the scenes level of skill that Warner Bros. had back in the studio days.


N.B. 1930s Movie hack: Warners made one more movie in this series, Four Mothers. Inexplicably, right in the middle of the series, it also made a movie with most of the same actors playing similar characters in a movie called Daughters Courageous. It's not part of the "Lemp" series, but it is, possibly, the best one of these light family drama efforts.
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
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871
Recent views at the stately Shellhammer Fete du Film include

The Saint's Double Trouble (1940) with George Sanders, and a minor appearance of Bela Lugosi; Jonathan Hale returns in his role as Inspector Fernack. Directed by Jack Hively, who helmed a couple other productions in the franchise. As you might suppose, the title lets us know Simon Templar has an exact double who makes his living through crime. The double's name is something I forget, like maybe "Big Duke" McMurder, or "Trout" Almandine, but he weasels in on a gift mummy deal set up by Templar for Professor Bitts (his old college prof), whose daughter had a Marion Ravenswood-like crush on Simon. The mummy was used to smuggle some stuff in to the US from Cairo. From Cairo comes Lugosi as an important Cairene official in on the smuggling There's a lot of capturing each other and then escaping, and then the bad guy henchmen getting flummoxed re: which Sanders in their boss, and so on.

Then there was A Letter to Three Wives (1949) with Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, and Ann Sothern. A letter is sent to three wives informing them that one of their husbands is leaving town with the writer of the letter, Addie Ross. We pass the time seeing flashbacks to each couple's early years, trying to see if there's any grounds for desertion. Based on a magazine story, direction and screenplay were by Joseph Mankiewicz, who won an Oscar for both efforts. Sort of an old-fashioned "women's picture" but the marital squabbles are frequent and rough to watch. It all wraps up at the end, but we're left guessing right up to close to the fade-out.
 
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The Damned Don't Cry from 1950 with Joan Crawford, David Brian, Kent Smith and Steve Cochran


"Don't talk to me about self respect, that's something you tell yourself you got when you got nothing else...The only thing that counts is that stuff you take to the bank, that filthy buck that everybody sneers at but slugs to get." - Joan Crawford as Ethel Whitehead looking to become Lorna Hansen Forbes


The Damned Don't Cry is one of the better post-war Joan Crawford vehicles that sees Crawford, once again, willing to do almost anything to get out of poverty. Without marketable skills, but plenty of looks and ruthless feminine wiles, "almost anything" usually means sleeping with the right men.

Brought up in poverty and after tragedy ends her first marriage to a struggling oil-field worker, Crawford's character, Ethel Whitehead, heads to a big city to "get ahead." She quickly ends up in the only job she's qualified for, a fashion model, back when the pay for that work was low and "entertaining the customers," was part of the job.

Bitter and ruthless at this point in her life, Crawford first hooks up with a smart but unambitious accountant, played by Kent Smith. After promoting his talents to the mob, which is looking to turn its violent rackets into a professionally run business, Crawford jumps from Smith to the big mob boss played by David Brian.

Brian has "reinvented" himself from a rough mobster into a cultured man and, effectively, helps Crawford, now his mistress, do the same with money, travel and a social-registry woman to educate her in the ways of the wealthy and refined. Crawford's Ethel Whitehead chooses the wonderfully insane name of Lorna Hansen Forbes to complete her transformation into a society woman.

Having achieved everything she wants, it's time for Crawford, dripping in jewels, fur and refinement, to pay the piper. Brian needs her to go out West and "ingratiate" herself to his key lieutenant out there, who Brian believes is plotting a coup.

It's palliated only a bit for the Motion Picture Production Code, but the assignment is really to sleep with the guy and find out what he's up to. Crawford's Lorna Hansen Forbes, now believing her own press a bit too much, is affronted by this. Brian, though, reminds her that this is what she's been all along, so he tells her, effectively, get to it.

From here, The Damned Don't Cry goes all in on its mobster-soap-opera story as Crawford begins to fall for the West Coast mobster, smoothly played by Steve Cochran, which brings Brian and his now invaluable business manager, Smith, out West for the big climatic showdown.

