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6 hours ago, MissT said:

I don't think Glen Ford was the best pick to play Eddie's father.  I think he's a boring actor.

He's AWESOME in The Big Heat (1953). 

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I tried watching The Bonfire of the Vanities, but my cable box was malfunctioning, so I had to cut out of it after about a half hour.  Unfortunately, they're not repeating it on Watch TCM.  They had an intro I managed to watch with Julie Salomon, the author of the book The Devil's Candy.   I wanted to see the ending commentary.  Did anyone else catch this?  I remember when the movie came out it was awful.  I had read and enjoyed the book. 

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The movie is streaming on HBO Max, if you are an HBO subscriber--a purposeful tie in, I think.  I watched it, nothing about their commentary stuck with me afterwards, particularly. But the first two episodes of the podcast, mostly narrated by Julie Salamon, are worth a listen.  They're on TCM.com and other platforms.  They're less than an hour each, with several more to come, released one per week. 

 I hadn't seen it before. The movie just sits there, despite all the elements seeming to be in place.  It didn't help the three leads are all miscast, or that it was the kind of book that wouldn't lend itself easily to film.  It doesn't have the so-bad-it's-good-and/or-fun element, either.  The hows and whys and wherefores behind it are definitely more interesting than the movie itself.

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On 7/2/2021 at 12:10 PM, VCRTracking said:

It's the same with the two astronauts in 2001. It's very purposeful. When Kubrick wants someone to EMOTE he'll do it like Jack Nicholson's performance in The Shining.

There are two kinds of performances that Kubrick usually wants: acting or ACTING. Its quiet subtlety verging on blandness or the hammiest ham that you can find in the supermarket. 

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9 hours ago, GussieK said:

I tried watching The Bonfire of the Vanities... they had an intro I managed to watch with Julie Salomon, the author of the book The Devil's Candy.  ...

That book is highly worth reading. It lays out step by step the compromises that happened in production, in adapting, in casting, during shooting, as they happened. Sometimes with good intentions, sometimes with cynical ones. Each step small, but they snowballed into a result that's just hopelessly wrong.

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9 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

That book is highly worth reading. It lays out step by step the compromises that happened in production, in adapting, in casting, during shooting, as they happened. Sometimes with good intentions, sometimes with cynical ones. Each step small, but they snowballed into a result that's just hopelessly wrong.

You are right!  I have a copy from years ago, when it first came out. 

14 hours ago, Charlie Baker said:

The movie is streaming on HBO Max, if you are an HBO subscriber--a purposeful tie in, I think.  I watched it, nothing about their commentary stuck with me afterwards, particularly. But the first two episodes of the podcast, mostly narrated by Julie Salamon, are worth a listen.  They're on TCM.com and other platforms.  They're less than an hour each, with several more to come, released one per week. 

 I hadn't seen it before. The movie just sits there, despite all the elements seeming to be in place.  It didn't help the three leads are all miscast, or that it was the kind of book that wouldn't lend itself easily to film.  It doesn't have the so-bad-it's-good-and/or-fun element, either.  The hows and whys and wherefores behind it are definitely more interesting than the movie itself.

Thanks, I have HBO Max, and I was going to see if it was listed there.  I think you're right about what makes the movie bad but not laugh out loud fun bad. 

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12 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

That book is highly worth reading. It lays out step by step the compromises that happened in production, in adapting, in casting, during shooting, as they happened. Sometimes with good intentions, sometimes with cynical ones. Each step small, but they snowballed into a result that's just hopelessly wrong.

I read the Tom Wolfe novel, and I read--and enjoyed--Julie Salamon's excellent reporting in her book--and yet, I am the guy who actually liked DePalma's movie at the time. Two things remain with me. Tom Hanks's complicated grin when he's found not guilty--some kind of mix of relief, vengeance, and evil--and Bruce Willis's funny caricature of Christopher Hitchens (or, at least, I assume Christopher Hitchens).

My feeling at the time was the movie was unfairly tarred for not doing justice to the book. Well, duh! No movie could. Today, it would be a 10-episode mini-series on HBO Max--nothing short of that could encompass the book's length and layers. For a two-hour movie, I thought it made a highly enjoyable suggestion of the book, which is all I could have expected or wanted.

I still think that if you went into the movie innocent--devoid of knowledge that there was ever a novel of that name, devoid of the "received wisdom" that the movie was a turkey--you'd see an entertaining flick. My memory of Salamon's book (which is somewhat hazy) is that even she doesn't think the movie was a turkey, just an interesting case study in Hollywood compromise. The reviews of the book uniformly praised it for telling the story of how a turkey is made--but that's not what the book actually is.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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I have never read Julie Salamon's book, but I did read the original novel.  And this week I did see the movie on TCM!  My feeling is that the novel is a very 18th century style satire (think Swift, Fielding, Sterne, Smollett) in which ALL the characters are mocked. This isn't how the movie is made and it's fatal, IMO.  I think Tom Hanks would have been willing and able to play an unpleasant, unlikeable character - but the audience would have had a hard time seeing him do that.   Also replacing Alan Arkin with Morgan Freeman erased half the point of the book - that in the 80's the vast majority of criminals (and their victims) brought before the NYC courts  were black and hispanic - and the vast majority of judges were white.  That's the whole point of bringing the Sherman McCoy character through the system in the first place - to punish him ( one individual white guy) to "make up" for the horrors of the existing system.

