The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.
- Audrey Hepburn

FRANK BORZAGE

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 2nd, 2012, 1:20 pm

It's certainly one of Gary Cooper's best roles and one of Borzage's best films. I'm glad it's getting a rerelease.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby feaito » May 5th, 2012, 1:22 am

Till We Meet Again (1944)

Thanks to dear Moira, who shared with me this film a couple of years ago, I have discovered yet another masterpiece by the most skilled director –Frank Borzage- at depicting in his pictures the supreme human feeling: love, in all its aspects, without falling into sentimentalism or ever being corny. Today I found de adequate moment –and I was in the right mood- to watch it.

The film is set in a small French village during WWII and stars the relatively unknown Barbara Britton, who's superb as an innocent, pure, naïve and psychologically harmed nun (Sister Clothilde)–more specifically a novice- whose path gets mixed with that of an American pilot –Johnny- carrying out a dangerous mission in France, aptly portrayed by Ray Milland. They’re supported by an excellent cast, most notably Lucile Watson as the determined, strong, wise, sensible and sensitive mother superior of the Convent in which Sister Clothilde was educated and Konstantin Shayne, as a Nazi officer –Major Krupp- depicted not as a one-dimensional villain, but as a human being with all his inherent complexities as such.

Barbara Britton delivers a splendid performance and shines especially in her scenes with Milland, in the role of a sort of Virgin Mary which in my opinion is reminiscent of the character played by Ian Hunter in Borzage’s “Strange Cargo” (1940), willing to sacrifice completely for the sake of the human beings she most loves and to whom she feels indebted (the Mother Superior and Johnny).

Borzage masterfully shows the gradual development of her relationship with the American pilot, being at first reticent towards him and slowly opening her heart and herself to him and his reminiscences of a better life back in his home in the USA, with his wife and son. When Milland describes how he met his wife as a child, that she was his only sweetheart, how they fell in love, formed a family, his son was born, a daughter died in infancy, the ensuing pain, his need of his wife, etcetera, he conveys with his eyes, body and voice his feelings and the pivotal place that love in its many expressions (as father, husband, man, etc.) occupies in his life and in his soul.

Listening to and perceiving all this transmits something to Sister Clothilde that makes her reconcile with her traumatic childhood before turning 8 years old and going to live to the Convent, apprehending in the process all that was necessary to heal her fears and insecurity, thus making her into a happy human being, who does not need to hide herself from the outside world and its happiness and pain; a brave person willing to sacrifice herself for love.

I must say that the beautiful bond that develops between this nun and the pilot is one of the most wonderful, pure, ethereal and honest relationships ever depicted on screen. It’s a kind of fraternal and special love that transcends their physical necessities; it’s food for their souls.

Britton’s portrayal belongs right up with my favorite luminous, delicate and sensitive feminine performances (Jennifer Jones in “Portrait of Jennie”, Ann Harding in “Peter Ibbetson”, Joan Fontaine in “Letter from an Unknown Woman”) in films of this kind, that transcend everyday reality.

An exquisite, glowing and delicate film

User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby JackFavell » May 5th, 2012, 8:17 am

Wow, Ferchu, that was a fantastically well written, absorbing review. You make me long to see this movie, and it's just wonderful to see you writing at length again.

feaito

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby feaito » May 5th, 2012, 8:30 am

Thnak you Wendy, I was really hooked by this film; it should have a decent release on DVD/Blu Ray. Apparently it has not been aired lately, as far as I know.

feaito

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby feaito » May 5th, 2012, 8:36 am

JackFavell wrote:Wow, Ferchu, that was a fantastically well written, absorbing review. You make me long to see this movie, and it's just wonderful to see you writing at length again.


Wendy, I can share my copy with you as as I did with The Fan. Unlike The Fan, It's not a good copy; apparently it's source is a Video recording, but I think it's very difficult to obtain any copy of this film. Best, FER

User avatar
moira finnie
Administrator
Posts: 8176
Joined: April 9th, 2007, 6:34 pm
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby moira finnie » May 25th, 2012, 1:24 pm

TCM features some of Frank Borzage's best known films tonight:

8:00 PM
Three Comrades (1938)
Three life-long friends share their love for a dying woman against the turbulent backdrop of Germany between the wars.
Dir: Frank Borzage Cast: Robert Taylor , Margaret Sullavan , Franchot Tone .
BW-99 mins, TV-G, CC,

