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12 hours ago, ratgirlagogo said:

***RECORD SCRATCH*****

What???????

You don't like comedy of any kind?????  Please explain.

I'll qualify.  I don't like a lot of comedy.  The premise has to be somewhat believable, realistic.  Maybe that's why movies like Some Like It Hot leave me cold -- I can't buy it.  Nobody's gonna believe that Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are women.  Tony Curtis was pretty, but he wasn't that pretty. 

 

 

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Watched Barry Lyndon (1975) last night. Loved it. I know it's divisive and some people think it's a huge bore, but for me it was terrific. I'm not a huge Kubrick fan, but this one is up there with my favorites, Paths of Glory and Dr. Strangelove.

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4 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

I'll qualify.  I don't like a lot of comedy.  The premise has to be somewhat believable, realistic.  Maybe that's why movies like Some Like It Hot leave me cold -- I can't buy it. 

This ties in slightly with my recent remarks about Billy Wilder and Tony Curtis, I guess, because after repeated viewings over the years, I have to admit to myself that I don't enjoy Some Like It Hot all that much either. I don't care about the premise being realistic, but it's not innately hilarious to me either. I won't say it "leaves me cold" -- but my enjoyment is limited to brief moments: a smile-inducing line reading here, a nicely caught moment between characters there. But it seems widely accepted as this uproarious nonstop cavalcade of comedy, and for me it just isn't. Different strokes and all that...

On which point, I guess it's a matter of personal definition whether Cary Elwes's career "went nowhere" or not; but an IMDb listing of 127 screen credits (almost exactly twice as many as Mandy Patinkin, as it happens), with no long-running TV series to boost the number, and with no period when he wasn't working, looks like a pretty successful career to me. He didn't achieve mega-star status, but after all very few do.

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On 3/25/2020 at 10:06 PM, Rinaldo said:

My own feeling is that Curtis may well have been (most likely was) imitating Grant out of admiration and his own deep knowledge of Grant's work. But he was also doing it at the suggestion of Billy Wilder, and Wilder could be a mordant SOB with motives of his own...

I don't think there's any harm in my exploring this--at least I hope not. I take you to mean that Wilder (as pretty much everybody in Hollywood, but no one else) either knew or thought Grant to be gay, and so in Curtis' deception of Sugar, in which he pretends as Grant to be a man incapable of sexual feelings for a woman, Wilder was playing a very inside joke.

 

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3 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

I don't think there's any harm in my exploring this--at least I hope not. I take you to mean that Wilder (as pretty much everybody in Hollywood, but no one else) either knew or thought Grant to be gay, and so in Curtis' deception of Sugar, in which he pretends as Grant to be a man incapable of sexual feelings for a woman, Wilder was playing a very inside joke.

Yes, something in that vein. It's just that one little element in the impersonation, which could easily be explained away; but I feel that Wilder enjoyed a tiny "innocent" twist of the knife like that. (And this is entirely independent of Grant's actual status, which with his four marriages and other relationships over the years could fairly be described as "it's complicated." I don't mean to be reductive about someone's whole life.)

Edited by Rinaldo

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3 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

Yes, something in that vein. It's just that one little element in the impersonation, which could easily be explained away; but I feel that Wilder enjoyed a tiny "innocent" twist of the knife like that. (And this is entirely independent of Grant's actual status, which with his four marriages and other relationships over the years cou hild fairly be described as "it's complicated." I don't mean to be reductive about someone's whole life.)

According to this, it was more like Tony Curtis wondering with Wilder how he would play the character and going "Hey do you know I can do a Cary Grant impression? What if I do that?" There's no way that was in the script.  I don't think Wilder would just ask Curtis to talk like Cary Grant if he had never done it before!

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/73384/13-sizzling-facts-about-some-it-hot

Edited by VCRTracking

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On 3/25/2020 at 11:14 PM, GussieK said:

That's pretty funny.  I grew up on the "Judy, Judy, Judy" school of Cary Grant impressions--on the Ed Sullivan show. 

I've always liked Goober's impression of Grant's "Judy, Judy, Judy," on The Andy Griffith show.  Probably because Gomer loved it so much.

