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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #12375 on: August 07, 2013, 10:39:57 PM »

TCM showed Double Indemnity Wednesday nite (Fred MacMurray night on Summer Under the Stars). Saw parts of it. (I've previously seen it twice in full). And I still feel as I did the last time I saw it - the movie was done incredibly well, a terrific film... when I initially saw it, I felt that the framing device kills much of the suspense, and the movie could have been even better if it would have either been a linear story, or used a framing device that didn't tell you the whole story before it started (as in, say, The Postman Always Rings Twice). So I didn't enjoy my first viewing as much as some other people did. But now that I've already seen the movie and there's no suspense anyway on subsequent viewings since you know the story, I am able to just enjoy it for what it is. And it's mighty good.

Just one moment in the movie has always made me vomit.
SPOILER -
when Stanwyck tells MacMurray, after shooting him, that all of a sudden she couldn't pull the trigger again. I always hated that moment. Stanwyck is completely cold-blooded and the idea that she'd suddenly care for MacMurray is laughable.

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« Reply #12376 on: August 08, 2013, 11:03:32 AM »

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) 9.5/10

Joan Fontaine. Unfrigginbelievable. And whoever did her makeup here was really good; in those early scenes, she really does look like she's a teenager.

SPOILERS
This story is pure fiction. I don't believe anyone could be that obsessed with someone who hasn't even known or acknowledged her. And then, there's no explanation for why, once Stefan leaves for Milano for "2 weeks," they don't meet again (at least not for a long while). And her explanation for not looking him up once she had his child - cuz she wanted to be the only woman who never asked him for anything - is terribly silly.


But, hey, this movie is a joy to watch. Amazing work by director Max Ophuls, Fontaine, and Louis Jordan was really good in the lead male role.

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« Reply #12377 on: August 11, 2013, 09:22:00 AM »

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) 6/10

I know many people love this movie, but what can I say, I just wasn't all that interested in the story. It's not like there is anything that I can really criticize as having been done wrong - the movie is well-made for what it is - and Donat was absolutely amazing in his performance as Mr. Chips, and Greer Garson was lovely as Katherine - but I just didn't find the story very interesting, and there's only so much you can like a movie if the story doesn't interest you.

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« Reply #12378 on: August 11, 2013, 11:15:32 AM »


Just one moment in the movie has always made me vomit.
SPOILER -
when Stanwyck tells MacMurray, after shooting him, that all of a sudden she couldn't pull the trigger again. I always hated that moment. Stanwyck is completely cold-blooded and the idea that she'd suddenly care for MacMurray is laughable.
I'm not sure we're meant to take her words at face value. At least, there is a certain ambiguity here. She doesn't shoot, and we don't know why for sure, and she gives a reason, but we don't have to accept her reason.  Maybe she doesn't even know why she didn't take the second shot, and so just reaches for the first idea that comes to her. MacMurray doesn't believe her anyway.I think that the point of the scene is that in the noirworld, a declaration of love isn't going to save you. I like the way the scene shows how ruthless MacMurray has become. And, of course, we get to enjoy the irony of the lovers killing each other.

Do you clean up after yourself, or do you just let your vomit mellow?

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« Reply #12379 on: August 11, 2013, 12:36:31 PM »

I'm not sure we're meant to take her words at face value. At least, there is a certain ambiguity here. She doesn't shoot, and we don't know why for sure, and she gives a reason, but we don't have to accept her reason.  Maybe she doesn't even know why she didn't take the second shot, and so just reaches for the first idea that comes to her. MacMurray doesn't believe her anyway.I think that the point of the scene is that in the noirworld, a declaration of love isn't going to save you. I like the way the scene shows how ruthless MacMurray has become. And, of course, we get to enjoy the irony of the lovers killing each other.

Do you clean up after yourself, or do you just let your vomit mellow?

I think it is meant to be real cuz there's no other explanation of why she doesn't take that second shot.

