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Postby feaito » August 9th, 2007, 11:49 am

This is thread that was created by Slappy3500 in the TCM Boards and I miss it, because I liked to read everybody's comments on the movies, either from the Golden Age or newer, which they had seen. Apparently it has been quite inactive in the last months.

I'll start.

Last night I watched "Hitler's Children" (1943), which I bought on DVD here in my country (it's an import from Spain) last week.

I liked the film, in spite of its obvious propagandistic origins. Bonita Granville, whom I hadn't seen since watching "These Three", gives quite an impressive performance as an American girl who's living in Berlin with her German Grandparents during the Nazi period (although I feel she looks older than her actual age then (19-20), which is especially relevant when she portrays a teenager in the first part of the film).

Nevertheless she works well with Tim Holt as the young lad from the Nazi School, who falls for her. Kent Smith is just OK as the American teacher and Otto Kruger is superb as the vicious high ranking Nazi Officer.

Although it may be regarded as a naive film, after being aware of all the horrors that took place in Germany in that time, my wife was nonetheless impressed by the tone of the film, which she found quite strong and by its violence; she did not expect it from a film from this Era. I was quite impressed too. An interesting document of an Era. I've seen films of the war years like "Edge of Darkness", "So Ends Our Night", etc., but there was something in this one that I found more disturbing. I can't really explain it.

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Postby precoder » August 9th, 2007, 12:30 pm

I'd like to see this someday. I realize it's not a comedy but after seeing Bonita Granville in "Merrily We Live" and "Miracle Of Morgans Creek" I have since wanted to see her more. I was very impressed with her acting and got curious about her in a dramatic role ...
I absolutely adore movies. Even bad ones. I don't like pretentious ones, but a good bad movie, you must admit, is great. ~ Roddy McDowell

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Postby Moraldo Rubini » August 9th, 2007, 12:35 pm

Thank you Fernando! I've been on a movie-watching binge for the past weeks, and have considered starting a thread just to help me keep track of what I've seen. Now, maybe I'll just use this thead.

I go to the movies every Wednesday night with a pal who (self-admittedly) has the taste of a 13-year old girl. If there's a cheerleader in the flick, then he has to see it. I'm at the other extreme, wishing to see classic revivals or the latest import. So sometimes -- like last night -- we make a deal. I'll see his movie -- Bratz -- and he'll see my choice -- The Ten in a double-feature evening. Unfortunately for all involved, both were terrible. On the positive side, I had a most restful nap during Bratz, a movie which is apparently based on a line of dolls. In a marketing twist, the dolls came first and then they made a movie about them (normally the movie comes first, the tie-ins come later). I suppose, since it was all based on a product, I shouldn't have been surprised that the movie seemed to be an attempt to teach kids to spend more. The Ten features ten stories based on each of the Commandments. The cast was promising (Winona Ryder, Liev Shreiber, Bobby Cannavale...), the writing was abysmal. It unfolded like a "chance" piece; comedy based on the surprise element of random moments. It didn't work, so I came home and put...

The Toast of New Orleans in the DVD player. It was a healing experience after the drek of what we'd just seen. Mario Lanza seems to have been a miracle; great presence, looks so natural on camera, and what a voice. It's such a tragedy that he had so many "inner demons" to battle. The Madama Butterfly scene was a splendid mix of art and comedy. I wonder who/how they chose the operatic pieces to be sung. Having Lanza sing "The Flower Song" from Carmen was a bit clumsy, but he was wonderful with the Italian Fare. David Niven was wasted, J. Carroll Naish was overexposed -- though I suppose that was the intent of the character -- and it was fun to see a naifish Rita Moreno flitting about. It was also great to see James Mitchell giving a hint to his talent. I wonder why he wasn't used more in films? He should have been a star, rather than relegated to side roles like the dream Curly in Oklahoma. An enjoyable, colorful fest. Thank you, Mr. Pasternak!

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Postby MissGoddess » August 9th, 2007, 12:50 pm

Splendid idea, Feaito!

I watched Tycoon the other night---I remember watching it on TV as a kid and really being taken by the love story and the exciting climax on the bridge. Well, to my no longer as childish eyes it didn't have quite the same sparkle. However, I was able to better appreciate Sir Cedrick Hardwick and Judith Anderson's portrayals, and how they ended up in a John Wayne flick I'll never know but they are, as always, top notch.

