Bad Movies You Love

Discussion of programming on TCM.

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kingrat
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

Post by kingrat »

Thanks, Moira! This sounds irresistible.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

Post by Rita Hayworth »

Rumble in the Bronx is one of my favorite martial arts films ever made. bar none. It's so off-the-wall goofy and slapstick, but it kicks more ass than almost any other kung fu film I've ever seen. Jackie Chan really earns his stripes as an action star and choreographer in this movie, making the film with such a stupid plot and hammy cartoonish acting into a masterpiece of great fight sequences. The movie itself is like candy to the eyes, very vibrant in color and lots of fast movement and people just always want to beat up this quiet little Jackie Chan guy...who just somehow knows excellent martial arts.

You want to see one of the most fun fight sequences are put to celluloid, check out the scene where Jackie fights a group thugs at their pad; it involves pool tables, refrigerators, office chairs, and just about everything else.


One of BAD films that most people care to admit that they liked it. Came out in 1995.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

Post by kingrat »

Many fine films were made in 1939, but The Ice Follies of 1939 (dir. Reinhold Schunzel) is not one of them, although it has its points of interest. Ultimately it may be a little too dull to qualify as a Bad Movie We Love. Part of the movie is ice show, with less spectacular skating than we are used to now. MGM provides top production values, however, to this attempt to cash in on the Sonja Henie market. There’s a love story about a successful skater (a young James Stewart) who loses his job because his new skating partner, the gal he loves (Joan Crawford), isn’t so hot, and then they’re two poor kids down on their luck until she immediately becomes a movie star and this creates problems, too.

We’re in “What were they thinking?” territory, and one can only assume that Crawford had no choice but to make this extremely lame script, which divulges the secret of getting a movie contract: pretend you don’t want one. Who knew it was so simple? To give her credit, Joan seems as committed to the part as if this were the equal of Grand Hotel. In the first scenes she has a natural, soft look which is quite appealing, but the movie star makeover (the name the studio cooks up for her is "Sandra Lee") is quite appalling, which may be intentional. Her hair is dyed black and parted severely in the middle, which may recall less Hedy Lamarr than Morticia Addams. Joan in a blonde wig and long white hoop skirt for a screen test in pretty funny, as intended. One imdb reviewer comments that a headdress Joan wears in a later scene looks like a parking meter. Adrian was either having fun or dropping acid when he designed these outfits. A floor-length dress with a long train Joan wears when she plays Cinderella (don’t ask) may be inspired by Loretta Young’s door-filling gown in Suez.

Lionel Stander has an enjoyable bit as Stewart’s agent, and Lew Ayres is surprisingly good in the Donald O’Connor role as Stewart’s sidekick and former skating partner. I don’t think I’ve seen Ayres do comedy before; too bad he didn’t have more comic opportunities. The subtext makes clear that Ayres is unhappy that Stewart is marrying Crawford, though he does nothing to interfere; Joan picks up on this one-sided crush right away and calls him on it. Notice, also, that in the scene where Joan wants the two men to rehearse with her, Ayres reads the role of a jealous woman. When the Murphy bed folds into the wall, we see a poster of Stewart and Ayres in their old skating act. There’s also a comic drag act as part of the ice show. This is a surprising amount of gay subtext.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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Subtext? What subtext??

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The scariest sequence in Ice Follies of 1939 is the fairy tale on ice with Joan and company. Lew Ayres injected quite a bit of comedy into many of his movies, especially the B movies he made (see Donovan's Brain for a prime example and the bouncy Murder with Pictures with Gail Patrick and Ayres showing a fine rapport). He is such a good actor, it's awful to see him relegated to the "third wheel" role in the Ice Follies pic, though he wrung everything he could out of it.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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Angie Dickinson. Suzanne Pleshette. I don't know what the guys who made movies in the '60s had against these beautiful and appealing actresses, but they sure stuck them in some pretty lame-o movies. Thus we come to....A Rage to Live (1965), directed by Walter Grauman (Poor Delmer Daves was retired by then, or was he preoccupied with Claudine Inglish around then?).

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Inspired by one of John O'Hara's more steamy novels, this tale utilized almost every up and comer in Hollywood. Suzanne P.'s character of Grace has a problem: She likes sex, and this being the mid-sixties, she MUST feel guilty about it. Besides, it makes things kind of messy and reminds the adults of their lost passions. Of course, Freud was still riding high in the saddle, so that such urges must be properly labeled by the now quaint appellation of "nymphomania." Pleshette rises above the material as far as she can, but she's only one actress. Cue the sultry saxophones....