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It's a Jeanne Crain night.  Love me some Jeanne Crain.  Tonight it's Letter to Three Wives and (speaking of Cary Grant again) People Will Talk.  I watched Letter again a few weeks ago when it was Thelma Ritter's birthday.  Always a treat.  I'd be interested to hear what my fellow TCM denizens think of PWT.   I love its oddball charm.  It has always seemed surprising to me that they allowed the pregnant girl storyline to proceed in that manner in that time period.  I know it's based on a German play (and film).

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I hadn't known about this theme that includes the two Jeanne Crain movies GussieK mentions: part of this weekend is a tribute to Ben M's relatives, the Mankiewicz brothers, Herman and Joseph.  It started last night and includes Ben's cousin, daughter of Joseph, Alex, and the author of a bio of the two brothers before and after the films. I haven't seen People Will Talk in many years--might have to check it out. (Both JC films were written and directed by Joseph; tomorrow night the focus is on Herman, and of course they have to include Citizen Kane.)

I like the story about All About Eve that Darryl Zanuck wanted JC to play Eve because of her box office appeal and Joseph M thought she was all wrong for it.  And she may well have played it if she hadn't gotten pregnant. 

I DVRed the documentary on Alice Guy-Blache, hope to get to it too soon. Anyone seen it?

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1 hour ago, Charlie Baker said:

I like the story about All About Eve that Darryl Zanuck wanted JC to play Eve because of her box office appeal and Joseph M thought she was all wrong for it.  And she may well have played it if she hadn't gotten pregnant. 

The alternate-universe All About Eve starring Claudette Colbert and Jeanne Crain is interesting to contemplate, although I dare say we're better off with the one we have.

I was interested to see the Mankiewicz discussion Friday evening. I like that though the cousins* clearly admire the work of their famous ancestors, they don't feel obligated to ignore or excuse their faults.

(*For the genealogy-obsessed like me, Alex is Joseph's daughter while Ben is Herman's grandson; so they're first cousins once removed. But that's too much detail for a quick reference, "cousins" is completely correct.)

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Watched The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) last night. It was pretty good, but Walter Huston really stole the movie. He was great.

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Walter Huston was an absolutely great actor, something that I somehow never understood until I saw him last summer in Dodsworth. That movie and his performance in it (and that of Mary Astor in it too) immediately shot up to the top of my personal All-Time Best lists.

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Well, I watched a few minutes of The Honeymoon Killers on the TCM app.  I don’t know if I can sit through the rest.
My takeaways:  1) funny to see young Doris Roberts.  2) so that’s how they did catfishing before the internet. 3) The crappy sound in the opening scene and Stoler’s delivery certainly presaged John Waters and Divine. Seemed like a spoof of itself. 
But which came first, since Multiple Maniacs came out the same year?  

Edited by GussieK

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This is completely random but... I was googling Warren Beatty and the internet just announced to me that he's 6'2. That wasn't what I was looking for but now I can't stop thinking about it. That can't be right, can it? I was always under the impression that Warren Beatty was like Tom Cruise height. If he's 6'2, he photographs incredibly short, especially standing next to actresses who are not very tall.

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2 hours ago, aradia22 said:

This is completely random but... I was googling Warren Beatty and the internet just announced to me that he's 6'2. That wasn't what I was looking for but now I can't stop thinking about it. That can't be right, can it? I was always under the impression that Warren Beatty was like Tom Cruise height. If he's 6'2, he photographs incredibly short, especially standing next to actresses who are not very tall.

Actresses are frequently wearing heels that add misleading inches to their height. Beatty certainly appeared noticeably taller than Dustin Hoffman in Ishtar.

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I enjoyed watching the bumper interviews with Alex Mankiewicz that accompanied Letter to Three Wives and People Will Talk.  Unfortunately, the DVR cut off at the very end, and I didn't hear the last part.  She was talking about her father's writer's block.  Did anyone catch this?  They have not put this up on the TCM app. 

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Related to actor height...Last night we continued our episode-by-episode journey through The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and for some reason I noticed that Mary (in heels, no doubt) standing face to face with Lou was basically the same height as Lou. I always have thought of Ed Asner as a short guy, and of Mary Tyler Moore as a tallish woman. When they're not standing face to face, I still think of Mary as taller than Lou. But the evidence showed otherwise. 

