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Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: October 24th, 2012, 10:52 am
by feaito
Madame Maven, Where both films aired back to back? I've never seen the remake.

Boardman is one of the loveliest actresses of her Era.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: October 24th, 2012, 11:33 am
by Robert Regan
Theresa, I'm glad you have discovered the beautiful and talented Eleanor Boardman. She was really excellent, especially in The Crowd. She and King Vidor were married in what was planned to be a double wedding, but poor John Gilbert waited in vain for the arrival of his intended who wanted to be alone!

My late friend Stephen Harvey was the first person, at least in print, to identify the uncredited Joan Crawford in The Circle. It was in a fine book on her that he wrote for the Pyramid series in the 70s.

The first time I saw Eagels in The Letter, I thought she was very "stagey", an opinion I still hold, though I find it more tolerable than in many other actors. What really turned me on to her charm and ability on the screen is the picture she made just before The Letter, Monta Bell's powerful drama Man Woman and Sin. With a script by her co-star John Gilbert (he's everywhere today, isn't he?), both leads were superb, even in the poor copy of the very hard to find transfer that I have seen. She's also excellent in an earlier film called The World and the Woman which is available for streaming. She even manages to make convincing the story of a streetwalker who becomes a famous faith-healer!

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: October 24th, 2012, 12:03 pm
by CineMaven
:-) Hola Senor Feaito...Bon Apres-Midi Mon Ami Robert. :-) Miss both of you on the board. Ahhhh, such is life.

I am soooooo woefully inept when it comes to Silents. (( :oops: )) You've got to keep your beady eyes on the screen at all times. "The Circle" came on first this morning, and then after two movies ( Eagels' "The Letter" being one of them ) then TCM screened "Strictly Unconventional." What I noticed with both re-make & original of "...Circle" and "...Letter" is that one version is pretty straight-forward, linearly, showing events as they happen and the re-make sort of comes 'in' on the story; pads it out a little more. Bob, Sheila just lent me her book "A Pictorial History of the SILENT SCREEN" so when I get a chance, I'll see if they have pictures of Boardman. I've read a little about her and saw she was Mrs. Vidor at that double wedding fiasco. Thanx for filling me in a little more on her. I'm intrigued.

I know what you're saying about stagey, Bob, in reference to Eagels. But I liked the way they laid out the story. As the movie went on and Eagels was really cracking up...I thought she got better. She had more fire and heat than Bette...and you know Bette's my girl. I liked Jeanne's confrontation with "the Chinese Woman" and leaving with the ringing of laughter in her ears. And when her husband tells her he won't divorce her and is going to make her stay with him, she really lets loose with the molten lava! I don't know enuf about Eagels to know anything other than what Kim Novak did in that faux biography. She was lauded in her time as one of the greats. Not many movies, but theatre. So how can we know anything. But I'll tell you this, her volcanic explosion at the end is worth the whole movie for me. No Oscar? Hah! Well...the Academy has often been cowards. My best and my favorite line in movies:
"With all my heart, I still love the man I killed."
Hmmmm...brother! Guess I've got to look into Maugham now too, huh? :roll:

As for Joan Crawford in "RAIN." Joanie! Joanie! Joanie! Boy have I got a little bit to say about that.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: October 24th, 2012, 12:42 pm
by feaito
Thanks for your reply Theresa.

I remember enjoying "Man, Womand and Sin" (1927) when I watched it a year or more ago. Eagels, Gilbert and Gladys Brockwell's performances are all very good.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 3rd, 2013, 10:57 am
by moira finnie
Two of Borzage's most interesting films are on TCM on Friday night:

Fri, May [email protected]:30PM (ET)
NO GREATER GLORY (1934) is without stars but with some fine character acting led by Frankie Darro and George Breakston. Borzage avoided neat happy endings in this meditation on our inherent penchant for violence. By focusing on the dynamics among a group of boys in a European street gang, the film reflects many of the political tensions that fed the rise of fascism between the wars. Based on Ferenc Molnar's autobiographical novel, this powerful Borzage film is one of his least known, but deserves a greater audience. (This is available on DVD).