Suzanne is joined by the earthy Ben Gazzara, the patrician Bradford Dillman, the slimy Mark Goddard (offering to scrub Suzanne's back), and even Peter Graves and the oleaginous character actor James Gregory slithers around as a family doctor (!). Bret Somers (then Mrs. Jack Klugman I believe) even proves that she was a thespian at least once before The Match Game became her claim to fame. One of my favorite character actors from the '60s, Frank Maxwell also pops up in a small role, (see 1958's Lonelyhearts for a sample of his real worth as an actor). One aspect of this movie that makes this movie entertaining--all the actors seem to be playing characters who are supposed to be about 20-25 years old, tops, but most of them look well past 30 to me. BTW, for those who like fancy duds, this movie is chockful of designer rags courtesy of Howard Shoup, who got an Oscar nod for the finery:

See what you think, since the whole movie seems to be on youtube:

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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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It's funny that John O'Hara has such a sordid, "Peyton Place-ish" reputation. He actually wrote quite well. BUTTERFIELD 8 is not my favorite. But APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA is outstanding. My guess is, it was influential in contemporary writing. (I can't prove that.) He wrote some fine short fiction, and something called SERMONS AND SODA WATER. Novel? Collection? You tell me. But I like it!
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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RedRiver wrote:It's funny that John O'Hara has such a sordid, "Peyton Place-ish" reputation. He actually wrote quite well. BUTTERFIELD 8 is not my favorite. But APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA is outstanding. My guess is, it was influential in contemporary writing. (I can't prove that.) He wrote some fine short fiction, and something called SERMONS AND SODA WATER. Novel? Collection? You tell me. But I like it!
I agree about Appointment in Samarra, which should be better known. O'Hara's short stories are masterful and beautifully written. Too bad he was such an active participant in wrecking his own reputation in the last years of his life with some crap novels. (I think that writers in his generation were convinced that "literature"=the great American novel, when a well-crafted story can be more powerful and certainly takes enormous skill to create. Of his novels, Appointment Samarra and Ten North Frederick always seemed to be among his best long form works, all set in Pottsville, PA, the author's actual and spiritual home town. When he moved his action elsewhere he seemed less sure of his characters and plots.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

Post by Bronxgirl48 »

I can't wait for TENTACLES tonight. Shelley Winters and Henry Fonda, now that should be interesting. :D THE VISITOR, too, with John Huston as an "intergalactic warrior". Trippy!

Oooh, I haven't seen A RAGE TO LIVE in ages. If I recall correctly, there's a scene where Suzanne is fiddling in the garden while her mother is in the middle of a heart attack.

The only way I'd consider Ben Gazzara a playmate is if I were a nymphomaniac. Nothing less than neurotic sexual pathology could ever make me consider such a hideous possibilty.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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The Chapman Report is not the movie to convince anyone that George Cukor was a capable director. As several of you have said, Claire Bloom managed to give a good performance in a bad film, which is quite an accomplishment. Weirdly, Shelley Winters seemed miscast as an actress, which was strange, and Ray Danton kept reminding me of Shelley’s real-life ex-husband, Tony Franciosa, which was also strange. Glynis Johns stopped just short of turning into Carol Channing—or maybe she didn’t. Granted, this movie needed all the comedy, of the intentional variety, it could get. Notice the hints that Glynis’ hubby, John Dehner, isn’t all that interested in women. As for Ty Hardin, naturally I couldn’t help admiring his finely modulated performance finely chiseled body.

When Jane Fonda kept talking about her late husband, “Boy,” I wondered if she’d married into the Tarzan family. Maybe that would explain some of her problems.

The retro view of female sexuality is one of the most interesting things about The Chapman Report, along with Jane Fonda’s hat and Ty Hardin’s swimsuit. Jane is a virgin widow, Glynis can’t handle the sex she goes after, and even Shelley the adulteress has only had two men in her life. As for Claire, she’s had lots of men but didn’t enjoy them, and anyway, is--SPOILER ALERT!--punished by being gang-raped by jazz musicians and having to commit suicide. Our view of patient/analyst ethics has also changed dramatically.

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. gets top billing. His TV work apparently gave him more clout than Oscar-winning Shelley, or maybe he just had a better agent. Jane wasn’t the big star yet, though very attractive.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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When Jane Fonda kept talking about her late husband, “Boy,” I wondered if she’d married into the Tarzan family.

That's good! Mrs. Johnny Sheffield.

