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WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » September 13th, 2011, 3:22 pm

I see something of what you are saying, kingrat, but I am not sure it's actually in Muni's performance - if it is it's awfully subtle, which is possible. I do like the way he denies himself the luxury of even being mad at Calleia's racist character when Calleia asks him to step down. His mind is miles ahead, tactically speaking. He just appears tired of having to explain it all.

Perhaps it isn't Muni's performance that is the problem.....the movie itself is heavy-handed and simple, with the Lincoln references and the gloomy pace, the direction makes Muni appear dull and thick, as opposed to thoughtful and strong.

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Fossy
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Fossy » September 13th, 2011, 6:37 pm

BOG (1983)

A fisherman is in his tinnie on Bog Lake. The fish are not biting so he uses dynamite to stun them and scoops them up as they float to the surface. Suddenly he is pulled into the water and disappears.
Two men and their wives come to the lake for a weekend of fishing. Accompanied by much screaming the wives disappear.

Police are called and the women and the fisherman are found floating in the water. The coroner, Brad. (Marshall Thompson) and pathologist Ginny (Gloria DeHaven) are puzzled because the blood has been sucked out of the victims.

They visit the “Hag of The Forest”, Adriana ( also played by Gloria DeHaven), who is a bit mysterious about it, and does not want to discuss it. It is later revealed that Adriana mates with the monster. This is a bit strange because there is only one monster and a “cluster” of eggs. The eggs are in due course are retrieved by the monster. In the course of the movie a few more people, including a few policemen are sucked dry.

The monster is eventually subdued and taken to Ginny`s lab for testing. Adriana was killed while trying to warn him. The monster awakes and carries off Ginny to mate with her.. They are pursued by Brad and a band of police and volunteers. Brad hopes to rescue Ginny before the monster can infuse her. ( I have never heard it called that before).

I suppose I should have been concerned for Ginny at this point, but I must confess to feeling a bit jealous of the monster. Let`s face it, even if Gloria was in her late fifties she was still an attractive woman.

Eventually the monster was destroyed, or was it? There is still the egg cluster floating in the lake, and when the eggs hatch and the new monsters start looking for human females to mate with...........

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 13th, 2011, 7:56 pm

I actually enjoyed Juarez when I saw it, especially the beautiful cinematography, the rousing score by Korngold and Carlotta's & Maximilian's love story.

Today I saw an excellent British film: "The Heart of the Matter" (1954) with a brilliant performance by one of my favorite British actors: Trevor Howard, as a man torn between, love, duty, religion and sin. He gives a subtle, nuanced performance as a police officer stationed in Sierra Leone. He lost his daughter and his marriage was badly affected by this. Elizabeth Allan (who as ayoung actress appeared in "David Copperfield", "A Tale of Two Cities" and other MGM films) is very good as his wife. Maria Schell is a young widow with whom he falls in love while her wife is away. Good supporting cast include Denholm Elliot, Peter Finch and George Colouris. A film that needs to be seen many times.

I also revisited "Marie Antoinette" (1938), one of MGM's most lavish productions....visually stunning and with a tour de force by Norma Shearer as the doomed Queen of France. Each time I see this film Shearer's performance improves more and more. In fact I'm thinking it could be well Shearer's grandest performance. Robert Morely is PERFECT as Louis XVI; I can't picture anyone else in this role. Fantastic production values, beautiful print, immensely entertaining and well acted all around. No doubt, a film I'll revisit many times.
Last edited by feaito on September 14th, 2011, 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » September 13th, 2011, 8:57 pm

Now I love Marie Antoinette. I really like the changes that Shearer goes through, and she is most natural throughout.I couldn't agree more about Robert Morley. I always watch when it's on.

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Rita Hayworth » September 13th, 2011, 10:00 pm

feaito wrote:I also revisited "Marie Anotoinette" (1938), one of MGM's most lavish productions....visually stunning and with a tour de force by Norma Shearer as the doomed Queen of France. Each time I see this film Shearer's performance improves more and more. In fact I'm thinking it could be well Shearer's grandest performance. Robert Morely is PERFECT as Louis XVI; I can't picture anyone else in this role. Fantastic production values, beautiful print, immensely entertaining and well acted all around. No doubt, a film I'll revisit many times.
JackFavell wrote:Now I love Marie Antoinette. I really like the changes that Shearer goes through, and she is most natural throughout.I couldn't agree more about Robert Morley. I always watch when it's on.


I watched this movie in my High School English Class and I was shocked how well MGM made this movie and I was moved by Norma Shearer's performance as Marie Anotoinette. Feaito and Jack Favell ... this is one of my favorites too. Robert Morely's performance as Louis XVI was spectacular. I also impressed how well this movie was made. It was so top notch I was moved by pageantry and the artistry that Director W.S. Van Dyke put it all together. Tyrone Powers, John Barrymore, and Anita Louise also did well in this movie too; and we must not forget about them as well.

I love this movie.