Crawford is outstanding playing ruthlessly ambitious characters; characters so obsessed with getting rich they never really seem to enjoy their temporary success as there's not much humanity left in them by the time they achieve their goal. It's a common lesson in many of her post war morality-tale movies: blind ruthless ambition leads to empty soulless victories.

The Damned Don't Cry is fun post-war Crawford melodrama with a touch of mob noir tossed in. Yes, it's over the top; yes, the plot has a bunch of holes; yes, the dialogue can sometimes be cringeworthy and, yes, some scenery gets chewed up, but isn't that the way of all enjoyable cheesy entertainment?. Plus, it's fun time travel to just-post-war America.


N.B. #1 For all the male actors who played roles too old for them, the female answer is half the movies Joan Crawford made after the war. By force of personality or screen presence or something, Crawford regularly played characters ten or more years younger than she was, but despite not looking the part, which often called for her to be prepossessingly beautiful, she pulled them off.

N.B. #2 You have to appreciate the way actor Kent Smith accepted his Hollywood fate of, often, having to be the man who doesn't get the girl. It's not a fun role, but someone has to be the milquetoast who loses the good-looking girl to the handsome leading man.

N.B. #3 The "flashback" style of telling a story was big in the late 1940s and could, sometimes, frame a picture well as you keep the outcome of the story in mind when you are seeing the events that lead up to that outcome unfold. But often, as in The Damned Don't Cry, it is a contrivance that undermines the tension of the picture as you know the conclusion of the story all along.
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
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The Dark Corner (1946), a superb noir with Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix , and Mark Stevens, directed by Henry Hathaway. Classic noir visuals, with high contrast lighting, geometric shapes formed by light cutting into a room from a window, shadows carrying the storyline cast on walls and floors, and a proportion of the action occurring at night. Tight, tough dialogue is delivered effortlessly.
Lucille Ball is the secretary to PI Stevens, who is starting over in New York after a prison sentence in California. Bendix is shadowing him (here described as "shagging" ) and we learn as the story unfolds that Stevens may have taken the fall for another. Webb as a snooty and powerful art dealer, and Kurt Kreuger as an attorney somehow connected with Stevens, form the ensemble. Hathaway expertly sets up the art-filled mansion of Webb, cavernous and brightly-lit, contrasting it with the cheap apartments, dangerous alleys, and tired urban streets of a tough city after dark.
In a quite different role, Ball portrays a character minus the comedian persona we might immediately remember. Here she is capable, independent, savvy, and at the same time able to deliver snappy comebacks and wisecracks without exaggeration. Much enjoyed by the Missus and I.
 
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The Dark Corner (1946), a superb noir with Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix , and Mark Stevens, directed by Henry Hathaway. Classic noir visuals, with high contrast lighting, geometric shapes formed by light cutting into a room from a window, shadows carrying the storyline cast on walls and floors, and a proportion of the action occurring at night. Tight, tough dialogue is delivered effortlessly.
Lucille Ball is the secretary to PI Stevens, who is starting over in New York after a prison sentence in California. Bendix is shadowing him (here described as "shagging" ) and we learn as the story unfolds that Stevens may have taken the fall for another. Webb as a snooty and powerful art dealer, and Kurt Kreuger as an attorney somehow connected with Stevens, form the ensemble. Hathaway expertly sets up the art-filled mansion of Webb, cavernous and brightly-lit, contrasting it with the cheap apartments, dangerous alleys, and tired urban streets of a tough city after dark.
In a quite different role, Ball portrays a character minus the comedian persona we might immediately remember. Here she is capable, independent, savvy, and at the same time able to deliver snappy comebacks and wisecracks without exaggeration. Much enjoyed by the Missus and I.

I really enjoyed your write-up. I watched the movie earlier in the year and like it like you and your wife did. My comments here: #31,263 (feel free to ignore, we all only have so much time).
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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I had lost interest in the thread a long time ago when people were mostly discussing more modern films. Tip of the hat to you.
And you're a F.L.A.S.K. man Tik? Adventure beckons hither and yon like Indy's retirement and all that Mouse House Mickey Mouse corporate Snow White stuff, and what about Licorice Pizza and ELVIS? You didn't catch any of my favourites? Didntja read my review of McQueen's The Thomas Crown Affair? Dunaway almost stole it from Steverino who wore a plain trench in Boston and built a beach lobster fire besides all his Bogartin around and launderin cash like Barclays. And he left her ice cold poker. Stone cold Steven did the great escape.:cool:
 
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Just a Gigolo from 1931 with William Haines, Irene Purcell and C. Aubrey Smith


Even in 1930, "testing" a woman's "virtue" before marriage had to feel a bit contrived as the 1920s was hardly a chaste decade. Yet if you simply run with Just a Gigolo, it's a fun precode elevated by Irene Purcell's spirited performance and uber cuteness.