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. gets top billing. His TV work apparently gave him more clout than Oscar-winning Shelley, or maybe he just had a better agent.

Maybe he had an FBI agent!
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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[u][color=#FF0000]moirafinnie[/color][/u] wrote:Angie Dickinson. Suzanne Pleshette. I don't know what the guys who made movies in the '60s had against these beautiful and appealing actresses, but they sure stuck them in some pretty lame-o movies. Thus we come to....A Rage to Live (1965), directed by Walter Grauman (Poor Delmer Daves was retired by then, or was he preoccupied with Claudine Inglish around then?).
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Oh wow, two of my favorite movies made it to this thread. (( Yay! )) Especially loved "A RAGE TO LIVE" which made my favorite film of 1965 list. Thanx for posting the film, Moira. I haven't seen it in ages and when want to check it out again.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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Hope you'll share your impressions of Rage To Live eventually, Theresa. We talked quite a bit about Claudelle Inglish earlier in this thread here when kingrat introduced the topic of this once obscure movie. Since then, I caught it on TCM and thought it was pretty amusing.
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Above: I love the way that the producers chose to picture Marlon Brando on this poster for The Formula (1980) based on the way he looked around the time when things really got out of hand in his career--when he was playing Fletcher Christian twenty years earlier. George C. Scott's image seems to be derived from the Dr. Strangelove era of the early '60s too. That "A John G. Avildsen Masterpiece!" note is a nice, humble touch too.

A fairly recent "bad movie" that makes me love it, despite everything, is coming up on TCM on Tuesday, Aug. 13th at 4am (ET) when The Formula (1980), a large slice of turkey, is served up by Marlon Brando, with a side of heavy stuffing from George C. Scott. Based on a potboiler popular novel by Steve Shagan, two great actors appear in this movie. Brando plays his role floridly, speaking with a Southern-accented lisp as a Machiavellian international oil baron. The chubby Mr. Brando seemed to be channeling Sydney Greenstreet throughout this cat and mouse game he plays with honest Los Angeles cop George C. Scott, whose acting might seem realistic compared to Brando's occasional baroque moments on screen. George, whose film career was beginning to slide toward movies of the ilk of The Exorcist III, almost pulls off the anguish, moral outrage and frustration that his character experiences as he gets closer to the "truth," but by the end of the movie, you might wish that both actors would just cash their paychecks and stop chewing on the scenery.

From the boardroom to the bedroom, with pit stops in between at Nazi-themed nightclubs in modern Germany and a visit with a more epicene than usual John Gielgud (he almost crinkles when he speaks, his delivery is so dry), our man George hunts down the (obvious) truth about the military-industrial complex and finds time to canoodle with a mysterious Marthe Keller (did she ever play a role in American movies other than someone who was the offspring of Ilsa, the She-Wolf of the SS?).

Scott, who seems to have one heckuva big expense account for a flatfoot looking for the murderer of an old friend, wanders the length and breadth of Europe looking for clues about a "lost' or "hidden" Nazi chemical compound for gasoline created late in WWII that could have replaced oil with a synthetic for lo, these many hothouse gas-emitting decades.

Look quickly for a glimpse of actor Marshall Thompson, of all people, in a small role. (It's a long way from MGM and even Daktari!, wasn't it, Mr. Thompson?). One of the few actors to escape this story with her clear talent still obvious--Beatrice Straight, who is quite luminous as a woman with few illusions, but an abiding love for her divorced hubby.

If you don't get TCM, apparently the copyright owners of this movie don't give a rip about it either, since The Formula can be readily found o on youtube in full.

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Above: Marlon Brando looking alarmingly bald (or is that bathing cap?), and George C. Scott consulting about The Formula (1980).

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Above: Marthe Keller looking understandably wan in The Formula (1980). She is seen with--you guessed it--John Van Dreelen . You could not make a movie touching on The Third Reich between 1960 and 1990 without employing the hauteur of this actor, who was actually a Dutch citizen, despite his résumé teeming with Nazis.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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I don't remember even hearing about THE FORMULA. Of course, it's been a long time. It certainly has some fine actors in it.
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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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Holy Moses, I was going to write a few unkind words about the flesh-creeping qualities of Frank Fay's master of ceremonies in Warner Bros. often pathetic and frequently embarrassing intro to talkiedom, The Show of Shows (1929), seen on TCM earlier this week. After seeing this movie, which was highlighted by John Barrymore doing Shakespeare (great!), Winnie Lightner putting over two songs with zing (socko!), and a whole lot of drivel, including Bea Lillie being insulted by Hollywood types, I was more deeply disturbed than ever to think that Barbara Stanwyck married this guy Fay. Then again, she probably was more naive than she looked as a street-smart young woman, especially when he was supposedly being touted by show biz types in the late '20s as "Broadway's Favorite Son." Sure, Fay's bizarre sense of self-esteem looks as though it could have over-inflated the Hindenburg, but being delusional seems to go hand-in-hand with show biz ambition most of the time, at least that's how it looks to this non-pro.

