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4 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

It's apparently felt that if he appeared in sleepwear, that would make too explicit what his function is.

It was quite explicit.  (The Wiki article isn't very accurate.)  At one point, Princess apologizes to Chance for the way she used him the night before.  She sounded like it got a little rough.  He also asks for money for services rendered, and she gives it to him. 

No silk jammies but he was shirtless.  The man had a six-pack! 

This might be one of his best roles, in my opinion.  He gets loud but not histrionic, and when he learns what happened with Heavenly while he was gone, the pain is in his face, his whole body. 

The changed ending --  I don't imagine movie audiences were ready for castration.  But giving a man who looks like Chance bit of a scar isn't going to keep him from getting movie roles, so it was a bit of a cop-out.

This is one of those movies -- like Picnic -- where I'd like to see the couple five, ten years later.  Did they manage?

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2 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

It was quite explicit. 

I know, but there were funny rules/negotiations about such things sometimes. (As indeed there still are sometimes, to get a particular rating or to please TV networks.) As in, "You can say X if you don't show Y." Maybe I'm off base in this particular case, but it's not beyond possibility that some such give-and-take happened, because it happens so often in show biz.

Two examples that come to mind, one amusing and one rather appalling.

1. Alan Ayckbourn's play Relatively Speaking begins with a scene in a young woman's apartment, where she and her boyfriend have just awakened. The original London producer wanted the time changed from morning to mid afternoon, apparently believing that spending the night together was more immoral than an afternoon quickie. (The text was subsequently changed back, permanently.)

2. The movie Making Love (a now-forgotten "breakthrough" movie in which Michael Ontkean came out of the closet and had an affair with Harry Hamlin) has a scene in which the two men are talking in bed. The TV network airing of the film blacked out the image in this scene, except for the equivalent of a "spotlight" on whichever one was talking. Apparently it was OK to know two men were in bed together, but actually seeing them both there simultaneously was destructive to public morality, so we would instead see one face, then the other, on their respective pillows.

Edited by Rinaldo
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I watched Hold Back the Dawn (1941) tonight. A great tearjerker, very emotional. And  this is definitely one of Olivia de Havilland's best performances.

She was a great actress because she really did have a lot of range. Even though she was most known for Melanie in Gone With the Wind, she could be funny (The Strawberry Blonde), crazy (The Snake Pit), dramatic as hell (The Heiress), and even when she played a kind of good but naive character like in this movie, it was NOT just Melanie all over again. She had a toughness about her that really comes across in this. I was impressed.

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On 2/13/2020 at 11:52 AM, Milburn Stone said:

Tried to watch the recently-aired Peyton Place last night. Could not get through it.

Oh, I love Peyton Place.  It's so soapy. That overly dramatic music during the Allison/Constance confrontation!  

Still Selena Cross's story is heartbreaking and still holds relevance today. The film also toned down the book's ewww relationship between Norman and his mother.  I'm glad the movie elected to gave him a more positive story arc.

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20 hours ago, ruby24 said:

I watched Hold Back the Dawn (1941) tonight. A great tearjerker, very emotional. And  this is definitely one of Olivia de Havilland's best performances.... She had a toughness about her that really comes across in this. I was impressed.

This is indeed a good performance of hers (aided, I must say, by good nuanced writing that knows there's no reason that an inexperienced person can't be smart and strong). There are other good performances here too: Charles Boyer of course, also Rosemary DeCamp, and Paulette Goddard at her liveliest.

This is a movie where director Mitchell Leisen showed his range (beyond light comedy), blending all those elements so deftly. Five years later he directed Olivia de Havilland in another great tearjerker, To Each His Own, that I would call the best of its particular genre ("she gave up her secret child... and decades later, met him again!"), and which won her an Academy Award. That comes around from time to time on TCM too, and is worth seeing.