To be fair, JW never looked handsomer than in this picture, and Larraine Day never so fair.

Miss G

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Postby movieman1957 » August 9th, 2007, 1:41 pm

I saw "The Dark Past" with Holden and Lee J. Cobb. I thought Holden was pretty good. I wonder if this role for Cobb gave the producers the idea for casting him in "Three Faces of Eve"?

Cool house. Rather bland supporting cast. Dreams in psychology are always a tough sell for me. (I have the most stupid dreams. All they do is mess up my sleep.)

I also saw "Wake of The Red Witch." Beautiful Gail Russell and John Wayne being his tough John Wayne self. Average picture.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."


Postby feaito » August 9th, 2007, 1:41 pm

Glad you liked the idea friends.

MissG, what a coincidence, because some days ago I watched "The High and the Mighty" which also stars John Wayne and Laraine Day, although they do not play opposite each other really. They're just part of the large cast, but no romance between them here. I liked the film a lot. Great print!

Moraldo, "The Toast of New Orleans" was one of my faves flicks as child along with "Two Sisters from Boston".

Precoder, I also recommend you to watch "These Three", 'cuz Bonita was nominated for an Oscar (supporting actress) for her performance. Great film.

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Postby Moraldo Rubini » August 10th, 2007, 12:42 am

Today's movie was a wonderful documentary called The Story of Classic Las Vegas. This fascinating piece was shown at the Cinevegas Film Festival in 2005, but I'm not sure that it's been distributed beyond that. Filled with interviews of people who know the backstories of this only-in-America city -- from Bugsy Siegel to Howard Hughes -- from the boom created by the building of the Hoover Dam to the sobering era of segregation -- it's certainly deserving of an audience. There's a segment regarding the testing of the A-bomb that features footage of the famed Fremont Street -- with the glitz and glitter of all the neon and sparkling lights -- and in the distance we see the night sky light up from a bomb. Amazing. These days with the ubiquity of security cameras and camera phones, it seems everything is on camera. A Minneapolis bridge collapses, and the footage is available due to a security camera. But what about in the 1950's? What this shot happenstance? Perhaps they knew it would be seen from the City? Chilling! It was great to see so many familiar faces being interviewed too: Pete Barbuti, Sam Butera, Marty Allen, Rex Bell (son of Clara Bow), Steve Rossi... It was swell.

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Postby mrsl » August 10th, 2007, 7:42 am

I finally saw Music and Lyrics this past week. I was looking forward to it because I think Hugh Grant is adorable and Drew Barrymore is commendable when she gets out of these little "B" type roles she keeps taking. But this thing . . . oh there were some cute spots in it, but on the whole, as most of todays movies, it is quite forgettable. You know the dialog before they say it, you know what happens in the scene before it's played out, and you know who's going to be unhappy or glad, or whatever.

I'm pretty sure it's not my sense of humor, because I bust into laughter at movie situations I've seen before, but because of the way they're presented, they are funny all over again. Also, I find myself guffawing like a kid over some of the Jon Stewart stuff, and even Leno makes me laugh sometimes.


* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *


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Postby benwhowell » August 10th, 2007, 11:45 am

Marco, I'm so glad you "reviewed" "The Story Of Classic Las Vegas." It was a treat! I really loved all the classic photos and film footage and the remembrances from an interesting group of "talking heads." The director's passion for classic Las Vegas is inspiring...and her fast paced editing gives Thelma Schoonmaker a run for her money!
I give it four "mushroom clouds!"

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Postby Moraldo Rubini » August 10th, 2007, 12:15 pm

Marco, I'm so glad you "reviewed" "The Story Of Classic Las Vegas." It was a treat! I really loved all the classic photos and film footage and the remembrances from an interesting group of "talking heads." The director's passion for classic Las Vegas is inspiring...and her fast paced editing gives Thelma Schoonmaker a run for her money!
I give it four "mushroom clouds!"

I loved the mushroom cloud bathing suit! Truly inspired.

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Le suicide est un péché mortel

Postby Moraldo Rubini » August 12th, 2007, 2:20 am

Thanks to the Criterion Collection I dredged up a favorite movie from my younger days: Jean Cocteau's -- or Jean Pierre Melville's -- Les Enfants Terrible. In those days, I found this movie to be terribly romantic and emotionally sweeping.

Today, it's still striking; though my patience for the constant bickering of the spirited -- if fragile -- youth, wears thin. Nicole Stéphane (who, I'm sorry to report, died this past March) is terrific as the challenging and sometime cruel Elisabeth. Handsome Edouard Dermithe was foisted into the rôle of her brother Paul. Though far too old to play the part (Paul is 16 at the beginning of the film), the camera certainly favors him; and fairly caresses him in the close-ups. [Spoiler:] And so many of the close-ups are striking in this film, such as the close-up of Dermithe when he utters "Qu'est-ce que tu as?!" and his expression mirrors that of his dead mother. In some of the verbal battles, Elisabeth will be in close-up, looking directly into the camera -- at us! We feel her efforts of intimidation. In one scene, she tries to bring us to her side of an argument, looking at us convincingly as she talks about him (as if he weren't in the room with us). The fourth wall is shattered.

There are many wonderful details in their room. A Photo of Greta Garbo gazes up at Elisabeth while Gary Cooper watches Paul in their beds. The moustache on the bust (as described in the book).

There seems to be some controversy as to who actually had the greater directorial influence on this film. I'll admit that until I got ahold of this DVD, I always assumed that Cocteau directed it. To my surprise, it is officially directed by Melville. Cocteau wrote the novel on which it is based, he narrates the film, and it's confirmed that some days he even directed it. Certainly many of the visuals are soooo Cocteau: the sonambulist scenes with Paul, the dream sequence with Paul and the baroque folded bedcovers running in reverse; the "reactions" of the bust on the mantle seems direct from La Belle et la Bête. And what about that visual metaphor as Gerard feels that he is growing distant from the siblings (after her engagement), and it's shot as if he were on a dolly with the camera so that he remains in focus as Elisabeth and Paul diminish and blur? Cocteau or Melville? I wish I were better acquainted with Melville's works (Bob le Flambeur and Le Samouraï, being his better known works, I suppose...), to recognize his style in this film.

I love the score; I find the juxtaposition of Vivaldi and Bach against the starkly rich black and white visuals is invigorating.

Spoiler: Renée Cosima does a superb job in the dual rôle of Agathe and D'Argelos. I had to rewind the film and watch the beginning again to be sure...

The disc is accompanied by an interview with Nicole Stéphane, a discussion on whose film this is (artistically), and a documentary on the film itself.


Postby feaito » August 12th, 2007, 10:49 am

Great review Moraldo. This one has been on my "Films to see List" for decades. Sounds intriguing!

Yesterday I watched the visually sumptuous & stunning Chinese film "The Curse of the Golden Flower" with Gong Li and Chow-Yun Fat. I was in awe of its misè en scene. And the dramatic story was very "Shakespearian". 10 out of 10.

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Postby Vecchiolarry » August 12th, 2007, 10:57 am

Hi Fernando,

I saw "The Curse of the Golden Flower" several months ago and I loved it too.....
I have always admired Chow Yung Fat ever since I saw him in "Anna and the King" with Jody Foster.
And, I adore Gong Li!! Loved her in "Memoirs of a Geisha". She should have been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for that; but the Academy doesn't really focus on Asian performers and films much... Pity...

Gong Li is also in "Hannibal Rising" but that film is pretty gruesome.....



Postby feaito » August 12th, 2007, 11:39 am

Great minds think alike :wink:

I liked Fat ever since I saw him in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". I like this kind of poetic, historic Chinese films which also have plenty of action, like "Hero" and the masterful "House of the Flying Daggers".

Gong Li became a favorite ever since I saw "Ju Dou", "Farewell my Concubine", "Red Sorghum".... I also watched "Hannibal Rising" and although gruesome I liked the elegant role that Gong Li played. She looked stunning. I can't believe she's 42, she looks so much younger. The same happens to me with the fabulous Mylene Farmer, my favorite singer, she's over 45 and looks so youthful. I bet the practice Yoga! Mylene is very famous in Quebec. Have you seen any of her concerts on DVD Larry?

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Postby Mr. Arkadin » August 12th, 2007, 12:00 pm

Gong Li is the best (see my avatar). I just got the new Raise the Red Lantern (1991) release, but have not viewed it yet. Hopefully, they have found a good print. I purchased the Razor release last year and just threw it away--it was that bad!

As far as movies recently seen, I just saw Last Orders (2001). Great film. I highly reccomend it.

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