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Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

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Western Guy
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby Western Guy » September 3rd, 2012, 10:49 pm

Not to mention the dark menace Jack`s presence would have provided. Just can`t understand the brainstorm behind Brophy`s casting. All I can figure is maybe that very slight physical similarity that comes into effect during Rollo`s `resurrection`.

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CineMaven
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby CineMaven » September 4th, 2012, 2:58 am

Menace. Oh yeah...that too. :)
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MissGoddess
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby MissGoddess » September 4th, 2012, 9:11 am

T, watching both these movies again the other night I had the same though you so well expressed, namely that Lorre never looked down on his roles, he gave them his all and that's why they really live on and his, um, piquant, face is one of those we cannot imagine classic Hollywood without. I mean, he's in all those Warner Bros. cartoons about Hollywood so you KNOW he was a cinema genius (a performer being in those cartoons for me is the equivalent of getting footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater)! :D

Mad Love is a really terrific horror movie since it develops psychologically as well as following the traditional horror story---not to mention the focus really is Lorre's Dr. Gogol, rather than the pianist.

Hands of a Stranger (1962) was lacking because frankly, the pianist character was a monster long before his hands got mangled. He was so annoying and a prat all in one. Not a worthy successor to Conrad Veidt, in my opinion.
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby Western Guy » September 4th, 2012, 9:25 am

I found HANDS OF A STRANGER slow and draggy. Some scenes seemed to go on forever. The only high point for me was seeing Barry Gordon in an early role, though his character was rather annoying and he had yet to show the potential made evident three years later as Jason Robards' mature-beyond-his-years son in A THOUSAND CLOWNS

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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby MissGoddess » September 4th, 2012, 9:31 am

Barry was also really good in an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" ("Day of the Bullet") about a boy who hero-worships his dad, and the sad turn of events this leads to.
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby CineMaven » September 5th, 2012, 5:43 am

MissGoddess wrote:T, watching both these movies again the other night I had the same though you so well expressed, namely that Lorre never looked down on his roles, he gave them his all and that's why they really live on and his, um, piquant, face is one of those we cannot imagine classic Hollywood without. I mean, he's in all those Warner Bros. cartoons about Hollywood so you KNOW he was a cinema genius (a performer being in those cartoons for me is the equivalent of getting footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater)! :D

Thanx! And you know...you're so right about a celeb being caricatured in a WB cartoon being an honor. It's like celebrities wanting to be picked on by Don ( "Hockey Puck!" ) Rickles.

Mad Love is a really terrific horror movie since it develops psychologically as well as following the traditional horror story---not to mention the focus really is Lorre's Dr. Gogol, rather than the pianist.

Yes, yes! It worked on both cylinders, didn't it.

Hands of a Stranger (1962) was lacking because frankly, the pianist character was a monster long before his hands got mangled. He was so annoying and a prat all in one. Not a worthy successor to Conrad Veidt, in my opinion.

Oh man, no comparison to Veidt. I didn't see it all yet, but "The Hands of Orlac" was great. That trainwreck sequence was other worldly. "...The Stranger" for me was just good clean macabre low-budget fun. ( I liked the doctor. )
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby MissGoddess » September 5th, 2012, 7:55 am

The actor who played the doctor in Stranger kept reminding me of (a young) William Shatner...
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intothenitrate
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby intothenitrate » September 10th, 2012, 5:19 am

I love Peter Lorre. His affability in films like Three Strangers or The Verdict is irresistible. And I can't get enough of his highly trained and conditioned English diction either. At the time he made Mad Love, Lorre may still have been working on his English. It is said that when he made The Man Who Knew Too Much with Hitchcock just a year before, he was still learning his English lines phonetically, putting them together piece by piece before each take.

I think what makes Mad Love such an attractive film is the special care MGM put into the production. The horror genre was not exactly in their wheelhouse, but they brought in the likes of Karl Freund, Colin Clive, and Peter Lorre to put it over. [A similar effort that year would be Mark of the Vampire, where they brought in (back) Todd Browning and Bela Lugosi to revisit the London After Midnight story.] Are these "towering" films in the genre? Maybe not, but they are very serious contributions and tell us a lot today about the MGM "brand." Brophy may not be the most menacing murderer, but he was after all, MGM's house gangster.

The film is a great pleasure also because of Karl Freund. As a cameraman, he came up right in the middle of the Weimar cinema in Germany. They couldn't have picked anyone better to punch up the creepiness of certain key scenes.

On the subject of Freund's artistry, I was watching the somewhat forgettable film There's Always a Woman (1938) starring Joan Blondell, Melvyn Douglas and Mary Astor. It's a detective movie that tries to emulate the Nick and Nora formula. Among the supporting players is Frances Drake, playing someone's dowdy aunt. With the flat lighting and generally hackneyed direction, she seems completely unremarkable. But in Mad Love, she comes across as a stunning, ethereal beauty, worthy of Dr. Golgol's obsession. Part of that is Drake, of course, but most of it is Freund. The care and attention he puts into lighting and photographing her for the role is amazing.
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knitwit45
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby knitwit45 » September 10th, 2012, 8:16 am

don't want to hijack this thread, but I am curious about your take on There's Always a Woman. Did you like it or find it mildly annoying? I thought Joanie's character was simply irritating, and Melvin Douglas's was just a fine line short of being a wife-abuser. There was NO chemistry between them, and very little humor. (can you tell I didn't care for this one?) :roll: :roll:

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intothenitrate
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby intothenitrate » September 10th, 2012, 8:19 pm

It was pretty terrible. I chalk it up to the reactionary backlash of post production code period. I should look up the director and put him on my personal blacklist.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
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CineMaven
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby CineMaven » September 13th, 2012, 10:38 pm

Intothenitrate, I really enjoyed your review of "Mad Love" :)
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intothenitrate
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby intothenitrate » September 16th, 2012, 6:21 am

Just saw your note, Mavin. Thank you.

I did make a mistake about Frances Drake. She didn't play a dowdy aunt. I must have gotten her mixed up with someone else.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby CineMaven » September 16th, 2012, 1:53 pm

Were you thinkin' of Frances Bavier, Nitrate? :D
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby RedRiver » September 16th, 2012, 3:59 pm

Who isn't thinking of Frances Bavier? She's almost always on my mind!

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intothenitrate
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Re: Mad Love (1935)/The Beast With Five Fingers (1948)

Postby intothenitrate » September 16th, 2012, 11:24 pm

It's worse than that, Maven. Turns out I was thinking of the way Ann Dvorak photographed in Merrily We Live (1938). She was the dowdy aunt. Nothing to do with Frances Drake or Karl Freund.

Still, it's an object lesson in the importance of lighting. I can still stand by the fact that Frances Drake, who looks pretty good in the films she made before marrying into royalty [thanks IMDB}, looks incredible when lensed by Freund.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
Goodnight Basington


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