I really think that the career satirist Mike Nichols ( the original choice of director) would have done better with the material.  But any film true to the material would not have been a big commercial crowd-pleaser.  Elaine May, Terry Gilliam, Mel Brooks,  Lindsay Anderson would have done better but it would have been an arthouse/midnight movie. 

Edited by ratgirlagogo · Reason: clarification
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7 hours ago, ratgirlagogo said:

I think Tom Hanks would have been willing and able to play an unpleasant, unlikeable character

And yet, in The Road to Perdition, he plays an unpleasant, unlikeable character -- and still comes out as a hero.  Sorta.

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Re Bonfire, I watched the first 40 minutes last night--first time viewing any of it since catching it at the movies when it came out--and I see that I misremembered something. I would have sworn the Bruce Willis character was English. I actually "remembered" Willis with an English accent! Was the journalist character in the novel English, and that's why I remembered Willis that way? 

In any case, having watched the first 40 minutes, I'll stick to my guns and say it's a darned entertaining flick. The Wolfe novel examined the story from lots of angles. The movie seems to examine it from the privileged white angle only. (The scenes with Hanks and Griffith on the streets of the South Bronx are a white person's surrealistic nightmare of what the South Bronx was, bad as it was in real life; they're comedic in their nightmarishness.) That said, it is an effective satiric take on the story from the privileged white angle only, which is what it appears to me the movie had in mind. The first 40 minutes flew by, and I look forward to resuming where I left off.

 

 

 

Edited by Milburn Stone

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The character was British in the book, and I believe it's on the podcast that Julie Salamon says it was a deliberate decision to change him for the movie. 

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Thanks, @Charlie Baker. I just put the podcast on my "feed" (if that's what you call it) and I look forward to listening!

I'd like to respond to @ratgirlagogo's list of directors who would have done more justice to the book. I agree that DePalma was never the right guy if you wanted someone to do justice to the book, so if the studio wanted that, they blundered. However, if you wanted someone who would do a vicious satire based on the part of the book he responded to, DePalma was your man.

The risk was that so many people in the "reviewing class" had read the book and loved it, and wanted to see a semi-faithful treatment. They didn't get what they wanted.

So far, the only thing in the movie that annoys me is Melanie Griffith's inept portrayal of a Southern Belle sex toy. Too cartoonish even for a DePalma movie.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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The irony of Bonfire of the Vanities is all three leads would have been actually been perfect casting five years earlier. The audience would have bought it if it was Bosom Buddies/Bachelor Party era Tom Hanks, Something Wild era Melanie Griffith and Moonlighting era Bruce Willis. They could still be convincingly sleazy onscreen in 1985. However post-Big Hanks, post-Working Girl Griffith and post-Die Hard Willis they were the new nice guy, sweetheart, and hero.

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Ben interviews James Caan for CBS Sunday Morning.  There is curiously no mention of his recent movie, Queen Bees, in which Caan plays opposite Ellen Burstyn. I would have thought that was the reason for the interview. 

Caan and Mankiewicz

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3 hours ago, VCRTracking said:

The irony of Bonfire of the Vanities is all three leads would have been actually been perfect casting five years earlier. The audience would have bought it if it was Bosom Buddies/Bachelor Party era Tom Hanks, Something Wild era Melanie Griffith and Moonlighting era Bruce Willis. They could still be convincingly sleazy onscreen in 1985. However post-Big Hanks, post-Working Girl Griffith and post-Die Hard Willis they were the new nice guy, sweetheart, and hero.

I loved the book when it first came out and I was so disappointed when it was announced Tom Hanks was cast as Sherman McCoy.  To me the character was a clueless white entitled preppy type , so someone like William Hurt would be a better fit.   

As mentioned, the novel satirizes everyone and the British journalist and the smarmy British expats in NY that encompassed was lost with Bruce Willis, who isn’t exactly a nuanced actor.  Has anyone else ever made such a long career from the ability to smirk on cue?

Melanie Griffith was simply a hot mess as Maria, the character seems easy enough to play but the caginess of the character eluded Griffith.   I would have loved Kim Basinger to have given it a shot.

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11 hours ago, Milburn Stone said:

However, if you wanted someone who would do a vicious satire based on the part of the book he responded to, DePalma was your man.

Hey, I like Brian DePalma a lot, don't misunderstand me. What would you say would be the part of the book he responded to?  Mostly I get the kind of The Wrong Man feeling through the film. 

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11 hours ago, ratgirlagogo said:

Hey, I like Brian DePalma a lot, don't misunderstand me. What would you say would be the part of the book he responded to?  Mostly I get the kind of The Wrong Man feeling through the film. 

