"Stingaree" or "Stinkaray"?

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"Stingaree" or "Stinkaray"?

Post by moira finnie »

I guess I'm in the distinct minority about this one, but I enjoyed Stingaree (1934). It was funny and (I think) it may have been meant as a parody at the time of its production.

Some Good Elements:

Una O'Connor, especially when it took her five minutes to leave a room, thanks to her bustle & when she pulled her ear muffs out of her drawer when Mary Boland started singing. Another good thing about Una's performance: she didn't squawk as much as usual.

Irene Dunne: Looked pretty and sang sweetly, but also invested her scenes with a romantic ardor and determined intensity that was quite exceptional. I never liked her much until recently. I think she's growing on me.

Richard Dix: Okay, he's unbelievably hokey, but he's like a human time machine--a throwback to that 19th century Romantic style of acting that probably went out with John Drew, but jeez, he's sort of fascinating & likable, despite this. And he fits the Big Head theory of acting too. We certainly won't see his like again, (perhaps mercifully). And that beautiful white horse he rode in the moonlight!

Speed:
Like alot of the early Hollywood crowd, William Wellman knew how to keep a story zipping along, even when it didn't necessarily make complete sense. I especially liked the montage tracing Irene's rise as the toast of Europe, complete with swirling headlines, & lots of stock shots of Berlin, Paris and Rome flying by.

Some Not-So-Hot Elements:
Mary Boland: I like ol' Mary, especially in Pride and Prejudice(1940) and, to a lesser extent, in The Women (1939), but Wellman may have encouraged her to let her inner hamminess out to play a bit much in this film. Her singing's unbelievably bad, which of course, it's supposed to be, but that probably took alot of work too.

Conway Tearle: Okay, he's supposed to be an upper crust British stiff, dripping with culture, but sometimes I think the guy's comatose. And what's with his eyebrows? Don't you think that he was a little too understanding about Dunne's abiding passion for a brigand?

The Music Box:
Nicely incorporated into the story in the first part of the story set in Australia, but whenever it was utilized later, it literally ground the action to a halt, and the tune grew a wee bit tiresome.


Am I missing something vital? Don't be shy: I know lots of people hated this one. Maybe I should too.
Last edited by moira finnie on April 14th, 2007, 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by SSO Admins »

I literally couldn't make it more than ten minutes in.
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Post by mongoII »

I'm afraid it was 'Stinkaray' for me although I did get a kick out of Una O'Connor, as I usually do.
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Post by sandykaypax »

Darn! I recorded Stingaree, but haven't watched it yet. Now I'm not in such a rush. I do love Irene Dunne, she might make it worth watching for me. Dunne and Richard Dix were the reason I was able to get through Cimarron .

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Give Stingaree a chance!

Post by moira finnie »

Live dangerously, Sandy. I think that you're as susceptible as I am to that Dunne-Dix combo! If nothing else, I think that it'll make you smile. Good news is that it's also a brief film, if you don't like it. It was fun, especially Una's moments.

Mongo, so glad to see you among us!
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Post by feaito »

BTW, talking about Richard Dix and "Cimarron". Has anyone seen the follow-up "The Conquerors" with Mr. Dix and Ann Harding? I've read mixed reviews, some say it's poor and others great.
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Mary Boland

Post by Kyle In Hollywood »

MoiraFinnie wrote
Her singing's unbelievably bad, which of course, it's supposed to be...

I had the film running in the background while working on the Spring Frolic Photos but turned around to watch Mary Boland sing and I was certain she wasn't doing the actual singing. And it wasn't even lip-syncing to herself. I swear she was lip-syncing to an off-stage voice. At least in the scene with Dunne playing the piano. Something about the scene came across as having been recorded "live" on stage with an off-stage piano player and off-stage singer.

Like I said, I was somewhat distracted, so I could be wrong but anytime Mary Boland appears on screen, I stop what I am doing. I just grin at her matronly pompousness. She does it so well. She is the reason I have abused my old recording of Ruggles Of Red Gap and fear it is going to snap one of these days.

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Post by sugarpuss »

Jon, I actually had the same reaction as you. I thought, "No way can I watch this!" I even flipped on the digital cable guide to see what else was on. Seeing my options, I wound up sticking with TCM, since I wanted to see the other two Lost and Founds.

I'm so glad I did. I think out of all the L&F's, this was my favorite (I know, there's not much being said for my taste in things. I even watched it twice to see what I missed while flipping around during the first showing). The plot was over-the-top, but I really loved Richard Dix as Stingaree. A bandit who gives up his freedom for the love of a woman and her beautiful singing voice! It's absoultely silly. And for Irene Dunne to leave her life behind so she can spend the rest of it on the lam and living in the woods? Yeah, right! But it worked for me. The two of them had major chemistry.

I'm also glad this was a Pre-Code, because I think I would have been disappointed if Stingaree was shot in the theater, and if Irene Dunne wound up marrying Sir Julian. Yawn.
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Post by bobhopefan1940 »

I actually really liked Stingaree, but Richard Dix finds favor in my eyes. I don't like Irene Dunne much, sorry to say. Who knows ;) she may be growing on me after all!
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Stingareeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

I liked Stingaree, too. William Dix had some dashing, sexy moments in there that made me remember my boyfriend in 7th grade.

Plus, I liked the "disappointment" in music business and the crazy, operatic caterwauling of Mary Boland. What a self-absorbed know-it-all!
( MB reminded me of one of my aunts.)

Costumes weren't bad, either.
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wilkommen.....

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BTW, I forgot to say that I'm glad you're here, bobhopefan!
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Re: wilkommen.....

Post by bobhopefan1940 »

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:BTW, I forgot to say that I'm glad you're here, bobhopefan!
Wow, this site is so friendly... I think that is my third welcome since I joined a few hours ago :D Thank you!
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Re: wilkommen.....

Post by Ayres »

bobhopefan1940 wrote:Wow, this site is so friendly... I think that is my third welcome since I joined a few hours ago :D Thank you!
Let me add my welcome, Danny! Great to see you here!

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8) Thanks, Chris! This place is so wonderful, I feel like I have died and gone to heaven. :wink:
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Stingaree or "Stinkeroo"?

Post by CoffeeDan »

Finally got to watch STINGAREE yesterday, and I loved it! Of course, I've been a big fan of Richard Dix and Irene Dunne from way back, so that helped. I loved both of them in CIMARRON, so I was really looking forward to this movie, and I wasn't disappointed.

I never had trouble with Richard Dix's style of acting; yes, it was big and sweeping sometimes, but it suited his personality. He made a lot of college sports films in the silent days, and they were very popular (Gregory La Cava got his start as a director working with Dix).

Did anybody notice Harry "Snub" Pollard as Victor, the ranch hand? I've seen a lot of his silents, particularly with Harold Lloyd, and I always wondered what he looked like behind his inverted Kaiser Wilhelm mustache. Didn't have many lines, though.

Conway Tearle was one of the "old reliables" in Hollywood by this time. He spent equal time on the New York stage, and was one of the first stage actors to try movies back in the times when they didn't get much respect. At one time in the mid-1920s, he was the highest paid actor in the film capital. About two years before STINGAREE, he played Larry Renault in the stage version of DINNER AT EIGHT, before John Barrymore took on that role in the movie version.

The funniest part of this movie, though, was hearing Andy Devine speaking with a Scottish accent in the tavern scene . . .
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