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby CineMaven » September 14th, 2011, 12:39 am

Image
"MAMA, I SHALL BE THE QUEEN. THE QUEEN OF FRANCE!!!"
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 14th, 2011, 9:07 am

I agree with you all and no-expense-was spared in this superproduction....what MGM spent in costumes, wigs, furniture et al, wow!! A true feast for the eyes! I think that this biopic was very faithful to its source indeed...Anita Louise is very sweet as la Princesse de Lamballe (who met an awful fate in the hands of the populace); as sidenote Miss Louise played Marie Antoinette in Warners' lavish 1934 film "Madame Du Barry" with Dolores Del Río in the title role and Reginald Owen as Louis XV.

I'm still reading Lambert's bio on Shearer and he states, contrary to the legend, that W.S. Van Dyke saved the picture and that it was positive that Mayer sacked Sidney Franklin, because he would have hurt the film badly.

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » September 14th, 2011, 9:22 am

How so, Fer? What was Franklin's situation? I see that he has almost no credits after 1937 - was he a drinker?

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 14th, 2011, 11:10 am

Hi Wendy, I don't think so, he became primarily a producer in MGM (Mrs. Miniver, Waterloo Bridge, Madame Curie, Random Harvest, etc.). He directed few films during the 1930s, mostly prestige movies with prestige casts, like "The Guardsman", "Barretts of Wimpole Street", "The Good Earth", "Reunion in Vienna", "Private Lives". He was a favorite of Shearer and Thalberg, but some critics and historians, like Lambert, felt he wasn't such a good director.

Lambert states that Sidney Franklin wanted a shooting schedule of 90 days for MA, he pleaded for Technicolor, criticized Adrian's costume designs as "too exaggerated", etc. So due to this Hunt Stromberg suggested to replace him to Mayer. Mayer welcomed the idea, but not only for economy reasons. He agreed that inflating preproduction costs, made it essential to shoot MA, more quickly, but getting rid of Franklin, he thought, coud be a personal revenge on Norma (he resented the percentage deal she inherited from Thalberg and that she had laso become an important stockholder). Thus W.S. Van Dyke was appointed director of MA.

Lambert wrote: "To claim that Franklin would have made a better picture than Van Dyke suggests mistaken loyalty or an emotional gesture prompted by Franklin's letter. Norma's old colleague was an unimaginative director but personally a man of intelligence and charm. Other actresses, notably Luise Rainer, found him excpetionally sympathetic, and he was associated with some of their best performances. Even so, Marie Antoinette and Romeo and Juliet remained Norma's favorites, the only two of her movies of which she owned prints."

feaito

Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 14th, 2011, 11:17 am

Later Lambert adds: "From the day of her pratfall, Norma decided that van Dyke was all right. As with Lubitsch, she made a difficult adjustment. "Woody demanded extraordinary deeds", Myrna Loy recalled, "and you needed the discipline to go along with it or you couldn't work with him." One of Norma's hardest disciplines was to come to terms with the fact that Van Dyke was no Robert Z. Leonard, whom she could pressure into twenty retakes of a scene, and Van Dyke's belief that speed encouraged spontaneity, that "everything must be done casually," was the opposite of Franklin's slow, deliberate cult of detail. Although Norma felt Thalberg and Franklin "tapping her on the shoulder", the jolt of Van Dyke was more decisive. He created and electricity that struck Morley as well. "Van Dyke always kept the picture alive." Handling history with the same directness as he handled actors, he ignored a period expert who wanted to correct the position of the guillotine in the final sequence: "I'm interested in how it's going to be, not how it was."

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 14th, 2011, 1:04 pm

I'm glad I'm not alone in my opinion of Jaurez, I did wonder if I'd been hard on it but realise I'm not alone. I think what Kingrat says is what Muni was aiming for, I believe him to be a consummate actor who would have given 100% and would have totally believed in the way he portrayed Jaurez, it might even have been true to watch Jaurez was like, for me, it was a frustrating experience. So many good actors, a lot of the blame is in the script, that's you partly John Huston and perhaps the time it was made. Bette, Gilbert, Joseph, John and Brian ignited briefly, it's an all star film that misfired, even Korngold's music was too intrusive at times.

It seems that Warner's with Bette's films like Jezebel and The Letter could really hit the spot and be big box office, then Warner's could plough money into films like Jaurez and All This and Heaven Too with good casts and screenwriters and completely miss with the public's popularity.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » September 14th, 2011, 2:00 pm

Fernando,

Thanks so much for going into detail like that! I hope it wasn't too much of a chore to write all that out. I see now that Van Dyke's quick schedule makes Norma much more appealing and spontaneous in the movie, and adds immensely to her likeability. I wish she had worked with him more often.

Alison,

I think Warner's appeal is in the smaller, more intimate movies, rather than the MGM type epic - in trying to imitate those giant pictures, they seem to fail. Even Casablanca has enormous appeal because it is a series of small stories wrapped up tightly together in the end.