I think he absolutely hates Sherman McCoy even more than Tom Wolfe did, and takes sadistic delight in his suffering. And I'm OK with that!

I also perceive a delightful loathing of all layers of New York society, media, and the justice system. There was some of this in the novel, but my recollection is that Tom Wolfe was more about describing than hating. He said (like the social realism novelists of the late 19th century) "I'm going to capture this in a portrait, as if on a vast mural," and he actually did so, magnificently. DePalma was more, "I'm gonna rip the shit out of this."

Edited by Milburn Stone
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1 hour ago, Milburn Stone said:

I think he absolutely hates Sherman McCoy even more than Tom Wolfe did, and takes sadistic delight in his suffering. And I'm OK with that!

I also perceive a delightful loathing of all layers of New York society, media, and the justice system. There was some of this in the novel, but my recollection is that Tom Wolfe was more about describing than hating. He said (like the social realism novelists of the late 19th century) "I'm going to capture this in a portrait, as if on a vast mural," and he actually did so, magnificently. DePalma was more, "I'm gonna rip the shit out of this."

Thinking back many years I am recalling that the novel was first published in serialized form in Rolling Stone. It was a publishing phenomenon, and I read it in that format, excitedly waiting for each installment. It was a commentary on NYC society in the manner of the 19th century writers such as Dickens and Trollope. It had a lot of Wolfe’s trademark style pyrotechnics.  Maybe it wasn’t meant to be a movie. 

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Moving on from Bonfire of the Vanities to The Friends of Eddie Coyle.  Last weekend's noir showing.  How is it that I had never seen this bleak masterpiece?  It's part of "new noir," as it were, from the 70s, rather than the 40s and 50s.  How ironic that it's directed by Peter Yates, who directed my favorite feel good movie of all time, Breaking Away.

It's about the Boston mob, and everything is very grey--except for some brightly colored cars.  Robert Mitchum turns in a subtle performance as the aging gun runner who wants to find a way to get out of a prison sentence.  I really appreciated Steven Keats, who I knew mostly as the cheating husband in Hester Street.

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11 hours ago, GussieK said:

The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

A favorite of mine, and yes I also think it's a masterpiece, and one of the very few mob movies I really admire.  One of my uncles on the Irish side ( my mother's older brother) was in the New York Irish mob and did eight years in Sing Sing for driving the getaway car in a bank robbery, back in the 30's.  He kept his mouth shut so he was taken care of,  - until, inevitably, time went by, his big-time friends got killed or just died of old age, leadership changed, and the little bones he'd been thrown turned into smaller and smaller crumbs. The fact that he moved back in with my grandmother after he got out of prison and never moved out is a good example of how poorly crime can pay.  

That's one of the things I love so much about the movie.  It's not just bleak. It's SHABBY.  When you see Mitchum's house, it is SO not the classic movie mobster house - it's realistically the kind of place a mob footsoldier would be able to afford.  Not glamorous at all.  Nothing about his life is high style or glamorous.

I can't think of that many mob movies that felt this realistic to me.  The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, I guess, and Mean Streets.

 

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4 hours ago, ratgirlagogo said:

A favorite of mine, and yes I also think it's a masterpiece, and one of the very few mob movies I really admire.  One of my uncles on the Irish side ( my mother's older brother) was in the New York Irish mob and did eight years in Sing Sing for driving the getaway car in a bank robbery, back in the 30's.  He kept his mouth shut so he was taken care of,  - until, inevitably, time went by, his big-time friends got killed or just died of old age, leadership changed, and the little bones he'd been thrown turned into smaller and smaller crumbs. The fact that he moved back in with my grandmother after he got out of prison and never moved out is a good example of how poorly crime can pay.  

That's one of the things I love so much about the movie.  It's not just bleak. It's SHABBY.  When you see Mitchum's house, it is SO not the classic movie mobster house - it's realistically the kind of place a mob footsoldier would be able to afford.  Not glamorous at all.  Nothing about his life is high style or glamorous.

I can't think of that many mob movies that felt this realistic to me.  The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, I guess, and Mean Streets.

 

Great story.  Did they live in Hell's Kitchen?  Such a crummy neighborhood.  Everyone living in decrepit walkup tenements, even with all their supposed ill-gotten gains.  Inevitability of decline is a great theme in all these movies.

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16 hours ago, GussieK said:

  Did they live in Hell's Kitchen?

No, the Lower East Side initially, then they moved to Crown Heights (in Brooklyn) while my uncle was inside, ostensibly to get away from the LES Irish gangs.  That didn't work, by the way.

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I decided to record The Cool Ones, thinking that "A millionaire manager (Roddy McDowall) pairs an aspiring singer (Debbie Watson) with a fading rock star (Gil Peterson) in a duo made for Hollywood" sounded like a 1967 time capsule of Hollywood trying to deal with These Kids Today. Oh my. I had no idea.