Sat, May 4th @3:00AM (ET)
THREE COMRADES (1936)
One of the more successful of Borzage's films at MGM, this adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's politically charged novel has been drained of much of its timeliness but shows the director's foresight about Germany's deepening post-WWI troubles (also reflected in the great LITTLE MAN, WHAT NOW? & THE MORTAL STORM). The story is told through the lives of three veterans of WWI on the German side (Robert Young, Franchot Tone, & Robert Taylor). As they struggle to survive together in the harsh new world, an encounter with an impoverished but incandescent Margaret Sullavan represents a chance to believe in a romantic lyricism that reality and some of MGM's synthetic glossiness undercuts. Taylor and Sullavan become a couple, though their brief joy is shared by each of their friends. Produced by Joseph Mankiewicz, this film is one of the few with F. Scott Fitzgerald in the credits. The author, hurt by Mankiewicz's revisions of his literate but wordy script was deeply affected by his perceived "failure" to make good as a screenwriter. One scene that I feel might have a bit of Fitzgerald wistfulness: Robert Taylor dancing with Sullavan in a disintegrating dress suit.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 3rd, 2013, 11:11 am
by Robert Regan
Good summaries, Moira, of these two Borzage greats. They make a good double feature, dealing as they do with the same era. Those already devoted to Borzage will also want to see I Take This Woman, although it's hardly his picture. Still, it presents a fun parlor game trying to determine which footage is his, which is Sternberg's and which is Van Dyke's. And of course, one just might not mind spending some time looking at Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr!

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 3rd, 2013, 1:30 pm
by moira finnie
Robert Regan wrote:Those already devoted to Borzage will also want to see I Take This Woman, although it's hardly his picture. Still, it presents a fun parlor game trying to determine which footage is his, which is Sternberg's and which is Van Dyke's. And of course, one just might not mind spending some time looking at Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr!
I thought that I Take This Woman was one movie that Borzage, Tracy and Lamarr might want to forget, Robert. Woody Van Dyke seems to have received the ultimate credit for this doozie, though I can just imagine how Tracy and von Sternberg got along on this one!

There are a couple of other Borzage's later this month on TCM:

Tuesday, May 7th @12PM (ET)
STRANGE CARGO (1940):
This story of a Christ-like Ian Hunter among the escapees from Devil's Island film was the last time that Gable and Joan Crawford were a team on screen, but they were only part of the very talented cast (Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas, Albert Dekker, Eduardo Ciannelli, J. Edward Bromberg). Most interesting for agnostics as well as religious people. Moving yet interesting despite or because of its uneasy blend of standard studio romance with mystical speculation and no concrete explanations for anything that happens concerning Hunter's character (mercifully).
[youtube][/youtube]

Thursday, May [email protected] (ET)
THE BIG FISHERMAN (1959)
Borzage's last feature film starred Howard Keel as Simon Peter in a novel retelling by Lloyd C. Douglas (Magnificent Obsession, Green Light, White Banners, The Robe) of the early years of Christianity. The often excellent Susan Kohner plays the daughter of King Herod (Herbert Lom, whose mere presence in this role makes me wanna see this) and her involvement with John Saxon (during his early stud muffin days--though he also had talent) seem to take up much of the story. Even the US Conference of Catholic Bishops thought this movie was too long, but hey, I am a Borzage completist, and it wouldn't be the first time i disagreed with those boys (watch this spot for incoming lightning bolts aimed at my irreverent head...). I don't think that Howard Keel sings a note in this one, darn it, but he looks good "making with the holy" in the immortal words of Victor Mature. I'm not expecting much from this movie, but Borzage has pierced my cynical shell more than once:
Image

Monday, May [email protected]:00AM (ET)
THE MORTAL STORM (1940)
The still profoundly moving story of the dissolution of a family, a community and a world destroyed by hatred as Nazism took hold in Germany. This film, with a great performance by Frank Morgan as an assimilated Jewish professor of chemistry, also features effective ensemble work by James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Robert Young and many more. Reportedly, the committed anti-fascist Warner Brothers had to browbeat a leery Louis B. Mayer into releasing this film without cutting the sole reference to Germany that appears near the beginning of the film. For business reasons, Mayer was afraid of losing the lucrative Austro-German market for MGM films. He was right. He lost those venues soon enough, but as this movie points out, some things are more important than going along with the flow.
[youtube][/youtube]

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 3rd, 2013, 1:45 pm
by Robert Regan
Right you are, Moira! I take This Woman is only a must-see for the completist. But Strange Cargo is so good that I don't even mind Joan Crawford, and The Mortal Storm is another masterpiece. I have The Big Fisherman on a DVD-R that I have not been able to see all the way through. It is a poor transfer of a pan-and-scan print, so I should give it another chance. You are right, Borzage did come up with some surprises.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 3rd, 2013, 2:43 pm
by kingrat
Robert, I've read that due to all the re-shooting on I Take This Woman, it was nicknamed I Re-Take This Woman. As for The Mortal Storm, my other half, who supposedly does not like classic films, started watching it and kept watching all the way to the end. So there's hope for him yet.

