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Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

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ChiO
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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby ChiO » March 23rd, 2011, 6:31 pm

Miss Goddess wrote:
I like that they did not make it so neatly Smith Ohrig's (Robert Ryan) meanness at fault, but just as much her own inability to make up her mind what was more important to her: money and security (with a crazy husband), or love and no money (with a nice guy).

I absolutely agree that Bel Geddes' character is complicit in her own troubles. Maybe I'm the only person in the world, but I see Mason's character as 180 degrees from "nice". I see him as manipulative and sadistic, disguising his viciousness in the penumbra of civility and graciousness, with the surface allure of a savior.

Like most Ophuls' films that on the surface appear to be romantic with a poor woman being left heartbroken due to her undying and unfulfilled love, his underlying message is simply: There simply ain't no romance -- and everybody is at fault (or, nobody is at fault because there's no hope anyway).
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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby kingrat » March 23rd, 2011, 6:38 pm

ChiO, tell us more about your view of the James Mason character. What does he do in the film that makes you feel this way?

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ChiO
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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby ChiO » March 24th, 2011, 6:49 pm

Time doesn't allow re-watching the film in its entirety, but I'll cite four examples in support of my otherwise impressionistic previous statements:

(1) When the doctor first appears (approx. at the 36 minute mark), he is cold and arguably rude, but perhaps excusable as a harried doctor conducting an interview, except...in the midst of questioning her skills and commitment (acceptable), he judges her on her physical appearance with a demeaning comment about a smudge on her cheek.

(2) About 4 minutes later, he criticizes her actions and ideas about marriage and life, refers to her as a "stupid girl", reminds us condescendingly that she's just a receptionist (not a hostess), and elevates himself (his response to the suggestion that he's her problem: "Ridiculous!").

(3) Near the end, in the ambulance, he ever so lovingly (sarcasm icon) informs her that her child may die, but at least "you'll be free." Leaning into her, he says, "Hear me."-- "Yes," he is saying subtextually, "I am all that matters. Forget that kid."

(4) Shortly thereafter, he is ecstatic that the child died and she'll be fine. Absolutely no hesitation or mixed emotions. He's never been happier. (Frank Ferguson is no different in his attitude.) Translation: we're rid of the kid, who cares what that experience may do to your psyche, and you're mine -- all mine -- to form, mold, and dominate. She is, after all, just a "stupid girl."

Create all the alibis one wants for his behavior and how it propels the movie -- and I love this movie -- but his character is not "nice." In fact, if any of the characters were "nice", it would be just another humdrum movie (except for Ophuls' -- or Opuls' in this case -- camera).
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 25th, 2011, 1:35 pm

Now I don't see him like that, the baby dies but it's a constant reminder of Robert Ryan, still not a great sentiment but better than him taking control of her. I believe he wants her free of the demon she was married to enable her to move on.

He his pretty acerbic on first meeting but don't you think it's a protective front? He grow to love her, does he want to control her or does she want to be controlled? Is it a bit of both or neither?

I find some of Ophuls film romantic even if they don't provide us with happy endings.

I love this movie.

Miss Goddess, I watched The Long Night today, I immediately saw that it was a remake of a Jean Gabin movie, it was significantly differemt and HEnry Fonda gave a very different performance to Jean Gabin. I liked it, Fonda and Bel Geddes grow on me and I'm beginning to discover that I like a lot of Antole Litvak's work.
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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby movieman1957 » March 28th, 2011, 3:34 pm

Interesting thoughts on Mason's character. I didn't see hims as mean. As far as the losing the baby I thought that at least they wouldn't have to put up with Ryan's "Smith" anymore since there would be no tie. I did get a sense of Mason's manipulation in the garage seen. He is clearly urging Bel Geddes to be free but mainly because she'll come to him and secondly because it gets her away from Ryan. The end though seems show a "happy ending."

I liked the way Barbara became more complicated as the picture developed. At first I had a bit of trouble buying into "Smith" marrying "Leonora" because she is so simple. I don't mean that in a bad way it is just that she is not anywhere near his world. I think he married just because he could and it was a slap at the doctor.