How this isn't one of the all-time unintentional-camp classics, on a par with Showgirls or Valley of the Dolls, I have no idea. It has everything: the aforementioned pair of cute kids, an assortment of almost-made-it pop acts in the background (anyone remember Mrs. Miller?), weird assortment of veteran character men as the moguls and agents (Phil Harris, George Furth, Robert Coote) talking "groovy," premise dopier than 42nd Street (chorus girl on hit TV show Whizbam [think Hullabaloo] decides to join boy soloist in his song, and by pulling away from the stagehands inadvertently creates a dance sensation), all directed by Gene Nelson. 

And what's the new pop hit the boy singer (Glen Campbell! in satin and spangles, not the least bit country) is warbling for the TV masses? "It Was Just One of Those Things"! In fact a shocking number of the tunes either are actual old standards (our star Gil sings "Birth of the Blues" and "What Is This Thing Called Love?") or are new ones that sound like the old ones -- because this is also an actual musical with characters soliloquizing as they walk home (she plaintively sings a song that would be "Lonely Town" if it had better music and lyrics) or duetting as they ascend in a ski lift (the title being "We're Gonna Get High," a zippy jazz waltz). 

My mind remains boggled, and I recommend it to anyone willing to watch in the wrong spirit.

Edited by Rinaldo
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35 minutes ago, Rinaldo said:

I decided to record The Cool Ones, thinking that "A millionaire manager (Roddy McDowall) pairs an aspiring singer (Debbie Watson) with a fading rock star (Gil Peterson) in a duo made for Hollywood" sounded like a 1967 time capsule of Hollywood trying to deal with These Kids Today. Oh my. I had no idea.

How this isn't one of the all-time unintentional-camp classics, on a par with Showgirls or Valley of the Dolls, I have no idea. It has everything: the aforementioned pair of cute kids, an assortment of almost-made-it pop acts in the background (anyone remember Mrs. Miller?), weird assortment of veteran character men as the moguls and agents (Phil Harris, George Furth, Robert Coote) talking "groovy," premise dopier than 42nd Street (chorus girl on hit TV show Whizbam [think Hullabaloo) decides to join boy soloist in his song, and by pulling away from the stagehands inadvertently creates a dance sensation), all directed by Gene Nelson. 

And what's the new pop hit the boy singer (Glen Campbell! in satin and spangles, not the least bit country) is warbling for the TV masses? "It Was Just One of Those Things"! In fact a shocking number of the tunes either are actual old standards (our star Gil sings "Secret Love" and "What Is This Thing Called Love?") or are new ones that sound like the old ones -- because this is also an actual musical with characters soliloquizing as they walk home (she plaintively sings a song that would be "Lonely Town" if it had better music and lyrics) or duetting as they ascend in a ski lift (the title being "We're Gonna Get High," a zippy jazz waltz). 

My mind remains boggled, and I recommend it to anyone willing to watch in the wrong spirit.

This is a new one to me, but I can't wait to catch it on TCM on demand or streaming. The main thing your great description made me wonder was if this is what people are going to be saying about La La Land in another 40 years. (Or less.)

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I watched The Lusty Men a couple of days ago. It's about rodeo cowboys and stars Rita Hayward and Robert Mitchum. It's not a good movie. I only watched because of Rita Hayward. 

The most interesting thing about it were the rodeo scenes. It was clear that they used real life footage and because one of the themes of the movie is how dangerous the sport is, some of the shots where riders get thrown are absolutely horrific. Like, "How many ribs did that guy break?" horrific.

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2 hours ago, xaxat said:

I watched The Lusty Men a couple of days ago. It's about rodeo cowboys and stars Rita Hayward and Robert Mitchum. It's not a good movie. I only watched because of Rita Hayward. 

The most interesting thing about it were the rodeo scenes. It was clear that they used real life footage and because one of the themes of the movie is how dangerous the sport is, some of the shots where riders get thrown are absolutely horrific. Like, "How many ribs did that guy break?" horrific.

Sorry,  that was Susan Hayward.

I came here because I wanted to comment on something else.  I was so happy to see Jeanette McDonald/Nelson Eddy movies today.  All of them...except Bittersweet.  I can't imagine why they left one out.  I hope I'm not the only JM/NE fan left.

Edited by Suzn

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I've got to say I really appreciate how this forum reflects the range of material TCM shows--musicals from McDonald/Eddy to The Cool Ones to La La Land (ok, yes, they have yet to show that one).  With a Western thrown in for good measure.

The Cool Ones is all @Rinaldo says it is.  If you brave it,  you'll also see the redoubtable Nita Talbot, as always doing her best with lousy material. 

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2 hours ago, Suzn said:

orry,  that was Susan Hayward.

No reason to be sorry, I know who it was and just got the names mixed up.

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3 hours ago, Charlie Baker said:

The Cool Ones is all @Rinaldo says it is.  If you brave it,  you'll also see the redoubtable Nita Talbot, as always doing her best with lousy material. 