Right now, I'm watching a DVR recording of another Mitchell Leisen movie, Frenchman's Creek, that does not show him at his best. It's one of the rare times when a standard unfair criticism of him, that he cared more about sets and costumes (the original skills that got him into movies) than acting, does sort of seem to be true. Granted that it's a dull script (from a Daphne du Maurier original), and the print has faded and looks overexposed (but there's no way this merits a high place on the "needs restoration" list), but it just doesn't seem to be about anything, the actors (except some servants in support) aren't giving it anything, and meanwhile Leisen gives us lots of pretty shots of clothes and furnishings and dinners.

Edited by Rinaldo

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With the discussion of True Grit here recently, I wanted to post that Charles Portis, the author of the novel True Grit, passed away at the age of 86.  I never saw the original True Grit but I loved the Jeff Bridge/Hailee Steinfeld version of the movie in 2009.  I also read the Portis's True Grit novel and I have to say it was GREAT.  I would recommend it to anyone here.  

Charles Portis also wrote four other books (one of them, Norwood, was also adapted for the big screen).  I have purchased his other books but regretfully haven't gotten to them yet.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2020/02/17/true-grit-author-charles-portis-our-least-known-great-novelist-dies-86/

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George C. Scott is rightfully know for his dramatic roles, but I love him as Gen. Buck Turgidson in Dr. Stangelove. 

"If a pilot's good, if he's really good. . . "

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10 hours ago, xaxat said:

George C. Scott is rightfully know for his dramatic roles, but I love him as Gen. Buck Turgidson in Dr. Stangelove. 

"If a pilot's good, if he's really good. . . "

He was also very good voicing the comedic villain in Disney's The Rescuers Down Under.

In that role, he made me more conscious of what it takes to be a good actor for animation. With some celebrity-casting, you never for a moment perceive anyone but the celebrity. With skilled actors doing the voicing, you may also remain aware of who's in the booth, but you simultaneously buy the character--and the illusion that he would sound that way.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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On 2/19/2020 at 6:57 PM, xaxat said:

George C. Scott is rightfully know for his dramatic roles, but I love him as Gen. Buck Turgidson in Dr. Stangelove. 

"If a pilot's good, if he's really good. . . "

Although I love this famous bit of behind the scenes trivia. Wikipedia:

Quote

Kubrick tricked Scott into playing the role of Gen. Turgidson far more ridiculously than Scott was comfortable doing. Kubrick talked Scott into doing over-the-top "practice" takes, which Kubrick told Scott would never be used, as a way to warm up for the "real" takes. Kubrick used these takes in the final film, causing Scott to swear never to work with Kubrick again

Such a dick move, but so typically Kubrick!  "Yeah, George, just do a really broad, funny one for a start. The crew will get a laugh out of it. Then we'll use the serious one!" LOL.

Edited by VCRTracking
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3 hours ago, VCRTracking said:

Such a dick move, but so typically Kubrick!  "Yeah, George, just do a really broad, funny one for a start. The crew will get a laugh out of it. Then we'll use the serious one!" LOL.

I love knowing that! But George should have thanked him. The performance is a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament.

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On 2/17/2020 at 3:29 PM, AuntiePam said:

No silk jammies but [Paul Newman] was shirtless.  The man had a six-pack!

I saw Spartacus the other day, and was admiring Kirk Douglas's muscular, well-defined legs.  And then noticed that he didn't have a six-pack, or really any definition there.  It made me wonder what his workout routine (if any) was.  No way you'd find somebody these days working hard enough to get legs like that without also making sure he had a six-pack to go with it. 

It was on a giant movie theater screen, like it would have been when it came out, and I can't believe people didn't find that dimple in his chin to be a distraction.  In closeups, it was like two feet in diameter, and was really indented--almost like a black hole.

 

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1 hour ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

I saw Spartacus the other day, and was admiring Kirk Douglas's muscular, well-defined legs.  And then noticed that he didn't have a six-pack, or really any definition there.  It made me wonder what his workout routine (if any) was.  No way you'd find somebody these days working hard enough to get legs like that without also making sure he had a six-pack to go with it. 

 

 

Maybe the emphasis on the six-pack is relatively recent?  When I think of shirtless actors from the 50's -- guys like Kirk, and Burt Lancaster -- they had good legs and a "nice" chest, but no six-pack. 