10:00 PM
The Mortal Storm (1940)
The Third Reich's rise tears apart a German family.
Dir: Frank Borzage Cast: Margaret Sullavan , James Stewart , Robert Young .
BW-100 mins, TV-PG, CC,

12:00 AM
Strange Cargo (1940)
A prostitute and some prisoners attempt to escape from a penal colony in French Guiana.
Dir: Frank Borzage Cast: Joan Crawford , Clark Gable , Ian Hunter .
BW-113 mins, TV-PG, CC,

Random thought of the day:
Wish that Little Man, What Now? (1934) could have been added to the two earlier Margaret Sullavan movies. Based on a novel by Hans Fallada about the desolation in Germany after WWI and its effect on one couple (Sullavan and Douglass Montgomery, who is very good), the movie seems to be forgotten. Thank you, Fernando, for enabling me to see this and other movies.
Avatar: Frank McHugh (1898-1981)

The Skeins
TCM Movie Morlocks

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 25th, 2012, 3:46 pm

I read Little Man, What Now not long ago, the film is very moving and reading the book makes me appreciate how good the casting and staging is but like with most books, it has to be condensed, the film packs a big punch, the book is a lesson in social history wrapped up and presented as a novel. I love three movies they are showing. I wonder why Borzage directed so many conscience films, he must have possessed a big social conscience himself.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby JackFavell » May 26th, 2012, 4:16 pm

I realize that I get certain parts of Three Comrades mixed with The Mortal Storm. Of the two, I like Three Comrades better, but MS packs the bigger wallop, emotionally. Maybe sometimes it's just too hard to watch.

User avatar
Ann Harding
Posts: 1271
Joined: January 11th, 2008, 11:03 am
Location: Paris
Contact:

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby Ann Harding » June 18th, 2012, 7:42 am

feaito wrote:Till We Meet Again (1944)

Thanks to dear Moira, who shared with me this film a couple of years ago, I have discovered yet another masterpiece by the most skilled director –Frank Borzage- at depicting in his pictures the supreme human feeling: love, in all its aspects, without falling into sentimentalism or ever being corny. Today I found de adequate moment –and I was in the right mood- to watch it.

The film is set in a small French village during WWII and stars the relatively unknown Barbara Britton, who's superb as an innocent, pure, naïve and psychologically harmed nun (Sister Clothilde)–more specifically a novice- whose path gets mixed with that of an American pilot –Johnny- carrying out a dangerous mission in France, aptly portrayed by Ray Milland. They’re supported by an excellent cast, most notably Lucile Watson as the determined, strong, wise, sensible and sensitive mother superior of the Convent in which Sister Clothilde was educated and Konstantin Shayne, as a Nazi officer –Major Krupp- depicted not as a one-dimensional villain, but as a human being with all his inherent complexities as such.

Barbara Britton delivers a splendid performance and shines especially in her scenes with Milland, in the role of a sort of Virgin Mary which in my opinion is reminiscent of the character played by Ian Hunter in Borzage’s “Strange Cargo” (1940), willing to sacrifice completely for the sake of the human beings she most loves and to whom she feels indebted (the Mother Superior and Johnny).

Borzage masterfully shows the gradual development of her relationship with the American pilot, being at first reticent towards him and slowly opening her heart and herself to him and his reminiscences of a better life back in his home in the USA, with his wife and son. When Milland describes how he met his wife as a child, that she was his only sweetheart, how they fell in love, formed a family, his son was born, a daughter died in infancy, the ensuing pain, his need of his wife, etcetera, he conveys with his eyes, body and voice his feelings and the pivotal place that love in its many expressions (as father, husband, man, etc.) occupies in his life and in his soul.

Listening to and perceiving all this transmits something to Sister Clothilde that makes her reconcile with her traumatic childhood before turning 8 years old and going to live to the Convent, apprehending in the process all that was necessary to heal her fears and insecurity, thus making her into a happy human being, who does not need to hide herself from the outside world and its happiness and pain; a brave person willing to sacrifice herself for love.

I must say that the beautiful bond that develops between this nun and the pilot is one of the most wonderful, pure, ethereal and honest relationships ever depicted on screen. It’s a kind of fraternal and special love that transcends their physical necessities; it’s food for their souls.

Britton’s portrayal belongs right up with my favorite luminous, delicate and sensitive feminine performances (Jennifer Jones in “Portrait of Jennie”, Ann Harding in “Peter Ibbetson”, Joan Fontaine in “Letter from an Unknown Woman”) in films of this kind, that transcend everyday reality.