Yes, she and Mrs Miller are probably the best things in the film. I'd say Phil Harris since I love him but he doesn't have that big a role and honestly kind of looks like a honey baked ham.  This is one of these cringey 1960's musicals that were made by people who were afraid that a pop culture they didn't understand had whizzed past them, and desperately trying to adjust.  I suppose Skidoo is the "best" example of this. It's easy for me to say from here that they might have been better off sticking to their guns and just producing retro-style musicals - but I bet they would have had a hard time getting financed.

A few months ago TCM ran When the Boys Meet the Girls, featuring Connie Francis and Herman's Hermits - and I discovered that the Herman's Hermits version of Biding My Time that played on the radio when I was a kid was from this film - which I was  shocked to realize was a remake of Girl Crazy!

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9 hours ago, Suzn said:

I came here because I wanted to comment on something else.  I was so happy to see Jeanette McDonald/Nelson Eddy movies today.  All of them...except Bittersweet.  I can't imagine why they left one out.  I hope I'm not the only JM/NE fan left.

I'm fond of McDonald/Eddy, too, and I find their rather negative and/or ridiculous reputation somewhat undeserved. Oh, don't misunderstand me; no one is above criticism or ridicule, but poor Jeanette and Nelson seemed to get more than most.

Their movies were silly? Sure they were! Most musicals are! That's why musical fans love 'em!

They were aiming too high for art? Lots of movies boasted high brow scores, cameos by noted composers, or were based on the classics, so what?

Jeanette McDonald was pretentious? Eh, who knows, maybe she was, but does it matter? Besides, she became a legit opera singer for a while, so girlfriend had chops!

Nelson Eddy was a bad actor? I won't sit here and say Eddy was a great actor, but I don't think he was anywhere near as terrible as critics claimed. His acting was a bit amateurish and stiff at times, but not egregiously so, and he could be quite good in the right parts (Maytime comes to mind). Plus, check out the Disney short "The Whale who Wanted to Sing at the Met", where he literally plays every part, he's delightful!

Maytime is one of the best musicals of the '30s (not to mention one of the most gorgeous B&W films ever), Naughty Marietta is surprisingly fun and funny, and when the heck is Sweethearts going to get a blu ray release?!?!?

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7 hours ago, ratgirlagogo said:

A few months ago TCM ran When the Boys Meet the Girls, featuring Connie Francis and Herman's Hermits - and I discovered that the Herman's Hermits version of Biding My Time that played on the radio when I was a kid was from this film - which I was  shocked to realize was a remake of Girl Crazy!

I loved the stage show Crazy For You (tweaked from the same source) and for years I hoped someday to see Girl Crazy but was always finding out I had just missed an airing on TCM. A couple of years ago I finally caught it and was (possibly because of a surfeit of expectation) disappointed to discover I kind of hated it. Should I consider thinking about trying to watch When the Boys Meet the Girls

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3 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

I'm fond of McDonald/Eddy, too, and I find their rather negative and/or ridiculous reputation somewhat undeserved. Oh, don't misunderstand me; no one is above criticism or ridicule, but poor Jeanette and Nelson seemed to get more than most.

Their movies were silly? Sure they were! Most musicals are! That's why musical fans love 'em!

They were aiming too high for art? Lots of movies boasted high brow scores, cameos by noted composers, or were based on the classics, so what?

Jeanette McDonald was pretentious? Eh, who knows, maybe she was, but does it matter? Besides, she became a legit opera singer for a while, so girlfriend had chops!

Nelson Eddy was a bad actor? I won't sit here and say Eddy was a great actor, but I don't think he was anywhere near as terrible as critics claimed. His acting was a bit amateurish and stiff at times, but not egregiously so, and he could be quite good in the right parts (Maytime comes to mind). Plus, check out the Disney short "The Whale who Wanted to Sing at the Met", where he literally plays every part, he's delightful!

Maytime is one of the best musicals of the '30s (not to mention one of the most gorgeous B&W films ever), Naughty Marietta is surprisingly fun and funny, and when the heck is Sweethearts going to get a blu ray release?!?!?

I'm so happy to know that there is someone else who enjoys JM/NE.  The criticisms may all be right, but those things don't detract from what is right with their movies. 

Nelson Eddy certainly couldn't compete with Laurence Olivier but he was a far better actor than he was given credit for.  Certain ideas take on a life of their own through repetition.  The roles he played called for a type of man who could appear rather wooden, but he loosened up in the love scenes and he played the humorous parts very well.

The bottom line is that they are pretty movies with pretty people it is a joy to listen to those glorious voices.

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25 minutes ago, Suzn said:

Nelson Eddy certainly couldn't compete with Laurence Olivier but he was a far better actor than he was given credit for.  Certain ideas take on a life of their own through repetition.  The roles he played called for a type of man who could appear rather wooden, but he loosened up in the love scenes and he played the humorous parts very well.

Personally, I found Joel McCrea to be a charismatically devoid lump (though he's okay in The Palm Beach Story and These Three), but critics and film lovers to this day practically salivate over him. At least Nelson Eddy could sing.

Oh, well, diff'rent strokes, I guess.

28 minutes ago, Suzn said:

The bottom line is that they are pretty movies with pretty people it is a joy to listen to those glorious voices.