And Body Heat, which is basically a ripoff of Double Indemnity even has a parallel moment - just before Kathleen Turner's character walks into the garage, she tells William Hurt, "whatever you think, I really do love you," which is also meant as one of those ambiguous/did she mean it? statements (at least until the end, when you find out she definitely did not mean it). Besides for the basic story of the man so intoxicated by the married woman that he decides to kill her husband, before we realize that in fact, she had planned it all along and part of the plan was that the man would think he was coming up with it by himself, we have that specific moment of the ambiguous declaration of love; plus the idea about the double indemnity (in Body Heat substituted with that shtick with the Rule Against Perpetuities) - plus the friend who turns into adversary, with Ted Danson (and the balck cop) substituting for Edward G. Robinson. And most blatant of all is the moment where that little girl is sitting in the police station, substituting for the "Medford man - Medford, Orgeon" in the insurance office.

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« Reply #12380 on: August 11, 2013, 12:43:08 PM »

In the Loop - 9/10 - Brilliant big screen adaptation of BBC's The Thick of It, with Peter Capaldi as a political hatchet man caught in the build-up to the Iraq War. Plays like Dr. Strangelove meets The Office, mixing faux-documentary stylings with hysterical dialogue. Capaldi dominates to the proceedings, though James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander and Anna Chlumsky shine in supporting roles.

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« Reply #12381 on: August 11, 2013, 02:17:15 PM »

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) 9.5/10


SPOILERS
This story is pure fiction. I don't believe anyone could be that obsessed with someone who hasn't even known or acknowledged her. And then, there's no explanation for why, once Stefan leaves for Milano for "2 weeks," they don't meet again (at least not for a long while). And her explanation for not looking him up once she had his child - cuz she wanted to be the only woman who never asked him for anything - is terribly silly.
The problem is that the film is an adaptation, and to make the story acceptable to audiences of the day, the nature of the central character's sexual proclivity had to be falsified. Lisa’s essential masochism is explicit in the Stefan Zweig story from which the movie derives. There the character writes: “I grieved, and I wanted to; I wallowed in every deprivation I inflicted on myself while I thought about you." And: "Mourning was my joy; I renounced society and every pleasure, and was intoxicated with delight at the mortification I thus superadded to the lack of seeing you."

There's no way audiences would have accepted such a kinked-out freak as a heroine in 1948, so Ophuls changed her into a noble figure carrying a torch for LOVE. But anyone--especially any woman--watching the film in 2013 has got to call Bravo Sierra on the proceedings (try showing the film to the women in your life--it will enrage them). Perhaps now is the time for someone (Cronenberg, say) to remake the film and at last do justice to Zweig's conception.

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« Reply #12382 on: August 11, 2013, 02:42:23 PM »

I think it is meant to be real cuz there's no other explanation of why she doesn't take that second shot.
There are other explanations, only the film does not supply them. Imagination is required.

Here's one idea: the Stanwyck character has a death wish. She is tired of life. She thought killing her husband would give her greater freedom. She thought taking up with MacMurray would help solve her problems and add spice to her life. It hasn't worked out that way. And after she delivers her final ultimatum to MacMurray at Jerry's market, she realizes she's alienated him and that he will have to come after her. She's lost him, and she wonders if she's ever really had him. Maybe he's just been playing her all along. Maybe he's just the male version of herself. So she gets the gun ready. MacMurray comes, and she's right, he's come to kill her. But she fires first. It's instinctive, the need to survive. She doesn't make a clean job of it; she needs to fire again. If she fires again she will kill him and then she will live. But then what? She will have to explain things to the authorities; she won't get the money; she won't have the man. She will have to start all over, with another scheme, with another man. But she's no longer young. Things are getting harder. And all the planning, the maneuvering...it can make one tired. So very tired. Maybe it would be better to give up and let MacMurray shoot her. Then she wouldn't have to worry about anything ever again. If only there were more time to think things over.

"So long, baby."

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« Reply #12383 on: August 11, 2013, 03:41:19 PM »

There are other explanations, only the film does not supply them. Imagination is required.

Here's one idea: the Stanwyck character has a death wish. She is tired of life. She thought killing her husband would give her greater freedom. She thought taking up with MacMurray would help solve her problems and add spice to her life. It hasn't worked out that way. And after she delivers her final ultimatum to MacMurray at Jerry's market, she realizes she's alienated him and that he will have to come after her. She's lost him, and she wonders if she's ever really had him. Maybe he's just been playing her all along. Maybe he's just the male version of herself. So she gets the gun ready. MacMurray comes, and she's right, he's come to kill her. But she fires first. It's instinctive, the need to survive. She doesn't make a clean job of it; she needs to fire again. If she fires again she will kill him and then she will live. But then what? She will have to explain things to the authorities; she won't get the money; she won't have the man. She will have to start all over, with another scheme, with another man. But she's no longer young. Things are getting harder. And all the planning, the maneuvering...it can make one tired. So very tired. Maybe it would be better to give up and let MacMurray shoot her. Then she wouldn't have to worry about anything ever again. If only there were more time to think things over.