It's funny, I was just thinking about the studios copying one another while watching Riffraff (1936) day before yesterday, which is MGM's answer to Warner's "plain folks" picture. It's a topical Depression era story of tuna fishermen starring Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow. It's a great movie, thanks to brilliant performances by Tracy and Harlow. The wonderful supporting cast includes superb turns by J. Farrell MacDonald, Joseph Calleia, Una Merkel and George Givot. Because it was made at MGM, Riffraff cuts quite close to being a disaster - the music in particular really annoyed me, MGM's treatment is like a sledgehammer compared to Warner's orchestrations - the score touting it's own Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown song, "You Are My Lucky Star" got more and more annoying to me as they pounded it to death. And I like the song. It made me wonder if sheet music sales were tied up in this film.

Luckily the director J. Walter Ruben keeps a tight reign on the proportions of the film, not letting it get too epic, though one can see it was a struggle at MGM to keep the film within bounds. It crackles like a Woody Van Dyke film, and it stays sweet and unassuming. I think this might be one of the first films where Tracy takes his time and really lets us see how he feels, he's sublime here and Harlow matches him in every scene - whether they are fighting or making love. J. Farrell MacDonald is the only actor I have ever seen who can steal a scene from Tracy.... make sure you bring a box of kleenex while watching his scenes. There is one rather exciting scene where Mickey Rooney (as Harlow's nephew) and Tracy go toe to toe, long before Boys Town. Joseph Calleia is just hilarious and a little heartbreaking in this film for a couple of reasons. His character is pathetic, losing the girl not once, not twice, but three times to Tracy. On a deeper level, it must have been a real bummer to play such a stereotypical "greaser" role - coming from Malta, and having pride in his Italian/Arab heritage, it must have hurt on some level playing this Italian maroon who destroys the English language at the drop of a hat. On the other hand, he is so good, so funny and endearing, it's impossible not to appreciate his comic timing and hysterical patter with George Givot. Joe is definitely the more subtle, and tosses off his humorous lines with an effortless delivery, making every line he speaks an absolute riot. Una Merkel gets a great meaty role as Harlow's married sister, always pregnant, letting her kids run rampant. She's just as much fun to watch as the rest of the stellar cast.

This is an A production all the way, and it is almost done in by that classification. Luckily, the MGM bigwigs didn't falter and start beefing the movie up, trying to ensure that their top stars got the proper treatment.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 14th, 2011, 2:29 pm

I still have Riff Raff to watch, I think you're right in your assessments of Warner's and MGMs strengths and weaknesses, Warner's does excel on the 'smaller' films with the exception of the Errol Flynn epics.

I had a treat today, for a girl who's not too clued up on Westerns and doesn't always enjoy them The Furies was great fun to watch, it has lots of twists and turns and corking performances all the way through, particularly Walter Huston and Barbara Stanwyck, I'm guessing that this is one of Walter Huston's last films and what a part to get his teeth into, Barbara Stanwyck too, I can see why all those years later that she was cast in The Colby's, I think this is her blue print here. Barbara doesn't need ball gowns to look terrific, she's looks at home in her costumes for the is film, in real life she had her own ranch, it must have been home from home for her. Back to the movie, the intense, almost unreal relationship between father and daughter, are we expected to read darker undertones there? Th Furies is the ranch that is owned by the father who publishes his own currency but he is reckless, Vance the daughter has her finger far more on the pulse of The Furies and loves it, perhaps more than her father. Another relationship in her life is with a squatter family called the Herraras, the eldest son is in love with her, why can't she see it? See how haandsome he is and how utterly suitable he would be for her? There is another man played by Wendell Corey who has a grudge against her father and a point to prove. Father comes home with a gold digging bride, played so well by Judith Anderson and all hell breaks lose, I don't want to give anything away because I didn't see any of the this coming, apart from the very ending, part of the joy of the film is the unexpected that happens. A fine film and for a girl who's not really into Westerns, it's a Western I'd watch again.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 14th, 2011, 2:32 pm

I followed The Furies with Fast and Loose a fun caper with Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell as a rare book selling and detecting couple, probably cashing in on the success of The Thin Man stories and the principals have good chemistry, I do think Rosalind Russell is in her absolute element playing this type of comedy, the pace of the mystery moved quite quickly, a pleasant way to spend an hour and a 20 minutes.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby RedRiver » September 14th, 2011, 2:51 pm

I think Warner's appeal is in the smaller, more intimate movies

Positively! I'm not even cognizant of certain looks for certain studios. But when I see depression era stories about working class people, with friendly cab drivers, kids playing stickball, somebody who wants to be a boxer...AND MOM, I'm confident we're in Warners territory. Shots of storefronts, apartment house stoops, the Italian joint on the corner. No picturesque mountains, raging rivers, canyons grand or otherwise. They don't have them in Brooklyn!

I've enjoyed reading about MARIE ANTOINETTE. I haven't seen it. I like A TALE OF TWO CITIES a lot. The Jack Conway film. It's quite possible I'd like "Marie" as well. And somebody's mentioned THE HEART OF THE MATTER. Wow! That's a title that doesn't come up often. Haven't seen that one either. But I like the book. It's Graham Greene in philosophical, but still enertaining, mode. Unlike THE POWER AND THE GLORY, which is flat-out theology!


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