The plot has a playboy lord, played by William Haines, being forced into an arranged marriage by his English uncle, played by C. Aubrey Smith. But Haines strikes a bargain with his uncle to first test the virtue of his potential bride, played by Irene Purcell.

Since the two "kids" have never met, Haines is going to masquerade as a gigolo - a hired male dance partner, sometimes with "benefits -" to compromise Purcell's chastity. He has thirty days to, umm, "succeed." If he does, he's free; otherwise, he'll marry her.

Much of the movie is Haines trying like the dickens to bed Purcell as she, unaware of the "test," just uses Haines as a dance partner and escort. The "tension" comes as the clock ticks down and Haines still can't get Purcell to, well, dance between the sheets.

It's no surprise that Haines and Purcell are falling in love, but she thinks he's a gigolo and he still thinks she "loose." There are, naturally, a few angry moments as the truth eventually starts to spill out, along with a few extra plot twists.

Unless you're new to these types of precode sexcapade movies, you'll guess the rushed climax, pretty early on, but the fun is the silliness along the way. And the fun is Purcell.

For whatever reason, Purcell's Hollywood career was brief, but here she shows she had everything a leading lady needs: looks, acting talent and that something special stars have. She easily could have been another Myrna Loy or Carole Lombard.

Haines is good, too, as he was a very popular star at the time. But he feels dated to the era in a way that Purcell does not. Purcell has so much modern female spirit that had she been born at the right moment, she'd have made a heck of a Rachel on Friends.

The other fun actor in this one is C. Aubrey Smith, Hollywood's first choice throughout the 1930s whenever it needed a stuffy upper-class older British gentleman who somehow comes across as sincere and kind despite all his pretentious airs.

Nobody, then or now, is dumb enough to really believe this picture’s plot is real, but these Depression Era "foibles of the rich and stupid" sex romps were popular movies at the time.

They allowed a struggling public to escape for an hour or two to a world of black ties, evening gowns, chauffeur-driven cars, penthouses, airplanes and the silly problems of rich people.

Today, old movies like Just a Gigolo are fun time capsules more of Hollywood movies than of any real world. Yet being a precode, at least casual sex wasn't a crime stripped from the screen as would happen after 1934 when the Production Code was enforced.

At just over an hour, the movie is still escapism for us today, but with the added benefit of seeing stars like Purcells and Smith who were fortunately captured on film and not lost forever as so many theater actors of that era were.
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
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"Schindler's List," (1993) is phenomenally powerful and effective in portraying the historical atrocities. Brownie points if you can keep your eyes dry from watching: "Schindler's List."

Businessman Oskar Schindler saved the lives of many Jews, by employing them in his factories, thus saving them from going to The Concentration Camps. It's one of the best films ever made, not just the ultimate story of The Holocaust, but truly as masterpiece.

If you can sit through it without being moved to the point of tears, you're made of stronger stuff than I am, the atrocities committed on those innocent people will never be forgotten. The realisation here is chilling. The film's pacing is quite remarkable, it's a three hour film that flashes by quickly, but it's three hours that will live with you forever, some of the scenes will rightly never be forgotten.

What has always struck me, is the way that everything became normalised, people first losing their businesses, their homes, their freedom, and ultimately their lives, it is truly one of the bleakest points in human history, that's what this film details perfectly.
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
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871
I really enjoyed your write-up. I watched the movie earlier in the year and like it like you and your wife did. My comments here: #31,263 (feel free to ignore, we all only have so much time).
Your earlier comments are well-put, FF; The Dark Corner is a solid noir, but for an introduction to the genre perhaps something along the lines of Out of the Past would be better.
 

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