It's like that optical illusion where one line appears longer than the other but they're both exactly the same length.

All of which goes to show that it's hard to know how tall anybody on film is.

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6 hours ago, GussieK said:

Well, I watched a few minutes of The Honeymoon Killers on the TCM app.  I don’t know if I can sit through the rest.
My takeaways:  1) funny to see young Doris Roberts.  2) so that’s how they did catfishing before the internet. 3) The crappy sound in the opening scene and Stoler’s delivery certainly presaged John Waters and Divine. Seemed like a spoof of itself. 
But which came first, since Multiple Maniacs came out the same year?  

Yes, Doris Roberts.  I thought I recognized Georgia Engel from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but IMDB shows a Mary Engel for Honeymoon, with no credit for MTM.   I thought maybe Georgia used a different name, but maybe Georgia and Mary were sisters.

I liked the movie but fast-forwarded when it started to feel repetitive, Martha getting upset at Jose paying attention to his new wife/girlfriend of the moment.  Tony Lo Bianco was appropriately creepy, almost nauseating at times, and Shirley -- so cold-blooded. 

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Well, speaking of MTM and Georgia Engel, I ran into Georgia Engel in a hotel elevator once (about 10 years ago), and I acted like a fool!  She was in St. Louis for a touring theater production, and I was there for a wedding. 

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In the aftermath of Cleopatra, which the Mankiewicz bio author says "broke" Joseph, he developed a long-term writer's block.  He did direct another successful film Sleuth, which he did not adapt from Anthony Shaffer's play.  Alex said it got so bad he couldn't write so much as a Christmas card, but it lifted finally in the 80s and he wrote but did not complete another project before his death.  All that of course comes along with an emphatic IIRC. In this period he does have writing credit for The Honey Pot, another adaptation. 

Alex also said that People Will Talk was his professed favorite of his movies.  After the power surge of four Oscars in two years for two hits, he was able to make it and say what he wanted to say about medicine and resentment and blacklisting.  I guess it wasn't a hit, and the TCM people said Zanuck thought that might have been due to Cary Grant's miscasting. Wow--seeing it now I have to say this performance is up there with Grant's very best.  The whole cast scores--and maneuvers the occasionally unwieldy dialogue well. (Who is more devious than Hume Cronyn in this? And too bad Margaret Hamilton didn't get billing--she was great!) The story is definitely offbeat and does get stuff past the Code, like Jeanne Crain's character gets pregnant outside of marriage, maybe even hinting at her considering abortion, and is not "punished" for it. Not to mention the anti-blacklisting subtext in the midst of McCarthyism. And the movie manages to move from comedy (If not laugh out loud) to drama with ease. 

The Mary Tyler Moore Show holds up pretty well and that cast can't be beat. 

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Well, now  I'll get into my 6 Degrees recap:  Georgia Engel was on Everybody Loves Raymond with Doris Roberts.  But it appears that Georgia Engel and Mary Engel were not related.  And how did I manage to miss that Georgia Engel died about a year ago!

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4 hours ago, Charlie Baker said:

In the aftermath of Cleopatra, which the Mankiewicz bio author says "broke" Joseph, he developed a long-term writer's block. ... Alex said it got so bad he couldn't write so much as a Christmas card, but it lifted finally in the 80s and he wrote but did not complete another project before his death.  All that of course comes along with an emphatic IIRC. In this period he does have writing credit for The Honey Pot, another adaptation. 

As you say, the hazards of recollection can play a part, as can the inevitable simplifications of a quick interstitial discussion. The Honey Pot may have been left out for some such reason, or maybe (since it did so poorly) it may have been part of the process of Joseph being convinced he had dried as a writer. It was a multiple adaptation, a screenplay adapted from Frederick Knott's play adapted from someone else's novel ultimately derived from Jonson's Volpone. I remember it vanishing from theaters almost instantly (I'm tempted to say that it didn't even last the full week, though that may be my memory exaggerating because I'd hoped to see it and it was gone before I could). I never heard about it again till Warner Archive brought it out on DVD MOD, when I grabbed it. It is not, in fact, a lost gem. The most complete discussion of it that I've located online is actually on the TCM site; its author is more complimentary about its quality than I can be.