It's an odd film but an interesting one.
Chris

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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby RedRiver » February 8th, 2012, 3:27 pm

Completely unrelated, there's a pretty good book by this title. A thriller by Harlan Coben. Makes you think about false accusation, over reaction, and the harm it can cause.

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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby CineMaven » May 27th, 2012, 9:15 pm

My good college buddy Robert, who's a bit of a movie mentor for me, wrote this to a Message Board member on a board he frequents. I liked the way he writes about James Mason:

Johnson, it's hardly a "mistake" to not have seen "everything". I've been seeing movies for more years than I care to mention at the moment, yet I am constantly discovering "new" films, directors, and actors, many of whom have been around all my life waiting to provide the cinematic joys on which I thrive. Be that as it may, you have a lot of real treats in store from the long and impressive career of Mr. Mason. He was one of the truly great actors of the century, a handsome man with a beautiful voice and the ability to be comfortable in both modern and historical dress. Most importantly, with one unmentionable exception, he never acted "too much", but rather quietly created an intensely real characterization in over 150 roles in all kinds of films, good, bad, and occasionally ugly. Since you have just connected with Ophuls, I would highly recommend his The Reckless Moment with Mason and Joan Bennett both at their very best. At the moment, this is only available from the UK. In the meantime, some of his best films include Odd Man Out, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, Bigger Than Life, Lolita, North by Northwest, and Autobiography of a Princess. I could list at least a dozen more that are as good or close to it, not to mention the slew of lesser films that he elevated, like Prince Valiant or the otherwise execrable 11 Harrowhouse. So, for your movie-going pleasure, I would suggest that you grab hold of anything you come across with his name on it. Good luck."
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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 28th, 2012, 4:13 am

Pretty well summed up about James Mason, I agree about discovering his movies, he's such an accomplished screen actor, underplaying splendidly.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby movieman1957 » May 28th, 2012, 8:01 am

And there was at least one radio performance on The Fred Allen Radio Show. Englishmen and baseball must have been a decent topic of fun.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby CineMaven » May 28th, 2012, 8:20 am

charliechaplinfan wrote:Pretty well summed up about James Mason, I agree about discovering his movies, he's such an accomplished screen actor, underplaying splendidly.

Thanxx Allison. I'll let my friend know.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 28th, 2012, 12:49 pm

You're welcome, you'd think a Brit girl would have appreciated home grown talent first and I had seen some of his films and thought him very good but suddenly, I think it was with the Ophuls films I thought, actually, he's better than very good, so I started watching everything I could lay my hands on and it was a great voyage of discovery.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

RedRiver
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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby RedRiver » May 29th, 2012, 11:27 am

There was never a voice like James Mason.

he never acted "too much"

The minute an actor starts ACTING, we're in big trouble!

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 29th, 2012, 1:41 pm

The voice, I prefer it to Richard Burton's and that's saying something.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby JackFavell » May 29th, 2012, 2:41 pm

I never really liked Mason, probably because he was always playing really creepy men - my first views of him would have been in North by Northwest, A Star is Born (the truncated version, in which his motivations and problems were not as clear) and Lolita. He was so good at portraying subliminal unease and discomfort, perversity and ruin, I thought that was pretty much the man. I found him... disagreeable to watch.

Then I saw Odd Man Out. :shock:

Well, that was an eye opener. He actually played a human being I could like, one I felt so sorry for. Then The Reckless Moment a few years ago was even more of an eye opener, in fact it made me actually like him. After that Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, which I loved. And then finally Caught, where he is sweet, gentle and good! And he dances and looks comfortable! I now realize that Mason is not only a good actor, but he might actually have been a good human being as well. :D Oh, I've had my setbacks - The Pumpkin Eater, for instance, but I can never again think that James Mason is a lowlife of the first order....just because he plays one on TV.

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Re: Caught (1949) - James Mason, Robert Ryan AND Max Ophuls!

Postby RedRiver » May 29th, 2012, 2:49 pm

i think ODD MAN OUT showcases the actor's very best work. But he's almost always good.


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