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What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
868
The Man Who Died Twice (1958), directed by Joseph Kane (who was behind the camera for In Old Sacramento, Song of Nevada, and The Yellow Rose of Texas), and starring Rod Cameron, Vera Ralston, and Mike Mazurski. Here I insert IMDb's synopsis in full:

Nightclub owner T.J. Brennon dies in a car accident and two narcotics agents are killed in his apartment, prompting an investigation by the local police aided by Brennon's cop brother.

A noir produced at the tailing off of that genre's life, more of a racket-buster or straight crime story. In a way, it is one of the cautionary tales made by Hollywood about various aspects of contemporary society, in this case narcotics. We only watched it out of curiosity. If you have a choice between this and Abbott and Costello Meet a Great Lakes Hatchery, go with Bud and Lou.
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
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You Only Live Twice:

You Only Live Twice, on TV this evening, falls some way behind the previous three movies. The exploits of 007 also seem to lack the panache and the raw excitement of previous outings, despite the staging of the biggest and most impressive finale of the series so far. Yet there's still plenty to enjoy.

Donald Pleasance has to be the best super villain ever. Playing the part of Blofeld, with that bald head and scar, the stuff of comic book excess.
blofeld.jpg

He does the role proud too, with a cleverly creepy performance that only Pleasance could achieve. “Kill Bond now,” is a fabulous hissy shriek of aggrieved impotence and his little scuttling frame is a comical slant on somebody determined to cause mass murder.

Connery just doesn’t pass muster this time out. He always looks snappy in those 1960’s suits and he handles the physicality of Bond’s latest mission with ease, flipping a gaggle of heavies over during the final act. But there is definitely something missing.

Even if you didn’t know that Connery was determined to bow out and leave the character behind at this point, you can plainly see how little enthusiasm he has.

Just a post script: The exploding cigarettes in You Only Live Twice could be at an end. Cigarettes are to be digitally removed from all Bond movies.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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You Only Live Twice:

But there is definitely something missing.
Sean Connery seemed to mesh sophisticate sociopath-secret servitude; yet beneath his obvious talent
the 007 franchise itself even then showed wear and tear. The times when looking back with nostalgia eyed
intent soon caught Bond and outpassed his suave secret agent world.
 
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MV5BOTQ2MzU5ODgtNTRjMC00NmY5LTg4ZmEtODcwNDZhMjNjYmUzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzAwOTU1MTk@._V1_.jpg

The Rat Race from 1960 with Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Jack Oakie, Don Rickles and Kay Medford


The nice thing about "old movies" is that there's always another gem to be discovered. The Rat Race is a gem, but it takes some Motion Picture Production Code "translation" skill to understand the meaningful nuances going on in this often gritty picture.

Tony Curtis plays a "hick" jazz musician who comes to New York City from his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to make it big. Apartment hunting, he meets a young woman who, years ago, had come to New York to make it big as a dancer.

Curtis rents the tiny studio that the young woman, played by Debbie Reynold, was just about to be evicted from. She, obviously, hasn't made it big. Yet in the way that things only happen in movies, nice-guy Curtis lets Reynolds stay on with him for a few days.

This sets up an "odd couple" sort of relationship as Curtis is all optimism and New York City newbie enthusiasm, while Reynolds is all cynicism and bitter lethargy. He just believes, while she believes in nothing.

It's a smart juxtaposition as it feels like it could be a "before and after" tableau, but we don't know that Curtis will fail or that Reynold's luck won't change. This, though, is no happy early 1960s battle-of-the-sexes comedy as Reynolds is genuinely poor and bitter.

Her dancing dreams have been reduced to working as a taxi dancer in a club run by a thuggish pimp played by Don Rickles. Rickles gets to show his dramatic acting chops here as he tries to financially squeeze Reynolds into prostitution.

Reynolds, who has nothing left of her self respect but that she hasn't done "that" (you'll need some movie-code translation skills to understand this nuance), is trying to hold out. Curtis, meanwhile, gets "initiated" to New York City as he falls for several scams.