Edited by Rinaldo
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2 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

As you say, the hazards of recollection can play a part, as can the inevitable simplifications of a quick interstitial discussion. The Honey Pot may have been left out for some such reason, or maybe (since it did so poorly) it may have been part of the process of Joseph being convinced he had dried as a writer. It was a multiple adaptation, a screenplay adapted from Frederick Knott's play adapted from someone else's noel ultimately derived from Jonson's Volpone. I remember it vanishing from theaters almost instantly (I'm tempted to say that it didn't even last the full week, though that may be my memory exaggerating because I'd hoped to see it and it was gone before I could). I never heard about it again till Warner Archive brought it out on DVD MOD, when I grabbed it. It is not, in fact, a lost gem. The most complete discussion of it that I've located online is actually on the TCM site; its author is more complimentary about its quality than I can be.

Hmmm.  Budget $6 million.  Worldwide gross: $11,000. 

I don't remember it even being in theaters, but I was only 12.  Although I was already a budding movie buff, that would have been above my pay grade.  I can't hold a candle to @Rinaldo's level of completism. 

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Of course Citizen Kane is one of the jewels in the Mankiewicz family crown. And the screenplay plays a big part in its stature: not just the ingenious multiple-narrative structure, but the wit and verve along the way. One of the surprises about it on first viewing (if one has at least a little familiarity with styles of its time) is how light and irreverent much of it is. It's a masterpiece in the form of a popular entertainment. Which is my favorite kind.

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I like Tom Mankiewicz' work as "creative consultant"(he wrote the final draft) on SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE.  I love his commentary with director Richard Donner. Talking about the scene where Jor-El and Lara are sending baby Kal-El to Earth before Krypton blows up. Marlon Brando says this long speech Tom Mankiewicz based on God sending his son Christ to Earth ("I'm sending you my...")while the Susannah York doesnt say anything. On the set York takes Mankiewicz aside "Hey what does the mother send?" Tom jokes "When YOU'RE getting three million dollars for just two weeks work you can send anything you want!"

He also wrote the Bond movies DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, LIVE AND LET DIE, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and he did an uncredited rewrite on THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. Sean Connery's nickname for him was "Boyo" because he was 26 when he wrote DAF, and Roger Moore's was "Wankiewicz".

Edited by VCRTracking
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20 hours ago, GussieK said:

But which came first, since Multiple Maniacs came out the same year?  

They came out closely enough that I don't think either was an influence on the other.   But John Waters made other films later (like Desperate Living and Female Trouble, in particular) that work in this vein.

Yes, Doris Roberts, and all kinds of other New York actors.  I'm particularly interested in Mary Jane Higby (who plays Jane, the second to the last victim), who was a major radio star who did some theatre and I think no movies except for this one.  The way her murder in particular is shown was very raw for that time and this is another instance of later audiences not really feeling it, since they have seen so many other movies that that were influenced by it.

Speaking of that, I rewatched Pale Flower last weekend, and it was so great to have Alicia Malone ( as the TCM Imports host) team up with Eddie Muller (as the Noir Alley host) to do the intro and the outro to it.  I don't think I've watched it in ten years and this time I felt even more impressed by it - the use of sound in particular, which both Malone and Muller emphasized.   They both pointed out that Scorcese and Tarrantino have both referenced this film - and I kept thinking, with the final scene in the church, damn, this must be a huge film for John Woo.

Edited by ratgirlagogo
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On 3/29/2020 at 10:17 AM, Charlie Baker said:

In the aftermath of Cleopatra, which the Mankiewicz bio author says "broke" Joseph, he developed a long-term writer's block.  He did direct another successful film Sleuth, which he did not adapt from Anthony Shaffer's play.  Alex said it got so bad he couldn't write so much as a Christmas card, but it lifted finally in the 80s and he wrote but did not complete another project before his death.  

I'm pretty sure someone said he died 3 months after his writer's block lifted.

And you didn't mention this, but I think Ben said his earliest memory of his Joseph was when he was 7 years old, and it had to do with the writer's block, which always loomed large in his knowledge of him.