An exquisite, glowing and delicate film

Thanks to Fernando, I was able to discover this very rare Paramount produced Borzage feature. It proved very rewarding. In any other hands, it would have been another of those war-propaganda picture with the fugitive pilot in foreign land. But with Borzage, it becomes a travel of discovery for the young novice and the pilot. Hervé Dumont (in his Borzage book) mentions that the film was started with Maureen O'Hara. But she got pregnant and had to stop shooting. She was replaced by an unknown newcomer, the freshed-faced Barbara Britton. The replacement proved worthy of the task. Or more precisely, Borzage manages to get a superb performance from the girl. I noticed that the cinematographer on that picture was a master, Theodor Sparkuhl (who worked with Lubitsch in the 20s and Renoir in the 30s). It's a shame this film is not available in a good print that would allow us to admire the wonderful chiaroscuro he used for many sequences. Nevertheless, I enjoyed to the full this superb picture which is among Borzage's best. Dumont mentions another film he finds in a par with that one: Heaven Knows Mr. Alison with a similar theme. He is right. They are both superb character study and moving pictures. Thanks again Fernando.

feaito

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby feaito » June 18th, 2012, 8:38 am

I'm glad that you liked it so much Christine. Indeed this film deserves to be released officially -Universal listen!

kingrat
Posts: 2207
Joined: August 20th, 2009, 2:46 pm

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby kingrat » June 18th, 2012, 12:40 pm

Did anyone else see THE CIRCLE (1925), adapted from a hit play by Somerset Maugham, which was on TCM last night? Unfortunately I missed the beginning, with Joan Crawford as the young Lady Kitty. Lady Kitty deserts her dull, respectable husband and her young son and runs off with the dashing Lord Porteous. Fast forward about 30 years, and history is about to repeat itself: Lady Kitty's daughter-in-law (Eleanor Boardman) is about to leave her husband and run off with the dashing Teddy. Will history repeat itself? Would Lady Kitty and Lord Porteous have made a different choice, knowing what they know now? Will poor Arnold figure out how to keep his wife or will he suffer the same fate as his father?

Despite the obvious problems of a silent version of a stage comedy, THE CIRCLE was worth seeing. Borzage directs our sympathies to all of the characters in turn. I hope one of our fashionistas saw the film and can describe Eleanor Boardman's elegant dinner gown in detail. It had panels of figured material sewn into a solid dark fabric, and looked ready for the red carpet today. The costume desginer had fun with the outfit and the hat for the aged Lady Kitty.

User avatar
Robert Regan
Posts: 290
Joined: June 12th, 2012, 3:59 pm

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby Robert Regan » June 19th, 2012, 12:37 pm

I am so happy to see so much interest in and appreciation of Frank Borzage. He is for me one of the handful of truly great filmmakers. While writing about him on Mubi, I had the pleasure of seeing all but a few of his silent films in chronological order, culminating in his last four silent masterpieces, Seventh Heaven, Street Angel, The River, and Lucky Star. At the moment, The River is my favorite, in spite of, or perhaps because of, its being incomplete. With the melodramatic plot machinations missing, what remains is the very essence of Borzage, a man and a woman meet, spar with each other, and come together in what is probably the most intense love story on film. It's like Hitchcock without the Macguffin, just Cary and Ingrid!

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 19th, 2012, 1:47 pm

I love The River, it's very raw, very sensual, Frank Borzage used Charles Farrell so well in these movies, he doesn't acting doesn't display a big range but every character is well crafted and each film a masterpiece. I love the Borzage silents with Charles Farrell, I wish I'd seen more.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

kingrat
Posts: 2207
Joined: August 20th, 2009, 2:46 pm

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby kingrat » June 19th, 2012, 2:46 pm

Robert, a number of posters here are interested in romantic films and other films that Hollywood intended mainly for women, and Borzage is certainly an important figure. Please post as much as like about him. We're happy to have you join us.

User avatar
Robert Regan
Posts: 290
Joined: June 12th, 2012, 3:59 pm

Re: FRANK BORZAGE

Postby Robert Regan » June 19th, 2012, 4:14 pm

Thank you, Kingrat. I'm glad to be here. I already know a few of you and am eager to get to know you all. I will certainly have plenty to say about Borzage, among others. In the meantime, let me invite you, and all who are interested in Frank, to take a look at: http://mubi.com/lists/frank-borzage-sil ... -1915-1929. See you around. Bob


Return to “The People of Film”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests