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On 2/6/2020 at 9:55 PM, Rinaldo said:

But it does make me wonder...if they have a policy that once a movie starts wrong, they don't ever stop it to correct it.

I'm guessing everything is pre-loaded onto a server, and however it is on the server is how it goes out to the satellite. There's no opportunity for someone to catch a mistake unless it was caught at the pre-loading stage.

It would be nice to imagine there's a projectionist in the booth, though. 🙂

22 minutes ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

For those that are interested, TCM has a message board.

https://forums.tcm.com/

Just don't expect anybody at TCM to be looking at it.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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On 1/27/2020 at 8:30 AM, Rinaldo said:

We all have our pre-rational personal favorites, the one(s) that would head a list based on gut more than brain, and this is mine. The irresistible company of Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, the satirical undercurrent of Eleanor Bron and William Daniels, the silky soundtrack of Henry Mancini, the nifty structure provided by Frederic Raphael, and the irresistible shine given to all of it by Stanley Donen... yes, that's what I want.

Checking IMDB and it was made before Stanley Donen's other 1967 movie Bedazzled with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook which also came out in 1967. With her appearances there and in the original Alfie and Help! Eleanor Bron always epitomized 60s Britain to me.

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1 hour ago, VCRTracking said:

Checking IMDB and it was made before Stanley Donen's other 1967 movie Bedazzled with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook which also came out in 1967. With her appearances there and in the original Alfie and Help! Eleanor Bron always epitomized 60s Britain to me.

There are stories about the preparation period for Two for the Road that describe Donen telling Eleanor Bron that he needed her to be convincing with an American accent, upon which she demonstrated a dozen different American accents she could do, varying by region and class. I wonder if it was that evidence of facility that prompted him to cast her as the third lead in Bedazzled, which in one sense is a series of comedy sketches in different settings. Of course she'd already made a bit of a splash in Help! and Alfie, as you say. And she would help usher in the new attitudes of the 1970s with her presence in Women in Love in 1969.

I imagine that retrieving the dramatic renditions of "BBC Play of the Month" is a lost cause (if, of course, the tapes even survive), but I'd love to see the Midsummer Night's Dream from 1971 in which she and Michael Gambon were Hippolyta and Theseus, the lovers included Lynn Redgrave and Edward Fox, the fairy rulers were Eileen Atkins and Robert Stephens, and Bottom was Ronnie Barker.

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5 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

There are stories about the preparation period for Two for the Road that describe Donen telling Eleanor Bron that he needed her to be convincing with an American accent, upon which she demonstrated a dozen different American accents she could do, varying by region and class. I wonder if it was that evidence of facility that prompted him to cast her as the third lead in Bedazzled, which in one sense is a series of comedy sketches in different settings. Of course she'd already made a bit of a splash in Help! and Alfie, as you say. And she would help usher in the new attitudes of the 1970s with her presence in Women in Love in 1969.

I imagine that retrieving the dramatic renditions of "BBC Play of the Month" is a lost cause (if, of course, the tapes even survive), but I'd love to see the Midsummer Night's Dream from 1971 in which she and Michael Gambon were Hippolyta and Theseus, the lovers included Lynn Redgrave and Edward Fox, the fairy rulers were Eileen Atkins and Robert Stephens, and Bottom was Ronnie Barker.

I would love to see that! I have seen clips on YouTube of an earlier version starring Helen Mirren, Diana Rigg and David Warner.

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Just finished watching the TCM premiere of Bull Durham, which is the best baseball film ever made, and one of my all-timers.  It all starts with Ron Shelton's script: tightly written with wit & smarts & and a terrifically realized **adult relationship between Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner.  It's a relationship whose sexuality is teased out over a series of back-and-forth, over-intellectualizing convos the two have over baseball.

That push-pull is complicated by their weapon of choice: the pitching rookie (Tim Robbins) who an irritated Costner is meant to mentor, and a beguiled Sarandon is bent on seducing.  As the years pass, I am more & more charmed by Robbins' performance.  His Nuke is such a goofy pup in the beginning, but, oh! the end!  It's not really a case of the student becoming the master, but in their last scene together, he shows the old guy he's learned about more from him, than how to throw a curve ball:

"You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance!" rants an impassioned Crash.

"Fear and *ignorance," Nuke slyly echoes.  Before a sputtering Crash can correct him, he grins & admits he just likes watching his mentor get all riled up.

The screenplay should have, but didn't, win that year in the "Written for the Screen" category.  But at least Costner's blistering list of his personal beliefs, and Sarandon's opener about the sacred nature of the sport ("....there’s one hundred and eight beads in a rosary and one hundred and eight stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance.") live on in Great Movie Quotes perpetuity.

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3 hours ago, voiceover said:

Just finished watching the TCM premiere of Bull Durham, which is the best baseball film ever made, and one of my all-timers.  It all starts with Ron Shelton's script: tightly written with wit & smarts & and a terrifically realized **adult relationship between Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner.  It's a relationship whose sexuality is teased out over a series of back-and-forth, over-intellectualizing convos the two have over baseball.

That push-pull is complicated by their weapon of choice: the pitching rookie (Tim Robbins) who an irritated Costner is meant to mentor, and a beguiled Sarandon is bent on seducing.  As the years pass, I am more & more charmed by Robbins' performance.  His Nuke is such a goofy pup in the beginning, but, oh! the end!  It's not really a case of the student becoming the master, but in their last scene together, he shows the old guy he's learned about more from him, than how to throw a curve ball:

"You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance!" rants an impassioned Crash.

"Fear and *ignorance," Nuke slyly echoes.  Before a sputtering Crash can correct him, he grins & admits he just likes watching his mentor get all riled up.

The screenplay should have, but didn't, win that year in the "Written for the Screen" category.  But at least Costner's blistering list of his personal beliefs, and Sarandon's opener about the sacred nature of the sport ("....there’s one hundred and eight beads in a rosary and one hundred and eight stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance.") live on in Great Movie Quotes perpetuity.

MLB Network just showed this recently as well.

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11 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

I'm guessing everything is pre-loaded onto a server, and however it is on the server is how it goes out to the satellite. There's no opportunity for someone to catch a mistake unless it was caught at the pre-loading stage.

It would be nice to imagine there's a projectionist in the booth, though. 🙂

Just don't expect anybody at TCM to be looking at it.

Oh I know that, but just wanted to let people know on here that there is one.

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8 hours ago, VCRTracking said:

I would love to see that! I have seen clips on YouTube of an earlier version starring Helen Mirren, Diana Rigg and David Warner.

At first I thought you were conflating two different versions, but no, you're quite right: the four lovers were Mirren, Rigg, Warner, and Michael Jayston. Judi Dench was a near-nude (saved by a long winding wig) Titania, and Ian Holm was Puck. It was directed by Sir Peter Hall in 1968, on muddy outdoor locations.

The reason for my confusion is that Helen Mirren also appeared in a 1981 Midsummer Night's Dream, part of the BBC complete video series. In this she played Titania, and Elijah Moshinsky directed, on studio sets taking inspiration from painters like Rubens. This version is available for viewing on Amazon Prime.

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12 hours ago, voiceover said:

Just finished watching the TCM premiere of Bull Durham, which is the best baseball film ever made,

And one of the handful of Kevin Costner films in which he is tolerable to me. 

For me, A League of Their Own is the best baseball film ever made, and Major League - which, yes, rips off Bull Durham at several turns - is second.  But Bull Durham is probably third (yes, over Field of Dreams and The Natural).  Or maybe fourth, with The Rookie third.

But wherever I rank it, I'm glad to hear it has turned up on TCM.

 

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1 hour ago, Bastet said:

For me, A League of Their Own is the best baseball film ever made, and Major League - which, yes, rips off Bull Durham at several turns - is second.  But Bull Durham is probably third (yes, over Field of Dreams and The Natural).  

Those three movies are all fun, but for my money, Eight Men Out is a better film about actual baseball. 

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1 hour ago, Charlie Baker said:

Tribute set for March 5th plus a screening of Spartacus added to TCM Festival.

Kirk Douglas Tribute

As an aside from one who cares about such things, this Deadline post could have used a proofreading before posting.

 

 

1 hour ago, Inquisitionist said:

Thanks, Charlie Baker!  Somehow, I've never managed to see Spartacus, so I'll set my DVR.

I first saw it when the restored version aired on ABC in the early 90s and it blew me away. The scenes of thousands of extras walking up the mountain and the big battle scene at the end. I remember the big to-do over them putting back the deleted scene of Oliver's Crassus being bathed by his slave played by Tony Curtis asking him if he preferred "snails" or "oysters" and that he preferred both. Didn't understand it then when but I do now! I learned later the late Olivier's voice had to be re-dubbed by Anthony Hopkins doing an impression. I still also laugh at Curtis' accent in the movie like when he says lines like "For da children of my mastuh who I taught da classics."

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3 hours ago, Charlie Baker said:

Tribute set for March 5th plus a screening of Spartacus added to TCM Festival.

Kirk Douglas Tribute

As an aside from one who cares about such things, this Deadline post could have used a proofreading before posting.

 

My favorites? Paths of Glory, one of the best war movies ever made. And Seven Days in May. Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster in uniform. Yum.

And, unfortunately, I'm sure Disney has locked up the rights to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

 

 

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Age and personal baggage can so refine (or coarsen, sure) personal taste that one day you find yourself ten minutes into some movie, thinking, Wow, this is better than I remember!

Tonight I watched True Grit for the first time in -- well, forever, I guess.  Not much had stuck with me (excepting Wayne's Top 100 Movie Quote admonition to Robert Duval to "Fill [his] hand...", which is a pretty great moment to have stick).  And now I reflect, putting aside the Coen Bros remake & the Portis source novel...

First of all: Kim Darby made a fine, memorable Mattie.  That element of stick-up-her-buttness the actress's inexperience all but ensured, totally worked for the character.  And she never tries to charm the audience by being cute or coy.  She's a bit like Scarlett O'Hara that way.  Single-minded past the point of obnoxious! But her calm pursuit of justice in a world that often denied it makes her a character to be admired.  (And an example I'd point to smugly when the young people on my lawn claim that their generation invented the strong movie heroine.)

Over the years I'd nodded along with the CW that John Wayne's Oscar was a lifetime achievement award.  Well, now I reject that notion.  His Rooster Cogburn may well be seen as a Frankenstein's assembly of the cowboys gone before -- so what.  Isn't that what we all are, at that age: amalgams of our previous incarnations.  It's how that final persona is **presented.  Especially on the heels of viewing his breakout performance in Stagecoach I can see how he'd sharpened and refined his craft.  Rooster is Ringo, 30 years on, after Dallas died in childbirth.  Good on ya, Duke.

***

Saw the TCM Remembers for Kirk Douglas.  WOWoWOW.  What a face/career/life!

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8 hours ago, voiceover said:

Over the years I'd nodded along with the CW that John Wayne's Oscar was a lifetime achievement award.  Well, now I reject that notion.  His Rooster Cogburn may well be seen as a Frankenstein's assembly of the cowboys gone before -- so what.  Isn't that what we all are, at that age: amalgams of our previous incarnations.  It's how that final persona is **presented.  Especially on the heels of viewing his breakout performance in Stagecoach I can see how he'd sharpened and refined his craft.  Rooster is Ringo, 30 years on, after Dallas died in childbirth.  Good on ya, Duke.

I choose to believe that Ringo and Dallas lived to enjoy hordes of great-grandchildren. 

This was my first complete viewing of Stagecoach.  It's pushed Shane aside as my favorite western.  I enjoyed every minute, especially Andy Devine's comedic character bits.  That fit more naturally than the humor Ford attempted in The Searchers

Was it unusual for a western to be nominated for Best Movie in that time period?  Westerns didn't get much respect until Clint Eastwood came along, it seems.

Did Ford know that Wayne was going to be a huge star?  How else to explain that first shot of Ringo, the close-up.  It's almost post-modern, isn't it? 

I'll be reading the book now.  I'm curious about John Carradine's character.  He seemed to be in the movie as someone not to like, someone who could naturally not survive the attack and we wouldn't care that he died.  Perhaps the novel fleshes him out a bit.

 

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1 hour ago, AuntiePam said:

Did Ford know that Wayne was going to be a huge star?  How else to explain that first shot of Ringo, the close-up.  It's almost post-modern, isn't it? 

 

 

Wikipedia:

Quote

Wayne's breakthrough role came with John Ford's Stagecoach (1939). Because of Wayne's B-movie status and track record in low-budget Westerns throughout the 1930s, Ford had difficulty getting financing for what was to be an A-budget film. After rejection by all the major studios, Ford struck a deal with independent producer Walter Wanger in which Claire Trevor—a much bigger star at the time—received top billing. Stagecoach was a huge critical and financial success, and Wayne became a mainstream star. Cast member Louise Platt credited Ford as saying at the time that Wayne would become the biggest star ever because of his appeal as the archetypal "everyman"

 

1 hour ago, AuntiePam said:

I'll be reading the book now.  I'm curious about John Carradine's character.  He seemed to be in the movie as someone not to like, someone who could naturally not survive the attack and we wouldn't care that he died.  Perhaps the novel fleshes him out a bit.

I got the opposite impression. He was one of the characters the audience were supposed to be sympathetic toward. This was at the time of Southern gentleman and "Lost Cause" myth of the Civil War. The sad look on Ringo's face(below) after he died represented the viewers. He was courteous and well mannered and was ready to shoot the pregnant Cavalry officer's wife rather than let her worse fate at the hands of the Indians. Gatewood the embezzling banker was definitely someone we were meant to loathe and cheer when he got his comeuppance.

image.png

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23 hours ago, Inquisitionist said:

Thanks, Charlie Baker!  Somehow, I've never managed to see Spartacus, so I'll set my DVR.

It's a huge longshot, but some Harkins Theaters locations are showing Spartacus this Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday, at 1:00 pm.  Even better, tickets are $5. 

Showing it are several theaters in Arizona, and one in Southern California and one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

This is some sort of special thing, because their $5 classic movies are usually on Tuesday nights only.

And for Bull Durham fans, that one's part of the usual Tuesday Night Classics, on March 17, in more theaters than are showing Spartacus

 

On 2/8/2020 at 4:15 PM, Milburn Stone said:

It would be nice to imagine there's a projectionist in the booth, though. 🙂

It's all I can do to imagine a projectionist in real projection booths. 

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5 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

This was my first complete viewing of Stagecoach.

The thing that struck me most when I first watched Stagecoach is the fact that it dealt with so many social issues. Racism, gender roles, wealth inequality and substance abuse.

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5 hours ago, VCRTracking said:

Wikipedia:

 

I got the opposite impression. He was one of the characters the audience were supposed to be sympathetic toward. This was at the time of Southern gentleman and "Lost Cause" myth of the Civil War. The sad look on Ringo's face(below) after he died represented the viewers. He was courteous and well mannered and was ready to shoot the pregnant Cavalry officer's wife rather than let her worse fate at the hands of the Indians. Gatewood the embezzling banker was definitely someone we were meant to loathe and cheer when he got his comeuppance.

image.png

Thank you for the explanation.  I was letting my experience with other Carradine roles color my impression of this character.  I saw him as smarmy and ingratiating and maybe even a bit predatory toward Mrs. Mallory.  And I prejudged him because of his judgment of Dallas. 

It's difficult to put yourself in a different mindset when viewing any movie, and it's even harder when the movie is 80 years old, after so many years of social progress. 

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14 hours ago, xaxat said:

The thing that struck me most when I first watched Stagecoach is the fact that it dealt with so many social issues. Racism, gender roles, wealth inequality and substance abuse.

Oh, but Westerns ALWAYS do.  The only genre that actually tries to come to terms with American history.  Every Western good or bad always asks and answers two questions:  1) How did we come to be the United States? and 2) Do we actually DESERVE to be the United States?

Whatever the answer the movie comes up with, and whether it is positive or negative, Westerns whether they are A-Westerns like Ford's or B-Westerns like Autry's are always always interesting for just that reason.

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So tonight there's a 12-hour stretch that includes three of my favorite films.  I love it when TCM looks after me that way.

One Way Passage is more swoon-y every time I watch it.  That love-at-first-sight meeting!!  If there's a more romantic version of that sort of thing, I've yet to see it.  And I watch a lot of that kind of crap.

A h/t this time around to Aline MacMahon (Countess Barilhouse/"BathHouse Betty").  She's the smartest person in the movie, and the kindest.  When she sees her old friend in love and in trouble, she immediately drops her (successful) long-con act and does all she can to help.  

Right before Christmas I found two vintage cocktail glasses, etched with (eh, practically) the same design as the ones used by Joan & Dan in their penultimate* toast.  So tonight, in addition to my traditional viewing party- wearing of elegant earrings & Kay Francis/Orry-Kelly dressing gown, I used one to drink the Paradise Cocktail recipe I found online.

*

Spoiler

penultimate if you count the ghost scene

In the predawn hours is the Garson/Olivier Pride & Prejudice, which I saw before I read the book, which meant I could (and did) fall unreservedly in love with this version, managing to tune out Austen fanatics ever since.  Mary Boland and Edmund Gwenn remain my favorite Mr&Mrs Bennet (she's ridiculous without being incredibly off-putting; he's ineffectual yet devoted).  And I credit Aldous Huxley for inserting Elizabeth's withering refusal of Darcy's offer of a dance ("The honour of standing up with you is more than I can bear!").

Finally there's breakfast with my favorite Ronald Colman film, A Tale of Two Cities.  A Top Five ("Drink!") Character Intro -- His Sydney Carton is dreadfully hungover -- followed not long after by a drunk scene where he still manages to out-think and out-analyze the romantic hero ("You are *smug, Mr Darnay...").  I fell in love with the character and the actor who played him when I was fourteen (thank you Mrs Hollingsworth's 9th grade English class).

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I finally watched Road to Morocco (1942) the other day. It's a movie I've been meaning to get around to for years. It was amusing, although some of it's definitely dated (and racist). 

I think the other Road movie that's supposed to be good is Road to Utopia (1946), right? I wasn't planning to watch all the Road movies, but I figured I'd check out the best of them.

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Tried to watch the recently-aired Peyton Place last night. Could not get through it. So many bad "New England" accents that sounded more like southern. But I did like Mildred Dunnock as the schoolteacher and Russ Tamblyn as the nice boy. Arthur Kennedy trying to molest step-daughter Hope Lange was shocking. But I have no idea what happened after the first half-hour or so.

Also--is it just me, or did the movie do a lousy job of establishing the period? There came a point pretty far in to the half-hour where I said, "Wait...this is supposed to be just prior to World War II??? When was I supposed to get that?!?" But maybe a 1957 audience had less trouble picking up on the cues that differentiated the period from their own. 

I did enjoy the intro by Alicia and Eddie. It seemed all he could do not to utter some "inappropriate" double-entendre in the presence of the luscious babe before him. But maybe I'm just reading into it.

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3 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

Tried to watch the recently-aired Peyton Place last night. Could not get through it. So many bad "New England" accents that sounded more like southern. But I did like Mildred Dunnock as the schoolteacher and Russ Tamblyn as the nice boy. Arthur Kennedy trying to molest step-daughter Hope Lange was shocking. But I have no idea what happened after the first half-hour or so.

Also--is it just me, or did the movie do a lousy job of establishing the period? There came a point pretty far in to the half-hour where I said, "Wait...this is supposed to be just prior to World War II??? When was I supposed to get that?!?" But maybe a 1957 audience had less trouble picking up on the cues that differentiated the period from their own. 

I did enjoy the intro by Alicia and Eddie. It seemed all he could do not to utter some "inappropriate" double-entendre in the presence of the luscious babe before him. But maybe I'm just reading into it.

I think it seems set in the fifties, even though clearly they indicate that it is pre-WWII.  When I saw it eons ago and was very young that didn't bother me a bit.  It was such a "racy" movie and yet was extremely cleaned up compared to the book. 

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Well, as it happens Stagecoach is based on a short story -- very short, 29 pages in the edition I found at Amazon.  Characters and actions are added, deleted, changed, etc., but it's all there, if a bit less straightforward.  I'll be reading more of Haycox's work.  I really like his writing style.  The story is probably half character and half setting.

Here's the first paragraph:

This was one of those years in the territory when Apache smoke signals spiralled up from the stony mountain summits and many a ranch cabin lay as a square of blackened ashes on the ground and the departure of a stage from Tonto was the beginning of an adventure that had no certain happy ending.

The intro states that Ernest Hemingway was one of Haycox's fans.  I haven't read a lot of Hemingway but I can see where he might be a Haycox admirer.

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@AuntiePam reminds me of a book I read some years ago--Adaptations: From Short Story to Big Screen , edited by Stephanie Harrison, which ranges across film eras and genres and includes the original stories that made for some classic films. The Haycox story is in the book, among many, many others. Like the basis for All About Eve or Mr. Blandings or A Face in the Crowd or 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc., 35 stories in all, grouped mostly by genre.

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@Charlie Baker, thank you!  I found a copy of the book at Amazon for $6.  Looks like some more great reading in store.  I wish I'd known about that one before spending $14 on a 30-page book. 

Some of my favorite books are those where I saw the movie first.  I always check the credits, especially on older movies.  "Based on the novel by . . . " has led to some wonderful reading experiences. 

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On 2/13/2020 at 1:19 AM, ruby24 said:

I finally watched Road to Morocco (1942) the other day. It's a movie I've been meaning to get around to for years. It was amusing, although some of it's definitely dated (and racist). 

I think the other Road movie that's supposed to be good is Road to Utopia (1946), right? I wasn't planning to watch all the Road movies, but I figured I'd check out the best of them.

I love the chemistry between Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in those movies. Hope in general I grew to love because of the Road movies and his solo ones like Princess and the Pirate and Paleface and Son of Paleface. I grew up in the 80s when Bob Hope was really old and doing these corny TV specials so it was a revelation seeing him very funny as this cowardly, conniving anachronistically modern character doing sharp one liners in period movies.

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Heads up, there will be a new co-host of The Essentials starting in March.  It’s The Incredibles director Brad Bird.

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Is there a movie that sets its mood, creates its world, as instantly and uniquely as The Third Man? (After the five successive cards for producing entities that are now needed, that is.) Five seconds of that zither music, and we're in postwar Vienna among the sleazy operators and the firmly maintained secrets. Acting, writing, cinematography, mise-en-scène, music -- everything works together masterfully. All praise to that (relatively) unsung great director, Carol Reed, for combining all the elements so ideally.

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59 minutes ago, Rinaldo said:

Is there a movie that sets its mood, creates its world, as instantly and uniquely as The Third Man? (Sfter the five successive cards for producing entities that are now needed, that is.) Five seconds of that zither music, and we're in postwar Vienna among the sleazy operators and the firmly maintained secrets. Acting, writing, cinematography, mise-en-scène, music -- everything works together masterfully. All praise to that (relatively) unsung great director, Carol Reed, for combining all the elements so ideally.

Orson Welles' character Harry Lime's entrance is an all-timer.

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@Rinaldo, you're right.  And Joseph Cotten is my boyfriend, don't forget that.  I am quite possessive. 😉

I watched Interiors.  Not a big Woody Allen fan, although I liked Purple Rose of Cairo.  The movie probably deserves several viewings to property appreciate, but I've never been able to relate to people like that -- so self-involved.  They think they're so thoughtful and caring, but what good has all that introspection done them?  Calling Pearl a "vulgarian" because she has a more simple understanding of the play they were discussing.  What was that play anyway? 

I loved that she served meatballs and pigs-in-a-blanket. 

I did like how their homes and clothing and the decor reflected the banality of their personalities (because duh "Interiors") --   Well, maybe not banal, but certainly not colorful or particularly interesting.  I'll bet they've never eaten food from a street vendor.

This is one of those movies that I did kinda like but I probably missed the point.

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3 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

I watched Interiors.  Not a big Woody Allen fan, although I liked Purple Rose of Cairo.  The movie probably deserves several viewings to property appreciate,

Oh, I think one viewing is plenty, if not surplus to requirements. I've never found that it really has anything to say, except these are the sort of "muted good taste" people that Allen had been satirizing in his earlier, better, funnier movies and here he seems to be taking them dead seriously. I wish I could believe that some of their banal conversation was intended satirically, but I fear it isn't.

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2 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

Oh, I think one viewing is plenty, if not surplus to requirements. I've never found that it really has anything to say, except these are the sort of "muted good taste" people that Allen had been satirizing in his earlier, better, funnier movies and here he seems to be taking them dead seriously. I wish I could believe that some of their banal conversation was intended satirically, but I fear it isn't.

I'm not so sure. When I saw September, another of his "serious" films, I began to laugh out loud at how over-the-top the Mia Farrow character's suffering was. (She started out depressed, and then found out that her lover betrayed her, she had cancer, and her dog died the same day--OK, I'm making it up, but it was like that.) And I began to entertain the notion that I was supposed to laugh out loud--that with such exquisitely masochistic suffering served up for our delectation, the only thing one can do is laugh, and Allen knew it.

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9 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

that with such exquisitely masochistic suffering served up for our delectation, the only thing one can do is laugh, and Allen knew it.

I agree about the first part, but not the last three words. I think part of him wanted to make exquisitely understated Chekhovian drama, without the talent to make it work. In his best attempts at something in that vein, he did include (intentional) humor as well, and it worked. (In my opinion, successful examples would include The Purple Rose of Cairo, Zelig, Radio Days -- others may have a different list.)

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3 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

I agree about the first part, but not the last three words. I think part of him wanted to make exquisitely understated Chekhovian drama, without the talent to make it work. In his best attempts at something in that vein, he did include (intentional) humor as well, and it worked. (In my opinion, successful examples would include The Purple Rose of Cairo, Zelig, Radio Days -- others may have a different list.)

Re intentional humor -- maybe.  There were a few times when I sorta chuckled and said to myself, "Do you people even hear yourselves?"  It's funny but also sad, the way these characters talked so much but only heard what they wanted to hear.

Something else that might be seen as humorous -- the way the father broached the subject of divorce.  He just wanted to live by himself for awhile, try it out. 

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'Bonnie & Clyde' was shown on Friday and I got around to watching my recording a few minutes ago.  I probably hadn't seen it in years, but I remember not liking Blanche very much (all that hysterical screaming) and thinking that C.W. was kind of blah.  This time I liked Blanche better (still much screaming, but it didn't bother me as much and I can see so much more to how Estelle Parsons played the character than just the hysterics) and I appreciated how Pollard played C.W. (naive at first, but then had no problems shooting at--and killing--cops but would cry about it afterwards). It's not a movie that I want to watch again any time soon (for one thing, the choppy editing irks me a bit), but I'm glad I watched it again after many years.  I do want to check out a book about Bonnie & Clyde from my library that is supposed to be fairly factual and was very well-reviewed ('Go down together: the true, untold story of Bonnie & Clyde' by Jeff Guinn). Blanche Barrow also wrote a book (from what little I've read, she was much different than the movie Blanche and didn't like how she was portrayed), but I don't know if her book is good or not.

What do some of you think about this movie? 

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Bonnie & Clyde isn’t especially historically accurate, and it’s very much a 60s New Hollywood/New Wave film over being a period piece about the 30s, and if you go in with that in mind, it’s a really interesting movie that I really like. It’s kind of hard to appreciate now how bold and shocking this movie was. It was sexy, violent, anti authoritarian, had violent killers as its heroes, it ended in a bloodbath, it was a big shock to many audiences, and it really did leave a huge mark on cinema. It certainly wasn’t the first movie to star criminals and morally questionable characters, but it sure did it with style! It’s also my favorite Faye Dunaway performance ever, to me she has never been more charismatic. 

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9 hours ago, BooksRule said:

I do want to check out a book about Bonnie & Clyde from my library that is supposed to be fairly factual and was very well-reviewed ('Go down together: the true, untold story of Bonnie & Clyde' by Jeff Guinn). 

That's a startlingly good book.  Highest possible recommendation from me. Doesn't romanticize the crimes, but also gets across the real pathos of these people - Clyde Barrow's desperate poverty, the horror of Bonnie's untreated injuries in the last few weeks of her life.   Jeff Guinn also wrote an excellent book on the history/mythology around the OK Corral (The Last Gunfight) and a biography of Charles Manson that shockingly had new information about an exhaustingly over-reported subject.

As for the film, I have seen it a few times and at this point I admire it more than I ever feel like watching it again.

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9 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Bonnie & Clyde isn’t especially historically accurate, and it’s very much a 60s New Hollywood/New Wave film over being a period piece about the 30s, and if you go in with that in mind, it’s a really interesting movie that I really like.

One thing that's become kind of legendary is that Pauline Kael was responsible for the movie catching on. The initial reviews from such as the New York Times were worse than negative, they were like, "How dare they put this repulsive violence on the screen to further debase our society!" And that was it, until Pauline's review appeared, which said (basically), "Hey, wait a minute guys, this movie is actually great!" And that made everybody go take a look.

The legend might be a little hyperbolic, because although Faye Dunaway was little-known at the time, I can't imagine a movie with Warren Beatty, directed by Arthur Penn, wouldn't have found a following. But Penn and Beatty had both made some movies in the sixties that weren't very good or weren't well-received, and it would have been easy for people to imagine that this was another misguided venture.

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Rereading Kael's review now is a rather strange experience. A lot of her defense of the movie is on populist grounds, like "Can't those critics see how much the audience is into it?" Which is a line of argument she would normally have disdained, as there were tons of audience favorites that she considered garbage. She was trying to get at the fact that it had a new kind of vitality that hadn't been sufficiently recognized, and she did succeed in making her voice heard and changing the movie's fortunes. But famous as the review is, I don't find it one of her more convincing ones (and I've read her entire output, multiple times).

But then the movie itself never grabbed me, though I concede its historical importance. I've sometimes felt like a traitor to my generation (late-60s college kids), as The Graduate did nothing for me either -- while my friends and classmates stood up and applauded at the end, I felt nothing but mild puzzlement. It took the arrival of Altman a couple of years later for me to find a contemporary movie voice that really spoke to me.

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As I recall, it was also the movie that made Warren Beatty a force to be reckoned with. Prior to this, he was a star, but "just" a star--in addition to some arguably not-bad movies, he made some in the sixties ranging from not very good to terrible, and no one had much reason to anticipate anything special from him. But he was the producer of Bonnie and Clyde, as well as its lead actor, and was widely (correctly) perceived as a key artistic force in its making. The movie set him up for a string of seventies movies that turned him from Warren Beatty into WARREN BEATTY. 

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Yes, I recall a column from the mid-60s (must have been in Time magazine) that said "Looks like Shirley MacLaine's little brother may have some talent after all." After B&C, he didn't have to deal with that particular kind of condescension any more.

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14 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Bonnie & Clyde isn’t especially historically accurate, and it’s very much a 60s New Hollywood/New Wave film over being a period piece about the 30s, and if you go in with that in mind, it’s a really interesting movie that I really like. It’s kind of hard to appreciate now how bold and shocking this movie was. It was sexy, violent, anti authoritarian, had violent killers as its heroes, it ended in a bloodbath, it was a big shock to many audiences, and it really did leave a huge mark on cinema. It certainly wasn’t the first movie to star criminals and morally questionable characters, but it sure did it with style! It’s also my favorite Faye Dunaway performance ever, to me she has never been more charismatic. 

Yes. Saw it first run, in a theater in Seattle.  I remember people just standing around on the sidewalk after, not saying anything, just looking a bit stunned.  And watching the death scene, I know my mouth must have been open. 

That's one of two memorable "Will this change movies forever?" moments.  The other was the wedding night scene in The Godfather, the bare breasts.  There must have been nudity in other mainstream movies before that, but for some reason, that scene stands out.

And while I'm here, does anyone know why we don't see Paul Newman and Geraldine Page actually kissing in Sweet Bird of Youth?  Was there a double standard -- it's okay if it's the woman being paid for sex, but not if the man is the one for sale?  Female prostitution was okay but not male prostitution?

 

 

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2 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

And while I'm here, does anyone know why we don't see Paul Newman and Geraldine Page actually kissing in Sweet Bird of Youth?  Was there a double standard -- it's okay if it's the woman being paid for sex, but not if the man is the one for sale?  Female prostitution was okay but not male prostitution?

I've wondered similar thoughts about this movie. I hadn't noticed the lack of kissing, but I had noticed the lack of Paul Newman lounging around the bedroom in white silk pajamas, which is one of the iconic images of the Broadway production that Newman and Page both appeared in. Here's a slide show, though there are even more languorous stills from the production than those included. But not in the movie. It's apparently felt that if he appeared in sleepwear, that would make too explicit what his function is.

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9 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

But Penn and Beatty had both made some movies in the sixties that weren't very good or weren't well-received, and it would have been easy for people to imagine that this was another misguided venture.

Ha!  I just finished watching another movie that was recently on TCM, 1966's 'Promise her anything' (with Beatty, Leslie Caron, and Bob Cummings).  I remember liking it when I was a kid, although if I gave a brief description to someone who had never seen it, it sounds really creepy: Man makes adult films in his apartment and when babysitting for his new neighbor's baby boy, he finds success when he adds some shots of the baby into the movies. (Eeek!) But--although looking at it now as a longtime adult--I do see some creepiness, the movies were basically girls in bikinis acting out cheesy (but almost G-rated by today's standards) scenarios (since Beatty's character refused to film nudity in his 'art films'). The baby was playing in another part of the room and some footage of him was added. Not a particularly good movie, but I read that he made it to help get financing for 'Bonnie & Clyde'.  In my re-watch, I also noticed that the screenplay was by 'The Exorcist' author Wm. Peter Blatty and the titles were by Maurice Binder (who created the great title sequences for many Bond films).   And Tom Jones sang the title song.  

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