I have to say that I didn't like People Will Talk.  It might have something to do with my expectations--the onscreen guide said something about a doctor marrying a college student because she was pregnant.  I wasn't necessarily expecting a romp, but I also wasn't expecting discussions about agricultural policy, even though I was warned by Alex, I think, who said her dad used the movie to get in all sorts of opinions that he had.  At least I think that's what she said--I had trouble following her.  Maybe I was just having a bad night.

But I stuck it out because I had to find out what the deal with Shunderson was.  And I'm always the first person to proclaim, "It's not a documentary!" when people complain about various plot points, but the way he and Dr. Praetorius became acquainted?  Really???

I was also unimpressed by the teeny little gun and the suicide attempt in the hallway, of all places, and didn't much care for duping her with regard to her pregnancy.  It somehow seemed elliptical and talky at the same time.

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I still don't have TCM but I watched The Apartment on Amazon Prime. It was great. I didn't think I would like it because I failed the last time I tried to watch it but I'm glad I stuck it out. 

Jack Lemmon is fine and Fred MacMurray gives a great performance as realistically awful villain but this movie's heart is Shirley MacLaine. I didn't expect such a wonderful female character to be in this movie. Her performance has so much depth and personality relative to her screen time. On one side, there's this horrible boss, bullying her and coercing her and feeding her lies and playing mind games just for an affair when he could easily leave her be and find another girl. On the other side, there's this Nice Guy who puts her on a pedestal and is oblivious to her as a real person. To me, Fran walks away with the movie. I didn't like the movie when I thought it was about Baxter. I loved it when it became about Fran.

I also enjoyed the smaller roles of the first girl who did the Marilyn Monroe impression and Margie MacDougall, the married woman that Baxter picks up at the bar. I loved every second Margie was on screen. Did Hope Holiday ever have a big role in anything?

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Sometimes when Life is pelting you with lemons, TCM is there to hand you a Paradise Cocktail.

One Way Passage was on this morning!! The apricot brandy is gone & my Orry-Kelly dressing gown, at the cleaners, so I made do with a bottle of Guinness and my pink plastic bunny ring.  Favorite movies have a way of papering over your woes.

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18 hours ago, aradia22 said:

I still don't have TCM but I watched The Apartment on Amazon Prime. It was great. I didn't think I would like it because I failed the last time I tried to watch it but I'm glad I stuck it out. 

Jack Lemmon is fine and Fred MacMurray gives a great performance as realistically awful villain but this movie's heart is Shirley MacLaine. I didn't expect such a wonderful female character to be in this movie. Her performance has so much depth and personality relative to her screen time. On one side, there's this horrible boss, bullying her and coercing her and feeding her lies and playing mind games just for an affair when he could easily leave her be and find another girl. On the other side, there's this Nice Guy who puts her on a pedestal and is oblivious to her as a real person. To me, Fran walks away with the movie. I didn't like the movie when I thought it was about Baxter. I loved it when it became about Fran.

I also enjoyed the smaller roles of the first girl who did the Marilyn Monroe impression and Margie MacDougall, the married woman that Baxter picks up at the bar. I loved every second Margie was on screen. Did Hope Holiday ever have a big role in anything?

She was in the next Wilder-Lemmon-MacLaine teaming IRMA LA DOUCE three years later in another memorable role.

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On 3/29/2020 at 6:03 AM, aradia22 said:

This is completely random but... I was googling Warren Beatty and the internet just announced to me that he's 6'2. That wasn't what I was looking for but now I can't stop thinking about it. That can't be right, can it? I was always under the impression that Warren Beatty was like Tom Cruise height. If he's 6'2, he photographs incredibly short, especially standing next to actresses who are not very tall.

Scroll down here for a photo with Julie Christie, reportedly 5'2" and in flat shoes.  Beatty towered over her. I've never had any trouble believing he was over 6' tall.  

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@Inquisitionist But look at the photo in the same article with equally tiny Natalie Wood. I think some guys just have short guy energy. Like Leonardo Dicaprio. 

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37 minutes ago, aradia22 said:

@Inquisitionist But look at the photo in the same article with equally tiny Natalie Wood. I think some guys just have short guy energy. Like Leonardo Dicaprio. 

Here's the ending of Splendor in the Grass where he's definitely a head taller than her. 

 

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2 hours ago, aradia22 said:

@Inquisitionist But look at the photo in the same article with equally tiny Natalie Wood. I think some guys just have short guy energy. Like Leonardo Dicaprio. 

Tiny Natalie Wood with big hair and no way of telling how high her heels are.

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8 hours ago, SomeTameGazelle said:

Tiny Natalie Wood with big hair and no way of telling how high her heels are.

Exactly, that's why I focussed on the one with Julie Christie where we can see her feet.  😉 Also going by seeing Beatty in many movies next to other actors, male and female.  He is definitely a 6-footer.

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This is a day for TCMers to recognize.  April 5th is the birthdate of Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, Walter Huston, and Melvyn Douglas.

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On 4/5/2020 at 12:14 PM, Charlie Baker said:

This is a day for TCMers to recognize.  April 5th is the birthdate of Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, Walter Huston, and Melvyn Douglas.

To celebrate Bette Davis' birthday I'm posting this NOW VOYAGER clip. I like it because of Davis' hilarious pre-makeover look and also the mean niece is played by Bonita Granville who was the first actress to play Nancy Drew in a series of films in the late 30s:

 

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I watched The Apartment a couple of days ago. I remembered Fred McMurray, of course. But I had forgotten how despicable all the other men in the office were.

 

 

Edited by xaxat · Reason: I had a brainfart.
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19 hours ago, xaxat said:

I watched The Office a couple of days ago. I remembered Fred McMurray, of course. But I had forgotten how despicable all the other men in the office were.

Do you mean The Apartment?  because in that case oh my yes they were.

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19 minutes ago, ratgirlagogo said:

Do you mean The Apartment?  because in that case oh my yes they were.

Oops, yes I do. Thanks.

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Watched The Kennel Club Murder (1933) last night. It was okay I guess. William Powell's always good. It was not the most interesting whodunit I've ever seen, although I could see that Michael Curtiz's direction was pretty stylish for the time. Disappointed that Mary Astor didn't have a more substantial role- I usually really like her, but she had such a nothing part in this.

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29 minutes ago, ruby24 said:

Watched The Kennel Club Murder (1933) last night. It was okay I guess. William Powell's always good. It was not the most interesting whodunit I've ever seen, although I could see that Michael Curtiz's direction was pretty stylish for the time. Disappointed that Mary Astor didn't have a more substantial role- I usually really like her, but she had such a nothing part in this.

I saw it years ago and liked it too. The exterior model shot of the house impressed me. It's interesting because it's like seeing a sober Nick Charles solving a mystery without Nora!

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I enjoyed the Kennel Club Murder as well, early-talkie atmosphere and all. I guess this was part of William Powell's transition from silent-era villain to smooth-talking, often comedic sound era leading man.  I wish I could get to see his two earlier roles as Philo Vance.  I have read that the first one, The Canary Murder Case, co-starred Louise Brooks, but it was converted to a sound film from a silent I believe, and she ended up being dubbed because she refused to come back from Germany where she was filming Pandora's Box.  

Edited by roseha

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For the holiday, I watched Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). It was pretty fun. One of the few popular Jesus movies that I hadn't seen yet (my favorites are The Last Temptation of Christ and The Gospel According to St. Mathew). 

Edited by ruby24
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14 minutes ago, ruby24 said:

For the holiday, I watched Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). It was pretty fun. One of the few popular Jesus movies that I hadn't seen yet (my favorites are The Last Temptation of Christ and The Gospel According to St. Mathew). 

It's legit my favorite film depiction of Christ and the Crucifixion. Ted Neeley is amazing. That high note on "Gethsemane"? Wow. Carl Anderson as Judas and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene are great too.

Edited by VCRTracking
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1 hour ago, xaxat said:

 

One of my favorite things on YouTube. I want people saying "Nuts!" when they mess up to come back in fashion.

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I watched Easter Parade (1948) again tonight, since it was on, and you know, I have to say, this one remains not one of my faves. Many people love it and think it's one of Astaire and Garland's best movies, but I don't know what it is with this one that just doesn't connect with me. I think I just don't see much chemistry btw Fred and Judy, tbh. 

I also don't think it has any of Fred's best dance numbers or Judy's best songs. I guess I'm the odd one out on this one.

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