Didn't Jeanette MacDonald make operatic singing sound fun as hell? Like poor Greer Garson, she has this undeserved reputation as a stuffy grand dame, but if you listen to some of her recordings, MacDonald sounds she's having the time of her life!

 

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11 minutes ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

Personally, I found Joel McCrea to be a charismatically devoid lump (though he's okay in The Palm Beach Story and These Three), but critics and film lovers to this day practically salivate over him. At least Nelson Eddy could sing.

Oh, well, diff'rent strokes, I guess.

Didn't Jeanette MacDonald make operatic singing sound fun as hell? Like poor Greer Garson, she has this undeserved reputation as a stuffy grand dame, but if you listen to some of her recordings, MacDonald sounds she's having the time of her life!

 

They loved to sing and it comes through for both of them!

I think you're right about Joel McCrea.  It's funny how certain ideas become accepted as true and few people do a fresh assessment.  The story about poor John Gilbert failing in talkies because of a bad voice is just not true.  There was nothing wrong with  his voice. 

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On 7/16/2021 at 7:34 AM, SomeTameGazelle said:

I loved the stage show Crazy For You (tweaked from the same source) and for years I hoped someday to see Girl Crazy but was always finding out I had just missed an airing on TCM. A couple of years ago I finally caught it and was (possibly because of a surfeit of expectation) disappointed to discover I kind of hated it. Should I consider thinking about trying to watch When the Boys Meet the Girls

There are two movies called Girl Crazy, and they've both been shown on TCM. The earlier one is a rather crudely made early-talkies job, adapted for the then-popular Wheeler-Woolsey comedy team, and with few songs remaining. The later is more often seen, and heavily adapted in its own way for the talents of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. They both have their ups and downs in terms of quality. So, heaven knows, does When the Boys Meet the Girls. See it, if you choose to, as a nutty historical artifact, an attempt to adapt the Gershwin source once again for the 60s teen-movie audience, with pop groups doing their own thing (though Herman's Hermits actually performs "Bidin' My Time"), among which Connie Francis and Harve Presnell do '50s easy-listening versions of the few remaining Gershwin songs. It's a preposterous mess, but it does work better (as an example of studios not knowing how to handle the current change in the sound of popular songs) than The Cool OnesGirl Crazy itself is a typical musical of c. 1930 with plot and characters that were never meant to make sense, but they provided a framework for a great Gershwin score and the opposing talents of Ginger Rogers and Ethel Merman. Only the 1932 movie contains a vestige of that last feature (while omitting nearly all the songs); the others, like Crazy for You, have only one leading lady.

On 7/16/2021 at 11:34 AM, Wiendish Fitch said:

Personally, I found Joel McCrea to be a charismatically devoid lump (though he's okay in The Palm Beach Story and These Three), but critics and film lovers to this day practically salivate over him. ...

And I'm one of them. For all I know, he may be dull in most of the many Westerns he made -- I'll never see them. The genre puts me to sleep, with not much more than one exception, Ride the High Country, which he made alongside Randolph Scott and Mariette Hartley toward the end of his career, in which he's marvelous. And early on, his comedic performances in The More the Merrier and The Palm Beach Story insure his place among the immortals for me. (And I'll throw in his more serious performances in The Silver Cord, These Three, and Foreign Correspondent.)

As for Jeanette MacDonald, I prefer her collaborations with others, like Allan Jones (The Firefly) or especially Maurice Chevalier, with whom she's sexy and funny. Love Me Tonight remains one of the pinnacles of film musicals.

And I don't mean to knock Nelson Eddy; he had a first-class voice, with real operatic credits behind him (important US premieres). His "The Whale Who Wanted To Sing at the Met" is the final segment of Make Mine Music, the only Disney Animated Classic not to be available on Disney+ (presumably because some bits are now seen as excessively violent or sexual, or Disney is worried that they will be).

Edited by Rinaldo
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19 hours ago, SomeTameGazelle said:

Should I consider thinking about trying to watch When the Boys Meet the Girls

If you need the movies you watch to be "good" as commonly understood, then no.  It's really not  a good movie.   But you're certainly going to find it at least interesting, given your knowledge of the source material and for things like this I think "interesting" is more than enough.

8 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

See it, if you choose to, as a nutty historical artifact, an attempt to adapt the Gershwin source once again for the 60s teen-movie audience

Yep.

One of the aspects, well maybe more like crucial building blocks, of the plot that seemed very antique to me was the whole Reno divorce economy angle - all these women stuck in Reno for six weeks waiting to finalize their divorces, and the entertainment industry set up to capitalize on them.   In this film the ingenue's dad has a failing ranch - so the juvenile cooks up a scheme of a dudette ranch for the floods of impending divorcees.  I had thought that all this Reno stuff was pretty much done by 1965, but as I have just now looked up, no-fault divorce didn't really become a thing until 1970, so  this Reno divorce economy was indeed still a thing in 1965, although winding down.