"So long, baby."

I don't think she thought taking up with MacMurray would change anything. I think she was going with Nino Zarcotti all along, and planned the whole shtick with MacMurray just cuz he was an insurance man and she wanted to get the insurance dough. Her plan was probably to take the money, and live happily ever after with her boy toy Nino. I do believe that when she says that suddenly now she has the feelings for MacMurray, it's meant seriously, and I just don't think it works on any level.

btw, one thing I noticed that perhaps you could say is a mistake in the movie: on that final fateful night, just before MacMurray comes to the house, you see Stanwyck preparing the place, putting the gun under the cushion - if I recall correctly, that is the only moment in the movie that MacMurray would not have been there to see. the whole story is from MacMurray's perspective - everything we see, is something that MacMurray is telling us, because he has seen. Then you have just that one single moment where we see something that he couldn't have seen, cuz he wasn't in the house yet. Of course, after she shoots him, he figures out that she hid the gun under the cushion, but IMO, if we are seeing the entire movie only through MacMurray's eyes, it's a mistake to have that one moment where we see something he could not have seen. They should have just shown her pulling the gun without showing beforehand how she hid it before MacMurray showed up at the house. They could have kept the narration, where MacMurray says ("My plan was to.... but of course, she had other plans...) without actually showing her actions in the house before he shows up.

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« Reply #12384 on: August 11, 2013, 03:44:05 PM »

The problem is that the film is an adaptation, and to make the story acceptable to audiences of the day, the nature of the central character's sexual proclivity had to be falsified. Lisa’s essential masochism is explicit in the Stefan Zweig story from which the movie derives. There the character writes: “I grieved, and I wanted to; I wallowed in every deprivation I inflicted on myself while I thought about you." And: "Mourning was my joy; I renounced society and every pleasure, and was intoxicated with delight at the mortification I thus superadded to the lack of seeing you."

There's no way audiences would have accepted such a kinked-out freak as a heroine in 1948, so Ophuls changed her into a noble figure carrying a torch for LOVE. But anyone--especially any woman--watching the film in 2013 has got to call Bravo Sierra on the proceedings (try showing the film to the women in your life--it will enrage them). Perhaps now is the time for someone (Cronenberg, say) to remake the film and at last do justice to Zweig's conception.

thanks for that, I did not realize that.

Even in this version of the movie, I wouldn't call Fontaine's emotion LOVE. I'd call it OBSESSION. So, even if she is not masochistic, there is definitely something not right with her - to be that singularly obsessed with someone who doesn't acknowledge you for years, there's definitely something not right with you.

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« Reply #12385 on: August 11, 2013, 05:44:21 PM »

I don't think she thought taking up with MacMurray would change anything. I think she was going with Nino Zarcotti all along, and planned the whole shtick with MacMurray just cuz he was an insurance man and she wanted to get the insurance dough. Her plan was probably to take the money, and live happily ever after with her boy toy Nino. I do believe that when she says that suddenly now she has the feelings for MacMurray, it's meant seriously, and I just don't think it works on any level.
Not the way I see it at all. I think there's a level of ambiguity operating that makes radically divergent interpretations possible. It's one of the things I like about the film: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?"

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« Reply #12386 on: August 11, 2013, 06:05:15 PM »

Drug War / Du Zhan (2012) - 8/10. In and around Tianjin, China, a police Captain and his too-professional-to-be-believed drug squad takes on an army of baddies using a combination of guile and violence. What starts off as a procedural turns into Armageddon. The story is all business--not a second is squandered on down time. Highlights include the colon-emptying scene, the money-burning scene, the coke overdose scene, and, of course, the climactic gun battle with its very impressive body count. Hey, it's a Johnnie To film, after all.