Curtis also begins to develop feelings for Reynolds, but she's so dispirited by life that she denies even to herself that she's beginning to like the kind man she's living with. But again, this is no romcom, so she has a real edge to her that keeps the romance at bay.

Jack Oakie plays the nice owner of the local bar that Reynolds and Curtis frequent more to hang out in than to drink. Kay Medford plays a cynical regular patron of the bar. These two function as older reflections of what Curtis and Reynolds might become.

Oakie, doing well in a rare dramatic part, as he usually plays a goofy character, is the sounding board and, often, conscience of Reynolds. She is so angry at the world that she needs someone to vent to and to calm her down. It's a subtly touching relationship.

The climax, no spoilers coming, is smartly handled as Reynolds is forced to decide if she's going to help a now struggling Curtis or if she's too resentful of the world to have any real humanity left in her.

Her actions put her in Rickles' crosshairs, leading to an excruciating scene. You'll need your translation skills again to get that Reynolds would be standing stripped fully naked in front of Rickles. Nothing else happens, but Rickles made his point. It's powerful.

Curtis, too, has one more moment of the rug getting pulled out from under him, which is more about him becoming a true New Yorker than anything else. The Rat Race isn't noirishly bleak, but it never sells out its "life is tough" street cred.

Curtis and Reynolds were both cast against type as Curtis, a born and bred New Yorker, doesn't naturally read flyover-country hick, just like corn-fed-looking Reynolds doesn't naturally read hardened New Yorker.

Kudos to both actors, though, as you quickly believe in their characters. 1960s moviegoers, though, weren't ready to see sweet Debbie Reynolds play a cynical New Yorker. It's probably why the movie flopped, but it's also why it's an "undiscovered" gem today.

The only miss in the movie is that, other than for a few exterior Times Square shots, it wasn't filmed in New York. For a movie that didn't hold back many punches for the era, it needed the true grit of on-location New York City filming to complete its realism.

The Rat Race reminds us that, over time, many outstanding movies fall between the cracks. A flop upon release, with its actors cast against type and in no clear genre - it's not a noir, a romcom or even a soap opera - the picture has always been ignored.

That, though, is what makes finding a movie like The Rat Race, today, that much more enjoyable for fans of old movies who wonder if there are any pictures left to wow them. The answer is there always are, you just have to keep looking and have a little luck.

trrdrdrffltonrn.jpg
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
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868
The Informer (1935), directed by John Ford, with Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster. Four Academy Awards: best actor, director, screenplay, score. A masterful film, set in 1922 Ireland, with McLaglen as a slow on the uptake member of the lower classes, who has been put out of the Irish rebellion against England. No spoilers, but he informs on a fugitive murderer for the reward money, originally to buy passage for two to America. In the course of a single night he squanders the money, falls under suspicion of his fellow rebels, and grapples with guilt.

The print from TCM was luminous, and Ford's direction keeps the visuals gripping. Some of McLaglen's scenes come across as a little over the top, as well as some other performances, but they fit in with the drama of the story.
 
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Shutterstock_5866343a.jpg

Four Mothers from 1941 with Priscilla, Lola and Rosemary Lane, Gale Page, Claude Rains, Frank McHugh, Jeffrey Lynn, Dick Foran, May Robson and Eddie Albert


This third and final entry in the "Lemp family" saga succumbed to the challenges of most sequels as its story is forced and the dramatic moments obviously constructed, but darn it, if you've made it this far with these likable characters, you'll forgive them a lot.

Four Mothers includes most of the cast of the other two - Priscilla, Lola and Rosemary Lane, Gale Page, Claude Rains, Frank McHugh, Jeffrey Lynn, Dick Foran and May Robson, plus Eddie Albert, from the second movie - returning for more Lemp family challenges.

This time the Lemps quickly find themselves facing financial and marital problems as a Florida land development Frank McHugh's character is building - and Lemp paterfamilias Raines has promoted around town - is wiped out by a hurricane.