And I want to see The Big Fisherman.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 3rd, 2013, 2:49 pm
by Robert Regan
Let me know what you think about The Big Fisherman. Maybe I'll try it again soon.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 3rd, 2013, 3:04 pm
by moira finnie
Maybe The Big Fisherman will wind up as this month's leading contender for the Bad Movies You Love thread, but I am curious about it. Robert, I think that TCM might have found the best print available of The Big Fisherman, though I am not sure if it has been restored or will even be available in the proper wide screen format. Being a movie peasant, I'll take what I can get.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 3rd, 2013, 3:51 pm
by Robert Regan
Fingers are crossed, Moira!

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 21st, 2013, 11:58 am
by kingrat
Unfortunately, TCM showed the pan and scan version of THE BIG FISHERMAN. No doubt that's all they could obtain. There's a particularly unfortunate early scene where someone has an extended conversation with John Saxon, who's offscreen, thanks to the pan and scan. I've seen about the first two hours so far. Not sure that I see many Borzage touches, but the story has held my attention, though judicious pruning would certainly have helped.

Susan Kohner has a few overly dramatic moments, but mostly she is fine as Princess Fara, and she carries much of the picture. She and John Saxon are both attractive and talented, and you might have expected bigger careers for both. I don't think it would have been unreasonable in 1959 to see Susan Kohner as the next Elizabeth Taylor. Howard Keel has the right quality for Simon Peter; Herbert Lom is most enjoyable as the villainous Herod Antipas, who is Fara's father; but the real surprise to me is Martha Hyer--so blonde, so bland, so boring in SOME CAME RUNNING--but as the villainous depraved redhead Herodias she's just great. Beulah Bondi is perfectly cast as Simon's mother, and her scenes have the sweetness without stickiness that we often find in Borzage films. There are also some excellent supporting performances, along with a few where the actor is too contemporary for a historical film.

This isn't a must-see, especially in pan and scan, but if you like the actors or the genre, you might give it a try. The set design, especially of Herod Antipas' palace, is outstanding, and so is the music by Albert Hay Malotte.

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 22nd, 2013, 10:03 am
by CineMaven
[u]king[/u] [u]rat[/u] wrote:Susan Kohner has a few overly dramatic moments, but mostly she is fine as Princess Fara, and she carries much of the picture. She and John Saxon are both attractive and talented, and you might have expected bigger careers for both. I don't think it would have been unreasonable in 1959 to see Susan Kohner as the next Elizabeth Taylor... But the real surprise to me is Martha Hyer--so blonde, so bland, so boring in SOME CAME RUNNING--but as the villainous depraved redhead Herodias she's just great.
Hoooboy! As much as Frank Borzage is the new kid on my raydar, I didn't want to see a big biblical epic. But I'm sorry now, ( as usual ) that I didn't catch this one based on what you wrote, Brother Rat, about two of my favorites: Kohner and especially Hyer. How can you go wrong with a depraved redhead? Sorry I missed it. ( As for alliteratively described Ms. Hyer, I liked her repressed schoolmarmish nature in "Some Came Running" and I liked her in "The Best of Everything" & "Roughshod" too. )

* * * *

Before Shirley Eaton was painted gold by Goldfinger Marlene Dietrich's legs are painted gold for "Kismet." Naaaah I can't watch a whole Arabian nights saga, but you've got to stop what you're doing for Dietrich. So I watched her dance to the delight of Ronald Colman and Edward Arnold. She moves pretty well. Dietrich is so exotic. I buy her in any setting ( except in the kitchen with an apron on. )

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Posted: May 22nd, 2013, 12:17 pm
by JackFavell
And that's where she was most at home, cleaning and doing chores! But no one wants to watch that.

I watched a scene or two around that number myself today, it was a highlight of the movie. As much as I like Ronald Colman, I had to turn it off before his fall from grace. I liked his scenes with Marlene, he actually looked sexy, and she was enchanted with his boldness. I loved the scene (set up earlier in the film when Colman says something to Dietrich that paints a ridiculous picture of Arnold) where Marlene walked silently past Edward Arnold and he asked her, "Did I hear you laughing?" and she said no, then walked over to her harem girls and they all started laughing like crazy.