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The rest of the movie, at least when Fay wasn't interrupting someone, was pretty ghastly. There was a drill team of dancers that made Busby Berkeley's later efforts look like something Diaghilev might have staged. There were lots of actors I'd never seen but only heard of (some poor silent movie actors were actually making their last appearance on film, unbeknownst to them), but they all went by in a blur. Mary Astor was supposed to be in one crowd scene with pirates, but please don't ask me to pick her out of the bewigged lineup who galumphed across the stage being chased by the likes of Noah Beery, Sr. & Tully Marshall (them, I knew). Future faves, such as an unrecognizable Ann Sothern (appearing under her original name, Harriet Lake) wandered by occasionally, alongside less well known siblings, as happened in the "Meet My Sister" bit with Harriet and sister Bonnie Lake (who was a really notable big band singer-composer--who knew?), Loretta Young and her easily identifiable sibs, and several others. If you really want to see more of these oddities, these links on youtube will lead you to several clips offering a few glimpses.

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However, after seeing part of Mr. Keefe Braselle's performance as the rather legendary comedic leading man in The Eddie Cantor Story (1953) while dining last night with TCM in the background, I was left a bit dumbfounded (and felt a tad queasy). FYI: I had tuned in to see one of the Aline MacMahon appearances I'd never caught before (she's not in the movie much, but her portrait is...darn it!). This guy Keefe made Frank Fay look almost down-to-earth and wholesome by comparison. Okay, I have scratched my head in wonder at our ancestors' fondness for Eddie Cantor's ethnic humor, blackface routines, and all such fellows with slim, specialized "talents" such as singing "Ma, he's making eyes at me," while prancing around on stage popping his eyes and clapping his mitts together like a two year old on a sugar high. Yet, the real Cantor had something occasionally likable about him, though I can't articulate what.

Inspired by the ka-ching heard at box offices thanks to The Jolson Story (1946) and Jolson Sings Again (1949), Warner Bros. took the slickly handsome, not very talented Brasselle and gave him some kind of bizarre prosthetic device to make his eyes pop out like those of the ill-favored Cantor. He was then encouraged to mince around and behave like a half wit for all of his off- and on- stage scenes by the director Alfred Green (who had directed several really interesting movies twenty years before this movie, notably Baby Face, Union Depot, Smart Money and The Dark Horse). Don't get me wrong---I like my show biz biopics that are short on accuracy but long on vigor and music--I rarely miss a chance to catch Night and Day, Yankee Doodle Dandy or even Rhapsody in Blue, but this one was another story. It was watchable in the same awful way as a car accident makes people slow down to look.

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Brasselle, in between scenes portraying a whining jumping bean of a person, really seemed to believe his characterization was somehow ennobling for him, the actual Cantor and the audience, when it was simply unbelievable that anyone would issue this movie from a major studio. However, the strangest bit of all was the seemingly avid way that Brasselle embraced this fawning caricature as a great chance to get a break into pictures as a star, which can be seen in spades in the trailer below. The good thing about The Eddie Cantor Story? The end, when the camera pulled back and the real (and quite calm and middle-aged) Eddie Cantor and his wife Ida, got up from their seats in a projection room, presumably after viewing this tripe, and slowly left the room quietly. Hope they got a good paycheck out of this movie.

I'll never get back that hour out of my life that I gave the movie... :shock: :roll:

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Re: Bad Movies You Love

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Dang, I knew I shoulda watched this! A few other tidbits about the mega-talented--NOT!--Mr. Brasselle. After the first season of the TV series Checkmate, there were rumors that Anthony George would be replaced by Brasselle. Whether Brasselle started these rumors, I don't know. Anyway, the much more appealing Mr. George continued for the next (and, alas, last) season of Checkmate. CBS was going to give Brasselle his own show, but this didn't happen.

A few years later the all-but-forgotten KB turned writer, penning a show biz novel called The Cannibals. On the book jacket the C, the B, and the S in the title were emphasized to indicate the source of the author's displeasure.
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