The idea cupboard was clearly a bit bare in the writers room for this one. With the townsfolk unfairly blaming Rains over the money they lost, the family is under intense pressure.

With money concerns weighing on them, a couple of the adorable Lemp girls' marriages buckle. Rosemary's marriage to Albert, an idealistic doctor, is stressed because she wants him to quit research and join a practice to make money to help the family.

Priscilla's husband, played by Lynn, takes a better paying job in Chicago, making them a long-distance couple. This creates the tamest "is my husband having an affair with my sister" penumbra ever.

The main story, though, is really on Rains as he sells the beloved Lemp family homestead - the nexus of all the Lemp wonderfulness - to pay back the investors. A subsequent career setback, then, has Rains and Robson living in a city tenement.

That brings us to the end of "act two" of the three-act story, with act three a rushed and not-that-believable happy resolution to all these Lemp problems (you know all along happy endings are coming in these movies). The homestead Hail Mary is a real truth stretcher.

It's too much hyper melodrama for a movie series whose magic is the closeness of a family who solve their real-life-ish problems with love. If you hadn't seen the prior two movies in the series, this one would be a slog.

But if you have seen them, there's still enough charm and goodwill to carry you through. The daughters are adorable, sincere and loyal in a way that makes you just love them. They are the wonderfully imperfect sisters you wish you had.

Rains and Robinson are the father and aunt you also want. They argue, but it means nothing as their love for each other and the family is an unbreakable bond. Both, unfortunately, are given some forced dialogue in this one, but they deliver it admirably.

The husbands - Lynn, Albert, McHugh and Foran - are all likeable characters and likable actors who know they are in supporting roles here in service to the girls. And in truth, there are families like that.

Some movies are a true time capsule of their era, others create a world dreamed up by Hollywood. All the "Four Something" movies are in the latter category. They don't portray a real family, but a family created in Tinseltown for movie-going audiences to enjoy.

Four Mothers, despite its forced and exaggerated plot, is pleasant escapism. It's escapism that still works today if you just put your cynicism aside for an hour and half, which is a quite pleasant thing to do.
 

Edward

Bartender
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24,852
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You Only Live Twice:

You Only Live Twice, on TV this evening, falls some way behind the previous three movies. The exploits of 007 also seem to lack the panache and the raw excitement of previous outings, despite the staging of the biggest and most impressive finale of the series so far. Yet there's still plenty to enjoy.

Donald Pleasance has to be the best super villain ever. Playing the part of Blofeld, with that bald head and scar, the stuff of comic book excess.
View attachment 607631
He does the role proud too, with a cleverly creepy performance that only Pleasance could achieve. “Kill Bond now,” is a fabulous hissy shriek of aggrieved impotence and his little scuttling frame is a comical slant on somebody determined to cause mass murder.

Connery just doesn’t pass muster this time out. He always looks snappy in those 1960’s suits and he handles the physicality of Bond’s latest mission with ease, flipping a gaggle of heavies over during the final act. But there is definitely something missing.

Even if you didn’t know that Connery was determined to bow out and leave the character behind at this point, you can plainly see how little enthusiasm he has.

Just a post script: The exploding cigarettes in You Only Live Twice could be at an end. Cigarettes are to be digitally removed from all Bond movies.


Not my favourite of the Bond films in which Blofeld appears, but by far the most iconic take on the character (doubly so , I think, after it was so spoofed by Mike Myers as Doctor Evil in Austin Powers: international Man of Mystery). Some years ago (about 2008, I think) I went to an event themed as From Russia With Love. Blofeld is, of course, the villain in that one, albeit played by a different actor, but as he is not seen on screen I opted for Pleasance's look for the night:

1713784470704.png


And with Lenin:

1713784491933.png


The Blofeld suit was done on a budget, so not quite the right colour (it's actually a Chinese People's Army uniform, debadged); one day I'd love to get a more 'correct' Mao suit made for it.
 

Edward

Bartender
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Very impressive Edward, seriously. Did you do your own make up?