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« Reply #12387 on: August 11, 2013, 07:25:58 PM »


btw, one thing I noticed that perhaps you could say is a mistake in the movie: on that final fateful night, just before MacMurray comes to the house, you see Stanwyck preparing the place, putting the gun under the cushion - if I recall correctly, that is the only moment in the movie that MacMurray would not have been there to see. the whole story is from MacMurray's perspective - everything we see, is something that MacMurray is telling us, because he has seen. Then you have just that one single moment where we see something that he couldn't have seen, cuz he wasn't in the house yet. Of course, after she shoots him, he figures out that she hid the gun under the cushion, but IMO, if we are seeing the entire movie only through MacMurray's eyes, it's a mistake to have that one moment where we see something he could not have seen. They should have just shown her pulling the gun without showing beforehand how she hid it before MacMurray showed up at the house. They could have kept the narration, where MacMurray says ("My plan was to.... but of course, she had other plans...) without actually showing her actions in the house before he shows up.
Slavish observance of a narrative conceit does not always produce good results. Even in Rear Window AH doesn't always stick to the idea of seeing everything from Jimmy Stewart's apartment window (during the dead-dog-in-the-courtyard scene, for example, we see some of the neighbors from perspectives that Stewart can't possibly have). There should be consistency in such approaches, but it doesn't have to be adhered to 100% of the time--especially if, by breaking the conceit, one can enhance the drama or add necessary info. In DI, I believe Wilder was correct to not always follow his self-imposed convention: seeing Stanwyck preparing for MacMurray's visit helps generate suspense; and to quote the Master again, suspense is always preferable to surprise.

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« Reply #12388 on: August 11, 2013, 07:37:04 PM »

Not the way I see it at all. I think there's a level of ambiguity operating that makes radically divergent interpretations possible. It's one of the things I like about the film: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?"

when do you think she started taking up with Nino Zachetti (which I see now is the correct way to spell his last name)? You think she was with him all along, or started messing around with him at some point while she was seeing MacMurray? If the former, then do you think Zachetti was only going with her daughter as some kind of coverup, that it was all part of
Stanwyck's plan? Or was it only after the daughter was going with him for a while (and after MacMurray came into the picture) that Stanwyck started going with Zachetti? To me, the problem with believing that she just recently started with Zachetti is that she is right now ass-deep in an insurance fraud, and she needs MacMurray on her side badly (or at least she needs him to think he is on her side) and she is taking an awful risk if she suddenly decides to start seeing Zachetti behind MacMurray's back. I would think that someone that deep into a scheme would not wanna mess with anything, that she would not see anyone else at all until she had the 100 grand safely in her bank. That, and the fact that she is so coldly calculating all along, is what leads me to believe that she may have been seeing Zarchetti all along, that the plan all along with for her to get MacMurray to commit the fraud and murder, and then take the money and run off with Zarchetti.
Yes, I agree that there are some ambiguities here, intended or not, that allow for differing opinions (as opposed to Body Heat, in which it is clear that Kathleen Turner has plotted it all from the beginning), but in your opinion, what is most likely the timeline as far as what Stanwyck was after, when she decided what, etc.?

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« Reply #12389 on: August 11, 2013, 07:43:20 PM »

Slavish observance of a narrative conceit does not always produce good results. Even in Rear Window AH doesn't always stick to the idea of seeing everything from Jimmy Stewart's apartment window (during the dead-dog-in-the-courtyard scene, for example, we see some of the neighbors from perspectives that Stewart can't possibly have). There should be consistency in such approaches, but it doesn't have to be adhered to 100% of the time--especially if, by breaking the conceit, one can enhance the drama or add necessary info. In DI, I believe Wilder was correct to not always follow his self-imposed convention: seeing Stanwyck preparing for MacMurray's visit helps generate suspense; and to quote the Master again, suspense is always preferable to surprise.

if the movie all along had shown us stuff that MacMurray couldn't see, I would have no problem with that whatsoever - the movie could establish whatever rules it wants to. But once it establishes the rule that everything we are seeing is from MacMurray's perspective, I don't agree that it should then break the rule for a single scene toward the end. And I don't think that breaking the rule helps it either; I don't think we needed to see her hiding the gun. IMO,  if we just heard MacMurray's voice saying "but she had other plans..." and then later saw her pulling the gun on him, that would be fine. Suspense may be better than surprise, but I don't see how seeing her hide the gun adds to the suspense. We know from the beginning of the movie that he is shot; as soon as we see her hide the gun, we know she's gonna shoot him. (We don't know if he shoots her, but IMO the audience's focus is on MacMurray's fate, which we know all along anyway).

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