And, you're welcome!  I found that the University of Nevada maintains the most FANTASTIC website on this whole phenomenon of the Reno divorce industry.  It illuminates so much about what Hollywood films of the 20's through the 50's assume that the audience knows about divorces and how they happen.

http://renodivorcehistory.org/

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First time I'd seen Body Heat  in years, and I only caught the last 30 minutes.  But it was enough to ping much of what is best about the film: 

-- That overhead tracking shot in the prison... when Ned's eyes suddenly pop open wide,

Spoiler

and he blurts, "She's still alive!"

Certainly one of the best, and most representative,  lines in all of neo-noir.

-- Mickey Rourke was singled out by many 80s reviewers for his performance as a small-time hood.  Yeah yeah, he was great; but I had totally forgotten about what he looked like *before his life happened.  I did my standard Tex Avery-wolf-pounding-on-the-table through his scene.

-- William Hurt has one of the most distinctive, soothing voices in movies.

-- I'd've loved to have heard Ava Gardner/Ida Lupino/Barbara Stanwyck cover Kathleen Turner's zinger: "Not too smart.  I like that in a man."

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1 hour ago, voiceover said:

-- I'd've loved to have heard Ava Gardner/Ida Lupino/Barbara Stanwyck cover Kathleen Turner's zinger: "Not too smart.  I like that in a man."

How about Dorothy Parker's " I only require three things in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid."

I also watched it again tonight after not having seen it easily 20 years.  I still have to point out (as a friend of mine did when we saw it in the theater the first time around) - all these Florida millionaires and multi-millionaires.  And not ONE of them has air conditioning?

And Mickey Rourke - oh yeah.

Edited by ratgirlagogo
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TCM showed "To Live and Die in L.A." last night. I saw a sneak preview of that movie in Chicago before it opened and by coincidence, William Petersen's parents were siting right in front of me.  His mother kept saying, "Oh, My God!" all through the movie.

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6 hours ago, ratgirlagogo said:

I still have to point out (as a friend of mine did when we saw it in the theater the first time around) - all these Florida millionaires and multi-millionaires.  And not ONE of them has air conditioning?

What's funny is it was actually unusually chilly during filming. The actors had to suck on ice cubes between takes in order not to see their breath and the "sweat" was sprayed on water. 

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The neo-noir series has been very interesting, for sure.  I get Eddie Muller's defining neo-noir as filmmakers utilizing noir themes and style without being subject to the Production Code.  But before I knew much about noir, as I was beginning to discover it, I thought part of its resonance was the very tension between what they could get away with and what the Code would dictate.

That said, there has been some good stuff in the series, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, discussed earlier, and of course the epitome of neo-noir, Chinatown.  Even something like the not completely successful neo-noir comedy, Pulp, which they started with last night.  But now I guess I'll venture in possibly unpopular opinion territory.  I hadn't seen Body Heat for a while, and I wondered if my initial impressions would hold. They did.  It's very slickly made, to be sure. But it seems overly studied, trying too hard to be the noiriest noir that ever noired.  And while the leads look absolutely terrific in this, I've never been particularly taken by either of them as actors.  But then there are Mickey Rourke and Ted Danson in breakout parts, J.A. Preston just as good as the cop,  Richard Crenna as the victimized husband, all really effective.

As always, mileage varies.

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I first saw Body Heat at a sneak preview before its release. (Not in the older sense -- they didn't solicit opinions about it, presumably they were just building interest pre-opening.) As an extra, before the feature I actually wanted to see, I found it diverting, especially knowing absolutely nothing in advance; for a while I wondered if it was going to be all atmosphere, and then it became clear that no, there was going to be lots and lots of plot.

3 hours ago, Charlie Baker said:

It's very slickly made, to be sure. But it seems overly studied, trying too hard to be the noiriest noir that ever noired....

Sounds good to me! All that is true, but I regard it as an asset, not a flaw. A few points of my own:

  • There can't have been many movie debuts in a starring role as assured and striking as Kathleen Turner's here. (Lauren Bacall comes to mind, of course.)
  • Ted Danson is certainly eye-catching here in his brief bits. After this and The Onion Field, I wondered if he would ever get leading roles. Ha! Cheers was just a year later.
  • It was Kathleen Turner who suggested the casting of Kim Zimmer as Mary Ann, her friend from high school. They needed someone who resembled her on first glance, and Zimmer had replaced Turner on the daytime soap The Doctors.
  • For me, John Barry's score for Body Heat is one of the great ones. It's all right there in the first minute, when a chilly bitonal chord progression melts into sultry jazz, with a bluesy sax solo.
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6 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

I first saw Body Heat at a sneak preview before its release. (Not in the older sense -- they didn't solicit opinions about it, presumably they were just building interest pre-opening.) As an extra, before the feature I actually wanted to see, I found it diverting, especially knowing absolutely nothing in advance; for a while I wondered if it was going to be all atmosphere, and then it became clear that no, there was going to be lots and lots of plot.