I'm having a real hard time coming up with any really muscular actors from the mid-20th century.  They were athletic enough when their roles called for it, but they weren't muscled like the young guys we see today.

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1 hour ago, AuntiePam said:

Maybe the emphasis on the six-pack is relatively recent?  When I think of shirtless actors from the 50's -- guys like Kirk, and Burt Lancaster -- they had good legs and a "nice" chest, but no six-pack. 

I'm having a real hard time coming up with any really muscular actors from the mid-20th century.  They were athletic enough when their roles called for it, but they weren't muscled like the young guys we see today.

Before the 70s, the only times I remember seeing abs close to what you see onscreen now was at bodybuilding, swimming or diving competitions. The earliest on-camera actor I recall having the currently-favored body type complete with defined abs was TV's Robert Conrad (RIP) from The Wild Wild West (1965-1969). He'd often go shirtless on the show, and was clearly well-defined all over without looking overly-muscled.

Robert Conrad - WWW 202-06.JPG

Robert Conrad - WWW 202-09.JPG

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Ben M's latest CBS Sunday Morning piece, this one with Richard Dreyfuss.

Though it's been many years since I've seen it, I can't agree with him about The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

Richard Dreyfuss: Sharks, aliens, demons

ETA: If you have time, the unedited transcript of the entire interview linked at the end of the finished piece is worth a read, if a little long.

Edited by Charlie Baker
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Hellooooo, Robert Conrad!  Somehow I didn't notice that when I was 10.  (And what the hell is Artemus wearing?)

I looked up images of Paul Newman in Sweet Bird of Youth, and he did indeed have a six-pack.  A nice soft one, but it's definitely there.  That was 1962--maybe that's right about when the move to ab definition started. 

Any of you movie historians want to take this one on?  😀

 

13 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

Maybe the emphasis on the six-pack is relatively recent?  When I think of shirtless actors from the 50's -- guys like Kirk, and Burt Lancaster -- they had good legs and a "nice" chest, but no six-pack. 

Funny you should mention Burt Lancaster.  I also saw From Here to Eternity on the big screen in the last week, and of course I couldn't help but check out Burt in his swim trunks (which is probably what primed me for ogling slaves in Spartacus)

Lancaster looks like a better version of a real person, like he had good genes and generally took care of himself, and not like he spent hours working particular muscle groups. 

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Burt Lancaster was a gymnast as a kid, and worked as a circus acrobat before getting into acting. (Which served him well in some of his movies, to be sure.) He evidently kept up that kind of physical regimen for most of his life.  In his mid-fifties he made The Swimmer, in which he's in swim trunks for the whole movie and he looks quite good.

image.png.4e19c6b046156d7353d4cc8090dcdafb.png

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4 hours ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

I looked up images of Paul Newman in Sweet Bird of Youth, and he did indeed have a six-pack.  A nice soft one, but it's definitely there.  That was 1962--maybe that's right about when the move to ab definition started. 

That may be about right, and to some extent (in my view) reflects wider societal attitudes. A gym membership/routine as part of the life of any man concerned about his appearance seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon; I would place it in the 1970s but haven't researched it. There were previous outliers, certainly: Burt Lancaster, as noted, had his professional acrobat background and kept up the regimen for his athletic roles (The Crimson Pirate, anyone?). Montgomery Clift worked hard to maintain his slim physique (knowing how integral it was to his appeal) and worked out regularly when that was seen as unusual. And Paul Newman was rather ahead of his time in keeping up his appearance as basic career assurance, with the result that he moved into middle age without needing any allowances of looking good "for his age" -- his body looked good for any age.

A good comparison would be the first two screen Supermen in their uniforms: George Reeves had a thick soft middle which even to a historically sympathetic eye now seems ludicrous as the strongest man on earth, and often it's evident that he's sucking in his tummy. By the time of Christopher Reeve, it's clear that expectations had changed.