Yes - actually really easy. It's a substance called 'collodium' that just paints on as a liquid. Like using nail varnish. As it dries, it puckers the skin, giving a realistic scarring effect. I picked it up a year or so before that originally for an Edward Scissorhands costume (Edward has scars on his face too), dug it out for Blofeld. I wore Blofeld's scar again for a Chap Ball some years later -

1713804694974.png


A thuggish looking type on the tube looked at me like he was about to come out with some smart comment about my being in black tie (and wearing a homburg; the fez was in the hatbox and worn inside). As he looked up I caught his eye and turned my head to the side. He caught sight if the "scar" and hurriedly looked away.... then got off at the next stop. Kinda fun seeing people thing it was real!
 

Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
868
Things to Come (1936) a film adaptation of H. G. Wells' 1933 book The Shape of Things to Come, a "future history" of a world devastated by war, and the restoration of civilization by airmen and scientists. The film generally follows the book's theme.
Directed by William Cameron Menzies, with Raymond Massey as John Cabal in 1936, and his own great-grandson in 2036; other actors portray their own descendants, as well.

War clouds are threatening Europe as the story opens, and within a short time aerial bombardment of cities begins. Through montages we see the war drag on from 1940 through to the 1960s. England has devolved into a primitive semi-medieval society. Ralph Richardson as "The Boss" is a feudal warlord, and his portrayal is hypnotic as he rants and flexes his warlord muscles. Massey is a survivor of the pre-war world, now part of a group of scientists and technicians dedicated to re-building the ruins.

Fading Fast, please do one your thorough-going analyses of the story: for me, I'm impressed by the special effects, the remarkable miniatures, and the vision of an art deco future, one where people are still people who grumble and gripe and think they know what is best for their fellow-citizens. The sequence of stupendous machines boring through the earth, towering cranes, automated factories working apace, and other scenes of progress on a gigantic scale, is extraordinary. The Missus walked in about half-way through, did not find it interesting, and let me movie-nerd-geek -out 'til the epic conquest of space finale.
 
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Things to Come (1936) a film adaptation of H. G. Wells' 1933 book The Shape of Things to Come, a "future history" of a world devastated by war, and the restoration of civilization by airmen and scientists. The film generally follows the book's theme.
Directed by William Cameron Menzies, with Raymond Massey as John Cabal in 1936, and his own great-grandson in 2036; other actors portray their own descendants, as well.

War clouds are threatening Europe as the story opens, and within a short time aerial bombardment of cities begins. Through montages we see the war drag on from 1940 through to the 1960s. England has devolved into a primitive semi-medieval society. Ralph Richardson as "The Boss" is a feudal warlord, and his portrayal is hypnotic as he rants and flexes his warlord muscles. Massey is a survivor of the pre-war world, now part of a group of scientists and technicians dedicated to re-building the ruins.

Fading Fast, please do one your thorough-going analyses of the story: for me, I'm impressed by the special effects, the remarkable miniatures, and the vision of an art deco future, one where people are still people who grumble and gripe and think they know what is best for their fellow-citizens. The sequence of stupendous machines boring through the earth, towering cranes, automated factories working apace, and other scenes of progress on a gigantic scale, is extraordinary. The Missus walked in about half-way through, did not find it interesting, and let me movie-nerd-geek -out 'til the epic conquest of space finale.

I've seen it few times in the past, but not recently. My memory is similar to yours; I think you capture it well. It was an ambitious effort that combined social and political commentary plus sci-fi in one movie. It had elements of "The Twilight Zone" and even "Star Trek," again, if memory serves. If I see it again, I'll give it a go at writing it up. I laughed that your wife tagged out - she had enough.
 
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Julian Shellhammer

Practically Family
Messages
868
Sabrina (1954) with Bogie, Audrey, and a blond Bill Holden. AA for Edith Mode Head for costume design. Directed by Billy Wilder from a screen play by Wilder, Samuel Taylor, and Ernest Lehman. If you have seen it, you know it is a rom-com, a semi-farce, and a fairy tale, with the whimsey and fantasy of the foibles of Americans rich beyond our comprehension. Bogart's office is larger than some of our homes. The grown-ups laughed and laughed and the youngsters kept asking what was so funny. Snappy dialogue and wacky relationships lose their punch if you have to explain them.
 