Sounds good to me! All that is true, but I regard it as an asset, not a flaw. A few points of my own:

  • There can't have been many movie debuts in a starring role as assured and striking as Kathleen Turner's here. (Lauren Bacall comes to mind, of course.)
  • Ted Danson is certainly eye-catching here in his brief bits. After this and The Onion Field, I wondered if he would ever get leading roles. Ha! Cheers was just a year later.
  • It was Kathleen Turner who suggested the casting of Kim Zimmer as Mary Ann, her friend from high school. They needed someone who resembled her on first glance, and Zimmer had replaced Turner on the daytime soap The Doctors.
  • For me, John Barry's score for Body Heat is one of the great ones. It's all right there in the first minute, when a chilly bitonal chord progression melts into sultry jazz, with a bluesy sax solo.

I hadn’t seen Body Heat since its release. I didn’t love it back then but I really enjoyed watching it tonight.  I also loved the score and looked up Barry and saw how many amazing things he wrote. 
I used to watch The Doctors for a little while back then, and I knew Kim Zimmer from that. Also a young Alec Baldwin. 
I was not a lawyer back then but I am one now, so I got a bigger kick out of the will shenanigans now.  I knew it would be shown that Turner sought out Hurt to be her patsy, but I had forgotten how it happened. That was a particularly good reveal. The rule against perpetuities is something everyone must learn for the bar exam. 
Ted Danson is a national treasure, as far as I’m concerned. He’s carried several major sitcoms, with Cheers, Becker and Mr. Mayor my favorites. In the intro to the movie they  told an anecdote about how Norm and Cliff referenced Body Heat in an early episode of Cheers, and Danson as Sam Malone just smiled a little smile. 
ETA. Looks like Ted Danson was also on The Doctors!  

Edited by GussieK
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I’m annoyed to find that Watch TCM is not showing either The Cool Ones or To Live and Die In L.A. I have never seen either. I don’t know how they make their choices or why the rights holders don’t allow these showings sometimes. So frustrating. 

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OT. Is anyone here watching. Schmigadoon?  Our Music Man fan club will enjoy it. 

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1 hour ago, GussieK said:

OT. Is anyone here watching. Schmigadoon?  Our Music Man fan club will enjoy it. 

I hadn't heard of it until I saw Keegan Michael-Key on Colbert recently, and the interview with him was so fun and lovely that it got me curious about that one. Maybe someday, if/when I have more money for another streaming service, I'll check it out :). It does sound like a fun show. 

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I spent many years recording Guiding Light daily, when Kim Zimmer's character Reva infected the show, but I hadn't seen Body Heat in decades, so when I watched it again it caused an "Oh, Reva!" reaction upon seeing her.  As many problems I had with her GL character, I think she was fine as an actor, including in this film, and enjoy the story of her casting.

3 hours ago, GussieK said:

I was not a lawyer back then but I am one now, so I got a bigger kick out of the will shenanigans now.  I knew it would be shown that Turner sought out Hurt to be her patsy, but I had forgotten how it happened. That was a particularly good reveal. The rule against perpetuities is something everyone must learn for the bar exam. 

Ha - same. 

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On 7/17/2021 at 2:58 AM, ratgirlagogo said:

If you need the movies you watch to be "good" as commonly understood, then no.  It's really not  a good movie.   But you're certainly going to find it at least interesting, given your knowledge of the source material and for things like this I think "interesting" is more than enough.

 

On 7/16/2021 at 6:31 PM, Rinaldo said:

See it, if you choose to, as a nutty historical artifact,

Thanks for helping me to set my expectations. That's exactly what I needed. 

 

 

On 7/16/2021 at 6:31 PM, Rinaldo said:

There are two movies called Girl Crazy, and they've both been shown on TCM.

It was the Mickey/Judy version that I had anticipated for too long and was disappointed in. (It's possible that Mickey just gets up my nose and ruins any enjoyment I might otherwise get.) I will have to add the 1932 version to my list of things to compare and contrast. 

 

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On 7/17/2021 at 10:42 AM, Charlie Baker said:

The neo-noir series has been very interesting, for sure.  I get Eddie Muller's defining neo-noir as filmmakers utilizing noir themes and style without being subject to the Production Code.  But before I knew much about noir, as I was beginning to discover it, I thought part of its resonance was the very tension between what they could get away with and what the Code would dictate.

 

"Blood Simple" (still my favorite Coen Bros. film) is on Friday, July 23

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It doesn't seem to be on this month's schedule, but if they continue with neo-noir in the future, surely they'll get to 1978's The Driver. Like most of the US, I missed it on initial release, but I caught up with it in one of the repertory cinema houses that swept the country a couple of years later, and I think I actually used the term "neo-noir" or maybe "essence of film noir" to describe it to a friend. Walter Hill wrote and directed it, none of the characters have names (they're just the characters one would expect in a pared-down story like this: The Driver, The Detective, The Player, The Connection), and the cast is both surprising (for this sort of flick) and surprisingly effective: Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ronee Blakley (the only time I ever saw her other than Nashville). It's both exactly like this genre of movie and not quite like any other movie. Has anyone else here seen it? Anyway, it fits the premise 100%.

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