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2 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

A good comparison would be the first two screen Supermen in their uniforms: George Reeves had a thick soft middle which even to a historically sympathetic eye now seems ludicrous as the strongest man on earth, and often it's evident that he's sucking in his tummy. By the time of Christopher Reeve, it's clear that expectations had changed.

George Reeves was born in the little town where I live.  His picture is on our welcome sign.

My impression of gyms -- taken from 40's and 50's movies,-- is that they were sweaty and stinky and frequented by men who were training as boxers. 

My other impression of gyms pre 1980's is that they were places where gay men could meet, without raising eyebrows.  If that's accurate, then gyms became more "acceptable" when society became less homophobic -- the result, more six-packs. 

On the other hand, home gyms are fairly common, as well as gyms in workplaces. 

It's getting harder to find excuses not to exercise.  🙂

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I watched a couple of movies this weekend.

The first was Magnificent Obsession (1954), the movie that made Rock Hudson a star. It was a pretty good 50's melodrama, from the master of those, Douglas Sirk. But not as good as Written on the Wind, All That Heaven Allows and Imitation of Life (all of which I LOVE).

And then after all these years, I finally sat down and watched Spartacus (1960). I liked it! I'm not a huge fan of the sword and sandal epic from this era, but I think I enjoyed this one more than Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments and Cleopatra. Probably because the actors were so entertaining, particularly Peter Ustinov, Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton. 

But I haven't seen that many of these, I guess. What are the best of the other big epics from this era? 

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15 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

And Paul Newman was rather ahead of his time in keeping up his appearance as basic career assurance, with the result that he moved into middle age without needing any allowances of looking good "for his age" -- his body looked good for any age.

Newman and George Kennedy were the same age when they filmed Cool Hand Luke.

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15 hours ago, ruby24 said:

I watched a couple of movies this weekend.

The first was Magnificent Obsession (1954), the movie that made Rock Hudson a star. It was a pretty good 50's melodrama, from the master of those, Douglas Sirk. But not as good as Written on the Wind, All That Heaven Allows and Imitation of Life (all of which I LOVE).

And then after all these years, I finally sat down and watched Spartacus (1960). I liked it! I'm not a huge fan of the sword and sandal epic from this era, but I think I enjoyed this one more than Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments and Cleopatra. Probably because the actors were so entertaining, particularly Peter Ustinov, Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton. 

 

There's a better version of this funny story Ustinov told earlier on the Jack Paar Show but I could only find this one.

The Jack Paar version is great because Ustinov REALLY draws out his response to Olivier!

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Watching The Knights of the Round Table, I can see why, despite being made on a grand scale with all the requisite color and splendor, it hasn't become one of the classics from the 1950s. It's not that it's terrible anywhere, but it never becomes moving or exciting. And little niggles stick out in a way they wouldn't if it had really come to life. Like, how do these crisp stage-set interiors fit inside the old castles we see in exterior shots? And, why was no attempt made to modify Robert Taylor's unabashedly nasal, throaty American accent amid this very British cast? (Mel Ferrer and Ava Gardner are at least in there trying.) I suppose it's the existence of movies like this that gave Monty Python an opening.

In fact, for all its evocative appeal, "The Matter of Britain" isn't an easy mythos to organize into a single well-shaped narrative. A few years back, I saw the Royal Shakespeare Company's staging of Morte d'Arthur, and it devolved into narrators saying "and then this happened" before each scene.

And now for something completely different. I don't recall The Young Girls of Rochefort coming up on TCM before. I've long owned the DVD, but I had to watch at least a little. It's a preposterous mess. It proves that love of a genre doesn't mean that you can make a good example (it's clear that Jacques Demy and Michael Legrand adored American movie musicals, but they still didn't understand how they work). And yet I get a kick out of watching it, every time. I can't explain why.

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Diana Serra Cary, also known as Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101.  I hope that as a tribute TCM shows the documentary on her  -  "Baby Peggy:  The Elephant in the Room."   

Was she part of that Private Screenings episode with child stars?

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27 minutes ago, Calvada said:

Diana Serra Cary, also known as Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101.  I hope that as a tribute TCM shows the documentary on her  -  "Baby Peggy:  The Elephant in the Room."   

Was she part of that Private Screenings episode with child stars?

Here’s the article from The Hollywood Reporter:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/baby-peggy-dead-silent-film-star-was-101-831926

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43 minutes ago, Calvada said:

Diana Serra Cary, also known as Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101.  I hope that as a tribute TCM shows the documentary on her  -  "Baby Peggy:  The Elephant in the Room."   

Was she part of that Private Screenings episode with child stars?

No.  The child stars were Dickie Moore, Jane Withers, Margaret O'Brien, and Darryl Hickman.

The last silent film star.  The end of an era.

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On 2/22/2020 at 11:17 PM, AuntiePam said:

Maybe the emphasis on the six-pack is relatively recent?  When I think of shirtless actors from the 50's -- guys like Kirk, and Burt Lancaster -- they had good legs and a "nice" chest, but no six-pack. 

I'm having a real hard time coming up with any really muscular actors from the mid-20th century.  They were athletic enough when their roles called for it, but they weren't muscled like the young guys we see today.

Even though he came to fame in the TV, for purposes of the six pack discussion, Tom Selleck did not have a six pack during his Magnum years, (the 80s) but was very muscular and athletic.

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Okay, I just watched One Hour With You (1932). Omg, LOVED IT. It was so good! Classic Lubitsch, pre-code musical. Similar to Trouble in Paradise, which is one of my all time favorite movies.

My favorite of those early 1930's Maurice Chevalier musicals is still Love Me Tonight (another one of my all time favorite movies period) but this is probably my second favorite for him.

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I just mentioned this over on the famous deaths thread, but I  too wanted to mention the passing of  Baby Peggy/Diana Sera Cary at age 101.  She had clearly a difficult childhood, not just from the abnormality of being a child star, but a child star during the silent era, when there were no rules in place to prevent her being subjected to being held underwater or forced to jump from a burning building for dramatic effect. 

Thankfully, and it's no doubt a tribute to her character, she was able to move on to a long and happy adult life with a loving family and newfound respect as a writer and a rediscovered silent star - the last I am also sure, at least among Americans although I don't think anyone else would qualify at this point.

Rest in peace Diana/Peggy.

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On 2/22/2020 at 8:36 PM, StatisticalOutlier said:

I saw Spartacus the other day, and was admiring Kirk Douglas's muscular, well-defined legs.  And then noticed that he didn't have a six-pack, or really any definition there.

Re shirtless Kirk...

I may have written this several hundred posts ago, but I don't remember. 😊 A highly-respected film historian (who passed away recently) told me in conversation that when Kirk gained some leverage, he actually had it written into his contract on every movie that in at least one scene he would appear shirtless. After learning this, I began looking for it, and dang if he didn't appear shirtless in every movie! Even De Palma's The Fury, when he was in his sixties. So, six-pack or not, he was proud of his torso, or at least considered it a commercial asset for the good of his career.

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Just a couple responses to recent posts:

Have you seen The Robe, ruby24? It's not in the league of those others you mentioned you've seen, but it's worth a look if you're interested in this type of epic. And it actually got a sequel, Demetrius and the Gladiators, which isn't as good. There's also Quo Vadis, which I couldn't tell you if I've ever seen in its entirety.

No doubt in my mind that the first Demy/Legrand musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is much better than Young Girls of RochefortYoung Girls is weightless, what story there is doesn't cohere well, particularly in a bizarre subplot. But it's so pretty to look at, and so overall buoyant, with such an attractive cast, even if they mostly don't do their own singing.  I particularly enjoy seeing Gene Kelly in this.  Generally just fun.  And of course, as we may have discussed here sometime ago. Damien Chazelle got some inspiration for La La Land here.

 

Edited by Charlie Baker
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4 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

Re shirtless Kirk...

I may have written this several hundred posts ago, but I don't remember. 😊 A highly-respected film historian (who passed away recently) told me in conversation that when Kirk gained some leverage, he actually had it written into his contract on every movie that in at least one scene he would appear shirtless. After learning this, I began looking for it, and dang if he didn't appear shirtless in every movie! Even De Palma's The Fury, when he was in his sixties. So, six-pack or not, he was proud of his torso, or at least considered it a commercial asset for the good of his career.

I remember some movie podcast where the hosts talked about how weird Kirk Douglas' body looked in Spartacus because he had a wide torso but thin arms in comparison! 

I think the six pack thing started with Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise. When you see him he's actually kind of scrawny, but he's got washboard abs.

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I saw The Crimson Pirate on WGN’s Family Classics when I was a hormonal girl In the early ‘80s, and oh my, hello Burt Lancaster and your chest!! Definitely went onto my lust-for-movie-stars list, alongside Robert Redford and Harrison Ford. 

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12 hours ago, Charlie Baker said:

No doubt in my mind that the first Demy/Legrand musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is much better than Young Girls of RochefortYoung Girls is weightless, what story there is doesn't cohere well, particularly in a bizarre subplot. But it's so pretty to look at, and so overall buoyant, with such an attractive cast, even if they mostly don't do their own singing....

As to your first sentence: absolutely, no doubt at all. Umbrellas is a lovely artistic achievement that achieves what it sets out to do (a serious, if gentle and wistful drama told as a French light-pop opera, sung throughout). They knew where they were stylistically with that. They absolutely didn't with the Demoiselles. But as you say, it's so pretty. And however preposterous it is as a take on film musicals, the music is catchy and it interlocks cleverly among the various numbers. I can always watch it again, even if there's a "so bad it's good" element in my enjoyment sometimes.

As to "mostly don't do their own singing," only Danielle Darrieux gets to sing for herself. Moreover, the Americans (George Chakiris, Grover Dale, Gene Kelly) don't even get to speak for themselves. This despite Mr. Kelly's assurances in advance that he wouldn't need doubles either for singing or speaking, as "I'm very popular in France and my French is perfect." It wasn't.

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Witness for the Prosecution.  I'd seen it before but only vaguely remembered how it ended.  Charles Laughton was really good in this, which I hadn't noticed on first viewing because I was so focused on the plot.  1957, adapted/directed by Billy Wilder from an Agatha Christie story, previously a stage play. 

Something else I noticed whenever I paused the action was the setup -- every shot was suitable for framing -- that's something I almost never notice or appreciate, the spatial relationships between the set and the actors. 

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4 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

Witness for the Prosecution.  I'd seen it before but only vaguely remembered how it ended.  Charles Laughton was really good in this, which I hadn't noticed on first viewing because I was so focused on the plot.  1957, adapted/directed by Billy Wilder from an Agatha Christie story, previously a stage play. 

Something else I noticed whenever I paused the action was the setup -- every shot was suitable for framing -- that's something I almost never notice or appreciate, the spatial relationships between the set and the actors. 

I adore Witness for the Prosecution. Billy Wilder's flawless (natch) direction, Charles Laughton's beautifully sardonic performance (everything that comes out of his mouth is a quotable classic), the tension and misleads, even the normally bland-as-beige Tyrone Power is great!

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2 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

I adore Witness for the Prosecution. Billy Wilder's flawless (natch) direction, Charles Laughton's beautifully sardonic performance (everything that comes out of his mouth is a quotable classic), the tension and misleads, even the normally bland-as-beige Tyrone Power is great!

I really wish I hadn't read the short story first so I was spoiled on the twist when I finally saw the movie. That would have blown me away. As it is I'm very impressed with the reveal and the actor. That person is one of the greatest movie stars of all time but that moment showed what an amazing actor too.

Speaking of Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Splendor in the Grass is tonight and it's ending is just as bitersweet.

Edited by VCRTracking
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15 hours ago, VCRTracking said:

I really wish I hadn't read the short story first so I was spoiled on the twist when I finally saw the movie.

I always get this movie mixed up with Stage Fright. I don't mean I don't know the difference between them, it's more like when I imagine a certain scene in Witness it turns out to be a scene I'm remembering from Stage Fright, and vice versa.

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3 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

I always get this movie mixed up with Stage Fright. I don't mean I don't know the difference between them, it's more like when I imagine a certain scene in Witness it turns out to be a scene I'm remembering from Stage Fright, and vice versa.

I saw that for the first time recently. Yeah, it's similar in a lot of ways to Witness. I've always thought of Jane Wyman as "matronly" because of her roles in Douglas Sirk movies, so it's funny seeing her be the young ingenue in this movie, made just a few years earlier.  The actor who plays the police detective Wyman's character starts falling for, Michael Wilding I learned later was Elizabeth Taylor's second husband. I first saw him and was amazed how much he looks like Alan Cumming!

Michael_Wilding_in_Stage_Fright_trailer.

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I watched The Talk of the Town (1942) last night. What a great movie! This one deserves to be better known. It was smart, clever and totally unpredictable in that you couldn't quite see where it was going after a while. Loved it. Funny that they filmed two endings and let the test audiences choose which one it would be.

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The Barretts of Wimpole Street, 1934, Norma Shearer as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Fredric March as Robert Browning, and Charles Laughton as EBB's domineering father.  I recorded this for Fredric March -- he's a favorite -- and for Laughton, who's rapidly becoming a favorite. 

A side attraction was Una O'Connor, again playing a servant in a wealthy family.  Was she wearing roller skates under that huge dress?  She positively glided across the floor in every scene -- it was really fun to watch.

I fast-forwarded quite a bit.  Norma Shearer's constant eyes-heavenward facial expression got old quickly.  It's common in movies from that era, I understand, and it's often appropriate, but I thought it was a bit much here.  Probably another reason I FF'd was because it's so difficult to connect with Victorian women who were so under the patriarchal thumb.  Just leave, I wanted to say.  My gosh, the woman's earning her own money from her writings -- go, and take your sisters with you.  It was hard to sympathize, but that's on me.

I'm interested to know if there's any basis in the writer's explanation for Mr. Barrett's refusal to let any of his children marry.  This film seems to allege that he fears his own lustful nature so much that he's transferred his fear to his children.  He doesn't want any of them tarnished by sexual desire.  In the scene where he tries to explain this to Elizabeth, he almost grabs her breast.  This made him the most interesting character in the movie and perversely, more sympathetic than Elizabeth, in my view anyway. 

Loved the dog.  Virginia Woolf wrote a bio of him.  I might check it out. 

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Early Monday (6 a.m. ET): The Card, a title I've been hoping to see for many a year. Adapted by Eric Ambler from an Arnold Bennett novel, it's a 1952 rags-to-riches-through-ingenuity story starring Alec Guinness, Glynis Johns, and -- a decade before her pop-singer fame -- a 20-year-old Petula Clark. I'm looking forward to it.

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Thanks for the tip on The Card.  I adore Glynis Johns and I've read some Robert Bennett, so am looking forward to it.

Today I rewatched Kiss of Death.  Victor Mature has always creeped me out -- something to do with sex and sensuality and I don't want to explore it too deeply.  But he's always sorta scared me.  Him and Rod Steiger.  I'm okay with Steiger now, but it's still hard for me to watch Victor Mature.

But I did anyway, because this is such a good film.  Everything is just perfect.  No scene is too long or too short.  Everything makes sense.  I would have been fine with a less happy ending though.

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25 minutes ago, AuntiePam said:

Thanks for the tip on The Card.  I adore Glynis Johns and I've read some Robert Bennett, so am looking forward to it.

Today I rewatched Kiss of Death.  Victor Mature has always creeped me out -- something to do with sex and sensuality and I don't want to explore it too deeply.  But he's always sorta scared me.  Him and Rod Steiger.  I'm okay with Steiger now, but it's still hard for me to watch Victor Mature.

But I did anyway, because this is such a good film.  Everything is just perfect.  No scene is too long or too short.  Everything makes sense.  I would have been fine with a less happy ending though.

I love that Groucho Marx line about Vicor Mature. Asked what he thought of the movie Samson and Delilah, Marx quipped:"I can't enjoy a movie where the leading man has bigger tits than the leading lady!"

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I just watched G Men (1935). Really exciting! One of Cagney's best gangster movies I think.  Even if he's not a gangster in it (although the feds are basically the gangster heroes in this- just the good guys with the guns blowing away the bad guys).

Ann Dvorak was a real scene-stealer in the early 1930s- it's too bad she didn't have a bigger career. I think she really had something.

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The Card indeed turned out as charming and diverting as I'd hoped, sort of an Edwardian "How To Succeed...", with central character Denry (Alec Guinness) always keeping an eye out for the next chance to move up in the social scheme. Leading ladies Valerie Hobson, Glynis Johns (purring away while spending other people's money), and pretty young Petula Clark. Plus Veronica Turleigh, whose name keeps popping up in the British theatrical histories I read, as his mother. And cameos by the likes of Michael Hordern, Frank Pettingell, and Wilfrid Hyde-White. It moved along sharply under Ronald Neame's direction, and left me smiling throughout.

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On 2/29/2020 at 8:05 PM, ruby24 said:

I watched The Talk of the Town (1942) last night. What a great movie! This one deserves to be better known. It was smart, clever and totally unpredictable in that you couldn't quite see where it was going after a while. Loved it. Funny that they filmed two endings and let the test audiences choose which one it would be.

Another barely known movie with Cary Grant I really like is "Mr Lucky". He's known for debonair, "charming" characters, but always did really well when playing working-class protagonists with an edge as well. Though of course a lot of the lasting appeal of his "charming" persona also goes back to the different shades and nuances he brought into it. They're seldom straightforward, one-dimensional characters, but seem to have various agendas going at the same time.

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@Rinaldo, I liked it too, The Card.  The only Bennett I have read is The Old Wives' Tale and I was pleasantly surprised by the humor in this movie.  I didn't recognize Petula Clark as Nellie -- I thought the movie was older than 1952, it felt more like something from the 30's, so I was looking for a child.

I'm also surprised that Denry, while ambitious, wasn't greedy and grasping.  And surprised that the Countess appreciated him -- I half expected them to end up together.

And Alec Guinness -- sometimes he reminded me of Charlie Chaplin, or Stan Laurel -- his walk, and his grin, and his eyes.

Thanks for recommending it, because I wouldn't have recorded it otherwise.

Edited by AuntiePam
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I'm one of those weird people who's never seen The Pink Panther movies, so I watched the first one tonight. It was...surprisingly dull. I'll keep going with it, because I know Peter Sellers takes over as the main character in the second film, but in this one he really wasn't and whenever he wasn't onscreen (which is a significant chunk of the movie), it's just really not much.

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On 3/2/2020 at 3:56 PM, AuntiePam said:

Thanks for recommending it, because I wouldn't have recorded it otherwise.

I didn't catch up with this conversation until this morning, but I think there's a decent chance I can find the movie on xfinity on-demand. And failing that, on TCM's god-awful portal on Apple TV. (Which I would tolerate for the sake of seeing this movie that comes so highly recommended by you and @Rinaldo.)

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10 hours ago, ruby24 said:

I'm one of those weird people who's never seen The Pink Panther movies, so I watched the first one tonight. It was...surprisingly dull. I'll keep going with it, because I know Peter Sellers takes over as the main character in the second film, but in this one he really wasn't and whenever he wasn't onscreen (which is a significant chunk of the movie), it's just really not much.

The sequel A Shot in the Dark is the first real Inspector Clouseau movie and a great one at that. It's the first with Herbert Lom as the exasperated Chief Inspector Dreyfuss and Kato and Burt Kwouk as his manservant Cato, both of who add to the comedy. It sets the template for the future movies. The first Pink Panther is an okay light caper movie. I like the 60s jet set/ski lodge atmosphere of it. Clouseau has a smaller role but whenever he's onscreen it's hilarious. The globe gag always makes me laugh.

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