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Sabrina (1954) with Bogie, Audrey, and a blond Bill Holden. AA for Edith Mode Head for costume design. Directed by Billy Wilder from a screen play by Wilder, Samuel Taylor, and Ernest Lehman. If you have seen it, you know it is a rom-com, a semi-farce, and a fairy tale, with the whimsey and fantasy of the foibles of Americans rich beyond our comprehension. Bogart's office is larger than some of our homes. The grown-ups laughed and laughed and the youngsters kept asking what was so funny. Snappy dialogue and wacky relationships lose their punch if you have to explain them.

I feel the same way about it. Allow me one small edit to your comments:

"Bogart's office is [much] larger than some of our homes Fading Fast's New York City apartment."


My comments on "Sabrina: from a couple of years ago: #30,063
 
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Escape from 1940 with Robert Taylor, Norma Shearer, Conrad Veidt, Alla Nazimova, Felix Bressart and Philip Dorn


It is legitimate to criticize Hollywood's "approach" to the German market prior to America's entry in WWII, but several anti-Nazi movies did get made, even if Tinseltown tried to thread the needle by not using the words "Germany" or "Nazi" in these pictures.

The best of these efforts is MGM's 1940s The Mortal Storm, but Escape, also from MGM that year, showed Nazi German (you know it is, even if those words are never used) as a frightening police state where individuals have no genuine rights or freedom.

Robert Taylor plays an American who has come over to find his missing German mother, played by Alla Nazimova. Nazimova, a German citizen who married an American, came back to Germany to sell an old family home. She planned to quickly return to America.

Taylor, playing very much to his personal acting brand, is the brash, young and pushy American who can't believe everyone doesn't want to help him find his mother. It takes a long time for Taylor to realize the frightening police state that Germany has become.

His mother's old friends and servants, like one played by Felix Bressart, are hesitant to help as they know they could wind up in a concentration camp just like Nazimona. Nazimona ran afoul of the state by trying to wire the proceeds of her house sale out of the country.

That is the big thing that Escape gets right: It shows how even decent individuals live in non-stop abject fear as everything one does or says is questioned in a totalitarian state where the individual has no rights. The country itself becomes just one big prison.*

Taylor's quest is one we sadly are now quite familiar seeing in WWII movies. He is hounded and threatened by "political officers" (the SS), turned away by bureaucrats and cold-shouldered by everyone else, except for a few brave souls.

A Nazi doctor, played by Philip Dorn, Bressart and Norma Shearer playing an expat American widow of a German count all, with reservations at first, try to help Taylor rescue his mother who is scheduled to be executed shortly.

Shearer gives one of her career's best dramatic performances in this one. The silent film mannerisms that stayed with her into the "talkie" era are all but gone; instead, her performance as the American trying to help Taylor without exposing herself is gripping.

She, like so many in Germany, just wants to live her life free of politics, but that is impossible in a police state, so she has taken a German General, played by Conrad Veidt, as a lover. He provides the "protection" that allows her to run her cosseting girls finishing school.

Most of the movie is Taylor running into brick walls and being threatened as he tries to find out what happened to his mother. The ensuing rescue plan is far-fetched, but it serves to highlight the fear enveloping the country owing to the evil of the fascist state.

The down-to-the-wire tension in the story is all Hollywood, but you'll be rooting hard for Taylor and Nazimova to escape and Shearer, Bressart and Dorn to not be arrested.

Veidt, who played German officers in films for years, is excellent as the general who wants to keep his lover, Shearer, protected, but he has no intention of letting Nazimona escape. Veidt brings some humanity and complexity to a role that could easily be two dimensional.

Dorn is outstanding as the "Nazi" doctor who was probably a good, moral physician before the Nazis came to power. It's easy to say how brave one would be when watching a movie, but Dorn's measured actions are a more accurate portrayal of real-life bravery.

