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East Side West Side (1949)

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Fossy
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East Side West Side (1949)

Postby Fossy » October 10th, 2011, 12:46 am

East Side West Side (1949)

Jessie (Barbara Stanwyck) Devoted wife who has forgiven her husband for his affair with Isabel.

Brandon (James Mason) Husband of Jessie who is infatuated with Isabel , his bit on the side until she went off to Europe for a year with her wealthy lover.

Isabel (Ava Gardner) mistress of Alec and part time mistress of Brandon. Having returned after a Year in Europe with Alec now wants the best of both worlds. Alec because he has lots of money to spend on her, and Brandon because he is better at it.

Alec (Douglas Kennedy) ,lover of Isabel, of whom he is very jealous.

Felice (Beverley Michaels), who was dumped by Alec when he took up with Isabel. Felice followed Isabel to her apartment and warned her off, or else. It was or else. Brandon was being questioned in connection with the murder of Isabel.

Mark (Van Heflin), a former policeman who now works for the government is in love with Jessie. Because Jessie is in love with her husband, Mark looks into the crime and and solves it. Mark leaves for Europe, Jessie gives her husband the flick and a desolate Brandon is left without a wife or a mistress.

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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby moira finnie » October 10th, 2011, 4:25 pm

Foss! I wish that I'd read your concise and apt description of this movie before I spent several hours of my life trying to plow through its over-produced poppycock.

I have tried to watch East Side West Side (1949) from beginning to end several times. I finally made it all the way through last time, but I thought that James Mason looked as though he was nursing an ulcer all through this movie, (he was probably wondering why he ever left England) and that the sooner he and Barbara Stanwyck stopped torturing each other, the better. Ava Gardner looked gorgeous, but really didn't convey that praying mantis quality that her thankless role called for. I think Ava got to be a better actress later, after her glossiness got rubbed off a bit--but anytime she got out of Culver City, she was sometimes a better than expected actress even in this early stage of her career, as she was in Whistle Stop, The Killers, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Van Heflin, once again playing a role tailor-made for Spencer Tracy, seemed to know that he really wasn't naturally jaunty enough for such a part, and those cornball episodes set "among the little people" of NYC's streets really stunk. As much as I enjoy the studio's films, MGM never was entirely convincing when portraying working class people in urban settings, do you think? Btw, any man who would toss Cyd Charisse away really needs glasses.

I thought that Beverly Michaels was a real hoot as the Amazon-on-a-tear who was miffed because Douglas Kennedy didn't find her sufficiently alluring all the time. Com'on! Who would kill for the love of Douglas Kennedy?
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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby Gary J. » October 11th, 2011, 2:39 pm

I agree with Moira concerning Gardner. Her work in the 40's mostly showcased her look, while in the 50's she developed the ability to convey a vulnerability underneath the facade of her beauty. Ava has always been given credit for allowing Sinatra to achieve those cathartic, emotionally draining ballads that he recorded at Capital Records by the simple method of breaking his heart. Maybe it's time to reverse the coin and give Frank credit for doing the same with Ava's acting?
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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby Fossy » October 11th, 2011, 7:24 pm

I`m with you Moirafinnie, i had to watch it at least three times before I had seen it all, I kept falling asleep. In this movie Cyd Charisse looked stunning, but Brandon did not dump her, he just never got to first base. She made it quite clear from the outset that she would not be one of his conquests. Brandon`s view that the world is a garden, and just because his wife is a beautiful rose, does not mean that he cannot pick the other flowers.

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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby moira finnie » October 12th, 2011, 11:51 am

Fossy wrote:I`m with you Moirafinnie, i had to watch it at least three times before I had seen it all, I kept falling asleep. In this movie Cyd Charisse looked stunning, but Brandon did not dump her, he just never got to first base. She made it quite clear from the outset that she would not be one of his conquests. Brandon`s view that the world is a garden, and just because his wife is a beautiful rose, does not mean that he cannot pick the other flowers.

Oh, I should have been more specific in my remarks, Fossy. I meant that Van Heflin brushed off Cyd Charisse--dismissing her girlish ardor as puppy love. Jeez, what a fool (though his character's condescending attitude toward Cyd seems to reveal the synthetic lack of realism in the movie).

GaryJ wrote:I agree with Moira concerning Gardner. Her work in the 40's mostly showcased her look, while in the 50's she developed the ability to convey a vulnerability underneath the facade of her beauty. Ava has always been given credit for allowing Sinatra to achieve those cathartic, emotionally draining ballads that he recorded at Capital Records by the simple method of breaking his heart. Maybe it's time to reverse the coin and give Frank credit for doing the same with Ava's acting?

That is interesting and I don't think that the emotional turmoil both endured when together and apart has ever been seen from that perspective. I do think that the salty yet melancholy streak in her wisecracking party girl character, "Eloise Kelly," in Mogambo (1953) seems to reflect some of the private sorrow Ava Gardner reportedly experienced then in the midst of her troubled pairing with Sinatra. In Lee Server's bio of the actress, he does delineate how Sinatra definitely encouraged Ava's love of music, trying to nurture her efforts to use her natural singing voice without intimidating her about her somewhat untutored way with a tune, (unlike her earlier husband Artie Shaw, who never seemed to feel good without making one of his wives feel bad about themselves). As evidenced by the recordings that have surfaced allowing us to hear her sing the great role of "Julie" in Show Boat (1951) with considerable feeling in a small but expressive voice, she had absorbed some musicality and life gave her the rest of that tragic character's yearnings. She definitely was more than just beautiful.
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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby Gary J. » October 12th, 2011, 2:55 pm

In the book about the Freed Unit (MGM's Greatest Musicals) the debate about whether or not to use Gardner's real voice or the dubbed tracks yo-yo'ed back and forth throughout post-production until the final days when music won out over film performance - but it was very close.
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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby JackFavell » October 12th, 2011, 4:45 pm

So does Ava sing for herself in Pandora? I love that song, and I love the way she, whoever it was, sings it. The lyrics are by Dorothy Parker, who only wrote two or so songs in her life, both good.

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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby Fossy » October 14th, 2011, 4:39 pm

JackFavell wrote:So does Ava sing for herself in Pandora? I love that song, and I love the way she, whoever it was, sings it. The lyrics are by Dorothy Parker, who only wrote two or so songs in her life, both good.



There have been at least a dozen movies called Pandora, but I assume you mean Pandora And The Flying Dutchman (1951)

This is not on the Dubbers List so that would indicate that it was sung by Ava Gardner.

The song was “How Am I To Know” with music by Jack King and lyrics by Dorothy Parker. According to IMDB it was sung by Ava Gardner.

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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby JackFavell » October 14th, 2011, 6:18 pm

Thanks Fossy! I assumed that since we were talking about Ava it would be clear I was asking about Pandora and the Flying Dutchman.

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Re: East Side West Side (1949)

Postby RedRiver » October 16th, 2011, 3:43 pm

I think we're pretty much in agreement about EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE. There's some value in seeing some fine actors in, not necessarily, their best roles. There's a certain closed door delight in being in on the scandalous secrets. But when it's all over, the shortcomings in the story make us wonder why we bothered. It's not enough.

On another thread, we discussed some much better melodramas. Try those instead!


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