A Shriek in the Night (1933)

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Masha
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A Shriek in the Night (1933)

Post by Masha »

A Shriek in the Night (1933)

This movie delivers what it promises as the opening is a loud shriek as a body falls from a tall building at nighttime. There is a loud shriek heard also prior to the discovery of each murder victim throughout the movie.

Ginger Rogers is a naïve young girl who recently became the live-in secretary of the renowned philanthropist who died in the opening scene. It is a proper situation as Lillian Harmer is the chaperone as the "little bit dumb but very respectable" live-in housekeeper. Purnell Pratt is the wisecracking inspector who wants to believe the death is murder rather than suicide because murders are much more fun. Arthur Hoyt as his assistant is so meek and unassuming that his observation that it would be pleasant to have a girl like that living-in elicits the inspector's response: "I wonder if I could have been wrong about you all this time."

Lyle Talbot is a typical 1930s newspaperman who knows all the speakeasies and is continually chasing skirts. It is slowly revealed that Ginger Rogers is the skirt he is currently pursuing and that she is actually a hard-bitten newspaperwoman who excels at sarcastic retorts. She took the position as the philanthropist's secretary so she could uncover his connections to organized crime.

The jokes and wisecracks continue to flow as the body count rises.

This is a prototypical comedy murder mystery which presages The Thin Man series and Torchy Blane movies. The chemistry between Ginger Rogers and Lyle Talbot adds much to the story.

I love Ginger Rogers very much in her early roles as a strong, independent and intelligent woman who happens to have a slight weakness for a certain fella. She and Talbot were equally as well matched in: The Thirteenth Guest (1932). I wish very much that they had made more movies together.

6.8/10
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jamesjazzguitar
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Re: A Shriek in the Night (1933)

Post by jamesjazzguitar »

30s Ginger Rogers is a treat and she was in many fine films beyond just the ones with Astaire. I think she lost some of her spark after the 30s but that could be because WWII, generally.
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Masha
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Re: A Shriek in the Night (1933)

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I feel she was best suited for comedy. I fear the sad reality of the business was that she needed to expand into more dramatic roles in order for her career to flourish.
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jameselliot
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Re: A Shriek in the Night (1933)

Post by jameselliot »

Prints of Shriek are in bad shape. Maybe one day...
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Masha
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Re: A Shriek in the Night (1933)

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jameselliot wrote: February 25th, 2024, 9:05 pm Prints of Shriek are in bad shape. Maybe one day...
This is a good example of how I am not mainstream. I find the print on: TubiTV and several less-professionally-groomed streaming sites to be perfectly acceptable except that I would like it to have: Closed Captioning.

I remember well a programme concerning antiques in which one of the items under consideration was an: 18th Century table. The owner did not like the condition when they received it and so had stripped the finish, filled the holes, repaired the cracks, replaced cracked or missing inlay pieces and had then had it given: French Polish even although that technique dates from a hundred years later than when the table was made. They had photographs of its original condition and were quite proud of the work that they had put into it. It truly did look as if it was absolutely new!

All of the experts agreed that it had been worth three thousand to five thousand dollars before they worked on it and they had reduced its value to a few hundred dollars.

I remember this as it is an extreme example but it is common with antiques that enthusiastic cleaning removes patina and reduces an object's value by fifty to seventy percent.

The print of a movie obviously must meet different standards but I find that some snow and a few scratches adds to the ambiance of early movies.

It is also that I was asked of recent to sit in on a discussion of how AI might change the viewing of movies. The main topic was how AI could virtually remake movies. Backgrounds and settings can be extrapolated by AI and added to the edges to bring the aspect ratio up to today's common standard. AI can add realistic color with none of the hue/saturation issues of other forms of colorization. AI can add visual textures so that matte paintings look more realistic. AI can use morphing technology to make transitions invisible when offensive words are removed.

Most of that might seem all well and good but it would not stop there. Ai with Deep Fake technology could replace blackface or yellowface actors with period actors of the proper ethnic/racial heritage. AI could add scenes using the same settings and actors to make the movie more politically/socially relevant. AI could remove also any representation of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and firearms.

We are less than a generation away from movies being homogenized to the point that they are picture-perfect in all ways and as appetizing as institutional pap.

I will embrace the snow, scratches and clicks in an old movie as being proof that it is real.
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TikiSoo
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Re: A Shriek in the Night (1933)

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Masha wrote: February 25th, 2024, 11:35 pm We are less than a generation away from movies being homogenized to the point that they are picture-perfect in all ways and as appetizing as institutional pap.
I will embrace the snow, scratches and clicks in an old movie as being proof that it is real.
Has anyone seen artificially aged videos (often music videos) with scratches & lines ADDED to give it a "vintage" feel? Oy.

As a professional Art Conservator & Restorationist, I often have to explain these differences to clients.
Typically, if 50% or more of any original elements are missing, you preserve what's there (conservation) and recreate what isn't (restoration)

In the case of old movies, visual restoration usually means removing scratches, lines & blips that are not original to the film.
Restoration also may include preserving the CONTRAST lost from the image from age and/or the generation of the copy.
Color correction to newer color films can also be included in restoration.
The whole idea of restoration is to make it look like it did when first seen.

The idea of CHANGING a movie to suit modern mores by removing words & situations or adding advertising is not restoration by any means and needs to be discouraged by not accepting or most importantly $upporting it.

We all did this when Turner began to "colorize" movies...he became the butt of jokes & the movies ended up in the bargain bin.
For once the public did a good job by not accepting it & voting with their dollars.
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Masha
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Re: A Shriek in the Night (1933)

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TikiSoo wrote: February 26th, 2024, 7:12 am
Has anyone seen artificially aged videos (often music videos) with scratches & lines ADDED to give it a "vintage" feel? Oy.
I had watched a silent movie and soon after saw a clip from it used in a documentary to illustrate a battle during Biblical times. The clip had obviously been artificially aged as the public domain print I had watched was quite good but the clip in the documentary had many stutters and starts and the negative had obviously been taped to a cat scratching post for a few days prior to use.
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jameselliot
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Re: A Shriek in the Night (1933)

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I enjoy seeing a film that looks like it was just released for the first time. Usually this is when a DVD distributor locates the negative after a search and strikes a new print.
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