Escape, today, is still a good attempted-rescue drama, but its real value is its small place in history. Hollywood didn't always acquit itself admirably in the years leading up to WWII, but movies like Escape argue that Hollywood did, sometimes, find its backbone.


*There is no better visual instantiation of a totalitarian state becoming a prison than East Germany, which notoriously built a wall to keep its citizens from "escaping." Just like in a prison, East German guards shot those citizens who tried to breach the prison's walls.
 
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LRx69.jpg

Love Is a Racket from 1932 with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Frances Dee, Lee Tracy, Lyle Talbot and Ann Dvorak


Love is a Racket is another excellent precode that flies below the radar of even precode fans. Perhaps that's because it features four precode stars - Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Ann Dvorak, Lee Tracy and Frances Dee - who are all but forgotten today.

After the Code was enforced, heroes were never afraid of mobsters, were always romantics underneath it all and would always do the law-abiding thing in the end. This type is familiar since he or, occasionally, she populated the screen for almost four decades.

Precode land, though, had heroes with real-people characteristics and flaws. In Love is a Racket, Fairbanks plays a Broadway columnist, a Walter Winchell type. He covers the Broadway beat, an oddly mixed up world of reporters, theater people and mobsters.

Fairbanks' character is the typical cocky and cynical reporter type (almost every male star played one in the 1930s) with an Achilles heel: he's in love with a pretty Broadway actress wannabee played by Frances Dee who has a "stage mom" aunt.

Dee plays Fairbanks like a fiddle as she uses him for his connections in the theater and for dates when there aren't better career-advancing options around. Yet Fairbanks only sees true love when he looks into pretty opportunist Dee's eyes.

Dee is really more interested in men who can advance her career, like a theater producer played by Andre Luguet. Luguet is much older than Fairbanks, but he also has a much bigger checkbook and can put Dee on the stage.

Fairbank's two best friends, played by Lee Tracy, in the role of a fellow reporter who covers the crime beat, and Ann Dvorak, see through Dee, but nothing they say will change Fairbank's love-addled brain.

Despite his editor and Tracy encouraging Fairbanks to do some hard-hitting reporting on the mob's involvement in the milk racket (a real thing in the 1930s), Fairbanks doesn't want the personal danger or to take the risk that he could lose access to information for his column.

Fairbanks is on good terms with the mobsters, like the one played by Lyle Talbot who is the gangster behind the milk racket. While the Sardi's restaurant here is a set, it does capture the eclectic milieu of gangsters, theater people and reporters who oddly socialized there.

That is the setup, which is covered quickly as director William A. Wellman doesn't dilly dally in this fast-paced movie that says to its audience, "keep up, we don't have a lot of time for background stories and exposition."

The story's catalyst is, of all things, Dee's undisciplined spending. About to bounce several checks all over town for clothes and things, Dee asks Fairbanks to help. He doesn't have the funds to cover the checks, but agrees to talk to her creditors on her behalf.

With that tripwire now broken, all sorts of things happen. Fairbanks runs around trying to help, but behind the scenes, gangster Talbot steps in and pays off all the bills. Now he holds all of Dee's bad checks and, thus, her fate in his hands.

The movie from here is Fairbanks trying to free Dee from Talbot's clutches; Dee manipulating Fairbanks as she plays up to Luguet for her career and Tracy and Dvorak, the latter carrying a huge torch for Fairbanks, trying to help Fairbanks not get killed by Talbot.

In the climax, no spoilers coming, and after much running around, a sort of deus ex machina in the form of Dee's aunt, reshuffles the deck requiring an on-the-fly final fix by Fairbanks. It's all precode stuff: murder, cover-up and no punishment for the guilty.

What's shocking is how little importance is given to those events, versus the final trivial betrayal that has Fairbanks invoking the title of the movie to denounce love. Someone's dead and the killer's going free, but what's really important is that Fairbank's heart is broken.

Fairbanks can sometimes come across as almost goofy, but here, as a cynical reporter in love, he strikes a nice balance. Tracy, too, is excellent as his hyperkinetic acting style can wear on you when he's the lead, but in a supporting role, he brings a good spark.

Dee understood that her role was to be pretty and selfish and she delivered. It's Dvorak, a fine actress, who is underutilized as she never does much more than pine away for Fairbanks.

Love Is a Racket is a solid seventy-one minutes of fast-paced entertainment that today serves as a neat time capsule of early 1930s New York City where theater people, mobsters and news reporters were all at the center of an anything-goes morality.

It's a window into a world that would no longer be seen on screen once the Motion Picture Production Code was enforced after 1934. The thing that's sometimes hard to remember is that the real world stayed immoral, it was only Hollywood's portrayal of it that changed.
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
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Goldeneye, that's the 1989 made for TV film, not Pierce Brosnan's James Bond, but the story of Ian Fleming's exploits in the Secret Service during World War Two.

Don't expect a James Bond film, there's not much in the way of action, stunts or gadgets. There are, however, several good looking women, an interesting story of espionage and international intrigue, and a respected actor, Charles Dance, in the role of Ian Fleming.

The film (for it is just under two hours in length) is a biography, based on the real life wartime adventures of Ian Fleming, who was a commander in the British Navy. The story is inter cut with scenes of a slightly older Fleming filming an interview from his Jamaican retreat, Goldeneye. His friend Noel Coward is never far away and supplies much of the humour.

The feature is worth watching, mainly for the the depiction of how the James Bond novels were inspired from real life events. With a TV feel but a strong and absorbing plot Goldeneye delivers on all fronts, becoming an interesting curio on the side of the main 007 films.
 

Edward

Bartender
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Watched a couple of films on Prime last night.

First up was The Zone of Interest https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7160372/ (2023), which depicts how Rudolph and Hedwig Hoess built an idyllic life for themselves in the shadow of Auschwitz concentration camp, of which he was commandant. A fascinating picture. A very simple narrative - almost more like a 'fly on the wall' insight to these characters than a 'story' per se - it moves at a fairly gentle pace. The message about the banality of evil - and how evil things can thrive when people are prepared to ignore it happening - carries well. This is both true story and also an allegory, as the Hoess family live their lives with a background hubbub of screams, oven noises, gunshots entirely unremarked and unnoticed. The flash forward from Hoess leaving the meeting in Berlin at which he is promoted and his return to Auschwitz to oversee what would become the Nazi's "Final Solution" to the cleaners at the modern-day museum in Auschwitz preparing for opening to the public, wholly shorn of dialogue, is far more chilling than any on-screen text or further depiction of the events we know to have taken place in between would have been in this picture. An interesting film - and a brave one, I think. Too many people nowadays will unthinkingly dam anything that humanises those responsible for Nazi outrages, but it has always seemed to me vital the we *do* see their humanity in order that it can hopefully be headed off before it is too late the next time.

In a somewhat different tone, I also watched The Devil All the Time https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7395114/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 (2020). I'm not sure it has any real overarching message beyond brutality begetting brutality. Interesting picture, though, with some very nice wardrobe, and what feels like a realistic visual depiction of rural American from the late 40s to the middle 60s, avoiding the usual lazy Hollywood visual language that creates a far greater, fashion-plate sense of difference than there ever truly was in many / most places.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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Goldeneye, that's the 1989 made for TV film, not Pierce Brosnan's James Bond, but the story of Ian Fleming's exploits in the Secret Service during World War Two.

The feature is worth watching, mainly for the the depiction of how the James Bond novels were inspired from real life events. With a TV feel but a strong and absorbing plot Goldeneye delivers on all fronts, becoming an interesting curio on the side of the main 007 films.
Fleming and le Carre are old school spycraft although the former I understand never served Smiley field but
had more administrative war service. Adequate literary background for Bondage; still Le Carre is a more compelling figure seen, all more so given his pro eastern evolve. Elusive chap, John.
 

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